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Wednesday, May 25, 2011
“The paternal state not only feeds its children, but nurtures, educates, comforts, and disciplines them, providing all they need for their security. This appears to be a mildly insulting way to treat adults, but it is really a great crime because it transforms the state from being a gift of God, given to protect against violence, into an idol. It supplies us with all blessings, and we look to it for all our needs. Once we sink to that level, as Lewis says, there is no point in telling state officials to mind their own business. “Our whole lives are their business.” The paternalism of the state is that of the bad parent who wants his children dependent on him forever. That is an evil impulse. The good parent prepares his children for independence, trains them to make responsible decisions, knows that he harms them by not helping them to break loose. The paternal state thrives on dependency. When the dependents free themselves, it loses power. It is, therefore, parasitic on the very persons whom it turns into parasites. Thus, the state and its dependents march symbiotically to destruction.
When the provision of paternal security replace the provision of justice as the function of the state, the state stops providing justice. The ersatz parent ceases executing judgment against those who violate the law, and the nation begins losing the benefits of justice. Those who are concerned about the chaos into which the criminal justice system has fallen should consider what the state’s function has become. Because the state can only be a bad imitation of a father, as a dancing bear act is of a ballerina, the protection of this Leviathan of a father turns out to be a bear hug.” (Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction, p. 184).
Doug Wilson wrote an excellent post on the recent flap surrounding Ron Paul's comments in a recent Republican debate in favor of legalizing drug use and prostitution.
While many Christians are unsettled by Paul's idea of legalizing drugs, for example, I am far more concerned about the millions that have gotten themselves addicted to the crack cocaine of other people's money, and who need a daily fix of their power and privilege, paid for by beyond ridiculous economic policies.
Adultery was a crime in ancient Israel, and a great deal of that activity is committed with prostitutes, and so, there you go. But smoking dope was not a crime under biblical law, and so there you go. And lest you think this would create a vast population of lotus eaters, the Bible does not give us warrant to create a great network of welfare payments that enable people to live like irresponsible potheads, getting dope from friends and their dinner of Cheetos from their food stamps. If we didn't fund it, we probably wouldn't have quite so much of it. Just a thought.
Many of our modern statist do-gooders and bedwetters think they do not fit the description of the abusive rulers in the Lord's parable because their intentions (viewed under the magnifying glass of their very own wisdom) are so clearly good and full of the waft of sunny uplift. But they are the ones who created the wastelands of the modern American inner city, filled our American penitentiaries with millions of men, who live out their lives in the greatest dog pound ever, and who choked the economy that could feed the world by harassing hard-working men and women all day every day with niggling restrictions, regulations, and rules. Morever, they are impervious to any evidence that would actually demonstrate to them the desolations caused by their pride and officiousness.
Labels: Christianity, Conservatism, Current Events, Doug Wilson, Liberalism, Politics, Ron Paul | 0 comments
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
U2's Bono conducted an interview a few years ago (that I just came across today) and in it he clearly and repeatedly presented the Gospel. Salvation by grace through faith alone is the drum he beat, and he beat it well.
There's nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is. I accept the Old Testament as more of an action movie: blood, car chases, evacuations, a lot of special effects, seas dividing, mass murder, adultery. The children of God are running amok, wayward. Maybe that's why they're so relatable. But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum, is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you're a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.
You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics; in physical laws every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff.
I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.
But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there's a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled . It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.
Friday, May 20, 2011
This video by Francis Chan is really powerful. He speaks to the arrogance behind certain ways of approaching Scripture... so true.
Do you ever even consider the possibility that maybe the Creator's sense of justice is actually more developed than yours?... See, when we make statements like "Well, God wouldn't do this, would he?", do you understand at that moment you're actually putting God's actions in submission to your reasoning?"
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Mark Steyn has a good piece on the problem this country faces with entitlements... particularly a "sense of entitlement."
I like to think that upon arrival in this great republic I assimilated pretty quickly. Within four or five months, I was saying “zee” and driving on the right more often than not. But it took me longer to get the hang of the word “entitlement.” You don’t hear it in political discussions in most of the rest of the West, even in Canada. There’s talk of “social programs” and “benefits” and “welfare,” but not of “entitlements.” I knew the term only in its psychological use — “sense of entitlement” — in discussions of narcissistic personality disorder and whatnot.I see a lot of charities doing many good things in our inner cities, from urban housing development to cheap groceries. But until this country tackles the sense of entitlement that has crept into our hearts and eliminates the destructive entitlement policies that have helped that mentality to take root while also destroying our economy, those charities will continue to merely spoon water out of the Titanic's hold. Unless those moral and political leaks are repaired, we will continue to sink. It starts with repentance... unfortunately, our socio-political landscape is lacking prophets.
Once I’d been apprised of its political definition, I liked it even less. “Entitlements” are unrepublican: They are contemptuous of the most basic principle of responsible government — that a parliament cannot bind its successor. Which is what entitlements do, to catastrophic effect.
“Entitlement commitments are not debts,” wrote John Hinderaker of the blog Powerline. “Congress can wipe them out simply by repealing Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.”
That’s technically true in the same sense that it’s technically true Congress can wipe out a lot of our debts — or at any rate our debtors — by nuking Beijing. But is either likely to happen under any scenario this side of total societal meltdown? Indeed, I find it easier to imagine economic collapse, secession, civil war, Mad Max on I-95, cannibal gangs of the undocumented preying on gated communities of upscale gays, etc., than any combination of House, Senate, and president “repealing Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.”
Which is where we came in. Whether or not government “entitlements” are debts, they very quickly become a psychological disorder — and a “sense of entitlement” is harder to dislodge than almost anything else. Government entitlement breeds psychological entitlement breeds a utopia of myopia. I don’t mean merely in the sense that polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans still feel entitled to their entitlements, but in a more profound way.
John Hinderaker is right. We can, in theory, repeal the entitlements. Repealing the sense of entitlement is the tricky part.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
"I really think that in our days it is the "undogmatic" and "liberal" people who call themselves Christians that are the most arrogant and intolerant. I expect justice and even courtesy from many atheists and, much more, from [conservative Christians]: from [postmodernists] I have to take bitterness and rancour as a matter of course." - C.S. Lewis
Monday, May 16, 2011
I don't drink coffee, but I know plenty who do. As many people are aware, there is a big push in the coffee industry to promote "fair trade" coffee which supposedly gives higher wages to the poor workers who produce it in Third World countries. The problem is, that's not really the case. Furthermore, as Jay Richards pointed out in his great book Money, Greed, and God, fair trade tends to prop up industries beyond their natural free market equilibrium, which will eventually result in too many people in those coffee-growing countries investing in the coffee market. Fair trade coffee is just one more example of a "progressive" idea that is meant to make people feel good about themselves while actually doing little good or even doing harm to those it purports to help. If you have previously supported fair trade coffee, please reconsider!