On a recent CrossPolitic Midweek Fix Chocolate Knox asked Dr. Victor Davis Hanson why accusations of hypocrisy don’t work on the Left. And Dr. Hanson went to town listing multiple instances of that hypocrisy, including a number of comments from the current president that under current circumstances would be considered flaming white hot supremacy in the mouth of anybody slightly right of David French.
Hanson went on to explain what he called the Left’s Devil’s Bargain with America. He said that the Left has offered to exonerate America of all her past sins in exchange for the power to enforce equality of outcomes. This is why people like Biden can have a career full of racist gaffs and be hailed a great healer of the nation, while Trump can make perfectly reasonable statements about there being “fine people on both sides” of the protests in Charlottesville, and the media lights its hair on fire and screams for four years about him being the most racist president in American history. Point out the hypocrisy and nobody seems to care.
After the show with Hanson, Knox and I talked a bit more about the phenomenon. The difference between Biden and Trump, or any number of other examples we might point out: Blackface Trudeau? Blackface Northam? But Megyn Kelly gets fired. Jon Gruden is forced to resign. Trudeau joins the BLM and Antifa protests in Ottawa, but invokes emergency powers for truckers with bouncy castles singing A Mighty Fortress is Our God. And you could list dozens more examples of the hypocrisy. What we are witnessing is the phenomenon of justification. The difference is that one person is justified, the other is not. One protest is justified; the other is not. And this offer of justification is by faith in the Leftist Statist offer of peace and harmony. In other words, it is an offer of salvation, and it is an offer of salvation from mere men, mere men who can barely predict the weather.
Where Nationalists and Globalists Agree
This is where the discussions of nationalism and globalism sometime miss the point. Materialists can only imagine fundamental loyalties and solutions tied to this material world, and many nationalists and globalists functionally agree here. They only happen to disagree on the point of integration. How can we have unity, harmony, coherence, meaning, dignity? The secular nationalist wants to find that integration point in his dedication to this own nation; the secular globalist wants to find that integration point in a global balance of powers. If we’re talking merely materialistic ideals, the globalists have the better vision. If nationalism is a purely humanistic construct then nations and loyalty to them is just a set up for world wars. Witness Vladimir Putin and his current Russian nationalism on full display for the world. This is what Leftists think they are eschewing when they warn against alt-right nationalists. The narrative they have embraced is that nationalism leads to imperialism, colonialism, and wars.
On the other hand, the only way a purely secular-materialist globalism could appear to actually work is if you’re so deluded to think you’re Nimrod and you think you can build a city and a tower that can reach to heaven. The attempts of men to unite the world and create peace and harmony through diplomacy and trade agreements and political summits are nothing short of blasphemous savior complexes. You could just as well do a rain dance in front of a shrine to mother earth as get world peace out of the United Nations, NATO, the European Union, the World Economic Forum, or any attempts at the Great Reset. When men set out to be gods, they start babbling incoherently and howling at the moon a few minutes later. And this doesn’t mean they can’t have done anything good or helpful in the meantime. Common grace is a thing, and thoughtful Christians sometimes find themselves in those pagan systems (witness Daniel in Babylon).
The Christian gospel interrupts, contradicts, crucifies, and resurrects both of these materialist visions: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from whence we also look for the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). While this verse is often taken out of context and misunderstood, that is no reason for ignoring what it actually means. It does not mean that Christians shouldn’t care about this world. It certainly is not an attack on Christian loyalty to our own communities, nations, or a call for apathy about international affairs. But it is a check on those loyalties and on what is humanly possible. In context, Paul is attacking the self-righteousness that creates divisions and enmity – you know the things that spiral into world wars and genocides. Paul says if our confidence could be found in the flesh, he could boast all day long about his Jewish credentials, but he considers all of that a hot steamy mess compared to the excellence of knowing Christ, so that he might be found in Him, not having his own righteousness, but the righteousness of God by faith (Phil. 3:7-8).
A Systematic Theology of Colonization
Far too many Christians glaze over right here and think Paul is just doing a systematic theology class. It certainly is true that Paul is doing high theology, but precisely because it is theology, it is also civics and political science and social science and economics and more. If Christ is risen from the dead and He is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, then there is more to be considered about human nature and relationships, society and politics than mere material factors. Nationality matters, ethnicity matters, culture matters, gender matters, economics matter, global dynamics matter, but these things only matter if there is a transcendent reference point for all of it, or to put it in the terms we just used above: they only matter if there is a transcendent integration point. If there is only chemicals and time reacting randomly, then there is only might makes right and the luck of the draw and choose your own adventure. And why can’t Putin choose his own adventure or Bruce Jenner choose his? When Paul talks about finding a righteousness, he is talking about finding human justification. He is talking about how sins are forgiven, and how human community, nations, and yes, even world peace is possible.
But how is that? Not by human righteousness, but by the righteousness of Christ, by having our fundamental citizenship in Heaven from whence we await our Savior. Our citizenship is not in Heaven merely because we look forward to going there when we die. No, Paul says that our citizenship is in Heaven because we await our King from there. We are colonists (sorry, not sorry, lefty globalists, suck it up). We are colonists of Heaven. We have been assigned the task of praying for, preaching for, and working for the Kingdom of Heaven to come to earth, that God’s will and His ways would be done on earth, as it is in Heaven, that every nation would confess Christ. The Philippians would have understood this language implicitly. Philippi was a colony of Rome. Philippi was an outpost of the empire. They had been granted certain privileges and responsibilities for bringing the culture of Rome to northeastern Greece. But that national identity needed to be relativized, subverted, crucified, and resurrected in Christ.
Utopian Cattle Cars
Christians, rightly understood, are nationalists and globalists. We are also tribalists and individualists. But please note that I said “rightly understood.” And by that I mean that every one of these layers of human existence and loyalty can only find their meaning and value in Christ. Jesus Christ is the integration point. He is the Lord, the Savior, the Judge, the Word. We cannot make any of these things work on our own. On our own, we twist them all into systems of hatred and animosity, envy and violence, even if some organizational flow charts are closer to the truth than others.
But when we submit our individual lives to Christ, when we submit our marriages and families and ethnicities to Christ, when we submit our cities and nations and alliances and treaties to Christ, He takes all of them and He destroys the enmity, the pride, the vainglory, the greed, the lust, the envy and rivalries in His cross, and He gives them back in their true forms. He gives them back in their rightful places, in their rightful hierarchy of love. He orients and re-orients your love of your homeland, your love of your family heritage, your love of your skin color, your love of your language and culture — all of these good things. But only He can do that because only He is God, because only He died and rose again for the salvation of the world. Salvation can be found in no other name under Heaven. Do you see that? Every other name is under heaven. Every other name is trying to get up to heaven, stacking humanistic chairs, one on top of another, like madmen, like egotistical grade school boys.
Now, do not hear me as simply flattening all of these things out. No, in the current zeitgeist, globalism and statism are the greatest threats, and they like nothing better than to divide us into smaller and smaller units so they can more easily herd us into their utopian cattle cars. This is why a Christian nationalism, a Christian patriotism and tight, Christian multi-generational families are huge threats to Leftist dreams of dominance. The woke ploy is all about dividing us. If they can break us up along racial and gender lines, they can break up families, tribes, communities, and nations. They offer salvation and sometimes it’s even offered with a veneer of Christianese. Christ plus “racial reconciliation” or Christ “plus empowering gluten-free queers” or whatever. But God damn all of that. Christ is sufficient. Christ is all. Christ is our Savior. If it isn’t found in Christ and in His word, it’s an idol, a false god, and a devilish distraction. You want justice? Read Deuteronomy and the Sermon on the Mount.
So the Woke Leftist Elites are offering salvation. They are offering justification and forgiveness of sins if you will only trust them to bring peace and harmony and equality. Justification by the state, by the collective is why accusations of hypocrisy don’t work. Well, actually, they don’t seem to work. That’s just what they would have you believe. But of course if they get tired of you and your sins, they will kick you to the curb. They will cancel you, and they will bury you with accusations and condemnation. So while we may feel free to point out the hypocrisy, the real power of the gospel is pointing to Christ. Christ will not kick you to the curb. Christ will not bring your sins back out of His grave to dump on your head. In Christ there is no condemnation. In Christ, there is true forgiveness of sins. In Christ, there is full and complete justification. Let all of all your personal righteousness go. Let all of your goodness go. You have none. It was all filthy rags anyway. By faith in Christ, be found in Christ, not having a righteousness of your own, but the righteousness of God, a perfect righteousness, a perfect justice, which is the only path to peace on earth.