- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 4, 2004

End times’ bust

“Another candidate for the position of ‘The Antichrist’ has met his end.

“It wasn’t too long ago that Saddam Hussein was considered by some Bible-prophecy students to possibly be the final ‘man of sin’ and global dictator. As late as March of last year, fundamentalist pastor and ‘end-times’ buff Irvin Baxter insisted that Saddam Hussein was Abaddon, or Apollyon, the ‘Destroyer’ spoken of in Revelation 9:11. …

“Charles Dyer’s 1991 book, ‘The Rise of Babylon: Sign of the End Times’ … featured Saddam on the cover and sold several hundred thousand copies. …

“[Christian author Tim] LaHaye writes, ‘Long before Saddam Hussein became a household name, he was busy fulfilling Bible prophecy’ by starting to rebuild Babylon. …

“Saddam was just the latest of dozens of candidates for the Antichrist who have risen and fallen over the centuries. … Think of all the ‘candidates’ for Antichrist that have been proposed in the 20th century alone — Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mikhail Gorbachev, Saddam Hussein, Juan Carlos, Prince Charles, Bill Clinton and many others. …

“That’s quite a list. Who’s next?”

Carl E. Olson, writing on “Not With a Biblical Bang,” last Monday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Cultural divide

“It’s a sort of curse of Western civilization that because it produces so much largesse through capitalism and private property, and such a high degree of freedom through constitutional government, that we sometimes become skeptical, cynical, almost consuming ourselves out of boredom or smugness rather than cherishing and protecting our freedom and material security. …

“How do you inculcate values of community, hard work, sacrifice and a tragic view of human nature when you can sit down and have a latte and biscotti any time you want?

“We fight this using education, using family, using religion. … That’s what the cultural divide is about right now. The family and the church are on one side, and government, the intelligentsia, and the media are on the other.”

Victor Davis Hanson, interviewed by David Isaac, in the January/February issue of the American Enterprise

Image and debate

“‘It was TV more than anything else that turned the tide,’ John F. Kennedy said on Nov. 12, 1960, four days after his election to the presidency. He was referring to the four televised debates between him and Richard Nixon broadcast earlier that fall. Television debates are now nearly an official rite of passage in a politician’s progress to the presidency. Holding a presidential election today without a television debate would seem almost undemocratic. …

“That’s not what many people thought at the time of the first debates. Theodore H. White … complained, in ‘The Making of the President 1960,’ that television had dumbed down the issues. …

“He also believed that Kennedy’s ‘victory’ in the debates was largely a triumph of image over content. People who listened to the debates on the radio, White pointed out, scored it a draw; people who watched it thought that, except in the third debate, Kennedy had crushed Nixon. … ‘In 1960, television had won the nation away from sound to images,’ he concluded, ‘and that was that.’”

Louis Menand, writing on “Masters of the Matrix,” in this week’s issue of New Yorker

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