Biblical Theocracy

A book review from The White Oppressor T.W.O.
tankMan

It was June 5th 1989, less than thirty-six hours after the historic “Beijing massacre”, when the People’s Army complied with the Chinese government’s order to roll the tanks down the Avenue of Eternal Peace and through Tiananmen Square, to clear all debris from the nation’s political heart, whatever the cost. I was in the student canteen at Hong Kong Baptist College, picking at my rice box, sitting across from one of my students. Mee Mee had just struggled through a final exam on a day when many of the students, still in shock, had stayed home, unable to think about school­work when their homeland’s future was hanging in the balance. We were discussing whether or not the college should postpone the remaining exams until the political crisis cooled.
About six weeks earlier, near the beginning of the forty-nine day stu­dent protest that ended in tragedy, four well-meaning students had come to my office trying to persuade me to cancel my classes in support of the democracy movement in China. They were quite surprised at my rather unorthodox response, and went away perplexed at the idea that there should be a Westerner, a U.S. citizen no less, and a teacher of religion and philosophy, who actually claimed not to believe in democracy! Until then, I had normally kept to myself the political ideas which had been brewing in my mind over the past ten or twelve years, since voicing them usually met with just such reactions of offence and disbelief.

But here was Mee Mee, her heart torn in two over the recent events in China, not knowing whom to support. Her parents thought the Chinese government was in the right; she disagreed, yet found it hard to accept the equally extreme belief of the recent tendency in Hong Kong to view democ­racy as the final answer to mankind’s political quest. I bared my heart to her, telling her how I have always been the sort of person who is naturally in­clined to grasp his rights in the name of freedom and justice, and yet, how the results of such grasping rarely satisfy me. For if my struggle to defend my rights succeeds, I am often left with a strange sense of empti­ness or guilt; and if it fails, I am left with bitterness at having been treated unfairly. As our conversation developed, I realized that what she was so interested in discussing, others might also find challenging in this time of crisis.

Thus begins Biblical Theocracy, the most important book on politics and Christianity since Augustine’s City of God. (You can read it online for free in poorly formatted HTML.)

This is my favorite passage:

If we wish to adopt a form of Christianity consistent with the Bible, then we must seriously consider whether or not we are perhaps being deceived by our society and culture-and perhaps also by our own human selfishness-when we preach democracy as the panacea for all political problems. Aside from offering the citizen certain legal rights, most versions of democracy tell us we have the power and authority to claim for ourselves certain “inalienable rights”, such as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Yet this is one of the greatest political lies ever told! Christianity is a religion of the cross, a religion whose founder taught that true life comes only to those who are willing to die [see e.g., Mat. 10:38-39; 16:24; cf. 1 Cor. 15:31]. Among other things, this means Christians are called to give up all rights: not just the basic right to “life”, but also rights such as “liberty” and “the pursuit of happiness”. For the Bible repeatedly says Christians are to be “slaves of Christ” [e.g., Eph. 6:6; Rom. 6:22] and are to endure all manner of suffering for the sake of a future glory [see e.g., Rom. 8:18; 1 Pet. 2:18-4:19; and Chapter Six below]. How, then, can a Christian defend a political system which encourages its citizens to stand up and de­fend their “basic human rights”?

How indeed? If you are wondering in what sense this is practical:

And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.
1 Samuel 8:18

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Practical Definitions: Sustainable Natalism

Natalism in the common parlance usually refers to government policies designed to make people want to have children.  Practically speaking, that puts the cart before the horse.  I favor natalism that starts with social norms and then is reflected in government policies.

Sustainable natalism is arranging society so that children are acceptable parts of the public sphere at all child ages.  It’s making sure women aren’t broken and worn down by the stresses and strains of bearing and caring for little ones so that they have energy to pop out more than a couple and raise them to adulthood afterwards.  It’s also about granting higher social status to married mothers and fathers, so that marriage is once again considered the correct place to bear and raise children in.

Sustainable natalism is people setting things up so that women feel that they can handle 3-6 kids, so that men can marry before age 30 because they have a good shot of being able to support three or four kids and a wife, and helping parents by being the real village, full of loving friendships and support.  It’s discouraging atomic living and moving every couple of years for a job, it’s encouraging social norms that have extended family nearby.  It’s remembering the value of cousins and siblings and aunts and uncles.  It’s restoring healthy relations between single childless adults and children.  It’s creating a social milieu that leads to grandkids and great-grandkids as a norm.

Tax credits are neat and stuff, but they won’t do the job.  Society has to be oriented strongly towards children as a good in themselves, living the idea that they are a blessing, because modernity shows us that once any ethnicity or culture gets rich and bloated with cheap consumption, they get very uninterested in having children.  Children are hard, even easy ones are hard.  Without lots and lots of explicit support and status accorded to motherhood and fatherhood, people simply don’t bother.

 

Why grocery delivery is natalist

Conservatives into affordable family formation should support things like grocery delivery because given that America is so car-centric, SAHM isolation and car seat laws make it much more prohibitive to have more than 2 kids otherwise.  Grocery delivery is still a staple in parts of the country that are not quite as anti-natal as is the norm in American society and media.  And needless to say, women who are doing the SAHM thing find it to be easier and for pockets of fellow SAHMs to organically develop when the necessaries of life can be delivered.  In olden days of yore, the idea of leaving the house frequently to buy food with a pack of little kids in tow would have been seen as completely bonkers.  An older child might be sent out, but even in the postwar era and through the 1960s and 1970s, the idea of taking all the kids to the grocery store regularly was not a normalized expectation.  Also, it used to be a job for promising young men with their whole lives ahead of them and could be again.

Interestingly, delivery is on the rise, as shown by monoliths like Wal-Mart taking it up.  Regardless of the reasons why, conservatives should support it and encourage delivery of other necessities of life.  Making it easier to manage a household makes it easier to have additional children.

An example of where the Bureaucrat Wiki would sure come in handy (graphic content warning in link)

Someone who took the time to find out which employees are doing these things (they are listed in a search-only directory, it would require Nerd Power to do online-only, some phone calls to the Denver EPA office otherwise) would be doing a pretty impressive job of setting up a means to demand accountability from government employees who think they can literally do whatever the poop they want.  That link is pretty gross, because the people involved are doing appalling scatological things in their workplace.

Just posting all the EPA employees by working through the search-only directory with contact phone numbers would be a powerful and useful act.  Better than pointing and laughing followed by laments that “these people can’t be fired.”

I talk about the Bureaucrat Wiki as an idea in its own permanent page.

How Black women’s empowerment (BWE) is like homeschooling

Both are ok individual solutions for individuals and individual families, but cannot effectively scale up at all and thus remain incomplete solutions.

Black women’s empowerment at its most simplified consists of American black women removing their financial, social and psychological support from dysfunctional American black communities, institutions and people in favor of giving that support to more functional groups and individuals that support them as individual black women.  For an individual black woman, loving and being loved, supporting and being supported in healthier, more functional ways in work, life, community and love is completely viable as a strategy.  But it doesn’t scale.

Likewise, homeschooling is great for individual families who have the resources to make it work for their children.  Having the resources can mean many different things, but in practice it often means having girls and/or wide spacing between older and younger children, along with support from relatives and community.  Again, this doesn’t scale either, especially since it’s a norm among homeschool leading lights to downplay the extent of the support infrastructure they rely on when selling the homeschool dream to poorer conservatives with little or no support.

But despite the key differences (BWE is very practical and narrow in focus, designed around providing useful suggestions for American-born black women to make healthier life choices, while homeschooling is kind of thrown out as a conservative cure-all for the epic loss of major institutions and near-total erasure of the private household and domestic sphere), both movements are good for individuals who want to go those routes and terrible as larger-scale solutions for the given communities.

Conservatives could start their own lower-cost construction companies

Conservatives, instead of complaining about Latin American immigrants taking all the jerbs, could be developing a possible alternative approach to the current Latin American immigrant domination of construction (mostly Mexican, but increasingly other countries such as Guatemala and El Salvador).  One way to go would be to take all those young homeschool guys who need to figure out some way to earn a living and have them do it up collective style.  Many of those young men come from families of 5 or more and are used to the rack and stack approach in a household.

Since a lot of the complaints among the commenters to that blog are about undercutting and working cheaper, one could utilize one of the few existing pools left of American whites who are used to living more densely and achieve many of the same cost efficiencies.  In fact, one could potentially get it classified as a ministry and have third parties eat the workers’ comp expenses and still get the benefits of the lower hourly wages.

Or one could keep complaining on dissident right blogs while sitting at a cheap desk made in China using a computer also made in China from parts mined in politically unstable countries in a house built by those horrible, horrible Mexicans and El Salvadorans.

I’m not saying this suggestion is flawless, it’s a suggestion after all, but it’s got more practical meat to it than the endless whining and zero action that is pretty much the sine qua non of the dissident right.  The regular right’s sine qua is ineffective and almost exclusively political action.  Doing for self wasn’t just a slogan, it was a way to think about clan and ethny and effective collective action in an individualistic, atomized society that was already too far in that direction decades ago.

Not quite what I was thinking would be my 100th post, but that’s ok!

 

What living near each other could look like

I sometimes read a little group blog called The Orthosphere.  It’s run by a bunch of conservative men who seem really sincere about promoting traditionalism.  The problem is that they profoundly misunderestimate what kind of polemic would serve to promote traditionalism as an abstraction.  A recent post there is a case in point, but what this post is about is not the abstract, overlong attempt at conversion rhetoric, but a comment following the post about living more normally/traditionally.

http://orthosphere.org/2014/04/21/you-need-to-be-a-traditionalist-conservative/#comment-43968

Here’s the relevant half of the comment:

“…living correctly is not currently allowed. It’s politically incorrect. But individuals can score small victories in their everyday lives. They can refuse to agree with what they know is wrong. They can act rightly in their own lives or, when forced by overwhelming power to act wrongly, they can do so minimally, under protest. Perhaps we should open a new thread where people are invited to share the ways they resist the current order, act rightly, and maintain their sanity. We must not lose heart because our ideals have been declared thoughtcrime. Current conditions will not last.”

This assertion is correct in that living correctly in a piecemeal, cafeteria fashion is policed and getting increasingly difficult to do if one is conservative.  But this commenter misses the observed reality that doing so in a complete fashion, with a real parallel system is still on the table.  That is the gist of my post here.

Serious conservatives could be buying properties like this with a few other families and setting up a practical agrarian/distributist lifestyle and even potential spouses for their children and a real possibility of grandchildren and future inheritance.  That property has multiple single family homes and enough acreage for each family to “own” one of several crops (livestock is a potential crop, not just plants) and use that specialization opportunity to maximize returns.  Also, with several families living near each other but having their own homes, household tasks could be split up and rotated in traditional agrarian fashion so that nobody was overwhelmed.

Since the property is located in the super-boonies, living near several like-minded families would make the stresses of driving 2-4 hours to the “big cities” to sell the farm products a great deal more tolerable.  And the small core of families could still build relationships and friendships with the locals, but wouldn’t be demoralized if those social ties never formed to a deep extent (which is sometimes the way of things in isolated rural areas).  Living far away from one’s biological relatives would have a lot of the sting taken out, as the redundancy of multiple families means it would be possible to maintain regular visits and contact without the problems that come from leaving crops to do family visiting.  And financially, the property doesn’t require each individual family to have a huge income to pay their portion of a mortgage or massive savings to buy outright.

This is one path to “having all things in common” without ignoring the importance of access to private property and individual opportunities to build wealth and inheritance long-term.  I would also note that there are dozens if not hundreds of these sorts of properties for sale right this very minute, all over the United States.  The work would be hard and challenging, and certainly people have to save up something first, but this is on the table as an option instead of laments about being priced out of the suburbs, where one would have to struggle in a very different and more risky way with a piecemeal approach to living normally.

One doesn’t have to go full Amish, but one does have to set up a lifestyle that lays groundwork for restoration of healthy social structures and institutions by starting with a small group of like minds and branching out from there.  The barnacle approach of continuing to cling to the pieces of liberalism that appeal to you while rejecting the pieces that don’t is not going to continue to be a path for conservatives going forward.  Just as the True Way of faith in Christ is narrow, so too is the list of viable options for preserving normal life for future generations.

Them’s the breaks.  Industrialization and modernity mean we just can’t rely on the old dividends of traditional living.  They’re spent up and we have to just grit the old teeth and give up some precious temporal things now or see our children lose them all.