A Needed Reset for Liberal Culture

By Gordon Anderson

The rise of Donald Trump, Brexit, Geert Wilders, and Marine Le Pen can be seen as a reaction to the failure of Western liberal establishment culture to successfully lead the transition to global society. These popular figures do not represent a higher stage of development, but a return to the last successful level of social development—nationalism.

We could say it is a reset. A “headwing,” or integral, worldview should supply the necessary elements that liberalism has so far ignored in its zeal to create a more just and inclusive world.

A Fall at the Top of the Growth Stage

Unificationists can view this nationalist retrenchment as a fall at the top of the growth stage in Christian culture. Reverend Moon observed  in 1960 that Christianity in the West had reached a peak and needed guidance to move the world to the next level. The cultural revolution of the 1960s sought equal rights, freedom from oppression, environmental sustainability, global harmony, and true love.

These were reactions against limitations in traditional societies that needed to be transcended. However, those who led the social revolution did not have solutions but reacted like children who had matured enough to sense injustice, but not enough to develop a parental heart or a responsible approach.

While a few extraordinary figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mohandas Gandhi sought to move to the next stage of development on spiritual foundations, the masses engaged in social movements that sought political solutions—solutions based on the force of law. The result was, in Unificationist terms, “a reversal of dominion.”

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Draining the Swamp? Trump Should Look to Canada for More than Immigration Policy

By Franco Famularo

In his first address to a joint session of the American Congress on February 28, 2017, President Donald Trump twice referred to Canada. Canadians generally have not been impressed with Trump and his style. However, given that what happens in the USA matters a lot to Canada, Trump’s remarks had many Canadians chatting.

In his speech, Trump mentioned Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau highlighting the proposed women’s business group, led by his daughter Ivanka, to ensure female entrepreneurs have access to networks, markets and the capital needed to start businesses. He also referred to the Keystone Pipeline that will allow Canadian oil to flow to the U.S., which pleases the oil industry while at the same time is opposed by environmentalists in both countries. In addition, there was extensive analysis of Trump and Trudeau shaking hands and who had the upper hand.

One of the biggest surprises in Trump’s address was his call for immigration reform and recommendation to emulate Canada’s model. However, he should also take a serious look at the Canadian healthcare system as a potential solution to U.S. troubles with one of the most expensive and problem-laden healthcare systems in the industrialized world (more on this later).

Immigration

Regarding immigration policy, Trump said:

“Nations around the world like Canada, Australia and many others, have a merit-based immigration system…. I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security and to restore respect for our laws. If we are guided by the well-being of American citizens then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades.”

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Living in the Post-Truth World

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By Graham Simon

gs-1308The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is “post-truth – an adjective defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

In October, a British filmmaker, Adam Curtis, produced a 2 hour 46-minute documentary titled “HyperNormalisation.” The provocative trailer to the film starts with the words:

We live in a world where the powerful deceive us
We know they lie
They know we know they lie
They don’t care
We say we care but we do nothing
and nothing ever changes
It’s normal
Welcome to the post-truth world.

The fundamental thesis of Curtis’s documentary is that governments and politicians, themselves beholden to business interests, have deceived us so brazenly and for so long, that we no longer expect to be told the truth. Bereft of the hope that we can shape the world in which we live in a meaningful way through the political process, we channel an increasing amount of our energies into inconsequential pursuits that take place in cyberspace rather than the real world. When we do participate in the political process by casting our vote, our selections are frequently made not on the basis of truth, facts or likely outcomes, but out of frustration, confusion and disaffection. To Curtis, both Brexit and Donald Trump are evidence of this post-truth world.

This article addresses two questions: Whether the notion of a “post-truth world” actually describes a new reality, and, how we got to where we are today.

The “post-truth” world: a new reality or sour grapes?

The notion of post-truth suggests that people have historically had access to objective information and possessed the ability to assess the objectivity of facts presented to them when forming an opinion.

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Does the Unification Movement Flourish More Under Republican Administrations?

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By Michael L. Mickler

Mickler full-sizePundits and candidates continually debate which of the two major political parties is better for the United States, particularly on the economy and keeping the peace.

During the most recent election cycle, Hillary Clinton claimed, “The economy always does better when there’s a Democrat in the White House.” On the other hand, it has been pointed out that all of the major U.S. wars in the 20th century—World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam—were entered by Democratic administrations while Republicans began détente and ended the Cold War peaceably. Partisans on both sides argue their positions, mostly to the bewilderment of the public.

If the situation is murky with respect to the economy and war, Republicans and Democrats have settled into less ambiguous postures vis-à-vis religion. Gallup Poll research shows, “Very religious Americans are more likely to identify with or lean toward the Republican Party,” whereas “non-religious Americans” are significantly more supportive of the Democratic Party, the exception being Black Americans who are “very religious on average” and heavily Democratic.

Pew Foundation research indicates the same. A recent study showed, “About two-thirds (68%) of white evangelicals either identify as Republicans or lean Republican” while “61% of those who do not identify with any religion lean Democratic.” This has led to a “God Gap” between the two parties.

Still, the question is whether Republican administrations lead to the flourishing of religion in general or, for the purpose of this article, to the flourishing of the Unification movement.

Simply put, “very religious” American churches and organizations, which include the Unification movement, do better under Republican administrations but not because of Republican administrations. Rather, the social forces and conditions that sweep Republicans into power are the same ones that reinforce values and goals of “very religious” Americans.

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Lessons from Rev. Moon’s Trip to Pyongyang 25 Years Ago

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By Mark P. Barry

mark-barryThis week marks the 25th anniversary of Reverend and Mrs. Moon’s trip to North Korea from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6, 1991. The key principle and motivation he followed in his visit to Pyongyang and meeting with the late President Kim Il Sung is that war must never again erupt on the Korean peninsula. It would be wise for policymakers in the U.S., South Korea and Japan to be reminded of that lesson today.

For Koreans old enough to remember the devastation of the Korean War, the importance of avoiding a new Korean conflict is very understandable. In fact, at the height of the original North Korean nuclear crisis in June 1994, when President Clinton was ready to dispatch advanced fighters and bombers plus 10,000 American troop reinforcements to South Korea, the person who stopped him was ROK President Kim Young Sam. His memories of the enormous tragedies of the Korean War were quite vivid (including the loss of his mother). The South Korean leader reflected that no major power, even an irreplaceable ally, can be permitted to provoke another outbreak of war on the Korean peninsula.

Today, despite all the rhetoric about North Korea’s five nuclear tests, numerous missile tests and general bellicosity, the principle of finding a peaceful solution is as relevant as in 1991. To continue on the path of increasing UN and bilateral sanctions, and even entertain talk of preemptive strikes against DPRK nuclear facilities, is a formula that will fail to get the North to back down or cooperate. Rather it increases the chances of escalation in which even a small action might be misconstrued and inadvertently trigger full-blown hostilities.

Twenty-five years ago, Rev. Moon demonstrated an approach towards a resolution of the North Korean issue in which all other parties would avoid backing the North into a corner where there would be no other option for it but resort to violence.

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God and Politics

By Scott Simonds

SSimonds_1The old adage that polite conversation should avoid politics and religion to maintain friendly relationships has never proven to be truer than during this election season.  Rather than civil discourse about the issues of the day and better approaches to addressing them, the election has become a mudslinging contest over which candidate has the most baggage and would be most disastrous in office.

Worse yet, anybody who speaks on behalf of, or against, one of the candidates is branded a bigot, a misogynist, a hog at the public trough, un-American, a fool, atheistic, even satanic by guilt through association.  Friends and relatives easily get caught up in the fray and even religious communities, Unificationism included, have become deeply divided.

As tempting as it is to base a decision on who has the better character in this election, no candidate rises to the level of a Washington, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt or Reagan.  At this crossroads in the American narrative, this crucial moment of decision, it behooves us to look at contemporary issues in a very broad historical context — that is, a providential context, past, present and future. The theme of the ever progressing nature of God’s providence is expressed in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (KJV):

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;…
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

The political pendulum swings back and forth.

Government grew, during the Great Depression and World War II, for example.  And it receded, during the 1990s under the Republican Congress.  Often, the economy grew together with government expansion.  Automobile and airplane manufacturers exploded in the aftermath of the military buildup of the Second World War.

Although government grew after the Depression and during the war, so did private industry.

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Unificationists in the Voting Booth

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By Joshua Hardman

hardmanThe 2016 presidential election is just six weeks away, and American Unificationists appear evenly split between the nominees of the two major political parties, with many believing they must decide between two highly imperfect choices. In a survey of 208 Unificationists I conducted in March, only 17% of respondents said Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump was their first choice.

Respondents were asked to rank their number one and two choices for the presidency from the five remaining major party candidates: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Donald Trump. The survey also included questions presenting respondents with general election hypotheticals.

Survey respondents were first procured by posting a message on the Facebook group “UC House and Travel Network,” a platform used by thousands of people around the world. I then had the help of pastors in major communities who made announcements and/or put a link to the survey in their community emails. Most respondents were from the East Coast, California and the Midwest.

This survey is not a perfect sample of the voting Unificationist population, and it is important to keep in mind that much has happened since it was conducted. The survey, therefore, is best taken as a snapshot in time, while its predictive value for the general election is limited.

With this in mind, I will mainly focus on the questions about the primary elections. Every state has different rules about who can vote in a party primary, complicating any nationwide analysis. The purpose of the survey, however, was to gauge voters’ inclinations rather than how they would, or could, actually vote.

Fifty percent of respondents identified as Republicans, 25% as independents, 16% were Democrats, 8% had yet to register to vote, and less than 1% were registered with a third party.

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A European Earthquake of Epic Proportions

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By Graham Simon

gs-1308On June 23, Britain held a referendum in which the public voted whether to remain part of the European Union (EU) or leave. While 48.1% chose to stay, 51.9% chose to leave.

The result reflected deep-seated frustrations within the British people, which had built up over an extended period of time, that neither UK politicians nor the leaders of the EU had fully recognised or made any meaningful attempt to address.

To grasp the truly momentous significance of this decision to leave the EU and its implications for Britain, Europe and the rest of the world requires some understanding of the political, economic and social history of Europe since the 1950s.

Following the Second World War, there was a resolve among mainland European leaders, particularly the French and Germans, not to allow the rivalries that had devastated the continent over the previous decades to occur again. In 1957, six nations — France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg — signed the Treaty of Rome with the aim of creating a single economic market for the free movement of goods and services, capital and labour.

The economic union known as the European Economic Community (EEC) came into force ten years later in 1967. In 1973, Britain joined the club along with Denmark and Ireland. By 1986, the nine had become the twelve, bringing in Greece, Spain and Portugal, and in 1995, they were joined by Austria, Finland and Sweden.

In 1991, with the passage of the Maastricht Treaty, the EEC dropped the word “economic” from its name and soon thereafter became commonly known as the European Union. The Maastricht Treaty also heralded the formation of a common currency bloc, with member countries adopting a single currency, the euro. Britain opted out and kept its own currency, sterling.

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The Best Policy Ideas of the 2016 Presidential Candidates

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By Gordon Anderson

GordonThe 2016 Presidential Election has raised a number of good policy ideas for the improvement of American society and government. Unfortunately, no single candidate endorses all of the best ideas, and, more unfortunately, every candidate who has good ideas seems to have more bad ones. Part of the reason is the development of a system that encourages candidates to be loyal to political parties and large campaign contributors rather than to middle-class citizens and the nation as a whole.

In my view, the best candidate would be one who supported all of these policies:

  • Bernie Sanders’ revival of the Glass-Stegall Act
  • Hillary Clinton’s call to overturn the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision
  • Rand Paul’s foreign policy that is against U.S.-imposed regime change
  • Donald Trump’s middle-class tax policy
  • Carly Fiorina’s reforms of government bureaucracy

None of these policies are promoted by the establishment, which is why there is increased criticism of existing party platforms and why “outsiders” are polling so well with voters. Even most candidates that seek party endorsement are promising to reform the system.

The explanations for the value of my list of the best policies I describe below are adapted from a longer post on my blog, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0, which includes further critique and commentary on the candidates and their policies. I have not discussed all candidates, only selected the most constructive policies being promoted.

Preparation to vote knowledgeably is an important role of the citizen in a democracy, and I encourage everyone to read through all the policy positions on candidates’ websites before their vote. A responsible voter will compare the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate in all areas of governance, and not just find agreement with a candidate’s rhetoric on a single issue.

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