Thursday, December 30, 2010

Race, Tyranny, and Christian Politics

None of these columns made Worldmag's top 20 of the year, but they're pretty darn good, even if I do say so myself. I roll out my schtick on race, I state what tyranny is and apply it to public service unions and Charlie Rangel, and I lay out sources of the Colbert-O'Reilly fisticuffs over whether Jesus would identify with the current politics of the Democratic or Republican Party.

"[W]hat we call “race” is a vague and thus questionable basis for identifying people. A race is, after all, only an extended family that reaches far beyond one’s immediate family, community, or clan. As descendents of Adam, we are all part of the same universal family, and thus one “human race.” The census calls me “white,” but for the Census Bureau that category includes everyone from Swedes to Southern Italians, and even Arabs. But I am a Scot, so I am racially Celtic (as are the Irish, the Welsh, and the Bretons of northern France). We are racially distinct from the English, the French, and the Germans. The same significant distinctions exist among Africans, Asians, and people of other regions."
"Our Puzzling Race Problem," December 29, 2010.

"No one asks about the politics of Muhammad. They are perfectly plain in the Sharia Law of Islam and the autocracies of the Middle East. Nor are the politics of Moses in doubt. The Law he gave Israel contained not only moral and ceremonial elements, but also a complete civil law. But Jesus is remarkably different. While having fundamentally transformed the world—and continuing to transform it—He did not come with a primarily political agenda. But what He did and what He taught (and what His apostles and prophets taught) has profound implications for political life as they do for all of life."
"Would Jesus Register Republican?," December 22, 2010.

After quoting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Brooks, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty on the destructive record and nature of government worker unions, I add...

"We political theorists have a technical term for people in government using public authority for private advantage instead of public service. We call it “tyranny.” These unions are organized not to help their members serve the public better but to maximize pay and benefits while minimizing work. Taxpayers want just the opposite (within the bounds of decency, of course). Essentially, government unions are public enemies. Insofar as they control our government (and they do), they have institutionalized tyranny from within our public administration."
"The Tyranny of Government Unions," December 15, 2010.

I applied the same principle to New York Congressman Charles Rangle who has made himself a very wealthy man in time he has been in office (40 years!), though the people he represents are as poor and miserable as they've ever been.

"If most people in a district live in public housing, their representative should also live in public housing. If most people in a district are served by appallingly bad public schools, their representative should have his or her children (if there are any) in those same schools. Finding this unacceptable, congressmen would soon start supporting effective ways for opening up economic opportunities for their neighbors to better themselves. Otherwise, politicians have that much less incentive to do what they legitimately can to improve their people’s overall quality of life. They become, one might say, political farmers instead of political representatives, bilking the people instead of benefiting them, standing on their backs rather than 'having their backs,' as we say."
"Prince Charlie and the People," December 8, 2010.

Happy new year.

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