So are you going to have your cake? Or eat it?

There is this whole line of argument used most commonly by people on the far(ish) right.  It’s also sometimes used by the people on the more extreme left.  The thing that occured to me today, is there’s a bit of inconsistency, whichever side is using it.

The argument goes like this: The American people are being duped by a media gone out of control.  At worst, there is a living conspiracy of people actively engaged in keeping the truth from us.  At the bare minimum, the media has become so one-sided that there may as well be a conspiracy.

This causes news sources that are generally regarded as moderate to be discounted out of hand: NBC, CNN, Time, and Newsweek.  For the sort-of far right wing, folks like Rush Limbaugh or Fox News are seen as the only sources not worth double checking their sources.  For the sort-of far left wing, NPR and Michael Moore are the sources above scrutiny.  There are extremeists on either end who go so far as to say that Rush is not right-wing enough; there are folks on the left who cry out that NPR is nothing but a corporate lap dog.

Here’s the thing.  Call it an inconsistency, an irony, or even a hypocrisy.

One of the biggest points of disagreements between the left and the right is around how big an industry should be allowed to get.

Generally speaking, the right wing tends to believe that the market will regulate itself.  They will tend to have less support for anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws.

Generally speaking, the left wing believes that government needs to play an active roll in breaking up monopolies and dealing with anti-trust issues.

If you’re on the right wing and you believe that the media is just the monolithic liberal plattitude machine, I have a question for you.  The question is this:

Which way do you want it?

Because it seems to me that if you’re right, and an actual or a default conspiracy exists, where all the outlets are basically reporting the same half truths, then this is a good argument against allowing too much of an industry to be controlled by one or two vendors.   There are unique factors about the media.  But what you’re complaining about the media is exactly the same thing the liberals are saying about Wal-Mart: when one (or a few) corporations call the shots, we end up with an inferior product, service, or price.


Jesus for President

An ongoing thing I wrestle with: If Jesus’ claims are supreme on my life, how political should I be? And given that I live in a Representative Democracy, what political decisions should I make.
One example of my attempts to come to terms with this is here
I picked up this phenemonal book: Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw. They state elequently and convincingly this tension that I feel: on the one hand, many things Jesus said and did had profoundly political repurcussions. On the other hand, Jesus was and is larger than politics itself: he transcends easy distinctions like left vs right, Republican vs Democrat, conservative vs. liberal. I’m going to share a couple passages and then spend a couple paragraphs wondering what these passages mean to me.
The passages:
“But it wasn’t as if Jesus, in using such (politcally charged) language wanted Rome’s power or wanted to gain a foothold in the culture wars of his time. He didn’t want to climb Caeser’s throne. This political language didn’t harmonize with the contemporary church project of “reclaiming America for God.” Precisely the opposite: Jesus was urging his followers to be the unique, pecular, and set-apart people that began with Abraham. He didn’t pray for the world in order to make governments more religious; he called Israel to be the light of the world- to abandon the way of the world and cultivate an alternative society in the shell of the old, not merely to be a better version of the kingdom of this world.” (71)
“It’s extraordinary that when the Devil said all political power in the world belongs to him and he can give it to whomever he wishes, Jesus didn’t dispute the claim: he just flat out refused the offer. He knew well the bitter fruits of this world’s power. He saw governmental power not as a coveted position to run after but rather as the Devil’s playground. Jesus’ ancestors had suffered from the bloodshed and hunger and pain inflicted by Kings and empires. He knew how the powers had killed the prophets before him, and so he abondoned himself to the imperial cross. Instead of ascending the throne of power to establish Go’d society, he would descend into the world as a slave.” (86)

It’s tempting for me to ally myself with people who play politics in the direction I agree with. If this account is right– and it seems like it is– then I shouldn’t do this. My temptation is a distant echo of Jesus’ temptation itself: will I just flat out refuse the offer, too?
So often I don’t. In truth, I don’t even know if I know how. Should I vote? Should I formulate poltical opinions? Should I share my political opinions? Should Christians run for office at all? If we do, what sense does it make to leave our convictions behind?
There’s more questions than answers here… But maybe they are the right questions to be asking.