Friday, March 20, 2009

Keeping the Faith

Just as "there are no atheists in foxholes", there may be fewer atheists than usual in Congress right now, and more people praying. And they certainly have a lot to pray about, since all they seem capable of these days is running around in a kind of dithering, impotent panic, getting selectively intimidated one minute by the captains of industry, and indignant the next minute by the manifest greed and sociopathic attitudes of those same captains. The stock solution to all of this misery is to give Obama whatever he wants, hoping it will all go away... and when it doesn't, playground-style fights break out between Democrats and the few remaining Republicans... between tax-and-spenders and the few remaining fiscal conservatives... and between social activists and "values" people. All in all, it's a sorry sight, and one that we all wish we could turn away from, especially since we share in the culpability to the extent of having voted to send one or more of these clueless blockheads to Washington, and allowing them to take over our economic future.

And in this midst of all of this, what does Obama choose to do, by way of outreach to the other side? Why, he does everything in his power to insure the deaths of even more unborn children, both in this country and overseas... and to support all the mini-Frankensteins around the country who have been biding their time until they could get back to the business of doing stem cell research using human embryos. And this is, of course, all in the name of "science", as opposed to "political ideology", even though the latter might just contain a bit of moral consideration as well.

Now, while none of this is surprising, I have to ask, hasn't anyone in Congress, or the administration, ever wondered whether there just might be some connection... some moral link... karma, even... between our present economic troubles and our moral and ethical behavior, with our treatment of the unborn being the issue of primary concern? The Evangelicals would say so, and this is one area where I agree with them -- with Pat Robertson, even! I don't think these two aspects of our existence as a society can -- or should -- be separated, and frankly I'm not as surprised when bad things like the economic crisis happen as the secularists are, because, whereas they can't see any reason why we "deserve" such things, I can see _plenty_ of reasons why we do. And as long as we are so indifferent to the fate of the unborn, I can't imagine that any prayers -- whether uttered, not uttered, or merely vaguely felt -- on behalf of the economy are going to do any good. Now, I'm not claiming that history is nothing more than the story of repeated action-reaction cycles -- i.e., our action and God's reaction. This is what the Old Testament makes it look like is the rule, but in practice things are generally more involved, more complex, and more slow-moving than that. There are very few instances of "instant karma" in recent history... although the Twelve-Year Reich (i.e. Nazi Germany) comes close, as do the short reign of the Khmer Rouge, the Spanish Republic, the Allende regime, and so on. But it's more often the case that bad, tiresome, boring, tyrannical people just hang on, and stick around, and do even more damage, and that their programs, which are created in their own image, live on long after they're gone. I've already said that the Washington, D.C. of today is still basically a creation of Franklin D. Roosevelt... and the Pentagon is a product of the long-ended Cold War. And look at the charming legacy of the "civil rights" movement, with all of its "unintended consequences"... and the similar legacy of another favorite liberal program, "urban renewal". Bad ideas really do seem to live on, and they are seldom rejected in their entirety... besides which, their advocates continue to inhabit the woodwork of government, like termites, doing further damage to the economy and the social structure without ceasing. The biggest job of each new administration is, in fact, to get rid of all the leftover "moles" from the previous one -- and this is not as easy as one might think. Many of these people wind up in jobs from which they can't just be fired because a new administration has moved in. So the Clinton moles work day and night to sabotage Bush programs, and now there are undoubtedly Bush moles working day and night to sabotage Obama programs. So again, things are not as clear-cut, or black-and-white, as one might wish -- certainly not to the extent presented in the history books written for unwary public school children and college undergraduates, in which there is only good or evil, with no shades of gray.

And yet I can't help feeling that, despite all the imprecision in the system, and the maddening delays of justice, there are consequences to be had when so many of our government programs and policies are originated, and implemented, by moral imbeciles. And it would be one thing if only they got punished... but as we know, that's not how these things work. The society is often held responsible for the sins of the few, and this is fair in a way because, at the very least, many of the wrong things that were done could have been prevented by simply not electing certain people to office, or by opposing them once they were in office, or by at least protesting publicly. And yet, this too very seldom happens. The high water mark of public protest in my lifetime was certainly during the Vietnam era, with the 1968 Chicago (Democratic) convention being, perhaps, the most iconic (as well as ironic). Most protests since then have been by a small, shivering remnant, who get nothing but hoots and jeers from passing sophisticates. The cynical pragmatist will say that "you can't fight city hall" (or Washington) -- but, in fact, I believe that the anti-Vietnam protests had a lot to do with changing some of our policies and, ultimately, getting us out of that hellhole. (The fact that we were driven out by the Vietnamese didn't hurt either. But by that time we had basically lost the will to stick around.) The history of the civil rights movement certainly demonstrates that if you protest long enough, and loud enough, you can get a response out of the establishment (especially if there are Molotov cocktails involved -- but it works if there aren't as well). So yes, people with a moral point of view -- with "values" -- can at least be heard... which means that, if they are ignored, the fault is not theirs but that of the people who ignored them. As in days of old, the prophet is the "loneliest man in town", and the "values voters" are a scorned -- and frequently duped, e.g. by the Neocons -- minority. But this is no sign that one should give up -- in fact, it ought to be a source of renewed energy, since if we do not speak up "the rocks themselves will cry out". And perhaps we can even save this society from some of its due punishment, from God who is long-suffering.

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