Archive | May, 2011

The Death of Osama – Why we Celebrate

4 May

It is difficult to compare myself to my James Weaver; we are two different people. I attempt to be selective in my praise, but happily admit – James is someone I love. Among a small number of people, he has made my life here in Texas difficult, only by being so far away. But, we have deeply different characters. He is by nature a moderate human being, especially in his opinions. He is cautious, but almost never to a fault. And level-headed, to a degree infuriatingly perfect. Me? Well, I would rather not speak of ill of myself because I certainly will not flatter myself; silence is only fair.

If you haven’t yet, I suggest reading his post on his thoughts on our killing of Osama bin Laden. (His blog is OhYouKnow…)

“Should we be happy about the killing of Osama bin Laden?”

The concerns James articulates reveal that he is not decided on the issue – at a later date he will be decided. The next time we have a beer together, I want one of the toasts to be the death of Osama bin Laden, and not just to his death but to America’s role in that death. To that I end, I write this post.

I will not quote scripture because I don’t have the time, but I speak to you as a Christian and as an American. The scripture passages quoted by James are typical things you might expect from a sermon on the mount, New Testament quotation. With that in mind, I would like to argue that these are not politically relevant. The focus of these teachings is for you and I. They focus on how we must love each other. Unfortunately, the state is not involved in love, it is involved in creating a stable environment, within which people may love and may be Christians (and of course, pursue a number of other private and social goods). The state does not love because it is not a person; it exists by the will of many people, for the protection of their life, liberty and property.

James also quotes proverbs, and this piece of scripture is politically relevant.

Proverbs 24:17-18:
17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
18 or the LORD will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from them.

What does this mean for us? To know that, we must know King David, and I am afraid that would take too much time for my little blog post. But David, on many occasions, acted with an exacting political prudence. Let us put it this way: David ruthlessly kills his political opponents through the hands of his servants, shows remorse, and, depending on the usefulness of the servant, either kills them immediately after they have accomplished his political task, or has them later killed by Solomon after he is dead. (Cf. Jo’ab). My point is simply: this is a piece of political prudence, and it is not bad advice whatsoever. In fact, it is brilliant advice, which matches Machiavelli in insight and outshines him in beauty. Scripture wins, suck it Machiavelli. In this light, such words do not represent a moral ought to be followed on principle, but very good advice to the political ruler, especially to kings (who are held personally responsible for actions of the state.)

Why our jubilation is different; that is, why it is a political good: For the first time in a long time, I saw Americans with a little swagger, a healthy confidence and a tangible degree of solidarity. Americans have been catching the European sickness of failing to distinguish between friend and enemy for fear violating their Postmodern Pseudo-Piety of inclusiveness. Thankfully, two nights ago, we roundly shed such false pretences and called a spade a spade.

James’ best point was: “Was it all worth it?”

We agree with the sentiment James here displays – it is highly doubtful that it was all worth it. In the prosecution of these wars our national institutions, our economic well-being, and the lives of our citizens have all seen significant losses. Our nation has forgotten that wise statement of John Q Adams: “But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. … She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.” I would like to say thinking people have come to realize just how much control we lose over our own destiny when we involve ourselves in the destiny of every “rogue state” or humanitarian crisis, but, then there is Libya…

Yet, we contend, we should still be celebratory. We need a reason to celebrate these days. We need to shake off that pseudo-piety of Europe. It is healthy for us to understand that not everybody is our friend, not everyone likes the way we live or thinks our institutions are just – it warmed my heart to see that Americans still have a fighting spirit.

That’s all I have time for, it is late and I have to go to bed! Go read James’ post now.