A Review of The KinderGarden of Eden: How the Modern Liberal Thinks, by Evan Sayet
In March, 2007, Evan Sayet delivered a speech to the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. called “How Modern Liberals Think.” It became a YouTube sensation. Andrew Breitbart called it “one of the five most important speeches ever given.”
He started off his talk by saying, “I’ve got to imagine that just about every one of us in this room recognizes that the Democrats are wrong on just about every issue. Well, I’m here to propose to you that it’s not just ‘just about’ every issue; it’s quite literally every issue. And it’s not just wrong; it’s as wrong as wrong can be.” A comic at heart, but deadly serious about the threat Modern Liberalism and its kissing cousin, Progressivism, pose to decent people everywhere, Sayet says that the Modern Liberal will at every turn side with:
- The evil over the good
- The wrong over the right
- The lesser over the better
- The ugly over the beautiful
- The vulgar over the refined, and
- The behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success.
How can he make such sweeping predictions? Sayet grew up a liberal, New York Jew, but now calls himself a 9-13 Republican. In The KinderGarden of Eden, How the Modern Liberal Thinks, the extrapolated book version of that speech, he demonstrates quite cogently (and a bit wonkishly, but it’s a delightful kind of wonkish) how the Modern Liberal’s actions invariably follow what he calls The Four Laws of the Unified Field Theory of Liberalism:
- Indiscriminateness – the total rejection of the intellectual process – is an absolute moral imperative.
- Indiscriminateness of thought does not lead to indiscriminateness of policies. It leads to siding only and always with the lesser over the better, the wrong over the right, and the evil over the good.
- Modern Liberal policies occur in tandem. Each effort on behalf of the lesser is met with an equal and opposite campaign against the better.
- The Modern Liberal will ascribe to the better the negative qualities associated with the lesser while concurrently ascribing to the lesser the positive qualities found in the better.
Sayet likens the intellectual development of the Modern Liberal to that of a kindergartner, and the credo driving him to the catchy title of Robert Fulghum’s 1988 bestseller, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. While Fulghum’s musings are sweet, and they do capture some of the basics of good character – share things, play fair, don’t hit people … in short, Be nice – as a comprehensive ideology, they are woefully insufficient for the demands of adult self-government in a dangerous world.
Think about it: kindergarten only works if there is at least one grownup in the room capable of taking charge and handling the big problems. Picture a day in the life of a kindergarten class if the teacher never showed up. Similarly, turning America and her hard-won liberties over to Modern Liberals would be akin to turning the entire schoolhouse over to the five-year-olds.
“So long as there were a sufficient number of people of God and science [the grownups] doing things and making things, the Modern Liberals could remain forever like Adam and Eve in Eden or the child on the kindergarten playground,” Sayet concludes. But that era is passing. “Today, we are at a tipping point where the people of God and science will soon be overwhelmed by the demands of taking care of the permanently infantalized. It is unsustainable. If the system collapses under the weight, the future is not merely a slightly less wonderful existence, it is … ” in the words of Thomas Hobbes from Leviathan, “nasty, brutish and short.”
“We’re not there yet,” Sayet warns, “but we’re close.”
I think he’s right. Sure, it would be nice to stay five and let someone else be responsible for the big problems of liberty and provisions. But we’re fast approaching the point where that is no longer feasible. The five-year-olds outnumber the grownups and the brutes are closing in.
A Review of The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief by Larry Alex Taunton
Larry Taunton takes ideas seriously. The Founder and Executive Director of Fixed Point Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the public defense of the Christian faith, Taunton has personally engaged some of Christianity’s most imposing antagonists. The Grace Effect opens with Taunton and Christopher Hitchens in a restaurant debating Hitchens’s insistence that the world would be a better place without Christianity. Taunton meets Hitchens’s arguments just fine, but he only relates the scene to set the stage for his real rejoinder, who lives, breathes, and transcends mere dialectics.
Sasha survived Odessa Orphanage #17 with her sweetness of soul intact until age ten, at which point Larry and the Taunton family arrived in Ukraine to adopt her. The odyssey, which forms the bulk of the narrative and which Taunton relates with remarkably kind wit, brings him square up against the institutionalized corruption, iron-souled indifference, and wholesale societal decay that have been the inexorable constants of Sasha’s life up to this point. Some say the region suffers from a “Communist hangover,” but that doesn’t fully capture the social ruin. The human catastrophe of today’s former Soviet bloc was neither self-inflicted nor short-lived, and, as inevitably happens, it’s the children who take the worst of it. The effects are legion:
Dehumanization. Life is cheap, people are expendable, and one of the basest of human inclinations – the impulse to “lord it over another’ – mucks up everything, as evidenced by the ubiquitous tendency of officials to make people wait, as a petty expression of power, simply because they can. The entire system deems people unworthy, and orphans unworthy in the extreme. Worse, the indifference is often papered over by a veneer of self-righteousness. The conditions in which Sasha lived “had all the charm of a chicken house,” Taunton notes wryly, after relating his first meeting with the Adoption Inspector, who’d grilled him on the size and features of the home to which he would be transferring her charge.
Corruption. The apparatus by which people’s very lives are determined runs on bribery. Brief negotiations accompanied by “gifts” move paperwork from stack to stack. On a national level, what this adds up to is a society governed by jungle law, only the jungle has evolved into cobbled, institutional compartments. “In retrospect,” Taunton writes, “I would have preferred crime of the organized type. Then, at least, the process might have been efficient.”
Despondency. Taunton quotes a Soviet era proverb that captures the aimlessness of a culture stumbling along, giving “nauseating obeisance” to the state because it knows no other way, “We dig iron ore from the ground to make steel to make big machines that dig iron from the ground, to make steel to make big machines …” Such is the foggy milieu of a national life bereft of Christian leavening.
The “grace effect,” writes Taunton, “is an observable phenomenon – that life is demonstrably better where authentic Christianity flourishes.” Conversely, where Christianity is suppressed, grace dries up. Taunton’s greatest service, aside from rescuing Sasha out of this dystopia, is that he draws this connection between the atheism underlying socialism and the exorbitant toll it exacts on real people.
Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, “Socialism is … before all things the atheistic question, … the question of the tower of Babel built without God, not to mount to Heaven from earth, but to set up Heaven on earth.” Compared to the Eastern European orphanage archipelago, it is the “Christianized” West that is Heaven on earth.
Ideas have consequences. Just ask Sasha.
This article first appeared in Salvo 21, Summer 2012.
The following excellent piece was written by Matt Barber and was found on WorldNetDaily:
Modern-day liberals – or "progressives" as they more discreetly prefer – labor under an awkward misconception; namely, that there is anything remotely "progressive" about the fundamental canons of their blind, secular-humanist faith. In fact, today's liberalism is largely a sanitized retread of an antiquated mythology – one that significantly predates the only truly progressive movement: biblical Christianity.
“Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
Thus was the question posed by the Magi upon arrival in Jerusalem, presumably to Herod, the king in situ at the time.
What had they seen? Why did they come to Jerusalem? It makes sense that, if they were looking for the King of the Jews, they would go to Jerusalem. But how did they know that a king had been born? A King who would be “King of the Jews?” What did they see?
Fred Larson got interested in that question after setting up Christmas decorations on the lawn with his daughter, Marian. She’d wanted three wise men in the yard and then said, “Daddy, make a star!” What’s a Dad to do? He made a star.
But that got him thinking. Well …what was the star? When he came across a science article by a Ph.D. astronomer who took the position that the Bethlehem star had been a real astronomical event, he set out to investigate this puzzle.
He went to the book of Matthew, specifically chapter two, and, paying careful attention to every word, noted nine data points about the star, according to what Matthew had recorded:
- It indicated a birth.
- It had to do with the Jewish nation.
- It had to do with kingship.
- The magi saw the star in the east.
- They had come to worship the king.
- Herod asked the magi when the star appeared. This indicates that he hadn’t seen it or otherwise been made aware of it, implying that the star was not overly striking in the sky. It did not command attention, except to those who were looking with a certain wisdom and knew what to look for.
- It appeared at a specific time.
- It went ahead of the magi as they traveled to Bethlehem from Jerusalem.
- It stopped over Bethlehem.
This was a considerable amount of data to work with, but it presented quite a puzzle. He bought an astronomy software package and started studying the sky. Because of the extreme precision of planetary motion, modern software allows us to see, not just snapshots but simulated animations, of the night sky from any point on the globe at any time in history.
He quickly ruled out a shooting star, a comet, and an exploding star or nova as explanations for the Bethlehem star because they didn’t fit the data recorded by Matthew. That still left another class of stars, however: the planets, which at that time were called “wandering stars.” The word ‘planet’ comes from the Greek verb for ‘to wander,’ and the planets were called that because they ‘wandered around’ in the sky against a backdrop of apparently fixed stars.
Might one of the planets have something to do with the star? Larson, an attorney skilled in analytical thinking, proceeded with this as his working hypothesis.
He zeroed in quickly on Jupiter, the largest planet, named after the highest god in the Roman pantheon, which has been known as the “King Planet” from ancient times. Magi watching the night sky from Babylon would have seen Jupiter rise in the east and then form a conjunction with a star called Regulus (which also means ‘king’) maybe 2-3 times in their lifetime. It would be a notable occurrence, but not an exceedingly rare event.
Larson pressed on. As planets wander across the sky, he discovered, they will at times go into what astronomers call retrograde motion. They will make what appears to be an about face loop and then continue on their way. They aren’t really reversing or looping, but viewed from Earth, this is what the path looks like because from Earth we view it from a moving platform. He looked at Jupiter’s retrograde motion with respect to Regulus and discovered that on very rare occasions, Jupiter does what appears to be a triple loop around Regulus. One of those conjunctions occurred in September of 3 BC on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
Now this is something to sit up and take notice of – the King planet forming a conjunction with the King star, even drawing a celestial “halo” around it. This event would have been exceedingly rare and would certainly have captured the attention of watchful stargazers. But would it really move them to mount their camels and take a 700-mile journey across the desert to Jerusalem?
Probably not, but there was still more going on. Babylonian astronomers were well familiar with the constellations of the zodiac – the same ones by which astrologers today make inane predictions. Larson “turned on” the constellations (meaning he had the software draw them out and label them on the screen), and he watched the September, 3 BC retrograde pattern Jupiter displayed with respect to Regulus against the backdrop of the constellations.
What he discovered was a remarkable display involving the constellations Virgo – the virgin, and Leo – the Lion (the lion symbolizing the kingly Jewish tribe of Judah, from which the Messiah was to come). For someone studied in Jewish history and Messianic prophecies, the symbolism would have been stunning.
Larson asked still another question. What if this Rosh Hashanah celestial display was the announcement in the stars, not of the birth of the Messiah, but of his conception? He ran the software forward nine months to see what the sky looked like then. What he found pretty much rocked his world, and I can’t do it justice in an ordinary written blog post. You’ll have to watch the presentation (and I highly recommend you do, you can get it from his website or Netflix) to see it all play out.
But I will leave you with this: Never be afraid to press the Scriptures and investigate the universe. You will find that the heavens indeed declare the glory of God, and all the Earth sings his praises.
And these: according to Starry Night astronomy software, here are three astronomical occurrences that took place during the years 3-2 BC:
- In September, 3 BC, during Rosh Hashanna, Jupiter “crowned” Regulus in the constellation Leo.
- In June, 2 BC, the king planet, Jupiter, and the mother planet, Venus, formed a conjunction, creating the brightest star anyone on earth would ever see.
- In December, 2 BC, Jupiter went into a small retrograde loop in the southern sky, meaning it would appear to be stopped over Bethlehem if you were looking at it from Jerusalem.
Coincidences? Fabrications? Or the Lord of heaven and Earth announcing the invasion of the Jewish King in the stars?
Lisa Miller was born on September 6th, 1968, the result of an unplanned pregnancy. Whenever her mother was upset with her, she would pull out the oval, peach colored pack of birth control pills (she’d saved it) to show Lisa the one week that was missing. That was the week she was conceived. A bright child, Lisa read voluminously to fill the loneliness.
In the absence of parental support, she devised coping mechanisms. Addiction #1, securing attention and control through food, started at age six, after she had become ill and had been hospitalized and fed intravenously. She added addiction #2, speed in the form of diet pills, at age seven, when her parents divorced. Addictions #3 and #4, cigarettes and pornography, followed during the middle school years. She stole the cigarettes from her father’s store when she visited on weekends, and the pornography came through her mother, who bought magazines and taped pictures of the women to the wall. Lisa taught herself what was going on by reading child development books. In addition, her mother would bring home legal briefs she was typing, many of which involved sex crimes and murder plots, and have Lisa read them. “It was during these years that I became quiet on the outside but wild on the inside,” Lisa would write years later.
In high school, she added addiction #5 after picking up a razor blade to kill herself. “I was too chicken to go through with it but discovered that I liked the feeling I got after cutting myself. … I was hooked. I cut on a regular basis.” Addiction #6, alcohol, preferably vodka, joined the mix in college, in conjunction with the man who would become her husband for a brief time.
Paula struggled to maintain her balance in Breakfast Formation. At West Point Military Academy, cadets must be accounted for at all times, and as a sophomore, she was accustomed to this drill. Dressed in full uniform, shirts tucked in, buckles and shoes shined, backs straight, row upon row of cadets were counted every morning before breakfast. But this morning she didn’t feel well. A nearby parking lot had been re-tarred, and the smell was making her sick. “I think I’m going to faint,” she said, leaning against her friend.
“Oh, no you’re not,” he pushed back just enough to help her stand on her own. Paula made herself suck it up and held on just as an upperclassman walked by. “Johnson, are you okay?” he asked, genuinely concerned. “I’m not really sure,” she managed to answer, but the look on her face spoke volumes. He pulled her out of line, and when she doubled over, convulsing in dry heaves, he sent her to sick call.
Walking to the campus clinic, Paula actually felt a little relieved. Maybe I have the flu, she thought. A day of rest would be nice, even if she had to be sick to get it.
But Paula didn’t have the flu. Dr. Yavorek, a female civilian doctor, was on duty that morning, and after Paula described her symptoms, Dr. Yavorek got right to the source of her malady. “Is there any chance you could be pregnant?”
The myth of religious violence should finally be seen for what it is: an important part of the folklore of Western societies. It does not identify any facts about the world, but rather authorizes certain arrangements of power in the modern West... The myth also helps identify Others and enemies, both internal and external, who threaten the social order and who provide the requisite villains against which the nation-state is said to protect us.