Fear This

I’m still struggling with the admonitions of various people about what I’m supposed to fear. Here is a good example:

There is more than “a whiff of totalitarianism” about it; globalism is an intrinsically more deadly threat to Man than fascism, Communism, and Nazism combined.

Those might be considered dumb ideas or bad systems, but are they something to fear? First we have to consider the practical basis for fear, and then the spiritual basis.

Are these natural forces that rise up from nowhere and overwhelm us? I suppose you could see them that way. A lot of political changes have occurred without any warning to the victims, or with a warning that they didn’t understand.

“Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’ Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. [Isaiah 8:12-13]

I may be naive and complacent, seeing as how I’m sitting in 21st-century America and experiencing most of the world through the Internet, but the catastrophic view of history doesn’t mean much to me.

That isn’t because I think we all individually control history, but because I think everything catastrophic has warnings and precursors, except for the things that don’t, which we can’t predict.

The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘{It will be} fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘{There will be} a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot {discern} the signs of the times? An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away. [Matt. 16:1-4]

So, should we fear something catastrophic and inevitable that we’ve been warned about? No, we should prepare for it and react by opposition or adaptation.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him…  [Deut. 30:19-20]

But what if it isn’t inevitable? What if it isn’t a “natural force”? Well then, there’s still a choice. It’s a choice of what you as an individual should do to prevent or encourage it, if you can. When I look at political history, I see the “governed” people making choices. Again, perhaps I’m naive, but I think that people as a group get the rulers they want, or will tolerate, or at least whatever they deserve.

But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.”    [1 Samuel 8:6-7]

Maybe we don’t actually get to choose what will happen in individual terms; maybe it’s just a matter of where to place our loyalties, so that we can cement our personal social network. This is pretty much the way it is in American democracy, where people jabber on about this president or that president, this House bill or that Senate bill, or something else that they fantasize about controlling.

They carefully weigh the Fox News report against the CNN report; compare Bud Light to Miller Lite; make their fantasy football picks, their American Idol picks, their Next Greatest Model picks, and their March Madness picks. Then finally they make the greatest move in history, the earth-shattering, ear-splitting, devastating pronouncement of their inconsequential and irrelevant opinion on some transient political topic. They are, indeed, the Masters of their Domains.

So, given that I believe that everything political is a consequence of individual choices, while not being determined by any particular one, I have both fatalism and optimism. I think that the crowd is going to make a lot of stupid, consequential choices, as they did in supporting communism, fascism, and Nazism. That is the ultimate rationale for trying really hard to instill fear in them:  the more they fear certain ideas, the more likely they will stampede in the opposite direction.

But that is a reason for instilling fear; it is not a reason for having fear, unless you fear allowing the crowd to determine your political future. In that case you will be no demagogic tyrant, but simply an insecure bully who has no hope.

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. [Matt. 10:28]

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. [2 Tim. 1:7]

οὐ γὰρ ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ θεὸς πνεῦμα δειλίας ἀλλὰ δυνάμεως καὶ ἀγάπης καὶ σωφρονισμοῦ

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Instigate some pointless rambling

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