Jul 07

MetaxasKeepIT
If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty, by Eric Metaxas ★★★
I ordered this book on-line in February from Amazon, and it arrived in the mail in late June. I’ve read another book by Metaxas which intrigued me, leading to me to order this book. I found out about the book on Facebook, coming from Metaxas’ blog site. I typically appreciate how Metaxas writes, and so felt that I would enjoy reading this book. I’ve met and chatted with Metaxas, I find him to be most likable, and would love to engage in more conversation with him. He is bright, and mostly right-on. The other book by Metaxas that I’ve read was “Bonhoeffer”, a stimulating read, though a book for which I felt Metaxas would frequently draw erroneous conclusions, such as to state that Bonhoeffer was a martyr, which he most certainly was not. That discussion might be found in my review of that text. But, let’s get on with “If You Can Keep It”.
The book is seven chapters, with an introduction and epilogue. I’ll comment on the chapters after I briefly summarize them. The introduction presents the topic, titled by a phrase uttered by Benjamin Franklin at the constitutional convention. When asked whether we would be a republic or a monarchy, Franklin noted that we would be a republic, if we could keep it. Focused on that phrase, Metaxas seeks to restore through the book the zeal to keep this republic founded roughly 230 years ago. Chapter 1 begins the argument by noting that a republic can function only in the environment of moral people. Government cannot make us moral, and each citizen must hold the responsibility for personal morality. Chapter 2 introduces a concept borrowed by Os Guinness called the golden triangle. Specifically, the triangle is that freedom requires virtue, virtue requires faith, and faith requires freedom. Chapter 3 was simply a summary of the ministry of George Whitfield in America, leading to a spiritual revival. Chapter 4 notes how civilizations will have historical heroes that are venerated. He discusses the American heroes that are too commonly forgotten, such as Nathanial Hale, and the founding fathers, including Paul Revere. Chapter 5 builds heavily on the importance of moral leaders, contrasting the immorality of such leaders as Bill Clinton to that of Cinncinaticus, George Washington or William Wilberforce. Chapter 6 explores further the idea of American exceptionalism, and why it is important in thinking about our country. Chapter 7 is a plea that one must love their country (America) in spite of its faults. The epilogue recalls the sentimental experience of Metaxas seeing the statue of liberty in the New York harbor soon after the 9/11 tragedy.
What is the problem with this book? Several…

  1. Metaxas doesn’t express deep insights into the real nature of America, and with what has gone wrong. Perhaps the seeds of destruction were sown at the writing of the constitution itself? Perhaps America’s “exceptionalism” has been not the virtue of its wonderful constitution but its transitory moments where many Americans actually had a true faith in the God of Christianity? Perhaps many of the symbols that evoke sentimental emotions with Metaxas are false symbols, such as the statue of liberty, which is about as pagan as you can get. Not that I dislike Lady Liberty, but I acknowledge that the Christian faith has a seriously different concept of the entire notion of liberty and freedom than pagan or humanistic sources provide for. Metaxas almost hints on that in the book, but fails to follow through, lapsing back into a “God, mother and apple pie” notion of America.
  2. Metaxas confuses general morality with a Christian morality. He spends much time talking about the importance of American’s being moral, but fails to explain why any morality not grounded in Scripture is really a false morality. In essence, morality essentially becomes what the state deems to be good and right. If tolerance becomes the greatest virtue, so be it, because the state has declared it to be so.
  3. Public heroes are nice and important, but only in the light of how they lived consistent with Christian beliefs. I can hold Latimer and Ridley as far greater heroes, dying for far greater principles, than that of Nathanial Hale, or those that perished in the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Heroes now tend to be sentimental figures that do not inform the public into taking a costly moral stance. Metaxas completely confuses this in his book on Bonhoeffer, who was executed for his attempt to assassinate Hitler, which might be noble, but certainly true heroes like David from Scripture had better restraint when an opportunity to assassinate evil Saul presented itself.
  4. The golden triangle, with deepest respect to Os Guinness, seems to be nonsense. There are no specific definitions of virtue (whose morality?) or faith (in what?) or freedom (from what or for what?). Faith in the Christian sense does NOT require freedom, but affords a much greater freedom than is offered by the constitution or any other man-created document or system of government.

Metaxas labors long about the importance of love for country, being sure to dismiss the “my country right or wrong” notion. He argues that you can love a country while hating the sins of that country. But, one’s love for country is far more complex than just “loving” America. Is he talking about America as a system of government? Do we idolize the good but seriously flawed constitution, the “living” document that now controls our country? Do we love it for its extreme secularism, that refuses to take a stance as a Christian nation, and supporting equally Islam, Buddhism, and even Satanism as legitimate religions of the land?  Metaxas doesn’t mention that our only real citizenship is a heavenly citizenship, and on earth we are strangers and pilgrims. It’s not that we are solely citizens of an other-worldly realm, but that we have dual citizenships, and must reconcile how to deal with that, being both members of planet earth and asked to care for the earth, yet members of a heavenly kingdom. Some have responded by claiming that the US system is too far gone, and moved to a country which tended for stronger Christian sympathies. Others have moved on to more oppressive nations, though with the thought that they are subject to a King that is not the prince of this world. Others, like myself, stay, realizing that this is my Heimat, my homeland, that I can have an influence for good in the community in which I live. I do not find America to be exceptional, but like the prophet Jeremiah, spend my time weeping that my nation could have made better decisions but have gone the way of inevitable judgment of a most serious nature.
I see our government as far more corrupt than meets the eye. I see the constitutional structure as fatally flawed in that it is primarily a secular humanist document, and we are now reaping the consequences of that structure. I see the loss of a public Christian morality as the essential loss of anything that once was good about our country. I don’t view ourselves as having a representative government, or that our votes have any substantial meaning. A plethora of events within the last twenty years have shown that a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” does not exist in the USA, and that it will never return, save for a cataclysmic revival in our country. Why can’t Metaxas see this? I don’t know. I ponder the imponderable question as to how the majority of our “well-informed, greatest-nation-on-earth” citizens could vote in a fool and evil person to be their president. I find it even more confusing that some of my Christian friends voted and still stand behind that man, and will soon vote in an even more evil, corrupt liar. These Christian friends are very moral people as well as well educated intelligent folk, and so a generic “morality” just doesn’t explain how to fix America, as Metaxas’ thesis claims.
There is much that Metaxas says correctly in this book. I appreciate his insights into American history and his dissatisfaction with the current status of our country. I appreciate his appeal to return to a moral stance. I would find it easy to get along with Metaxas if we were to meet in public, and could easily become a good friend with him. I hope that with time and age, Metaxas would write a text about America lacking the sentimental statements and the sense that America is a city on a hill that we all wish it would have been. I would hope that Metaxas’ love for America would remain strong, but become more mature,  perhaps seeing America the same way that Jeremiah saw (and deeply loved) Judah.

Tagged with:
1 Comment »
Apr 12

StealingAmerica
Stealing America, by Dinesh D’Souza ★★★★
This book is actually two narratives. The first narrative regards Dinesh’s stay for 8 months in an overnight retention facility, and the sentencing that led to that retention. Each chapter has stories from his sentencing or life in the confinement center. The second narrative spring-boards from the first narrative, in identifying how the US government is operating in an increasingly criminal fashion, akin to the hardened criminals that Dinesh met while at the detention facility.
The first chapter speaks of Dinesh being caught for a crime that seemed somewhat insignificant and something that is performed all the time, but felony charges are avoided because high profile people are aware of the minor technicalities in helping one avoid the label of “crime” to the “mis-deed”. Dinesh accidentally gave beyond donation limits by giving to a candidate through friends. He could have given massively larger funds through a PAC or other agency, but because he did what he did and had enemies, he was labeled a felon and ultimately condemned to 8 months in a confinement center, though avoiding up to 3 years of prison by paying his life earnings to a high profile lawyer. Having personally seen enough of the court systems, I can heartily agree with D’Souza that courts are a political sham; they are not blind, and justice is NEVER served in the courts. They are highly politically motivated by extremist liberal social justice warriors with an agenda. The myth of the American court system is screamed loud and hard in the sentencing of D’Souza.
Chapter two outlines the confinement center, a description of some of the people confined within the center. The description paints the guards and personnel that run the center as more pathological than the inmates. The criminals in the center, while they created heinous crimes (and oftentimes did not!), are described as less criminal than the people that run this country. The theme of “theft” and “stealing” is beginning to be developed in this chapter, where inmates may have performed robberies, but the grander robberies are daily performed in full public eye by our politicians.
The next few chapters begin to develop certain themes. These themes are based on the crimes that inmates committed, and how the politicians that run this country have the same pathological mindset as the inveterate criminals locked up behind bars. Gangsterism is one theme. Through their particular gangs (Republican or Democratic Parties), the once innocent politician goes from poverty to unbelievable wealth, which cannot be explained by their salary as a public servant. The reparations scam is another, where astronomical payouts to an undeserving dependent class of people are made even more dependent on the system, all under the guise of repaying groups for some hypothetical crime allegedly committed against their distant forefathers by people that have been dead for many generations. The greed and inequality scam is how the government feels it is their duty to level the playing field of inequality by the continual redistribution of wealth. The only wealth not redistributed is that of the leaders. Another scam is labeled the “You didn’t build that scam”, or as I would say, “it takes a village” scam. This supposes that you would never have been able to accomplish anything in life if it wasn’t for the government, failing to realize that the government would not have existed without yours and your forefather’s taxes being paid. The “you didn’t build it scam” give the government the permission to steal your earnings for redistribution.
D’Souza then switches gears and discusses the life of Saul Alinsky. Saul spent much time with Al Capone, learning first hand the art of gangsterism. This is relevant, because two characters, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both admittedly spent much time under the tutelage of Saul Alinsky, Clinton  writing her senior thesis on Alinsky, while Obama worked under him as a civic organizer. The criminal nature of Obama and Clinton are then both detailed.
The last two chapters bewail how America has been “stolen” from the people, and offering a solution as to how to crack the deception. He really doesn’t offer much, suggesting only that we need to restore the original America that did not steal from its citizens. I didn’t expect profound solutions from D’Souza, as he really doesn’t see the full impact of what has gone wrong with our nation.
There are some serious problems with the book. First, Dinesh identifies the “problem” as starting with Bill Clinton and exacerbated by the Bushes and Obama. In actual fact, the problems of corrupt government in the USA goes back to its founding, with founding fathers stacking the constitution in its own favor. I would identify progressivism as we know it as starting with Teddy Roosevelt and ultimately “losing it” with Woodrow Wilson. We are simply seeing the end result of a 100 years of deterioration in our government, making it unrecognizable should any of the founding fathers return from the dead. The second problem with the book is that Dinesh tends to think the problem of a stolen America to be primarily a Democrat problem. In actual fact, as recent events have shown quite clearly, the Republican party is way too similar to the Democratic party, and their politics tend to differ less than the politicians would like us to think. The Democratic Party is not the only criminal gang, but there are two criminal rival gangs fighting for preeminence on the public stage. As a side issue to the Republican party, D’Souza gives inordinate praise to president Lincoln, a man worthy of praise, but omits that he, more than any other president before him, established an uncontrollably powerful central government, much to our loss and giving rise to all of the problems D’Souza wails on in his book. By decentralizing government, empowering states and empowering the 10th amendment, reducing taxation and eliminating unwanted tariffs, Lincoln could have both abolished slavery and preserved the union without a war. The third problem is that D’Souza was affected by a wantonly corrupt court system in bed with the reigning politicians. Yet, he really doesn’t grasp the entire nature of how and why our court systems no longer administer justice or freedom. I am a little astounded as to why he is so blind to this issue. The fourth problem affects Dinesh as much as the country and that is a loss of faith. Dinesh fails to ever bring out that the primary reason America has gone the way it has, is that there is no longer a Christian morality, a Christian ethos, or a Christian faith in America. Dinesh, through his past divorce, seems to have somehow lost it himself. True, he still identifies as a Christian, but this book would leave you thinking that he only has a Christian gloss; there is nothing in this book that conveys a serious Christian mindset. By that, I mean a mindset that holds God in control of the universe, in control of politics, and a moral God that will judge the sins of the nation. His morality seems to be a morality that is entirely utilitarian in its function to maintain a civil society. This is not the morality of Scripture. I dearly hope that D’Souza will some day soon come to the realization of the problems above and write a book that can encompass a true reckoning of the spiritual and political state of affairs of our nation.
The book is a depressing book. It’s not that I’ve learned something new in the book. It’s that it’s all been reinforced from a person that tended to be very optimistic about our political system and the fruits of that political system. What’s most depressing is to grasp at how few people in America realize that we are a country that has gone off the cliff and is in free-fall without a parachute. People quibbling over whether Sanders or Hillary or Cruz gets the presidency are like kids playing on the deck of the Titanic during its final hours—”the boat’s going down children, and it isn’t worth haggling over whether Suzy stepped on the line in the hopscotch game”.

Tagged with:
1 Comment »
Apr 06

BeckIslam
It is About Islam, by Glenn Beck ★★
I’ve read several other books by Glenn Beck, and have disliked them, feeling that Beck writes in a superficial fashion, selling himself as a thoughtful analyst of modern thought, yet writing in a popular emotional, non-analytical mode. The reviews of this books suggested that it was different and that Beck had provided an essay that was competent in reviewing Muslim mindset and proposing thoughtful action. I was quite disappointed in my expectations. Beck is able to throw a mountain of facts and quotes at you regarding a subject, but his ability to condense those facts into meaningful discourse is lacking
The book is broken up into three parts. The first is a brief history of Islam. This was short and focused on Beck’s agenda in the book. The second part is an argument against 13 deadly lies of Islam, such as “Islam is not much different than Christianity or Judaism”. He offers quotes supporting the “lie”, and then refutes those “lies” with facts. The third portion of the book discusses action items.  All three sections of the book are weak, and perhaps they are weak because Beck has a tenuous starting point himself.
Beck is quite spirited in developing the idea that the Islam religion is a religion of hate, and out to conquer the world. There is probably a reasonable amount of truth in that statement. His action points include the following. 1. Understand the “enemy”. Correct. That’s why he wrote this book. 2. Don’t be afraid to speak. Sure, but when somebody like Donald Trump speaks strongly about dealing with Islam, you condemn them. Go figure. 3. Know yourself and your traditions. Fair deal, but what traditions are he talking about. In this section, he simply waxes further about the problems of Islam immigration into the US. 4. We cannot reform Islam – only Muslims can do that. But, that’s not an action point. And, the thesis of the book was that Islam is a religion of violence. So, essentially, the plea is for Muslims to quit being Muslim. Sure. Hell will freeze over before that happens spontaneously.
Beck has a serious problem refuting the Islam religion because he doesn’t understand the nature of Muslim theology, and how it differs from his own. As a Mormon, he belongs to a Christian heresy just as the Muslim religion is a Christian heresy.  Though Mormonism is not so violent as the Muslims are, it has occasionally engaged in quite violent acts in the name of their religion. It would be impossible for Beck to compare and contrast Muslim vs Christian theology, since Mormonism is as far from Christian theology as the Muslim faith is from Christian theology. He couldn’t possibly discuss comparisons of salvation by works versus salvation by faith in Christ, since Mormonism is salvation by works, just as the Muslim faith is salvation by works, hoping in the end that God just might look favorably on you.
So, I can’t recommend this book at all. There are other books about Islam, notably books by Nabeel Qureshi such as “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”that are actually worth reading. And, there are others. Don’t waste your money or time on this book. I should have known better.
 

Tagged with:
1 Comment »
Mar 12

24FEB2016
The campaign season is now in full force, and opinions flow freely about who will be our next emperor. The news media is quite busy at their subtle but fake “unbiased” spin as to who would be best.
Even Ron Paul, whom I voted for the last four elections, offers his opinion in which no candidate merits his support. This is all fine and dandy, save that some candidates are the “lesser of evils”, a write-in or blank vote will be worthless, and there is a sense in which some candidates would be truly intolerable. Thus, Ron Paul playing ostrich will not work in this election cycle for presidency.
The press has taken another stance. Headlines speak of “angry voters going for Trump”. Does the press really believe that Trump fans are more angry than Col. Sanders fans or Cruz fans? Do they interpret any sort of cool-headed rejection of the Republicrat Party as anger? How many buildings have angry Trump supporters destroyed, how many cars have been destroyed or street riots engendered with much human bodily injury?  If the press would like to see real anger, try revisiting Ferguson or Baltimore.
There is the milquetoast mass who would vote for Hillarious or Rubio, and certainly the press and Republican National committee seem to make Rubio the clear-cut choice for the Republican nominee, and the DNC and press with Hillarious for Democratic nominee. This is the New York Times stance. Why would I take advice from the most liberal rag in America that intends to indoctrinate the American public?
Fear mongering has been the approach of both Republicans and Democrats. Special interests drive select candidates, as the Feminazi influence in advocating for Hillarious. The press would like us to believe that Trump appeals to the less intelligent and under-educated masses, based on a comment by Trump that the less educated masses love him. The logic of concluding that his statement that “ONLY” the uneducated masses love him defies my sane reasoning.
So, I march through the available candidates for president looking at the pros and cons for each of the active candidates. I left out Vermin Supreme, but then, I decided that I really have no use for a free pony (google or u-tube search Vermin Supreme if you have no clue as to what I’m talking about).
Hillarious:
Con:
1. She’s an inveterate liar and never to be trusted.
2. She’s a war monger who will get us worse into war than Obama has done. We will probably see conflict with either China or Russia during the reign of Empress Hillarious.
3. She’s a part of the established Republicrat regime, and would continue business as usual.
4. We don’t need a Clinton dynasty. They’ve done enough trouble while Billy was in office. I don’t forget the lengthy list of scandals and offenses that occurred during his reign, many with Hillarious in collusion.
5. She has poor health and she is old, benefited only by massive use of make-up. Her VP would probably soon be president.
6. She is allied to too many special interests, such as the Feminazi interests, the gay/lesbian/trans-sexual interests, etc., Goldman Sachs and Wall Street, for a short list.
7. I don’t want a lesbian as president.
Pro:
Absolutely none
Col. Sanders
Con:
1. A socialist by any name is still a socialist. The banks are already teetering to unmitigated collapse, though we don’t know when. The Colonel will only accelerate that ultimate collapse.
2. He’s a fake. He could have voted his heart and supported the audit of the fed bill in the senate, but did not. I don’t trust him.
3. He is really old. I suspect that he is also partially senile. We’ll have a situation like the end of the Woodrow Wilson years, where a presidential advisor essentially runs the nation.
4. His solutions never have a basis is serious reality, whether it be economic solutions, public policy solutions, or foreign policy solutions.
5. His past life was miserably anti-American, which he needs to make account for.
6. The guy was a useless parasite on society before he got into politics, not even holding a job until he was 40 years old. He would remain a useless parasite if he became president.
Pro:
1. He sees the problem of America’s monetary system, and wants to do something about it. He clearly sees the corrupt banking system, the problem of the Federal Reserve, and how Wall Street is about as anti-American as ISIS or Obama.
2. He seems to have a shred of integrity.
Ben Carson
Con:
1. He has minimal familiarity with politics. He would be a lamb among wolves.
2. He doesn’t have a “leadership” persona.
3. He would involve America in war in other countries.
4. He hasn’t expressed a comprehensive stand on many matters of concern.
5. He would not make a great president but would  otherwise be fantastic in Washington on whoever’s cabinet.
Pro:
1. He is probably the smartest candidate, Republican or Democrat. Honestly, he is frankly brilliant.
2. He is  Negro and unlike our current “black-white Mulato” president, and so would very certainly start bringing a correction to race issues in the USA.
3. His integrity and morality are completely impeccable, regardless of accusations of his opponents and the press.
4. He stands first among all the candidates in being a gentleman and man of honor.
Marco Rubio
Con:
1. He would perpetuate and exacerbate the current immigration problem. He would do a terrible job with America’s borders.
2. He tends to be a “company man”, and would march to the beat of the Republicrat regime. It would mean politics as usual.
3. His policies are pseudo-conservative. This might garner liberal votes, but then, if one wishes to vote liberal, feel the Bern.
4. His public persona is awful. He looks like a little kid. He is nigh brain dead in his speeches. He will need a teleprompter just like the Bummer.
Pro:
1. This is a tough one, but he does have some conservative leanings regarding economic issues.
2. He has a reasonable morality. I find it odd that so many presidential candidates come to Jesus during the campaign year, making professions of faith that they could have said before hand but strangely did not.
3. He clearly sees that our current president is super-bad. I think he repeated that 4 times in a recent debate.
Ted Cruz
Con:
1. His public persona is horrible.
2. He doesn’t do the best job at selecting the people around him, a good example being his campaign manager
3. His policy stances regarding foreign wars, economics, domestic issues are weak.
4. If running against either of the democratic candidates, he will lose. The press will make mince meat of him.
5. He would make an absolutely superb Supreme court justice.
Pro:
1. He has good, solid policies on many issues, especially regarding immigration/border issues.
2. In spite of what the press and RNC tried to do to smear him, he is a man of integrity.
3. He is willing to stand up for what is right and speak out when there is a wrong or an injustice, even if it may mean political harm. His action of calling many of the lead Republicans liars was both truthful and proper.
Donald Trump
Con:
1. He is a novice in politics
2. He seems to be taking strong stances and expressing opinions which are often contrary to what he was saying just a few years ago. True, even President Reagan was originally a liberal, but Trump has not had the time to prove to the public that he really has mended his ways and thinking.
3. He has every reason to be self-serving as president.
4. He has a terrible grasp on the constitution. He will approach his job (similar to Obama) more as Führer than as a constitutional president.
5.  If elected president, there is a high chance that some liberal nitwit will assassinate him. (some people might put this in the “Pro” column).
Pro:
1. The press and established Republican Regime hate him, which means he is probably all right.
2. You usually don’t need to worry about him speaking his mind.
3. He seems to be the most outspoken about standing up for USA interests
4. He will not get us involved in crazy and expensive foreign wars without assuring ourselves a benefit from those wars.
5. He is the most clear about fixing the immigration issues. Above all, he understands that “illegal” in the phrase “illegal alien” does not mean anything but the plain reading of the words. It certainly does NOT mean undocumented workers.
6. He has some grasp of economics and would probably look out for the “little guy” in business.
7. He is VERY clear on other important issues, such as terminating ObamaCare as soon as he gets into office.
8. He’ll have Hillarious behind bars, where she belongs.
9. From his life in the business world, I suspect that he would be adept at recruiting competent men around him.
10. He generates very strong reactions from many of my friends about how dangerous he would be as president, accusing him of being a chameleon that will be a different color in office. I interpret those strong reactions (from even the friends that I trust) as all the more reason to vote for him. I find it intriguing that such notable characters as Pat Buchanan (whose opinions I always respect) and Ann Coulter (who I tend to agree with even though I detest her persona, and besides, she’s a damn lawyer), and Alex Jones (a very strange character but who usually gets it right) are all in favor of Trump (at least, at this time).
11. He is not a lawyer. We need a government with more people than just lawyers and political science majors. Lawyers and political scientists have the worst grasp on truth of anybody I know, and which I always count as a strike against them.
I’m sure this list will grow and change over the next few months. You might have noticed that I have not opted in favor of any candidate. Your notice is correct. You might have noticed that I also have some political leanings for this election. That is also correct. I remain moderately undecided at this point. If you wish to change my mind, don’t waste your time, as I’ll probably vote for somebody else just because you tried to persuade me otherwise.
Of course, some of my friends will bring up the question as to whether the candidate is a Christian. I would remind them that I have some very dear (but politically brain dead) friends who lauded Obama for being a Christian. I remember liking Jimmy Carter because he was “born-again”, and what a colossal mistake he was of a president. Our last great president that generally stood for Christian values was Reagan, but he came under attack for his lack of Christian faith. Meanwhile, the Bush clan were lauded as Christians, yet I have serious questions about their integrity and self-serving expectations while in office. I am reminded of the Cromwell regime in England, which stacked the parliament with Christians, but who were incompetent at running a country.
So, I now offer a serious question. Does America deserve a good president? Perhaps not. I see no candidate that will make king Hezekiah or king Josiah style reforms to correct public sins and evil, and foster a more righteous nation. Ultimately, is this not the ONLY thing that matters? Making America great is a matter of making America Christianly moral. But, returning to a biblical foundation will not happen because not even most Christians have a clue as to what that is. Why do so many Christians (like the current Pope Francis) view socialism as a form of Christianity by doing good to the poor? Are they so foolish as to imagine that goodness can be forced and delegated by an evil government? Judgement on our nation looms, and Christians need to get off their Pollyannish pie-in-the-sky-in-the-sweet-by-and-by mentality that God still loves America, and that other countries might be bad, but at least we are not as evil as Russia or China. Just see what Habakkuk says… (You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? Hab 1:13)
Perhaps Christians wish for more social justice. God’s law specifically forbids judgements in favor of “the poor” just because they are poor (“You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit” Exo 23:2,3). A strong sense regarding personal ownership of property and goods must not be viewed as being evil, but the wish to re-distribute the goods of “the rich” as being very evil (You shall not covet-10th commandment, Exo 20:17).
Our current president has accelerated the process of wickedness in our nation. We are far worse now in being racially divided. We no longer grasp that having a penis means that you are male, regardless of your feelings on the subject. The gay/lesbian/trans-sexual/confused-sexuality agenda has flourished under our current Nobel peace prize gay bath-house visiting “Christian” president. Social programs have removed any moral responsibility from people, so that any sexual, economic, or behavioral issue might get you time behind bars or in the Krankenhaus, but will not result in you suffering the full impact of your inappropriate behaviors. We no longer fear the influx of foreign gods, including Buddhism, the Muslim “god”, Satanism in its various forms, and the god of mammon. The Scriptures are not silent on this. (Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.  You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God Deut 8:17).
So, my action items are as follows.
1. Pray. God is in ultimate control of everything. Remember that Obama was ordained by God (it doesn’t mean that God loves Obama! Contrary, God truly hates Obama!).
2. Stand up for what is right. Work for a crisis pregnancy center that offers alternatives to abortion. Refuse to patronize businesses that cater to the gay/lesbian/trans agenda (including the YMCA). Speak your mind for truth. Don’t be ashamed that you are a Christian. Go to a real church. Not a feel good, “Jesus loves you, come as you are” “Get in touch with the real-you”, self-empowerment church, but a real church.
3. Quit thinking that God loves America. He doesn’t. Quit thinking that America is a Christian country. It might have been at one time, but it sure is not now. Quit thinking that most Americans that say they are Christian are Christian. Do they truly understand God’s laws, and seek to live by them? (As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments Ps 103:13, 17,18). Do you erroneously consider the Older Testament as obsolete and replaced by “grace” under Jesus? Are we all Marcionites now? Are there two different gods in the bible, the old testament and new testament gods? Or did God announce through Jesus that he was just kidding, and really will not be imposing a harsh moral law on mankind from Jesus on out? Do you realize that all of America is enemy territory, the worst being many “conservative” American Christian churches?
4. Pay close attention to practicing a personal morality. It really does matter. Don’t complain when God’s judgement hits, if you are not personally walking with God, and remembering to keep His covenant. Do you encourage your neighbor to seek a biblical faith.
5. Let Scripture alone rule as your moral guide. Memorize it. Start with Ps. 1 and Ps. 2. Psalm 1 is a summary for the entire Scripture regarding the need for personal morality. Psalm 2 is a summary for the entire Scripture regarding God’s ideas regarding politics. They are eternal inviolate truths.
6. Refuse to vote for the status quo. If you do vote, trust that God will establish the perfect person for America. It will probably NOT be the person you wanted to be president.
7. Remember that over ½ of Americans voted for Obama twice over. If you think that our country truly wants what is right and good, you are living under a massive delusion.
Thanks for hearing out my rant.
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places. Hab. 3:17-19
All Bible quotes in this blog were taken from the English Standard Version, complements to some of my friends who participated in this translation.
 
ADDENDUM: 28FEB2016
You might have noticed that I did not review Kasich. The simple reason is that I have nothing to say about him. I won’t move out of the USA if he becomes president, but I view him as a weak liberal.
I am feeling that Trump is shooting himself with his mouth. I am becoming increasingly concerned about him being president. He will be a better alternative that Col. Sanders or Hillarious, but feel that it would be very risky voting for him as president. I’ve also appreciated Ted Cruz more as time goes on. He’s a sharp cookie, even though he is a lawyer. If I had to vote tomorrow, it would probably be for Cruz. Who knows who my next addendum will prefer? I’ll be glad when the Republican and Democratic conventions are over with. Who knows if there will be a third party candidate? We wait in prayer that God will show at least a modicum of his steadfast love on the USA as a country, that his wrath not be too severe.
 
ADDENNDUM: 12MAR2016
I’m seeing why it was a good reason not to cast my vote firmly. Events of the past few weeks have changed my mind. Issues that have developed with Cruz.

  1. He selected Neal Bush to be on his financial staff. Why in the Sam Hill did he do this? Is he trying to get in good through the back door with the established politicians that we have learned to so thoroughly despise? Wasn’t it Neal that was involved criminally in the Savings and Loan disruption many years ago?
  2. Cruz is throwing unnecessary mud at other candidates, suggesting that he is desperate; not a good trait for a president. He now accuses Trump of stirring up the crowds. But, the crowds stirred up are the worthless chronic parasitic students, Negros, of Chicago. Get out the Kleenex. Like spoiled children, it’s time somebody told them off. Cruz cannot let go of his establishment mentality.
  3. Cruz has some very strange “magical” concepts of Christianity. The Lord told him that he would be King in America, according to his father. I don’t mind Pentecostalism, but they sometimes have the worst approach to truth.
  4. Cruz would make a good attorney general, but an awful president.

What about Trump?

  1. He has shown that he can behave and be presidential.
  2. He pisses off the liberals. Good. Hopefully, he’ll put some of those sorry asses back to real work. Hopefully, he’ll terminate half the funding to colleges, so that we don’t produce yet another generation of totally useless BS’s and BA’s, trained in gender studies, political science, environmental studies, racial studies, or law.
  3. He pisses off neocon conservatives. Good. They can keep their little playacting at party meetings, but they are just as criminal at bringing collapse to America as the liberals. The neocon arguments are ridiculous, and without substance. His hair. He looks haughty (like Hillary, Rubio, and others don’t???). He’ll get us into war (really now, are you so deaf that you can’t hear what Trump has said a million times—if we go to war (ever), THEY will pay!!!)
  4. He is acquiring more and more people that like him. My favorite candidate (above) in terms or morality and wisdom and personality was Carson, and Carson threw his towel in with Trump. The liberal neocon right simply can’t bear that, and are now coming down hard on Carson for stupidity. They lack a mirror. Phyllis Schafly has supported Trump. There are many others that are coming out.
  5. I actually ventured onto Trump’s website, prompted by the baby-ass crying neocons. I reviewed his policy statements. I agree with nearly every one of them, such as his foreign policy (except for his involvement in the South China Sea – we don’t belong there), economic issues, education (he’s listening to Carson! on that one), healthcare reform (abolish ObamaCare), immigration reform, tax reform, eliminating the death tax, and second amendment rights. I love his idea to make concealed carry permits applicable across state lines, like driver’s licenses. There’s almost nothing that I disagree with. Plus, and most importantly, he promised to put Hillary in prison. I hope that he also tries Obama for treason, makes illegitimate all of his actions as president, puts half the Supreme Court before the firing squad for treason, hangs Loretta Lynch for treason, and fires half of everybody in government.

So, I’m not totally committed but would vote for Trump if the ballot was given to me today. This has not been a good election cycle. The worst thing is not who the candidates are, but how the professional politicians of all stripes are responding to the election that isn’t going their way. They are working too hard to protect their own comfortable turf. Because of that, I dearly hope that whoever gets into office removes any retirement benefits for congress and presidents. They don’t deserve it. They get enough already in other royalties. I dearly hope that a law is passed that makes that forces congress and executive office members to live by the same laws that we have to live by. We are not supposed to have a class of royalty. Let’s get rid of them!
 

Tagged with:
4 Comments »
Nov 14

SnappingKupelian
The Snapping of the American Mind, by David Kupelian ★★★★★
The title of this book had an immediate appeal to me, since I also think that we are now witnessing mass insanity with the American public. Kupelian works for an internet news site called World Net Daily, and is one of the contributing editors to the site. He also has written several other books, one that I have previously reviewed, “The Marketing of Evil”.
Kupelian takes aim at a number of aspects of American “group-think” that has gone off the deep end. These include…
a) The media is the first subject of attack, noting how it has become malignant in its attack against what they consider outside of their personal worldview. Whether it be promoting hate for conservative politicians, or obscene anti-religious erotic art, or labeling conservatives as terrorists, the loss of civility in the media has been heavily influential on snapping the minds of its audience.
b) We have blurred our historical values to be unrecognizable and definitely anti-Judeo-Christian. A replacement with Marxist philosophy has happened almost unnoticeably, and is often confused with just another variety of Christianity, a kinder and gentler version.
c) Government and other movements sowing seeds of disinformation in society that is intended to unsettle the foundations of our current government and bend the minds of the hoi polloi into a socialistic mindset. Discussion about the Alinsky revolutionary methods of confusing the public and breeding revolt are explained and developed.
d) Words have become meaningless. The traditional meaning for normal words no longer mean what we “think” they mean. This has bred such confusions as the movement for political correctness and Orwellian opposite definitions (eg freedom is slavery, war is peace, etc.).
e) Urban vs. rural issues. Kupelian notes that the radical division is not with conservatives vs liberals, or Democrats vs Republicans, but almost entirely urban vs rural. The way our nation votes and acts can almost be predicted on whether you live in the big city, or out in the countryside. Cities have become the hotbeds of confused ideology.
f) Kupelian discusses the drug wars, in which I slightly disagree with him, in that he labors long over marijuana, which has been a silly drug to outlaw, and certainly not as destructive as alcohol. Yet, he is correct that drugs are a problem in American society with our massive use of anti-psychotic, antidepressant, anti-ADH, anti-whatever drugs that are hawked on the public.
g) America seems to be addicted to anything and everything, from drugs, to overeating, to pornography, to alcohol, to whatever, and that rather than call it a “sin”, it becomes medicalized and treated as an illness like the chickenpox.
h) America has allowed itself to become entirely confused as to gender issues. Developing the idea that kids can mis-interpret themselves in the problem of anorexia nervosa, it seems to follow that gender identity issues may be similar. Except that the new American public thought sewer, children should be allowed to be confused regarding sexual identity. How sexual identity issues could be promoted and institutionalized  remains a massive delusion.
Solution? Kupelian first argues that America needs to get a grip on themselves and wake up to the problem. He frets at a solution, since “while a deluded president can be replaced at the next election, one cannot replace a deluded population”. Kupelian discourages defeatism and encourages making one’s voice noted, whether at the voting booth or in public forum, or in acts of public disobedience. He encourages taking care of the self, whether it be by nutrition and exercise, meditation or rest. The gist of his encouragement is to rise above anger and bitterness, and combat the current world system as a faithful Christian.
This summary is very short, and the book is loaded with facts, figures and stories of either the mindlessness of our society, or ways in which people have enacted to “fix” our system. I agree with his analysis of the problem. His stated solution is weak.
One item that might be contended with in this book is that when he argues that the American mind has snapped, he makes the bold assumption that his own mind hasn’t snapped.  Without a reference point, it is impossible to know whether one is personally insane, or the remainder of the world is insane. David provides (without actually using this terminology) that his reference point is the Almighty God as found in the Judeo-Christian Bible. The ultimate judge of mankind will be eternity, and I believe that that judgement will be a personal judgement by an infinite personal God. Thus, though many devout Christians with a liberal political mindset will take offense of much of what Kupelian has to say in this book, I appreciate that Kupelian argues from a Scriptural base without a strain on Scriptural interpretation, and that most conservative Christians regardless of theological or denominational stance would agree with the Scriptural spin that Kupelian offers. The only disagreements may be in the solution(s) to the problem, and not identification of the American problem.

Tagged with:
1 Comment »
Oct 12

GreatestComeback
The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority, by Patrick Buchanan ★★★★
This is a delightful book to read, providing the reader with an inside view on the workings of politics in the circle of the presidency. Patrick Buchanan could provide that for Richard Nixon when he ran for president a second time in 1968, as Pat was one of the principle speechwriters and policy setters for Nixon during his campaign that led him to the White house in 1968. One gets the feel for the internal in-fighting among each of the two parties, and strategies that Nixon took to lead to his victorious campaign for the presidency. Principle tactics included taking great pains to  bring unity to the Republican party, avoid the radical fringes of the party, but to never ever bad mouth or speak thoughtlessly of other members of the Republican party. Pat provides a description of Nixon that is much different from that of the press, and even that of Chuck Colson in the books he wrote about his involvement in the Watergate scandal. Nixon, though occasionally moody, tended to be thoughtful, conciliatory, eager to seek and take advice from both his close confidants as well as liberals that he disagreed with. Patrick is a touch self-serving, in that he was probably as responsible as anybody for Nixon’s ultimate success. Contrary to the belief of some, there is not painted an internal conspiracy that pulled Nixon into the presidency, that is, unless Buchanan was lying through his teeth in this book. I trust Buchanan as having a high level of integrity, though perhaps unaware of the internal machinery that ultimately drives this country. At the very end of the book, Patrick Buchanan suggests that a sequel is in the works that details his knowledge of the ultimate downfall of Nixon—I will greet it with even more interest than this book.

Tagged with:
1 Comment »
Sep 07

UncleTom
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe ★★★
This book is said by many to have been one of the most influential books in all of American history. I don’t doubt that. It is actually an assembly of articles that Stowe wrote for a magazine, eventually assembled into book format. It is written like a true story, though it is a fiction supposedly assembled from examples of how slaves were treated in the antebellum south. Unfortunately, I would not call it great literature, and is definitely written with a strong political slant to it.  The book has two main stories to it, the first being a slave lady with her child that escapes to safety. Then, there is Tom, the good boy who always does what he is told, who ends up being sold to a tyrannical slavemaster, leading to his death.
The book is written in an inflammatory manner designed to show that while slaves may have kind and loving owners, the entire system of slavery was rotten to the core. Uncle Tom had some kind owners, yet the picture is always lurking that he is essentially nothing but somebody else’s property, and that only pure luck gave him sympathetic owners. Stowe uses religion heavily during the narrative, emphasizing that Tom was a very religious man. This seemed to be directed at southern theologians who vociferously contended for the religious propriety of slavery as an institution.
What do we make it this book 150 years later? We know the outcomes now, and so are somewhat prejudiced in our reading of this book. Needless to say, when Union armies came close to slave lands, at least 1/6 of the slaves would run to the union front. There are simple reasons to explain why it wasn’t 100% of slaves, as confederate lost cause writers try to impress on us that most slaves were loyal to their masters and would have stayed with them out of contentment for their situation. The fact is that the south did not take careful measures to protect abuses in slavery (if slavery itself is not itself considered a serious abuse). There is a large movement today to resurrect the thinking of the lost cause writers, and strangely, this is found most prominent among libertarians, who are the most vociferous about individual rights. Arguments in these camps abound about how the civil war wasn’t about slavery but instead state rights, taxes, or Lord only knows what. They love to make Abe Lincoln look worse than the devil himself. It would have been best if America did not have to go through the bloodiest war in its history with the civil war. Thomas Fleming in his book A Disease in the Public Mind (reviewed recently by me) identifies the real cause of the war was mass public insanity regarding the issue of slavery, both in the south and the north, that led to this war. This book about Uncle Tom flamed the insanity in the north, and southern intrenched arrogance inflamed the insanity of the south. Needless to say, I do NOT have southern sympathies, while contending with the issue of slavery without the inflammatory nature of this book would have been a better way to go about it.

Tagged with:
4 Comments »
Jul 01

22716_lg
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, A History of Nazi Germany, by William Shirer ★★★
This book was read on my iPad. It is a fairly large book, taking me a while to complete it, thus, the absence of many other book reviews on my blogsite. Shirer was a journalist in Berlin, leaving Berlin approximately 1940-1941 (he doesn’t say exactly when), and then observing from the sidelines. The book is fairly well researched, and heavily referenced. After the end of the book, a 1990 afterthought is included by the author. He had noted that the book was on the best sellers list for a number of years, and purchased in many countries except for Germany itself. This Shirer felt was a sign that the German people still remained clueless as to the nature of their goose-stepping militaristic nature, and he expressed fears that the re-unification of Germany was going to lead to yet another rise to power and German world war. Perhaps the person the most clueless is Shirer himself. Throughout the book, Shirer writes not as an objective historian, but as an opinionated, biased journalist. Shirer seems to let his thinking and emotions get in the way of solid historical reporting. As an example, he shows his bitter disdain for the personality of Von Ribbentrop, rather than seeking to describe his personality and then letting the facts speak from there. He describes many episodes of secret meetings where he seems to be cognizant precisely what transpired. He makes warrantless broad assumptions about the German people that don’t serve his commentary. Here is an example, quoting the book, ” One gets the impression that … many … “Good Germans” fell too easily into the trap of blaming the outside world for their own failures, as some of them had done for Germany’s misfortunes after the first lost war…”. Excuse me, but the blame does spread around to all the European nations as well as the US. Or, of speaking of Mussolini, “…as dictator, he had made the fatal mistake of seeking to make a martial, imperial Great Power of a country which lacked the industrial resources to become one and whose people, unlike the Germans, were too civilized, too sophisticated, too down to earth to be attracted by … false ambitions. The Italian people, at heart, had never, like the Germans, embraced fascism.” Such comments leaves one feeling whether they could take anything that Shirer says seriously. He truly couldn’t be serious in implying that the mass of German people were uncivilized, unsophisticated, not down to earth?  There are many more examples throughout the book.
Shirer provides a nice flow through the book and it is very readable. There is a wealth a facts that need to be selected out in writing any historical account, and the fact that huge numbers of texts have analyzed the Nazi phenomenon attest to the fact that even 60 years after the fact, we are still grappling with the problem of made Germany do what it did. Shirer provides a completely wrong explanation, but feeds western, and especially US arrogance in the matter. To divorce himself from the reality of Germany, Shirer had to paint the Germans as a different creature, perhaps even a different species or genus. To this date, political situations are so often compared to that of Hitler and Nazi Germany. The left and right of politics continually hurtles the accusation at the other of being just like the Nazis. Why isn’t Stalin and the Communists equally brought up as a examples?Or Mao Tse Tung? Or the Japanese emporer? Or Napoleon? The list could go on at length. Germany is used as the example because sub-consciously, they are a people the most like us. They, more than any other modern country, developed the ideas of ethics that shape our world. They developed our philosophy, our music, our culture, etc. They, more than even England, gave us our work ethic, and our sense of obedience to authority. The rise of Nazi Germany seems to be a great puzzle, yet it isn’t. We see ideas in politics today reinforce that the events of the rise of the Nazi state happen on a smaller scale every year in Washington, D.C. We claim that the German people should have known and risen up, yet we don’t rise up, as our freedoms are constantly eroded, and our government increasing behaves in a dictatorial fashion that we have no control of. We claim a moral superiority to the Germans of the first half of the twentieth century, yet truthful soul-searching suggests that we aren’t much different than they.
To end it, Shirer ends with the execution at Nuremberg of the main Nazi officials. Specifically, Ribbentrop, who Shirer completely despised,  is reported as to have flippantly blurted out to the American Military pastor, “See you later” as though he was making a colossal terminal joke. Actually, the full quote is as follows… “I place all my confidence in the Lamb who made atonement for my sins. May God have mercy on my soul”. Then he turned to Gerecke (the Lutheran pastor) and said “I’ll see YOU again”. In the book “War and Grace”, Don Stevens recounts the story of Henry Gerecke, a Lutheran Pastor in the military from Missouri, who was assigned to be the chaplain to the Nazi war criminals. In the process of his encounters with Goering, Rosenberg, Ribbentrop, etc., he noted that not a few felt genuine remorse for their actions, and found faith in Christ, including Keitel, Fritzsche, von Schirach, Speer, Raeder, and after much struggle, Ribbentrop. Many Americans sent Gerecke hate mail, detesting the fact that he would minister to the Nazi war criminals. Yet, the additional story from Stevens only strengthens the impression that the Nazis are us. We might have done exactly what they did in the circumstances. The story of the Nazis is a sobering story that should make all of us weep, and not arrogantly state that “they” are a breed of another kind. For that end, a book like this is worth reading.

Tagged with:
2 Comments »
Feb 03

Seahawks
Much hype was made over the Superbowl in the Seattle area. Everybody (hyperbole, actually, only about 30%) was wearing Superbowl shirts over the past week, and the mania reached to all branches of life. The super-rich flew to Christie-Land (kind of like Fantasy Land) to personally attend the festivities. There was great apprehension, because the Reds (* see below for explanation of the colors) had the most valuable player. Conversely, the Blue-Greens had the favor of Nero, as well as the Reformed Pope of Seattle (Mark Driscoll).
The game was not watched by me, but I could tell that it was practically over from the start. The only anxiety remaining was whether the Blue-Greens would be able to pull off a total shut-out. Actually, they did accomplish a total shut-down, as the city of Seattle and its accompanying megalopolis rested quietly, all citizens glued to their personal sewer pipes (televisions). The streets were empty, and shops were stilled. Even the houses of worship that still met on Sunday evening were poorly attended—I know, since I went, but heard one of the best sermons ever last night-Zechariah 14. Facebook was littered with photos of home Superbowl parties, photos of nauseating junk food spreads fit for Rosanne Barr or Oprah, and scores were updated on a continuous basis. Since I am friends on Facebook only of Seahawk devotees, I delighted in their spontaneous posts of rapturous praise to the Blue-Green god. The red devotees were not happy, but I never heard from them, and they got what they deserved—dogs and blasphemers never deserve to win.
Now that the Superbowl is over and the Blue-Greens are the victors, all is well in the Land of Oz. The Emerald City has returned to it’s usual helter-skelter. But, there is a noticeable difference. There is now love in the city. No crimes have happened since the clock struck game-time zero the Land of Oz.  There is a prevailing sense of peace. There is joy unspeakable among the residents of Oz. It is a transformation like has never occurred in our great land. Meanwhile, Nero has announced that he was just kidding regarding Nero-Care and is terminating it as of this moment. He is withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, shut down the Federal Reserve, and has confessed to being an inveterate liar, never to lie again. Salvation has come to our dear Pacific Northwest, and we’ve all found jesus. The Seattle Pope has already declared that many of the Blue-Greens have found jesus, and while the rumor exists that while some of the Reds have professed finding the same man, we know most assuredly that that simply cannot be true, as jesus loves sports and would only allow true believers to win.
 
*In Greek and Roman society, the sports teams were named by color, so that instead of the SeaHawks, the Broncos, the Cubs, the Trailblazers, you had the Blues, the Reds, the Greens, the Whites, etc. The White Sox or the Red Sox most closely approximate the ancient standard. The SeaHawks colors are Blue-Green and the Broncos Orange with a touch of Blue (call them Red since an Orange team did not exist in Rome), so they are referred to with color terminology in this post. Ancient Nero, like most of the emperors, was an avid Green fan, so he probably would have been a SeaHawks Blue-Green fan. The reincarnation of Nero in the White House almost certainly is a Blue-Green fan.

Tagged with:
5 Comments »
Dec 25

DiseaseFleminghA Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War, by Thomas Fleming ★★★★★
I really didn’t wish to read another book about why the civil war was fought, but I loved the other books by Thomas Fleming that I had read, including The New Dealers’ War and The Illusion of Victory on the 2nd and 1st world war respectively. One grows weary of the discussions over the true reason for the civil war. Those with a southern sentiment with argue with religious conviction that it was not about slavery. Others will argue that it was about state’s rights. The most recent study by a well known tax historian made a very plausible account that it was about unfair taxation. Fleming addresses all of these issues, but mostly maintains a persistent thread through the historical accounts as to issue of slavery. Interestingly, Fleming seems to take neither a Northern nor Southern stance, but notes that both groups had lapsed into a spiteful sentiment towards the other, coupled with a religious fervor that disallowed compromise or discussion or resolution.  The preface paints the real dilemma of assigning a war clause, since neither the North nor the South had a large population eager to go to war to either abolish or maintain slavery. But, the issue of slavery became a form of public insanity, a disease of the public mind.
Fleming notes that slavery was a contentious issue from well before the Revolutionary war.  Slavery had no geographical boundaries, and both North and South at one time had slaves. The founders of the constitution realized that slavery would become a contentious issue, and some of the fathers of the Republic set their slaves free voluntarily. Everybody in the few years following the grounding of the constitution felt that slavery was inconsistent with the constitution, and wished for its eventual demise. Yet, over time, “religious” fervor in the north maintained an uncontrolled vitriolic tongue, while southern politicians hardened their once pliable stance on the right of slavery. The Senate and House became hotbeds of contention, with extensive discussions about nullification and the extent of federal power (but, all related to the ultimate issue of slavery), with the New England states first expressing the idea of succession. Over time, the radical abolitionists became irrationally cruel towards the south, all in the name of the Christian god. Conversely, the south developed the irrational fear of a race war similar to that which was experienced in Haiti, even though the circumstances in that island were much different that in the south. Even headed thinkers predominated on both sides, who refused to accept that the war was over slavery—for the north, it was the preservation of the union, and for the south, the preservation of their homeland. Both sides retained a pompous arrogance in the correctness of their part of the struggle at the war’s end. The anguish of the war stood largely on a few people, Abraham Lincoln and Robert Lee being the two most spoken of in this book, both wishing a benevolent resolution of the conflict and of the anger that generated the war. The apotheosis of both men, Lincoln and Lee, by the north and south respectively, would probably have been greeted with disapproval by both men, who were greater than the prevailing thought of the time.
This book also adds some food for thought, that I’d like to add as a side note to the book review. It is interesting that the strict Libertarian camp (e.g. as found in the Lew Rockwell webpage) unrelentingly attacks Lincoln for diminishing the constitution and strengthening big government. The Libertarian blindness to unrestrained capitalism without a strong Christian moral base leaves for the naive thought that man is intrinsically good, and will always make consideration for the betterment of his fellow man. Unfortunately, such is not the case, and the wealthy will tend to dominate the weak at the expense of the weak. Libertarians will also argue that the constitution never demands the preservation of the union, yet it has always been interpreted as such, starting with George Washington himself. The constitutionalists bewail the notion that all we need to do is to return to the first principles of the nation—yet, the founding fathers clearly understood the defects in the constitution, and how decisions contrary to the strict interpretation of the constitution were made very early in the nation’s history. Theonomists will acclaim that the rule of God as stated in Scripture give the only laws that should exist in a nation, and that no laws should be added and no laws should be subtracted. While it is true that the law of God is perfect, the universal application of the civil laws of the OT in a godless society is a grand fantasy. Much more could be said about what would make a perfect government in an imperfect world, but the answer would always be that there is no perfect government either prescribed in Scripture or experienced in the history of mankind.
In the Civil War, both sides were fighting in the name of the same Christian God. Both sides used Scripture to defend their actions. Both held contempt for the other side as being evil and moral deviants. Both sides refused to acknowledge the Christian standing of their “opponents”. Our generation is noting the destructiveness of “love” without orthodoxy. The civil war generation showed a seeming opposite, the desire for “orthodoxy” without love. Though the disease changes, the USA persists with diseases of the public mind that cloud our ability to be true Christians. The civil war is a war that should have never been fought, but brought on by extremist zealots actions north and south in the nation. But, isn’t that true of every war that the US has fought? The war of 1812, the Mexican-American war, the Spanish-American war, WWI and WWII, the Korean War, the Viet Nam war, The Afghani and Iraqi wars; all of these represent the cry of a very few people for armed conflict. “Let us do evil, that good may come of it” is the equivalent of “the War to end all wars” or “glory, glory, hallelujah, His truth is marching on” as soldiers slaughter their fellow Christian man for not thinking exactly the same way as they do.
Read the book. It is interesting history, and an interesting perspective on the Civil War, that is essentially not a “new understanding” but a well articulated stance of the possibility that is was nothing than widespread (north and south) public insanity that led to the war.
 

Tagged with:
5 Comments »
preload preload preload