Our Endangered Patience

The 39th president has been testing our endangered patience by delivering homilettes on any mainstream media outlet that will have him (which is all of them), hawking his newest book, Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisisthis week’s number one New York Times bestseller. In the Left’s latest, lamest appeal to the “values voters” who tipped the 2004 election, Jimmy Carter tells them an unpleasant truth: they are all bloodthirsty, hard-hearted, racist, sexist, bastards who are destroying the world and making Baby Jesus cry.

In his tome, Carter blames all the world’s ills on the rise of “fundamentalism.” Appearing on CNBC’s “Tim Russert Show” on Saturday, November 5, Carter reminisced that he saw such fundamentalism “when the Ayatollah Khomeini rejected any kind of reasonable interpretation of the Koran and took American hostages” – and now it’s spreading among Christian conservatives. Carter defines fundamentalists as “authoritarian males who consider themselves to be superior to others” and “have an overwhelming commitment to subjugate women.” They believe “they are right and that anyone who contradicts them is ignorant and possibly evil…They are often angry and sometimes resort to verbal or even physical abuse against those who interfere with the implementation of their agenda.” They tend “to demagogue emotional issues” and view “efforts to resolve differences as signs of weakness.” [1] When challenged whether he actually meant Christians were little Ayatollahs, Carter affirmed, “all of those things are compatible [with Christian fundamentalism], yes.” He explained to Russert that the sway of fundamentalism in the South derives “from more ancient times, 30, 40, 50 years ago,” – ancient? – “from racism, when whites dominated blacks.”

The man from Plains makes clear in his book that “fundamentalists” aren’t merely knuckle-dragging yokels who believe in a flat earth: “neocons” are also “fundamentalists” [2] Opponents of the Kyoto Treaty are “fundamentalists.” [3] Even justifying violence against judges is attributable to fundamentalist “intimidation of the judiciary.” [4] Thus, Jimmy Carter continues his long history of insufferable, grating moralizing; demonizing his opponents; and rewriting the history of his failed presidency.

Carter slanders his own country with the relish of a banished head of state, claiming after 9/11, “the U.S. government overreacted by detaining more than twelve hundred innocent men.” [5] The neocons “decided to violate” the Geneva Conventions, because they consider enemy combatants “subhuman.” [6] Carter intimates America tortures children, based on erroneous statements of Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross, lying, “It has been confirmed by U.S. officials that many have been physically abused.” [7] On the contrary, in July Lt. Gen. Randall “Mark” Schmidt and Brig. Gen. John Furlow testified before the Senated Armed Services Committee that “No torture occurred” at Gitmo. However, the 20th hijacker did suffer the indignity of wearing a thong and bra on his head, and having his sister and mother called whores. (Maybe they, too, had lust in their hearts.) Furthermore, the overblown pranks at Abu Ghraib were investigated by the armed forces themselves, before media exposure. Yet Carter insisted on a softball episode of “Hardball” with his former speechwriter, Chris Matthews, that American troops “continue to torture prisoners around the world in secret prisons.”

Turning to Iraq, he claims Bush administration officials made “false and distorted claims after 9/11, they misled the U.S. Congress and the American public into believing that Saddam Hussein had somehow been responsible for the dastardly attack.” [8] He charges Dick Cheney with “repeatedly making false statements, such as, ‘Instead of losing thousands of lives, we might lose tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of lives in a single day of war.’” [9] Despite the fact that his statement is self-evidently true, Carter told Russert this was a fib because, “The Vice President, Cheney, and others – Paul Wolfowitz and others I need not name – long before George W. Bush was elected president, were determined to go to war with Iraq,” a canard he repeats in his book. [10] Our pre-emptive war strategy, he writes, troubled Israel (!). Besides, “policies based upon violence always result in a cycle of escalated violence.” [11]

In tortured prose that defies logic, Carter writes, “there are two basic facts to be remembered: the war was unjust and unnecessary, and our armed forces in Iraq deserve extraordinary gratitude and admiration for their special courage and effectiveness.”

Carter demonstrates he has the same grasp on the War on Terror as he did the Cold War as he pens the only sentence in the book that is underlined: “The fact is that, unlike during other times of national threat or crisis, the United States of America is not at war.” [12]

In the last chapter, he lays all his cards on the table: “[T]he greatest challenge we face [in this millennium] is the growing chasm between the rich and poor people on earth.” Among his solutions: “getting to know the poor.” [13] You may think America is compassionate and philanthropic, but “we are, in fact, the stingiest of all industrialized nations.” [14] This, to him, presents a far more troubling problem than a cadre of thugs dedicated to imposing a medieval religio-political philosophy upon the entire world, while spilling as much American, Western, and “infidel” blood as possible.

The former president is hardly alone. During Carter’s book tour, Al Gore (who backed Carter’s 1994 trip to North Korea) told Australian newspaper The Age, “I don’t want to diminish the threat of terrorism at all…but on a long-term global basis, global warming is the most serious problem we are facing.” The trouble is not that we are not at war; the trouble is James Earl Carter Jr., Albert Gore Jr., and the American Left have been AWOL from it, as they were during the Cold War. This means the War on Terror, like the waning days of the Cold War, will have to be won without their help – indeed, with their virulent resistance.

When asked by Russert how to respond to Iraq, the apostle of racial tolerance said in effect, “Let Ay-rabs kill Ay-rabs.” Carter replied, “I think a preemptory or immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake.” However, if we’d promise to eventually pull out of Iraq (um, we have), and “share” oil revenues, “I believe the violence in Iraq would immediately drop off.” When Russert, with uncharacteristic gentleness, pointed out there would be still be an “insurgency” in Iraq, Carter shrugged, “Yes, but the insurgency then would be against their own fellow citizens. It wouldn’t be against people who support America in Iraq, and against Americans.”

Proffering solutions would interfere with his book’s purpose: blaming all the world’s troubles (fundamentally) on George W. Bush. North Korea has built nuclear weapons, because Bush branded them the “Axis of Evil.” [15] China, too, reacted to Bush’s repeal of the “no first use” nuclear policy (although China threatened to nuke Los Angeles during the Clinton administration). [16] John Bolton “announced falsely that Cuba’s pharmaceutical industry was involved in the production of biological weapons of mass destruction”; hence, Bush’s policies have led to “a predictable and commensurate crackdown on protesting voices in Cuba.” [17] Bush’s muted praise for missile defense is hypocritical and will trigger a new arms race. [18] He claims letting a gun control measure lapse made Uzis and AK-47s legal, although it certainly did not. [19] In crime, he laments, “our nation’s almost total focus is on punishment, not rehabilitation. This is a characteristic of fundamentalism.” [20]

America is not alone in its “fundamentalism.” Israel also “entices leaders in neighboring Iran, Syria, Egypt, and other Arab nations to join the nuclear weapon community.” [21]

Although nearly all media coverage has focused on one-half of chapter eight – in which Carter allegedly makes the stunning revelation (for a leftist) that the Democrats are too closely associated with unrestricted abortion – he never writes anything of the sort, instead spending the seven pages of his book putatively dedicated to “abortion” by advancing government welfare programs, contraceptive sex education, U.S. funding of international “family planning,” and embryonic stem cell research, [22] all the while claiming pro-life voters “do not extend their concern to the baby who is born.” [23] In his rambling diatribe, Carter disconnectedly weaves from topic-to-topic, in the process endorsing the International Criminal Court, the Kyoto Protocol, the International Covenant on the Rights of the Child, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the ABM Treaty, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the IAEA, and Mutually Assured Destruction.

All this from the man who allowed Russians to invade Afghanistan, Islamists to overthrow the Shah and hold Americans hostage for more than a year, attempted to prevent Operation Desert Storm, and hit the snooze alarm on dealing with North Korea’s nuclear program until it was too late.

Carter’s antagonists aren’t just Bush, neocons, and Israeli Jews. Naturally, Christian leaders get taken to the woodshed, as well. Carter recounts how he harangued Pope John Paul II, who so effectively rallied Eastern Europe against Communism that even Jimmy Carter couldn’t stop him. Carter writes, “I disagreed with him on his perpetuation of the subservience of women.” Misogyny should be a tough charge to hang on a man who spent his pontificate celebrating Mother Theresa and contemplating the glories of an ancient Jewish woman in the Rosary. Carter continues, “there was more harshness when we turned to the subject of ‘liberation theology.’” [24] “Liberation theology” is Marxism with a Christian veneer, and the late pontiff strongly condemned it. His successor, Benedict XVI, has written this heresy “constitutes a fundamental threat to the faith of the Church.” As one critic notes, “In traditional Christianity, the ennobling of human nature takes place because of Christ’s Incarnation; in Marxism, the State takes His place.” Carter’s approval may stem from his love of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, a spokesman for “religious socialism” who later founded Americans for Democratic Action. Carter writes Jesus came to “bring good news to the poor,” but as president he reached “a surprising and somewhat reluctant conclusion…government officeholders and not church members were more likely to assume responsibility and be able to fulfill the benevolent missions.” [25] Forget that this is a complete blurring of the roles of Church and State, which he allegedly opposes. In Carter’s conception, the State replaces the Church; the State takes over the functions of God. Such an admission can’t come as much of a shock from a man who also admires anti-Christian Communist poet Langston Hughes.

It’s not just Roman Catholics: Carter claims he left the conservative Southern Baptist Convention because it, in effect, replaced Jesus Christ by adopting a statement of faith and imposing it with a “strictness” that “has exceeded that in Roman Catholicism.” [26] Baptist statements of faith are hardly new; one was passed in 1963, when Jimmuh was a faithful little deacon.

Worse, Southern Baptists also “keep women in their place,” and this, Carter charges, is responsible for…female genital mutilation! “Women are greatly abused in many countries in the world, and the alleviation of their plight is made less likely by the mandated subservience of women by Christian fundamentalists.” [27] Refuse to elect a female pope, or maintain traditional sexual roles, and you might as well cut off an infant’s labia.

Carter’s entire book is one long slander of his perceived enemies, religious and secular, effected by casting them as backwoods morons guilty of the most lurid crimes imaginable, the worst being incorrigibly refusing to listen to their betters. It is, in other words, the Left’s typical reaction to conservatives, people of faith, and average Americans generally. If you want to read a book that actually has a grasp of American values, read Zell Miller’s A Deficit of Decency. Buy Our Endangered Values only if you wish to read the venomous ravings of a bitter, discredited man with a Messianic complex lashing out at the mainstream of the country he failed.

Later this week Ben Johnson will discuss the (many) ways Jimmy Carter whitewashes his presidential failures in his new book – and how he continued to undermine his successors fight for freedom.

ENDNOTES:

1. pp. 34-35

2. p. 101. This would come as news to Leo Strauss, et. al.

3. p. 174

4. p. 96

5. p. 118

6. pp. 126, 129

7. pp. 119-120

8. p.150

9. p. 151

10. p. 152

11. p. 125

12. p. 157

13. p . 179

14. p. 187

15. pp. 109-110

16. pp. 140-141

17. p. 97, p. 104

18. p. 138

19. p. 11

20. p. 79

21. p. 144

22. pp. 71-78

23. p. 73

24. p. 55

25. p. 57

26. pp. 41-42

27. pp. 90, 93

This article originally appeared on Tuesday, November 15, 2005, on FrontPage Magazine.