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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The morning after

In an unsurprising (but disappointing all the same) development, Americans have handed control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats for the next two years.  Republicans, however, have tightened their grip on the Senate, picking up seats there.  My initial thoughts:

  • Pelosi, Waters and their crew will use their restored subpoena power to make the administration as miserable as possible until 2021.  Buckle up for the ugliness.  That said, Democrats are probably regretting the precedents Obama’s administration set of ignoring such requests from Congress.  Trump won’t have forgotten that.  What goes around…
  • Retaining control of the Senate means the administration can continue building what may be Trump’s most enduring legacy: resetting the Judiciary by appointing judges who view the Constitution through an ‘originalist’ lens and are less likely to engage in policy direction by judicial fiat.  The impact of these appointments will be felt for decades.
  • There will be no funding for a border wall any time soon, unless Trump tries to coopt Defense Department money through Executive direction.  At the same time, the Senate will be able to prevent Democrats from undoing very much of the last two years (tax cuts, deregulation, etc).
  • There are still strong rumors (especially from the “Q” quarter) that ongoing investigations into prominent Democrats may soon yield indictments and the full declassification of the FISA court shenanigans.  One theory is that Trump held off pulling the trigger on these so as to avoid accusations of politicizing the investigations during an election cycle.  If true, that’s likely a wise move.  It also means the Democrats may soon be more on the defensive than their win of the House would normally indicate.
  • It will be instructive to see what independent counsel Robert Mueller’s next move is.  He, too, is said to have held back during the election season.  With that over, I suspect he’ll be under increasing pressure from both sides to show his hand and “put up or shut up.”

In short, while disappointing, I don’t yet see last night’s results as a full-blown disaster.  As many pundits noted, the President’s party usually loses seats in Congress during his first midterm election.  There is one ominous thing to point out, however.  Overall the Democrats ran a much more openly leftist/globalist agenda this cycle… and they still picked up considerable support.  That a candidate like Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke could challenge Ted Cruz so strongly in Texas is not a good long-term signal.  Nor is having Florida’s gubernatorial and Senate races within a percent of each other.  (Related note: the vast majority of Beto’s funding came from outside Texas, something that in my mind should be prohibited.  Residents of one State have no business trying to buy elections in another one.)  We are a deeply divided nation with two incompatible worldviews vying for dominance through government force.

Demography and the long-term effects of leftist indoctrination in our education system are having the intended effects.  That’s why this Trump period is so important.  So far it has been the only successful push back against the Left’s “long march” of the past three decades.  But unless traditional Americans break the lock the globalists have on the education of the next generation, it’s only a matter of time before an ignorant population rejects the birthright their ancestors worked so hard to achieve.

“When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side,” I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already… What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”  Adolph Hitler, May 1937

A reminder: vote

…and vote against this kind of thuggary (list courtesy of Instapundit):

Joe Manchin: Struggle Not to “Beat the Living Crap Out Of” Republican Opponent

Hillary: ‘You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for.’

Former Attorney General Eric Holder: “Michelle [Obama] always says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No. No. When they go low, we kick them.”

Politico: After failing to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Democrats wonder if it’s time to be more ruthless.

Democrat Doxxer Threatened To Reveal Senators’ Children’s Health Information.

DC restaurant: We’ve received death threats after Ted Cruz, wife forced out by protesters.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ): We Are Less Than 60 Days From Totally ‘Kicking the S–t Out of the Republicans.’

Networks Silent On Attempted Stabbing of GOP Candidate By Anti-Trump Attacker.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) Jokes About Threatening Trump Supporters ‘All The Time.’

Bernie Bro James T. Hodgkinson, Attempted Assassin Of Steve Scalise, Already Being Erased From History.

Plus:

Republican Party Office In Wyoming Set on Fire Two Days After It Opens

Florida County’s GOP Office Vandalized by Gunfire

 

Remember: Jobs, not Mobs.

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.

Duds and distractions

During the past 24 hours the news has been fixated on a series of at least nine (as of this writing) alleged explosive devices sent, it appears, exclusively to well-known figures on the Left: the Clintons and Obamas, George Soros, Maxine Waters, CNN, and so forth.  However, it’s very much worth noting:

  • None of these devices actually exploded (and authorities confirm some were not built to).
  • None of them were actually delivered to their intended recipients
  • CNN took time to take and post photographs of theirs (!), after supposedly removing it from its package (seriously… who does that if they believe they’re in mortal danger?)

Photos show several stamps… none of which were cancelled.  In other words, these weren’t actually mailed through the Postal Service.

Why point all this out?  Because sadly, in the America in which we now live, it’s entirely possible these are fake crimes intended to generate sympathy for a Democratic Party that may well lose again – badly – in the 2018 election cycle.  If so, they would be far from the first such faked episodes intended for emotional manipulation.

At least one former military bomb disposal expert has weighed in on the available photographs, calling into question whether these were intended to be working devices at all, versus somewhat convincing props.

From the perspective of “qui bono” (who benefits), I’ll leave you with two thoughts:

  • The GOP theme of “jobs, not mobs” has begun to resonate, given all the anti-Republican violence committed by Antifa and others over the past two years
  • The army of migrants headed toward the Mexican border appears to have generated more support for Trump’s immigration viewpoint, rather than stirring the Hispanic vote to turn out for the Democrats.

Two disastrous developments for the Democrats with less than two weeks to go before election day.  Just in the past few days, Her Hillariness has publicly pleaded with potential supporters to “Do something!”  A sudden wave of alleged bombs is just the thing to change the subject from the two subjects above.

So excuse me if I reserve judgment on these little gifts instead of immediately declining to point out Leftist violence and violent rhetoric.  I simply don’t trust the Left, or the media — but I repeat myself — enough to hold back like that.  Regardless, whoever is behind these attacks, whatever their political persuasion, needs to be punished severely to make the point this is NOT acceptable.  Far too many lines are being crossed in the past couple years.  The trend does not bode well for what remains of our Republic.

Do your own diligence, and view every news narrative between now and November 6th with a very critical eye.