Tuesday, September 15, 2009

THE POLITICAL DISTRACTION


Being one who doesn't watch much TV to speak of anymore, I must say that it's nice to be free of most of the political distractions. Even so, today I turned on one of the programs that is getting much attention these days. The whole program was basically dedicated to the corruption of the systems in this nation and the loss of decency in our culture. All I could think was...Does it take Sherlock Holmes to figure that one out? What is stunning to me is how corruption has been ignored and accepted by the population for so long with it in full view for our eyes to see. (I could have added something about that one in the last post IGNORING THE OBVIOUS)

People have spoken of corruption in the realm of government and the private sector for as long as I can remember...and yet people still praise and look to governement and the private sector for leadership. Seems to me that there is a complete void in leadership in both. What's more stunning than that reality is how long I allowed myself to be duped by it all, thinking the clubs I ran in had the answers and everyone else had it wrong. Turns out that the "To be a good citizen you must....." and the "To be a good Christian you must....."mantras are rather effective ones in keeping us in the space of ignoring the obvious and playing along.

The TV program sent me to a book that actually turned out to be very timely read for me when it dropped into my life a couple years ago. I had never even heard of Jacques Ellul before. This was written 21 years ago.


"The unions, the labor halls, decentralization, the federative system---all are gone. The perverse use that has been made of them has destroyed them. The matter is all the more urgent because all our political forms are exhausted and practically nonexistent. Our parliamentary and electoral system and political parties are just as futile as dictatorships are intolerable. Nothing is left. And this nothing is increasingly aggressive, totalitarian, and omnipresent. Our experience today is the strange one of empty political institutions in which no one has any confidence any more, of a system of government which functions only in the interests of a political class, and at the same time of the almost infinite growth of power, authority, and social control which makes any one of our democracies a more authoritarian mechanism than the Napoleonic state." from the book Anarchy and Christianity

11 comments:

Sue said...

I've been thinking a lot about authority recently. Not authority because it comes in a navy blue uniform. And not because it is professionalised authority. It seems to me there is such a lack of real authority - the inherent kind that comes out of someone being fully present within themselves, with a clear eye and some courage. The sort of authority that Jesus had that drew people to him. And so there is this false kind of authority, the sort from uniforms and positions and from pieces of paper. Authority bought rather than authority gained.

How strange that this sort of authority is so lacking these days. I think it is because of what Ellul says here.

Sue said...

PS: Its so weird this whole area. It's so clear and obvious and yet at the same time it feels so fuzzy and difficult to see. Strange ...

Kent said...

It's such a scary thing to question for most people and so difficult because we have been told over and over this kind of authority is here to protect us.

It's part of that overwhelming desire to have uncertainty removed from our lives. What is being promised can't be delivered on but it seems since the most powerful governing force in people's lives is fear, they keep putting their hope in systems, be they political...economic...religious...social...etc. etc.

Kent said...

Even though those things are hollow they can be seen...The real substance is in someone and something that cannot be seen.

Anonymous said...

"The real substance is in someone and something that cannot be seen."

you are mad. that brought on 911 and countless number of religious wars in the past.

Sue said...

Well, Anon, that's going on the assumption that all faith in something unseen requires and elicits the same sort of fanatical behaviuor. Which is just patently untrue

Kent said...

Sue, it is a huge assumption that anon makes thinking I'm talking about religion. But I can understand the leap to such an assumption. Humanity has been defined up to this point by such things. You and I know I'm speaking of something that frees us from this nightmare that is partially due to competing religions and tribalism and fear and violence.

For anon's benefit I will at least say that Ellul is not defending Christendom in this book.

Sue said...

The assumption is so strongly held here in Australia, you'd be amazed. Whenever the God word comes up, people are just totally convinced they've got him pegged, and that he's a tossbag. Separating the strands of what people do in the name of God and God doesn't seem to occur to them. Lazy thinking.

Anyway, I think shithouse foreign policy brought on 911 more than anything but that's another story ... :)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Kent said...

And Sue, it's a lot of shithouse foreign policy coulped along with the disasterous "Christain Nation" mantra that just keeps humans painting onto God's face something he/she/it is not.

Rich said...

Kent as usual I enjoyed your thoughts, here are some of mine.

The political tyranny that you speak of is interesting as I see it being but a metaphor for a far more all invasive inner tyranny. Look at the children of Israel being extricated from their Egyptian bondage, talk about a corrupt demoralizing system. In my opinion this perverted and corrupt system was but an outer shadow of a sinister monster hidden within the lives of those who saw themselves as being exempt from this reality. It wasn’t long after exiting what they saw as their taskmasters that the real one came rushing to the forefront of their supposed freedom, they were slaves of the inner tyranny of sin.

Fast forward this same picture to the totality of the corrupt system assimilating anything that stood in the way of Rome’s total dominance. The Jews in Jesus’ day were convinced his appearing in their real estate (neck of the woods) was to kick Roman ass, once again they had a deliverer who would set things right, and I’m sure in the faint historical memories of their mind this was of a similar undertaking through one of their great patriarchs, Moses!

Bottom line, Jesus as you know was coming to us for the purpose of Life, something ALL dead humanity stood in need of. The Jews of that hour differed in no way to their ancestors held captive to Pharaoh back in Egypt, they were under the tyranny and complete slaves to SIN, Jesus was aiming far higher than trying to establish a decent and just government for the people!!

Kent said...

As you said Rich...much higher...not even in the same game.