Your commies come in two basic categories. One kind of Marxism emphasized economics, class and revolution while the other emphasized culture, slow degradation and the promotion of rot. The former was urged and fomented by Lenin, while the latter was urged by men like Gramsci, who argued for a “long march through the institutions.” And by “institutions” he meant cultural institutions—the kind that kept families, churches, and communities as tight molecular formations that had a tendency to resist the predations of the atheistic state.
Both the revolution and the rot intended the destruction of the existing order, and did so with the eschatological Marxist assumption that something beautiful would arise from the ashes. This is the hope of every progressive—bring in the chaos so that the chaos might give birth to a marvelous work and a wonder.
In Gramsci’s view, in order for the state to have its way with the people, the existing cultural order of Christendom had to be hollowed out. The amazing and intricate molecular bonds that had built up over centuries were strikingly resistant to direct frontal assaults. This is something Gramsci saw and Lenin didn’t. The molecules had to be broken down into atoms first, which would then have little capacity to stand up against an encroaching state. Think of it. A society of individuals only, without the molecular connections of Burke’s “little platoons,” is a shapeless sack filled with greased BB’s. Such sacks can be pushed and manipulated at will.
So you had two wings of the progressive revolution develop—there were the economic class warfare Marxists, and there were the cultural Marxists. We beat the former in the Cold War. The latter group is beating us like a rented mule. The legacy of these cultural commies has been a long and effective one, and their dismaying accomplishments really are remarkable. Some of the names in their Hall of Shame are Antonio Gramsci, Georg Lukács, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, and the whole Frankfurt School. Those interested in reading more about this history can check out William Lind’s cover article in the most recent Chronicles magazine.
Wealth and Wives
Because the Marxist Marxists wanted to burn all the “bad things” down overnight, what that meant practically was that everybody started looking at them coldly shortly after the revolution, wondering when the promised utopia would arrive (for example) in the USSR. When would there be actual food on the shelves? When that cold-stare-stage happened (and it happened pretty quickly), order was subsequently maintained for a number of decades by the straightforward means of terror. The obvious problems had to be officially denied by everyone, the state said, tapping the palm of its hand meaningfully with a club. Russian humor went underground in order to keep things real: did you hear about the time a judge was walking down the hallway of the courthouse, laughing so hard his shoulders were shaking? Another judge met him as they were walking toward the outside doors. “What were you laughing at?” the second judge asked. “I just heard the funniest joke I have ever heard,” the first judge replied. “Well, what was it?” the second judge asked. “I’m sorry, I can’t say. I just gave somebody ten years in the camps for it.”
And despite the various ways the useful idiots in the West figured out for keeping the economic commies propped up for so long, the whole thing finally collapsed under its own contradictory weight in the eighties. When it had first started, as an incentive to the revolution, the bribe offered to everyone was your neighbor’s wealth. But unfortunately, the revolution and its aftermath destroyed that wealth, along with the means for generating any more of it, and so the promises went unfulfilled.
Gramsci knew better than to promise your neighbor’s wealth. What he did, in effect, is promise your neighbor’s wife. The payoff for this approach is immediate, maybe even tonight, while the devastating effects related to it are on a long fuse.
Lenin promised an abundance of imaginary carrots, and had to resort almost immediately to the stick. But Gramsci offered actual carrots. After the prodigal son left home, Lenin waylaid him right after he got out of town, beat him up, and took all his money. Then he packed him off to the gulag. In contrast, Gramsci walked with him to the far country, and talked him into buying drinks for the house, and even subsidized some of his hooker parties. This is because economic Marxists are thieves and cultural Marxists are panders.
So What’s the Point?
So bring it down to the present, down to the last few weeks. Cultural Marxism has gone by a number of names in the last few decades, and there are other names associated with various subsets of cultural Marxism as well. Some words that should set your alarms off are words like political correctness, multiculturalism, sustainability, feminism, diversity, critical theory, antifa, environmentalism, and social justice. These words and phrases should hit your ear the same way bone cancer does. All of it is coming from the same basic ideological lineage, and all of it is going to the same end, which down the worm hole into the pit of totalitolerance. As Lind shows in his article, it was Marcuse who developed the idea that tolerance should (of course) be extended to any views or practices from the left, and did not apply at all to any views or practices from the right.
And so this leads to the next thing. The cultural commies have a very broad definition of “the right.” There are any number of ways that different kinds of conservatives reject other kinds of conservatives as not really conservative and, whether you follow Kirk, or Hayek, or Buckley, or Will, you probably have a point. But as far as the cultural commies are concerned, there is a broad swath of perspectives to the right that their totalitolerance automatically rejects with loathing.
Their objects of loathing would obviously include principled conservatism and would also include red state reactionary populism. Now, for those just joining us, Donald Trump is a reactionary populist. There are stark and striking differences between reactionary populism and principled conservativism, and all of us can have detailed discussions about those differences on the bus to the Correctional Camp of Enhanced Sensitivities, where we will all spend ten years turning big rocks into little ones.
But in the meantime, Trump has a pretty good idea who is attacking him and why, which is more than what can be said about many principled conservatives. He is fighting their attempts to get him on the bus, while principled conservatives have all lined up in an orderly queue muttering under their breath about the importance of the rule of law.
And this is why it must be said that while principled conservatives tend to understand their own principles, what they don’t understand are the principles of the Alinskyites. They don’t have a blessed clue.
And this must be emphasized even more strongly when talking about the theologically conservative Christians (who are therefore automatically on the right, according to the commies) but who have allowed all their sensibilities to be trained and shaped according to the dictates of the cultural Marxists. If the principled conservatives don’t have a clue about the revolution that is going down, the inchoate conservatives who populate the leadership ranks of the evangelical movement have to be regarded as living in an advanced state of mysticism. They dwell in the great cloud of unknowing. The fellowship with Jesus is really sweet there, albeit somewhat nebulous and undefined.
What about this entire crazy-town-melee makes anyone think that when we surrender the object that they are currently demanding we surrender, that they will calm right down and go back to being normal neighbors? Of course they started with the Confederate monuments, as they were the low hanging fruit. They were the objets d’scorn that no respectable person would ever defend, and so they could get their mojo going that way. But there are a lot more offensive statues than those that were erected for the CSA in memoriam, and they are already coming for them. And if you think the cross on your steeple isn’t part of the plan, then there is a lot more about the cultural commies that you need to read up on.
And this explains some of the “inexplicable” backlash. Some factory worker has been unemployed for a year and a half, and he has a hard time comprehending how statues of obscure Confederate generals have suddenly become the pressing issue of our time. Those Trump rallies are starting to look more and more inviting.
Lord willing, in the days to come I will write a bit more about the genesis of reactionary populism.
Preachers Preach… Amen Pastor
Preachers Preach … Amen, Pastor
Trump is the president Gotham … er … America needs, but not the one it deserves.
This was a fantastic blog post made all the more fantastic by the fact that I was able to imagine it all in Logan’s voice as he enlightens Kurt. (Seriously, who picks the images for these? Because this one is perfect.)
Who are Logan and Kurt?
The blue guy in the picture is Kurt Wagner (a.k.a. Nightcrawler). The guy in the leather jacket is Logan (a.k.a. Wolverine). Both from Marvel’s X-men comics.
Thank you for continuing to push the spotlights from the actors to the stage directors. It takes an awful lot of research to read between the lines on this stuff, and even then it takes an awful lot of insight. Please don’t stop.
Thanks for the lead on the Lind article Doug. I’m not sure he shows anything in the article, he simply asserts it, but it is interesting reading nonetheless.
One place where I think he is dead wrong (and he contradicts himself a paragraph later with the example of the amish) is assigning convenience technologies as incidentals. Technology seems far more potent than ideology when it comes to changing human behavior and organization.
Right. I thought the second half of his article was weak.
Amen. And technology is often pushed by a broad swath of people whose only common purpose is profit…which can be a more unifying purpose than anything else I’ve seen.
A lot of cultural change that never would have happened by any other means, that is on its face damaging to just about anything with objective value, is now happening anyway just because a lot of people make money off of it. And the fact that people make money off of it is enough to make it automatically acceptable to most Westerners.
Well, I would not strike the whole idea of going “retro,” as the article suggested .As Christians we have a way a of consuming entertainment, funding it even, while complaining about how immoral it is. The same is true of most of our cultural trappings, we ingest, consume,and fund them often because as Westerners we do equate, “people make money off of it, so it must be good.” We wind up sending our kids to public school, watching TV and news, earning our livings in tech, and than we wonder why we are culturally indoctrinated and no longer set apart.… Read more »
MeMe, did you know that there is a whole group of women trying to recreate a retro 1950s lifestyle? They do their housework in heels and dresses with circle skirts, and they make their kitchens look like fifties’ diners. http://www.odditycentral.com/pics/living-life-like-in-the-1950s-americas-rockabilly-community.html. A person could become totally obsessed with it–buying vintage appliances, bakelite dishes, and the kind of mascara that comes in a cake. Luckily for me my daughter is happy just to wear the clothing! The funny thing is that this is a very expensive hobby. Things I threw in the trash when I sold my mother’s house I now see… Read more »
Conservatives (like you, like Goldberg, Douthat, and Dreher) will remain politically and culturally impotent so long as they refuse to engage with people and positions to their right.
Who do you have in mind, Peter?
Off the cuff, this sort of thing comes to mind: http://freenortherner.com/2014/05/11/christian-ethno-nationalism/
The problem with so-called Christian-ethno-nationalism is that the ethno- agenda seems to overpower the Christian unity when push comes to shove. You can see this when the discussion of immigrants immediately centers on whether they are of the right ethnicity, rather than whether they share the Christian faith. As Christians, Christ is the core of our shared identity and culture. Ethnicity is second, at best. Christ unites and unifies across ethnicity, social status, etc. This is something that the secular left has no answer to, or convincing counterfeit to. They can only divide and destroy along intersectional lines of class… Read more »
This is absolutely true.
Also happens often with “Progressive Christianity”, “Christian Nationalism”, “Christian Free Market Capitalism”, etc. Once we take any recent political/economic trend and try to place it as an essential on par with our faith, it ends up distorting our view of the faith.
It distorts our view of the faith, and it also weakens our ability to examine and evaluate the merits of the trend itself. If adherence to a specific policy is seen as integral to a Christian worldview, it is a brave Christian who will dare to call the policy immoral or foolish.
Peter, nationalist is not to the right of Doug. Hitler was a nationalist and he was left. It is harder to categorise nationalism on the left-right continuum which usually focuses on economics or social policy.
I agree with this to a point. People who claim that “White Nationalism” is right-wing yet “Black Nationalism” is left-wing, even in cases where they are promoting almost the exact same ideas, are pushing nonsensical positions as far as I can tell. Then again, as we were arguing in an earlier thread, the entire trend of needing to label things “left” or “right” is silly and impossible anyway. There is more than one two-dimensional spectrum (at least two clear ones), and you can be all over that spectrum but also incorporate ideas from both sides. I think the only way… Read more »
Bethyada, I know you have said this often, and it puzzles me because most historians (certainly the ones whose writings are used in college classes) would disagree with you. The usual division is totalitarian left (Stalin, Mao) and totalitarian right (Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Peron). Do you base your characterization of Hitler as left wing solely on the basis of his economic policies? Can you give me an example of what you would consider a totalitarian right wing state?
Nazis are left on social and economic policies. See my post on it. Hitler was called “right” by the communists but anyone is to the right of them.
The only thing of the Nazis that really could be called right wing on is nationalism, and nationalism in various forms is found on the left and right.
There are lots of ways in which the Nazis aligned with the right wing: Hitler banned the trade unions just like Pinochet did. Nationalism, like you say, tends to be right-wing. Xenophobia, anti-disability, anti-homosexual policies (as opposed to multiculturalism) are seen as right-wing and are their own thing in addition to nationalism. Social Darwinism and a mythology of the strong rising to success as opposed the seeking of opportunity for everyone. Explicitly rejected the idea of Marxist class conflict and refused to condemn the bourgeois. Extreme anti-communism Anti-globalist and skeptical of international cooperation. Formed a political alliance with the far-right… Read more »
Jonathan, you have to show something that is specific to right-wing. Many of those things are held by both sides of the aisle so they are non-discriminatory.
If we limited “left-wing” and “right-wing” to things that were specific to them, it would lose all meaning in public discourse. On this blog I’ve been called a leftist for anything from believing in an old Earth to opposing the military-industrial complex to decrying the “war on drugs” to being against the death penalty. Even though all those positions are held by people as far right as Ron Paul, so they certainly can’t be called specific to the left-wing. Which might just be a good sign that the terms are obsolete and useless at this point. Which, of course, is… Read more »
I don’t know anything about this guy, but I like this article. It is a fair treatment of a complex issue in a concise article. For those who do not have time to read, here are his conclusions: “In sum, to the Christian, religion comes before ethnicity. Ethno-nationalism is not commanded, except possibly for the Israelites, but ethnicity and ethno-nationalism can still be part of a Christian worldview as long as they do not overtake religion. Any ethno-nationalism has to be out of love for your own, not hate of the other and even so, one can not be unjust… Read more »
Kilgore, I read the article. While I don’t mind reading this kind of stuff I find it lacks depth. Granted, he is willing to actually look at this question, but many of his conclusions fail to grasp bigger issues. For example, Babel was God’s action, but in the context of judgment. And we must view it in light of Pentecost. We can approve of nations (as I do) but see that Jesus’ ultimate goal transcends nations. The globalist get it wrong because they wish to reverse Babel without Pentecost. Also he sees ethnicity where it is religion. Clearly this is… Read more »
I enjoy Free Northerner, although he is very wrong on some things. However, it is a stretch to expect Doug to have ever heard of him, much less interact with him. Also, you will note that most of his sources and interlocutors are atheists or vague theists. People who have rejected the cultus behind the culture aren’t traditionalist, conservative, or reactionary in any meaningful sense.
I find the left-right paradigm increasingly unreliable, but where has Doug Wilson refused to engage with someone? He engaged with posts from Dalrock’s blog recently. Does Oliver think Dalrock is right of Wilson?
Right, up until Trump.
Doug, I think you once said Trump was preferable (perhaps among other reasons) because Trump would be easier to fight than Clinton. Something to that effect. I thought then, and I maintain now, just the opposite, that is, what Trump represents is much the harder for principled conservatives or evangelical conservatives to fight, as this post demonstrates.
JohnM, when I said that I believed that Trump was going to be doing things more liberal than George W. — based on his character, comments, etc. But fighting him on Gorsuch, say, or the transsexual military ban, etc. is trickier. Right?
Or, because of Gorsuch, the transsexual military ban, etc., fighting him is trickier.
Clinton won over no evangelical or principled conservatives. She never expected to. I would imagine she allowed herself no delusions on that point, and I know conservatives allowed themselves none about her. That’s the difference.
John, I know liberals who, while agreeing with her politics, would not vote for her because of her character. Specifically, a perceived lack of honesty and a repellent level of arrogance. They voted for Stein or they stayed home.
Just before the election, Fox News published an opinion piece titled “Three things every Christian owes Trump”, one of which was “our honest criticism.”
Now it appears that many think that because Trump has done some things that they like, it is akin to blasphemy to criticize him.
Some Christian media people are saying it is not merely akin to blasphemy; it is outright blasphemy. Paula White said that opposing Trump is opposing God. Rick Joyner said that the favor of God is on Trump so that if you smack Trump, God smacks you back. Lance Wallnau said that Trump’s lack of knowledge of world affairs is no problem because if you are the Lord’s anointed, you can get away with a lot of things. I realize that these are fringe opinions, but what I have not seen is anyone calling them a little bit over the top.… Read more »
Those opinions, and the people who hold them, are on the fringe of what exactly?
Hi John, I would think they are on the fringe of the Republican Party and on the fringe of the evangelical Christian denominations. When I first came to live in the U.S., Reagan was president, and while he was very popular, I don’t remember people calling him the Lord’s anointed or threatening his critics with hellfire and damnation. I suppose some people who talk like this might consider themselves to the right of the Republican party; I’m not sure. But I find it weird and disturbing. If anyone spoke that way about any politician I have ever supported, I would… Read more »
Jill, I don’t know what denominations, if any, those people affiliate with, but “on the fringe” implies “part of” and if the question is truly evangelical Christianity then the answer is No. That’s what I was getting at.
I looked up Jim Bakker. He is a former Assemblies of God pastor who worked with Pat Robertson on the 700 Club, then developed PTL for Paul and Jan Crouch. There were some very unpleasant scandals, and he did time for mail fraud and wire fraud. He now has a TV ministry in Missouri where a lot of his focus is on selling food to survivalists. John, I totally get that this guy is no more representative of evangelical Christians than Rasputin was of Russian Orthodox priests. What surprises me–perhaps unreasonably–is the silence that meets his pronouncements. If a Catholic… Read more »
When you noted “former” Assemblies of God pastor you did note the former part, yes? Some of us regard the Assemblies of God itself as rather on the fringe, but at least that. One of the consequences of being on the fringe is more frequently spinning off characters completely out of the orbit. Since Bakker, and the others you mentioned, are in that category evangelical Protestant denominations have no particular responsibility to respond to their babbling, other than to say: Not my circus, not my monkeys.
I love that saying. It is my mantra as I try not to involve myself in my daughter’s drama-filled life. Except that I suppose she is still my monkey!
John, a good example of what I mean is Jim Bakker’s blaming the recent eclipse on the Obama presidency. Bakker said, ““God came to me in a dream and said I should tell the world that I am plunging the world into darkness to remind people I’m still mad at the Obama years.” Never mind that the eclipse was predicted decades ago, or that given the rotation of the earth and the moon, eclipses are inevitable. How can rational people spout such nonsense, and why do other apparently rational people agree?
Rational people do not spout such nonsense and believe it, and people who agree are apparently not rational.
The Babylon Bee strikes again.
John, I really liked this one from Babylon Bee: “Joel Osteen Sails Luxury Yacht through Flooded Houston to Pass Out Copies of ‘Your Best Life Now.'”
Getting worse – Jon McNaughton, easily the most popular working painter among politically active Evangelicals, has now done a painting where he depicts Trump as the one crushing the serpent’s head. This is straight blasphemy. I’m curious to see if the politicians and Tea Party figures who have commissioned and promoted his paintings in the past are going to have anything to say about it.
Jonathan, is this for real? Makes me shudder. Be thankful this deceiving – of the elect? – is not accompanied by great signs and wonders. Along with everything else in the painting notice the several flags, with nary a cross in sight.
Yes, it is real. I saw one comment repeated on the internet that said it best:
“If I had been told that this painting would be loved by evangelicals back when I was a ten-year-old reading the Left Behind series I would have been 100% convinced Donald Trump was the antichrist and the oceans were about to turn to blood.”
Yes, it is blasphemous. Our savior Trump crushes the heel of the serpent with a black designer dress shoe, his hands held out in supplication like the Virgin Mary’s. And, no, nobody will care.
De gustibus non est disputandum. This type of art is certainly not my cup of tea, but a little charity might be in order here. As JohnM points out, there are no crosses in the image. In fact, there is nothing overtly religious about the painting. Serpents have a long history in political imagery. The flag of Mexico features an eagle crushing a snake. One of the more influential symbolic uses of a serpent was Joseph Keppler’s cartoon “IN DANGER” which helped pass the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in 1890. I’ll judge this to be a secular, political painting until proven… Read more »
Not much taste to dispute in that picture, John! The painter has a website and a facebook page (as well as videos) in which he explains his ideas. I couldn’t copy and paste from them. He says he is referring to the enmity between the serpent and man, and to the prophecy that someone will crush the serpent’s head beneath his heal. That man is Trump. (Trump will also drain the swamp, he says, which might make a more amusing picture.) However, I don’t think he is Catholic, and I don’t imagine he realized that every Catholic would see this… Read more »
What some often miss in Jon McNaughton’s work is his portrayal of the common man, the working class man. Those people are tired and worn down, plagued by a serpent, unheard and ignored……until now. They’re planting a little seedling.
The fact that so many miss that truth, instead choosing to argue about blasphemy and the anti-Christ is pretty much why Donald T rump is now President and Jon McNaughton is so popular.
Nobodies arguing about blasphemy, they’re stating the fact of it. Yes, I care more about that than I do about assuaging anyone’s sense of grievance. Working class Americans have little self-awareness of their own conceit, but Trump and McNaughton instinctively home in on it, and that indeed is part of the explanation of how Trump came to be President. The more disturbing part is that American Christians can be oblivious to the multiple idolatries manifest in that painting.
“Working class Americans have little self-awareness of their own conceit….?”
Working class Americans have been so demonized, abused, called names, accused or racism, oppression,had drugs introduced into their communities, etc, and now you come along and accuse them of conceit? That’s like saying, “I know what’s wrong with you downtrodden people, too much pride, you just wont accept your lot in life. ”
You care more about alleged “blasphemy” then you do about the suffering of His people? You might want to ponder that one a bit more deeply.
If blasphemy has actually been committed, of course it is more important than anybody’s suffering because it is just about the worst sin there is. The painter could have showed compassion for the working class without painting Trump as our lord and savior. I’m not sure what John meant by conceit, but I think it is undeniable that a very large sense of grievance and class envy propelled Trump into power. They may be understandable feelings, but they are not admirable. Most people, not just the working class, have suffered because the economy has changed so radically. The vast majority… Read more »
Jill, You partly hit on what I was getting at with “conceit”. Working class people – I do need to qualify that by “some” – have long cultivated a sort of snobbery. They see themselves as the virtuous “who WORK for a living”, as opposed not only to the unemployed, but to people who hold other than what you’d call working class jobs. Of course this is even more true of men than it is of women. The grittier and sweatier the job the more noble the one who performs it. Working class Americans carry the world on their shoulders.… Read more »
On the contrary MeMe, in America “the common man” has long been celebrated and held up as a heroic figure, as is illustrated in McNaughton’s painting. Working class Americans have also long been pandered to, just like everyone else. White people in general, not just working class whites, have been demonized and called racists. Drugs have been introduced into all kinds of communities, and I won’t make an excuse for substance abuse in one type of community that I wouldn’t make for another. Tellingly, where the subject is the supposed plight of working class Americans, you make reference to the… Read more »
MeMe, may I try to explain why I find it blasphemous? The painter, whose website I looked at, intended this to be a religious painting. He says he was inspired by the curse in Genesis and also by biblical prophecies of deliverance from the power of Satan. This is clearly what he is portraying in this picture. Trump, a political leader, is being cast as a holy figure, even a Christlike figure, who will save the people from the ancient curse by crushing the serpent’s head with his heal. I think this is a direct Bible reference. Regardless of my… Read more »
On his Facebook page, the painter relates that he is referencing Luke 10: The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” In that context, it is clearly not blasphemous since Our… Read more »
Hi, John, this pretty much sums up what I feel about this:
As well as being one of the most ghastly paintings I have seen in a long time. Do people hang this stuff over their beds?
He says that he is referring to Genesis and Luke both, and it’s really hard to miss Romans 16:20 in this context. But pretend there was nothing blasphemous in having a minister of Christ step on a snake…even then it is a clearly blasphemous picture, due to the claims that Trump is defeating Satan and fulfilling the role of an apostle of Christ. Think about it…a few minutes ago you were willing to assume it was a completely secular, solely political painting. Now you’re equating the Trump figure in the painting with the first apostles of Christ. Defeating Satan in… Read more »
The Trump painting is a follow-up to his earlier, purely-political, Obama painting which has the same setting, the same “everyman” character and Obama stepping on the Constitution:
Again, so you are okay with a purely political painting from a Christian icon depicting the defeat of Obama as a defeat of the satan? As if the defeat of the satan has now become a purely political, secular, partisan thing?
And let’s set aside for a second that no serious person can argue at this point that Trump has the slightest regard for the Constitution, even if he knew what was in it. While in a Conservative-dominated court, depicting Obama as stomping on the Constitution (as opposed to any other president in the last 50 years) is rather weak.
I’m not defending either the painting’s artistic merit or its political accuracy. I’m simply pointing out that the painter did not intend to deify Trump in the Christian sense (leaving aside the peculiar oddities of Mormon theology with regard to post-mortem deification).
You seem to be jumping around to whatever excuse will excuse the painter. First you said you judged it to be a “secular, political” painting until the iconographic imagry and clear messianic intentions of the painter himself were pointed out, then you tried to focus on the verse that refers to Apostolic ministry while ignoring both the messianic verse and the fact that Trump is by no means an apostle of Christ, and now you keep referring to the painter’s Mormonism. When you keep pushing the same position regardless of what new facts arrive or which presuppositions of yours are… Read more »
And you’re still missing the main point – you yourself claimed that the painting looks PURELY political/secular, but you’re okay with what appears to be a purely political/secular figure being lifted up as destroying Satan and fulfilling the roles of God, the Messiah, and Christ’s first apostles and ministers. The fact that God’s goals in Christ have been replaced with purely political/secular goals is the problem. The fact that winning secular elections is being painted as a defeat of satan is the problem. And the fact that such a claim is especially ridiculous because Trump is so unrepentant in his… Read more »
And I’m pretty sure Jillybean is correct – Trump’s post is meant to evoke the Virgin Mary.
I think there can be little doubt about that. Many icons of the Virgin show her crushing the serpent with her heel. And look at how he is holding his hands and is bathed in light, as if to suggest “Behold, I give this unto you.” The more I look, the creepier it gets. I would expect to find this kind of painting in Pyongyang.
As a general rule, I try to accept people’s explanations when they explain their motives and intent. The article you posted helpfully notes that the artist is Mormon. This explains a lot.
A couple of weeks ago some posters here misinterpreted Catholic and Orthodox iconography. You charitably pointed out their misconceptions and explained the proper Catholic understanding of religious art.
We may look askance at Mormon art and theology, but we do have an obligation not to misinterpret it.
Here is part of McNaughton’s own explanation for the painting.
“I want a president that will crush the enemies of liberty, justice, and American prosperity.”
“They may have the power to bruise his heel, but he will have the power to crush their head!”
Once again basically substituting American political success for Christ’s triumph.
Anyone who has gotten this far into the Trump presidency and sees him as most concerned with “crushing the enemies of justice,” rather than simply crushing his own personal enemies, is living in a different reality.
For example, Trump apparently crushing the enemies of justice by pardoning those who commit blatant injustices:
If the painter is unaware of Catholic and Orthodox iconography about the Blessed Virgin, I absolve him of any offensive intention. However, the portrayal of Trump still strikes me as way too hagiographic for any politician. Regardless of what the painter had in mind, I can draw my conclusions from what I see: that Trump, having defeated the powers of evil, is restoring a tiny garden of Eden for his devoted followers. You and I, as Catholics, know that not even the pope has that kind of power.
Aggrandizing the powerful in art is hardly a brand new phenomenon:
Well, you are certainly right that idolatry/heresy in service to the powerful is a rather old phenomenon.
The Trump painting falls far short of the Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, both artistically and hagiographically.
I don’t think anyone who supports him sees him as divine in any way, or expects him to restore a Garden of Eden. They are simply hoping that their lives will get better.
The painting depicts the ordinary people working to make their own lives better now that he is crushing the oppressive and evil federal bureaucracy.
Jillybean has already pointed out to you that a prominent Christian leader has already claimed that the special favor of God rests on Trump so that God will wreck the lives of those who critique him. That a Christian has claimed that Trump’s rule was prophesied by God and he is the Lord’s Annointed One, and this claim has been repeated frequently by many Christian outlets including CNS and Charisma News. And that Trump’s own “closest spiritual adviser” and well-known pastor has stated that to oppose Trump is to oppose God. Claiming that people are “only hoping that Trump would… Read more »
Does McNaughton specifically mention federal bureaucracy or are you reading that in where he says enemies of justice, liberty, and prosperity? Funny thing is, the kind of people depicted are the ones who most benefit from federal bureaucracy.
In any case, McNaughton is misappropriating a scriptural reference to Christ. Ignorance coupled with idolatry is the best we can plea for him and people who like the painting.
Jill Smith wrote:
So this artist took several of his cues from Roman Catholic art? Perhaps Jill can begin to understand why some find both more than a little creepy.
Also this. Apparently some Christian workers are being threatened by their employers and Christian misionaries are losing their funding if they publicly criticize Trump.
Jonathan, I find this a bit tricky. If you sign up to work for Focus on the Family, you do not expect a workplace that welcomes divergent views. You know going in that it is as much about political lobbying as about giving advice on family issues, and you have to expect that they won’t tolerate much dissent. While I don’t like the outcome in this particular case, I can flip it around and imagine a peace-and-justice Catholic organization devoted to immigrant rights. I doubt that such a group would tolerate anti-immigrant rhetoric on its website. When I have been… Read more »
The Focus on the Family employee was threatened with discipline for speaking out against sexual assault. The fact that speaking out against bragging about sexual assault is now a “divergent view” is ridiculous. After that she was told to take down all social media she had supporting Evan McMullin for president. Directly after the Trump election, Focus on the Family put up an entirely new policy stating that employees could not speak publicly on political issue without organizational approval. Then she was fired. This isn’t about “divergent views”. She didn’t post anything that isn’t a mainstream Christian view. This is… Read more »
Her article in the Washington Post (not a friendly paper to the evangelicals who support Focus on the Family) criticized the preaching of at least one well-known pastor by name. She also jumped head-first into the incredibly contentious issue of modesty and women’s clothing choices. That’s been debated here and elsewhere with considerable passion on all sides. It’s an issue that is of great concern to a sizable portion of Focus on the Family‘s membership – and those who disagree with her take on it surely do do not view her position as “a mainstream Christian view”. As Jill points… Read more »
The head of Focus on the Family, James Dobson, wrote a FAR more critical, searing public commentary after Clinton’s sex scandal.
And you can’t even begin to pretend that she was fired for talking about women’s clothing choices. She was specifically told to remove material supporting Evan McMullin and to refrain from criticism of Trump and Trump’s supporters, even if he brags about sexual assault. Focus on the Family’s new policy and her firing coincided directly with the height of the election. This was obviously a political move, not based on any position of Christian morality.
The Washington Post article was mainly about her awful experiences growing up and how she blamed Evangelical churches for aiding and abetting the crass behavior of men in general. She took particular umbrage at the message she felt popular pastors were promoting that women’s clothing choices were to blame for the type of awful behavior she had experienced from men. Trump’s widely aired comments were simply the trigger that prompted her to write. As a spokesperson for an organization, she was being paid to project an online presence that, at a minimum, did not insult the organization’s paying members. The… Read more »
I understand Jonathan’s concern, but the fact remains that no organization, religious or secular, gives its writers carte blanche to express, not even dissent, but any opinion which might offend its supporters or undermine its mission. I wrote professionally for a financial institution, explaining the benefits of mutual funds and adjustable rate mortgages. Clearly they would not have tolerated–nor should they have been expected to tolerate–articles on fleecing the uninformed and driving young couples into foreclosure. Nobody, either on the left or the right, gives its writers that kind of freedom–and why should they?
My issue isn’t the free-speech rights of employees. I completely agree with the legal right of employers to fire employees for certain speech. My issue is that certain Evangelical groups have SPECIFICALLY decided that the thing they’re going to start policing is any criticism of Trump, whatsoever.
Similarly, I have no problem with pastors talking about political issues from the pulpit. I do have an issue with them talking about a politician like Trump as if he is a Christian savior.
I don’t agree. DW is a principled conservative and is towing the line, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t celebrate when conservatism is actually accomplished. I think it was harder for evangelicals to maintain an antithesis with someone like Bush Sr. or Jr. who seemed morally upright but many of whose policies were lib light. There are lots of conservatives who, having fought to elect Trump, are now laying into him for jettisoning his loyal MAGA friends and letting the bankers and globalists advise him. But we’re still better off than if Her Supreme Awfulness had won, who would have… Read more »
I remember the halcyon days when Wilson opposed Trump. That the complete and total disaster of the Trump administration does not turn away his supporters shows that tribal loyalties are all that matters anymore in politics for a good portion of the country.
“This is the hope of every progressive—bring in the chaos so that the chaos might give birth to a marvelous work and a wonder.”
What I think you’re missing here Pastor Wilson, is just how many cultural Marxists are actually lurking in the Alt Right, hoping to sow chaos, crash the system, and build utopia. It is a grave error to perceive “Marxist” as simply meaning “left” or “progressive.”
We have many far right cultian Marxists to deal with too, and they are far more scary than a bunch of feminists in pink taco hats.
Here is an article saying what I have been saying for some time now
“If we don’t provide emerging generations with genuine identity, community and purpose through robust and vibrant spiritual communities, somebody else will do so. If good religion slumbers and stagnates, bad religion is the alternative. ”
Interesting article, MeMe. I wonder why girls aren’t as prone to this.
Thanks for writing this. Conservative Christians have been abandoned by our elite thinkers and leadership. Our institutions, the ERLC, etc., have been hijacked. They now network and promote this very dangerous racial division under the guise of reconciliation. They exploit piety and a sense of guilt latent in evangelicalism to further their agenda. It is important that conservative Christians develop some mechanism to fight against this. I was reading a Foreign Affairs article last week and over and over the article pointed out what Gen. McChrystal said and John Arquilla wrote, “it takes a network to defeat a network.” Unfortunately,… Read more »
Some random thoughts from this good piece. *** And by “institutions” he meant cultural institutions—the kind that kept families, churches, and communities as tight molecular formations that had a tendency to resist the predations of the atheistic state. Christians really ought to be a lot more familiar with the concept of subsidiary. *** This is the hope of every progressive—bring in the chaos so that the chaos might give birth to a marvelous work and a wonder. If this is somewhat descriptive of Marxism (which it may be) then really Marxism is just a subset of the heresy of Evolutionism.… Read more »
A Russian woman walks into a food store: “Do you have any meat?”
“No, we don’t.”
“What about milk?”
“We only deal with meat. Across the street there is that store where they have no milk.”
Really good, Bethyada. When you ask about the Fabians, are you thinking about Keynes or Shaw? To the extent that Fabians’ ultimate goal is the abolition of all private ownership, I think they must be included in the list, even though they advocate peaceful methods. Shaw’s brand of Fabianism supported this, but Keynes’ didn’t. It is true that the left has given terms like political correctness, diversity, and feminism definitions which should alarm us. But it is also true that the right has issued blanket condemnations without concern for precise definitions. When I first heard the term political correctness in… Read more »
My history is lacking Jill, only that I have heard that Marx lost by revolution but we are all socialists through the long haul. Wondering if the Fabians and Gramsci shared ideas on the process. But like I say, I don’t know much about this stuff. I get what you are saying here Jill, but my point was who is using these terms and what do they mean? The fight for political correctness is an example where we claim to be protecting people’s feeling by we are trying to control others. But people just learn the game. It’s all about… Read more »
“I don’t know much about this stuff.”
We all know more about it than we realize. It is the ubiquitous academic and cultural air we breathe.
I won’t give you feminism either. They were concerned about some of the things we should be concerned about, but sometimes they were concerned for the wrong reason, and often their solutions destroy culture and goodness.
Bethyada, would you agree that here again the definition is critical? I agree that if feminism is defined as eradicating all social structures that are based on gender differences, or as a commitment to destroying the family and forcing all women into the workplace, or as guaranteeing a woman’s reproductive rights including the killing of her unborn child, it has been a very bad thing. But, would you agree that feminism is a bad thing if defined as a movement which gave women so basic a human right as the vote? Or as a movement which corrected appalling injustices such… Read more »
Having sustainability on that list is insane. Sustainability is a fundamentally conservative idea with fundamentally conservative goals and effects. It has only been the takeover of the conservative agenda by big business and multinationals that has put a bad name on sustainability.
It makes sense if you’re tied to a rich pastor’s life, dependent on appeasing the kind of people that will keep a pastor rich, all jointly submitting to the ideal of consumerism and a progressivist/post-millenial view of technology (supported by a unassailable faith in the goodness of government regulations) and an invisible hand blind to anything but superficial consumer desires.
I’ve read some rather good articles on the difficulties of pastors having their paychecks being subject to pleasing their audience. It’s a significant quandary.
Sign me up for some Red State Populism. This is really good stuff, Reverend Wilson, but those of us who despise the Establishment Republicans and refuse to be called conservatives, principled or not, do so not merely because they are weak. They are, oh are they ever. The impotence in the face of the cultural Marxists is stunning. But it is also because we oppose their globalism, in principle. The biggest threat to our freedoms today is not merely from powerful governments. It is from multi-national corporations who have monopolized our communications. They are more powerful than most governments in… Read more »
Kilgore, one of the oddest things I have noticed in my lifetime is the realignment of the values espoused by Big Business. In my hippie youth, Big Business was indistinguishable from Big Government. They were both seen as repressive and antithetical to the interests of a free people. I could not have imagined a day in which major corporations oppose the government on social issues and use their power to force compliance. Did anyone see this coming?
Jill, I guess I never really thought about it much as a young man. The big reason for the fight between them on social issues is that they have different agendas. Corporations push hard for profits at all costs. This is why they are inherently socially liberal, despite what the so-called principled conservatives claim. They push to grow government, because it is a huge customer. They push to start wars, because war is expensive. They push to get women into the workforce and out of the house, because they need cheap labor. They push to destroy borders for more cheap… Read more »
Kilgore, you are becoming one of my favorite principled conservatives.
Theocratic Christian radical.
But hopefully always principled by the grace of God.
essentially, Jill, big corporations love big government when they can control it. And, if anything has been revealed in the age of Donald Trump, it is this. Just look at the donor lists for the GOP Establishment politicians, the same ones who support so-called ‘free trade’ (multilateral trade agreements), perpetual war and unlimited illegal immigration. There’s money to be made. When a Barack Obama pushes transgender bathrooms, for example, these big corporations either tacitly go along or advocate it. It’s peachy with them as long as they continue to get the spoils. The pharisees and the big corporations are flip… Read more »
LRM, when the airlines, hotels, and tech industry opposed religious freedom acts regarding gay rights, do you think they were driven by ideology or by looking at the polls?
Business, like tech in general, has no fixed moral center. It’s goes where money is made – which steps over the line from being amoral to becoming strictly anti-moral on any large scale.
Doesn’t “morality” in any discussion of business activities also belong on that list of words that should set your alarms off?
NeoConservatism and NeoLiberalism have far more important things in common than differences. And many of those things are leading the world to destruction.
The difficulty that Christians have in seeing the power than multinationals hold and the corrupting influence of that power is really bothersome to me. There are 100s of blog posts about effectively combating government power and fighting for smaller government for every one on effectively combating corporate power and fighting for more local business. In fact, quite the opposite, if you see anything it will MOCK local business and warnings against corporate power.
What have you got against sustainability?
Ellen, I am guessing here, but I think some people don’t like being made to separate their trash, recycle their soda cans, and bring their own reusable bag to the grocery store. I think is seen as too much government interference into private household matters. On the other hand, these measures came about in my state as result of people voting yes on specific propositions, so this is not a minority whim imposed on a helpless majority.
Jill Smith wrote:
What Californians vote for can hardly be described as “sustainable”. Ironically, beneath the progressive cries for sustainability we find only contempt for sustainable economic principles. When the wheels of our economic lies fall off, neither the economy nor the environment will actually be better off for the abuse.
The problem is that it sounds liberal. Ever since big business took over the conservative agenda, prioritizing chemicals over creation, profits over landscapes, and factories over communities has become a “conservative” thing to do.
Sustainable farming, sustainable rural communities, sustainable logging, sustainable anything – those should all be fundamentally conservative values. We want families and communities to thrive, we want things to last, right?
“Sustainable” is nothing more than a buzzword. It is simply branding, like marking everything “green,” in order to get you to buy it. It’s designed to create an emotional response and manipulate a behavior. Whether something is actually “sustainable” or “green” is irrelevant.
Jonathan is spot on here. What could be more conservative than conserving? The rejection of conservation by the Church and by the right was a critical error in the ’50s and ’60s. When young people saw that conservatives and Christians were so obviously wrong on this very visible subject, how could they think we were correct on the invisible God? I think millions, and maybe even the culture were lost on this issue.
And, yes, “sustainability” has become a buzzword, but the concept is simply stewardship – a word that hasn’t been compromised yet.
Oh yes, but “stewardship” just as with any other word – “conservative,” “liberal,” “gay,” “nation,” “green,” etc. – is not immune to this!
As has been pointed out numerous times here and elsewhere, rendering language meaningless is no accident!
Is dchammers talking about fiscal conservation or environmental conservation? As we cross the $20 trillion mark of national debt, we should ponder how our fiscal lack of sustainability can ever result in sustainable environmental conservation, when the latter has been chained to the former.
As a binary, is/isn’t term I’d be inclined to agree that “sustainable” is a worthless word, but rejecting silly notions of absolute “sustainability” is no reason to reject the concept of sustainability as something to want more of and to get closer to.
We need a new word that doesn’t make people immediately think of tree huggers and plastic bag despots. Thrift has been a traditional Christian value. I grew up in a fairly affluent household, but the rhyme “Use it up, wear it out/Make it do, or do without” was regarded as the eleventh commandment. “Wanton waste makes woeful want” was the twelfth. Can we repackage the concept of sustainability as being thrifty? Even the Queen of England saves brown paper and string for future use!
Jill Smith wrote:
Fine, but can we repackage the concept of thrift and sustainability as actually having a balanced budget? Or does thrifty not involve actual economic sustainability?
Speaking of commandments, the eleventh commandment of economics is that you can’t repeatedly spend more than you bring in and call it “sustainable” or “thrifty”.
Eric B. wrote:
As a conservative, I’m all about sustainability. But I realize that under our completely unsustainable budget practices, nothing tied to those budgets will ever actually be sustainable. Think about it.
Billions in grants for “climate change research” have been branded under the cause of sustainable environment. These grants contribute to our runaway $20 trillion national debt, though neither party seems to care whether our government budgeting practices are sustainable. Apparently the enviro-branding is working to get everyone to buy it.
Climate change research is an insignificantly minuscule percentage of contribution to total debt. This is a silly red herring.
The trouble I have with your argument here, Jonathan, is that given the assumptions that almost everyone on both the left and the right make about technology and consumerism, any kind of individual/non-coercive community restraint with regards to unsustainable business/economic activities can generally be assumed (and given the assumptions, rightfully so) to be ineffectual and worthless. In that context, restraint can pretty well be equated with coercive, top-down restraint.
I semi-agree Eric. That is why people of influence, such as our host DW, should use their several talents and influence to encourage Christians in this direction rather poo-pooing it. Something I’ve been pointing out for years here. Maybe more can be achieved with a carrot than stick.
I think we need something somewhat akin to the Acts 2/4 option here – dedicated communities practicing as a community, being a light to others.
There are so many dying rural communities, you would think it would be possible to start there. Plenty of places where only a few hundred people on the same page, heck maybe as few as 40-50, could revitalize a small rural community and model a completely different way of living in it.
I think this is another way of saying that we need a revival of the Holy Spirit, and then certain things will follow.
However, the debate today centers around which third party we can make pay for it all, or which government bureaucracy we can indenture ourselves to, as it promises to save us from ourselves.
A revival of the Holy Spirit is much to be preferred.
That is a debate, but it’s certainly not the debate that I am referring to. I don’t see a great number of people on either side of the political spectrum practicing loving intentional community devoted to one another in Christ.
As I’ve said repeatedly, I degree both with the establishment liberal approach of trying to deal with global environmental devastation with state/technology solutions, and the establishment conservative approach of just sticking your head in the sand because acknowledging the issue might threaten Mammon-worship.
haha – that was supposed to be “disagree”.
“And this must be emphasized even more strongly when talking about the theologically conservative Christians (who are therefore automatically on the right, according to the commies) but who have allowed all their sensibilities to be trained and shaped according to the dictates of the cultural Marxists”
And ratchet it up a few notches on the east coast.
The great commission is the one weapon cultural commies are incapable of defeating.
Great series of engaging the culture posts. Thank you for pitching straight up the middle, calling us to repent and find the answers in Christ.
“but who have allowed all their sensibilities to be trained and shaped according to the dictates of the cultural Marxists”
How can Christians complain about the leftist cultural tsunami when they turn their kids’ education over to the very people with which they so disagree?
with whom they so disagree (for all you grammatical Marxists)
I am a grammar tyrant but I try valiantly to restrain myself. I write snarky letters to the editors of the Los Angeles Times asking if they have fired their proofreaders, but I never bother to send them, having been reliably informed that such behavior is over-the-line eccentric.
Don’t hold back. We need grammarians to counter the tide of amorphous writing. Consider it your duty in upholding Western Civ.
isn’t it funny that at the root of all cultural marxism is jews? marx and trotsky were jews, as were the members of the frankfurt school, the leading bolsheviks, and a vast number of leaders of cultural revolutions in the US and Europe. they are also the ones pushing massive nonwhite immigration into white countries.