Tag Archives: tyranny

A Return to Traditional American Values Leads Us Right Back Here

In the midst of the wailing laments over the spiraling socialism and (concordant) growing corruption of the United States government, you will hear many on the right desperately keening about the need to return to “traditional American values”. Now, I do admit that this can mean many things, and it’s not always clear what exactly—and frankly, I’m not sure those yearning for these values really know, either—but I will define them as I generally understand them; and I submit that this is as accurate a summary as one can reasonably expect.

Traditional American values are almost always a political reference to individualism (often “rugged individualism”) and small government. They are the idea that men should pretty much be left alone to work out their own existence for themselves, mostly free from coercive external governing authority, and becoming collectively involved only with the “nobler” associations of church (and this means primarily the Protestant Church) and family and local government, and these only insofar as they can be used to affirm and promote the future dissemination of  individualism and small government.

Now, apart from the uncomfortable and specific contradictions running through these ideals (e.g. Protestant orthodoxy in all its denominational iterations teaches the most anti-individual and anti-liberty doctrines in the world and in world history: Total Depravity and Original Sin). I will concede that these values are ostensibly virtuous and well-intentioned. The problem, however, is that when examined, or when the intentions and understanding of those wishing to return to them are examined, they collapse under the weight of a pervasive and intractable irrationality.

The first question begged is: How will a return to traditional American values not inevitably bring us right back to where we are now? In other words, hindsight reveals that the evolution of traditional American values has placed our nation in the here and now, where it stands as an empire and a culture in embarrassing decline, exhausting itself in an ongoing carnival sideshow of neo-Marxist ideology, ethical relativity, group-think, collectivist bigotry, newspeak, narcissistic and psychotic political officials who see the State as merely an Authoritarian Pez dispenser (which is inevitable as State Power is an absolutely irresistible carrot and stick to such personalities), political gangsterism, man-babies, female entitlement, corporate fad-ism, crony capitalism, marxist feminism, junk science (like “gender fluidity’…and pretty much all social sciences), welfare, morbid obesity, hedonism, stupidity, and cowardice.

But no, they will say.  Traditional American values are not an evolution…they are not a political doctrine. They are a way of thinking about man and his existence and the fundamental philosophical notions of freedom and political equality. These values are the philosophical foundation of our nation, they are not products of that nation.

I aggressively disagree. I do not accept that traditional American values are a-political, or a philosophy which informs government rather than a political expression of government. On the contrary, they are the very essence of politics and government. The founding of this nation is utterly and unavoidably the foundation of this nationstate. Government is the very core of America, and thus it is the very core of American identity, and thus it is the very core of traditional American values. And if government is the very core of America and American identity, then the governing of Americans is thus the very core of America and American identity. And this being the case, there are no traditional American values until an American government is established. Traditional American values are a product of how Americans are governed. The idea that traditional American values don’t have anything fundamentally to do with government and politics is a joke. They have everything to do with politics and government. They don’t exist, having no relevance nor efficacy, until after there is a government in place to manifest them collectively—because the collective practical implementation of ideals is what the government does. That’s the whole damn point. And that’s really what “traditional American values” are: collectivist ideals. And without the practical manifestation of these collective ideals there is no America, and thus there are no Americans, and thus no American values. The values remain infinitely abstract and irrelevant; pointless and meaningless. Thus they are not values at all. They are ethereal mist, doing nothing, and being nowhere.

So traditional American values are inexorably corollary to American government, and government, or governing, is objectively and empirically an evolutionary process. It starts as A and evolves to B, and this is because society changes. The young grow old; the old die; new citizens are born; technology morphs and grows; industry is moblized and changes the landscape and culture; products are created and used and disposed of; capital is made and lost; wars are fought and won or lost; and all of this changes people, changes desires and objectives and ambitions, changes the very makeup of society, racially, sexually, politically, intellectually, and economically; new politicians are elected, new laws are made and passed, national identity shifts, and thus what it means to be an “American” shifts. And what were once just “American values” one day become “traditional American values”, which are somehow and by some mysterious means utterly divorced from the the “current American values”; or as the right thinks of them, unAmerican values. But the reality is that you do not get the latter without the former. You don’t get today’s “un-American values” except by way and evolution of “traditional American values”.  Traditional American values are not a national philosophy…they are not foundational and underwriting presuppositions concerning the nature of man and reality, which are uniquely and distinctly and infinitely American, as though being “American” has some kind of fixed and absolute and fundamental meaning and essence which is completely distinct from government and governing as it is today, and as it was yesterday, and as it will be tomorrow. Traditional American values are ideals which imply a State which implies a government which implies the evolution of that government.

Since traditional American values are at root state-affirming ideals, they collectivize individuals as an expression of national collective identity. We can speak of “rugged individualism” all we want but individualism really has nothing to do with it. And national collective identity is dictated by government to the people who are in turn obligated by threat of incarceration, sanction, theft, and death to its authority to compel them to the inexorably and unavoidably collectivist “American Ideal”…or “American values” which the government, and the government alone, has the legal and thus ethical (as legality is its own ethical premise) right to manifest upon the earth, no matter what any given individual thinks or wants, ever.

Therefore, appealing to traditional American values can be quite simply and quite rationally defined as whatever values the state happens to be implicitly and/or explicitly dictating at the moment. And currently our American values happen to be the values of violence, stupidity, irrationality, neo-Marxist authoritarianism, and cultural stultification. Our traditional American values are manifest as these things today. It could only have ever been so, and only ever shall be again if we somehow return to them.

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Now, let’s supppose for the sake of argument that traditional American values are in fact an appeal to some kind of rugged individualism…some kind of philosophy which lauds the egalitarianism of the soul, the efficacy of the will, the right of man to life, liberty, and property; the practical utility of the mind, the ability of man to apprehend truth and good and to efficaciously act upon them of his own volition, and cooperation over coercion. Let’s suppose that they exist somewhere beyond the State, beyond government, absolute and meaningful in and of themselves, needing no authoritarian incarnation to grant them practical utility upon the earth. Yes, let’s just say that that’s all true. The question then is this: Should we ever return to these traditional American values, how can we ensure that our nation won’t end up right back here, smack in the middle of the marxist circus tent revival of violent leftist ideology?

The answer is that you can only do this one of three ways. And none of them I submit has anything to do with the America that was founded in Philadelphia in 1776, or 1787, whichever you prefer.

The first is that we use the power of the State to compel people by force to submit to traditional American values. Put simply, we give them no choice. Submit to the values or die.

However, this undermines the essence and integrity of traditional American values, which are seen as elevating and venerating individualism, self-reliance, responsibility, moral choice, and liberty. Not that hypocrisy ever strays too far from those espousing a return to traditional values. I personally know of several right-wing voters who don’t bat an eye at the idea of compelled school prayer, compelled recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance (a collectivist propaganda yarn if there ever was one), compelled standing for the National Anthem, criminalizing the desecration of the American flag, public dress codes, compelled voting, compelled Christian education, compelled church membership, and significant restrictions on public expression and private businesses. So, it seems that “traditional American values”, when defined a certain way, are much more Authoritarian than is comfortable to admit. The idea of compelling people under threat of government violence isn’t as far-fetched or unthinkable with respect to “liberty” and “rugged individualism’ as we might believe.

At any rate, then, the forced submission of citizens to traditional American values is one way we could ensure a more “traditional” society, I suppose. Of course, only a fool would think that a fascist America, which is what this would be, is any better than a communist one. So I  suggest we can throw away this option, as it isn’t particularly rational nor realistic. It’s certainly a way we could look at things—legal enforcement of values is not in and of itself an arcane idea…hell, that’s the whole point of the State, and is why and how moral ethics are ultimately subordinated to legal ethics, which is a primary reason why nations inevitably collapse. But in light of the common meaning of what it means to hold to traditional American values, it’s relatively safe to call the statist enforcement thereof a bald-faced hypocrisy. To compel people by threat and force to obey, as opposed to choose, traditional American values, gives us an America that is anything but “traditional”. So…option one is out.

Option two is to go in the completely opposite direction, and that means to eschew the legal, coercive enforcement of values entirely. We don’t have the lazy option of the State bailing us out when we fail to convince our neighbors to accept our values and commit to them. All we have is reason, persuasion, empirical evidence, and leading by example. That’s it. No guns. No bombs. No gallows. No gulags. No guillotines. No firing squads. No ovens. No crosses. No chicken-shit cop-out dick-swinging threats of jack boots and jumpsuits. Just you and your powers of persuasion, alone in the arena of public discourse.

Go get ‘em, tiger.

In other words, we reject the State as having anything to do with our values. If we want rugged individualism, we cannot appeal to a giant, nuclear-armed Collective Authority, bristling with prisons and stuffed with ruling class greed and conflicts of interest. If we want to promote liberty, we cannot appeal to the Authority-Submission construct of government, which includes the comandeering and redistribution of labor and property in order—and this singularly so—to promote obedience to the State (via the artifice of Law) and the elevation of the ruling class, and to specifically suppress the exercise individual choice, which is the exact opposite of liberty. We must implore our fellow man to resist the slide into the abyss of today’s neo-Marxist hellscape by asking them to choose freedom over force; individual choice over forced compliance.

These “traditional American values” then have absolutely nothing to do with the government, and thus nothing really to do with the nation-state, and thus nothing to do with America per se. They don’t have anything to do with political representation, the law, “free and democratic” elections, or voting. They have nothing to do with asking people to vote to give the State legal Authority to force those with opposing values to comply with our own. For that is tyranny, and tyranny is not a traditional American value. These values are defined apart from the governing body that declares who and who is not a legitimate American, as a citizen.

Yet this seems to be quite anathema to what it means to hold to traditional American values, which implies a civic duty to vote for things that are considered “traditionally” American. So, all that being the case, option two really won’t get us back to traditional American either. I have never heard of “traditional American values” which did not recognize the need for the nationstate, and thus the government, of America.

Option three is to return to the original, relatively diminutive size of our government as it was first established. We shrink it back down to its minarchist roots, with just a skeleton crew and basic libertarian functions—police, military, courts.

And then what? We just hope for the best? I mean, we already had that, and look where we are now? So how do we ensure that the evolution from a government which is small, well-defined, and unobtrusive to one that is massive, elusive, subjective, militaristic, sadist, and selfish doesn’t repeat itself?

Well, we can encourage people to exercise their free and independent will, emphasizing choice over legal command, which is the only thing that will ever prevent the intrusion of State power into every facet of human existence. We can appeal to utterly anti-government and purely voluntarist ideals such as individual morality, personal responsibility, cooperation, negotiation, and a devotion to the ethics of morality rather than legality.

But…this is simply a reiteration of option two, which voids the state, and thus implies no government, not a shrinkage of it.

So what else? I guess we encourage people to vote for politicians who will use the hammer of the State to force our political enemies to comply with our values; to bend their commie knees to our will, under pain of death and prison…or worse. But this makes us no better than our commie enemies, and accelerates the rise of authoritarianism in government, getting us nowhere near our traditional American values…and is simply a reiteration of option one.

The point here I am making is that option three gets us nowhere except back to options one or two, and as I have already explained, neither of these finds us returning to traditional American values.

So let’s just be honest with ourselves; stop engaging in political and philosophical kindergarten, and bluntly confront the truth. Because the sooner we accept it, the sooner we can recognize our real options, and pull our heads out of the ether of fantasyland and look to actual solutions, instead of childishly placing our hopes in the illusory utopia of yesteryear’s bucolic America with its dewy traditions.

There is no going back!

You and I both know this, and we always have, deep down. The return to “traditional American values” is a myth, because “traditional American values are themselves a myth.

Any “return” to “traditional American values” simply brings us right back to where were are…right here, right now, as it is, as you look around and see it. Because there is no such thing as “traditional American values”…there are only rational ideas and irrational ideas. Period. There is no grand American Tradition that will come down from heaven in a fiery pillar and save us from the avarice of leftists and their godforsaken dystopia of neo-Marxist death squads and overlords. The tyranny that we fear is a tyranny which was with us when this nation was founded, because it is a tyranny which is endemic and implicit in all governments because it is the very essence of government. All governments become tyrannical because government is tyranny, because government is Authority, and Authority is force. My philosopher compadre John Immel said this—“authority is force”—and it continues to be the single greatest truth of government, ever, anywhere, of all time. It is, perhaps, and certainly as far as I am concerned, the only thing you really need to know about the subject,

As hard as it may be to admit it, tyranny is the only possible outcome of the American politcal premise. Government, no matter how small, will grow into tyranny as a child grows into a man. Because fundamentally there is no difffence. At root they are the exact same thing.

END

Why Checks and Balances Won’t Stop Government Tyranny

Government is tyrannical by nature. It doesn’t evolve to tyranny, it is tyranny from its very foundation; and this tyranny follows it to the inevitable societal collapse which is tyranny’s conclusion. Government is authority, authority is force, force means forced compliance, forced compliance nullifies choice as a fundamental means of social interaction, nullified choice means a cancellation of man’s will, a cancellation of will makes thought irrelevant, irrelevant thought nullifies human agency, nullified human agency implies metaphysical determinism, determinism nullifies morality, nullified morality as a function of metaphysical determinism implies the politics of “survival of the fittest” (where politics is taken in the philosophical sense to mean how humanity interacts with itself as a function of accepted ethics), survival of the fittest implies the perpetuation of those with superior power by which to command, control, and/or adapt to their environment, superior power always belongs to the State—that’s the whole idea. Otherwise, the government doesn’t govern…it suggests. It negotiates. But ”suggestion” isn’t “law”.

This is basically the sum and substance of it, in a nutshell.

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Government isn’t people, government is a metaphysical principle. It is a premise of Determinism—man navigates reality not fundamentally by volition (by thought and action), but by determinative forces compelling him outside of his own conscious existence. Man’s sense of individualism is a false front; a liar. Man from birth lies to himself, according to his nature, which has corrupted him by giving him a sense of “Self”. This sense of Self compels man to always act contrary to the truth, which is that the Self is a lie, and that reality is something outside of this Self, which utterly determines all he is and does…which of course doesn’t include “him” at all. So, because man is born with the “original sin” of Self-Awareness and a natural inclination to defer to his own individual thoughts, ideas, and choices, which always and necessarily act contrary to the truth of determinist reality, he must be controlled. He must be forced. He must be governed. The idea that man could ever live a categorically voluntary existence away from and irrespective of some manifestation of supreme coercive Authority is anathema, by definition, to government, then. Freedom, which can only ever really mean freedom from a fundamentally compelled existence, is inexorably exclusive of government. It simply must be. Even at mere face value this has to be apparent to us. The exercise of individual will according soley and utterly to the volition of the individual is a complete contradiction of the very essence of the State. This is arrant; it is obvious. Any attempt to fuse freedom and force is a rejection of reason and an appeal to madness. And this is itself nothing but tyranny.

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Again, government isn’t people. Again, government is a metaphysical principle. And again, it is determinist, which means it is collectivist (the inexorable link between collectivism and determinism is pretty obvious; and I have addressed it several times before, so I won’t do it now). Government transcends individuals at the metaphysical root, like all manifestations of collectivism (churches, tribes, gangs, appeals to “objective” class/racial/sexual distinctions, science-as-philosophy, cultural movements, fads and trends, and on and on). And this is why “checks and balances”, while ostensibly an infusion of sanity and sobriety into governmental polity, cannot serve as any kind of truly effective hinderance to the tyranny of the state. You see, whether you gather coercive power into the hands of only one man, or you spread it across a vanguard, and separate that vanguard by distinct institutions and offices, and regulate the terms by which this power may be consolidated with a complicated paradigm of rules and benchmarks, the very fact that it is coercive power we are dealing with makes all of it a mere ceremonial spectacle. Coercive power, being the fundamental and only really meaningful and efficacious aspect of government, cannot be converted into liberty by sticking it in a blender with constitutional hoops and hurdles and pressing “purée”. Freedom is freedom from coercion. Nothing more. Nothing less. Period. Yet the governmental deals exclusively in force…that is its only real currency. Anything else is window dressing; pretend play; an attempt to excuse the inevitable violence and perfidy of the ruler, and to sooth or mask the misery of the ruled. But the truth is that the square peg of  humanity will never be forced into the round hole of government without crushing them both.

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The operative and ultimate moral issue with government is a priori coercive (violent) ruling power. It’s not about who happens to wield that power, or how many hurdles—“checks” and “balances”—are ostensibly erected in his path before he can exercise ruling power absolutely. Those hurdles are a function of the very same appeal to authority which gives him his ruling power in the first place. Ruling authority cannot be checked because it is fundamental…it is not merely a facet of government, it is government. The foundational principle of Authority establishes the government, the government doesn’t just happen to wield authority as though its power to compel behavior by violence and threats of violence is merely tangential to some greater munificent purpose. The ability to use superior violent power to compel “right” thinking and behavior isn’t a “last resort”, as though the primary purpose of governing Authority is negotiation and compromise and/or the encouragement thereof! See how foolish this is, and yet we all believe that it is indeed somehow the case, even though it defies simple, remedial logic. The necessity of power to point a government gun in someone’s face to get him to do the “right” thing specifically because he is born a rebel and a sinner to reality, itself, and is utterly insufficient to existence if left to his own mind and will, has about as much to do with compromise and negotiation as a ham sandwich has to do with Shakespeare. Getting the “right” ruler or establishing the “right” checks and balances simply cannot change the fundamental purpose and essence of government:

to govern.

And governing is forcing, and forcing is controlling, and controlling, fully and properly realized, is tyranny.

The problem is not getting the right checks and balances in place. And it’s not who rules, but it is simply the fact that they rule at all. Once it is accepted by metaphysical principle that man must be ruled, he will be sacrificed to the State. There is no way to avoid the inevitable conclusion of the premise which demands the governing of individuals in order to integrate them into the “Truth”, which is always merely some insipid and tangential collectivist Ideal (the Nation, the Tribe, the Race, the Chosen Ones, the People, the Workers, the Good, the Just…almost anything can pass for an Ideal).

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Finally, I’d like to address the bromide—the political trope—which is the notion that the ruling class (politicians and other government officials) should somehow be expected to follow the same laws as everyone else. This…is utter and complete nonsense. It hasn’t happened and it will never, ever happen, because it has about the same practical existence as the tooth fairy and the same practical efficacy as a black highlighter. It is foolishness. It’s a contradiction. It’s a fantasy. It is a rank contradiction to government’s essence at its very heart to obligate the ruling class to the laws by which they govern everyone else. By definition if the ruling class is also ruled (and this, impossibly, of themselves) then the ruling class is not the ruling class! And if the ruling class isn’t the ruling class then who is? In other words, if the ruling authority isn’t the ruling authority then by what means can law be established as actually binding upon the men it is supposed to govern? And if it’s not binding then how is it law? Law depends on someone to force men to obey it, regardless of whether men want to obey or not, or choose to obey or not. But if law is to be chosen by men, not forced upon them, then it’s not law. It’s suggestion…negotiation, voluntarism. And this is not governing, it’s merely cooperating.

People think that somehow choosing rulers via “free elections” is the same thing as choosing to be obligated to law.

It isn’t.

The law demands that rulers rule, and that’s what they will do, regardless of who they are, how they were elected, or who voted for them and why. The law is not a function of those “freely elected”, but the “freely elected” are a function of the law, and the law is force, not choice.

Authority—the ruling class—cannot be obligated to itself . And it is foolishness to assert that the ruling class should also be ruled like the rest of us. The ruling class cannot be both and simultaneously the ruled and the ruling. Men are part of one or the other, they are never one and the same. This is merely a contradiction which obscures the truth.

END

The Christian Does Not Die, He Becomes Death: Spiritual Marxism masquerading as the Christian orthodox ideal, Part 17

Discussion Questions:

1.  Have you ever felt like you had insight and clarity into someone else’s poor decision?  Did you say anything?  How did it turn out?

(Community:  Your pathway to progress, pp. 35. North Point Ministries, 2008)

Let’s examine the profound and irrational assumptions/presumptions which form the philosophical roots of this “discussion” question (one of three we will examine), according to the spurious standard of today’s “doctrinally sound” Christian church.  Remember that in this series of articles on spiritual Marxism, using North Point Ministries’ small group booklet as my reference, we have been examining the doctrinal premises–and their ideological spawn–of today’s neo-Calvinist, neo-Reformed church movement, which is quickly becoming, or has become, the Christian movement of the 21st century in America, in general.

What is presented in this essay is based upon the philosophical ideals underwriting Christianity today, some of which we have  discussed in the Spiritual Marxism series already.  However, I believe that it is possible to read this essay without having read the previous ones and not be too terribly confused.  As usual, my penchant for verbosity tends to fill in most of the informational gaps which might otherwise be present in the essay of a more concise writer.

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Here again is the discussion question:

Have you ever felt like you had insight and clarity into someone else’s poor decision? Did you say anything?  How did it turn out?

What we must understand with respect to the collectivism implicit in Christianity today, particularly of the neo-Reformed/neo-Calvinist type, is that, for these spiritual Marxists, the Group understands the existential context of the individual better than he or she does, at any given moment, and with respect to any issue, and any situation.  This is because “Group”, as I’ve explained before, is the primary metaphysic.  The irreducible ontological state of existence for any human being is not the Self, but the Collective. The individual is a direct function of the group with which he or she affiliates, not the other way around.  The key to existence then is finding the “right”, or the “True” group, and affiliating yourself with it, after which, through the epistemological enlightenment of the group (understanding how you know what you can know), you come to realize that YOU never actually had anything to do with joining, or finding, the group after all.  You became affiliated with the group, not by choice, but because you were determined into it…for determinism is, in fact, the only possible causal source of everything within a universe where Group, or Collective, is the sum and substance of all there is.

In Christianity today, the “Church” is the only ACTUAL, legitimate thing. It is All in All.  And “God” is its essence…which is merely the same thing as saying God IS the Group, the Group is God.  There is no relevant difference.  And what this means–and is the whole point of fabricating a Collectivist metaphysic in the first place–is that those who claim the divine mandate to rule the group, which is correlated to their special revelation/enlightenment, means that they, and no one else, (because God works through them, alone) possess an infinite Authority over everyone else.  This literally enslaves ALL of mankind to the subjective whims of a single person or small group of people, forever and absolutely.  And that, like I said, is precisely what all of the heady-sounding doctrine is all about.

So…back to the determinism which drove you into the “loving” arms of your Collective–the One, True Collective which governs and controls all things via its oneness to the Primary Consciousness.  Or, in this case “God” (and I use “God” in quotes, incidentally, because by no means should we think that these despots in any way have any actual affiliation with the real God…for He forbids such a thing I am convinced, and has nothing, I submit, to do with them in ANY measure according to their doctrine, which denies His truth as thoroughly as it denies yours and mine):

The “Group” as represented by that transcendent and infinite and immaterial Consciousness realized its Will upon your life, and you, helpless to resist because you have no actual will of your own, complied. Therefore, the answer to the question now begged–“What is the TRUE group, as opposed to one of the panoply of impostors?”–is simple:  The Group to which you were determined MUST be the True Group, otherwise you could not be counted among it.  See, since only the True Group has the True Consciousness which can determine all things, you could only ever have chosen to join to the Group to which you now belong.  There was no choice, you might say.  Otherwise, you would not have chosen it.

It is a tautology, you see.  The proof that you were determined to the group is that you chose it.  You chose because you were determined, and you were determined because you chose.  “A is A” is not a law of identity in this instance, it is a tautology, and this is a great example.  Whatever you chose to do you did because you were determined to choose it.  Choice and determinism are equivalent.  Another way of putting it is that choice is A and determinism is A.  A is A.  The Law of Identity is satisfied. Which is, incidentally, why so many smart people fall for this kind of thinking.  (Incidentally, the ease with which Aristotle’s Law of Identity can be conformed to the collectivist metaphysic by applying it to abstract concepts (actions) which are necessarily a function of material objects (concrete existence) is startling.  It is a strong argument for doubting the rationality and veracity of that Law.)

I understand the massive cognitive dissonance that is endemic to this ideology, and the need to suspend disbelief in order to make the rational leap from the discussion question to its answer.  Nevertheless, once we concede, as Christianity today does, that the metaphysical primary is not the Individual, but the Collective–the Group–we understand that this is the only possible answer which is consistent with the premise.

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In Christianity, the Consciousness of the Group is “God”, naturally, and it is His “Sovereign Will” which “controls all things”.  It is “God” then to whom the fleshly incarnations of Himself, the Pastors (and the lesser deities, the Small Group Leaders) appeal, in order to physically and psychologically compel the unwashed masses into “right thinking” and “right behavior”.  Therefore, God compelled you into the Small Group at North Point Ministries (or whatever other neo-Marxist spiritual trap into which you may have fallen), to be instructed and ultimately governed (forced) in the ways of the One True Collective (the “Church”) by those who claim the authority to do so.  And since those who claim this authority are God’s proxies, which makes them God to you, or God qua God, for all relevant intents and purposes, the answer to this discussion question leveled at us above, “Have you ever felt like you  had insight and clarity into someone else’s poor decision?”, is…

Yes.  And no.  As a group member, yes.  As an individual whose depravity only allows him to view reality from the singularity of Self, no.  I am divine, but I am also wicked.  I am aware, and I am also blind.

Let’s break it down.

Yes, of course.  Of course you’ve felt like you had insight and clarity into someone else’s poor decision. And, as corollary to this, of course you’ve been the one to make a poor decision, and thus have had to defer your will and your mind to another person.  Maybe even the person upon which you are now, ironically, passing judgement even as he simultaneously passes judgement upon you.

This ostensibly contradictory answer is utterly demanded by the acceptance of the Group AS Self metaphysic.  As a member of the one True Group you’ve been given the divine perception afforded to everyone who understands his or her nature as entirely a function of the Church, which really means the Authority of the Pastors and their representatives, the subordinate, lesser deities, which include the Small Group Leaders.  Because you have absorbed the explications, explanations, and presumptions of “Sound Doctrine”, you have the divine, unmitigated, and inerrant authority, bestowed by spiritual osmosis,  to pronounce judgement upon anyone, anywhere, at any time, for anything which does not comply forthrightly with said doctrine, regardless of the presence of contexts or circumstances which you could not possibly understand, and may confidently declare the perpetrator utterly ignorant, morally bankrupt, and insane, worthy of all manner of death and destruction.  The slightest disagreement or inconsistency with what you know must be the infallible “Word of God” simply by being a “Church Member” invites you to offer a thoroughly justified condemnation on behalf of the Group, and a demand (disguised as “counsel”, or “advice”) that thinking and behavior be brought to heel..or else.

(As an aside, please realize that understanding of the “Word of God” doesn’t have anything to do with understanding qua understanding at all.  It merely means that one can, if even in the most remedial of ways, parrot back the presumptions, assertions, premises, axioms, and maxims to which he or she pledges fealty as function of their affiliation with the True Collective.)

In other words, because you go to True Church–one approved by the doctrinal standards of “orthodoxy” (whatever that means)–you know everything.  As the Group knows, you also know.

On the flip side, however, you, being an unremitting and unrepentant sinner by nature, categorically depraved and infinitely insufficient to any moral thing, act, or idea, abstract or concrete, you MUST sin, and sin perpetually, because the very fact that you possess an awareness of SELF, as an individual, demands that the entirely of your observance of the entirety of your existence is false.  And more than false, it is the very archetype of evil.  You can do no good thing; you can think no good thing; you can see, hear, and speak no good thing.  Because you ARE, according to the Fall of Man who is Perpetually Falling, no good thing, and absolutely so.

Thus, in equal measure as the enlightened one, bringing the all-seeing eye of the “Church” to bear upon your fellow man to level judgement and command repentance and recompense, you are also the Sinner.  The Evil One.  The one who will make mistakes, because he IS the mistake.  Therefore, as you give your unsolicited rebukes, condemnations, warnings, exhortations, demands, and absolutes to your fellow man, so you will prostrate yourself before his.

Because according to the extremely loose logic of “sound doctrine”, rooted in the Ethical (moral) primary of “Total Depravity” and the metaphysical primary of Existence through Church Membership, the only real purpose of the discussion question at the top of this essay is to promote the following ideal:

You can judge others, but you cannot judge yourself.  Your awareness proves efficacious only when it is applied to the existence of another; but it is utterly incapable of serving you, because you qua you do not possess by nature the existential sufficiency to awareness.  That is, to Truth.

And this eventually distills down into this very evil premise:

You can be the Group, but you cannot be yourself.  And this is because what a seemingly innocuous and innocent little book on small groups is desperately and yet so surreptitiously demanding is that you accept the ideal that you are Evil Self AND Perfect Group, and the paradoxical distinction denies you a reality of your own, which makes you dependent upon that of the Church leadership.  You have insight, and you lack it.  You speak truth to sin, and you wickedly deny sin.  You receive the truth with grace, and you stubbornly resist and worship Satan.  You are both the dark and the light.  The Is and the Is not.  You are Individual inside Collective.

And now, at last, we arrive at the real answer to the question above.  The only one that matters…and they know it.  It’s not about groups, its not about church, its not about God. It’s about control.  The control which flows from a fabricated reality they create for everyone else.  A reality which convinces you that…

You are you and you are not you.

You are an existential contradiction.  A positive added to a negative.  A zero sum.  A blank.  An infinite everything with a nature of infinite nothingness.  In other words…

You’re worse than dead.  You are Death.