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Politics, Religion and History

Reader comment on item: MEF's Surprising Straw Poll on Trump
in response to reader comment: We do indeed live in divisive times ..

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Apr 24, 2016 at 01:54

Hi, Anne. You said,

"This unhealthy alignment that you describe seems to apply everywhere in the West."

I'm not quite sure what alignment you're talking about, but Let me guess that it's an alignment between moral conservatives and vulture capitalists. Naftali Bennett is an American-born Israeli Orthodox Jew in the "Nationalist" camp. I know less about Tony Abbott, one of Australia's many recent Prime Ministers. Let me count them:

1. Malcolm Turnbill (2015-; Liberal)
2. Tony Abbott (2013-2015, LIberal)
3. Kevin Rudd (2013; Labor)
4. Julia Gillard (2010-2013; Labor)
5. Kevin Rudd again (2007-2010)

That's four PMs during the realm of His Imperial Majesty, Barack Hussein Obama. It seems you've had two parties duking it out, and two factions each in those parties also duking it out -- and in Sydney Labor politics, if I have this right, the duking is literal; and sometimes clubs and other weapons are employed. I lived in Australia as an expat in 1966-67; but I'm afraid the deepest I got involved in politics then, was to stand in the RSL club when they said, "We shall remember them, lest we forget. God save the Queen.

More on Ted Cruz, after I read a bit more. You said,

"Don't forget the Left's close association with Marxism and its atheistic platform. They fear what they see as religious ignorance, whether it is coloured Islamic or Christian or Judaic."

Where do you stand in this mix? C of E? Methodist? Just curious. In the US, most of the Episcopalian, Northern Methodists, Northern Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Unitarians are very left-wing. We curiously call them "liberals".

I can give a little history there: When the US became independent of the UK, the "Tories" (Conservatives) supported the King of England; so those who opposed him were aligned with the "Whigs" (later, Liberals). When we developed our own political parties, Washington & Adams were labeled as "Federalists", which group became "Whigs"; and later, most became "Republicans". Our Republican Party, therefore, is historically connected with the Liberals of England. Jefferson, Madison and Monroe were Democrat-Republicans, which party eventually became the Democratic Party. Being opposed to our "Liberals" (Federalists-Whigs-Republicans), they corresponded to the "Conservative" Party in England. There is an economic correspondence as well: The Republicans (Liberals) represented those who got their wealth through industry and commerce; and the Democrats represented those who got their wealth through land (and slaves). This division came to a crisis with the American Civil War, where the industrialist North defeated the landed aristocrats of the South.

Britain went its own way, around the time the Bolsheviks took control in Russia, forming their own socialist party, Labor, which came to power nationally for the first time after World War II. In the US, the Communist and Socialist movements were crushed during the 1950s by the McCarthy persecution; so Americans of a socialist bent joined with other "outsiders" (generally, Catholics, Blacks and Jews) in the Democratic Party. This ultimately caused a split among Democrats, with our equivalent of "Labor" wresting control of the party between 1960-72. The Conservative wing of the Democrats, including most Southerners, for a time tried an Independent party; but eventually they became Republicans.

The reshuffling of US parties, roughly during the "Sixties", caused a philosophical realignment with the UK parties: Republicans now corresponded more closely with (British) Conservatives, as epitomized by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher; and the Democrats corresponded more with Labor. Since the defeat of the South, and our only real "landed aristocracy", the Democrats had long ceased to identify along old class lines. With their strong infusion of socialists, therefore, and their inclusion of every "out" group in America, they became the "Anti-Establishment" party; but this is an illusion: They needed money to carry on their "anti" politics, and found eager donors among second-generation wealthy people such as the Kennedys, and wealthy Jews in finance and banking. The Republicans then became more grass-roots, and attracted middle-class workers and small businessmen.

Australia had working-class roots, so it seems the "Conservatives" didn't take root there very well. When I lived there, the ruling coalition consisted of "LIberals" and the "Country" Party. Our own "Country" stream of non-aristocratic farmers (in the North and Appalacia) were the mainstay of the Republican Party, from shortly before the Civil War. They still are Republicans, for the most part; but their class has almost disappeared through agribusiness. Your Labor Party, it seems, corresponds with our Democrats.

The most curious result of all this, is the we call leftists and socialists "LIberals", even though the "Liberals" in the UK and Australia are more, in economics, like our Republicans -- who, in turn, are generally called "Conservatives". Also, while small businessmen in America are generally called "conservatives", multi-national corporations and big banks are now called "liberals", specifically "NEO-liberals".

As a side-line, when I was young, Republican states used to be colored blue, like the Northern colors in the civil war. The color "red", of course, was reserved for Communists and other leftists. With the fall of the Soviet Union, our maps flip-flopped, so that the "Red" states represent the Republicans and the "Blue" states the Democrats -- the latter of which simultaneously usurped the banner of the Northern cause of the Civil War, as champions of the Blacks. This past year, the Democrat Lefties, who are historically connected with the southern Confederacy, went about trying to ban the flying of the Confederate flag, calling it "racist". In these ways, American politics has gotten completely stood on its head during my adult lifetime.

You said,

"Don't forget the Left's close association with Marxism and its atheistic platform. They fear what they see as religious ignorance, whether it is coloured Islamic or Christian or Judaic."

The Labor Party, and its American wannabes, the modern Democrats, were inspired ultimately by Karl Marx. As for the Atheist element of Marxism, I was amazed to learn that the father of "British Atheism" was America's own Thomas Paine, whose writings inspired the Colonists to remain steadfast in the pursuit of independence. After the American "Revolution", he returned to his mother England, and got involved in political movements there. He was actually a Deist, like most proto-Atheists; but his followers eventually made the final break with God and became Atheists. Karl Marx, of course, was a secular German Jew who studied and was active after Paine's death in the UK. You went on,

"Tony Blair, like Tony Abbott, is a Roman Catholic and therefore part of this religious group. He keeps/kept his faith fairly private, hence why it was tolerated for as long as it was."

I see little difference between Anglicans and Catholics, except that Anglicans seem to have become irreligious faster than their Roman cousins. I grew up Roman Catholic; and my generation in my family tends to be Republican and fairly conservative. Two of my sisters are staunchly pro-life. My other sister is less outspoken. You went on,

"I don't think we're going to emerge from this current quagmire until the divisiveness between secular, atheistic views and Judeo-Christian religious or theistic views is better healed."

The Bible says that ultimately, the whole world will be united -- against Israel, and those who support her. cf Zech. 14. You went on,

"We need to understand that, in many ways, we believe in the same things but just use a different vocabulary to describe that faith. "God", in other words, might just be another word for "Truth" or "Justice"."

It's not. What's more, the words "Truth" and "Justice" are being co-opted by the very enemies of those concepts. Israel's greatest enemies in the UN are members of the "Human Rights Council". The so-called "Palestinian" terrorists, who routinely go about knifing and blowing up innocent Israeli Jews, are almost universally recognized as fighters for "justice"; and I'm sure that the ISIS terrorists are without fear of death because they are convinced they are fighting for the "Truth". Who's the impartial judge, to say that we are right and they are wrong? The Atheists?

I keep it simple. The one, true, just God is YHVH aka Adonai aka the God of Israel. He is the author of truth, justice and every good thing, and the Creator of the universe and everything in it. He, and His word, the Bible, are the anchor in an ever-tumultuous time. Finally, you went on,

"Religion is the bigger cosmic picture within which political visions are embedded. To pretend it is not relevant is to go astray or to stumble along blindly."

That said, I will return to Ted Cruz. He is an evangelical, "mega-church" Southern Baptist. Donald Trump grew up with his Scottish mother's Presbyterian religion; and as an adult, he went to a Dutch Reformed church pastored by the famous Norman Vincent Peale. I'm sure many evangelicals will be voting for Cruz and against Trump, out of religious particularism. I will vote for whoever is nominated on the Republican side, out of political common sense.

If you've read this far, congratulations! This is a very long post.

God bless and keep you and yours. Shalom shalom :-)

Submitting....

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