[Note: you can click on the first three images to embiggen]
Doug Wilson has a dandy post, "The Scars on Your Forearms," re: the Phil Robertson controversy but which also has much broader application methinks. Speaking of "sophisticated" Christian leaders--shepherds--he writes:
...When shepherds have neglected the flock for so long, and the wolves are ravaging them, and the sheep come up with some kind of strategy to defend themselves, and the shepherds sit up on the ridge, laughing at the tactical inadequacy of what the sheep are attempting, what shall we call that?
So what do we need? We don’t need generals. We have that. We need generals who fight. We don’t need leadership councils. We have those. We need national leaders who fight. We don’t need pretty boy preachers. We have those. We need preachers who fight. We don’t need evangelical regiments of pajamaboys. We have that. We need fight, and we need to fight with everything we have — heart, strength, and brains. All in.
Show me your forearms. Unless there are scars all over them, then I honestly don’t want to hear your views of the inadequacy of these cultural clashes (Gal. 6:17). When the barbarians are throwing their scaling ladders against the city walls, if the only defenders at the top of those walls are Chick Fil A employees in paper hats and hot grease from the deep fryer, and rednecks with their beards and shotguns, and nobody at all there from Red Brick Memorial Reformed, Rev. Forsythe P. Snodgrass, D.Min, minister, then let us be frank. We shouldn’t blame the folks who are there.
Definitely read the whole thing.
So, you ask, what of this broader application beyond merely the cultural clashes that Wilson refers to here?
Well, as they say, when a door closes, a window opens. Having recently closed a door--slammed it shut, actually, but it was necessary; it had been slightly off its hinges and allowing heat to escape at an alarming rate for quite some time--I started thinking about windows. So naturally I thought of the London School of Economics. Doesn't everyone?
Before you conclude that the aforementioned door isn't the only thing off its hinges...the London School of Economics was founded by a group of Fabians who are "depicted in the famous stained-glass Fabian Window designed by George Bernard Shaw. The window was stolen in 1978 and reappeared at Sotheby's in 2005. It was restored to display in the Shaw Library at the London School of Economics in 2006 at a ceremony which Tony Blair, PM at the time presided over, emphasizing New Labour's intellectual debt to the Fabians."
Who were the Fabians? To put them in contemporary context,
The attempt to fully nationalize health care has been rightly criticized as a “Fabian” move on the part of President Obama and his cohorts. The term evokes Fabian Socialism, the influential group behind the British Labour Party and the London School of Economics who wielded the power of some of the 20th Century’s most famous authors to sell not only a socialist-collectivist system, but one run on behalf of the oligarchical elite and managed by technological experts…
...Founded in 1884, the Fabian Society boasted such writers (propagandists) as H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, George Bernard Shaw, Jack London, Virginia Woolf, Annie Besant and plenty of influential and wealthy ideologues.
George Orwell, a co-mingling socialist who became disaffected with the aims and methods of the Fabians...exposed much of this in his infamous 1984 – curiously placed a full century after the founding of the incremental Fabians began in 1884. Among the many clues left in his most powerful novel is “INGSOC” a newspeak abbreviation for the ruling party who practiced English Socialism…
…Orwell spotlighted a tyranny that would progress from and ‘improve’ upon the socialist systems of the Soviets and Nazis by admitting to themselves that their ultimate goal was power [ed. note: 1984 was published in 1948]…
…The Fabian Socialists had indeed committed to a gradual takeover by any means necessary, preferring the use of gradualism and deception, and taking for its two logos a turtle (carrying the slogan: When I strike, I strike hard) and that of a wolf in sheep’s clothing…
At Canada Free Press (unfortunately, we don't seem to have a US Free Press) over 4 years ago:
…The Fabian Window is a beautiful, if sinister, thing…
...Built to commemorate the founding of the Fabian Socialist Society, the Fabian Window contains images that are clear, unapologetic and, as a friend of mine once said—brazen. It is one thing, as Lenin said, to howl like wolves in order to live among wolves; however it is quite another to advertise the fact that you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Yet, the socialists who constructed the window had no qualms about advertising the fact that they had a hidden (or not so hidden) agenda when it comes to reshaping the world.
The window contains the image of two men—founders of the society—hammering the globe (from the top down no less) with sledgehammers—imposing their will on the world so to speak. They are not voting; they are not persuading; nor are they preaching to the masses. They are hammering the world with very big hammers...
…More ominous still—the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Amazingly, the Fabian Window contains an image—just above the fellows hammering the world—that is as clear as it is foreboding: the socialists are wolves in sheep’s clothing. I often wonder why they did not choose a less ignoble animal. What about a courageous lion? A proud bull? A vigilant hawk? A noble horse? No, they chose a wolf—a cunning, ravenous, devious, and scary critter—and cloaked him in a sheepskin. Why? Because, as Lenin taught, if you want to operate in a capitalist society you must disguise yourself. Put the sheepskin on and you can easily mingle with the flock. Until you decide to shed the skin and consume the flock. The most frightening thing about the image is that the socialists make no apology about being wolves and living among sheep…
…The current occupants of the White House look and dress like capitalists and profess to believe in freedom—all the time hammering the world and remoudling it nearer their heart’s desire—which, of course, is the motto inscribed on the Fabian Window. Does it say, “remould it nearer the will of the people?” Or, “remould it nearer the will of the voters?” No, the socialist window commands them to: “remould it nearer [their] heart’s desire…
There's more to that window but you get the idea.
Today's Fabians are progressives (some would call them "liberals," but I think that does a disservice to actual liberals) and they come in both flavors--Democrats and Republicans. We do ourselves no favors if we pretend that the Republicans in sheep's clothing are any different than Democrats in the same attire. Either way, they are convinced of the superiority of both themselves and a big, all-encompassing government, despite routinely clothing their wolfishness with sheep-like language.
In other words, they lie.
In an American Thinker post on school bullying, a psychotherapist (who parenthetically says, "I tell clients that being surprised by another person's behavior often results from erroneous assumptions about the person, usually because you see them as you want them to be rather than as they are"--another point that has relevance here with respect to the political class) writes about moral intelligence:
…Moral intelligence is the foundation of human achievement. Without a basis in moral intelligence science is used for destructive purposes and art ceases to uplift. Moral intelligence comprises three mental faculties: 1) intuition about the significance of life; 2) understanding a code that distinguishes good choices from bad, and; 3) the courage to take individual responsibility to combine intuition and understanding into moral action. Moral knowledge is collective wisdom passed from generation to generation…
Fancy that--there's actually a wisdom we humans have acquired over millennia. And contrary to the prevalent moral relativism, that wisdom tells us that lies are lies, no matter what the source. As Rudyard Kipling pointed out in 1919 in "The Gods of the Copybook Headings," there are those who will try to convince us that water doesn't make us wet, fire doesn't burn us, and that two plus two doesn't equal four:
...In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
So what are our choices?
We can keep on making excuses for the lies of the political class--both parties…"our guys understand but CAN'T be entirely truthful because then they won't get elected and then we can't govern"…"we know our guys lie but at least they lie less than the other side does!" The lesser of two weevils argument. Cold comfort to know that they realize the danger but can only play "Nearer, My God, To Thee" whilst simultaneously running for election or re-election. That does takes a certain amount of talent, I'll grant you.
But we're enabling substance abusers. It helps neither the enabler nor the abuser in the end.
Or we can hang around waiting for Kipling's terror and slaughter to return and bring with it a resurgence of the gods of the copybook headings, a return to common sense and moral knowledge.
A little late. Talk about learning the hard way. And simply hanging around waiting for bad stuff to happen doesn't sit well with many people.
Or we can try to do better by taking George Washington's approach:
If to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterwards defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the event is in the hand of God.
What a concept--standards! Principles! Imagine that. But having principles engenders more work, like holding the feet of those who are supposed to be representing us and keeping the ship of state on course but away from icebergs to the fire.
If that seems rigid and unbending, so be it. As Iowa radio host Steve Deace wrote recently in a Facebook post addressed to inside-the-beltway "conservatives":
We in the grassroots are not irrational purists. We are against compromise because there is nothing left to compromise. This is no longer the America of a by-gone era, when a slightly left-of-center Democrat Party and a slightly right-of-center Republican Party negotiated and duked it out within basically the same moral value system. This is now an era when basic Constitutional freedoms once taken for granted are discarded and ignored, when lawlessness reigns instead of the rule of law, and when those who believe in even a modicum of moral restraint are lumped into the same septic tank as the notorious hate-monger Fred Phelps…
…There are two distinct ideas of civilization wrestling for control of these United States. Sure, not all of us who disagree with what's happening to our country agree with each other on everything, and hopefully one day we'll have enough freedom and liberty again to actually have that debate. But for now the Red Coats are on our shores, and the Visigoths are surging over the wall. We are fighting for the survival of our very way of life here. We need your help, not promises to fight some day in a future that never comes, or endless droning on about process on Fox News or in interviews with National Review…
I would hope that pols who profess to NOT be 21st-century Fabian Socialists would be making the danger we're in crystal clear at every opportunity since the iceberg IS looming. And it's true that many of them--most of them--tack right as elections also loom, and that we need to treat them like puppies who manage to do their business on the newspaper (what an apt image) and give them attaboys and attagirls when they say--but much preferably do--the right thing.
But how do we keep them crapping on the newsprint and not the carpets beyond Election Day?
Doug Wilson has another essay in which he makes the point that "Organized labor is piracy without the boats and eye patches."
In a more general political sense, some would say that the way to fight progressivism is to be aboard the pirate ship with the thieves themselves and their crew of enablers--ineffective, dense shepherds and sleeping dogs--and rot the piracy from within. After all, that slow and steady takeover of the system from within is what the other side has done so successfully.
If that works for some, great. Do what ya gotta do. Doesn't work for me. I find that for a whole host of reasons, being on the inside encourages being vocal--but not necessarily verbal. Those two things are not the same at all.
I'd rather be on a frigate with the leathernecks. And I never did like how I looked in an eye patch.
Somebody needs to make clear the danger we're in. Most of our fearless leaders either don't believe we're in that much danger, don't much care, think that iceberg is a variant on "creative destruction," or simply find it impossible to articulate what their supposed principles are and so are singularly ill-equipped to fight back against the wolves even if they are not truly wolfen themselves.
Shepherds they ain't. But sheeple we've been. We need to be "the folks who are there," as Doug Wilson wrote.
He finished his essay on scarred forearms with Isaiah 56:10. The "rest of the story," though, is instructive as well (Isaiah 56:10-12):
10 His watchmen are blind,
They are all ignorant;
They are all dumb dogs,
They cannot bark;
Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
11 Yes, they are greedy dogs
Which never have enough.
And they are shepherds
Who cannot understand;
They all look to their own way,
Every one for his own gain,
From his own territory.
12 “Come,” one says, “I will bring wine,
And we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink;
Tomorrow will be as today,
And much more abundant.”
Makes "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die" seem the height of realistic restraint in comparison.
Those shepherds are trying to sell us a bill of goods about what tomorrow will bring.
In fact, neither the dogs nor the shepherds have much to recommend them. We'll have to protect ourselves from the wolves as best we can.