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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:54 am 
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The following post was also posted at Rightosphere.

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As we all now, some countries go socialist, and some don't. Why?
I have been asked that question so many times, I actually started to try find an answer to it. Why did Sweden go socialist? The most obvious answer is, "Because the socialists won the election of '32".
Why did they do that? "Because of a massive screw-up on behalf of the conservative government, together with the Great Depression"
Well, sure. But if we dig deeper, I believe I have found something that nearly all socialist countries have in common: Humiliation.
In Sweden's case, the great humiliation came 1809. This was the year when Sweden lost Finland to Russia, after having been united with them for 700 years (this was not an occupation or so; they were just a natural part of Sweden). Now, I'm not saying Russia wasn't provoked: We had tried to occupy them several times throughout history. Anyway, we were humiliated... and furious to the point where the King had to resign. So, we had to find a new King, and after some discussion, the guys responsible decided to travel down in Europe to find one (why they didn't just pick a Swedish general or nobleman is beyond me).

Looking back... they probably shouldn't have gone to France.

Okay, so everyone's 20/20 in hindsight, but what were they thinking!? They actually had two candidates, of whom one were from Ireland. Should have gone with the Irishman if you ask me.

Anyway, this french guy didn't really understand why we were so desperate to get Finland. There's nothing really valuable there in the first place, and it's really hard to defend. He said something along the lines that even if we're to retake Finland, we'll have to fight about it once every 20 years or so to keep it. And that will be very costly. But he realized that he had to do something to expand our area (because that's pretty much what we had hired him for), so instead he figured: Let's take Norway!

I would advise anyone unfamiliar with European geography to take a look at the map. Norway is to the west of Sweden, Finland to the east (and Russia is to the east of Finland). In theory, the King (named Jean Baptiste Bernadotte) was right of course. But Norway - which belonged to Denmark at the time - just didn't have the same connection to Sweden as Finland had. Bernadotte didn't care - he never understood our nationalistic feelings really. And maybe you shouldn't blame him. He wasn't Swedish in the first place, he was a colonel from the French army.

The occupation of Norway (1814) went very smooth - the Danish were busy in a war with Germany, and couldn't afford to divide their troops, so they gave in after only a few battles. The following union between Sweden and Norway however, was awkward to say the least. We didn't share any origin (Norway was a natural part of Denmark just as Finland had been of Sweden), and it was generally accepted that Sweden had taken Norway only because we couldn't get Finland. So, we didn't really want them, and they DEFINITELY didn't want us. A few years later, Norway was granted home rule (which made the whole occupation of them pointless).

It's hard to be a nationalist in a country which shouldn't really exist. Sweden-Norway was such a country, a tragic mistake. One thing that contributed to our break-up (1906) was the fact that our economies were so different: Norway traded mostly with the UK, while Sweden depended on Germany (our dependence on Germany would later on lead to us helping them in WWII). A small country, but still so diverse. Unified by unfortunate circumstances. Not a good breeding ground for conservatism or nationalism - which, at least in Europe, goes hand in hand.

Before I stray too far away from the subject, let's get back to the point: Sweden's socialism was caused by humiliation, a lack of nationalism which was caused by the enormous blow delivered to us in 1809 which caused confusion (to say the least). This lack of a national feeling, this lack of pride, was exploited by the leftists.

There are more examples of this:

Germany were humiliated in World War I. With the "regular conservatives" gone - this is hard for the American conservatives to understand I guess, but our success largely depended on our kings - or in Germany's case, their Kaesar. Conservatives in Europe were loyal to the King, and therefore, if the King failed, they failed as well. They were blamed for the actions of the King, since they were defending monarchy.

In Germany's case, the communists weren't strong enough to do a revolution as in Russia, instead, the equally totalitarian Nazis took over. Again, exploiting humiliation and the feeling of helplessness.

In Russia, it was the setbacks in WWI which would lead to - or at least greatly aid - the communist revolutionaries. Humiliation, once again.

I am certain that this pattern exist in other countries as well. Remember how the left got a boost when the Vietnam war didn't go as planned? The Iraq war would be another recent example.

The most important point however, is that we are the front line, not only for our ideology, but for democracy itself. If we fall, terror will rule. There cannot be any greater motivation for us than knowing that Hell is to the left of us. We are a part of a greater struggle, the one between good and evil.

Conservatives in Europe tied themselves to the millstone that monarchy became, and also struggled futilely against democracy. But despite whatever our flaws may have been and still are, we are still the good. If there is anything our history ought to teach us, then it is that no matter how many faults we have and mistakes we make, we are still the better option.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Notice that I am in no way claiming that this is the only cause behind the leftists' reign in Europe, but to write about all of them would require a post much longer than anyone here could ever read - or I could ever write.

John Gustavsson


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:04 pm 
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My thoughts on why Europe is socialist is that their value system is different. America was founded by Christians seeking liberty. I'm not saying all the founders were Christian. I'm saying that the vast majority of the European immigrants were devout Christians. Conservatism has its roots in Judeo-Christian values that come from the Bible. That's one huge factor but not the only factor. Another large factor is the demographics of Europe compared to America. Europe is more populated than America and the people are more concentrated in urban areas. Note that large urban areas in America vote like socialists in Europe do. They are just outnumbered by the middle of the country a lot of the time.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:21 pm 
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Nice post. You try to go to the root of things.

I was actually surprised to some time back learn in one of your posts that similarly to Germany the Swedish people seem not to be particularly proud of being Swedish and that it's not the normal thing to display a Swedish flag etc. Sounds a lot like Germany.

Something like the turn to socialism of course cannot be reduced to one sole factor. But the factor you mention here – humiliation – is at least for Germany spot on. You may also call it the loss of national self-esteem.

I remember when I was in primary school, there was actually a serious public debate going on in the media: “Is it ok to be proud of being German/to be proud of your country?” How ridiculous! That should of course be something normal for any member of any nation. It is like asking the question whether it is normal or desirable for a person to have a good self-esteem. Ask any psychologist – of course it is desirable. The same holds true for a nation. A person with a low self-esteem is easily exploited, easily wronged, easily outsmarted without being able to defend himself. The same is true for a nation. And that’s what has been happening a lot to Germany over last years and decades.

A big problem in Germany was that in the years right after WWII (1950s), a lot of the guilt from the Nazi-period was not spoken about publicly and many of the guilty people continued with life as usual without bearing the consequences of their deeds. Then, from the late 60s onward the “cloth of silence” was lifted and publicly discussed and condemned and seen in its full evil nature.
However, the left and especially those involved in the leftist student revolution of 1968 whose aim was to transform society according to their ideology jumped onto this bandwagon, and it proved to be one of their most valuable tools to accomplish their goals. Because the guilt of the Nazi period was (and is) extensively discussed, but no was forgiveness offered. Even though the generation of Germans who had actively lived through the Nazi period and participated in the crimes (not a very large percentage of the population) were getting fewer, new and future generations of Germans should continually bear the guilt and thus lose their self-esteem. This has been very effective.
The leftists/liberals were now much more able to push their agenda and takeover public opinion, by also tying traditional conservative values to the evil of the past and thus making them suspicious (“Hitler was for the family!!!” “Gays were persecuted during the Third Reich!!” There must be something evil about the family. Being gay and having a promiscuous life style must be something good. Etc.)

Thus, when Germany should have talked about, confessed, punished and left behind the failures of the Nazi period, they didn’t, only to now have the past haunt and paralyze them perpetually. And the left is very happy with this situation in Germany and promotes it.

Of course, there is much more to the topic, but this is one important perspective for Germany.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:15 pm 
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We had a student revolution in 68 as well, and the sick part is some of the participants are still powerful members of society.

I find it very interesting that they exploited your Nazi history to get power - especially since the left is so obviously antisemitic towards Israel.

Oh, and btw... Hitler was a vegetarian too ;) Someone ought to tell those young rebel girls (many of whom are vegetarians) about that ;)

We don't have much pride in our country here. Oh, and when I was in primary school, I had to personally cleanse the library some socialist and antisemitic propaganda (= I stole a couple of books to prevent them from ever being used in education). Questionable methods, some would say. I say, "How is it that I always have to do all the hard work myself?" ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:28 am 
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I'm not quite sure how to express my thoughts here so I know I am going to word this badly, but I've often wondered if part of the European difference is because these were countries whose people were used to being ruled by kings/dictators so that there was a sort of conditioning of the general populace to accept rather than rebel - to "go along to get along". If you grew up in an environment where it was normal for the people to serve their leaders, then it would not be particularly disturbing to segue into a government system that carried on in the same way.

OTOH, those who left Europe to start a new life in America were escaping that lifestyle & that mindset, which in addition to the successful Revolution, led to rugged independence & self-determination being held up as cultural virtues in this country. It was commonly held belief that there were ideals that were bigger than any government system. That carried on thru the generations until modern times when the liberals began pitching socialism & the media became part of their propaganda machine. Now conservatives still see those things as virtues & part of our patriotism - the role of the state is to serve the people; whereas liberals disdain them as well as patriotism - the role of the people is to serve the state. Liberals would have a natural affinity for Europe's "democratic socialism".

One example that set me to thinking about this came from my mother's family in Belgium (mostly teachers) who were all shocked when she told them that I was homeschooling my children. We just recently had a visit from one of my aunt's and a cousin & they were asking me all kinds of questions about how I was able to do this. Kind of funny, but kind of sad. Public schooling has only been around for a century or so, but already people have forgotten how much of children's education used to come from the parents. How quickly we can be made dependent!

(And yet, ironically, in Belgium the govt. attaches education funds to the students rather than the schools so that schools must work to "win" their attendance. Between that & the teacher's unions, the US actually has a more socialist education system than they do)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:40 am 
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Fascinating conversations. I often wonder about why the borders of European countries have been so often redrawn, and whether this had to do primarily with monarchies and power struggles, languages, or historical ethnic ties, etc. Probably all of the above. And, no doubt, part of that strife is due to the poorer nations feeling downtrodden and wanting property or wealth they feel deserving of. And also respect. I believe that because of Germany's defeat in WW I they felt embarrassed and humiliated, and this gave an extremist like Hitler the ability to take control.

Because of past border disputes, monarchic rivalry, misunderstandings based on ethnic pride, etc. Lenin and Stalin in Russia, and Hitler in Germany in the early 20th Century were able to stir anger in the common people to overturn the powers that be. Class envy has been the basis of great revolutions, just as it remains the basis of the modern socialist movement.

Our own President, through his Marxist training in Chicago, in the elite American universities, as well as under his mother and father's communist influence, looks at redistribution of wealth as the highest good. This, too, is envy-based.

The suffering and agonies of many "ruled" people (which only God fully sees and comprehends) has often led naturally to a hope for an easier life. That to an extent is understandable. Yet God would probably call lack of contentment and wanting what someone else has greed and the love of money the "root of all evil." Envy and class warfare at the heart has made communism and socialism extremely captivating and appealing for many. It appeals to a human desire to have life easier and to get even with those who have more. Of course, as political systems, socialist movements never deliver happiness; they eventually destroy society and kill millions of people.

Liberalism is also destructive of private enterprise (the true source of wealth). To the extent that liberal means generous and caring, it is not a bad word. It is, however, a dangerous and impossible idea to believe that government is capable of consistently providing the needs that God intended self, family, church, and community, as well as His mercy, to fulfill. All wealth eventually stems from people working (or occasionally inheriting wealth), so benefits taken from the government by the less wealthy means raising taxes on the productivity of working people and industry or business. Heavy taxation in turn discourages people from working for wealth; they know the government will care for them if they remain poor.

As for the human soul, I believe socialism can be reduced to envy. Class envy has led to the idea that it would be more fair to take someone else's hard-earned property than to work to gain it for oneself. We must remember that the United States came perilously close to also embracing communism, much as did Eastern Europe. During the early 1900's we embraced secular progressivism and a welfare state under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Our challenge remains not to let this happen in America.

Human nature does not easily forget past or present injustices, even those carried out on behalf of previous generations. Border disputes based upon past injustices will continue. Envy of one country's wealth by another continues. Whether in Europe, Africa, Asia or the Americas, at the most basic level, the poor envy the rich; the weak envy the powerful. Redistribution of wealth, for all its appeal, is based upon one of the most deadly evils--envy.

Unlike European countries with their histories of governmental oppression and border warfare, America has had the opportunity to develop concepts of freedom and individuality that most of the world's population can only dream about. We therefore thank those who look fondly in at our freedoms for reminding us of what we should not want to lose--this American Dream.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:39 pm 
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Wendero calls it "humiliation" and German4Huckabee calls it "loss of self esteem" but regardless, President Obama and the left are trying to get our nation to not like ourselves. He apologizes for us and seems embarassed of our history.

I agree there are some things we did and are doing wrong. However, I believe in the exceptionalism of the American experiment - the idea that men can create a society based on the rule of law that treats all citizens equally - Not just a democracy, but a republic.
[By exceptional, I don't mean we are the only nation that uses rule of law or that we are as a people are any better morally or intellectually or otherwise. I mean the constitutional government of the USA is exceptionally good.]


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:40 pm 
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Wendero wrote:
Oh, and when I was in primary school, I had to personally cleanse the library some socialist and antisemitic propaganda (= I stole a couple of books to prevent them from ever being used in education). Questionable methods, some would say. I say, "How is it that I always have to do all the hard work myself?" ;)

/John

Questionable methods, yes. :wink: But I think you deserve a medal, a) for spotting the danger b) for taking personal risk to remove this danger in public's best interest :)

QuoVadisAnima wrote:
I'm not quite sure how to express my thoughts here so I know I am going to word this badly, but I've often wondered if part of the European difference is because these were countries whose people were used to being ruled by kings/dictators so that there was a sort of conditioning of the general populace to accept rather than rebel - to "go along to get along". If you grew up in an environment where it was normal for the people to serve their leaders, then it would not be particularly disturbing to segue into a government system that carried on in the same way.

OTOH, those who left Europe to start a new life in America were escaping that lifestyle & that mindset, which in addition to the successful Revolution, led to rugged independence & self-determination being held up as cultural virtues in this country. It was commonly held belief that there were ideals that were bigger than any government system. That carried on thru the generations until modern times when the liberals began pitching socialism & the media became part of their propaganda machine. Now conservatives still see those things as virtues & part of our patriotism - the role of the state is to serve the people; whereas liberals disdain them as well as patriotism - the role of the people is to serve the state. Liberals would have a natural affinity for Europe's "democratic socialism".

Very well said. That is another important point I had wanted to elaborate on, to understand the mentality differences between Europe and America. Even in Europe, you can see differences between the countries with regard to the degree of "serfdom mentality" within the population, and most often this is a reflection of the country's history.

That's also the reason why personally, although growing up in Germany, my personal views regarding "individual responsibility", "self-governance", "self-reliance", "personal freedom" etc. are much closer to the general attitude present in America than in Germany.
Consider the history of my ancestors: Religiously persecuted (French Huguenots), the emigrated to South Africa, a country mostly uninhabited at the time, along with other Dutch settlers in search of freedom and a new life. After same time the English came along and established there rule. After same years (1830s), the oppression under English rule became too much for them, they decided to move outside the English colony and after much hardship established their own Republic (Natalia). Less than 20 years later, the English invaded and took over the Republic. What now, stay or leave again? Leaving would have meant personal freedom and self-governance, but also a lot of hardship and crossing a harsh and high mountain range with oxenwaggon. It is famously told, that the women stood up and said: We will leave, even if we will have to cross these mountains barefooted. So they left and again established their own Republic (Transvaal). After a few decades, the English attacked those again. The English lost the first war (1880), but came back 20 years later and in a cruel war that lasted 2,5 yrs finally defeated and took over this Republic. During the war, a forth (25%) of the population died in English concentration camps, mostly women and children. All that for the love of freedom. My ancestors still didn't want to live under English rule and moved on to the German colony of East Africa (now Tanzania). Bad luck - a few years later, after WWI, the English were there, too. :shock:

So, you're not the only country who struggled against British rule :)

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:48 pm 
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Polly A wrote:
Wendero calls it "humiliation" and German4Huckabee calls it "loss of self esteem" but regardless, President Obama and the left are trying to get our nation to not like ourselves. He apologizes for us and seems embarassed of our history.

I agree there are some things we did and are doing wrong. However, I believe in the exceptionalism of the American experiment - the idea that men can create a society based on the rule of law that treats all citizens equally - Not just a democracy, but a republic.
[By exceptional, I don't mean we are the only nation that uses rule of law or that we are as a people are any better morally or intellectually or otherwise. I mean the constitutional government of the USA is exceptionally good.]

The American experiment is exceptional. Like every person, however good, every country makes mistakes. The question is only how its handles its mistakes. It should, however, never be permanently be dragged down by its mistakes but get up and continue to believe in itself.

Obama clearly wants to weaken American patriotism and the believe in American exceptionalism. That is evil. It will weaken you very much as a country.

I have high regard for Mike Huckabee in this matter. I have observed that he understands the importance and value of a positive patriotism and encourages it whenever possible. I believe for him it is not just "the thing to do as a conservative", but he "get's" the importance of it.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:59 am 
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Here's a good editorialhttp://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-goldberg-exceptionalism-20101109,0,263343.column

Quote:
The bashing of American exceptionalism

By Jonah Goldberg

November 9, 2010
...
What's bizarre about Beinart and Kinsley's rendition of American exceptionalism is that it reflects the premise that the idea of American exceptionalism is an artifact of right-wing jingoism, xenophobia or ignorance. And even Obama flirts with this sort of thing every time he chalks up opposition to his agenda to fear, bigotry or small-mindedness.

Forget that every Fourth of July we celebrate the fact that we fought a Revolutionary War to become an exceptional nation. From their dismissive condescension, you'd think these three educated men didn't know that American exceptionalism has been a well-established notion among scholars for more than a century.

"The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional," wrote Alexis de Tocqueville in "Democracy in America," "and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one." Ever since, historians have argued that America's lack of a feudal past, its Puritan roots, the realism of its revolutionary ambitions and many other ingredients contributed to America's status as the "first new nation," to borrow a phrase from Seymour Martin Lipset, who spent his life writing about American exceptionalism.

E.L. Godkin, the Irish-born editor of the Nation, observed in 1867 that the lack of a class-based system, the existence of an open frontier and an optimism that comes with political and economic liberty marked the U.S. as a very different land than Britain, never mind the European continent. In 1906, German sociologist Werner Sombart released his book, "Why is There No Socialism in America?," in which he pointed to similar factors.

Ever since, left-leaning intellectuals have been taking dead aim at American exceptionalism. The notion that America has its own way of doing things separate and distinct from Europe has been one of the greatest impediments to Europeanizing America's political and economic institutions.

Now that Europe has turned its back — at least temporarily — on lavish Keynesian spending, folks like Beinart must turn to developing countries such as China and Brazil for inspiration. Countries that pay millions of workers pennies a day are not normally role models for the left. But, hey, if it makes Republicans appear backward, they'll give it a shot.

Ultimately, it's not that liberals don't believe in American exceptionalism so much as they believe it is holding America back, which might explain why they're lashing out at the people who want to keep it exceptional. But that too is nothing new. "The Coolidge myth has been created by amazingly skillful propaganda," editorialized the Nation in 1924 about the unfathomable popularity of Calvin Coolidge. "The American people dearly love to be fooled."

For the record, I'm with Rubio. America is the greatest country in the world. That doesn't mean it's perfect. But it is, and remains, the last best hope of Earth.



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:27 am 
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I love reading historical novels about Europe and particularly the struggles of the Jewish people. One of the novels I found in my library to re-read lately was Florian's Gate, by T. Davis Bunn (a fabulous writer). He portrayed Eastern Germany's (and Poland's) poverty and the "gray" hopelessness of Communism that had covered their lands by the time the Wall was brought down. It is helpful to read the histories and accounts of how socialism (if left unchecked) ultimately leads to totalitarianism and a grinding poverty for all but the few elite. And even they cannot enjoy the devastated and impoverished country they are left with. (Think of once beautiful Cuba!)

In our country, we pledge justice and liberty to all, not equalization of wealth.

The cost of liberty is constant vigilance.

On another vein, I do believe we have a just God who rules in the affairs of nations and who keeps an account of how nations and rulers treat His chosen people, the Jews. This subject is seldom addressed, however. Antisemitism is indeed one of the great dangers to nations, even in present day Germany, but we would have great difficulty to convince people to be concerned who may not believe God reigns and rules in the affairs of nations.

How did we ever get Obama, Pelosi, and Reid who seem determined to bring the demise of America as land of opportunity and freedom? And who snub Netanyahu and the sovereign state of Israel? Not only is this an embarrassment, but it is also a grave danger to this nation's security. I think I fear their attitude toward Israel as much or more than their redistributive plans. Because I fear and believe God.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:11 pm 
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justgrace wrote:
On another vein, I do believe we have a just God who rules in the affairs of nations and who keeps an account of how nations and rulers treat His chosen people, the Jews. This subject is seldom addressed, however. Antisemitism is indeed one of the great dangers to nations, even in present day Germany, but we would have great difficulty to convince people to be concerned who may not believe God reigns and rules in the affairs of nations.

How did we ever get Obama, Pelosi, and Reid who seem determined to bring the demise of America as land of opportunity and freedom? And who snub Netanyahu and the sovereign state of Israel? Not only is this an embarrassment, but it is also a grave danger to this nation's security. I think I fear their attitude toward Israel as much or more than their redistributive plans. Because I fear and believe God.

It reassures me a bit that there are so many Jewish members of the democratic caucus in congress (There are some pretty liberal Jews out there!). This probably means congress won't be following anytime soon the anti-Israel direction taken by the Obama administration.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:27 am 
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German4Huckabee wrote:
justgrace wrote:
On another vein, I do believe we have a just God who rules in the affairs of nations and who keeps an account of how nations and rulers treat His chosen people, the Jews. This subject is seldom addressed, however. Antisemitism is indeed one of the great dangers to nations, even in present day Germany, but we would have great difficulty to convince people to be concerned who may not believe God reigns and rules in the affairs of nations.

How did we ever get Obama, Pelosi, and Reid who seem determined to bring the demise of America as land of opportunity and freedom? And who snub Netanyahu and the sovereign state of Israel? Not only is this an embarrassment, but it is also a grave danger to this nation's security. I think I fear their attitude toward Israel as much or more than their redistributive plans. Because I fear and believe God.

It reassures me a bit that there are so many Jewish members of the democratic caucus in congress (There are some pretty liberal Jews out there!). This probably means congress won't be following anytime soon the anti-Israel direction taken by the Obama administration.



That is a reasonable conclusion; perhaps we can check out if they are putting pressure on Obama to move back from granting the Palestinian leaders even more power and land in Israel.

Gov. Huckabee gets quite a bit of criticism for his pro-Israel stand by our liberal news media. Unfortunately, our Presidents and their state department have leaned too much toward appeasing the Arabs, while failing to recognize (like Huckabee does) how vital it is to Israel's survival to keep its land and sovereignty. And how vital to America and the free world that we have Israel's strong presence in the Middle East.

Israel is the tiniest sliver of a country already, about the size of New Hampshire. And Arab countries surrounding it include 22 countries, each with much larger land mass and population. Arab and Muslim nations have plenty of land already. A part of Jordan would be a much more likely land for a Palestinian state, if such is needed. Did you know that the original British mandate in the Post WWI 1920's would have given the land of Jordan to the Jews, in addition to their present property?

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