U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry chats with former Vice President Al Gore, U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley, French Minister of the Economy Emmanuel Macron, and actor/director Robert Redford on December 7, 2015, at the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence in Paris, France, amid the COP21 climate change summit
Today, the first day of Hanukkah, millions of Jewish kids in the Diaspora and in Israel learn that Hanukkah represents the victory of light over darkness. “Banu khoshekh legaresh (we have come to expel darkness)”, in the words of the popular Israeli Hanukkah song for children. And of course, that is true. But only if by light we mean nationalism and by darkness, globalism. You see, the story of Hanukkah, of the successful (barely and incompletely, but still…) Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire, starts a century and a half earlier when a young Greek prince by the name of Alexander improbably conquered what we today call the Middle East, from Egypt through the austere hilltop kingdom of Judah, and all the way to Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. Why did he do that? For power, for glory, for riches, for immortality, for sure, but also because the Greeks of the time believed themselves, with some justification, to be better than everyone else. They thought of themselves as more scientifically and morally advanced than other cultures and simply superior in every way. A historian’s answer is perhaps different; nature, as is well known, abhors a vacuum, and third century BCE saw a big-league power vacuum in the Western world. The Persian and Egyptian empires were in deep decline while Rome was yet a small republic, barely controlling the middle section of the Italian boot. Somebody had to step in and hold the reigns until Rome was ready. That someone were the Greeks.
Some powers, like Persia and the USSR, rule with strength of arms alone. Other, like Rome and the United States, with arms and an irresistible popular culture. The twin Hellenistic empires of Ptolemy in Egypt and Seleucus in the Levant relied perhaps more on the strength of the Greek culture than that of standing armies to keep the peace. And what a culture it was! Being Greek was cool; like Europeans from behind the Iron Curtain chasing blue jeans and rock-n-roll music, the Persians, the Assyrians, and, yes, the Judeans, the Jews, shaved their beards, shed their heavy wool garments, donned togas and sandals, and flocked to bathhouses were they could parade their naked bodies freshly oiled after a workout in the gymnasium, shlongs swinging, foreskins and all. The Greeks had the coolest gods who were just like the Marvel characters, except it was they who gave rise to American superheroes and not the other way around. They drank, they fornicated, they procreated, they got crazy mad, but only for a while. Who could resist this culture, a culture so powerful that it was adopted lock stock and barrel by Rome and through it by all of Europe and then the whole world? A family of Jews from a small village just southwest of Jerusalem, that’s who.
Image by Uva79
Greek God Mercury
In the face of the powerhouse that was Hellenism, staring point blank at the first globalizing, fast-food, instant gratification, indulge all your desires without a shred of guilt because there is never a judgment day culture backed by the very real force of arms, this small family said NO! Our culture is not a trifle. Our ancestors have not died in vain protecting our homeland. Our God is the one who has created Heaven and Earth and who sits in judgment over every immortal soul. Our cart overflows with cultural treasures and we will protect it or die trying. Many, if not most, Jews of the time couldn’t disagree more. Like American Jews today, they had names that hid their Jewish identity; Epiphanes, not Yehuda, just like Brian and Scott, and Jason. They neglected the practice of circumcision because it would make them a laughing stock in the bathhouses and the sports arenas. They wanted to run with the cool crowd.
The Maccabees were not cool. They were, in the truest meaning of the word, Jewish nationalists. They saw their culture as essential to their nation’s survival and they saw in their nation’s survival a worthy cause for which to fight and if necessary die. They saw it that way not because they thought the Jews were superior; upon obtaining their unlikely and narrow military victory over the Seleucids and their Jewish sympathizers the “mityavnim (Hellenized Jews), the Maccabees engaged in no reprisals. They restored their own Temple, but did nothing to destroy the many temples to the gods of the Greek Pantheon that stood around it. The Maccabees were no Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban are not their spiritual descendants. They won a small victory, against a waning empire well on its way to exit the world stage in an insignificant part of the world that nobody really cared about. But that limited victory by a small band of Jewish nationalists against the first and the most powerful global culture preserved to this day the Jewish nation of which I am a part and made it possible for another one of my co-nationalists to be born perhaps some two thousand and nineteen years ago in a small village in the Galilee, not far from where I grew up. His name was Yeshua Bar Yosef.
Many grievous deeds were done in the name of that particular Jew over the past two millennia; against his brothers who rejected his claims to having been the Messiah and the son of God, against native peoples around the world who have never heard of Judea or Jerusalem, and against other Christians who read his words and those of his disciples in different languages and in different houses of worship. And yet, Yeshua’s message, the message of his people that were saved from cultural and physical oblivion by Yehuda Ha’Maccabee and his brothers “ba’yamim ha’hem ba’zman ha’za (at this time in those days), is a message of love, of compassion, of forgiveness, and of salvation. From the fjords of Norway to the volcanoes of the High Andes, this message saved thousands if not millions from human sacrifice and gave hope to many millions of others by clearly stating that their immortals souls were as much an image of the Divine as the one possessing the mortal bodies of their kings or chieftains.
Carbon is an element in the periodic table of elements. It is rather unassuming in every way except in its promiscuity and ubiquity. It likes to form casual relationships with other plentiful elements, such as oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen, among many others. Its relationships are easy to dissolve; a little energy, a few drops of acid and it changes partners, going from gas to liquid to solid and back. These twin properties of promiscuity and ubiquity make carbon the perfect building block for life; after all life is all about change – destruction follows creation, short chains form long ones, only to be broken up again. Carbon, through its nuptials with oxygen gives us the energy to live and in its rare crystalline form it adorns our fingers and cements our vows. Without it, there would be no us.
Image by spaceflattener
Recently, just as the long-since dead Galilean Jew with his teachings of love and tolerance and above all LIFE both temporal and eternal is being chased out of his home in the remnants of the old Roman Empire and from the new American one, he is being replaced by another deity, an unlikely one: Carbon. As deities go, Carbon is perhaps a curious choice; certainly people have worshipped fire before, but never an actual element of the periodic table. It is also a uniquely malevolent deity. The pagan gods of old demanded precious sacrifice: the first-born son, the virgin on the cusp of womanhood, a perfect ram who could breed generations of lambs. But it was all done to renew the cycle of life, not extinguish it, to make sure that the god’s community of worshippers prospered, not disappeared. The Carbon god is different. Yes, like all deities he has a church, the Church of Climate Change, and like all churches it has a hierarchical priesthood from the grad student plagiarizing her PhD dissertation from forged climate data to the high priests Emanuel Macron, and Justin Trudeau, and Al Gore with their private jets and numerous mansions. True, like most pagan deities, Carbon requires tribute. In fact, he demands that the entire population of the planet, no matter how poor, pay him a fee for the use of his six protons and six electrons. But unlike the most malevolent gods of old, Carbon does not offer in return prosperity and life; no, all he offers, what he demands, in fact, are death and extinction.
The harmless inert gas, carbon dioxide, is essential for plant photosynthesis and thus for all life on earth that breathes oxygen. I am not sure if Carbon has consulted on this with his partner Oxygen, but what I do know is that he has declared this gas to be a deadly pathogen that must be eliminated from planet Earth. Since humans produce carbon dioxide with every breath, Carbon the deity demands our extinction. In this demand he and his army of priests have been extraordinarily successful. They have convinced a large swath of the population on our planet that humans are a blight that needs to become extinct and the sooner the better. If you happen to conceive a new human being, Carbon demands that you kill it before it leaves your womb and takes his or her first breath. In order to avoid this somewhat inefficient procedure, Carbon has made sure that heterosexual relationships between males and females of the human species have become socially unacceptable, replacing them with barren homosexual relationships as the ideal norm. Through his ever increasing tithe, the “carbon tax”, Carbon has made sure that having and raising children is utterly unaffordable for most young humans, should they still feel the urge to reproduce. The results are clear; in the lands where Carbon rules, humans are rapidly becoming extinct. At least those humans that are sufficiently technologically advanced to sustain the planet’s population at current levels. Carbon doesn’t much care about the other humans; they will starve to death when technology collapses.
Image by Dann8977
There is a famous scene in the movie “Independence Day”, where the captured alien, upon being asked what he expects of humanity, what he wants humans to do, simply answers: “die”. Our new god, Carbon, simply expects us to die. To usher us along, he employs an army of human servants who sold out their species for a junket to Hawaii or a $1k/month graduate scholarship, or the presidency of France. But a strange thing is beginning to happen. Here and there people are beginning to realize that though we need the element carbon in order to live, we most certainly do not need it and its flunkies to lord it over us and our immortal souls. In France, people are rising up against the tax they are commanded to pay to the Carbon death cult. Like in the movie, the existential threat posed by the alien to every member of our species unites us as nothing else could. The French firefighters who turned their backs on the High Priest of Carbon Macron, well, there were among them, we must assume, Jean-Lucs and Mohammeds alike. Much separates them, but there is one thing that brings them together: life. They want to live, whether it is with five kids or none, whether it is so that they can worship Allah or wash down ham and cheese sandwiches with red Burgundy. They are not yet ready to be the last of their species, to surrender their souls to the utterly soulless Church of Carbon with its nihilism and despair.
The Maccabeans, all these centuries ago, believed that there must be more to life than being like everyone else, even if everyone else is super cool. Risking their lives, losing their lives for this belief, they gave us our modern world, a world in which we still (though only just) celebrate compassion, kindness, love, salvation, and eternal life. Soon, it will be the birthday of the man who spread their message, the message that life is not a zero-sum game, that humanity is divine and certainly worth fighting for, to every corner of the world. It is our turn now to stand up and reject the forces of the globalist death cult with their death deity Carbon. All they have is the power of the sleight of hand, a few tricks played with ones and zeros, a few flickers on liquid crystal displays. The French, for once, have it right: all we have to do is turn our backs and walk away; reject death and embrace life. How hard can it be?