The Apathy of the Middle

Anyone who knows me knows that I am disappointed in the direction the United States is going these days.  I continue to be bewildered that the American people tolerate the wholesale changes being made to our political system with little more than a whimper.  While I think it is dangerous to categorize people too broadly, the present day American political landscape can be described broadly as being made up three groups.  The first is the group that understands what the collectivists wants to do and supports it. When I say they support it, I mean that not only do they believe it is right, they are taking action to achieve the goals. The second group are the people who oppose every move the collectivists are making. At the moment they don’t have a voice in our political system, as those politicians who say they agree with the dissenters lack the courage to take any action. The third group is quite simply not actively involved on either side because they just don’t care.

The ancient Roman government had a saying that if you gave the people “bread and circuses”, that is to say benefits and entertainment, you could govern in any way you chose. I look at the political landscape today and can see the truth in this. 120 million Americans voted in the last presidential election. 300 million people live here. Why do so few vote? Many people look at politics as a pastime, like you would look at a sport. Some people are interested in soccer. A lot aren’t, so they don’t watch the games. People who aren’t “fans” of politics often don’t “watch the games” because there are other pastimes they find more interesting.

I have also run into a lot of people who are not engaged in politics because they dislike the confrontation and convictions that go with strong political beliefs. They want us all to be tolerant of each other and live peaceful lives. I can’t blame them for those desires, but they are incredibly naïve.

In contemporary politics, polling is critical. Therefore you see the population broken into demographic groups and analyzed as statistics instead of people. When analyzing polling data it is easy to miss that these groups are made up of real people.  When you see issues play out at your church or in your workplace, you can obtain insight into what people think and you can draw some conclusions about why things are going the way they are in the broader sense of contemporary politics.

Based on what I have observed at church and at the office, I assert that the group in the middle is the driving force in our culture at the moment. These people are decent people, but they don’t have confidence in what they believe. They don’t want to make waves or confront people. Maybe they don’t want to be distracted from their entertaining lives to be a part of something great.

The consequences of this political apathy are grave.  Ideally, I think there should be a sense of responsibility that accompanies the right to choose your own leaders.  I know it is controversial, but I would say that those who have no knowledge about the issues of the day should have to sacrifice their rights of suffrage, because they have shirked the responsibilities that are attached.

Obviously, that would never happen in this political climate.  As a result, the lack of principles among the American apathetic is what is turning the United States from an exceptional nation into a below average one before our very eyes.

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Jackie Robinson

These days it seems as if you can’t escape the realm of adoration for Jackie Robinson.  One who is not familiar with his life may be tempted to roll his eyes at the media obsession over this man.  The media tends to go overboard on everything that promotes their agenda, so naturally I am very skeptical of anyone they hold up so high.  Every spring, Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson day, where every player wears #42 on his jersey (which is a play-by-play broadcaster’s worst nightmare).  In fact, every team has retired the number 42, so that nobody can ever wear it again except on Jackie Robinson Day.

In 2013, the movie “42” was released.  This is an excellent movie which chronicles Robinson’s experiences as he broke the color barrier.  After watching it I further studied the subject and have developed some ideas of my own about what happened and why.

First, I will jump on the bandwagon in praise of Jackie Robinson.  However, the fact that he broke the color barrier isn’t what made him special.  The barrier was going to be broken anyway and it was a matter of who and when.  It was how Robinson conducted himself during these difficult years that made him the legend he is today.  That is why Branch Rickey picked him.  Robinson had the self-discipline to absorb a lot of abuse.  He had a very supportive family.  He had a heart for his cause.  He was an outstanding player and did not have a need for self promotion.  If he had been missing one of these traits, he would have failed.  If someone else had been selected for this task, such as Satchel Paige (to whom self-promotion was second nature), he probably would not have succeeded.

Now I will stay on the bandwagon and lament the fact that Major League Baseball was too blind to see the contribution that black players could make to the game for so long.  Any fan worthy of the title is curious how Paige or Buck O’Neill or Josh Gibson would have matched up against Walter Johnson or Lefty Grove or Babe Ruth.  Unfortunately, the mainstream culture at the time had a blind spot when it came to black Americans that we cannot comprehend today.  A friend of mine suggested that it is conceivable that we have a similar blind spot in our culture today, but can’t perceive it.  How will our descendants judge our treatment of Jews?  Christians?  Hmong peoples?  the poor?  Where is our blind spot?

jackie-robinson-and-branch-rickey

I am going to leave the bandwagon now and comment on the conventional wisdom concerning integration and civil rights.  The sources are clear on the point that Branch Rickey decided to tackle the integration issue for competitive reasons.  If he could sign top tier ball players that nobody else wanted he would have an advantage over every other team in the league.  This actually proved to be the case in the late 40’s when Brooklyn was consistently in the pennant race with the likes of Robinson and Roy Campanella.  I don’t want to imply that Rickey was greedy.  He was a devout Christian who believed the Bible’s teaching that God loves and values every man, so this was an opportunity to promote Christian values while improving the Dodgers.

Because of these factors, the integration of Major League Baseball was inevitable.  If Branch Rickey hadn’t done it, some other owner or GM would have eventually realized the advantages and made it happen.  This is also true of other industries.  If one company refuses to hire the best man for a job due to his race, the company that ultimately hires him will have a competitive advantage over the company that refused.  In this way free enterprise will always be the best way to overcome prejudices; not protests, movements, or riots.

What does this statement say about the civil rights movement in America?  My assertion is that this movement was unnecessary for its stated purpose.  Jackie Robinson did more for the status of black Americans in 1947 than the civil rights movement ever did in the decade of the sixties.  I am not taking anything away from Martin Luther King, who was a great American Christian and whose message still resonates today.  I also do not deny that political pressure during the sixties did lead to some changes.  However, the civil rights movement always was and continues to be about politics, not cultural change.  It takes more than political pressure to change a man’s heart and make him think compassionately about other men.

Along those lines, there is another reason Jackie Robinson succeeded where others may have failed.  Robinson lived his life in a way that mainstream Americans could relate to.  He was a family man.  He did not ask for or expect special treatment.  He served in the military during the war.  He succeeded because he worked hard and took nothing for granted.  He was a good teammate.  Because of these traits, his teammates, and, ultimately, the American baseball fan, could not resist him for long.  I think this shows us that much of what is called racism today is not actually an aversion to people of a different race.  It is actually an aversion to differences in culture that are not understood or appreciated.  The fact that inner city culture has little in common with the culture in flyover country contributes more to the conflicts between people in America than race does.  It is unfortunate that people who control the flow of information in the United States are more than happy to blur this issue by equating race with culture, which has on many occasions incited unjust accusations and mob rule.  As always, it is up to good, informed, American people to discern the difference between race conflict and cultural issues and be the voice of sanity when emotions carry lesser men away.  We can learn a lot from Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey.

Review of Son Of Hamas

The book “Son Of Hamas” is an autobiography written by Mosab Hassan Yousef and chronicles his conservative Muslim upbringing within the Hamas power struggle.  The book became a real page turner when he started to share his experience as a collaborator for Shin Bet and his conversion to Christianity.  This book has been on my reading list since it was published in 2008, but only recently have I had the time to search for it and read it.

son of hamas

The style of the book is very frank in nature.  Yousef describes bloody scenes of terrorism and reprisal in a way that sometimes seems detached.  He goes on to explain how these experiences affected him in a deeply personal and moving way.  However, the style of writing tells me that 1) the sheer quantity of violence a Palestinian witnesses in a lifetime is numbing, and 2) the culture in Israel and Palestine doesn’t value life the way we do in the United States, or even in Europe.  Though these points may seem rather obvious it is important we do not take them for granted as we read this book.

My understanding of the political circumstances in Palestine improved exponentially after reading this book.  I will admit my understanding was very weak before reading this book, but I think that is typical of 99% of Americans.  We tend to trust the information fed to us by the media (both conservative and liberal) that is always heavily slanted one way or the other.  Yousef does a marvelous job capturing the Palestinian bitterness over the Israeli occupation and conservative Muslim predispositions toward Jihad early in the book, as he explains how he was filled with hatred for Israel as a youth.  Ultimately he made a decision to act on that hatred, which landed him in prison.  On the flip side, he does an excellent job of describing the events and circumstances that led to his decision to help the Israelis.  These involved seeing the Israelis as people instead of objects of hatred, witnessing the cruelty of Hamas against the Palestinians, and seeing his father, a non-violent Muslim, passively condone the violence of Hamas against Israel.

The most important theme of the book in the eyes of Yousef is the power of Jesus Christ to solve the problems in the Middle East.  That is Yousef’s mission in this life.  More precisely, the command that Jesus gave us to love our enemies is the passage in scripture that led Yousef to Christ.  He is right to believe that if 1,000 influential men on each side took this command to heart, they could change the world and save many lives in Palestine.  Admittedly, to us this seems rather far fetched considering the Jews and Muslims have been at each other since 1948.  On the other hand, would you ever have thought one of the most powerful men in Hamas could embrace Christ and work to save lives in Israel?  This is an incredible story that should give us a great deal of hope.

After finishing the book, I spent some time combing the internet for additional material about this interesting man.  What I found were a couple of very good speeches he gave to a secular audience.  One of these speeches in particular struck me between the eyes.  Even though Yousef became a follower of Christ, he is very critical of the American church because of our many denominations and our tendency toward legalism.  In Yousef’s view, a follower of Christ is a follower of Christ and the disunity that is created by all of our denominations and silly rules only distracts us from what is most important – the spreading of the gospel of Christ.  I happen to agree with him.

Creation Museum – review

About a month ago our family visited the Creation Museum located in northern Kentucky just outside Cincinnati, Ohio.  To be honest I wasn’t certain what to expect, however, it did not take long for the tone to be set.  One of the first exhibits was an explanation that the predisposition that people have, based on their belief, biases how those people use the facts they obtain.  In other words, someone who believes in evolution will evaluate a fossil and it’s surroundings and come to a completely different conclusion than someone who believes in the Biblical account of history. 

The founders of the museum are not shy about the fact that they are interpreting artifacts and science based on their Christian beliefs.  The exhibits walk us through history as it is told in the Bible, assuming it is true, and make educated guesses about how those events happened.  What I found particularly interesting was the explanation about how the flood occurred, which incorporated much about what has been hypothesized on tectonic plate movement.  The difference is they maintain this all happened in a very short time.  These assertions are not free of problems, especially considering that tectonic plate theory is not universally accepted as true in any context.

Another major observation is that there are many wonderful archaeological exhibits, but there are even more artistically created scenes from the Bible that use skillfully produced wax models.  This gives the museum a less scientific feel than artistic one, but that should not minimize the great scientific displays, such as the massive insect collection.  At the end of the day, this museum is a exhibition of the Bible and even ends with gospel presentation.

Overall the experience was very enjoyable.  In addition to the exhibits, there are film presentations that are well produced, a planetarium, and a wonderful gift shop.  I would recommend this museum to anyone, whether a believer or not.

Patriotism

Patriotism is a word in its numerous forms that invokes reactions within us ranging from love to hate. It causes men and women to lay down their own lives in the service of their countries by subjecting themselves to unbelievable acts of violence. It also has caused men to commit heinous acts in the name of their country. Some examination of what provokes the emotion of patriotism is in order.

What is it that we are expressing our allegiance to when we are chanting “USA”? A nation is made of three fundamental pillars. The first is the territory that nation occupies and the second is the people that are its subjects or citizens. The third is something more illusive – the context in which the other two exist.

Is there anything special about a territory of this planet that justifies our allegiance to it? All of us have a certain attachment to the place we came from. Also, the land can be a source of a plethora of resources that can make men wealthy and comfortable. In some parts of the world, where civilizations have been present since antiquity, the land holds the treasures that are the legacies of these perished civilizations. After all these benefits provided by our land are considered, can we say with honesty that the patch of land we live on is any better than any other patch of land in the world? If we say it is, that is probably due to a personal attachment to our home that has very little to do with the sovereign nation in which we reside.

What about the people? Isn’t there something special about the people born in our nation that merits our patriotism – our desire to stand up for them? We need to ask ourselves whether a child born in our country is any different than a child born elsewhere. When we do that we find that every child is burdened with the curse of sin with no regard to the nation in which they are born. At the same time, God grants newborn children with gifts and talents regardless of the country of their birth. We can safely say that the people in our nation are fundamentally no different than the people in other nations. However, the setting that people are brought up within invariably effects the character of that people. That brings us to the third important pillar of a nation.

This third feature of a nation can be called “culture”, but this word is so often used in this day and age to describe such a wide variety of social factors that I want to use the example of the United States to examine the word and its meaning in the context of patriotism. In the United States (at least until recent times) immediately after a child is born that child is made aware of the almost infinite potential he or she has to reach the pinnacle of their desires, whether worldly or otherwise, due to the framework of our society and culture passed down via the US Constitution. The values that have propagated and evolved due to the Constitution are what make America exceptional. Our resources are similar to other nations’, but our Constitution provides the values that allow us to create more wealth with our resources. Our people are no different than other people, but our Constitution creates an environment that allows every human being a chance to reach his or her full potential. This document is only an example of how this phenomenon works worldwide through many varied social and political customs. If one thinks about how the Constitution affects the way we think about life in so many areas it is almost staggering.

Of the three pillars on which a nation is built that are discussed above, the last is the one on which we should base our patriotism. By focusing on the first two we can potentially be led down the path of Nationalism, which was manifested in its most extreme form by the Nazis. They preyed on the loyalty of most Germans to the land and the people of Germany while discarding the Lutheran traditions that defined the real positive differences between Germany and its neighbors.

Likewise, we need to decide in America what is the true object of our patriotism. We as Americans are occasionally confronted with saying the Pledge of Allegiance in a public setting. Most of us comply, but are we thinking about what we are pledging our allegiance to? If the Constitution is set aside in favor of an alternative form of government that is immoral would we still pledge allegiance to our flag? Our country?

We Americans are living in times in which those in power desire to transform the US political system to a degree that you can’t tell the Constitution was written for the country in which we reside. I would say we should resist any transformation of this kind. I would even go so far as to say it would be unpatriotic not to resist. If our resistance would prove to be ineffectual, God commands me to be obedient to the leader he has placed over me, but I will not be patriotic.

On the other hand, if another nation were to pick up our discarded Constitution and use it as the basis for their government, I would call myself an instant patriot of that nation. Some may call me a traitor for so easily changing my allegiance, but in the end I am not attached to the territory of America. Neither am I tethered to Her people. What I will take with me to my grave is a devotion to the IDEA of America.

Coen Brothers – No Country For Old Men

This is a film review that can’t be considered timely by any definition.  The primary reason for that fact is that I do not relish viewing contemporary movies because they are just plain not as good as movies made in the Golden Age of Hollywood.  “No Country For Old Men” is a film created by the most celebrated producers of the modern era that won Picture Of The Year honors for 2007.  Since it was so well received and it happened to be on TV, I invested the time to view the film.

no country

The setting of the film is a small Texas town where the sheriff is a weak old man (Tommy Lee Jones) who is the victim of a culture that is degrading before his eyes.  After a drug deal went bad and resulted in pile of dead bodies and an unclaimed fortune, the sheriff appears helpless.  However, an average citizen (Josh Brolin), who happens to be the only likable character in the movie, has the guts and the resourcefulness to stand up to the career criminals for a period of time.  The assassin played by Javier Bardem is the most intriguing character in the movie, mostly because he seems to be omniscient and indestructible.

The point here is said to be that the world we know is being overtaken by a chaotic, violent new reality.  The thing is, it does not really reflect a reality that most of us can relate to, so the message is lost on me.  I suspect many people watched it because it was made by the Coens, which means lots of graphic violence, an engaging plot, and dark comedy.  Except this film wasn’t funny.  Like many productions of our era, the plot ends abruptly and all sympathetic characters are extinguished.  I know that was in a way the point, but I’m afraid the fact that this movie won accolades says more about the decline of American culture than it does about the quality of this film.

A Brief Case Against Evolution

I have lately been reading and commenting in blogs written by atheists for atheists.  One assertion I am tired of hearing is how one has to ignore science in order to be a Christian.  As an engineer who has had training in physical sciences and the scientific method, I find this assertion to be an insult.  In fact, when you impartially consider evidence put forward to support many popular “scientific facts”, you quickly realize that the evidence is flimsy and defending such things like evolution, global warming, and the big bang theory take an impressive leap of faith.

Consider the theory of evolution. Microevolution is undeniable.  There are countless documented instances of species, such as bacteria, that undergo changes through the process of natural selection or genetic drift.  The problem has been the tendency to take this evidence and extrapolate it to provide evidence for the creation of all species over millions and millions and millions and millions of years.

While it is true that a species could experience enough microevolution over a period of time to actually emerge as a new species, the physical evidence that all species evolved from the same starting point in this manner is unconvincing.  There is an embarrassing lack of transitional fossils to support a theory of gradual evolution.  In fact, many evolutionists, including famous evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould, expressed consternation at the fact that the fossil record actually shows abrupt transitions and not gradual ones.  The “Cambrian explosion” is the most stark example of this.  Also, dating techniques have been demonstrated to be notoriously unreliable beyond a certain distance in time.

There are other problems with the theory.  If the Earth had been created millions of years ago, extrapolating the changes in rotational speed and magnetic field of the earth takes us to a point in time in the past where the planet could not exist.  Also, it seems incredible to me that a cell, which in most textbooks consists of 13 components, each with a specific function to help the cell survive, could be randomly created in a pool of dirty water with no external inputs.  In fact, this has been attempted unsuccessfully in laboratories on numerous occasions.

There are many books written that go into details on the topics I gloss over briefly above.  This is not a forum in which I intend to lay out the evidence point by point.  Suffice it to say I have studied enough evidence to convince me evolutionary theory is fiction.

At this point you may be expecting me to convince you to abandon evolutionary thought and face the facts that God created the world in six days.  Frankly, I don’t have the evidence to prove that.  The evidence does favor a young Earth with species that arrive on the scene abruptly, but it is not God’s way to reveal our origins to us with undeniable scientific certainty.  When you study the life of Abraham, you see that he did not follow God until he was 75 years old.  In fact, his family were pagans, but somehow Abraham discerned God’s presence, perhaps through His creation, perhaps in some other way.  Gradually his faith in God grew (after many trials and mistakes) to the point where he was willing to sacrifice his only son to the Lord.  While scientific reason could conceivable lead a man like Abraham in God’s direction,  It was God working through the circumstances of Abraham’s life that caused his faith to grow.

What I am trying to say is you will not find convincing evidence of God’s existence in the study of science.  What you might find are hints and clues of the existence of this higher power.  My prayer is that when you find these clues they will stir in you a desire to understand who God is and ultimately a desire to respond to Him by accepting Him into your life.

Orwell’s 1984

George Orwell’s classic novel, 1984, is considered the best of a number of books released in the 1950’s that prophesied and bemoaned the effects of communism.  Based on Orwell’s personal beliefs, which are said to have favored socialism, we can surmise that his disaffection with communism was due to his belief that those that believed in the equality that socialism offered were in fact their own worst enemies. Orwell is warning us against allowing our society to succumb to tactics of power hungry men who might hijack a good idea and oppress other men to maintain their own power.  30 years after 1984, it is worth taking another look at Orwell’s warning to measure how much of his prediction was hysteria and how much was keen observation of real human tendencies.

1984-George-Orwell

One point the book makes that has always been considered central to its purpose is the effect of nuclear weapons and of war itself on the relations between superpowers.  In 1950 Orwell accurately predicted the principle of Assured Mutual Destruction, which in essence says that we are made safe from destruction via nuclear attack because the proliferation of nuclear arms guarantees the destruction of all combatants after the first shot is fired.  This was a much bigger deal in the 50’s and 60’s than it is today because it is discussed relatively little in a public forum.  However, the same conditions still exist now as did during the Cold War – with less political stability.  It would be interesting to test Orwell’s theory that once a combatant is significantly weaker than the others that combatant will be quickly destroyed.  The way American collectivists rush to throw away our arms, this test may occur sooner than we would like.

The way the book presents the institutions of the tyrannical socialist regime of Oceania is worth discussion.  Orwell presents the Ministry of Love and the Thought Police as violent arms of the government that insist that the citizen be converted to the belief that the untrue is true without questioning it.  This is an obvious criticism of Stalin’s Soviet Union, but these fictional agencies always tempt us to draw comparisons to our own government.  For instance, the way the agenda driven media covers news is very biased in favor of the collectivist cause.  This is, of course, a much softer sell than we see in 1984, but it can be clearly seen that the ultimate goal is the same.  Also, political correctness came about for the same purpose as Orwell’s Thought Police – to change the way people think by changing the language.  Consider some of these recent substitutions in our language: “climate change” replaces “global warming”; “undocumented immigrant” replaces “illegal alien”; etc.  Finally, we are witnessing a rewriting of American history in our public schools through continually questioning of the integrity of the founding fathers and a criticism of the personal and economic freedoms that are a crucial principle of the foundation of our country.  Of course we have to acknowledge the Orwellian institutions appear much more sinister than our modern counterparts.  He is undoubtedly using an exaggerated evil to clearly illustrate the danger of the direction we are heading.

To me the most surprising part of the book was when the “why” was revealed to Winston Smith.  When Smith said he understood “how” the Party maintained itself, but not “why”, the answer was very blunt.  Power for its own sake.  I think this is true in all governments more than anyone cares to admit.  That is why we must always question the purity of the motives of men in politics.  Even though they tell us they are doing something for our good (and may have even convinced themselves of this) they are just as likely to pursue a course of action for the power and personal gain that will come to them.

In the end, 1984 is a depressing book that is useful as a warning.  The United States is on its way to becoming a socialist democracy.  Let’s take Orwell’s warning seriously so we don’t doom our children to living in a new version of the Soviet Union.

“Racism” Is Cultural

Many black Americans share anecdotes about being victims of racism in daily life.  The racism is expressed through poor service in restaurants and other public venues, unwarranted attention by business owners and security guards, and many other ways.  The recent Trayvon Martin murder case brought this issue to the forefront again, as the president bemoaned the fact that this condition is so prevalent.

I will be the first to admit that discrimination exists.  However, I will question whether that discrimination is typically racially motivated.  Though discrimination based on race undeniably exists (against all groups), I believe that the reason for most discrimination is usually more cultural than racial.

Let’s look at the case of Irish immigrants that arrived in the United States in the late 19th century.  They were white.  In fact, they looked very much like the majority of the US population at the time.  However, they were poor, Catholic, and willing to do any work to support their families, which made them culturally different than the predominant American culture at the time.  The fear the predominant culture had for the invading immigrant culture resulted in severe discrimination against Irish immigrants.

In modern America, we essentially have at least two distinct cultures.  One is the “traditional” American culture.  The defining features of this culture may be 1) strong family values and relationships, 2) you deserve the possessions that you work for, and 3) human life is valued highly.  A second culture I would identify is inner city culture.  The features of this culture may be 1) family relationships are not necessarily the most important, 2) if it feels good, do it, and 3) it is the responsibility of the fortunate to support the unfortunate.

Because of the different ways of life that these two cultures lead, when the cultures collide they fear each other.  For example, there is fear by one that a member of the other will violently take his possessions.  There is a fear by the other that his possessions are being taken systematically.  Thus, there is a mutual distrust that can easily be construed as racist, but is not.  In other words, when two black men of opposite cultures encounter one another, the distrust exists, regardless of the fact that they are of the same race.

I would recommend that you test this theory yourself by observation.  Because of the continued spread of the inner city culture over the traditional American culture, clashes between the two will continue to be constant.  In other words, there will be no shortage of case studies for the social scientist.

Is Compromise The Answer?

Compromise.  The virtuous word of modern politics.  The only word that may be more virtuous is “bipartisan”.

In the case of the recent debt ceiling battle, the c word has everyone giddy with happiness now that the government has reopened.  Of course, there was no compromise here, only the other c word – “cave”.  In fact, a compromise, though not impossible, was highly unlikely in this case.  The reason that there could be no compromise is due to the political landscape in America that has evolved over the last 15 years.

Throughout history, all governments have multiple factions or parties that disagree about a great many things.  In most cases, the opposing parties have similar visions of where the nation is going.  The main disagreement in these cases is the path to take to fulfill the vision.  In some cases, however, the visions of the opposing parties do not coincide.  Here are a few examples.

In 17th century England, the Stuart kings had a tendency toward Catholicism and absolute monarchy. Another party in England, known to us as the Puritans, believed in freedom of conscious and limited monarchy.  As it turned out, there was little common ground between these two parties once the Puritans gained control of the House of Commons.  The result was many years of civil war, the execution of King Charles I, and a government that operated outside constitutional boundaries for many years.

In the United States before the Civil War slavery caused a similar problem.  There is little room for compromise between a faction that believes slavery should be legal and a faction that believes it should be banned.

We are in the midst of a similar situation now.  We have one faction that is committed to maintaining the traditional economic and personal freedoms as described in the Constitution.  The other faction is committed to leaving those traditions and transforming the United States into a collectivist nation.  Regardless of which position you agree with, you must recognize there is virtually no common ground between the two positions.  As a result, the only way any agenda moves forward is with a total defeat of the other faction.

So that is the essence of what happened in the debt ceiling fight.  The faction that supports traditional America was totally defeated.  There will be more battles and more defeats for one faction or the other.  The problem is, these factions still exist regardless of what happens on the political playing field.  In the historical examples above, when one of the factions lost a series of political battles, the result was war.  Let’s pray that doesn’t happen this time.