The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the tag “democrat”

Understanding the Puritans

The scholarly study of the Puritans has been marked in recent years by attempts to understand them in a fully transatlantic context. This follows a broader trend in early American history to focus on “Atlantic world” perspectives, rather than proto-national American ones. While others could view this de-emphasizing of the future United States as ideologically dubious, I think it is a sanguine development for understanding the Puritans in their own places and time. ~ Thomas S Kidd, PhD Read more…

Biblical Government: Anarchy, Minarchy, or Statism?

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

an·ar·chy (nr-k): Rules without rulers; the doctrine of abolishing all compulsory, tax-funded government. Crime would be dealt with through the free market as private agencies offer judicial services based on consumer preferences.

min·ar·chy (mnr-k): Minimal rule; the belief that civil government rightfully exists to protect individuals from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud. Law enforcement, courts and military are valid government services.

stat·ism (sttzm): The practice or doctrine of giving a centralized government control over economic planning and policy, usually including the acceptance of welfarism and militarism.

If you adhere to a minarchist view of civil government, a statist has probably accused you of being an anarchist at least once in your life. Read more…

Bush, War, Conservatives, and the Search for Consistency

One of the perplexing dilemmas we face as those who oppose the over-reach of the Federal Government is the inconsistency we see in such movements. While on the one hand, we opine viciously in opposition to all forms of welfarism, on the other hand, we support and encourage our military efforts ( a form of international welfarism).
In his essay for The American Conservative, Ivan Eland discusses this inconsistency and warns conservatives that they can’t have it both ways:

“Conservatives should be leery of jumping into wars not only because American powers may become overextended—especially in a time of fiscal crisis—but because war makes government expand rapidly at home, even in areas of national security.”[1]

It is also fair to say that the Conservative mood has changed drastically in these last few years. Just as Democrats are quick to oppose a policy under a Republican governance, so too are they quick to support that same policy under a Democratic presidency.[2] I would like to think Republicans have learned their lessons, but they are just as prone to falling into the cycle of political hypocrisy. On a positive note, I have heard growing opposition to Obama’s Drone Strikes’ Policy from Republicans. Much of this opposition stems from the non-hawkish Senator, Rand Paul.

In his 2007 book, A Tragic Legacy, Glenn Greenwald details many of the former Bush supporters who have now come to see the light on America’s endless wars. Among them is Rod Dreher, a former contributor to National Review. In 2001, Dreher declared, “Thank God we have a Republican in the White House.”[3] Dreher later describes his regret for supporting Bush’s policies:

I see that I was the fool…the consequences of his (Bush’s) failure will be far, far worse than anything Carter did.

These political transformations are the results of a long line of unintended consequences, or what Chalmers Johnson referred to as Blowback.

I am convinced that serious minded Republicans are willing to count the cost, and the cost has been high. The U.S accounts for more than 50% of the world’s military spending[4] and with all that might it has left the Middle East desolate and unstable. The eloquent “No Nation-Building ” answer given by then candidate George Bush should be our policy. It is costing us too much. And as Eland observes, once warfare starts, taxes and spending continue:

Conservatives should not fail to recognize that war is the most prominent cause of the massive welfare state that has been erected in the United State.

Hopefully, consistency will return to small-government conservatives. We cannot continue to stay on budget at home, while distributing our credit cards abroad.


[1] The American Conservative, January/February 2013

[3] Greenwald, Glenn, A Tragic Legacy: How Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, 34-35.

[4] Ibid. 3

Obama’s State of the Union, Green Ribbon, Sandy Hook, and the Wizard of Oz.

State of the Union Obama Money Wizard Green Ribbon

President Obama outlined plans Tuesday night at his State of the Union address. His speech was mostly the same old thing, continuing to play heavily on support for the middle class while proposing regressive taxes that directly attack middle class incomes. Unique to tonight’s speech was the presence of green ribbons worn on the lapels of guests and members of Congress. This green ribbon was meant to memorialize the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. NPR commentators noted that the green ribbons were particularly important because of the President’s push for gun control legislation.  It was also noted that while Vice President Joe Biden was wearing a ribbon, Speaker of the House John Boehner was not.State of the Union Green Ribbons Obama Biden Boehner

What happened at Sandy Hook was a tragedy, and nothing should take away from our sympathy for the families who lost their loved ones. But at the same time, this sort of political manipulation because of a real tragedy is simply disgraceful. The ribbons and children they represent are being used as tools to bolster the President’s anti-2nd Amendment agenda.

The State of the Union address is a particularly troubling event. Thomas Jefferson stopped the practice of giving presidential speeches to Congress because he felt that it made the president out to be an imperial figure. He instead would send a written note about the current affairs of the country to those who needed it. The presentation this year makes it clear that it is only about political posturing. Members seek out aisle seats hours before the event, hopeful that they may get a picture hugging the president or shaking his hand, hoping to pander to the constituents who might be watching.

Many came adorned with green ribbons to hear lofty promises about how our President is going to put our nation back on track. It was very appropriate that all this posturing was represented with green. You may remember L. Frank Baum’s famous Emerald City of Green deception: Oz. Obama’s America is a new Oz.

“Even with eyes protected by the green spectacles, Dorothy and her friends were at first dazzled by the brilliancy of the wonderful City … There were many people – men, women, and children – walking about, and these were all dressed in green clothes and had greenish skins. They looked at Dorothy and her strangely assorted company with wondering eyes, and the children all ran away and hid behind their mothers when they saw the Lion; but no one spoke to them. Many shops stood in the street, and Dorothy saw that everything in them was green. Green candy and green pop corn were offered for sale, as well as green shoes, green hats, and green clothes of all sorts. At one place a man was selling green lemonade, and when the children bought it Dorothy could see that they paid for it with green pennies.”

And the new Oz has a new wizard, President Obama. A fool’s magician, yet  just as all  the good citizens of the Emerald City were forbidden to remove their green-tinted glasses, each American watches the state of the union through the comfort of a pair of their own colored glasses.

When will America discover that her President is no better than the false Wizard of Oz? Baum’s imperial ventriloquist is too much like our own head of state. What we need now is not more speeches from this talking head, but we need the brainless, the cowardly, the heartless, and those who are lost to break down the wizard’s chambers to discover the man behind the curtain and demand that he stop misleading the citizens. Back in Oz it went like this:

“You must keep your promises to us!” exclaimed Dorothy.
The Lion thought it might be as well to frighten the Wizard, so he gave a large, loud roar, which was so fierce and dreadful that Toto jumped away from him in alarm and tipped over the screen that stood in a corner. As it fell with a crash they looked that way, and the next moment all of them were filled with wonder. For they saw, standing in just the spot the screen had hidden, a little old man, with a bald head and a wrinkled face, who seemed to be as much surprised as they were. The Tin Woodman, raising his axe, rushed toward the little man and cried out, “Who are you?”
“I am Oz, the Great and Terrible,” said the little man, in a trembling voice. “But don’t strike me – please don’t – and I’ll do anything you want me to.”
Our friends looked at him in surprise and dismay.
“I thought Oz was a great Head,” said Dorothy.
“And I thought Oz was a lovely Lady,” said the Scarecrow.
“And I thought Oz was a terrible Beast,” said the Tin Woodman.
“And I thought Oz was a Ball of Fire,” exclaimed the Lion.
“No, you are all wrong,” said the little man meekly. “I have been making believe.”
“Making believe!” cried Dorothy. “Are you not a Great Wizard?”
“Hush, my dear,” he said. “Don’t speak so loud, or you will be overheard – and I should be ruined. I’m supposed to be a Great Wizard.”
“And aren’t you?” she asked.
“Not a bit of it, my dear; I’m just a common man.”
“You’re more than that,” said the Scarecrow, in a grieved tone; “you’re a humbug.”
“Exactly so!” declared the little man, rubbing his hands together as if it pleased him. “I am a humbug.”

One day we will realize that Obama, our Wizard, and the Government, our Oz, offer no solution to our needs. The true solutions are but “make believe.” The government exists at the expense of the Munchkins. Our presidential Wizard squanders the national wealth and starts unjust wars against foreign peoples who are not doing us any harm. It wrecks our families, tramples on our rights, invades our communities, and steals from our bank accounts. It skews the culture toward decadence and trash. It tells lie after lie. The president is not a powerful wizard, but a conniving liar who has tricked us into submission.

It is the obligation of every patriot to denounce the Obama humbug. The federal government has overstepped its boundaries, making promises it cannot keep. When will Americans awaken and realize that the president is not the magician he claims to be? He has no solutions for the economy, for crimes, for gun violence, for peace, for any of those things he campaigns for. The president, like the Wizard, is after one thing: expanding the power of his office and maintaining his great and powerful image. Once the wizard is exposed, the power is gone.

Let’s look behind the curtain, exposing the man behind the smoke and mirrors, sending him off in his own balloon full of the hot air he so much enjoys billowing.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a link is given.

The Biggest Problem after Tomorrow’s Election

The biggest problem I will have with the results of tomorrow’s election is not who wins. As much as it pains me to say this–especially because I know so many object to it–there is not a dime’s bit of difference between the two candidates. The biggest problem is the continuing problem with short term memories in America.

Tomorrow, if Obama is re-elected, Americans will be admitting to the whole world that everything they grumbled against George W. Bush for (indefinite detention, not closing Guantamo Bay, troops in the Middle East, criminalization of marijuana, etc.) really weren’t that important.

Tomorrow, if Mitt is elected, Americans will be admitting that they only opposed what was happening because it was Obama doing it instead of another Bush (healthcare–remember Medicare Part D?, education–remember No Child Left Behind?, wars, detention, lack of transparency, etc.)

What I want is more men like John Piper, who criticized Bush and the Gulf War even when it cost him congregants. I want men like Greg Bahnsen, who opposed the First Gulf War, at odds with GOP. It was Greg Bahnsen who first demonstrated such character to me. From him, I learned how to judge war, not according to whether it was a Republican or Democratic war, but whether it was Biblical.

My biggest problem, however, could be my biggest surprise. Regardless of tomorrow’s results, maybe I will see men who will oppose tyranny and injustice because it is happening, not because of who is doing it. Maybe, after tomorrow, I will see Christian leaders stand up for what is right, not for who is saying it.

Or, maybe, I’ll just see a new four years that will tick by until I can be told again, “The 2016 Presidential Election is the most important election you will face in your lifetime.”

Either way, I can say with fellow blogger Steve Macias, “Christ is still faithful and Christ is still King.”

Every Four Years, It’s The End of The World Again

by Adam McIntosh

At this very moment, the fate of America hangs in the balance. Re-electing President Obama will result in the destruction of America as we know it. It will lead to the Islamic takeover of our western heritage. Mitt Romney, however, loves America and knows it is the hope of the earth. He alone can save us from Obama’s agenda of ushering in the apocalypse. Cast your vote for Romney this Tuesday and be amazed at the marvelous deeds he will accomplish. A vote for Romney is a vote for all that is holy and righteous in this land.”

Sounds like a pro-Romney argument you’ve heard recently, right? It’s my amateur attempt at writing an attack ad, but I think I captured the overall perspective of those who insist you must vote for Romney if you wish to be a decent American, and a decent Christian. It seems that we are always on the brink of impending doom if we don’t vote for the Republican nominee. Obama is the great enemy and Romney is our coming savior.

Our Democrat friends aren’t immune to this way of thinking, either. They buy into messianic scenarios just as easily. In 2008, it was proclaimed that Obama would establish peace in the world and usher in a much needed era of war-ending, civil-rights-protecting, transparent government. Today, we’re hearing that Romney will overturn Roe v. Wade, ban gay marriage and let sick people just die, along with hurricane victims. Obama is the champion we must vote for and Romney is the terrifying adversary.

This apocalyptic mindset is borderline idolatrous. Both parties repeat the same rhetoric and propaganda each cycle, regardless of who the candidates are. Every four years, it’s the end of the world again – except that it’s not. Jesus the Christ is ruler of the universe, not Romney or Obama. He is reigning from his throne working all things according to the counsel of his will and for our good (Eph. 1:11; Rom. 8:28). We shouldn’t worry about political scare tactics; the only thing we have to fear is God himself. The cosmos will not blow up if the “wrong guy” is elected. In fact, all leaders are given authority by God (John 19:11; Rom. 13:1). As hard as it is to believe, God planned for Barack Obama to be president. Same with George W. Bush and those before him. But this doesn’t mean that all leaders are justified in their actions. God often raises up tyrannical leaders as an act of judgment (1 Sam. 8:1-22). What it does mean is that God uses our voting strategies to bring about his will. Regardless of who is elected on Tuesday, the President of Presidents will still be seated on his heavenly throne.

In his providence, Christ has placed Americans in a nation where voting is an option (not a mandate) and where multiple candidates can be on the ballot. There is no law, biblical or constitutional, that says we must vote. Nor is there a law that says we must vote for one particular candidate. Next time someone tries to guilt-trip you into voting or voting for a particular candidate – with the implication that you are an irresponsible citizen if you don’t – simply smile and say, “Chill out! Jesus is in control.”

Yet, we certainly do have responsibilities when it comes to electing our leaders. We are instructed to pray for them (1 Tim. 2:1-2) and to obey them as long as it doesn’t necessitate disobeying God (Acts 5:27–29; Rom. 13:2-5). We should also use wisdom in our voting strategies. We are supposed to proclaim the lordship of Christ in all areas of life, including politics. This means that we can’t make apathetic or uninformed decisions. But it’s precisely because Jesus is Lord that we aren’t obligated to vote a particular way. We don’t know the future and he has not told us which candidate he plans to elect. As has been previously argued, there are valid points made for each voting strategy. The question to ask yourself is,“which result would best further the kingdom?” Christians won’t always agree on the answer to that. We won’t know God’s answer to that until Tuesday night.

Inconsistent Conservatism

by Adam McIntosh

As the presidential election approaches us, evangelical Christians are rallying behind the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, as the conservative alternative to President Obama. Frequently, I’m told that Romney is better than Obama because he is against redistribution of wealth. Romney has recently criticized Obama for his redistributive policies and when conservatives call Obama a socialist, redistribution of wealth is generally what they have in mind. The two obvious assumptions at play here are 1) that redistribution of wealth is immoral and 2) that conservatives are staunchly opposed to it. But are these assumptions correct? The answer is yes and no, in that order.

Redistribution of wealth is a form of taxation whereby John Smith’s money is taken from him and then given to Jane Doe for a service that the government provides. He must pay the tax even if he never uses the service provided. Mr. Smith is forced to give his money while receiving nothing in return, violating the basics of economic trade. Put simply, this is theft. The principle of private property is clear throughout Scripture. The eighth commandment itself, “thou shall not steal,” presupposes private ownership. If there is no private ownership, there can be no such thing as theft. Redistributive taxation takes your property by threat of force and gives it to someone else, all in the name of charity. (Ironic, isn’t it? Charity is by definition a voluntary act. To force charity is to deny it.) Redistributing wealth is immoral, regardless of what service the government is providing. Christian conservatives – myself included – are correct in condemning the Obama administration and all groups that seek to preserve or extend redistributive taxation.

But as it turns out, Christian conservatives support redistribution of wealth just as much as anyone else. An overwhelming amount of evangelicals all over the country are perfectly fine with disability and unemployment benefits, Medicare, Social Security, public schools, foreign aid, and more. In many cases it is “conservative” Republican politicians who help enact these programs in the first place. And guess who was bragging about how much he wanted to improve Medicare, Social Security and public education during the first 2012 presidential debate? Surprise, surprise! It was Mitt Romney.

These programs are redistributive in the exact same way that government-run healthcare is. John Smith is forced to fund them with his tax dollars even if he refuses to use them. For example, if he never goes to public school, if he never sends his kids to public school, and if he never teaches in public school, he is still forced to pay for other people to attend and teach in public schools. This wouldn’t be a problem if each citizen was given a choice to fund these programs or not. Each citizen could choose which programs they want to use and fund them appropriately. No one would be forced to pay for something they do not want. But this scenario is pure fiction. If the government could not force redistribution of wealth it would be no different than a private agency, thereby defeating the entire purpose of these programs.

Conservatives condemn redistribution of wealth on one hand, but support and defend it on the other. We oppose it rightly when it is advocated by liberals, but turn a blind eye to it when it’s something we want to take advantage of. The inconsistency must stop. An inconsistent person has no credibility. The Republican Party – my party – will continue down the path of irrelevance as long as we refuse to acknowledge the planks in our own eyes. If we want to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and uphold his standards of private property, it must be applied across the board.

This article is not a condemnation of those who are dependent upon redistributive programs. People do the best they can with what is available to them. Many people in this country need charity where the Church has been absent. Ultimately, this is why socialistic policies are becoming the norm in America. When the Church becomes dormant in her duties, counterfeits always arise. Instead of pointing fingers, we should seek first the kingdom of God in our daily lives. We should be encouraging local churches to implement a presence of charity in their communities; to provide affordable schooling to low-income families; to help congregants find employment and assist in managing their finances if need be. We should work towards “opting out” of redistributive programs. Our purpose is to proclaim the lordship of Christ over every area of the political map and to live our lives in terms of that proclamation. Only then can we begin to end the welfare state. It starts with us – and our hypocrisy isn’t helping.

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