Bunyan replies to Peale

Editor: Answering Dose 1 below, Crater signed this one John Bunyan, identifying with the author of "Pilgrim's Progress." Dave Crater writes:

Interesting you should take Dr. Peale as your namesake - there is the "power of positive thinking" irony in your note of course, but more substantively there is the hollowing out of Christian faith in the 20th century in which Dr. Peale was at the center.

It is that hollowing out which has been bearing bitter fruits like our current ones for about a century now - where faith in God becomes merely "positive thinking," belief in free markets and property rights becomes merely welfare state "capitalism;" where a government that tries to play God then plays the savior from the economic disasters it causes; where economic and financial understanding becomes merely "monetarism" or "Keynesianism" or, as Larry Kudlow wrote this morning, "we need government to act in order to fix the free market"; where genuine compassion and private generosity become merely taxation and wealth redistribution; where personal responsibility and moral hazard get pushed off to a later date when we've solved the latest crisis caused by the dearth of those very values; when political statesmanship becomes merely Barney Frank; and where republicanism and Republicanism become merely John McCain.

We'll never get the politics right until we get right who God is - hint: He's not in Washington - but from a political standpoint, "neoconservatism," a modern incarnation of the classical principles of conservative thought, has been more observed by the Bush administration in passing and in the breach than in the observance. It is the answer, not the problem.

Responses to your notes:

1. Agreed. The race is over.

2. Ditto. Perhaps now we can stop the empty cheerleading among the GOP political classes? McCain is pathetic - there is no other word for it.

3. GWB as right as ever on Iraq and history will remember him so. GWB as wrong as Hoover on financial crisis, what causes it, what fixes it, and what economic leadership is, and history will remember his $700 billion bailout as simply another weak capitulation to 20th-century statism.

4. GWB indeed a shell - the kind of shell that has taken a steady beating for doing what is right (Iraq), then instead of permanently choosing the right side of the street and building on this foreign policy conservatism a coherent and courageous set of socially and economically conservative initiatives, a la Reagan building himself and the nation a genuine legacy in exchange for the unavoidable public relations beating in the media, he routinely sells out to welfare state expansion and economic statism, trying like McCain to drive in the middle of the street and getting himself hit by traffic going in both directions. He, the nation, and the GOP have suffered inordinately as a result.

5. Agreed, though few will understand where they actually went wrong. See aforementioned dearth of economic understanding rooted in dearth of spiritual understanding.

6. Those who maintain traditional Christian faith sleep peacefully amidst the confusion, for the Almighty is still in His temple. Psalm 2 comes to mind: "Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?"

7. We should align with traditional (i.e., true) faith and classical (i.e., true) political conservatism. That means no more John McCains, Bob Doles, or Gerald Fords - how much mediocrity do we have to endure before we recognize what it looks like?

8. "A bit more deflation"? Deflation ended 5 years ago. Commodities are at twice their historic levels - we are well into a period of inflation.