Articulating Political Discouragement

Thursday 11/15/12

I’m discouraged.

Election 2012 MapThe enormity of the election last week has really sunk in at this point.  American made a very bad decision in re-electing Barack Obama, but really, I’m not sure electing Romney would have made much of a difference.  At least with Romney there was a little slimmer of hope, but there is none with President Obama.  We will get another four years of unconstitutional, arbitrary rule from a president who thinks he can do and act however he wants; a culture of corruption and perversion of the rule of the law in Washington; smooth talk, lies, and demagoguery to cover up wrongs and foolish policy; and terrible economic decisions and public policy programs that were proven not to work years ago and yet which still appeal to the American people and are paraded by our politicians as the solution to all our problems.

I’m appalled at America’s ignorance.  I don’t know how to say this nicely, but our body politic is stupid.  This is not a derogatory statement, but a factual, descriptive one.  Our population has become stupefied: we are unable to think properly about issues of government, history, and economics.  Somehow we think that a majority vote by the people can choose good policies, good leaders, and a bright future.  But we would never dare take a majority vote to tell a surgeon how to do brain surgery.  Most American’s don’t know left from right when it comes to our history, the founding of our government, the Constitution, or basic economics.  And yet we think we can vote accurately on these issues when electing a president and administration?  Yikes.

Politics booksHow can I say America is stupid?  Because I’ve been there.  I embodied stupid America.  I hated politics in high school and avoided it like the plague.  I did what high schoolers did – I played sports, hung out with my friends, watched movies, and flirted with the girls.  I voted Republican because my parents were Republican, but I didn’t care.  And why should I?  Tomorrow would come, I would still be alive and this country would go on.  I had a life to live; screw politics.  I was stupid, ignorant, and uninformed when it came to issues of American history, politics, government, sociology, and economics.  I voted based on sound clips from debates and political ads.  I didn’t care.

But I was wrong.  I studied history in college and earned a degree in that field.  In the process I studied the history of civilizations: the rise and fall of great and terrible individuals and empires; the achievements of mankind, but also the evils.  I studied economic history; the history of ideas and ideologies; the history of political systems.  I study a lot of American history and I realized that America is indeed exceptional.  While the majority of the people throughout world history have lived under tyrants and in impoverished, subsistent conditions, here in America millions have been lifted out of poverty and have experience prosperity and opportunity unlike the world has ever seen (and which the world has now mostly imitated).  This was achieved with small, limited government where the sinfulness and corruption of the human heart and the lust for power, money, and control and the tendency to oppress was managed by a balance of power and a virtuous citizenry.  We are truly blessed in this country and we buck the historical norm.  We take these blessings for granted.  Could America fall like the Roman or British empires?  Never.

Starbucks LatteYou think you are going to wake up tomorrow and go to work like you always do.  You think you are going to get your Starbucks latte, and impatiently wade through traffic jams.  You think you are going to go to class, listen to a lecture, do homework.  You think you are going to walk your dog, go out to dinner with a friend, or read a book by the fireplace in the evening.  Perhaps you will.  Actually, most likely you will.  But this is never guaranteed.  For millions of people in history their lives were there and good and comfortable one minute, gone the next.  Thus it was for six million Jews whose lives were brutally cut short by a tyrant in less than 12 years.  How many died under Stalin?  20 million?  And Mao in China through his pursuit of centralized agricultural planning?  60 million?  How many died worldwide of malnurishment from the Great Depression in the 1930s due to foolish governemnt policies?  Who knows?  You know, it’s just a number.  Just a statistic.  It doesn’t matter because this is America.  That could never happen here, right?  No.  No, it could happen here.  Those aren’t just statistics.  They were real, living, breathing people who had families, dreams, talents and hopes.  People like you and me.

Am I trying to scare you by painting the worst possible picture and preaching doomsday?  No, I’m just tell you the history of the world and of nations.  And I’ve only mentioned 20th century history so far.  Those who refuse to study and know history are doomed to a life of perpetual childhood, permanent obscurity, and darkness (Philip Melanchthon).  I see America making so many mistakes in our government and society, and I’m terribly afraid that we’ve reached a point of no return.  The president can violate the rule of law and blatantly do illegal acts and the people cheer.  And this includes many Christians.  We are indeed a stupid and unknowing population who have turned right into wrong and wrong into right.  Of course, this doesn’t include everyone, for there are many well-informed and good people in this country that recognize the dire place our country is in.  But unfortunately there are at least 60 million people who don’t.

Our country is headed toward more than just a “fiscal cliff.”  We are barreling at 100mph toward a currency crisis and economic collapse.  You think the recession of 2008 has been bad?  I think it will be small potatoes compared to what’s coming.  I don’t like to make predictions and I’m not going to do so in any detail now, but our best and brightest days are not before us.  We cannot continue to pay for everything on credit or through inflation.  Even if we taxed everyone 100% we still couldn’t pay our debt and the entitlement IOUs.  Centralized government control of industry, production, and services has always ended in unimaginable horror and disaster throughout history.  It won’t work now.  And it has affected the lives of millions and millions of people.  Yet American now embraces an ever-growing, statist government that plunders part of the population to pay for entitlements for another.  And now we are broke.  House of CardsHow long before we have to scale back and impose “austerity” and people start to riot in the streets because they can’t get their food stamps or earned income credit or unemployment benefits or social security or Medicare or any of the 126 poverty alleviation programs we have?  It could be coming soon.  I think our country is a wobbly house of cards and when it comes crashing down we are going to take the world with us.  As Francis Schaeffer articulated so eloquently, the vitality and virtuosity of a people is always a fragile thing that can easily come flying apart.

Unfortunately, at the very moment we need an informed, capable, and honest leader who will tell the hard truth and make painful but necessary decisions, we re-elect a president who essentially embodies the fool as described in Proverbs.  A president who thinks he is wise in his own eyes and can convince the majority of the country that he is the man for the job, but who is really a fool.  And more than a fool who either knows what to do and fails to do it (or who is utterly self-deceived), we have a purposely law-breaking president who has no concern for the sanctity of life, justice, or the rule of law.  And yet Americans clap and cheer for him as if he were the Messiah!  I grieve at this!  I want to smash my against the wall over and over.  All of this is avoidable, of course.  If only.  If only we had carefully studied the lessons from history and had employed sound economic principles and policies.  If only we had informed ourselves and taught others.  If only, if only, if only.  In many ways that is the story of every tragedy throughout history.  If only _________, such things would never have happened.

Perhaps once I finish grad school I will pursue a Ph.D. in history.  That way after America has collapsed and the smoke clears I will be able to write a comprehensive and accurate history of the rise and fall of one of the greatest nations that ever existed.

To read a good article related to my thoughts, go here: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/11/the-meaning-of-yesterdays-defeat.php

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