Our duty

The highest duty of a citizen is not to protect freedom for himself.  It is to preserve freedom for future generations.  I firmly believe the past few years have shown there are more threats to our Constitution and way of life from within our country than from without.  Those threats must be exposed and dealt with.  We owe it to our descendants.

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Rogues Gallery copy

Thomas Paine

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.

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.

Is this the week?

There are loud whisperings from various quarters that this is the week the Department of Justice’s Inspector General releases his report on various alleged shenanigans within our government during the last election cycle.  If so, it’s been a long time coming, and without much fanfare until recent weeks.  I hope that’s an indication of a professionally run, thorough investigation that produces airtight evidence and leads to justice and accountability — not just for small-fry scapegoats, but also for heavy hitters who knowingly put their thumbs on the scales.

While I’ve not discussed Q much on this site (only mentioning the source recently for the first time), it will be interesting to see where this week goes.  You see, Q (which appears to be a group working together) put down a marker for Wednesday, May 23, as being a good day to watch the news.  Q has hinted quite strongly that recent statements by the administration were preparatory to the report coming out… and that many of the targets of that report are already spinning madly to try to get in front of it.  I did not realize until recently that the draft IG report was circulated not just within the department but also to those it targets.  If so, it would explain a lot of the heated rhetoric over the weekend from people like John Brennan.

Something else about Q’s recent posts drew my interest.  Here are a couple from Thursday, May 17th:

Q recent

As someone who has professional experience in media relations, I can say that driving news cycles is a key part of controlling the national discussion.  If something bad is about to break, industry practice is to time it for a Friday afternoon, so that if anyone bothers pays attention after the weekend it’s dismissed as “old news.”  Another is to time the release so a more prominent event draws off the focus.  Such is the sad commentary on our short-attention-span society.  There were hints the past couple weeks the Trump administration was ready to let some shoes drop.  So what happened the next day after the posts above (Friday the 18th)?

Santa Fe high school

This is not the first time Q has implied some of these events are deliberately designed, either to further an agenda or to suck the media oxygen out of the room and suffocate potentially damaging news about the shadow government (or Deep State as some refer to it).  One of Q’s constant remarks is “this is not a game.”  Sadly, as I’ve already confessed, such an accusation seems increasingly plausible to me.  Here’s were it gets more interesting (note the dates):

Thought wrong

“Follow the pen” refers to a posted photo that seemed to show a signed Executive Order about to drop.  The implication was that Trump was about to order up some answers.  Notably, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Sunday ordered the DOJ to look into the allegations highlighted by Trump.  The “NowC@mesTheP@ain—23!!!” line was an exposure of Q’s password before changing it and the passcode ID that verifies who’s posting.  Q claimed this to be a deliberate move.  It had been some time since Q’s last passcode change, so the implication is Q knew/knows something about May 23rd.  By Wednesday, not only will the initial furor over the school shooting be (sadly) past, so will the hoopla over the weekend’s royal wedding.

In other words, no distractions for dropping shoes.  Finally, Q did something unusual Sunday, worth noting here:

Q Armor of God

Q posts have alluded in the past to a spiritual battle going on, but this is the first direct Bible quote I’ve seen.  Such a post seems to indicate whatever maneuvering has been going on behind the scenes is about to break into the spotlight.  As frustrating as it’s been to see people like Her Hillariness seem to avoid consequences, there’s reason to believe justice has only been delayed, not denied.

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.

With that accomplished, let justice be served.  May this be a week for the history books.

Attempting to be an art critic

I’ve been seeing this image pop up here and there across the Internet.  It’s by the same painter who did one of Obama a few years back in response to the passage of Obamacare.  The two form something of a bookend set.

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I think the original Obama painting was spot on, depicting as it did an aloof and arrogant president trampling the Constitution while all his predecessors (except a few to Obama’s right, or the “left” side of the crowd) looked on with expressions of “what the hell, man?”  The message of the original painting was clear.

As for the one above, I can appreciate that it’s not Trump who is center stage.  We don’t need blind hero worship or the man-on-the-white-horse syndrome here.  Trump’s depicted standing on a snake, which may be more Biblical allegory than I’m willing to extend to him.  That said, D.C. Mordor is definitely snake-infested in our day, and much of the hissing against Trump comes from that serpentine choir.  But the center of the action is a young family watering a plant (perhaps the Tree of Liberty?) in what is very parched soil.  The message could well be interpreted as Trump trying to buy time for the next generation to refresh our nation.  Changing who’s in office won’t matter until the culture itself has been changed.  Politics, it is said, flows downstream from culture.

I’m sure in this era of professional grievance-mongering, others will count faces and point out there are only a few non-white characters in the crowd.  But look who they are: Sheriff David Clarke, an outspoken patriot; an unnamed World War II veteran in a wheelchair who clearly gave to his country; an unnamed black lady and a minority man holding folded U.S. flags, signifying loss of loved ones in service to the nation.

The fault lines in this country today are not so much Republican-Democrat than they are traditionalist/progressive.  As the many “RINO” Republicans demonstrate, the parties don’t cleanly align with the other dichotomy (Sheriff Clarke, by the way, is a registered Democrat).  There are simply those who believe the “bourgeoisie” values that made this nation successful are worth preserving (perhaps “restoring” would be more accurate by this point), and the inaptly named “progressives” who would continue to tear down those values in a vague utopian quest that has ended in tragedy time and again throughout human history.

The takeaways?

  • Don’t expect Trump to solve every problem.
  • Those who love this land and the values that made it must be active in restoring them.
  • Teach your children well.  One generation — the Boomers — left a huge wake of cultural destruction.  This shows how a single generation can change a nation.  Make sure those who are our heirs are prepared to change it again by valuing and defending their inheritance.

One final thought about watering the “tree of liberty” — the artist is optimistic in his portrayal.  Thomas Jefferson warned that nourishing that fragile plant sometimes takes more than water (though his quote is often used without context).  Hope/pray for the best; prepare for the worst.

A few modest suggestions

Life’s been busy lately, so posting has been light.  For some time, though, I’ve been working on a list of “things I’d do if I was completely in charge of adjusting the government.”  They center around limiting the influence of lobbyists, making immigration offenses a serious matter, and reducing the ability of a president to unilaterally commit the nation to war.

It’s an ongoing project.  But I’ll post it here for any comments and input on what’s already there.  Warning: it’s a lot of stuff (roughly 6 pages in a word processor).  But then, there’s a lot of stuff wrong with the country, so that’s to be expected.  Use the page numbers at the bottom of the post to advance to the next page.

Constructive input/critiques welcomed.

REFORM  (Federal Level)

General:

No person convicted of a felony will be eligible to hold elective office at the Federal Level.  Convicted felons may not serve in the Federal Civil Service above the grade of GS-5.

The Legislatures of each State will appoint one person to serve on a Federal Civil Service Oversight Board.  Board members will serve terms determined by their individual State.  This 50-member board will have power independent of Congress to investigate accusations of fraud, waste, abuse, or employee misconduct/failure to meet standards within the Federal workforce.  The board, by a 3/5 majority vote, may dismiss any federal employee below the grade of Cabinet Secretary.  The board will also investigate charges of retaliation against whistle-blowers.  With the concurrence of 3/5 of the board, anyone deemed as having engaged in retaliation will be dismissed from Civil Service.  No person dismissed by the Oversight Board will be eligible for any future Civil Service position or for elected office to Congress or the Presidency.

I approve this message

From Glenn Reynolds:

During the next four years, the Trump Administration — and Congress — should plan to move at least 25% of the federal workforce located in the Washington, D.C. metro area to other locations around the country: Places that are economically suffering (which will have the advantage of making federal workers’ salaries go farther) and that need the business. Should Trump get another four years, he should do it all over again.

That would mean that in 8 years, the population of bureaucrats in the Washington, D.C. metro area would be roughly halved. That would make Washington less vibrant, but more affordable — and those bureaucrats working out of offices in the hinterland would be brought closer to the American people.

This tracks with my thought that Congress should only be physically in session for three weeks out of the year, spending the rest of their time in their home districts among the people they allegedly represent.  Secure communication is mature enough to allow Congress’ various committees to work together ‘virtually,’ saving the really important matters for the limited three-week face-to-face meeting.  Of course, that would also mean prioritizing action in session.  There wouldn’t be time to investigate baseball or similar nonsense.

After all, a ‘congress’ is defined as a “formal meeting or series of meetings for discussion between delegates…”  Congress doesn’t “meet” anymore.  It resides in the alternative reality known as Mordor Washington, D.C., and its members occasionally go back to their fiefdoms districts to lie to their constituents face-to-face, rather than via the TV news.  The comparison, occurring more and more, of our capitol to “The Capitol” in The Hunger Games, noted by Glenn in his column, is an apt one (and the reason one of the Three Musketeers wears a “Down with the Capitol” t-shirt, complete with mockingjay logo.  I’m thinking of getting one in my size.  People can read into that what they want.)

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Glenn has also suggested that since our leaders are constantly carping about carbon footprints, they should turn off all air conditioning in D.C.  Not only would that save energy, it would motivate people to be in that former literal swamp as short a time as possible, as it was in the early days of the Republic.

However it’s done, get the Congresscritters back home for close observation.  This also has the benefit of making lobbyists work harder, since they people they are trying to buy are no longer located all in one convenient location close to K Street.