An evil enemy will burn his own nation to the ground to rule over the ashes.
–Sun Tzu (from The Art of War)
There is the expression of reading or hearing something for the first time, despite having read or heard it before. You might say the situation refocuses your attention. Last week it happened to me.
Since returning to the church forty-five years ago, I have heard thousands of Sunday sermons. One of the most recognizable Biblical stories is The Prodigal Son, and it was the focus of last week’s sermon. As I read the story a verse that I have read dozens of times suddenly jumped off the page at me.
I am sympathetic with The Prodigal Son from Luke’s Gospel, perhaps because I was once a prodigal who “left home and behaved recklessly” (Webster’s definition).
I have always been partial to Luke’s rendition of the good news. Perhaps because Luke was thought to be a doctor. I recognize in his work the careful research and diligence of an internist (Luke 1:1-3), though internal medicine would not become a specialty until after the Second World War.
Jesus was a master storyteller, a raconteur extraordinaire. In the 15th chapter of his gospel, Luke records three stories of Jesus, sequentially linked, culminating with the story of the son who squandered his blessings and was lost. And as I read Luke 15:17 it was as though I read the passage for the first time. The Prodigal “came to his senses.”
A friend of mine described her neighbor who apparently has no senses to come to. I’ve heard of this person’s rants and opinions for years and can only conclude the neighbor is beyond any reason or common sense. There are people like this neighbor and AOC who are lost, and we can only pray that someday they will be “driven upon their knees,” as Abraham Lincoln once said. They should be allowed to howl at the moon, watch CNN and display their utterly vacuous stupidity. However, like the residents of the former Eastern State Hospital, they should not be taken seriously or elected to office. Unfortunately, Washington DC, New York and most major US cities are full of those lost to reason and common sense.
Man is a social creature and withers without relationship with others. The brains of babies deprived of touch never develop normally. Of course, there are introverts and extroverts. My wife Becky is more extroverted than her bookish husband. She is also full of grace and generates social capital wherever she goes. (I hope progressive-socialist snow-flakes don’t melt because I used the non-PC word capital.)
Largely, our American society stems from Western tradition and especially English culture. The 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes wrote an important book called “Leviathan.” In the book he argued for a social contract between men because “nature is solitary, nasty, poor, brutish and short.” In other words, the meanest guy with the biggest stick rules. Hobbes advocated that people surrender some of their personal freedom in exchange for safety provided by the government. Actually, the principal role of our government is protecting us. How’s that working with defund the police, rampant crime and murder, as well as a wide-open southern border where illegal aliens stream into the country with Covid infections and are promptly bussed and flown all over the country by the government? You ask where the Covid delta surge is coming from? For anyone who has come to their senses, it is obvious.
Another 17th century English philosopher and physician was John Locke. He is famous for postulating that we are born with a mind like a blank slate (tabula rasa). He challenged Hobbes, stating that governments must do more than provide safety. Governments must also ensure the individual’s rights of life, liberty and property. I wonder what Locke would say about iPOTUS’ unelected CDC Director Rochelle Walensky who last week cancelled the private property rights of American citizens. Unaware of this? You must have been watching and reading the legacy media.
Locke’s influence on Thomas Jefferson in The Declaration of Independence is obvious. Jefferson announced to the world that “governments are instituted among men,” derive their “powers from the consent of the governed” and must protect their citizens’ “unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness endowed by their Creator.” What grade would you give our government?
Since this essay is about coming to one’s senses, I’ll mention one last old but important philosopher from the 18th century who wrote about a civil society. Immanuel Kant said civil society was necessary for man to achieve his highest aspirations. And he argued for universal principles which could be accepted by all people in all places and times. Kant said your actions should reflect those principles. I think Jesus’ Golden Rule would be an example of Kant’s “categorical imperative.” I doubt Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi’s actions would be within the realm of Kant’s universal principles or The Golden Rule.
I wish I could share with you the Primetime interview of Rand Paul on Fox News, Wednesday August 4, 2021. Google it, in the vernacular sense. I quit the Google search engine over a year ago and use DuckDuckGo because it doesn’t track your searches or sell your data like Google’s Lord Vader. Rand Paul is a Senator, an MD and is no friend of China, the duplicitous Fauci or the progressive-socialist cabal of Washington. He is correct, we must say No! to putting our kids back in masks, shutting down schools or our country and living in fear.
We have been lied too repeatedly. So now I refuse to go along with the hysteria of politicized government functionaries or the deceitful media. I have come to my senses that they lack common sense and skew the data. An example is masks. I’ve been vaccinated, I will be careful and use good hygiene. But I say, “Kiss my mask!”
“Mask mandates are a sign of obedience and submission” (Tucker Carlson). Democrats and the Borg say “resistance is futile.” I do not accept that premise. It is my duty to stand up and be counted. No, it is our tour of duty. It may require sacrifices and even civil disobedience to save the country for our children. But we must.