Rampant Official Insecurity

China’s War on Words

Anything used to insult Xi Jinping, banned

Jamie Seidel
NZ Herald

China’s new President-for-life doesn’t like criticism.  Since claiming the eternal throne of an Emperor earlier this week, he’s clamped down — hard — on any hint of dissent.  Censorship has always been a way of life under China’s one party state, reports News.com.au.  But things have just ramped up to a whole new level.

Authoritarian Rule is Being Established.

Earlier this week the Communist Party Council announced (a day before it actually met) that the limit of two five-year presidential terms will be abolished and Xi Jinping’s guiding philosophy would be written into the constitution.  Immediately, Beijing’s censors set to work.  They’ve attacked the very words people would need to use to express discontent.


“Two term limit”.


These top a long list of terms now blocked by China’s state controlled social media platform, Weibo, as well as the search engine Baidu.  And while you cannot burn electronic books, Beijing’s done the next best thing.

Animal Farm.


Brave New World.

Simply mentioning the names of novels and authors which paint dystopian pictures of worlds under authoritarian leadership is no longer permitted.

But the blocking of just one basic word demonstrates the full extent of Xi’s desire to rewrite the dictionary.


This is what it prompts:

“Sorry, this content violates the laws and regulations of Weibo’s terms of service.”

Many within China reacted with shock at the leadership announcement earlier this week.  They knew their words were being watched.  Still they tried to express their fear of life subject to the whims of just one man.  “Argh, we’re going to become North Korea,” one Weibo user wrote. He was referencing Kim Jong-un and the Kim dynasty which has ruled since the 1940s.

But Xi Jinping is doing all he can to put any negative reaction to his power grab in a bottle before it can spread.  Within hours, all such posts on social media or internet services were deleted.  And Xi’s thought police embarked on a crusade against compromising memes.

Popular children’s character Winnie the Pooh was one of the first victims.

“It would be funny if it weren’t so serious,” says Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) analyst Fergus Ryan. “Behind the gallows humour is growing despair.”  Chinese social media has long seen a similarity between the portly features of the honey-loving bear and Xi Jinping.  So cartoons featuring the character have been exploited to indirectly mock their leader.

Shortly after the announcement earlier this week, Weibo users started circulating an innocent post from Disney’s official account.  It showed Winnie Pooh hugging a large pot of honey.  Beneath was the caption “find the thing you love and stick with it.”

It — along with every other Pooh reference they can find — has been exterminated by the censors. . . . .

The Power of One

Immediately after the social media clampdown, Beijing-controlled traditional media went into full-swing.  Their praise of Xi has been profusive and prolific.  Their top articles — along with many of those deemed to be ‘trending’ — are entirely supportive. They argue the military, the Communist Party and China’s economy will benefit from Xi’s enlightened leadership.

The formal proposal to eliminate the two-term presidential limit will go to next month’s annual meeting of China’s parliament.  It’s usually little more than a rubber stamp for the Communist Party’s Central Committee.

Now that stamp will be wielded by just one man.  Xi. . . .

Some word bans have already been lifted.  Wives are once again allowed to ‘disagree’ with their husbands electronically.  Many, however, remain in place.

Book publishers, internet services — even scientific journals — have been accused of censoring works out of fear of offending powerful Chinese government groups.  “One by one, big Western companies like Apple, Daimler, Marriot International and Yum Brands are being cowed by hordes of nationalistic trolls for the crime of crossing patriotic red lines,” Ryan states.

“To what extent are our own companies, politicians, journalists and academics already self-censoring for fear of offending Xi’s China?”
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Daily Meditation

Following in His Footsteps

Thou shalt love thy neighbour.  Matthew 5:43

Charles H. Spurgeon

“Love thy neighbour.” Perhaps he rolls in riches, and thou art poor, and living in thy little cot side-by-side with his lordly mansion; thou seest every day his estates, his fine linen, and his sumptuous banquets; God has given him these gifts, covet not his wealth, and think no hard thoughts concerning him. Be content with thine own lot, if thou canst not better it, but do not look upon thy neighbour, and wish that he were as thyself. Love him, and then thou wilt not envy him.

Perhaps, on the other hand, thou art rich, and near thee reside the poor. Do not scorn to call them neighbour. Own that thou art bound to love them. The world calls them thy inferiors. In what are they inferior? They are far more thine equals than thine inferiors, for “God hath made of one blood all people that dwell upon the face of the earth.” It is thy coat which is better than theirs, but thou art by no means better than they. They are men, and what art thou more than that? Take heed that thou love thy neighbour even though he be in rags, or sunken in the depths of poverty.

But, perhaps, you say, “I cannot love my neighbours, because for all I do they return ingratitude and contempt.” So much the more room for the heroism of love. Wouldst thou be a feather-bed warrior, instead of bearing the rough fight of love? He who dares the most, shall win the most; and if rough be thy path of love, tread it boldly, still loving thy neighbours through thick and thin. Heap coals of fire on their heads, and if they be hard to please, seek not to please them, but to please thy Master; and remember if they spurn thy love, thy Master hath not spurned it, and thy deed is as acceptable to him as if it had been acceptable to them. Love thy neighbour, for in so doing thou art following the footsteps of Christ.
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NZ Education System: Ideologically Driven Mania

Stupidity That Beggars Belief

The New Zealand government education system is a mess.  It is the product for which both major political parties (Labour and National) are to blame.  Both parties bought into the fundamental egalitarianism of the system: no child should leave school without a qualification.  No child would be left behind.  

The egalitarianism of the Left required that there be no failures, no rejects, no-one without qualifications.  In order to achieve this, the government education system has had to broaden its curriculum to the point that its entire system has become either insignificant or meaningless.  So many of the creaks and groans of the current set-up arise from the utopian attempt to build an education system which would enable every child to “pass” in some subject or other.

Simon Collins, the NZ Herald education reporter has illustrated the problem:

Pukekohe High School final-year student Atarangi Thompson is in no doubt: physics is hard.  “Some subjects like English, maths and science are a lot harder mentally to understand,” she says, after a lesson that included the equation for splitting the atom and having to explain why the energy lost in an atomic explosion is equivalent to the increase in mass.

But in our system the intellectual rigour of those subjects is not given greater value. “Demonstrate understanding of atomic and nuclear physics” is worth 3 credits at Level 2 of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). “Experience day tramps” is worth exactly the same.  “Walking can be hard physically,” Atarangi says. “But this stuff – it’s more that you need to learn more. I think that harder subjects should be worth a lot more credits.”

Did you get that little gem: going on a walk will earn the avid student “three educational credits”.  So will hard core, vital subjects such as English, maths, and science: three credits all.  This is egalitartianism driven mad by the gluttonous consumption of ideological steroids. 

The consequences for our school system are immediately apparent.

The first is that our schools are overstaffed, on the one hand, and (surprise, surprise) there is a teacher shortage, on the other.  There are so many more “subjects” to be taught, from advanced tiddlywink techniques to post-Newtonian physics.  Madness.  Ideologically driven myopic madness.

The second is the vast bureaucracy required to write, deliver, and administer fatuous qualifications.  The NZ Qualifications Authority–supposedly an arms length independent bureaucracy–is constantly adding worthless achievement standards and qualifications for an ever expanding list of “subjects”.  It should be scrapped immediately.

A third consequence is overcapitalised schools.  The cost of putting up a new school is now in the hundreds of millions of dollars range.  Why?  Well, it has to cater for a huge range of subjects.  Performing arts complexes are just as necessary as science labs–and much more expensive, we may add. But these days, no good school worth its salt can be considered credible without one, so that pupils can get educational credits in the rarefied subject of spontaneous Patagonian dance.  Earning credits in performing arts is just as valuable and important to society as wrestling with Newton’s Law of Gravity, after all.

A fourth consequence is widespread public incredulity and scepticism over the government education system.  People know it’s a rort.  When they hear of earning educational credits (with merit) for walking in the outdoors they know it’s a rort.  But they are too embarrassed to tell their children.  A vast conspiracy of silence descends on our communities.

Finally, the students themselves know it’s all a crock.  These are the real victims of this Monty Pythonesque folly.  They are told that a bright future awaits them if they are diligent to work through the system with all its numerous, grandiose subjects promising the world and delivering irrelevance.  As soon as they realise the vast con in which they have been forced to participate they mentally and physically disengage and drop out.

And that’s enough to make ordinary folk very angry indeed.  And so they should be.

We have nothing against trade or career orientated schools.  A far more focused curriculum has enabled the Vanguard Academy for instance (a soon-to-be-shut charter school) to succeed with students who would have otherwise been the stock standard failures of the present government educational system.  But Vanguard was set up to prepare pupils for careers in the military, the police, customs, border security, and the like.  That brought a focused culture and a focused curriculum–and students were saved from the dark recesses of failure.  Their lives were given meaning, hope, and new found aspiration.

We give the final word to the NZ Herald:

We have deluded ourselves into thinking we are doing well because students leaving school with at least NCEA Level 2 have increased dramatically from 58 per cent of school-leavers in 2005 to 80 per cent in 2016.  But in the same period our 15-year-olds’ scores in global tests for the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) have been sliding in all three subjects – reading, maths and science.

Using NCEA data, you would think the educational gaps between our socio-economic and ethnic groups have been marvellously closing. In the five years to 2016 the proportion of 18-year-olds with at least NCEA Level 2 leapt by 17 percentage points for Māori, and by 13 points for Pasifika, compared with only 9 points for Pākehā.  Yet in University Entrance (UE), which does not count non-academic subjects such as “Experience day tramps”, the ethnic gaps have actually widened slightly since NCEA began in 2002.

The proportions of both Māori and Pasifika school-leavers with UE rose by 11 points from 2001 to 2016, compared with an average gain across all school-leavers of 15 points.

NZ Initiative report author Briar Lipson, who helped start several academy or charter schools in Britain before moving to New Zealand last year, quotes research by Herald journalist Kirsty Johnston, who found Māori and Pasifika students are disproportionately channelled into non-academic subjects such as hospitality and retailing.  “It is hard to avoid the suspicion that at least some of this apparent improvement is based on learning that is of dubious value,” Lipson says in the report.

“To create a national assessment system that pretends all subjects – from meat processing to mathematics – are equal, is a deception, and one that falls hardest on the very students most deserving of protection.  “There is no magic bullet or shortcut to educational equity. But NCEA disregards this difficult reality and instead places a deceit at the heart of our national assessment by suggesting to children that filling plastic containers holds the same value as studying literature, physics or Te Reo.”


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contaminated by death

marmsky March 2018 (16)

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2322

Numbers 19:1-13

Num 19:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and this is what he said,
Num 19:2 “This is the prescription of the law that Yahveh has commanded: Tell the people of Israel to bring you a perfect red heifer, in which there is no flaw, and on which a yoke has never been placed.
Num 19:3 And you will give it to Eleazar the priest, and it will be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in the sight of him.
Num 19:4 And Eleazar the priest will take some of its blood with his finger, and spritz some of its blood toward the front of the conference tent seven times.
Num 19:5 And the heifer will be burned in his sight. Its skin, its flesh, and its blood, with its dung, will be burned.
Num 19:6 And the priest will take cedarwood and hyssop and scarlet yarn, and toss them into the fire burning the heifer.
Num 19:7 Then the priest will wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. But the priest will be contaminated until evening.
Num 19:8 The one who burns the heifer will wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water and will be contaminated until evening.
Num 19:9 And a man who is pure will gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a pure place. And they will be kept for the water for impurity for the congregation of the people of Israel; it is a mistake offering.
Num 19:10 And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer will wash his clothes and be contaminated until evening. And this will be a permanent prescription for the people of Israel, and for the foreign guest who sojourns among them.
Num 19:11 “Whoever touches the dead soul of any human will be contaminated seven days.
Num 19:12 He will purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so be pure. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not become pure.
Num 19:13 Whoever touches a dead soul of any human who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of Yahveh, and that soul will be eliminated from Israel; because the water for impurity was not tossed on him, he will be contaminated. His contamination is still on him.

contaminated by death

What was so wrong about accidentally or inadvertently touching a human corpse? A corpse is a soul (that is the Hebrew word here) which has died. Death is the aberration of the created order. It should not be. The LORD is making a statement about how wrong death is. But he is also saying something else. He intends to eradicate death from his universe. But that miracle will require a death. The perfect red cow is another symbol of the coming Savior. We still live among the dead and are contaminated with the same ancestral sin that brought death to us. But God has a solution.

LORD, thank you for the hope of eternal life through Jesus.


The Curse of the Metrosexual Male

Take Your Kids Out Of Class

Tucker Carlson and Jordan Peterson discuss the decline of masculinity

Dorothy McLean

NEW YORK CITY, March 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — American men are in serious trouble, but few people seem to care.  That was Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s theme last night when he introduced a new series for his show called “Men in America.” It will air on Fox on Wednesdays in March.

In a stirring monologue, Carlson laid out statistics, ranging from lifespan to addictions to incarceration to unemployment to wages, that prove that it is boys and men–not girls and women–who are seriously disadvantaged in the USA today.   “American men are failing, in body, mind and spirit. This is a crisis. Yet our leaders pretend it’s not happening,” Carlson said. “They tell us the opposite is true: Women are victims, men are oppressors. To question that assumption is to risk punishment.” 

“Our politicians and business leaders internalize and amplify that message,” he continued. “Men are privileged. Women are oppressed. Hire and promote and reward accordingly.  That would be fine if it were true. But it’s not true. At best, it’s an outdated view of an America that no longer exists. At worst, it’s a pernicious lie.”

Dr Jordan Peterson, author of the bestselling 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, told Carlson that there is a “directed policy” to emphasize that there is something wrong with masculinity and it should be limited in “all sorts of arbitrary ways.  The fact that male behaviour is often diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder is a manifestation of that,” he said.

Carlson asked Peterson why people would want to deemphasize or punish masculinity.

“Because it’s easy to mistake masculine competence for the tyranny that hypothetically drives the patriarchy,” the psychologist replied. “It’s part of an ideological worldview that sees the entire history of mankind as the oppression of women by men, which is a dreadful way of looking at the world.”

Peterson underscored that human history has been a cooperative endeavor between men and women and that to describe it as “centuries of oppression of women” is “an absolutely reprehensible ideological rewrite of history.”  This dystopian vision is taught as “unassailable fact” in universities and, increasingly, the public school system, demoralizing boys and young men.

Peterson advised parents to encourage their sons, that is, to instill courage in them, to teach them to be competent and to rely on themselves “to prevail, even in the darkest of circumstances.”

He had even more specific advice for parents regarding their children’s education.  “If you have your children in a school, and [teachers] talk about equity in class–equity, diversity, white privilege, systemic racism, any of that–you take your children out of that class,” Peterson said. “They’re not being educated; they’re being indoctrinated. And there’s absolutely no excuse for it.”

“You might run out of schools pretty quickly, though, here in this country,” Carlson quipped.  But Peterson wasn’t in a joking mood.  “That would be just fine,” he said, stony-faced. “The sooner, the better.”

The statistics Carlson provided–like the fact that 77% of suicide deaths are suffered by males or that 7 million working-age American men are now unemployed–were dire. However, the problem that he found most terrifying is that men are becoming “less male.”

“Sperm counts across the west have plummeted, down almost 60 percent since the early 1970s,” Carlson said. “Scientists don’t know why. Testosterone levels in men have also fallen precipitously. One study found that the average levels of male testosterone dropped by one percent every year after 1987. This is unrelated to age. The average 40-year-old-man in 2017 would have testosterone levels 30 percent lower than the average 40-year-old man in 1987.”

The host stated that low testosterone in men is associated with depression, lethargy, weight gain and decreased cognitive ability.  “You’d think we’d want to know what exactly is going on and how to fix it. But the media ignore the story. It’s considered a fringe topic,” he said.

Scientists don’t seem interested either.  “We checked and couldn’t find a single NIH-funded study on why testosterone levels are falling,” Carlson said. “We did find a study on, quote, ‘Pubic Hair Grooming Prevalence and Motivation Among Women in the United States’.”

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Daily Meditation

When the Potter Is for Us

“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?” (Isaiah 45:9)

John Piper

The majesty of God is magnified when we see him through the lens of creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). He commands nothingness, and it obeys and becomes something.

Out of nothing he makes the clay, and out of the clay he makes us — the pottery of the Lord (Isaiah 45:9) — his possession, destined for his glory, in total dependence on him.

“Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us and we are his, his people and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3). It is a humbling thing to be a sheep and a pot that belong to somebody else.

This morning I was reading in Isaiah and found another statement about God’s majesty. When I put it together with God’s absolute power and rights as Creator there is a combustion that goes off in my heart. Boom!

Isaiah 33:21 says, “The Lord in majesty will be for us!”

For us! For us! The Creator is for us and not against us. With all the power in the universe and with absolute right to do as he pleases with what he made — he is for us!

“Who has seen a God like this, who works for those who wait for him?” (Isaiah 64:4). “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Can you think of anything (I mean anything) that is more comforting and assuring and delighting than that the Lord in his majesty is for you?
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A Modern Version of the Goon Show

The Syndrome of Embarrassing Advocates

You have to spare a thought for our hapless Foreign Minister, Winston Peters.  Winnie (a nickname referring to his excessive love of horse racing) has for some strange reason singled out Russia as a country with which New Zealand very definitely needs to have a Free Trade Agreement.

This febrile enthusiasm for closer ties to Russia begs all sorts of questions, the most pressing of which is, Why?  What are we missing?  Given Peters past murky behaviour over money our suspicions cannot be anything but quickened by his strange crusade.  Unfortunately for Peters his public encomiums of Russia have been unfortunately timed.  Within a day or so, we awoke to find the UK has essentially cut diplomatic ties with Russia, expelling a phalanx of spies from the country.  This was followed by condemnations from the NATO powers: the US, Germany and France.  It seems Russia has been acting more like a rogue state.  It has committed murder and attempted murder of former Russian residents and a policeman, upon UK soil.  There are murmurings that this is just the tip of a bloody iceberg.

How will Peters respond?  Who can predict the mind of this rather strange man?
  We expect that he will either ignore the incident, passing it off as a great cyclone in a mere teacup, or he will go uncharacteristically silent.  Nevertheless the timing of his embarrassment leads to the impression that he is well into his dotage, out of touch with the real world, and passed his use-by-date.  Just what we need for a Foreign Minister one would have thought.

At the other end of the age spectrum is our equally hapless Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.  At the same time as Peters’s unrequited love-affair with Russia became a national embarrassment, Jacinda has had to face her own incompetence.  She was very quick (being the slick modern feminist that she aspires to be) to jump upon the “Me Too” campaign, adding her own hectoring to the global brouhaha.  And all this at precisely the same time particular failures of her Labour Party became public (after being kept under the carpet in the broom cupboard).  It turns out that the Labour Party had conducted “Youth Camps” at which some attendees had preyed sexually upon young teenagers.  Alcohol, in apparent breach of the law, was copiously available, no doubt paid for by Ardern’s Labour Party.

Ardern claims ignorance of all these goings on, which leaves her in an awkward vice: either she is attempting to mislead the public about her ignorance, or she is leading a party in which senior officials have been covering up the very kinds of behaviour the Leader has been publicly excoriating.

“Possum-in-headlights” Jacinda and “hapless-Winnie”–don’t they make you proud to be New Zealanders?
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or die

marmsky March 2018 (15)

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2321

Numbers 18:21-32

Num 18:21 “To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the conference tent,
Num 18:22 so that the people of Israel do not come near the conference tent, lest they pay for their mistake and die.
Num 18:23 But the Levites will do the service of the conference tent, and they will bear their violation. It will be a permanent prescription throughout your generations, and among the people of Israel they will have no inheritance.
Num 18:24 Because the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to Yahveh, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore I have said of them that they will have no inheritance among the people of Israel.”
Num 18:25 And Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said,
Num 18:26 “Moreover, you will speak and say to the Levites, ‘When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you will present a contribution from it to Yahveh, a tithe of the tithe.
Num 18:27 And your contribution will be counted to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor, and like the fullness of the winepress.
Num 18:28 So you will also present a contribution to Yahveh from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel. And from it you will give Yahveh’s contribution to Aaron the priest.
Num 18:29 Out of all the gifts to you, you will present every contribution due to Yahveh; from each its best part is to be dedicated.’
Num 18:30 Therefore you will say to them, ‘When you have offered from it the best of it, then the rest will be counted to the Levites as produce of the threshing floor, and like produce of the winepress.
Num 18:31 And you may eat it in any place, you and your households, because it is your reward in return for your service in the conference tent.
Num 18:32 And you will pay for your mistake by reason of it, when you have contributed the best of it. But you will not profane the holy things of the people of Israel, or else you will die.’”

or die

The commands from the LORD seem harsh to our sensitive ears. He tells the Levites that the other Israelites cannot come near the conference tent, or else they will die. So, it is the Levites and priests who must do the work associated with the tabernacle. For their salary, the Levites will receive a tenth of the offerings. They, in return must contribute a tenth of those offerings back to the priests. If the Levites fail to do this, they too will die. An underlying truth behind both these commands is that fellowship with God is costly for sinful humanity. He sets the price.

LORD, thank you for paying the extreme price for our eternal fellowship with you.


Douglas Wilson’s Letter From Moscow, Idaho

That Unthinkable 2020 Election

Douglas Wilson

So let us review where we are.

For my entire adult life (and I understand the pattern started earlier than that), the received wisdom has been for Republican candidates to run to the right and govern to the middle. Virtually everyone did this, whether because that was where their heart actually was, or because they were manipulated or forced in that direction. Some politicians were actual (albeit secret) members of the swamp tribes, some went native, and others were kidnapped. But whatever the reason that is the direction things invariably went.

The most principled conservative of the entire lot (Reagan) is perceived as an enemy of government bloat because he successfully slowed down the rate of the bloating. That is how “cuts” in Washington are defined, cutting the rate of growth. This is like a 400 pound man, who gains ten pounds annually, describing a regimen in which he gains five pounds during that same period as a weight loss program. And with all the care of exquisite and experienced liars, our politicians carefully rely on the difference between deficits and debts, pretending that to do something superficial about the former actually helps with the latter.

So this is the way it has been, and thus it seemed it always would be. This has happened over and over. Lucy and the football, over and over. Candidates who sounded really conservative, who talked a good game, who sounded genuine and sincere—the most we could hope for from them was to postpone the day of reckoning. The Democrats insisted on hurtling toward the cliff at 90 mph (“Venezuela or bust!”) while the Republicans (ever voices of moderation) wanted to hurtle in the same direction at 75 mph. The most drastic conservative measures always seemed to cash out to some form of slightly slower liberalism.

This bait and switch move has been the pattern for so long that it has gotten itself embedded in the conservative psyche. It certainly got embedded in mine.
This had happened so many times with plausible conservatives that when the implausible conservative that is Trump came along . . . well, I just flat didn’t believe him, and where I did believe him, I disagreed with him. Not only was he the implausible conservative, he was the uber-implausible conservative. I did not vote for him because of character issues and because of believability issues.

Let us focus on the believability issue for a moment. Let us make up a liberal to conservative scale running from one to ten. If Reagan ran as a 10 and governed as an 8, if Bush the Second ran as an 8 and governed as a 6, and you get the picture, what were we to expect from an unlikely late convert to conservatism who ran as a 6? Some of his positions were conservative on paper (e.g. pro-life), but because of their johnny-come-lately character not very believable, while other positions were more populist than conservative (e.g. tariffs), but believable for that reason. So I had every reason (given the historical patterns) to expect him to run as a 6 and govern as a 3. It was not unthinkable to me that he might have wound up governing to the left of where Hillary would have been. Such is the nature of our historic double-crosses.

Nobody ever double-crossed anybody in the opposite direction. Nobody ever ran to the middle and governed to the right. Until now, that is.

Nobody ever ran as a 6 and governed as an 8. But here we are, and that’s as may be. At the same time, a simple scale of 1 to 10 doesn’t do our gaudy situation justice—there has been a lot of additional pyrotechnics, Twitterverse sturm und drang, White House personnel being defenestrated on a regular basis, and other gratuitous entertainments. We shouldn’t ever forget that aspect of it. So when you consider the 8 we are getting instead of the anticipated 3 (certain under Hillary, possible under Trump), and then you throw in all the eager anticipation of watching the daily roundup of the Washington rowdydow on the evening news, the only real conclusion is that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

In the meantime, the Left has been driven barking mad over Trump’s antics, and are hellbent on nailing him for colluding with Russia in the election, and the more that saga unfolds the more we see that it was Hillary colluding bigtime with the Russians, and it turns out that folks really do fall into their own trap, just like it was a movie. “He made a pit, and digged it, And is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate” (Psalm 7:15–16).

All of this explains very little except why I am sitting here with a jumbo tub of popcorn, with extra butter. I am simply describing what I see here, not explaining it. I don’t really have an accounting for why any of this is happening, except the unmerited favor and grace of God, coupled with a remarkable display of His sovereignty. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever he will” (Prov. 21:1).

Now the Heritage Foundation is what professionals call a Respectable Outfit. Their scholars wear bow ties, and generally have their shirts buttoned up straight—the right button in the right hole, if you know what I mean. These are guys whose socks usually match, and nobody ever accused them of being alt-righty. If you are the kind of conservative who likes to stand on his dignity, this is a good place to stand. And the only times they are accused of being white supremacists is when the Left is accusing absolutely anybody to the white-ward side of octaroon of being a white supremacist. If you are a mainline conservative, the kind who cares about propriety, the Heritage Foundation is legit.

They put together a punch list of 334 items for the new president to do. After just one year, the Trump administration has fulfilled 64% of them. Heritage did this for the first time with Reagan’s election, and at the same point in Reagan’s presidency, he had fulfilled 49% percent of them. More here.

Now this means that, for many respectable Christians, with emphasis there on respectable, a small little cloud of consternation, the size of a man’s fist, has now appeared in the azure sky. That little cloud is called the 2020 election. Whatchagonnado?

I don’t need anybody to tell me that Trump is not a “true conservative.” His recent announcement on steel tariffs, his ad libbing on how due process for guns is for mañana, his support for the Kelo decision, his approach to infrastructure spending, etc. show that Trump is not personally anchored to any consistent worldview conservatism. And yet . . . and yet he is enacting more conservative agenda items than I believe could have been enacted by the men who ran against him, many who had a far better claim to the conservative label than Trump has.

“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you” (Matt. 21:28–31).

Someone will object and say that this parable is about spiritual truths. I grant it, but it does not strengthen the respectability point to argue that porn stars can come into the kingdom but not into the White House. That might reveal where we think the real sacrilege is, and hence what our real religion is.

I am proposing that we start conducting the thought experiment now, because this thing is going to be upon us before we are ready for it. Suppose that the first year of the Trump administration is a good predictor of what we are going to see for the next two years. And so two years from now, the Democrats will be deciding whether to go with the Bolshevik or the Menshevik. Trump will head into his reelection campaign, trailing clouds of pandemonium behind him. Over the course of his three years in office, he will have made the conservative brand terminally uncool, turning off the hipster libertarians. He will have made the conservative brand terminally undignified, turning off the bow tie set. He will have done more damage to the progressive agenda than we ever expected to see anybody do in our lifetimes. I merely propose the question.


And more to the point, will you be willing to say so in public?

Discuss among yourselves.
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Daily Meditation


C. S. Lewis

Affection, as I have said, is the humblest love. It gives itself no airs. People can be proud of being ‘in love’, or of friendship. Affection is modest—even furtive and shame-faced. Once when I had remarked on the affection quite often found between my cat and my dog, my friend replied, ‘Yes. But I bet no dog would even confess it to the other dogs.’

That is at least a good caricature of much human Affection. ‘Let homely faces stay at home’, says Comus. Now Affection has a very homely face. So have many of those for whom we feel it. It is no proof of our refinement or perceptiveness that we love them; nor that they love us.

What I have called Appreciative Love is no basic element in Affection. It usually needs absence or bereavement to set us praising those to whom only Affection binds us. We take them for granted; and this taking for granted, which is an outrage in erotic love, is here right and proper to a point. It fits the comfortable, quiet nature of the feeling. Affection would not be affection if it was loudly and frequently expressed; to produce it in public is like getting your household furniture out for a move. It did very well in its place, but it looks shabby or tawdry or grotesque in the sunshine.

Affection almost sinks or slips through our lives. It lives with humble, un-dress, private things; soft slippers, old clothes, old jokes, the thump of a sleepy dog’s tail on the kitchen floor, the sound of a sewing-machine, a gollywog left on the lawn.

From The Four LovesThe Four Loves. Copyright © 1960 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
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