Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Masks of Hollow Men

Will Grigg's latest post is a powerful reminder of some truths set forth by Hannah Arendt after witnessing the trial of Adolph Eichmann.

The Ordinary Face of Everyday Evil

Hillary Clinton, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Chinese President Hu Jintao: these are not the greatest threats to "Liberty Under God" in our world today. The real danger comes from millions of ordinary but hollow men:

The Masks of Hollow Men

These are people who are created in the Image of God, and show the work of the Law of God written on their hearts, even when they violate that law. Because the State is their savior, and they look to the State for social salvation, they do not have the moral strength to resist its lawless commands. When the State commands them or entices them to murder the "enemy," steal the property of others, or kidnap children, they will obey.

Deep down, they know that what they are doing is wrong. When they confront the voice of the Law written on their hearts ("conscience"), they may lash out in violence against those who do not worship the State. They will make resisters the scapegoats for social problems. On the other hand, they may lash out against themselves, punishing themselves in a vain attempt to atone for their statist violence. Depression and self-hatred may result. Sado-masochistic action characterizes the political order.

Because man is created in God's Image, he is geared to law, and he wants the moral order of the universe righted, and the moral order of his soul restored.
R.J. Rushdoony, Revolt Against Maturity.

Rushdoony has shown how the State exploits the politics of guilt.

Guilt is real. Justification can also be real, but only if pursued on God's terms. On March 6, 1799, President John Adams proclaimed a national day of prayer. He called upon the nation to
  • call to mind our numerous offenses against the Most High God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence,
  • implore His pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgressions,
  • and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to His righteous requisitions in time to come;
This explicitly Trinitarian theology empowered America's Founding Fathers and thousands of "Minutemen" and their families to declare the government of their day to be an idolatrous tyranny. They were not hobbled by the self-torture of trying to justify their own acts of tyranny. They had a glorious inner freedom and peace. Rushdoony writes:

_ A society in which godly justification prevails will thus be marked by social energy and vitality. Instead of dissipating its strength on inner warfare and futile self-justifications, it will move forward to re-order all things in terms of God's Law-Word. Instead of being group-directed, inner-directed, or past-oriented, it will be future oriented and God directed.
_ The demand for change comes from all quarters in a time of crisis. The New Left of the 1960's and 1970's was most vocal in demanding "change," but the essence of their position has been aptly described by Ayn Rand as an Anti-Industrial Revolution towards pure destruction and chaos:
What are the activists after? Nothing. They are not pulled by a goal, but pushed by the panic of mindless terror. Hostility, hatred, destruction for the sake of destruction are their momentary forms of escape. They are a desperate herd looking for a F├╝hrer.
The characteristic of sado-masochism is rage and destruction, whether directed against others or against one's self.
_ The characteristic of the regenerate or "transformed" person is freedom from this rage and destruction. The un-regenerate mind is endlessly absorbed with evil and injustice: he can chronicle all the sins of others at great length and tally up the sorry tale of conspiracies against him. Action means destruction.
_ The redeemed man is restored into
dominion under God, first over himself and then over the world around him. He is transformed.
_ The transformation begun in man is then developed in terms of the whole life of man: his family, vocation, society, state, and all things else. He now has a life-purpose which comes from God and His Word, and therefore the transformation of all things becomes a glorious hope for him in Christ. St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:17 declared, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, there is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
_ Transformation means a new life-purpose, an end to self-defeat, and a directed and purposive life of reconstruction
under God.
R.J. Rushdoony, Revolt Against Maturity

Are you a hollow man, or has your empty claim to be your own god been replaced by the full righteousness of Christ and the privilege of transforming society under God?

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