The Death of Beauty (4)

Celebrating Past Beauty (2)

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Abraham Lincoln delivering the Second Inaugural Address

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address (March 4, 1865)

It is astounding that what I consider to be the most beautiful non-Scriptural theological prose ever written was composed by a politician rather than a theologian.  This Second Inaugural Address may have been delivered on a political occasion, but it utterly transcends the dross of politics.  Rather, at its core, this is a profound theological meditation on the causes and meaning of a truly cataclysmic event in the life of our Nation — the Civil War in which well over 600,000 lives were sacrificed to settle the question of slavery once and for all.

The speech itself is exceedingly short, consisting of only 698 words.  The first 359 words serve as a preamble for the theological meditation of only 339 words.  For the sake of brevity I excerpt only the theological meditation.

… Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Thinking back to the components of beauty for theological prose, what could be a deeper point of human need than that of the millions of lives that had been (and that were still being while the speech was given) scared by this most terrible war in U.S. history?  And, from whom were words of explanation and purpose more needed than that man whose election as President had set into motion that very war?  By bowing humbly to that terrible need Abraham Lincoln was able to compose a theological meditation of terrible beauty.

Although the Civil War still raged at the time of this speech the outcome was no longer in doubt.  In fact, only 36 days later General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox Court House.  So, Lincoln’s primary purpose was to begin the process of healing for a nation that had suffered a grievous, perhaps even mortal wound.  But how could such a goal be pursued given the disunity and hatred of total war?

While living in Washington D.C. Lincoln and his family attended the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.  It is certain that there he would have experienced teaching aligned with the Westminster Confessions.  Thus, as the reelected President pondered his impossible task the theological framework upon which he would draw stressed God’s sovereignty and providential purposes in history.

How though could Lincoln invoke the Christian God Whom both citizens of the Union and Confederacy worshiped?  Lincoln courageously raised this conundrum as the starting point of his meditation.  But, although he included a powerful argument in support of the Union, he yet refused to claim that God was on the Union’s side.  For here the Reformed doctrine of sin’s universality allowed him to see that the sources of this terrible conflict encompassed the entire nation.  Thus, although the specific position on slavery had been decided in the Union’s favor, citizens of both sides were reminded that they shared a common responsibility for the existence of the sinful institution of chattel slavery.  Upon this ground the rightness of the Union’s cause might be maintained but without inciting an attitude of destructive moral superiority.

But it is when Lincoln addresses God’s place in the tragedy that beauty reaches its zenith.  How could there but be the most powerful temptation to blame God for this monstrous war?  That is, how could a kind and loving God have allowed so much terror and death to occur?  Here the humility of the created creature finds voice in Lincoln’s use of Psalm 19:9, “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

Rather than demanding that God answer at the dock of human pride, Lincoln humbly submits to the reality that God’s purposes are just even if the consequences are dreadful.  That is, “shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?”  The answer is a resounding no.  Thus, Lincoln rejects the spiritually destructive temptation to blame God for sin while calling all humanity to repentance for their sin.

It is upon these theological foundations that Lincoln calls to “bind up the nation’s wounds” and to pursue “a just and lasting peace.”  It is therefore on our universal need for a Savior that Abraham Lincoln sought to rebuild the United States.  The miraculous fact is that the nation was indeed rebuilt in spite of Lincoln’s assassination by a Confederate sympathizer on April 15, 1865.

Can there be any doubt that Lincoln’s speech, particularly after his sudden death, encouraged the “better angels” of their natures in both the North and South?  These words, so humbly, so humanely, so worshiply composed and delivered set in motion the events by which a nation riven by hatred could yet be reconciled.  Had God not taught Lincoln utter humility in the crucible war and the school of Reformed theology this speech would have been very different, and a great nation may have been destroyed rather than reborn.


We once again find ourselves riven by seemingly irreconcilable political differences.  It is a sad commentary on the Christian Church that it no longer seems capable of providing the theological resources necessary for healing and renewal.  Were the Church just another human institution there would be no hope.  But it actually is the Body of Jesus Christ, so we wait with expectant hope for resurrection.

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Romans: The Case for Christ to a Hostile World (17)

Contemporary Contemplations (1)

It is so easy to presume that Imperisl Rome was a primitive place that is unrelated to our advanced contemporary state.  But is this true?  On the one hand, we err seriously by underestimating the level of political, military and organizational sophistication necessary to acquire and then rule a vast empire for centuries.  On the other hand we tend to vastly overestimate changes to human nature over millennia.  Thus, if we look with open minds, the differences between Imperial Rome of A.D. 56 and imperial Washington D.C. of 2018 are less than might be initially assumed.

I will here, perhaps surprisingly, focus on the topic of paganism.  How, you might ask, can I presume to compare what truly was a pagan civilization with what is now a civilization founded on Christianity?  I am not arguing that the United States was not founded upon and continues to be strongly influenced by Christianity.  However, I do contend that the elite governmental, business, educational, legal, media and other institutions in the United States have become “paganized” to the point that it must be considered to be their dominant spiritual position.  Perhaps a definition will help.  Following is the first response when “define paganism” is searched in Google.

pa·gan·ism
ˈpāɡəˌnizəm/
noun

a religion other than one of the main world religions, specifically a non-Christian or pre-Christian religion.  “converts from paganism to Christianity”

a modern religious movement incorporating beliefs or practices from outside the main world religions, especially nature worship.  “modern paganism includes a respect for mother earth”

Can there truly be any doubt that our progressive elite institutions and the people who inhabit them have come to view orthodox Christianity as a reactionary, if not wholly evil force (see also here)?  By “orthodox” I mean any  Christian organization that intentionally remains connected to the Bible as the unique authoritative source for belief and practice.  Yes, there are many practicing Christians in the United States, but they are few and far in-between (and generally very quiet) among our ruling elite.

But you might say, where are the pagan gods?  Certainly no-one in contemporary America believes in entities like those of ancient Greek and Roman religion.  Romangods-banner

On that narrow point we can agree.  However, I contend that there are entities in the contemporary United States that fill the role of pagan gods, but in an updated form.  The following summary of ancient Roman religion will assist this discussion.

The Romans, according to the orator and politician Cicero, excelled all other peoples in the unique wisdom that made them realize that everything is subordinate to the rule and direction of the gods. Yet Roman religion was based not on divine grace but instead on mutual trust (fides) between god and man. The object of Roman religion was to secure the cooperation, benevolence, and “peace” of the gods (pax deorum). The Romans believed that this divine help would make it possible for them to master the unknown forces around them that inspired awe and anxiety (religio), and thus they would be able to live successfully. Consequently, there arose a body of rules, the jus divinum (“divine law”), ordaining what had to be done or avoided.

These modern “godly” entities are the progressive institutions that have come to dominate our political, commercial, educational and media lives.

Modern-gods

Although these institutions are not personified they are made up by people who consider themselves to be elite.  The institutions appear to have a permanence that transcends the scope of individual human lives.  They also have the power to smite those who have earned their displeasure with a power that can rarely be resisted.  They operate as arbitrary and capricious sources of what is true (jus divinum) and therefore must be carefully appeased.  Only by so doing can there be peace in our society (pax deorum).  This network of progressive institutions operates within a common social and ideological framework that creates the mutual trust (fides) necessary for godly action.

The people who inhabit these institutions fill the role of priests who communicate the god’s wishes to the unwashed multitudes and who are able to influence the gods so as to ensure their cooperation and benevolence.  Thus their inclusion in these god-like institutions places them in an exalted cultural position.  And, they jealously guard their supposed superior status.

Look at what has happened when the citizens of the United States dared to elect an individual outside of the elite Progressive pagan priestly class to the Presidency.  Their religious fervor has verged on hysteria and sometimes has become overtly violent.  The pagan gods of contemporary America have been insulted!  Only by returning to fealty can peace be restored, so Resist or be outcast to eternal darkness!

Pagan-DC

Imperial Washington D.C. and its Gods

Making Sense of It All (8)

Quotation-Thomas-Jefferson-Experience-hath-shewn-that-even-under-the-best-forms-of-14-56-60
What is at Stake?

Our nation is engulfed in an angry, sometimes violent debate about something.  But what is it?

People who think that this all started with Donald Trump are seriously mistaken.  Recall that many in the Democratic party “resisted” the election of George W. Bush in 2000 and then proceeded to destroy his person and administration.  President Bush did nothing to help himself by attempting to “split the difference” between conservatism and progressivism, and, by leading us into a war with Iraq that came to be seen as justified by faulty intelligence and naive expectations.

The nation then traded the “compassionate conservative” philosophy for “fundamental change” progressivism by electing Barack Obama to the presidency.  However, there was no “racial healing” to be found in this historic development but rather increasing racial division.  There was no achieved consensus on health care reform, but rather a solution supported by 51% of the Congress shoved down the throats of the 49% (and the citizens whom they represent).

Many people believe that we have withdrawn into two political camps that share no common ground.  In that scenario there is only the question of who will finally defeat whom.  But, for that to happen a stable “51+%” of the population would have to emerge that lasted for a generation.

Given the disinterest of, say, 60% of our population in politics and policy (a position that I better understand after the past 20 years), one reasonable expectation is that the ideological “20%” on the left and right will compete in an unstable environment.  In this scenario, we would experience huge policy swings as unreconcilable ideologies sequentially gain temporary political power.  This is exactly what we see now, with Donald Trump reversing Barack Obama’s policies.  Were a Democrat to win in 2020 or 2024 we would see the same dynamic.

But although the above scenario seems bad (because it is), I contend that it is the optimistic scenario.  That is, it assumes that, over time, the irreconcilable differences between left and right will be resolved by the working of a stable democratic republic.  Yes, there will be many terrible consequences from the instability.  But the instability will occur because the citizens of the republic can’t make up their minds.  And, even within this instability there will still exist a stable constitutional system that protects fundamental liberty.

The more pessimistic scenario is that we are leaving a constitutional democratic republic behind and heading towards tyranny.  Anyone who has been keeping up with this blog knows that I am not a supporter of Donald Trump.  Nor was I a supporter of Barack Obama.  However, the election of Mr. Trump has, if nothing else, allowed light to penetrate into the dark crevices of our gargantuan permanent ruling class.  And what has been revealed is truly alarming.

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The Nunes Memo

As I pointed out in a previous post, the Obama Administration used its temporary public trust to weaponize powerful law enforcement, intelligence, regulatory and revenue departments of the federal government in order to attack citizens and groups with opposing views.  Since that post was written new information (see here, here, here, here, etc.) has become available that shows the scope and depth of this corruption to be far beyond what I could have imagined.

It has become clear to me that a significant motivation for the violent emotional progressive frenzy over Trump’s election is because what they thought would be forever hidden would now come to light.  It’s not just that they lost a Presidential election.  No, it’s that the people against whom the federal government was being weaponized forced these corrupt practices into the light.  And note well — this reaction does not depend on the personality or policies of Donald Trump.

Under President Obama the Democratic Party was devastated at the federal Congressional, state and local level.  The last bastion of power was their hold on the Presidency.  They thought that hold was unbreakable.  They found out to their horror that the people who had voted against their candidates at all other levels of government would do the same at the Presidential level.

Trump InaugurationTheir response was to “resist” the Trump Administration in all ways imaginable, from violent street riots, to shameless leaking of classified information to publishing unattributed innuendo as fact to ginning up a “Russian collusion” narrative that more than a year later is still without a shred of credible evidence in support.

Does the Democratic Party presume that, while they own the Presidency, they are free to use the overwhelming power of the state to subvert, intimidate and criminalize opposition?  Is the Democratic Party claiming a “veto power” over Presidential elections?  If the U.S. citizenry doesn’t vote the “politically correct” way does anything go to overturn their decision?  I hope the answer to these questions is a resounding No!

Because if the answer is anything less then we are contending between a constitutional democratic republic and naked tyranny.

quote-to-those-who-cite-the-first-amendment-as-reason-for-excluding-god-from-more-and-more-ronald-reagan-55-97-14

 

Making Sense of It All (7)

2016-09-16-37525587_largeThe Interests of the “Basket of Deplorables”

In 2016 Hillary Clinton, while running for President, insulted approximately one-quarter of the United States’ citizens.

cnn_hillary“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

By this statement Mrs. Clinton gave voice to the quasi-caste hatred that animates far more of the Progressive program than many would like to admit.

I am not here to claim that any segment of our population is morally superior.  Those citizens who chose to vote Mr. Trump into the Presidency are all fallen, frail flesh and blood, just exactly as are those who voted for someone else or didn’t vote at all.  I am here to point out that this quarter of the nation’s population has legitimate interests that both the Democratic and Republican parties had ignored for decades.

We must first identify to whom Mrs. Clinton was referring.  We can begin by agreeing that this “deplorable” quasi-caste can be found within that segment of the population who are willing to vote for Republican candidates.  That is, if you are a reliable Democratic voter then in spite of any personal faults or bad behaviors, you are certainly not a “deplorable.”

However, not all people who are or vote Republican are “deplorables.”  If you are in this group but submit in silence to, or better yet, actively support core Progressive policies (e.g., open borders immigration) then you can avoid (as long as you don’t stand between Progressives and the acquisition of political power) falling into this category.  Make no mistake though, you are both stupid and likely evil, but not to the point of being an actual “deplorable.”

The above discussion helps, but doesn’t sufficiently describe the boundaries of the “deplorable” quasi-caste. To accomplish that we must revisit some of the other statements made by the leaders of the tip-top Progressive quasi-caste.  The most useful of these was made by candidate Barack Obama in 2008.

obama-below1You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Mr. Obama was right about the economic frustrations experienced by a large segment of our population.  However, note also the condescension and contempt with which he responds to these very real issues.  For, in his mind, these sorry communities are so full of incompetent people that neither Democratic or Republican administrations are able to pull them out of failure.  The reason is that they are bitter, small minded folk who stupidly “cling” to dangerous or irrelevant totems of the past.  Sounds a lot like “irredeemable” to me.

Another boundary setting statement fell from the lips of no other than Nancy Pelosi, Democratic leader of the House of Representatives in 2017.  Joe Scarborough set up the discussion by asking:

But how do Democrats who have the right policies economically, in their minds, how do they reconnect with a middle America who feels like sometimes they are looked down upon because of their faith or their values?

Her answer to this soft-ball question shows the depths of contempt that lives in the Progressive mind towards those who don’t share in their ideology (emphasis added).

Speaker Pelosi Holds Weekly News Conference“And I say, this will be a little not in keeping with the spirit of the day of unity, but I say they pray in church on Sunday and prey on people the rest of the week, and while we’re doing the Lord’s work by ministering to the needs of God’s creation they are ignoring those needs which is to dishonor the God who made them.”

With this material I believe we can identify the boundary between the lowest “deplorable” quasi-cast and all that sit above.  They tend to:

  • live in small towns, suburbs or rural areas;
  • be (but are not all) middle to upper-middle class;
  • have suffered significant, sustained economic frustration and/or decline over the past 30 years;
  • be Bible-believing Christians;
  • own guns or support gun ownership;
  • oppose Obamacare;
  • oppose open-borders immagration;
  • have become suspicious of “world-trade” agreements;
  • not embrace gay-marriage or the other aspects of “queer ideology“;
  • not embrace radical environmentalism in general, or “climate change” in particular;
  • believe that the United States in particular and Western Civilization in general have great value and should be preserved;
  • love their country, believe that it has mortal enemies and honor those who defend it.

As far as I can tell, these are the people who made the difference in electing Mr. Trump to the Presidency.  This is a group who found themselves actively hated by the Democrats or treated like an embarrassment by the Republicans for decades.  The idea that these citizens would forever ignore the fact that neither major political party cared about, let alone addressed, their interests was ludicrous.

Such a situation couldn’t last in a functioning democratic republic, and it hasn’t.  The question that now faces us is will the United States continue to be a democratic republic or is it on the way to becoming something else?

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The 2016 Presidential results by county. A Progressive archipelago in a sea of deplorables.

Making Sense of It All (6)

trump-inaugrationWhere We Are Now (1)

If nothing else, the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency has clarified what was before a murky situation.  For, prior to this event it appears that the Republican elite’s top priority was to conserve the idea that beneath all of our policy differences there existed a common creed spanning the Progressive-Conservative divide.  Yes, we may disagree vehemently on means, but, so they believed, we were all pursuing common ends, and valued our common heritage.

Thus, for the past thirty years Republican elites have stressed their willingness to “cross the aisle” to work with their Democratic opponents.  There is nothing inherently wrong with this idea.  However, so determined were they to preserve the idea of national cohesion that they actively refused to notice that “compromise” usually meant conservatives compromising their core values to move towards progressives.  As I have previously noted, even the most ardent Republican “bi-partisaners” suffered vile political and personal attack if they were contending with an accredited progressive in an election.

mitt-romney-newsweekThe patience of non-progressives towards “bi-partisanship” likely ran out with the 2012 Republican nomination of Mitt Romney for President.  For, here was a man of manifest good intentions and manners who had successfully governed a “blue” state (Massachusetts) as a Republican.  Yet, this man was systematically slandered in the Presidential campaign to such effect that he ended up reviled by a plurality of the population.

Why then shouldn’t citizens who opposed the progressive project conclude that it was a losing proposition to nominate nice, bi-partisan guys for the Presidency.  For, as I have previously pointed out:

No, after eight years of abuse the electorate that opposes Progressive policies decided that only a bare-knuckled street fighter was capable of winning back the Presidency.  They nominated Mr. Trump, supported him through thick-and-thin and turned out to vote him into office.

So, if you are wondering how we ended up with a man of Donald Trump’s character in the White House, my above answer holds.

cruz-trump-attackLooking back on the 2016 Republican primaries, it’s clear to me now that Mr. Trump won by sequentially exposing each opposing Republican candidate as a wimp.  Thus, what I and many others saw as cruel, uncouth behavior actually had a rational purpose.  Most of the other Republican candidates said that they were tho one who could effectively oppose the progressive movement.  By showing that they would wilt under cruel attack Mr. Trump demonstrated that they, like Mitt Romney, would collapse under the far more powerful attacks of the Democratic media-political machine.

trump_mirror_largeIf progressives and Republican elitists are appalled by Mr. Trump’s victory then they need only look to themselves for the reason.  For, they had built a culture in which progressives were free to engage in the most savage and dishonest attacks on their opponents while elite Republicans cowered in fear before them.

This is the description of an unofficial quasi-caste system (based on family, education and outlook), where the progressive left sits at the absolute top and elite Republicans get to occupy (as long as they behave properly towards their betters) the next lower rung.  Far, far below them sit the unwashed masses of citizens — ignorant, stupid and immoral.  How dare this low caste rise up and elect someone who intends to represent their interests!

What are the interests of those who elected Donald Trump to the presidency will be discussed next.

Making Sense of It All (5)

obama-change_100113_A

Architect of the Fundamental Transformation Debacle

How We Got to Here (4)

The Progressive Left

The progressive left is absolutely certain about and united on what they want.  That being the “fundamental transformation” of a nation founded on evil and made powerful by plunder.  There is precious little from our founding and history that merits preservation.  No, the whole nation is so corrupt that the only reasonable and moral choice is to burn it down to the bare earth and start afresh.

But it is this very certitude that has led to madness.  So certain is the progressive left of its moral perfection that it has justified and used corrupt means to achieve its chosen ends.

Lois-Lerner_IRS

Lois Lerner: IRS Agent of Fundamental Transformation

And so, our institutions have been weaponized against anyone who dares to dissent.  Thus, the IRS is turned into a tormentor of “right-wing” groups seeking to organize and speak.  The DOJ and FBI conspire to protect their ideological friends and destroy their enemies.  The “Intelligence Community” leaks anything, regardless of damage to the nation, that undermines their perceived political opponents.

peter-strzok-2

Peter Strzok: FBI Agent of Fundamental Transformation

Individuals and businesses are randomly destroyed by braying mobs in order to induce terror in all the rest of us.  Professors in “institutions of higher learning” teach irrational, failed ideas as vanguards of an achievable utopia.  The “mainstream media” descends into ideological conformity and political partisanship that would make Pravda proud.  Sexual predators are protected because they support the “correct” political positions. This just scratches the surface, but I trust that my point is made.

obama-messiah-BA5fuj6CQAAvSE9So certain were they of the permanence of their political power that all pretense of respect for our nation or its “unwoke” citizenry was dropped.  Their Alinsky law-giver, Barack Obama, had led them out of slavery to our founding ideas and institutions.  All their political opponents had been decimated when the Marxist Red Sea came crashing down upon them.  hillary-clinton-bad-copAnd then, power would certainly be handed to Hillary Clinton, who would lead the progressive left across the Jordan River.  Once across they would finally obliterate their political enemies and build their utopian “promised land” where everyone would be equal, but some would be permanently more equal than others.
But something else happened on the way to progressive utopia.  It turns out that when many citizens saw the progressive left’s true beliefs, behaviors and intentions they recoiled in horror.  Many of them had assumed that the progressive left was a force for reform and renewal.  What they actually began to see was something completely, and disturbingly, different.  And so, they began searching for someone, anyone, who could stand against this rising tide of political correctness and corruption.

maxresdefault

We couldn’t have lost because the voters didn’t see our moral and intellectual superiority!  It must have been stolen by the Russians!

Thus, when Hillary Clinton inexplicably lost the Presidential election all of their fantasies  came crashing down upon them.  How could they have possibly lost a fair election?  How could the citizens of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio have failed to vote in the correct manner?  It couldn’t possibly be because history wasn’t on their side, or because they had governed in a corrupt manner, or that the populace failed to see their moral superiority.  NO!  It could only be because Donald Trump conspired with Russia to steal the election!

Yes, rather than do any soul searching about their own beliefs and behavior, the progressive left apparently descended into a state of madness (or madness like a fox).  But hey, if you can’t fundamentally transform this vile nation by winning elections then other means must be found.  After all, comrades, the ends justify the means.




Debacle Bonus Material: Pure Tragicomic Gold Edition

The Tragedy

The Progressive Left’s enthusiastic embrace of deceit.

The entire menu of race, class, and gender identity politics, lead-from-behind foreign policy, political correctness, and radical environmentalism so far have not won over most Americans.

Proof of that fact are the serial reliance of their supporters on deception, and the erosion of language on campus and in politics and the media. The progressive movement requires both deceit and euphemism to mask its apparently unpopular agenda.

The Comedy

We can get away with it! Those stupid, bitter gun and religion clinging, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it, citizens will never remember how we coddled the Russians for our eight years in office!  Trump-Russian collusion full speed ahead!

The Gold

Clinton-Russian-Reset

What! A Democratic Secretary of State making nice with the evil Russians!  Look away, look away, nothing to see here!

Obama-Medvedev

What! A Democratic President of the United States colluding with the evil Russians! Look away, look away, nothing to see here!

clinton-uranium-0ne-scandal1

What! A Democratic administration selling 20% of U.S. uranium to a Russian company controlled by the Russian state!  What!  The Clinton Foundation received tens of millions of dollars from evil Russian sources while the Uranium One deal was in progress!  Look away, look away, nothing to see here!

Romney-Obama-2012-Debate-Russia

What! President Obama mocks Mitt Romney for saying that the Russians are a geopolitical foe!  Look away, look away, nothing to see here!

I’ll stop here, but there’s so much more…wait, what!

maddow2017-1489678100-540x511

LOOK! AN EVIL RUSSIAN SQUIRREL STOLE THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION FROM HILLARY!




 

Making Sense of It All (4)

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The Architects of a Conservative Political Debacle

How We Got Here (2)

The Conservative Right

The primary source of confusion within the conservative movement has been just what to conserve.  The inability of conservative politicians to answer this question within the bounds of successful politics created deep antipathy between themselves and those whom they presume to represent.  The consequent disgust and distrust has risen over the years to the point that conservative politicians sometimes appear to have disowned their voters, and the voters have disassociated themselves from the politicians.  That this was allowed to happen is one of the greatest feats of political madness in my living memory.

Where to start?  Were this a less contemporary meditation I’d go way back to 1990 when President George H. W. Bush broke his solemn promise of “read my lips: no new taxes!”  Rather I’ll begin with his son, President George W. Bush.  Mr. Bush ran for President in 2000 on the slogan of “compassionate conservatism.”  It was only after his election that we found out that “compassionate” meant:

  • Signing into law the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill that substantially diminished the freedom most necessary for a healthy republic, that being political speech
  • Prosecuted a war in Iraq that a majority of citizens came to believe was an utter failure
  • Continued the increase in governmental spending that was in indifferentiable from that of a progressive leftist
  • Enthusiastic support for a “comprehensive immigration bill” that was supported by the business community and the Republican donor class but that was anathema to a majority of citizens
  • Refused to defend himself, his administration or his philosophy from vile assaults by the political opposition
  • Standing idly by, or even encouraging (i.e., easy loans to bolster home ownership) government policies that caused the 2008 financial crisis.

When Mr. Bush left office in 2009 he had managed to utterly discredit the conservative political philosophy, thus paving the way for a disasterous experiment in progressive leftist rule.

jillgreenbergatlanticcovIn 2008 a demoralized Republican Party managed to nominate for President the man least able to challenge the ideology and policies of the Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama.  That man was Senator John McCain.  Here we had a man who had sought to gain favor with the Mainstream Media as a “maverick” by gleefully and sometimes savagely attacking more conservative members of his own party.  He was a champion of  “bi-partsianship,” which in practice meant caving to the progressive left on core issues such as freedom of speech and illegal immigration.  Finally, he was one of the most “hawkish” national politicians at a time of extreme war-wariness in the nation.  None of this created much enthusiasm in the Republican base or in the general population.

And, just as with George W. Bush before him, his bi-partsianship counted for less than nothing when confronting the Democratic machine.  All of his former “friends” in the Mainstream Media turned on him once the candidates were in place.  He could not draw credible, clear distinctions with the ideology or policies of the most leftist Presidential candidate in American history because he didn’t appear to have a philosophy other than pragmatism.  He wasn’t trusted in judgement, temperament or philosophy by a large portion of the Republican base.

Perhaps no-one could have beaten Senator Obama.  However a political party picking the candidate least likely to, when his deficiencies were clearly apparent, can only be judged as terrible political malpractice.  And so, after the 2008 election Barack Obama was President and the Democrats held large majorities in both the House and Senate.

The Republican Party had utterly failed to earn the respect of its opponents and the trust of those whom it presumed to represent.  The only term that approaches the truth is “utter political debacle.”




Debacle Bonus Material: Trifecta Edition

  1. Win: The Bush family utterly confuses and discredits political Conservatism over three teams in the Presidency.
  2. Place: In 2008 the Republican Party nominates for President the man, John McCain, who is least able to oppose the Progressive Leftism of Barack Obama on principle, and, who is disliked and distrusted by a large segment of the GOP base.
  3. Show:
quote-obamacare-modeled-almost-precisely-on-romneycare-is-wrong-it-was-bad-medicine-it-s-bad-mitt-romney-141-32-87

The Republican Party completes an unheard of “political debacle trifecta” by, in 2012, nominating the man least able to effectively criticize ObamaCare for President – Mitt Romney.

Making Sense of It All (3)

The Shortest WayHow We Got to Here (1)

Setting aside our ideological leanings and personal preferences, can we all agree that “here” is legitimately described as a nation suffering a schizophrenic nervous breakdown?  Need I describe the behavior of our elected political leaders, the media, our clergy, professors, bureaucrats, lawyers, business leaders, celebrities, etc., in detail to support this point?  If I do than you must have just recently awoken from a decade long coma.  If you think that one of the sides is behaving reasonably then you are so far down some ideological rabbit hole that there is no hope of reaching you.

I am not here pretending to be some wondrously moderate soul who stands above the fray tisk-tisking at all those foolish others.  No, I am way down there in the fray, driven by my own set of ideological leanings and personal preferences.  However, if we believe that there is something called the truth which exists beyond leaning and preference, then we must acknowledge the sad, pathetic state into which we have led this nation.

Any nation will be riven by powerful opposing forces.  The issue is wether those forces can be accommodated within the bounds of civilized politics or will burst forth into chaos, violence and disaster.  At this point it could go either way.

Although both the progressive left and conservative right appear to be suffering from schizophrenia, the underlying reasons differ considerably.  Therefore, in the following posts I will discuss these specific cases within this context.

 

Making Sense of It All (2)

chasmA Deep and Dangerous Divide

Anyone paying attention to politics knew that there was a growing divide between “Left” and “Right” long before the emergence of Donald Trump.  However, by his winning of the Presidency in an unexpected and stunning upset, it became apparent that another fundamental divide had occurred: between those who consider themselves to be the “ruling class” (Republican and Democrat) and those whom they presume to rule.

Prior to President Trump, although Democrat and Republican politicians were separated by differing world-views, they were apparently united by their membership in a “ruling class.”  Within this elite bubble there were shared assumptions about the boundaries of public discourse and policy positions.  Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 6.53.35 AMThus, when then President George W. Bush supported comprehensive immigration reform in 2007, his administration was participating in a bi-partsian initiative.

The bill’s sole sponsor in the Senate was Majority Leader Harry Reid, though it was crafted in large part as a result of efforts by Senators Kennedy, McCain and Kyl, along with Senator Lindsey Graham, and input from President George W. Bush, who strongly supported the bill.

Both parties were surprised by the vehemence of public opposition, leading to eventual failure of the bill.  In fact, the public opposition to “comprehensive immigration reform” was so broad and deep that President Obama, even with Democratic control of both Houses of Congress in 2009 and 2010, was unable to deliver a bill.

Looking back, “comprehensive immigration reform” was the last hurrah for bipartisan government in the United States.  However, it was only bipartisan in the sense that the “ruling class” had all agreed that their solution was the best that could be achieved for the country.  In real democratic bipartisanship the national leaders convince their respective constituencies that the solution is the best that can be achieved for the country.  In this leadership task they utterly failed.  Consequently, the the voting public simply refused to fall into line.

This watershed event should have been a wakeup call to our bubble-bound elite.  But, so convinced were they of their positional permanence that they thoughtlessly wrote the whole thing off as a strange political outlier.  It turns out that they were deeply mistaken.

Other observers, however, recognized this situation for what is was — a fundamental breach between a country’s citizens and their elected officials.  By their refusal to acknowledge concerns of the citizenry about illegal immigration as legitimate, the bipartisan elite had created a huge political vacuum.  In a democratic republic someone was bound to eventually fill that vacuum.  The only questions were by whom and when.

iBooks Publish Announcement

For those of you living in the Windows and/or Android worlds, you can download the PDF version from my blog site here.

Christ and CorneliusChrist and Cornelius

I have published an eBook on iBooks.

Christ and Cornelius: The Biblical Case Against Christian Pacifism

Is Jesus Christ a pacifist?  Many Christians believe this to be the case.  However, unless this position can withstand careful Biblical scrutiny it cannot be considered true.  I have subjected this claim to that very standard in this book, and, have found it to be unsupported.  Along the way important issues regarding Biblical interpretation, the person and purpose of Jesus Christ, the application of King David’s life to our own times, the first Gentile convert to Christianity and Western Civilization’s crisis, among others, are discussed.