Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Revolting Elites

Russ Moore wrote recently of the spiritual dangers of blogging. Devoid of irony, Moore writes at his Henry Institute web log that blogging "seems to be the newest way to mask paranoia, cynicism, and just plain pugilism."

Evidently there are folks sitting in their underwear or pouring down lattes at Starbucks just aching to engage in gossip-mongering. Even worse, says Moore, are "martyr bloggers" who rant and rave about "the conspiratorial machinations of 'The Man.'"

As "The Man" is a frequent target of derision at the Dow Blog, I was interested in Moore’s comments.

So who is "The Man," anyway? Well, I’m attempting to give a humorous personification to an anti-Christian global elite. Yes, I know, I’m not funny.

I begin with the presupposition of God’s ultimate sovereignty. God created the cosmos and he is a personal God, revealed to us in the persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Likewise men are responsible personal agents—responsible to God and to one another. God ultimately governs history, but it is also a cosmic struggle between God and Satan, covenant-keepers and covenant-breakers, good and evil.

History is thus both personal and conspiratorial. The conspirators are doing battle against God. "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 'Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.' He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall hold them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure" (Ps. 2:1-5).

Notice it is "the kings of the earth" ("The Man"?) who conspire against God. In my estimation, statism is the form of idolatry most likely to ensnare Christians. This is especially true given the alleged success of the "Religious Right" in influencing American politics. In certain circles, Fox News and George Bush have been virtually deified. But as Rushdoony has written, "every state or social order is a religious establishment. Every state is a law order, and every law order represents an enacted morality, with procedures for the enforcement of that morality. Every morality represents a form of theological order, i.e., is an aspect and expression of a religion."

Is there any doubt that a cosmopolitan, anti-Western, anti-Christian elite has established control of virtually every viable institution, including the instruments of cultural dissemination and political control (i.e., the state)? Is there any question that said elite is an ally of humanism?

As I’ve written recently polytheism, under the guise of religious tolerance and pluralism, is the new American religion. But polytheism has no universal scope and makes no universal claims. Rather it limits its jurisdiction to a small corner of life. Having relegated the church of Christ to nothing but a “soul-saving” institution the church has effectively capitulated to polytheism.

Because the Bible has been relegated to a devotional book, the Church no longer teaches that God is sovereign in the affairs of men, thus the state is freed to pursue a humanistic course.

In a Biblical social order "government" and "state" are not synonymous terms. For the Christian, all government begins with self-government. The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is the starting point of all self-government. Those who are dead in trespasses and sins must be given a new heart and a new spirit.

Other human agencies (governments) with limited degrees of authority are ordained by God for His glory. The family, church, State, vocation, voluntary associations, etc., are to serve as His ministers, working out His will.

The Biblical role for the state is limited to the administration of just laws to defend life and property, punish criminals, and defend the innocent. In other words, the state’s role is to restrain evil by exacting negative sanctions and it is not a redemptive institution. But the modern therapeutic state has usurped all authority to its bosom, and seeks to make us "good" through stringent enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, hate crimes legislation, diversity training, speech codes, and messianic public education to take just a few examples. This is salvation through legislation and it is an enemy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The State seeks to bring about justification by law rather than justification by faith, and seeks the destruction of all institutions that mediate between the individual and the God-State.

In short "The Man," in the guise of the modern state, is at war with God, attempting to supplant Him and destroy a Biblical social order. To pretend that impersonal forces guide history, an idea Dr. Moore would not endorse, is simply dangerous. To argue that "conspiracies," some Satanic in origin, are not a reality is foolish. To deride such concerns as "paranoia, cynicism, and just plain pugilism" is just plain uncharitable.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Myths of All Kinds

In his January 26th entry, Dave Black has an interesting discussion about polygamy. It is a succinct and thoughtful analysis of an issue that is rarely considered.

Speaking of Dr. Black, I read his book "The Myth of Adolescence" last night. If I can gin up the energy, I might discuss the book in greater detail. Dave argues that the category of "adolescence" (that period of time when a person is not quite an adult nor really a child) is a recent construct driven by cultural and legal changes such as compulsory education laws, child labor laws, the juvenile justice system, etc. Moreover, adolescence is never mentioned in Scripture and Dave argues persuasively that the social theory of adolescence systematically undermines a Christian understanding of human nature. He argues instead from Scripture for an understanding of the "life cycle" that includes the following phases:

1. Childhood (ages 1-12)
2. Emerging Adulthood (12-30)
3. Senior Adulthood (age 30-death)

The book is divided into three sections. Part One presents an overview of the human life cycle and describes development from childhood to adulthood. In Part Two, Dave gleans parenting principles from the life of Jesus. Part Three deals with meat and potatoes issues like courtship and creating expectations in teenagers.

The book also includes a CD-ROM and a closing essay by Dave's wife, Becky, which may very well be the best part of the book. Overall a very enjoyable and quick read.

Justin Raimondo and Robert Dreyfuss remind readers that Israel played a significant role in the creation of Hamas. Talk about blowback! Isn't it interesting that this part of the story is conveniently ignored by the WAPO-NY TIMES-Fox News-CNN crowd? (Here is how the story was reported several years back by UPI). The rise of militant Islam has frequently been aided by the West and demonstrates that careless interventionism is fraught with unintended consequences.

Einstein once said, "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." I was reminded of this quote when I saw that while 53% of Americans think the administration deliberately misled the American public about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, 57% of the public supports military action against Iran.

It has always seemed odd to me that anyone buys into the idea that democracy will produce stability in the Middle East. The Christian Science Monitor, which has provided some decent coverage from Iraq, wonders if democracy empowers "Islamists." Well, of course it does. The only question is why anyone is surprised. Juan Cole has some good thoughts on this, too:

The stunning victory of the militant Muslim fundamentalist Hamas Party in the Palestinian elections underlines the central contradictions in the Bush administration's policies toward the Middle East. Bush pushes for elections, confusing them with democracy, but seems blind to the dangers of right-wing populism. At the same time, he continually undermines the moderate and secular forces in the region by acting high-handedly or allowing his clients to do so. As a result, Sunni fundamentalist parties, some with ties to violent cells, have emerged as key players in Iraq, Egypt and Palestine.

Democracy depends not just on elections but on a rule of law, on stable institutions, on basic economic security for the population, and on checks and balances that forestall a tyranny of the majority. Elections in the absence of this key societal context can produce authoritarian regimes and abuses as easily as they can produce genuine people power. Bush is on the whole unwilling to invest sufficiently in these key institutions and practices abroad. And by either creating or failing to deal with hated foreign occupations, he has sown the seeds for militant Islamist movements that gain popularity because of their nationalist credentials.

In Iraq, which is among the least secure and most economically fraught countries in the world, the Dec. 15 elections brought into Parliament a set of powerful Shiite fundamentalist parties and a new force, the Muslim fundamentalist Iraqi Accord Front, which gained most of the votes of formerly secular-minded Iraqi Sunni Arabs. Some IAF politicians are suspected of strong ties to Iraq's Sunni insurgency. In Egypt, last fall's election increased representation for the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood from 17 to more than 70 seats in Parliament, making that group a key political player for the first time in Egyptian history. Decades ago, the party once assassinated a prime minister and attempted to assassinate President Gamal Abdul Nasser, but now maintains it has turned to moderation. It aims at the imposition of a rigid interpretation of Islamic law on Egyptians, including Egyptian women.


Gary North doesn't write like this when he is answering investment queries, telling readers to open daycare centers, or writing other Rockwellian fluff:

Leader by leader, issue by issue, the Christian Right turns to political alliances with humanists in the Republican Party. They are now facing the situation that Blacks face in the Democratic Party: “When you are in a political Party’s hip pocket, you will be sat on.”

The Christian Right wants a halfway house between democracy and theocracy. It also wants a halfway house between theonomy and autonomy, revelation and rationalism, creationism and evolutionism. It wants equal time for Jesus, which means equal time for Satan.

Their allies, the humanists, want no time for Jesus. They want the votes and donations of the faithful, but nothing more. They generally get what they want.


I haven't seen this elsewhere, but Paul Craig Roberts has uncovered some fairly scary provisions in the reauthorization of The Patriot Act. One section creates a permanent police force under the supervision of the Secretary of Homeland Security which can "make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony." This police force will be assigned to various jurisdictions, including "an event designated under section 3056(e) of title 18 as a special event of national significance" Unfortunately, "a special event of national significance" is not defined, leaving vast discretion to the executive branch. The likely goal is keeping protestors away from political leaders. Nothing like being able to seek redress for grievances! Christians have bought into this nonsense because they no longer seem to believe in total depravity and seek their security from the state rather than God.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Newtitis

Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is on the warpath. Well, not literally. Remember, that like the Veep, Newt had "other priorities" in the 1960's and managed to skip out on sloughing it through the jungles of Southeast Asia.

No, now Newt is focused on garnering the endorsement of The Weekly Standard in his pending run for the White House in 2008. In an interview with the once venerable Human Events, Gingrich compares Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to (take a guess now) Adolph Hitler, and says the United States must bring about regime change in Iran.

As the U.S. is on a constant war footing, it seems there is never a shortage of potential Hitlerian monsters. Hussein, Noriega, Aidid, Rauol Cedras, Castro...take your pick, there all good. But the man of moment is Ahmadinejad, who continues to provide ammunition to his enemies by saying Israel should to be "wiped off the map," calling the Holocaust a "myth," and so on.

"If we don’t have a very serious systematic program to replace the government of Iran, we’re going to live in an unbelievably dangerous world," Gingrich said. "This is 1935 and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is as close to Adolf Hitler as we’ve seen. We now know who they are; the question is who we are -- are we Baldwin or Churchill?"

Newt, like his neocon handlers, must spend an awful lot of time watching The History Channel. The neocons always resort to what I like to call the argumentum ad Hitlerum. Once you've accused the "fascist" regime of being governed by a Hitlerian figure, you next call forth the specter of a new Munich and toss around words like appeasement. WWII is about the only historical reference these characters yank out of the quiver, and we're always in need of soaring Churchillian leadership, which I'm sure Newt would like to provide.

Testifying before Congress, Newt raised the uuuuggggly specter of American isolationism and again hearkened back to the good old days (WWII), pulling out the dossier of "lessons learned."

"Not since the failure of the League of Nations in the 1930s to confront the aggression of the dictatorships in Japan, Italy and Germany have we seen the willful avoidance of reality which is now underway with regard to Iran," said Gingrich. "There are lessons to be learned from the 1930s and those lessons apply directly to the current government of Iran."

"Our objective," says Gingrich, "should be the systematic replacement of this regime. We should start with all-out help to the forces of independence in the country -- there are trade union groups, there are student groups -- we should in every way we can get them resources. We should indicate without any question that we are going to take the steps necessary to replace the regime and we should then act accordingly. And we should say to the Europeans that there is no diplomatic solution that is imaginable that is going to solve this problem."

No diplomatic solution? Of what, exactly, are the Iranians guilty? Iran is demanding the right to enrich uranium for peaceful uses. Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Iran has signed but American allies Israel, India and Pakistan have not, a nation has every right to produce uranium.

If Truman and FDR could cozy up to Uncle Joe, Nixon could toast Mao, and Ike and Krushchev could get together, why on earth does Newt think we can't possibly talk to the Iranians?

One Cheer

Earlier this year, I spoke of my desire to write with a bit more optmism. I trust that I won't be accused of sounding pollyannaish, but let me give one cheer to the president.

Unlike some on the paleo-right, I have been largely pleased with the selection of Roberts and Alito to sit on the Supreme Court. In my estimation, Roberts is unlikely to be as reliable as Rehnquist, but overall, I think the selections are solid given the political environment.

God is Good

I was reminded powerfully of God's sovereignty this morning reading through Psalms 147. Read along:

1 Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The Lord lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.

7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
8 He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.

12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
14 He makes peace in your borders;
he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool;
he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold?
18 He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
19 He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and rules to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
they do not know his rules.
Praise the Lord!

May I fear God, place my hope in His steadfast love, and learn to love His law.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The GOP and Immigration; Our Largest Export--Democracy; and More

RNC honchos, led by the ever fearless and very manly Ken Mehlman, endorsed a guest-worker plan proffered by the White House as a payoff to corporate interests and multiculturalists of all stripes. Mehlman says that the administration's plan is not tantamount to amnesty. He is, of course, lying. El Presidente Senor Bush himself said in 2004 that his plan would "preserve the citizenship path" for illegal aliens.

Some typically hilarious cultural criticism from Tom Fleming. The whole thing is worth a read, but here is a quick taste. Writing about Richard Pryor and George Carlin, Fleming says:

It’s not the prevalence of scummy language that disturbs me so much as the idolizing of perennial adolescents that is so much a part of our culture. I had a friend in graduate school, now a professor of classics at a state university in the South, and he used to bore me to tears with this theological analysis of Paul McCartney songs. “I’m an atheist,” I told him, “but if I want theology, I can read Augustine—at least his Latin is good.” Then there were the dopers who wanted to “analyze” Bob Dylan’s never-ending flow of clumsy gibberish crammed into the form of greeting-card verses. Dylan’s “poetry” occupies a special niche in the nonsense Hall of Fame, along with Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” George Will’s rhapsodizings on baseball, and the foreign policy pronouncements of Condoleezza Rice.


Pat Buchanan thinks maybe the Arabs have a point:

After all, before liberating Kuwait, Secretary of State Baker said the coming war was about “o-i-l.” And while we sent half a million troops to rescue that nation of 1.5 million, we sent none to Rwanda, where perhaps that many people were massacred.

If Kuwait did not sit on an underground sea of oil, would we have gone in? Is our military presence in the Mideast unrelated to its control of two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves?

And is Israel not our fair-haired boy? Though Sharon & Co. have stomped on as many UN resolutions as Saddam Hussein ever did, they have pocketed $100 billion in U.S. aid and are now asking for a $2 billion bonus this year, Katrina notwithstanding. Anyone doubt they will get it?


It turns out that women who have abortions may feel guilty about it.

"Exporting" democracy isn't quite as easy it looks. Democracy will in fact, as I never tire of pointing out, spur the rise of political Islam. In fact, Osama bin Laden continues to enjoy widespread popularity in the Islamic world. I'll continue to wait for the Iraqi version of James Madison.

$1-million homes are becoming increasingly easy to find in California. The average home in Los Angeles sells for $495,000. The U.S. federal debt is near $8 trillion, the trade deficit is swollen to record heights, and the money supply is increasing at a 20% clip. In 2005, the median down payment on a new house was only 2% on a $150,000 house. Nearly half of the buyers didn’t put down a penny. Last week the yield curve inverted, meaning lenders got more for short-term loans to the government than for long terms. This is typically a precursor to recession. And finally, the neocons want to invade Iran so that we can pay $100 for a barrel of oil. No need to worry, though, just turn on "American Idol."

The Birmingham Christian Union is told that it must open it's membership to non-Christians and stop using discriminatory titles, i.e., "men and women", that might exclude transsexual and transgendered people. It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

Fun in the Dow Home

A fantastic week at home. Jack (14 months) spent the early part of the week vomiting. By Wednesday, I had flu-like symptoms, which turned out to be strep throat (for the second time since Christmas). Kathy and Josh (3) were vomiting all night Wednesday. Kathy, too, has strep (again) and Josh continued vomiting until Sunday. The little guy was so dehydrated that Kathy had to take him to the hospital Saturday nigh. Andrew (5) seems to be developing a cold--don't worry, he's already passed it to Jack--but has largely been doing fine. As a typical five-year-old, he gets bored. Which also means he wants attention and activity, which is in short supply. Ugh!

On the plus side, I've been able to do a bit of reading. Kathy and I are likely to begin home schooling the kids this fall and we solicited advice from a number of friends in our "real" and "virtual" lives. (As an aside, I have been very grateful for Christian brothers and sisters who have taken time out of their schedules to offer advice, encouragement, curriculum overviews, resource suggestions, etc.) We have also been reading "The Well-Trained Mind" at the suggestion of Izzy and found it to be very helpful. I was also able to track down some decent used books, including Lasch's "Culture of Narcissism" and Rothbard's "The Great Depression" at a used book sale.

Thinking about all the recent unpleasantness and beginning to feel sorry for myself, my mind drifted back to the always entertaining Martin Luther, who said:

Our natural reason looks at marriage and turns up its nose and says, "Alas! Must I rock the baby? wash its diapers? make its bed? smell its stench? stay at nights with it? take care of it when it cries? heal its rashes and sores? and on top of that care for my spouse, provide labor at my trade, take care of this and take care of that? do this and do that? and endure this and endure that? Why should I make such a prisoner of myself?"

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful and despised duties in the spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels.
Its says, "O God, I confess I am not worthy to rock that little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of a child and its mother. How is it that I without any merit have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? Oh, how gladly will I do so. Though the duty should be even more insignificant and despised, neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor will distress me for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dave's Back, the Man is Listening, and Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

Glad to see that Dave and Becky Lynn Black have returned from Ethiopia. Dave has just about the best blog around. I've been missing essays like this one, too.

Leading conservatives call for hearings on NSA snooping. Bob Barr, David Keene, Don Devine, and Grover Norquist haven't swallowed the Neocon line that the president is imbued with dictatorial power. Unfortunately, Norquist is the only one of these fellas who actually wields significant influence, and he's about to be stung in the Abramoff fiasco.

To be fair, Norquist isn't actually accused of any malfeasance. Abramoff moved money in a number of shady ways, not merely to cheat clients but also to pay for brazen junkets. Norquist was one conduit for Captain Jack's cash. Norquist took commissions for his work, which evidently is perfectly legal. In one instance, he sent $1.15 million from just one tribe to antigambling groups and funneled $150,000 sent by eLottery to the consultancy of Ralph Reed, former chief of the Christian Coalition. For an earlier discussion of Abramoff's wheeling and dealing with "conservative Christians," see this post.

According to this report from Capitol Hill Blue, the NSA is just one of a host of agencies spying on Americans:

"It’s a total effort to build dossiers on as many Americans as possible," says a former NSA agent who quit in disgust over use of the agency to spy on Americans. "We’re no longer in the business of tracking our enemies. We’re spying on everyday Americans."

"It's really obvious to me that it's a look-at-everything type program," says cryptology expert Bruce Schneier.

Schneier says he suspects that the NSA is turning its massive spy satellites inward on the United States and intentionally gathering vast streams of raw data from many more people than disclosed to date — potentially including all e-mails and phone calls within the United States. But the NSA spying is just the tip of the iceberg.


Read more here.

The National Security Agency (NSA) has conducted much broader surveillance of e-mails and phone calls -- all without court orders -- than the Bush administration admits and intelligence experts say the spying goes far beyond just monitoring phone and email communications.

The NSA, with help from American telecommunications companies, obtained access to streams of domestic and international communications say current and former government officials.

President Bush claims his executive order allowing the eavesdropping was limited to people with known links to al-Qaida but NSA technicians routinely comb through large volumes of phone and Internet traffic searching for patterns that might lead to terrorists.

In addition, NSA employs "data mining," a technique of comparing huge amounts of travel, financial and related information to build a pattern of behavior on American citizens.


We shouldn't be too surprised. After all, the NSA was used to spy on diplomats leading up to the Iraq war.

The IRS tracked the party affiliations of alleged scofflaws in twenty states and the Department of Homeland Security is opening private mail.

Al Gore gave a good speech on all of this flim-flam the other day. Perhaps some Democrats may be on the verge of showing a bit of leadership after all. Well, probably not. But Justin Raimondo and Paul Craig Roberts seem to be hopeful.

What is going on in the Middle East? Well, in spite of week upon week of bad news, the War Party is gearing up to take down the Iranians.
Pat Buchanan wonders if the administration is about to unleash American power in another undeclared war. The answer almost assuredly is "Yes." Bob Dreyfuss points out that, "The deteriorating international crisis over Iran is a direct result of the Bush’s administration’s ham-handed and mendacious Iraq policy." Gordon Prather wonders if there is some underhanded plot to plant evidence tying the Russians to an Iranian nuke program. By the way, Prather is essential reading to understand the Iranian nuke issue.

Before you buy propaganda about Iranian weapons, perhaps you should go back and review what was said before the Iraq war.

Aside from the fixation on Iran's alleged wrongdoing, there may have also been a series of lethal raids into Syria, too.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Random Stuff

Pat Robertson's careless remarks may cost him a $50 million deal. Look for some backtracking from brother Pat. Robertson was leading a group of evangelicals hoping to construct a six-flags over Jesus type operation in the "holy land" called Galilee World Heritage Park. According to the BBC, the park was to contain "a park, an auditorium, a Holy Land exhibition, outdoor amphitheatres, information centre and a media studio." But after Robertson's remarks that Sharon had been stricken by God because he was attempting to divide Israel, the Israeli tourism ministry indicated they would not sign a contract with Robertson to build the proposed theme park. Am I supposed to take this man seriously?

Gary DeMar points out that by invoking God's name in his condemnation of Sharon, Robertson violated the 3rd Commandment. DeMar says, "Jesus Christ is the focus of history, not the land of Israel. Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy, not ethnic Israel. Our salvation comes by way of Jesus’ shed blood, not the shed blood of Jews (Zech. 13:8) or anyone else. Dispensationalism has created a foreign policy nightmare with its insistence that Israel is still the center of history, geography, and redemption."

Rick Warren gets his second glowing write-up in nine months from the Philadelphia Inquirer. (For the first article, click here.) Why is Warren so beloved by the likes of Larry King and other secular media outlets? Consider how the article ends:

Warren predicts that fundamentalism, of all varieties, will be "one of the big enemies of the 21st century."

"Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, secular fundamentalism -- they're all motivated by fear. Fear of each other.


So Christian fundamentalism is to be equated is Islamic and Jewish extremism? And the motivation of "fundamentalist" Christianity is fear of Islam and Judaism? And I'm supposed to take this man seriously?

According to James Risen, who broke the NSA story, "The CIA ignored credible information that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction and, instead, followed the Bush Administration's lead to provide fabricated intelligence that was used to justify invasion of the Mideast country."

Hitting the bottle?

I've ignored most of the recent impeachment talk. But when I saw this article by Bruce Fein in, of all places, the Washington Times, I thought it noteworthy. Fein wrote:

Mr. Bush has continued the NSA spying without congressional authorization or ratification of the earlier interceptions. (In sharp contrast, Abraham Lincoln obtained congressional ratification for the emergency measures taken in the wake of Fort Sumter, including suspending the writ of habeas corpus).

Mr. Bush has adamantly refused to acknowledge any constitutional limitations on his power to wage war indefinitely against international terrorism, other than an unelaborated assertion he is not a dictator. Claims to inherent authority to break and enter homes, to intercept purely domestic communications, or to herd citizens into concentration camps reminiscent of World War II, for example, have not been ruled out if the commander in chief believes the measures would help defeat al Qaeda or sister terrorist threats.

Volumes of war powers nonsense have been assembled to defend Mr. Bush's defiance of the legislative branch and claim of wartime omnipotence so long as terrorism persists, i.e., in perpetuity. Congress should undertake a national inquest into his conduct and claims to determine whether impeachable usurpations are at hand. As Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist 65, impeachment lies for "abuse or violation of some public trust," misbehaviors that "relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself."


Fein served as associate deputy attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, so he can't be called a "liberal." Moreover, that he was able to post such heretical thoughts on the opinion page of the Washington Times, neocon central, has some importance.

Here is an interesting piece by Eric Holmberg on the pagan roots of the abortion culture. Holmberg runs a fine outfit called The Apologetics Group, which I highly recommend.

Middle Eastern euphemisms.

Game over in Iraq. "The consequences of SCIRI's (Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq) victory are manifold. But there is no silver lining, no chance for peace talks among Iraq's factions, no chance for international mediation. There is no centrist force that can bridge the factional or sectarian divides. Next stop: civil war."

Pat says that "if the Iraqi insurgency has done nothing else, it has induced a sense of humility, and of the limits of American power." Does Pat really believe that the neocon banshees, braying from the safety of their AEI cubicles, have been chastened by the outcome in Iraq? If only it were true.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Who Are We?

Sam Huntington is one of our foremost public intellectuals. His latest work, "Who Are We?" is a well-researched and generally insightful work. Additionally, Huntington has made it respectable within academia to oppose mass immigration.

Huntington’s primary thesis in “Who Are We” is that the United States has an Anglo-Protestant core culture, a controversial statement in and of itself. Huntington posits that American "identity" is threatened by other national identities, sub-national identities, globalization, and the multicult idol.

All true enough. But in the preface Huntington writes, "This is, let me make clear, an argument for the importance of Anglo-Protestant culture, not for the importance of Anglo-Protestant people. I believe one of the greatest achievements, perhaps the greatest achievement, of America is the extent to which it has eliminated racial and ethnic components that were historically central to its identity and has become a multiethnic, multiracial society in which individuals are to be judged on their merits. That has happened, I believe, because of the commitment of successive generations of Americans have had to the Anglo-Protestant culture and the Creed of the founding settlers. If that commitment is sustained, America will still be America long after the WASPish descendants of its founders have become a small and uninflutential minority."

These comments raise a number of questions.  First, how is it possible to maintain an "Anglo-Protestant" culture, without Anglo-Protestant people? Clearly, the Anglo-Protestant culture described by Huntington did not spring from the ground or appear magically out of the air, but developed from a people. Second, can a secular "creed" really be the basis of a nation? Can it replace a people?

Others have made a case similar to Huntington.  Renowned liberal scholar Nathan Glazer, arguing that we are all multiculturalsists now, says, "The United States is unique among the great nations of the world in the degree to which it refuses to define itself in ethnic or religious or national terms, as our basic founding documents make clear."

Libertarian Tom Lehman, from the Foundation for American Education, similarly argues that "the American traditions of limited government and free market economics are not based upon ethnic or racial origins. They are based upon ideas. Western cultures cannot suppose themselves to have a monopoly on the philosophy of liberty, nor can Americans argue that the political values of the limited state cannot be inculcated in non-American immigrants. The ideas of freedom that have created the American tradition can apply to any ethnic or racial make-up."

Is it really possible to have a nation that isn’t defined "in ethnic or religious or national terms" but is merely an ideological construct? Did the American understanding of limited government, ordered liberty, and free market economics spring from the mind of Adam Smith like so much manna from heaven? Are we, as Ben Wattenburg says, "The First Universal Nation?" Can one even speak of a "universal nation?"

Well, first, we have to define the characteristics of nationhood. Writing in The Federalist, John Jay emphasized ethnic  and religious unity as the source of American strength, giving thanks that, "Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people, a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, without which a common and free government would be impossible."

Political scientist Francis Lieber offered a definition similar to Jay:
"The word 'nation' in the fullest adaptation of the term, means, in modern times, a numerous and homogeneous population, permanently inhabiting and cultivating a coherent territory, with a well-defined geographic outline, and a name of its own—the inhabitants speaking their own language, having their own literature and common institutions, which distinguish them clearly from other and similar groups of people, being citizens or subjects of a unitary government, however subdivided it may be, and having an organic unity with one another as well as being conscious of a common destiny."
Anthony Smith identified six criteria for the formation of the ethnic group, or nation, as:
1. A collective identity.
2. A common ancestry.
3. Shared myths and common historical memories.
4. An attachment to a specific territory.
5. A shared culture based on common language, religion, traditions, customs, laws, architecture, institutions etc.
6. An awareness of ethnicity.
Using these various definitions it is possible to characterize elements that define a nation. A nation has a homogeneous population with a common identity; occupies a contiguous territory; speaks the same language; has a common religion, literature, manners, customs, literature, and mythology; is governed by the same principles and traditions; and is conscious of common destiny and solidarity. In short, it is an ethno-cultural entity.

As a Christian, however, Scripture must define my view of nationhood. And it is clear from Genesis to Revelation that division and nationality are part of God’s plan even though we are all descended from Adam and share a common sinful and depraved nature.

God’s revelation recorded in Genesis 11 demonstrates that the desire for a total oneness of humanity stems from pride and rebellion. In verse 4, man attempts to build a city and tower to "make a name for ourselves." Genesis 11:5-8 provides God’s response: "And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.’ So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth."

So it was God who "confuse[d] their language" and "dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth." But Babel is being rebuilt today by New Agers, eco-freaks, globalists, and mushy one-worlders--including many who claim to follow Christ. Such Christians adopt a Unitarian anthropology and spout half-truths such as, "There is only one race--the human race."

They are correct to a point, for Luke writes that God "made from one man every nation of mankind" (Acts 17:26). Likewise, Paul says that our justification and our reconciliation with God is independent of ethnicity and is a "gift of God" because of Christ’s atoning death at Calvary and those "baptized into Christ have put on Christ" and in Jesus, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28). Finally we see a picture of worship in heaven that includes "a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands" (Rev. 7:9).

Nevertheless, Scripture affirms division as well as unity. Deuteronomy 32:8 says, "When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples." Also, reading farther in Acts 17:26-27, one finds that God "determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their (the nation's) dwelling place, that they should seek God."

So there is unity and diversity in God’s good creation. Biblical analogies are not hard to find. The Trinity, to take one example, shows us that God is one and many—unity and diversity. If humans are created in His image shouldn’t we expect mankind to demonstrate elements of the one-many dichotomy? Likewise, the primary New Testament metaphor for the church is a family. We are one in Christ, and yet we are distinct. Though there is one body, there are many members, with different functions and identities (I Cor. 12:14-31). In marriage, a man and woman become one flesh, yet Scripture is abundantly clear that there are distinct, different functional duties for husbands and wives. Finally, Jesus Himself was a unitary being and yet fulfilled three functions—prophet, priest, and king.

Nations or ethnic groups are not merely arbitrary human creations or social constructs, but divinely ordained entities that reflect the good purpose and glory of God.

Having established the principle of division, do the various characteristics of nationhood discussed earlier have a Biblical basis? From the accounts in Genesis 10 and 11, it would seem clear that language and connection to land are indeed elements of Biblical nationhood. The passages in Deuteronomy and Acts referenced above appear to endorse ethnicity as a component of nationhood as well. Luke writes that God "fixed the borders of the peoples" and the word translated "nation" in Acts 17 is the Greek word "ethnos," the source of the English word ethnicity. Finally, a common religion provides for a framework or blueprint for legal codes and penal sanctions, customs, and principles of government.

Moreover, contrary to multicultural faddishness, God does not regard all nations and their cultures as equal. The Hebrews were the apple of God’s eye and Israel was to be a light to the nations and, through Jesus Christ, bring redemption to the ends of the earth.

Yet Christians have swallowed Enlightenment presuppositions and become functional egalitarians. But egalitarianism is heresy, for it denies the very principle of order itself and attempts to arrange creation on its own terms. Equality thus becomes a philosophical and religious faith that demands the fidelity of every individual and institution.  As importantly, radical equality is simply a manifestation of envy. Its root is in Satan’s rebellion against God, and those who seek to diminish excellence and achievement, thus reducing the glory of God, replicate the sin.

Do the universalist implications of Christian soteriology demand egalitarianism and forbid the believer from making any distinctions? To paraphrase Paul, "May it never be!" Paul says that we have particular obligations, for example, to our natural families (I Tim. 5:8) that supersede other duties. Likewise, Paul said he would willingly be cursed by Christ if it could bring salvation to his ethnic kinsmen (Rom. 9:1-3). Such examples could multiplied, suffice to say that while Christians must endorse the universal sinfulness of man and need for a savior that in no way implies a radical egalitarianism in personal and social relationships.

Huntington is correct that there has been a steady decline in ethnic identity in the United States, particularly among whites. The sentiment has largely been shaped by our elites. Running to secure the GOP nomination in 2000, George Bush welcomed the coming demise of European influence in the United States. Mr. Bush said:
"America has one national creed, but many accents. We are now one of the largest Spanish-speaking nations in the world. We're a major source of Latin music, journalism, and culture. Just go to Miami, or San Antonio, Los Angeles, Chicago, or West New York, New Jersey... and close your eyes and listen. You could just as easily be in Santo Domingo or Santiago, or San Miguel de Allende. For years our nation has debated this change - some have praised it and others have resented it. By nominating me, my party has made a choice to welcome the new America."
Bush's predecessor likewise embraced the coming demographic revolution. Bill Clinton said, "We want to become a multiracial, multiethnic society. This will arguably be the third great revolution .... to prove that we literally can live without ... having a dominant European culture."

Shortly after these comments, Clinton headed west to exult in the fact that California's white folks were soon to lose their majority status: "Within the next three years here in California, no single race or ethnic group will make up a majority of the state's population. ... A half century from now, there will be no majority race in America."

The shift in the origins of the U. S. population is indeed significant. In 1950, 90% of Americans were of European descent. By 2000, it was impossible to speak of a typical American. Last month, Texas became the fourth state with a non-white majority population, joining California, New Mexico, and Hawaii. Five other states have populations that are 40% or more non-white.

As with ethnic homogeneity, religious unity is beginning to wane as well. According to the American Religious Identity Survey, "The proportion of the [American] population that can be classified as Christian has declined from 86% in 1990 to 77% in 2001." Meanwhile, the number of Protestants dipped from 63 percent of the national population in 1993 to 52 percent in 2002, while the number of professing secularists skyrocketed to 14% of the population.

Polytheism, under the guise of religious tolerance, is the new American religion. The interfaith service at the National Cathedral after the September 11 attack is one such example. The worship was self-consciously polytheistic. The only “god” being worshiped was the civil deity known as America.

As Doug Wilson pointed out, even the diversity of the American marketplace has an implicit unitarian god—the cash box. Wilson writes:
"This also reveals why the theological currents within the Church have been running the way they have throughout the course of the last century. Despite all Her problems, the Church in America is still a thriving force in our public life. It is therefore important to do something that will prepare our nation’s millions of Christians for their assigned role in the empire. That “something” is to neutralize the Faith by making it just one more item in the yard sale. What is the unifying principle behind our current theological battles? What do openness theology, seeker-sensitive worship, and dumb evangelical T-shirts all have in common? All of them represent a shift from the worship of Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, to Jesus, competitor for market share. Modern evangelicals want the shoppers to buy Jesus instead of the old lampshade, and they do not care who runs the cash box."
Lacking religious and ethnic homogeneity, what happens when the cash box runs dry, when the coming economic retrenchment hits like a ton of bricks? What will hold everything together? Force. Rushdoony writes, "From Alexander the Great to the present, the world of polytheism has no means of a common truth and order except by imperialistic conquest. In such a world, neither order nor meaning have a universal sway; hence, force tries to bind those factors which are held to lack the cohesiveness of truth and a common Creator."

Polytheism and multiculturalism lead, as night follows day, to statism. As Americans syncretize race, culture, and religion, we became imperialists and collectivists. Even a liberal like John Stuart Mill knew that free institutions are "next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities." The inevitable result is a bureaucratic order governed by social engineers. States with diverse populations require authoritarian governments as the only alternative to anarchy.

Political elites naturally welcome increased diversity as a justification for further meddling in the lives of citizens. The management of racial, ethnic, and religious strife is bread and butter for the State.

Conversely, a social order constructed on a foundation of broad ethnic and religious unity provides a framework for trust, fraternity, and security.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Appeasement of Judicial Tyranny in Indiana

For 189 years, the Indiana legislature has started each legislative session with an invocation to the Almighty. But in November, U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton ruled that legislative prayers could not invoke "Christ's name or title or any other denominational appeal."

In his November ruling, Hamilton cited various precedents from the U.S. Supreme Court and several lower courts, ruling that the Constitution's establishment clause precludes one religious denomination from being officially preferred over another.

OK, so let's get a few facts straight before continuing. Judge Hamilton studied available prayers from the 2005 Indiana legislative session. As the grandson of a Methodist minister, Judge Hamilton is quite obviously an astute theologian of the first order. Thus, I will accept at face value his conclusion that a substantial majority of prayers offered during the session were "explicitly Christian in content." He said they represent "a clear endorsement of Christianity, sending the message to others that they are outsiders and the message to Christians that they are favored insiders."

According to the esteemed Philosopher King, Judge Hamilton, the establishment clause says that "one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another." But what does the so-called “establishment clause” actually say? The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That's it, folks. "CONGRESS shall make no law." When the constitution was ratified, nine states had taxpayer supported state churches. While Jefferson may have concluded that such was an offense against mankind, the overwhelming majority of Americans had little sympathy for the mythical wall of separation dividing God and government. Moreover, the last time I checked, the Indiana legislature was not the congress of the United States, but as I have neither the time nor the inclination to get into a discussion of the incorporation doctrine, substantive and procedural due process, etc., I’m going to leave that issue alone for now. Maybe some other time (If you are interested in my essay on abortion and judicial supremacy, click here).

So what was the response of elected leaders in Indiana? Feigned outrage. House Speaker Brian Bosma, a Republican, said, "We will continue to fight this order by every constitutional means available until it is overturned." Democratic leader Patrick Bauer compared the ruling to totalitarianism. "I see where religions were forbidden in other countries. In communist countries. In totalitarian countries. I think this smacks of that," said Bauer.

Judge Hamilton decreed that Bosma act as a theological traffic cop, approving prayers of clergyman before they were delivered. Hamilton was not effectively ordering that prayers cease. Rather, he was demanding syncretism. Bland prayers lifted heavenward to an ethereal entity of one sort or another. That Bosma refused to take that step is admirable, but too timid in my view.

Yesterday, as the legislature met for the first time since Hamilton's ruling, Bosma, Bauer and the rest could have followed the example of Andy Jackson, who said of the Marshall Court, "The Supreme Court has made it's decision, now let them enforce it." Had they resisted, would Judge Hamilton have had them arrested? If so, he should be impeached.

But instead, they caved. According to the Indianapolis Star, rather than defying black-robed tyranny masquerading as law, legislators opted instead to have a prayer huddle in the back of the House chamber minutes before the opening gavel.

Much can be said about civil disobedience, suffice to say for now that only in extreme circumstances, after large amounts of prayer, reflection, and counting the costs, should Christians openly rebel against the State.

However, there are times when civil disobedience is justified, nay, demanded by Scripture. In Ex. 1:18-21 we read the account of Pharaoh commanding the Israelite midwives to kill every Jewish boy. They disobeyed and were counted blessed by God. In II Kings we read of the high priest Jehoiada leading a coup against Athaliah. Daniel 3 gives the account of Shadrach, Meschach and Aded-Nego, who defied Nebuchadnezzar. When the disciples were arrested for preaching the Gospel, Peter’s reply recorded in Acts 5:29 was, "We ought to obey God rather than men." Needless to say, they continued to preach (Acts 4:18-31, Acts 5:17-29). What of Daniel’s defiance of King Darius’ decree (Daniel 6:1-17) or Rahab’s deceit in protecting Israel’s spies? Sometimes we must say "No," and perhaps the time has come to cry "Enough."

A Piece of Paper?

A commenter discussing Doug Thomspson's recent article asked if I thought our president actually referred to the supreme law of the land as a "g-d piece of paper." My response was to simply consider administration actions over the last five years and draw a logical inference.

Well, in a recent speech discoursing on the December Iraqi elections, the president sailed to heights of rhetorical fancy, yanking out the same old univeralistic mumbo jumbo that has become typical of White House talking points. "The story of freedom has just begun in the Middle East," said Mr. Bush. "And when the history of these days is written, it will tell how America once again defended its own freedom by using liberty to transform nations from bitter foes to strong allies. And history will say that this generation, like generations before, laid the foundation of peace for generations to come."

Blah, blah, blah.

But then Mr. Bush said something interesting. "As President, I'm responsible for the decision to go into Iraq." Really? But Article I, Section VII of the the Constitution says, "The Congress shall have power...To declare war."

Writing to Jefferson, James Madison, who presumably knew a thing or two about constitutional interpretation, said, "The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the Legislature."

So were the anti-Federalists right? Once you start writing these things down, perhaps they do merely become scraps of paper in the hands of the prince, manipulated to suit the whims of cultural, social and political elites. In short, perhaps the Constitution is little more than a dead letter.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Well, It Is An Election Year

Since the war in Iraq is going swimmingly, War Party aficionados are gearing up to take the fight next door to Iran. The Jerusalem Post and UPI are both reporting that Porter Goss is looking to secure Turkish assistance in a future aerial bombardment.

Looks like the GOP is going to play the "national security card" in order to hold onto congressional majorities. A risky strategy, but one that could very well work.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Resolutions For the New Year

Resolved:

1) I will read more serious books and fewer stupid weblogs. I suggest you do the same. Shut down Dow Blog and pick up a book. I read a Rushdoony book on a recent drive to Michigan and am currently reading Rush's "The Politics of Guilt and Pity." Speaking of the politics of guilt and pity, I'm also perusing Norman Finkelstein's "The Holocaust Industry." Maybe I should also finally get to those books in the basement that every educated person should have read already.

2) I will study more theology. This is a companion of number 1.

3) I hope to post more consistently--not more, just more consistently. The kids make it difficult to post daily, but 15 to twenty posts a month, or at least every other day, would be sufficient if the posts are of decent quality.

4) I hope to write more about the immigration issue this year. Immigration is an absolutely vital component in the continuing transformation of our nation into a banana republic. Webzines such as VDARE do a fabulous job covering the issue, but I would like to throw my two cents in with greater frequency.

5) I hope to be more optimistic. As a Christian with increasingly postmillenial tendencies, I'm certain how the game ends. I ought to act like it.

Did Darrell Die?

Apologies for the dearth of posting. December wasn't a fun month. The flu made several voyages through the house, the wife and I both had strep throat, and, to be honest, I just couldn't work up my normal righteous indignation during the Christmas season.

Of course, that can't go on forever. So I'll be back shortly.