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It’s funny that most Americans think there is a single vein of socialism and think that only Nazis were socialist. They don’t realize they benefit from socialism on a daily basis. Dailykos breaks it down well just how socialist America is. Have a look:

Well I hate to be the one to tell you, but Socialism, which you have been told to fear all your life, is responsible for all this…

1. The Military/Defense – The United States military is the largest and most funded socialist program in the world. It operates thanks to our taxpayer dollars and protects the country as a whole. From the richest citizens to the homeless who sleep under the bridge. We are all protected by our military whether we pay taxes or not. This is complete socialism.

2. Highways/Roads – Those roads and highways you drive on every single day are completely taxpayer funded. Your tax dollars are used to maintain, expand, and preserve our highways and roads for every one’s use. President Eisenhower was inspired by Germany’s autobahn and implemented the idea right here in America. That’s right, a republican president created our taxpayer funded, national highway system. This was a different time, before the republican party came down with a vicious case of rabies that never went away.

3. Public Libraries – Yes. That place where you go to check out books from conservative authors telling you how horrible socialism is, is in fact socialism. Libraries are taxpayer funded. You pay a few bucks to get a library card and you can read books for free for the rest of your life.

4. Police – Ever had a situation where you had to call the police? Then you have used a taxpayer funded socialist program. Anyone can call the police whether they pay taxes or not. They are there to protect and serve the community, not individuals. This is complete socialism on a state level, but still socialism all the same. Would you rather have to swipe your credit card before the police will help you?

5. Fire Dept. – Hopefully you have never had a fire in your home. But if you have, you probably called your local taxpayer-funded fire department to put the fire out. Like police, this is state socialism. You tax dollars are used to rescue your entire community in case of a fire. It use to be set up where you would pay a fee every month to the fire dept. for their service. If you didn’t pay, they let your house burn down. Sadly, a man from Tennessee had this exact situation happen to him in 2011 because he didn’t pay his $75.00 fee. I guess that small town in Tennessee would rather let people’s houses burn down that resort to evil socialism. So don’t take for granted the fact that you have a 24/7 fire dept. to put out your burning home thanks to socialism.

6. Postal Service – Like having mail delivered directly to your front door and paying next to nothing to send mail anywhere you want? Well it’s all made possible by socialism.

7. Student Loans and Grants – Did you go to College? If you did, you family might not have been rich enough to pay your way through. So you got your education anyway through student loans and grants from the federal government at taxpayer expense. Of course you have to pay back the loans, but if not the government, did you know anyone else who was going to lend you tens of thousands of dollars? Probably not. So the taxpayers lent you the money and you paid it back with slight interest. The government grants you accepted were gifts from the taxpayer and the federal government that you did not have to pay back. Socialism got you through school.

8. Bridges – Along with our highways, our government used your taxpayer dollars to build bridges. This allows the public to travel across rivers without having to sail or swim.

9. Garbage Collection – Like having your garbage collected once a week instead of having to drive it to the landfill yourself? Thank socialism.

10. Public Landfills – Taxpayer dollars are used to have places to dump all of our garbage that is collected by taxpayer funded garbage men.

11. War – That’s right! War would not be possible without socialism. Your tax dollars are used to fight wars for your country. This is Big Government at it’s biggest. Private companies don’t attack other countries, at least not yet. Government is the only entity in America that can defend us from foreign enemies and our tax dollars are used for every second of it. Socialism has brought down Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and Bin Laden. War may very well be the most socialist thing on this list.

12. Farm Subsidies – Our government uses taxpayer funds to pay farmers and businesses to provide their income and keep them growing food for the public.

13. CIA – The Central Intelligence Agency is vital to America’s security. The CIA is completely taxpayer funded to protect the public from enemies.

14. FBI – The Federal bureau of investigations is a taxpayer funded government agency.

15. Congressional Health Care – As Republicans in congress warn us of the evils of government-run health care, most of them are covered by taxpayer-funded government-run health care. You literally pay for their health care while they tell you that paying for your neighbors health care through a public option or single-payer system is socialism. They are 100% correct, it is socialism. They’re just not telling you that they like their socialist health care, they just don’t think you should have it. They are afraid you might like it better than the private insurance you have now that funds their campaigns and gives them money to push what is best for them and not for you. Members of congress are free to opt out of their evil government health care, but most of them don’t because deep down, they like socialism too.

16. Polio Vaccine – In the 1950’s polio ravaged the United States. Until Dr. Jonas Salk invented a cure, finally ridding America of this terrible disease. Dr. Salk could have sold his vaccine in the free market and made millions and millions of dollars. Instead he gave it to the federal government to begin eradicating polio. He said that he made plenty of money as a scientist and felt it was too important to try and profit from or create a business around.

17. EPA – Republicans hate this taxpayer-funded government program because they have the nerve to tell corporations that they may have to follow environmental rules ad regulations for the greater good of the earth and the people who live on it. But if you don’t like breathing mercury, drinking dirty water, and breathing in chemicals, you should like this example of socialism working for the people.

18. Social Security – You pay a tax to help ensure that our grandparents and senior citizens of America have money to live off of when they are retired or too elderly to work. I love hearing rich people bitch about this one because the truth is that they do not pay a social security tax, like most payroll taxes. This little piece of socialism helps prevent our senior citizens from sinking into poverty and starving to death.

19. Museums – Many museums are privately owned by organizations and groups, but many are also taxpayer-funded state, national, and federal museums.

20. Public Schools – Can’t afford to send your children to an expensive private school? Thanks to socialism and government, you child can still get an education. Public education has been under attack for decades in this country by the radical right because public schools don’t teach Christianity to your children and it enables people like Barack Obama to work hard, gain scholarships, and eventually become President of the United States.

21. Jail/Prison System – Many murders and criminals are behind bars right now and not out on the streets because of our taxpayer-funded, federal and state run jails and prisons. Taxpayer money is collected and used to help protect all of society from murders, molesters, rapist, etc. I know there’s a lot of disagreement and controversy about how to handle our prison system, but I think we can all agree that serial killers should not be freed into society. There are also many private prisons in the United States. However, they have a higher escape rate than their socialist counterpart. Besides, don’t you see the bad incentives in having a private prison system that profits from having people in prison? Since a business’s top goal is to make more money than the year before, the only feasible agenda would be to get everyone in prison.

22. Corporate/Business Subsidies – This is the type of socialism that is acceptable in the Republican party. You tax dollars are given to big corporations to do things they should be doing anyway out of morals and ethics. Like not sending jobs overseas and hiring people. Wouldn’t you like a nice big check just for not breaking the law? To be fair though, many businesses do earn their subsidies by advancing green technology and practice, donating to charity, helping communities, etc. They aren’t all bad. People just get mad when big billionaire oil companies get billions of their taxpayer dollars while they’re paying $4 at the pump. For the corporations that don’t earn their subsidies other than donating to their very own political party, it’s merely welfare. Though however you look at it, it is socialism.

23. Veteran’s (VA) Health Care – Our soldiers bravely go to foreign countries and risk their lives at the request of their government and the American people. For those who survive, we as a country feel committed and obligated to ensure that they have everything they need for the rest of their lives for their service to us in which we could never fully repay. So we the taxpayers fund their health care in a government-run single-payer system for veterans. Many soldiers return with mental and/or physical health issues that would cost them thousands in a private health care plan. Socialism funds the military, the overall war, and also takes care of our troops when they return home.

24. Public Parks – Like going to the park on a sunny day? Just being able to walk right in, or at the worse pay a small fee? This is once again the work of socialism. If it were private, it wouldn’t be a park, it would be someones back yard. That small or non-existent fee will turn into a $15 fee faster than you can say “No Trespassing”.

25. All Elected Government Officials – From the Supreme Court, to the President of the United States and all the way down to the County Dog Catcher, taxpayers pay their salary and provide the funding for them to do their job. We pay for every aspect of their job. So in a sense, I guess you could say our whole country is run on socialism.

26. Food Stamps – Republicans fill with bitter contempt knowing that our government at the expense of the taxpayer is giving poor people money to buy food they couldn’t otherwise afford. This, like welfare, is what the right thinks socialism is all about, along with mass murder. However, just like corporate welfare, welfare is socialism. I’ll just end this one with a quick story. I have been down and out in periods of my life and sought assistance via food stamps. Even though I was what anyone would consider poor, I was not poor enough to get food stamps. Which means people who do get them, must really, really need them. As far as my personal experience, they weren’t thrown around like candy the way the right would have you believe.

27. Sewer System – Do you like having a sewer system to remove waste and prevent pollution and disease from seeping into our environment? Thank the taxpayers of America and the socialist system it operates in.

28. Medicare – Medicare is one of the most liked socialist programs in America. Most of us don’t mind paying taxes to provide our senior citizens with health care and hope the next generation will do the same for us. If you don’t believe me, just look at almost any poll. Most seniors would not be able to afford private health care. So this form of socialism is a life saver for this nation’s grandparents and senior citizens.

29. Court System – Whether it’s the murder trial of the century or a case in a small claims court, the taxpayers of America fully fund our courts and legal process. You may pay for your own lawyer, but the courtroom, judge, and jury is paid for through socialist means.

30. Bird Flu Vaccine – You don’t have bird flu right now and probably aren’t worried about it because our federal government used taxpayer funds to pump vaccines all over America.

31. G.I. Bill – The G.I. bill allows veterans to pursue an education by using taxpayer dollars to help them pay for most of their schooling. It also helps them with loans, savings, and unemployment benefits.

32. Hoover Dam – Remember when our country use to build things? Our government built the Hoover Dam using taxpayer funds. It is now a vital source of power for the west coast.

33. State/City Zoos – American families have been going to the zoo for generations. A place where kids and adults can have fun seeing creatures and animals from all over the world and learn at the same time. Many zoos are ran by the state and/or city, using taxpayer funds to operate and even bring the animals to the zoo.

34. IRS – I know, the IRS is about as popular and well liked in America as a hemorrhoid, but think about it. The IRS is the reason that we have anything. The IRS collects taxpayer funds for the federal government. The government then dispenses these funds to our military, states, and social programs. If there is no one collecting taxes, no one will pay them. If no one pays taxes, our country shuts down. Without money to operate, nothing operates. This may sound like a good thing to some radical republicans, but for those of us with sense, we know this means anarchy in the USA. The IRS gets a bad rap because if you don’t pay your taxes or owe them money, they can be ruthless. Like everything else, the IRS is not perfect, but without them we literally have no country or no means to run it.

35. Free Lunch Program – Some children are living in poverty by no fault of their own. I’m not saying it is even their parents fault, but you surely cannot blame a child for the situation they are born into. In most if not all states, there are programs where children who live in poor households can receive school lunch for free. The taxpayers of the state pay for this. Sounds like socialism to me, and also the moral and Christian thing to do.

36. The Pentagon – Our defense system in America is a socialist system from top to bottom. We as taxpayers fund the pentagon completely.

37. Medicaid – Our government uses taxpayer funds to provide health care for low-income people. Republicans, the compassionate Christians that they are, absolutely hate this program. What they fail to understand is that when people can’t afford to pay their outrageous medical bills, they don’t. This bill does not disappear. The loss that the insurance company, doctor’s office, or hospital takes gets passed down to everyone else. So covering people and giving them a low-income option reduces costs for them and everyone else. This is the main argument behind a health care mandate. It’s not to force you to buy health care out of cruelty. If everyone is covered, costs drop for everyone. If you have no compassion for the uninsured, you can at least understand the rational in a selfish sense.

38. FDA – The Food and Drug Administration is far from perfect. It is infested with corporate corruption and they have been wrong many, many times. Countless times they have approved things that they later have to apologize for and have banned things that would have helped people. However, they have also stopped many harmful foods and products from being sold to the public and protect us everyday from poisons being disguised as products. While not perfect, they are needed to prevent harmful food and drugs from being sold to you and you family. Without them, corporations can send whatever they want to your supermarkets and drug stores without any testing or evaluation. I don’t mind my taxes going towards a middle man to inspect the safety of the products we are being sold everyday.

39. Health Care for 9/11 Rescue Workers – After beating back GOP obstruction, Democrats finally passed a bill last year to allow government to help 9/11 rescue worker’s with their health care after many came down with horrible lung diseases from the toxins they breathed in rescuing people from smoldering buildings. These brave citizens risked their lives and health to help complete strangers. They deserve more, but covering their health care is a good start.

40. Swine Flu Vaccine – Do you have swine flu right now? Then thank government and the socialist structure.

41. Disability Insurance (SSDI) – For those who are disabled and cannot work, our government provides an income for them via taxpayer dollars as opposed to the other option of letting them starve to death.

42. Town/State Run Beaches – Like going to the beach? Like it when the beach is clean and safe? Like having lifeguards on staff in case of an emergency? Then once again, thank the taxpayers and the socialist structure that makes it all possible.

43. Corporate Bailouts/Welfare – The whole point of this post is to prove that we ALL use, benefit from, and like socialism. This example is a form of socialism that the republicans not only like, but fight tooth and nail for. They don’t like it when socialism is used for working/poor people, but when it’s for millionaires and their corporate donors, socialism becomes as American as apple pie. The middle/working class who are the majority of taxpayers pay for welfare for corporations and people who have more money than all of us combined. When our government bails out a bank or gives a subsidy to a billion dollar corporation, you are paying for it.

44. State Construction – Ever see those construction workers in your town fixing potholes, erecting buildings, repaving highways and roads, and fixing things all over town? They themselves and the work they do is taxpayer-funded state socialism.

45. Unemployment Insurance – All your working life, you pay payroll taxes. Some of these taxes go toward a program that temporarily provides for people who lost their jobs until they can find another one. You pay for others, others pay for you. Especially these days, you never know when you might lose your job. You may need temporary assistance until you get back on your feet. The government recognizes this. UI also keeps the economy moving in times of recession because people still have some money in their pockets to buy goods and promote demand.

46. City/Metro Buses – If you lack transportation, you can catch a city bus. Taxpayer funds and the fee you pay to take the bus make it possible for millions of people to go to work.

47. WIC – WIC is a federally funded program to assist women, infants, and children. WIC helps low-income families by providing funding for nutrition, education, and health care for children.

48. State Snow Removal – Even though sometimes it may take them longer than you like to get to your street, do you like having snow plow service to clear our roads and highways in the winter? This is a state socialist taxpayer-funded service.

49. PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) – PBS operates on donations and government funding. The provide non-partisan news and information to the public. They are the home of Sesame Street, Masterpiece Theater, and The Antiques Roadshow. Surveys show that they are literally the most trusted name in news. I wonder how Fox feels about that?

50. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – The CDC helps promote and enact the health and safety of the public along with helping to prevent and control illness and disease. The CDC is a government program that operates on taxpayer funding.

51. Welfare – Is there anything the republicans hate more? Of course I’m talking about the welfare that goes to poor people. Corporate welfare is not only accepted in the republican Kabul, but it’s mandatory that we give our tax dollars to billionaires and not question the logic of it. Though if you look at it realistically and not through the red scare glasses in which the right sees the world, welfare helps the economy. As I’ve said many times, when poor people have money in their pocket, they buy things made and sold by companies. This creates a demand. To keep up with demand, businesses must hire to keep up. If you yanked everyone who is on welfare off of it tomorrow, the economy would take a blow and lose jobs due to the down tick in consumer demand because we just took what little money they had away.

52. Public Street Lighting – Like being able to see at night when you walk or drive? Thank Socialism.

53. FEMA – If Disaster strikes, FEMA is there to help pick up the pieces. As a part of homeland security and an agency of the federal government, they use taxpayer dollars to help cities, states, and towns recover and rebuild. I don’t know to many private companies that could assist in disaster relief and ask nothing in return. Thank God for socialism.

54. Public Defenders – Ever been in trouble and couldn’t afford a lawyer? Well the taxpayers and the government make sure you still get representation.

55. S-CHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) – S-CHIP is a program that matches funds to states for health insurance for children in families that cannot afford insurance but make too much to qualify for Medicaid. Your tax dollars go towards covering uninsured children, is that so wrong?

56. Amtrak – Amtrak transports tens of millions of passengers a year in 46 states and three Canadian Providences. It is owned by the federal government and your tax dollars are used to fund it. All aboard!!

57. NPR – National Public Radio operates on private and federal funding along with public donations. NPR has been one of the most trusted news sources in America for over 40 years.

58. The Department of Homeland Security – Created after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, this heavily federally funded department of the U.S. government helps protect us from future terrorist attacks. This is the third largest department within the United States government.

59. OSHA – Do you have a safe and healthy workplace that provides training, outreach, education, and assistance? Thank OSHA! Brought to you by the taxpayers of America and socialism.

60. State and National Monuments – The Lincoln Memorial. Mount Rushmore. The D.C. National Mall. All brought to you and maintained with your tax dollars. Socialism is patriotic?

61. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – The USDA enforces regulations on the farming, agriculture, and food industries to ensure food safety, natural resources, and hunger worldwide and in the United States. Your tax dollars are used to help keep what you are eating safe and even feed those who are not eating.

62. Government Scholarships – if you work hard in school and show true potential, our government will give you a scholarship towards college so you can advance your education. Your tax dollars have been used to send future doctors, lawyers, scientists, and even presidents of the United States to college.

63. Department of Health and Human Service – The overall goal of HHS is to promote, implement, and ensure the health of the American people. Your tax dollars are used to do this. Government looking out for the well being of it’s people, imagine that!

64. Census Bureau – Every ten years, our government collects data about our people and economy, to better serve and represent us. From the forms that are sent to your home for you to fill out and send back in and to the census worker who shows up and kindly asks you to fill out the form if you don’t send it in, all taxpayer funded socialism. The information collected is used to better understand the economic situation and population in your area. Not to enslave you in a FEMA camp.

65. Department of Energy – This taxpayer funded cabinet of the federal government oversees nuclear weapons, nuclear reactors, energy conservation, radioactive waste disposal, and energy production. To those of you who care about our environment and would rather not witness a nuclear holocaust might consider this money well spent.

66. Customs and Border Protection – the CBP is the largest law enforcement agency in America. This is big government that republicans actually do like because they don’t like Mexicans immigrating to our country like our ancestors did. However, this taxpayer funded, socialist agency of the federal government regulates trade, imports, and immigration.

67. Department of Education – This cabinet of the federal government is actually the smallest. They administer and oversee federal assistance to education. They also collect data and enforce federal laws and regulations involving education. Even though the right thinks that this department is indoctrinating your children, they actually have no control over curriculum or standards.

68. Secret Service – Your tax dollars are used to provide highly-trained, skilled professional bodyguards to protect the President of the United States.

69. Peace Corps – The Peace Corps is a volunteer program run by the government that helps people outside of the US to understand our culture as well as helping us learn about other cultures. However they are more well known for their work with economic and social development in less-fortunate countries. Sounds very Christian for being a socialist program, huh?

70. Department of Justice – The DOJ is responsible for enforcing the law. Socialism keeps our civilization intact.

71. National Weather Service – Like knowing when a storm, tornado, earthquake, or snow is coming? Socialism makes this possible and available to everyone.

72. The White House – Our taxpayer dollars through a socialist means pays for the house that the president and his family live in during a presidents time in office.

73. Government – Like it or not, our country would not be a country without a government. Every single day, government on state and local levels serve us in ways we simply take for granted. Government as an entity operates and functions on our tax dollars through a socialist structured funding system. From the military down to the county dog catcher, socialism turns the wheels that make our society function.

74. Law – Laws and rules make our democracy possible. Remove these laws and you have sheer anarchy. Laws do not appear out of thin air. To have law, you need a government. You need elected lawmakers to make the laws and a government to implement and enforce them. Socialism is responsible for every law in this country. Without our government and lawmakers which exist thanks to socialism, there would be no laws. So the laws themselves, are enforced and implemented thanks to socialism.

75. Civilization – As an American citizen, you enjoy freedoms that many in other countries do not. Like anything else in this world, our government is not perfect, but you should be thankful everyday that your country has a government that feels an obligation to serve the people and protect their rights and freedoms. This is completely possible because of government, taxes, and socialism. Do you think the private sector would do a better job of governing our country? Do you think corporations would enact laws to help protect and serve you and your family or them and their profits? The reason you can read this blog and the reason I can write it whether you agree with it or not is because of the freedoms we have here in America enforced and protected through socialist means. Our entire civilization depends on us being a people united. Socialism is a glue that binds us together and makes possible the things that we could not accomplish as individuals working against each other.

Thomas Merton; New Seeds of Contemplation

At the root of all war is fear: not so much the fear men have of one another as the fear they have of everything. It is not merely that they do not trust one another; they do not even trust themselves. If they are not sure when someone else may turn around and kill them, they are still less sure when they may turn around and kill them­selves. They cannot trust anything, because they have ceased to believe in God.

it is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too power­ful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves.

When we see crime in others, we try to correct it by destroying them or at least putting them out of sight. It is easy to identify the sin with the sinner when he is someone other than our own self. In ourselves, it is the other way round; we see the sin, but we have great difficulty in shouldering responsibility for it. We find it very hard to identify our sin with our own will and our own malice. On the contrary, we naturally tend to interpet our immoral act as an involuntary mistake, or as the malice of a spirit in us that is other than ourself. Yet at the same time we are fully aware that others do not make this convenient distinction for us. The acts that have been done by us are, in their eyes, “our” acts and they hold us fully responsible.

What is more, we tend unconsciously to ease ourselves still more of the burden of guilt that is in us, by passing it on to somebody else. When I have done wrong, and have excused myself by attributing the wrong to “an­other” who is unaccountably “in me,” my conscience is not yet satisfied. There is still too much left to be explained. The “other in myself” is too close to home. The temptation is, then, to account for my fault by seeing an equivalent amount of evil in someone else. Hence I minimize my own sins and compensate for doing so by exaggerating the faults of others.

As if this were not enough, we make the situation much worse by artifically intensifying our sense of evil, and by increasing our propensity to feel guilt even for things which are not in themselves wrong. In all these ways we build up such an obsession with evil, both in ourselves and in others, that we waste all our mental energy trying to account for this evil, to punish it, to exorcise it, or to get rid of it in any way we can. We drive ourselves mad with our preoccupation and in the end there is no outlet left but violence. We have to destroy something or someone. By that time we have created for ourselves a suitable enemy, a scapegoat in whom we have invested all the evil in the world. He is the cause of every wrong. He is the fomentor of all con­flict. If he can only be destroyed, conflict will cease, evil will be done with, there will be no more war.

This kind of fictional thinking is especially dangerous when it is supported by a whole elaborate pseudo-scientific structure of myths, like those which Marxists have adopted as their ersatz for religion. But it is cer­tainly no less dangerous when it operates in the vague, fluid, confused and unprincipled opportunism which substitutes in the West for religion, for philosophy and even for mature thought.

when the whole world is in moral confusion, when no one knows any longer what to think, and when, in fact, everybody is running away from the responsibility of thinking, when man makes rational thought about moral issues absurd by exiling himself entirely from realities into the realm of fictions, and when he expends all his efforts in constructing more fictions with which to ac­count for his ethical failures, then it becomes clear that the world cannot be saved from global war and global destruction by the mere efforts and good intentions of peacemakers. In actual fact, everyone is becoming more and more aware of the widening gulf between good purposes and bad results, between efforts to make peace and the growing likelihood of war. It seems that no matter how elaborate and careful the planning, all at­tempts at international dialogue end in more and more ludicrous failures. In the end no one has any more faith in those who even attempt the dialogue. On the contrary, the negotiators, with all their pathetic good will, become the objects of contempt and of hatred. It is the “men of good will,” the men who have made their poor efforts to do something about peace, who will in the end be the most mercilessly reviled, crushed, and destroyed as victims of the universal self-hate of man which they have unfortunately only increased by the failure of their good intentions.

Perhaps we still have a basically superstitious tendency to associate failure with dishonesty and guilt—failure being interpreted as “punishment.” Even if a man starts out with good intentions, if he fails we tend to think he was somehow “at fault.” If he was not guilty, he was at least “wrong.” And “being wrong” is something we have not yet learned to face with equanimity and under­standing. We either condemn it with god-like disdain or forgive it with god-like condescension. We do not manage to accept it with human compassion, humility and identification. Thus we never see the one truth that would help us begin to solve our ethical and political problems: that we are all more or less wrong, that we are all at fault, all limited and obstructed by our mixed motives, our self-deception, our greed, our self-righteous­ness and our tendency to aggressivity and hypocrisy.

in our refusal to accept the partially good intentions of others and work with them (of course prudently and with resignation to the inevitable imperfection of the result) we are unconsciously proclaiming our own malice, our own intolerance, our own lack of realism, our own ethical and political quackery.

Perhaps in the end the first real step toward peace would be a realistic acceptance of the fact that our political ideals are perhaps to a great extent illusions and fictions to which we cling out of motives that are not always perfectly honest: that because of this we prevent ourselves from seeing any good or any practi­cability in the political ideals of our enemies—which may, of course, be in many ways even more illusory and dishonest than our own. We will never get anywhere unless we can accept the fact that politics is an inex­tricable tangle of good and evil motives in which, per­haps, the evil predominate but where one must continue to hope doggedly in what little good can still be found.

But someone will say: “If we once recognize that we are all equally wrong, all political action will instantly be paralyzed. We can only act when we assume that we are in the right.” On the contrary, I believe the basis for valid political action can only be the recognition that the

true solution to our problems is not accessible to any one isolated party or nation but that all must arrive at it by working together.

I do not mean to encourage the guilt-ridden thinking that is always too glad to be “wrong” in everything. This too is an evasion of responsibility, because every form of oversimplification tends to make decisions ultimately meaningless. We must try to accept ourselves, whether individually or collectively, not only as perfectly good or perfectly bad, but in our mysterious, unaccountable mixture of good and evil. We have to stand by the modicum of good that is in us without exaggerating it. We have to defend our real rights, because unless we respect our own rights we will certainly not respect the rights of others. But at the same time we have to recog­nize that we have willfully or otherwise trespassed on the rights of others. We must be able to admit this not only as the result of self-examination, but when it is pointed out unexpectedly, and perhaps not too gently, by some­body else.

These principles which govern personal moral con­duct, which make harmony possible in small social units like the family, also apply in the wider area of the state and in the whole community of nations. It is, however, quite absurd, in our present situation or in any other, to expect these principles to be universally accepted as the result of moral exhortations. There is very little hope that the world will be run according to them, all of a sudden, as a result of some hypothetical change of heart on the part of politicians. It is useless and even laughable to base political thought on the faint hope of a purely contingent and subjective moral illumination in the hearts of the world’s leaders. But outside of political thought and action, in the religious sphere, it is not only permissible to hope for such a mysterious consummation, but it is necessary to pray for it. We can and must be­lieve not so much that the mysterious light of God can “convert” the ones who are mostly responsible for the world’s peace, but at least that they may, in spite of their obstinacy and their prejudices, be guarded against fatal error.

it would be sentimental folly to expect men to trust one another when they obviously cannot be trusted. But at least they can learn to trust God. They can bring them­selves to see that the mysterious power of God can, quite independently of human malice and error, protect men unaccountably against themselves, and that He can al­ways turn evil into good, though perhaps not always in ‘ a sense that would be understood by the preachers of sunshine and uplift. If they can trust and love God, Who is infinitely wise and Who rules the lives of men, permitting them to use their freedom even to the point of almost incredible abuse, they can love men who are evil. They can learn to love them even in their sin, as God has loved them. If we can love the men we cannot trust (without trusting them foolishly) and if we can to some extent share the burden of their sin by identify­ing ourselves with them, then perhaps there is some hope

of a kind of peace on earth, based not on the wisdom and the manipulations of men but on the inscrutable mercy of God.

for only love—which means humility—can exorcise the fear which is at the root of all war.

 

What is the use of postmarking our mail with ex­hortations to “pray for peace” and then spending billions of dollars on atomic submarines, thermonuclear weapons, and ballistic missiles? This, I would think, would certainly be what the New Testament calls “mocking God”—and mocking Him far more effectively than the atheists do. The culminating horror of the joke is that we are piling up these weapons to protect ourselves against atheists who, quite frankly, believe there is no God and are convinced that one has to rely on bombs and missiles since nothing else offers any real security. Is it then because we have so much trust in the power of God that we are intent upon utterly destroying these people before they can destroy us? Even at the risk of destroy­ing ourselves at the same time?

 

I do not mean to imply that prayer excludes the simul­taneous use of ordinary human means to accomplish a naturally good and justifiable end. One can very well pray for a restoration of physical health and at the same time take medicine prescribed by a doctor. In fact, a believer should normally do both. And there would seem to be a reasonable and right proportion between the use of these two means to the same end.

But consider the utterly fabulous amount of money, planning, energy, anxiety and care which go into the production of weapons which almost immediately be­come obsolete and have to be scrapped. Contrast all this with the pitiful little gesture “pray for peace” piously canceling our four-cent stamps! Think, too, of the dis­proportion between our piety and the enormous act of murderous destruction which we at the same time countenance without compunction and without shame! It does not even seem to enter our minds that there might be some incongruity in praying to the God of peace, the God Who told us to love one another as He had loved us, Who warned us that they who took the sword would perish by it, and at the same time planning to annihilate not thousands but millions of civilians and soldiers, men, women and children without discrimina­tion, even with the almost infallible certainty of inviting the same annihilation for ourselves!

It may make sense for a sick man to pray for health and then take medicine, but I fail to see any sense at all in his praying for health and then drinking poison.

 

when I pray for peace I pray God to pacify not only the Russians and the Chinese but above all my own nation and myself. When I pray for peace I pray to be protected not only from the Reds but also from the folly and blindness of my own country. When I pray for peace, I pray not only that the enemies of my country may cease to want war, but above all that my own country will cease to do the things that make war in­evitable. In other words, when I pray for peace I am not just praying that the Russians will give up without a struggle and let us have our own way. I am praying that both we and the Russians may somehow be restored to sanity and learn how to work out our problems, as best we can, together, instead of preparing for global suicide.

I am fully aware that this sounds utterly sentimental, archaic and out of tune with an age of science. But 1 would like to submit that pseudo-scientific thinking in politics and sociology have so far had much less than this to offer. One thing I would like to add in all fairness is that the atomic scientists themselves are quite often the ones most concerned about the ethics of the situation, and that they are among the few who dare to open their mouths from time to time and say something about it.

But who on earth listens?

if men really wanted peace they would sincerely ask God for it and He would give it to them. But why should He give the world a peace which it does not really desire? The peace the world pretends to desire is really no peace at all.

To some men peace merely means the liberty to exploit other people without fear of retaliation or interference. To others peace means the freedom to rob others without interruption. To still others it means the leisure to de­vour the goods of the earth without being compelled to interrupt their pleasures to feed those whom their greed is starving. And to practically everybody peace simply means the absence of any physical violence that might cast a shadow over lives devoted to the satisfaction of their animal appetities for comfort and pleasure.

Many men like these have asked God for what they thought was “peace” and wondered why their prayer was not answered. They could not understand that it actually was answered. God left them with what they desired, for their idea of peace was only another form of war. The “cold war” is simply the normal consequence of our corrupt idea of a peace based on a policy of “every man for himself” in ethics, economics and political life. It is absurd to hope for a solid peace based on fictions and illusions!

So instead of loving what you think is peace, love other men and love God above all. And instead of hating the people you think are warmakers, hate the appetites and the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed—but hate these things in yourself, not in another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is saving you today?

Tickled by Phyllis

Phyllis Tickle with Luke, Tom, Mike and Luke's wife

11/10/2013 @ Vintage Fellowship, Fayetteville, Arkansas

“Thy Kingdom Come.”

The question of the Parousia remains the great question of Christianity: and of course in itself it is no question at all. The Kingdom is already established, but not yet definitively mani¬fest—we remain in a time of development, of choice, and of preparation.

We remain in a time of decision. A Christian is, or should be, one who has “decided for” the Parousia, for the final coining of the Kingdom. His life is oriented by this decision. His existence has meaning in so far as the Parousia is crucial to him.

But the Parousia is, it seems, indefinitely delayed. This is no accident either. It must be taken as part of the question. The Parousia by itself is no question. The delay of the Parousia is not the whole question. This delay raises the question.

The question is as follows.

As Christians we are men who have based all our hopes on the Kingdom of Christ, to be definitively manifest by final victory in the Parousia—this is the final victory of life over death.
The Parousia having been “delayed,” we have been for two thousand years left to construct for ourselves in the world a kind of kingdom, a cultural-religious-political Christendom, which is admittedly not all one would have looked for, but which has its advantages.

Now the question is—if the Parousia means the end and destruction of this provisional structure, indeed its judgment, should we really desire the Parousia? Should we not in all earnestness pray for the Parousia to be delayed indefinitely, and indeed, with all the power given to us over the will of God, by prayer, should we not rather attempt to change His plan, and forget the whole business?

Should we not rather make it our duty to ask Him to let us build the Kingdom in our own way, a kingdom consistent with what we have begun, a Kingdom of God that is at once a sacred enclave in the world and also politically in collaboration with the world?

Should we not insist that the Parousia should simply be regarded as our social, cultural, religious, and political triumph in the world, so that we are no longer an enclave, but have finally succeeded in taking it all over? We tried it once, beginning in the eighth century and going on through the Middle Ages—it was a good attempt, but some important points were overlooked. Can we not get ourselves into a position to make a better try? And this time to succeed?

Thus we find ourselves, in effect, deciding against the Parousia. “Thy Kingdom come”—but not now, not in that distressing way—but in our time and our way. Thus the Christian has learned to pray against judgment, and for an eternity that is an indefinite prolongation of time, because time is what we need: time to try it over and over again.

Suggested emendation in the Lord’s Prayer: Take out “Thy Kingdom come” and substitute “Give us time!”

But then what? What are we going to do with “time?” Make deductions from past history, devise a system—a Christian system—and put it to work? Or rather consider carefully the systems devised by others and baptize their systems, making them suddenly Christian, and discovering in them the unexpected Kingdom?

 

Mirgeler* shows how the Stoic concept of “Natural Law” became extremely convenient for a Christianity which was reconciled to settling down in the world of late antiquity and getting along without the Parousia.

* See A. Mirgeler, Mutations of Western Christianity, pp. 17-18.

(Thomas Merton, pg. 124, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander)

Paul especially uses terms and phrases such as “in Christ”, “dead in Christ”, “made alive in Christ”. I think his operative phrase repeated more often than any is “in Christ”—and it seems to me that in that phrase can be summed the totality of Paul’s theology and Christology.

Older theological vocabulary used the term “recapitulation” which was taken from Eph. 1:10 (especially, but the same idea is present in Col. 1);

“…toward the administration of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ – the things in heaven and the things on earth.”

The Koine word Paul used is “ανακεφαλαιωσασθαι” (anakephalaiosasthai; from aná, “up,” intensifying kephalaióō, “bring to a head, recapitulate” – properly, head-up, summing up all the parts as a comprehensive, organized whole.) I think “recapitulate” came to us via Latin translations and passed into English.

Now, here’s the point. The entirety of creation—past, present and future—is “in Christ”—recapitulated. That is why Paul can say in Romans 5 and 6 that “all are made alive in Christ” and that we have also “died with Christ”. Both are true, not one or the other, nor is one conditioned upon the other. The only “condition” is the reality of Christ Himself.

 

Also, as a side note, in two specific places Paul describes what Christ accomplished in terms of removing us and creation out of one dominion/domain and then transferring it/us into another domain. The most obvious reference is Col. 1:13. The other, which is not so obvious in some newer translations is Rom. 6:1 ff where Paul makes something of a play on words by using “Sin” as a noun, not a verb.

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?”

The rhetorical question is not “shall we keep on sinning?” but rather “shall we continue (to live in the domain/country) of Sin? And then he answers the obvious, “how can we continue living where we used to after we’ve died??!”

Christ’ death + resurrection has changed the entire geography of Creation. Despite what we experience which suggest the contrary, thangs just ain’t the same no more.

A friend asked this question of me knowing my promiscuous appreciation for Robert Capon…

What do you think Robert Capon would say about Matthew 5:13-20?

(Thinking about Sunday’s sermon)

L.

I don’t find at this point anything that RC has said on that text.  I’m sure that he homilied  it more than a few times.

The Beatitudes are not simple.  I’m constantly being challenged by what Jesus is recorded to have said in this setting.  I’m constantly in flux relative to what I think it means to me and us as “church”.

Be that as it may, let me start with what Dallas Willard says about the Beatus;

“The Beatitudes, in particular, are not teachings on how to be blessed. They are not instructions to do anything. They do not indicate conditions that are especially pleasing to God or good for human beings.
“No one is actually being told …that they are better off for being poor, for mourning, for being persecuted, or so on, or that the conditions listed are recommended ways to well-being before God or man. Nor are the Beatitudes indications of who will be on top ‘after the revolution.’ They are explanations and illustrations, drawn from the immediate setting, of the present availability of the kingdom through personal relationship to Jesus. They single out cases that provide proof that, in him, the rule of God from the heavens truly is available in life circumstances that are beyond all human hope.”
-Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy

I think that Willard is correct that in the parables Jesus isn’t telling us to do anything—they are not moral stories, rather stories that give us some insight into what the Father (and at times the Son) is like and how radically varient is the oikonomia of the Kingdom of the Heavens from the powers and principalities of the present age.  I know from my extensive reading (even a superficial reading would serve) that Capon wrote the same kinds of things and had very similar understanding as Willard in this.

To establish the context I’ll copy/paste Eugene Peterson’s take on the passage;

When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down 2 and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

 3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. 12 You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

14 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. 15 If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. 16 Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. 17 “Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures— either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. 18 God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.

Knowing full well, as we do, that RC’s shibboleth that Grace rest on the lost, the least, and the last—I’m now forced/constrained to view the Gospel narratives through that systematic lens.  How do we–the down and out’ers at the end of our ropes, we who have lost everything we once thought indispensable (especially our own egoic pride), we have ceased from taking ourselves seriously, have entirely different “appetites” than what is considered “normal” by our competitive and sex and violence addicted society, we who would rather spend time in contemplation than amusing ourselves to death with “reality” TV, and have more appetite for constructive relationships than rather trying to figure out who’s in and who’s out with God…Yeah, us “nare do well’s”  who just don’t get “how this world works”, so to speak.  (Isn’t that just a humdinger of a run-on?)

So, how are we, the Failures in the sight of the world (everybody are losers, it’s just that some admit it and some don’t…in the final analysis none of us have the power to hold our life intact) who apparently spend our lives in the “lost and found” section of Sears, how is it that Jesus says we are “salt and light”?

My short answer?

By being willing to be viewed as “failures” and “dog dirt” (I Cor. 4:13) by the powers that be (“The World”). In doing that—in reality allowing that to be in us—we are to the world sacraments of Jesus, the Light of Life which has come into the world.  Being vulnerable to others will at the surface look like a total failure.

Maybe I can “channel” RC with a paraphrase…

“Jesus is the ultimate loser of a god dying on a loser’s cross—a loser right to the end when he prays, “Father, FORGIVE THEM….”

Nietzsche didn’t criticize Jesus as a failure or loser, rather his criticism was directed toward those who claimed to be Jesus’ followers while at the same time buying into a “tame” successful life in the present which is a repudiation of Christ and thus the “death of God”.

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