Thursday, November 23, 2006

Is TEC Symbolic of our National Crisis?

Alice C. Linsley
November 20, 2006

In an essay titled “America's Bolshevik Revolution?” (, November 14, 2006), Stella L. Jatras wrote, “When Clinton was inaugurated in 1993, I got a call into C-SPAN and said, "I have been trying to figure out how this country could elect a womanizer, a draft dodger, a defender of baby killers, a protector of sodomites and a pot smoking liar. I have figured it out. The American people looked in the mirror, saw a reflection of themselves, and didn't see anything wrong.”

Doesn’t this explain why people stay in The Episcopal Church?

And should we be surprised by the rise in anti-Americanism when there is such a huge discrepancy between what we say we stand for as a nation and what we are? As Peter Katzenstein and Robert Keohane wrote in Varieties of Anti-Americanism (, November 10, 2006), “If anti-American expressions were simply ways to protest policies of the hegemonic power, only the label would be new. Before World War I Americans reacted to British hegemony by opposing ‘John Bull.’ Yet there is a widespread feeling that anti-Americanism is more than simply opposition to what the United States does, but extends to opposition to what the United States is — what it stands for.”

What does the United States stand for?

At the present moment it must appear a very wobbly political top. The wobble gets worse when the spin energy begins to deplete. America’s national crisis rests in our uncertainty about how the top is to be re-energized. I suggest that the only thing that will re-energize the nation is facing our divisions honestly and restoring civil public discourse. In other words, let’s be honest about our disparate visions for America. Let’s lay them out in simple terms so that American citizens can think about the differences and make informed decisions going into the 2008 presidential election.

As I see it, Americans face a choice between constitutional capitalism and vanguard neo-socialism.

Free market capitalism presents challenges because it isn’t really free since some economic controls are necessary to insure equal economic opportunity and participation. Then there is the question of whether such a system can stabilize American society if American consumers are more heavily invested in womanizing, pot smoking, and sodomy than in wholesome values that foster the common good. But that is a risk inherent in free market systems, and the market can cut both ways, as the old Walt Disney movie makers gainfully discovered. Constitutional capitalism is a socially conservative choice, with emphasis on individual rights, small government, lower taxes, traditional institutions and traditional values.

The neo-socialist direction, on the other hand, emphasizes collectivism, economic controls, big government, higher taxes, and strategies to neutralize traditional and conservative institutions such as the Church and the Military. Vanguard neo-socialism looks attractive to people who haven’t learned to read history with an eye for details. This choice envisions a nation of people socially and economically equalized, and the government will do the equalizing with the help of neo-socialist political strategists and academics. It will use the language of the Civil Rights Movement and sound honorable and altruistic, but it will not produce a pretty picture! For those of us who have watched the process unfold in The Episcopal Church, it is a familiar picture.

Neo-socialists criticize the United States for not living up to its ideals. They point to our support of dictatorships during the Cold War and to our commitment to free trade while protecting our industries and agriculture from competition. They criticize American drug firms for profiteering from human suffering. They denigrate technology as destructive of the environment, but celebrate technologies that serve their causes. They tend to lay every evil at the feet of American culture, and they do so with religious fervor. Vanguard neo-socialism is the religion of the American Left and it is the religion of The Episcopal Church’s leadership.

For many it is now clear that The Episcopal Church is a political organization posing as a church. One day, if our Constitution survives, the truth of this will be confirmed when The Episcopal Church loses its tax exempt status.

Alice C. Linsley, a former Episcopal Priest (who has renounced Holy Orders for herself, as well as for women in general), is now a catechumen in the Antiochian Orthodox Church. Alice C. Linsley is learning to become a servant of Jesus Christ in HIS kingdom, and finds it hard blessed work.

[EHB - For an in-depth treatment of neo-socialism, consult Steven Hicks' excellent book Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault.]

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