2016 POST ELECTION STRATEGY AND TACTICS – PART 5

It may be laid down, as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every citizen who enjoys the protection of a free government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defence of it, and consequently that the Citizens of America (with a few legal and official exceptions) from 18 to 50 Years of Age should be borne on the Militia Rolls, provided with uniform Arms, and so far accustomed to the use of them, that the Total strength of the Country might be called forth at Short Notice on any very interesting Emergency. -- George Washington, in "Sentiments on a Peace Establishment" in a letter to Alexander Hamilton (2 May 1783); published in The Writings of George Washington (1938), edited by John C. Fitzpatrick, Vol. 26, p. 289. (from here)
It may be laid down, as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every citizen who enjoys the protection of a free government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defence of it, and consequently that the Citizens of America (with a few legal and official exceptions) from 18 to 50 Years of Age should be borne on the Militia Rolls, provided with uniform Arms, and so far accustomed to the use of them, that the Total strength of the Country might be called forth at Short Notice on any very interesting Emergency. — George Washington, in “Sentiments on a Peace Establishment” in a letter to Alexander Hamilton (2 May 1783); published in The Writings of George Washington (1938), edited by John C. Fitzpatrick, Vol. 26, p. 289. (from here)

What posts have gone before?

  • PART 1: We spoke of my personal goal for good government. Is it the same goal you might have? Perhaps.
  • PART 2: We considered the primary obstacle to good government.
  • PART 3: We reviewed the defensive components of a strategy for good government.
  • PART 4: We reviewed the offensive components of a strategy for government.

PART 5 begins a discussion of tactics. This post is the first in a series about how ordinary men and women can affect the operation of our government for the better. This posts explains why we must participate in politics. How do we get motivated?

Why We Must Participate In Politics

What’s our obligation? Consider the words of George Washington (under his picture at the beginning of this post).  Because our government protects our freedom and the freedom of our family, friends and neighbors, we have an obligation to protect it. Whereas Washington spoke of protecting the government of a free society with arms, here we speak of the peaceful duties of citizenship.

citizenship noun

  1. the state of being vested with the rights, privileges, and duties of a citizen.
  2. the character of an individual viewed as a member of society; behavior in terms of the duties, obligations, and functions of a citizen: an award for good citizenship.

Most of us have the odd idea that joining and participating in a political party is something only a political junkie would do.

Political Junkie
One who is obsessed with all things political, watches C-SPAN, and votes in every election. Rachel Maddow is often credited with coining this term.

Example usage: I am such a political junkie, I need to stop writing emails to Senator Feinstein and get out more.

The political junkie, however, for the most part merely seeks entertainment. Many regard politics as a blood sport and fun to watch. These vote for the one they think the winner of the contest.

Voting is important. Writing our elected representatives is also important, but more is required. Consider.

to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know. ― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (from here)

To know and understand in politics, we must participate in politics. Why would we do that? If politics fascinates us — if we crave to learn about politics — then God has given us a call to participate in some way, however large or small.

The end of learning is to know God, and out of that knowledge to love Him and imitate Him. — John Milton, quote reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 364. (from here)

Whatever calling we have, we must apply what we learn in the way we think our Lord Jesus would have us. Do we care about the freedom of our family, friends and neighbors? Don’t we innately understand the importance of being a good citizen?

We all know what the Bible says about justification by faith. In fact, the first reference goes back to the Old Testament.

Habakkuk 2:4 New King James Version (NKJV)

“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.

We demonstrate our faith with works. We know Jesus expected us to help the poor and needy. Thus, the Apostle James spoke of the relationship between faith and works.

James 2:14-17 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

What we often forget is that God made us all poor; He made us all needy. We come into this world with nothing. If we are fortunate, we have good and capable parents. Yet even the best of parents must depend upon others, including that institution we call government.

In the United States, we don’t have a king. We live in a constitutional republic.  We elect officials we constrain with laws, laws we enforce as good citizens. As good citizens, we insist that the people who rule in our name obey the law. So it is that as citizens we must be spiritual warriors, protecting our families friends, neighbors, and ourselves from Satan’s mechaniations.

Spiritual warriors? Does that sound weird? Then remember how Satan tempted Jesus with all the kingdoms of the world.

Matthew 4:8-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Could Satan tempt Jesus with that which he does not control? Of course not! Then Satan rules this world. To follow Jesus we must resist Satan and force him to flee (James 4:7). So let’s open our Bible and consider the meaning of Matthew 22:15-22, Romans 13:1-7, Ephesians 6:10-201 Timothy 2:1-7, and Titus 3:1-8. Let us also consider that we call the first five books of the Bible the Mosaic Code. Let us remember that in 1 Samuel 8 the Bible warns us against allowing ourselves to be governed by a king instead of God. Let us remember the alternative to good citizenship; it is slavery. If we are unwilling to take responsibility for our government, then those who govern us will enslave us.

What do warriors do? They organize, train, and equip for war.  Then, when they must, they battle their enemies.

In posts to come, we will consider how Christians can fight on that complicated field of battle we call politics. Hopefully, when we participate in politics we will mostly find our find ourselves merely in disagreement with people we call family, friends, and neighbors. Sometimes, however, our disagreements will be more serious. Then we must call upon our Lord for greater wisdom and greater strength. Then we must remember who it is we love most.

Matthew 10:34-39 New King James Version (NKJV)

Christ Brings Division

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’[a] 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

 

 

WHAT IS THE POINT OF LIMITED AND SECULAR GOVERNMENT?

Christ among the doctors by Cima da Conegliano, 1504. (from here)
Christ among the doctors (Luke 2:41-50) by Cima da Conegliano, 1504. (from here)

I’ve never understood how God could expect his creatures to pick the one true religion by faith — it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe. — Robert A. Heinlein, in Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) (from here)

Should we be able to select the one true religion? I think so, but I don’t think it is just a matter of faith. I do, however, think making the choice requires reasoning we find difficult.

  • We must admit we need God, not an idol of our own making, but our Creator. That requires humility.
  • We must believe our reasoning is sufficient to know God and that God wants us to know Him. We need that belief to give us hope.
  • We must have the courage live by our choice. That’s why faith is required. To exercise the courage to live by the choice our reasoning dictates, we must have faith in God.
  • Most of all we must believe God loves us, and we can love Him.

Still, we make such a large variety of religious choices that that quote above from Heinlein seems to prove something, but what? I expect it shows how much we need God. Without our Creator’s help, we do not make good choices. We do not make good choices about much of anything.

That’s what makes America so remarkable. Ours has for the most part been a happy, productive, and prosperous land because for the most part Americans have made good choices, far from perfect, but generally good.

Why good choices? Consider that the Bible contains wisdom revealed by our Creator. Until we choose to read the Bible and strive to understand it, we cannot know how much our Maker loves us.

Americans once cherished the Bible. They actually read it.

Why did Americans care about the Bible. America is a product of the Protestant Reformation, the lessons from bloody wars in Europe, and the English Enlightenment.  Our notions about classical liberalism and freedom of religion in particular come from those experiences.

  • The Protestant Reformation cracked the intercessory control of the Roman Catholic Church between man and God.  Prior to the Reformation, most of Europe accepted the Catholic clergy’s claim to speak for God. Subsequent to the Reformation, many Protestants believed they need no intercessor except Jesus.
  • The Protestant Reformation resulted in the multiplication of Christian sects and violent disputes over articles of faith. Therefore, in addition to the usual excesses that set off European wars, men fought and persecuted each other over their religious differences
  • The Protestant Reformation also resulted in the opportunity for people to study the Bible in their own languages. In fact, we can attribute both the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment in particular to the invention of the printing press. When people studied the Bible, the Word of God, for themselves, they could not find a command from Christ Jesus to spread the Gospel by force. Instead, many agreed that Jesus commanded His disciples to forgo violence and love their enemies.

Who settled America? Some came to America for riches and glory, but more came just for the hope they could live as they chose. Pilgrims, Puritans, Catholics, Quakers and others came so they could practice their religious beliefs in peace. Others came to just avoid debtors prisons.  Still, those who came were generally Christians, just different kinds of Christians. In the vast land of America, these different kinds Christians separated themselves into different communities, focused on their local governments, and experimented in new ways of governing.

Eventually, the American colonists tired of the rule of a faraway tyrannical king. Eventually, the American colonists decided that self-defense and the regulation of commerce required a federal government, but what kind of government? What would be the proper goals of an American government? To answer those questions, the American colonials considered the fruit of their experiments and turned to a political ideology we now call Classical Liberalism.

Classical liberalism is a political ideology that values the freedom of individuals — including the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and markets — as well as limited government. (continued here)

Why a limited government that values individual freedom? Because they had diverse societies, the American colonials did not share exactly the same beliefs or  worldview. That is, they had limited set of shared values. Therefore, particularly with respect to the Federal Government, the colonials thought it best to limited the scope of government powers. Even then, because they feared Federal powers would be abused, the colonials insisted upon a Bill of Rights.

Consider the first words of the First Amendment.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Because we are are Christian nation, we have some shared values, but we also have huge differences. What is Christianity? Some people — not all — say Christianity is what the Bible says it is.  However, the Bible is a large work. So even Christians who uphold the Bible as the inerrant Word of God emphasize different parts. Therefore, we have a problem we don’t know how to solve. Who has the wisdom to decide  for everyone else what God would have us do?  Hence, the First Amendment says religion is a matter the Federal Government should leave to the states and the people.

Because of the First Amendment, we now have something that prior to the rise of the United States as a world power was almost unheard of, a secular state. Unlike the rest of the world, Americans did not want the government to establish a religion or to interfere in the free exercise of religion (see Establishment of Religion and Free Exercise of Religion at heritage.org).

Unfortunately, the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution no longer works quite the way the framers of the Constitution intended. That’s because:

  • We no longer have a limited government. When the government has so much power, power mad politicians and the religious sects they represent find it tempting to impose their own beliefs.  Currently, various manifestations of Human Secularism have combined to pose the greatest threat to religious freedom. Thus, the budget for health, education, and welfare programs has exploded, and Christians, even though the Bible says no such thing, are suppose to support health, education, and welfare programs because its what Jesus would do.
  • The 14th Amendment requires the application of the Bill of Rights to state governments. As originally envisioned, all the Bill of Rights did was keep the Federal Government from sticking its nose where it did not belong. The 14th Amendment, however, allows the Federal Government to impose “religious freedom” upon the states. That added complexity has made it possible for Human Secularists to twist the law. So now many insist we equate the free exercise of religion with freedom of worship. That is, to keep the freedom from religion people happy, we are supposed keep our religion to ourselves and let the state indoctrinate our children in various “isms” including Human Secularism. Then we are supposed to loudly proclaim we still live in the land of the free.

There is an old bit of wisdom any good doctor knows.

Do no harm. — (contracted form of the Hippocratic oath, from here)

When we try to engineer our society to “fix” it, we are effectively trying to heal other people (if our motives are good). The problem is that the operation of a society is quite complex, and we are not qualified to play God. Hence, we must respect the right of our fellow citizens to make decisions that more appropriately belong to them. That’s why for any people who want to remain free limited government is not optional.

Other Views

HOW DID WE GET FROM HERE TO THERE?

puzzledComment threads can wind and twist. So regardless of the topic, there is no telling where they may go.  Hence my comments on Bible Hub by insanitybytes22 eventually produced this comment.

  •   David said:                                                        January 1, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    So there might be research dollars to all districts. Is this suprising or a sign of something nefarious? Who cares? What matters is who does the research, that is, how good are the scientists at the facilities. Are they doing good science? Politicians do not determine who gets an NSF or NIH or NASA grant (yes, NASA awards grants to university researchers). So, much of your concerns about politicians and research grants are unfounded and uninformed.

    Yes, the position that you have taken is an extreme one. The fact that there are private schools or that private industry conducts research is not particularly relevant to the question of whether or not the position of zero federal dollars for education or for biomedical research is an extreme one. This is not just a matter of my “private goals.” We’re talking about the hopes and goals of millions.

    Yes, there are private schools. Can everyone afford to send their children to them, especially when we are talking about universities? Historically, how did the introduction of public schools at every level change the percentage of Americans who were able to get X number of years of education? What percentage of the population recieved a college education in the days when most of the colleges were private or when there was no federal support in the form of grants and loans? How has expanding educational opportunities benefited individual Americans and the country as a whole? I understand that you don’t wish to be enslaved, but maybe a little enslavement is not such a bad idea when you consider the benefits.

    And here’s a dirty little secret. Private colleges and universities receive huge amounts of federal support, both direct and indirect. For example, scientists at private university compete for the same research dollars as those at public universities. Federal dollars enable colleges and universities to offer a lower tuition rate to poorer students. In practice, there are no private universities.

    Yes, private industry does research. But private companies are severely constrained by the need to turn a profit. In addition, the discoveries of scientist working in private industry are private or proprietary. This is not good for science. And where and how do you suppose the scientist in private industry get their initial training as scientists? Guess. Further, there is no way that the private sector can match the amount of money that is provided by federal sources for research. No chance.

    Bottom line, in any many areas, the federal government really can do much more than the private sector. But then again, I don’t want to be enslaving you.

    Not trying to bludgeon anyone with my father’s dead body. Just trying to remind you that there real human beings who genuinely benefit when we are not wedded to purity. (And he’d be happy to be disturbed just to have a chance to chat with you.)

What are and I debating that causes us to fling so much sarcasm back and forth? Several years ago I wrote WHAT IS JUST ENOUGH GOVERNMENT? The topic of that old post, I think, is the subject of our debate.

It seems that David would like to believe that I am some kind of selfish, ignorant hog who doesn’t want to pay his fair share of taxes. However, as Milton Friedman points out in the video in WHAT IS JUST ENOUGH GOVERNMENT?, there is a good reason politicians and civil servants waste our money. They are spending somebody else’s money on someone else.

When politicians tax us and spend our money, they deprive us of the opportunity to use resources that belong to us — that we earned — for our own designs. Human nature, being what it is, drives them to remake the world into what they think it ought to be. Hence, politicians seize every opportunity to spend all they can, including other people’s money, to suit themselves and their designs. Thus, even those monies that politicians ostensibly acquired for one purpose, to build roads, for example, can find their way into unrelated social engineering schemes, health, education, and welfare programs.

Of course, those scheming politicians will have lots of help. They can always count upon needy and politically active government union workers who want all they can get of that big pile of other people’ money to fund their programs.

The mere existence of the public education system exemplifies the magnitude of the lust for power and money. If the public funding of education were just about the children, then we would just give the parents of poor children education vouchers. Then those parents could send their children to a decent school of their own choice. Instead, because our rulers insist upon having control, we have government-run schools, expensive schools that at best instill knowledge without wisdom. At worst, public schools instill beliefs in children contrary to those of their parents, clearly a violation of the freedom of religion and parental rights.

Anyway, as I tried to point out to , I don’t think this debate should be about me or about ‘s father. I also don’t think this debate should be about the poor, the needy, the children, the aged, the endless hopes of dreamers and so forth.  What is important is what is good for our country.  As that old post explains, WHAT IS JUST ENOUGH GOVERNMENT?, we all need a good government. Because everyone suffers horribly under a bad government, good government is just too important to jeopardize by using it to redistribute the wealth.

When we put a huge pile of money in front of our leaders and ourselves — when we try to use the Federal treasury as a piggy bank to fund our personal dreams — we don’t realize our dreams. We just fight and claw over a big pile of money, and who gets that money? Ironically, it is those who need it least. As points out, for example.

And here’s a dirty little secret. Private colleges and universities receive huge amounts of federal support, both direct and indirect. For example, scientists at private university compete for the same research dollars as those at public universities. Federal dollars enable colleges and universities to offer a lower tuition rate to poorer students. In practice, there are no private universities.

Our great private colleges, the Ivy League universities, had their beginnings as seminaries. Over the years those schools have become some of the most secularized institutions in the world. Why? Well, they do get lots and lots of government funding. Would government funding of our education system have anything to do with their increasing disinterest in Jesus’ Great Commission? Doesn’t power corrupt?

Doesn’t greed corrupt? Look at that last election. Did our leaders strive to unite us, or did they pit us against each other any way they could?  When the votes were counted, did they — did we — show we want what is best for our people, or did we just prove how much we want and want and want…..

When we vote, it is our own motives that matter most, not the candidate’s or the other party’s. “Why am I voting for this candidate? Is it about my pocketbook or my country? What is my interest in that big, huge pile of taxpayer monies?”

 

2016 POST ELECTION STRATEGY AND TACTICS – PART 3

Conflict in narrative comes in many forms. "Man versus man", such as is depicted here in the battle between King Arthur and Mordred, is particularly common in traditional literature, fairy tales and myths. (from here)
Conflict in narrative comes in many forms. “Man versus man”, such as is depicted here in the battle between King Arthur and Mordred, is particularly common in traditional literature, fairy tales and myths. (from here)

In PART 1 of this series, I spoke of a personal goal for government, a stable and efficient government that allows us to fulfill The Great Commission Jesus gave us, to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In PART 2, we considered the fundamental obstacle to such a goal, we are sinners. We need a government to protect our rights from each other. Yet, we cannot be trusted not to abuse the powers of our government. Therefore, to protect our family, friends, neighbors and countrymen, each of us must take part as citizens in the governing of this nation as best we can.  How? We need a strategy.

Whether that strategy is of God or not depends upon how much each of us prays and the God we praise. Yet as I am not a prophet, I make no claims to divine guidance. I just propose what I hope God would approve.

The Components Of A Strategy For Good Government:  The Defensive Components

Any good strategy must have both offensive and defensive components.  We must identify and counter the threats that could defeat us, and we must determine how to carry the war to the enemy and defeat him.

War? Enemy? This is just about politics, right? Unfortunately, politics is a blood sport.  When We the People allow them to seize the opportunity, the winners of political contests can, have, and will arrest their political opponents and kill them.  The Nazis and the Communists did just that in the last century, and we have no reason to believe it could not happen here today, particularly if we do not actively work to prevent it. Therefore, we must defend ourselves.

Refuse Indoctrination

We are the citizens of a great constitutional republic. At its best, our government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. That is, the quality of our government depends upon the quality of our participation. What does the quality of our participation depend upon? To participate appropriately in our government, we must know how the framers of our government expected it to work, we must have up-to-date and accurate information on the activities that relate to our government, and we must each figure out how we can and want to participate. We must both learn what it means to be a good citizen and how to behave as a good citizen. Instead, most of us just stand and watch on the sidelines. At best we are just a fan of some politician we think great.

Why are we such poor citizens? Instead of receiving the instruction and the information we need to be good citizens, we have allowed ourselves to be indoctrinated.

  • The public school system is the primary culprit.  When we raise our children, don’t we want them to learn how to be good, responsible people? Doesn’t that include being a good citizen in a constitutional republic. Even at its best, the public school system cannot teach children how to be good citizens, much less good, responsible people.  That’s because our public school system provides a secular education, an education that is either devoid of values or supportive of only those values those in power deem politically correct.
  • The mass media is the secondary culprit. When we listen to the mass media, we generally expect to be entertained or informed. We expect the owners of the mass media to give us the information we need because we have a choice, and they want to make a profit.  We overlook the fact we are not always wise consumers of the mass media. We also forget that most of the mass media is owned by about six corporations, and the owners have their own agendas.  If we were wise, we would watch and listen to only those programs we think are good in God’s eyes. We would inform ourselves to help our family, friends, and neighbors. More often we are foolish; we watch only what looks good in our own eyes. Moreover, the people who own the mass media are no wiser. They cater to our tastes, and they also seek to manipulate us, to shape our views so that we believe what they want us to believe.

How do we counter these threats. We must fight for school choice by refusing to send our children to the public schools. We must let parents, the people who most love them, choose who educates children. We must also fight to keep media ownership as diverse as possible by seeking, using, and supporting alternative sources. We cannot control how our neighbors choose to inform themselves, but we can at least strive for a meaningful choice of information sources.

Don’t Appease The Enemy: Rebuild America’s Defenses

Look around the world. Then consider the national rivalries that existed  just before World War II.  What was going on just before the German Nazis and the Russian Communists invaded Poland? Did we not see an array of belligerent powers arming themselves and bullying their neighbors? Were the United States, the United Kingdom, and France prepared for war when it began? Had not the nations most responsible for maintaining peace let their military forces atrophy. Did they not try to appease the belligerent powers?

Russia has invaded Georgia and the Ukraine. Russia has taken Syria’s side in the Middle East and allied itself with Iran. China has seized the China Sea, refusing to acknowledge the boundaries long set by International law. Islamic terrorists, including those backed by terrorist states such as Iran, threaten innocents around the world. Gangster-like governments of all sizes have acquired the technology to build and mass produce nuclear arms, chemical munitions, and biological weapons. And what has the United Nations done? Why it has passed a resolution condemning Israel.

War is on the horizon; it is striding our way. Can we avoid conflict? If we cannot, can we protect our family, friends, and neighbors? God only knows, but for the sake of our children, we must pray and prepare.

End The Purchase Of Your Vote

Look at The United States Constitution. Does it authorize the Federal Government to redistribute the wealth of the “rich” to the “poor”? Does it give Congress the power to set up health, education, and welfare programs? The Federal Government spends most of the money it takes from us on Social Security, Medicare (now Obamacare), education programs, Food Stamps, and so forth. Have you read The Federalist Papers? Do you know why the original 13 colonies voted for the Constitution? Can you read the Constitution, point to anything in it that authorizes most of the programs that our elected officials use as excuses to spends our money, and still keep a straight face?

Then why do our elected officials spend all that money on health, education, and welfare programs? The answer is simple. They are using our own money to buy our votes. If we want a government that we can control, then we each have to make the correct personal choice. We each have to refuse to vote for politicians who seek to bribe us with “other people’s money”.

Each of us must make a choice. Will we refuse the cocoon offered by the welfare state? Will we open our eyes? Will we accept God’s offer to be His children? Will we choose a government that exists — that empowers each citizen — to protect the rights of his family, friends, and neighbors? Or will we worship the lords of the welfare state and help human masters bind our family, friends and neighbors into submission?

To Be Continued

What will Part 4 be about? The Components Of A Strategy For Good Government: The Offensive Components.