The Kuyperian Commentary

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

Archive for the tag “war”

Why Americans Always Choose the Wrong President

By Luke Welch

Constitution

The United States Suggestitution

We seem not to know who we are, and we do not know who we are looking for. We have been surprised to find out whom we have already chosen. Most of us are under the impression that we can correctly identify political candidates and the promise they hold by an old idea we had about their parties.

I know many democrats who are supportive of their party, because they believe it will aid Americans. Despite their misgivings about abortion, they don’t think anyone will get out of poverty without assistance. If this were true that the choice were between assistance and exploitation, then it would be understandable that people would swallow the bitter democrat pill.

I also know many republicans who are supportive of their party, because they believe it will aid Americans. Despite their misgivings about the weak promise keeping of past candidates, they keep on voting (R), becuase they think America will never be free of hard times with all the enforced social assistance. If this were true that the choice were between a meddling government and freedom, then it would be understandable that people swallow the giant rotten elephant.

One of the most pressing problems when facing the future of America under the weight of her own political machine is the problem of the continuous stream of Statism. Read more…

The Sons of God Go Forth to War: Remembering Stonewall

Stonewall BrigadeSoutherners, especially Virginians, came to respect and love Jackson, sometimes to excess. One Virginia woman wrote that “I believe that God leads Jackson and Jackson his men, just where it is best they should go. My only fear is that people are in danger of worshiping Gen. Jackson instead of God, who rules over all. If we idolize him, he will be taken from us.” And taken he was, struck down by a volley of Confederate fire from sentries who mistook Jackson and his men for a Union detachment.

200px-Stonewall_JacksonMemorials to Jackson began even before his death, including the famous 1863 photo taken a week before his fatal wounding at Chancellorsville. Read more…

Rand Paul Is Still My Senator

In early 2009, I was a fairly new fan of Congressman Ron Paul, having learned of him during the 2008 presidential election. You can imagine my excitement when I heard that his son, Rand Paul, was thinking of running for the U.S. Senate. When I found out he would be representing Kentucky – my home state – it was that much more invigorating. I knew immediately that I would do everything I could in my local community to raise support for Rand.

The first order of business was to bring Rand to my city for a live speaking event. If he decided to run I knew he would be going up against establishment candidates in both the primary and general elections Read more…

Jesus the Anti-War Hippie?

My post last week addressed an image on the internet claiming that Jesus is an anti-war, socialist hippie. The image is obviously directed at Christian conservatives, attempting to show an inconsistency in their acceptance of Jesus Christ but their rejection of President Obama’s policies. We looked at how even though Jesus wants his followers to be charitable to the poor and needy, this doesn’t mean that Jesus approves of the government forcing people to be charitable. In a similar way, Jesus is anti-war but this doesn’t mean he is against all government force. He is neither a pacifist nor an anarchist. Read more…

Why Your Christian World View Blinds You

worldviewYou are a committed Christian. You’re not just nominal. And you aren’t simply emotive or thoughtless. You know you are supposed to love the Lord with all your mind. The Bible applies to all of life. You want to take every thought captive to Christ. You have a Christian worldview.

And for that reason, you may be blind.

This is not because the Christian world view is false (thought the visual metaphor may need some balancing). It is because you are taking shortcuts and are too confident in what you know to think that you need to check yourself.

Just because the Christian world view is essential to fully understanding the truth doesn’t mean you need nothing else to learn the truth. You are called to take God’s word and apply it to all of life. But you are perfectly capable of taking God’s word and applying it to your imagination—or to some fictional constructs that you have been taught and have never investigated for yourself.

Think of the culture war and American politics. There are people who need your vote in order to gain their place in the political structure of the United States of America. They know you are a Christian. They know they need the support (at least on Election Day) of people who possess a Christian World and Life View. Do you really think that, even if they plan to go in an entirely different direction, they don’t have ways of appealing to you to deceive and manipulate you to get your endorsement? If you wave the Bible, you are inviting people to use your values to lead you in a direction that might end up being the exact opposite of where they claim they are going.

It is simply not enough to know the truth about God, Jesus, and his ethical directions. You have to know something about your world, your time in history, and the people around you.

Is Islam the biggest threat to Christianity? Knowing that Islam is a false religion and that Christianity is true does not mean you have enough information to decide that question. If Islam is an independent international power, it may be such a threat. If, in fact, Islamic power is dependent on the cooperation and sponsorship of Western governments, then you might need to adjust your estimate and give first place to modern secular totalitarianism.

Should American Christians support Israel (or to what extent and in what way)? Should they support the Federal Government’s containment policy against China? Should Christians regard Putin as a thug and demand more civil liberties for Russians, or perhaps regard him as a thug and figure he shouldn’t worry about “Western” secular civil liberties? Unless they have done due diligence on the history, Christians have no right to hold an opinion on such topics. Knowledge of the importance of the Trinity to the question of the one and the many or the importance of private property to a social order won’t be enough to tell you anything.

Another complication is that Christians may not correctly understand the Christian world view, and they might actually profit from correction on those points from a non-Christian, despite the non-Christian’s central error. It is quite easy to prevent a Christian from receiving such correction by pointing to the unbeliever’s destructive beliefs and practices. I think virtually every Christian critique of Ayn Rand I have seen on the web could easily be used in this way.

One might recommend that Christians simply confess their ignorance and stay out of matters they know nothing about. But that is impossible for Americans today. Everyone—everyone—is recruiting Christians to a foreign policy or domestic cause on the basis of the alleged demands of the Christian worldview. If man-made global warming is real, then Christians must participate and support whatever scheme might fix it on the basis of “stewardship.” But the Bible doesn’t tell you whether it is real or not. If the agricultural developments of the twentieth century were the natural and spontaneous progress of scientific development providing cheaper food on the free market, that will demand one stance from Christians. If those developments were a patent monopoly used by US cold war policy to destroy indigenous agriculture and make other nations dependent on petroleum fertilizers and other purchases from a cartel, that will demand a different stance. Again, the Bible doesn’t tell you any of it.

And many don’t want to face up to how complex our situation really is. They want to add the Bible to a few unquestionable facts. You learn what those facts are, typically, when you hear your favorite Bible teacher or worldview think tank leader refer to anyone who questions or denies them as an “idiot.”

Calling people idiots and denying that they should ever be heard or considered has a far greater role in the “Christian world and life view” as it is actually practiced by Christians than anyone wants to admit.

I realize no one can know everything. But if you’re going to express an opinion on what God thinks about something, you’re going to have to study not only God’s Word but also that “something.” As much as Americans need to read more of the Bible, they also need to read more history and international politics. There’s no way to do otherwise and still claim to have a Christian view of the world as it actually is.

John Calvin famously compared the Bible to the lenses of eyeglasses. That is the point. You are supposed to look through them at the world. Too many Christians stare at the lenses or use them to stare at pictures a few influential Christians have painted for them.

(Cross-posted at Christendom Underground)

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

The American Presidents BEFORE George Washington

Presidents Before The Constitution

The American Revolution was a counter-revolution against the encroachment of the British Parliament. The independence movement released the thirteen colonies from foreign control. It is important to remember the American Revolution was a battle between Britain and the thirteen individually sovereign states, each with their own state governments. During the War, the state legislatures granted enumerated portions of their own limited sovereignty to an entity called the Continental Congress.

A congressman was elected by the other delegates to serve as this body’s President-his role was largely as an impartial moderator. Later in the war, the States transferred more responsibilities to the central government in the Articles of Confederation (1781). This stood as the nation’s first established constitution until the Constitutional Convention ratified the current U.S. Constitution in 1788.

Fourteen Presidents Before George Washington

George Washington was the first President to be elected under the 1788 Constitution Model. While many know of George Washington, the Presidents under the Continental Congress are largely unknown to modern Americans. They were men of great moral vigor, who stood strong for liberty, and held at the center of their ambition the glory of God.

Below is a list of the pre-constitution Presidents, along with inspiring quotes from these men who did not shy away from leadership when times were trying.

First Continental Congress

Peyton Randolph, Virginia (Sept 1774 – Oct 1774)

Often called the “father of our country,” the courageous Peyton Randolph led the charge against the Stamp Act as one of the most revolutionary Patriots. He also intitated the practice of prayer before conducting of government business.

In a letter to British General Thomas Cage, Randolph protests his occupation of Boston,

“Your Excellency cannot be a stranger to the sentiments of America with respect to the Acts of Parliament, under the execution of which those unhappy people are oppressed, the approbation universally expressed of their conduct, and the determined resolution of the Colonies, for the preservation of their common rights to unite in their opposition to those Acts. In consequence of these sentiments, they have appointed us the guardians of their rights and liberties…” [1]

Henry Middleton, South Carolina (October 1774)

Only serving four days, Middleton resigned in opposition to independence to Great Britian. He was succeeded in Congress by his son, Arthur Middleton (1742–1787), who was more radical than his father and became a signer of the Declaration of Independence.[2] Middleton’s first official act, was to execute a letter as President supporting the efforts of oppressed colonists. In the letter Middleton wrote,

“So rapidly violent and unjust has been the late conduct of the British Administration against the colonies, that either a base and slavish submission, under the loss of their ancient, just, and constitutional liberty, must quickly take place, or an adequate opposition be formed.” [3]

Second Continental Congress

John Hancock, Massachusetts (May 1775 – October 1777)

Hancock was President of the Congress when the Declaration of Independence was prepared. He was the first to sign what most men understood to be a note of their own death. The Declaration was received as treasonous by the British, making the signers traitors to the crown.

“In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that, whilst every prudent Measure should be taken to ward off the impending Judgements….All confidence must be withheld from the Means we use; and reposed only on that GOD who rules in the Armies of Heaven, and without whose Blessing the best human Counsels are but Foolishness–and all created Power Vanity…” [4]

Henry Laurens, South Carolina (November  1777 – December 1778) Read more…

Jeb Bush as the New Lyndon Johnson

Lyndon Johnson had a dream. Following Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, Johnson moved speedily to embody Kennedy’s vision for the country. After Roosevelt’s New Deal, Johnson’s vision for a post-Kennedy country was as ambitious as FDR’s. With only 11 months before the elections of 1964, Johnson had to prove to the country that his presidency wasn’t just due to Kennedy’s departure, but that he also deserved a chance by his own merits to lead the country for four more years. Johnson wooed Congress to pass his agenda. He continued JFK’s vision for a Civil Right’s Act, which was passed. Johnson also instituted a vision for a Great Society, which included a War on Poverty. At that moment, Liberalism’s goal to crown the Federal Government as the giver of life was achieved in a way Roosevelt could not.

Under Johnson’s presidency, Liberalism gained a powerful ally. The following agenda reveals the genesis of some of our current woes:

  • The Wilderness Protection Act saved 9.1 million acres of forestland from industrial development.
  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act provided major funding for American public school.
  • The Voting Rights Act banned literacy tests and other discriminatory methods of denying suffrage to African Americans.
  • Medicare was created to offset the costs of health care for the nation’s elderly.
  • The National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities used public money to fund artists and galleries.
  • The Immigration Act ended discriminatory quotas based on ethnic origin.
  • An Omnibus Housing Act provided funds to construct low-income housing.
  • Congress tightened pollution controls with stronger Air and Water Quality Acts.
  • Standards were raised for safety in consumer products.

Vietnam, of course, shattered Johnson’s vision for a New Heaven and Earth. Now the attention of a nation was drawn to the disastrous Vietnam War.

Jeb Bush’s Vision

In some ways, Democrats have attempted to continue the Johnson legacy. They have succeeded. $16.5 Trillion in debt reveals that the Democratic leaders paid careful attention to Johnson’s blueprint for the nation. But we have come to expect this type of consistent ideology from Democrats.

Enters Jeb Bush.

The former Governor has been deeply engaged in talks about a 2016 run. In comments made towards immigration Reform, the former Governor of Florida extolled Johnson’s skills as a legislator. Breitbart quotes Bush’s assessment of Johnson:

“He went and he cajoled, he begged, he threatened, he loved, he hugged, he did what leaders do, which is they personally get engaged to make something happen,’’ Bush said of Johnson.

To be fair, Bush did not praise Johnson’s Great Society or War on Poverty, but Bush’s invoking of Johnson positively in any way reminds Conservatives and Moral Libertarians of the misdirected attempts of healing the nation through unconstitutional means. It prompts us to ask, “what keeps Bush from incarnating Johnson’s presidency not only in the immigration issue, but other important matters as well? ”

Of course, the best read of this situation is that he is arguing for a hands-on presidency (like Johnson’s) in an attempt to discredit Obama’s hands-off presidency. But forgive the political pessimism from my perspective, but I seem to have a general distrust of the Bush brand of political reform.

You Know Who to Call

I’ve been a fool.

For a number of years now, I have gone around criticizing federal programs of Republicans, and federal programs of Democrats as if they were burning down our economy. I have sneered at what I thought was nonsensical, wanton, or even devious. But I have been confronted with a basic error in interpreting the events in our country. As I look back, I am afraid my own mouth has been used to promote falsehoods. “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” I have prompted others to think as I did. I am sorry. I must use that same mouth to show what I should have seen.

We are indeed facing great conflagrations all around us – economic disaster, domestic security, oppression of the poor – the list goes on. Up to this day, I have thought that both George Bush and Barack Obama have been “throwing oil on the fire.” But I failed to see their daring to do what others were too weak to do. What I resisted was their very brilliance, and will be for us our great salvation. They were not throwing oil on the fire. They were going to beat the fire! When a forest fire threatens your home and community, how must you do battle? With the next sentence, you shall hear my repentance:

“You gotta fight fire with fire.”

Don’t you see? A controlled burn to create a barrier – that is how you stop the flames from licking at your heels! When something really awful is coming for you – you have to do the awful thing too! You have to do it first! And a lot! That way you will be immune! That way you won’t feel it when it gets there.

Take TARP for example. Back in my blindness, I would have told you that you can’t fix debt by adding on debt. They weren’t trying to make the debt larger! They were trying to make big, scary debt, right here, really fast…THAT way we would be really tired of debt and emotionally exhausted by it before it got here. Controlled burning, see!? They weren’t trying to conflagrate us, they were just controlling us. And that’s way better. You know for our own good.

But you know how fires catch on like ideas, and it’s a good thing too, because the controlled burn has been a good solution. And this style of burning the people has caught on everywhere. Which means they’ll probably be able to control more and more. And we can let them save us and won’t have to worry or fret or think anymore. Cheer up, you may think it isn’t widespread, but there are tons of areas they can burn us in. It’s going to be a wildfire!

Take domestic terrorism. It could be here at any moment. Out of 330 million people who are potential criminals, a good handful of us has already worked on doing domestic terror on our very own land. Will the raging fire of domestic terror get here first? NO, the government is already here at the scene of the future crime, and they aren’t merely getting ready to act. They have already started! They are fast at work, patting us down, and recording what we own, downloading our computer data, and taking photos with flying robot assassins. These robots could even get their own piece of the action. Don’t worry. Domestic terrorists may have flesh and blood, but they probably also have feelings, so these robots have an advantage – no analytical emotion to get in the way of triggering “fighting fire with fire!” Domestic future bad guys, prepare to be terrorized by the experts. Prepare to be put out of business by our corner on the market.

Consider violence against women. We can certainly round up the cash to pay for more Planned violence against women.

Consider elections – one sure fire way to get rid of current bad candidates is to put more bad candidates on the roster before they can hurt us with the bad candidates we already have.

Their waging an immeasurable war against us? We’ll wage an immeasurable war against them, whoever they are!

Unconstitutional legislation threatening us? We can throw a little unconstitutional court ruling at it!

Would you rather be burned first, or burned worst?  Think it through.

Learn controlled safety at home.

This thing is just jumping from roof to roof now! Control the burn! Control the people! Control the fear! If we all work together as one, there will be nothing we cannot accomplish!

Look, you don’t have to wait for the government to help you. You can get involved. You can, in your own small way, wage war against the coming debt crisis! You can immunize yourself to the wave of debt by making big, painful debt as close as your own pocket. Your own kids can know debt today, and be free from pain in the future.

So, I am sorry that I have suggested voting for candidates of small and principled followings. I am sorry that I pretended that fiscal responsibility meant fiscal restraint. I am sorry that I called for friends to investigate candidates who said “sound economic principles” were wise. I recognize how alone and wrong I was, now that I see the brilliance that both of our upstanding parties have shared. Just how many candidates want sound economic principles, anyway? Three? Two? One? And what is the sound of one economic principle clapping anyway? Exactly. If a tree burns in the woods, and no one is there to control it… you had better believe it’s burning toward your house. And before it gets there – you know who to call.

Nation-building

ImageSo, in the debate tonight, Obama said he thinks we need nation-building at home.

If God is just that is what we will be given.

I hear reports that DHS is experimenting with using drone over the United States.

American citizens can be detained indefinitely without trial and killed by the President without one as well. They can be denied permission to fly and more denials are in the pipeline.

Nation-building at home. We get what we inflict on others.

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