Amidst headlines on fires, sexual harassment and worse, national capitals and other seeming spectaculars brew two stories that define the true legacy of Barack Obama. The first is the story of highly partisan FBI agent Peter Strzok. Many details to be worked out on this story, but the bell has rung – when combined with Lois Lerner it is now abundantly clear that during the Obama administration there was a concerted effort to politicize our bureaucracy. The second story is the actions of Leandra English at the CFPB to overcome a presidential appointment. Such actions make transparent efforts by the Obama administration and now Obama leftovers to build a truly bureaucratic state. If these stories do not chill you to the bone, then you need to study up a bit. Carried to their conclusion these efforts would result in a modern totalitarian state.
I would suggest you start by listening to the “Hillsdale Dialogues” beginning 8/24/16 and concluding, with a few interruptions, on 4/27/17 when Arnn and Hewitt conclude their discussion on C.S. Lewis’ “The Abolition of Man.” There is a reason Arnn and Hewitt chose to explore the totalitarian state through, save the “The Abolition of Man,” fiction. As an intellectual exercise, the totalitarian state based on socialism seems like a good idea. Even Christians tried it for a while. It all sounds so science fiction wonderful. The works explored by Dr. Arnn and the host paint a picture of the other side of such states – a picture I can verify based on my own visits to both the Soviet Union and The People’s Republic of China. Such states are an appealing ideal, but a frightening reality. Such states create what I have come to call “a life dissonance” – an intellectual pursuit of an ideological nirvana while living a stale, if not horrific, life. Until you have been there, through the portal of fiction or through personal experience, you cannot really understand how far from ideal such states truly are.
We live in an era where the concrete examples of the true horror of such states no longer confront us. We defeated those states; the Soviet Union no longer exists and China has morphed into a strange brew of totalitarian semi-capitalism. Without these concrete examples the fiction seems “quaint,” and the appeal of the ideology again takes hold. That’s how Obama was able to get as far in his efforts as he did, we are sufficient generations separated from those realities for the ideology to be essentially unchallenged by the reality of its execution. Proponents are able to claim that, “It’ll be different this time.”
The fact that such claims are considered of merit by younger generations is an indication of just how we have failed our youth. We have failed to inculcate them with values and understanding that would allow them to resist this piper’s call. We have allowed our youth to define that which is relevant when we should have been leading them towards that which is truly relevant.
With the current administration the nation is attempting to put itself on a better footing, but the level of success achieved by the Obama administration has both energized our ideological opponents and left them better equipped than ever before. The battle has turned from a purely ideological one to a very real and very ugly political one. For decades this battle has been a sideshow in American politics, something happening on the fringes. But not anymore, this battle is front-and-center battle of our politics, and it is one we cannot afford to lose.
There is much distasteful about this current battle. It is ugly and crude and bare-knuckled. But when we attempt to elevate it somehow we are moving the battle to our opponents battlefield. The problem with their ideology is not the ideology – it is simply too appealing – they will win the salon discussion every time. The problem with their ideology is in its execution – that is where the seemingly beautiful reveals how ugly it really is.
I truly hate how ugly it is right now. I pray daily for it to be different, but I also sense that the answer to my prayer lies through the ugliness, not by attempting to set it aside. The battle is ugly, but fight it we must.