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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Bringin’ the Crazy

I’m watching a bunch of crazy people. Or at least they’re acting that way.

YouTube is full of videos of disappointed young liberals screeching out their rage and fear at the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency. Mainstream media outlets run pictures of crowds carrying signs that read, “If you don’t REVOLT, you can’t complain”, “Not my president” and “I’m afraid for my country”.

I’m reminded of the proverb that says, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I won’t insist that “wicked” is the most appropriate characterization of every college-age Lefty currently triggered by the discovery that the fruit of democracy is not to his/her taste — but it certainly applies when protests turn into riots, or when innocent citizens are injured and their property damaged. Let’s hope we don’t see more of it.

But the principle in the proverb rings true: righteousness has a certain confidence about it, while wickedness is cowardly by nature. Righteousness stands on its own. Wickedness needs bucketloads of moral support, safe spaces and reinforcement of the narrative in order to cope with reality. The righteous may be as solitary as Abraham, Moses or Elijah, but wickedness always seeks the illusory strength of numbers. It travels in packs; the larger the better.

Anti-Whatever

Many of the fears currently being expressed by protesters are bizarre, repeated mindlessly from Hillary’s election talking points or concocted whole cloth by the media. One group actually staged an anti-war rally outside a Trump-owned hotel, oblivious to the irony that their own failed candidate was the one relentlessly poking the Russian bear for the last two months. In reality (to date at least), Donald Trump has shown zero interest in neocon warmongering or Obama-esque meddling, indicating only that he intends to deal aggressively with ISIS, a problem few on the Left refuse to acknowledge. Far from hurling threats and accusations at Vladimir Putin, Trump seems to view him as a potential ally.

But why deal in facts? Facts roll off obdurate progressives like wet stuff off waterfowl.

Mob Rules

My daughter passes on stories of Internet acquaintances of color who are threatening to drop out of U.S. colleges for fear of encountering mobs of angry caucasians. And yeah, I’m seeing lots of mobs in the news, but so far none of the “far-right racist loons” the media keeps warning us about — unless you want to count this middle-aged white man [language warning] beaten by a duo of angry blacks for the crime of voting Trump.

Unreasoning fear is dangerous. Rioting over things that haven’t actually happened yet is bad not just because riots cause damage while doing nothing to address the original problem, but because if the thing feared turns out to be unreal, all the carnage is to no purpose.

Investing in Futures

Fear of hypothetical future loss often leads to imprudent responses that injure us or others. Climate change extremists, for instance, have driven American policy changes that actively hurt people in the third world in the here-and-now by repurposing fields formerly devoted to feedstocks for the production of corn ethanol. Imagine if their doomsday scenario turns out to be a miscalculation? Millions of people may starve to death for absolutely nothing. Likewise, people obsessed with their own mortality often make so many bad choices that they ruin the time they do have left. Pointless and sad.

Perhaps the greatest danger of allowing fearful speculations to drive our behavior is their tendency to become self-fulfilling. A man who fears his wife is unfaithful may unwittingly create so much emotional distance between them that he effectively drives her away, which is a shame if he’s wrong. A factory employee who lets layoff rumors affect his productivity may well end up sealing his own fate. And of course groundless fear found its apogee in the Heaven’s Gate cult mass suicide fifteen years ago, when 39 people died fearing the end of the world was coming. Talk about self-defeating: confronting the fear of death by ... dying faster.

Bad Things That Really Happen

But what if the thing we fear turns out to be real? Sometimes bad things we anticipate with dread really do happen. Maybe the woman who submits to her husband out of reverence for Christ finds that hubby makes bad choices that affect her life in very serious ways. Maybe that layoff rumor WAS real, and there aren’t any jobs available in your field of work. Maybe that persistent headache really IS cancer. It happens.

Being Christian doesn’t make us immune to the experience of fear, legitimate or otherwise. But it gives us reason to conquer it. Fear is a choice: not the feeling itself, of course, but the blind, unreasoning and frequently destructive reactions that panic produces. Over and over again the scripture assures us that the believer has a place of resort in times of legitimate terror that is unavailable to those who do not know God:
All these verses imply that while the impulse to feel afraid is universal, remaining afraid is very much voluntary, and it is not a wise move.

Casting ALL Anxieties

If these verses sound like religious clichĂ©s you might more commonly encounter in cross-stitches on the walls of maiden aunts, bear in mind that there are hundreds more all throughout the word of God. The principle of casting ALL our anxieties on the One who cares for us applies whatever those fears may be. That means not just the fear of nuclear war, painful chronic diseases or violence in the streets, but the fear of rejection, fear of missing out, fear of losing face, fear of failing to make the mortgage this month, fear of being unloved, fear of being found out — ordinary, everyday concerns about things that happen a great deal more often than one’s family home being stormed by off-the-leash Trumpentroopers looking for illegal children to deport.

Here’s the biggest irony: The thing most likely to bring about the kind of America most feared by the Left is … fear.

On both sides.

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