Tag Archives: Alexis DeToqueville

A Very Dangerous Game

Christians who are unmoored from the bible and Jesus Christ, are flocking to a cult of personality that they insist will save the country.

History is an excellent teacher.  It repeatedly reminds us about the failings of human nature and how easily an angry and worried people are stoked into making nationalist populists who promise glory, their kings and dictators.

History teaches that in such times, Constitutions  and bounds of morality are redefined and/or abolished altogether to embrace a new morality that their chosen political saviors preach in the name of saving the state and the people from declared enemies from within and without.

America did not germinate from nor did it become established by the dictates of men in positions of power and office. It was not forged from the top on down like the monarchies of Europe.  It was forged from the bottom on up, by a people who were already self-governed by God.  It was grounded and rooted in the biblical and Christian religions that enshrined the concept of liberty as determined from the scriptures.

Our Founders and Framers and men like Alexis DeToqueville wrote that the success of America as an idea and a nation – is based on the construct that the people should be governed by God and the bible in their personal lives, thus making it unnecessary for an all-intrusive government to rule them.  They warned that the moment Americans abandoned the scriptures and the Christian religion, the nation would cease to be great and that tyrants would forge our chains from within.

All of that knowledge has been discarded for political expediency.  As the culture of this nation continues to grow more wicked and evil, leaders chosen to represent the people become more vulgar, crass, self-serving and ignorant of the very documents they vow an oath to uphold. They became a law unto themselves, and established incrementally – an oligarchy that empowered a dictatorship that has been building a police state after essentially perpetrating a velvet coup, right under our noses.

And so the people, fearful and angry and worried – flock and cheer a  strongman this election cycle.  A man who speaks to the things that the oligarchy has refused to touch or declared off-limits to challenge. He too plays upon their base fears, publicly insults specific persons for scorn and ridicule, targets businesses and institutions that must be punished and forced to run and operate their businesses in accordance to the whims of a single man, to ‘make the country great again’. He is the opposite side of the same coin from a party whose ideology is firmly rooted in the Marxist/Communist philosophy.    The people think he stands in direct opposition to the very agenda and politicians that he himself had funded and supported for years because today he knocks down the sacred cows of the Left in boilerplate speeches without specifics beyond the promises that what he will do will be great.

So the people cheer, just as a past generation had cheered a man who spoke in nearly the same vulgar, arrogant  and inciteful manners with similar ideals to make his country ‘great again’.

IlDuce crowds


In the online forum, bulletin board and social media world – it is becoming an everyday commonality that supporters for such a man are demanding the purging and banning of ‘traitors’ and ‘impure’ persons from myriad online communities.  Some fantasize about actually deporting such ‘dissidents’ along with the illegal aliens that their Champion says he will send back across the border.

Efforts to explain Conservative and Christian principles that mandate a refrain from supporting their candidate are greeted with ridicule, insult and scorn.   Mimicking the very person they idolize by engaging in similar public castigation and insulting harassment.  Mob-like actions of insults and threats occur whenever there is commentary on a news item or blog entry that does not flatter their King-Presumptive, just like the article below has suffered when posted on various fora.  Warnings about future ‘remembrances’ and sometimes subtle and even direct threats of execution for treason are popping up in commentary from the most vocal and rabid True Believers.

I have read the ridicule coming from self-identifying Christians who insist we are not voting for a pastor for president – and that moral behavior is no measure of how a person will govern.  Somehow along the way, brethren have bought the lie sold to us back when Bill Clinton was president, that sexual infidelity, adultery, divorce, false witness, lies and pompous arrogance that would normally define a person’s character, are no longer  a measure to consider.  We have been told they are irrelevant, in the past and no longer important to consider before casting a vote Because the speeches of what their Chosen Political Savior says they will do when in office are more important to the survival of the nation.

It’s one or another we are told, and Donald Trump it is said is better than what we would suffer under Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

And this is the justification and rationalization that many Christians I know and respect are lecturing those of us who have decided to stop practicing insanity – by refraining from voting or supporting any of the two choices we are being presented as candidates.

A whole nation can go off the cliff to support someone who leads them to utter ruin.  Christians are not to be of this world, and when there are fruits that call into question someone seeking leadership over us Christians, we should follow the biblical examples and instructions for selecting those who are supposed to represent us and our values and principles.

This will engender hatred and scorn, but as we are finding in this country today – the truth is hated, no matter if it is insisting homosexuality is a sin, or that grown men have no place in women’s bathrooms – even if they self-identify as a woman.

As Steve Deace so excellently points out below, a dangerous game of compromise is being played by those whom God does not expect compromise from.  Perhaps it is time for us to review what scripture has to say about selecting leaders.


By: Steve Deace

DISCLAIMER: I am grateful for the opportunity I have here at Conservative Review to reach those on the broad spectrum of conservatism on several issues, some of which conservatives don’t always agree on. But in this case I’m writing to you, Christian leaders, as s very specific target audience. Since it’s arguable no one faces more of a dilemma with this election than you do, for you represent the sacredness of the Gospel even more than conservatism. 

Dear Christian Leaders,

I hope this letter finds you well, and I thank you for the time, talent, and treasure you have given to the cause of Christ and its resulting American exceptionalism. Thank you for putting these words from the Scriptures into practice: “Now the Lord is that spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.”

I’m writing this as a 42-year old believer who has been blessed by the works of so many of you. Some of you I am proud to call friends, or know as acquaintances. Some of you I hope to meet someday to share how God used you to take this son of a 15-year old girl raised in a home of abuse, and give him the strength and courage to break generational cycles of dysfunction. If not for your testimonies and willingness to stand for Christ against the prevailing winds of the culture, odds are I would’ve succumbed to them.

I say these things because I want you to know this letter is coming from a place of concern more so than criticism. I struggle with a critical spirit, which is why I’ve waited several weeks before penning this letter that I have started and stopped several times. I needed to make sure I was in a place I could remove as much of myself as possible, and address these concerns in the spirit rather than with my own, haughty one.

With that long disclaimer out of the way, allow me to cut right to the chase.

If you are supporting Donald Trump, or flirting with doing so, you are playing a very dangerous game. There is simply no moral, biblical, or even strategic case for doing so, near as I can tell. And if I’m wrong, then let us come now and reason together. 

First of all, holiness and character is of more value in the kingdom than ideological correctness. That is not to say ideological correctness isn’t important, because it is, and it’s where I make my living for the most part. But God has often worked through strange ideological bedfellows to accomplish His will. For example, three of the greatest minds in church history were Augustine, Calvin, and Wesley. Yet they vehemently disagreed with one another, even on vitally important doctrines. However, the fruit of their callings remains impactful to this very day.

Some of you will say, “But wasn’t David a man of poor character and morality and God used him in a mighty way?” Yes, that is true, but others paid dearly for David’s sins. His own nation was plunged into civil war. His daughter was raped by her brother. He had a man killed so he could have his wife.

The point of David’s life is not that he’s the hero, but God is. That God so wants to be known He is willing to even use the worst of us to reach us.

So what made David a man after God’s own heart? That despite all his documented shortcomings, David in the end sought God’s forgiveness and repentance when confronted with “Thou art the man.” Trump, by his own admission, does not have a repentant heart. He has not sought God’s forgiveness, because he doesn’t think he needs it. Thus, the King David-Trump comparisons are flawed exegesis and should cease here.

Furthermore, the Scriptures make clear the qualifications for public office:

Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.

There is simply no way to avoid the conclusion that Trump violates every syllable of these requirements.

Now that we’ve addressed the biblical case, what about the moral one?

Other than that, Trump seems like a righteous dude.

Of course, Paul writes all of us were these things, because all of us were sinners, too. However, we live differently now – or at least should – because we are new creations in Christ. Unfortunately, this campaign has revealed this is who Trump remains to this day.

Finally, let’s look at the strategic argument. Generally, there are three archetypes of politicians in the Scriptures: 

  1. Josiah – The true statesman. The man who does the hard thing, no matter how hard it may be, because it is the right thing. A man sold out to the cause of righteousness. Sadly, there are very few of these.
  2. Hezekiah – The typical politician. The man who does the principled thing when it’s easy or it suits him. As in when the Scriptures say one of the holiest celebrations of the Passover since Moses came at the time of his ascendancy. However, when it gets hard, or his ego gets in the way, he will serve himself/mammon instead. So that same Hezekiah is relieved that at the end of his reign the judgment to come, which he contributed to with his own arrogance, won’t take place until he’s dead and buried. Rather than humbly repent and seek God’s mercy as a David might have done. Like most politicians, Hezekiah was principled at first, but less so the longer he was in power. Eventually principle gave way to political expediency.
  3. Ahab – A pure megalomaniac whose only motivation is his own ego, elevation, and experiences. A hedonist/narcissist/tyrant whose only ethos is the golden rule: he who has the gold gets to make all the rules. Thankfully, there are very few of these as well, mainly because they’re like the Lords of the Sith in Star Wars. If there are too many of them, they tend go after one other.

Trump is an Ahab. He is not like anything we have ever dealt with before. He is not a RINO, Republicrat, or any other kind of Hezekiah type. He won’t even pander to you on the bathroom issue when it would help him. Why? Because you’re all nothing but marks to him. He is utterly and undeniably shameless.

Trump is merely a conqueror convinced that if he’s calling all the shots the world would be a better place. He is a law unto himself.

He is the sort of figure we read about in history books. Not a raving madman Hitler type, and those making such comparisons are intellectually lazy and should be dismissed. Nor is Trump even the kind of megalomaniac Obama is, with his Soviet-era style ruthless pursuit of Marxism.

Rather, Trump is merely a conqueror convinced that if he’s calling all the shots the world would be a better place. He is a law unto himself.

In our day and age, Alpha Males are few and far between. So much so that many believe Trump is an Alpha, but he is not. Like most tyrants he is deeply insecure. How many 70-year old men are still defensive about their penis size? And it is those very insecurities that cause him to lash out so maliciously. Think of the damaged Commodus in the movie “Gladiator.”

It is the alpha male that is required to confront and take down the tyrant. Men willing to storm the beaches of Normandy, proclaim we have “no king but Jesus,” or face down Commodus in front of a full crowd at the Coliseum. Where are the alpha males in our day willing to do so? I pray God will raise some up among our ranks.

The tyrant cannot be negotiated with. He cannot be befriended. Nor can he show empathy. For all is weakness to him. Therefore, everything is transactional. You are there for as long as you’re useful, and then gone when you are not.

Like what just happened to Ben Carson, and pretty much everyone else that comes into Trump’s orbit once he’s used them for what he needed at the time. Like how my friend Bob Vander Plaats was a great guy when Trump thought he needed his endorsement, and then Trump called him a crook when he didn’t get it.

Like his spirit animal, Ahab, who came home to whine to his wife about how he couldn’t buy this one property he wanted, Trump takes to Twitter and friendly media enclaves to do the same. And then his Twitter following, and adorning media throng, acts as his Jezebel when she told Ahab just to go take what he wants because he’s the king.

Tyrants cannot be loved on. They must be broken. You will only know if they have been broken if you see the fruit of the spirit in their lives. Do they practice altruism, as in the right thing expecting nothing in return? Is there a public repentance, or a repentance of convenience? Meaning they tell you what you want to hear now just so they can get from you what they want.

When you dance with the devil, the devil doesn’t change. He changes you.

Anything short of that and I can promise you, as God Almighty is my witness, you are being played. And once that is revealed it will not be the tyrant that is exposed for scorn and mockery, but you.

Every. Single. Time.

In short, this is a dangerous game. This is not dining with sinners. This is attempting to evangelize Herod’s Court, where even Christ himself kept silent among such godlessness and darkness. You have never been this way before. He is unlike anything you have encountered. He would arguably be the most personally damaged and feckless individual ever to occupy the Oval Office.

He is beyond the milquetoast pabulum the system usually serves up, which is why he was able to crush the system. When you dance with the devil, the devil doesn’t change. He changes you.

He will see your willingness to love on him as weakness. He is laughing at you now, even as we speak, for wanting to meet with him. He sees it as the groveling of the already defeated. There’s a reason he attracts heretical Paula White types who are only in this for personal gain, too. Because real recognize real.

Such a man can be brought to Christ, because nothing is beyond the power of Christ. However, he must be broken like any wild stallion, or a prodigal son. He must hit rock bottom, such as when Nebuchadnezzar was sent to live as a wild animal. He must be shown there is a power greater than he, otherwise he will believe he is that power.

Just as you wouldn’t reward a petulant, rebellious teenager with more power and pleasure, the absolute worst thing that you can do is reward such a man just the same. You will not pierce his heart, but he will break yours.

In conclusion, I urge you to consider these two final questions:

  1. Do you really believe you could look Jesus in the eye at your judgment and justify supporting such a man for the most powerful office in the world?
  2. If you do support him, must we then apologize to the Clintons for the stones we threw at their immorality, as well as to others whose sin we have rightly lobbied against in the past since we’re now excusing it from Trump?

I know what the alternative appears to be, and I do not wish it. If she becomes president, I will oppose her Leftist schemes as I always have (unlike Trump, who lavished praise and financial contributions upon her). But I am not afraid of Hillary Clinton. Let me tell you what I am afraid of.

I am afraid of the message we will be sending this culture by compromising everything we claim to believe in, by supporting a man who embodies everything we supposedly oppose. And I’m afraid the cost for that message could transcend generations, as the culture declares we are the emperor who has no clothes. That when push comes to shove we offer them nothing not already of this world. The same fear-mongering and situational ethics they can get anywhere else. Just minus all that annoyingly sanctimonious moralizing. We will confirm for them they were right to tune us out. That we are who they thought we were. We will write the God-haters’ material for them.

That will have consequences for our fellow countrymen that will last long past the next four years.

I urge you, as a representative of the next generation who will someday take your place, please do not put us any further behind the eight ball with this culture than we already are. They already don’t trust us, nor do they take us seriously, and that’s if they don’t ignore us altogether.

Give us a real chance to reach the next generation, rather than spending years defending the indefensible simply because there is an “R” after its name.

The scriptures say we are not Christians because of our hermeneutically sound systematic theology. Or because we follow creeds. But because we testify to the fact that God supernaturally reached down into history to raise His Son from the dead. The Son who God gave to pay the penalty we deserve because He loved us so. To demonstrate that love, God was willing to lose something of tremendous value to Him, as testimony of His love for us.

His only Son.

We came to Christ because of that testimony. We bowed at the knee to Jesus and chose to follow him because he showed what he was willing to lose for us. Love knows no greater man than Jesus, who laid down his life for his friends.

Perhaps we have lost this culture because we haven’t shown it similar sacrificial love. We haven’t shown them we’re willing to lose anything for what we believe, except the same things of this world they value.

Not to mention maybe, just maybe, God would providentially award such faithfulness in the sort of supernatural ways He has for His people in the past? Perhaps we do not see God move in such ways in our day because we prefer our ways to His?

And where has that gotten us — an election between Hillary and her donor.

This is our rendezvous with destiny. Except this time it isn’t wrestling with existential threats outside of us, but the brokenness inside of us.

We don’t need Barabbas the zealot. We need Jesus. And we have the means to give them Jesus, if only we have the faith and courage of conviction. When we came to Christ did we know for sure how it would turn out, or did we have faith? Let us stop trying to manipulate outcomes as our adversaries do, and instead show real faith that while we do not know what the future holds, we know who holds the future.

Duty is ours, but outcomes belong to God.

Thank you for reading my letter and at least considering these words. I pray you will fight the good fight, keep the faith, and finish the race.


Filed under Chrisitan Viewpoint, Politics

Despotism In America – Foretold With Chilling Accuracy


America’s fate is sealed if the warnings of history and human nature tell us anything about where we have arrived as a nation and a people.

History repeats itself because people forget the lessons of history.   200 years ago, historian Alexis DeToqueville wrote an exhaustive examination of the American experiment in a 2-volume book entitled “Democracy In America“.

DeToqueville was curious how liberty and freedom were protected and enshrined in the aftermath of the War of Independence in the American Republic, but failed miserably in his native France to tyranny and terror shortly after our own Constitution was written.  How could Democracy work in one case, but fail and fall into terror and dictatorship in another?

His work is a seminal masterpiece that nails the reasons for success in the American Republic, and also nails the reasons for much of mankind’s history with despotic governments and tyranny.  While lauding the genius of America’s founding system, there are several parts of “Democracy In America” that read like prophetic warnings – and indeed they are.  The history of man is replete with examples of what always occurs to a self-governing people once they stray from their founding principles.  What DeToqueville notes that most in today’s America do not allow themselves to consider, is how fragile our liberty and Republic were.

For all our technology and advances in knowledge, America has lost it’s wisdom once held in high esteem and valued in our society.  We have ignored the warnings of scripture and our Founders themselves.  We have devolved into a post-modern, post-Constitutional mobocracy led by an oligarchy.  Something DeToqueville warned about with chilling accuracy when one considers where we now are with what he wrote.

Thanks to Mark Levin on his radio program last night for reminding those of us who have read this work, just how prophetic and prescient it is.  DeToqueville warns in Volume II Chapter VI about the kind of despotism a nation like America had to fear, and Mark read this part of the chapter on air.  He followed with a question every American now should ask himself: is this where we have arrived?  Is Despotism now our fate?

Read this part of the chapter yourself and ask yourself that same question.

A warning witness was given to us IN ADVANCE of where this civil society would go if we were not diligent to safeguard it from man’s nature to rule and dominate others.



Democracy in America

Chapter VI: What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear 

Page 770-772

I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest – his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind; as for the rest of his fellow-citizens, he is close to them, but he sees them not – he touches them, but he feels them not; he exists but in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country. Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild.

This reads like a history of the last 20 to 40 years in America.  How detached from We The People are those politicians in Washington?  How above us do the Obama’s live on our tax dollars, eating Waygu beef and enjoying multiple million-dollar vacations while lecturing us to eat vegetables and sacrifice for the ‘greater good’?  Is the government not now become the arbiter of granting multitudes of ‘civil rights’ to satisfy every desire and demand both benign and obscene?  He goes on to describe how a people would succumb and surrender to such a meddlesome tyranny:

It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness: it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances – what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range, and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things: it has predisposed men to endure them, and oftentimes to look on them as benefits.

What is the main push and point from the MarxoFascist Left in America?

Equality.  Making everyone equal except themselves.  Forcing all into the lowest common denominator by force of law and regulation.  ObamaCare is one of the greatest mechanisms for tyranny in our time – yet this people not only are surrendering to it and enduring it, but are accepting the political lecturing that such tyranny is a ‘benefit’.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp, and fashioned them at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

Is this not what we in America have become?  A flock of timid and industrious animals that are herded by the government because it is seen as a god and shepherd?  The government then limiting and punishing individuals and enterprises to the point we all feel like we are in chains?

Then DeToqueville lays out what almost seems like a blueprint that America followed to get us to this point of our devolution into a subservience to despotism and slavery to the state.

I have always thought that servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have just described, might be combined more easily than is commonly believed with some of the outward forms of freedom; and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of the people. Our contemporaries are constantly excited by two conflicting passions; they want to be led, and they wish to remain free: as they cannot destroy either one or the other of these contrary propensities, they strive to satisfy them both at once. They devise a sole, tutelary, and all-powerful form of government, but elected by the people. They combine the principle of centralization and that of popular sovereignty; this gives them a respite; they console themselves for being in tutelage by the reflection that they have chosen their own guardians. Every man allows himself to be put in leading- strings, because he sees that it is not a person or a class of persons, but the people at large that holds the end of his chain. By this system the people shake off their state of dependence just long enough to select their master, and then relapse into it again. A great many persons at the present day are quite contented with this sort of compromise between administrative despotism and the sovereignty of the people; and they think they have done enough for the protection of individual freedom when they have surrendered it to the power of the nation at large.

And that my countrymen, could be engraved on the epitaph of our nation as the reason we succumbed.


Filed under Chrisitan Viewpoint, Culture War, Obama Marxist Tyranny

The Revolution Is At Our Door


As the American experiment with liberty collapses into tyranny, a very real bloodbath stands in wait

The American War of Independence and the French Revolution.  Two revolutions against state authority and tyranny.  Two completely different outcomes.


In attempting to answer the question of where his native nation of France went wrong, Alexis DeToqueville summed up in Democracy in America, that America’s greatness could be found in our churches, and that the day America ceased to be good (and moral), she would cease to be great.  He was stating what John Adams himself had declared when he wrote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate for the governance of any other (people)”.

It is not lost on any right-thinking American that our nation has ceased to be a moral or religious nation and has ceased to be good.  MarxoFascists and Leftists have been busy redefining morality and what is good for the better part of five decades, and their cultural revolution has paved the way for their hoped-for Marxist revolution against Capitalism and individual liberty.  Running on the induced self-loathing of America that has been soaked into the minds of public school and college students since the 1960’s, the culture war has been lost to Leftists.  Coupled with a complete brainwashing of Communist/Socialist propaganda by Leftist Teachers and their Communist Unions being taught as the only true morality and fairness, Obama’s army of disgruntled welfare class dependents and media stooges, are openly calling for the deaths of Americans they hate.

At the other end of the spectrum, lovers of our liberty and Constitution see this as a direct threat to freedom.  The actions of the Obama regime and Democrat MarxoFascists in Congress; the impending nullification of the Second Amendment is spurning the exponentially accelerated talk of revolution against the counter-revolutionaries of the Obama-Left.

War it appears, is on our doorstep.

Revolution may sound romantic – but it is anything but.  It often descends into a bloodbath of horrors and terror that end up being waged by those not grounded in religious principles.  It would do us all well to read the following essay by Daniel Greenfield and contemplate what is being stoked among us, and is standing upon our doorsteps.

And This Is Revolution

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog

There are a few things worth knowing about revolutions. Most people don’t participate in them, even if the history books often make it seem otherwise. Revolutions are thought up by small groups of people who then make it everyone’s business. Or alternately they don’t. And those are the revolutions that never happen.

Most people, at any given time and place, are dissatisfied with the government and believe, rightly, that whoever is in charge is guilty of stealing from them, oppressing them and making it impossible for them to live their lives in peace. And they also believe that things are not likely to get any better. Hope is a vanishing emotion that dissipates easily in the drudgery of ordinary everyday work. It may be taken out for a spin on historical occasions, but then it goes back into the barn where it sits for a while gathering dust until it is needed again.

There are however some known crossroads of revolution. A successful revolution usually doesn’t happen among the thoroughly repressed. Those people tend to lack the motivation and skills to face down a modern army. When the peasants revolt, they can often be tricked into going home with some false promises and free beer. It worked more often with the serfs in European history than you would think. It’s the middle class that you really have to watch out for.

People are not at their most dangerous when they’re eating bread crusts and hoping that they won’t die tomorrow. By then they’re often broken, perhaps not individually, but as a society. It wasn’t the people on the collective farms who challenged Soviet tanks in Moscow. Nor was it the Chinese farmers, now being bulldozed off their land, sometimes literally, who stood up to the tanks in Tienanmen Square.

The most dangerous people are the ones who have tasted enough freedom and prosperity to want to keep it. They don’t think their leaders are godlike and they have enough education and competence to think the heretical thought that just about anybody could do the same job as the king, the emperor, the czar or the president. They have experience enough upward mobility to understand that a man’s place in the world isn’t fixed. It can and should be changed. And that is what distinguishes them from the serf. That is what makes them so dangerous.

Authority works best when it isn’t challenged. Ceremony, whether it is that of an emperor or any lesser rank, invests authority with mystical force. Peer pressure and social conformity employ horizontal pressures to keep everyone in their place. Secret police and ranks of informers allow the regime to project an illusion of omnipotent force that seems to be everywhere at once. Reigns of terror create examples to intimidate anyone who might think of challenging the regime.

Revolutions strip away these illusions. The secret police run for cover or comically march out with clubs and guns against mobs, and get beaten to a pulp. The neighbor who rats on everyone sits home and stews in front of the television. And then the regime has no choice but to call on the army and hope that it still retains enough control over the officers and that the officers still have enough control over their men to do the bloody work of winning a civil war.

The army test is the acid test of a regime because it exposes the actual level of power of the regime, which relies entirely on its officer corps and its grunts to be willing to shoot people in the street. In Russia, the army proved unwilling to kill a bunch of civilians to protect a coup by their own superiors leading to the end of the Soviet Union and the fall of Communism.

After generations of worldwide terror, the great red beast was reduced to relying on the willingness of a handful of Russian kids in tanks to run over protesters. The kids, who had grown up on Western rock and roll, listening to old men preach about a coming revolution that was already older than the oldest man they had ever seen, while the echoes of capitalist dreams leaked through the Iron Curtain, chose to sit this one out. And Communism died in the streets of Moscow.

But where the Soviet Union fell, the Chinese Communist Party succeeded because they had men who were willing to run over other men with tanks. After all the great debates and posturing, the fate of hundreds of millions of people came down to the same things that all revolutions come down to, not cogent arguments or complex theories, but the willingness of some men to kill other men for a cause.

Communism also died in China. It had to. But the leadership class remained in power and their princes made it into a hereditary dynasty. In Iran, protests were pitted against the guns of the Revolutionary Guard. The regime won, but at the cost of shifting power to the Revolutionary Guard. In Syria, each side escalated, found foreign backers and is fighting a war in which the most ruthless bastards are winning. That is how the Communists ended up winning in Russia, but not after a long bout of murderous warfare in which all sides did horrible things and painted the land red. Any Russian naval officers with a sense of history watching the whole thing happen from a portside cafe are probably remembering how the same thing went down in the land of red snow.

It’s the aspiring middle class that begins revolutions, but when they turn bloody enough, then they usually aren’t the ones who inherit them. An ascending middle class begins revolutions to protect its privileges, only to see those revolutions hijacked by the fanatics, who to be fair, often began them, the lawyers who want to be executioners, the demagogues who fail at everything but street corner tirades and the psychopaths who drift in and then take over.

The American Revolution avoided being overtaken by these types of lunatics, though at times it was a closer thing than anyone realizes. If history had gone a little differently, Aaron Burr could very well have been our Robespierre. And General Lafayette could have been France’s George Washington. Instead the American Revolution stayed in the hands of the people who wanted peace and prosperity, rather than radical social change, and France descended into blood and chaos at the hands of those who thought that revolution was worthless unless it allowed them to completely transform society.

The other kind of revolution, the Bastille kind, has managed to catch up with us. A vast territory and technological revolutions held it at bay for the longest time, but it was the aspiring middle class that eventually allowed itself to be seduced into mortgaging its political power, national integrity and economic freedom to gain an illusory peace and security in the form of a powerful government. And if there to be another revolution against it, it will once again come from the ranks of the middle class.

The American middle class can feel itself sinking. Its prosperity has been stagnating and the jobs are drying up. The educational revolution isn’t doing what it was supposed to, for most, instead it saddled much of the country with even more debt. Debt is the watchword of the present, as it was of France before the Revolution. Everything is in debt and mortgaged to the hilt for everything else. International financial systems have made it possible to spread the pain and bury it in complicated financial transactions and speculation, but that just means the debt is bigger and badder than ever.

The pre-revolutionary middle class can choose between two sets of villains, big government and big business. Both are big, and thus meet the criteria for being worth revolting against, but the choice of villains often comes down to a choice of professions.

The college student who owes insane amounts of money to a complex network of financial institutions for a degree of dubious worth and a credit card whose interest rates are more complicated than the subject she was studying, is likely to sympathize with Occupy Wall Street’s bank baiting. The small businessman who feels like he spends all day filling out forms in order to get other forms to fill out, while seeking his profits being sucked up by the government and its institutions, feels a tug toward the Tea Party.

It’s the anarchist who is closest to the mark when he notes that there really isn’t that much of a distinction between the two. The government bails out the banks with bad money and the banks bail out the government with fake money. Governments and corporations, are run by the same people with the same phony mantra of social justice, that really means showy philanthropy and profitable regs. But then the cynics usually tend to be closer to the mark because faults are easy to find.

The American middle class is caught between two rebellions. One by an urban middle class elite that would like a more closed and regulated society and another by a rural middle class that would like a more open and less regulated society, with the suburbs split in the middle.

Having the cities is not absolutely mandatory for a revolution. The modern American city is a drain that produces very little except bureaucracy and culture. And while the power of those two should not be underestimated, if every major American city were to vanish tomorrow, some of the sciences would be hard hit and the bureaucracy would become decentralized, but most other things would continue on as before.

During the American Revolution holding on to the cities proved next to impossible, because of British naval power and the large concentrations of Loyalists. Even during the Civil War, most Northern cities leaned rather close to the anti-war side. Urban Democrats may lionize Lincoln now, but many of them thought of him, the way that their descendants thought of George W. Bush, as a war criminal with the brain of a monkey who was obsessed with oppressing the common man. Even some liberal Republicans thought of him that way.

But underestimating culture is dangerous. The sort of culture that we have is mostly worthless, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. There is a great distance between Beethoven’s Eroica and Katy Perry singing for Obama, but unlike Beethoven, few modern liberal writers and artists would have the integrity to rip up the title page on learning that their messiah had feet of muck. The Soviet Union fell in part because it lost that sense of cultural momentum, clinging to the Western Canon, while being overwhelmed by the pop trash that now rules Russia. And though it may be trash, cultural innovation creates a sense that we are moving forward. Those on the side of the newest trend seem like they have the answers to the future. Those who aren’t, end up looking like Brezhnev.

Revolutions can be won without that cultural momentum, but it’s harder than ever because culture carries with it that tang of prosperity, that sense that the good times are out there for those who want them. And revolutions tend to fall on the side of prosperity, on the side of an aspiring middle class looking to the future. Culture can be beaten, but it is best beaten with culture. Successful revolutions make their ideas compelling and appealing, not just in words, but in attitudes, in music, in literature and in art. France had Marat and America had the Death of Jane McCrea,

A revolution is part anger and outrage. It is that sense that you are being unfairly treated and that the life you had or could have had is slipping away from you. It is that breath of freedom that you once took and the belief that life on the other side of the wall must be better. It is a narrative, a story that rejects the authority of those in power on moral grounds and on practical ones.

Revolution works best when the authorities are weakened by a transition period, when they were once oppressive, but have been liberalizing, or where they are asserting a new level of authority that the people are not used to. It is in these transition points that revolutions are most effective because the authorities are not ready to cope with them and the people are made bold and desperate by the uncertainty.

Revolutions are not easy, until they begin rolling, and then it seems in retrospect as if they were always inevitable, the way that big things are. It is that explosion of kinetic energy born out of the potential energy of large numbers of people discovering their strength that fills the air with energy. That ionization is what most people associate with freedom, with the inevitable collapse of an old order and the rise of a new order.

At first a few people begin to push against the wall, and then more and more, their numbers growing as wall-pushing suddenly becomes the thing to do, and suddenly the sober men and women who never held with it, who put their faith in protests and petitions, join in. The wall shakes and then it falls.

This is revolution.



Filed under Culture War, Obama Marxist Tyranny