If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?
2But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. 5They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. 6Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. 7Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. 8They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. 9They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth. 10Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them.
Unless we remind ourselves of our theology, it’s easy for Christians to become discouraged or embittered by the triumph of evil. By the way in which life seems to routinely reward stupidity and evil.
For weeks and months after 9/11, we were told that “9/11 changed everything.” Of course, I knew at the time that this slogan was hyperbolic.
Still, it was striking to hear Obama indicate, earlier this week, that his idea of counterterrorism involved repealing all of the countermeasures which the Bush administration introduced after 9/11, and replace it with campaign to polish our public our image.
After 8 years, the liberals learn nothing. Let’s reset the clock to the status quo ante—before 9/11. We’ve gone from “9/11 changed everything” to 9/11 changed nothing.
Or take the economic crisis. From what I’ve read, this goes back to the Clinton administration, which threatened to prosecute lending institutions which were guilty of “red-lining.”
That policy was continued and aggravated by leading Congressional Democrats like Chris Dodd and Barney Frank.
So how does the electorate react? Let’s empower the Democrats. Let’s elect even more Democrats to Congress. Let’s watch Obama fill his administration with retreads from the Clinton administration.
And while we’re at it, let’s borrow from our enemies (e.g. China) to subsidize trillion-dollar deficit spending as far as the eye can see.
The level of sheer, monumental, unteachable stupidity is something to behold.
How should Christians react to this? Several things could be said, but for now I’ll confine myself to one observation:
Although it’s understandably galling to see how often corrupt men are rewarded for their corrupt behavior while good men are marginalized or penalized for good behavior, corruption has a silver lining. For lesser evils can restrain greater evils.
It’s like those SF stories about a dying alien race that plans to colonize the earth. It sends a scouting party in advance of the invasion. The aliens assume human form to blend in with the populace. The plan is to study human beings in order to find out our weaknesses. The best way to defeat us.
It also involves a strategy of infiltration. To replace us, one-by-one. By the time we catch onto the plot, we’re outnumbered. It’s too late to counterattack.
The alien scouts are chosen for this mission because of their ideological purity and dedication to the cause.
But by assuming human form, they are gradually seduced by human appetites and vices. Our corruptions corrupt the aliens.
The scouting party goes soft. It becomes the very thing it intended to conquer and eradicate.
And we see this play out in politics. A totalitarian regime requires a lot of dedication. Heroic self-sacrifice. The autocratic ruler is single-minded. An ideological purist. Ruthless in his unyielding consistency.
But over time, his deputies are seduced by the sensuality of power. By the perks of high office. They lose their fighting trim. Their dedication to the cause slackens.
They settle for pomp and circumstance. State dinners. Posh accommodations. A name on a bridge. High titles and long limos. Famous people meeting other famous people who are famous for being famous—or famously famous for knowing someone who knows someone famous.
So much of what they do is frivolous and ephemeral. It’s all for show. Trifles and baubles. Useless people doing useless things—to make the lives of useful people more onerous.
They never meant a serious problem they couldn’t dodge. They generally leave the world in the same sorry condition they found it—except when they make it worse.
People like that do a lot of harm. They’re a constant drag factor on any attempt to improve the status quo. Most of our efforts get diverted into damage control. Reversing their wrongs and restraining them from further harm.
My point, however, is that while their corruption is a source of harm, it also limits their harm. If they weren’t so venal, they’d do far more harm. Petty corruption is a check on absolute corruption.
You can always count on sin. Sin is so predictable. Sin is the great leveler.