Skip to comments.We Need a Few Good Men in Politics to Light the Way
Posted on 10/26/2013 9:29:25 AM PDT by Kaslin
"What matters?" It's a question Charles Krauthammer, psychiatrist-turned-Pulitzer-winning columnist, asks in the first sentence of his new book, a memoir-ish collection. The book is called "Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics." He explains how the working title for the book had originally been "There's More to Life than Politics" and was going to include just about everything but politics. Naturally, though, a man who "left a life in medicine for a life in journalism devoted mostly to politics" couldn't disengage.
Thanks be to God.
There is, of course, much more to life than politics. But as Krauthammer points out, there is actually no escaping politics. "Politics, the crooked timber of our communal lives, dominates everything," he writes, "because, in the end, everything ... lives or dies by politics. You can have the most advanced and efflorescent of cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away. This is not ancient history. This is Germany 1933."
When we think that we are above politics, that we don't need to get our hands dirty paying attention to who it is we are electing, or to policy and pending decisions, we are shirking a responsibility. Disengagement is dangerous; engagement is our civic duty.
How do you get your politics right? There is a symbiosis between right living and healthy politics. Our politics reflect our individual and community lives. Character matters are political matters.
Cynicism about politics can be seductive, as it is conflict and scandal the media thrives on; it's often the worst of it that we focus on. But politics are necessary. "Politics is," Krauthammer writes, "the moat, the walls, beyond which lie the barbarians. Fail to keep them at bay, and everything burns.
"First and above all else," Krauthammer writes, "you must secure life, liberty and the right to pursue your own happiness." The "glories yielded by ... successful politics lie outside itself. Its deepest purpose is to create the conditions for the cultivation of the finer things, beginning with philosophy and science, and ascending to the ever more delicate and refined arts."
The alternatives, he says, are "deranged Stalinist politics" in North Korea, creating "a land of stunning desolation and ugliness, both spiritual and material." Or "Taliban Afghanistan, which, just months before 9/11, marched its cadres into the Bamiyan Valley and with tanks, artillery and dynamite destroyed its magnificent cliff-carved 1,700-year-old Buddhas lest they -- like kite flying and music and other things lovely -- disturb the scorched-earth purity of their nihilism."
One beautiful Saturday this October, 15 men at St. Mary's Cathedral in Fall River, Mass., were ordained as permanent deacons in the Catholic Church. They serve as heralds of the Gospel, commissioned to "Believe what you read, teach what you believe, practice what you teach." Later that day, I was present as Deacon Tim delivered his first homily, at his parish church of St. Stanislas. He echoed Pope Francis, who echoes the Gospel, in encouraging those in the congregation to come to know and trust God and His infinite mercy. Faith, he said, is trusting enough to change your life.
Heaven knows the world could use both mercy and justice, with confidence in the truth.
We have a choice. Do we seek and encourage the good -- in our lives and, yes, in our politics? These things -- our lives, our ethics, the quality of our enterprises, our dedication to stewardship of the gifts we have been given and men have died to protect -- are intimately related. We're free to disengage, but it's really not a moral option.
"Campaigns and elections ... personalities and peccadilloes (are) things that come and go," Krauthammer writes. "Partisan contention that characterizes the daily life of a democracy -- the tentative, incremental, ever-improvised" are political realities. But what are they informed by? What are we arguing about? What are we fighting for? What are we working toward? Who are we? Who do we live for? These are things that matter. Politics without conscience and conscious abandonment of politics are recipes for civilizational disaster. Politics aren't everything, but they are inescapable. Wise engagement makes all the difference. Men of faithful dedication, living lives of discernment, light the path in communities and in the halls of power. We know the alternatives, and that's not a choice we can live with.
I’m no longer certain just voting can save this place but we’d damn well better try. The alternative will be quite grim, whatever the outcome!
All Politics is Local!
That is my fear also. That is why I tried so hard trying to convince that King Obama and his empire is determined to have us live under communism. He will be America's first dictator and almost as cruel as Hitler was. Romney was our only chance to slow this conversion down or maybe stop it. Romney was not perfect but he believed in a Constitutional America is our salvation.
Almost as cruel as Hitler? Our promotion of abortion in this country, and our export of it, has killed exponentially more people than Hitler could have.
The democrat party is the party of abortion. Obama is the king of abortion. He fought, in Illinois, as just about the only thing he did there, and won, the prevention to partial birth abortion.
He is the most pro abortion politician ever to hold office, and it will only increase.
The CDC reports 53 million (that’s 53,000,000) reported surgical abortions just in this country, since it was legalized. It’s about a million and a half innocent people killed every year by surgical abortions.
363.6 million newly created human beings have been aborted through the use of contraceptive drugs [since use began]
THis is from Lifesite News, April 2013:Dr. Bogomir Kuhar, a clinical and consultant pharmacist, estimated in 1996 that the total number of newly created human beings destroyed in the U.S. annually since 1973 by the use of oral contraceptives (the pill), contraceptive injections (Depo-Provera), contraceptive implants under the skin (Norplant), contraceptive devices inserted in the reproductive organs (IUD), ranged conservatively between 6.5 million and 11.6 million. Averaging this number and multiplying by the number of years between 1973 and now, a mind boggling 363.6 million newly created human beings have been aborted through the use of contraceptive drugs
Christianity is in the cross-hairs.....Those of us opposing Obama/Democrats are now termed "domestic terrorists," traitors, KKK'ers, etc.
In these dark days in which the power of secular fundamentalism appears to be on the rise and in which religious freedom seems to be imperiled.......we need to start acknowledging the war is not between Republicans and Democrats --- this is a battle between believers, Christians, and non-believers. This fight needs a leader with the courage of a long-ago visionary---who sees the connection between the secular and the spiritual. Read on.
PBS.ORG From persecuted minority to official imperial religion - what caused this extraordinary reversal for Christianity?
BY Shaye I.D. Cohen---Samuel Ungerleider Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of Religious Studies Brown University
CONSTANTINE'S CHRISTIANITY ---THE PATH TO VICTORYThe triumph of Christianity is actually a very remarkable historical phenomenon. ... We begin with a small group from the backwaters of the Roman Empire and after two, three centuries go by, lo and behold that same group and its descendants have somehow taken over the Roman Empire and have become the official religion, in fact the only tolerated religion, of the Roman Empire by the end of the 4th century. That is a truly remarkable development, and a monumental historical problem, trying to understand how this happened. Of course, pious Christians have no doubt about how or why it happened: "This is the hand of God working in history." And the Christians of antiquity already made this very point; the fact that Christianity triumphed is proof of its truth.
For historians, that answer, while maybe correct on one level, on another level it is not entirely satisfactory. We historians would like to find other explanations for the triumph of Christianity and indeed, ever since Gibbon wrote his famous history, historians have been trying to understand what it was exactly that pushed Christianity to the top. I can't fully answer that question myself, but we can clearly identify various stages on the path of Christianity to its ultimate victory. ...
The powerful Romans tried to beat down Christianity but failed. By the fourth century Christianity becomes the state religion and by the end of the fourth century it is illegal to do any form of public worship other than Christianity in the entire Roman Empire. There is a great mystery in how this happened -- how such an extraordinary reversal, that begins with Jesus who is executed by the Romans as a public criminal, as a threat to the social order, and somehow we wind up three centuries later with Jesus being hailed as a God, as part of the one, true God who is the God of the new Christian Roman Empire.
There is a remarkable progress, a remarkable development in the course of three centuries. ... It's hard to understand exactly how it happened or why it happened, but it is important to realize that we have a progression and a set of developments, and that Christianity by the fourth century is not the same as the Christianity that we see in the first or even the second.
One of the most surprising Christian heroes in the entire tradition, I think, is Constantine. He is, first of all, a successful general. He is also the son of a successful general and at the head of the army at the West. And he's fighting another successful general, struggling for who is going to be at the top of the heap of the very higher echelons of Roman government.
What happens is that Constantine has a vision. Luckily for the Church, there's a bishop nearby to interpret what the vision means. Constantine ends not converting, technically, to Christianity, but becoming a patron of one particular branch of the church. It happens to be the branch of the church that has the Old Testament as well as the New Testament as part of its canon.
Which means that since this branch of Christianity includes the story about historical Israel as part of its own redemptive history, it has an entire language for articulating the relationship of government and piety. It has the model of King David. It has the model of the kings of Israel. And it's with this governmental model that the bishop explains the vision to Constantine.
In a sense Constantine becomes the embodiment of the righteous king. And once he consolidates his power by conquering, eventually, not only the West, but also the Greek East where there are many more Christians [who are] concentrated in the cities, which are the social power packets of this culture, [he] is in this amazing position of having a theology of government that he can use to consolidate his own secular power. And it works both ways. The bishops now have basically federal funding to have sponsored committee meetings so they can try to iron out creeds and get everybody to sign up.
SNIP--More at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/why/legitimization.html
This is intended as a political/secular/religious impetus.
“Politics without conscience and conscious abandonment of politics are recipes for civilizational disaster.”
Spoken like a dyed in the wool statist. So his implicit assumption then is that people cannot lead themselves peaceably, they must be politically involved and volunteer their best services to the ever benevolent state who will rule with wisdom and justice.
Charles Krauthammer, you are completely full of s***.
“Im no longer certain just voting can save this place but wed damn well better try.”
I actually am certain: one or a few individuals voting won’t change a thing. More robust numbers of people voting might be able to slow things down a bit here and there, but it’s a suckers game in the long run.
Once the dance has been decided on, all that remains is the choreography.
A listing of some of his conversations, books, and articles can be found here.
Thanks for the link. I happen to disagree with Michael Novak as well, but since he is a more thoughtful person and less of a bootlicker for the status quo, I accord him a higher level of deference and respect.
From an interview of his:
“Mr. Novak: Well, if we dont pay attention to it, government just takes more power. The things governments do is take money and take power. Government always thinks its doing good with what its taken from us and so it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. It intrudes by telling you to wear a seat belt, where you can smoke a cigarette, what toys to use in a crib. It affects everything you do day to day. There may be some people who like the government as a nanny making sure we dont hurt ourselves with anything; but it just gets bigger and bigger, more intrusive, more expensive and becomes even more corrupt.”
Fair enough. So how do you counter it? The vote is an impotent and useless tool in my view. Sort of like trying to hold off the mongol hordes while armed with a carrot.
The attitude of the current growers of government power should remind us of the danger of so-called political leaders who, in their arrogance, and following an unbending ideology, ignore our Constitution, plunging America backward into Old World darkness and oppression.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C. S. Lewis
We already have a few great women in politics, but evidently that isn’t good enough!
Thanks for the CS Lewis quote. I’m familiar with it. I tend to favor the quote in George Orwell’s ‘1984’ regarding power and the desire for it:
Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.