Ignorance & Arrogance: the Charlie Hebdo Tragedy

To begin, I should state that I firmly believe if everyone in the world routinely watched the cartoon South Park, the world would be a better place.  Is this because I think the world needs more sophomoric jokes and making fun of people?  No, not really, but there is a very important vein to South Park that I think many seem to miss completely when criticizing the show: they make fun of everyone.

I am a very conservative fellow, probably one of the more conservative that you will meet, but I firmly believe that once you lose the ability to laugh at yourself for doing something silly or stupid, or to find the humor in situations, you might as well climb into the grave.  I think humor is part of what makes us human, and if you don’t take advantage of a good laugh every once in a while, well, you aren’t much of a human at all.

This brings us to the popular, satirical and envelope-pushing French magazine Charlie Hebdo.  Most American’s have only heard of Charlie before this week as the only magazine in the world (that I’m aware of) with the courage to actually print pictures of the Islamic prophet Mohammad; others have said they would but immediately backed down when threatened by the religious zealots in the Islamic faith.

Now, unfortunately, the magazine will be remembered by the tragedy that took place last week, in a three day rampage of violence resulting in 17 dead, 2 of which were my brother Masons.  Many people will have a hard time believing or understanding this, but as many Masonic websites around the world have posted, at least they died in standing for their Masonic virtues of free speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of the people, for which I know they are proud.

It is an absolute shame that there are people (and I use that term loosely) who would be so vile and have such a lack of respect for humor or life that the mere drawing and publishing of a cartoon would drive them to a murderous rampage.  It truly is a sad state when this can be condoned by anyone, and all I can ask is that God have mercy on their wretched souls.

But there is a valid point to be made here, and one that I feel must be addressed.  I have heard many people (now, after 9/11, and numerous other times) blame horrible events like these on the religion of Islam.  Being that I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in the Middle East and with Muslims, I have to call that general assumption that all Muslims would condone this just as ignorant as the animals who enacted this tragedy.

By using that same logic, all Catholics are guilty of harboring Nazi war criminals, as members of the Vatican were found to have helped the highest echelons of the Nazi military to escape to South America after WWII.  By that same logic all Christians are bloodthirsty racists, as churches in the south not only condoned the Klu Klux Clan during the worst parts of our nation’s history, but also provided places for them to meet and had clergy comprising its ranks.

As a man who’s been around the world many times over, I can say that some of the best human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing were Muslim; of the same token, some of the worst human beings I’ve ever known were Muslim.

Some of the best human beings I’ve known were Christian; but of the same respect, some of the worst human beings I’ve ever known where Christian.

You cannot blame a religion for its followers, just as you couldn’t blame a rock band for lunatics listening to their music.  By making those broad generalizations you become just as ignorant and hate-filled as the pestilent scum who enacted this massacre, and you’re better than that.

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Who’s Better for the World: Government or Corporations?

I recently heard a lecture on corporate responsibility and image, and this question immediately popped into my head. While the Left tries fervently to replace Religion with Government, they also indoctrinate their followers to believe that corporations are evil, greedy institutions with no goodwill for the world. But is that really true? And if so, are politicians any better?

While Obama tells small business owners that “you didn’t build that,” and Hillary makes the bold accusation that “businesses don’t create jobs,” they hope that nobody will do their due diligence and actually look into those false misrepresentations of reality. For if they did, they would realize the organizations doing the most good for the world, from our country at least, are corporations.

Before my first trip to North Africa as a Green Beret (which I discuss at great length in my first book), we were given a hefty intelligence brief about the country we would be visiting, Niger. On the Department of Defense list of countries in terms of wealth Niger ranked dead last, and was considered a “welfare state,” meaning its primary source of income was donations.

We were told that Ghadaffi (former Libyan dictator) had been giving large sums of money to the Niger government to help feed their people, and stopped when he learned that only 1/10th of his donations were actually going to the people, with the other 90% lining politicians pockets.

Having been witness to government funded projects in Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa, I can tell you that we fell into the same money pit as Ghadaffi with the billions we’ve piled into those countries, but we were never smart enough to turn the cash faucet off. American politicians don’t really care about where the money goes or how it’s spent, because in the end it’s not their money, and rarely are they held accountable for their ignorance of reality.

A corporation, on the other hand, actually puts effort into making sure their money goes to the right place and is being used for good. Yes, they get tax incentives to donate money, but they have another factor that drives them to ensure they are actually doing good for the world: image.

We have entered a new era in the corporate world, with businesses finding that both employees and customers are now willing to go to a corporation that pays less or costs more, but provides more in self-fulfillment.

Many Americans would now rather work for a company that builds wells in Africa, or buy products from a company who gives shoes to children in India, than another who may have ethical issues or gives nothing back to the global community.

As such, many corporations are very careful with how that image is maintained and portrayed, because while we neglect to hold politicians accountable for their mistakes or ignorance, the media and public love to hold the feet of Fortune 500 CEO’s to the fire and call for their resignation for any small mistake.

You can visit the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (www.CECP.co) to see just how many and which corporations are giving massive amounts of money to causes around the globe, focused on not only helping their corporate image, but also to make the world a better place.

I would also encourage you to visit OpenSecrets.org/BigPicture to take a quick look at the cost of political campaigns and elections in our country; that should help you put things into perspective on where politicians true motives are.

At the end of the day, it’s not the amount of money given that really matters, but how much of it actually goes to help that makes the difference. So the next time a politician from the Left tries to tell you that businesses are evil and don’t do any good for the world, have a look at how much that same politician spent on their last campaign, how it compares to the charity given by the very corporations they’re railing against, and decide for yourself where their true priorities actually lie.

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