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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Smart People Need to Leave it Alone

There's an ancient story that came out of Ur of the Chaldees, told by an old herdsman and minor prince who settled along the trade lanes between Ur and Egypt. The story goes that in the beginning, the first woman wandered off and took up conversation with a snake - probably something reptillian or saurian with some nice coloring and reasonably sentient looking, for the snake turned out to have rather a lot to say.

He started out talking about the scenery. 

"See yon tree?" 

"Isn't that lovely?"

That sort of thing.  From there they went on to talking about food.

"Nice apples, huh?"

Then he moved on to politics.

"Wouldn't it be nice to take a bite?"

"But the law says we'll die if we do..."

"You won't die. The authorities just want to deny you the good stuff."

Then the conversation got around to stroking the old vanity.

"Look, you're a pretty smart chick there. Can't you see, the Man is just wantin' to keep you down? He knows that if you eat from that tree, you'll become a god just like Him."

Well, as those of you who've read this old story before, know, things went badly from there. 

I once read Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. In it I could hear the voice of the serpent in the garden speaking smooth words to people who believe they are a bit above the rest of the ignorant proletariat. And they are such suckers for that. My suspicion is that most so-called smart people were picked on when they were kids. Any appeal to such a person that says, "Come on, now. You're so much smarter than the rest of these rubes," is going to be very very powerful.

That's what Alinsky's "Rules" does.  It convinces people who think they are smart that they aren't held down to the same rules as the rest of us. That's the lure of socialism - it tells everyone they are too smart to be held down, melds them into a vast collective and then turns them into one big universally downtrodden proletariat.  Even brilliant people like Einstein fell for it.

Dr. Einstein's said this in his essay, "The World as I See It" said this:

  • "My political ideal is democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized."

Yet, despite his reverence for the individual, in later essays the good doctor speculated that there ought to be a way for the truly intelligent people of the world to fix all of the world's problems. Even, Einstein who hated military "herd life", faced the temptation of smart people to believe they might step into God's shoes and fix things.

As it turns out, smart people don't do so well at fixing the troubles of others. We can't make anyone happy it seems - not if they don't want to be happy. The world today stands at the crossroads between two great ideas.  To the right, we take the path in which the individual is supreme.  To the left, it is the collective which rules.  

The individual or the hive - that's the choice.
  One way offers potential for chaos - it is the danger of free will.  The other path offers peace in exchange for our individuality. As the first great American smart guy, Ben Franklin, once brilliantly said, "
He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security.”

My people, Christians, are an odd lot in this debate and many of those outside our ranks do not understand us at all. We believe absolutely in free will (at least those of us who are not Calvinists) and yet we act collectively to do good to others. We believe that God values each of us, not as an element within the ranks of church members, but as sons and daughters - individuals, for whom He would have sacrificed his Son had we been the only one. We love sinners, but hate sin. We believe we choose our own fate, but we believe God knows what that fate will be from the very beginning. We don't even fully understand the nature of the God we worship, yet we show up every week to do so.

I suspect that if the majority eventually win the debate and we take the left turn as a nation, that such troublesome Christians will need to be either converted or eventually eliminated. If you read much history, that's usually how it goes for individualists in a collective.

I'm just sayin'

Tom King
© 2015

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