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« The Point Radio: Little Emperors | Main | Defying Gravity »

August 28, 2008

Joel Rosenberg on Joe Biden

Biden You may want to check out Joel Rosenberg's article "Who Is Joe Biden?" which offers insight into his past and his stance on a number of important issues. Here's an excerpt:

I like Joe Biden. I like his love of family and country. I like that I can disagree with him but would still enjoy a good policy discussion over dinner. But I do disagree with him profoundly on most important issues. He is, after all, the third most liberal man in the Senate, according to National Journal. And when it comes to most epicenter issues, he is just plain wrong. He reminds me in many ways of President Jimmy Carter in the mid-to-late 1970s -- kind, friendly, warm, engaging, but someone who often misunderstands the nature and threat of evil, particularly in the Middle East.

Since I know very little about Biden, I found the article helpful in putting Obama's VP pick in perspective.   

(Image © AOL News)

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Comments

FriarThom

Diane,

Can you elaborate on "the nature and threat of evil"? That's something that I've been personally struggling with, and please be more specific than Joel Rosenberg who just throws out emotional statements like:

"My grandparents and great-grandparents were Orthodox Jews who escaped Czarist, anti-Semitic, fascist Russia around 1907."

I've never heard anybody refer to Czarist Russia as "fascist".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

Rosenberg's labeling (making stuff up/redefining words) doesn't help his credibility, but that shouldn't detract from our ability to discuss evil.

joel

FriarThom,

By strict definitions, "fascism" doesn't go together with "Czarist Russia" like it does with Hitler, Mussolini, etc. However, given the atmosphere in Russia at the time I wouldn't entirely rule it out as being present on the street. Nicholas still reigned in '07, and there had been quite a bit of anti-Semitic propaganda floating around, so Rosenberg's right on those two points. But Bloody Sunday was only two years before and even then socialism was widespread among the populace. It could be argued that the events of that Sunday in '05 began what eventually became the Russian Revolution twelve years later, in '17.

Point being, while the government was not a fascist one per se, I have no problem with a Jew getting out of there in '07 claiming to have experienced fascism to some extent. Fascism doesn't need the ruling government's imprimatur to exist.

- Joel

FriarThom

joel,

Words have meaning. Let's not redefine them.

Next thing you know, people will explain that the very patient first same-sex couple married in California (they waited fifty years) is really truly married; that Phyllis Lyon feels the same loss and grief as any heterosexual widow, and that orthodox Judeo-Christians can't criticize those who "redefine" because they do it themselves *all the time*. :)

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2008/08/27/2780

Diane Singer

FriarThom,

I'm sure that there's not enough room on this blogsite to get into an indepth description or definition of evil. However, the simplest way to understand evil is to see it as "that which opposes the will, the ways, and the plan of God." The origin of evil is not God, but Satan -- who rebelled against God because he wanted to rule, not serve, the Creator. Satan then led mankind into sin and evil at the Fall; and, ever since, he has had his own plans for the human race and for this earth. At every turn, Satan wants to thwart God's plans.

Back to the issue at hand, Rosenberg -- as a Messianic Jew -- worries about American and European politicians who are willing to compromise with nations that have threatened the existence of Israel. To him, these politicians are dangerously naive about "the nature" of evil (they either deny its existence, or they think they can overcome it by simply being nice to the world's bad guys). But history has taught us that when you appease evil, you only make it more bold and more dangerous.

Just as Neville Chamberlain was too naive to deal correctly with Hitler (one of the most evil leaders in history), we have politicians today who simply don't seem able to see the evil in, for instance, the leader of Iran who has promised to wipe Israel, and all Jews, off the face of the earth.

As a journalist, Rosenberg keeps pretty close tabs on what the various candidates are saying about what's going on in the middle-East. He's concerned that Obama and Biden are too much in the Jimmy-Carter-appease-the Muslims-at-all-costs camp. I fear he may be right.

FriarThom

Diane,

You're painting with a pretty broad brush. I'm hearing that "Jews are good and Muslims are evil" and that "the state of Israel is good and all Islamic states are evil". Would it be possible to nuance that position?

Steve (SBK)

Actually, I'd say "Words have meaning _as determined by their context_".

Many words have different meanings depending on usage. Not only that, language is flexible and is constantly evolving. On the other hand, concepts don't change, though the words may.

But if it's really that important, ask the person who used the word, and find out what they were thinking.

joel

FriarThom,

In what way did you feel I was redefining anything? You characterized Rosenberg's mention of "Czarist, anti-Semitic, fascist Russia" as emotional and "making stuff up", based apparently on the juxtaposition of "Czarist" with "fascist". I was simply pointing out the Czarist government didn't have to be fascist itself for there to have been rampant fascism, and that given Russia at that particular time and the years following, his claim seems perfectly plausible.

This original post, and Rosenberg's post that it points to, had nothing to do with Czarist Russia, but you pulled out that quote as an example of how you feel Rosenberg makes emotional statements and makes stuff up. I'm simply suggesting you find a better example to make your point, if you still feel the point needs to be made.

Chris Clukey

FriarThom--

Hijack the comments section, much?

Maybe I should post on this thread about aviation fuel tank inerting units. That would be as relevant as leaping from czarist Russia to turning a woman's death into homonormative agitprop.

I hope the God of Israel is able to comfort Phyllis Lyon in her grief. But I also must say...is her loss and grief the same as any heterosexual widow? Almost certainly, in fact, it would be downright strange if it wasn't. But is her loss and grief also the same as that of a man whose mistress of fifty years has passed away? Again, almost certainly.

Depth of emotion doesn't make something right that God has said is wrong. It simply makes the person who uses emotion as agitprop for sin a more effective doer of wrong.

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