WHEN SHAME BECOMES A WEAPON

Eve covers herself and lowers her head in shame in Rodin's Eve after the Fall. (from here)
Eve covers herself and lowers her head in shame in Rodin’s Eve after the Fall. (from here)

Because it is so powerful, shame is a dangerous tool. Imagine living in ancient Sparta and hearing a story about a boy stealing a fox from your teacher.

The Spartan boy, learned only the basics, according to Plutarch, such as music and mathematics. Their principal training is a military one, often even crossing moral boundaries, such as learning how to steal without getting caught. The philosophy was that, in case of a war, a soldier might have to steal food in order to survive. The main key point here is that, when a boy was caught, he was not punished for his act of stealing, but for being caught!  The Spartan youth had their favorite “game” of stealing food or other possessions from servants (Greek: είλωτες, helotes).

A well-known story that proves the Spartan training and loyalty is this: Once, a 13 year old Spartan boy stole a fox from a village near his camp. Alas, a trainer found him and asked him what he was doing off campus. The boy had seen the trainer and had hidden the fox beneath his cloth. As the boy said nothing, the trainer insisted. The fox, still alive, beneath the boy’s cloth, started scratching him, in order to escape. While doing that, the boy continued to deny the stealing until the wounds suffered by the fox killed him. (from here)

Because the boy would have been shamed if he had been caught, he endured the pain of the scratching fox. He also chose to die rather than expose the fox and admit he could not endure the pain. Therefore, the Spartans admired his bravery and toughness, and his story became part of their legend. Thus, the Spartans used shame to to steel the discipline and courage of their warriors.

Like the Spartans, we also use shame to raise our children and to maintain societal order. When our children do something wrong, or when they fail to do something they should do, we shame them. We do so to train their consciences, to show them how they should respond to their consciences. Eventually, we want our children to do the right thing just because they know what is right, to show them that their own consciences will indict them if they fail to do the right thing.

We also shame adults when they ignore their consciences and misbehave. In The Power of Shame, Doug Bandow explains how a community punished a man who stood by and did nothing when his friend assaulted a girl. He describes how a community withdrew its fellowship from someone the law could not punish.

Some will ask, of course, whether or not it is right to withdraw our fellowship or ostracize another human being. There is a verse in the Bible that plainly commands us to do so.

Matthew 7:6 New King James Version (NKJV)

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

However, we should bear in mind the lesson of Matthew 7:1-5. Because God will judge us using the same measure we use to judge others, we should only treat those who leave us no other choice as dogs or swine. We must not forget that shame is a weapon, one we can use both to mask and expose vile sins. That is especially true when it comes to politics.

Consider this observation about narcissism.

It has been suggested that narcissism in adults is related to defenses against shame and that narcissistic personality disorder is connected to shame as well. Psychiatrist Glen Gabbard suggested that NPD could be broken down into two subtypes, a grandiose, arrogant, thick-skinned “oblivious” subtype and an easily hurt, oversensitive, ashamed “hypervigilant” subtype. The oblivious subtype presents for admiration, envy, and appreciation a grandiose self that is the antithesis of a weak internalized self which hides in shame, while the hypervigilant subtype neutralizes devaluation by seeing others as unjust abusers. (from here)

How does such narcissism play out in politics? Consider what happens we sin.

  • We can acknowledge our sin. We can be ashamed. We may have trouble stopping ourself from sinning (Illicit sex, drug abuse, and stealing, for example, often involve repeat offenses.), but we can accept the personal guilt.
  • We can refuse to admit we have sinned. We can deny we have any reason to feel guilty. We can even call our sin virtuous and blame our accusers. In fact, with a straight face we can heap shame upon our enemies.

Consider our current cast of presidential candidates.

Hillary ClintonClinton shame

Here is the first thing we see on Hillary Clinton’s website.

Check out Clinton’s issues list. If you don’t want Hillary Clinton to break down the barriers of race, gender, and sexual orientation and spend all your money for you, you must be a very selfish soul. If you are not for Hillary Clinton — electing the first woman president — you must be very selfish soul.

Ted Cruz Cruzappeal

Ted Cruz, on the other hand, offers this message.

Cruz is selling his record.

Ted Cruz – proven, passionate, effective fighter for limited government, economic growth, and the Constitution. (from here)

Cruz wants what he calls “courageous Conservatives” to join his team. Instead of fighting to be a powerful chief executive, Cruz is fighting to restore traditional values.

Who does Cruz try to shame? Corrupt politicians who spend our money like there is no end to it. What does he suggest for the rest of us? He urges us to see there is still hope if we are willing fight for our country. Cruz never comes out and says it, but there is no mystery here. Because we are letting our leaders get away with raiding the public treasury, he is saying we should all be ashamed.

Bernie Sanderssandersshame

At his website Sanders greets us with the Socialist’s traditional appeal for class warfare.

Sanders shames — demonizes — the successful. We all exist to pay taxes (How Bernie pays for his proposals) and give up our rights so various victim groups (Issues page) can get their “rights.” Don’t the “rich” have endless piles of money?

Donald Trumptrumpslogan

Trump leads with this slogan. Trump’s message is that he is the indispensable winner.

Here is the kind of headline Trump boasts about.

Donald Trump Has Double-Digit Lead Over Ted Cruz In Indiana Poll

Winning is the focus of Trump’s campaign, beating The Establishment. Look at his Issue page.

The Establishment

I want to win for the people of this great country. The only people I will owe are the voters. The media, special interests, and lobbyists are all trying to stop me. We won’t let that happen!

Ironically, Trump has used that fortune of his to contribute millions to Establishment politicians. But Trump is supposedly a winner. Supposedly, only a loser would oppose him.

Why is Trump running?  Check out Trump. Nobody can read minds, but that article is as good a guess as any.

Conclusion

When our leaders seek to sway us, one of their tools is shame, and some of them can be shameless. Even if they have a record that should shame them, they will proudly stand forth as accomplished leaders. Even when the schemes they propose have been tried repeatedly and failed every time, they will still bold proclaim that only they have a plan to save our nation. Even when there is no good reason to trust them, they will still demand we give them everything and trust them.

At the same time they will shame all who oppose them. Their list of epithets is endless: selfish, racist, thief, liar, homophobe, sexist, pussy, pathological, fat cat….., even Establishment.

If we want our country to work, we need leaders who want to talk about how our government is suppose to work and what our government is suppose to do. We most certainly don’t need people who think that they are God’s gift to us, people who are not willing to obey the Constitution.

CAN DONALD TRUMP DELIVER ON HIS PROMISES?

This colorful poster helps kids understand the Presidential election process. It is from a site (here) that purports to tell us how someone becomes president. "Love" this item.How to Change the Electoral College Because the Electoral College process is part of the U.S. Constitution, it would be necessary to pass a Constitutional amendment to change this system. For more information, contact your U.S. Senator or your U.S. Representative.That's a not so veiled hint that the system needs to be changed on a government website.
Let’s begin a bit off the subject. This colorful poster helps kids understand the Presidential election process. It is from a government website (here) that purports to tell us how someone becomes president. “Love” this item.

How to Change the Electoral College
Because the Electoral College process is part of the U.S. Constitution, it would be necessary to pass a Constitutional amendment to change this system. For more information, contact your U.S. Senator or your U.S. Representative.

That’s a not so veiled hint that the system actually needs to be changed, and that partisan hint is on a government website.

This is the second post in a series on Donald Trump‘s book, Donald Trump’s book, Crippled America: How To Make America Great Again. The first was THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES: A WORLD CLASS MERCENARY FORCE?

In the first post we focused on the chapters that speak to Trump’s proposals on immigration and foreign policy. National defense is the primary job of the president. Although the Constitution gives the Federal Government other responsibilities, national defense falls squarely on the Federal Government, and the president has the leading role. If the president gets our foreign policy and national defense wrong, he can do horrendous damage. Just look at the mess President Barack Hussein Obama is making.

Here we will take in a more sweeping view of Trump’s book, Chapters 5 – 9.

5: Education: A Failing Grade

Unlike some Republicans, Trump does not promise to be the “education president.” He promises to scrap Common Core. He will try to scrap the Department of Education and return education back to the local governments. Furthermore, he advocates school choice. Trump clearly does not like the teacher unions and their relentless opposition to school choice.

Trump’s position on the role of the Federal Government in college-level education is ambiguous.  He sort describes the problem, but he does not explain why the cost of a college education is rising out of reach. He has next to nothing to say about a solution.

6: The Energy Debate: A Lot Of Hot Air

Trump clearly does not believe that global warming is real or man-made.  He also does not think alternative energy sources are viable. So he supports oil and gas development. That’s good, but, curiously, he has nothing — NOTHING — to say about coal.

7: Health Care Is Making Us All Sick

Trump wants to repeal and replace Obamacare.  He cites Obama’s lies (You cannot keep your doctor.), the increasing costs, the fact doctors are quitting, and  the enormous paperwork as reasons to get rid of it. Trump emphatically rejects a single-payer system, admitting his earlier support. Trump uses the supposed success of such a system in Scotland to justify his earlier support.

So what does Trump want to replace Obamacare? That’s not clear. Trump wants to cover those who cannot afford health care, and he wants to permit interstate competition between health insurance companies.  His plan for replacing Obamacare comes down to negotiating a deal with Congress.

8: It’s Still The Economy, Stupid

What this chapter says loud and clear is that Donald Trump is the solution for fixing the American economy. How will he fix the economy? He will make good deals.

To give Trump credit:

  • He does advocate the free market.
  • He advocates reforming a tax code that is biased towards the rich (what he means by biased towards the rich is not clear). Here is his tax plan.
  • He advocates reduced regulation.
  • He is seriously worried about the national debt and cites $20 trillion as a threshold we must not exceed.
  • He does not want to give illegal aliens “entitlements.”
  • He promises to keep jobs from going overseas.

On the other hand, his “solution”:

  • For social security and medicare spending is to grow the economy.
  • For jobs going overseas is to fight for them with better trade agreements and by preventing currency manipulation.

9: Nice Guys Can Finish First

The chapter is all about how Donald Trump is a great guy who fights fearlessly and gets thing done.  It includes at the end a section that says Trump is now a true Conservative. He compares himself to Ronald Reagan.

Is Trump a Conservative? This video certainly suggest that at one time not too long ago he was not.

Others have considered his assertion.

The problem? Trump does not have a record. Other than the fact he says he is a Conservative, how do we know?

General Observations

Trump is selling himself as the solution.  From time to time he will speak of a philosophy, but he is selling himself, not a philosophy. He is selling the idea that he is a winner, that he knows how to win.

Does Trump have a conscience? I hope so, but make no mistake. Trump’s emphasis is on winning, not virtue. The man spends a bunch of time whining about a rigged system. Meanwhile, when compared to the percentage of the vote he has earned, he has a hugely disproportionate share of the delegates, and he has gotten a ridiculous amount of news media coverage.

Do you want to vote for someone with a track record, someone we can trust to govern as a Conservative, someone who actually is outside of our increasingly corrupt political system?  Then do your homework. Check out Ted Cruz, and look at where he stands on the Issues.

Consider also who has endorsed Cruz, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah (see here and here).

THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES: A WORLD CLASS MERCENARY FORCE?

 

Oregon Army National Guard, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers from load onto a C-17 Globemaster III Aug. 13, 2013, bound for Afghanistan from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania. The flight is one of more than 500, deploying and redeploying transportation missions, that the U.S. Army Europe's 21st Theater Sustainment Command and Air Force's 780th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron have supported since opening the transit hub in February 2014. (U.S. Army photo/Sgt. Brandon Hubbard -- from here)
Oregon Army National Guard, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers from load onto a C-17 Globemaster III Aug. 13, 2013, bound for Afghanistan from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania. The flight is one of more than 500, deploying and redeploying transportation missions, that the U.S. Army Europe’s 21st Theater Sustainment Command and Air Force’s 780th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron have supported since opening the transit hub in February 2014. (U.S. Army photo/Sgt. Brandon Hubbard — from here)

Part One Of A Book Report

I have read about half of Donald Trump’s book, Crippled America: How To Make America Great Again. Thus far, I have gotten through Chapter 5, which is about our failing education system. However, this post is mostly about Chapter 4, “Foreign Policy: Fighting for Peace.”

I did not especially like what I saw in Chapter 4. What concerns me is Trump’s determination to get the “best deal.”

There is another way to pay to modernize our military forces. If other countries are depending upon us to protect them, shouldn’t they be willing to make sure we have the capability to do it? Shouldn’t they be willing to pay for the servicemen and servicewomen and the equipment we’re providing?

Depending upon the price of oil, Saudi Arabia earns somewhere between half a billion and a billion dollars every day. They wouldn’t exist, let alone have that wealth, without our protection. We get nothing from them. Nothing.

It’s time to change all that. It’s time to win again.

We’ve got 28,500 wonderful American soldiers on South Korea’s border with North Korea. They’re in harm’s way every single day. They’re the only thing that is protecting South Korea. And what do we get from South Korea for it? They sell us products — at a nice profit. They compete with us.

What Trump is suggesting is that if we are going to be the world’s policeman, the world ought to pay us. That’s a very bad idea. Do we really want our soldiers to be mercenaries?

Because they are just human beings like us, our allies will never be perfect. Therefore, when we station troops in another country or come to the defense of another nation, we must set aside our prejudices. We must objectively consider what is in our own nation’s best interests. Did Donald Trump? No.

An Aside On Immigration Policy

What is it that blinds Trump? Is he blind? I don’t know. I just see a pattern developing, and it is about silly things. Before we continue, let’s briefly consider another example, from Chapter 3, “Immigration: Good Walls Make Good Neighbors.” Trump wants Mexico to pay for the wall. Why would we want Mexicans to pay for the wall? To screw them? Because their leaders have encouraged their poor and their troublemakers to go north? That’s laughable!

Our problem is that our politicians won’t enforce our immigration laws. That is our fault, not Mexico’s, but Trump does not want to pay the bill. He refuses to admit we are at fault. So in addition to passing the bill for the wall to Mexico, he wants to pass the blame. Yet it is our own corrupt politicians — American politicians — who control who crosses into the United States and who stays here, not corrupt Mexican politicians.

Working With Our Allies

Trump did not even bother to consider the contributions our allies already make. He just looked at the bill and suggested someone else ought to pay.

The Unintended Consequences

As far as I can tell, Ted Cruz has not proposed a scheme to get other nations to help pay for our military forces (see American Resolve: Rebuilding America’s Military). Why not? I can only guess, but consider what would happen if other nations actually were to give us money for the use of our soldiers, regular payments for services rendered. Consider how too many of our politicians look upon money. Are they not always ravenous for more to spend?

Currently, Congress looks upon military spending as a grim necessity. From the

Strykers teams with the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regment prepare 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division armored vehicles for offloading March 18, 2015 in Poland. (from here)
Strykers teams with the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regment prepare 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division armored vehicles for offloading March 18, 2015 in Poland. (from here)

perspective of corrupt politicians, military spending doesn’t have much bang for the buck. That is, there are much more efficient ways to buy votes However, if other nations suddenly realize they can pay for the use of the world’s finest…..

When so many of our leaders already believe they exist just to spend other people’s money and as much money as they can spend, do we really want to let them use our nation’s armed forces as an excuse to solicit funds from other nations?

The Grim Necessity Of War

The United States Armed Forces exist to protect the vital interests of the United States. That is, military service is supposed to be about duty, honor, and country.  Hence when we station our military forces in another nation, we should be doing so only for these three reasons:

  • Duty. We have may a valid commitment. We have a moral or legal obligation that requires our forces to be in that nation.
  • Honor. In addition to treaty obligations, there are crimes and atrocities we cannot honorably ignore. When we have the capacity to stop a mass murder, we should seriously consider doing so.
  • Country. Few Americans long to be stationed for years, especially to fight, in faraway lands. Yet our soldiers volunteer to do so. They know it is far better to fight in a faraway land than it is to watch their own people suffer in their own country.

So what is the true cost of our armed forces? Is it money? No. We must always keep at the forefront of our minds what our nation’s soldiers have signed up to do, risk life and limb for us.  Therefore, when we deploy our armed forces, we should always remember it is not about money.  It is about duty. It is about honor. It is about country. It is about our friends and neighbors going into harm’s way for our sakes.

 

130320-N-TG831-099 WATERS TO THE WEST OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA (March 20, 2013) The Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE-7), left, performs a replenishment-at-sea with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85). McCampbell is part of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, and is underway to conduct exercise Foal Eagle 2013 with allied nation Republic of Korea in support of regional security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Declan Barnes/Released)
130320-N-TG831-099
WATERS TO THE WEST OF THE KOREAN
PENINSULA (March 20, 2013) The Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE-7), left, performs a replenishment-at-sea with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85). McCampbell is part of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, and is underway to conduct exercise Foal Eagle 2013 with allied nation Republic of Korea in support of regional security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Declan Barnes/Released) (from here)

PART 5 FOR BOTH “HOW A POOR WIDOW ANSWERED HER CALLING” AND “GOVERNMENT-GIVEN RIGHTS VERSUS GOD-GIVEN RIGHTS”

(from here)
(from here)

Here we continue a series.  I have provided links to the previous posts a the bottom of this post. The subject here? The upcoming election.

How Do We Choose The Best Candidate?

Christianity is not a theocracy. God provided the Jews the Mosaic Law. Christians He provided the Holy Spirit; the example of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection; and the promise of redemption.

In addition, the Bible gives us principles to live by.  We generally express those principles in the form of virtues (see the last post in this series). If we wish to live in a society that lives by Christian virtues, then we need to elect leaders who by word and deed demonstrate that they live by those virtues. Unfortunately, here of late we have not done so.

What are we risking with our poor leadership choices? The Declaration of Independence is the founding document of this nation. That document explains that the purpose of government is to protect our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When we fail to select virtuous leaders, then our leaders will not respect our rights. In addition to lacking the virtues mentioned in the last post, our leaders will lack the virtue of Humility.

What is humility? Consider again that poor widow mentioned in Mark 12:41-44. When the widow put her last two mites in the temple treasury, she put in faith in God. Instead of trusting in herself, she put her trust in God. We need leaders with the same sort of humility, leaders who realize that God is our true sovereign. What we have now are too many leaders who see gathering more power to themselves as the solution for every problem.

How foolish is it for us to give our leaders more and more of the power they demand?

Some time back I wrote a post on ants, ANT DEMOCRACY: HOW DO ANTS VOTE? I ended the post with this observation.

We don’t understand how ants make decisions. We are not that smart. We can only model their behavior. Maybe, however, if we study ants enough, maybe we can learn from them how to run a democracy peaceably.

In truth, we already know how to run a democracy. When we follow the principles upon which it was founded, we have a constitutional republic that works. Unfortunately, instead of letting us freely conduct our own businesses, our leaders want to run everything. Again I ask, how foolish is it for us to give our leaders more and more of the power they demand? There is an answer. Consider the following video. As you listen to it make certain you consider the fact that politicians who don’t know how to make a pencil want to run our healthcare, our schools, our banks, plan our communities, direct auto companies,…. Well, there is no end to the power some of them want.

We need to elect a president to who has enough humility to respect The United States Constitution. Please vote for Ted Cruz.

References

Previous Posts In This Series