Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Bait Lies Before You Now. Do Not Take It. | Blog & Mablog


Either we are being ruled by a cabal of incompetents, whose twaddlesome deficiencies rise to near criminal levels, or we are being ruled by criminals, whose master plan is to continue to poke the American bear with a short stick in hopes of getting a reaction that would justify a severe crack-down, or it is a combination of the two, with all of the culprits, both smart and dumb, in a flop sweat panic over the prospect of Donald Trump getting elected again and sending about two thirds of them to the Big House after a series of speedy and fair trials. My money is on some variation of the third option. And note that my money is not on Trump getting elected . . . it is on the current flop sweat over the mere prospect.

We live in demented times. This is a time when progressives burning down a city is considered free speech, and conservatives expressing an opinion is considered violence. We live in a time, as Thomas Sowell has pointed out, when everybody is being held accountable for what none of them did, and nobody is being held accountable for what they themselves do. We live in a time when absolutely everybody gets to choose their own pronouns, except for God. “And God spake from the cloud to Moses, saying unto him, ‘I am Yahweh, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. My pronouns are He, Him.'”

Now I trust that this . . . this rant, this screed, this jeremiad, this censure, this diatribe . . . will have its intended soothing effect. I hope that it will help you to calm the heck down. May it enable you to do those breathing exercises you learned back in that birthing class with your wife, and calm way the heck down. I pray that it will help you to do what needs to be done this coming November, with your heart bound up with the high-tensile cables of steely resolve, but with your outward activities looking as serene and mollified as all get out, and betraying no inclination to sudden movements. As you go to vote, just imagine yourself getting out of your car at the request of an irritated state trooper who has ingested way too much caffeine that morning. Having checked your papers, he will then let you go vote, provided you can touch your nose with your finger, and provided you do it slowly. And also provided that you promise that your vote will strike a much needed blow against white supremacy.

A Long Train of Abuses

Why might some of you folks want to take the bait? A long train of abuses, that is why. That phrase, incidentally, comes from the Declaration, a document that itemizes the sins of George III but in a way that makes us realize that old George was actually a piker compared to what we have to deal with. “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object . . .”

Just to protect you and your feelings, apparently from phrases like that, the National Archives has put a “harmful language” alert over their collection of certain documents, their collection which houses the aforesaid Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. I have already unfortunately used the word twaddlesome, and so I am limited to pointing out that when this rebarbative fact was first publicized and brought into the light of day, the counterclaim was made that the warning only applied to that entire collection of documents, and did not refer to any specific document therein. Okay, we cheerfully respond. What are your “harmful language” criteria, and do any of them actually apply to these documents? Is it “harmful language” to claim that government officials might ever, under any circumstances, perpetuate a long train of abuses? Perhaps it was the adjective long that pushed it across the line into hurtful territory?

But I got distracted. What long train of abuses was it this time? What are we dealing with now? What have our scamps—whether federal, state, or local—been up to?

Waco. Ruby Ridge. Lois Lerner. Russian collusion hoax. Refusal to accept the results of the 2016 election. Hillary’s server. FBI spying on a presidential candidate before, during and after the election. Hunter’s laptop. Prohibitions of hymn singing in church. Un-prosecuted statue toppling. The canonization of the unfortunate George Floyd. Abruptly changing election rules on the eve of elections. 2000 mules. Massive lockdowns. Masking orders. Arrests for psalm singing outdoors. Naked censorship across all Big Tech platforms. Naked censorship by these entities at the behest of gummint. High disdain for the value of free speech. Gagging of medical experts. Unbridled contempt for religious liberty. Prosecution for protesting the psalm-singing arrests with stickers. Fiery but mostly peaceful riots. Unconscionable treatment of J6 protesters. Refusal to release J6 Capitol surveillance tapes. Mar a Lago raid. Objecting to tyranny defined as whiteness. And the current resident denouncing his political opponents as enemies of democracy in front of a crimson set with a couple of Marines standing there like they were still defending a free country or something, and the president looking for all the world like a cartoon fascist leader in a fever dream.

Had we the time, this list could be a lot longer.

And lest somebody say that I am being paranoid, inflating the importance of some of these issues and incidents, let me just say one crucial thing about it. The issue is not the amount of inconvenience or cost, but rather the high-handedness of the illegalities. If the president announced, on his own authority, out in the Rose Garden with the sun shining down on him, a surtax of an extra nickel on every American citizen who pays income taxes already, whatever the issue was, it wouldn’t be the nickel. If the legislature of Connecticut levied a tax on income I earned in Idaho, the issue wouldn’t be the amount. The amount might be trivial, but the issue at stake wouldn’t be trivial. And so citizens who don’t understand that their freedom rides on making these distinctions will not have their freedom for very long. But it all works out, because they would not really be worthy of that freedom any longer either.

So the issue is the open contempt for our constitutional order that is currently being displayed. It is being displayed with such effrontery that one starts to suspect that somebody is trying to get somebody to take the bait. So . . . don’t take the bait.

Do Not Take the Bait

I have ventured to make this point before. Do not take the bait. The people running this clown show would like nothing better than for some exasperated citizens somewhere to do something violent, stupid, counterproductive, or all three. How much mileage have they gotten out of the disorderly mess of J6? You want to give them more mileage? You think they need something else to flog to death?

If anyone on our side were to set up some optics that were 1/100th as bad as what the president did the other night, the media bloodhounds would chase him to the levee and back, like he was some exhausted right-wing racoon. When the president does something as atrocious as what he actually did, that same media will carry him to that same levee and back. You call this unfair? Of course it is unfair. They are your enemy, and are not going to fight your battles for you. Stop whining.

And, more to the point, stop giving them material. When you go to the country courthouse to register to vote, do not do it with an AR-15 slung over your shoulder, even if it is legal in your state to do so. And don’t mistake me, it ought to be legal in your state, and you have the right to register to vote that way. One of your sacred freedoms is the right to be an idiot. But between now and November, you actually ought to be doing your best Quaker imitation.

It is time to vote out every last Democrat, the likes of Machin and Sinema included, and when that is accomplished, and the broom put away, we can start talking openly again. Show us your AR-15 at that time, and we will admire it then.

How to Pray for the Midterms

The bad news about all of this is that the entirety of our situation, however wretched it might be, is way better than we deserve.

Has a people ever been given so much freedom, structure, and abundance, and squandered so much of it, in a spirit of reckless ingratitude? Americans have made the prodigal son look like Dave Ramsey. Has anybody ever squandered and thrown away so much? This is a preacher’s rhetorical question, in case you were wondering, and the answer to the question is no.

You can’t vote your way out of something that you sinned your way into.

And so the answer to what ails us will not be found in election returns. You can’t vote your way out of something that you sinned your way into. Now it is not that the election doesn’t matter, because it does, but we have to understand the way in which it matters.

Paul puts it this way:

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

1 Timothy 2:1–4 (KJV)

As Paul stood before Agrippa, it is right and proper for us to interact with, preach to, and pray for, kings.

“Princes also did sit and speak against me: But thy servant did meditate in thy statutes . . . I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.”

Ps. 119:23,46 (KJV)

So we are given very specific instructions in this regard. Paul instructs us to pray for kings and all those in authority, which would seem to include presidents and any congressmen elected in, say, a midterm election. He does this because he wants us to be praying in the direction of “quiet and peaceable lives.” And the reason that this is to be desired is that God wants all manner of people to be saved. He wants evangelism to go forward, and quiet and peaceable conditions are the ideal circumstance for that.

But what “whoever-is-pulling-the-Biden-strings” these days is doing is fomenting the opposite of quiet and peaceable lives. The game plan, for some reason, is civic turmoil. This is sometimes deliberate, sometimes incompetence, but always pursuing invariably the same object, which is your enslavement. Some of their drivers are intelligent, and others are maladroit, but we are all still locked in the back of the van, and the road is always the road to serfdom. Even their bad drivers know enough to stay on that road.

Christians therefore have a duty to pray that the results of the next two elections would result in a reset to normal. We need blue MANA hats. Make America Normal Again. Now this can be easily misunderstood, and twice as easily misconstrued and misrepresented, so let me make just a couple of crucial points about it.

There are two things this does not mean, and it is critical that we understand what it does NOT mean. I have just said that Christians have a duty to pray that the faction currently in power is routed, humiliated, and scattered like chaff in a fiery tornado. What does this NOT mean?

First, it does not mean that the status quo ante state of normal was godly, or holy, or righteous, or heaven-bound. It just means that it is what we are instructed to pray for—because God wants our evangelism to flourish. The first years of Nero’s reign were way better than his frenzied persecution of the church after the great fire of Rome. Now it was not a godly order in either period, but the Christians were told to prefer the first, and to persevere through the second. Christians are prohibited from thinking that during Nero’s stable years, the first five or so, the kingdom had somehow arrived. Such times of stability are to be used by us as we labor toward our ultimate goal, and do not in fact represent the achievement of our goal.

And this leads to the other thing this does not mean. Praying for quiet and peace for the church does not mean that we think we actually used the last  period of peace as effectively in the work of evangelism as we ought to have done. It is pretty evident by this point that we did not. So we should seek this as an intermediate end, a means to a larger and more glorious end, and we must do this without getting distracted by whatever personal peace and affluence we gain in the time of that intermediate relief. As we learn from The Pilgrim’s Progress, there is an arbor part way up Hill Difficulty, and we may use it—but we may not go to sleep there.

But sometimes we derive our supposed duties from our observation of this particular temptation, and conclude that we should actually pray that the church should go through a refining persecution. Tertullian observed long ago that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church. Persecution breaks out, and it certainly clears out the dead wood. Men who joined the church because of good opportunities to network their business options suddenly decide that things are too hot for them. And so God does use times of difficulty to refine His church—but that is His prerogative. We may not pray for that. We are instructed to pray and labor for peace, so that we may do our kingdom work.

So pray that the Left consider the elections of 2022 as a major disaster for them. Work for it to be a major disaster for them. If God answers our prayers, and some measure of stability returns, we will only demonstrate our repentance by using that time of stability as an opportunity for unparalleled zeal in kingdom work. But if God does not answer our prayers, and the Left remains in a position to continue to churn out the cultural turmoil of clown world, then this means that God has decided to refine us the hard way.

Hard for us, I mean. Not for Him.