Doom Changes Everything

Feast of Hannah the Righteous, Mother of Samuel the Prophet, and the Conception by St Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos

Samuel_Square_1.jpg"WHO IS the best candidate for the next president of the U.S.A.?" In a court of law, I would object to this as a "leading question" which means "a question that suggests the particular answer or contains the information the examiner is looking to have confirmed."

The more fundamental question that must be answered before this question can be meaningful is "does it make any difference who the next president is?" Unfortunately, the answer to this underlying question is "NO". Once Americans, including Christians in America, turned their minds and heart to the STATE and away from self-reliance with faith in God, their doom was sealed. Now it is only a matter of time.

Samuel made this clear to Israel in 1 Sam 8. The fact that no prophet exists today who can explain to America that their doom has already been pronounced in the heavens does not change the reality. The only possible message left for America now is that which the Lord gave to the Laodicean Church in Rev 3:14, but who is going to "vote" for rebuke and repentance?

My take is that God has already "given us over" ... 2 Thes. 2:11. And this means that whichever candidate can concoct the greatest set of lies will be the one that God ordains to win ... setting over us the vilest of [wo]men Daniel 4:17. Current Americans will die in a desert ... like Israel did. I cannot tell you what happens after that, but God will choose somebody else ... or just do it Himself ... regardless of who is the President of the United States.

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  • commented 2016-02-20 11:38:23 -0600
    Russell raises the important question “why does doom matter?”.

    There are [at least] three different responses. The prophet has one perspective … the priest another … the king a third … and the people as individuals tend to coalesce [aka community] rather sloppily somewhere among the three depending on the livability of their current circumstances, the prospect of what lies ahead and the cost of change. We might think of it all as Newton’s Laws of Social Motion:

    1. It takes an external force to set a socially sedentary people into motion or to change the direction or speed of their current movement.
    2. The magnitude of the external force being applied is revealed by the size of the body of people multiplied by the rate at which they are changing their behavior.
    3. The external force exerted on any social body will be met with an equal and opposite force from within the body … action and reaction.

    The thing I don’t want to miss about this lesson is an observation about the 3rd law made in Wikipedia:

    “The action and the reaction are simultaneous, and it does not matter which is called the action and which is called reaction; both forces are part of a single interaction, and neither force exists without the other.”

    Can Russell and I meaningfully stick to our different observations by considering our different perspectives? Am I taking my position with external principles that I believe “govern” people individually and collectively [which I called Doom]? Is Russell taking his position with “the people” [or, perhaps, with principles that he believes are inherent in community as opposed to individuals]? And, regardless of how we characterize these differing perspectives, are all these forces, bodies, velocities, directions and accelerations part of a single interaction … in which no single component exists apart from all the others? And if this final statement is true, then which forces and bodies are the greatest will eventually determine any argument about the outcome. My Dad used to say that when the irresistible force meets the immovable object … something has to give.

    Bob Love
  • commented 2016-02-04 14:36:31 -0600
    As always, Bob, your willingness to speak plainly and with hopefulness about things that would fill a normal person with dread is inspiring. Also as always, though, your vision isn’t mine; I don’t think who is president matters much either, but that’s more because I’m certain that the power structures (political, economic, and cultural) in place in the U.S.A. today have to be—as they have always had to be—dealt with and challenged through the development of local communities and popular movements rather than though machinations at the top, as opposed to your belief that it doesn’t matter because God’s doom has already been levied upon our political order. I have enough of a Lutheran streak in me to believe that we all, as individuals and as nations, already have our doom laid against us, a doom that we are only redeemed from through Jesus’s grace, and consequently to find in that doom either a reason for activism or a reason for quietism seems, to me, kind of silly. We’re damned and broken; that’s the way it is. But today is a Thursday, and tomorrow is a Friday, and the day after that is a Saturday, and I have shopping to do, and in the meantime there’s an election going on. We move forward, by grace both knowing and unknowing, and if along the way we live in a time and place that invites us to contribute to governance beyond the local, well hey, why not? I mean, sometimes presidents do kind of matter, after all.

    And so here I am, a Christian and a political science professor, and when the Christian part of me is done with his throat-clearing (see the previous paragraph shows), the other part of me comes forward, and after all the necessary caveats about local activism and challenging our socio-economic order from below, it expresses an opinion. And what is that opinion? That I am, for now, a Bernie Sanders supporter: not because I expect him to be elected president (I don’t, mainly because I don’t expect him to get the Democratic party nomination), or even that I necessarily strongly want him to be president (I don’t strongly want anyone to be president, because 1) that contributes to the unhealthy fascination/obsession/revulsion we have for the office—the presidency is an important job, but not one, I think, we should allow ourselves to get strongly engaged by; and 2) see the above), but rather simply because I find his candidacy wonderful. It is challenging the defined range of ideas that sustain the two party organizations which have dominated the realistic political possibilities of national governance for over a century and a half; it is getting people talking about alternatives to our reigning political economy; it is, in its own way, bringing old socialist, populist, and even civic republican ideas into public discourse. Trump’s radicalism is doing something similar, but not nearly to the same degree that Sanders is, I think. So I want him to have a strong, long ride until the Clinton machine finally defeats his campaign; the longer his kind of progressive liberalism/so-called democratic socialism is in the air, the better it is for our political culture.

    And now, a few quick thoughts, because Michael found them enjoyable:

    >Whom will Trump choose as his running mate?

    A small Mini-Me version of himself, I suppose.

    >Which candidate sees most clearly America’s proper, future role in the world’s political culture?

    None, but Sanders comes closest, I think, though his critique of finance capitalism doesn’t challenge globalism enough. (Though he’s good on immigration.)

    >Are any candidates spiritually positioned to have “wisdom from above”?

    No more or less than any of the previous inhabitants of the office, I presume.

    >Is Trump’s connection with the angst of the “lowering” middle class enough to make him electable?

    Yes. Scary, isn’t it?

    >Is the office of POTUS overly romanticized, even beyond anyone’s rising to the hopeful expectations?

    Yes.

    >Is America moving beyond unification, i.e., have diversity, multiculturalism, single-issue agendas
    >so divided political loyalties that America should adopt the European system of proportional
    >representation with an ascendant prime minister?

    Yes.

    >Is today’s political anger in large segments of the electorate reasonable, constructive? Who can
    >best manage it? Transform it into something helpful?

    Anger is never wholly reasonable or constructive, but it has its occasional democratic advantages. We need Sanders to get a dash prairie populism, or Trump to get more than a dash of Christian humility, if their perhaps justifiable anger isn’t going to just add to poisoning our body politic even further.

    >Is Bernie identifying a future not-so-silent majority (the millennials) whose values portend
    >trouble for the Republican party?

    Only if they can be convinced to vote.

    >Are Cruz or Trump even electable in November 2016?

    I fear that both are, unfortunately.

    >Is the American electorate, en masse, capable of recognizing the best candidate for POTUS?
    >What are the criteria?

    Not “the best,” because they’re no consensus on what that means. But I really do believe that, for all their flaws, mass elections often do a pretty good job of weeding at “the worst.” Not always, but often.

    >What are the strengths that Hillary Clinton would bring to the Presidency?

    She already knows where all the silverware is stored.
  • commented 2016-01-29 07:14:50 -0600
    I second the aversion to the question you have expressed. It has been hard to get wound up about this topic, but in recent days I have succumbed to the lurid attraction of the presidential pageant if the truth were to be known, by the the amount of online peering into oracular opinion sites I’ve engaged in.
    My fascination with the politics of my country has long had the character of ghoulishness. Having spent a long time in Washington D.C., I’ve lived among the tribe that produces nothing but monetized politics. They live well – if that is measured by cars they live in on the beltway, houses they don’t spend much time in in upscale neighborhoods, and a community of like minded sportive aggressiveness. Coming back there from time to time, I am struck by the constant building projects and never ending traffic (worse than L.A.). It has long seemed to me like a scene from one of the old testament prophets in the years before the Assyrian devastation. I can’t decide if we are Samaria or Nineveh – but that is the way history works. Principles, not specifics.
    Who is not fascinated by the wreck of the Titanic, the flaming Hindenburg, the sack of Rome, or even an episode of ’America’s got Talent’? Our instance on finding the ‘great man’ for the hour only means that we don’t understand the republic that has long been banished, and we have succumbed to the atrophy of opulence; the normal course of human history. Götterdämmerung.

    So, the question is then “Am I Cicero or Nero”? I wince at making this business personal, preferring to satirize from a safe remove, but I live in this place which was once the escape from decrepit societies that were caving in. There is nowhere left to run, and as Plato said, “Gentlemen, it is easy to avoid death, but not to outrun wickedness”. Is it humane to prolong the agony by constantly referring to ghosts like the constitution, or even plain language? My friends and neighbors (I am restricted by scripture from regarding other classifications) are sometimes (not always) considering what to do to save the country or perhaps make it better. Maybe a better question is “what is the best candidate for the concept of the ‘U.S.A’”. The time is here when the people who fall under it no longer suit the government which was designed for another and better people.
  • commented 2016-01-26 17:58:05 -0600
    [I do not like being the first to comment on my own comment … but I believe in blogging … and hope we can all learn to use the “Great Conversations” blog 8th Day has made available for our symposium.]


    Frederic Bastiat wrote … [ http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html ]

    - The Proper Function of the Law
    And, in all sincerity, can anything more than the absence of plunder be required of the law? Can the law — which necessarily requires the use of force — rationally be used for anything except protecting the rights of everyone? I defy anyone to extend it beyond this purpose without perverting it and, consequently, turning might against right. This is the most fatal and most illogical social perversion that can possibly be imagined. It must be admitted that the true solution — so long searched for in the area of social relationships — is contained in these simple words: Law is organized justice.

    “Now this must be said: When justice is organized by law — that is, by force — this excludes the idea of using law (force) to organize any human activity whatever, whether it be labor, charity, agriculture, commerce, industry, education, art, or religion. The organizing by law of any one of these would inevitably destroy the essential organization — justice. For truly, how can we imagine force being used against the liberty of citizens without it also being used against justice, and thus acting against its proper purpose?

    - The Seductive Lure of Socialism
    Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic. Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement. Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.

    “This is the seductive lure of socialism. And I repeat again: These two uses of the law are in direct contradiction to each other. We must choose between them. A citizen cannot at the same time be free and not free.”
    -—————

    In discussing who will be the best candidate for President in 2016, can we truly afford to disregard the more important questions of … what is the role of a president under the law
    … and what is the role of law in society?

    What if “pure socialism” is nothing more than a different flavor of perversion of “law” … but a perversion none-the-less … and in that sense indistinguishable from the “crony capitalism” it seeks to replace …?