September 29, 2020

Bonhoeffer on “The Leader”

Bonhoeffer on “The Leader”

Only the leader who is in the service of the penultimate and ultimate authority merits loyalty.

• Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Führer and the Individual in the Younger Generation”
in Clifford J. Green. The Bonhoeffer Reader

• • •

It is always a fraught proposition to speak of Nazi Germany and Hitler and the Third Reich when considering one’s own moment of history. I do not for one moment consider that our nation, our people, our politics, and our world are in the situation Germany found itself facing after World War I. Nor do I imagine that conditions favorable for a rise in the kind of nationalism, the extreme forms of “racial purity” doctrines, and the fascist dictatorial leadership and military expansionism that led to unthinkable genocidal attempts at world domination are on the horizon.

However, this does not mean we should avoid seeing reflections of this history when they appear, however faint, in front of our eyes.

On February 1, 1933, two days after Hitler ascended to the chancellorship of Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave a radio address that was part of a series speaking to the younger generations in his country. This address was called, The Führer and the Individual in the Younger Generation.” Bonhoeffer was concerned that young people in Germany were showing an unhealthy hunger for a “strong leader” (führer) to restore Germany’s greatness and lead them out of the humiliation and economic devastation that followed their defeat in the Great War.

In his address he contrasted legitimate forms of “leadership” with the concept of the führer.

…previously, leadership had found its expression in teachers, statesmen, fathers, that is, in the given social structure and offices, but now the leader has become a completely autonomous form. The leader has become totally divorced from an office; he is essentially and only leader.

A good Lutheran, Bonhoeffer believed that God rules in this world through both spiritual and temporal institutions, and that those who served in civic offices governing our daily “secular” lives were to exercise their vocation (calling from God) faithfully. But the youth in Germany were resisting Kaiser and Church, as well as their familial and community elders, having lost faith in the institutions that now seemed to be failing them.

And to what — or, better, to whom — were they looking to bring Germany out of its chaos? The Leader, one who, to them, embodied the ideal hope for which they longed.

This leader, arising from the collective power of the people, now appears in the light as the one awaited by the people, the longed-for fulfillment of the meaning and power of the life of the Volk. Thus the originally prosaic idea of political authority is transformed into the political-messianic idea of leader that we see today.

Rather than understand “leadership” to mean the less spectacular duty of “faithfully discharging one’s office” as a servant to that office and to the people, the prospect of a führer found people clamoring for an idol in a personality cult, a person who stood above office and who was due what, in effect, was religious devotion and obedience.

If a leader accepts this role and sets himself up as this impeccable führer, Bonhoeffer says that he then becomes a “mis-leader,” one who acts improperly towards himself and his own calling as well as toward the people he is called to serve. In contrast, “The true leader must always be able to disappoint.” He must never point to himself as the perfect repository of hope, but must constantly direct the people to their own responsibility to uphold “the social structures of life, toward father, teacher, judge, state.” He himself must also submit to the penultimate authority of those societal structures and institutions and recognize that his task is to serve them for the common good, not transcend them and welcome adulation as an autonomous ruler above and beyond them.

While the led believe and hope that their leader is the epitome of an autonomous human being, the masterful human being who is totally free, the leader must be aware that because of the followers, the leader is the most bound, the one most burdened with the responsibility for the orders of life, the epitome of a servant.

And, of course, because Bonhoeffer believed that all these “orders of life” — familial, societal, and civic institutions — were ordained by God, that means the true leader, in faithfully discharging his office, will be submitting to the ultimate authority as well.

All this has implications for “followers” too. When individuals and communities look to a leader (führer) in this ideal and inappropriate way, they exchange their own rights for loyalty to the leader, in whom they put all their trust for the future. The freedom to fulfill their own vocations, to work thoughtfully and responsibly within the orders of society for its betterment and to share in the mutual accountability those orders provide becomes swallowed up by a communal obligation to follow the führer and his agenda. It becomes a matter of fealty and obedience rather than personal responsibility and freedom.

I don’t know about you, but a lot of this resonates with what I am seeing today.

I’ll just go ahead and say it: it seems to me that there is a constituency in the U.S. that mimics what Bonhoeffer is writing about here in their loyalty to Donald Trump and the “Trumpism” that has largely swallowed up the Republican party. The party didn’t even set forth a platform at this year’s convention. Their agenda is Trump.

It also seems that the president has welcomed and continues to encourage this kind of mindset in his followers. He may not be a “führer” in the sense Hitler proved to be (in fact, I doubt very much that he will), but echoes of fascism reverberate, and I, for one, don’t like it. I certainly don’t think it is fitting or beneficial in our representative democracy.

What do you think? Over-reaction? Reading too much into our historical moment here? Or do Bonhoeffer’s words and ideas find resonance within you as well?

Comments

  1. I find both sides dangerous. Friends on the left are convinced trump will refuse to leave office if he loses. Friends on the right worry that Biden and team will refuse to accept any election result that doesn’t favor them.
    In the end, what side is less dangerous? For me, that’s the GOP for the time being. Even with trump.

    There are always fan boys. Obama had his sycophantic followers as well. This passes.

    • So ‘Jeff ‘ you trust Vladimir Putin’s puppet? More than Biden?

      • Honestly cannot believe people still try to push that line. Worst.puppet.ever.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Putin DID want Trump to win in 2016. Bad.
        To the point his Intel boys did what they could to help.

        What benefits Putin and Russia is NOT what benefits America.

      • I despise Trump, but he isn’t Putin’s puppet. People who say this are actually covering up some of his worst actions.

        1. He imposed brutal sanctions ( with support from many Democrats) on Iran, Syria, and Venezuela. This hurts civilians and probably increases mortality rates. These counties are Russian allies.

        2. He has ended arms control agreements with both Iran and Russia. This is also bad.

        3. I don’t care about this one but he opposes the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. As I said, I don’t care, but this is not a position Putin’s puppet would take.

        Americans tend not to pay any attention to what we do to people overseas, unless it can be used for some partisan argument. So that’s why the Putin puppet thing has traction. Trump’s actual policies hurt people, but not in ways that fit the warmongering narrative that Democrats ( to my disgust) have chosen to embrace.

        • I think you’re right. Trump is not in Putin’s service. But he does want to be like Putin when he grows up. Putin actually thwarted the Trump administration’s plan for Iran in two ways at the UN a couple weeks ago, with regard to economic sanctions and the arms embargo.

    • The danger was on both sides in Weimar Germany too, but only one side was in a position to capitalize on the danger in order to realize its political agenda. In our case, that is Trump and his party. And they have and will continue to exploit the populace’s fear of violence on the other side, the Left, just as the Nazis did, to realize that agenda. It’s happening now, as we speak.

      • Except the violence is real. Happened just a mile from my home. In Seattle it was absolutely nuts. Down south from me Portland has lost its mind.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          Have you been to Portland lately?

        • Fellow Seattleite here!

          I’m far from a Trump supporter and have given up my Republican badge long ago, but the liberal leadership here in Seattle is downright NUTS!!! Sawant is Trump in liberal clothing, and the city council hasn’t a clue how to lead. They were able to force out a woman, black police chief with nary a cry from anyone. Heck, even some of their OWN (Ron Sims) are denouncing them!

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          “The only thing that will matter in November is LAW AND ORDER!”
          — Eagle’s regular Bible-quoting Trump Fanatic troll
          (“I give Donald Trump Praise and Adoration.”)

        • The violence is real (how extensive it is is another matter ), and Trump’s exacerbating and exploiting it as much as he can before the election, as the Nazis did with regard to Leftist violence in Germany in that era so that they could position themselves favorably with the German electorate.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Reichstagfeuer?

            • That was one of the key events that the Nazis staged (although there were some rather strange circumstances that surround the staging that have never been thoroughly understood and documented by historians) and exploited, but political violence between Fascists/Nazis and radical socialists/Communists was common during the period after WWI in Germany. And, no, I don’t think Trump is above such acts.

              • I should’ve added: the Nazis early learned how to exploit the violence of the Left to make the populace of Germany fear and hate Leftists.

    • Biden has been an establishment politician for decades. He’s definitely lost races before. If he were to legitimately lose to Trump, I think he would regretfully accept it.

      I have zero confidence Trump would return the favor.

      • The point is, both candidates have records, and patterns of behavior, which can indicate their probable reactions to losing. It’s just a question of being willing to draw the necessary conclusions from that data.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > It’s just a question of being…

          … aware of, or having an even passing interest in, the data.

  2. gotta get the country back to ‘normal’? before November 3rd? by any and all means out there?

    even letting the virus spread unchecked through out the population??????? and no one is bothered by the thousands of lives that will be culled in the process????

    oh NO . . . we don’t want to think of our modern times as anywhere NEAR the ways of the Nazis, do we?
    of course not, never that

    but the new administration’s medical advisor seems to have a history of promoting ‘herd immunity’, which is practically a kind of genocide of the weak

    take a look:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXS0S-tE33M

    is there some kind of way to measure a nation’s true ‘values’ as to ‘what is the worth of even a single human person’? And who decides who lives and who dies, once the barriers of our collective humanity are further breached by the politically powerful?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > anywhere NEAR the ways of the Nazis,

      How is the ‘logic’ of proximate nazism helpful?

      > is there some kind of way to measure a nation’s true ‘values

      It is a legitimate question if the United States – a federalist federation of co-sovereign territories – is equivalent to the historic notion of a “nation”. The United States is possibly the most diverse federation of people, regions, and economies to exist in the modern world [unless, maybe, you are willing to count China as a federation – I’m not]. I don’t feel the observing the United States as a total/sum is productive. The United States doesn’t have a unified set of values, and never did, and doesn’t need to – a root of our current troubles is the insistence that it must.

      • But OTOH, if one region/group’s values insist that all citizens be treated equally, while another group insists that one group’s rights must trump (pun intended) everyone else’s – how “united” can they ever possibly be?

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          How united do we really need to be? Treatment of different populations within the United States has had large regional variation for our entire 200 years. Occasionally we install a bumper of some kind to curtail the extremest variations . . . but then note our history of not tending to those bumpers with much diligence.

          America has, prior to the current century, also been a nation where people Moved (setting aside all the fantasies of the fourth-generation farm, yada yada). Internal migration – the power of open borders! – has been a critical part in how ‘we’ dealt with such disparities.

          Facilitating mobility is a more effective approach to dealing with intransigent regions than putting them under a moral care-taker. Hyper-financialization combined with diminished physical infrastructure has damaged our capacity for adaptation via migration. That’s gonna be very hard to repair.

          • “How united do we really need to be?”

            United enough that State A should not be allowed to discriminate against Blacks and LGBTQA folks, and still claim to adhere to the same Constitution as State B, which does not permit such behavior. Either we are all on board with some basic principles, or we should separate.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says

              Well, that is currently the law. See my text: “note our history of not tending to those bumpers with much diligence” 🙂 🙁

              > Either we are all on board with some basic principles, or we should separate.

              Okay, yet there are serious pragmatic issues with separation. If we separate how confident are you the situation will be better? Also, going all the way back to the constitution convention were we ever “on board with some basic principles”? The constitution itself is a contradictory, pragmatic, morally repugnant compromise.

              Now, personally, I am on board with abandoning the constitution – it is a terribly unimpressive construct – but the “How?” is massive problem. Most revolutions end badly.

              • ” If we separate how confident are you the situation will be better? ”

                Define “better”. Is a messy re-sorting of people better than a Yugoslavia-style violent break-up? Or should we just continue to turn a blind eye to injustices done in other parts of “our” country? If there are any outcomes where everyone comes out happy, I am unaware of them.

                • Adam Tauno Williams says

                  If you burn down hospitals, schools, libraries, churches, and housing, tear up railroad tracks, sever power grids – and then have little means to repair or replace them; do you think there will be less injustice?

                  There is no non-violent separation. You will be telling people “we are the new government, and you need to leave”. When utterly bankrupt Kansas sees the trains rolling through – without stopping – taking goods from the ports to the cities – they are going to just be cool with being separated?

                  • “If you burn down hospitals, schools, libraries, churches, and housing, tear up railroad tracks, sever power grids – and then have little means to repair or replace them; do you think there will be less injustice?”

                    And if the prejudices are allowed to continue without confrontation and rebuke, will there be less injustice? Marginalized people are tired of waiting for us white people to deign to recognize their plight.

                    “When utterly bankrupt Kansas sees the trains rolling through – without stopping – taking goods from the ports to the cities – they are going to just be cool with being separated?”

                    Well, they should have considered that before choosing prejudice over union. There are no decisions without consequences.

                  • There is no non-violent separation. You will be telling people “we are the new government, and you need to leave”.

                    If separation happens, that will be exactly the way it will go —- except that there will be nothing exact about it, it will be a bloody mess. There will be border skirmishes between the new mini-states/zones, and there will be internal rebellion within them. Many people on all sides will be trapped in zones with new governments they had no hand in electing or appointing. Perpetual war on the North American continent will be the result.

                • Burro (Mule) says

                  There aren’t any, hence my desire for one that works out tolerably well for me and mine, for which I’m roundly excoriated.

                  The art of politics is the art of compromise. Our current Manichaean system is more amenable to scorched-earth than compromise. Put me in with Finn. We could use a new Constitutional Convention. If Finn could run it, I’d be doubly pleased.

                  Some eyes will always have to be averted. All cities are Omelas.

                  • “hence my desire for one that works out tolerably well for me and mine, for which I’m roundly excoriated.”

                    Only because Christians are supposed to strive for what works for them and theirs BEFORE me and mine.

                    • Burro (Mule) says

                      Do you believe the Kingdom of Heaven is furthered by political processes? Do you believe we will be closer if Biden is inaugurated in January?

                    • Depends. Certainly any number of others have thought so, and been dangerously incorrect. Guess it all depends on how one defines the Kingdom, doesn’t it?

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                      Only because Christians are supposed to strive for what works for them and theirs BEFORE me and mine.

                      Not with The Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation.

                      “It’s All Gonna Burn but I’M SAVED!”

                    • I don’t believe the Kingdom of Heaven can be furthered by political processes. But it’s not a question of the Kingdom. It’s a question of wresting the day to day operation of this country out of the hands of fools and incompetents.

                    • Add malefactors to fools and incompetents and I will be in complete agreement with your comment.

                  • “Through fellowship and communion with the incarnate Lord, we recover our true humanity, and at the same time we are delivered from that individualism which is the consequence of sin, and retrieve our solidarity with the whole human race.
                    By being partakers of Christ incarnate, we are partakers in the whole humanity which He bore. We now know that we have been taken up and borne in the humanity of Jesus, and therefore that new nature we now enjoy means that we too must bear the sins and sorrows of others.
                    The incarnate Lord makes His followers the brothers of all mankind.”
                    (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship)

                    In short, I think Bonhoeffer understood much about how our humankind was affected by the Incarnation. And how, now, we are linked by Christ not only to the Trinity but to one another in a new reconciling way. This is a great mystery of Christianity that not many in the West have explored theologically. Something about what Bonhoeffer encountered in the Nazi era must have turned his attention to that mystery and he had an insight into it that I think we, in Western Christianity, can come to appreciate.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Facilitating mobility is a more effective approach to dealing with intransigent regions than putting them under a moral care-taker.

            But Christians just HAVE to be The Moral Care Taker of everybody.
            (All must genuflect before their Moral Superiority)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “The new administration’s medial advisor”

      Do you mean the Son-in-Law-in-Chief or Dr Demon Sex?

      • thatotherjean says

        Neither. This is some new moron named Scott Atlas, who, as Trump’s pandemic advisor, favors “herd immunity.” Ask Sweden how well this works out.

  3. Iain Lovejoy says

    All leaders have fanatics, as Jeff says, and it’s by no means unusual to be a little creative with the rules, or be d them a little to try and rig the game a bit in your favour. The danger comes when power and “winning” becomes more important than maintaining the institutions and systems of government and society which sustain it. If a right wing group is prepared to let everything else fall to get or keep their side in power, then true fascism follows behind. Likewise with left wing groups socialist totalitarianism.
    No-one in their right minds could thing Joe Biden or anyone in any meaningful control of the Democratic party is prepared to let the US’s institutions burn to get into power. OTOH the Orange One would do it in a heartbeat: he basically openly says so. The issue is going to be not what Trump and his close sycophants are be prepared to do, but whether there are enough ordinary people out there in the police, and state government, and running polling booths, and delivering the mail, and if it comes down to it in the army and police who are prepared to abandon doing their jobs and their duty just to keep Trump in power. I doubt it. Sure, they will go along with a bit of chicanery and thumb on scales manipulation, but when the writing’s on the wall are they really going to risk their own necks to keep him in power: I doubt it.

    • I doubt it too. And I think Chaplain Mike is underestimating the dangers of the moment. At this time, Trump and his party are capitalizing on the fear of the American public in reaction to the kind of political and civil unrest and disorder that is occurring in places like Portland and Kenosha. It behooves him to keep pouring fuel on such disorder right up to the time of the election, he knows it greatly improves his chances of reelection, and it’s what he is doing right now. He will intentionally drive the wedge of division among Americans as deep as he can into the heart of the country. If it’s driven deep enough, the injury may be fatal to the democratic institutions and processes that are part of the country’s republican form of government. The danger is extreme for a violent authoritarian coup against American democracy executed from and directed by the White House.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        “The only thing that will matter in November is LAW AND ORDER!”
        — Wondering Eagle’s regular Trump-Fanatic troll

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          “And LAW AND ORDER resonates with scared white people.”
          — Morning drive-time, earlier this week

    • It may be hard for anyone in their right minds (though I must say there are lots of people not in their right minds in the US at the moment) to imagine Joe Biden intentionally destroying American institutions, but it is apparently not hard for them to imagine Joe Biden as a helpless puppet of a Deep State that intends exactly that.

      • thatotherjean says

        First there would have to BE a Deep State, for Joe Biden to be its helpless puppet–but that never stopped the legions of people not in their right minds from believing it.

        • Trump is busy creating a Deep State right now. People call him stupid. I know he’s ignorant, arrogant, and has little real self-awareness. But he has managed to bend Washington to his will, to the point that the Justice Department that started an investigation of him in 2017 has recently asked a federal judge to drop charges against Michael Flynn, a key player in the events that investigation was meant to probe. Fortunately, the judge ruled against the Justice Department, but let’s recognize that up until the judge’s decision Trump has won this particular war by twisting the system and making it work for him, making it his system.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          “The Deep State(TM)” is just the latest Code Word for The JOOZ.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > No-one in their right minds could thing Joe Biden or anyone in any meaningful control
      > of the Democratic party is prepared to let the US’s institutions burn to get into power

      This. The Both-Sideism is, simply, nuts. Or, at best, lazy.

      • Or just an excuse to do what they intend to do anyways.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          Yep. I throw that under “lazy”… as in: “Buuuut Mom! Everybody is doing it.” (to which the smart mom should always respond: “your statement is verifiably false.”).

    • thatotherjean says

      This (I hope).

  4. Susan Dumbrell says

    A past Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott, today has said that we should just let our old people die where from Covid or whatever. No efforts to prolong their lives.
    I fear for my life! I fear for my John.
    I am old but who is to judge. Not Tony Abbott and his cronies .
    It is not to his or any government’s call.
    Our democracy is in many countries in peril. Mass protests are waged and inflame communities and pro and against politicians. Their views weight us down with possible and probicals. Are their views echoing the best view for or planet or their self interest?

    Problem solved Sue, read less if what the internet invades
    us with.
    Us who are of senior years still have a useful life to live in our communities and our families, neighbours and friends
    I sound sanctimonious but my Maker brought me here, His choice when I leave.
    Thanks be to God who blesses us.
    Susan

    • Things are going haywire. Those who see that want change. Those who profit by it don’t want change, or to slow the pace of change as much as possible – even if it means letting the weak die.

      We live in perilous times, I fear.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      A past Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott, today has said that we should just let our old people die where from Covid or whatever. No efforts to prolong their lives.

      “Life to the Fit — EXTINCTION TO THE UNFIT!”
      — Motto of the Eugenics Movement, early 20th Century

    • Hey, Susan

      you are right to feel threatened . . . . the culling of older people and those who are weak is a combination of ageism, genocide, and eugenics;

      the whole focus on a person ‘being of use’ was important to the Nazis, and when someone could no longer be ‘of use’ to them, then their lives were not a priority, no

      good thing the person you spoke of is a past prime minister, but we’ve got Trump and a huge covid mess here and he seems drawn to ‘let ’em die – herd immunity’ which won’t work anyway as people CAN get the virus AGAIN

      goodness knows what the next four years may bring, and I also am fearful of what may come

    • I’m afraid Susan has misrepresented Mr. Abbott, here is a link to what he actually said

      https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/pm/health-experts-dismiss-tony-abbotts-call-to-sacrifice-lives.

      Mr. Abbott was a conservative prime minister and a somewhat combative person. What he said is that countries need to ask some hard questions.

      Please be aware that the ABC in Australia is a left leaning organisation and Tony Abbott is one of their favourite targets.

  5. I think you underestimate the dangers to America that Trump and Trumpism represent, Chaplain Mike. It may not be Nazism, but it is poisonous enough to drive a divisive spike deep into the heart of this country, perhaps resulting in an ultimately fatal injury.

    • Trump is just the spike. It is his millions of followers who are driving it – and they aren’t going away come January, no matter who wins.

      • Yeah even when Trump loses , THE STUPID, energized and radicalized, is not going away. The only hope I see is for the Republicans to be decisively defeated in November so that the sane portion of the party can have an opportunity take back over. Otherwise when the Democrats make a botch of it as they will, in four years we’ll be right back where we started.

  6. Adam Tauno Williams says

    > What do you think? Over-reaction? Reading too much into our historical moment here?

    Pretty much spot on. Bonhoeffer is hardly the first or last to make this observation, in general.

    > But the youth in Germany were resisting Kaiser and Church, as well as their
    > familial and community elders, having lost faith in the institutions that now
    > seemed to be failing them.

    One distinction is that our current crisis is distinct in that it’s horsepower comes not from the youth but from the old.

    It is an interesting twist: a revolution of the grey.

    Lost faith in institutions is high across the board. The reaction to that lost faith differs across generations.

    • “a revolution of the grey.”

      More like a counter-revolution. Boomers and conservative Christians hate what has happened here, culturally and demographically, and resent having to accept it. They will force things to go back as much as possible, no matter what a majority of their countrymen might want.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        By Any Means Necessary.

      • thatotherjean says

        You’re painting Boomers with a mighty broad brush there, Eeyore. A whole lot of us are just as radical, if not moreso, as we ever were. We’d like to push things forward, not backward, as much as possible, and are all in for racial equality. We are not a small force; don’t forget us.

        • Yet, the radical boomers lack much input into the course their generation has taken – or so it appears to the generations following them. #notall(fill in the blank)s don’t like being tarred with a broad brush, I suppose, but it may help to stand out more from the crowd getting tarred.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > We are not a small force; don’t forget us.

          But you are, I’m afraid. And I say that with compassion as a Gen-X; we often don’t even make the list.

          Just this morning I was looking at a list of: (1) Boomers (2) Millennials (3) Gen-Z. Like, HEY, there is a fifteen year gap!!! Yet, …shrug…. I know why, ’cause we (a) are the smallest generation (b) the poorest generation (c) the most disaffiliated generation (d) the most evenly ‘split’ generation – so … shrug.

          We all get lumped into groups; which sometimes sucks.

          • thatotherjean says

            It does, indeed. I’m an early Boomer, and my kids are Gen-X. It seems sort of silly, as divided among ourselves as we are, to lump us together in groups by age. We don’t exactly march in lock-step, just because we were born over the same span of a few years. But I suppose that seeing us generationally is convenient, no matter how inaccurate it is.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          We are not a small force…

          We Are Q?

  7. If this country descends into civil war, which at this moment seems like a possibility, it won’t be so much because of Donald Trump as it will be due to the left’s overreaction to Donald Trump. As long as the Democrats hold at least one part of the federal government, as they do with the house of representatives, there is little to fear even if you think Trump is the worst person to have ever lived. At most he has four more years. He won’t be able to get anything done legislatively for those four years. Judges have often struck down many of his executive orders. Even when Trump had two years of complete Republican control he didn’t get much done due to opposition. But the left acts like the world is going to end at any moment due to Donald Trump. Trump derangement syndrome is a real thing, and maybe one of the most dangerous things going on in our country right now. Calm down. Trust the balance of power within the federal government and between the states and the fed. For my own part, if I could be assured that the Republicans would keep the Senate for the next four years, I would be fine with Trump losing. I prefer a federal government somewhat stuck in a quagmire over one party having complete control.

    • Again with the “both sides”ism. Who’s been using unidentified armed agents? Who’s been talking about running past a second term? Who’s been gutting the Post Office, and admitted it was to block Democratic voters? Hint – not the Left.

      • Eeyore, you misunderstand me. This isn’t a both sides ism. This is one sided. It is the left’s derangement about Trump that I am concerned over. I’ll put it this way. If Trump wins, I fully expect there to be riots, which will have the full support of Democrats in office. If Trump loses, I fully expect there to be a lot of complaining, and then an otherwise peaceful transfer of power.

        • Anyone who *isn’t* deranged about an incompetent, egoistical man running the country is way too detached for my taste. I find it incomprehensible that Trump’s treatment by the press is somehow unfair. If anything, the press and his opponents have been too kind.

          • thatotherjean says

            Indeed they have, and he press and the Democrats need to start calling a spade a spade, NOW.t

          • The so-called Main Stream Media has for the most part gone out its way to not call Trump’s lies lies. That has been a very big mistake.

        • Given that the gun-worshipers are on Trump’s side, I’d be willing to bet that any rioting you’d see in response to a Trump victory would be nothing compared to the rash of racist violence, murder-suicides, drug overdoses, etc. that would follow a Trump defeat.

          It’s worth keeping in mind that in recent history the number of Americans who have been killed by far-right militias is tens if not hundreds of times higher than the number who have died in “rioting.”

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Stay tuned for “Turner Diaries: The Live Role-Playing Game”, premiering this November 4th.

        • Clay Crouch says

          Wow, Jon! You just gaslit at least half of the country by blaming them for Trump’s and his supporters behavior.

          • Clay, you are going to have to explain that one a little bit. I can’t even respond because I don’t know what you mean.

            • Jon, Google search gaslighting. That should explain it.

            • Essentially, it appears that you are excusing the excesses of the Trump side, because the strident criticisms leveled against them by their opponents makes their reactions “reasonable”.

              • How does it appear that way? I’m saying that if this country descends into pure chaos, it will be because of the over reaction of the left. I’m not excusing or making excuses for anyone else’s behavior. I swear, if I said that the sky is blue, some of you on here would accuse me of saying the grass isn’t green.

                • And you see no chance that the right would, in fact IS already, doing the same thing you think the left might do later on?

        • Andrew Zook says

          Jon, said, “If Trump loses, I fully expect there to be a lot of complaining, and then an otherwise peaceful transfer of power.”
          You must not spend much time around his supporters… especially the more extreme type. Or see/read reports/video about them. I have friends/family on the far end of the ra-ra-trump spectrum and if he loses, they might not riot downtown, (ok you might be right there), but are they going to complain? Often and loudly and belligerently… but I think there’s a good chance they Do more, this time around. Maybe it’s my personality, but I take people at their word and the level of vitriolic, violence tinged hate talk/memes/etc, coming from trumpist christians I know, doesn’t suggest they’ll complain a little and then move on.
          And what about the increasing Qanon cult? Do you think those people will just complain a little and then move on?
          And how do you explain the numerous trumpists who have actually harmed/killed lots of people in just the last 3-4yrs? Do you think people like them will just complain a little and move on? They go berserk when their dear leader is in power! I can’t fathom people like them will turn some magic corner when their dear leader is Out of Power, do you?

          • I guess we’ll find out come November. If Trump loses and there is some wide spread violence and disruption I will admit I was wrong. And I mean widespread, not one or two cooks in one or two locations. But if Trump wins, I fully expect there to be riots in several major cities, with potential casualties and millions of dollars of property damage. Again, if I’m wrong, I’ll happily admit it. Of course the media will just report it as a “fiery, but mostly peaceful protest.”

            • I expect increased violence from the Left if Trump wins as well. Then I expect Trump to find a way to have the American military march on those cities, and bring even greater violence to them. And I expect the right-wing militias to do a great deal of Kenosha-style killing, with protection of the administration, just as they know they have now. If that doesn’t happen in the aftermath of a Trump reelection, I will admit I was wrong.

      • Speaking of ‘gaslighting’,
        today, Wolf Blitzer interviewed a particularly loathsome toad.

    • “Trump derangement syndrome is a real thing.”

      Respectfully, I call B.S. The idea of “Trump derangement syndrome” is completely bogus, intellectually lazy, and a complete failure to see the man for what he has always been and continues to be.

      All you have to do is remember what his own fellow Republicans said about him before he was elected and before they fell in line. For example, here is Lindsey Graham in 2016:

      “I want to talk to the Trump supporters for a minute. What is Donald Trump’s campaign about? He’s a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot. You know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.”

      • Clay Crouch says

        Lindsey Graham was one of many Republicans who spoke of Trump in that way – Nikki Haley and Kellyanne Conway, to name two. If Jon is interested, he can Google that, too.

        • Yes, and Kamala Harris said she believed Joe Biden’s accusers, and now she’s his running mate.

          • Clay Crouch says

            Why are you deflecting. We’re not talking about Kamala Harris today. We are talking about the man who would be King. I’m pretty sure comparing her to Trump won’t help your cause.

      • Well respectfully Mike, I call B.S. right back at you. The comments on this website are proof enough of Trump derangement syndrome. And I want to make this absolutely clear, I’m not a big fan of Trump, I didn’t want him to win the primary back in 2016 and could hardly fathom it when he it became clear he was going to. As I stated earlier, as long as the Republicans hang on to the Senate, I’m not overly concerned if he loses, even though I think Biden and Harris would both make terrible presidents. Quite frankly I would be glad for the drama of the last four years to be over and hopefully move on to a candidate with both a better character and demeanor. However, the reaction to him from his opposition has been over the top, and the hatred and vitriol poured out against those who do support him is anything but Christlike. And right now I don’t have a whole lot of hope in the hatred leaving when Trump is gone.

        • But don’t you see, Jon? It’s not “hatred.” Yes, I use strong words at times, but this is not personal. As a free and responsible citizen, I deem this particular man completely unfit for office. And there are a plethora of objective reasons for saying this. That is not “derangement,” in my opinion, it is an attempt to be as clear-thinking and honest and concerned about my country and its institutions and ideals as I can be.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Trump Derangement Sydrome comes in TWO opposite Polarities — Positive and Negative. (Always fused to the opposite polarity of Clinton/Obama Derangement Syndrome). And both are firewalled to the max.

  8. One other thing, if the election of the President is this critical, which both sides seem to think, then we have put entirely too much power into the hands of the executive branch, and it is time to scale it back. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much of a push for that.

  9. You make a good point that hasn’t been made enough. For example, the assumption that the investigative arm (FBI) is independent of the executive branch is based on history from Watergate, it wasn’t written into law or the constitution. Post office was supposed to have an independent board of directors. The Social security deduction was supposed to be entirely driven by congress.

    Many of the limits of the executive branch were historical precedent, not written.

    I believe the framers of the constitution believed congress (especially the Senate) would serve as a check on these problems, but they have abandoned that role.

  10. Burro (Mule) says

    It’s incredible to see the Democratic nominee held up as ‘an agent of change’, especially the way the DNC pushed aside several superior candidates to make room for his bank-and-pharma loving A$$. Biden represents a return to the policies of the last 30 years, which have been disastrous for the w non-equitied people of this country.

    Trump was the agent of change, the black swan event. Through sheer force of BFYTW he destroyed the Republican party in 2016 and bullied his way into the White House. He proved not to be equal to the challenge of taking the country out of the hands of the financiers and globalists. That would have required a Sulla and we got a Caligula.

    The mistake won’t be repeated. I foresee an endless succession of Bidens, of both parties, while the sycophantic press slips back into bread-and-circuses mode, telling s how great we have it and how capable our leaders are. I hate to say it, but the Chaos Energy now lies with the Progressive wing of the Democratic party. Where can a voter go who wants Universal Health Care and a 3 year moratorium on immigration until reform can be implemented?

    • A “Biden” isn’t going to make it through the Republican primaries any time soon. The Trump voters are a sizable enough fraction of the Republican base that they’ll be calling the shots for the foreseeable future. The same thing held true back when the Trump-voting demographic was part of the Democratic party (i.e. before the 60s). They’re just a political hot potato that the two parties will keep passing back and forth because no one really wants to be associated with them but if you’re the underdog, you can’t win without them.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > A “Biden” isn’t going to make it through the Republican primaries any time soon.

        Agree, hard to imagine that happening within the next two cycles. After two cycles the Boomers will be in rapid fade and the possibilities of change within the R increase.

        • Burro (Mule) says

          Read the David Brooks piece in the IM sidebar about ideological possibilities in a post-Trump GOP.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            I have.

            Brooks is a great writer.

            He’s still blinded by his loyalties. About half-way through the article my thought was: “Why isn’t this guy a Democrat?” He sure sounds like one, he talks like every Democratic candidate I know (actual candidates, not Twitterati what-evers).

            It’s funny, there are plenty of “Radicals” upset with members of “The Squad”, like AOC, for their moderate stances, and their refusal to throw their co-patriots under the rhetorical bus [because, you know, you have to work with those people, possibly for decades to come].

            If Brooks wants solutions oriented incremental pragmatism he is welcome to come over any time.

            • There is nothing moderate about AOC or the Squad. If she is moderate to you, your center is way too far left.

              • Or your “center” is way too far right. In Europe, Sanders would only be considered “center left”.

              • It’s all a continuum. The further right you are the further left the center will seem. All nonsense anyway. The current Democratic party makes Lyndon Johnson look like a radical.

                • yes, a continuum. political affiliation isn’t linear like we want but more circular. Go far right or go far left and you end up in the same room, different doors and different hair styles to differentiate.

          • Brooks is an establishment Republican. Their prognostications about the state and future of the Republican Party have been less than accurate for awhile now. For instance… “I’m convinced that if Donald Trump is defeated, revolutionary zealotry will fade as debates over practical change and legislation dominate.” Practical change and legislative debates haven’t been a Republican thing for over a decade. The Congressional Republicans have been obstructionist, the base has become more and more radical, and those Republicans who were interested in practical change have been sidelined or driven from the Party. Look at this year’s Party platform, what little there is of it, if you need any more proof.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        One possibility is that a real alliance develops between the MountainWest-R (who trend very pragmatic) + NorthEast-R (socially moderate) vs. the South-R (lunatics) + Midwest-R (austerity fetishists); then it will be a delegate count stand-off. How that would play out on the national scale is anyone’s guess. Yet it could be good for the North East and Mountain West.

  11. What Hitler’s followers and Trump’s followers have in common is what psychologists call an “authoritarian personality” – people who believe we need a strong leader, value toughness and power wielded over others, take a cynical view of humanity, want society to enforce a strict set of norms and values, distrust intellectuals, etc.

    It’s a pattern that pops up over and over again in different times and cultures, particularly when people either feel hopeless and powerless (like in Germany during the hyperinflation that followed WWI) or in cultures with extreme gender inequality (where submission and obedience are a necessary survival trait for women).

    • Burro (Mule) says

      Let me venture a wild guess here. I assume you believe this is a pathology that needs treatment or correction, right?

      • If you see that list as NOT being in conflict with Christ-centered ethics, then I respectfully submit that yes, there is a problem.

        • Burro (Mule) says

          I wonder why it wasn’t a problem for Saints Alfred, David, Pulcheria, Vladimir, or Justinian, none of whom were weak leaders, all of whom resisted their opponents vigorously and with force, and held to an optimistic, yet also non-sentimental, realistic view of humanity.

          The more closely universal (strict, I guess) the norms and values, the fewer laws you need.

          Intellectuals make marvelous counselors, but Wilson and Vaclav Havel are the only two I can think of who made decent leaders, although I don’t think much of Wilson and I don’t know much about Havel’s statecraft.

          • “I wonder why it wasn’t a problem for Saints Alfred, David, Pulcheria, Vladimir, or Justinian, none of whom were weak leaders, all of whom resisted their opponents vigorously and with force, and held to an optimistic, yet also non-sentimental, realistic view of humanity.”

            Because they weren’t saints. Just because the hierarchy anoints you a saint doesn’t make you one.

            • Burro (Mule) says

              Sez you.

              It astounds me how most of your arguments are assertions, at the end of which you trot out your juju Egalitarian-Jesus which you shake in everyone’s face like it gave you the power of the Keys.

              I hope you realize my responses to you are for the benefit of whatever few lurkers we still have around here.

              • Burro (Mule) says

                PS – The hierarchies in both the Orthodox and Catholic churches recognize saints. They do not create them.

                Sheesh.

                • Again, sez you.

                  • Burro (Mule) says

                    No, actually I was referring to a well-documented process in both Churches by which saints are recognized. You may take issue with their sanctity, seeing as you don’t trust either our hierarchy or our laity, put the process of sanctification is objective.

                    You can call Harvey Milk a martyr-saint if you want, but I won’t be seeking his intercession anytime soon.

                    • I may not have issue with their sanctity. I likely will have issue with an organization that claims for itself the right to make that judgment call.

                    • @Eeyore, Making people Saints is the way the Church domesticates and tames their spiritual wildness. In some cases, the official hagiography makes them into nearly the opposite of who they really were — I’m thinking of Dorothy Day as I say this.

                • I’m pretty sure most people who have been named Saints would be horrified to learn that the have been classified as “Saints”.

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                    “It ain’t about you, Jayne. It’s about what they need.”
                    — Captain Mal Reynolds, Free Trader Serenity

                    • That helps to explain EO’s obsession with dictators.

                    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I remember it God warned the Israelites in the OT that having a King would not be a happy thing for them. Yet they insisted, and he reluctantly (reluctantly is the right word) assented to their request.

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                      That helps to explain EO’s obsession with dictators.

                      American Evangelicals are no slouch in that department, either.

                      Because both KNOW the Dictator will make THEM the Court Favorite State Religion and hand them the Rod of Iron. (Just like Russian History.)

              • And what is tradition but just such another assertion?

                • Burro (Mule) says

                  Handed down by someone you love and trust.

                  • Why do they deserve that love and trust?

                    • Burro (Mule) says

                      In the aggregate, they’ve earned it, and continue to do so.
                      I take it you demand to be paid in cash and lock it away in a strongbox under your bed.

                      I can’t speak for the Catholics, but I don’t think you have a handle on how personal Orthodoxy is.

                    • That “aggregate” ignores far too much uncritical acceptance of sexism and state oppression of non-conformists for me to uncritically accept it. Sorry, ain’t gonna happen. Tragic necessity the Reformation may have been, but still, a necessity.

                    • Burro (Mule) says

                      Let us just say that I am equally as critical of early 21st century gender relations and so-called tolerance, and leave it at that. We’ve already seen above how you’d bring the non-conformists of Kansas and the South to heel.

                    • I agree that I can sometimes speak out of turn. I get just as angry at you traditionalists as you get at us progressives, and I lose my temper. Thankfully I don’t have the last word – just make sure that strident hierarchies don’t get the last word either.

          • Burro (Male),

            I am a bit of a military history buff so I am familiar with Justinian. He was quite the accomplished fellow:

            1) He built the Hagia Sophia.
            2) One of the most spectacular features of Justinian’s reign was the recovery of large stretches of land around the Western Mediterranean basin that had slipped out of Imperial control in the 5th century. Though this success is due to his very able but underappreciated General Belasarius.
            3) A still more resonant aspect of his legacy was the uniform rewriting of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, which is still the basis of civil law in many modern states.

            • Burro (Mule) says

              He also presided over an epidemic that killed off one-third the population of his Empire. He gets kind of a hard rap these days, mostly due to Robert Graves, but Dante thought highly enough of him to put him in the Second Sphere of Paradise.

              The Copts don’t care much for him, and I’ve never heard of a church named after him or an icon written of him

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        It also requires some historical cherry picking to get to. This thinking goes back to at least Lakoff’s Moral Politics, which made a big splash. I’m not convinced, at all, it requires a very broad brush. Societies in challenging circumstances and environments that trended different ways aren’t hard to find: Finland is a good example, where gender equity, not subjugation, and social cooperation rose out of a brutal landscape. Also I doubt anyone reading Scandinavian fiction would say “Hey, wow, those people has such a positive outlook on human nature!”.

        I know I am certainly not alone, being in what constitutes Left in America, and holding a very “cynical view of humanity”,

        I’m much more inclined to lay “authoritarian personality” on what someone’s Vision of The-Good-Life looks like, as I believe that is the source of most things people do. People looking for a way to make the world better conform to the film reel constantly running in their head.

        • “People looking for a way to make the world better conform to the film reel constantly running in their head”

          Which is why Jesus really should be the director-producer.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            We agree. He had a lot to say about what that footage should look like. He’s also largely ignored.

            And where the hell is the church? My goodness.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Where the hell is the church?

              Cheering on their Fuehrer/Savior:
              “AAAAAA-MENNNN! HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON! AND HIS KINGDOM SHALL HAVE NO END!”

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Finland is a good example, where gender equity, not subjugation, and social cooperation rose out of a brutal landscape.

          Which echoes Stephen Jay Gould’s essay “Kropotkin was no Crackpot” about the difference between the interpretation of “Survival of the Fittest” in England and Russia.

          In England, “Survival of the Fittest” was zero-sum competiton between individuals, with who has the most gold as the indicator. England — heavily populated Island. (Wasn’t Malthus from that island?) The struggle was man-against-man, between atomistic individuals.

          Russia was just the opposite — a vast harsh land with little population, especially the farther east and north you go. Survival was man-against-nature, not man-against-man; banding together in collective cooperation against the wilderness and killing Winter. No Rugged Mountain Men here — if you didn’t cooperate, you were DEAD in the first Russian Winter.

          Also I doubt anyone reading Scandinavian fiction would say “Hey, wow, those people has such a positive outlook on human nature!”.

          As far back as the Sagas, which are one long soap opera of Who Killed Who in revenge feud after revenge feud.

    • ” a strong leader, toughness and power wielded over others, a cynical view of humanity, want society a strict set of norms and values,”

      All of which, it should be obvious, is utterly inimical to what Jesus taught and calls His disciples to.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Yet the Christians Take The Mark and Cheer on The Strong Leader, all for a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v Wade and Put Prayer Back In Schools.

        Christians come cheap.

  12. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Bonhoeffer was concerned that young people in Germany were showing an unhealthy hunger for a “strong leader” (führer) to restore Germany’s greatness and lead them out of the humiliation and economic devastation that followed their defeat in the Great War.

    “MAKE DEUTSCHLAND GREAT AGAIN!”

    Years ago there was a poll that showed Millenials’ favorite form of government was “Strong Leader”.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “Germany was in big trouble —
      What a sad sad story!
      Needed a new Leader
      To restore their former glory!
      Where oh where was He?
      Where could that man be?”
      — Mel Brooks, The Producers

      • Not Trump. Trump is not Hitler. Trump is the guy who runs into the 7/11 and buys Der Fuehrer a pack of smokes.

        • DT is a toady who worships the BIG bullies

          like a mutt who wants to run with the big dogs . . . ‘we have a world to run’

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Trump always struck me as more of a Mussolini.
          The constant bombast and the feeling the guy’s in well over his head and incapable of seeing it.

          • I think you are insulting Mussolini — if he were alive, he might challenge you to a duel! President Bone-spur, otoh, you don’t have to worry about him challenging you to any duels.

            • I agree with HUG that Trump is more of Mussolini type, rather than [Godwin’s Law] type, albeit even more over his head and incapable of seeing it. A cheap Mussolini knock-off then, rather than the finest genuine Italian article.

  13. Burro (Mule) says

    I wish we had Dietrich here to interrogate. Damn, he had some nerve getting killed before I was born. I wonder what he meant by the Leader being subordinate to the “penultimate” authorities, the ‘Orders of Life’. Is there anywhere in his works were one could go to get some illumination on this very intriguing concept. It sounds like the ‘Seven Mountains’ doctrine of the New Apostolic lot, or more benignly, Chesterton’s Sodalities.

    Also, is the mode of governance ever such that there is a political algorithm or constitution that could inoculate us against being ruled by braggarts, thieves, or tyrants? People give fling puu at me over my ill-disguised monarchist sympathies, but with monarchies you have the luck of the draw, and governance becomes something like the weather which everyone complains about but nobody can change.

    I would posit that would be better to be governed by a David or a Vladimir with absolute power than by either of the scoundrels we are presented with every four years, with their concomitant Congressrabble, even if it meant we had to endure the inevitable Manasseh or Ivan the Terrible every so often.

    • The penultimate authorities are the basic institutions of society that exercise authority and guidance in our lives: fathers and elders, community leaders, civic authorities, political institutions, etc. Bonhoeffer represents the Lutheran “two kingdoms” doctrine wherein these basic authorities of life are the means by which God rules temporally in the world. Two kingdoms theology has been rightly criticized for what has been seen as unwavering support for the status quo. It is a very conservative approach to understanding the order of society. In Bonhoeffer’s argument here, he uses it to contrast these more organic forms of authority with a hunger for a leader that replaces them with himself by charisma and authoritarian rule.

  14. Burro (Mule) says

    There appears to be a rhyming affinity between the Lutheran “Two Kingdoms” doctrine and the Byzantine ideal of ‘symphonia’. Hearing you describe it as ‘a very conservative approach to understanding the order of society’ heartens me enormously, for I recognize such therein.

    Unfortunately, the mediating authorities of fathers and elders, priests, guild masters, and wise women have all been devoured to leave little else than Monetization and Due Process. I think I’d give a week’s wages for a book by Bonhoeffer dealing with that.

    • Under this doctrine, Mule, I can easily say that I will vote for Joe Biden because I am a conservative. I care about sustaining and maintaining and improving the institutions of this country. Trump is no conservative. He is a radical with an authoritarian bent who disdains authority and institutions and seeks to replace them with his own authority and program. He merely uses what the political world calls “conservative” positions and policies to advance the Trumpian agenda.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        As Hunter S Thomspon said of Gerald Ford succeeding Nixon, “A caretaker style government” would allow a breathing spell from the manic Bad Craziness of his predecessor.

      • Thank you for your good sense choice, Chaplain Mike.
        Trump is no conservative.

      • Chaplain Mike,

        Trump and Trumpism is not been conservative at all and never was. For starters, populism is NOT conservatism.

        This why I call all those so-called “conservatives” in Congress, the media, and punditry who drank the Orange Dear Leader’s Kool-Aid faux conservatives. And all the MAGA-zombies would not know what conservatism was even if it bit them on the a*s.

  15. Well, 100 comments before noon today. Opinions galore.

    I did not, nor will I ever, vote for the current president. There, that’s out of the way.

    Some commenting don’t seem to want to understand why Trump voters vote for him. They’re not all stupid, racist rubes, and they’re certainly not our enemies. The extreme Lefts are not our enemies, either. Some assertions are being made in the comments without any data to confirm them. Everybody is afraid of what will happen if The Other Party comes into power in our government. How is that fear consonant with being a Christian? What kind of “countercultural” example is it? (viz. yesterday’s post)

    I have pretty much quit listening to campaign/political news, which is practically all of it. Something I read recently makes more and more sense to me: What will it all mean for me the day after I’ve died? And as for voting, if more eligible people had actually voted in elections in the recent past then maybe I would be more enthused about it, since the results would more accurately reflect the will of the people. (And yes, I know about voter suppression.) As it stands now, I -who have voted in every election since I turned 18 – almost don’t care. And my local political scene is the same old runaround as well. It’s hard to figure out what the policies are of each group, and even harder to think about what might happen if those policies were put into place.

    “Form of government” is a term that is becoming more and more academic to me. So much more depends on the kind of people who are leading, and that was the point of today’s post. Yes, we have an opportunity with voting to peacefully take the office away from office holders; this is good. However, with a monarchy, “the government” basically left you alone – unless the great landholders went to war and someone’s army happened to overrun the patch of ground you were farming (or worse). Wise leaders tried to keep that from happening and sometimes succeeded. A major part of the reason we have the form of government we have is that everyone was tired of Europe being overrun by armies engaged in various types of power struggles, including religious wars, within living memory of our founding fathers. I don’t see any striving after wisdom in our nation’s halls of power.

    Dana

    • “Some commenting don’t seem to want to understand why Trump voters vote for him.”

      I’m of the opinion that whatever reasons may be given, they are unacceptable. It is categorically unacceptable for any decent human being to vote for that man.

      • “It is categorically unacceptable for any decent human being to vote for that man.”

        Do you hear yourself, Eeyore? You have just gone from “unacceptable reasons” to “unacceptable people”. Please, please think about it. Jesus had both a Zealot and a tax collector among the Twelve. He welcomed into his Kingdom a terrorist brigand crucified with him. Please, dear Eeyore.

        Dana

        • The man is incompetent.

          The man’s (in)actions have led to over 160,000 deaths in our country.

          The man blatantly flouts rule of law and political precedent.

          Under *what* circumstances, I ask you, is ANY reason to support him “understandable” or acceptable?

        • Burro (Mule) says

          Go easy on Eeyore, Dana.
          He and I have been sparing all morning. That would try the patience of St. James.

          As far as unacceptable people, you should see my parish during the last week of Lent and Holy Week. We get some scary Michael Corleone types.

          God bless ’em.

          • I’d rather try Theresa of Calcutta’s patience. From his letter, James seems to be the type who had even less patience than I do. :-/

  16. Michael Bell says

    Canadian Mike sits back and munches on his popcorn…

  17. Canadian Mike,

    “Have another beer, hey.”

  18. Soon, very soon, all this flux, this chaos, will seem quaint, even desirable, evincing a kind of odd nostalgia for a time before the cities of the South were burning and the hordes, sleepless and delirious, were driven in curious involuntary formations to seek the sanctuary of the melting dripping North guarded by sentries screaming that they are not afraid.