Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Ides of the American Republic

Roman Republicans understood that Caesar was the problem, but the mob in the
end brought down the Republic and gave themselves an Emperor anyway.

A lot of conservatives, especially the stubborn constitutionalists in the group keep reminding us all that we are a republic and not a democracy.
Trouble is they do it on conservative websites where we already know that. I think everyone on the conservative side gets it that we are a Republic. We've talked about it enough. There's not a need to harp on that and nitpick at words of commentators who casually use the term democracy in commentaries. The real need just now is not to convince ourselves, but to convince the mob of the value of a Republic at a time, when the mob is clamoring for an emperor to rule them.

We are, in fact, a democratic republic (not the socialist kind, but the real kind). Such a structure protects us from mob rule as the founders of our nation intended. That said, we are also a democracy in the sense of one man/one vote. We are the opposite of an aristocracy, even though aristocracies may allow folk to vote.  That distinction should be made very clear so long as we are nit-picking. You can have a Republic of aristocrats as well as the democratic sort. In an aristocratic Republic, some men are worth more than others. It was one of the great flaws of the Roman Republic and it is one of the great flaws we have seen in the Republican Party of late.

Unfortunately, for the founding fathers to make this country work, they had to accept a more egalitarian to be sure, yet still a kind of class-based republicanism, in which slaves and women were not allowed to vote or were only counted as 3/5ths of a person. We were, at first, very much a nation of white males.The founders were, however, wise enough to build into the Constitution what Confederate VP Alexander Stephens called "the seeds of the destruction of our peculiar institution". He was referring, of course, to slavery, but I would argue that the founders also built into the Constitution an innate antagonism to any form of inequality. In doing so, the founders inevitably triggered societal changes that led to the emancipation of women and slaves, civil rights for all, fair treatment of native Americans and free market capitalism.

The elitist faction of our country have never been entirely comfortable with a government of the people, by the people and for the people. They've always seen themselves as a kind of American nobility and have always fought the tsunami of freedom initiated by the Constitution and Bill of Rights in one manner or another in an attempt to secure their positions at the head of society.  Along the way they clung to slavery, glommed onto Darwinism, eugenics and socialism, passed Jim Crow laws and used media as a social engineering tool to secure the place of our betters (themselves). The saw their rightful place in the world as at the top and have used wealth, influence and education to secure that position. It's not accidental that the first feature film, Birth of a Nation, glorifies the Ku Klux Klan. Propaganda got an early start as an art form in all media.

And always the Constitution and the people (whom the government is of and by) have pushed back. In large part this has been due to the teaching of the Constitution's values to children in school. Inculcating the idea that all men are created equal has had a powerful effect and is the secret to America's success and longevity. It's not surprising, then, that there has been such a powerful effort to rewrite history as taught in school and to downplay the importance of the very document that made this nation the first bastion of true freedom in the world.

Of course, the elitist new nobility had to stop that sort of nonsense. The lower classes might be taught to believe they were as good as the upper classes in America and they could not have that. So now we teach our kids to admire wealth and celebrity instead of courage and good behavior. We've taught our kids to laugh at the Horatio Alger stories, to deride moral courage and altruism and to sneer at the founders of our nation, criticizing them for the very sins their work helped our nation to eventually overcome and reject. Then they taught our children that there is no such thing as sin. And mind you that the organizations and individuals who now undeservedly claim the moral high ground are the very ones who throughout our nation's history who have defended the sins they now claim to abhor.

I do believe the battle has come to a head in this election where we have a choice between an outright socialist and an outright crony capitalist (which is itself little more than a corporate welfare state). Now, in this election we find out whether the more "democratic" American Republic has more backbone than the old class-based Roman Republic. Will we choose an emperor or will we, as the wife of the last great president of the United States once advised, "Just say NO!". 

Sadly, even if the Republican leadership does manage somehow to assassinate the disaster that is the Trump candidacy, we've already seen how this works out before. For every Julius there is an Augustus elevated by the mob, followed by a Tiberius, then a Caligula, a Claudius and then a Nero, followed by flames as the last of the Old Republic goes up in smoke. People say God's will will inevitably be worked out. Best hope His will doesn't include America going up in flames.

There is an ancient Chinese curse that goes, "May you live in interesting times."  Well this next few yours should certainly be interesting.

© 2016 by Tom King

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Republic is Falling. Babylon is next.

So I think I'll just sit back and watch Hillary and The Donald destroy each other
. They've canceled another of my favorite TV shows in favor of ANOTHER "reality" gladiator show. It seems lately it's nothing but shows like Survivor, Naked and Afraid, American Idol, Big Brother and other shows that pit one against another and showcase the wickedness of man's heart. TV reminds me more and more of the Roman Coliseum.

Does any of this seem like history repeating itself to anyone else? The Old Republic is falling and Babylon/Rome is rising to take one more shot at uniting the world under the Dark Lord and his minions. We only have a choice between bad emperors and worse ones. We may stand on the wall and shout a warning. We may defend the breaches, but ultimately Babylon will fall again, tearing out its own throat and dying in a pool of its own blood. We won't need guns or swords or weapons of war. We'll be leaving shortly.

But remember, the Second Coming is a rescue mission not an occupation. When it's done, all that's left is ashes and molten slag for a thousand years. Without God there can be no utopia. Without us here, Earth cannot be rebuilt; life cannot resume for we are the gardeners of Earth. But we will come back. Jerusalem made new will descend and when it is all done and the final judgment settled, God's children will spill out of the 12 gates of the city to plant and build and grow and do mighty things in the Earth that we cannot even now imagine.

We certainly live in interesting times.

© 2016 by Tom King

Monday, May 9, 2016

Should We Sit Down, Shut Up and Let God Handle It?

Every time a Christian gets up on his hind legs to protest the election of someone's favorite candidate (you know who you are), another gets up and tells us that we shouldn't worry about such things; that God has everything in his hands and that whoever is elected, it will be at Gods will.

While God might make the best out of it for his faithful whatever miserable situation it puts us in, that "best" is, like God, best seen in the light of eternity. Bible and human history has shown that often, God allows his people to experience a good deal of the mortal misery our bad decisions cause. It's heaven's version of tough love. There is plenty of evidence for how that happens in Scripture.

If you remember, the nation of Israel made some choices against the Will of God and paid dearly for it. They wanted a King. Samuel acting on behalf of God warned them against it. They demanded a king and God gave them one. It turned out very badly, just as God warned even though he did send them a good king. The story of Hezekiah is instructive here. King Hezekiah was told to prepare himself for death. He pleaded with God to extend his life. The whole nation begged God to extend his life. God relented and extended his life.

During that time that God granted to Hezekiah, he had another son, Manasseh, who for 55 long years was the worst king Judah ever had.
Just because God gives us what we demand, doesn't mean it's what He wanted for us. Christians who should know better are demanding Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for our leader. God may allow them what they want, but given how close we are to the end of days, I kind of expect that at some point God will no longer protect us from our own greed and stupidity and let us reap the rewards of our disobedience and self will. If you remember, Daniel and the Revelation, Isaiah, Ezekiel and even Jesus Himself said it would go badly at the end.

While we may rejoice at Christ's soon return, we cannot in good conscience rejoice at the misery of our friends, neighbors and loved ones, even if they brought it upon themselves with us standing behind them warning them of the consequences of their poor choices. We should be careful about sitting on our backsides counting on God to correct our stupid decisions. In general, God asks us to stand in the breach and defend the right, not wait like spoiled children for Daddy to bail them out of the predicament they got themselves into.

So, I will continue to speak out against the evils of our two apparently inevitable presidential candidates. As a Christian man, I cannot go quietly down to Sodom and I certainly won't vote for that sort of change. God help us all.

© 2016 by Tom King

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Why the Lesser of Two Evil's Is a Trap for Voters

Picture: © 2016 by Ben Garrison

I watched a remarkable video this afternoon by Pastor Gary K. Gordon explaining why choosing the lesser of two evils will always fail and is morally wrong.
Gordon made a good point. The idea of choosing the lesser of two evils, trains the two parties of a two-party system to ignore their greatest supporters and spend their energies on winning the wishy-washy folks in the middle. 

Parties depend on their members to vote for the Party candidate on the very principle that the party candidate is the "lesser of two evils". Because both parties count on their base to always vote for the Party candidate who is less evil than the other party's candidate, the party bosses can on the undecided middle voter in an attempt to tip the scales enough to win.  Because the Republicans are focused on people to the left of the party's base and the Democrats are focused on the people to the right of their base in order to win elections, the parties inevitably tend to drift philosophically toward the noncommital center. In this way, the Party leadership needs only shift slightly toward accommodating their base should the blacks or the Christians get antsy, while still pandering toward the middle. 

The upshot is that the Democrats neglect their black supporters and the Republicans neglect their Christian supporters because they can count on them to vote for what they perceive as "the lesser of two evils".  What we really need are three or four strong parties so voters have an actual choice. This would go a long way toward training our politicians to be representatives of their constituents rather than political ballplayers only concerned about winning.

At the same time, though, we'd have to have voters who weren't so afraid of losing an election, that they weren't willing to take a leap and actually do the right thing.  As it turns out, losing an election in the short run might not be the worst thing if it teaches our representatives to do the right thing in the long run rather than doing the safe thing or taking the expedient course.

Ronald Reagan proved that doing the right thing actually was a winning political strategy. It's a pity the Republican Party didn't learn from that. They've become so "smart" at how to win elections in the short run, that they've managed to lose their party in the long run.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fun at the Republican Convention

After today, Trump is looking more and more like a shoe-in for the nomination. It's downright disheartening. I have a suggestion for the rest of my "Never Trump" friends. Here's what we should do.

Go to the convention as many of us as can make it. The moment Trump wins the nomination, every one of us should walk out of the convention, walk across the street to some handy auditorium and organize a new party, nominate a candidate and start campaigning. I'd love to see a third of the people at the convention get up and walk out.

If you want to destroy the Washington Establishment, a third party would be just the ticket. Take away either party's majority and you get the controlling vote. Neither party could muster enough votes unless they kissed up to the third one. It would certainly change the dynamic in Washington.

Just sayin'.

© 2016 by Tom King

Monday, May 2, 2016

Why is Conservative Media Crumbling?

Trump supporters and progressives (ah but I repeat myself) are all gleefully reporting that Glenn Beck's media empire is crumbling. He's had some layoffs and those eager to see him go away and stop making them feel guilty and stupid are celebrating.

I think Beck will probably be alright. Like any businessman, he has had to respond to changes in the market and in the political climate - particularly so in his case. Beck had the audacity to speak out against the agenda of the progressive socialist movement in America. Beck is a victim of the same phenomenon that took down PJTV, is damaging FOX News and threatening other conservative media outlets.

And the threat is named Donald J. Trump!

And I'm typical of the kind of people who are seen as threatening conservatism. I'm one of those crazy #NeverTrump guys who won't ever vote for the Donald under any circumstances. As I've repeated ad nauseum, the lesser of two evils is sometimes neither. The only problem is that as the fear of a loss of power and a rise of influence of the conservative wing of the party gripped died in the wool Republicans, many leading Republicans came over to the Donald. Even Newt Gingrich called Trump our best hope. People like me responded, "If he's our best hope, we have no hope." One by one I've canceled my subscriptions to conservative media newsletters from Gingrich, Breitbart and Drudge, all of whom seem to have gone over to the dark side. Breitbart's Trump support, however seems to be waning as it's subscriber list falls to cancellation after cancellation by disgusted conservatives. Breitbart must be spinning in his grave at his namesake website's earlier near-endorsement of Trump. Now Glenn Beck, the once great uniter of the conservative wing of the Republican Party is feeling the wrath of the Trump herd.
Glenn Beck chose sides in the Republican primary and Trump supporters are angry about that. They've projected their anger and frustration onto a hero figure who has been willing to say or do anything to pander to them in order to get their votes. These people are so frightened and angry that they are stampeding and in a stampede, the herd looks for a big noisy bull to follow. Sadly, if that bull runs off a cliff, the herd will probably follow. It's all about emotion and momentum once the stampede has begun. Anyone who gets in the way of the charging herd, either has to move fast or get trampled. More than a few conservative leaders have hoof prints on their backs right now - at least the honest ones who care more about what happens to this country than they do about how much political power the Republican Party possesses at the moment.

A friend and Trump supporter told me that "Sometimes you just have to choose a herd."
For the reasons above, I don't believe that's true. I'm more of a flock kind of guy. I like to know my Shepherd is someone I can trust. If I can't trust him, I'm out of the flock. It's a Christian thing. I don't expect those for whom faith in God is "silly religious stuff" as one Trump supporter described Glenn Beck's approach to media to even begin to understand taking a stand on principle.  So here we stand in the breach and we will not be moved. We may be overwhelmed and defeated, but we will never surrender. We will never give up.

You have chosen the form of the Destructor!

Trump has done exactly what his Democrat allies like George Soros and the Clintons had hoped he would do. He's torn the conservative movement in two and probably will bring down the Republican Party to boot - ushering in the United Socialist States of America or the People's Republic of America or maybe the People's Democratic Republic of American - any version of which will being neither democratic, nor a republic, nor, for that matter will it be "of the People". Trump will likely be nominated with a minority of the votes and with 30-40% of Republicans vowing to never vote for him under any circumstances - a sure recipe for a Clinton/Sanders victory. We have chosen the form of the destructor and he is Trump!

We're seeing the rise of a new National Socialism in America, manifest in the form of so-called Progressivism. Progressivism is a deadly dangerous idea that has led to much misery and death over the past century or so. The idea of a powerful nationalist America first movement has been tried before both here and more successfully in Europe. The 2016 election looks like 1933 all over again only here in America instead of Germany.  In a bit of eerie deja vu, this year's election looks like it's going to be between Communist socialists and National socialists with the Republic being consigned to the ash heap of history as was Germany's Weimar Republic.

Over the past century, we in America were tempted to leave our constitutionally limited government model in order to create great governmental power. We created this ever more centralized power in response to real external threats. We were told we needed to centralize power, ostensibly to protect the peace, health, liberty and safety of the American People. Sadly power attracts the corruptible and in the end, neither our peace, our health, our safety and above all, our liberty will be safe from those to whom power is everything in the world worth having.

God protect us from those who want to save us.

© 2016 by Tom King