Politicaddiction


05 Mar 2016

People sure are apoplectic about Donald Trump.

On the one hand, you have conservative Christians repulsed by Trump’s ever-present boasting which we’ve seen since he became famous in the 1980s. He’s an adulterer, an opportunist, a demagogue, a flip-flopper blown about by political winds. He’s a crony capitalist who has supported liberals over and over again. He’s coarse, childish, and vindictive. He claims to be a serious Christian while being uncertain of whether he’s ever asked forgiveness. Someone tell the man to read 1 John 1 and Romans 3! Even Bill Clinton faked it better than that. Trump is so tone-deaf to Christian understanding that it makes me wonder if he’s ever contemplated a Christian sermon or a verse of Scripture. Is he so insulated among the jet set that his only exposure to a church is the occasional funeral or wedding at one of those big cathedrals where they have a beautiful choir and Mr. Milquetoast giving the homily?

On the other hand, you have the enmity of the Republican Party ‘establishment’ who are panicked about their power base. These are the people who look down on ‘flyover country.’ They know Trump is a threat to their power and influence. Make no mistake, Trump’s support is strongest among people who are thumbing their nose at this very establishment and its sponsors.

People like Trump’s verbal smackdowns of those they think have been in need of one for a long time. Trump’s shotgun blasts do occasionally put shrapnel in a deserving target, although my favorite moment was more inadvertently witty. That came when Trump defended banning incoming Muslims by saying that secular saint Franklin Roosevelt interned the Japanese… and we all love Franklin, don’t we? Well, no Donald, we don’t, but it was still amusing.

In the end, Trump supporters are tired of the same old political games. He has been the most flamboyant middle finger candidate in a generation. He’s coarse, but Dr. Johnson once noted that he knew someone who always talked bawdy at the dinner table because it was a language all could comprehend. Trump seems to instinctively understand this. This is a guy who’s been around the media for a long time. He’s had a hit TV show. I’m not convinced there isn’t some schtick involved here, as I’ve heard his private persona is different than the public one. To voters, if all politicos are corrupt, at least this guy has his own money and he’s been an entrepreneur… so how could he be any worse?

Honestly, I don’t know that Trump really is much worse than the usual Republican general election candidate, which is more of a comment on them than on Trump’s positive qualities. The GOP nominated Mitt Romney four years ago. Romney, who accused Trump this week of being a “phony,” is not childish like the Donald, but Mitt’s an ambitious career wind vane who makes Bob Dole seem principled by comparison. (I think Lew Rockwell is correct that Romney’s real desire is to find a way into the race, perhaps at the convention. Talk about tone deaf. Didn’t the Mittster see what happened to Jeb Bush? In past cycles, Bush would have been a significant candidate. He was a popular two-term governor of a large swing state. This time most people said “no thanks.” Why would they want Romney instead?)

Can Trump win? It’s a good question. He has legions of detractors and his cronyism makes it tough to attack many of Clinton’s shortcomings, but I think he puts states in play that his primary opponents probably do not. He’ll draw lower-class democrats who admire his success and populism. His brash style appeals even to minorities and can cut through the usual “racism” nonsense used in place of an argument by progressives and establishment hacks. He might be a tough out for the Democrats.

To his credit, Trump is liked by many who’ve know him, including employees. That’s more than can be said for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, for example. He seems to know how to cut deals and get along with others to some degree.

Not only that, Trump is the only candidate on either side advising some foreign restraint. He has rightly asked why we are trying to take on Russia. He’s questioned why we are so eager to start wars. I for one do not understand why so many Christians think we need to “make the sand glow” in the Middle East. How about we give Muslims the life-giving gospel of Jesus Christ instead? Most Christians would protest that they agree with that sentiment, but spurred on by Caesar’s courtiers they seem to think the Holy Spirit can’t overcome the Crescent as well as Caesar’s bombs and planes.

Donald Trump has been a successful entrepreneur. He’s industrious and he’s hired lots of people. Of course, he’s also used the “political means” (bribes, eminent domain, etc.), but there is legitimate industry there even if his whole “what jobs have you created?” criticism of other candidates is silly. He’s against the establishment and its sponsors on the main issue to his voters: unrestrained/illegal immigration. I have my doubts on whether he’s truly opposed, but he’s doing quite a job at playing it up.

In sum, I could never vote for Trump for the reasons noted at the top of the article as well as the fact that behind the carnival barker front he’s just more of the same, a promoter of a massive state. However, I understand the support for him. At times I’ve enjoyed watching him take on the establishment. I don’t think the Donald is worse than the typical establishment general election candidate in most ways, and in some ways he could be a marginal improvement. But… I’ll close with some things for Trump supporters to think about.

First, the egotistical allure of playing a tough-guy commander-in-chief in office could lead Trump into overseas adventures surpassing neocons like Bush, Rubio, and Kasich. In a time of unrest, such as after 911, Trump’s Mussolini-ish tendencies could be a little frightening.

Second, unbelievers have no rock to stand on and are blown about by changing winds (thankfully restrained by God- Proverbs 21:1). If Trump has enough popularity he’s like to turn on a dime and betray those who put him in office, especially since I think his real views more closely align to someone like Bill Clinton.

Third, will God bless such an unrepentant boaster?

Fourth, I think he will realign the establishment, with careers falling and others rising. But it seems like a “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” situation. An old skyscraper will be torn down and a new one built in its place. Different people, different building, same result. In other words, Trump has long been a crony capitalist and a respecter of persons, so does anyone really think his movement will replace the old system with a more righteous rule? I don’t.

22 Dec 2015

Here’s a quote from an interview yesterday with NPR where Barack Obama was asked about opposition:

If you are referring to… specific strains in the Republican party that… uh… suggest that somehow I’m different… I’m… Muslim… I’m disloyal to the country, etc…you know… Which, unfortunately, uhh, is pretty far out there and gets some traction, uh, in certain pockets of the Republican party, and that have been articulated by some of their elected officials. Uh, what I’d say there is that, uh, that’s probably pretty specific to, uh, me, and, uh, who I am and, uh, and my background, and that in some ways I may represent change that worries them.

We’ve heard this basic script many times before with the president. It’s interesting how thin-skinned he is. He talks in measured academic tones, with thoughtful uhhs, and there is an undercurrent of condescending offense that anyone could actually disagree with him. There is a touch of passive-aggressive ad hominem. He comforts himself that he’s dealing with simpletons harboring bad motives– most especially, racism.

Granted, anyone who reads news article comments on the internet will often see discussions conducted in bad faith, but that cuts all ways. It’s rare to see thoughtful, unapologetic, fair-minded arguments in lieu of the usual pointless brawls between “libtards” and “teabagger racists.” However, I think a less arrogant man than the president would disregard such chaff and act more charitably toward his opposition. Once you get past the insults, even some of the name-callers can articulate reasons for their disgust with his policies.

30 Dec 2011

Has anyone else noticed the latest drumbeat in the Republican presidential primary? All I’ve heard from the media for the last week or two is how it’s all over, Romney is sewing it up, Ron Paul can’t win the general election. What is obviously going on here is a Republican establishment that is alarmed at Ron Paul’s ongoing strength in Iowa. If they can’t head him off at the pass in Iowa, the drumbeat is aimed to create a headwind that will be extremely difficult to overcome in the ensuing states. The establishment want to stunt the momentum of a possible Ron Paul victory in Iowa. They are seeing to it that Romney will win.

I’m not saying that Ron Paul would otherwise win, as I think that is a long shot unless there is an economic collapse soon. It’s just an interesting case study in showing the power of the political establishment to change public opinion quickly. Even conservatives are falling in line behind Mitt “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose” Romney. They apparently prefer the U.S. empire and its endless wars.

I like Ron Paul and agree with nearly all of his positions. He’s the rare man of integrity in politics. However, he’s deficient as a communicator. I hope someone will come after him who will keep asking questions such as why the U.S. needs military bases in over 100 countries, why we as a country have killed way more foreigners in the last 10 years than any other country, why we are spending more on “defense” (“offense” is a more accurate term) than the rest of the world combined, etc.

20 Jan 2010

There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs to freedom. -Garet Garrett, 1954

I was at a children’s function a month or two ago at a Lutheran church (ELCA). During it, they did the Pledge of Allegiance. I didn’t join in.

Have you ever thought about the pledge? Joe Sobran once noted that the phrase many want to remove– “under God”– is the only good part of it. The Pledge was written by a 19th-century socialist. It speaks against secession (“indivisible”), which is something that the Founders saw as a necessary bulwark against Federal tyranny. Unlike the National Anthem, the pledge calls on us to… make a pledge. It’s not a binding oath in the sense that I will be prosecuted for disobeying it, but why would I want to say something I do not necessarily believe? Christians believe that kingdom of Christ supersedes the state. Why would a man leave a wayward denomination (where he may have once given membership vows) and yet pledge unqualified allegiance to his country?

I admire the soldiers who risk their lives overseas. However, the U.S. is broke. We need these kids here in America. We need them producing stuff instead of consuming resources. All government employees, soldiers included, are consuming resources. Peter Schiff once created an illustration to explain America’s interaction with foreigners since the end of World War II. Consider an island, he said, where a couple of foreigners and an American are stranded. One foreigner’s job is to gather the wood. Another creates the fire. Another obtains the food. They come to the American and ask what his job will be. His answer: He’ll eat the food.

Government employees are eating the food.

Military spending is a key contributor to what is likely to be more calamitous for this country: a currency crisis caused by overspending. Conservatives rail about government spending, and yet unflinchingly support massive military spending. This defeats the purpose. If even 20% of the populace denied legitimacy to 99% of federal spending (and that includes Medicare, social security, and war spending), I’m guessing that would be a huge problem for the legitimacy of the federal government. Things would change. Among those who should know better (including me a few years ago), the military is the best possible propaganda for federal legitimacy and overreach. People believe dubious claims that soldiers in, say, Iraq, are “fighting for our freedoms.” I don’t question our soldiers’ motives. I do question the government’s motives and the real effect of interventions like this.

The government isn’t “protecting our freedoms” overseas. They are ticking off people who do not want foreign troops in their country. Foreigners may strike back repulsively, but in the same way that you don’t flash jewels in a bad neighborhood and expect to come out unscathed, you shouldn’t blow things up in pagan lands.

Joe Sobran once quipped that the Constitution poses no threat to our current form of government. Other than setting terms of office, the Constitution has been a dead letter for generations. It isn’t even a small speed bump for Congress. The massive entitlements that are far and away the greatest financial threat to the country are all unconstitutional. Every war since World War II has been undeclared. The federal bureaucracy has over 14 million (the figure is probably much larger by now) employees and/or contractors. The Constitution hasn’t changed in the past 50 years, but federal spending has risen steeply. So much for “limited, constitutional government.” Were they still celebrating the republic in imperial Rome?

The older I get, the more I’m questioning “first things” when it comes to politics. Pundits debate who should run the Fed. Better to debate why the Fed should exist in the first place. People debate what the president is or is not doing. It’d be better if people were questioning whether the presidency itself is really a good idea.

The government wants us to believe that it protects our freedoms and rights. It’s easier to prove that government works to restrict our God-given rights. By spending our money and issuing regulations, they take our fields and redistribute them (c.f. 1 Sam 8:14). I think it was Milton Friedman who correctly noted that all government spending is taxation. Politicians are simply connected people who administer goodies to others for political and financial benefit. Congressmen parlay their connections into quite lucrative careers after leaving office, in areas like banking and lobbying that benefit lavishly from political connections.

One way to consider fighting back against the government is to stop, as much as legally possible, feeding it. Stop buying its bonds, use Fedex instead of the post office, don’t join the military, avoid funding public schools as much as possible, etc. Stop feeding into the legitimacy of the current American state as if it is run by anything other than corrupt power-mongers. Don’t buy the lie that a Republican takeover is the answer.

Yes, I know, we live in a fallen world. However, the Bible doesn’t get sentimental about Rome. Paul used his prerogatives as a Roman citizen, but his letters are bereft of state worship. Jesus steered clear of Judean politics. He and John the Baptist knew who Herod was.

Maybe Christians should take a hint from this.

24 Dec 2009

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. -Luke 2:8

“How They See It: People Who Matter on What Matters Most.” So says the cover of the current issue of Newsweek. Pictured are Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton, Tim Geithner, Eric Holder, etc. In other words, the people who matter are politicians and bureaucrats, the white-collar parasites who work with politically-connected elites to feed lavishly off wealth created by productive people in all countries. Yes, it’s the rich and powerful who matter.

The wealthy didn’t see the glory of the Lord the night described in Luke 2, however. Shepherds did. How many untold saints have wished to see what those blessed shepherds saw?

That’s how the Lord works. Local events change the world. They don’t usually occur in Herod’s palace, but instead among those who don’t “matter.” Years and years of tedium, and then boom, a surprise. The church was built and maintained by people who don’t matter to those who worship at the altar of this perishing world.

Malcolm Muggeridge was in Russia during perhaps its most vicious era in the early 1930s. Encompassed by Stalinist oppression and starvation, which has few parallels in human history, this was his impression:

It just suddenly seemed to me that Russia was a beautiful place– these pine trees, dark against the snow which had now begun to fall, the sparkling stars so far, far away, the faces of the Russians I met and greeted, these also so beautiful, so clumsy and kind… In the woods there was a little church, of course disused now. The fronts of such churches, like the Greek ones, are painted with bright colours; blues bluer than the bluest sky, whites whiter than the whitest snow. Someone — heaven knows who — had painted up the one in the Kliasma woods. Standing in front of this unknown painter’s handiwork, I blessed his name, feeling that I belonged to the little disused church he had embellished, and that the Kremlin with its scarlet flag and dark towers and golden spires was an alien kingdom. A kingdom of power such as the Devil had in his gift, and offered to Christ, to be declined by him in favour of the kingdom of love. I, too, must decline it, and live in the kingdom of love. This was another moment of perfect clarification, when everything fitted together in sublime symmetry; when I saw clearly the light and the darkness, freedom and servitude, the bright vistas of eternity and the prison bars of time. I went racing back over the snow to K[itty, his wife], breathing in the dry icy air in great gulps of thankfulness.

This is what our Lord offers. Not the compromised wishes and power trips of thieving politicians, but the “brights vistas of eternity” in His glorious presence.

Merry Christmas!

06 Oct 2009

I’m not a fan of George Will, but he has hit on what seems to be Barack Obama’s defining trait: arrogance.

Will also hits on the tiresome political-speak, a feature of every presidency of my lifetime. It’s a reminder of what Orwell said in Politics and the English Language:

[Political p]rose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.

31 Mar 2009

Samuel Johnson once wondered, “How is it we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?” Along those lines, I wonder: How is it we hear the loudest yelps for separation of church and state among those who speak of the state in messianic terms?

21 Jan 2009

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.

23 Dec 2008

Much ink has been spilled about Rick Warren and Barack Obama. Warren is trying as usual to play both sides of the aisle, none too successfully at the moment. I’m not sure if this all about grandstanding and self-promotion, or if Warren actually believes he shows “love” by cozying up to the world.

Worldliness is the only defining characteristic of modern evangelicalism. Isn’t it within all of our hearts to only show areas where we “relate” to unbelievers (I like the same TV shows as you!) and silence our own witness? I’m a chief offender. We’re all man-pleasers now.

Of course, Rick Warren is a pastor with a big platform. He’s using that platform very poorly, but that’s exactly how he hit the bigtime. The whole Purpose-Driven movement is based on Arminian theology, minimizing the offensive Gospel message, franchising the church, providing entertainment instead of the means of grace, encouraging pastors to be CEOs instead of shepherds, watering down the prophetic witness against the most cherished evils of the age (sodomy, abortion) in favor of things popular with the press and Hollywood (environmentalism, AIDS relief, other big government programs), and providing non-Christians with purpose that doesn’t include repentance and the cross. In other words, there’s almost nothing Biblical about it. Warren offers a unity of works — the same thing the early mainline church liberals attempted — rather than Gospel unity.

Rick Warren is no Nathan and Barack Obama is no King David. In Obama, Warren has found a fellow man-pleaser, except that based on his words Obama’s own religion is functionally modern Unitarianism (or moralistic therapeutic deism or Christianity and water, whatever you prefer to call it… it’s all the same wishful thinking.)

Conservatives like to remind liberals that Obama does not support gay marriage, but conservatives must know that this is a nominal position based on political consideration. It’s hard to imagine Barack Obama in front of a hostile crowd defending his position, or trying to convince hecklers to reconsider. This position will be quietly dropped once polls allow.

29 Nov 2008

How about this hard-hitter?

The Obamas represent a welcome change as an openly affectionate and romantic couple for many Americans. Some experts say that the soon-to-be first couple embody the ideal healthy relationship, and that they can stir up love around the country. The New York Daily News even predicted a baby boom attributed to election night friskiness inspired by the Obamas.

“Michelle and Barack are so obviously in love it’s actually helping me to believe in love again,” Washington, 25, wrote on her blog.

“Not only does [Barack Obama] love his wife, he respects her,” said Hendricks. “The model of harmony, shared humor and easy communication that the Obamas reveal really is a new model — if ordinary citizens practiced this each day, our world would transform very quickly in positive directions.”

20 Nov 2008

As I said in a recent post, let a thousand puff pieces bloom now that Mr. Obama will soon ascend to the imperial throne. Here is just one example of such puffery. How about that opening line:

Many women recoil at the thought of baring their arms in sleeveless dresses or blouses, but not Michelle Obama — half of the fabulously fit new first couple.

A writer with time on his hands may want to create a compendium of such pieces chronicling the beauties and the deep thoughts of the president-elect and his wife. The perfect storm has arrived for the most courtier-like press coverage in history: a very liberal and attractive candidate, a milestone presidency given American fixation on race, and the disappointment of the Clinton years. The press had such high hopes for the Clintons, who of course played up the association to JFK. Does anyone remember president-elect Clinton walking through Arlington Cemetery and then ostentatiously kneeling in prayer at Kennedy’s grave? Or the Clinton-Gore tour of Monticello? These were moments worthy of Swift. Alas, the Clintons turned out to be the same shady characters they were in Arkansas, and the dream died.

There’s such pent-up liberal desire for a new Camelot; never mind that the first one was a fraud. The mainstream press thinks itself so sophisticated, but, shorn of religious belief, my theory is that much of it awaits a prince in which to believe. And now the god to the godless has arrived on stage, and they rapturously rise to applaud.

05 Nov 2008

Oh look, they are ringing the bells. They shall soon be wringing their hands. -attributed to Sir Robert Walpole

Tonight’s only consolation is that we’ll never see a President McCain.

Sarah Palin, despite her initial stunning entrance onto the scene, turned out to be not much more interesting than, well, Barack Obama. Deborah she definitely wasn’t. She turned out to be a vaguely “Christian feminist” (an oxymoron) and just another dull shill for the McCain campaign; perhaps she was just reading the script presented to her. The laughably biased mainstream media shot her down, but she didn’t help her own case much by showing any ability to engage the opposition.

Barack Obama will be an awful president. His votes and his philosophy are both evil by Biblical standards. Nothing in the last year has changed my opinion of him as an empty-suit power-seeker and basically a bad man. He’s about as intellectually interesting as a piece of cardboard. Like JFK, he’s the kind of slick, hollow man who liberals periodically elevate to the status of Secular Messiah.

Let the curtains go up on Camelot II. Journalists, sit down at your keyboards and let a thousand puff pieces bloom.

Like Nero, FDR, Caligula, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, Barack Obama is who God has apparently ordained to lead. We see God’s providential will in the rearview mirror. But we see His future will too. He will still break the nations with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces (Ps 2). He is with us though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea (Ps 46). The gates of Hell will not prevail against His church.

In the light of eternity, this election is a blip.

31 Oct 2008

There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man’s needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means. The primitive exercise of the political means was, as we have seen, by conquest, confiscation, expropriation, and the introduction of a slave economy… The feudal State, and the merchant-State…. are merely higher integrations of the primitive State. The State… is the organization of the political means. Now since man tends always to satisfy his needs and desires with the least possible exertion, he will employ the political means whenever he can… He will… have recourse to the State’s modern apparatus of exploitation; the apparatus of tariffs, concessions, rent-monopoly, and the like. -Nock, Our Enemy the State, ch.2, p.58-59

Recently I left the world of IT to start a business venture, so Joe the Plumber gave me a good laugh. One of the great things about my business venture is that I’ve left the white-collar world of IT and now I’m interfacing more with guys who paint, who install stuff, who provide various services. They are industrious, skilled people who are out serving others, whether they know it or not. Starting a business is incredibly hard, but working with these folks is fun.

Plumber Joe threw a far more damaging punch to Obama’s gut than anything Humpty McCain and all his high-powered advisors have managed. Exactly why should a man invest years of savings, work very long days, employ others, and provide useful services to society, then be punished for this by having his money forcibly extracted to give to others who have not done these things? Why do we provide bad incentives? It is nothing but immorality and outright thievery; there’s no gun and no mask, but it’s a stick-up all the same.

What percentage of regulation-happy bureaucrats and politicians have ever run a business or provided a useful service via their vocation, yet are ready and willing to create burdens for those who do? They sit in their office with their aides and decide who is making more than they deserve and try to punish them accordingly. They redistribute other people’s money in exchange for power. It is appalling that these folks who’ve never had a real job themselves and who I wouldn’t hire in my business always think they can regulate my business better than I can. They’re leeches.

Similarly, attorneys who add ridiculous costs and regulations on society to enrich themselves. I can’t even begin to describe the areas in a business where there aren’t burdensome costs where the stench of past trials is very clear. You can’t even interview someone without tiptoeing through the landmine of potential lawsuits. Another example is what an insurance agent told me about worker’s comp: someone gets “hurt” on the job, they call the lawyer they see on TV, then the claim instantly jumps from, say, $1,000 to $20,000. And the end result is that the attorney gets the bulk of the money and everyone’s premiums go up. And of course, that gets passed on to consumers. Winner: the attorney. Losers: everyone else.

We really need fewer leeches. How do you know if you’re a leech? Well, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you are doing something that no one would voluntarily pay you or your employer to do?
  2. Are you doing something that the vast majority of sensible people resent (e.g. personal injury attorneys and union bosses)?
  3. Would you be more helpful to society if you were paid not to work?

If you answered yes to any of these, you’re leeching, and I think Joe the Plumber would agree: go get a real job!

25 Oct 2008

OK, it’s not over yet, and John Milhous McCain may still win, but if he loses he need look no further than to the week the financial blowup occurred. These bailouts are the federal government’s way of propping up artificially high housing prices, bad debt, and connected friends and associates at insolvent banks. Most of all, they are an attempt to pump life support into a system that is geared toward protecting the ongoing financial irresponsibility of the federal government.

If the race had a real fiscal conservative (e.g. Ron Paul) who flatly opposed these ongoing bailouts from the beginning, I believe that guy would be well ahead right now. Instead, McCain played the consummate insider and went to D.C. He couldn’t do otherwise; it’s just not who he is.

Despite being a self-proclaimed “maverick,” McCain, like George W. Bush, Dole, Ford, and Nixon before him, is an establishment Republican. It’s no surprise that his hero is Teddy Roosevelt. McCain’s “maverick” status was mostly built on taking liberal stands on environmental and economic issues. Anyone remember his silly campaign finance reform bill that liberals (and George W. Bush) were only too happy to support? How about his support for Kyoto? How about the prescription drug boondoggle he trumpeted a few years ago (also supported by W)? Yes, John the Maverick is against some earmarks and pork, but this is a drop in the bucket compared to, say, his prescription drug plan or the 300 billion he recently promised to back up bad mortgage debt. He rarely mentions the largest Ponzi scheme in world history, America’s social security system, which is where any serious reform needs to start (along with abolishing the central bank). McCain spends dollars while fighting to save pennies.

McCain’s “conservatism” was pegged long ago by R.L. Dabney:

Its history is that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at least in the innovation. It is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward to perdition.

The sad part is that as bad as McCain is on economic matters, Obama would be even worse. That’s saying something.

06 Oct 2008

Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin the following questions recently:

Couric: If a 15-year-old is raped by her father, do you believe it should be illegal for her to get an abortion, and why?

Couric: But ideally, you think it should be illegal for a girl who was raped or the victim of incest to get an abortion?

Couric: Some people [read: people like Katie Couric] have credited the morning-after pill for decreasing the number of abortions. How do you feel about the morning-after pill? … And so you don’t believe in the morning-after pill? [horrors!] … I’m sorry, I just want to ask you again. Do you not support or do you condone or condemn the morning-after pill?

The answers to these aren’t tough, but we all know that the point is to the offend the sensibilities of the moderates who’ll swing the election. One wonders if Katie Couric will ask her preferred candidates similarly tendentious questions. Here are a few suggestions off the top of my head:

Mr. Biden, some people think that all forms of abortion are vicious killings. Let me explain a few of the procedures and I’d like you to tell us in each case why you think it’s both good and right to support them and even take money from the people who perform them. Let’s start with the most common procedure (and I have a few pictures here)…

Pro-lifers argue that the child is alive, and with ultrasound that’s pretty much beyond a reasonable doubt even to the ignorant that we’re dealing with a baby. How can you allow someone to destroy a child? Doesn’t that innocent child have rights?

If the government doesn’t exist to protect life and liberty, what’s the point of it?

No, extremism only runs one way. You say you support a woman’s right to murder her offspring? Nothing extreme about that. No biggie. You get a 100% rating from NARAL— straight A’s? That’s not extreme or unbalanced. You’re a family man and you look good on TV. You speak at events like this held by the nation’s largest abortion mill operator, and you speak approvingly of new clinics? Hm, well, it seems like you’re more than a reluctant supporter, but hey, it’s all in moderation and extremists don’t wear nice suits anyway. Oh, you take money directly from abortionists? Well, nothing to see here either. Move along.

09 Aug 2008

Tim Bayly’s latest writeup on Barack Obama’s appeal to “moderate” evangelicals reminded me of a few choice Sobran quotes from 1996:

Liberalism wants us to “set aside our differences,” as if our differences don’t really matter as much as the things on which we can all agree with liberalism itself. You can almost define a liberal as one who demands that others reach his conclusions from their premises. -1/4/96 column

[O]n issues as contentious as abortion, there is no “middle.” When you try to find one there, you only make both sides distrust you, because both sides agree on one thing: that there are principles at stake. Faced with clashing principles, [Bob] Dole chooses neither. …When Mr. Dole compromises, he gains nothing for his side, if he can be said to have a side. He merely gets the Democrats to settle for three-quarters of a loaf, in exchange for giving him part of the credit. -7/23/96 column

I don’t know if Obama’s schtick is cynical demagoguery (see Clinton, Bill) or simple inanity. “Common ground,” in his parlance, is just another word for pro-life surrender. Oh, you’re free to carp on the sidelines, but don’t even think about running out on the field with your helmet on. The game’s over. The Supreme Court told us that years ago when they ushered us out of the Dark Ages.

The life issue is pretty much binary: dead baby or live baby. How are you going to find common ground or compromise on abortion? Saw kids in half, maybe? That’s no worse than what’s being done now. Or maybe allow half of those intended for the slaughter to live and half to die? As morally odious as that sounds — it’s like an old Star Trek morality play! — it would represent the kind of “three-quarters of a loaf” success the pro-life movement hasn’t achieved in my lifetime. I’m not pushing it as feasible or moral, but just noting that even such a repugnant idea as this would actually represent an improvement on the current situation.

It’s not the type of compromise the Left would ever entertain anyway. No, the machinery of death will continue to run. On that there will be no compromise. Amid the soaring rhetoric about healing, the abortion mills will faithfully grind, day after day. NARAL and Planned Parenthood will continue to cut their checks to politicians like Obama to keep their blood money safe. Parents will continue to murder their offspring with the indispensable help of this support infrastructure.

Good-faith compromisers on the pro-life side will just have to settle for getting the credit for seeking “common ground.”

11 Jun 2008

Stories like this continue to surface stating that young evangelicals are peeling away from conservatism. It’s hard to tell how big of a movement this will be until the election (our liberal media has long indulged in wishful thinking in such matters), but it bears watching.

The reason given by these young evangelicals is that they aren’t “single issue” voters. They’re pro-life, but they also believe in “social justice.” What is social justice? Well, it’s pop-culture speak for the use of taxpayer money to “fight” poverty and AIDS, to “protect” the environment, etc. In other words, it’s the same old, tired liberalism. (To digress, I’m convinced that popular culture inculcates this propaganda more effectively than the usual suspects in the mainstream news media. It’s the subtle, liberal premise on MTV, VH-1, afternoon talk shows, movies, and Comedy Central that, with endless repetition over a period of years, work its magic on minds already untethered by discernment. This, along with churches no longer preaching the whole counsel of God and discipling the sheep, is what has led to the rapid acceptance of sodomy over the last 20 years. The shift in even the last 10 years has been incredible. What a damning lack of love we show by acting as if this is cultural advancement.)

I’m not a single-issue voter, either. I won’t vote for someone who is pro-abortion, but the role of government and the rule of law is also critically important. There’s a reason why a government that historically saw its main goal as providing for the common defense now regulates (via the EPA) the gallons-per-flush for your toilet. That particular power wasn’t enumerated in the constitution, but it didn’t come from nowhere either. It was an accretion on prior interventions in the market. Similarly, government funding of Planned Parenthood didn’t come out of the blue either. It was another layer of plaque buildup on top of prior unconstitutional prerogatives assumed by our government. If we get to the point in this country reached by a few European countries where it’s a “hate crime” to speak the whole counsel of God in matters of sexuality, you can be sure that that won’t come from nowhere either. It will follow other “plausible” and “sensible” government meddling in related matters.

Henry Hazlitt, whose Economics in One Lesson should be read by all, noted:

This is the persistent tendency of men to see only the immediate effects of a given policy, or its effects only on a special group, and to neglect to inquire what the long-run effects of that policy will be not only on that special group but on all groups. It is the fallacy of overlooking secondary consequences.

That about says it all for liberalism. My late father defined a liberal as “someone who likes to spend someone else’s money.” Well, another definition might be: “Someone who always — always — overlooks secondary consequences.” (In Ohio now, we have a group pushing a ballot issue to force businesses with more than 25 employees to provide seven mandatory sick days. Now isn’t that a fine prescription for making Ohio, already one of the worst business climates in the country, more competitive, especially in this era of expanding inflation and high gas prices? Pity our small business owners.)

Here’s what I say to young, wavering evangelicals:

  • Barack Obama is another in a long line of empty-suit, vote-buying demagogues peddling phony hope for power. (McCain is a vote-buying demagogue too, but that’s a matter for another time.)
  • If you think abortion a negotiable issue — should a mother be allowed to kill her offspring? — then examine your heart. You’re out of line with what the church has always believed.
  • Liberal social justice is a violation of the eighth commandment. Sure, you spend a few trillion and you’re going to manage to help someone. But who’s really benefiting from it? Politicians, lawyers, and special interests, that’s who. And who’s paying the price? Taxpayers, the poor people who live around bums, drunks, and crackheads, and the bums, drunks, and crackheads themselves. African missionaries like David Wegener and my pastor can tell you the effects of foreign aid in Africa. A better answer is the exact opposite of what the social justice movement offers, namely property rights, the replacement of public “safety nets” that enable bad behavior with private charity, the return of vagrancy laws, discouragement of sodomy instead of handing out rubbers (Planned-Parenthood style), and, most of all, the gospel of Christ. The abortion movement is flat-out evil; liberal social justice is flat-out stupid and counterproductive (and that’s a charitable take).
  • Liberal social justice (and that includes the environmental movement) is an enemy of freedom. Value your freedom to live and worship. The government already takes half of our income on average, and there is some truth in the idea that every dollar spent by government is a dollar of our freedom. That’s one reason why, for example, many families don’t feel they can afford to have mom at home, because politicians in Washington — especially the ones who prattle on about “working families” — think they know how to spend our money better than we can. This arrogant attitude is well demonstrated by a U.S. senator in favor of a 1990s tax hike who said something to the effect of “well, if we don’t do it, people will just go out and buy more VCRs and TVs.”
  • The Christianized version of liberal social justice offered by the Rick Warrens isn’t a new reformation of Christianity; it’s the same candy-coated spirituality offered by the social gospel movements of the 19th and 20th centuries that decimated the mainline churches.
05 Apr 2008

To paraphrase Tim Bayly, have we all gone mad? What’s up with this whole green movement? Mercy.

“Eco-friendly” is the latest triviality engaging the world. A Google news search on “environment” yields 182,000 hits. “Green” yields over 200,000 (granted, a few of these aren’t about the environment, but most are). By comparison, “Jesus” yields 29,000 hits.

Yes, there’s always More We Can Do to save the planet. Another light bulb to buy, another letter-writing campaign, another statement to sign, another politician to elect (after all, the green tree has red roots).

I’m all for stewardship, but enough with the idiot hopes and idiot despair. It makes me want to go out and buy some styrofoam.

04 Apr 2008

And they will say to you, Look, there! or Look, here! Do not go out or follow them. -Luke 17:23

You know, occasionally a blog comes along bringing satire that is almost inspiring. A friend sent this along. Don’t miss the conversion stories to the right.

10 Mar 2008

If you hear a man talking overmuch of brotherly love and that sort of thing– I do not mean the hypocrite, but the sincere humanitarian…you are pretty sure that here is a man who will be slippery or dishonourable in his personal transactions. I do not say that there are no exceptions; but the “reformer” is a type well known. -Paul Elmer More

Hard times have fallen upon one of the most sanctimonious and obnoxious activist politicians in living memory, Eliot Spitzer. And because of it all, he missed this. Too bad.

We can pray that Mr. Spitzer will seek the living God who forgives the wretch.

29 Feb 2008

Tonight, watching a ballgame four days before the Ohio primary, we saw, conservatively, 500 Obama ads.

Barack Obama’s words are as uplifting as cardboard and not nearly as useful. Behind the platitudes lurks doctrinaire liberalism, but who really cares nowadays? To quote Frank Morgan, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

Good satire is corrective. The Dilbert mission statement generator is great satire. Unclear words are tacked together into a deep-sounding, meaningless whole. Just like your average corporate mission statement. Perhaps someone will come up with an Uplifting Barack Obama Speech Generator. It would spit out quotes like: “Let us hope in the faith that speaks to the dreams that all Americans, from all walks of life, can believe in.” Put an emphasis on “all.” For this, friends, is the audacity of hope.

Obama’s incoherent use of clear Biblical terminology isn’t accidental. When you deny the real thing, the wispy counterfeits march in.

08 Feb 2008

Our stereotyped image of dictatorship is one-man rule. A single man (usually recognized by his funny mustache) somehow imposes his will on an entire population, who endure his autocracy in fearful silence. In truth, successful dictators are usually very popular. Their regimes are distinguished not by silence but by roaring crowds and festive rallies… Tyranny requires more than suppression. It has to make as many people as possible dependent on the regime for jobs and other benefits. -Joseph Sobran

26 Jan 2008

I rarely post articles like this, but this one on Canada (pdf also available) is witty and revealing.

And while we’re on the political topic, the WSJ tells us about the “Green Patriarch,” who evidently believes that pagan politicians are the seed of the church (ht: Touchstone).

05 Jan 2008

Political analyst Dick Morris tells us this about Mike Huckabee:

A New Testament Christian politician, he takes the Biblical message to the center-left, clothing the naked and feeding the hungry.

That’s a lot of falsehood for one sentence. In it we see intimations of the ancient and persistent Marcionite heresy about the Old Testament “bad” God versus the New Testament “good” God. And we see the modern notion, so beloved of politicians, that equates compassion with spending money taken involuntarily from other people’s wallets.

Yecch.

01 Jan 2008

As Chrsitians, we believe that God has revealed Himself in His word. The Bible is a revelation of what we need to know. It doesn’t tell us everything about everything, but it tells us, in the words of the Westminster Confession, “the whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life.” God created and God expects us to do what the Holy Spirit has revealed to us in the Bible (for example: repent and believe in the Gospel).

Therefore, picking and choosing what you want to believe from Scripture is obviously absurd. Why not just choose nothing and be done with it? It makes a mockery of revelation. It makes a mockery of the Holy Spirit speaking to us through the Scripture. Similarly, we should reject Hippie Jesus, Feminist Jesus, Global Warming Jesus, and the like. These are the fraudulent concoctions of false teachers. That the Scripture is silent about such nonsense is shown in that no one in the history of the church believed this stuff until the last century. If we believe that the Gates of Hell will not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18), then we believe that it has not prevailed against it either. If politics and social matters were really the content of what mattered to God, you’d think that the Holy Spirit would have revealed this to our forefathers.

So, no to tired political journeys, no to Christianity and water, including the kind offered by the church growth movement, and no to mysticism (aka. direct, and usually contra-Biblical, revelation). Take the Bible for what it is. Take our Lord for who He is as revealed in His word. It’s the only serious thing to do.

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