Archive for May, 2015

Lewis: Do We Want Vision or Virtue?

C.S. Lewis 9Is there a moral law to which all men are subjected, or do men create whatever morality exists, according to their own lights? C. S. Lewis says that the second proposition is a disaster. Unfortunately, it’s where we are, to a great extent. In his essay “The Poison of Subjectivism,” Lewis states,

Many a popular “planner” on a democratic platform, many a mild-eyed scientist in a democratic laboratory means, in the last resort, just what the Fascist means. He believes that “good” means whatever men are conditioned to approve. He believes that it is the function of him and his kind to condition men; to create consciences by . . . state education and mass propaganda.

When we do that, here is what happens:

But if there is no Law of Nature, the ethos of any society is the creation of its rulers, educators and conditioners; and every creator stands above and outside his own creation.

In other words, the politicians and educators (may we add the news and entertainment media here?) determine right and wrong for the whole society, apart from God’s right and wrong. They, in essence, set themselves up as gods who are not subject to the laws they impose on others.

Lewis then brings this down to earth and thinks about what this means when we vote in our elections. What do we look for in our candidates?

Unless we return to the crude and nursery-like belief in objective values, we perish. If we do, we may live, and such a return might have one minor advantage. If we believed in the absolute reality of elementary moral platitudes, we should value those who solicit our votes by other standards than have recently been in fashion. While we believe that good is something to be invented, we demand of our rulers such qualities as “vision,” “dynamism,” “creativity,” and the like. If we returned to the objective view we should demand qualities much rarer, and much more beneficial—virtue, knowledge, diligence and skill. “Vision” is for sale, or claims to be for sale, everywhere. But give me a man who will do a day’s work for a day’s pay, who will refuse bribes, who will not make up his facts, and who has learned his job.

Think about it. Aren’t we much more attuned to those who promise “vision” and who come across as “dynamic” than those who simply exhibit personal virtue and have the skills necessary to the task? When we focus on the former, we get the ideologues who lead us astray. When we focus on the latter, we get the kind of people of whom God approves.

About That Crowded Republican Presidential Field

Have you checked the Republican presidential field lately? The announcements are coming at a regular pace now. Rick Santorum and George Pataki made it official this week. There are still a good number of potential candidates who have yet to make their announcements, but it’s obvious they are in the running as well—Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich, for example.

Is it a good thing to have a field this crowded?

That Many

Opinions differ. There are pluses and minuses. On the plus side, this shows that there is a hunger on the Republican side to replace Obama. Very little of that hunger came to the forefront in 2012, and we were not given as many choices. At the very least, this provides an opportunity for each of these candidates to make their case. And in a primary, that is important. We need to listen closely to what each one is saying, look at their records, and make the best possible decision as to whom to support.

So, I rejoice in a wide-open field such as this because it is not limited to whomever the party bigwigs think ought to be the nominee.

The down side, of course, is that it will be hard to focus on the messages because there are so many. In my opinion, some of these candidates don’t have a chance at all and shouldn’t even be running. Too many are trying to grab the “social conservative” mantel and that vote will be split, possibly opening the way for another “squishy” middle-of-the-road nominee who has fewer real convictions about limited government, religious liberty, and the cultural divide in the country.

My protestations, though, are not going to stop anyone from jumping into the fray. I have my favorites at the moment, but I’ll refrain from naming them. I also have some I fervently hope never get the nomination. Again, I’ll stop short of pointing them out right now. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably won’t be surprised which of these candidates are on which list.

One thing is for sure—they will have to roll up their sleeves and get to know the people who will be voting in the caucuses and primaries. Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina will have a major impact on who will be able to go forward and who will have to drop out. Voters may even get a little tired of the constant attention from those seeking their support.

Just a Candidate

The process is now well underway. The field will be narrowed by the end of this year, even before the Iowa caucuses, I believe. By early 2016, we will be down to just a few, and the choice will be made before we go into the summer. I pray for the most consistent candidate—consistent with Biblical and constitutional principles—and the one who will actually follow through on what he/she says. Faithfulness to one’s word is central to my support. Integrity cannot be compromised.

More From the Clinton Crime Family Foundation

Yes, it’s Clinton-Post time again. They just provide so much to work with, it’s hard to ignore them. Now we find out they set up this shell corporation (no real employees) through which to funnel Bill’s speaking fees. Another way to get around having to report the details and possibly get in trouble for seeing just who gives them money.

Then we discover, through some fine investigative reporting (and not from conservative sources) that there is an odd kind of relationship between the money the Clinton Foundation received from foreign countries and the increase in weapons deals that occurred on Hillary’s watch as secretary of state to those same countries. Here’s a synopsis:

Weapons Deals

According to the reporting, those figures “represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.” Obviously just a coincidence.

Yet, to listen to Hillary (when you can find a short time she actually has said anything about this), it’s all smoke and mirrors. Well, it certainly is smoke:

Smoke

Others go to prison for the kinds of things the Clintons do. They seem to receive an awful lot of special treatment:

Six Months

Recently, there was an awkward moment when a focus group of Clinton supporters was asked what were her accomplishments as secretary of state. The room went silent. No one could think of a thing. That’s not surprising—she didn’t do anything worth remembering except for all the missteps and misleading statements about Benghazi, of course.

Why does anyone want this woman to be president of the United States? What has she really ever accomplished in her life that remotely qualifies her for this most important office?

Scary

Yes, that’s about it. Oh, and simply being a woman. Shouldn’t we be looking for merit in our candidates? Shouldn’t we examine their stands on the issues? She’s pro-abortion, pro-gay agenda in every way, and just as radical as Barack Obama.

And she’s as dishonest as the day is long.

Those are not qualities we should ever want in a president.

God’s Law & Man’s Law

William BlackstoneSir William Blackstone wrote Commentaries on the Laws of England, volumes published from 1765-1769. They became the standard for understanding how English laws were to be applied. The timing of these volumes was opportune for the American colonists, as they also looked to Blackstone for their basis in law.

The preface, or introduction, to these volumes lays out the foundational beliefs that were supposed to govern English laws. They were as follows:

  • Blackstone's CommentariesThe Law of Nature=The Will of God;
  • Man’s reason is given to discover
    the Law of Nature;
  • Happiness is based only on observing God’s
    laws; there is no true happiness outside of His laws;
  • God’s law is higher than man’s law;
  • Corrupt reason needs Revealed Law (Scripture) to understand God and His ways;
  • Revealed law is a fuller and more accurate explanation of the Law of Nature;
  • All human laws must rest upon the Law of Nature and Revealed Law.

Notice how different this is from how we explain law today. How many legislatures and judges take into account the necessity of ensuring that human laws are in accordance with God’s law? We not only ignore what God has said, but we don’t even follow our own written cornerstone of law—the Constitution.

The American colonists, as they approached the dispute with Britain’s government, took Blackstone seriously. All of their arguments were based on the twin foundations of God’s law and the human laws that had been written in agreement with God’s law.

Alliance Defending FreedomOne organization in America today, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), has set up a Blackstone Fellowship Program for law students who seek to adhere to this understanding of law. In the vast field of all those innumerable law schools that have no fidelity to this original concept of law, this program helps place law students in internships with cooperating lawyers who seek to restore the idea that God’s law comes first, and that all human laws must be in accord with His.

This approach is now in the minority, but there are scattered voices continuing to promote a more Biblical orientation in law. Blackstone is a good place to start in grasping why the American colonies took a stand at that time in our history.

Merely Tactical Setbacks

In a Memorial Day speech yesterday, President Obama said we should rejoice because for the first time in a long time American troops are not fighting in an overseas war. He even mentioned Afghanistan, where 10,000 Americans are still on active duty. The news report I was watching also commented that 3500 American military personnel continue to work with the Iraqi army.

So how is that a testimony to complete withdrawal from overseas conflicts? He did what he does so often—make a blatant statement of supposed fact that is at odds with the facts.

Even this late—more than six years into his presidency—he still acts like all the problems in the Middle East are due to George W. Bush. You can criticize Bush’s policies, and I think there is ground for criticism, but a direct comparison of the two presidents’ actions show rather stark differences:

Legacy

If you think Bush was mistaken in toppling Saddam Hussein, and that the aftermath of that was particularly messy, one thing to remember is that when he left office, he also bequeathed to Obama an Iraq on the verge of stability. Obama’s decision to pull out all troops, despite the advice of the military, has led to the chaos that is ISIS.

One wonders what, in fact, his overall strategy really is. Look the other way and pretend that everything is fine?

Strategy

Since he is so adept at comparing himself with his predecessor, here’s another apt comparison:

Success

At least George Bush recognized when his strategy needed to be altered, based on the situation. Obama just waltzes along as if all is great. Three of the four major cities in Iraq now under the control of ISIS? No problem. Our strategy is working, he assures us. The latest disaster is merely a tactical setback, not a failure of strategy. How long will he keep saying that?

Tactical Setback

Far-fetched? I’m not so sure.

Memorial Day 2015

On Memorial Day 2015, this is the image we should be concentrating on:

Price of Freedom

Not this:

No Big Deal

If only our current leader’s sense of honor matched that of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Thank You

Institutions for the Treatment of the Ideologically Unsound

C. S. Lewis 10C. S. Lewis, in his essay “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment,” takes aim at the idea that evil behavior is only a disease that needs to be treated. No, he says, evil actions come from evil hearts and deserve punishment, not “treatment.” But that won’t stop the “conditioners” who want to rule society by somehow using therapy to make people better. As he puts it,

To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we “ought to have known better,” is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.

Yet, some may protest, isn’t is more humane to “treat” people who are diseased than to tell them they are evil creatures who deserve punishment? Lewis will have none of that:

For if crime and disease are to be regarded as the same thing, it follows that any state of mind which our masters choose to call “disease” can be treated as crime; and compulsorily cured. It will be vain to plead that states of mind which displease government need not always involve moral turpitude and do not therefore always deserve forfeiture of liberty. For our masters will not be using the concepts of Desert and Punishment but those of disease and cure.

How might this play out in practice? Well, he postulates, suppose that being a Christian should someday be considered a “disease” that needs to be cured. How will that work?

No one will blame us for being Christians, no one will hate us, no one will revile us. The new Nero will approach us with the silky manners of a doctor, and though all will be in fact . . . compulsory . . . all will go on within the unemotional therapeutic sphere where words like “right” and “wrong” or “freedom” and “slavery” are never heard. And thus when the command is given, every prominent Christian in the land may vanish overnight into Institutions for the Treatment of the Ideologically Unsound, and it will rest with the expert gaolers to say when (if ever) they are to re-emerge. But it will not be persecution. Even if the treatment is painful, even if it is life-long, even if it is fatal, that will be only a regrettable accident; the intention was purely therapeutic.

I hope you caught the wry humor within the wording. What’s scary about this scenario is that we are far closer to its reality today than when he wrote this. Christians, you see, are not playing along with the new morality. They must be diseased in mind; they need treatment. Let’s “help” them by forcing them to accept the new age of enlightenment, whether it be by law or by enrolling them in our Institution for the Treatment of the Ideologically Unsound.

C. S. Lewis was prescient. We need to understand where our society is headed, and it isn’t pretty.