Monday, February 29, 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

The real constitution

In keeping with my theory that a popular revolution is more likely than top-down tyranny to transform the nation, I think the simple fact of Donald Trump’s support is more important than his (potentially) being president. The man he is—a troll, a blabber mouth, and a big government paternalist—has less real impact than who his supporters think he is, a reflection of the character of the body politic. Bad leaders come and go. The people are the real constitution and they determine the country’s direction.

Two main forces animate Trump supporters:

  1. They are sick of having the progressive agenda forced down their throats.
  2. They are sick of the Constitution/rule of law standing in the way of achieving their goals.

Call the Trump idolatry post-democratic conservatism, a defensive reaction to post-democratic liberalism, or progressivism. (Charles Murray has the best take on this.)

The lie and its bearers have no interest in sharing the country with half its people, or tolerating truth to disrupt their totalitarian reordering of nature. That’s what calling people who disagree with you bigots means. Trump’s rise indicates said “bigots” will not play by the rules of civility to resist them. If these be the two dominant political forces in America, hostile divorce or civil war are then the logical outcomes.

It remains true as ever that voting is like 1 percent of democracy. The majority of democracy is living out your principles in the mundane stretches of ordinary life, in the broad valleys between the peaks. That’s a more effective argument than a well-written essay by a stranger.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The inner and the outer

Can a man hold fire against his chest without burning his clothes? Can a man walk on hot coals without scorching his feet? (Proverbs 6:27-28)

Let’s dispel notions that the inner life has no effect on the outer. You cannot court sin and keep it at arm’s length. You dance with the devil and pretend all you’re doing is thinking, while you dubiously hold the members of your body in check with strength of mind and willpower and inborn virtue. We all know thoughts are the foundation of action, and actions have justification in thought. Thoughts, good or bad, are the foundation of your relationship with God and your relationship with people.

This is why secular sin-avoidance is not an acceptable form of communion. The inner life determines the outer life. We’ve gotten used to saying what we do in private is not anyone’s business on the assumption these areas of our life are distinct. Real people, though, aren’t submarines, which have watertight doors to stave off flooding from one compartment to the next. Corruption spreads from the inner to the outer with disregard for such false, intellectual separation.

So let’s think and conduct ourselves in private like the people who we want to look like before the world.