Sunday, November 06, 2016

Everybody, Take a Holiday

Unless the political process degenerates even further (and we certainly can’t rule that out given the revelations of the last few days), by Tuesday we MAY have some idea who will serve as the next president of the United States.

Many commentators have expressed concern that even if, against all odds, Donald Trump should somehow win the presidency, he will be unable to deliver on the numerous promises he has made on the campaign trail — the “big, beautiful wall” comes to mind — because even if the House and Senate retain Republican majorities (which is by no means guaranteed), neither legislative branch will agree to forward a Trump agenda.

To which I reply, “Uh ... so what?”

A Finger in Every Possible Pie

We have just lived through eight years of epic government interference: in the economy, in health care and in statecraft. The NSA, the IRS and legions of faceless bureaucrats have been shamelessly weaponized against ordinary Americans. The southern U.S. border is a joke. Even school lunches took a hit. The Powers That Be have fiddled with absolutely everything they could get their hands on, poked a pointy finger into every possible pie, and have further intimated that if the U.S. is subjected to even one term under Team Clinton, we are to expect more of the same.

Much more.

So ask yourself this question: How bad could it be if for four years, nothing else was actively made worse?

Sclerosis of the Nation

Imagine with me four full years of complete sclerosis in Washington. No new laws passed. Total legislative paralysis. And suppose further that, unlike the current chief executive, President Trump declines to rule by fiat and impose his will on the nation unilaterally (a scenario most may find unlikely), and exercises his right to veto any stray unproductive bill that does happen to scurry across his desk in need of a signature.

Suppose the great machine of government grinds to a screeching halt until the next scheduled election. How bad could it be?

Whatever natural atrophy might occur in the affairs of state, it would surely be offset by an end to ignorant meddling, by the inability of corporate lobbies and special interests to successfully achieve their goals through their bought-and-paid-for elected representatives, and not least by the number of lives saved when no new wars are declared or fought.

I’m thinking I could live with that.

Putting the Brakes On

Interestingly, one of God’s intended purposes in gifting us with human government turns out to be something of which we see very little today: restraint. We have this truth in Jehovah’s own words:
“When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, ‘Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.’ ”
I quote the ESV here not just because it’s a personal favourite, but because it’s the only version I can find that translates the Hebrew word `atsar with the English word “restrain”. Most other translations use “reign”, “rule” or “govern”. And yet “restrain” is the better translation in this instance.

The word occurs first in Genesis, where Sarah says God has “restrained” or “prevented” her from bearing children. Three times in Numbers we read that a plague was “stayed” or “restrained”. Same word. Elsewhere, Strong’s renders `atsar with English words like “stop” and “halt”.

Saul was chosen to put the brakes on Israel.

Time Out on Hare-Brained Notions

One (though not the only) purpose of human government is to put the brakes on the sorts of hare-brained ideas great masses of humanity are inclined to embrace on their own. In time, given legal teeth, such notions consume nations, and are showing evidences of devouring Europe as these words are written.

Mass hare-brainery afflicted the people of God in the Old Testament over and over again. “Leave us alone. Let us go on serving the Egyptians.” “Make us gods who will go before us.” “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” “Give us a king to lead us.” There are dozens more. Great suggestions. Winners, every one of them.

Ideas desperately in need of restraint, and ideas that rarely encountered it.

Frankly, many of our modern, “enlightened” notions could do with a few years’ hiatus from their death-grip on the public consciousness: Feminism. Socialism. Legislated equality. Multiculturalism. Globalism. Political correctness. The welfare state. American exceptionalism. Gender fluidity. Go on, insert your least favourite “ism” here. It might be a long list. With very few exceptions, these ideas have bubbled up from the masses, invariably requiring some kind of response from government.

And that response is almost always a bad one in the long run.

Circling the Drain

A time-out is not a cure, of course. Such ideas would continue to float around in the broader culture. But without new laws to mandate their across-the-board imposition on the American public, the long-term social havoc they cause would be significantly reduced.

I’m dreaming, of course. The death-spiral into which Western civilization seems to have locked itself will likely continue apace. Perhaps a President Trump would consciously or inadvertently accelerate it, though it’s hard to imagine how the situation could possibly improve under a second President Clinton.

But doesn’t a four year holiday from the relentless decline of what used to be a pretty decent country have a certain appeal?

Something to pray for, perhaps.

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