What Every Demagogue Wants

“It is in connection with the deliberate effort of the skillful demagogue to weld together a closely coherent and homogeneous body of supporters that the third and perhaps most important negative element of selection enters. It seems to be almost a law of human nature that it is easier for people to agree on a negative program—on the hatred of an enemy, on the envy of those better off— than on any positive task. The contrast between the “we” and the “they,” the common fight against those outside the group, seems to be an essential ingredient in any creed which will solidly knit together a group for common action. It is consequently always employed by those who seek, not merely support of a policy, but the unreserved allegiance of huge masses. From their point of view it has the great advantage of leaving them greater freedom of action than almost any positive program. The enemy, whether he be internal, like the “Jew” or the “kulak,” or external, seems to be an indispensable requisite in the armory of a totalitarian leader.”

Hayek, F. A.. The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents–The Definitive Edition: Text and Documents–The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, Volume 2) (pp. 160-161). University of Chicago Press. Kindle Edition.

The Education of Every Mass-Shooter

Every person who picks up a firearm, knife, or machete in order to murder innocent victims has been “socialized” to commit murder. Every child and young adult today has been conditioned in destruction, for every mass-shooter knows this:

  1. That he is only alive because her mother found her convenient.
  2. That he is alive only because his father didn’t push his mother to abort.
  3. That he is alive only because her mother didn’t learn of a congenital birth defect from an ultrasound.
  4. That he is alive only because he wasn’t one child too many.
  5. That he is only alive because her mother was willing to take time off from her career.

Every child living today knows that his or her life is by the permission of someone else; that the life they enjoy is not a right, but an allowance, a permission. There is nothing unique or special about them other than that they were wanted at a particular time. They may have had siblings who were not wanted, who were the disappeared. Some even knew their twin (and more) siblings in the womb before, suddenly, one was gone.

Every child living today knows that their life depends upon someone else’s permission and that someday they can choose life or death for another: their own child before birth, their own disabled child, or an aging parent.

Someday they may decide that life itself is not worth much. It doesn’t seem to mean much if it can be tossed away so easily. Every help is given to the mother who wants to end life, and very little to the life itself, or the mother who cherishes it.

Every mass-shooter has grown up in this world and has lived these truths. Each takes this to heart. Then they merely act on what they have been taught.

Is it not odd to expect a different behaviour than that which is taught?

When the lives of others are so worthless, is it a surprise that they become targets?

Can we expect a society of peace when life is so disregarded?

We cannot simultaneously instill a respect for life and its disregard.

 

A Passage Study: 2 Timothy 2:14-19

Passage outline

The main points are all imperatives in the Greek. Studying in the original languages often shows the author’s structure or frame of ideas. Imperatives are indicated in red.

2 Timothy 2:14-19

  1. Remind (vs 14) ὑπομιμνῄσκω 2nd person singular
    1. “these things” refer to 2:8-13
    2. And charge them before God:
      1. Not to quarrel about words
        1. Which does no good
        2. But only ruins the hearers.
  2. Do your best (vs 15) σπουδάζω 2nd person singular
    1. To present yourself to God as one approved
      1. A worker who has no need to be ashamed
      2. Rightly handling the Word of Truth
  3. Avoid irreverent babble (16) περιΐστημι 2nd person singular
    1. Leads to ungodliness
    2. Spreads like gangrene
    3. Hymenaeus and Philetus as examples
  4. Depart from iniquity: )19) ἀφίστημι.
    Third-person singular. God’s firm foundation
    (19a)
    1. The Lord knows those who are his: salvation
    2. Depart from iniquity: sanctification

Emphasis: “This is what you must do in your ministry.” I.e., “This is what the Gospel ministry looks like.”

Strategies: I notice that the passage is ordered around four imperatives: 2nd person (3x); 3rd person (1x).

Context

a) the literary context (the passages on either side): The literary context is connected by “these things” in vs. 14 which refers to 2:8-13 (something of a creed). This context supplies what Timothy is to bring to remembrance, in addition to the things following vs. 14.

Vss. 20ff. illustrate the differences between the gangrene of vss. 17ff., and show the results of obeying vs. 19

b) the historical context (circumstances and culture of the audience): This context is the rise of false teachers in the church, even though it was only a few decades old. If vss. 11-13 form an early creed, this signals the likelihood of such statements, and their importance in countering false teachers (compare vs. 11b to vss. 16-18)

c) the Biblical context (connections to other places in the Bible): As Paul’s final extant letter, we see his stress upon true doctrine as against false.

Vs. 19 is not a direct quote, but an allusion to Num. 16:5; Nah. 1:7; John 10:14, 27; [Luke 13:27]; See 1 Cor. 8:3. God knows the elect. This is reassuring: an upset faith contrasted to the Lord’s knowledge of His elect.

Main Idea or Emphasis:

Keep to the main idea, the Gospel.

The Gospel in this passage:

The Resurrection is central to the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4; 15:12). The correct view of the resurrection, both of Christ and the future resurrection of the dead is essential to the Gospel.

In contrast to false-gospels, the foundation of the Gospel stands.

Application

To both believers and unbelievers: there is a canon of truth that is contained in Scripture that excludes other doctrines and teachings.

Believers need to be reminded to reject idle speculation and to learn to know the difference between Biblical doctrine and hobbies. Vs. 19 makes it clear that this kind of activity is iniquity.

Unbelievers need to be told that not everything they hear or see being taught by alleged Christians is actually true.

Preaching outline

  1. Timothy, Remind Them
    1. The Essential Truths
    2. Charge them not to quarrel about non-essentials
  2. Timothy, Do Your Best
    1. Be a fit worker
  3. Timothy, Avoid Them
    1. Avoid babble
      1. The decent into babble: upset faith
  4. Everyone, God’s foundation stands. Therefore if You Name the Name of the Lord, Depart from Iniquity
    1. You are of the elect
    2. You are therefore to forsake sin