Opinion

John McCain Finally Admits the Truth

John McCain, described as a “maverick” by the Left, has a new book coming out. He says “that his battle with brain cancer has given him a sense of liberation to vote and speak his mind.”

What?

I wouldn’t wish brain cancer on anyone. It’s not the way I would want to die. While my sympathy is with him as he reaches the end of his life, I was startled to read the following:

“If I hadn’t admitted that to myself before this summer, a stage 4 cancer diagnosis acts as ungentle persuasion,” McCain writes. “I’m freer than colleagues who will face the voters again. I can speak my mind without fearing the consequences much. And I can vote my conscience without worry. I don’t think I’m free to disregard my constituents’ wishes, far from it. I don’t feel excused from keeping pledges I made. Nor do I wish to harm my party’s prospects. But I do feel a pressing responsibility to give Americans my best judgment.”

McCain has been in the Senate since 1987. What has he been doing for 31 years? Has he been lying to the voters?

He’s freer now since he does not have to “face the voters.” What does that mean? Senators take an oath to uphold the Constitution. That used to be a big deal. Not anymore. The Constitution is a contract with “We the people.”

The following has been attributed to Thomas Jefferson:

The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.

Senators do not have the freedom to vote in terms of the “will of the people.” They must vote in terms of the limited authority of the Constitution. The Constitution is a document of enumerated powers. We’re in a political mess because people like McCain don’t keep their oath.

McCain feels a “pressing responsibility to give Americans my best judgment.” That’s not what he was elected to do. He was bound to abide by the restrictions of the Constitution. If every Senator believed that his judgment was the best judgment, we would have political anarchy. Actually, we do have political anarchy, every Senator doing what he believes is his best judgment.

Describing the political environment overall, the Arizona Republican writes that he is dismayed by the “scarcity of humility in politics these days.”

“I suspect it’s never been in abundant supply in most human enterprises,” McCain writes according to the excerpt. “And I don’t mean modesty. Any politician worth a damn can fake modesty. Humility is the self-knowledge that you possess as much inherent dignity as anyone else, and not one bit more. Among its other virtues, humility makes for more productive politics.”

True humility is keeping your oath. Humility is understanding that “your best judgment” isn’t the issue. Voting to support and finance a policy that is not found in the Constitution based on “your best judgment” is arrogance.

McCain isn’t the only one. Congress is made up of people who believe their “best judgment” trumps the Constitution. Of course, the people are equally confused about the stated limits of those elected to office. They want free stuff by voting for people like McCain who will vote to take money from some people so he can give it to other people.

Government has become a substitute god for many people, and politicians their priests. Consider:

When people rely on the government to supply their needs – free health care, welfare, or public housing, for example – they are less likely to view God as their provider, a new study shows.

“If the function that religiosity provides can be acquired from some other source, the allure of religion will diminish,” authors Miron Zuckerman and Chen Li of the University of Rochester and Ed Diener of the Universities of Utah and Virginia wrote in their study.

“If a secular entity provides what people need, they will be less likely to seek help from God or other supernatural entities. Government is the most likely secular provider,” the researchers wrote. “We showed in two cross-sectional analyses, one using world countries and one using states in the United States, that better government services were related to lower levels of religiosity.”

“If benefits acquired in the religious exchange can be acquired elsewhere, religion becomes less useful,” the paper states. (The Blaze)

If McCain is seeking humility, he and the other 99 Senators need to acknowledge publically that the State is not god and they are neither priests nor fathers to the people:

Rulers have ever been tempted to play the role of father to their people…. The state that acts like a wise parent instead of a vindictive judge has been an attractive image to many people. They include ecclesiastical authorities who have completely missed the point of the gospel warning to “call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Matt. 23:9). The father is the symbol not only of authority but also of provision. “Our Father who art in heaven…. Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:9, 11). Looking to the state for sustenance is a cultic act [an act of worship]; we rightly learn to expect food from parents, and when we regard the state as the source of physical provision we render to it the obeisance of idolatry. The crowds who had fed on the multiplied loaves and fishes were ready to receive Christ as their ruler, not because of who he was but because of the provision. John Howard Yoder has rightly interpreted that scene: “The distribution of bread moved the crowd to acclaim Jesus as the new Moses, the provider, the Welfare King whom they had been waiting for.”

The paternal state not only feeds its children, but nurtures, educates, comforts, and disciplines them, providing all they need for their security. This appears to be a mildly insulting way to treat adults, but it is really a great crime because it transforms the state from being a gift of God, given to protect us against violence, into an idol. It supplies us with all blessings, and we look to it for all our needs. Once we sink to that level, as [C.S.] Lewis says, there is no point in telling state officials to mind their own business. “Our whole lives are their business” [God in the Dock, p. 134]. The paternalism of the state is that of the bad parent who wants his children dependent on him forever. That is an evil impulse. The good parent prepares his children for independence, trains them to make responsible decisions, knows that he harms them by not helping them to break loose. The paternal state thrives on dependency. When the dependents free themselves, it loses power. It is, therefore, parasitic on the very persons whom it turns into parasites. Thus, the state and its dependents march symbiotically to destruction.

When the provision of paternal security replaces the provision of justice as the function of the state, the state stops providing justice. The ersatz [artificial and inferior substitute] parent ceases executing judgment against those who violate the law, and the nation begins losing benefits of justice. Those who are concerned about the chaos into which the criminal justice system has fallen should consider what the state’s function has become. Because the state can only be a bad imitation of a father, as a dancing bear act is of a ballerina, the protection of this Leviathan of a father turns out to be a bear hug.1

I wish Sen. McCain well. If he really wants to make a statement, he should memorize the above from Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction and with what time he has to go on every talk show in the nation and recite it. Now that would be a legacy to leave the nation.

  1. Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian faith and American Culture (Westchester, IL: Crossway, [1983] 1990), 183-184. []
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