Substituting factions for faith

A person’s life is meant to have meaning, and for that meaning to derive from a relationship to their Creator.  It’s no surprise, then, that those who reject God are driven to seek meaning anywhere they believe they can find it.  Some turn to self-destructive vices in an ever-more-vain pursuit of moments of perceived happiness.  Other alternatives, though, while not as immediately and physically destructive, ultimately lead to the same futility.  One important current example is in our political climate.

Seduced by scientism, distracted by materialism, insulated, like no humans before us, from the vicissitudes of sickness and the ubiquity of early death, the post-Christian West believes instead in something we have called progress — a gradual ascent of mankind toward reason, peace, and prosperity — as a substitute in many ways for our previous monotheism. We have constructed a capitalist system that turns individual selfishness into a collective asset and showers us with earthly goods; we have leveraged science for our own health and comfort. Our ability to extend this material bonanza to more and more people is how we define progress; and progress is what we call meaning…

But none of this material progress beckons humans to a way of life beyond mere satisfaction of our wants and needs. And this matters…

[S]ocial-justice ideology does everything a religion should. It offers an account of the whole: that human life and society and any kind of truth must be seen entirely as a function of social power structures, in which various groups have spent all of human existence oppressing other groups. And it provides a set of practices to resist and reverse this interlocking web of oppression — from regulating the workplace and policing the classroom to checking your own sin and even seeking to control language itself. I think of non-PC gaffes as the equivalent of old swear words. Like the puritans who were agape when someone said “g–damn,” the new faithful are scandalized when someone says something “problematic.” Another commonality of the zealot then and now: humorlessness.

The same cultish dynamic can be seen on the right. There, many profess nominal Christianity and yet demonstrate every day that they have left it far behind… This is why they could suddenly rally to a cult called Trump. He may be the least Christian person in America, but his persona met the religious need their own faiths had ceased to provide. The terrible truth of the last three years is that the fresh appeal of a leader-cult has overwhelmed the fading truths of Christianity.

This is why they are so hard to reach or to persuade and why nothing that Trump does or could do changes their minds. You cannot argue logically with a religion — which is why you cannot really argue with social-justice activists either. And what’s interesting is how support for Trump is greater among those who do not regularly attend church than among those who do…

And so we’re mistaken if we believe that the collapse of Christianity in America has led to a decline in religion. It has merely led to religious impulses being expressed by political cults… And this is how they threaten liberal democracy. They do not believe in the primacy of the individual, they believe the ends justify the means, they do not allow for doubt or reason, and their religious politics can brook no compromise.

I found these to be interesting thoughts, particularly coming from a writer who seems to believe he can reconcile his Roman Catholic practice with being an openly gay political pundit.  One of my first thoughts is that perhaps the Spirit is getting through to him.  I hope that’s the case.  He is correct about politics replacing theological faith as a source of meaning in our culture.  He is also correct about the effect of that on both Left and Right.  I supported Trump in 2016 because I thought that, even with his personal baggage, he’d do less damage than Her Hillariness.  I still hold a modest hope that he’ll be able to enact long-lasting reforms in some critical areas.  But unlike other Trump supporters I’ve encountered (who’ve made me very uncomfortable at times), I do not see him as America’s secular messiah, and I remain well aware of his flaws.

Sullivan may or may not have grasped the deeper point of his ponderings.  Reading the entirety of the piece, I’m not sure.  He compares the “Great Awokening” of modern times to the “Great Awakening” of old.  Only if we have another “Great Awakening” will our people once again channel their energies toward pursuing Christ.  And it is that pursuit that produces the fruit which previously sustained our society.  May God grant us revival, from “Awoke” to “Awake.”  As we’re painfully finding out, finding our identities in anything other than Him is a very poor substitute indeed.

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Legislating political careerism

I think most Americans would agree our political class is very disconnected from the world the rest of us live in.  A law recently passed in New Jersey illustrates one of the main reasons why:

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill on Thursday that would allow Sen. Cory Booker (D), who has been widely seen as a possible 2020 presidential contender, to run for president and the Senate simultaneously.

How nice that “Spartacus” can now run for President now without risking losing his Senate seat.  I’ve said before that no candidate should ever be allowed to run for two offices simultaneously.  This often results in a special election, which is essentially a cost to the taxpayer to provide job security for politicians.  Our “representatives” stay too long in government as it is.  Why would we want to subsidize secure consolidation prizes for them?  Such careerism is the leading cause of the disconnect between “representatives” and the represented.  Mordor D.C. is an entirely different world from the rest of the country.  Those who “serve” there should be required to get out more (literally).

I’ve addressed this practice of “dual office-seeking” before:

I’ve said before we have to stop enabling careerism in politics.  No politician should be able to simultaneously run for higher office and reelection to his current seat (thus forcing the taxpayer expense of a special election if “promoted.”)  Politicians should not be able to shop around for a favorable district just by maintaining a second (or third…) home there. I’d even be in favor of allowing States to mandate their senators be drawn only from native-born residents (to prevent people like Her Hillariness from suddenly moving to a State just to become a Senator). 

Some time back I posted a long list of things I’d do if I could tweak our political system.  Since it’s election time, I invite my readers to review them again.  None will be on the ballot this time.  That doesn’t mean they couldn’t be in the future.

Be sure to vote tomorrow.  Early voting turnout suggests the country realizes what an unusually important midterm election this is.  Whatever you think about Trump personally, two things should be clear: first, his results to this point are far better than what many feared two years ago.  Second, the Democrats under their current “leadership,” governing philosophy and ongoing blind rage over their legitimate defeat two years ago must not be allowed to regain any of the levers of power.  Period.

Another step in the right direction

Yesterday I made note of President Trump’s decision to deploy 5,000 military personnel to support the Border Patrol as an increasing number of crowds of migrants head toward our frontier.  It’s worth noting the latest group to storm across the Guatemala-Mexico border, headed north, appears to be armed:

The second migrant caravan, believed to be armed with bombs and guns, crossed into Mexico on Monday despite a huge police presence.

Hundreds of migrants following in the footsteps of the first caravan heading to the U.S. border crossed a river from Guatemala.

The second group back at the Guatemalan frontier has been more unruly than the first that crossed. Guatemala’s Interior Ministry said Guatemalan police officers were injured when the migrant group broke through border barriers on Guatemala’s side of the bridge.

Mexico authorities said migrants attacked its agents with rocks, glass bottles and fireworks when they broke through a gate on the Mexican end but were pushed back, and some allegedly carried guns and firebombs.

More Americans need to be asking how these groups of hundreds and thousands are making a trek of more than 1,000 miles to “El Norte.”  Anyone familiar with military movement knows such a mass of humanity requires considerable logistics support.  Who is paying for all of thisWhy aren’t they being identified and pressured to stop?

Here’s what’s going to happen: when this wave of people reaches the U.S. border, they will be abandoned by their enablers.  Whoever is behind this is not going to fund returning these people to their countries of origin.  They will expect the situation to cause migrants to try desperately to get across the border by force, or else form huge squalid camps of squatters.  Either way, they expect video that will play on heartstrings to get their way.  Again.  The question is whether our nation has the will to say “no means no.”

It appears at least the President may.  Word is that he plans to attack one of the main motivations for these groups: “birthright citizenship:”

President Trump plans to sign an executive order that would remove the right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil, he said yesterday…

John Eastman, a constitutional scholar and director of Chapman University’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, told “Axios on HBO” that the Constitution has been misapplied over the past 40 or so years. He says the line “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” originally referred to people with full, political allegiance to the U.S. — green card holders and citizens.

The Supreme Court has already ruled that children born to immigrants who are legal permanent residents have citizenship. But those who claim the 14th Amendment should not apply to everyone point to the fact that there has been no ruling on a case specifically involving undocumented immigrants or those with temporary legal status.

If Trump follows through on the executive order, “the courts would have to weigh in in a way they haven’t,” Eastman said.

And that is a legal fight well worth picking.  I fully agree with Eastman that the 14th Amendment has been misapplied — abused, really — to twist our legal system into knots over a number of issues.  Historical context clearly shows the citizenship clause was designed to clarify the status of former slaves after the Civil War.  Virtually no other country in the world has a system where a pregnant woman can illegally enter the country, have a baby that’s automatically a citizen, then use that “anchor” baby’s status to sponsor scores of relatives into said country.  That’s demographic invasion by stealth, which is precisely what’s been going on the last half century.

I’ve said before that we give away citizenship and the privileges of voting far too cheaply.  Our current system provides huge incentive for people to make the hazardous journey to enter our country illegally.  If birthright citizenship were properly abolished, it’s likely few people would continue to pay large sums to shady “coyotes” to be smuggled across the border, often to be abandoned to die in the desert on the other side.

Leftists will accuse our country of heartlessness if we both secure the border and dismantle birthright citizenship.  In fact, we’ll be removing incentives that have led innumerable people to risk their lives — often losing — to cross our border.

These steps are long overdue.  The time is also right to ask the Supreme Court to finally rule on the issue, as there are two new members (Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) who respect the Constitution in its original context.  If Trump is successful in repelling the current invasion and getting a Supreme Court ruling abolishing the misguided concept of birthright citizenship for illegal aliens, he will have earned a spot in the pantheon of our greatest presidents.

Who’d have imagined it?

It’s a good start

It appears that for the first time since World War II, the U.S. will actually use its military to defend its own borders:

The U.S. military plans to deploy 5,000 troops to the southwest U.S. border in anticipation of a caravan of would-be asylum seekers and migrants currently moving northward in Mexico, U.S. officials said Monday.

“This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” President Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday morning, without directly mentioning troop numbers.

Under the latest plans, about 1,800 troops will go to Texas, 1,700 to Arizona and 1,500 to California. The troops will be drawn from about 10 U.S. Army installations and consist largely of military police and engineers, one of the U.S. officials said. U.S. Marines also will be deployed, the U.S. official said.

Some already have begun to deploy to the area and most are expected to serve there until mid-December, a Pentagon official said.

The concept appears to be have the military run (and likely expand) detention centers, freeing up Border Patrol personnel to police the border and effect arrests.  There seems to be great reluctance to use the military directly for border enforcement, though there is no legal reason preventing them.  The Posse Comitatus Act prevents using the military for domestic law enforcement, and does not apply to the defense of an international frontier.  That said, I can understand the administration’s attention to the optics of the matter.

It must be said, however, that this has to be a sustained effort.  The troops that are expected to leave in “mid-December” must be replaced with others.  We’ve sustained rotational deployments overseas since 9/11; there’s no reason we can’t do the same at home.  This can’t be a temporary “look like we’re doing something” the way previous deployments of Guard forces to the border have been.  Only a sustained and public commitment to being serious about controlling our border will deter future “caravans.”

Be sure to vote a week from Tuesday for a Congress that will back the administration on this and many other issues.

Time and place… Time. And. Place.

Donald Trump will never win an award for being a silver-tongued orator.  It’s his willingness to say what he thinks, however, that endears him to many of his supporters.  In Monday’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump disappointed many when he declined to press Putin publicly on the accusation of cyberspace meddling in the 2016 election.  This resulted in shrieks of “treason” from his detractors in the U.S. (note to these: take a tranquilizer and calm down; your constant Chicken Little hysterics are embarrassing).  Being civil with Putin, however, doesn’t mean being in his pocket:

[Trump] is, as Greg Gutfeld noted on The Five, his own good cop and bad cop all rolled into one.  The good cop part is what we saw with Kim Jong-un and now with Putin — complimenting tyrants to an almost uncomfortable degree.  It’s oddly a Christian love-the-sinner-but-hate-the-sin kind of thing.

The bad cop part is what Trump actually does concretely — and, as Putin certainly knows, this is far more important than photo ops and press conferences with all the attendant words.  Trump’s actions vis-a-vis Russia have been considerably more stringent than his predecessor’s — opening the energy spigots, increasing sanctions, arming the Ukrainians, ejecting 60 Russian agents, etc.  As Walter Russell Mead pointed out, if Trump is in Putin’s pocket, he’s doing a terrible job of it.

Barack Obama — although the New York Times would burn down its own building rather than admit it — did an abysmal job with Putin and was indeed the one who was truly “owned” by the Russian.  And it wasn’t just the silly reset button and the embarrassing video of Barack whispering into Medvedev’s ear to tell Vlad he — Barack — would be more flexible on missiles after the election.  (What a toady!)  Even worse, in his Chamberlainesque ardor to make a deal with Iran’s mullahs, Obama let Putin play him in Syria, agreeing not to honor his redline against Assad’s use of chemical weapons in order not to endanger the  deal.  Trump never did anything nearly that pathetic.

Too many in our government find purpose only in confronting adversaries, whether it’s Russia, Iran, Syria or North Korea (or for warmonger John McCain — who still hasn’t resigned his Senate seat despite terminal cancer that allegedly prevents his being in D.C. — all of the above).  If things are too calm they’ll create the next Hitler of convenience (see: Slobodan Milosevic, Muammar Ghaddafi).  Keeping these pots on a low boil is useful to the ruling class; when people start catching on to Uncle Sam’s misdeeds, they simply turn up the heat on one of the burners as a “rally ’round the flag” distraction.

If the various “Q”-related rumors are true, the administration is about to unmask considerable — possibly unprecedented — malfeasance within our own country’s leadership.  In such a case it would be prudent to wall off any potential foreign distractions, which may underpin Trump’s focused efforts with North Korea and Russia these days.  Putin’s revelation that Hillary Clinton received $400 million in questionable campaign funds from Russian sources, and Trump’s comments at the press conference about the missing DNC computer server and other unresolved scandals serve to underscore what fights our president has chosen to pursue at this time.  Regardless what success he has on that front, Trump is absolutely right in responding to those who urged him to cross swords with Putin or refuse to meet him at all:

“I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace, than to risk peace in pursuit of politics.”

Trump’s foes have consistently underestimated both him and his base of support.  This tends to downplay in my mind all the pundits who claim Trump is either coopted or naïve about Putin.  They may find he was simply ensuring a fight on only one front at a time, fully aware that he still needs to keep Putin under a watchful eye.  “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” as the saying goes.

Such wisdom is to be desired in a chief executive.

A turning of the tide?

Leftists are in full meltdown over the announcement Justice Anthony Kennedy will step down from the Supreme Court July 31. This action provides President Trump an opportunity to nominate yet another Constitutionalist like Neil Gorsuch to the court. Should Trump serve two full terms, it is likely he will nominate the replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg as well.

The enemies of our Constitutional system are in abject terror over the possibility, now increased, the Court will undo decades of judicial activism. Unable to enact their agenda through the ballot box, the Left sought to impose it instead by abusive judicial fiat. But just as unconstitutional executive orders by Obama could be undone by corrective orders from Trump, the shredding of the Constitution can be reversed by a Supreme Court made up of Justices who respect it.  The impact of these nominations on the next 20 to 30 years cannot be overstated.  It’s vital to elect America First Constitutionalists (sadly, only a subset of the GOP) this fall, and ensure Trump’s reelection in 2020.  Things are going well for patriots lately, but as Glenn Reynolds frequently channels Han Solo, “don’t get cocky, kid.”

On other fronts:

-The Supreme Court, even with Justice Kennedy still on it, has issued a couple of key rulings, freeing pro-life crisis pregnancy centers from being forced to provide information on how to obtain an abortion, and denying unions the ability to force payments from non-members (which usually ends up in liberal political campaigns).

– The reputation of the FBI is hardly helped when Peter Strzok answers a Congressional subpoena to testify in a classified forum, but reportedly refuses to answer the most germane questions by claiming “it’s classified” or declining to answer “on advice of counsel.”  What are the FBI’s lawyers encouraging him to continue hiding?

– A former Hillary 2016 Campaign officer has been indicted for soliciting sexual access to children as young as two years old.  And from the “you can’t make this up” files, he was also chairman of the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict charity.  As they say, fishermen go where the fish are.

– Without Obama propping them up with pallets of cash, the Iranian regime is suddenly experiencing a popular backlash again.  The previous administration’s failure to support Iranian dissidents was inexcusable.  Worth noting: “Q” indicated a week ago Iran was about to get interesting again… another tick of credibility for those keeping score.

– The GOP seems to have a few more members with spines lately, as the latest attempt to pass an amnesty for illegal immigrants has been soundly defeated.  Eternal vigilance is required on this issue, however.

Keep praying hard!  If God can resurrect His Son or an army of dry bones, He can certainly revive our nation!  Let’s seek daily to have our nation bless Him, that He may show favor to us even at this late hour.

Are answers finally forthcoming?

The Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz will release today his long-anticipated review of the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized use of personal email and likely mishandling of classified information.  Some observers are concerned the original report, which has been under internal review for some time now, has been modified, watered down and redacted so as to protect some of the partisans thought to be involved.  Which makes this post from Q interesting:

Q on IG report

[RR] refers to Rod Rosenstein, the number 2 at the Department of Justice.  This is not the first time Q has hinted the plan is to allow the Swamp to try another coverup, only to have the President declassify the whole sordid affair.  As someone who used to deal with media relations, I have found Q’s occasional reference to “optics” interesting.  He/she/they seem to indicate much thought has gone into how to reveal the results of what seems an extensive investigation.  Appearances are, indeed, important, and if the Swamp can be completely discredited even as their crimes are brought to light, so much the better.

The post above is one of Q’s less cryptic missives, so it will serve as a good benchmark of the source’s credibility.  This isn’t the first time those who are paying attention to Q have had reason to believe “the trigger’s about to be pulled,” but previous signals have been much more mixed.  There is no doubt about the report’s release today — it’s release has been confirmed by DOJ in recent days.  The question now is “to what effect,” and whether it will withstand withering partisan scrutiny.  So it will be interesting to see just how much is redacted and left to interpretation, and how much is later declassified as a result of the Swamp’s yapping.

So I’ll say what I said a few weeks ago when referencing this source:

The only proper response to Q’s Bible quote is to pray. Pray hard for our nation. Pray for those in authority. Pray for those patriots working to restore good governance. And pray our people have discernment, to tell truth from falsehood.

Remember, any attempt to “Drain the Swamp” is at its heart a spiritual battle.  Evil does not yield ground willingly or easily, and there is much evil at the center of our nation today.

Pray hard, patriots!