The Offices of Christ and the Question of a "Pax Americana"

From: eyecueco
Date: Sun Dec 21, 2003 1:16 pm
Subject: The Offices of Christ and the Question of a "Pax Americana"

Dear A_Ters,

This is my last post to this list for the year. A Holy Day is coming up and I need to prepare for this important event, and at this time I do not feel the list is helping me to focus on this event.

I'll have to decide after the 12 holy Nights if I am able to make a postive contribution here or am just adding to unnecessary chaos. I told Tarjei when he asked me to join that I did not stand where he and the majority stood. He knew I was pro-war, and in terms of the war, that I am pro-Bush, (although beyond the war on terrorism I have many questions about some administrative policies.) I did not misrepresent myself.

I am very sympathetic to the emotions everyone is feeling around the issues of the curent world situation, whether they align with my own or not. We are all struggling toward understanding and resolution. We all want a world where the lion lays down with the lamb, we all care, no one here is a suicide bomber, and I doubt that most of us can feel good when swatting a fly. Times such as these do, in deed try the souls of men.

It is the time of the yearly cycle to think of peace and good-will, while also remaining sober and realistic about the spiritual challenge the world is faced with now that the sun demon is active. Toward this sobering reality I am going to do some that I have never done before on any list. I am going to send in a rather long paper.

The reason I am doing so is that this paper, written by a scholar of another faith than my own, is an article that I am very confident will address the thinking and feeling of _everyone_ here. I am also confident that at the conclusion of this paper everyone here will find that this paper provides a place of consensus and accord. This paper is neither pro-war nor anti-war, pro-administration, nor anti-administration.

It seemed to me when reading it that Walter Johannes Stein, or Steiner himself could be speaking the warning given in this paper, a warning that if the West cannot rise to it's spritual obligation to offer to the East a spiritual and moral impulse that it is crying out for then the East will not come to the Son,and, the West will be pulled back into the dark ages.

I will send this paper/article out in several parts. I send it in good-will and with all good wishes to each and everyone of you for a blessed 12 Holy Nights.

I give you now Max L. Stackhouse and his paper read at the Conference on Ethical Issues Raised by Pre-Emptive War at The Churches' Center for Theology and Public Policy, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., May 1, 2003

 

The Offices of Christ and the Question of a "Pax Americana"

It has been as I expected. Gerald Powers, Elizabeth Bounds and Beverly Mitchell have already offered substantial comments in presentations to this forum on "Christians and War in the 21st Century," the careful background report of the Churches' Center for Theology and Public Policy.1 Further, you will shortly hear from James Childress, one of the premier scholars of just war theory, whose views on preemption I tend to endorse. The previous speakers have not only laid out many of the critical issues about just and unjust wars, with specific reference to this presumed "new" doctrine of preemption, they have offered supplementary perspectives and some reservations about the report in general. Dr. Powers' observation that it makes a substantive difference whether the basic presumption of just war theory is peace or justice. It seems to me to be a weighty consideration, especially if, as I believe, God wants us to live in peace but not at the cost of justice. Thus, justice may trump peace at times, if it brings about a more just peace. Indeed, force is a necessary ingredient of politics when exercised by legitimate authority in a just cause and in a constrained manner against unjust violence, and those who deny this cannot be taken as serious voices in political debate. Dr. Bounds' stress on the fact that many people live with a deep sense of insecurity, and that this reinforces a profound anxiety that presses this nation toward more of a "national security state" than is necessary, seems compelling to me; and it is necessary to develop at the grass-roots level more refined methods of dealing with this compassionately. And Prof. Mitchell is surely correct that we must also challenge the arrogance of power that all too often neglects the direct needs of the powerless at home.

In view of these presentations, I have decided to offer certain theological background considerations that bring me to the issues from another angle of vision. It may enrich our discussion and perhaps increase the depth and width of our ecumenical vision in ways that could help pastors and churches see the connection of the report to the biblical and doctrinal focus on faith in Jesus Christ that they properly cultivate in most of their work. Moreover, my effort rests on the assumption that it is not the first job of churches to make political policy. That leads to theocracy, or turns the church into a party. Instead, the best forms of theology shape the moral and spiritual ethos and invite indirect forms influence. To be sure, the theologies of the mainline traditions are full of political implications, and they contain principles and purposes that are valid for everyone. But the path to the churches' influence is through forming the general ethos and the consciences of the laity, a path that will filter what we say and assures that it connects with what the people experience in their lives. Thus what we say should first of all seek to shape the convictions of the people and the fabric of civil society so that political authority will be held accountable to a morally and spiritually formed, informed and organized constituency. That will make power more responsible to the first principles and ultimate goods that God intends.

In this context and in accord with several major traditions of faith, it is one of the chief tasks of the churches to equip and commission the people of God to live their lives as agents of the various offices of Christ in the midst of the common life. We are not only to be a "priesthood of all believers," as Luther said, but to become a "prophethood of all believers" as the Puritans had it. And all, not only emperors and princes, are to exercise the "royal" office of Christ the King as citizen-magistrates, not only as subjects. Believers will assume the roles of Christ's ambassadors, governors and agents in all the sectors of the civil society. That shapes politics, and implies a social theory of politics rather than a political theory of society. The common life does not always work from the bottom up, but also not only from the top down. It essentially works from the center out; from conviction to behavior, from community of faith to society. Many Ecumenical Christians since the Social Gospel and Liberation Movement periods in our history are already familiar with what the prophetic task implies. Every believer must be enabled to speak truth to power, reminding the rulers that they are under a law that they did not construct and dare not violate, demanding that they develop policies that empower but do not dominate the other institutions and spheres of society - families, schools, hospitals, businesses, centers of artistic creativity and religious communities, and calling upon them to establish and maintain a just peace, so far as it is possible in a sinful world. This prophetic awareness gives a new sense of authority to believers and ultimately to all citizens in pluralistic, representative, constitutional democracies.

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From: eyecueco
Date: Sun Dec 21, 2003 1:21 pm
Subject: The Offices of Christ and the Question of a "Pax Americana" Part II

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But other offices are also anointed in the Old Testament and recognized in the New as key to understanding and serving the work of Christ. As recognized by several early Fathers of the church such as Eusebius, and major Reformers such as Calvin, the triplex offices of Christ mean that leaders in the church, and Christian laity whose vocations are to the service of God and humanity through their callings in "secular" positions. Each must be a priest to the other; each ministers to the neighbors' insecurities and anxieties, partakes of the sacraments in communion with Christ and others, manifests the willingness to go to the cross for others, and performs the fitting rites and rituals for the times and seasons of life. This ministry includes speaking a word of courage and comfort to those who are in command or under command, caring for their anxious families and honoring the chaplains who carry out their callings in dangerous situations.

The triplex offices also involve the recognition of what those in kingly positions know, that the organization, threat and sometime use of coercive force is ever necessary in society. What ancient cultures called "Mars," the personified ancient symbol of the disciplined use of force, and what the biblical tradition calls "the power of the sword," is a perennial factor in human history until the Kingdom finally comes.2 We may hope for and work toward that time when this "power" (and other "principalities and authorities") will be brought fully under the rule of the Lamb on the Throne, but it is not yet. It is this recognition that makes it very difficult for those in the mainstream of the Christian faith to be absolute pacifists or to proclaim a holy war. As believers, and as citizens in a representative constitutional democracy that has its roots in the covenantal tradition of the biblical heritage, all mature members of the church are called to number themselves among the magistrates, as the tradition has it, as well as among the prophets and priests to their neighbors. All are to accept part of the weight that those with high political responsibilities must bear. We must recognize that there will always be "wars and rumors of war." These are of proximate but not of ultimate importance, they have to be put in perspective, and real threats have to be met. In the face of this, we are not to be alarmed, they do not signal the end of history or negate the possibility of some gains in what is good by the use of power. A government that refuses to wield the sword when they should wield it under the constraint of moral law and to protect those institutions in society that contribute to the well-being of the neighbor near or far is not a viable or legitimate government. And since those governments that are a terror to evil are instituted by God, as the scriptures tell us, the church must also assume some portion of the burden of realistic analysis in a world marked by sin, deception and violence that is the duty of every ruler to constrain.

With these three offices of Christ in mind, we turn to some implications of the first of them, that of prophecy. To act prophetically in our environment, we will have to recall those first principles of ethics that stand behind moral policy, and indeed much of international law. Of great importance, as already extensively discussed in this forum, is the doctrine of just and unjust wars. I would like to point out, in addition to what has been said, that increasingly this doctrine has become linked to two other doctrines: the doctrine of human rights, until recently associated with the Protestant tradition, and the rebirth of the idea of civil society as it is definitive for understanding the common good, until recently associated with the Catholic tradition, and both now undergoing refinement especially as we must now recognize that, due to the globalization of civil society, both universalistic principles and multiple goods have to be recognized in a much expanded vision of what is common and what is good. Although it is seldom said in just this way, a survey of the pronouncements of the Ecumenical churches and councils of churches on a number of issues suggests that, whatever disagreements, sometimes sharp, divide people on policy issues, these overarching principles are now among the key teachings of most churches. Indeed, they correlate in large measure with other religious as well as some philosophical and political traditions. They do so not only because they are basically reasonable, but because the churches have been direct or indirect advocates of these ideas on a world scale for two millennia. Thus, even if people are not Christian, many recognize the validity of these ethical principles as advanced by Christians. Indeed, we properly do not trust Christians any more than others who deny or flaunt these two doctrines. At the heart of these doctrines is the conviction that civil society, centered in ultimate, finally religious commitments, needs a political order willing and able to facilitate the rights of persons and protect the good of the diverse institutions of the society itself. The "public," in other words, is prior to the republic, and gives it legitimacy and shape. In our global context, a wider civil society is now under construction, a new expanded public that has escaped the control of any particular nation-state and its definitions of civil liberties and national well-being. A decisive indicator of a just civil society is that it will form a legitimate authority willing and able use coercive force in a morally constrained way to defend human rights and to extend the possibility of public participation in the kind of civil society that can operate in many and varied cultural contexts.3 In this regard, it could well be, as James T. Johnson, one of the leading scholars of the just war tradition, has argued that one feature of the doctrine of the just war in its long heritage was its claim that when and if the common good of society and the rights of people are at stake, pre-emptive or preventative action may be employed by legitimate authority.4 The residue of this older tradition may be found in the criteria that "more good than harm" must be shown to be likely, a criterion notoriously difficult to adjudicate before we see the consequences. (This raises the question as to whether our present situation is, on this point, like the answer that Chou En Lai gave to a question about whether the French Revolution was on the whole a good thing - "Too soon to say." he replied.)

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From: eyecueco
Date: Sun Dec 21, 2003 1:25 pm
Subject: The Offices of Christ and the Question of a "Pax Americana" Part III

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These doctrines - just war, human rights, the common good of a differentiated and expansive civil society - are not dogmatic markers of the orthodoxy of the faith so much as they are justifiable implications of the faith as it bears on the ethical fabric of human life under present conditions. These are matters of "public theology" in the sense that they are theologically rooted, but can inform public affairs and forge a universalistic ethic that can be shared with and defended in dialogue with people of other faiths and philosophies. However, we must admit that these doctrines are, in themselves, ever incomplete. That is, they involve assumptions, limits and principles that serve as moral maps by which we can find our way through the thicket of claims about what is right and wrong, good and evil; but they do not, by themselves, offer an account of the empirical and socio-historical conditions that always must be considered as realistically as possible, then related to the first principles. These doctrines do not, unlike some dogmatic approaches, tell people what they should think or how they should act. They differ in this from pacifism, from holy war and from most cultural values - including "support our troops." Rather they remind us of what has to be taken into account at arriving at what are inevitably complex moral judgments on which people of conscience may vary.

These moral maps, grounded in a public theology, drive us to consider the evidence and point us toward the kind of evidence that is most ethically weighty. Thus, to speak of the doctrine of just war means that some use of coercive force is not just or justifiable, and that the case to engage in it must include a compelling account of the evidence of its necessity as well as of the principles. To speak of human rights means, as Michael Perry has argued, that "some things ought never to be done to anyone; and some things ought to be done for everyone."5 Thus, some sins of commission and some sins of omission must be overcome, sometimes by coercive means. And to know when that point is, we have to engage in a process of discernment as to how, when and where those things are going on and whether they can be effectively stopped by this or that particular means. And to speak of the good of a pluralistic, trans-national civil society in a complex world means that we have to discern what limits can be put on what major institutions do - states, armies, cultures and religions - even within their own boundaries. In a new age of interdependence that challenges the very notion of theocratic monoliths, cultural hegemony, militarist domination, the era of Westphalian national sovereignty is drawing to a conclusion in ways that even supporters of the United Nations may not yet have realized.

The principles of just war, human rights and the good of a global but diverse civil society are, to put this another way, properly abstract norms that also require attention to the actual contexts in which people live. They require us to seek in the messy factuality of historical existence, certain qualities, motives, and patterns of behavior that allow humanity, over time, to come to the judgment as to whether this or that regime or policy is, on the whole, just or unjust. All prophets, priests and kings now live as if in a perpetual trial, where it is always necessary to find both the spirit of the first principles behind the law (the duties of the judges) and to discern the pertinent facts of the case and the parties to it (the duty of the jury). But here appears a complicating factor: the data of history does not interpret itself. A wider view of what really counts and what counts less is needed. While God is the ultimate lawgiver and source of the first principles, and God is the only one who can know all the pertinent facts, everyone else now must be both proximate judge and jury. That is, we must come to an awareness of the spirit of the first principles of the moral law and decide which account of the realities of the situation is most valid. Such doctrines as these invite mainline Christianity to develop a more accurate and more faithful assessment of human nature and of the possibilities in social history than is available to the ideologies of the doves, the hawks, the anti-normative empiricists, the nationalists, and, indeed, the fundamentalists of all stripes. This demands that we not only draw on the theology of the offices of Christ, but we also develop a theology of humanity, a theology of history and a theological ethic for society to guide us in the process of discernment. This, we must candidly admit, the churches have not done. How, after all, does social history work in God providence?

I stress this, because the pacifists, who oppose all use of force, the militarists, who want to solve every problem with blazing guns, the empiricists, who deny all first principles and ultimate ends, the nationalists, who cannot see beyond our borders unless it is to our advantage, and the fundamentalists provide no basis on which to build a just peace or discern a just war. The fundamentalists - Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist or Christian - pose a special problem, for they are all willing to confront any and all of the others in this list with a pre-packaged conclusion to every question. And in the world context today, we have seen the resurgence of such voices. But they cannot be met with a non-theological point of view, as many in the "liberal" wings of various religions have tried. Every civilization rests on a foundation of ultimate convictions, and no civilization can endure without a guiding consciousness of these convictions as they give shape to the morality of the people and to just and viable institutions in civil society.

Besides, it is not true that contemporary pluralism make the situation entirely different from the past, and that we should thus hide our own claims about what is true for the whole world for the sake of tolerance or because of the separation of church and state. The world has always been highly pluralistic, probably more pluralistic in the past than in the present. Many gods have died. And the decisive principle of separation of church and state does not mean that religiously-grounded ethics must not influence the introduction of moral considerations into politics. Nor is it clear that the Christian fundamentalists have a theology able to meet the challenge of non-Christian faiths and cultures. It is only by a better theology that a worse theology can be exposed and corrected, and a deeper ethic established, although this will involve new levels of encounter beyond the "clash of civilizations." The question is whether some theologies have a serious place for pluralism and can still give guidance to the common life.

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From: eyecueco
Date: Sun Dec 21, 2003 1:27 pm
Subject: The Offices of Christ and the Question of a "Pax Americana" Part IV

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With these points in mind, it is fair to say that the churches could justly claim to be in the authentic prophetic tradition if they said that neither the case for the Iraq war as a just war, nor a compelling vision of where we should try to move history has been made by this administration. This is not to say that the case could not be made. In fact, when the Security Council passed Resolution 1441 unanimously, it seemed that the violation by Iraq of the first principles behind international law was clear to all, and that we could inspect and pressure a rogue nation to rejoin the community of nations. Moreover, the evidence of the violation of human rights by the Iraqi government reinforced the case for increased pressure, even if it is also true that violations occur elsewhere without intervention from the US or the UN, and some on the Security Council were party to the violations. Further, the vision remains vague of how it is possible to develop a viable democratic regime with an open civil society in a context where the power of anti-democratic traditions and highly theocratic religious orientations seem pronounced. The evidence about the theories of society and of history that led to serious violations by and in Iraq are less well known and yet rather fateful. The Baathist ideology which governed Iraq is directly traceable to fascist ideas of the state, and the socialism to which the "Baathist Socialist Party" refers was attached not only to the "national socialism" of the Nazis, but became linked ideologically to the totalitarian regime of Stalin. The bastard combination of these "secular" ideologies imposed by Saddam and his junta were also functionally tied to nepotistic and tribalistic loyalties, and to romantic dreams of re-establishing the imperium of the Tigres-Euphrates past, and then opportunistically sanctified by appealing to Arabic resentments of the West and Islamist doctrines of the inevitable spread of theocratic Islam, by conquest if necessary. Every shred of ideological solidarity that could be used to legitimate a corrupt, tyrannical regime was employed. It is not only that Saddam was not a good person, it was that the views of society, of humanity and of God that brought him to initiate unjust wars against his own citizens and neighboring states, allowed him to violate basic human rights with impunity and prompted him to destroy the relative independence of the various spheres of civil society. This synthetic ideology was rooted in profoundly corrupt ideas of human nature, theology of history and conception of the common good. It is one of the failures of the churches who have the resources for a deeper public theology that we did not vigorously and overtly preach and teach against these savage falsehoods, for those of deep faith should know above all others that ideas have power and consequences, and we struggle not first against flesh and blood. We did not call evil "evil."

Having said this, it is nevertheless clear that, unlike the case that was made by Bush the Elder for the Gulf War in 1991 that formed the world's largest consensus about a just war since World War II, and the relative clarity of the Afghanistan action, few efforts to make the case that this is a just war or to clarify a vision of a new future have laid before the American public or before America's long-term allies in anything like compelling terms. Senator John McCain and Prime Minister Tony Blair, scholars Michael Walzer and Jean Bethke Elshtain, and journalists George Weigel and Thomas Friedman have, in various ways and with differing degrees of nuance, taken stabs at it; but no leading administration figure in this land has, to my knowledge, done so or attempted to clarify what the shape of things should be after victory, and what theories of civil society or historical development they have in mind. It is true that they speak of forming a democracy with a free market and religious freedom; but one does not simply impose these in a simple way. Such efforts failed in Somalia, Haiti and El Salvador; although they seem to have succeeded in Germany, Japan and S. Korea - although our troops are still there. It is not clear that the USA is committed, and that the world would approve, of an enduring presence of troops in Iraq (or Afghanistan). Thus, we have the widespread suspicion that the motives for the war are based on entirely other grounds - the desire for oil or neo-imperialist designs, and thus that the public has been lied to, as columnist Paul Krugman and others have claimed. Even if these are not the case, it is the ignoring of the effort to set forth the ethical and philosophical-historical case that is most troubling! What, exactly, are we up to?

It may be, of course, that for large portions of the population, the recognition of the fact that Saddam was an unjust ruler, tyrannically governing an unjust regime, is all that is needed, and that the residual anger at the bombing of the Twin Towers and Pentagon plus the fact of victory will be all that will be remembered over time in the American political landscape. If this is so, we must ask whether we, as ecumenically-oriented church leaders, should take part of the blame for the relatively low level of ethical discourse about these matters on ourselves and the sad state of teaching and preaching about public moral issues in recent years. Perhaps we must question whether the current postmodern presumptions that there are no ethical absolutes and no master narrative, and that moral perspective is utterly dependent on social location, made it less likely that anyone would think of having to give an account of their moral grounds for their actions: if one has the social location of power, why not use it for whatever one feels comfortable with? Who has the right to be judgmental about that? Moreover, it is possible that some theologies that have identified "prophetic" witness with the ideology of "liberation" from oppression as if that were enough, have now here been turned to unintended uses. We have liberated Iraq. Is freedom not enough? And to a generation that is doubtful about institutions governed by first principles or a sense of a rightly-ordered polity that can enhance a complex common good, why should we expect the general population to demand an account of a policy and what can form a viable and just polity in these terms? And even the tendency of many clergy today to reject the doctrine of just and unjust war and to voluntarily adopt sectarian stands on all such matters in the name of Jesus suggests that policy makers can ignore the witness of those who are, ordinarily, expected to bear the moral witness to society. Indeed, the poll conducted by the Pew Center, to which others have also referred, reports that only eighteen percent of American church-going population have heard their clergy preach on topics related to this war, and only eleven percent of these said they paid attention to clergy views on the matter, for they did not think the clergy knew what they were talking about.

Of course, it is possible that the clergy do not know what they were talking about, but it is also possible that if they do, they do not know how to preach and teach on such matters. It is probably a failure of the seminaries that many theologians, pastors, church leaders and seminarians who speak out most vocally against the evils of our time rarely integrate the prophetic word with the priestly care of those who have served in other wars, who are in the service now, or who have relatives, friends or neighbors in the mid-East, some of whom may have paid a price for their service.

Moreover, seldom have they taught, by their theologies, sermons, education programs or Bible-study sessions, the church-members to think that the biblical and theological traditions had anything weighty to say on public and international issues except to oppose war, exploitation and poverty - much of which is said to be America's fault. The fact that people do not believe this is not only a matter of American chauvinism, of which there is no small amount; but also because many know enough about world history, exploitation by indigenous leaders, and centuries of poverty due to cultural beliefs and social practices that inhibit development, to know that all fault cannot be laid at the feet of the US or of colonialism. In fact, they believe, not without reason, that the vocation of America is to bring, with God's blessing, a kind of ordered freedom in politics, economics, religion, and individual opportunity to the world that little of it yet knows. If this is valid, we must give these ideas some ethical and spiritual amplitude; if they are mere chauvinism and a licence for our cultural neo-colonialism that are not universally valid, we must show how those who hold to them are mistaken.

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From: eyecueco
Date: Sun Dec 21, 2003 1:29 pm
Subject: The Offices of Christ and the Question of a "Pax Americana" Part V

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A willingness to acknowledge a failure on the part of the seminaries and the ecumenical churches and pastors on this front, or to confess the partial culpability of the West for its own contributions to the suffering of others and its moral pretenses, however, does not cancel the need for a critique of the present US government for having failed to make a compelling case for its policies. It simply is not clear where we are leading the world as we employ our unmatched power. Here the church and its leaders have a special gift that it must prompt others also to exercise: the power of the word, the power of persuasive argumentation. We should both demand it and offer it to the people. A government without a respect for the power of the persuasive word, not only in popular appeal but also in moral substance, could the more easily become a government by naked force, eroding the principles of human rights, corroding the prospect of a vision of the greater common good and conducting war without making the full case for its justice. People - allies, international diplomats, serious citizens, morally-concerned intellectuals and the clergy who take their duties seriously as officers in Christ will no longer expect the government to give good reasons for what they do. That leads to a bleak future.

We can speculate as to why they have not. On the one hand, the population formed in faith by the church has not called upon the administration to make such a case, as I have just hinted; but it is also likely the case that the kind of Christianity held by those in power does not incline them to do so. I have no doubt about the fact that the president and many of his advisors earnestly pray that they can carry out the duties of their high offices in a way that protects the people for whom they are most responsible and advances the interests of the nation. They may well have internalized a sense of character and duty of office. On these points a valid ministry may well have been carried out by the traditions to which they have turned. They may have fostered personal discipline and empowered persons to face their individual temptations; they may also have given them courage and comfort in the face of hard decisions. But the personal pietism of these traditions, which the ecumenical churches too often ignore but which attracts these leaders and larger and larger numbers of laity, has no visible theology of the kingly role and no overt theology of social history that can shape the world as it plunges inevitably toward a global civilization. It simply is not clear what the Anglo-American alliance will bring, or seek to bring, as a new Pax Americana. This is the reason that many see this war as merely another imperialism. It is, in my view, actually a deep contest as to whether it will be one or the other, a genuine Pax Americana or a new imperialism, and the outcome will depend on whether America can use its power to bring a period of history that points in some clear way toward the shalom, salem, Freide, paix and mir, the just peace with shared opportunities for participation and well-being to which the world aspires, or imposes another rule that will go the way of the Roman, Ottoman, Spanish and British empires. The problem is that a merely personal piety, however virtuous, necessary and honorable, does not and cannot by itself give full guidance to a superpower willing and able to attempt to fix the problems of the world, especially if the understanding the duties of that superpower does not go beyond the enhancement of power and the protection of interests. The best evidence known to me is that the tough-minded wise men behind the throne have a dedication to a democratic order, a free market, and technological progress that they are bringing about by their political-economic strategy. But the philosophical, religious and ultimately theological bases for their actions are opaque, unless it is a sense of an inevitable "clash of civilizations" proposed by Huntington.6 It is, I think, one of the great faults of contemporary thought, that philosophical and political analysis is seen to be more universal than religious and theological thought, whereas in fact philosophies and political ideologies come and go much faster than religious and theological understandings and are more culturally bound. some religions and most theologies are in principle more universalistic, and without them neither liberals nor conservatives historically have developed a worldview that can guide us in interpreting the principles of just and unjust war in regard to the global issues of our time, the propriety and limits of human rights thinking, and the shape of a wider common good. Thus, we do not know how to be prophets, priests or kings.

But the outlines of such guiding worldviews, deeply rooted in our theological history, have been developed further in contemporary thought, although just below the radar of much theology and more public discussion. I refer to the two most important theologically-shaped views of how history should be sculptured in ways that can support human rights, cultivate a diverse civil society, and employ just war, where necessary, to preserve them and humanity until the Kingdom comes. They are the "hierarchical-subsidiarity" and a "federal-covenantal" views. These are the two great theories that, I believe, can give conceptual, ethical, and organizational coherence to the debates around globalization.7 Both are pluralistic, although the former tends toward a vertically layered order and the latter towards a horizontal multiversity; both recognize that there are many goods that have to be pursued to sustain life and meaning in history, both have a profound place for the dignity of persons and communities, and both are aware that they cannot resolve the tensions between the many goods entirely within history. Both know that a "transcendental" frame of reference is required and that a patient theory of historical expectation is demanded. The hierarchical-subsidiary view is primarily articulated in the Roman Catholic tradition, although it has parallels in both Indian and Confucian societal theories. The federal-covenantal view has been developed primarily in Jewish and Protestant circles, although it has parallels in some features of primal religions, as well as in parts of Buddhism and Islam.8

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From: eyecueco
Date: Sun Dec 21, 2003 1:32 pm
Subject: The Offices of Christ and the Question of a "Pax Americana" VI ( & Final)

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These views offer, I think, the most viable visions as to what the world's only superpower should be seeking to establish. It could give structure to a polity that would allow the prophetic, priestly, and kingly roles that people must play in civil society as they work out various policies. It is also not far from what the UN should seek as it reforms itself in several ways. On the whole I think the federal-covenantal model could best give coherence also to the new "regencies" of the world - the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO, the WHO, and possibly NATO, each one of which will have its internal hierarchical and subsidiary patterns of authority, but all of which would operate within a federal-covenantal system. If the United States seeks to move the world in such a direction, what now appears to be a new imperialism could become a Pax Americana, a temporary anticipation of a shared, more universal and simultaneously more pluralistic and principled Pax Humana. Today, no genuine Pax can be only by or for Americana, and American efforts toward peace can only represent peace if it bears those just principles, purposes, and polities that allow the peoples of the world to participate in a global civil society that has a place for them to flourish. Such a polity would set the contours for the more just use of force, and provide both the bases and vision for a more just peace, one that presently passes understanding.

What I offer here is only a sketch, but (I hope) a helpful contribution to the theological background issues that I think could and should frame the discussion that is in the statement on "Christians and War in the 21st Century." It represents the kind of thinking that, in my view, is critical for how the church may speak on fateful public issues without usurping the role of politicians and soldiers. It is intended to suggest the ways in which a public theology can also contribute to a vision for the future, after a war that is only ambiguously just.

Notes

1. In Shalom Papers: A Journal of Theology and Public Policy, 5/1 (2003).
2. See Donald W. Shriver, Jr., "The Taming of Mars: Can Humans of the Twenty-first Century Contain Their Propensity for Violence?" in Religion and the Powers of the Common Life, vol. 1 of God and Globalization (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2000).
3. A project profoundly related to this theme has just been completed at the Center of Theological Inquiry. See Patrick Miller and Dennis McCann, eds. Theology and the Common Good (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, forthcoming, 2004).
4. I became convinced of this point in conversation with him on March 29, 2003, in discussion of his books, including Morality and Contemporary War (New Haven: Yale U. Press, 1999).
5. See his The Idea of Human Rights: Four Inquiries (New York: Oxford U. Press, 1998), and the symposium on his work in the Journal of Law and Religion, XIV/1 (1999-2000).
6. Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996). Several journalists have argued that, more than Huntington, it is the ghost of political philosopher Leo Strauss that stands behind the throne. If so, it involves a more penetrating criticism of "liberalism" than any ecumenical theologian has yet mastered.
7. See M. L. Stackhouse, et al., God and Globalization, 3 vols.: God and the Principalities of the Common Life; The Spirit and the Authorities of Modern Life; and Christ and the Dominions of Civilization. (Fourth volume in preparation.) Cf. also the very important resource by James Skillen and R. M. McCarthy, eds., Political Order and the Plural Structure of Society (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1991).
8. See Nancy Rosenblum and R. Post, Civil Society and Government; The Ethikon Series, Vol 5, (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton U. Press, 2002); and David Mapel and T. Nardin, International Society: Diverse Ethical Perspectives (Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 2001).

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From: dottie zold
Date: Sun Dec 21, 2003 5:55 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] The Offices of Christ and the Question of a "Pax Americana"

Paulina wrote:
I told Tarjei when he asked me to join that I did not stand where he and the majority stood. He knew I was pro-war, and in terms of the war, that I am pro-Bush, (although beyond the war on terrorism I have many questions about some administrative policies.) I did not misrepresent myself.

Dear Paulina,

Thank you for reminding us of the call for the 12 Holy Nights. It's easy sometimes to get involved and not be aware at various moments what is coming upon us in a sense. Thank you.

In regards to being pro Bush and also pro war I think thats your personal intuition and I have a different intuition of the war and Mr. Bush and I hope for the best for all of us. I pray that God will help him make good decisions. I have no issues with those who are pro war personally and it is hard to have the conversation without getting feelings hurt all across the board. In regular everyday settings I do not know that we would allow ourselves to be so deeply involved and most likely unless with very very good friends forego the conversation completely.

Thank you once again for the paper you have shared that may help pull all sides to a place where we may find common ground.

Merry Christmas,

Dottie

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From: golden3000997
Date: Sun Dec 21, 2003 2:15 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] The Offices of Christ and the Question of a "Pax...

Freedom and Pax Americana
Nelson Hultberg
Jul 07, 2003

"Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad," goes the ancient saying. If this is true, then our leaders in Washington are headed straight for the cuckoo's nest. There is a virulent, hubristic madness consuming our political elites in this first decade of the 21st century. It manifests in the intrusiveness of the Nanny State, in the relentless debasement of our currency, in the manipulation of our markets, and in the outrageous taxes that sap the entrepreneurial vigor from our lives. But scariest of all, it manifests in the employment of unbridled power to remake the world's divergent cultures, religions, and systems into American democracy clones. Power, our Federal Government has -- political, bureaucratic, police, military, monetary, and taxing power. It has had such power in excessive amounts for over a century now, and it has grown quite ruthless in wielding it in order to pursue its goals. Its primary goal is HEGEMONY over other regions and countries, as well as over American citizens themselves. This should not be surprising. This is what tyrannical governments have been doing for thousands of years. Since the days of the ancient Pharaohs, they have sought to control their neighbors as well as their own citizens, and they have justified their behavior by insisting that "peace and stability" were their aims. But power is their real aim. And sadly, individuals become ciphers in the process. This is what is unfolding once again, as it has countless times in the past. Study the annals of man from the Sumerian kings, to Alexander the Great, to Frederick Barbarossa, to Napoleon, Stalin and the modern despots, and the major leitmotif of the entire panorama is PURSUIT OF POWER by governments over individual citizens.

Beginning of the Madness

With the onset of the War on Terrorism, our Federal Government has now ratcheted up its drive for hegemony both domestically and worldwide. In September 2002, the Bush administration released its new National Security Strategy, which was a sweeping agenda to mount a retaliation against the terrorist threat from Islam. But it was also something else; it was the first implementation step for the vision of Pax Americana. This vision has its origin in the controversial 1992 Pentagon report by former under secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz titled, "Defense Planning Guidance." In it, he called on America in the post Cold War era to alter its foreign policy aims from merely defense of our nation to actively pursue a reshaping of the world -- in short, get involved in nation building whenever and wherever it would appear to benefit us. Now that we are the only superpower in the world, we must seize the opportunity to bend as many nations as possible to our will, to our values, to our form of democracy. Only in this way, can we truly promote "peace and stability" for ourselves and our allies. Only in this way can America heed the call to national greatness that falls on the shoulders of singular superpowers.

The Wolfowitz doctrine has been refined and sophisticated during the past ten years by high level pundits of Washington such as Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). The refined version now has numerous aggressive foreign policy goals for America to pursue. Reduced to its fundamentals, this doctrine is meant to make America into an imperialistic power and to be proud of it. It is defined by Kristol and Kagan as "benevolent global hegemony." One of the most important of the PNAC goals is the imposition of democracy upon as many nations as possible -- especially nations of the Middle East -- through both stick and carrot methodologies. If a nation can be bribed into democracy, all well and good; but if it can't be bribed, then it is to be bludgeoned. Democracy has become our new god, the raison d'etre, the salvation of our lives. It is now the curative for all the world's ills from war, to poverty, to cultural primitiveness. Spread its healing principles to mankind, and we can build a heaven on earth. Such is the madness that now consumes our Federal Government.

"Washington today is trying to turn everyone into Americans," writes Richard Maybury in his July issue of Early Warning Report. "No one makes any secret of the fact that Washington sees Iraq as a test case for [its imposition of democracy] plan. George Bush boasted about it in his February 26th speech. He intends to spread the American Way throughout Arab lands, to 'transform that vital region.'"

Because the heathens lack democracy, they are prone to breed extremism and hatred, they war on their neighbors, and most importantly they wish to blow up people and buildings in America. According to the Kristol-Wolfowitz PNAC model, terrorism has its roots in the non-democratic political ideologies of the Third World, especially in the theocracies of the Middle East. Thus, the first order of the new Pax Americana is to bring those we deem as heathens to democracy, to modernize the poor devils, and while we're at it teach them the beauties of a more materialistic culture. Since democracy is the summum bonum of our day, we have the duty to impose it upon those who are backward. The fact that the British felt the same call to duty in their imperialistic dreams of the 19th century goes ominously unnoticed by our punditry. What is the difference between the Kristol-Wolfowitz vision and the expansionist policies of Benjamin Disraeli and Queen Victoria in England of the 1870's that promoted war against the Afghans and the Zulus? British style colonization may not be the goal of the PNAC vision, but the curse of world hegemony is, just as it was in the days of Pax Britainia.

History does not repeat precisely, but it does in general principle. And Washington is repeating the sins of the past while our pundits pusillanimously blank out. Our Federal Government has divorced itself from the true meaning and purpose of America in both its domestic and its foreign policies. It is to be feared as a despoiler among nations and men. It has crossed the Rubicon into imperial overreach.

In an article in January of this year, I wrote that I saw the coming Iraqi war, whether it was to unfold horrifically or painlessly, as just the beginning of a whole series of Islamic-Washington clashes over the next 10 to 20 years. I stated that genuinely healthy economies are not spawned from protracted periods of war. And that this is what lies on America's horizon for a long time to come. So better load up on gold and silver in whatever manner your risk tolerance allows. And spread the word about the hubris that is causing it all. That is what sane men do in times of upheaval. If the world wants to go insane, it has that prerogative. But the wiser heads of history always refuse to take part, and they always look to protect themselves from the insanity.

I see no reason to change that view. In fact, the events unfolding since then have only reinforced my conviction that there is so much ignorance and arrogance ruling Washington today that only a catastrophic denouement that extends for years can rouse the intelligentsia from their madness. Only through a cathartic crash of historic proportion can the necessary changes be brought about in our national perspective to restore freedom, sound money, and proper foreign policy.

The Costs of Empire

Trade and fiscal deficits are now exploding like Krakatoa and St Helens to pay for the delusions of our leaders. Years of prodigality that would make Louis XIV blush have gutted our national savings and sanity. Washington's welfare bureaucracy is today's Versailles Palace. Gold leases, swaps, deceit, and MANIPULATION are now the tools of Greenspan's Fed -- so terrified are his governors of the unmitigated horror awaiting the nation because of their 90-year experiment in dollar alchemy. Greenspan has become nothing but a gussied up Keynesian medicine man -- mixing interest rate tonics, Forex cathartics, bond purchase elixirs, and snake oil monetization into a putrid witch's brew to try and cast just the right spell over the economy to somehow turn fractional reserve dross into gold. But the laws of nature are not to be conned. The Fed's credit money is still debt, and it will not move an economy already suffocating in debt. 'Sir' Alan sold out his youthful principles to ride around in the black limousines, and now he has only a shaman's bogus remedies with which to try and salvage his place in the history books. He gave up, with the sale of his principles, the only instrument that could save the nation -- gold. His recondite speeches, so popular among the sycophants of Washington during the go-go nineties, are now seen for what they always were -- self-serving gobbledygook and mystification to further perpetrate the power of the Federal Government in our economic lives.

The Federal Government's fiscal deficit will come in somewhere between $300 and $400 billion this year, while the trade deficit will exceed $500 billion. According to Bill Bonner, the estimates on what the Iraqi regime change will ultimately cost range anywhere from $27 billion to $1.92 trillion. With the Federal Government's track record for "honest statistical evaluation," what are the chances that its final bill is closer to the $1.92 trillion figure than the $27 billion figure? Pretty damn good, I would say. Does anyone with a semblence of a brain still think such gross fiscal insanity can be rectified with "monetary policy," that such debt will not have to be purged through an excruciating economic collapse? Sadly yes, there are those that do. They ride around Washington in black limousines and pour forth, to media lackeys and talk show barkers, the most disingenuous fallacies of our age.

To compound the problem of trade and fiscal deficits that Demopublican statism has brought us via its 30 year orgy of buying votes with paper dollars, we now add the cost of empire. Heathens are not converted cheaply. Our Iraqi venture is beginning to settle into the morass of guerrilla resistance a little more each week. And guerrilla resistance, as the Russians found out in Afghanistan, can go on indefinitely. Its like the irrationality of the stock market; it can stay predominate far longer than a nation's treasury can stay solvent. What glee our enemies must be experiencing at sight of obtuse Americans trying to fathom why the Shiites do not care to adopt our democracy and our Constitution. As Maybury points out, they have their own Constitution. It's the Koran, and it has ruled them for over a thousand years. Yet Kristol-Wolfowitz, et al imagine that they can overturn 1400 years of metaphysical tradition with gung-ho

American lectures. I have a bit of bad news for Kristol-Wolfowitz, et al. Change in a culture's metaphysical views takes place over centuries, not months and years. It moves like a glacier sliding across a continent. And it does not respond to the butt end of a rifle. Yet the madness has already been launched and cannot be retracted now. So America will have to play this game out. It will be, in my opinion, a game that will cost us hundreds of billions of dollars and many lives lost literally on the battlefield of the Mideast cauldron, as well as untold lives lost morale-wise on the home front as our economy slouches toward bankruptcy and an Argentine future because of our government's ever-extending reach beyond its financial and spiritual supply lines. Because Keynes mesmerized our leaders in college, they do not grasp the critical role that savings play in creating productivity in a healthy society. They believe that consumption is the engine of economic growth, and that paper money can ignite it forever. They thus do not understand why military expansion, such as we are now embarking upon, must ravage a nation whose people are in debt up to their eyebrows in the domestic arena. They do not understand that a nation devoid of savings (as America is now) has extended itself beyond its capacity to finance "global hegemony." They believe in the power of printed money as if it is actual wealth. The Keynesian virus has done this to them.

Washington's original estimate was that a successful regime change would require the stationing of our troops in Iraq for 1-2 years. Then the estimate gradually became 4-5 years. Now President Bush merely tells us that Americans face a "massive and long-term undertaking" in rebuilding Iraq. Has anybody in the media noticed how specific the estimates were to sell the Iraqi venture, and now how vague the estimates are to sell the idea of a protracted American occupation? Does anybody remember LBJ and Vietnam, Clinton and Bosnia? For god's sake, they're all the same -- these despicable Demopublicans!

What is so aggravating today is to have to endure the dupes who buy into the establishment fiction that America has a "two-party" political system. Wake up Americans! We as a country are slowly evolving into a dictatorship. Both political parties -- Democrats and Republicans -- are at fault here. Both parties have abandoned the principles of a free society, and have adopted the collectivist-arbitrary law approach that undergirds all the tyrannies of history. It matters not whether it's LBJ or Nixon, Carter or Reagan, Clinton or Bush. Both parties have become merely subdivisions of one party because they are the same in principle. They both promote a subtle brand of economic fascism -- equivalent to Mussolini's corporate-statism. The difference is that Republicans emphasize the foreign policy arena, while Democrats revel in the domestic arena.

But they both spread Big Brother omnipresence once in power.

This is what we in the libertarian/conservative movement (now led by Ron Paul and the Liberty Committee in Congress) have been preaching for 30 years, that both parties have been taken over by collectivism and arbitrary law. But America was founded upon individualism and objective law -- in other words law that is the same for everyone, that is Constitutionally limited in its scope, that requires self-reliance. Yet we have slowly throughout the 20th century evolved into our present Demopublican system of law that is different for different people, i.e., arbitrary, and which foments ever-increasing dependence upon government. It is a political system that is based totally upon the conveyance of privileges to special groups. Once such a system of law is taught by the intellectuals in the schools, and accepted by those who are subservient among the populace, then the rest is only a matter of time. A dictatorship will develop where once there was freedom throughout the land.

It is this unleashing of "arbitrary law" that has led us to centralized government and rampant power lust, which has now led us to compulsive hegemony and Pax Americana. This is what has created the chutzpah to imagine that those we deem as heathens should be purified with "democracy," despite the fact that both their rights and the rights of American citizens are usurped in the process. Our establishment pundits, of course, are busy defaulting on their responsibility to remind the American people about such truths. This is their nature -- to blank out on all hard truths so as to continue to feed at the trough of Power. Attending palace dinners and courting the favor of Washington bigwigs is what excites our establishment media.

This obsession with hegemony is why we are still in Korea 50 years later. It is why we are still in Okinawa, still in Taiwan, still in Bosnia, still in Germany, still in NATO. It is why, as Richard Russell points out, we have major foreign bases in 36 countries and more than 260,000 troops stationed overseas with 50,000 military personnel on carriers constantly prowling the oceans. [With the Iraqi occupation, the 260,000 troops overseas are now in the neighborhood of 400,000.] All told, Russell reports, our military has more than 800 bases of various sizes around the world, including 60 major ones. There are 189 nations in the UN, and we have our military in 140 of them! [January 15, 2003].

A military presence of 400,000 troops dispersed to 140 of the 189 member nations of the UN! This certainly has to be defined as imperial overreach! This may not be the pursuit of empire in the conventional sense because we claim no territorial ambitions as Rome and England before us. But it is an insane over-extension beyond our supply lines; it is pure madness. We are now the world's Imperial Super Cop. The implementation of such a role in the Middle East will require decades of occupation. Just think of that prospect -- our troops stationed in Iraq for decades! It cannot help but create virulent enmity among the rest of the Islamic world and spawn even more terrorist attacks upon our shores! Millions of Muslims throughout the Middle East will simply solidify further their conception of us as vile Crusaders come to dominate them once again. Over time, we will be seen as modern day Roman legions hanging around afterwards to subjugate them. We will become as popular with the Arab street as the presence of toxic waste is in a community's water supply. All this to get rid of one tin-pot dictator? Great nations fall precisely because of this kind of blindness, this kind of ivory tower imbecility that the Kristols and Wolfowitzs of history always feel so eager to heap upon their fellow men.

What Is to Come Because of This?

Edward Gibbon wrote his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire over two hundred years ago. At the end, he concluded that modern civilization was too complex to fall. He was most indubitably wrong. All civilizations are prone to falling because they are comprised of flawed humans who, because they possess but a tiny flash of existence, are driven to seek all manner of aberrancies to gratify their desires -- to live, drink and be merry for tomorrow brings one's demise. Power lust is the most lethal of the aberrancies because it so often involves masses of humans, giant bureaucracies, wars, and warped visions. Will we in America be able to avoid Rome's path? Viewing the world from today's perspective, one would have to say the chances are not good that we will. Of course, this could change. History is not set in stone; it is the result of men's choices. If we were to experience a return to reason in the aftermath of the upcoming world breakdown, it is quite conceivable that out of the wreckage there would come a rebirth of freedom and sound money again. It won't be the result of our establishment thinkers, however. It will come from the contrarians of the world -- thinkers such as Ludwig von Mises, Richard Weaver, Thomas Sowell, Murray Rothbard, Ayn Rand, Rose Wilder Lane, etc.

One thing is certain; the new policy of Pax Americana will bring all Americans less and less freedom. This is already manifest in such legislative monstrosities as the USA Patriot Act. What an insult to name a legislative bill that opens the door for Big Brother with a term immortalized by the Founding Fathers. But this is the pathological nature of our government in Washington. It must now use tyrannical "newspeak" to pass its bills.

The USA Patriot Act is a giant step toward that Orwellian world awaiting us in the future. As Nancy Chang, Senior Litigation Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, describes it, "the Act sacrifices our political freedoms in the name of national security...by consolidating vast new powers in the executive branch of government."

1) "The Act grants the executive branch unprecedented, and largely unchecked, surveillance powers, including the enhanced ability to track email and Internet usage, conduct sneak-and-peak searches, obtain sensitive personal records, monitor financial transactions, and conduct nationwide roving wiretaps."

2) "The Act permits law enforcement agencies to circumvent the Fourth Amendment's requirement of probable cause when conducting wiretaps and searches that have, as a 'significant purpose,' the gathering of foreign intelligence."

3) "The Act allows for the sharing of information between criminal and intelligence operations and thereby opens the door to resurgence of domestic spying by the Central Intelligence Agency." [cited by Jennifer Van Bergen, "What the Patriot Act Means for Americans," -- April 4, 2002]

Big Brother is coming! And his omnipresence is being promoted by both Republicans and Democrats. Pax Americana is the straw that will break our economy's back. The debt load it heaps upon our already sated budgets will have to be monetized. Interest rates will reverse their present trend and begin a long-term rise. Large holdings of foreign capital will be repatriated. The Dow and the S&P will drift southward toward 3000 and 300 on the charts, even though the PPT will be hard at work trying to shore them up. Competitive currency devaluations will begin to spread around the world, as each nation scrambles to keep pace with America's weak dollar policy. Arabs will relentlessly dump dollars to counter American hegemony in their back yard, which will steadily drain foreign capital and cap any and all equity rallies. Greenspan will be faced with the dreaded "deflation of assets" that he is so fervently trying to avoid with his bubble creation policies. The Fed will then have to face the rock-and-a-hard-spot choice that they have been avoiding for two years. They will have to resort to actually printing up money, rather than just jawboning about it. They will have to ignite inflationary prices. They will do this because it will be their only option.

Will such Fed capitulation then bring on hyperinflation? According to Kondratieff theory, it would be almost inescapable. But this writer is just skeptical enough of formal theories about the future in a messy world to entertain doubts. There are far too many variables that flow in and out of the arena, that cannot be totally comprehended as to their impact, to state with certainty that deflation must result, and that hyperinflation must follow. All we can say is that the future will be one of SEVERE CRISIS. Whether that crisis is deflationary or inflationary, or a combine of both, depends upon how Washington's cornered rats react to the dilemmas of the upcoming years, and what measures of response come from other nations. Men and nations have free will, and history has a way of interminably fooling its prophets. It's as inscrutable as a cat.

One thing we can probably predict is that China will patiently sit in its cat bird seat and gladly accumulate all the gold that our bullion bank ignoramuses in New York keep dumping onto the market. China's historical respect for the metal was never quite obliterated by Keynesian doctrine as ours was here in the West. The rulers in Beijing wish to be a premier regional power at the very least, and perhaps even assume America's place as the world's reigning superpower. They know that such dreams will come about only if they attain economic dynamism, and economic dynamism is tied irrevocably to a strong currency backed by gold. So they patiently accumulate, and watch with appreciation the American death dance on Wall Street and in Washington.

Pax Americana is now official. It is openly proclaimed by powerful intellectuals and scholars in the establishment circles of Washington. It will guide both Republicans and Democrats alike in the upcoming years. It will result in monstrous debt burdens and the gradual erosion of America as a superpower. It will bring us $1,000 gold, and maybe much higher. A great nation has taken a step toward historical oblivion. The path is not irreversible, but it will take a great awakening in this next decade to avert America's fall. The Keynesian chickens that FDR set loose are finally coming home to roost. The laws of nature that Jefferson and Madison so wisely built upon, and which we so ignorantly scorn, are still there behind the scenes working their magnetic hold over our decisions. They are eternal. If an American renaissance is to take place, it will come only from a restored respect for those immutable laws that the Founding Fathers understood so well.

© 2003 Nelson Hultberg

http://www.afr.org./Hultberg/paxamericana.html

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From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Mon Dec 22, 2003 4:33 am
Subject: Homage to Paulina

Dear Paulina,

You wrote:

This is my last post to this list for the year. A Holy Day is coming up and I need to prepare for this important event, and at this time I do not feel the list is helping me to focus on this event.

Enjoy yourself, Paulina. Your input on anthroposophical lists are always very valuable. You see through bullshit and cut to the bone; you know your Christology, you have a great, great sense of humor, and you're always an asset to have around.

Please don't be too shy or sensitive about being a minority on certain political issues. That's what makes list discussions fun, that we can collide and slug it out once in a while. So I hope you'll return and be a good sport about that. Enlist reinforcements if you like; tell them that anti-Bushers from the left are beating up on you here and that you need help. That would boost our membership, help the list grow, and liven up the place. We're in agreement on the most essential spiritual matters, and ten such agreements are worth more than one in the Bush :)

Incidentally, Larry King on CNN comes on in an awful hour in this corner of the planet - at 3 AM! - but I did get his chat with Laura Bush in the White House (taped December 8), when she showed Larry around her Christmas decorations with dolls from fairy tales and other favorite books, and George W came in at the end of the interview, and it was so charming and cosy my heart melted. Yea, I kind of love them Bushes and forget the politics; George W. is a kind of guy it would be fun to get drunk with and share a joint with while sweet, sweet Laura is busy doing something else like decorating Christmas trees and chatting with Larry King.

And George W. obviously believes sincerely in what he is doing, making America and the world safer and all that by being at war and sending his boys around. And our boys (from Norway) are in action too, in Afghanistan and in Iraq. And the U.S. government is very very fond of the Norwegian government for that very reason, saying that this country is showing responsibility and taking a stand and all that sweet sweet stuff. More about that later, please bring in the troops - I mean your troops to Anthroposophy Tomorrow.

It's my calling so to speak to be in opposition to all this, to the war on drugs and the war on terror and so on. There's too much of Lucifer in me to succumb to that rhetoric. So I'm rebelling, I can't help it. I think Norway has always been America's canary number one, the superloyal little birdie that never speaks up. I think speaking up, in strong words if necessary, commands more respect than bowing and agreeing to everything with hat in hand.

Merry Christmas and happy new year, Paulina!

Tarjei
http://uncletaz.com/

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From: golden3000997
Date: Mon Dec 22, 2003 5:15 am
Subject: Dear Paulina

Dear Paulina,

You may not see this until after the Christmas tide, but it will be waiting for you when you "get back". I want you to know that I see our disagreements as threads in a tapestry, ideas crossing back and forth, over and under. Our threads may not always weave in the same direction. Sometimes they may not even intersect for a while. But there is definitely a karma here. We have conflicted before, even if you might not realize it. Yet, we share so much on a heart level with art, education, animals and more. We don't have to agree in order to love.

Christmas is a time for families and it usually makes us confront the reality of our family in ways that we can more easily avoid the rest of the year. Some families suppress their conflicts and are quiet and polite when together, but there is an underlying strain of unresolved issues. Other families engage in vicious power struggles that end in abused souls and egos, bitterness and depression. Some families are fortunate enough to have incarnated as a "gift" of karma, perhaps as a reward for having gone through some sort of battle together in another life. There is little or no negative karma or antipathy between them and their life together is a refuge and haven from the world.

Others there are who argue at the top of their lungs and laugh from the bottom of their bellies. They allow their conflicts to surface and then get them out and fight about them. But afterward, they can re-affirm the love and caring and move on. These, I think are the luckiest of all. I have known one or two like this, but not many.

We live in times when the families of the bloodline are being disintegrated and family bonds must be forged from the spirit whose material is thought, not DNA. So let us have our fights and bring our conflicts to light, not hide them under a bushel of artificial politeness. But afterward, we must re-affirm one another and express gratitude that we have found one another and the link between us.

You and I are not really in opposition in essentials. I shall make this quite clear - I am NOT a Pacifist!!!. I myself was a little bit shocked to realize this at one point. I could see myself literally ripping the head off someone who tried to hurt an animal or child or anyone near me who was not in a position to defend themselves. I might not succeed, but I would sure try!! I LOVED Eowyn in ROTK, as she rides underneath the "Oliphant" and slashes at its legs with a sword in either hand and then drives a sword into the face of the Witch King. Read again my story "The Golden Soldier."

Even though we live in a more complex world than Middle Earth, or even our own Middle Ages, there is still a need to at least be ready to fight when called upon. My problem is that I don't want to be on the side of Mordor!!! And the delineations are not as clear as in a "fairy tale." The Black Riders aren't so black. The Elves are not necessarily dressed in white. Great is the Wizardry needed today to discern them all. We must take care who we fight against and who we fight with! And we must take great care what weapons we use and I mean this literally! We possess armaments that, if used will destroy us all. Just like in the Trilogy - no one can use the Ring, not even for good. The nature of the Ring is such as to destroy everyone in the process. Isn't this like nuclear and biological weaponry? Who can wield these for the good? No one. So we must do everything that we can to destroy these weapons and not think that we or our leaders have the strength to use them.

Yes, Paulina - if we as a nation agreed that we would take up arms and truly fight for liberation whereever people are being oppressed, I would join the army tomorrow! My sorrow and fear is that this is not our purpose and that we are being deceived by our leaders who use this idealism that burns in the American heart to lead us and most of the world to the brink of enslavement and doom. Always Evil uses the phrases of Good to mislead. We have to fine tune our hearing to hear the whispers of the Enemy carried underneath.

So I salute you, my Sister Warrior as one to another. I would have you at my back in any battle! Let us lift our swords in a promise and a pledge to fight for one another and to fight with one another against the Darkness.

A Once and Future Shieldmaiden of Rohan,
Christine

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