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The Kingdom As Threat To The Republic

Christianity is, when you think about how it is to be applied, treason

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, May 02, 2007.

An alarming column in the National Review this week by Thomas Sowell. Here’s a money quote after paragraphs of mounting hysteria:

“When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can't help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup.”

It’s hard to believe that Sowell would willingly display his ignorance. Anyone who thinks the supposed degeneracy of our current politicians is even comparable to what we’ve already survived just hasn’t read history. Back in the days of the wild west and the Robber Barons and world class, letter sweater sleaze and scandal, media correspondent Henry Stanley rather routinely sent in simultaneous stories from cities in different states on stories he hadn’t actually covered at all. Back East, Jaime Bennett’s newspaper published them without further query. They're still referenced today. And there was worse.

It’s not just Sowell’s ignorance of reality that chokes an appropriate response, it’s not just his patriarchal, unjustified assumption he’ll be petted for speaking truth. It’s the barely hidden longing for a military coup beneath his words. He’s an African American, looking for justice and freedom under the rule of an institution that had to be ordered against its will then, and maybe now, to integrate only sixty years ago.

If the United States ever suffers a military coup, it could only be because the United States had already failed not only its promise but basic, cerebral cortex level survival skills. Military coup of any sort is a death knell.

Fear of a standing military, like many of the initial reasons for the United States coming into being, has been a fire banked for the last two hundred thirty years, and now people assume it always will be, and this when they think of it at all. There have been numerous times when reactionary officers got together and mumbled that they should save the nation and send Congress packing, but not once did any support build for them, not even during the Civil War at the Union’s lowest point. There are reasons for that, not just explanations.

Democracy in a republic isn’t efficient in the short run, but it is in the long term. It has expensive duplications, and checks and balances, and courts and trials and people think of this as a waste of time and mind numbing absorption of energy. But its cost is as pocket change on the financial side and a bad bowling night on the emotional compared to armed rebellion or civil revolt. Whether by intent or coincidence, our armed forces are designed and set up to somewhat duplicate each other and waste money trying to win in budget battles. The United States Navy has its only Army, Air Force, and Special Forces alone, along with ships carrying more power than most nations combined.

That’s not a bad thing in the long run. It means nobody in the military can control all three branches, or all the National Guard, or all the law enforcement and intelligence services and could never be sure who’d side with or against them. Any procedure put in motion to find that out would bring exposure and collapse. In nations where things are more pyramidal in structure, and more efficient, coup is often inevitable. It's the best reason to keep the untidy and often incomprehensible federal system of states, even if were not constitutional law.

So, to what do we attribute Sowell’s glistening desire for military coup? It’s frightening that such a highly intelligent, successful individual would in his pain discard his country and suggest possible treason, which a coup would be.

Hazarding a guess, given his venue for his words, Sowell is a conservative Christian, works out of Stanford University, a fellow at the Hoover Institute. What isn’t given much thought, not surprising given the hypocrisy surrounding all things religious, is that Christianity as practiced by American conservatives is monarchist, centralized, efficient and clear on power threads, and anti-democratic to the extreme. In times of frustration – say when so many clerics are revealed to be as flawed and hypocritical as the majority of their flock, and the nation so recently claiming shared belief with conservatives drops the association like a live grenade or a Tom DeLay check over both the hypocrisy and the incompetence – so many conservatives physically lust for the Man on Horseback, the One, God or maybe Reagan, but at least Fred Thompson to return and smite their enemies and rule.

To be fair, lusting for military coup isn’t many compass headings different from the Left lusting for whatever vague revolution they’re not actually willing to trouble themselves over this year. But coup has cachet, history, and not a few success stories. It is one that this nation should pro-actively dispel by learned debate and open resolutions and clear explanations and signed responsibility. All of which cannot happen under this administration.