I’ve been listening to a great set of sermons by Greg Boys. I’d be very interested in hearing what your regulars thoughts are on the idea that politics and government have nothing to do with Jesus, and that nations and worldly power are the exact opposite of God’s approach. Greg contrasts the Kingdom of the World with the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of the World is about “power over.” Those who have the sword decide, and the aim is to gain the sword. Jesus introduced the idea of the Kingdom of God being a “power under” approach. Serve to enact change, humble yourself to enact change, even go so far as to die to enact change.
So now we have this political debate raging about who is on God’s side, and WWJD in an election, with all kinds of people (your regulars very much included – and I have done this mistakenly many times as well) claiming a “Christian” approach. But a simple look at the history of the church shows that any combination of the church with politics is the death nell of the church remaining the instrument of the Kingdom of God on earth. As soon as Constantine made Christianity the state religion, the church atrophied. Because Constantine changed the equation to power over from power under, and despite the fact that it was now Christians who had the sword and could enact righteous laws that God would like, they were abandoning the approach Jesus invented. And the Kingdom of God does not advance with power over.
I agree with this assessment; I’d be perfectly comfortable voting libertarian even if I thought the question of for whom one voted was a matter of life or death, but I don’t believe that it is. I think the notion of those who believe that God wants an individual to vote for any specific candidate for President is massively mistaken, and approaches rather closer to blasphemy than I generally like to tread now that I am a Christian.
God does not often engage in idle and helpless wishing. He demands, and His concerns are beyond our understanding. Meshing Church and State has always worked to the advantage of the latter and the detriment of the former. It’s a pity that so many Christian conservatives don’t recognize that picking up the favored weapon of the enemy is inherently corrupting.
KLO notes something highly significant:
Andy McCarthy is reading through the 120-page Patriot Act ruling (on one provision of!) that came down yesterday. He highlights this classic passage–for Black Robes’ Greatest Hits: “Personal freedoms, on the other hand, are far more unique. As individualized by constitutional ideals to embody our sense of human dignity, decency, and fair play, they attach to each individual by promise of the very government which creates those basic rights and is charged to protect them, and upon whose faithful adherence to their underlying principles and aims their enduring enjoyment depends.”
Government, Creator, whatever….
Disturbingly, the Fraters Libertas are more than a little excited about a 100-year old woman:
Emma Torkelson, 100 year old resident of the Broen Memorial Home in Fergus Falls, MN registered to vote for the first time in her life on Friday Sept. 24, 2004. Wayne Stein, Otter Tail County Auditor was on hand to receive her registration application and also her absentee ballot request form. Mr. Stein had no recollection of there being any older first time registers in Otter Tail County history. State Representative Bud Nornes also paid a visit to congratulate her. Emma’s absentee ballot will arrive in the mail in October, and her family will be there to share the experience with her when she casts her first vote – for George W. Bush….
Emma states she’s not ever been “a politician” but the president’s stance on abortion and the marriage amendment have made her want her to vote this year. Her parents were life long Democrats, and she figured she always was one too. They both voted, and she can’t say why she never did. When asked if she’ll vote again in four years she stated “I suppose I will, if I am still living.”
I’m just wondering how the news that big government Republicans are beginning to appeal to lifelong Democrats should be seen as a positive development by the conservative Republicans that make up the core of the party. Sure, Mrs. Torkelson is sound on abortion, and I applaud that, but I still see this sort of thing as more of an indication that the Republican party is moving to the left than one that the nation is warming to the apparently outdated Republican concepts of freedom and liberty.
This blast from the past seems appropriate:
One of the easiest ways to dismiss something out of hand is to label it conspiracy theory. Although the word “conspiracy” simply refers to the act of joining together in secret agreement to do a wrongful act, tacking it on as an adjective somehow evokes images of unfounded fears and even paranoia.
But is it reasonable to believe that there are truly none who wish to do wrong, or to think that if such men exist, they will always be foolish enough to declare their intentions openly?
History speaks eloquently on the subject. In the 1,129 years of the great Byzantine empire, the average reign of an emperor was 12 years. This is a bit longer than the eight years we now allow our president, but is rather short considering that the Byzantine position ostensibly offered supreme power and lifetime tenure. But if it wasn’t unheard of for a ruler of Constantinople to die peacefully in his bed, it was also not the norm.
For example, in the 135 years following Maurice’s peaceful succession of Tiberius Constantine, seven of the empire’s 12 rulers saw their reigns end in assassination or execution. Of the five who were not slain outright, two were deposed, and one, Constantine IV, was only able to keep his throne by mutilating his two fraternal rivals….
Has anything changed today? On the surface, the answer is certainly yes. But is it truly reasonable to think that human nature has changed much over the 549 years that separate us from the last days of Byzantium? I submit not, especially considering that we are closer to the 11th Constantine, Dragatses, than was the first Justinian to Julius Caesar. Nor can democracy be considered some kind of magic antidote, as the subsequent careers of successful politicians such as Alcibiades and Adolph Hitler inform us.
But where does that leave us, then, if the leopards have not changed their spots, but remain undetected despite stakes that would take Caesar’s breath away? The Marxian theory of history has been thoroughly discredited. The Great Man theory cannot explain the dichotomy between the proven conspiracies of yore and their seeming absence today. The Accident theory is a vapid ontological argument. Only the much-belittled conspiracy theory of history, which stubbornly insists that events are not always as they appear on the surface, holds together in this light when examined in a historical and logical manner.
David Hackworth reminds us of the Jessica Lynch fiction:
Lynch, it turns out, wasn’t wounded in action, she was badly banged up in a vehicle accident, which occurred while she and her mates were trying to escape a guerrilla ambush. She not only never fought with her rifle and trench knife as the Pentagon had leaked, she never even got off a shot – because she was out cold from the time of the collision until she woke up in the hospital, where the Iraqi docs couldn’t wait to transfer their well-cared for but terrified patient to Special Ops control….
Lynch garnered a Bronze Star for her “heroics,” the Purple Heart for “wounds received in action,” a mega-buck book deal – and millions of proud Americans got to view her “gallantry and sacrifice” in an NBC TV docudrama. To keep the press bamboozled, she was locked up under tight control in Army hospitals with a convenient bout of amnesia. In its micro way, the Lynch scam symbolizes the miasma of deception surrounding the invasion and the ugly unsolvable occupation already causing the direst consequences to our national security.
Not only was the WMD claim erroneous, but it is now looking increasingly likely that Saddam Hussein did not gas the Kurds in 1988 as has widely been reported. The fact that the reported fatalities range from 80,000 to 300,000 should probably have been the first clue that something was wrong; Jude Wanniski suggests: “start with Stephen Pelletiere, the CIA’s top analyst covering this period. Give him a call or send him an e-mail. He will be happy to talk to you. You can then call Pat Lang of the DIA, who will back up Pelletiere. They will explain to you that there was no genocide at Halabja.”
Remember, the government is almost pathologically willing to lie. It has lied repeatedly and poorly about Lynch, TWA 800, Waco, OK City, Ron Brown and Vince Foster, and the chances are very high that it is lying some significant manner about Iraq, 9/11 and everything from mohair subsidies to milk-price supports.
Saint Paul takes no small pleasure:
It appears the chill wind has blown through Brian Lambert’s cubicle at the Pioneer Press. Some months ago we were alerted to the pending “reassignment” of the entrenched veteran entertainment columnist. I now point you to the archive of his recent work.
It’s all over. His sneering, partisan voice, hectoring us from what should have been a non-political beat has been silenced once and for all. And that silence is golden for conservatives all over town.
The Silence of the Lambert. Not bad, not bad at all. That’s one thing I very much like about the Fraters… they’re about the only guys I’ve run across in the media with the same open disdain for fake bonhomie that I have.
Peter Robinson writes on NRO’s Corner
The nation has experienced four wartime presidential elections in which a candidate who was, broadly speaking, anti-war challenged a candidate who was, by contrast, pro-war. In brief:
During the War of 1812, Governor De Witt Clinton of New York attempted to unseat President James Madison, who was running for a second term. Whereas Clinton and his supporters derided the conflict as “Mr. Madison’s war,” Madison insisted instead that the war had proven “just and necessary.”
In 1864, General George McClellan attempted to deny President Abraham Lincoln a second term, accepting the nomination of a Democratic Party that denounced the Civil War as “four years of failure.” Although McClellan argued for a continuation of the war, he attempted to have the issue both ways, making it clear that he remained open to some form of negotiated peace. Lincoln insisted instead on outright victory.
In 1968, Hubert Humphrey proved increasingly critical of the war in Vietnam as election day approached. By contrast, Richard Nixon remained committed to the defense of South Vietnam.
In 1972, George McGovern proved unambiguously dovish, calling for an withdrawal from Vietnam, while Richard Nixon remained, once again, committed to American war aims.
It’s pretty clear that given the choice between war and peace, Americans, like most people throughout history, will choose war. The wisdom of this is a matter for another debate, but the logical conclusion is hard to escape. Bush is a pro-war President, ergo he will win. You can’t out-martial the Commander-in-Chief, it’s just not possible.
Thanks to Christian, you can now link to posts here without having to load an entire month’s worth of archives, which I’m told can be considerable. If you click on one of the dates, you’ll see what I mean. FYI, just in case you’re interested.
Tribe’s mea culpa comes just three weeks after another prominent Harvard faculty member—Climenko Professor of Law Charles J. Ogletree—publicly apologized for copying six paragraphs almost word-for-word from a Yale scholar in a recent book, All Deliberate Speed.
Last fall, Frankfurter Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz also battled plagiarism charges. And in 2002, Harvard Overseer Doris Kearns Goodwin admitted that she had accidently copied passages from another scholar in her bestseller The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys.
University President Lawrence H. Summers told The Crimson in an interview last week—before the allegations against Tribe surfaced—that he did not see “a big trend” of plagiarism problems at the Law School as a result of the charges against Ogletree and Dershowitz, but indicated that a third case would change his mind. “If you had a third one, then I would have said, okay, you get to say this is a special thing, a focused problem at the Law School,” Summers said of the recent academic dishonesty cases.
He declined comment last night.
I suspect that historians will likely look back on the ascension of the left as the destruction of the academy. It is ironic that they enjoy accusing Christians as anti-intellectual, considering that it was Christians who started nearly every major university. And with the decline of Christianity will come the decline of scholarship, as the cause of truth is rendered secondary to questions of politics and power.
It’s worth noting that the only new colleges being founded are Christian colleges, as the atheized universities gradually devolve into morasses of plagiarism, political correctness and low-grade minds filled with secular dogma.
Not a great week, not a bad week, but the White Buffalo gained on us, Zerb passed us, and we’re in 39th place, 44 points behind the leader. We can’t even use Annabella as an insult for WB anymore, as a crushing 109-point week put her 14 points in front of us. But it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and we’re still in it. Our Week 3 record wasn’t great, but we gave up only one high-point game so the points were all right. 8-6 last week, 28-18 overall.
Fantasy, on the other hand, was grim. This appears to be one of those years where everyone goes off against me; Space Bunny’s team scored only 10 points after laying 40 on me last week in handing Chokechain an easy win, while Big Chilly racked up almost 40 himself. Daunte and the Oakland D were good, but Peerless Price is looking utterly worthless and Ahman Green scored one pathetic point. Things had better turn around fast.