Neil Peart needs to read John Adams
The secular world is plummeting at mach speed straight into the ground these days. In previous ages there remained a basic understanding of morality and of God which would bring people back from the brink of self-worship and hubris. But among double digit percentages of western society that’s being lost. Consider the lyricist for one of the most popular rock bands of all time.
Rush, the Canadian trio, ranks only behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones for most gold and platinum records. Most don’t know this. They are the stealth-best musicians. Unfortunately for civilization, they are avowedly evangelical-atheist and pugnacious-preachy-agnostic – a repellant way to use all that fantastic influence (their musical capabilities and work ethic are best in class).
I read with bafflement the following quote from one Neil Peart, recently retired drummer from Rush. Quoth Peart:
“It is impossible to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and be a Republican. It’s philosophically absolutely opposed—if they could only think about what they were saying for a minute.”
When I read that I frowned, puzzled, shook my head with some slappy-goldfish taped to both ears, and wondered what in the world he was talking about. It is simply flabbergasting to me that this man, as long as he’s been around, and as obviously brilliant as the guy is, could seriously say those two sentences. He's in the rock and roll hall of fame and he's that ignorant? Is he that far removed from reality? He’s unaware of the existential struggle for the American constitution? He may not wish to preserve Christian civilization of course, but he’s unaware many tens of millions of people work to preserve it every day in the form of American constitutionalism? As I thought about it for a while I realized that he is just so far deep into secular-atheism that he just has no concept at all what real Christianity is, or perhaps what real Republicanism is. He never talks to us. But does he really think the freedoms of the West came from…secular liberalism?
It’s hard to know where to start with a comment like Peart’s because it shows such a complete disconnect. But I suppose I should hit a few big doctrines of Christianity, a few big doctrines of Republicanism.
First, Christianity believes in personal, individual, moral responsibility for the human being. Not for the collective, not for vague social “forces” – the individual actor, soul, is morally responsible for individual actions. It is the human soul that sins, that repents, that does righteousness, or that does evil. The Christian principle is that the soul, the moral agent, must be reborn by infusion from God with the Grace to successfully be saved. The concept of the democratic republic was born from the principle that representative government in freedom only works when individuals, as moral agents, are governed from within by God. Washington said, “To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian. 25”. I can’t think of a more staunchly Republican statement.
Republicanism believes in a small government. Does the connection to Christianity really have to be explained? Apparently it does. The individual is the only moral agent – only the acts (of charity or anything else) I make willingly, voluntarily, with my choice, make any dent in the Kingdom of God. Groups I freely associate with – my church – are the legitimate extension of moral agency. I don’t want the government doing “charity” for me because it removes my opportunity to do it, removes my church from doing it, and doesn’t, in fact, achieve the charity.
A government, in the Bible, is intended only as a backstop, a limit, on evil, because it functions according to laws. Laws do not save, they are blunt instruments, rough goads like the end stop at the bitter end of the railroad tracks – the train is never intended to over-run the endstop. Why would I want to multiply blunt collisions? Trump is right to build the wall – border security is a legitimate function of a government - but many-walls is…a prison. Why would I want the government to displace my Christian charity, which is in every objective measure, better than secular socialism in outcome? And when the coin of the Christian realm is freedom in the Spirit, why would I want a government to continually erect limits?
Christianity believes that you must love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength, and with all your being. Jesus insisted this was the first commandment, and gave “Love your neighbor as yourself” as the second. Republicans furiously defend the Declaration of Independence as the foundation stone of the American body politic. And it is essentially a softening and reformulation of the golden rules as a civic compact: We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are Created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.
Che Guevara didn’t write that, ok?
Republicanism holds that the Declaration principles are at the root of the Republic: the Creator exists and has civic desires for His creations. And the Declaration declares the fountainhead of rights: God is Author of Writ – it is only He who can give the Unalienable. Essential to the principle of American constitutional government is that the Rights are Endowed and Unalienable. They cannot be taken away by the State.
Show me how you can believe in Unalienable without the Creator? Unalienable immediately becomes irrelevant euphemism if God is removed from Republicanism. It baffles me what planet Peart is on – there is no way to hold to rights, to the existence of the Creator, to the principle of golden rule behavior in the heart as prerequisite, without the God of the Bible. The framers considered that devout Judaism was a friend of American constitutionalism, but generally recognized that Christianity was the super majority for the civic structures set forth in the Bill of Rights.
I think what’s happened to Peart is that he has gone in for the secular-liberal definition of what Christianity is, instead of the Christian definition of it. Secular liberals – fully convinced they know everything there is to know – love to tell Christians what Christianity really is or ought to be. And invariably – with liberals progress is always towards communism – they insist that Christianity “really” ought to be about huge wealth transfer programs allegedly “helping” your neighbor because, after all, the goal of Christianity is to give your neighbor “luv” – by which liberals usually mean confiscating wealth from those who earned it in order to (forcibly) purchase (euthanasia driven) socialized health care.
Was that the thing you were driving at Neil?
But the goal of Christianity is to worship Jesus Christ – the God-man who said, “I am the Truth.” Christians care for Truth first, love of our neighbor second. Theft from all our neighbors – otherwise known as socialism – is not something we Christian conservative Republicans look on with love.
And the truth of communism is that it results, in the end, in genocide, tyranny, poor services delivered badly by monopolies, and a tiny number of wealthy despots in charge of all wealth and the masses – things that the Christian founding fathers of America understood exceedingly well. And because the Christian founders perceived tyranny’s roots were so perfectly germinated in the rejection of virtuous Jesus Christ, the Founders constantly exhorted the people that none of the institutions of constitutional self-government would outlast a moral abandonment of Christian devotion for the love of Jesus himself.
So Dr. Peart, before you say any more of this stuff, I am going to suggest you start studying the founding Christians of America – e.g. John Adams, Abigail Adams. David Barton curates these things and can help you get started. But staying in the fantasia-reality displayed by your quote about Republicans and Jesus….is fit only for an, “anarchist-reactionary running-dog revisionist”?
What – you won’t read John Adams? George Washington? Why don’t these guys count?
You’d bet your life?
( PS – I sincerely hope, Dr. Peart, that you find some good physical recovery. I was so sad to hear of the retirement due the hard toll of exertion that Rush playing has taken. You might try what the Bible observant have known for 6,000 years and what science has recently discovered: fasting restores the body.)