Monday, May 4, 2009

Faith Of Our Fathers

Is The Faith Of Our Fathers Not Ours?

On his recent trip to Europe, Barack Obama boasted to Turkish President Abdullah Gul that “one of the great strengths of the United States [is that ] …we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens.”

For Obama, speaking for all of us in the Jacobin language of the French Revolution, Americans are merely creatures of the state. But is he right? Enter Dr. John Howard, decorated veteran of World War II, longtime college president, and one of the first American cultural critics who rallied to defend the family as a key to the survival of a free society when the traditional, natural family first came under attack over thirty years ago.

The enemies of the family have mounted a second front attacking Christianity, an attack in which Obama serves as a powerful adjutant. To dispel Obama’s pathetic obituary of a Christian America, Dr. Howard has responded with an important book whose title is as clear and forthright as its author: Christianity: Lifeblood of America’s Free Society (1620-1945) [Summit Press: (719) 685-9103, With a keen eye for the golden thread that binds our freedoms, Dr. Howard illuminates the Christian preambles that are indispensable to American liberty. From the first words of the Mayflower Compact – “In the Name of God. Amen,” America has been a religious nation, a fact confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1892. And whatever religious faith that individual Americans might profess, it is Christianity that supplied the vital traditions, principles, and “Self-Evident Truths” without which we would be not only a nation of mere citizens, but a nation of sheep.

Dr. Howard’s little gem offers a clear and concise roadmap of our liberties since Plymouth Rock. It reflects years of wisdom and research, unearthing countless pearls of Christian wisdom long ignored by secular historians. The frosting on the cake are the wonderful quotes from each period that Dr. Howard has assembled at the end of each chapter. It is a bright light in a dark landscape, and is an especially commendable resource for home-schooling families.

Ruminations Amidst the Ruins

As the country sinks into a socialist swoon, liberal commentators are having a field day laughing at Republicans. The party is in disarray, its is floundering, it is hypocritical, it is bereft of principles, it is bereft of leaders and leadership – in brief, it is in ruins. Their conclusion? Obama gets to do whatever he wants.

Now the liberals have good reason to distract us from their malevolent crowd behind the curtain. Their two most prominent governors have been forced from office for malfeasance. The scandals in the Obama Administration are quickly acquiring Clintonian proportions, with a cavalier attitude (“We don’t have to pay taxes because we’re raising yours!”) as brazen as that of an entrenched tinhorn dictator. Moreover, Obama has betrayed millions of his antiwar supporters without whom he would never have been nominated, much less elected. And, lest we forget, he has betrayed those credulous Catholics who thought (or pretended to think) that he really meant it when he said he wanted to reduce abortions.

Obama’s approach is matter-of-fact: the unborn cannot vote. The aborted never will. But his Peanut Gallery nonetheless realizes that the best defense is a good offense, so they raise the cry defending his spending against his Republican critics: “So’s yer old man!”

Long ago, when clocks had hands and went “tick-tock,” we had a saying: “Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” And once in a blue moon (that was another oldie but goodie), the liberals, whose clock stopped long ago in the mire of smug collectivism, stumble onto truth. And right now, unfortunately, they are correct about the GOP.

This liberal epiphany should not surprise us. For centuries, the method of leftism has been the “total critique” – the destruction (these days termed “deconstruction”) of history, tradition, and truth under the withering fire of ideological scrutiny. Karl Marx was a hopeless ideologue, to be sure, but he also rendered brilliant sociological observations (his description of society as a beehive in Das Kapital is a revelatory case in point). Liberals are often very good at moralizing. It’s the morals that fail them.

So it is painful for conservatives to watch the Left mock Republicans – accurately -- for their profligate spending during the Bush years. But then follows the granddaddy of non sequiturs – that we therefore have no grounds on which to object to the wholesale bankrupting of the country by Obamanomics.

Republicans are slowly coming around. Even the once-revered Heritage Foundation is awakening from its eight-year slumber, sponsoring a colloquium entitled “Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis.” The day will undoubtedly come when Heritage is willing to have the same conversation about foreign interventions. After that sobering conversation, the GOP might have a shot at revival.

Even George Bush finally admitted his role in destroying the GOP’s congressional majorities. Last winter he recounted that he had been besieged by congressional Republicans in 2006 to announce the drawdown of the unpopular war in Iraq. He refused, and the Democrats swept into power on Capitol Hill that year and ruined pro-lifers’ hopes for dozens of appointments to the federal courts. By 2008, Bush’s administration was so drained of principle that it embraced the trillion-dollar bailouts that Obama has been glad to perpetuate and to enlarge. Thus, the GOP gave the Left all the ammunition it needed to needle Republicans endlessly.

A Lesson For Conservatives and Pro-Lifers

If there is a primordial lesson here for conservatives and pro-lifers amidst the ruins, it is this: we should never again abandon our principles to please or to promote the fortunes of a political party or personality. It is only the truth that will make us free. Look at Congressman Ron Paul: he was the only Republican in the 2008 primaries who was willing publicly to criticize President Bush. Had John McCain stopped rolling his eyes long enough to embrace Dr. Paul’s criticism of the Federal Reserve (forget his support of the crazed Armageddonites), McCain would be president today.

During the Bush years, The Wanderer often observed that profligacy at home and Wilsonian Wars abroad would bring in their wake collapse and calamity. Some Catholic neocons who had found favor with Bush – recruited by Karl Rove and masterfully stroked in Oval Office love-fests – resented that realism and said as much. Truth be told, they had, to put it bluntly, allowed their principles to be drowned by the cult of personality. Today the wreckage wrought by their misguided zeal now surrounds us all.

Unlike the Catholics they manipulated, the core neocons – that is, the secular leftists of the 60s who later became anti-Communists but not conservatives -- are consistently more loyal to their private agendas than they are to any American party. Witnessing the success of this very effective minority faction, conservatives and pro-lifers – especially those who once were wooed by their siren song -- should take note, and resolve to maintain our principled political independence from this day forward. The neocons today trash President Bush, now that they have safely abandoned the ship they have scuttled. In Washington it’s called the “If Only He Had Listened To Me!” syndrome.

Of this we can be sure: the neocons will never apologize. And they will always blame somebody else.

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