Sunday, May 25, 2014

Burning Incense to the Emperor

I have talked about this from time to time in the past, but by political views of the State have changed quite a bit in the last ten years. I used to have a rather, dare I say, Machiavellian view of the State particularly in terms of foreign policy. I read way too much Henry Kissinger in college. Suffice is to say, I used to be a flag waving, red, white, and blue kind of guy where Caesar could do no wrong. I do not know if this was being a child of the Reagan '80's at the end of the Cold War where there were clearly good guys and bad guys. or what exactly.

As I have continued my readings of politics and theology, particular the early Church Fathers and seen the rise of hostile secularism in the West, particularly the current wave the Same Sex Marriage madness that is hitting the courts, I have re-evaluated my political stances. Perhaps my concern of the Same Sex Marriage thing is the very shrill but persistent cry of "Down with Democracy and Self Governance!" and institute everything by judicial fiat in terms of social engineering that seem to be emanating not exclusively from the courts but the masses in favor of it as well. I find the whole "Equal Protection" argument laughable on a number of levels because it is a completely circular argument and not a federal question at all because no where in the US Constitution is there any right to marriage one way or the other. The whole thing is a judicial fiction premised on a judicial fiction that completely ignores State Sovereignty. But, I won't get into that.

The idea of Federal-State balance died long ago because the Federal Government expands unchecked to meet the needs of the unchecked expanding Federal government. I hold out some hope that States will call a Constitutional Convention of States and circumvent the Federal power, but I fear it will never happen because the wording in US Constitution is so vague on particulars of how that would occur and work in actual practice. For example, how would any changes from such a convention have to be ratified? Would it be by delegates at time of the convention or would proposed changes have to return to State legislatures for approval or would here have to be a vote directly by the people in each state? What happened when one state does it one way and another state has a completely different method of ratification? I think the conundrum is that only the Federal courts could iron out difficulties in procedure to make such changes uniform and official, and the Federal courts have a vested interest in keeping the status quo, and thus have a massive conflict of interest on ruling on such things.

This weekend, we have come to another civic holiday. As I have gotten older, I have gotten much more conflicted about civic holidays like Memorial Day for a number of reasons. Firstly very few people actually can be bothered to remember anything or anyone. It's just another excuse to drink beer and not work because Americans are lazy. Secondly, I have some issues with the current fixation of American culture to deify soldiers, living or dead. I have become a borderline pacifist, though I realize a few times in history, evil had to be opposed by whatever means necessary to contain it. Sometimes you have no choice but to pick the lesser of two evils. That is about the only thing that keeps me from becoming a full bore pacifist.

I think my issue with Memorial day is twofold. Some people use it to remember dead relatives. I don't have an issue with that, but as Christians, we do that on All Saints' Day. We don't need the government dictating to us when and where we do that. Mother Church teaches us how to do that in a much better and more meaningful way.

 My other issue with Memorial Day is that it is invariably wrapped up in the American flag. Venerating and personifying an inanimate object bothers me. I understand it is a symbol, and symbols are very powerful. I have never said the part of the pledge of allegiance, even back in my younger days, about the nation being indivisible. If you know anything about the history of the pledge of allegiance, it was specifically invented to stick it to Southerners after the War between the States, lest anyone get any of those secessionist notions in their heads again. Being a dyed in the wool leftover Dixiecrat, I always refused to say that part because I simply do not believe it. You can't convince me that any of the former colonies after hard fought independence when they were debating the Constitution would have signed onto ratifying it if you have clearly told them once you do, you cede your sovereignty en perpetuity and there is no way to ever rescind the Constitution once it went into effect. Again, I digress.

But, fear not. I no longer do that. I simply don't say the pledge of allegiance at all. I refuse to be one of those jerks that simply sits down with his arms crossed, however. I don't feel like being disrespectful of other people's beliefs is the proper venue to do that, but I just can't pledge allegiance to an inanimate object. If you want me to pledge allegiance to the government or the President or something made up of actual people, I would do that.

But, I refuse to burn some incense to the Emperor.

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