Last Friday when I left the office to head home, I was greeted out on the sidewalk by a liberal lady (who would self-identify as an evangelical, if that helps, which it shouldn’t) who was masked up, carrying a poster that chided Christ Church for having held a joint service last Sunday. Our problem was (no doubt) the fact that our service was not perceived by the current wisdom as a Black Lives Matter protest, which, as we should all know by now, provides the only real protection against the coronavirus. But whatever the reason, she wanted to walk me to my truck in order to provide her with a few more precious minutes of hectoring. She has had many grievances with me over the years, and indeed is a walking grievance. But she was “concerned for my soul,”and repeatedly called on me to “repent. ” We talked on the street corner for a few moments and then parted ways. I pray that God richly blesses her someday with some genuine weighty blessings, straight out of Deuteronomy.
But as I reflected on this curious incident, it struck me that although the progressives never did know the actual goal toward which they were progressing, they nevertheless were progressing somewhere. And where they were progressing was apparently a fixated and narrow fundamentalism. I mean, there we were, standing on a street corner, with her holding a big sign, just like in the New Yorker cartoons about the end of the world predictions, and telling me to repent. As my son recently put it, the liberals have turned into the Reverend Shaw Moore of Footloose so gradually that nobody noticed. The only downside to this is that conservatives have to be Kevin Bacon,
The jokes about 2020 have been unrelenting, and many of them pretty funny. I am talking about what a dystopic, apocalyptic, Mad Max kind of year 2020 has been trying to become thus far. And we are only halfway through it, and we even skipped over the murder hornets as too boring.
But never forget that the reason for the first half of this year is all wrapped up in the second half–November, to be specific. We are dealing with people whose god is politics, and all this ginned-up commotion, all of it, has simply been their pre-ops psych-ops run-up to that electoral conflict. You will be amazed at what goes away right after the election. Many of our troubles will disappear like Ghislaine Maxwell’s testimony will, and possibly even like Ghislaine Maxwell herself.
Now depending on which way the election goes, these post-election changes will go in two different directions. If Biden wins, they will want the semblance of normalcy to come back pretty quickly, and so a lot of the media hysterics will rapidly evaporate. There will still be areas of crisis, to be described shortly, but they will want the widespread sense of global crisis and doom to chill out. They will want this to happen so that they can look competent. And they can make the foment go away without actually being competent because they are the ones actually causing all the foment. All they have to do is stop for a minute.
But if Trump wins, the people who didn’t accept that reality in 2016 will continue to not accept it in 2020, and they will labor industriously to come up with new and exciting ways to let us all know that they are still in the same non-accepting frame of mind. And given that in the first round, they didn’t hesitate to wreck the economy in pursuit of their aim, or to burn down cities like they were campaigning for Tammerlane, we may be assured that in the second round they will not limit themselves to writing a stern letter to the editor. These people are revolutionaries, and they have revolution on their mind. In a fundamental sense, it is the only thing they have on their mind.
An Electoral Catch-22
I have written previously that this coming presidential election is not really a choice between Candidate A and Candidate B. Neither is it an election where we will decide whether to head northwest or north by northwest. It is an election between those who accept the results of elections and those who refuse to accept the results of any elections that do not go their way.
But here is the catch. The progressive left does not accept it when they lose. Them losing is not on the menu of whatever restaurant they decided to burn down. We got it. They don’t accept their losses as having any kind of legitimacy. The problem is that they won’t really accept it if they win either. Put another way, if they win they will (temporarily) want to get back to a general semblance of normal life, but the fissure between the two Americas cannot now be repaired by any human means. If they are the winners, the other America is one they detest, and they will be determined to eradicate it. They will be unwilling to accept the possibility of another set back like the last four years have been. So reconciliation is already beyond the reach of any cultural or political solutions. There is one possible solution, about which more below, but failing that, we are in for nothing but conflict.
Put another way, if the Left loses, they won’t leave it alone. They will continue to drum their heels on the floor. The tantrum will continue until they get their way. And if the Left wins, they won’t leave us alone, which is why we need to be practicing civil disobedience, civil resistance, civil non-compliance, and civil intransigence. Start by rejecting their secular burkas.
The Doxxing Angle
I have long felt that the bumptious times and conflicts that we have had here in Moscow over the years are simply a microcosm version of our country’s larger woes. Another example that just recently surfaced locally was this Facebook campaign to doxx any members of our community who have any dealings with Christ Church, Logos School, New St. Andrews, etc.
But there really is a bright side to this. Even though I don’t approve of doxxing people for any reason, it is nice to see progressives coming around on the issue of whether evangelical bakers should have the right to refuse to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding. If publishing a list of people to avoid in business is fine (for ideological reasons), then it must also be fine for Christians to decline to do business for theological reasons.. Amirite?
Well, no, I am not right. I neglected to take into consideration the fact that the Left believes that rights are only theirs, and that nobody else should have them. They do not know the meaning of “equal weights and measures.” They do not believe in objectivity and even-handedness. Those words are not in their vocabulary. Theirs is a campaign of totalitolerance, which means tolerance of whatever views are currently mandatory. If they find a statute of Lady Justice blindfolded somewhere, they will pull that over also, and spray paint FTP on it.
And besides, these doxxers are being huge hypocrites, and they don’t really believe in what they are doing. They are (deliberately, I believe) leaving off of their list institutions and entities that do a cordial business with our various enterprises. But it would be really inconvenient and embarrassing for them to list them, and so they pick on the little guy.
This kind of runaway intolerance and inconsistency is only happening because of the current style of leadership that is governing our happy little town.
Before he was elected as our mayor, Bill Lambert worked as the manager of our local Safeway. As my son-in-law recently put it, this was a portent of things to come — cautious choices and high prices. If we continue to draw our illustrations from the grocery industry, our next mayor needs to have been the manager of WinCo — low prices, and you take personal responsibility for filling up your own dang bag. I bring our mayor up in this section because he is yet another victim of one of the great false promises of our age, which is a sloppy definition of justice. I feel bad for him, really, and for all the people downwind who are getting worked over because the mayor is getting worked over.
Our problem is two-fold. We are dealing with the crazies, and also with the fecklessness of those establishment types whose job it is to protect society from the crazies — instead of capitulating to them.
The revolutionary fervor that is driving this moment is raging, blind, and full of sin. They are the true believers, and they have blown over all those ciphers and functionaries who never stood for anything in particular, and who, as long as everything was calm, could get away with it. Those functionaries are governors, mayors, CEOs and so on, and, on the evangelical side of things, devotees of the great goddess Respectability. Just in the last several weeks, I have encountered two erstwhile conservative evangelicals who have folded like a yard sale card table on the pervs in the bathroom issue. It is not for nothing that God tests ministries of straw with fire (1 Cor. 3:11-13). Look for a lot more of that in the days to come.
Real justice, biblical justice, is limited, bounded. It very specific, with clear defined boundaries. It has to do with every person’s inalienable right to life, liberty, and property. If someone comes to take your life, or threaten your liberty, or seize your property, it is the task of the civil magistrate to interfere with that. Now if the task of the civil authority is to protect justice in this sense, as Bastiat correctly argued, then that very specific task that the magistrate is limited to means that limited government is a very real possibility. A view of limited government is impossible apart from a view of limited justice. Every person should be secure in his liberty and property
But what I call the “free-chocolate-milk-for-everybody” view of justice becomes the reigning definition of justice, and if the job of the magistrate is to promote justice, then all of a sudden limited government is not even a possibility. Not only is it not a possibility, but those who propose that we attempt it are considered to be monsters. They are thought to be such because they are proposing that the magistrate step away from his role in upholding “justice.”
However, notice how different these understandings of justice are. If I deal with my neighbor justly by refusing to steal things from him, then all I have to do is leave him alone. That is straightforward and inexpensive. But if he is treated unjustly if people don’t give him enough stuff, then his right to stuff means that someone else is obligated to give him stuff. And if that is the case, then how much stuff? Well, the answer to that question has been constantly rising ever since the serpent first broached the question. There is no limit to it, and if the magistrate’s job is to help throw things down that maw, then there is no limit to government either.
If someone has a right to life, then everyone else has an obligation not to take his life. But that requires no great expenditures. But if someone has a right to a free college education, then somebody else has an obligation to provide him with that education, and because the government is there to protect justice, then the government must stand behind the man who has the obligation to provide it, tapping the palm of the hand with their billy club. And given the avarice of man, there will be no end to it.
So we are not currently dealing with black lives, or with climate change, or with viruses. We are dealing with commies. And this next election will be between the commies on the one hand, and non-commies on the other. The non-commies have deep and important issues that divide them, but this coming election needs to shut down the commies. Once that is accomplished, we can get back to our ordinary disagreements.
A Most Unscientific Fireworks Poll
I wrote my first draft of this post on the Fourth, and interrupted my typing to run out to get some fireworks for our celebration later. When I got to my usual emporium for this kind of product, they were in the midst of closing up. They had sold out, “first time ever.” I drove to two other places in town that traffic in this same kind of patriotic merchandise, and it was the same story. They had both sold out.
Now this is an admittedly unscientific poll, so don’t quote me. But it indicates to me that it looks like Trump has a good shot at winning. A lot of exasperated people are looking for a legitimate outlet to express their frustration with the regnant and apparently never-ending lunacy. Fireworks is one obvious choice when it comes to this kind of self-expression, but casting a vote against the commies is the most obvious and satisfying response of all. But because it is not yet November, we have to settle for a noisy night sky. Let it tide you over.
But in order for the election to settle anything (if Trump wins) it will have to be something that is beyond decisive. It will have to make Biden starting singing that old George Thoroughgood song to George McGovern.
Move it on over, slide it on over
Move over nice dog, a mean old dog is movin’ in
In other words, to do any good at all, this election needs to not be close. Or, to put it another way, it needs to be a close election in California, New York, and Illinois, and a romp everywhere else. And it would also be all right if it is a close election with the black vote. That works. Everywhere else, it needs to be a beat down, a landslide, a mass uprising, a sheet of flame, a sociological event, a calf born with two heads as a portent.
Gospel for a Time Such As This
I said earlier that there is no cultural or political solution. Culture is upstream from politics, and worship is upstream from culture. This means that apart from a massive reformation and revival, we are going to continue to have conflict, unrest, riots, and eventually, a conflict that involves bullets. So for those Christians who want to head off what some are calling the Boogaloo, we need to spend more time praying for reformation and revival, and praying that God would raise up a generation of preachers who, like Knox, do not fear the face of any man. We need our seminaries to stop graduating such likeable lick-spittles. This means hot gospel, aimed directly at the actual sins that the people and our leaders are actually committing.
The gospel itself is that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ sent from God, and that it was necessary for Him to suffer and die. He remained in the grave for three days to fulfill the prophecies of Scripture, and on the third day He rose in glory. He appeared to His disciples on multiple occasions, proving to them that He had in fact risen from the dead. He then ascended into Heaven, telling His followers to disciple all the nations, baptizing them, and teaching them how to become obedient to His Word. In sum, Jesus is the risen Lord. This is the gospel, this is the tip of the spear.
Because it is the gospel of God, it is the answer to all of our sinning. And because we sin in every area of our lives, the gospel applies to every area of our lives. We sin in our lusts, we sin in our enmities, we sin in our striving, we sin in our recreations, we sin in our economics, we sin in our politics, we sin in our going out and our coming in. In short, we sin all over the place.
We are in desperate need of an awakening that will put the Great Awakening into the shade. The reason for this is that apart from such a movement of the Spirit, anything that might happen in the ordinary course of political to-ing and fro-ing, like elections, or even landslide elections, will not deal with the root of our problem. The root of our problem is the heart of man. The root of our problem is that we are the root of our own problem. Of course, of course, we should all ardently desire that (speaking electorally) the commies might get beaten like a rented mule.
But, paraphrasing the apostle Paul, the kingdom of God is not a matter of beating the commies like a rented mule, but rather of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom. 14:17).