Candidates, 2020 Presidential Election

I have noticed some friends throwing about the idea that perhaps one or more of the Democratic candidates would be tolerable, even acceptable perhaps. I have heard Biden, Gabbard and Klobuchar mentioned in this regard. I have only one acquaintance that I know of that supports Sanders (and would conceivably be open to Warren). I will not discuss those two, their ideas are disastrous, anyone that doubts that could care less what I say.

I get that many folks are disgusted by Trump. I will discuss him at the end of this post. But first to these ‘tolerable, perhaps even acceptable’ Democrats.

If you are a Christian and a Conservative, and at this juncture of the cultural war, I cannot imagine that you can be the first without also being the second, then you must oppose abortion. I cannot imagine how a professing Christian could support that. As a realist you probably acknowledge it is here to stay for the time being in one form or another, but, a Christion metaphysical realist view of the world, and a plain understanding of the Word simply must inform you that it is wrong. So where are these ‘almost acceptable’ Democrats on the issue?

Klobuchar and Biden would use your tax dollars to provide abortions, making you even more complicit in murder. Gabbard would simply maintain the status quo, meaning any judges she appointed would solidify the state of the law as it stands. Not acceptable to any Christian.

On healthcare, all of the candidates would place us further down the track toward a socialized healthcare system. Gabbard is with the hardcore socialist, Klobuchar proposes something less drastic and Biden is interested in saving his legacy by ‘fixing’ the broken Obamacare. I understand that healthcare expenses are troublesome. I get people ‘feel’ as if the government ought to do something. Austrian economics indicates it is all broken because the government did too much of something in the first place with Medicare, Medicaid and monkeying with price controls in pharmaceuticals. More government intervention never solves the problem of government intervention. Go study the British economy in WWII and the effects of intervention that still exist there today. Good intentions, terrible ideas.

If you want to talk about completely failing to understand the nature of our Republic and original intent, consider the above. If this occurs, major cities and metropolitan areas will forever lord over and rule all the rest of the country. That was never the intent, and it would be a horrible outcome. The Framers understood the importance of place and community. This would be tryanny for the minority.

Lastly – none of these great ideas (let’s be honest based upon humanist idealism) are fully disclosed. By that I mean, a public choice economics analysis would demand a full accounting of the costs of the various (and massive) programs that the entire group above advocate for in one way or another. Such disclosure is lacking. Greats ‘idea’ but these all violate a principle we ought to hold dear – the government is not God and government is pretty poor at actually solving problems and generally only makes them worse.

So?

If you are a Christian, the first point above ought to be enough to stop the notion of entertaining any of these people. If you are a conservative and an American of a traditional mind, the second two cements the deal. It is not even a question.

But Trump you say.

Yes, he is ill-mannered, often embarrassing, sometimes spastic in his actions and likely someone none of us would invite him to dinner.

However, he is a pretty good speed-bump to slow further damage until maybe, perhaps, hopefully, and prayerfully, we find a way to coalesce around something solid.

He did appoint a couple of OK supreme court justices – not perfect, but not two more RBG types either. When he gets another chance he will likely nominate Amy Coney Barrett, that would be a pretty good win all by itself.

His speech at the National Right to Life March was the best of his career and sounded sincere. He has done nothing while in office to make it seem disingenuous and has taken steps to act out on his words.

He has taken steps to support Religious Liberty, as Christianity enters a minority phase, RL will become increasingly important.

His foreign policy appears spastic, but at times it has demonstrated the touch of realist genius. It is certainly no worse than what we generally see in this regard.

I can already hear your next argument. I am suggesting one hold their nose and vote for the lesser of all these evils. Yes, yes I am. Do you remember how much damage Bill Clinton did to the culture? DODT, etc. What about Obama? Surely you remember all the cultural foundations that were eradicated in his two terms. Neither of those guys held any of the views expressed by the above so openly. Yet, look at their wake.

There is no choice. Hold your nose and vote for Trump. Or Vote for one of the above, and carry the moral cost or don’t vote at all and allow your failure to do what we must be your shame and burden. Not even a choice.

I do not like this any more than you do. I suppose we could get it over and all vote Bernie, you know just burn the house down all at once – voting for one of the other Democrats is really just burning it room by room. But hey, if you want to give up they why not just feel the Bern all at once?

If we want to fix this long term, we need to figure out a way to break the establishment GOP and find a way to elect Americans of principles that respect people, property and tradition.

Love y’all, mean it.

Disclaimer and Statement of Principles

Not Sorry

Disclaimer and Statement of Principles

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.

Luther

Ok, not wholly accurate. Before I die I plan to publish an edition of retractions, the only reason I do not do so now is I do not want a set consisting of several volumes. I have gotten and do get things wrong. Retractions are coming!

I do not recant anything I have come to know as truthprinciples, and universals. I have only been wrong in the application of those principles and universals.

I do not apologize…

  • for believing that tradition is the received wisdom of the ages, it should be relied upon until new ideas can be wholly proven superior and never replaced based upon emotions, feelings nor idealism.
  • nor hide my commitment to Christ and my Reformed, Calvinistic view of Christianity.
  • my firmly held view that progressivism is wrong and most of what we see in the public square, academia, and the media is flawed.

I am a traditional conservative or perhaps you might call me a paleoconservative – not a fan of the establishment GOP, Straussians, Gramscians, Fabians, etc., etc. et. al.

Presbyterianism is no religion for a gentleman.” – King Charles II

I think he meant to say Calvinism or anyone of the Reformed tradition, but yeah, we irritated the guy.

I believe in civil behavior, manners, decorum and I like nice things. However, my Reformed, Calvinist form of Christianity can be the very same thing that irritated Charles so much; radical, reactionary, unapologetic and firmly fixed in tradition and truth -I am #based, not sorry.

If you meet me in real life, there is a gun in my truck, despite my best efforts I probably have some dog hair on me somewhere, if you are a woman I will probably hold the door for you, if you are weird I will probably scowl at you, I don’t go around starting trouble nor do I have any tolerance for anyone that starts trouble with me – I am, therefore, a stereotypical example of what a regular guy ought to be like.

On the web and Twitter, RT, likes, comments are not endorsements. I do not agree with everyone I engage with – obviously. I make it clear in my writing who you might associate with me if I do not mention a person as an influence or compatriot the individual in question likely is not. I keep nothing of that nature secret, not embarrassed by any of my influences.

I have, as of late, decided to reach out and engage with some of the folks on the Alt-Right. Not that I agree with everything they say, I do not. However, If Strauss-Howe were correct, the Zoomer generation will be the ones to change the direction of the world, for better or worse. I and my generation were beneficiaries of knowing men much smarter than ourselves from previous generations. If Xers do not pass along some of that knowledge we received from the older generation to the Zoomers, these young Turks might end up as dangerous as some in the media portray. If there are reasonable voices on the left, of my age, I would hope they would engage with the radical young left to help guide them toward a better understanding of the principles behind emotion. This is my hope with the Alt-right.

The bottom line is, don’t assume because I am willing to get muddy and engage directly with folks that others avoid means I agree with everything they say. I simply think it is dangerous to abandon such fiery passion and energy to its own devices. There is an entire intellectual history of thought related to conservative philosophy that would help guide these young upstarts. I am merely trying to point a few of them toward that.

Somebody of my generation has to be brave enough to get in the mud with these folks while they find their way. I volunteer.

Standing against the tide of popular sentiment and bad ideology screaming “NO”!

and…not sorry

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Connect with Barry on Twitter, @onlyBarryLClark. Wondering who I am? See here.

Courageous Calvinism and Paleoconservatism

John Calvin

I attend a conservative, biblically-based, doctrinally sound (based upon received and tested tradition) Presbyterian church. Many of my Baptist friends might assume that there can be no such thing as an authentic Christian Presbyterian church. In the Baptist tradition, there was a time, in the late 1960s, when liberal elements expunged Reformed and Calvinist aspects. Some of this was restored in the conservative resurgence in the SBC in the late 1970s and 80s, but most Baptists are not fully aware of their Reformed and Calvinistic roots. It is understandable not to see the possibility that a conservative branch of Reformed cousins exists in at least one of the Presbyterian denominations. It does exist, honest; but I digress.

Does Calvinism hold more memories than promises? I suggest it is not a mere memory. Reactionary Calvinism, based upon the traditions and the truths from which those traditions derive is the key to solving our religious decline in the culture and to address our difficulty in defining what authentic conservatism ought to look like in the public square. The megachurch will not do it, dead Christianity will not, hopes placed in feckless and foundationless political parties will not. A return to the traditional principles and courageousness of our Calvinist roots might – God willing.

Jarod Longshore recently opined, “[a] cowardly Calvinist is an illogical thing. I don’t say that it is a thing that does not exist. Sadly, regrettably, shockingly, it does exist. But it shouldn’t.” Read his entire post.

We need a renewal of a sparse, sincere rebellion – against sin, against the compromise of the glory of God, against the status quo, against the ‘wisdom’ of the world and against the absurdity that is all around us. Confident, courageous and certain that the Word of God is our life, guide, and answer to the needs of this world. Our difficulties in the culture and our fecklessness in politics are the results of many things; true. However, if there is any hope to fix it we need to consider the words of Paul, as he departed the Ephesian elders:

18 And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Acts 20 (ESV)

Robert Godfrey spoke to this issue at the Reformed Bible College. Highlights from the talk in the video below include: Christianity no longer has the influence on the culture it once had; however, Christianity is not in decline; God is at work in the world; Americans are often fixed within; Catholicism abandoned tradition; Evangelicalism no better off. American needs a return to Courageous Calvinism.

  • Confident
  • Christ-centered
  • Comprehensive
  • Coherent
  • Caring

What does this have to do with paleoconservative, or traditional conservatism – that thing way on the fringe that sees the Republican party and mainstream ‘conservatives’ as useful idiots in the progressive agenda? Everything!

I think CJay Engel suggested recently in an article I cannot locate that at every step of the progressive advance, mainstream conservatives have been just a step behind, building nice roads and structures to support what the progressives have done. What we have come to know as ‘conservatism’ in America, the talking heads, the pundits, the massive organizations and think tanks; all of these are tragically flawed. None of them look back and ask real questions about what went wrong, what policies and programs have been adopted, no matter how long ago, that are damaging to culture, tradition, and families that we might actually fight to repeal. Their fight has been about the day to day, small things, rudderless and foundationless notions. They continually lose because they abandoned the foundations of conservatism.

If we are to save America, and perhaps this is not within God’s plan, we have but a duty to try, it will never happen with the current leadership, ideas, and programs of Conservative., Inc. There is little left of what was, nothing much left of the good. What are we conserving? Look about, it has almost all been burnt down.

In these times, our calling is to become courageous. Protestant Christianity was a permanent thing of American culture, we simply do not exist as Americans without that influence. Reformed Protestantism was the foundation of that Christianity.

It is perhaps time to stop calling ourselves conservatives, there is little left to conserve, and instead become courageous, radical reformists and reactionaries against the staus quo. We need to stop fighting the ridiculous daily battles of red/blue politics and stand and say “all of this, all of these programs, ideas, trends, policies and this direction is wrong, we want to restore was was good and true of tradition.” We need to stop entertaining the notion of further compromise, in our denominations (looking at you SBC with your current fight over complementarianism) and in the public square. As Godfrey says above, Confident, Christ-centered, Comprehensive, Coherent, Caring; Courageous.

Only God knows if this is a fight we are supposed to win, but just as Paul knew certain death awaited him as he departed Ephesus, he did his duty, he spoke the truth, all else was in God’s hands and plan.

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen. -Luther

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Connect with Barry on Twitter, @onlyBarryLClark. Wondering who I am? See here.

To The American Conservative with Love

Herein, is a love letter to The American Conservative (TAC). We are of the same cloth; I walked a similar path of ideas as some of you. I engaged and dialogued with some of you as I wrote anonymously during the early 2000 anti-war days.  I disagreed with your position in 2006 on voting Democrat, and I believe that served in large part to make the traditional right irrelevant to the populist Tea Party, we were unable to guide them and lost them to others. I am writing this, in the open and on the Net because, I do not believe an email would sufficiently get through. Take this for what it is, love from a guy that wants to see the cause of right-reasoned traditional conservatism find a real place in the public square.

As I related in a post that answered ‘who is Barry Clark?’, in the 1990s I found kindred spirits among the solid traditionalists and paleoconservatives. Many of the relationships and connections formed then continue to encourage and sustain me. In the 2000s when paleo-conservatives and paleo-libertarians came together to form an anti-war coalition, I was right there. I was already anti-war (anti-those wars) after my first deployment with the Army. I blogged anonymously so I could keep my job, but I was right there, doing my duty in uniform and at home.

In the mid-2000s the proverbial torch was passed from the aging intellectuals of the movement (Gottfried, Fleming, Livingston, Wilson, and so many others) to 30-40-year-old ‘writers and journalists’. Some in this group were academic students of the masters. For example, Brion McClanahan to Clyde Wilson. Others, like the editors that took over The American Conservative, were accomplished writers that had developed relationships with the masters. The transition from the Silent Generation to Xers was not that of Kirk to Gottfried.

In 2006, TAC, one of only two major traditional conservative magazines, Chronicles being the other, advocated for true rightist to vote Democratic in the mid-term elections.  Any potential for relevance, any measured ability to make a difference was lost that day. Whether The American Conservative was right or wrong only time will tell. What is an indisputable fact is paleoconservatism and traditional conservatism and an organized, relevant, systematic and historically rooted intellectual endeavor ended that very day. The publication frequency of TAC fell from twice monthly to monthly and finally in 2013, every other month. I suspect these are not unrelated facts.

I took a strong exception to the stance of TAC in 2006, one that has not fundamentally changed since. I thought to abandon the only party that might stand in the way of the progressive wave that was about to wash over the country was strategically flawed. It seems there certainly was enough support in ordinary Americans for a revival of real conservative principles, the Tea party bore this out as truth. However, without an intellectual base of conservatism, that effort was bound to be, as it was, usurped by neocons, Straussians, and false-conservative. Paleoconservatives were no longer relevant, one of our major outlets had proposed voting for Democrats; how could our ideas be taken seriously by ordinary folks that wanted a conservative resurgence but lacked intellectual depth in the philosophy of conservatism? They could not see the nuance of that resistance.

I am with you but…

I dialogued and engaged with some of the current writers back in the 2000s when I was a small, inconsequential and anonymous blogger and they were just bigger known names in a relatively small blogshere. Now, I am not anonymous, the ‘blogshere’ does not exist, I am still inconsequential and they are blue-checked twittercrats. Perhaps it is personal, but the fact that these guys refuse to actually engage in discussion; they write stuff, post it to twitter several times a day and generally only respond to each other or perhaps someone else with a blue-check is discouraging. This was not my experience with Thomas DiLorenzo, Thomas Woods, William Lind and many, many others back in the early days; Clyde Wilson for instance, he went from being an inspiration to a friend and mentor of mine, because he engaged – folks that wrote and engaged in an effort to build a community around principles.

In a very real sense, I am calling out TAC, out of love. This is for you, the editorial staff and writers. You may not like all my ideas, I may not write in a professionally polished way, I may have but a handful of Twitter followers (I did just start two months ago), I may be passionate – but I am you, we are from the same philosophical cloth. If I feel that you are distant, irrelevant, disconnected and aloof, do you suppose I am alone among your potential readership? I suspect not.

We have two real publications that write from a traditional and paleoconservative perspective and one new fabulous new effort I discovered yesterday. Your Twitter engagement rate is pretty low, both in ‘followers’ engaging and TAC engaging back. Perhaps take some time away from repeat posting and actually engage with people that are probably on your side and think like you – act relationally as the mega-church folks like to say, build real community through dialogue.

Here is a fact for you. Anyone that ‘Twitters’ and is inclined to think, read and ponder philosophical questions is not a consumer of information, they are not ‘followers’. If they are on the platform they are there to engage. My experience, my observation over the last couple of months tells me you do not want to engage, to debate subtle difference of opinion, to shine the light on the strengths of an argument or to take on the view that there may be other approaches to an authentic approach to the Right. I do not perceive that you want to build a community around our principles or highlight others within the movement that share core beliefs. If it is just me, well, then it is just me. However, I suspect there are many more folks like me out there.

My Advice

Hire someone to manage social media with the task and purpose to engage, not simply repost information at ideally selected times during the day. I am not suggesting your current folks are not doing what you have told them, I am simply sharing that the task and purpose need to be expanded.

Build community – through the efforts above, and in other way. Ideas alone are not enough right now. Words are not enough. Our cause needs a more relational approach.

Instruct your writers to actually engage. Don’t delete comments on the site that call someone to task for an article. Principled debate is not trolling. Don’t ignore reasonable questions or comments on Twitter posts only to move on to reposting content. That comes off to folks just as it sounds.  

Stop throwing so many rocks. I get it, I find Trump abhorrent also. Yet, I cannot imagine what a world where Trump had lost would have looked like. He is a very useful speed-bump. Use the advice our grandmas gave, if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing. Write an article that talks at a high level about principles without dunking him directly when you are upset at him. Look at the world we live in! Be realist! Be more Burkean in our pragmatism! Most of those folks out there screaming MAGA will never listen to a single point of principled discussion from anyone that disses herr Trump.  If we want to remain irrelevant, throwing rocks is a strategy. If we want to truly help revitalize an authentic right, we have to be able to be heard by those people.

With love and affection, a disgruntled traditional right reader.

Sincerely,

Barry

@onlyBarryLClark

It is Time To Reconsider President Trump

I will state upfront, I have never been a cheerleader for President Trump. I have also never been an unmovable critic. I acknowledge he is perhaps best termed a realistic pragmatic populist. I also find him ill-mannered. But here is the thing, he might be just what American conservatism needed; not to right the ship, but to buy time.

To the folks in a certain circle of conservatives that moan and complain about the man, I would say – I can also quote Burke, Kirk, and others. Yes, there is a crisis of principles in American conservatism, the Straussians did great damage. Many came to see conservatism to mean big government, war, and corporations combined with a ‘fringe’ element that advocated for moral issues. That ‘fringe’ that I am part of has often felt unheard and confused by what is happening. I agree with those that argue that conservatism in America lost its way because it left the principles that define true conservatism. We lost our way and allowed a strange coalition of fringe ideas to rise against us.

I ask you then?  What would you see done?  Retrench into Benedictine enclaves because the culture is lost? Post on Twitter about how much you disagree with Trump until another Kirk or Benedict comes along to put us back on the right path? Here is the thing fellows, there is great value in continually and consistently articulating true conservative principles. There is also great value in being realistic and pragmatic. Talking, throwing rocks and complaining will not change anything.

It is time that all the “blue checked principled conservative ‘intellectuals’ and ‘journalist’’ see President Trump for what he is and what he represents. It is time to stop throwing rocks. Keep up the good work of reminding the world of what true conservative principles look like, but realize, if we are going to get back to those principles in action, we will have to get there in small steps.

Consider if you will, the events of the last month or so

  • Soleimani killed. Iran allowed to ‘save face’ while the U.S. demonstrated the resolve to escalate if necessary. You may say the killing of this man was unnecessary, I would ask were you ever there? Have you ever seen actual intelligence reports related to his activities? I was and did, my knowledge is dated at this point, but he was a valid target just based upon my knowledge. Trump’s handling of the situation was perhaps geopolitical genius. It would have been the easy answer to retaliate against Iran after their ‘for show’ rocket attack. Instead, take a real look at what he did. Unprecedented and perhaps genius.
  • National Right for Life March.  So many of us ‘principled conservatives’ talk about the moral decay that results from a culture that murders the unborn. President Trump was the first US president to speak at this march, go back and watch the speech, perhaps the best of his career.
  • State of the Union.  Religious liberty, Pro-gun rights, Pro-life, Pro-capitalism. Argue with that. (also, tacky and non-traditional, I agree)

You wanted ‘less government’ thrown in there too?  I heard some of that, but here is the thing, what is conservatism really?  To preserve the permanent things. All the permanent things are under assault. One real way to reverse that trend is to change the narrative. To show that conservative principles are not hatred, but rather kindness. A strong economy with less regulation lifts everyone up. For a ‘populist’ president to do that while speaking truth about other conservative issues has real value. Contrasting the conservative vision directly against the socialist view speaks to a large segment of the coalition that supports the left.

Such as;

Black Americans, for instance, have never been completely on board with many aspects of the liberal agenda. They went along because the narrative said evil conservatives are filled with hate. It is hard to make that argument when conservatives are increasing opportunity, incomes and prosperity. It is the economy stupid! That might just be the ticket that breaks up the liberal coalition.

Mexican Americans, we assume, because the left says it is so, that all Latinos are exactly the same, all one block. I am not so certain. I suspect many, those that have been here working for a few years, legally and illegally, view new migrate waves from Central America with suspicion. They know those folks will compete with them for jobs. Trump’s stance on the border will perhaps have a different long-term impact on how many of these folks view conservatives than the liberal narrative paints.

Regular Joes. Factory workers, union men, blue color guys that vote for the liberal ticket because they are supposed to, even though they disagree with many of the social and cultural aspects of the liberal agenda. The economy and jobs is a real way to bring these folks over and break them away from blind support of politicians that harm them and their families.

I get it, and agree, the free-market is not a sacrament. We can all argue internally for decades about how unbridled vulture capitalism has ruined families, rural America, and the country. These are important conversations, we need to eventually expunge the idea that one can separate economic and social conservatism into public and private. However, right now, the real fight is about survival. If we retrench, argue internally over ideas that are alien at best, and heterodoxy at worst (in the minds of ordinary ‘conservatives’) what will we gain? Either Conservative. Inc will cement control of the opportunity of Trump’s populism, or the liberal socialist will take control. In both cases, the cause of conservatism will be killed. We have one chance, to become relevant. If Trump can crack the left’s coalition through economics while talking about real conservative issues, we need to try and get behind that- it is our only option that may actually help restore real conservatism. Throwing rocks, in the face of all the money and influence behind Conservitive, Inc. will simply ensure were are left on outside the circle.

Here is the crux of the matter. Talking about principles is important. High-minded rock-throwing, however, will not fix anything. Believing yourself too educated in the mystical traditions of conservatism to support a populist president that does not speak all the right conservative orthodoxy is not productive, not for the culture. It may garner you followers and book sales, but, you are not in the game. You will not help fix things.

President Trump represents a real opportunity to break the back of the hodge-podge coalition that makes up the power-base of the liberal establishment. Those people have never been more vulnerable. They look pathetic, weak, feckless and wrong at this point. Once that coalition is broken, perhaps then we might turn our guns on the false conservatives and reform conservatism in a real and practical way in America. If we fail to put down this abomination that has become of the left, all of our ideas and theories will be nothing more than academic pursuits and talk.

It is time for the fence-sitting rock-throwers to come to the conclusion I have, President Trump is good for conservatism because he represents a real opportunity to crush the liberal coalition and break it apart. It is time for real conservatives to turn away from ‘never Trumpers’ that cannot recognize this as the reality we live in – those people if they cannot come to understand the reality we live in should never be listened to again. We have an opportunity.

Y’all think about it!  Keep up the good work of articulating the principles of conservatism, however, look around at reality – we have a real opportunity to crush the biggest threat to conservatism and break apart its powerbase. Let’s do that, then we can expunge the Straussians and Neocons.

Unhinged and Triggered
They are unhinged and vulnerable now!

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen. -Luther

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Connect with Barry on Twitter, @onlyBarryLClark. Wondering who I am? See here.

How Locke and Hobbes Were Wrong: State of Nature

Much of modern political theory is a result of or a reaction to the theories of Locke and Hobbes and their individual views of both the state of nature and of the social contract. Although both men differed in their views of each of those topics, they share a commonality in that they missed key elements. Theirs was an idealist view of how community and government came into being. In their idealism, they missed key elements of reality.

In broad strokes, each envisioned a pre-government world where man either lived mostly in peace, following natural law (Locke) or in a constant state of war of all against all (Hobbes). Man eventually decided it was in his best interest to come together, in community, and to surrender rights to some form of government. Hobbes would say all rights were surrendered, locker argued only some. Hobbes would argue that man did this out of fear of his neighbor, Locke essentially that man saw this as the best way to preserve his rights to his property and prosperity. Hobbes was more Platonic in his view, Locke more Aristotelean. Both, Hobbes to a greater extent, abandoned key elements of philosophical thought going back to the Greeks. Both proposed something new and radical; idealist.

However, both abandoned a realist view of history, anthropology, and sociology in their theories of ‘man in nature”. Man has never existed in nature as an individual, alone with no authority, no structure, and just his senses and desires.

If one is inclined toward an evolutionary view of history and the rise of man, looking back we would find the first human-like creatures with intelligence and some form of capacity for reason were not so different from the primates that evolution would tell us these humanoids descended from. That is to say, they were social creatures built around family groups. The individuals in those groups were born into a social hierarchy and authority structure. The same sort of structure that existed for eons before, in that individual’s ancestors that were not humanoids at all but rather apes.

No individual ape ever contracted with other apes to form a group for protection, biology provided the template for the social order; the family. There was no instance of a Lockean state of nature with apes ‘monkeying’ around, eating bananas from their private property trees, such radical individualist would have been killed and never allowed the chance to procreate. There was never a case of all apes individually at war with all other apes in the Hobbesian view. Each ape was born into a social order, a social order that went back in one form or another as far as their mammalian ancestors existed. It developed over time, being traditional, it was learned, it was also inherited. It was never contracted. When the first humanoids arrived in the evolutionary story, they brought with them these traditions and learned behaviors and biological facts; the family group.

If one is inclined toward a literal interpretation of the Genesis story, again we find no instance where an individual man was without a structure and some authority over him. God created Adam and served as his sovereign. God created a mate for Adam, creating the family and gave Adam headship over the family. The entire Old Testament from Genesis to Kings is centered on the family group and tribes that derive from extended family. Never in the Biblical story did either a Hobbesian or Lockean state of nature exist.

It never existed in an evolutionary recount nor a Biblical view, Locke and Hobbes were working in the realm of idealism, not realism. Yet, their entire theories begin with the premise that the social contract exists because man previously lived in a state of nature. Somebody, somewhere, in their view, came together to contract for something better, to form community and then an authority to rule over that community. The fact is, humans have always had the foundational building block of community, the family, and authority that naturally resides in a parent over a child. Social order has existed throughout most of human history because of convention, tradition, and power derived from biologically inspired sociological facts – greybeards were stronger and wiser than youngsters and taught them the way. Families formed the core, family leaders became tribal leaders, and later kings – no social contract.

In the American story, our rights, laws, and traditions came from Britain. A nation that developed a constitution from what began as a simple monarchy. In the 1600’s ours was a British system, in the 1700s also, when the Constitution was ratified, we were still recipients of these British traditions. Ours was a combination of centuries of convention, tradition, subtle modifications and progressions. We were not founded, we were framed.

The implications of these errors are not insignificant. All of classical liberalism, all of the political theories that derive from that and have emerged to oppose it are based on or opposed to the fundamental errors that both Hobbes and Locke made. Thus, democracy, republicanism, and socialism all have inherent flaws. They either promote the idea of the individual or the community above that of the foundational building block of society for eons – the family. They downplay the importance of tradition, accidents of history, and received knowledge.

In the US, many of the framers of the Constitution understood the difference. The anti-federalist did not see a founding but rather a continuation of British traditions and ancient liberties. They understood the notion of sovereignty and knew full well that the British sovereign had relinquished sovereignty not to the Continental Congress but to thirteen free and independent states individually. They thus understood that the will of the people might only be expressed through their states in congress assembled.

The Federalist, had a pretty different idea, they used many of the words of Locke, but upon analysis, they were much more Hobbesian and Neoplatonic in their view. They feared a lack of control, they feared checks and balances – they wanted centralization, a Hobbsean Leviathan that operated under the rule of law, but a could also define and redefine what that law meant and what the limits of its own power were at will. The Federalists did not see America as a continuation of British traditions and ancient liberties – established through convention and sometimes accidents of history. They say themselves as founders of a nation based upon idealistic notions.

Their hubris combined with the error of Hobbes and Locke at the base of their thinking is what has brought America to this stage of absurdity.

Existential Risks and Biotechnology

Apparently, Twitter just banned Zero Hedge for proposing a Coronavirus theory similar to what Josh Clark talks about in episode # six of his podcast The End of the World – gain of function biotechnology laboratory research.

I wall say it, it is too early in the news cycle to be taken seriously, I may be termed a conspiracy guy. But based upon legitimate open-source info, this smells like an engineered phenomenon, an accident, but man-made.

The internet is abuzz with all sorts of false information about Coronavirus, perhaps from official and fringe sources alike. Zero Hedge certainly qualifies as an outlet on the fringe. Whether than makes the always wrong, I cannot say. Josh Clark is certainly not always correct in his treatment of the issue in his podcast linked below – but he raises curious facts.

See below why you ought to listen
The End Of The World with Josh Clark

I admit that is a pretty catchy title. So catchy that when my wife and I were on a road trip a few weeks back she voted a hard ‘no’ when I suggested we listen to it. However, it is perhaps not what she assumed it to be. Josh begins with the question, if there are billions of stars and millions and millions of planets in the universe, statistically, many of them should have produced life and some of that intelligent life. If the scientific answer regarding the formation and timeline of the universe is correct, we simply should already be aware of other life.

Unless life is so unique it exists only here (God? or some scientific reason that makes life statistically improbable?) I could personally accept that God made life unique, but let’s stick in the realm of how a scientist might answer this apparent problem or paradox in their theories.

Josh does a good job of explaining the paradox

Science might attempt to answer this paradox by stating 1) life is hard to form, or, 2) life is easy to develop but also easy to eliminate, or, 3) life is easy to develop, but intelligent life is difficult to sustain.

Item number one would place Earth in some improbable cosmological lottery, if life is so hard to form that it has only formed here, among all the possible other options, it makes us a statistical anomaly (or designed by God).

If life is easy to develop but also easy to eliminate through various disasters, then why are we here and still do not see anyone else? Why did we and nobody else, out of millions and millions of possibilities, make it? This would mean, again, Earth and humanity are winners of a cosmological lottery (or God).

If number three is correct, this assumes there was nothing particularly improbable about us getting to this stage of history and development, yet we look around and do not see anyone else. Why? Josh describes the answer as the great filter, a set of problems that intelligent life would have to navigate to exist much past us and our level of development.

Just look around as some of the technology that we are only beginning to play with, even though we only dimly understand it; AI, biotechnology, physics experiments at the quantum level, etc. Passing the great filter, in this sense, is a civilization learning to both create and control AI without creating the terminator. To master bioengineered food, drugs, and germs without accidentally releasing an extinction-level pandemic. And finally to master physics at the quantum level without blowing up the world. All of those dangers are perhaps low probability, but at the extreme, they are highly dangerous, as they potentially end civilization.

The great filter then is this set of challenges a civilization has to solve as they become just smart enough to play with the ‘fire’ but not yet wise enough to fully understand it.

More on the Great Filter

So what does this have to do with coronavirus? As Josh points out biotech laboratories are all over the world. Several years ago many of these labs began gain of function research. Essentially this is the process of speeding up the development of viruses by stimulating the artificial selection of some of the most horrendous traits. This can result in a much more lethal, more contagious and more resilient virus. Many scientists view this as a way to get ahead of bad germs so that we might be able to fight them if they appear in the wild.

Of course, Josh also points out that the numerous ‘high containment’ labs around the world have a pretty poor history of containing the bad stuff inside. He suggests the great filter might consist of one of these Franken-viruses escaping from a lab and decimating the population.

Two points are interesting, the sheer number of these labs around the world doing this sort of research and the number of mistakes that have been documented to occur.

Zero Hedge was banned from Twitter because of an article they posted, suggesting that Coronovirus originated in just such a lab in Wuhan China. They listed the lab and the lead scientist from that lab. We will perhaps never know if this is exactly what occurred but based upon the track record of such labs and the sort of gain of function research routinely going on; it is possible. Worth discussing for those with a dog in the fight.

Coronavirus certainly does not seem to present an existential risk to mankind. Not in its present form. It does not seem lethal enough and it does not spread fast enough. It could perhaps end up being bad, or it might burn itself out. But it does not seem to be a civilization killer.

What is interesting about this whole situation is just how slow the world has reacted. Last Friday when the State Department announced real travel restrictions, the doctors they brought out said essentially, ‘at first we did not know infected individuals could be asymptomatic and infectious, now we do”. We are now three or four weeks into the outbreak, and nations are just now taking anything close to real action. If this were the sort of virus that could end, or severely depopulate mankind, we would be far too late in reacting.

If the great filter is a real thing, if biotech labs are as inept at maintaining containment as Josh points out, then we seem rather unprepared when a serious virus escapes one day.

Public policy guys need to consult somebody (philosophers and theologians) to help guide scientists in these efforts. Big money throwing cash at mad scientist without wise people thinking past stage one is dangerous.

Final Words on the Megachurch

I have written at length about the megachurch movement and why I am convinced it is so dangerous to authentic, organized Christianity. I have thrown about the word communitarianism as a pejorative. I have spoken of the importance of the community over the individual in what might be considered a very classical liberal way. So what gives?

Perhaps if you have read much of my writing you have noticed that I call myself a paleoconservative. Surely you must say, if I truly am such, I realize full-well that the Straussian neoconservatives and the progressive liberals alike would likely make the same arguments. They argue that the United States was founded on liberal principles, deep Lockean principles that recognized natural rights.

Of course, I know such claims are at best complex and at worst utterly false. The United States was founded on conservative principles, and the US Constitution was perhaps only a compromise between a Hobbesian and Lockean view. The states and their constitutions, the entities that really mattered in 1788-89, were definitely conservative instruments. Rights were viewed not as natural but derived from British tradition. In honest truth, no man in nature has the right to anything he cannot defend. We know this is true but like the philosophical position that this may not be true. But I digress, what does this have to do with the megachurch you say.

I do not hold that the individual is supreme, that the natural moral law and reason alone can suffice to inform a man of what is right. As a true conservative, in the philosophical sense of the word, I know full well that the experience of the ages and tradition combined with received knowledge are the main ways that men come to know truth.

This then is the crux of what might appear divergent views within my own mind on the subject of the megachurch movement. I argue that their communalism diminishes the individual, and the authority structure they set up is potentially dangerous. It is not a traditional authority they prescribe but one of their own design. Yet, I am a man that believes that it was the local communal Reformed Protestant nature of America through most of its history that defined us. It was, from the perspective of many, a very illiberal history and circumstance, but it worked well. In short, I agree with communitarianism, just not the sort that Drucker and his ideology invented.

My main argument against the megachurch movement was that it was built upon bad ideology deriving from bad philosophy. And, perhaps most dangerously, they are built upon the premise that they must be relevant, they have to offer something the people want, in order to get them in the door. It is this reliance upon relevance, combined bad ideology that makes this movement so dangerous to organized Christianity.  The megachurch movement and its churches will fail because the culture will drive them eventually. I am opposed to submitting or seeing others submit to community and authority built upon such a base.

But these churches identified some real problems and attempted to solve them. They used, and sometimes, misused, techniques straight out of America’s conservative tradition to get after the problem. The various Protestant denominations in the US in the late 1980s were dying or dead, stale, stuffy, feckless beasts. The pastors, boards of directors and initial groups of elders that founded what would become megachurches were predominantly generation X folks, they had sat in those stuffy pews, saw exactly how ineffective those churches were and wanted something different. Many of these churches got their start in the mid-late 1990s, this was just off the heels of the failure of the Moral Majority and the exposure of many televangelist. It was a pretty bad time in Christianity.

Peter Drucker offered a model to Bob Bufford and the Leadership Council.  Early generation megachurches based mostly upon strong pastor personalities, such as Rick Warren’s Saddleback provided examples and lesson-learned. The Leadership Network supplied the template, and the disgruntled, dissatisfied upstart GEN Xers took it and built churches, everywhere.  

They identified a problem, applied methodology and systems to the problem and created solutions. It is hard to argue with that. Except for the foundation, Drucker’s ideology, and his stated intent. His was a vision to fundamentally change society, through building community in churches. The problem with utopian ideas is just that, history generally has something to say about the frailty of man’s ability to reason out complex social issues with brilliant solutions – generally the best of such ideas fail the worst, sometimes with catastrophic results.

History has taught us that the best way to move forward and solve complex problems is by relying upon the experience of the ages, to fall back on tradition, to fix what is broken rather than create something new, shiny and brilliant. The innovators of my generation, GEN X, that abandoned traditional career paths and forged ahead to build Amazon, Google, Facebook, and our digital world would disagree with that statement, as too would those folks that built started those future megachurches in the 1990s. But there is a difference in building an online shopping mall and digital warehouse and redefining how to ‘do church”.

Success is something that is hard to argue with, yet success does not make a thing optimal or even correct. Do we yet know the cost of Amazon on society and our way of life?  If someday the only real purchasing option is online will that be better? We do not know. We do know that sort of innovation was transformative and abandoned tradition rather than refurbish old practices? Is the social media revolution truly good for mankind?  I suspect not in total, but it is too soon to say. The point is, yes, those innovations have thus far succeeded, but at what cost? And, again, technological innovation is not on the same level as changing the church just because you can.

What will be the cost to the success of the megachurch movement? What happens if it fails, now that so many formerly dying churches have been drained?

As a Christian, Protestant, conservative, I applaud the efforts by the megachurch folks to bring back community. I wrote about this very need in Retrenchment: Christian Defense of Permanent Things. For the same reasons, I am opposed to the idea of building a new and shiny thing, particularly for something as important as faith, theology and religion – Christianity itself. The ‘community’ of a megachurch is too big for accountability – too big to be called community. The group is beyond one’s circle of influence and of concern. The pastor and the staff are too far removed to be knowable. How can you keep accountability of a man that teaches you the word if his congregation is so large that you most can never break bread with him, and few can do it regularly enough in a personal way to actually know him?

What should that entrepreneurial generation Xers have done in the mid-to-late 1990s? If I think the megachurch movement has gone all wrong what should have been done? I agree with them, all the major denominations had serious flaws and error. There was no real possibility of working inside of them to effect change, not in the short-term, not to change the whole thing.

They should have done the only thing a right-reasoned conservative can do when faced with such a circumstance; retrench and double-down.  Buying into what Drucker was selling, the Rick Warren-like model, was wrong and they should have recognized it from the start. That they did not perhaps speaks to motivation, but I cannot see into their hearts.

By retrenchment and doubling down I mean, in seeing the problem that existed in the church, they should have focused on the local church. If they saw it as dead an irrelevant, make it alive, while remaining true to what came before. If they wanted to build community, they should have begun in the local church. You do not have to move an entire denomination overnight to change the world, you do it the proven conservative and rational way, in small steps at home with people you know. The solution in 1990,1995 or 2000, when these megachurches got their start, was not that complicated.

Yet, that is not the path the leaders and founders of these churches chose. They picked a model that allowed them glory from building something bright and shiny. It was hubris, arrogance and pride that told those 20-something-year-old idealists that they knew better than the centuries of doctrine, procedure, and creeds that proceeded them. A bold statement, but I stand beside it. A lot of harm can come from relying upon oneself to try to do good.

If you want to know why I have written so vigorously about the megachurch, yes it is about what I have seen, things that are easily discernable as fruit from the movement. However, it is also something else. Look to the founding, look to Drucker’s own words concerning his intentions with The Leadership Network. Ask yourself about the thought processes of the young men that started these churches 25 or so years ago – why did they choose the Drucker model instead of putting their heads down and getting to work on the local church? 

I suspect their egos wanted to build something.

First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing, ask what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?

This is all I will say on this issue.

See Also

Sex Abuse in the Megachurch

I have made the extraordinary claim that the megachurch movement is dangerous, so where is my proof?  I have talked about the origins of the bad ideology of the men that founded the organization that has helped almost every single megachurch form. I have talked about the dangers of manipulation and control and of a lack of accountability but what of proofs?  I suggest that the frequency, brazenness, severity and egregious nature of sexual assaults and pedophilia in the megachurch is not run of the mill evil, it exists inside an organization that creates power differences and enables this behavior, by default, not design.

First to the inevitable counter-arguments:

  1. ‘mega’ means big, more people, and people are fallible, so of course, these things should happen more often in mega-churches.
  2. This happens in ‘other’ megachurches, not mine, we have good people
  3. This gets more publicity because it happens in a mega-church

To point #1, I agree, however, the stories below point to something different, not just the statistical variation of events that ought to be expected. Point #2 is naive, many parents that trusted their children to leaders that were later abused thought the same thing. Point #3 is perhaps true, I cannot argue against it, I only have the stories we can see and those are ugly.

I think that these cases of abuse in the megachurch are different precisely because the megachurch is different.  It is based upon communitarianism, it has a language of control, it is designed to create obedience and submission of the individual to the collective and to the leaders of the collective. That sort of combination has proven to almost always be dangerous, throughout history. We could list the examples, but you already know this to be true.  Since history has proven the danger, we can reasonably conclude that there is also a danger in the megachurch.

As I was researching and preparing to begin this series of articles, I watched a lot of megachurch sermons online.  One subject I saw pop up across several churches was sermons on parental authority.  Often these sermons represented parental authority as a pyramid, with more authority over say toddlers, relaxing over time toward the teenage years.  Oddly enough, in the megachurch model, this is precisely the time when the church, through small-groups and small-group leaders begin to exert greater authority. Who one dates, where one wants to go to college, who one calls friends - all are subject to ‘conversations in community’.  These conversations are mechanisms of control.  If the teenager resists and goes their own way in these choices, they are said to have a ‘heart problem’ - another form of control, one that borders on serious error at that, for only God can know what is in another’s heart (Jeremiah 17:9-10, Acts 1:24, 1 Samuel 16:7 and many others)

‘Parent wounds’ is another subject that comes up. Sometimes in sermons in various megachurches that you can find online but more specifically in the context of small-group sessions.  Here tweens and teenagers are encouraged to talk about how their parents have hurt them or disappointed them. I have been told stories of some that simply believe they have nothing to tell being pressured over several sessions to come up with something. This is another form of control and manipulation, all with the outward appearance of helping heal wounds.  It reinforces that authority has passed from the parent to the community - the community and the leaders can help, they can be trusted.

What does this have to do with sexual abuse? Almost everything. Many of the examples of recent abuse occurred between adult pastors and leaders and children and teenagers between 11 and 18 years old. Right about the time the community was telling them that these youngsters have a different authority they need to trust and listen to.

Look, I am not suggesting that this goes on in every megachurch nor that every pastor or leader is out to prey on the vulnerable. I am saying that it does not make a lot of sense to hand one’s children over to a group that will tell your kids to trust the community and its leaders more than any other thing in their lives.  It is dangerous to place a child in an environment where they talk about ‘wounds’, real or imagined, in one on one counseling sessions with a new authority figure.

Psychologists and counselors have known for years the danger of displaced emotions in vulnerable patients and a pastor friend of mine told me horrible stories that lead him to never counsel women alone.  People are weak in such situations, vulnerable and act out or accept things they normally would not. The communitarian nature of the megachurch exacerbates this danger.

So what sort of abuse have we seen? (Search Google for Megachurch Sex Abuse to see a much more complete list)

And the list goes on…

I find the NewSpring cases interesting because I know some people that have attended there as I know the history of the church, after four incidents in three years, NewSpring Church denies responsibility. When I have returned to Powdersville to visit, the NewSpring campus is still full. This despite their former pastor and his board using church money to ensure his book made the New York Times bestseller list, him attempting to rewrite the 10 commandments and finally him having to resign for alcohol abuse.

Continued attendance is a case of cognitive dissonance.  The organization is flawed, far beyond the individual people that acted poorly. The organization selected them, gave them access and accepted them. Changing leadership cannot fix deep foundational flaws. Yet, this is the sort of naivety that persist in many megachurches - blind trust because it is fun, exciting and everyone seems so good.

NewSpring, Willow Creek and Village are unique only because they are mega-megachurches and their pastors figured prominently in the movement. The error of Perry Noble was easier to spot because more people were looking. How many smaller megachurches out there, organizations that were built on the same model from the same organization, have similar problems? Problems not highlighted by high-profile discernment ministry guys keeping an eye on what is going on?

Dangerous? Yes, too much control, too much loyalty to the group, not enough accountability.

See Also:

 

The Age of Entitlement

Rod Dreher posted a piece reviewing The Age of Entitlement, by Christopher Caldwell.  He recommends the book and the dark, foreboding passages he quotes relative to what all this means to the future are things I agree with and write about here. It is a book I plan to soon read.

Dreher argues, “This is why, absent strong political and judicial action to protect individual rights, totalitarian mechanisms — government and private — for demolishing resistance to “civil rights,” as defined by progressives, are inevitable.”

Those words, “absent strong political and judicial action”. Are the words of the entire ‘conservative’ movement in my lifetime.  They are hollow, empty and feckless words in my observation.  They begin from a flawed premise and stand on a weak foundation. The Republic went wrong long before the 1960s and more laws nor court decisions - short of repealing a very large swath of cases - will fix things.

Joe Biden, as Dreher points out, the most moderate of all the Democratic candidates recently had this to say.

Biden

By implication, Biden means to use the full power of the Federal Republic, and the legal positivism it has come to embrace to see this through; your counter-worldview be damned, you be damned if you stand in opposition.

So, what of these strong political and judicial actions that Dreher suggests?  What can stand against the growing zeitgeist of absurdity - ideologies, and theories that deny the individual, deny truth, deny reality and in the end, rely only upon emotion and passion? When the very nature of metaphysical reality that was key to the development of Western Civilization, a Permanent Thing, is not only under attack but more alarmingly not even understood by many, how can politics or law change the direction?

More to the point, for there are many that would argue that legislation and the courts can save the culture.  There is something more fundamental.  How did we come to this?  Did it all really begin with poor implementation of good ideas in the 1960s?  Is the answer just to get back to the real intention of the Civil Rights laws?  Is it just that simple?

“First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing, ask what is it in itself? What is its nature?” 

Perhaps to understand this we need to look beyond just the 1960s

The argument for and against right-reason began again in earnest in the West almost as soon as the Enlightenment began. Following a path from Immanuel Kant all the way down to the German School and eventually Postmodernism of the French School we can trace how good ideas were tainted and bad ideas were born.  Even Locke and Jefferson were polluted in portions of their writing and thought by bad ideas deriving from idealism and the German School. (The Rise of Absurdity in Western Philosophical and Political Views)

The Federalist borrowed some from Locke and much from Hobbes and leaned toward a Neoplatonic worldview in their vision of the American Republic. Thus, by the late 1780s, the seeds of the destruction of the Republic were already sewn. Those are polemic and dangerous words, not something spoken carelessly. It is also something simply not taken seriously by many, it confounds the entire American narrative.  Those objections, however, do not make it less true.

Of course, Federalism decisively won on the battlefield in the 1860s and the pragmatic reality is what we have in terms of government.  Legal positivism paved the way for progressive policies and laws to be implemented. Progressivism built momentum for a sort of community view of society.  This, combined with the emergence of Postmodern theory and philosophy created the era we now live in.

The ‘community’, or community of communities to take the Peter Drucker term for what has become identity politics, feels things about justice.  These feelings are easily implemented into policy, once the community has political power because we already set the stage for totalitarianism in 1861-1877 and followed it up by separating civil law from real justice through legal positivism.

The system, the one that we might call upon for strong political and judicial action was broken asunder long ago.  Taking power, enacting legislation or winning court cases in such a broken system would be flawed from the start - a totalitarianism of its own sort if one accepts that two vastly different worldviews now coexist alongside each other.

Lincoln, to some a conservative hero, set the standard that it is perfectly ok to suspend laws, make war against Americans and subjugate them over differences of opinion.  The Federalist Republic in the 1960s raised the stakes.  He essentially killed an entire opposing view of original intent and our founding. Our entire legal profession accepts, as fact, legal positivism and notions such as the incorporation doctrine.  The die is cast.

The very tools of totalitarianism are built right into the system, they have been growing since the early debates of the 1780s. At the root of it all is flawed ideology stemming from flawed philosophy. Once those that hold to the notion that there is no truth other than what the ‘community’ feels is fair they can implement totalitarianism under the rule of law Americans have allowed to become fact.

There is little left to stand in opposition to this.  Major protestant denominations are falling daily for elements of postmodern thought. The megachurch movement, built upon the notion of giving the community what it wants, will quickly turn to support this totalitarianism. That entire movement is built upon communitarianism, once those churches begin to fall, they will take the rest of authentic, organized Christianity with them.

Essentially this, the culture is lost, and the system of government was corrupted and tuned for future totalitarianism a long time ago.  All the keys and tools are right there for the taking.  There is little that can be done politically to turn the tide and only a few things that might slow it down.