2016

Who will run next time? Here’s my rough draft of a guess, which I will have to revisit in late 2015 (God willing).

GOP:
Jeb Bush
Marco Rubio
Paul Ryan
Sarah Palin – possibly third party
Rand Paul
Chris Christie
Kelly Ayotte
Rick Santorum

Democrats:
Hillary
Joe Biden
Andrew Cuomo
Martin O’Malley
Duval Patrick

Mark Warner

Wilson: Repent

From Doug Wilson:

2. Given the wickedness of key elements in Obama’s agenda (abortion, sodomy, thievery through taxation, etc.) we know that whatever the Lord is doing, it is for judgment and not for blessing. And in Scripture, whenever judgment is pending, or has begun, the appropriate response is repentance — not mobilization or organizing our remaining tatters.

Postmillennial optimism does not mean the world gets better without repentance. It means that the gospel is powerful to save, and when the gospel is preached rightly it comes in the form of “repent and believe.” Repent of what? Repent of our sins. Believe what? Believe in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen.

Over the next four years our energies should be focused on getting all Christian kids out of the government schools. If your kids are educated by people who are soft in the head, why would you expect them to grow up and not vote for people who are soft in the head? Students become like their teachers (Luke 6:40). Don’t lament the fact that Obama won if over 90% of your children’s teachers voted for him.

We also need Christians with a thorough-going biblical worldview writing good books, making good movies, and recording good music. As I have argued before, you can’t have a naval war without ships, you can’t have tank warfare without tanks, and you can’t fight a culture war without a culture. And by Christian culture, incidentally, I do not mean pious schlock and I do not mean hipster poses with extra mousse in your hair to make it stick up.

Mattson: Forward

From Brian Mattson:

I look at the electoral map and I see a sea of red and tiny pockets of blue. Those pockets of blue are major urban population centers, filled with young millennials bewitched by the mind-numbing, soothing language of Progressivism: tolerance, compassion, social justice, etc. They are persuaded by the likes of JayZ and Katy Perry, as depressing as that is. Politics is downstream from culture. We have a lot of work to do persuading these voters that a culture of life, strong civil society, free market enterprise, and the impartiality of justice (i.e., not identity politics) leads to human flourishing and Progressivism does not. We cannot simply assume they’ll grow out of it as they get older. They may, and often do. But we need to be more proactive because these people obviously vote before their eventual enlightenment. I have some ideas of my own and I’m open to suggestions.

But these ultra-liberal urban centers are also filled with upper-income elites who seem utterly entrenched in political liberalism. What is so amazing about this is that these rich liberals are not engaging in free sex or aborting their babies (a major campaign pitch of the Obama campaign in the final days). They are getting married, staying married, and having kids. Yet they seem to think the Republic is at stake if those young millennials don’t get free contraceptives or abortifacients. My point? Upper class liberals live more conservatively than they vote. This is a fact, and you can read all about it in Charles Murray’s Coming Apart. We need to start persuading these people.

I look at these blue urban pockets and something else strikes me. How would these electoral areas look if large evangelical church pastors had not stubbornly refused for the past few decades to teach and preach anything politically related? I think of Tim Keller, of whom I have the greatest admiration. I believe he is under-serving his people in New York City if his teaching never translates into political matters. And he purposely makes sure it never translates into political matters. Upper income elites need to be encouraged to vote the values they actually live (by and large), and young millennials need to be encouraged to make the connections between the Christian Faith they get on Sunday and the ballot booth they enter on Tuesday. (I’ve written a book to do just that, by the way. Buy it now. More than ever. Give it to your children and all their friends.)

Polet: We are on the way of Ninevah

From Jeffrey Polet at the Front Porch Republic:

All of this, as I say, means restating what human beings are, how we account for their lives, what they are responsible for, and the limits of a freedom so articulated. But Americans don’t like to hear about limits, and for that reason alone the conservative voice will remain one crying in the wilderness.

Until the city becomes the wilderness, as inevitably it must. We are on the way of Nineveh, and those who live on its margins will be those who survive the collapse and can reconstruct something humanly meaningful. I’ve committed myself to the idea that this culture and our politics can be saved, and that things aren’t so bad as all that. I’ve resisted the strategy of withdrawal as irresponsible and impractical.

I don’t think yesterday has changed that. I still have eager young students who seek to know the truth about human life. I would express hope that my Church could offer a helpful alternative voice in our national debates, but it is difficult to retain such hope when 50% of Catholics voted to reelect an administration that has been relentlessly hostile to Catholic beliefs and institutions. We still have venues such as the Porch and the American Conservative and First Things which continue to light candles in the midst of the darkness. I have not yet despaired. Americans like to think of themselves as optimists, but only a fool would continue down a path so featureless and unpromising.

As Plato taught us, there comes a point when a political regime is beyond saving, and then the only alternative is to retreat into communities of like-minded people and wait out the storm. Conservatives have not been able to calm the waters, but they may yet be called upon after the seas surge beyond the levees. So it remains for us to keep our ancient compasses intact.

Latino Catholics

Remember the idea that all the Latino Catholic immigrants would make the USA more conservative? Daniel Silliman says:

According to a Pew poll done in October, 71 percent of Latino Catholics identified as Democrats, and 73 percent were planning on voting for Obama. They were nearly 20 percent more likely to support Obama than non-Latino Catholics. That overwhelming support didn’t disappear when one measured for religiosity, either: among Latinos who attended mass weekly, more than 60 percent said they would vote for Obama. Where the so-called “God gap” is in effect with whites, it seems minimal at best with Latinos.

Election Blues

The election confirmed what we already knew about the nation: people want to keep murdering babies, embracing sodomy and bowing to the Almighty Welfare State. My disjointed thoughts:

[1] John Roberts in his decision on the “Affordable Care Act” said, “But the Court does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgment is reserved to the people.” Maybe Roberts thought people were smart enough to vote against national bankruptcy, hyperinflation and destitution. He thought wrong.

[2] Christians need to pray daily for the next four years for the health of Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas and even Kennedy. They are the last thin reed holding us back from total barbarism, and really it’s too late even for that. But the alternative of more deconstructionist hacks on the Bench tearing apart what is left of the Old Republic is frightening. Not that I think a sane President will be elected in 2016, because I think it’s all over now and we need to gird for our own Weimar Republic like collapse. Will you put your 401k in a wheelbarrow and buy a loaf of bread with it?

[3] The degree of damage that George W. did to the GOP cannot be underestimated. His insane spending (dwarfed by Obama) eliminated GOP credibility on the budget. 2008 was largely a revolt against endless and pointless war, something the mainstream GOP has yet to admit. Think of how different things might be if he had only done surgical strikes on Afghanistan and not invaded, and also had not invaded Iraq. Trillions of dollars and countless lives wasted for a pointless project.

THINGS THAT DID NOT HAPPEN:

[1] We did not have a “brokered convention.”

[2] The “bruising” GOP primary didn’t have any impact.

[3] Israel didn’t bomb Iran prior to the election.

[4] The White Horse prophecy was not fulfilled.

[5] Obama didn’t drop Biden.

Jesus is King

Matthew Mason has an excellent sermon on the American political scene here, please listen to it. He also summarizes his sermon here. An excerpt:

 You’ve been brought up to believe that the powers of government derive from the consent of the people. That’s wrong. If I had time I could give a more nuanced account of this. But at best that’s deism. It’s certainly anti-Christian. The powers of government, the authority of government, derive from the Lord Jesus Christ. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. God has set him over all the nations of the earth, and to him all kings, rulers, and presidents should submit. The President serves at the pleasure of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a man under authority. This is also true for the legislative and judicial branches of government.

“This Time Will Be Different”

C.S. Lewis writes on progressives of the 16th century:

Brinkelow ought to have learned his lesson from the fate of the monastic lands: in his simplicity he had really believed that government would spend its booty on ‘social services’, and had been bitterly disappointed by the event. But experience beats in vain upon a congenital progressive. He urged the spoliation of the colleges in the firm hope that this time-that mystical ‘this time’ which is always going to be so different-government, having sucked in, would give out.

From “English Literature in the Sixteenth Century.”

Revolution?

Two years ago, when the Messianic State made its latest advance, I posted this. Things now seem worse on many fronts. The debt of around 16 *trillion* dollars is utterly unsustainable. The only thing holding government finances up is that the rest of the world will go down in flames with us if we go down, so the illusion of stability is maintained. At some point, we have to go Weimar, or get bailed out like Britain was in 1946, effectively ending their Empire.

Our government will not stop the madness until it literally has to, with no money on hand to pay military and civilian salaries, fund contractors, or maintain welfare payments to the masses. What will happen then? Riots, looting, the breakup of the Union, or something else? I don’t know, but looking at the mass emigration occurring from Greece and Ireland, as well as the suicides and people working for free provide some clues as to what our future will look like. It may not happen for ten years, or twenty, but it will happen, barring some unforeseen miracle of economic growth and government restraint.

So what to do? I think getting land somewhere that you can flee when cities go up in flames is a prudent idea. I think the Benedict Option will become more and more attractive as time goes on. Violent revolution and taking up arms are not options. Emigration would be nice, but to where? The Welfare State is in power almost anywhere you look that is civilized. It seems best to me to look for a quiet corner of America to retreat to when it all goes down.

To repeat what Jim Jordan said about the illusion of the Right in terms of taking power right now:

Back in the 1980‘s in an essay called “Rebellion, Tyranny, and Dominion in the Book of Genesis” from the book “Tactics of Christian Resistance”, James Jordan exegetes Genesis and its implications for Christian politics. His bottom-line is that right now we are in a situation where we must wait with patient faith, mature, and achieve power only in the distant future. Note that you should probably read the whole essay and understand his exegesis to understand his conclusions. An extended quote follows; Jordan writes:
Is the “New Right” really “ready to lead”? I doubt it. The New Right has not yet figured out the message of the book of Genesis. It continues to think that reformation will come through the acquisition of political power. By looking to the state, New Rightists (and old conservatives as well) make themselves statist. […]
Many conservative Roman Catholics thought that John Kennedy would help turn things around. They were disappointed; Mr. Kennedy apparently spent too much time doing other things to ask what he could do for his country. Mainline conservatives then trusted Richard Nixon, a man knowledgeable in international affairs, to turn things around. They were disappointed; Mr. Nixon’s conscience was not sufficiently seared to permit him to act like a Democratic Party politician, guilt-free. Bible believing Christians had high hopes for Jimmy Carter. Need we add that they were disappointed by the decisions made by Mr. Carter’s mother, sister, and wife? And then the whole New Right got behind Ronald Reagan, who by his appointments betrayed them before he even took office, and has now signed a bill, updating social security, which directly taxes the churches.
[…]
Frankly, I believe that in all of this God has, as always, been gracious to us. Are Christians in this country ready to take charge? Heaven forbid! Virtually none of them knows the first thing about the law of God, by which they are called to govern. Most of them do not even acknowledge the sovereignty of God. Few have any experience in governing, since their churches have no courts, being at best mere preaching points (where they have not degenerated into spas and literal circuses). The most powerful New Christian Right people are personality-cult oriented, one-man shows (and by shows I mean shows: radio shows, television shows, and the putting on of shows).
[…]
This is not to despise the New Christian Right, or to argue that we should not exercise our (remaining) liberties as Americans to pressure the larger governments toward more Godly actions. We need to remember, however, that there is only so much time and energy alloted to each of us, and essentially that time is far better spent acquiring dominion through service than in power politics.
We may contrast three different approaches, which are not mutually exclusive, but which are of varying value at present. First, there is the effort to change laws by getting people elected to office. That has not been very successful so far, and the reason is that the vast majority of Americans essentially like things the way they are. That’s why things are the way they are – it is what the people want, and it is what they deserve, and so it is what God gives them…
Second, there is the effort to go about our business as quietly as possible. We submit to the “powers that be,” not to any law that such powers may happen to enact. We do not recognize their right to make laws, for to do so would be to grant them absolute power; but we recognize that God has given them power, and we are not to contest that power as such. We practice deception where morally necessary, and that includes preserving our capital, protecting our households, and rearing our children, as Genesis makes clear. If we are taken to court, we fight in that arena for the right to conduct Christian lives, as Paul did in the book of Acts.
Third, there is the effort to develop a Christian subculture, building up the churches as true courts and sanctuaries, developing Christian arbitration and reconciliation commissions, Christian schools, Christian medical facilities, and the like. These latter two methods are the primary ones for our times. […]
When we are ready, God will give the robe to us. That He has not done so proves that we are not ready. Asserting our readiness will not fool Him. Let us pray that He does not crush us by giving us such authority before we are ready for it. Let us plan for our great-grandchildren to be ready for it. Let us go about our business, acquiring wisdom in family, church, state, and business, and avoiding confrontations with the powers that be. Let us learn to be skillful in deceiving them and in preserving our assets for our great-grand-children. For as sure as Christ is risen from the grave and is ascended to regal glory on high, so sure it is that his saints will inherit the kingdom and rule in His name, when the time is right.