Current Events & Trends: November/December 2020

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November/December 2020

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Current Events & Trends: November/December 2020

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America’s most crucial election ever?

On Nov. 3 the United States will hold what could be the most crucial presidential election in its history. Whatever the outcome, the nation will likely continue to see the advance of a revolution that has been building since 1968, when protestors took to the streets calling for racial and social justice and attempted to influence the outcome of a major political convention in Chicago.

Revolution—overturning the current order, in this case to empower a radical minority—is still the goal, though it’s wrapped in the benign guise of “social justice.” The difference today is the power centers of government, media and culture are helping drive the revolution by openly supporting and enabling the movement.

Events on the streets of the nation since May have been interpreted as a trial run for what could happen post-election. A scenario run by a group called the Transition Integrity Project concluded that election night “will be marked by a chaotic legal and political landscape.” Instead of a court battle like the one that settled the 2000 election victory of George W. Bush, the outcome of this report promises “that what would follow the November election would be ‘a street fight, not a legal battle.’”

It would be easy to dismiss this as conspiracy hysteria. However, in June the sitting Secretary of Defense warned the President not to invoke the Insurrection Act for the rioting occurring in American cities because it could incite unintended reactions. Some Democratic party leaders have called for the U.S. military to forcibly remove President Trump if he is declared defeated and rejects that as unsettled.

Add the frenzied push to allow unrestricted mail-in balloting across the country—introducing the element of massive voter fraud—and the possibility of a contested election result looms as a real danger to the normal orderly transfer of power.

Could the peaceful transfer of power in America devolve into a civil dispute that would undermine the stable process of government? History tells us it has happened before. In 1933 Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist (Nazi) Party seized state power in Germany in a matter of weeks.

The use of protests, intimidation, propaganda and manipulating the organs of government resulted in the rise of the Nazi Third Reich—this despite the party receiving only 44 percent of the vote. William Shirer in his definitive great work The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich quotes historian Alan Bullock saying, “The street gangs had seized control of the resources of a great modern State, the gutter had come to power” (p. 200).

This has been a tumultuous year. Combining a pandemic, economic upheaval and social unrest into a national election can create unexpected events. As noted in this issue’s lead article “A World in Crisis,” we are watching a unique historic moment. We are watching the concluding chapters of human experience leading to the moment when Jesus Christ appears in the glory of His second coming. It is a time to seek understanding from God and to turn to Him with all our heart and seek His righteousness.

 


 

The poison fruit of “cancel culture”

It strikes fear in some, while others claim it doesn’t exist. What started on social media has spread like cancer throughout America and the Western world. People are being fired, publicly shamed, kicked out of groups, banned from social media, even killed—all for saying things that don’t align with today’s new politically correct norms.

Dictionary.comdefines “cancel culture” as “the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.” Employees are being “canceled” or fired for simply stating their opinion about a controversial topic.

Notice this from a Reasonmagazine article from July 8, 2020, by John Stossel titled “Cancel Culture Is Out of Control”: “The online mob came for Harald Uhlig. What terrible thing had he done? . . . He tweeted that Black Lives Matter ‘torpedoed itself, with its full-fledged support of #defundthepolice.’ Instead of defunding, Uhlig suggested, ‘train them better.’

“Hundreds of people then signed a petition to demand that Uhlig, a University of Chicago professor and head of the Journal of Political Economy, resign. Even prominent economists like Janet Yellen and Paul Krugman joined the mob. Krugman called Uhlig ‘another privileged white man who evidently cannot control his urge to belittle the concerns of those less fortunate . . .’”

“‘There was nothing racist or discriminatory in how he said it,’ says Reason magazine senior editor Robby Soave, who covers the new ‘woke’ protests. ‘But because he has some different views from the protesters, he must be a racist.’

“Uhlig was placed on leave by the journal he ran.”

We could give many other examples of people who lost their jobs over something they said or posted on social media.

One of the big problems with cancel culture is that people are being held up to continuously shifting societal standards. What was once common-sense knowledge has become radical or reprehensible. America’s moral compass keeps spinning in new directions.

J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book series, was nearly canceled due to her positions on women being biologically different from men. Rowling was labeled “transphobic” simply for saying that women are women, biologically. They are not “people with cervixes.”

Cancel culture has also exposed a lack of mercy throughout society. Some people are being canceled for views they expressed decades ago. An executive at Boeing was forced out because—30 years ago!—he was against women serving in the military.

There is no longer any room for people to change or grow out of certain behaviors or views. God says in Proverbs 16:27 Proverbs 16:27An ungodly man digs up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
American King James Version×
that “an ungodly man digs up evil” (King James version). God knew thousands of years ago how damaging it is to dig up dirt on other people!

There is no such thing anymore as “innocent until proven guilty.” People who are canceled don’t get a trial. In today’s climate, the mob decides who is guilty and who is innocent. Sometimes false witnesses are involved. And once someone’s name is tarnished, there is rarely a way to offer an apology and return to public life. They are seemingly black-marked forever.

God speaks out strongly against mobs and this way of reacting. Notice: “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice” (Exodus 23:2 Exodus 23:2You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shall you speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:
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).

If most people employed just two biblical principles, cancel culture would disappear.

First, practice forgiveness.If someone makes a mistake, forgive them. Move on! Don’t join a mob in rubbing their noses in it. Constantly ask yourself: If I were in their shoes, how would I want to be treated?

Christians are called to be different from the society around them—to be like God. King David wrote that God is “ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You” (Psalms 86:5 Psalms 86:5For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy to all them that call on you.
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). He also wrote that God takes away our sins: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalms 103:12 Psalms 103:12As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
American King James Version×
). If someone sincerely apologizes, we are to be like God and forgive them.

Second, when you hear reports or rumors about people, be careful you don’t inadvertently join a mob trying to destroy someone’s life. Many Bible verses tell us to get the facts before making a judgment (see Deuteronomy 17:2-7 Deuteronomy 17:2-7 [2] If there be found among you, within any of your gates which the LORD your God gives you, man or woman, that has worked wickedness in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing his covenant, [3] And has gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; [4] And it be told you, and you have heard of it, and inquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is worked in Israel: [5] Then shall you bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, to your gates, even that man or that woman, and shall stone them with stones, till they die. [6] At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. [7] The hands of the witnesses shall be first on him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So you shall put the evil away from among you.
American King James Version×
; Proverbs 18:17 Proverbs 18:17He that is first in his own cause seems just; but his neighbor comes and searches him.
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).

Before you jump into the “cancel culture” fray, understand the trend and practice forgiveness and due diligence.

 


 

 

Lessons from the Pilgrims’ experiment with socialism

On this 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims in America in 1620, we reflect on a failed experiment they were initially subjected to that many now want to impose on America and the rest of civilization—a socialist system that almost wiped them out.

As explained by Dr. Paul Jehle of the Plymouth Rock Foundation, the agreement between the colonial investors and settlers “was changed at the last minute . . . They were now being forced to share their homes, gardens and land in a communal arrangement as well as their labor . . .

“The Pilgrims knew by the experience of Jamestown (planted in 1607) as well as their experience in England that unless private property and labor were respected, there would be little incentive to work. The prevailing notion in England was that all use of land and labor was government-granted because the profit-motive was sinful. When the Pilgrims arrived in 1620, there was no trust in a free market” (“Economic Liberty in America: A Legacy of the Pilgrims,” PlymouthRock.org).

But they soon learned hard lessons. As commentator John Stossel writes of their experiment with socialism: “When they tried that, the Pilgrims almost starved. Their collective farming—the whole community deciding when and how much to plant, when to harvest, who would do the work—was an inefficient disaster.

“‘By the spring,’ Pilgrim leader William Bradford wrote in his diary, ‘our food stores were used up and people grew weak and thin. Some swelled with hunger . . . So they began to think how . . . they might not still thus languish in misery.’ His answer: divide the commune into parcels and assign each Pilgrim family its own property. As Bradford put it, they ‘set corn every man for his own particular . . . . [and] assigned every family a parcel of land.’

“Private property protects us from what economists call the tragedy of the commons . . . [wherein] no one person has much incentive to protect and develop it. The Pilgrims’ simple change to private ownership, wrote Bradford, ‘made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.’

“Soon they had so much plenty that they could share food with the natives. The Indians weren’t socialists, either. They had property rules of their own. That helped them grow enough so they had plenty, even during cold winters.

“When property rights are tossed aside, even for the sake of religious fellowship or in the name of the working class people just don’t work as hard. Why farm all day—or invent new ways of farming—when everyone else will get an equal share? You may not intend to be a slacker, but suddenly, reasons to stay in bed seem more compelling than they did when your own livelihood and family were dependent on your own efforts” (“Thanks, Private Property!” Townhall.com, Nov. 27, 2019).

Dr. Jehle relates what the Pilgrim fathers came to understand in these regards: “Bradford identifies several reasons why socialism (common ownership of labor) and elementary communism (common ownership of land) did not work, even among the most godly people. We can deduce at least the following from his discourse describing their 1623 decision.

“1. In a common ownership of labor and land, people tend to become lazy, not wanting to work, thus private property must undergird a free and productive economy.

“2. Under socialism, people tend to make up excuses why they can’t work, thus private profit is a key ingredient in a free economy as well.

“3. Communal living breeds discontent, for all tend to want what others have, but refuse to work for it, thus welfare must be voluntary (private charity) rather than forced (government charity).

“4. Socialism is built on pride and a presumed external equality in an open or ignorant refusal of God’s plan in the Bible so that differences between the young, adult or aged are not respected. A free economy is built, in contrast, on the respect and dignity of individual differences.

“5. Though some look at the profit motive as corrupt, it is imperative to see that it is man’s nature that is corrupt, including those who hold office in government. The free market, in contrast, is built on personal incentive and self-interest in order to overcome one’s naturally corrupt nature.

“6. Ultimately, God’s design for the economy rests on voluntary choice, which is far more productive than government force and the re-distribution of wealth . . .

“[7.] Bradford adds a seventh characteristic necessary for the success of a free economy. He states that the Pilgrims had to ‘rest on God’s providence . . . (the) need to pray that God would give them their daily bread . . .’ In other words, without prayer even a good economic system will fail.” This became apparent when a drought came right after the reapportionment of land and labor. Following a day of humble and fervent community prayer came needed gentle rains that astonished even the Native Americans.

These principles of economic freedom are enshrined in Scripture. To learn more, we encourage you to search our website ucg.org for these articles: “Freedom and Free Enterprise: Great Biblical Blessings” and “The Early Church Was Not Communist—and Neither Was Jesus” (both from the July-August 2011 issue of our formerly titled Good News magazine).

May we learn from the mistakes of the past so as not to repeat them!

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