“Christian America” coming to an end? 189

John Daniel Davidson, who often writes interestingly about political issues, has an article at The Federalist in which he attributes the past success and greatness of America to Christianity, and the present decline of the country to the fading away of the faith.

The Federalist title of the article is: America’s Stunning Embrace Of Paganism Signals The End Of This Country As We Know It.

Here are some extracts from it in italics, each followed by my comment:

Recall that ancient pagans ascribed sacred or divine status to the here and now, to things or activities, even to human beings if they were powerful enough (like a pharaoh or a Roman emperor). 

Don’t Christians ascribe divine status – and superhuman powers – to a human being?

They rejected the notion of an omnipotent, transcendent God — and all that the existence of God would imply.

Who did? When? Even before the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as a state religion, some Greek and Roman philosophers had propounded the idea of a godhead as the genesis of the universe.

Western civilization and its accoutrements depend on Christianity, not just in the abstract but in practice. Liberalism relies on a source of vitality that does not originate from it and that it cannot replenish. That source is the Christian faith, in the absence of which we will revert to an older form of civilization, one in which power alone matters and the weak and the vulnerable count for nothing.

Christianity sent Western civilization into a long nightmarish sleep, or death. Why is the Renaissance called by that name – a re-birth? Why is the Enlightenment called by that name – the return of light after darkness? How did the weak and vulnerable fare in the  centuries between the fall of Rome in the West and the Age of Reason? Christians often do not choose to remember the centuries of the terrible Inquisition, its uncountable victims whom it impoverished, tortured,  burned to death at the stake.

What awaits us on the other side of Christendom, in other words, is a pagan dark age.

Worse than the Christian dark age behind us?

Here, in the second decade of the 21st century, we can say with some confidence that this dark age has begun. … The principles Americans have always asserted against this kind of moral and political tyranny — freedom of speech, equal protection under the law, government by consent of the governeddepend for their sustenance on the Christian faith, alive and active among the people, shaping their private and family lives as much as the social and political life of the nation.

The Christian faith fostered freedom of speech, equality under the law, government by consent of the governed? No. O Christian apologist, remember the Inquisition (the Papal one and the Spanish one); remember that Christians kept slaves; remember feudalism. It was the Enlightenment – the intellectual revolution against Christian tyranny – that  “fostered”  those ideas.

The classical liberal order, so long protected and preserved by the Christian civilization from which it sprang, is already being systematically destroyed and replaced with something new.

No, the classical liberal order “sprang” from the Enlightenment, not from Christianity. All the main Cristian churches opposed and punished liberalism, as they opposed free speech, scientific discovery, and tolerance for as long as they had the power to do so.

It was, after all, Christianity that united morality and religion, and without it, they will be separated once more.

The pre-Christian Greeks and Romans thought about morality, philosophized about ethics, established systems of law that were based on moral concepts, but – right! – their gods did not insist on human moral behavior, except towards the divinities themselves. However, Zoroastrianism and Judaism were moral religions before Christianity was invented. St. Paul was against any part of the Jewish law being preserved in his Christianity. He preached that Jesus Christ had superseded the law. After him, there were many other (comparatively short-lived) Christianities in the early centuries C.E. that passionately opposed the moral teachings of the Jews. After St. Paul’s time, Roman Catholic Christianity somewhat reluctantly began to adopt the moral law of Judaism in the second century of our common era.

The new paganism will not necessarily come with the outward trappings of the old, but it will be no less pagan for all that. It will be defined, as it always was, by the belief that nothing is true, everything is permitted [To prove this, he quotes a 9th century Muslim:  “Hasan i-Sabbah, the ninth-century Arab warlord whose group gave us the word “assassins”, summed up the pagan ethos in his famous last words: Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”]

What Greek or Roman philosopher ever taught that “nothing is true”, or that “everything is permitted”? Roman law had much to do with moral right and wrong – and Roman law persisted, in modified form, in some Christian countries in modern times.

[T]he radical moral relativism we see everywhere today represents a thoroughly post-Christian worldview that is best understood as the return of paganism, which, as the Romans well understood, is fundamentally incompatible with the Christian faith. Christianity after all does not allow for such relativism but insists on hard definitions of truth and what is — and is not — sacred and divine.

What is the Christian “hard definition of truth”? When did the numerous Christian sects agree on what is and is not sacred and divine? If they had agreed, would there have been sects?

Without a national culture shaped by the Christian faith, without a majority consensus in favor of traditional Christian morality, America as we know it will come to an end. Instead of free citizens in a republic, we will be slaves in a pagan empire. 

Certainly we are being oppressed by the dictators of another religion – the secular religion of neo-Marxism aka “Wokeism”. Whether their rule is better or worse than that of the old dictators of pre-Enlightenment Christianity is a matter of judgment and opinion.

There was of course spiritual — demonic —power behind the pagan gods [!], but also real political power behind the pagan order. This order achieved its fullest expression in Rome, which eventually elevated emperors to the status of deities, embracing the diabolical idea that man himself creates the gods and therefore can become one.

“Man himself” did indeed invent the gods. Are there any other candidates claiming the invention? The man  from Tarsus who called himself Saul and later Paul created the Christian god from a man.

It is no accident that the worship of the Roman emperor as a god emerged at more or less the exact same historical moment as the Incarnation. Christianity, which proclaimed that God had become man, burst forth into a social world that was everywhere adopting the worship of a man-god, and its coming heralded the end of that world. 

Was the apotheosis of Augustus the inspiration for the apotheosis of Jesus?

… the Christian morality that made humanism possible.

Humanists are inclined to be atheists – usually (unfortunately and unnecessarily) atheists who favor the Left; the Socialist side of our main political division. The humanist principles of tolerance and mercy were surely held by some people long before Christianity began. They are always held by some human beings, including some Christians.

All of that will be swept away, replaced by an oppressive and violent sociopolitical order predicated on raw power, not principle.

As throughout history, including Christian history. And throughout most of the world at any time.

The prevalence of degrading superstition and the disfigurement of reason are hallmarks of the new pagan order, and today are everywhere visible in American society.

Christianity, like every other religion, is superstition, not reason.

Davidson is of course right that the free American Republic is under threat of extinction.

But was its success owed to Christianity?

The Framers of the Constitution were careful not to make special claims for the Christian religion above others. Although they mention “Nature’s God”, “the Supreme Judge of the World”, and “divine Providence”  in the Declaration of Independence, and “the Year of our Lord” in the Constitution, the values they wanted to enshrine were Enlightenment values: tolerance, reason, freedom of speech and conscience; government of, for, and by the people with no branch of it – legislative, executive, or judicial – having unrestricted power. Christians may fancy they discern an influence of their faith in that vision, but votaries of other religions and none have been no less appreciative of it – which is as the visionaries intended.

A resurgence of Christian faith now would be far more likely to intensify rather than reconcile division and conflict.

Isn’t Christian history a chronicle of internecine wars and persecution of sect by sect?

And – I ask you, Christians – didn’t your incarnated god reputedly say that he “came not to send peace, but a sword”?

 

Jillian Becker   April 2, 2024

Posted under Christianity, Collectivism by Jillian Becker on Monday, April 1, 2024

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Do conservatives need to change into radical revolutionaries? 92

Are American conservatives trying to conserve what no longer exists?

John Daniel Davidson, writing at The Federalist, declares that to be the case.

His article is titled We Need To Stop Calling Ourselves Conservatives. Why? Because “the conservative project has failed, and conservatives need to forge a new political identity that reflects our revolutionary moment”.

He argues that –

Conservatives have long defined their politics in terms of what they wish to conserve or preserve — individual rights, family values, religious freedom, and so on. Conservatives, we are told, want to preserve the rich traditions and civilizational achievements of the past, pass them on to the next generation, and defend them from the left. In America, conservatives and classical liberals alike rightly believe an ascendent left wants to dismantle our constitutional system and transform America into a woke dystopia. The task of conservatives, going back many decades now, has been to stop them.

In an earlier era, this made sense. There was much to conserve. But any honest appraisal of our situation today renders such a definition absurd. After all, what have conservatives succeeded in conserving? In just my lifetime, they have lost much: marriage as it has been understood for thousands of years, the First Amendment, any semblance of control over our borders, a fundamental distinction between men and women, and, especially of late, the basic rule of law. …

He maintains that “conservatism used to be about maintaining traditions and preserving Western civilization as a living and vibrant thing” but “Western civilization is dying” – is effectively already dead, and “you cannot preserve or defend something that is dead”.

The traditions and practices that conservatives champion are, at best, being preserved only in an ever-shrinking private sphere. At worst, they are being trampled to dust. They certainly do not form the basis of our common culture or civic life, as they did for most of our nation’s history. …

So what kind of politics should conservatives today, as inheritors of a failed movement, adopt? For starters, they should stop thinking of themselves as conservatives (much less as Republicans) and start thinking of themselves as radicals, restorationists, and counterrevolutionaries. Indeed, that is what they are, whether they embrace those labels or not.

He recalls Thomas Jefferson’s assertion that “periodic revolution to preserve liberty and civil society has always been and always will be necessary”.

He is  convinced that it is necessary now.

The imperative that conservatives must break from the past and forge a new political identity cannot be overstated. It is time now for something new, for a new way of thinking and speaking about what conservative politics should be.

He dates “the end of  Republican politics as we knew it” from the election of Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016. That event “heralded a populist wave and … we are in uncharted waters”. He does not see Trump’s populism as a solution to the terrible change that the West has undergone.

Put bluntly, if conservatives want to save the country they are going to have to rebuild and in a sense re-found it, and that means getting used to the idea of wielding power, not despising it. Why? Because accommodation or compromise with the left is impossible. …

The left will only stop when conservatives stop them, which means conservatives will have to discard outdated and irrelevant notions about “small government.” The government will have to become, in the hands of conservatives, an instrument of renewal in American life — and in some cases, a blunt instrument indeed.

To stop Big Tech, for example, will require using antitrust powers to break up the largest Silicon Valley firms. To stop universities from spreading poisonous ideologies will require state legislatures to starve them of public funds. To stop the disintegration of the family might require reversing the travesty of no-fault divorce, combined with generous subsidies for families with small children. Conservatives need not shy away from making these arguments because they betray some cherished libertarian fantasy about free markets and small government. It is time to clear our minds of cant.

In other contexts, wielding government power will mean a dramatic expansion of the criminal code. It will not be enough, for example, to reach an accommodation with the abortion regime, to agree on “reasonable limits” on when unborn human life can be snuffed out with impunity. As Abraham Lincoln once said of slavery, we must become all one thing or all the other. The Dobbs decision was in a sense the end of the beginning of the pro-life cause. Now comes the real fight, in state houses across the country, to outlaw completely the barbaric practice of killing the unborn.

Conservatives had better be ready for it, and Republican politicians, if they want to stay in office, had better have an answer ready when they are asked what reasonable limits to abortion restrictions they would support. The answer is: none, for the same reason they would not support reasonable limits to restrictions on premeditated murder.

On the transgender question, conservatives will …  need to get comfortable saying … that Drag Queen Story Hour should be outlawed; that parents who take their kids to drag shows should be arrested and charged with child abuse; that doctors who perform so-called “gender-affirming” interventions should be thrown in prison and have their medical licenses revoked; and that teachers who expose their students to sexually explicit material should not just be fired but be criminally prosecuted.

If all that sounds radical, fine. It need not, at this late hour, dissuade conservatives in the least. Radicalism is precisely the approach needed now because the necessary task is nothing less than radical and revolutionary.

To those who worry that power corrupts, and that once the right seizes power it too will be corrupted, they certainly have a point. If conservatives manage to save the country and rebuild our institutions, will they ever relinquish power and go the way of Cincinnatus? It is a fair question, and we should attend to it with care after we have won the war.

For now, there are only two paths open to conservatives. Either they awake from decades of slumber to reclaim and re-found what has been lost, or they will watch our civilization die. There is no third road.

While it would not be hard to make a confirming case that “marriage as it has been understood for thousands of years, the First Amendment, any semblance of control over our borders, a fundamental distinction between men and women, and, especially of late, the basic rule of law” are “lost”; and “that Drag Queen Story Hour should be outlawed; that parents who take their kids to drag shows should be arrested and charged with child abuse; that doctors who perform so-called ‘gender-affirming’ interventions should be thrown in prison and have their medical licenses revoked; and that teachers who expose their students to sexually explicit material should not just be fired but be criminally prosecuted”, other assertions of his need more examination.

Is Western civilization effectively dead?

Is the idea of small government outdated and irrelevant?

Is the idea of a free market economy nothing more than an unrealizable “cherished fantasy”?

Should divorce be made harder?

Should abortion be totally forbidden in all circumstances?

Above all, if conservatives “awake from decades of slumber to reclaim and re-found what has been lost” will the strong exercise of political power – which he recommends as the remedy – be enough to resuscitate Western civilization?

If it is too late for traditional conservatism to recover the values that have been discarded, would authoritarian government be a new development of Western civilization or would it be a replacement of it with its opposite – Oriental style, Chinese Communist Party style, dictatorship?

If that is the only way to re-establish the rule of law, be rid of same-sex “marriage”, restore the efficacy of the First Amendment, re-seal our borders, save children from forced mutilation and sterilization for the profit of doctors and from racist indoctrination by teachers, then yes, Western civilization is already dead.

There is no third choice between liberty and tyranny.   

Oligarchy 174

The Supreme Court has no way of enforcing its rulings.

It depends totally on the legislative and executive branches of government to enforce them.

If, as now, a party takes power (“takes”, not “wins”, being the right word for how the Democratic Party has come to have it) over both the legislative and executive branches and chooses not to obey the Supreme Court, there is nothing that can be done about it. Nothing. 

The Framers of the Constitution never imagined it could happen.

Now the Democrats in power know that they need not go to the trouble of packing the Supreme Court, they can simply disobey it. Ignore it. And that’s what they’re doing.

The Court ruled that a moratorium forbidding eviction for non-payment of rent is illegal – but the “Biden” administration went ahead with it.

The  period of the moratorium was due to end about now, but the administration has decided to extend it. Again the Court has declared that it is illegal. Again the administration has imposed it.

Imposed it how? Not even by administrative order of “President Biden”.  A  woman, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who heads the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued the order. And the administration gladly enforces the rulings of the CDC.

Landlords may not demand rent from tenants. But they must continue to pay property taxes and maintenance costs.

One of the few journalists who have chosen to tell the public about this is John Daniel Davidson who writes (in part) at The Federalist:

An astonishing thing happened this week in Washington that didn’t get much critical coverage from a media establishment loath to criticize President Biden. At the behest of congressional Democrats, Biden flouted the Constitution and broke his oath of office by issuing a ban on evictions that he and his advisers know to be illegal.

By “ban on evictions” I mean the president issued a blatantly unconstitutional decree that renters all across America don’t have to pay rent. If landlords try to evict tenants for not paying rent, they could face criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment.

The eviction moratorium is one of the most important stories of the COVID-19 lockdowns but also one of the least covered, because the left doesn’t want to draw undue attention to its evisceration of property rights under the guise of public health.

Nationwide nearly half of the landlords are people who own a second house or apartment that they rent out. Many of these people have gone a year without receiving any rent, yet they’re still liable for taxes, upkeep, and mortgage payments. Landlords  are supposed to be able to survive because of a $46.5 billion federal government rental relief fund. The problem is, the money isn’t being used. With trillions of government aide already creating incentives for people not to return to work, the eviction moratorium creates an incentive not to pay rent.

The way all this has gone down illustrates a deeply disturbing reality about the Democrats running the pandemic response in Washington: They’re lawless, and as the pandemic drags on, they’re becoming bolder about it.

The background here is that a nationwide ban on evictions expired on Saturday. Since then, Democrats in Congress have been agitating for an extension of the ban despite a determination by the U.S. Supreme Court in June that the CDC has no legal authority to do that, as anyone with a passing familiarity of the U.S. Constitution could tell you.

The utter contempt for the rule of law shown in all of this is simply staggering.

The notion that a federal agency tasked with the control and prevention of infectious diseases could simply by fiat impose an “eviction moratorium” on the entire country, effectively nationalizing housing, is shocking and outrageous. Biden himself knows this. At a press conference on Tuesday, he said “The bulk of the constitutional scholars say it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster.”

It sure isn’t. But later that same day he did it anyway.

*

What all this means is that America is no longer a democracy, no longer a free republic. It is a dictatorship.

This country is now governed dictatorially. 

The power to dictate is in the hands of an oligarchy.

The oligarchs are the very rich. The richest men who have ever lived. They are technocrats who own the means of mass communication, newspapers, television news media, the “social” media. They own the politicians through whom they will transform the world.

So it is a plutocratic oligarchy.

The plutocrats are almost all men. Their executive consists increasingly of women: women governors, public prosecutors, mayors, police chiefs, member of congress, cabinet members, directors of government agencies. Lifted into office by the oligarchs, one could reasonably call them the dictators’ “temps” – the Grand Temps of the American oligarchy.

And there is nothing that can be done to bring the dictators down.

Vote them out of power? Can we really believe that there will be fair elections ever again? If a (constitutionally required) election is held at all, it will be rigged. On the excuse that there is a dangerous virus threatening the nation so that voters must keep far apart from each other – which,  the CDC will assure them, they must do to survive – elections will be by mail and “drop box” only. Staff under the Grand Temps will collect the ballot sheets, count them in closed offices, and announce the result: a huge majority (why not 100%?) for the re-election of the oligarchs’ chosen executors.

It is more than likely that the position of Oligarch will become hereditary. Then it will be an aristocratic oligarchy. Who knows but there may even be a monarch?

The dictators of the twentieth century – Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, Mugabe, Chavez – became rich by becoming dictators.

The new American oligarchic dictators became rich first, then became dictators.

They will not be satisfied with dictatorial power over America. They are “globalists”. They desire global power. Plutocrats from everywhere on earth meet at Davos, and it was there, in the small Swiss town on a mountain, that the decision was taken to “reset” the way human beings will live and how they will be governed.

The world they intend to create is very different from the world we have known.

There will be no nation states. No borders. The impoverished peoples of what was once called the Third World will continue for a time to move in vast numbers into what used to be called the First World. It does not matter to the oligarchs where people settle. The oligarchic power will extend over them all wherever they may be.

Individuals, other than the oligarchs, will own nothing. No house, no money, no clothes, no car … Not even an electric car. Not even a bicycle. Everything will be provided for them by the Global Oligarchy. What they “need” will be decided by their masters.

They will be allowed the temporary use of things – clothes, maybe a bicycle.

They will be housed, each in a tiny apartment in a vast building. (Herding people together is useful for the spreading of disease when population needs to be reduced.) They will be fed communally. There will be no families.  Breeding will be controlled. Children will be raised by staff of the Oligarchy.

Only some children will be taught to read and write and reckon. All will be taught obedience to the authorities.

Adults will be assigned jobs. The product of their labors will be distributed by the authorities.

A permanent aristocracy will rule over a world of slaves.