Friday, December 6, 2013

Letters to a Young Progressive / Nelson Mandela


This book linked above could be a good read.  Here is a Amazon review:

Mike S. Adams has been there. In his own words the author "was once one of those bright kids, lost for seventeen angry years because of professors who lured me into their reason-less angst. It almost killed me. But I survived." Eventually Mike emerged from his funk and these days he is a professor of criminology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, a nationally syndicated columnist and a highly successful author. The man who once counted himself an angry young "progressive" has undergone a metamorphosis and is now a happy conservative Christian. During his tenure as an educator Mike has seen firsthand the devastating consequences that unchallenged progressive ideas can have on impressionable young minds. As an exercise he decided to write a series of short and very personal letters to a student named Zach. Zach was sort of a composite of so many of the students that he had encountered along the way. Before long his idea morphed into a book. "Letters to a Young Progressive: How to Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand" is a heartfelt appeal to these young people to consider a very different set of ideas. If you know a naïve young person who you believe is being led down the primrose path then offering him/her a copy of this book would be a great way to engage them and perhaps even help to instigate some serious discussion. It is certainly worth a shot!

--"How to Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting things You Don't Understand"  sounds good. What does it mean? We remember young protesters on TV, when interviewed about their views were found out to actually have no views.  Facts and figures and are said not to matter or inspire--so I have been told repeatedly by professional protesters.  

--It seems to me lately that a lot of good and bad stuff comes out of North Carolina.  As a knowledgeable person told me once, it appears to be a "hotbed'.  Or maybe he said, there were a lot of "hotheads" there.  I forget.

2.  Contrast this with Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday, whose tributes are playing on the radio, as I am typing.

Nelson Mandela knew and understood what he was protesting.

Mandela wasted twenty some years in prison, not able to protest, and these years were no waste, as it turned out.  His lengthy incarceration became a symbol for the unreasonableness of the government and became a moral impossibility to defend.  He also was a great rhetorician, giving important speeches that both soothed and raised courage and vision.  (Martin Luther did the same thing when he came down from the castle to straighten out the mess in the town.  He had the same skills of good brain, big heart and picturesque, memorable language, soothing and inspiring the common people.  He also was a scholar and knew his stuff.)

Every great leader and progressive must know the place of knowledge, of experience, of listening to the people, including the weak, and develop his skills of head, heart and language.  If his "love" only means pure "passion" or energy or even just anger, or aggression,  he does not have "love".  More is needed.  Mandela is greatly praised for his grace and inclusiveness, today.  His care for the Aids victims and his efforts to include other races in South African society, as well as modernizing economic models of the reform movement.  The truth and reconciliation commission and Archbishop Desmond Tutu also provided a deep, spiritual component of honesty and forgiveness.  Today, people are speaking about how these principles need to be applied in our own countries and with our various mixed populations.  No doubt, knowledge, and grace and wisdom are needed.  Mandela embodied these.  

The radio keeps exploding in triumphant African song. -- But so much needs to be done, still.  Africa has so far to go.  There is so much poverty.  So much war.  So much poor health and societal disfunction.  So many orphans.  And, yet with all its remaining many difficulties, South Africa is a light.  The samples of Mandela speeches we get today are shafts of reasonableness and true love of the people.

Now, the opposing view is aired, on my radio.  Nelson Mandela was on the US terrorist list until 2005.  He endorsed armed struggle.  He is not Desmond Tutu and he is not Martin Luther King.  He is not the ever smiling Santa Claus we have been seeing on pictures and TV.  But he was in politics and had to come up with a mixed program dealing with IMF, and so on.  

Interesting about the armed struggle.  Martin Luther was also not a pacifist, per se.  Not that the church was to take up the struggle using arms, (it was a Reformation point, that the church cease doing such things), but the right organization was to fulfill its duties in defending justice in active and even violent means, if necessary.   The right organization would never be the church nor involve vigilante action.   Insurrection was not to be carried on in the name of the gospel, or for the sake of the gospel.  ( Luther himself would always fight with the pen and mouth only.  But the legitimate government would play this role of enforcing just rule of law and defense of the country and citizenry.  The question of something unjust like an Apartheid government had not really come up.  In Medieval society it was the Jews who lived segregated and disenfranchised, however, they also insisted on living together as they needed their own butcher, their own schools, their own language, their own bathing places by the springs, etc..  Not that this justifies what went on.)

How to struggle against an unjust government is always an excruciating question.  Government must be available and able to enforce the rule of law and defense.  

We have seen armed struggle and unarmed struggle.  Bonhoeffer first studied Ghandi and wanted unarmed struggle, but after a terrific soul-searching got involved with a bomb plot to kill Hitler.  How do you get rid of such an evil dictator?   How many millions were lost to rid the world of him. The history of mankind seems to be nothing but war.  Bonhoeffer, too, was hung, as were scores of dissidents of all ages and stripes.  Young Scholl was guillotined. 

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