Wednesday, May 09, 2007

How the Bush Administration Is Destroying Our Country and Damaging the Christian Church

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2.
"You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." John 8:32.


The purpose of this essay is to show that inaccurate, even bogus, Christianity is destroying our country, and doing great damage to the Christian Church.

The establishment's long-term goal is to bring about what is known as the "New World Order," which will be an end to national sovereignty and an end to whatever individual liberty we have left. The people we know as the establishment are working towards a centralized world government which will, of course, supersede the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. The only real dispute is, will the United Nations be turned into a world government, or will world government originate in Washington, D.C.? Either way, individual liberty will no longer exist, especially regarding land ownership and the right to self-defense, which I regard as the two most important of God-given rights.

I believe that President George W. Bush is in favor of this New World Order. He may seem to be lukewarm on the United Nations, but his actions prove him to be a centralist. The overseas imperialism, the piecemeal transfer of political power from states to the federal government, and within the federal government to the Executive branch, and within the Executive branch to the White House itself, the gravitation of wealth from ordinary people to establishment interests, the weakening of our national borders by agreements along the lines of the North American Union and so-called "free" (actually highly regulated and taxed) trade agreements, and any number of other examples show that the Bush administration is actively working toward the centralization of political power.

It was mainly the evangelical/fundamentalist (religious right) Christian vote that put George W. Bush in office in both 2000 and 2004, and it was the religious right leadership that stumped for him on the campaign trail and is still doing it.

How did this happen? Actually, the ruination of this country has been going on for many decades as I have shown in my last two blog essays (1).

In this essay, though, I want to demonstrate that the last seven years or so have ushered in what might well be the end of our country. The lapdog mainstream news media simply will not cover what I believe should be major news items and in order to find these out one needs to be on the Internet. At the end of this essay I will list a few sources of news that are from a variety of viewpoints, predominately libertarian but also from other dissident sources.

My theory as to why the country has taken such a nosedive into the big-government, intrusive nanny-state, authoritarian camp is the failure of people to think independently for themselves and their propensity to obey leaders. One, maybe the main, reason for this is poor education. Last year I said I would dig deeper into (I believe I used the word "flog") the "education" system. I won't do that right now and must apologize, but doing so would take the essay off on a major tangent.

Fundamentalist Christians obey, or at least greatly respect, their pastors. I guess they believe these pastors, at least the well-known ones, have a special hotline to God. These pastors came to believe that a George W. Bush presidency would turn the country away from paganism and back to God. The rest is history.

I read a few books on the fundamentalists, their belief structure, and their politics, to compare and contrast them with my own. My conclusion was that, while I agree with their religion and morality for the most part, as far as their political positions go they really should review what Jesus taught and also what St. Paul taught as exemplified by the scriptures quoted above.

I cannot comment on their knowledge of church history, as my own knowledge is extremely scant. I do know, however, that in the very beginning the church had little organization and what little it had was bottom-up rather than top-down. It is incumbent upon individual Christians to read scripture and apply their ability to reason. I also know that in the beginning Christians were pacifistic and gave the government a wide berth. They paid taxes to keep the bureaucrats out of their hair and otherwise dissociated themselves from government.

I have always said the only real authority is that of God. Who do these human beings think they are if they presume to have "authority" over other human beings? And, why in the world is anybody obeying them?

Is it because they know more? I have come to believe that there is authority and there is authority. Some people are truly experts in their field. Bach was an authority on music composition. Einstein was an authority on physics. Dr. James Dobson, while I disagree with him on some particulars, is an authority on child rearing. Were I the parent, or even the sitter, of a small child, it is his work I would consult for pointers, since I know nothing about the subject. Dr. Murray Rothbard was a, if not the, foremost authority on the libertarian philosophy, especially economic theory, and while I understand my own libertarian philosophy pretty well, whenever I am thinking through some ideas, my Rothbard collection is never far away. We are not always on the same page, but Dr. Rothbard has helped me question authority more than anyone else.

That brings me to the other kind of authority. This is the self-proclaimed special privilege of telling others what to do. I seriously question it.

Actually, no!! I do not question it! For I believe it does not even exist to question!

Now, I must admit and even point out that Romans 13 does seem to tell us to submit blindly to the civil authorities as they are appointed by God. However, there are some of things to remember. One is that when Jesus walked the earth (and when the apostle Paul was living) the church authorities and the civil authorities were apparently not strictly separated. Jesus himself was "arrested" or kidnapped by the temple authorities and bound over to be crucified. And we need to remember that there is the real authority of knowledge and the phony authority of the person who tells others what to do. What is really being described in Romans 13? I believe that more study is needed on this.

This leads to a very important part of the topic. Exactly what is the separation of church and state? And is this separation something that the country's Founders wanted to assure? A resounding "YES!"

Founder Thomas Jefferson said:

"Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State." (emphasis mine.) (Letter to the Danbury Baptists, 1802.)

Founder James Madison also had some words to say about this:

"The civil Government, though bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability, and performs its functions with complete success, whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people, have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the State." (Emphasis the Web page's.) (Letter to Robert Walsh, March 2, 1819.)

"Strongly guarded as the separation between religion & Gov't in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history." (Emphasis the Web page's.) (Detached Memoranda, circa 1820.)

"Every new and successful example, therefore a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together." (Emphasis the Web page's.) (Letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822.)

· "I must admit moreover that it may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to a usurpation on one side or the other or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them will be best guarded against by entire abstinence of the government from interference in any way whatever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order and protecting each sect against trespasses on its legal rights by others." (Emphasis the Web page's.) (Letter to Rev. Jasper Adams, spring, 1832).
· "To the Baptist Churches on Neal's Greek on Black Creek, North Carolina. I have received, fellow-citizens, your address, approving my objection to the Bill containing a grant of public land to the Baptist Church at Salem Meeting House, Mississippi Territory. Having always regarded the practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government as essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, I could not have otherwise discharged my duty on the occasion which presented itself." (Emphasis the Web page's.) (Letter to Baptist Churches in North Carolina, June 3, 1811.) (3)
I think that is enough said about the separation of church and state, as it seems to be a settled issue.

God gave each of us a perfectly good mind and a free will. Each is responsible to take the initiative to accept Christ. How, then, can we be counseled to blindly obey other fallible human beings?

For decades now, fundamentalists have bemoaned the government, but only because they believe the wrong people are in political and bureaucratic positions. Government itself would be wonderful, they believe, if they get their own people in. My question is, why is the big government of liberalism considered "socialism" or even "communism," while big government by Christians would be "freedom"? Both are socialistic, the difference only being in the kind of regulation.

The kind of socialistic regulation the fundamentalists advocate was outlined pretty well by Tim La Haye in 1982 (4). This was written at about the same time Jerry Falwell took to the airwaves. It exemplifies exactly what is going on to hoodwink religious people into believing that the separation of church and state is not mandated by the Constitution, and into actively working towards the destruction of this country (even as they believe they are saving it) and in the process doing great harm to the church by alienating the best and brightest.

Right now, the country's leaders, both the fundamentalist church leaders and the ones in high government office are taking the sacred and turning it into the profane. Jay Bakker, son of Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, expressed it very well a few months ago on Larry King Live. He said that the "ice cream" of the Christian faith is being mixed with the "dung" of government. This is certainly going to ruin your ice cream.

So, let the study begin. We shall see if I was able to show that this is what is happening. I think I can, but not without the help of several authors.

(1) Please see The Three Worst American Enemies of Freedom and The Roots of Neoconservatism on this blog.

(2) Other relevant quotes may be found at

(3) Still other relevant quotes may be found at

(4) La Haye, Tim, The Battle for the Family, Fleming H. Revell Co., Old Tappan (NJ), 1982.

Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction

Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction
David Kuo
Free Press, New York, 2006

Once the author became a Christian, he wanted to spread the Good News to the world, as is our job. But he was led astray early on, with the desire to use politics and government to do it. A talk by Chuck Colson in the mid-1980s galvanized him and he read everything by Colson he could get his hands on.

Colson introduced him to William Wilberforce, a British parliamentarian in 1700 who fought to abolish slavery. This made Kuo want to use government to do some good things such as work for human rights. To the libertarian Christian this would mean working towards the repeal of Jim Crow and apartheid-type laws, a major tax reduction, and the return of our troops home from overseas.

Kuo's minister is the one who turned Kuo on to Colson. Chuck Colson, before he became a Christian, was one of Richard Nixon's "dirty tricks" men. What caught my eye was that he authored Nixon's "enemies list." (1) Like the lists the Internet talks about today, any dissident who is not on some list is not doing her job. Now, even more than during the Nixon era, anyone who is working toward the return of this country to its true roots is a dissident.

Later, after the well-deserved fall of Nixon, Colson went to prison for some of the dirty tricks. When he got out of prison and became a Christian, he did some fine work helping prisoners.

The speech Kuo attended was spun in such a way (I am not in a position to know if Colson was being up front or if he was working on an agenda) as to point out that the "public square" was being stripped of Judeo-Christian influence. Colson said if this were to go on, freedom would be lost. In retrospect, nearing the end of this project, I have to say that his definition of freedom is something to be looked into. Morality was on the decline, and the country was becoming corrupt. A turn-around was needed. Christians were becoming apostate, i.e., were blending into the unchurched crowd.

Kuo's desire to use the government to do good things was different from that of the libertarian ideal of repealing bad laws. To him it would mean government funding of social programs and aid to the governments of poor countries. In other words, he was on the left, not realizing that these benefits (2) meant more tax money had to be stolen from the citizenry.

This is how David Kuo got snookered into believing political action would be part of evangelism. He was a Democrat then, working hard on the Dukakis campaign.

Two years later, the same pastor who introduced him to Chuck Colson got David Kuo a ticket to the Prayer Breakfast. Of course G.H.W. Bush was then in office. This introduced him to Washington, D.C., and he decided to try to go to work for a Democrat on Capitol Hill. Being a Christian, he was pro-life, so the Democrats snubbed him for not toeing the party line. Finally he found a job with the National Right to Life Committee.

That is apparently when the horse-trading began for Kuo. The NRLC was a heck of a powerful lobby, and Judge David Souter was being nominated to fill a Supreme Court seat. Souter's opinions on abortion were unknown and the NRLC's support depended on some trade-offs with the then White House Chief of Staff John Sununu (3).

I won't go into details, but this episode exemplifies the wheeling and dealing that goes on in Washington at the expense of liberty.

As time went on, and as Kuo thought the 1992 Clinton victory over G.H.W. Bush was the end of the world, he grew further from God and closer to politics. He hung on every word that was said on the mainstream news shows, all of which are strongly slanted in a pro-government direction.

Actually it is an exaggeration to say he thought the Clinton election was the end of the world, although it did put him into a major funk. He said the Bible says God chooses national leaders (4) and that an evil one may be chosen to show people how far astray we have gone. Once we are back on track, a Godly one will be chosen. If this is the case, we must be in really bad shape now in 2007, although there are still some Christians who believe that G.W. Bush is Godly.

The government has indeed done a great deal of harm to the Christian church if a plurality of Christians still support Bush. I believe the idea of using government authority and laws to enforce Christian beliefs is based on the belief in human authority and hierarchy on the part of some Christians.

Meanwhile, the Christian Coalition, headed by Ralph Reed, was making serious inroads into the Republican Party. As we will see later on, Karl Rove approached Reed possibly in an effort to garner religious leader (and follower) support during the 2000 G.W. Bush presidential campaign.

Kuo, having left NRLC, heard the infamous William Bennett had a job opening, applied, and was hired. One of the first words out of Bennett's mouth was one you would not expect from a Christian. Bennett worked with Reed to steer the Republican Party away from its devotion to free market economics (actually semi-free at best, according to the truly free market Austrian school economics (5) that libertarians advocate) and towards the codifying of what they believe is Christian morality and towards the spread of "democracy" worldwide. Bennett, Reed, and Jack Kemp believed (or tried to convince people) that good economics would follow if there was a moral turnaround in the country. This was either a hoax or they, too, were naive. I do not think these old pros were naive. Kuo, still being rather left-wing (remember, many neo-conservatives did come out of the Left) and distrusting of the semi-free market "supply side" economics, was eager to go along with Bennett and Kemp. This was actually more horse-trading, as Kemp had a history of being more free market than most.

This is an example of how the religious right and the religious left both fail to understand the difference between voluntary giving to privately funded Christian charity, and government welfare schemes funded by coercively collected (which really means stolen) tax money. I have to wonder what part of "Thou shalt not steal" they do not understand.

Moderate "supply side" economics was exemplified by Jack Kemp. After decades of the country wallowing in the Keynesian septic tank (even under Reagan, whose policies were not what they are cracked up to be), this seemed like a breath of fresh air. I remember Kemp's ideas on federal housing projects which he presented as relatively free-market oriented, and this excited me. I hoped Kemp would be nominated as the Republican candidate for president. He was no Harry Browne (6) but he was head and shoulders above any other, especially a guy named Bush.

But that was not to be. William Bennett teamed up with Kemp to form a new organization. Whether this was on purpose on the part of Bennett I don't know, but it diffused what affinity to the free market Kemp had, which was another step taken to get the religious right and the GOP over into a big-government camp. The new organization was Empower America (7).

The leaders Kuo worked for in the 1990s, such as William Bennett, were looked up to by Christians in the same way their pastors were. People followed and believed every word these leaders said rather than questioning. Of course it was all voluntary on the followers' part. People regard these "authorities" as such because they thought the leaders had some knowledge that other people didn't have. Not only that, but followers seem to be inclined to break down the line between the authority of superior knowledge and the "authority" to make people obey.

One of the jobs Kuo did for Bennett was to compile "scientific" statistics on the country's "moral decline" using indicators such as abortion, divorce, teen pregnancy, and low educational achievement between 1960 and 1990. All these indicators showed a steep rise. I have to ask about the possibility of bias here, and also have to entertain the possibility that in 1960 people were hiding the fact of teenage promiscuity, "back-alley" abortions, and other ills. These ills have been here as long as people have. Then, too, possibly the incidence has been rising because of the legalization of abortion and more openness about lax attitudes. This set of statistics was called the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators. It is very much like the Index of Leading Economic Indicators or Consumer Price Index which the establishment economists are so fond of – don't get me started on that.

The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators got Rush Limbaugh's attention, and from there Empower America took off at the grass roots.

The statistics rang alarm bells among their followers. Bennett, Kuo, and the others came to the conclusion that the conservative drive for a reduction in the size and scope of government would do nothing to halt these trends, so this drive was generally abandoned. Libertarians could see right through this even before the conservatives themselves realized that in order to have the power to do anything about these ills they would need (and they wanted – they are not fooling libertarians) a strong government to back them up.

Empower America, consciously or otherwise, played a big role in the final demise of our freedom.

The Clinton victory in 1992 demoralized not just Kuo, but the whole Christian right. Empower America grew like the weed it was by inducting some establishment heavy-hitters such as Donald Rumsfeld, Steve Forbes, and Jeanne Kirkpatrick. The last was the former U.N. ambassador whom I will remember mostly for her snide remark about lives being lost in a war being "worth it." How does she know? Did those who died come back in a séance and tell her? Those lives belonged to those who died and whether their loss was "worth it" was their call to make and not hers. So much for any regard for the individual.

In any case I really don't know how many of these heavies in Empower America were with the Christian right or how many had their sights set on a world government. Neoconservatives Richard John Neuhaus and Michael Novak were on board. Novak had stated that America's job of spreading democracy throughout the world was a Christian task, as this form of government is "ordained by God" (8).

Those in Empower America did believe in churches and charities helping the poor, and they did regret the welfare system getting in the way and undermining these efforts. But instead of advocating the churches and charities working harder in fighting the system to take back their God-given responsibilities, they opted to work with the government via federal funding (and regulation, as one follows the other as surely as night follows day) of Kuo's hand-picked charities.

In 1994 - 1995, during the libertarian-leaning "Republican Revolution" (the Libertarian Party gave it something like a "B" or "B+" grade at the time; too bad it fell on its caboose) when many in the new GOP-controlled Congress still had a little understanding of economics, David Kuo got into more arguments with Republicans than with Democrats. The Christian Coalition types did not want any free market. They were already moving towards a Bush-type system and, sure enough, in the late 1990s, George W. Bush rode in like a knight in shining armor to socialize Christian charity. Bush asked to meet with Kuo to see if Kuo would make a good speechwriter for him. Kuo was hired on the spot. The knight had ridden in; Kuo was snowed.

I am now beginning to figure out what the neo-cons and theo-cons are doing. They are probably not purposely trying to destroy the Church. (At least, I don't think they are – well, we'll see.) What they are doing is increasing the power of government by encroaching on the Church's role as charity. This will necessarily make the government bigger and more powerful: A bigger welfare system, manipulating people's behavior, higher taxes, with more bureaucrats and more people becoming dependent on faith-based and other social engineering programs the administration wants (9).

The main purpose of the Church is to tell the Good News. However the Church, and Christians as private individuals, are also to follow the example of Christ by feeding and clothing the poor, and nurture the sick, for Jesus said, "As you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me" (10). This work is important in itself, but it is also a vehicle to convey the Good News. If the government takes it over, this will adversely affect the work of the Church.

This isn't rocket science. These people must know that.

But, once on the campaign trail, Bush started right in. First he would say that the churches and charities must help those who get left behind by prosperity. Economic conservatives believe this, of course, but then he would say that his administration would follow up with government money. We had been asking charity to "make bricks without straw," he would say, but now the "straw" would be provided. Of course this isn't true. Americans generously fund charities. We could do a lot more if government would back off (especially in the tax department) rather than step in.

A lot of this was actually a leading-on of evangelicals, who were instrumental in electing Bush. Kuo points out that the faith-based office had the lowest priority of all the White House offices, of which there were many. There was a lot in the way of talk, meetings, show, and busy-work, at tax-paid high salaries. One thing was the conference calls between the White House (not Bush himself, but a staffer) and evangelical and fundamentalist leaders where suggestions were bandied about. These ideas rarely got any further than the conference call. Public liaison staffers said what people wanted to hear.

So, faith-based charities were being led on. The money, at least most of it, was not forthcoming. Of course, I do not think government should subsidize charities, but it is even worse to promise and then stall on delivery. Churches and charities have to budget, and to become dependent on a source of money that does not deliver is likely to ruin them.

If I wanted to destroy giving, stonewall the Church, and make needy people dependent on government, this is exactly how I would do it.

Fundamentalists are especially vulnerable. They have, in many cases, led sheltered lives. I often wonder if they are reading the same Bible I am, as they are very deferential toward civil government, obedient to human "authority" that is over them in the hierarchy, and thus very easily intimidated. The White House, the way it is physically arranged, is an intimidating place, Kuo points out. So, when such people are there, they take everything its inhabitants say as gospel. They are like tiny children seeing Santa: I've been good, so toss me a little gift. They receive souvenirs like pens or cufflinks and then cherish them like young teenagers cherish autographs obtained from a favorite star.

The ABC program 20/20 on Friday, December 1, 2006, dealt with the propensity of full-grown people to obey. I realize many segments on such shows are tabloid journalism and one needs to allow for this, even though, as in this case, the trustworthy John Stossel was involved. Briefly, the segment dealt with a criminal who phoned fast-food restaurant managers posing as a policeman, who then commanded these managers to sexually and otherwise abuse a teenage female employee. These managers, thinking he was a policeman, did exactly as they were told, and so did the young employee. Now, this episode was very hard to assimilate, and I am not sure I believe it, but, if true, these were all adults (or young adults) who should have used their God-given ability to think independently and apply their understanding of the difference between right and wrong. They were more obedient than I ever was, so I must hold them all responsible (except possibly the victim that segment concentrated on, since by the time she realized what was happening it was too late).

Contemporary America is very obedient and respectful of human "authority," and the White House is taking full advantage of this in its efforts to destroy what little is left of the country our Founders worked to create, and in some cases went to jail and died for.

Related to the obedience issue, there is also the party loyalty issue. Regardless of anything, Kuo makes it plain, politics come first. Any politician who does not walk in step with his or her party affiliation is reprimanded. It does not matter why. Bush's faith-based subsidy program is basically liberal, but Democrats had to oppose it. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) (11) was a case in point. It was because neither major party wanted to lose voters to the other, and the whole scene is comical considering how alike the two major parties really are.

Despite this, Kuo (at the time) believed Bush was above all this, a man of genuine faith who spent substantial time in prayer.

The Faith-based office seemed stalled in early 2002 mainly because of politics, but also because the White House had its hands full with the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Not only that, mid-term elections were coming up so the office decided to make an effort to help incumbents get re-elected and get new Republicans elected to bolster funding for their office. We must remember that this office is a government bureaucracy and its participation in the campaigning is no more legal than the drug czar's touring on the taxpayer dime to defeat medical marijuana initiatives. Campaign events were thinly disguised as events for which selfless candidates took time away from their campaigns to "help" faith and community leaders "serve their community" (12). I guess they believe the populace is as dumb as a dodo. Well, in the light of the obedience and party loyalty I just described, maybe they are. Possibly the neo-con, theo-con Bush supporter would fall for the left-wing rhetoric since it was being presented by the Republican candidates. The scheme was set up.

The faith-based initiative never really got off the ground because it was all talk, all propaganda. Maybe it was not on purpose, but it was geared to do two things: 1. Cause disruption in private charities by telling them to expect federal funding and then not following through (although I have to wonder if there was follow-through on the criteria they must meet, meaning regulation) and 2. Train religious and other conservatives to think in terms of government involvement, getting used to this involvement in yet another area of life.

Well, finally some money began to trickle to faith-based organizations (not actual churches). This is what is called "compassion" as it went to really compassionate causes such as mentoring the children of prisoners, and drug treatment programs. But, of course it was mostly show. The liberal press ran with the ball decrying the bias toward Christian organizations and the waiving of regulations requiring non-discrimination in hiring people of all faiths. Nobody ever questioned the federal involvement with charities to begin with or the fact that taxpayers who have problems of their own were being forced to contribute. And, of course, its dubious (at best) Constitutionality was seldom or never questioned.

I cannot help noticing that when Christian conservative author Kuo complains that there is not enough money, he blames it on this minuscule "tax cut" that we were supposed to have received (13) (but will be more than reversed because of enormous deficit spending), which sounds very much like the liberal Democrats to me. To be fair, he also blames the war in Iraq which is a black hole for taxpayers' money.

Kuo's tax cut remark underscores what I wrote in last year's blog essay The Roots of Neoconservatism. The neoconservative and the modern liberal are pretty much the same: both are for big, active government, the difference being only in the details.

The compassion program was consistently stonewalled by White House staffers outside the faith-based office even as clergy and other leaders were being led on. The faith-based office was always treated like a step-child. One day it hit the fan when Kuo was at a black clergy meeting in the White House and he was pulled out by the president. Asked by President Bush how much more these money-hungry people wanted after they had been given so much ($8 billion had gone to faith-based charities), Kuo told him they had really been given hardly anything. I guess to a White House bureaucrat, even a "lowly" one, $8 billion is not much. The president was ballistic, stomped into the meeting and promised another $8 billion on the spot of your tax money! Of course, this was all talk and no action, too!

Kuo left his job disappointed. His father, who had fought in World War II, had taught him the White House could save the world. As students of history, at least history that has broken out of the politically correct box, know, the reverse is true. The White House cannot save the world, but it could and might destroy it. Kuo still seems to believe that the White House could save the world, and would have had Bush and the faith-based office not been stonewalled. This "conservative" belief is thoroughly modern liberal. Churches and charities themselves, while they cannot "save the world" can go a long ways to help people back on their feet, but government involvement does nothing but harm. Had the government followed through with its promises, the faith-based charities would have become dependent on, and obedient to, the government and this would have been stealth socialism in much the same way that educational vouchers socialize private education. Its failure to follow through with funding certainly made a shambles of charities that were counting on the funds.

Either way, great harm was done not only to the charities and connected churches, but also to the donating public who now believed that donations were less needed.

I don't know which is worse. Both of them, I'd say.

Meanwhile, much legislation was being passed through Congress that would trash our precious Bill of Rights (often being voted in favor of without congresspeople reading it) and funded without any snags.

Finally, David Kuo seems to have learned his lesson. When it comes to Christian evangelism and charity work, government is not the answer. He calls for Christians to take a two-year hiatus from politics. My answer is, how about a two-century hiatus? If Christians just go ahead and do the work on their own and forget about legislation, they will be following the example of Jesus.

And, I might add, it will get done and get done right.

(1) Kuo, David, Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, Free Press, New York, 2006, P. 11.

(2) Whether these programs, especially aid to foreign governments, are beneficial is highly questionable at best.

(3) Ibid P. 32-35.

(4) It does??? That is news to me. Many religious leaders seem to think that and this is part of the problem.

(5) See the Ludwig von Mises Institute at .

(6) Harry Browne was the Libertarian presidential nominee for 1996 and 2000.

(7) Learn more at By the way, for a good laugh at the expense of Kemp, read my Lincoln segment in The Three Worst American Enemies of Freedom at and then see P. 45 of the Kuo book on the naming of Empower America.

(8) Ryn, Claes: America the Virtuous, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, N.J., 2003, P. 127-128. There is also a world government undercurrent here. Scary, isn't it?

(9) Kuo, P. 179.

(10) See Matthew 25:31-40.

(11) Kuo, P. 174-175.

(12) Ibid. P. 201-202.

(13) Ibid. P. 225.

Theocons: Secular America Under Siege

The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege
Damon Linker
Doubleday, New York, 2006

Many believe the secular separation of church and state as we have known it is over. President Bush believes cultural change is a function of the federal government and he is willing to use taxpayer funds for this. Theoconservatives believe the traditional values the country was founded on make no sense outside a religious context (1). Apparently they have never read atheist Ayn Rand or religiously neutral Ludwig von Mises or Murray Rothbard.

Richard Neuhaus and Michael Novak were both left-wing radicals in the 1960s (2) but became friendly to the “conservative” Republicans right around the time Nixon was president. Of course, Nixon's political philosophy (like President G.W. Bush's) was actually far left, if “left” means big-government socialism (or national socialism or some other kind of socialism).

They were disappointed at Nixon's 1968 election. I guess later they learned he was really in their big-government camp.

Novak decided, after he actually got out into the field and met some real live entrepreneurs, that the free market works best. There didn't seem to be any definition of “free” on the part of the author, but possibly the market at that time fit his definition of free. Novak did complain that under capitalism there was no meaning to life handed to you by anyone; you had to seek your own belief system and meaning of life. He thought this was a bad thing, and that government should step in and do it for us all.

But Novak knew some economics. He knew how jobs come about. He recognized this as “God's work,” fighting poverty and fostering across-the-board prosperity. And, indeed, I believe this is what God intended for mankind. Individuals see to their own self-interest; obviously your first responsibility is you, for if you don't look after yourself first, how can you look after anyone else?

However, Novak's primary interest seems to be that the trade and cooperation in the marketplace serve communal interests, community or society. Of course they do, but it is not really about that. It is really about relieving individual discomfort. Individuals feel; groups do not. It is very altruistic, Novak claims, and the “invisible hand” is really the hand of God.

I guess it is really how you look at it. When individuals benefit, society benefits. So, he is not technically wrong. I won't object, until he pulls government into the picture. What he seemed to be looking for in the end was a free (or at least partially free; it depends on if you define “free” as a libertarian like me would or as most people on the street would) market coupled with religious conservative social beliefs. What I'd want to know right away is this definition of “free” and the role of legislation in social or morality policy.

Chapter 2 was interesting as it talked about the Catholic Church’s embracing of “capitalism,” after bemoaning the lack of welfare and universal health care here. I had to shake my head as the author (a leftist) and the theocons he was discussing have no clue what real capitalism is. The church may have finally embraced it because our “capitalist” economic system has finally become socialistic enough. They consider it “capitalist” if there isn't socialized medicine and a big welfare system.

But, then again, if the Catholics (where the author says theoconservatism started) want to Catholicize America, they have to accept what we have of a free market. The author seems to think it's a sellout, believing that taxes are low and regulations minimal here. Well, compared to Cuba, maybe so, but in an absolute sense that's ridiculous.

Legislation of morality is definitely part of the theocon agenda. They cannot differentiate between immoral acts that infringe on the rights of individuals (such as abortion and embryonic stem-cell research that infringe on the rights of these very young, pre-born human beings to live) and immoral acts that do not infringe (such as same-sex “marriage” or drug use). The policies they want are based on the teaching of Pope John Paul. The author believes their goal is to Catholicize the country, not necessarily meaning everyone becomes Catholic, but meaning a ruling Catholic ideology.

Only theists, they believe, can be good citizens because the majority of citizens here are theists. (My response: Since when is being in agreement with the majority important?) The citizenship of minority atheists is questionable. The public schools, they believe, are to be used as an instrument of indoctrination regardless of the opinions of those paying for them.

The Catholics and conservative Protestants (fundamentalists and evangelicals) joined forces in the 1990s (3) to form an agenda. It took a few years while they waited for the right presidential candidate, and then in rode G.W. Bush, their hero who would save us all from secularism whether we liked it or not. And, while they were waiting for him, others in high government positions worked at enacting this agenda into law.

The theocons, of course, opposed court rulings contrary to their positions. One thing they had entirely backwards: They supposed that rights were infringed if their philosophy was not codified. “The People” wanted it codified, so it should be. They apparently believed in the rights of the collective to have it codified, not of the individual to decide for himself and take responsibility (4). And, like the neocons, they believed that the Founders agreed with them.

The situation in the Clinton era was alarming to theocons and they believed that this was the end of democracy. It reminds me very much of what freedom-lovers (and the left) are now saying about the theo/neoconservative Bush administration.

The theocons issued a statement (5) that said that the threat was not from without, but from “disordered liberty within,” which they believe was the antithesis of the “ordered liberty” the Founders affirmed.

The theocons are clueless about the Founders' ideas, I believe. What the theocons are saying sounds to me very much like “freedom to obey,” even an advocacy of divine right.

George Weigel, who published, in First Things, the most significant neoconservative statement, “Moral Clarity in Time of War,” made the case for war (6). (This is significant because of his implications regarding the United Nations.) His premise is “rogue” states and terrorist organizations that possess (or are said to possess) weapons of mass destruction must be stopped. Ideally, Weigel says, the U.N. should stop them from using force. The use of military might is characteristic of a government, so it looks as if he is advocating the U.N. become a world government. But, he says, the U.N. is not doing so, therefore the U.S. will and should, as its status as the world's greatest power makes it responsible to do so. (My response: Why?) This implies world government from Washington, which I think is what Bush desires. That would be good for everyone, Weigel seems to think. I guess this “everyone” includes dead kids in Iraq and the hapless taxpayers who are forced to finance their deaths. Weigel implies (7) that the elite in power have what amounts to a hotline to God and that is why they can see the wisdom of war when the rest of us cannot.

The war against Iraq is, of course, a dismal failure. (Nevada Senator Harry Reid said the same thing in April, 2007. I don’t usually agree with anything he says.) So, as 2004 approached, the theocons turned to domestic agenda to re-elect Bush. Conquering the Middle East (then the world) was not the cakewalk they thought it would be.

It was Christianity (their brand) versus Islam (as they saw it, and I really don't know who is right about that).

The theocons worry about an Islamic takeover of Europe, because of the decline in Europe's birth rate and participation in Catholicism, so Weigel wants the U.S. to generously fund the challenge to secularism in Europe (another move toward world government originating in D.C. as funding always causes the recipient to become, at least to some degree, “kept”). This would make the U.S. government a missionary to Europe. The Europeans are not about to change even if this is done.

The theocon agenda has done much better at home. The president started to push it, good and bad parts alike, as soon as he was inaugurated. Author Linker, being on the left, emphasized the withdrawal of federal funding (a good part, I believe) as he, like most on the left, don't seem to care that federal funds are money stolen from taxpayers. Of course, the author trots out the omnipresent abortion issue of theocon agenda. This is before pointing out the censorship and the subsidy of church-related charities (part of the bad element).

Actually, as I have repeatedly shown, these subsidies, and promised-but-not-delivered subsidies, are among the main methods by which the Bush administration is greatly harming the church.

The glaring contradiction between all these theo/neocon efforts to save unborn babies (good) and their lust for killing in “justified” wars (bad) is apparently overlooked by both neocons and the left.

Richard Neuhaus (8) said politics was the deliberation of “how we are to live together.” This is collectivist. All decisions are ultimately individual. The purpose of politics is really to deliberate on how we are going to see to individual liberty, or how we are going to work towards preventing people from carrying out decisions to infringe on rights. But, with the neocons, it's one size fits all.

In the case of euthanasia on the part of someone who actively wants it, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, and other things that are or might be sinful, they just don't “get” individual choice, sovereignty, or responsibility. Maybe if they carry their pro-government philosophy far enough they can get a law passed compelling the acceptance of Christ and baptism, or at least make them mandatory for certain government licenses, permits, or permission to work in certain areas (9).

It is also akin to the divine right we are presently moving toward with authority increasingly vested in the executive.

One thing on which the author and the left are in step with the establishment is they have the controversy about teaching the theory of evolution in public schools backwards. None of them on any side of the issue even question whether it is the job of government to teach students. This is assumed. I, along with the vast majority of the libertarian movement, dissent from that belief.

But, as far as evolution is concerned, this is one area where Bush and the theocons are right. Usually when they are right it is for the wrong reason, but in this case they are right. They want all different theories presented to students, so students can make up their own minds. However, the author and the left regard evolution as “fact,” not even a theory, and that any effort to teach anything else is “anti-intellectualism” (10).

This is one of the main reasons I advocate the separation of school and state. Private schools can supply a variety of methods and content of education to the marketplace, and parents have a wide selection, including home-schooling, giving them control over their children's education. As students mature, they have increasing input themselves.

The author then points out the theocon defense of the “traditional” family. While I, too, believe the family is the only good way to raise children, I have a couple of major issues: One is the idea that the differences between the genders are fixed and innate. This view is counter to my firm, and I believe Biblical, belief in the free will. While there might be some differences (How the heck am I supposed to know?) the free will trumps both nature and nurture, unless a person is so passive as to decline full use of the free will. The other issue is law. Why should laws be on the books enforcing traits that do not necessarily exist in a given individual? Or, traits that are natural and do not need enforcement? Would it really be to keep non-conformists in line?

The book didn't mention anything about laws except to complain about the rollback of government programs that “help” non-traditional gender roles such as daycare programs. Of course, no mention is ever made of a reduction in taxes to help families.

Dr. James Dobson, a pro-Bush, pro-government, and very well-known Christian conservative leader was on “Larry King Live” on November 22, 2006. Asked what gay “marriage” would do to Dobson's marriage, Dobson replied that the Christian right's activities on this front were based on their thinking of the “greater good.” Usually, when someone speaks of the “greater good,” they mean “society,” and are placing “society's” good before that of individuals. On the separation of church and state, he said the original intent of the Founders was to protect the state from the church. When asked why not separate marriage from state and was marriage not a religious thing rather than a government (meaning political) thing, Dobson said it was both and did not really answer why it should not be separate from the state. The upshot of all of this is that Dobson is definitely in favor of strong, active government and that Larry King can ask really good questions.

Getting back to the book: Linker points out something really important about Catholicism (and also, to an extent, Protestant denominations, particularly the very fundamentalist churches), the teaching that one must submit to the church. This is a manifestation of the belief in hierarchy, or that some people are more qualified than others to make decisions, just because of their position.

Now, there is a natural elite. The only equality we have is equality of value in the eyes of God and equality of God-given rights. The civil law should treat us all the same. But, some individuals have more of various talents than others. One area might be your strong suit and my weakness. Another area might be vice versa. This is the reason libertarians read Rothbard and Rand. This is the reason musicians study Bach, Beethoven, Paul McCartney, and Brian Wilson. This is the reason Christians study the apostle Paul. In fact, we believe Paul's writings were divinely inspired. These people are ten-talent people who have been given this talent (ability) by God and have used it to the fullest. People like that are “authorities” in the sense that they know more than most of us, and while we are using our God-given abilities to think things through for ourselves we need to study their work as an aid to thinking things through.

However, Neuhaus and the theocons are saying “submission to authority” means to do and think what they tell you. I believe this is not only non-Christian, but downright anti-Christian, and this is one reason I am a non-denominational Christian.

Submission to authority (earthly authority) is what keeps people in line, according to Neuhaus and Weigel (11). There was a lot of discussion in the book about the issue of child sex abuse by priests. The priests' lack of self-discipline was not to blame, but their dissent was, according to them.

All this was said about obedience to human beings in the church, but nothing is said about obedience to human beings in government.

The author points out in the last chapter something I, being a decentralist, am inclined to believe. If there are many religions or many persuasions of all sorts, they kind of check and balance one another, ensuring peace. Society needs to be broken down into parts so that no one part can become strong enough to dominate.

This is one important reason many smaller sovereign states in the world ensure peace a lot more than one or two major powers, certainly more than a world government. There are many other reasons for being a decentralist.

Now, does this mean that I claim to be a born-again Christian, but yet I want others to believe in what I consider non-truths? No. Not at all. What I think is this: True Christianity is a-political. It does not have anything to do with civil government, or, more correctly, civil government is a-religious. Civil government is secular. Lots of things are secular, and should be. The people in these things might or might not be religious. I do desire that individuals accept Jesus Christ as personal savior, but still, if every employee in my local supermarket were a Christian, it would still be a secular business. I would be more inclined to shop there, but it is still a secular business. There might be many Christians among government bureaucrats, but it is still, or should be, a secular government. Christianity (or any other religion) is an individual matter; Christ died for individuals, not for groups, and individuals, not groups, step forward to be baptized.

After decades of reading the Bible, hearing some brilliant sermons and lectures, and applying my own God-given (and very generously, all credit going to God) ability to reason, this is what I believe, and this is what I think the Founders, only some of whom were Christians, believed.

This is very far from the theoconservative and neoconservative point of view.

It is my purpose in this essay to show that the theo- and neoconservative agenda, while the destruction of the church is certainly not its conscious aim, is the very agenda that would be used if the destruction of the church were its aim.

It has given the church a very bad name among thinking non-Christians, and has closed many minds to the possibility of becoming Christians.

As a Christian, I believe this is very serious for obvious reasons. As a libertarian I believe the stepped-up assaults on liberty by the Bush administration are alarming. Both of these trends have gone on for decades, but I fear the Bush administration has all but finished off our Bill of Rights. The recent Democratic sweep of Congress may give us a reprieve via “gridlock,” but this is only a pause in our fall to despotism.

It is too bad the left does not recognize that an unborn baby or an embryo is living and is human (cells multiply and therefore it is alive; the chromosomes are those of a human and therefore it is human), so is a living human. The left does not seem to realize that to prohibit talking to God in school (whenever talking at all is permitted) is counter to the First Amendment. Leftists seem to want to disallow privately funded Nativity scenes and other religious holiday decorations on public property, when they are more than happy to have “patriotic” or pro-government decorations that I do not agree with placed there with tax money taken from me against my will.

And, worse, the left considers the hypothesis of evolution (not even divinely-guided evolution, but random-chance natural selection evolution) for the origin of man as hard scientific fact, and any other idea as superstition! Now, that is really loony! Additionally, according to many reputable scientists, the left's other sacred cow, global warming hypothesis, isn't much better, but there is no need to touch on that just now. They want the government to be the sole educator of our children and young adults, and they want this stuff taught along with conformity and obedience (“good citizenship,” or even “good world citizenship” ... good thing I have a strong heart), sex “education,” and other such.

I never hear the left complain about numerous school rules, teacher frustration, student misbehavior, lockdowns, the handcuffing and arrests of children as young as six, evacuations, low graduation rates, inability to read, school shootings (12) or anything else. They are too busy advocating higher taxes to support public schools, and more government involvement in private ones.

The purpose of that tangent was to illustrate that the left is no knight in shining armor. Rather, as I demonstrated in my last project, The Roots of Neoconservatism, the left is only a variation on the same big-government theme as the right.

Therefore a takeover of government on the part of the Democrats will not roll back any incursions on freedom. Rather, government will keep growing and freedom will keep shrinking. It might be more secular and therefore less harmful to the church in the sense that a Bushite theocracy is harmful, but the church cannot benefit in the absence of freedom.

The author (13) says, and seems to think it's important to his points, that Christians believe that God came to earth as a person (that person being Jesus Christ, and we do indeed believe that) in a body, so they want to place God in the body of the government in the same way. My first impulse (after saying “What???”) is that this is crazy, and my second impulse is to identify this with “divine right” which, of course, is heresy.

But, heresy or no, this seems to be what the theocons are about: theocracy, or rather an attempt at theocracy. If God looks upon this favorably, then my brand of Christianity and the libertarian philosophy are entirely wrong.

The belief in divine right among Christians is not new. However, these days among non-denominational Protestants (one of which I am), the “back to basics” attitude, along with ever-more accurate translations of the Bible and a higher degree of education among the boomer generation of Christians, this idea has fallen along the wayside along with the idea that the earth is flat. So I thought. Like a bacterial infection when antibiotics are stopped too early, the divine right falsehood is back, more vicious than ever.

At the end (14), the author points out it is possible the theocon politicians are saying what they are saying only to get the Christian vote, and their true ends are less noble. I would not doubt that at all.

(1) Linker, Damon: The Theocons Secular America Under Siege, Doubleday, New York, 2006, P. 2-4.

(2) Ibid. P. 27.

(3) Ibid. P. 83.

(4) Ibid. P. 95.

(5) Ibid. P. 109.

(6) Ibid. P. 130.

(7) Ibid. P. 131-132.

(8) Ibid. P. 179.

(9) Second only to the God-given right of all individuals to offer whatever they have on the market, this kind of thing is the main reason libertarians deplore government licensure.

(10) Linker, P. 187-188.

(11) Ibid. P. 201.

(12) The whimpering for more “gun control” does not count as a complaint but is merely a cover-up for a way to expand government power. They know as well as I do that to allow people to keep and bear arms will be a deterrent to crime. For instance, had the coach at Columbine High had a loaded gun, he and some of those students would have been alive today. This is not rocket science!

(13) Linker, P. 222.

(14) Ibid. P. 223.

Fundamentalists In Politics

The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics
Susan Friend Harding
Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2000

There was a time, maybe forty years ago, when Jerry Falwell did not believe that "waging war" against immorality was the way to turn the world around (1). The right way is to spread the Good News. He was right. Then.

So what changed his mind?

The author seems to think that rhetoric is at the bottom of this change in Christian fundamentalism and evangelism, from an isolationist, mind-your-own-business community where people stayed away from the "sinful" world to a political movement where these Christians try to fuse church and state.

The movement took hold, and it is now a detriment to both church and state. Freedom is on its last legs in this country, especially since 2000, thanks in part to the secular liberals who are also opposed to freedom, although in different areas.

It started, for Falwell anyway, in the mid 1970s. The author seems to think (2) that when Falwell read a Playboy interview with President Jimmy Carter, who was a born-again Christian but said some things in the interview that upset Falwell. Of course just being interviewed by a magazine like that was bad enough. So Falwell called a meeting of top fundamentalist ministers in an effort to determine what to do about this. I would assume that Carter's interview was seen as a symptom of the moral corruption they believed was rampaging in the country.

The upshot of the meeting was a decision to make a profound change in the fundamentalist outlook on its relationship to American culture at large. They decided to encourage Christians to become more active in the political arena to reverse the immorality trend. It is thirty years ago now that this meeting occurred, and we now know that, while moral standards have not necessarily declined, they have certainly not gotten any better as governments at all levels have become far stricter and more punitive, and laws regulating personal morality have multiplied like tribbles (3). Economic regulations and "safety" rules have been growing at a similar rate. And, of course, the more hours parents have to work to pay all the taxes needed to enforce all this, the less time they have to teach their children the difference between right and wrong.

This is not something that requires thirty years of hindsight. Many warned about this from the beginning. I saw it, and if I could figure this out thirty years ago, then I have to wonder why these people could not ... or could they?

But to get rank and file fundamentalists involved in the political arena they first had to change the way fundamentalists isolate themselves from the world at large. The fundamentalists had primarily associated with one another in order to protect themselves and their children from what they see as the anti-God aspects of society outside the faith.

The groundwork was laid to lead these rank and file believers into mass support for political goals and candidates on the grounds that this would be yet another way to do what their real job is, and that is to evangelize.

As we will see later on, Karl Rove and others whose goal, conscious or otherwise, is to further the cause of the New World Order (meaning elitist world government, under which our God-given rights are not acknowledged at all), caught the ball and ran with it. It is up to the libertarians to run interference since the Left is sidelined. In fact, as I see it, today the only true opposition to the Bush administration's policies is the libertarian movement. Only the libertarians seem to be aware of the giant steps the administration is taking toward the New World Order. That is a bigger threat than Al-Qaeda can ever hope to be, and the Christian fundamentalists, snowed by Bush, are buying into it.

So just how was the groundwork laid to mobilize fundamentalists to be politically active? Jerry Falwell gave a series of sermons in numerous large fundamentalist churches and on television, spelling out the moral depravity in the country. He called it a "war on little children" and made it plain that Christians had to fight back and turn the country around.

For the children ... it sounds like Hillary Clinton, doesn't it?

Well, in the basics it is just the same. The undercurrent was always to get involved with government and get government to act.

There was another aspect that I noticed (4) about the fundamentalist activity in the political and secular arenas, more than merely teaming up with more-liberal evangelicals. That was a loosening up or crumbling of the barrier between men's and women's "spheres." They were beginning to acknowledge, even appreciate, career women who were married and men's increased involvement with family life. I am not sure why this occurred, but it did help to mainstream fundamentalism.

The big question really is why did fundamental Christians want to become politically active in the first place? The answer seems to be that they wanted to reverse the trend of immorality and depravity, and to make the world safe to raise children in.

In Chapter 9, though, we see that this might be at odds with the Christian beliefs in the end times. Many or most fundamentalists believe that the end is near and that Christ could reappear at any moment. They believe that this will be very soon.

My own belief is that it will happen, but there is no particular reason to think it will be soon. People have been saying this for centuries. The Bible says there is no way to know any time frames.

But they believe it is soon. So my question is: If it is really that soon, what is the point in embarking on the very long and arduous task (and a futile one in my opinion) of using the government to raise the country or the world by its moral bootstraps? You will never even put a dent in the immorality, much less finish the job in time (5).

Some writers, such as Tim La Haye and Hal Lindsay (6), who are widely read among fundamentalists, began to claim that if America is to remain a world leader through the end times, then a turnaround must occur. This meant that Christians needed to jump in there and get the "right" people into high, and lower, government positions. Although I do not think they will admit it, the idea is to legislate compulsory morality, by imposing more censorship, escalating the insane war on drugs, and harassing, even closing down, businesses where gambling, stripping, and other activities considered sinful are taking place.

I have heard people say, "I don't believe in censorship, but we do have to curb smut!" But, what is "smut?" It is whatever the speaker says is smut. They often say they cannot define it, but they "know it when they see it." They do not seem to understand that it is not they who will make that decision, but it will be a politician or bureaucrat whose ideas of "smut" might be entirely different.

I used to know an atheist who believed that churches are "fraudulent" and should be forcibly shut down.

What this shows is that if we allow the government to become involved in what people are allowed to see, hear, read, and meet about, then this power will be used to further the political goals of whoever is in high office. And that official's goals might be entirely different from those whose proponents worked so hard to give the government the power the official is wielding.

(1) Harding, Susan Friend: The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2000, P. 22.

(2) Ibid. P. 128.

(3) Tribbles are a fictitious alien life-form seen on a Star Trek episode. They are adorable, furry little creatures, who increase their numbers so fast that one character remarked that they must be born pregnant. Unfortunately for us in real life, laws beget laws beget laws in much the same way.

(4) Harding, P. 172.

(5) Ibid. P. 231.

(6) Of Left Behind and The Late Great Planet Earth fame respectively.

How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential

Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential
Moore, James, and Wayne Slater
John Wiley and Sons, Inc., Hoboken, 2003

I obtained this book for the purpose of finding out how the New World Order advocates duped the Christian Right into supporting George W. Bush for president.

I already knew a few relevant facts: 1. President Bush's father and grandfather are/were thoroughgoing members of the establishment (1), even members of the infamous Skull and Bones, and that George W. is a chip off the old block; 2. Karl Rove is a master of dirty tricks, and even taught it to Republican students (2); and 3. Actually the Christian Right almost inducted itself into the New World Order establishment, needing very little encouragement.

This is such a disgrace that it is sometimes difficult to admit to anyone I am a Christian. I will say it as I really don't have much choice in the matter, but will follow it quickly with the caveat that I most certainly do not support the Bush administration in any way, shape, or form. Rather, I oppose it with everything I have.

Back to the book, Bush and Rove were more than just candidate and political consultant. They were the best of friends. They were a mutual admiration society, two peas in a pod, or whatever metaphor you want to use (3).

I have spent the last six years being appalled on a daily basis by the Bush administration but, as I write this, the all-time low of Bush's admiration of dirty-tricks Rove hits hard.

Is there any chance for the restoration of liberty and the reining in of government corruption in my lifetime? We are moving further away from that as I continue to get older, so it's questionable at best. I will forge through the book, braced for some really sleazy stuff. Actually, sleazy describes a Harlequin romance or Clinton's escapades. It does not begin to describe what is destroying America and hurting the Christian Church. My only comfort is the knowledge that God will deal with it when He is ready to do so (4). My greatest discomfort is realizing that once the establishment wakes up to the fact that most of the brains of the Bush opposition (and opposition to any future establishment administration) are in the libertarian movement, the movement, to which I am so proudly devoted, may be in for some nasty surprises other than the mere attempts to censor dissent.

According to the author, Rove thinks it and Bush does it (5). This bodes very poorly, as the grueling two-term Bush presidency is only 75% complete. The author mentioned that everyone thinks Rove is really smart; brainy is the word used. I agree.

A good mind is a terrible thing to waste ... or misuse ... I sigh as I rest my head on the back of the easy chair. It's a shame.

Rove ran into Lee Atwater, another dirty tricks man who went to work for Richard Nixon. According to the author, Atwater read Machiavelli’s The Prince every year (6) which, as you can imagine if you read my last year's essay, does not surprise me very much. It gives him some common ground with Mussolini, who, as I pointed out in 2006, kept The Prince on his nightstand. Quite honestly, I think those establishment people have more than that in common with Mussolini. Many of them genuflect at the mention of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and as you may recall I did point out with whom he traded policy ideas.

And, while on the subject of the establishment, I might as well throw in here a reminder that while George W. Bush was governor of Texas, although hidden behind the scenes, he was instrumental in the sales tax hike and eminent domain theft of property for a pork barrel new stadium for the Texas Rangers (7). Despite Bush's and Rove's cultivation of a businessman image for Bush, there was always government involvement.

Bush's Brain, written about Karl Rove, was interesting, but I was halfway through it before I found any sign of a Christian connection. There was a lot about Rove's dirty tricks and that, of course, is worth knowing about because of the extent that it sullies the campaigns and administrations of both Bushes. Finally, Karl Rove, in an effort to groom Bush for the office of governor of Texas, called in many experts to tutor Bush on how the state government was run. Once that was done, Rove created policy teams. For the policy team on welfare, Rove called in Marvin Olasky who eventually helped build the concept of compassionate conservatism. These policy teams came up with the campaign issues.

Olasky (8) believed that religious-based Christian charity was superior to the liberal welfare system. He had a history of Communism/atheism and apparently had been born again, and had then participated in much voluntary Christian charity. He was concerned with education and juvenile crime, the same issues that were on the minds of Texas voters. Rove called Olasky into the picture because Bush was concerned about the lax morality of the 1960s that seemed to linger into the 1990s, and Bush wanted a compassionate conservative image.

As an aside, there was a passage in the book (9) that made me laugh and actually sympathize (minimally!) with the 2000 Bush campaign. That was the meeting of the American Political Science Association where they were sure that there was no way Bush could win the election. (Of course, many people are not sure he actually did win in 2000 or 2004, but that is another subject.) The liberal bias of the Association is screamingly obvious as members went over all these numbers, statistics, historic election numbers and trends, and a number of other things to show scientifically that Al Gore would win. Just like the liberal establishment: mathematics, formulas, all this science, are shown, as though human beings were automatons, controlled by environment and heredity, or Brownian movement perhaps, with no free will at all. This is the same liberal establishment that wants to teach in the schools as fact the bizarre notion that the evolution of human beings just happened with no guidance from a supreme being. They don't seem to know that human beings put thought into their actions and act according to what they believe is in their rational self-interest. This is why free market (and I mean really free market, not the tightly regulated and taxed market Bush calls free market) economics works and central planning does not.

Of course, all that does beg the question, Why didn't more voters choose the Libertarian or some other candidate besides Bush or Gore? I can only answer that by pointing out it is not in the rational self-interest of the fat cats to allow the lamestream, lapdog news media to say much about candidates who have not sold out to the fat cats.

During the 2000 campaign, Karl Rove brought Ralph Reed on board. Until 1997, Reed had been head of the Christian Coalition (10) and was now a corporate consultant. He didn't have a lot of scruples, apparently, judging from the Web site article as he supported causes that were contrary to his beliefs in order to rake in the money. Rove and Bush wanted the fundamentalists, so taking on Reed was (for them) a good move.

Now, we need to remember that the religious right had been complaining for a very long time about how the size and scope of government had grown and how taxes were crowding out the private sector, impoverishing people. They almost sound libertarian, even almost Rothbardian, as exemplified by Tim La Haye way back in 1982 (11).

I have to notice a few things on the La Haye chapter on government (Chapter 3). First, it advocated economic liberty only, not civil liberty. (In fact, by the time I finished the book I was not sure he advocated any liberty at all.) Actually, at the end of the day, all civil liberty is economic liberty and property rights are human rights, and vice versa. But La Haye did have a handle on free market economics. But what he is missing by missing civil liberty is the responsibility for one's own self in the lifestyle department. You really cannot have one without the other, as big government in one area is bound to spill out into the other. I had to realize that all the government bureaucracy and paperwork has to adversely impact the environment (12). Even with computers today this is still true, though Al Gore and his followers are missing in action on that front.

Of course, Bush wanted the evangelical vote so he talked the small-government talk along with the morality talk. The religious leaders picked up the ball and carried it. Whether this was the result of Karl Rove’s bringing people like Olasky and Reed on board I don't know. I do know that Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson (after he was convinced he could not run himself), James Dobson, Tim La Haye, and others fiercely supported Bush, their followers in tow, in 2000, and were foolish enough to repeat the error in 2004. They are strangely silent about the runaway spending and the government micromanagement of just about everything (including in the economy) by the Bush administration. They do trumpet the Bush tax cut (except those in the faith-based office) as a great achievement that is saving families and the economy. They just cannot see the bull in the china shop; all this government spending has to be paid for by somebody, and that somebody is in your mirror. Some tax cut.

The more I learn about Bush and Rove, the more I have to wonder, just how does morality fit into the picture (aside from an excuse to micromanage individuals' lives)? Or, does it at all? Take for example, the U.S. embargo of Cuba. We are not allowed to travel there (don't kid yourself; the U.S. does have restrictions on citizen travel) and there is no trade between the two countries. Many realize that this embargo helps the Castro regime rather than hurting it. If we were to trade and travel there, people would see how much better off we are and get the urge to rebel and possibly install a market economy there. But, would Bush lift the embargo? No way, at least not as the 2004 election drew near and the votes of misled Cuban Americans in Florida would be important (13). The reason the administration gave? It is the responsibility of the Cuban people to decide and implement their government.

Would that this were applied to Iraq.

Of course, there are important differences between Cuba and Iraq. Cuba has no oil; Iraq has lots (14). Cuba is not threatening Israel; Iraq was, or at least that is the Bush line. And that is not to mention that Iraq is strategically located for a buildup of U.S. military for the purpose of spreading empire throughout the region. So, we invaded.

It is all politics. People are suffering and dying in Iraq, and people are suffering and starving in Cuba, and for what? Politics. The aggrandizement of Bush and the establishment.

I did not finish the Moore book. The season is drawing to a close and vacation is nigh. Bush is running the show, but Karl Rove, Mr. Dirty Tricks, is right there. It is like good-cop-bad-cop or, in this case, bad-cop-worse-cop.

Now, in the spring of 2007, I am wondering if Karl Rove will go to work for Bush Rerun, Rudy Giuliani.

(1) Drummey, James J.: The Establishment's Man, Western Islands, Appleton, Wis., 1991.

(2) I'll have the Web page URL soon. AL

(3) Moore, James, and Wayne Slater: Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., Hoboken, 2003 P. 11.

(4) He...She...It; a Spirit has no gender. But I will say He or Him when referring to God.

(5) Moore, P. 11.

(6) Ibid. P. 138.

(7) Ibid. P. 160 and 199-201. Also see Hatfield, J.H.: Fortunate Son, Soft Skull Press, New York, 2001, P. 117-118. (Some people believe Hatfield lost his life over this unauthorized Bush biography.)

(8) Moore, P. 202.

(9) Ibid. P. 261-262.

(10) Hatfield. P.231. Also see

(11) La Haye, Tim: Battle for the Family, Fleming H. Revell Co., Old Tappan, N.J., 1982, P. 54-65. We must remember that all figures presented there are 1982 dollars.

(12) Ibid. P. 61.

(13) Moore, P. 283-286.

(14) As this is being posted, plans for offshore oil drilling near Cuba are being laid by Venezuela President Hugo Chavez.

The Right Wing Assault on America's Founding Principles

Saving General Washington: The Right Wing Assault on America's Founding Principles
J.R. Norton
Penguin Group, New York, 2006

The book, although it contains a little language that some might consider offensive, is very good. In the most down-to-earth way it contrasts the Founders' philosophy with that of the Bush administration. (There is not much in the way of comparison, most likely because there really are no comparisons.) The author has such a handle on the Founders that I think he is more libertarian than leftist; he realizes that the Founders were interested in the rights of the individual rather than the general welfare of society as a collective.

I have already pointed out that Thomas Jefferson called for the separation of church and state as part of the First Amendment. James Madison echoed him (1).

John Locke, who lived in the late 17th Century, was a real mentor to Thomas Jefferson and the other Founders, pioneered a great deal on the libertarian philosophy (2) and refuted monarchial authority. He believed that human individuals should follow reason. The purpose of government, Locke believed (3), is to keep people from harming one another and to protect private property. This is the basis of the libertarian philosophy, and it loomed very big at the Constitutional Convention. Author Norton compares Locke's writing with the Declaration of Independence. Locke, too, opined that it would be a mistake to codify any religious doctrine into civil law.

In the Founders' writings, God is rarely mentioned, presumably because these writings were about civil government and the Founders strongly believed in the separation of religion and state. It was not because they were unbelievers. Some of them were indeed Christians and many were deists.

I used to believe they were all Christians. The religious right would have us believe that and also that the Constitution would ensure a Christian nation. This was not hard for me to accept as I have always believed that Christianity is libertarian. After all, the individual must take the initiative to accept Jesus Christ, and one needs to do this oneself if one does not die before one has a chance to make that decision (for example, aborted babies, children too young to understand, or others for whom there is no way to receive the Good News). Nobody can do it for you.

I learned that some Founders were not Christians at a Christian church from a Christian minister. I used to volunteer a half day once a week to help the church staff. One hot day, I was in a dank basement room enjoying the coolness while we were sorting, dusting and re-shelving books. I came across a copy of Thomas Jefferson's Bible. Norton mentions this on P. 158 and tells us that Jefferson had edited his own version. "Look at this!" I said to the minister. We began to talk about Jefferson and the wonderful ideas from which sprang all the prosperity and other goodness we are still enjoying to a point. I wanted to borrow the book, but it was an antique copy of the original Jefferson edition. I wanted to see how it compared to the Bible's translation we now use. The minister informed me that Jefferson was not a Christian, and that he and about half of the Founders were deists. He suggested they might be a bit like today's Unitarians, but he was not that familiar. Norton says that Jefferson did not even think of Jesus as a primary influence. I have to admit my great disappointment about that, but, like Ayn Rand, they had a corner on some important aspects of the truth.

For our purposes, this underscores the fact that our Founders had no intentions of mixing the ice cream of religion with the dung of state, regardless of what George W. Bush, James Dobson or Jerry Falwell say.

The Founders, who had a range of political and religious views, were all of like mind on one thing: religion and government don't mix. Government must be secular. The people in government may or may not have religious beliefs, but the moment we start reaching government into personal areas, freedom suffers. The Founders themselves, at least enough of them, were in fact pro-religion. By setting up the Constitution the way they did, they sought to protect religion from the state, thus allowing Christianity and other faiths to flourish here. Additionally, James Dobson might also be right; perhaps they were also trying to protect the state from religion.

Bush's faith-based initiative is in direct conflict with the Constitution. As I pointed out previously, the conflict is there whether religious charities get federal dollars or whether they are injured by being led to believe the money is forthcoming when it is not.

If the ice cream and dung are mixed, religion can be commandeered by the wrong kind of people to achieve their selfish ends, people like Bush, Cheney and the rest in high places (4). This is destructive of the church. It is worse than destructive to the country. In the long run it will be destructive to the state as eventually people will become tired of the yoke, and force the necessary changes. I hope this is soon, before a literal blood-bath occurs.

George W. Bush, Norton points out (5), is the very kind of chief executive the founders wanted to avoid.

The Norton book is very, very good. As I stated, it is not for children because of some questionable language, but he does describe the contrast between the Bush administration philosophy and that of the Founders in such a way that, despite my anger against the administration, I laugh while I am learning.

(1) J.R. Norton: Saving General Washington: The Right Wing Assault on America's Founding Principles, Penguin Group, New York, 2006 ,P. 93.

(2) Mises, Ludwig von, Human Action. Also see works by Rothbard, Hospers, Hoppe, and other libertarians.

(3) Norton P. 96.

(4) Ibid. Chapter 8, "President Jesus." This shows, in part, why Bush's actions on behalf of Jesus, the Bible, and the church are skewing Christianity in the minds of the best and brightest, turning them against Christianity.

(5) Ibid. P. 177-178

Fleeing Fundamentalism

Cross, Carlene
Fleeing Fundamentalism: A Minister's Wife Examines Faith
Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill (N.C.), 2006

This is an autobiography of a young woman who was raised by (presumably) non-Christian parents on a Montana farm. She and her brother found Jesus at a vacation Bible school. Later, she and her brother went to a Bible college, he to become a minister, she to marry the top student who became a minister, and a very good one at that.

They taught female submission which, of course, thanks to Dr. Scott Bartchy and other “state-of-the-art” Christian researchers, we now know is at least partially erroneous as what the Bible is really saying is that spouses are to submit to each other. My own opinion is there is really no differentiation between the genders any more than there is differentiation among the races. There is no hierarchy. There are really only individuals under God, no two alike, who are equal in value and all have the same God-given rights. This is one of the things that put Christianity head and shoulders over other religions.

The trouble started for the author, and for Christian fundamentalism, when Jerry Falwell and other Christian leaders started calling for more Christian involvement in government (1). They led people to believe that this would be going back to the original intent of the Founders, and the gullible members of the public believed it. They were aiming to stop the Equal Rights Amendment (which Amendment I supported), to crack down on pornography (which crackdown I opposed as I support the First Amendment as it is written), to overturn Roe v. Wade (I agree with that), and to condemn homosexuality (this is not even close to a government function).

I have previously discussed my stands on some of these issues before and will do so again.

The author's husband became more strict and overbearing over time. I personally have no experience in this area, being single for one thing, and having broken off with a few boyfriends when they began to think they could call more than half of the shots. (In all fairness, I have more than once been on the receiving end of the break-up too. I happen to be a highly energetic and assertive person and can get a little out of hand that way also. Of course, there are times to step up to the plate and insist on defending one's rights, but there are also times to stand down and cut the other guy some slack. There have been times when I foolishly opted not to tell the difference.)

The author's marriage progressed down lines that I find predictable, as I have read of these patterns before. First, he insisted that she keep the house white-glove clean and have everything in its place. After all, what would people think? Because he was a pastor they were living in the parsonage, and congregation members were always coming around, sometimes only to use the bathroom (2). Because the church owned the house, they could comment on its contents. This woman had no time to herself, but she believed it was God's will and hung in there.

I have come to consider “What will people think?” as a syndrome. Well, that syndrome and that of patriarchy escalated in what I would assume is a typical fashion. She, and another wife, began drinking. Husbands became more dominating. Later she learned that he had been going to strip joints. Later still, she found what she and most others would consider hard core pornography and alcohol hidden away. Other wives were finding the same thing.

Was this being played out among fundamentalists across the country? Or was it a local phenomenon?

In any case, this was happening at the same time the Moral Majority was agitating for a crackdown on strip joints and pornography!

That this is hypocrisy is so obvious that I do not need to say it. Less obvious is the harm it is doing to the church. And to our country. If intelligent people are leaving the church in droves, this has got to be one of the main reasons.

Certainly they are right in saying that the Constitution does not specifically mention the separation of church and state. Not in those words, as I pointed out earlier, but the First Amendment is clear on one thing and that is freedom of speech and press. The fundamentalists and the ACLU are both wrong. Both are calling for federal regulation and censorship. The Christians want to censor porn. The ACLU wants to censor prayers by students in public schools and to censor Christmas and other religious decorations on public property.

Likewise, the Fourth Amendment guarantees the right to privacy, even though the word “privacy” is not used. Look up “privacy” in the dictionary and compare its definition to the Fourth Amendment. It is not exactly the same, but it is similar enough.

The author, at the end, debunks many of the fundamentalist tenets, which interpret the Bible's commonly used translations literally. She throws out the baby with the bath.

This essay is not meant to deal with that subject, but allow me to say that new and better ways of learning what the original scripture said are becoming more available, so we are getting a far better handle on it. Rather than interpreting the Bible as a whole literally or symbolically, I think we must interpret it intelligently. God gave each of us, to one degree or another, a mind and it is incumbent upon each individual to explore the issues. I believe there are parts that must be taken literally and parts that are symbolic. The Good News of salvation is so simple that any person can understand it, and it needs to be simple because God did not give everyone a high intellect. But the Good News, and a degree of initiative, is all a person needs in order to go into the presence of God. The key is individual initiative.

If the state makes laws codifying good behavior (whether it be laws regulating strip clubs, the socialization of the institution of marriage, or the censorship of student prayers), it is taking away the individual's God-given right to decide for himself whether and how to relate to God.

(1) Cross, Carlene: Fleeing Fundamentalism: A Minister's Wife Examines Faith, Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, 2006, P. 86-88.

(2) Hmm, I wonder where the pastor of my church lives in relation to the hiking trails I use. Very often I need to re-route a hike due to the need for a bathroom.

American Theocracy

Phillips, Kevin
American Theocracy, the Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century
Viking Press, New York, 2006

(Note: Funny – the author says Al Gore, the infamous environmentalist, has connections to Big Oil (1). His father, Al Gore, Sr., became chairman of Island Creek Coal, an Occidental Petroleum subsidiary, appointed by the latter's chair, Armand Hammer. This connection stonewalled an investigation by the FBI into a possible link between Hammer and the Soviet Union. Al Gore, Jr., also became involved, receiving more than $300,000, in the early 1990s about the time he ran for vice president, from a land deal between his father and Hammer that was made in 1973. Of course this was nothing compared to the Bush family dynasty's involvements, and might have been 100 percent honest. But it is interesting information.)

The first part of the Phillips book is about the history of oil, and does not appear to have anything directly to do with the government's dealings with the church. But it is of interest as background material, especially seeing as how our current evangelical president is of a family oil dynasty and that government's collusion with oil over the decades has steered our decidedly unfree market towards dependence on oil.

The U.S. oil policy has been 100 percent mercantilist from Day One. Please remember my comments on and citation of Murray Rothbard's description of it in Three Enemies. My biggest regret is that most people, bereft of any knowledge of economics, believe that the policy has been capitalist, even laissez-faire capitalist. Not even close!

As if that strains credulity (oil being tightly controlled by government to the point of near-socialism), apparently as fundamentalist and evangelical Christians were getting into the act, it was a beer company that was financing their organization (2)!

Why did author Phillips spend the first 100 pages of American Theocracy on oil? I was going to skip that part and go to the meaty part (meaty as far as this project is concerned) but thought the better of it. Oil is of overarching importance here. For one thing, there is an enormous amount of oil under the Middle East, including especially Iraq (which I think is the most likely reason the war is being escalated now as I write this in January, 2007). Nixon wanted to simply take it away from the people living there. This was "nixed" by his fellow establishmentarians. Now, in his footsteps, Bush wants to do the same thing, but it is being done more shrewdly: He has used the "terror threat," alleged presence of weapons of mass destruction, and the "spread of democracy" to justify war there. This will, he hopes, not only supply oil to the U.S. oil companies but will further U.S. imperialism. The author points out that in many cases our troops are being used to guard oil fields (3). Not only that, he has about a third of the American people completely fooled, another third partly fooled and many of the rest being fooled by the left. In other words, the vast majority believe government is the answer to our energy woes. This leaves small-government, pro-freedom types such as libertarians like myself, militia-types and assorted others who are ignored by the lapdog media. Consequently, without a few talk-show hosts and the Internet, it would be really difficult to see solutions other than government.

We who are not fooled know the real reasons for this war are oil and political power. This is so transparent that the biggest mystery here is that so many people are being fooled. And, many of them are evangelical/fundamentalist Christians. Some of these believe that such things as theocracy must come about before the Second Coming of Christ. Not all think that.

However, this essay is really about how the country is self-destructing by getting the church involved with government, and how this is greatly harming the church as well. A large percentage of serious Christians want to codify morality into the civil law. They have always done so to a degree with laws against prostitution, gambling and drugs, and with a downright screwball regulation of tobacco and alcohol. While there are numerous federal laws, most of this is on the state and local level. The crazy-quilt of rules is so inconsistent that what is mandatory in one state may be forbidden in the next one. In fact I remember from way back in the 1960's in New York the kind of liquor license a club could get depended on how many strings there were on the guitars played there. Now, that is a bit more off-the-wall than most but it shows what kind of garbage we have to obey. An enlightened populace would laugh these laws off the books.

But now, an ignorant populace is allowing the installation of a complete federal theocracy (this is why they have so much faith in the latter-day King George) that is trying to get us to believe that this is what the Founders had in mind.

We have already seen that this was far from the minds of the Founders; in fact this is exactly the sort of thing the Founders were trying to avoid.

After a lot of narrative about Christian denominations, statistics on how many belonged to which denomination, and the north-south scism, the author points out (4) that even before the Civil War people were proclaiming that America was God's vehicle for salvation around the world, as though it were another Israel, a chosen people.

Sometime around the 1970's, after the Southern Baptist Convention, as the denomination called itself, gained ascendancy in the South and other places, they became active in politics, rather than sticking to what the Bible says is the job of the Christian church which is to share the Good News. This is, according to the author, the southern fundamentalist denomination that has fought against integration, the teaching of evolution, etc.

But, something very interesting that I was not aware of was also pointed out. Liberal Democrats President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were both of the Southern Baptist Convention (along with some other top officials). But unlike President Bush, they did not work towards the use of government to achieve "Christian" ends.

I am not sure what to make of that. Possibly Clinton knew better than to try to un-separate church and state (at least "state" at the federal level). Possibly he knew something that most people do not seem to know any more, that the Founders said that the First Amendment does mandate a separation of church and state, and he wanted to follow the law. Or, possibly, Bill Clinton is such a liberal Christian that he is uncaring about the issue. His sexual behavior implies that he is either very liberal or else he does not care. But, that is between Bill Clinton and God, and nobody else is privy.

President George W. Bush, on the other hand, is possibly a true conservative Christian whose interpretation of the Bible is such that he believes that it is the role of the federal government to force, or at least guide, people in the direction he believes the Bible says is right. Look at what he and his followers say should be done with people who buy, sell, grow or even simply use marijuana (even for medical purposes after compelling evidence shows its effectiveness), or what should be done to small, poor or not-so-rich countries which are predominately Muslim and have extensive oil fields.

This sort of activity is the kind that Pres. Bush will claim is his mandate from God. He might even believe it. He has certainly snookered throngs of Southern Baptist Convention members, and other fundamentalist Christians into thinking that it is his God-given responsibility to preside over the "democratization" of Iraq and other mid-eastern countries while straightening out the American people. The internet is alive with warnings to anyone who dares to disagree. It is a good thing that my mother was right when she often said I was born without fear (5).

On the other hand, maybe the Bush camp is engineering all this for the purpose of gaining the growing fundamentalist/evangelist vote. It is not hard to imagine with what we know about Karl Rove and what we have been told by David Kuo. Nixon, too, did that (6).

Again, Bush's beliefs are between him and God, and we are not privy. Either way, a major dis-service to both the Constitution and the Bible is being done.

The author seems to think that G.W. Bush's philosophy is reminiscent of Barry Goldwater's (7). Last winter (2006) I wrote on Goldwater for this blog, and I find this difficult to believe. Of course, Bush can talk the talk of freedom. In fact it infuriates me to no end that he can even talk like a libertarian, saying things like God gave freedom to individuals. Even Goldwater was only partially libertarian. Bush's actions prove that he is quite the opposite of a libertarian, and very different from Barry Goldwater. Possibly the author is listening to what Bush is saying, and what Bush supporters are saying, but not observing what the Bush administration is doing. For example, see what laws Congress has passed (often without reading) at the behest of the administration and that Bush has signed. Or, perhaps the author has not read Goldwater thoroughly, as Phillips points out (8) that authoritarian Bush is not just doing, but saying many things that resemble the talk of authoritarian Osama bin Laden! This is evidenced in the friend-or-foe "if you're not with us you're against us!"

On January 3, 2007, Pat Robertson predicted some sort of major attack on our shores in September, 2007. He said this is word directly from God. He has predicted before, and sometimes he is at least partially right. I, too, can make predictions. I predict a heat wave in July and August and a cooling trend in September in the northern hemisphere. We know that at some point there will be a national disaster and that there is a good chance of another major attack. We do not know if (for sure), when or by whom. The real reason for Robertson's prediction, in my opinion...and this is only an that he is really working for Bush, and Bush wants us scared to death so we will turn to the government for protection and do what we are told (9). This is a good example of how the mixture of ice cream and dung is ruining the ice cream. The Christian church is being weakened by the skewing of Biblical tenets even as our country is being trashed.

In discussing theocracy itself (10), as the author defines as rule by religion, some things he predicts will happen. Being apparently on the left, he sees all these as bad. As a conservative Christian (conservative this time meaning voluntarily embracing Christian moral values) and a decentralist, I see some of these as good, such as the reversal of Roe v. Wade (allowing states to decide on abortion) and the withdrawal of the U.S . from the United Nations. I also endorse student-initiated prayer and religious clubs in public schools on the same basis as all other speech and association (11).

The worst thing about theocracy, and this is what is bound to undo the influence of the church, is the enforcement of what the powers-that-be interpret as Christian morality. This is already being done to a great extent here. Government at some level has controlled marriage through licensure and regulation since the mid-nineteenth century at least. For many decades it has strictly regulated gambling, drugs, alcohol and tobacco which most Christians believe are harmful. Prostitution, which I think all Christians regard as sinful, has always been very strictly prohibited, and extra-marital (even marital) sex has been very restricted by civil government. Only fools believe that these activities would be pandemic in the streets if allowed. Traditional gender roles, regarded by Christian conservatives as "instinctive" (trust me, they are not) used to be codified into the law. The compulsory covering of certain body areas shows that we are different from the most traditional Muslims only in what areas must be covered.

Such regulations could change abruptly when new people who have different beliefs take office, which would underscore the arbitrariness of the rules.

These regulations are likely to be expanded upon as theocracy grows, driving thinking people further away from the church. Thinking people of all faiths know that there is not much point to obeying God if someone is pointing a gun to force obedience. Salvation is 100% voluntary, and the individual must make the first move. This is abundantly clear. Not only that, but salvation does not depend on rule-following. Even the left, with all its advocacy of equally insane economic regulations understands this.

This is not even to mention a "holy war" in the mid-east (12) to battle Islam, promote Israel, get oil and promote U.S. imperialism.

To say that Bush is working closely with church leaders is a major understatement. He actually conferred with the Pope on getting Bishops to mobilize Catholics for Bush goals.

The author correctly points out the Bush merger of church and state in the area of faith-based programs. The Kuo book showed us how the churches and charities are being undermined by being promised federal funding and then being further undermined by these funds not materializing.

Phillips is saying, from his leftward viewpoint, that the Bush administration wants to turn the welfare system over to churches. I personally think that in a free market this will be the job of the churches with the offering plates full and the numbers of poor low. We do not have a free market and taxes preclude tithing for most, and the vast majority of people do not want to close down the government welfare system, so this situation will occur for quite some time. Any lip service on the part of Bush to privatizing welfare certainly means a government takeover of any charities or church charity work that would get involved.

The author points out how students in the U.S. are lagging behind those in other countries and he seems to believe that it is because the theocrats in power are creating barriers to scientific inquiry (13). Possibly they are, but actually the main problem has been here for quite some time and that is that government schools train students to obey and be a part of a group rather than think for themselves as individuals.

While I personally doubt both evolution and creationism as I simply do not know enough to form an opinion, and I believe that killing human embryos and fetuses is taking human life, I fear that fundamentalist Christian influence in government is likely to retard scientific knowledge. Scientific inquiry must be limited only by individual rights, and government, especially the federal government due to Constitutional restraints (remember that the federal government is only allowed to do what the Constitution says it may do, and nothing else), must not have any role.

Author Phillips then draws our attention to the fact that the country is debt-ridden. This is one of the things that worries me the most. Individuals and families, on average, are thousands of dollars in debt, and many are living from paycheck to paycheck. Of course, this is all in addition to President Bush's robo-spending which has accrued a tremendous national debt. Individual debt, while individuals are, of course, responsible for their spending habits, is due largely to the Federal Reserve's low-interest policies earlier this decade which encouraged lending and borrowing.

In the event of a severe recession and the loss of many jobs, these people will be in serious trouble. Right now, as I am writing this in late March, 2007, we are seeing serious problems for people whose homes are mortgaged as mortgage payments are rising, even doubling as one news report has said.

With the deficit spending of the federal government, our U.S. dollar is becoming weaker. I personally have been observing this since I spend a great deal of time in Canada. Five years ago, two U.S. dollars would buy me three Canadian dollars, and now we are nearly at par: I just got back from there on March 21, and two U.S. dollars would only buy me about $2.20 Canadian. I also observed that the price of gasoline up there has risen maybe 10% in the last year while here in the U.S. it has risen about 20 to 30% (14).

And now, I understand that in the eyes of many overseas, the Euro is preferable to the U.S. dollar.

While our Federal Reserve is cranking out more dollars, which are backed up by nothing at all but faith, each dollar is worth less. Meanwhile, OPEC nations, as Phillips points out (15), are reducing dollar holdings, pumping these dollars back into the U.S. economy, further diminishing each dollar's worth. This causes a tendency for nominal prices to rise, and diminishes savings (what alarmingly little there is in savings).

That is overly simplified, but basically that is what is happening. If we see accelerating inflation while the country and the people are in debt, we will see a real disaster. Part of the disaster is the war, of course. One reason (not the main reason, but a compelling reason) to outlaw government debt is that war often cannot be fought without debt.

President Bush's spending habits are enough to give a drunken sailor on shore leave pause, while so-called "conservatives" have adopted the bogus, left-wing economics of John Maynard Keynes. The danger of this cannot be over-estimated. In fact, the first most important reason I pray fervently for an unlikely Libertarian sweep is that this will bring about economic policies based on the likes of Murray Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises (16).

So, how does this tie into the destruction of the country and the undermining of the church? Simply this: Any system that calls for the theft of taxation and inflation, the trespass of regulation, the murder of war, and the bearing false witness of officials' lies is not very Christian. And, to snooker Christians into believing it is far worse, and the bogus "Christian" teaching of unconditional submission to governmental authority is the worst of all.

Kevin Phillips points out something that has already made me blow my stack more than once (17) and that is that President Bush (like his father before him) urged Americans to lavishly spend in response to 9-11. This would show the terrorists a thing or three, he seemed to think, besides which the interest rates were nearly zero.

This also jives with these "prosperity gospel" preachers who put the Good News on the back burner to emphasize that God wants people to prosper (18). Certainly, God wants us to "live long and prosper," even to an extent, "don't worry be happy." However, this is not the main thing in life. A long, happy life should be fallout from obedience to God and a healthy sense of personal autonomy. This adds up to responsibility.

Prosperity is also not the main function of the church. Sharing the Good News is. If the "prosperity gospel" were the proper purpose of the church, which it isn't, it seems to me that they would be preaching fiscal responsibility, urging people to pay down their debts and spend less on non-necessities, and lambasting the Bush administration's robo-drunken-sailor imitation. But they're not. And, this is just another part of what I am trying to demonstrate here: the tearing down of our country and the extensive damage to the church.

Deficit spending on the part of consumers does make the economy appear to be good. This is why the politicians urge such spending. However it is a mirage, as eventually all this spending has to be paid for. Credit card debt piles up, crowding out saving and investment. The lack of savings in the economy literally keeps me awake at night, as when the chickens come home to roost, my own position will be seriously undermined, even though I personally have no credit and do not owe a dime to anyone.

Interest rates have come up somewhat (as of the beginning of 2007) thank goodness, and, while this is causing some hurt, it is preventing more hurt later. It is too little too late. A major recession will happen. We do not know when it will happen, but we know that it will happen. This is what Murray Rothbard and other free marketers have taught. He is the one, I believe, who demonstrated along with Ludwig von Mises that it was the expansion of credit that caused the Great Depression (19).

In Phillips' Chapter 8, at the beginning of Part III that discusses debt-related subjects, the author discusses the financial sector of the economy that has, over the twentieth century, overtaken manufacturing. Of course, financial services do not produce anything tangible such as food, shelter and clothing. But they are necessary to an extent in any economy, no matter how free. We need as much as we now do in the way of financial advisors, accountants, lawyers and other such professionals primarily due to the mountains of complicated tax law and economic regulations that have us snowed under. In a free market we would only need a fraction of that, and almost no tax preparation help or compliance officers at all. Many of these professionals' abilities could be turned toward raising our standard of living instead. During the last few decades, the author points out, there has been an increasingly great disparity between the salaries of executives and those of regular workers. Recently, we have been told that these executives are receiving huge severance packages, sometimes in the millions of dollars. We have also seen that the middle class is shrinking leaving the very rich few and the poor many. I contend that increasing government regulation is at fault, along with, particularly in the Bush II era, war and very poor fiscal and monetary policy.

Of course, Phillips points out (20) the Bush family has supported and has been supported by the financial sector, so it all figures. But, he calls this "laissez-faire" and "deregulation" (21) which is something I cannot understand, although there has been a measure of regulatory relief. Of course, I have often heard leftists describe mercantilism or the skewing of regulation to favor business as free-market. I can only shake my head at the abysmal ignorance of what freedom is.

The author uses the word "conceit" in a discussion (22) of how America views itself. That is a good term. We are conceited. The country, actually the government rather than the people, I hope, behaves like a man who thinks he is too good for me. He reminds me of a short-tempered cat who needs a good swat on the behind. "It's all mine!" he seems to say. Such a man is not worth the paper he is printed on, and I throw him back like a fish that is too small to keep. But an imperialist country that behaves that way? God help America.

And if the administration trots out Christianity as an excuse, or is doing what the Bush administration is doing and citing Jesus Christ, I am not just sad, I am angry! Really angry!!!

The intermingling of Christian beliefs with government policy is harmful in another way as was pointed out by the author (23), although as a libertarian I have been frustrated by this for a long time.

I am very frustrated by the way beliefs seem to be bundled together in an inconsistent way. A belief that is anti-individualist such as male supremacy (the idea that the husband is ipso facto the natural leader of the wife is male supremacy, make no mistake about that) is believed to go together with an unrelated belief that is pro-individualist, such as an opposition to the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol would pile heaps of additional regulations on the economy to reverse global warming, which would serve only to stifle individual liberties and most likely not affect global warming at all, or not for several decades at least. (This is assuming global warming is for real, and many reputable scientists are very skeptical.) It really does not take a lot of thinking, assuming one knows some sound Austrian school economic theory (24) to realize how inconsistent these bundles of opinions are. But, as I was saying, unless one gets one's news on the internet from a variety of sources (including libertarian ones like and antiwar. com) it is very difficult to sift through the pro-government slanted "news."

I would go so far as to say that big government is a religion!!! The big government that Bush supporters advocate is a religion, or at least a bogus Christianity as a backlash against the left. The secular big government the left advocates is a pagan religion in itself, what with the left's backlash against the religious right. When it comes to many issues, particularly victimless crime issues, only the libertarians seem able to comprehend the idea of no government involvement at all. And, when it comes to things like scientific advancement, being "for" it almost always means advocating federal tax dollars.

Not only do most people rely on the mainstream lapdog news, but the author also believes (25) that many evangelical or fundamental Christians rely principally up their church's communications for their information.

This book was very good, well worthwhile. It could be long and tedious, and I did spend about three weeks on it, a long time even for dyslexic me. Like so many who do not "me-too" Bush, Kevin Phillips' orientation seemed to be predominately left-wing, but I must give him credit for understanding economics better than most non-libertarians. He understands the seriousness of debt, although he does not predict the total catastrophes that I, as a libertarian, do. I do agree that Washington talks the free-market talk to an extent, but they do not walk the walk at all.

As I stated, he does seem to think our present-day economy is close to laissez-faire capitalism, while I believe it is way over-taxed and over-regulated, bordering on socialist. I guess it depends on one's point of view.

If you want to understand what laissez-faire capitalism really is, please go to and take advantage of their free book downloads. You could e-mail for suggestions on where to begin depending on your level of knowledge. They are not trying to sell as much as they are trying to educate. This is regardless of your religious orientation, as economics is a science as much as it is a humanity.

(1) Phillips, Kevin: American Theocracy, the Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century, Viking Press, New York, 2006

(2) Ibid. P. 65.

(3) Ibid. P. 86.

(4) Ibid. P. 143.

(5) Not quite. I am afraid of heights, dead bodies, and bears on the hiking trails.

(6) Phillips, P. 184.

(7) Ibid. P. 201.

(8) Ibid. P. 206.

(9) Also see Barnwell, Bill, "TV Evangelist John Hagee Wants War with Iran, and hHe Wants it Now!" The same could apply to Hagee. This article shows where the fundamentalists and evangelicals (many of them) stand on the war issue. They believe that Christ cannot come back until certain things happen, and so they are trying to make these things happen as soon as possible.

(10) Phillips, P. 208 and on.

(11) I personally believe in private, competitive, free-market education, as this is not properly a function of government.

(12) Phillips, P. 209.

(13) Ibid. P. 248.

(14) This is ballpark, based solely on my personal observations and is far from scientific. But one cannot miss the plummet of the U.S. dollar.

(15) Phillips, P. 350.

(16) At this point I intend to make a thorough study of the works of Murray Rothbard and report it on this blog next winter, but that could change. I am a very decisive person, but a lot can change in one year. I will be satisfied to be alive and healthy next winter.

(17) Phillips, P. 280-281.

(18) Baldwin, Chuck: "Prostitutes in the Pulpit," 1-4-07. Describes the worst sin of the church as when church leaders are bought by, intimidated by, or influenced by purveyors of wealth and power. This is not only pandering to the state, but also fluff sermons on the "prosperity gospel" are turning attention away from the Good News, the spread of which is really the church's main purpose. All of this, Baldwin says, is destroying the church.

(19) Please see the Roosevelt segment of my Three Enemies essay at

(20) Phillips, P. 283-284.

(21) Ibid. P. 288.

(22) Ibid. P. 298-299.

(23) Ibid. P. 370.


(25) Phillips, P. 285.