- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 21, 2006

Not you, it’s him

“I suspect that Time’s obsequious choice is the brainchild of the magazine’s marketing department — an ode to the power of the people, complete with a mirror to remind consumers that this magazine celebrates you. The real person of the year was included among the runners-up, but Time’s analysis of Pope Benedict XVI missed the mark by a mile. … [T]he blurb accused Benedict of a ‘flip-flop’ on Islam and pronounced his successful post-Regensburg trip to Turkey ‘a puzzlement.’

“Far from it. Benedict is the world’s leading voice of reason on the problem of militant Islam. He is the only world leader bold enough to directly challenge Muslim clerics to stop condoning violence in God’s name while also inviting them into a genuine dialogue — one marked by mutual respect, honesty, and the rejection of violence as a solution to religious conflicts.

“He has also challenged the secular West to see the connection between faith and reason, and the danger of severing the link between the two. A relativistic culture that denies the existence of absolute truth has a tough time understanding a man like Benedict, but his success in Turkey proves that truth spoken in love bears far more fruit than flattery spoken in fear.”

— Colleen Carroll Campbell, writing on “Time’s Up,” Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Forgiving faith

“In Western culture, Jesus has become a Universal Symbol of Forgiveness. Invoking his life gives everyone the chance to start afresh. That’s why the religion has such personal appeal. … Christianity transforms people’s lives — everyone from presidents on down. …

“[T]his sense of universal forgiveness saturates Western culture, creating a grand equality among all people. Long before Thomas Jefferson wrote that ‘All Men are Created Equal’ or the French philosophes declared the ‘Universal Rights of Man,’ St. Paul declared, ‘In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. You are all one.’ This ideal of the brotherhood/sisterhood of humanity is what has enabled the West to establish democracies, abolish slavery, and create peaceful societies — so that even today we continue to try to wipe out every trace of inequality among sexes, races, and classes.

“It is certainly something worth celebrating at Christmastime.”

— William Tucker, writing on “A Christmas Greeting,” Tuesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Freedom, Friedman

“The death of the economist Milton Friedman last month at the age of 94 was commemorated at length across the country, indeed, across the world. … Friedman was above all an eloquent apostle of freedom and … he had a deep insight into the inextricable relation between economic freedom and political freedom. … Friedman noted that ‘the free market is the only mechanism that has ever been discovered for achieving political democracy.’ This insight has always been anathema to the Left, whose dream of egalitarianism demanded statist control of economic life and a policy of redistribution of wealth — that is, a policy of control, not freedom. Their fundamental mistake — one of them, anyway — was in believing that political or spiritual freedom could be salvaged absent economic freedom. …

“[I]ntellectuals in particular … tend to express contempt for what they regard as material aspects of life and to regard their own pursuit of allegedly higher values as on a different plane of significance and as deserving special attention.”

— from “Milton Friedman, 1912-2006,” in the December issue of the New Criterion

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