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Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Subtleties of Statism

A couple of older pieces on His Holiness in D. C. The first is something I sent a year and a half ago to James Ostrowski, a contributor to the Lew Rockwell blog, who then honored me by posting this on said blog. The second is a response to a friend who emailed me to ask what problems I saw the President's speech to school children a few weeks back. A little past their date, perhaps, but still relevant. And when you write something that is only read by one or two people, you sort of feel compelled to put it out there in such a way that others can read it too. The first may not seem currently relevant, but actually remains so, when one is reminded of the President's recent rallies (read: revivals) to drum up support for a Socialized health care system.

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In a piece from the PBS Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, E. J. Dionne pointed out that Obama is actually speaking in the fashion of a revivalist. I’ve noticed the same is true of his wife Michelle. This seems to fit in nicely with the idea of Obama’s movement being a sort of cult following. Revivalism from the beginning has only thrived insofar as a single individual is the focus of the devotion of the faithful, and that individual is chosen based on his ability to stir up excitement in his followers. Objective truth and deep sustained intellectual reflection are substituted with shallow rhetoric and easily attained emotional fervor. So, in fact, Obama actually has more in common with Charles Finney than with any former president, in that his views on policy are largely irrelevant to his supporters. In the modern context, Joel Osteen comes to mind. People don’t care what he says, so long as he makes them feel good. But what we’re witnessing is a sort of resurrection of the Caesar cult. People believe that the government is to be their savior, and they think Obama would make a good messiah.

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The topic of Obama's speech may be a moot one now, but I still thought I'd respond to your question. Even though the speech is over, the topic is still relevant.

I think in a sense your assessment of McCain and Obama was correct, at least in terms of how we define "democrat" and "socialist" more popularly. But the truth is that they were both socialists. In fact, almost everyone who was running for President and was recognized as a legitimate contender was a socialist, except for Ron Paul, and maybe Dennis Kucinich. Whenever you support the idea of the government serving as a means to redistribute wealth, you are a socialist. It doesn't matter if you intend the wealth to be used for "universal health care", the National Endowment for the Arts, State parks and monuments, subsidized housing, subsidized farming, or so-called "free" education. As soon as a government begins to redistribute wealth, it becomes a socialist system. The question then is how socialist it is, not whether it is.

The act of taking money from one party and giving it to another is called "theft" by Scripture. Just because the one doing the taking has all the tanks doesn't make it okay.

So both major parties, Republicans and Democrats, are socialists. They just differ on what to do with the money once they've collected it. The Democrats are usually worse, of course, because their social policies are more so at odds with Scripture. But this doesn't mean that the Republicans are always wearing white hats.

Both parties are, for the most part, Statist. By that I mean that they believe that the supreme authority in the world is the State. It chiefly defines who we are. We are political animals. I am not first and foremost a Christian, or even a Lewis, according to Statism. I am first and foremost an American, and everything I do is to serve its goals and ends. If anything gets in the way of that, it has to go. Sure, the politicians speak of "family values". But that's partially because Statism is inconsistent with the world God has created, and there's no escaping the family. To some degree, however, this is merely lip service. Service of the State is the foundation of all of life for the Statist.

We fail to recognize this, so we have a hard time seeing it in something like the President's speech. But whenever he says things like, "you need to do your best for your country," or "if you quit school, you're quitting on your country," or "don't let your country down," that's the assumption behind those statements. He isn't saying that we just live together and therefore have an effect on each other's lives. He's saying we belong to the U. S. Government. In this, there are ultimately no individual rights, despite what the founding fathers stated and believed. That's the reason for Government-run schools. They don't exist to make sure everybody's educated. Government schools have always been a chief means of instilling propaganda in the citizenry wherever Socialism has existed. That's why religion is shut out of the schools. True orthodox Christianity provides competition with the supremacy of the State. This may not be a comfortable thing to hear, since you're a parent and send you children to the Government school. Most parents don't even think of such things, and just send their kids to the Government school because they're already paying their taxes for it, or because it's just what you do. And why don't we think of these things? Because the issues were never raised for us. And why were they never raised? Because we learned our history and political theory in Government schools, were we ourselves were propagandized. Let me make it clear, though, that I'm not criticizing parents in this, because I think most don't know better. I also think there are almost no teachers that think of themselves as "agents of propagandization". They're just doing what they were taught to do, and that's teach the curriculum.

The Government sets itself up as the Savior of its people. It says, "you have a problem? We'll take care of it for you." They then use that as a way of increasing taxation and legislation. But it's just a means of controlling the people and destroying liberty. We fall lock and step, and look to the State to take care of us, and it's gradually becoming cradle to the grave. So Statism actually is a religion. It's worship of the State. There's a reason that all the monuments and buildings in D. C. were designed to look like temples to the Greek and Roman gods.

In fact, the President himself believes that the children that live in the United States belong to him. They are "America's children", in the sense of possession. That's why the State can take your children away from you if they want to - because they belong to the State, not you. You're just raising them in the place of the State, because you're a servant of the State, too. And if the State wants to take your children away from you for six hours a day, and teach them things you disagree with, including evolution, or that all religions are created equal, or that certain "lifestyles" that clearly contradict Scripture are okay, they have the right to do so, because the children belong to the State. In the case of the President, he is America personified. That's why he can say, "I expect all of you" to do thus and such. Or "I'm calling on each of you" to do thus and such. But what the children do is, in reality, none of his business.

So there were content things in the President's speech, but not the kind we tend to look for. I get the impression that most Republicans thought that maybe he would say something like, "I'm trying to convince your parents that Socialized health care is a good thing, but they aren't listening to me. We all know they're wrong, right? How about going and convincing them for me." But he isn't going to do that. He's too smart for that. Content-wise, the problems in his speech lay in areas where Republicans and Democrats tend to agree.

But why did he even give the speech then? It was an act of propaganda. He hasn't been having much luck with the adults, so he turned to the children. They would pick up on the idea that their basic allegiance is to the State, though they generally couldn't articulate it. And they would walk away with the idea that that Mr. Obama is a pretty darn nice guy. "Hey look, he cares about me! He's going to make sure I have everything I need to get a good education. He loves me." This has been a common tactic of Socialist and Communist regimes. In Communist China in the sixties and seventies, they had what the West called "The Little Red Book", a collection of quotations from Mao Zedong. It was their Bible. Not only did adults read it, it was taught in the schools. You don't just indoctrinate adults. It's easier to convince children of something, and if you get them while they're young, they're less likely to question when they get older. In the case of Communist China, or the U. S. S. R., as well as Barack Obama, the goal is to create a cult of personality. That's how Obama won in the first place. He's just trying to increase the size of the cult.

So that's the sum of it. Sorry for this being so long. I just wanted to be clear. I'm sure this isn't quite the response you were expecting. I'm a Republican, but I fall more in line with the views of someone like Ron Paul, though I'm sure I wouldn't agree with him on everything. I voted for McCain-Palin, however, because of abortion issues.

No progress, I believe, is going to be made without questioning the President's intent. Republicans try to be nice and not judge people's motives, but I think it's mostly because they're cowards. They've bought into the cult of personality too. They are afraid because Obama comes across so confident and convincing, and, quite honestly, because they are afraid of looking like racists. Obama is a Socialist, if not a Communist, and he is intentionally carrying out a Socialist agenda. The goal is to take freedom away from us. He has been lying about the health care bill. His goal is not love, but power. I don't generally go around questioning people's motives. But I don't trust Barack Obama at all.

I'm not sure in anything I've said here that you'll find something that's convincing to Democrats. To most people, I know I'd sound like a lunatic. Beyond that, Obama (or his speech writer) designed the speech in such a way as to prevent critiques of single lines. A real critique requires some in-depth discussion of political theory, which is what I was getting at here, but which most people don't have the interest or attention span for.

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