After this post I will move on to other topics (at least for a little while), but one final addendum to previous posts. The U.S. House passed a corrupt and horrific bill yesterday whose final passage seems only a matter of time. Note how even the most conservative Republicans don’t have a counter-plan that drastically (or even nominally) cuts spending from current levels. Instead they want to add debt-financed tax cuts and construction projects. This is better than what the House passed, but worse than doing nothing at all, and much worse than doing something responsible such as cutting spending drastically. The last thing the country needs is more debt.
There is simply no political will to “act like men.” The populace has no stomach for it either. There will be more insanity to come. This is why I now think the end game, barring a powerful act of God, is economic collapse.
Since I first read it 15 years ago, a few lines always stuck with me from Nock’s Our Enemy the State. Before I get to them, here’s a little background in Nock’s own words:
Instead of recognizing the State as “the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious, and decent men,” the run of mankind, with rare exceptions, regards it not only as a final and indispensable entity, but also as, in the main, beneficent. … Instead of looking upon the State’s progressive absorption of social power with the repugnance and resentment that he would naturally feel towards the activities of a professional-criminal organization, he tends rather to encourage and glorify it, in the belief that he is somehow identified with the State … When the mass suffers any ill fortune, or simply feels some strong appetite, its great temptation is that permanent sure possibility of obtaining everything, without effort, struggle, doubt or risk, merely by touching a button and setting the mighty machine in motion. … [This attitude is] the life and strength of the state … When once the predominance of this attitude in any given civilization has become inveterate, as so plainly it has become in the civilization of America, all that can be done is to leave it to work its way out to its appointed end. … [Quoting Ortega y Gasset] “Spontaneous social action will be broken up over and over again by State intervention; no new seed will be able to fructify. Society will have to live for the State, man for the governmental machine.” -p.113
And then we come to Nock quoting Ortega y Gasset’s words, the ones I’ve long remembered:
And as after all it is only a machine, whose existence and maintenance depend on the vital supports around it, the State, after sucking out the very marrow of society, will be left bloodless, a skeleton, dead with that rusty death of machinery, more gruesome than the death of a living organism. Such was the lamentable fate of ancient civilization. -p.114
One can quibble with things here and there in Nock, but I believe this is where we are headed. At the height of its power and breadth, the American State as we know it will become a dead, rotting hulk of a machine. Woe to those dependent on that rotting hulk and its goodies (Social Security, Medicare, welfare, and a thousand other things). It’s time to make other plans.
They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep. -Luke 7:32
Watching clips like this makes me think that option 2 is the most likely scenario. The silliness will not end until it is forced to end through collapse.
Imagine a town near a volcano that is certain to erupt soon. The citizens go to a wise man and say “What do we do?” The wise man replies, “Send your gold reserves to a neighboring town. Pack up what you can take and get out of town.” The citizens reply: “But then we’ll lose our homes, silly! Imagine the upheaval! How can you be so cruel?” So the citizens decide instead to spend their gold reserves on fire hoses and shovels to combat the volcano, and they borrow money from a faraway town to build a wall around their homes. In the end, the volcano erupts, the lava wipes out the shovels and the hoses and the homes and the wall, and the residents flee with only the clothes on their back (and their debts).
This is roughly what is going on here. Ron Paul is telling people what they do not want to hear, namely to allow the market to liquidate debt. He is saying “act like men.” Be a grown up.
In the end, the debt will be liquidated. Many people will be unemployed. There will be upheaval. And the more we try to avoid it, the worse it’ll be. The jig is up.
As expected, Barack Obama lifted the so-called “gag rule” today, which basically allows the U.S. government to fund overseas clinics that provide abortion. (Liberals are never shy about making the rest of us pay for abortions).
Tonight the moderate messiah will go to sleep, presumably in good conscience.
Come let us worship and bow down before Great Leader, American Caesar, Baal, the Friend of the Working Peoples.
Isn’t the media always warning us about mixing politics and faith? Wait, what they’re talking about is saving faith in government… never mind. By the way, what does “the sacrament of our national religion” mean? Is it a means of grace? It sounds important.
We’ve seen the delight of blacks at Obama’s ascension, and it’s hard to not feel a tinge of happiness for them. They see this as something they could’ve hardly imagined at one time. Many perhaps now feel that they belong in this country, and that is a good thing. They’ve always belonged in my opinion. They’ve never been any better or worse than the rest of us knuckleheads (Gal. 3:28).
However, in their excitement blacks do not see that Barack Obama is an evil man. His views on abortion alone are sickening. Whether you think Iraq a just war (I do not), the total American soldiers dead over there are a day’s work at Planned Parenthood offices and other abortion mills. Add in civilian deaths and it’s maybe a month’s work.
Obama, if he proceeds on his current course, will fail miserably in “turning around the economy.” You can’t create prosperity through borrowing and spending at a national level any more than you create prosperity by borrowing and spending on a personal level. Savings and production are the very things Obama will continue to attack just as Bush did, only Obama will do it with more fervency. Although he and his supporters will complain that he received a bad deck from Bush if things should end up collapsing, Obama shares the same Keynesian roots as the rest of the Democratic establishment. He supports the same massive government that they and Bush do. He’s been part of the problem since he arrived in the Senate. He’ll just be the crook left holding the bag.
So, the question isn’t “Will Obama fail?” That’s pretty much a given. The question is “What will his failure look like?” I’m guessing (and of course that’s all it is) it could go in one of two ways:
1. The bloom will be off the rose within a year or two and an alienated people will wonder what on earth they were thinking. The Republicans, whose one big idea of economic merit — tax cuts — has been been successfully (if not properly) co-opted by Obama, may benefit. Or, at long last, perhaps a coalition will come to the front that will finally make drastic cuts in spending and destroy the Fed to allow for a sustainable economy.
2. Worsening conditions will lead to more crisis measures, with Obama’s popularity staying high (similar to FDR’s fascist regime of the 1930s) with the help of a complaisant news and pop culture media. If this happens, expect a dramatic lessening of economic freedoms. Expect this to extend into social spheres: we already know what liberals think about the church’s views on sodomy. Free speech will be attacked in many ways. Collapse or war may be the end of this big game of Don’t Break the Ice that the government is playing. The greater the house built on sand, the greater its fall. Nock put it well:
A dozen empires have already finished the course that ours began three centuries ago. The lion and the lizard keep the vestiges that attest their passage upon earth, vestiges of cities which in their day were as proud and powerful as ours – Tadmor, Persepolis, Luxor, Baalbek … The sites which now bear Narbonne and Marseilles have borne the habitat of four successive civilizations, each of them, as St. James says, even as a vapour which appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away. The course of all these civilizations was the same. Conquest, confiscation, the erection of the State; then the sequences which we have traced in the course of our own civilization; then the shock of some irruption [internal collapse] which the social structure was too far weakened to resist, and from which it was left too disorganized to recover; and then the end. -Our Enemy, the State, ch. 6, p.144
I came across this video last night. It’s easy to write it off as another piece of dopey Hollywood agitprop, but this sort of thing seems to appeal to younger generations.
The idea here is to think up stuff to do and then do it. The celebrities suggest a motley blend of personal preferences, gibberish, patronizing little things (“use less plastic”), and, of course — always — more ways to expand the government and spend our neighbors’ money. Confused, they haughtily ask us to join them in their confusion. Implicitly, the only things off-limits are those that contradict the spirit of liberalism. For example, orthodox Christianity and freedom. Note how none of these wealthy celebrities pledged to invest their ample resources to create businesses that will employ others and benefit society.
Note also how all of this enthusiasm springs from, and goes back to, the benevolent god Obama. Apparently he would approve. If everyone does what’s right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6) enough, the country will be transformed. Sure.
Does anyone else find all this stuff a little creepy? Check out the end of the clip in particular. Given my longtime study of early Soviet history, I’ve wondered what what it is like to witness a cult of personality firsthand. Some of what we’ve seen would make Stalin blush. I’ve never experienced anything close to this.
Our media hasn’t yet descended to the level of 1930s Pravda, but it’s well on its way (see here for just a small sampling of the glorification… I say “small sampling” because I’ve seen a dozen blatant examples of cheerleading in an hour of TV watching on 5-6 channels over the past few days). Meanwhile, establishment Republicans are going to find their tiresome calls to support the country “in a time of war and national distress” used against them… reminding us once again of Dr. Johnson’s famous comment about patriotism.
[He] delivered his speech, self-consciously Kennedyesque, full of words like sacrifice, challenges, bold, vision, summon, change, determination, resolve, renew, rebuild, revitalize, rededicate, and the trendy reinvent. … Though short, it was longwinded. [He] was careful to be brief. But in this case brevity wasn’t the soul of wit. He was straining for grand effects he didn’t know how to hit off, and he fell back on a vocabulary he deemed inspirational.
That sounds like it was written today, but it’s from a 1993 article by the great writer Joe Sobran on the occasion of Bill Clinton’s inaugural. Rereading it this weekend, and having transitioned from a twenty-something to a forty-something, I think I understand Sobran’s weariness a little better.
When it comes to pop culture phenomenons, the man on the street is often, as Robert Mitchum put it, “like a leaf that the wind blows from one gutter to another.” His interest is temporary because it’s based in “reality TV” amusement, not reflection. It’s about excitements and new things instead of sober thoughts and ancient things. And right now, Michelle and Barack are the new thing. I note in passing that MTV is running its own inaugural special. The theme: “Be the change.” Any questions?
Meanwhile, the mainstream media continues to engage in its reflexive worship of left-wing power. The state to them isn’t a punisher of evildoers, it’s god and church and daddy and mommy. Liberals like to fantasize about an inspired citizenry that joyfully unites behind a progressive leader, but this will never be the case because when you force people to fund stuff they wouldn’t voluntarily pay for, you create resentments and factions. Muggers can’t be leaders. At least they can’t be leaders of those being robbed. I doubt us rubes will ever learn to be cheerful givers when it comes to funding other people’s abortions, their banks, their welfare checks, their unions, or their government jobs. I, for one, don’t want pay for state-funded educations, retirement, or health care either, because none of those functions belong to the state.
Liberals prefer not to be reminded that they achieve their goals by the threat of force (namely, imprisonment), but that’s the fist behind any government action. There’s nothing pleasant about it, no matter how pretty it looks and sounds on TV. It’s just a “boot stamping on a human face– forever,” to use Orwell’s memorable phrase. In other words, it’s a raw exercise of power by the Frankensteins in Washington. Render unto Caesar– or else.
Anyway, read Sobran’s witty article. It’ll do you good and maybe repair some brain cells if you’ve spent any time witnessing the endless fawning on TV this weekend.
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. -Proverbs 22:3
Many posts the last few months have been on economic and, by extension, political topics. This isn’t really typical for this blog, but the events of the last year have been game changers. I believe we have experienced a fundamental shift in this country. We have perhaps seen the end of Pax Americana. The worst is yet to come, because all indications are that Il Duce Barack’s worshippers will receive the shovels from King George’s men and widen the “borrow & spend” hole even faster.
The reason I’ve written about economics so much is that when the economy is fundamentally altered, everything will be altered with it: the church, political movements, social policy, the work force, our lifestyles, our neighborhoods, etc.
How will people react if our standard of living reverts to what it was in the 1970s? That may be a best-case scenario. What if it reverts to the WWII years? We could see the rationing of those years, but this time with the decaying remains of the boom years: vast swaths of vacant commercial real estate, abandoned cars, and neighborhoods filled with boarded-up homes.
If the dollar collapses, which is what the government’s policy of printing money and providing cheap credit is encouraging, we could see a return to subsistence living in a country where most citizens no longer know how to “live off the land.” Unlike in the WWII years, we have tens of millions of people who are (sinfully) living mainly off the declining assets of other citizens. Tens of millions more are receiving government money for everything from health care to retirement. What will happen when that money can’t buy anything? What will happen if there’s no food and no purchasing power to obtain it in the inner cities? Riots? Government confiscation of property and assets? Looting of the suburbs? What if cities cannot afford their police forces?
Men, this may be a good time to stock up on supplies and take the dust off that pistol or 12-gauge and relearn how to shoot it (as an aside, ammo and guns have been flying off the shelves, possibly because people expect the Democrats to find ways to achieve gun control via the back door of taxation and other regulation). Different perspectives will provide you with ideas for increased financial diversification. The mainstream financial industry mechanically tells us to buy and hold a mix of U.S. stocks, bonds, and cash, but what good will that do if the dollar collapses? “Safe” investments — fixed income, cash — aren’t safe any longer. I’m guessing the same is true of many annuities and pensions (those with government pensions will be safer, of course, since the government can borrow, spend, and extort from the private sector).
Whereas from my perch in IT I believed that the Y2K stuff was silly, I think today’s situation is decidedly different, and those who think this is nothing but Y2K-style fear-mongering are being foolish. There will always be those trying to make a buck or a name for themselves, and there will always be “black helicopter” crackpots, but the fiscal problems are real. Disregard both the right-wing talkers who defend the disastrous Bush administration and Obama’s idolaters. While we may see short-term rallies in the markets, we will have to pay our piper for the fiscal insanity.
That said, hopefully the posts on this blog over the past few months have not come across as fear-mongering. Fear not! (Ex. 14:13). In 100 years all of this stuff will just be evident to all as part of God’s plan, and there is no need to panic with our Lord in control. Instead I hope in some way these posts help you prepare for what may well be coming. I hope they will encourage you to observe and discern as events unfold. It’s good to keep our eyes on the effects of this.
I’ve yet to hear anyone (other than libertarians) mention the absurdity of Congressmen, who preside over the largest Ponzi schemes in world history, acting irate about Bernie Madoff. Bernard Madoff Investment Securities is a piker compared to the U.S. Government. In fact, Mr. Madoff’s adeptness at swindling is probably just what the Social Security Administration could use to improve its own shell game.
Who knows, maybe we’ll also see financial institutions who’ve long supported Planned Parenthood go belly-up, too. I’ve been wondering how long Chase and Bank of America have left on this mortal coil. Most banks are already bankrupt thanks to fractional reserve banking, but these two also appear to have lethal deriviative issues. But that’s a topic for the economists.
As an addendum to my last post, check out the helpful comments responding to this Baylyblog post. An excellent comment by a certain “Gary” caught my eye:
Keller here places himself above the rest of us who oppose abortion by accusing us of something we are not even doing so that he might appear to be more gracious and forgiving than the rest of us. I am leery of men who seem intent on making sure that they seem more gracious and nicer than others who are concerned about righteousness. [my emphasis] “If there were only just more people as gracious and merciful as I am.”
Was John wrong to call people vipers (Matt. 3:7)? Was Jesus wrong to call us evil (Matt. 7:11)? Apparently we can no longer refer to people as murderers, thieves, liars or adulterers either because certainly these are stronger terms than “scum”. The temptation perpetually is to coat ourselves with Teflon so that nothing that makes us “appear” to be harsh would stick to us. In the eyes of the world Jesus, the Prophets and Apostles were harsh men. May we be willing to be counted amongst them.
Well said, Gary. Why do I sometimes feel guilty and feel “like scum?” Because I am guilty and I am scum. Why do those who’ve murdered their children feel guilty and like scum? Because they are. What they’ve done is a big deal.
As fallen creatures, we sometimes feel improper guilt (e.g. about eating certain things). However, most of the time, isn’t guilt just our conscience’s response to our own sin? The world tells us to not feel guilty when we sin, but this is how one sears his own conscience. The denial of guilt is a denial of sin. Until we understand the depth of our sin and our guilt, how we can understand the magnitude of what Christ has done and the grace that He offers?
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. -Proverbs 27:6
My sister informed me that someone said this on Oprah today: “Being gay is a gift from God.”
Says who? Not the Bible.
American culture has imbibed this phony gospel of tolerance, which is really nothing but universalism in new packaging. It’s the belief that God will eventually save everyone and our responsibility to others is to be nice to them. Many evangelicals are influenced by this, telling us that God is love. True, but incomplete. They may go so far as to say sodomy isn’t natural, but we all have our struggles, and really, who are we to judge?
The answer is that we judge no one. God does. He has judged sodomy in His word. We just proclaim that judgment.
Our culture equates love with softness and hugs. Bluntness and solemn warnings are seen as hard and hurtful, and thus expressions of hatred. Love is soft, hate is hard. Even those who admit that sodomy is sin will often say that it just bothers them how “hateful” so many act. Press them and they’ll mutter about the late Jerry Falwell and those nutty folks from that tiny, uninfluential Kansas church who carry the “God hates fags” signs.
Certainly we should humbly acknowledge that we are foul sinners, and vary our methods maturely (Jude 1:24), but you simply can’t square with Scripture this idea that love is nothing but softness. When David says “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me,” is the shepherd using the rod to scratch the sheep’s back? Are the “faithful wounds” of a friend caresses? Much of the Old Testament involves God warning people of judgment. Jesus warns people over and over again, in quite brutal terms, of what will come of the unrepentant. The common pattern of preaching episodes in the Gospels and the Epistles was a warning of the judgment to come and a call for repentance, and then the hearers responding with shouts, stones, and clubs. The Apostles weren’t doing group hug seminars, but were they loving people by warning them? Of course they were!
Some Christians tell us that the Gospel needs to be our offense. That is, we shouldn’t offend people over “side issues.” Well, a more Biblical stance is to offend the world specifically in those areas (if they are indeed sins). That’s what Christ did. He didn’t talk about homosexuality with the Pharisees, but he did spend a lot of time attacking self-righteousness. Why? Because the Pharisees were guilty of that sin. Peter and Paul warned the Gentiles often against fornication. Why? Because that’s what they were tempted to do.
When we speak against sins the culture doesn’t get too upset about (bestiality and theft for example), but avoid cherished sins like sodomy, abortion, feminism, and unbiblical divorce, aren’t we just being fearful? Don’t we need to act like men and stop pretending like fearfulness is love?
Either we’re going to follow God’s way or we aren’t. As Ryle put it:
Holiness is the habit of agreeing with the mind with God, in accordance as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing with God’s judgment – hating what He hates, loving what He loves- and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. The person who most completely agrees with God is the one who is the most holy person.
The New Years Eve celebration at Times Square featured songs that you would expect such as “What a Wonderful World” and “New York, New York.” One song stood out, peculiarly played just before midnight. Perhaps they do so every year and I didn’t notice it. It’s a song you all know.
Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one