Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Why Trump's "Base" Doesn't Waver

Image result for pax on both houses, asimov
Dear Chuck,

Thanks for your email.

I watched the video you recommended; then spent 15 minutes reading user comments; and finally posted the following link in reply to three of those comments.

When you wonder what specific "talking points" make Trump supporters champion their hero, my first thought is that "talking points" as they relate to actual, demonstrable accomplishment are not only "beside the point" but miss the point.

At bedrock, Americans who believe in fake news, ubiquitous conspiracy theories and other non-factual world-views are not only epistemologically-chained to their "beliefs" but are ontologically dependent on provable falsehood.

Last night, at a 4th of July garden party I discussed "salvation assurance" with a Duke theologian from Great Britain.

"Salvation assurance" first came to my attention in a vividly memorable lecture at the University of Toronto in 1967. 

"Salvation assurance" is a term originally used in connection with a paradoxical outcome of nascent Calvinism.

"In the beginning" Calvinism posited "predestination" as a presumed solution to the profound angst embedded in Christian theology's dyadic fixation with "salvation" on the one hand - and "eternal perdition" on the other. 

Early Calvinists presumed that one's "name" was either written in The Book of Life, or -- God forbid! -- was NOT written in The Book of Life. 

Since there was nothing that could be done about one's predestined "eternal fate," it was supposed that people would finally "relax" by realizing there was nothing to be done but trust in the ultimate goodness, wisdom and providence of God.

Not surprisingly, the resulting perception of "impotence" -- that there was nothing Calvinists could do to actively secure "salvation assurance" -- led to swift ideological rebellion, a revolt that did not fully restore Catholicism's twin-belief in "faith" AND "good works," but did instill ferocious determination to perform "works" that would result in evident, ostentatious prosperity. This display of "God's favor" was co-terminous with the belief that God would surely shower His "Chosen" with the material accoutrements of "good living," and so terrestriall prosperity adumbrated "heavenly bliss to come". (And so it was that capitalist hyper-productivity "got the upper hand" and, in consequence, we continue to live in a world that is literally "consuming itself" with increasing acceleration.)

In my view we are all "saddled" with a large dose of primordial angst and dealing with that undifferentiatied angst -- whether consciously or unconsciously -- is, for most of us, the prime motivator. (By my lights, most of the world's ills arise from humankind's nearly-irresistible impulse to lay our angst at the door of one-or-another infidel group.

Notably, Christianity which posited the unique "Either/Or Switch" between "salvation" and "perdition," brought "salvation assurance" to fever pitch, and a strong argument can be made that this same fever (in all its Abrahamic manifestations) is what addles the world.

Here in America we are blinded by Christianity's obsessive focus on "securing salvation" (while avoiding "damnation") so that The Only Spiritual Imperative is cleaving to a "doctrinal formulation" that assures eternal bliss.

Parodoxically (and as Lao Tze pointed out, "the profoundest truths are paradoxial") s-Trump-ets "sell their souls" to "save their souls."

Trump embodies the eternally "flipped bird" disdaining every inconvenient "secular" and scientific position, simultaneously while conservative Christians in their Pauline belief that "the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God."

For "true believers" -- -- there is no need to consider any political position that is not utimately rooted in "salvation assurance." 

And the core "litmus" for salvation is whether a believer (or a believer's chosen political representatives) damn abortion and, by extension, all "the baby killers" who support it. 

Pro-Life Advocates Cause Abortion Rates To Soar. Pro-Abortion Advocates Cause It To Decline

The History Of Sex, Sin, Abortion And American Law. (An Eye-Poppingly Informative "1A" Show)

Updated Compendium Of Best Pax Posts On Abortion

In the end, rational, demonstrable "talking points" are not part of conservative Christianity's calculus. Rationality and Science (except insofar as they occasionally coincide with "belief") are anathema.

Against the backdrop of dogmatic proclamations that comfort a "believer's" sine qua non need for "salvation assurance," the "worldly wisdom" matters naught. 

Like Billy Graham before him, Trump proclaims "the one, true faith" that "sola fide" is all-important and that any challenge to "faith alone" is intrinsically questionable and probably damnable.

The Tragedy Of "Modern Medicine" And The Seduction Of "Faith Alone" ("Sola Fide")

"First Stone: It Is Not Enough To Do What Is Right..."
Sola Fide

A faith that burns so brightly as to blind is all that true believers need -- indeed, all they want -- in order to maximize their conviction of personal salvation. 

Nothing -- not even the prospect of terrestrial Armageddon (which many conservative Christians cheer in eager expectation) -- will make "true believes" swerve from their all-consuming mission of bearing witness to the conviction that "Jesus Christ -- or "Unbridled Capitalism" -- is my Lord and Savior."

Image result for pax on both houses, armageddon

On Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 10:16 AM, CH wrote:

I sent you a video of an African-American congresswoman chastising Trump for his behavior and I noticed that among the comments was a conservative one saying that Trump had done more in one year for America then all the Democrats had in the previous eight years. So I understand this is complete nonsense but I wonder what does he even think he's talking about? Do you know what the conservative talking points are that argue that Trump has been effective at doing anything?

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