Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Quote of the Day (48)

Cultures do not suddenly plummet into the abyss for no reason. Yes, corrupt and self-serving leadership plays its part, and we have seen plenty of that in the last few decades. Still, assuming democracy is indeed the least-worst governmental option, and assuming it works as claimed to any degree at all, we have to look beyond leadership to explain how we have gotten into our current mess.

The man on the street has to be called to account.

Joe, and Average Joe

The Trump-Biden debate a few weeks back was almost unwatchable for a variety of reasons, not least that November’s America is obliged to choose between a cartoon and a corpse. Pollsters quickly determined that 67% of Americans thought Trump “won”. Astonishingly, a full 33% of Americans claimed to find Biden’s performance more convincing. A further 10-15% will probably vote for him despite being fully capable of observing that he cannot complete an English sentence without an aide whispering in his ear.

As bad as the last four years have been for the Republic, it appears almost half of Americans want more of the same.

The culpability of the average Joe in his own undoing has been somewhat of an ongoing theme at ComingUntrue. In 2014’s “Do We Get the Leaders We Deserve?”, I addressed the question directly, answering with a cautious “yes”. 2016’s “Anointing a Bramble” considered the dangers of getting behind men who aspire to lead others. In 2018’s “Noble Man, Noble Plan”, I again mulled over the relationship of leaders to led. In 2020’s “Stricken Sheep”, I pointed out that national judgment in the Old Testament was rarely an exclusive product of elite misbehavior. The “sheep” (as David called Israel) were enthusiastically complicit in their own corruption and degradation. Finally, a 2023 instalment of Mining the Minors on the prophecy of Zephaniah explained why top-down reform never works. Even the millennial reign of Christ will not go uncontested.

Not Just the System

A recent posting from the Simplicius substack eloquently confirms my concerns:

“One of the simplistic ideals we’ve adopted in the heat of struggle is that the government is solely the problem, and that as long as we can uproot the worst of the klepto- and kakistocrats — those entrenched deepstate fungi wracking the nation’s liverspotted trunk — the country will be freed, to blossom anew like a springtime meadow. The ‘System’ as culprit: always the same faceless, nameless System, or its shadow twin of ‘the Man’ — as long as we can dethrone them, victory is guaranteed, and America will be free.

But in those hallucinatory throes we ignore the increasingly larger plight: it’s not just the system that is rotten, it is society itself.

For many decades the elites have pitted us against each other to deflect our rage from its rightful target. But even recognizing this, the fact remains that this longstanding culture-destruction has warped society into such a toxic swirling drain that even defeating the Leviathan would not cure our ills, nor hasten any form of social restitution. The problem is not just the red herring of ‘evil government’, but that culture is intrinsically tied with governance by the link of civic virtue — and civic virtue has died because our culture has been poisoned beyond rehabilitation. Even if you were to clear the slate of techno- and bureaucracy you’d be left with the stupefied degenerate masses too gormless to be ruled justly and virtuously.”

Come, Lord Jesus

I often hear Western Christians write or say something to the effect that the decline of our civilization signals the second coming of the Lord Jesus, as if all we have to do is hang in for a few more days, months or years, and all will be well. Christians in other disintegrating societies over the last two millennia probably thought something similar, and all were eventually proved wrong to the great annoyance of their children, who had no alternative but to try to make the best of the decline and fall.

If we are going to be biblicists rather than solipsists, we have to concede that the return of our Lord Jesus to this world is all tied up with the fate of Israel, not that of the US or Canada, which are surpassingly difficult to find in the pages of prophetic scripture. If we — and that’s a national “we”, not a personal “we” — come into it at all, it is only to the extent that we stand with or against repentant Israel during its time of trial. Neither position is likely to end well for Western nations, at least from the perspective of this life. Personally, I expect to have no particular investment in that outcome: I’ll be looking over the Lord’s shoulder from behind as he stands on the Mount of Olives, then goes out to rout his enemies.

If that glorious event takes place in the next couple of decades, which it may, then those Christians who shrug their shoulders in November and don’t even bother to vote may prove themselves sages. I can’t claim their confidence, though I’m not sure how much difference a vote makes in a degenerate system in any case.

What I am clear on is this: changing leadership is not going to change a nation full of corrupted hearts. Maybe we need to get working a little harder on that.

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