Glimpses into the Progressive Psyche (2)

Pres-Chicago-CAREA Quiet Conversation over Lunch

Background

While I served as a Commissioner to the Presbytery of Chicago I had began to voice opposition to their theology and actions.  One of my first significant statements in this area, “Thoughts About the PCUSA: Investigating Boundaries of Division,” was publicly released in May of 2012.  I have republished this paper under the title “Honoring Christ in our Relationships” on this blog site.  The paper explores the theological foundations for the Presbytery’s behavior concerning continuing controversy over the PCUSA’s decision to ordain practicing homosexuals.

In it I propose the theory that it is postmodernism intersecting with Christian theology that accounts for their behavior.  If you examine my early posts you will see that I describe those with whom I am contending as “Postmodern Christians.”  However, due to this discussion  I am now certain that it is something else with which I am contending.  A description of the encounter that set me straight on this issue follows.

The Encounter

A senior leader in the Presbytery sat down next to me at a luncheon.  I don’t recall most of the conversation, but near the end he paused and said something to the effect of “You realize that this is a Progressive Presbytery.”  The entire conversation was pleasant and friendly.  I think he was trying to point out that I was kidding myself if I thought that my views were going to make a difference in the Presbytery’s direction.  And, he was certainly right about that.

But the real impact of this comment was to correct a misconception on my part in another area.  Up to that point I had been thinking about the Presbytery’s behavior in strictly theological terms.  I thus was considering the impact of postmodernism on Christian theology, resulting in the concept of postmodern Christians.

His comment made me realize that the true center of the Presbytery’s identity is political Progressivism.  Yes, postmodernism played a significant role, but it was not at the center. This insight caused me to move to the concept of Progressive Christianity.

Of course, the realization that the Presbytery was driven by a secular and often godless human ideology increased my sense of alienation.  I have explored this sad situation in many posts.

Advertisements

Glimpses into the Progressive Psyche (1)

 

chasm

The great divide.

Opening Thoughts

I suspect that many Americans are currently living in a state of bewilderment.  I don’t know if someone who is thirty is as affected as someone in their fifties or older.  For myself (in the second age group), the nation in which I am now living bears scant relationship to that in which I grew up.  This is certainly true from the technological perspective, but that has been the case for almost every generation that has participated in the American experience.

The primary cause of this bewilderment is the state of the American psyche.  The closest analogy that I can come up with is that we began experiencing a sort of cultural nervous breakdown in the 1990s followed by a profound schizophrenic break after 9/11.  Of course I’m not here discussing the state of each individual’s psyche.  Rather, it’s the general cultural milieu that presses in upon our individual psyches, pressuring them to move in specific directions.  Thus, this definition of schizophrenia (Google Dictionary) for an individual also applies well to our contemporary collective behavior as a political culture.

a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.

We are currently a nation splintered into contending groups who appear to have lost the ability to communicate, let alone cooperate, with each other.  These groups can often (there are numerous exceptions) be be roughly divided into two primary camps.

The first is populated by people who tend to define themselves by associations and interests outside the realm of politics.  To them, though politics may be an important part of life, other domains like faith, family, neighbors, sports, etc. have clear priority.  Although there is no agreed name for this group, I’ll refer to them as the “commoners”  This is justified not by any presumption of lower ability or value, but rather by the fact that they see themselves as part of a common heritage and culture.  Thus, they have appreciation for the nation and those through whom it was formed and maintained.  If there is a central organizing principle for this camp it is opposition to the idea that the nation must be “fundamentally transformed” in order for it to be valued.

The second camp draws in people who see themselves as intellectually, morally and ideologically superior to such an extent that they are the natural leaders of our nation.  These people value academic degrees, career success, political power and personal accomplishment above virtually everything else.  Although the largest and most vocal component of this group is the Progressives, it is clear that there are also many members of the Conservative intelligentsia and political class who see themselves this way.  For obvious reasons I will cal this group the “elite.”

While the elite are by definition much smaller in numbers than are the commoners, many people yet look to the elite as their political guides and/or are influenced by them through various forms of education and media.  Thus, the elite wield significant democratic power.  They wield overwhelming institutional power, having taken over virtually all educational, entertainment, government bureaucratic, news, legal and international organizations, among others.

One key differentiation between the elite and the commoners is that the elite consciously know who they are and carefully control who gets to be a member.  Commoners generally don’t see themselves in terms of group identity, so are far more amorphous.

Much of what I have done in this blog traces back to this distinction between the above described groups.  Clearly, I see myself as a member of the commoners (although my high interest in politics is a deviation). One of my goals is to give voice to their issues and perspectives.

However, it is at the personal level that our current cultural disorder creates the greatest pain.  For example, when families split or valued relationships are ended over political disagreements. It is also occasionally at the personal level that important insights can be obtained into the psyches of those with whom we disagree.  I have had numerous personal interactions with members of the Progressive group that rise to this level, which I will share in following posts.

One final point.  The Progressive individuals with whom these interactions occurred were sometimes of a special type.  That is, they tended to see themselves as enforcers of Progressive orthodoxy.  Therefore, they were far more aggressive and vocal than are most in the elite group.  In me they came up against someone who not only rejected their right to enforce, but also aggressively argued for an alternative.  Perhaps we are two sides of the same coin.  That’s for each reader to decide for themselves. Regardless, I hope that some light will be shed on our current crisis through discussion of these personal interactions.

21st Century Pearls of Wisdom (2)

The Continuing Moral Growth of a Political Giant

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 4.39.59 AM

Bill Clinton, credibly accused sexual predator by multiple women for over 30 years

Bill Clinton’s accusers have been seeking some sort of justice for almost 30 years.  Their stories have not wavered over time, in some cases they have witnesses who saw them immediately after the sexual assault.  In all cases they were subjected to vicious personal attacks by members of Mr. Clinton’s staff (including in the White House), led by his wife, Hillary Clinton.

And yet, when the #MeToo train left the station she jumped on board.  Her’s is a level of shameless hypocrisy that can be reached only by living a morally wretched life.

maxresdefault

What Hillary Clinton said after living a life in which she enabled and protected her husband’s sexual predation by shaming and silencing any woman who credibly accused him of sexual harassment, assault and rape.

Even in the #MeToo world the stories of Bill Clinton’s victims barely register in the Progressive conscience.  A few Progressives have voiced mild remorse, but these comments have gone nowhere.

It is within this context that Bill Clinton made the following comment in a PBS interview on June 7 regarding former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (emphasis added).

“I think the norms have really changed in terms of, what you can do to somebody against their will, how much you can crowd their space, make them miserable at work,”

As with all statements by this credibly accused sexual predator, it is equal parts falsity and special pleading.  Anyone over the age of 50 knows from personal experience that sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape were just as illegal and culturally forbidden in the 1990’s as they are now.  Anyone under 50 would have to be a moron to believe that just thirty years ago the United States consisted of cave men dragging women around by their hair.

What has changed is we now know that many of the oh so Progressive men who inhabit our oh so Progressive elite institutions (i.e., the news media, Hollywood, academia, politics, etc.) have been dragging women around by their hair behind closed doors for decades.  And everyone knew, but until recently no-one talked, including the women who were being victimized.

But, what can be expected when the most visible Progressive politician of the 1990’s is slavishly protected from the consequences of his vile actions?  The standard was then set that, as long as a man says and supports the Progressive politically correct things in public, in private they can behave as sexual predators with impunity.

And women should not only accept this as normal, but willingly participate.  As was said without shame in 1998 by elite journalist Nina D. Burleigh on the public record (asterisks added):

I would be happy to give him [President Clinton] a bl***ob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.

And then we wonder how elite Progressive institutions became cesspits of sexual predation.

The loss of moral authority by Progressives has occurred for many reasons.  But this particular situation stands out as demonstrating the rank hypocrisy and vile corruption that hides under the do-gooder facade of Progressive institutions.

Mr. Clinton appears to think that by his clever words we can be fooled into believing he has grown morally.  And he also appears to believe that we can be convinced to accept his vile behavior in the 1980s and 1990s because “norms have really changed” since then.  False and false.

This was an admission of guilt camouflaged as a moral advancement.

This is pure deception as practiced by the elite Progressive movement’s standard-bearer and tar-baby.

If you want insight into what Progressive elites are actually doing in private look at what they in public are accusing their opponents of doing.

The PCUSA Elite Today (7)

multicultural-jesus

The Progressive Jesus Created Out of Whole Cloth by Our PCUSA Leadership

How to Respond?

I have been researching the beliefs and actions of our PCUSA leadership for over three years now.  I have also had direct experience based on my three year term as a Presbytery Commissioner.  That’s a total of almost seven years, spanning 2011 through 2018.  What has occurred over that time and how should we respond?

Since 2011 the PCUSA lost well over one-million members (1,070,777) and gained far less than a half-million (469,739).  That amounts to a net loss of over 600,000 Christians.  Over the same time period over 1,200 churches have exited the denomination or ceased to exist.  These cold statistics point to the devastation of human relationships and to the destruction of a once vibrant community of Christian faith.  These are people and churches who have given up on the PCUSA as a Christian home.  Their tragic testimony is utterly ignored, but the consequences exist regardless.

And what of those of us that choose to remain in the PCUSA who worship our Savior Jesus Christ as revealed in the Scriptures and interpreted by our historic Confessions?  We are a shrinking minority who are expected to either bow down to the false progressive god or to silently suffer humiliation as supposed racists, homophobes, you name it or to get out already.

But there is another choice.  We need not bow to their false god or slink around in humiliating silence or get out.  No, regardless of our declining numbers or receding power we can yet trust that “if God is for us then who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31b).  The elite leaders of the PCUSA have not one-tenthousandth the power of the ancient Roman Empire or the current People’s Republic of China.  It thus should not require super-human faith or courage to stand up to them.  And yet we fail to do so.

PCUSA-I-Don't-Know-This-ManIts time to start confronting these self-presumed theological, intellectual and moral betters.  We should demand that they answer for their reign of denominational destruction.  Why do they ordain atheists and reward heretics?  How do they justify denying the Christian God?  How do they explain the virtually perfect correspondence between their Christian “social justice” positions and those of the secular Progressive political movement?  How do they explain the direct contradiction between Christ’s definition of marriage and their policy on Christian marriage?  Why do they continue to feign allegiance to our historic Confessions while utterly ignoring them?  Why do they exclude Scripture’s testimony? Why do they have a boutique ideologically-tainted “theology” for every identity group and progressive political position? How do they know that Jesus Christ would support each and every position of a godless secular political organization? Why do they reject Biblical truth but demand that we submit to their admitted arbitrary human “truths”? Why do they make a mockery of their ordination vows and teach others to do the same? Why do they deny Biblical sin but embrace the concept of secular ideological sin?  By what right do they pretend to a moral superiority that their actions show to be utterly unwarranted?

To sum up all of the above apostasy, dishonesty and destruction, why do they pretend to be pious, orthodox Christian leaders?  If this seems extreme then you are living in a state of denial.  For, if a PCUSA member can get through the above material (which only scratches the surface) and still trust that our leadership has the slightest loyalty to orthodox Reformed Christianity then the only option is denial.

The fact that the Rev. Kershner so openly rejected the Christian God suggests that she believes the denomination to now be comprised only of supporters or deniers.  Thus she brazenly made her statement in the sure knowledge that no one in Fourth Presbyterian, the Presbyrery, Synod or General Assembly would rise to object.  And, that silence would allow her to go on pretending to be a pious, orthodox Christian pastor doing her level best to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I single her out not because her’s is an extreme case, but rather because she is a contemporary and unmistakable representative of our denominational leadership.

Well, I object, and will not silently accept any of this.  I don’t care if no one or thousands join me.  My responsibility lies in being true to what Jesus Christ has done.

I understand that each of us has only so much time, energy, knowledge and skills.  I contribute in what I believe to be the best use of the gifts that God has given me.  Others will choose to contribute in their own ways.  But the point is that we are called to testify to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as God has given us the specific gifts to so do.  If we, each in our own way and time, choose to stand on that holy ground then we can remain in the PCUSA without shame or fear.  And, by God’s providential power we will make a difference even if we don’t see it in our lifetimes.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 11:39 – 12:3 (NIV)

 

The PCUSA Elite Today (5)

GA+2018The 223rd General Assembly (2018)

The General Assembly (GA) is being held on June 15-19 in St. Louis, MO.  Thus, another view into what dominates our elite leader’s thinking can be found in the associated Schedule of Events.  A review of this information results in the following primary topics of interest:

While a couple of these areas of interest have a church organizational connection, the majority (both in terms of number and intensity) are indistinguishable from what would be found at radically progressive Colleges and Universities.  This result is of a piece with the almost perfect overlap of secular progressive politics and Mainline denominational “social justice” work.

It’s also apparent that “Jesus Christ” is a peripheral person at best.  Searching through the Schedule of Events I found that by far the most prominent occurrence of our Savior’s name occurred as part of proper nouns for churches.  Other than a few claims that some  political position was because of “Christ’s” this or that, He is essentially absent from the discussion.

One might have thought that the continuing membership collapse of the denomination might have warranted major focus.  However, even were it a focus the absolute determination of our ruling elite to continue down their destructive path would render the process moot.  Here are comments by the General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II. on the situation.

But while the turmoil of the previous five years seemed to abate in 2017, the PC(USA) is still showing an annual drop in membership, a reality that distresses General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II. “It is clear that Presbyterians are doing poorly at evangelism,” he says. “Churches leaving was a temporary roadblock. Our inability to share the faith, to demonstrate the power and justice of Jesus Christ and his church to change a world where inequality, injustice, violence and war seem to gain strength daily is a critical factor in our failure to grow.

“The church is not dying, it is reforming,” Nelson insists, “and that reformation must be built on a vision of God’s kindom that is compelling to people who find us lacking. We have that vision – it is part and parcel of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We simply must find new ways to proclaim it and, more importantly, live it out in our congregations.”

There are two groups relevant to membership that find the PCUSA “lacking,”  The first is Bible-trusting members and their churches who have left the denomination or are considering doing so.  Our Stated Clerk couldn’t care less about these Christian’s opinion.

The second is secular progressives.  It’s clear the this is the group upon which our leadership hopes to build the new PCUSA.  Therefore they will continue to slavishly serve that group.  But secular progressives aren’t interested in becoming part of a Christian organization.  No, they are totally focused on the acquisition of worldly power at any and all cost.  If the PCUSA elites can be useful by making up reasons that any and all of their policies and actions are actually “Christian,” then fine.  However, that support is viewed as a temporary necessity on their way to a glorious earthly utopian future.

I will present a sampling of the 2017 membership data in the next post.

The Death of Beauty (4)

Celebrating Past Beauty (2)

lincoln-2nd-inaug

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.

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.

image-2018-02-02

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?

2016nationwidecountymapshadedbyvoteshare

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.