Will We Learn From History?

As a historian, I have this faith that people might actually learn something from history. What a quaint notion.

The first requisite, of course, is that people know some history. Those kinds of people are becoming a rare commodity.

Please excuse the seeming air of resignation in this post. It’s just that some lessons from history are so easy to find that it boggles the mind that mankind continues to repeat all the old errors.

Take socialism/communism, for instance. It’s never worked anywhere, yet it continues to beguile and beckon with its siren song of equality, fairness, and brotherhood.

You know, like in the Soviet Union where, under Stalin, everyone was so friendly.

It was such a wonderful success that they continued to promote those Five-Year Plans for 70 years. Don’t ask if they ever worked. Well, you could ask all those nations that adopted socialist economies; I’m sure they have a story to tell. Come along with me to one such country.

Britain went all agog for socialism after WWII. Rationing continued for years after the war, ensuring “equality.” Here’s how Winston Churchill described what he witnessed:

Yet the current generation is being wooed once again by this false philosophy. Take Bernie Sanders and his minions, openly advocating the policy. In fact, most Democrats are on this bandwagon; they just are more discreet by not calling it what it is. They couch it in the language of “caring.” And voters lap it up because they are rather ignorant:

Someone needs to write this book:

But would anyone read it who actually needs to read it?

G. K. Chesterton nailed it:

Forgive my cynicism today. If not for my steadfast faith that this world ultimately is not my home, cynicism would prevail. However, I can see past the blindness; I know where Truth resides. I want to live in that Truth today and continue to do what God has called me to do. I will be faithful and leave results up to Him.

Giving Bernie His Due

I feel bad for focusing so much on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I’ve given short shrift to the other candidate still in the race—Bernie Sanders. Since today’s primaries may be Sanders’s last hurrah, I’m now going to make up for this oversight.

Bernie’s candidacy is historic. It reminds me of a particular historical era that I lived through long ago (unfortunately, though, it wasn’t in a galaxy far, far away):

Take Party Back

Never have we had a candidate who is so proudly and vocally associated with the failed philosophy of the twentieth century as Bernie Sanders:

Comrade

I’ll give Sanders credit for not hiding what he really is, unlike the current occupant of the White House and his Democrat opponent in the primaries. He is fiercely loyal to a system that has never worked, and he has energized a significant portion of the Democrat base to follow him, zombie-like, into the failed economies of the past. Well, not all are in the past; we have a wonderful example today of what Sanders’s policies would do for us. And if his supporters are genuine, they should want to live in such a place:

Moving to Venezuela

Sanders rails against the evils of capitalism and extols the wonders of such socialist havens as Venezuela, where people are rioting over not having food and other necessities. If we put Sanders in charge, he will make sure those evil capitalists will be held in check:

Not Right

Of course, if we really desire Bernie’s outcomes for our society, there is another way to get them:

Sanders-Meteor

What is it that attracts people to his philosophy? Ignorance? Greed? Loss of historical perspective? Downright stupidity? I think we might be able to check all of those boxes, but resentment over what others have and the desire to take it from them is probably at the top of the list.

Against Greed

This basic selfish instinct is captured perfectly in this classic Calvin and Hobbes cartoon:

Bigger Piece

Once Sanders officially loses the Democrat nomination, he can continue to stay in the news cycle if he decides to run as an independent. That would cause quite a commotion in the Democrat ranks, the equivalent of the angst currently being experienced by Republicans.

Run, Bernie, run?

My doctoral dissertation was on Noah Webster, widely considered America’s first schoolmaster. His Speller taught generations how to read; his 1828 Dictionary was unique, not only in its being the first produced by an American, but in its Biblical basis. Webster’s illustrations for words included Biblical citations and short homilies on the significance of some key words. His influence in early America was great.

Noah Webster Books

I’m highlighting him today because he offered insight to his generation when it came to choosing political leaders. His words are timeless; they apply to our current situation.

“In selecting men for office,” Webster urged, “let principles be your guide. . . . Look to his character as a man of known principle, of tried integrity, and undoubted ability for the office.”

To ignore lack of principle and integrity in a candidate is to violate the sacred trust given to us as citizens:

When a citizen gives his vote to a man of known immorality, he abuses his civic responsibility; he not only sacrifices his own responsibility; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor; he betrays the interest of his country.

Webster continued: “If rulers are bad men, it is generally the fault of the people.” After all, who puts men of depraved character in office? We can too often be deceived by them, he notes, but often we vote them in simply because they belong to “our” party. Here’s how he framed it:

Noah WebsterThey choose men, not because they are just men, men of religion and integrity, but solely for the sake of supporting a party [emphasis mine]. This is a fruitful source of public evils.

But as surely as there is a God in heaven, who exercises a moral government over the affairs of this world, so certainly will the neglect of the divine command, in the choice of rulers, be followed by bad laws and as bad administration.

I trust you know why I chose to emphasize that one phrase in the quote above.

By 1837, Webster was becoming distraught by what he was seeing in the culture and politics of his nation. He wrote to a friend,

Principles, sir, are becoming corrupt, deeply corrupt; & unless the progress of corruption, & perversion of truth can be arrested, neither liberty nor property will long be secure in this country.

And a great evil is, that men of the first distinction seem, to a great extent, to be ignorant of the real, original causes of our public distresses. Many of our greatest men are making vigorous efforts to remove present evils, but not an effort is made to correct the radical cause of our political calamities.

Webster’s concern in 1837 should be our concern today. Our principles have been corrupted; integrity is discounted; truth is being perverted. Yet we don’t address those fundamental issues. Instead, we rally to someone who either promises free stuff or who pledges to build a wall.

Webster’s prescription for the ills in our society is a return to Biblical principles and integrity of character. I agree with that prescription. That’s why I will never vote for anyone who lacks the very rudiments of those qualities. That’s why I will not vote for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Donald Trump.

WebsterNoah Webster was a man of his time, but the ideas he fostered are based on the Book that applies to all men at all times. If you wish to know more about Webster, his views, and his influence during his lifetime, my book, Defining Noah Webster: A Spiritual Biography, is available. You can find it on Amazon right here.

We are faced with virtually no good choice in this coming presidential election, so let’s keep in mind that government is not our savior. There is only one Savior. Our responsibility is to be faithful to Him and maintain our integrity. Stand for righteousness, then stand back and see what God will do.

Our Developing Culture

Surely you have noticed how we are living in an upside-down world lately. Today, I thought I would simply offer some wonderful examples of how our culture has been developing.

Since we have a reality TV person now as the Republican candidate for president, I thought this might be fitting for some of his supporters:

Gov't Funding

That speaks to the reality of “reality” programs as well as the idea that government has some kind of stockpile of funds to pay for virtually anything and everything.

Which leads me to this:

Popular with Kids

And speaking of liberals:

Liberals Who Believe

Here’s the solution for liberal thinking on the gender front:

Bathroom Problem Solved

There’s no way I can leave out my own profession in this litany of what’s gone wrong in America:

Director of Admissions

When College Is Free

Well worth pondering today.

How Fantasy Worlds Work

Some politicians seem to live in a fantasy world. Well, maybe that could apply to half of the general population as well, so let me backtrack just a little. Hillary Clinton seems to live in a fantasy world.

Hillary thought she would receive a coronation back in 2008 because she was married to Bill. Didn’t happen. No problem, she surmised—2016 is the big year for the coronation. Yes, it was supposed to be that way, but her fantasy world got in the way.

First, there was her arrogance in thinking the law doesn’t apply to her. The FBI begs to differ.

Security Inquiry

Called Indictment

Until there is an indictment, Hillary can continue to live in her fantasy of having done nothing wrong. The only thing that might preclude the indictment, of course, is that Obama is still president and his Lack of Justice Department will make the decision whether to go forward with it.

She also didn’t believe anyone would offer a credible challenge within her party to the nomination she felt she deserved. While I hate to think of Bernie Sanders as a credible challenge, there apparently are enough Democrats living in their own fantasy world that he has not yet been put away completely, thereby causing Hillary added stress:

In My Seat

To me, one proud socialist and one disguised socialist aren’t all that much different. And yes, Sanders won’t be able to stop Hillary from sealing the deal eventually, but it would be fun to watch a Democrat convention displaying all the rancor and hatred that a liberal/progressive ideology inspires.

Hillary thinks she has an ace in the political deck—Bill, who, for some reason in this fantasy world, seems to have some degree of acceptance in the population. He does, at least, with those who have short memories. The rest of us, though, will never forget:

Two for One

From everything I’ve said so far, you might be tempted to think I consider Trump a better choice. If so, you are new to this blog.

Double Negative

Just when we need a strong, moral, constitutional candidate who has the convictions to turn this nation around, this is what we get instead:

Not Working

My point today is not to lead you into despair, although I recognize the possibility. Rather, I hope this stunning scenario will ensure you don’t choose a fantasy world. It’s time to get serious about our future.

A Crisis of Unfathomable Proportions

These Democrat primaries have been quite interesting if, that is, you find a race between one candidate who may be prosecuted and another who promotes a philosophy that has ruined every nation that has tried it to be an interesting race.

Hillary just barely beat Sanders in Kentucky last night, with both getting 46% of the vote; meanwhile, Sanders continued to act as a spoiler to the coronation by beating her in Oregon. The only reason Hillary is going to be the nominee is that she has this huge stockpile of “Superdelegates” who will get her to the finish line:

Finish Line

When she achieves this “victory,” she will act as if it is the voice of the people in her party, but she truly is one of the weakest candidates for president imaginable. Why the surge for Sanders? First, Democrat voters seem to like undiluted socialism, which means they have no sense of history, economics, or how life in general actually works.

Second, the cloud over Hillary is substantial, and Democrats are unsure they want to promote someone who may be on trial. Of course, her campaign is dismissing the seriousness of this FBI investigation, even to the point of saying it’s not an investigation at all.

Forbidden Words

With Trump and Hillary as the two probable nominees, this might make for unusual polling this year:

Hold Their Noses

I won’t have the problem because I will be voting for neither. My reasons for that have been spelled out in previous posts, so I won’t go into them here. But one political cartoon does come close to how I see our current political crisis:

Lemmings

The bigger problem, of course, is that this is not just a political crisis, as if it exists in one little corner of the nation and doesn’t affect everything else. Sadly, it does affect everything else, which makes it a crisis of unfathomable proportions.

The Presidential Contest: An Update

Do you know how tiring it is to write about Donald Trump all the time? I mean, how often can one repeat the same things with respect to his character, policies, and complete unfitness for the office of president?

So, in case you were wondering if I can think about anyone else on the political scene, here’s a reminder that I can be an equal-opportunity critic.

Take John Kasich, for instance. He used to be a solid conservative, or at least I thought he was. During this campaign, he has come out as a candidate who seems to have no problem with same-sex marriage or forcing Christian businesses to participate in them. He also thinks North Carolina went too far in ensuring that men don’t go into women’s restrooms. All while using the name of Jesus as the reason for his views.

John Kasich is a no-go for me. Of course, he’s a no-go in this election cycle anyway; he just doesn’t realize it yet.

Best Chance

On the Democrat side—a side that can never earn my vote at any time due to its blatant anti-Christian policies—we have Bernie Sanders challenging Hillary Clinton, winning state after state while she continues to pull away because of so-called “super delegates” who have lined up for her.

Not that I want Sanders to get any traction, mind you. The fact that an outspoken socialist who sounds more like Karl Marx than anyone else can get such an adoring following is a chilling portent for our future as a nation.

Rare Portrait

Hillary, of course, is no better; she’s just a disguised socialist who tries to appear to be something else. It’s actually kind of funny, in one sense, to see Sanders and Clinton criticize each other when they are virtually identical in ideology. At least Sanders is honest about his beliefs and past actions; Hillary has to do her best to hide both:

Misrepresenting

From the start of this campaign, she has felt as if it is “her turn,” and that no one else should even be considered for the nomination:

More Inevitable

We’ve also been told by the highest authority in the land that she will be a great president:

Clinton Jeopardy

Well, that should seal the deal.

And then there’s that small matter of a possible indictment for criminal activities . . . but we’re not supposed to think about that.

Speaking of a sense of entitlement, I must return briefly to Donald Trump, who has become an expert at whining. Everyone is just so unfair to him. Why, all those delegates going over to Cruz in places like North Dakota, Colorado, and Wyoming is theft, total corruption. Never mind that Cruz played by the rules to win those delegates; Trump doesn’t like rules.

Art of Delegate

Yes, Trump will have what the media will call a “good week” or two with primaries in the east, but Cruz’s victories in the west (more are probably coming) and his ability to line up delegates to vote for him on a second ballot at the convention may keep Trump from the nomination after all.

Never in presidential campaign history have I seen two presumed frontrunners in worse shape.

The Front-Runners

Getting back to the prospect of a contested convention on the Republican side, I have no qualms about that. I have a sense of history, and I know what contested conventions can produce:

Contested Convention

In fact, a contested convention this year is the only hope for keeping the Republican party on track because it’s the only path right now that can deny Trump the nomination. And denying him the nomination is paramount for the health of the party and the nation.