This article is long enough and ignorant enough to be pretty tedious, but if you want to know how “what passes for journalism these days” is dealing with issues over on what they consider to be the Hard Right, you need look no further.
“Throughout Scripture,” Leithart declared in a passage from his 2012 book “Between Babel and Beast,” “the only power that can overcome the seemingly invincible omnipotence of a Babel or a Beast is the power of martyrdom, the power of the witness to King Jesus to the point of loss and death.”
The author then cites Peter saying something similarly outrageous over at First Things.
“Leithart is the founder of a small school and related think tank, Trinity House, in Birmingham, Alabama, which Clarkson says ‘seeks to serve as a center for a new Reformed Protestantism, called Federal Vision, whose leading lights include Neo-Confederate authors [Douglas] Wilson and Steven Wilkins.’”
If we took all the journalistic competence on display here, rolled it up in a little ball and put it into a matchbox, it would look like a BB in a boxcar.
But while we are on the subject, let me say just a few things for the record. I do this in the hope that it will allay all concerns whatever, while knowing at the same time it will do nothing of the kind.
The Christian faith contains nations, but no nation, no empire, contains the Christian faith. Every Christian citizen of any nations, who has his wits about him, understands that he has loyalties that necessarily transcend the tribe — regardless of how big the tribe might be. It might be an imperial tribe, and it might be a tribe almost extinct, but God reigns all of them from Heaven. If you make Demos your god, where does your hierarchical vision end? It terminates in John Boehner and Harry Reid, and this is the point where I would encourage devotees of this pathetic faith to look upon their college of priests and reconsider. And looping in the Prophet Obama doesn’t help.
Second, suspicion of our current gaggle of corruptocrats is not unAmerican, but very American. Not only is it American, it is healthy American, two days before the Fourth American, down with the House of Hanover American. This, in contradistinction from that newer breed of diseased American, that species of capon that positively likes it when the kingident sends swarms of his officers to eat out our substance. At the risk of seeming stupid (“no, not that!”), I would like to suggest to writers of articles at Salon that the Declaration is not unAmerican.
And last, I would like to repeat something I have said a number of times before, and will probably be continuing to say until I die. The neo-cons with their talking point of “American exceptionalism” have really made a hash of this phrase, and have set us all up for the lefty statists who want to come after them and make us all bow down to the golden statue as soon as we hear the sound the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick. Changing Nebuchadnezzar into Uncle Sam doesn’t alter the theology of the thing, and the real Uncle Sam, unlike Nebuchadnezzar, would be more than a little annoyed by the whole enterprise.
The Founding of our nation really was exceptional, because the men who drafted our Constitution knew that American politicians, taking one thing with another, would be every bit as sleazy as the same class of men from any other clime. As Samuel Johnson once put it, “Politicks are now nothing more than means of rising in the world. With this sole view do men engage in politicks, and their whole conduct proceeds upon it” (Life of Johnson, p. 556). Surprise! Crossing the Atlantic did not change human nature. File this under things we should have learned from The Who, who weren’t going to get fooled again. Meet the new world, same as the old world — novus ordo seclorum needs to come back to Jesus.
The Founders knew we were not exceptional, and drafted a Constitution that did not trust us, not even a little bit. The subtext of the Constitution is not “beware of the English crown,” and it is not even “beware of the commies from the Soviet Union.” The subtext of the Constitution is that we are constantly to beware of boobus Americanus and the inveigling mountebanks they elect. We are particularly to watch their beady little eyes (Art. I, Sec. 2), their greasy palms (Art. III, Sec. 1), their sweaty foreheads (Art. II, Sec. 4), and their glowing promises filled with Uplift and Sunshine (Art. IV, Sec. 4).
That self-awareness really was exceptional. But we have now lost anything resembling such humility, and have replaced it with an Ozymandian pride, and are the laughingstock of the angels crammed into the balcony at the celestial matinee, who have seen ten empires rise and fall, and it is not even lunch yet.