Tag Archives: Conrad Black

Who is Undermining Our Western Civilization?

Recently Conrad Black wrote a “must read” opinion piece—which is fascinating for both its language and its conclusions.

Black argues that increasingly aggressive atheist banshees, who seized control over most of the Western world’s government, academic, and media institutions, are close to dangerously undermining the roots of the West’s Judeo-Christian civilization. The implications of this worldview shift that has taken place among our leaders will have profound implications for everyone.

Up until now, the Judeo-Christian tradition has had a remarkable influence on the course of our history —promoting the role of conscience, free will, freedom of religion, the practice of justice, mercy, and forgiveness, along with intellectual curiosity and personal initiative.  The conceptual roots from which our 21st Century understanding of rights, freedoms, and political constitutions emerged from the teachings of the Judeo-Christians Scriptures about love, covenant, justice, and equality in law.

Surprising, Black noted, even the most militant of atheists feel obliged to swaddle themselves in commendable precepts that are generally rip-offs of the Golden Rule about loving your neighbour as yourself—which is found in both Old and New Covenant scriptures!

It is ironic that while the unbelieving, hyperactive philistines vociferously denounce the Judeo-Christian values, they nonetheless seem perfectly content to enjoy the benefits of Judeo-Christian civilization even while hypocritically denying its basic tenets.

Black warns that the Judeo-Christian influence on Western society is fast weakening. He wonders if the moral relativism substituted for biblical morality—which has resulted in a massive erosion of social cohesion and backbone among those buying the so-called “progressive,” politically correct ideology— could rally sufficient moral confidence to confront what Conrad Black calls “sociopathic Islam.”

If Black sounds harsh, well, would you, a liberal Westerner who despises our Judeo-Christian heritage, like to migrate on a raft (or even just get on a plane) to  a Muslim majority country like Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia (which is 100% church and synagogue free), Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Libya because they’re such great places to live? Or even better yet, how about decamping to North Korea, which is an atheist’s paradise and totally free from any religious values, whether Judeo-Christian or even Muslim? I understand the North Koreans love to imprison “superstitious and subversive” Korean-Christian ministers who obviously threaten the state by providing a little material assistance to their starving neighbours. How despicable those with Judeo-Christian values! I jest!

Conrad Black, “I put this as simply as possible: Many atheists are excellent, but atheism itself is hurting the West,” Apr. 7, 2017; http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/conrad-black-i-put-this-as-simply-as-possible-many-atheists-are-excellent-but-atheism-itself-is-hurting-the-west


The richest get richer while you get unemployment and taxes

It used to be that we in North America like to hear about rising profits and business success in our large corporations. Why? Because we hoped that such good news would translate into more jobs and better paying jobs for us—the middle and working classes. Sadly, this is not the reality for 21st Century North Americans. According to The Economist newsmagazine,

Corporate America has bounced back impressively. The quarterly results season that is now nearly over has revealed that profits are back within a whisker of the all-time highs achieved before the downturn in late 2008,” (p. 62, August 7, 2010).

Why are corporate profits back up to 11% of the U.S.A.’s GDP? Well, big business squeezed down costs through a combination of layoffs, wage cuts, reduced hours, and reduced benefits. Many people have discovered that their once full-time work with benefits has been reduced to part-time work or independent contractor status with few benefits. As The Economist noted “US unit labour costs falling at their fastest clip in the post-war era” made those healthy big business profits possible.

Actually, this trend is not new. It really started more than a generation ago and merely reflects a speeding up of the erosion of the standard of life for the North American middle and working classes.  Our national wealth is rapidly shifting into the pockets of the richest of the rich. Diane Frances said in her article “In most countries people work harder than in U.S., Canada,”Financial Post, Aug. 17. 2010):

In 1980, the richest 1% in the United States received 9% of its total national income. In 2007… the  [top] 1% took home 23% of the income. In the 1970s CEOs made 40 times the average compensation of workers. Now it is 350 times. The top 25 hedge-fund managers (the people who brought you the 2008’s Great Recession) made an average of US$1 Billion and paid 17% income tax, a lower marginal rate than paid by middle-class families.

I still remember the outrage I felt about our economic system some thirty years ago when I was working as a real estate agent in Los Angeles. Back then I was making about $40,000 a year and was paying far more in taxes than some of my clients who were making several millions a year in profits. As Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labour during the Clinton presidency and now a university economics professor, observes,

Bottomline: higher corporate profits no longer lead to higher employment. We’re witnessing a great decoupling of company profits from [North American] jobs ( The Economist, August 7, 2010).

In essence, big corporations have shifted many jobs overseas to much lower wage nations like China while those jobs remaining here are under intense pressure to cut wages/benefits. In his August 28, 2010 commentary in the National Post newspaper entitled “American Apocalypse” Conrad Black notes that while American unemployment is officially listed at about 9.6%, when the chronically underemployed are added into the statistic the real lack of work is around 18% of the U.S. workforce—misery levels approaching those of the 1930s Great Depression.

Nevertheless, the fat cats, the richest of the rich, have successfully manipulated our North American political system to give themselves advantageous tax and securities law treatment. And, of course, the richest of the rich– because they have the power and corporate control–have been rewarding themselves with spectacular pay increases and fantastic bonuses even while they squeeze the pay of their employees in order to keep the gravy train of corporate profits rolling for their own benefit.

Sadly, the avaricious human nature has not changed much over thousands of years. As the Roman Empire became increasingly corrupt, the wealth of the empire became increasingly concentrated into the hands of the wealthy few while the small landowners and free labourers of Italy were increasing squeezed by taxes, cheap imports, and slave labour that undermined their ability to make a decent living. Eventually, the Roman Empire collapsed because few found it in their interest to support it against the “barbarians.” While some aspects of barbarian culture seemed less appealing, like wearing itchy furs, styling one’s hair with rancid butter, and being deeply involved in the weapons culture of the day–on the other hand–the taxes were low to non-existent and one had a shot at dumping debts and getting a new start at life. So area after area of the Roman Empire gradually fell to the control of the freedom-loving “barbarians” moving West—who, of course, were the ancestors of many North Americans. Ironic?

The love of money and social inequity is a serious spiritual  challenge to our present society. Jesus of Nazareth warned us to beware of materialism.

Mark 10:23-25 The Message: Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s kingdom?” The disciples couldn’t believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: “You can’t imagine how difficult. I’d say it’s easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for the rich to get into God’s kingdom.

This is a real challenge for those of us today who believe that life’s “winners” are those who accumulate the most toys. The real winners, however, will be those whom God will call His very own children, giving them eternal life in His everlasting Kingdom. They will have an exciting, abundant life that never ends.