I haven’t done a politically related post in a while, but I felt the urge to do so recently because a topic recently fell into my lap and just seemed too characteristic of our current state to let slide. So perfect in fact, I don’t really have to make much of an argument of my own, but merely give it a little push in a different direction.
I was listening to the Joe Rogan podcast recently, as I occasionally do, and it was an episode where Joe was talking with Philip DeFranco, a very popular Youtube content creator. As is usually the case with a Joe Rogan podcast, the conversation lasts a little over two hours and rambles all over the place. But, one of the last topics of the show was Islam as a religion, as an ideology, and to what extent it is a global concern. The following is a quote from that section of the podcast regarding what Joe considers a chief red flag of the dangers of a culture driven, governed, and dictated by Islam:
“Well, we all want to be safe. And we all want our loved ones safe. And so do they. That’s what I think is really important. And when they don’t anymore, when people don’t want themselves or their loved ones to be safe, then we have to figure out why. What’s going on that you’re willing to strap your kid with dynamite and have him walk into a mall and blow people up, and now you think he’s a holy martyr? I remember watching some documentary on suicide bombings and they were raising these kids to be suicide bombers, and they had these pictures of these kids, these holy images of these children with suicide vests on, on the wall, who had already committed suicide, and there was this sign in Arabic that said, “today’s children are tomorrow’s holy martyrs.” That was on the wall. And [the reporters] were interviewing these people, trying to wrap their heads around it and make sense of it. You know, when you’ve got situations like that, everyone should be scared. When you’ve got people who embrace their ideology so much that they’re willing to let their own babies blow themselves up, you’ve got a real problem there. And that’s as much a problem as any kind of cult, any kind of mind control, and if that’s happening over here, yeah that needs to be taken into consideration. But, how many people are doing that? What is the percentage? How many people aren’t doing that? How many people are productive, kind, reasonable people who are stuck in a ****** place, and isn’t helping those kind of people what America’s all about?”
Joe Rogan, who is fairly well recognised as being a socially left leaning guy, just made a Pro-life argument. He made an argument accidentally condemning the Spirit of the Age and advocating the assistance of mothers who may be in hard situations where the culture wants/tells them to kill their child instead of caring for him or her. At least, Joe would be if he was being ideologically consistent.
I don’t want to be accused of maliciously taking Joe’s words out of context, because I am taking his words out of context to make a related point, but not maliciously. I am a fan of the podcast. I think Joe’s a pretty cool guy. I obviously don’t agree with him on a lot of things, but I didn’t think that perfect agreement was a requirement. All I’m trying to do is hold this instance of his podcast up as an example of the kind of dissonance that can result from having a relative worldview. The only way you can say, “an ideology, a culture, that kills its own babies has a real problem equivalent to a cult following and mind control,” but believe that abortion is a separate issue can only do so by drawing an arbitrary line between fetus and infant/baby/child (AKA – a small, immature human being). You inevitably find yourself on the side of Twitter warriors, those articulate geniuses, who hit and run posts with, “all current science shows that fetuses aren’t people” and “Ps, they aren’t ‘people’ if they can still be legally aborted” without even once inspecting the authority to which they are fallaciously appealing (that last quote was an actual tweet sent to me, by the way).
Go back into the quoted statement and look at it as though he were talking about the current cultural climate regarding abortion instead of Islam:
“When people don’t want themselves or their loved ones to be safe, then we have to figure out why. […] You know, when you’ve got situations like that, everyone should be scared. […] When you’ve got people who embrace their ideology so much that they’re willing to [kill] their own babies…you’ve got a real problem there…as much a problem as any kind of cult, any kind of mind control, and if that’s happening here, yeah that needs to be taken into consideration.”
Often you’ll hear people who say that they are not tied down to any regressive and hindering ideologies because they are completely secular and do their best to construct their own understanding of ethics on a case by case basis according to human value and solidarity. But the fact that Joe’s statement is essentially the same as a pro-lifer’s, even though Joe is a pro-choice man, goes to show that it’s not true or helpful to just deny that you have an ideology. The only question is of with which ideology you’re aligned.
“But, how many people are doing that? What is the percentage? How many people aren’t doing that? How many people are productive, kind, reasonable people who are stuck in a ****** place, and isn’t helping those kind of people what America’s all about?”
It seems Joe is saying we should let refugees in because many of them are really good people who were just dealt a bad hand. I’m not necessarily saying he’s wrong, but anyone who altered the argument to say that a woman should not abort her child merely because her social/political/economic/emotional/spiritual/digestive situation isn’t ideal would be laughed out of the room. Those who say, “it’s the woman’s body; it’s the woman’s choice” and “you say you’re pro-life, but I don’t see you adopting any of those babies, you hypocrite” have no moral authority at all over the people who say “it’s our country; it’s our choice who we let in,” and must answer the question of why they aren’t volunteering to house and provide for all of the refugees that they want to let in.
Joe’s not wrong; America should, if it isn’t already, be about helping the less fortunate and respecting human life. But a reasonable question can and should be asked according to Joe’s own criteria: Can a society be trusted to be a benevolent protector-nation to millions of people when it doesn’t even recognize its own children as people? How can we demand much in moral outrage when we haven’t been faithful with the little ones we’ve been given (Luke 16:10). Right now, all we seem to be doing is posturing.