Just and the Justifier

A Christian Distinctive

Archive for the tag “civil war”

Welcome to the USSA (Footnote 1)

From my earliest youth, I held excessive zeal for liberty. And thus, the Revolutionary Land of the Free to our south and the political principles by which such liberty was constructed, had always attracted me. I detested the faint residue of conservative Loyalist and Monarchist sentiment still persisting in the mid-1960s. It represented a mildly psychic oppression. During the 1967 Centennial Year, I sang with Bobby Gimby for the Queen as part of a ragtag children’s choir at Centennial Stadium in Etobicoke. I recall thinking, at 9 years old, how much of a hypocrite I was, considering that I detested the pompous falsity and pretentious decorum of the Monarchy and Imperial British sentiment.

Canadian history was a bore. While national America was fashioned out of ideas in salons, national Canada was forged out of self-interests at a business meeting. This nation has failed to contribute any unique and useful political idea or perspective to world civilization. Thus, while I was never taken in by any civic religion to speak of in this hotel room, we call Canada; I must confess that the American civic religion held powerful sway (and blighted clarity of thought) until George W. Bush completely eviscerated any remaining delusions.

But the America of my dream had really suffered its death knell with the assassination of Lincoln and the rise of the first Gilded Age. It had hitherto been a nation, largely dedicated to the commonweal by consent; in which the common man deferred to no one, to the chagrin of European aristocratic observers. I am under no illusion that it was paradise on earth or that it was bereft of its own set of travesty and atrocity. However, it retained soul and vitality, amassing an inheritance of social capital that would take over a century to completely deplete. Ronald Reagan’s ‘City on a Hill’ represented that last gasp of nostalgia for an America that was.

Because what happens in the U.S. has such huge repercussions in the rest of the West, I recall opinionating in the mid-2000s that I would have impeached Bush Jr. for deception concerning entry into the Iraq War (2003). Even as sort-of-conservative-minded orthodox Evangelical, I recall arguing against a whole family of neo-Cons, social and small-c conservatives in the Christmas period of 2004/5 about the folly of that war. I asserted that the U.S. was entering into an Islamic version of Yugoslavia; ostensibly imposing liberal democracy upon people with an underlying ideology which is irreconcilable and existentially threatened by Western thought and institutions. The Americans would retreat with tails between their legs, leaving a fragile Iraqi government, presiding over a bloodily divided nation, waiting for the next Saddam Hussein to restore a coercive unity. Meanwhile, America would have lost complete moral authority; only able to keep Pax Americana by raw force alone; thereby requiring higher exactions of its own blood and treasure than when it is perceived the imperial power is governing, to some extent, for the benefit of all. That prediction is almost fully complete.

Nevertheless, as the lesser of two evils, I would still have voted for Bush in 2004.  There is something terribly wrong with this picture!

In the aftermath of his term, I concluded that George W. Bush had been the worst president since James Buchanan (1857-1861). And I expected that Obama would be worst still; back-to-back political calamities. But Obama has exceeded expectations on that count. For, if George Walker Bush was a buffoon; Barack Hussein Obama is a barbarian. Rather than James Buchanan, one must go back to the foreign English parliament serving King George III for comparison with Obama.

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The prudence of the Founding Fathers and the generations immediately preceding and following, noted threats on both sides of any narrow path or orbit. And thus they sought to maintain civil and social peace by balancing government against itself and balancing government against the medley of private interests, ideologies and factions within society.

Since then, one political party has since Woodrow Wilson completely repudiated the prudence of the Founding Fathers; believing in the goodness of humanity whose fault is occasionally intellectual incompetence. Thus, a large and encroaching state is pursued. And the arrogance of that faction is constantly imposed upon all others. The other political party has sought to return to the letter of the original Constitution, not realizing that it was merely a Montesquieun political device to balance the apparent social forces of their times. But concentration of private wealth/power becomes itself a tyrannical threat in a minimalist government. Thus, the changing dynamics of the 19th and 20th Century requires constant amending to reflect those altering realities.

But we dwell in an era of the simple-minded; who react to one threat in pendular and singular extremes; without concern for balance. Unmitigated security is pursued against the haphazard threats of largely private enemies; ignoring the insecurity against the person and nation, posed by unmitigated power of the state and state bureaucracies.

But large nations and civilizations do not fall, merely because of the loss of one battle or the collapse of tall buildings. The Roman city state with its Latin allies survived in cohesion, after ten years of Hannibal’s ravaging the Italian peninsula, while a much larger Empire had so rotted within, that barbarians with much smaller populations and resources finally swarmed it in the 5th Century.

Islamic terrorists might constitute a chaotic threat to individual safety. But they are not, in themselves, a threat to the survival of the nation. Indeed, they pose a much smaller threat to individual safety than the 15,000 murders each year or fatalities due to vehicular accidents. Get a grip people! The overreaching and increasing tyrannical power of the bureaucratic state, given much impetus in these last dozen years, is a far greater threat to individual safety and security and ultimately to the survival and welfare of the American nation.

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With wholesale recording of virtually every electronic transaction (voice, email, credit card, web, chat) in a society whose livelihood and lifestyle requires considerable interaction with a virtual world; one wonders what remaining unreasonable search and seizure provisions of the Constitution are left, which U.S. Administrations could violate.

Really! Modest encroachments to privacy, Mr. President! Such a suggestion can only be a product of a consummate comedian or truly defective mind. If this was a Third Amendment infraction (quartering of soldiers in private homes), a modest encroachment in Obama’s mind would be the right for soldiers to sleep naked in the same bed as the daughters of the household; as long as it didn’t involve penetration.

Dragnets of metadata can easily provide sufficient red flags for further fishing; especially in the disingenuity of interpretations of what constitutes threat. and surely, if it easy enough to shop around for a sympathetic and/or compliant judge to obtain a blanket general warrant, how hard should it be to get judicial approval to open the package of any flagged individual item.

We witness these public officials and their courtiers, dismissing the potential dangers against civil rights infractions, totalitarianism and tyranny as alarmist; just as they did in my youth in my country. I recall the mantra. “Surely, one has nothing to worry about if one hasn’t done anything wrong.” The problem with such drivel is that it presumes upon the virtue of the public guardians.

Vice is inherent and universal in humanity. The passing of a civil service exam, or hair-brained psychological profile tests or acceptance into public service does not transform that same private individual, prone to self-interest and vice, into paragons of virtue and wisdom. Indeed, as unscrupulous opportunists survey the sociopolitical landscape, they will be times when ‘public service’ serves as the best means for feathering their own nest; through the organs of government than apart from it; as the shrewd operators of the late Roman Empire can attest

It is ironic that the NSA and PRISM revelations followed so soon on the heels of the chilling surveillance and harassment of journalists; or the preferential EPA and IRS treatment of one sociopolitical faction over the other; or the egregious leakage of records of donators to the National Organization for Marriage by IRS officials in California during the Proposition 8 referendum, so that opponents could threaten the livelihoods of employer and employees who disagreed with them. This is the stuff that begets civil war!

So it is not merely about the potential of providing “All the Infrastructure a Tyrant Would Need, Courtesy of Bush and Obama”2. Violations of constitutional protections are already presently exploited. The current administration might consider those who visit web sites about the Constitution, marriage or the history of English civil rights more of a threat to national security or the welfare of society and state. But perhaps a future administration, which represents the opposite sociopolitical faction, might deem those who frequent the porn and polyamory pages or donators to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood, to be more of a menace. Americans should be more concerned presently with the organs of the state apparatus being exploited as civic weapons in culture wars than with a theoretical tyranny.

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Last year (February 14, 2012), Canada had a similar concern crop up with the aborted attempt to pass the so-called “Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act” (Bill C-30).

The bill would have granted authorities new powers to monitor and track the digital activities of Canadians in real-time, required service providers to log information about their customers and turn it over if requested, and made back door entrances mandatory allowing remote access of individuals’ electronic information, each without needing a warrant. Documents obtained under the Access to Information Act show that the government desired to use the expanded powers in cases not involving criminality.3

Although, the legislation spoke nothing about pedophiles, the Harper government felt is useful to alarm their conservative base with this misdirection. We could “either stand with us or with the child pornographers”. However, I was part of that base; as is arch-conservative Lorne Gunter.

Politicians or police will talk themselves into the wisdom of using the same technology to find tax cheats, divorced parents falling behind on child support or even human-rights violators […] What if you’re a member of a faith that believes homosexuality is a sin and you send out emails arguing against gay marriage or gay adoption and you use language that is a little too strong? Or maybe you’re having your basement renovated and you boast to a friend that you’re avoiding the HST by paying cash — should that send off an alarm at the Canada Revenue Agency?4

In my youth, Conservatives were complicit conspirators with Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s War Measures Act of 1970; a legislative mallet to swat a relative fly. It made martyrs of those political prisoners imprisoned for many months without warrant or charge. It discredited the ideals of individual civil rights in Quebec, hitherto promoted by the federal authorities. And it led to the first separatist PQ government in 1976.

Bill C-30 was withdrawn after much opposition by all factions in this country. And thus, how strange and ironic that the so-called “Land of the Free” has now become the more oppressive; and my native country, which I felt had proved too dismissive of civil liberty, has a little more sensibility and backbone than I remember in my youth. It is not that Canada hasn’t also increasingly lost the important liberties to an all-encroaching state. It is just that the military-industrial complex of our southern neighbour has deteriorated all that much faster.

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The secular delusion that America is a city on a hill, beaming an example to the world, is exposed to have now become a fraud. The present folly that exists there points more toward a trajectory of the black hole of Calcutta; of extreme vitriolic polarization with the collapse of the ideological middle; of extreme economic disparity (with ensuing social, legal and political injustices) with the collapse of the middle class; of loss of economic opportunity, even economic growth as consequence; of an astonishingly incompetent and foolish fiscal and monetary policy which can only lead to another financial asset meltdown, albeit with no further ability to ameliorate; even to a currency crisis. Bush and Obama have indeed provided the infrastructure for future tyranny and destruction of a free civic polity. And real and substantive causes already exist, which give reason for such a totalitarian autocracy to emerge.

I have read many comments on U.S. message boards, which perceive that to correct this devolution toward the totalitarian, tyrannical surveillance state; it will require civil insurrection and bloodshed. Unlike their ancestors however, I don’t think there exists in America, the moral fiber and civic courage to seriously challenge the oligarchic sociopolitical priesthood of both Republican and Democratic parties and their benefactors. The muted opposition to the TSA depredations of physical modesty proved that case. And it would require a rational and coherent political philosophy, which attracted both mutually suspicious wings of the sociopolitical continuum. And most citizens…er subjects will, after being momentarily irritated from their stupor of silly trivialities and confronted by truth, will return to their porn, gaming and social media after voicing their half-hearted and perfunctory outrage.

And thus I lament for the loss of liberty; not only in the Land of the Free; but also for every other jurisdiction in the world. The arrogant hyenas of tyrannical busybodies will have defeated the Lioness. Everything from then on will just be a mopping operation.

Even if you’re not doing anything wrong you’re being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude to where it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody even by a wrong call. And then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with. And attack you on that basis to sort to derive suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer.5

And it cannot be lost on all those outside of American jurisdiction that Americans are only concerned about their own liberties, while the rest should be subject to their surveillance. Whenever, a dissident foreign critic was becoming too unwieldy to American interests, these officials could find a way to discredit or harass him/her by fair means or foul. I doubt that this xenophobic imperialist nation has even considered the blowback from that corollary consequence.

 

 NOTES

 

1.      With special thanks to a commentator with pseudonym akpat for the title, from article Barton Gellman and Laura Poitras, U.S. intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program, Washington Post, June 6, 2013, Accessed http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/us-intelligence-mining-data-from-nine-us-internet-companies-in-broad-secret-program/2013/06/06/3a0c0da8-cebf-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story.html on June 9, 2013.

2.       Conor Friedersdorf, “All the Infrastructure a Tyrant Would Need, Courtesy of Bush and Obama”, The Atlantic Monthly, June 7, 2013. Accessed http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/06/all-the-infrastructure-a-tyrant-would-need-courtesy-of-bush-and-obama/276635/ on June 9, 2013.

3.       Wikipedia, Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, Accessed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protecting_Children_from_Internet_Predators_Act on June 9, 2013.

4.       Lorne Gunter, “Want to read my email, Vic Toews? Get a warrant”, The National Post, February 17, 2013, Accessed http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/02/17/lorne-gunter-want-to-read-my-email-get-a-warrant/ on June 9, 2013.

5.       Glenn Greenwald, “Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations” (transcript of interview)”, The Guardian, June 9, 2013, accessed http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance on June 9, 2013.

Protagorean Arrogance

I often make reference to a stock phrase protagorean arrogance to describe feminist perspectives. The purpose is less to insult than to explain. The notion emanates from observation and excruciating personal experience; whereby one’s interlocutor is so locked up in their subjective mantras that no amount of valid reasoning or evidence can genuinely dislodge them from their pre-existing opinions, even one iota. However, the danger from such persons lurks in their tyrannical impulses, “sincerely exercised for the good of its victims” and “who torment us for our own good, [who] will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience”.1 New York Mayor and plutocrat “Big Gulp” Bloomberg comes to mind. They are the enemies of liberty of conscience, the progenitors of ideological and social tyranny, and the begetters of civil wars, from family relationships up to civil societies. For, it is not in differences of opinion that most civic conflagration arises; but when one or all factions seek to impose their worldview and ethic/ethos upon all others.

Protagorean derives from the Greek sophist Protagoras of Abdera (490 – 420 B.C.), who is made famous by his utterance “Man is the measure of all things”.  This radical relativistic notion, that objective reality and the Good is determined by our epistemological ability to ascertain it, was seen in its time as leading to moral/legal chaos and societal disintegration. The astute will also surmise that the ultimate sociopolitical end result of such thought will be civil governance by arbitrary coercion of pure power instead of through consent. The autocracies of Alexander’s and the Roman Empire are artifacts one and two for the prosecutor for such conclusions.

It should not be thought that feminists are the only culprits of this disposition.

In this narcissistic, subjectivist age, the adage has morphed into I am the measure of all things. In a discourse of a generation back, the interlocutor who disagreed with you might declare a Kierkegaardian sentiment that what is true for you is not [necessarily] true for me. Nowadays, that same disagreeing interlocutor will tend to subscribe to the view that since what you say isn’t convincing to them; it is not true for you neither. Consequently, instead of acknowledging liberty of conscience differences of opinion, these interlocutors must coerce others to their way of conduct or thought.

Same-sex proponents operate in this way. It is not sufficient that they live their relationships and call them and others to call it whatever they please. Behind the movement is this intention to isolate and marginalize their ideological and sociopolitical adversaries and coerce these others to publicly concur with their politically correct cant through threat of subtle legal and socioeconomic reprisals.

However, the more insidious kind of protagorean arrogance is that which emanates without deliberate intent to deceive. Same-sex advocates probably know that they are pushing the envelope against liberty of conscience to the extent that they can get away with, until they meet rock hard resistance and push back. The evil of protagorean arrogance is that in the unwitting unknowing, these Lilliputian zealots lack any boundaries in violating the rights of others. They will not likely stand down.

I bear witness of this tyrannical impulse. A fifty-something grandmother constantly questions and countermands her daughter’s instructions and discipline of the daughter’s daughter in the presence of the latter. It would often take the opprobrium and intervention of the wider family to arrest this busybody from publicly undercutting the authority of the daughter. However, when that opprobrium and intervention was less present, the grandmother would resort to her old tricks. The matriarch’s self-righteous certainty trumps the rightful authority of others to govern their own lives and those of their wards.

Having been herself a mother at one time, one would have thought that the grandmother would have innate appreciation of a parent’s desire and right to steward their own child. And there are times, when the situation is of such severe nature and clearly pre-defined to warrant intervention. If however, every minutiae of difference of opinion becomes a federal issue, it indicates that the protagorean arrogance borders on both the lawless and the tyrannical.

This psychosocial phenomenon is highlighted to explain an astonishing lack of psychological insight by modern women; feminists in particular. Some have convinced themselves that the differences between the sexes are mere social constructs (Second Wave Feminists). Men really ought to be thinking like women. And if males don’t; from the protagorean vantage point of such women, it must derive from an ethical deficiency rather than a gender-based proclivity to approach existence from a different vantage point. Alternatively, there are the Third Wave Gender Nationalists, who acknowledge that differences in gender proclivities exist, but that the attributes of their side are superior to that of the other.

Thus, like Hitler’s Youth, they must indoctrinate and ideologically emasculate boys to the superiority of feminine traits even before they become men. They deem themselves alone as being competent enough to define and arbitrate the nature of masculinity; which often amounts to little more than servicing women’s every need and fetish, just like in their romantic novels. Such will deign to denigrate the masculinity in masculinity. As evidenced in the Slut Walks, such believe that they should be free to trample on the sensitivities of others and to encumbrance all others. Others must rearrange their lives so to accommodate these sluts alone. For, they alone are right. The cosmos is neither geocentric nor heliocentric. Nay. The cosmos orbits around their itsy bitsy opinions and interests.

And the lack of psychological insight is blinding them from perceiving the encroaching and overwhelming social counter-reaction by new generations of young males. While the obtuse Hanna Rosin is declaring a triumphalist feminine victory in “The End of Men”; I see a different dynamic, bubbling up from the ground up and terrifying to the status of women in the generations to come.

The pertinent point is the obliviousness in these women’s lack of psychological insight; the arrogance in this unreasoning stupidity. It doesn’t seem to occur to such persons that the real Truth is somewhere out there, to which they themselves are not likely to have ownership, to which they like all others must strive. Or that their gender counterparts might be a necessary counterbalance to the excesses of their gender proclivities; as would be the case of female proclivities mitigating male excesses.

©Copyright John Hutchinson

NOTES

1C.S. Lewis, The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment, The Twentieth Century: An Australian Quarterly Review, 3(3), 1949, p 5-12.

The Coming Persecution in America: Paul Washer

That a great persecution of existing Christians in the West, including the U.S. will occur, I have not doubt. A fabulist, pre-Tribulation Rapture requires fantastic elasticity of Biblical interpretation to mould this fanciful speculation into doctrinal orthodoxy. It coagulates from pockets of Scriptural mist, more vaporous than those justifying the ever-virginal quality of Mary, the mother of Jesus’ brothers and sisters (Matthew 13:55). Even the Mormon doctrine of baptizing for the dead has clearer outlines of justification (1 Corinthians 15:29); even if there exists only one verse, which gives that birth.

It is not an issue of whether there will a resurrection of the dead and rising of those living, when Christ appears. It is a question of chronology and number of Second Comings. It is a question of fidelity to an interpretative key in Scriptures; that a doctrine can be garnered, only through a minimum of two or three clear Scriptural witnesses (2 Corinthians 13:1). I have read too much Christian history. I have observed too much irrationality, too many absurdities, travesties and atrocities, originating from the creative innovations of peasant seers and vainglorious theologians.

The fluff that is proffered to support this doctrinal contention defies integrity and rationality. Serious persecution of Christians is proliferating around the world. Tentative forays are occurring in Europe. Initial probes are occurring in Canada. It is astonishing Exceptionalist vanity that the American Church should avoid that which 95% of the world is experiencing.

Nevertheless, even if one holds the pre-Tribulation Rapture position, it might be prudent not to hold the position too tenaciously. If it comes to pass, well and good. But if it does not come to pass, one might not be prepared for that any “hell that’s going to break loose on us”. If the doctrine has vaporous foundations; the basis for any anathemas against those who doubt it floats in total ether. Requirement of that belief in order to be a Christian and even for church membership, adds “mental works” to faith in Christ.

Where I might detour from Paul Washer’s warning, involves perhaps speculative eschatology and sociological prophecy in the light of political theory, psychology, history and Scriptures. I don’t have, at all, a bad record in this sideline. I would not dare consider myself a prophet of Biblical proportions. But while some Southern Baptist radio station owner is astonished at recent turn of events about same-sex rights, one of my essays in Grade 13 journalism class (1977-8), saw the writing on the wall on the coattails of the Black civil rights movement. This is a good decade before the self-interested Andrew Sullivan was given credit for that prediction. Read more…

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