Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Warrior and Preacher

Here is Peter Lawler’s speech of this title at Oglethorpe. Nothinbg in the talk should surprise readers of NLT, but it’s all in one place now, so to speak, and maybe even more poignant given that Huck and Mac are the only ones left.  

Discussions - 6 Comments

A few questions for Peter L:

1. if our evangelicals were really traditional their churches wouldn’t be so ugly and their music so bad

This is a joke right? I like a mix of hymns and praise, which you can get at about any Ohio evangelical church. I suppose your complaint is about praise music. What's "ugly" about music that makes you passionate about God?

2. The weakness of warriors—and this is the theme of many a Clint Eastwood movie—is that they prefer war to peace. So they’re all for sacrifice, even when it would be counterproductive to require it.

Are you seriously taking philosophic cues from Eastwood? His Iwo Jima movies were disgraces to America and portrayed the Japanese as superior to Americans. No national pride at all. Also his recent Westerns like Unforgiven are pure crap. Eastwood thinks that the warrior is bad, but he suggests no replacement for his powerful force. He topples the warrior, but gives us no leader. It's like John Locke writing the First Treatise and never the Second.

3. The McVain/McPain stuff is too clever to be written.

4. his five strapping, species-perpetuating sons didn’t "serve." But each of them, in fact, is a very faithful and responsible father.

Do you have personal knowledge of this? I've been seeing them on TV a lot lately tagging around with dad, grasping at power and glory through his campaign. I might think that if they were model dads they would be home with their wife and kids and jobs (haha) rather than running around at political rallies and talk shows for 2 years.

5. Members of our species are usually happiest when they live as nature intends

Is this really reconcilable with religion? "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Genesis 6:5. "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature" Romans 7:18. "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. Book of Mosiah 3:19 (Mormon). With the possible exception of Giuliani, no candidate that you mention follows a religion that can be reconciled with going back to nature...insert Howard Dean Noble Savage Scream at will.

The difference between nature as origins and nature as ends is important here, Clint. Another way to say the same thing might have been to say, "Members of our species are usually happiest when they live according to their purposes." But Lawler's formulation is fine as it stands. Our nature (which is created by God) gives us a purpose that is discernible to our reason (another gift of our Creator). We may have additional purposes revealed to us by that Creator and not otherwise apparent to our reason, but--whatever that revelation may be--it will not be at odds with the natural revelation he has given us by the very facts surrounding our creation. God may ask Abraham to sacrifice Issac for no apparent reason (i.e., he has the power and the might to command it such obedience), but it being contrary to the nature and purpose he designed for us, in the end, he won't.

A Huckabee who had articulated the Lawlerian Darwin paradox! Now that would have been something.

Issac: You've well articulated both the secularist and the deist "reason is God" argument, and managed to hold out the faintest whiff of revelation. It still doesn't mesh with religion though. Our nature is to die. For the wages of sin is death...you must surely die...etc. Nature intends for us to die and be miserable on start to finish doing it. Only by revelation, a revelation incomprehensible to reason, will God's Nature--not ours--be imbibed in us so that we can be happy.

I think alot of people of people are tired of comparisons between current politicians and Ronald Reagan, but there is one way that Reagan had a wider view of nobility in a democracy than McCain does.

In the debates, McCain often pointed out that he served for "patriotism not profit" and did so with undisguised contempt in his voice. Maybe some of it was just his personal dislike for Romney, but it also revealed something of how he sees his countrymen and not just the one in bussiness. Guys like McCain serve their country. The rest serve themselves. It can seem like McCain has very little respect for those whose main contributions to the country are in private work, raising of families - and maybe some humble unostentatious civic work.

In his first inaugural address Reagan paid tribute to our military heroes but he included a reference to heroes you can meet across a counter "and they are on both sides of the counter". Reagan spoke about how the work of these people make education culture, charity and all the other good things in our society possible. Including the taxes that fund the government.

McCain spoke of the opposition between "patriotism" as oppossed to "profit" Reagan said of these latter groups (which certainly included more than bussinessmen), "Their patriotism is quiet but deep. Their values support our national life"

Reagan pointed to an understanding of civic life in a free market democracy that was both democratic and noble. McCain points us primarily at his own nobility (which is of course very impressive).

The point isn't that Reagan was better, it is that McCain has a much narrower view of what is good in America. I wonder if his contempt for ordinary democratic citizenship will reappear now that the irritant of Romney is gone? I wonder what the political consequences will be if it does?

The Preacher delivers again! An excellent CPAC speech...which explains the silence on this blog about the grand day which includes what looks to be 2 Huckabee victories.

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