I am not sure how the article will conclude. One thing about which I am confident, the first sentence struck me immediately.
“The problem of power is as ancient as the age of man.” (From an essay by Bernard Loomer based on a lecture he gave in 1975 at Bond Chapel of the University of Chicago.)
Sunday evening’s episode of Sunday Nights with Megan Kelly included Tom Brokaw appealing to viewers to stand up to hate. The segment that preceded the spot was an interview Kelly did with Alex Jones on his penchant for conspiracy theories, most notably for the particular interview was Jones’ longstanding claim that the Newtown Massacre was a hoax. I don’t normally watch the program but Patty thought J.D. Vance would be on the program to talk about his book, Hillbilly Elegy. That interview is up next week.
Various analyses of the episode include that it was a ratings bust, an illustration of liberal media bias, and that Jones is a sweaty mess, among others. I randomly selected three from a Google Search. And, this illustrates Loomer’s point about power and human beings dated to 1975.
If you consider the players vying for attention, it was one big display of power. Add to that the armchair analysts after the fact and we have an exponential illustration of an attempt to powerfully sway people.
I could not help but think about a comment Eric Hall left on a Facebook share. The Shared article referenced the way Plato and Aristotle viewed the use of rhetoric and the various cycles of government. Hall, and my friend Nathan Gilmour, have a thing for Plato’s, Gorgias and Socrates. I can see why. It lay underneath Eric’s comment on the shared article.
Eric Hall Well-stated piece, and I think I’m ultimately with Aristotle on the use of rhetoric toward reason. we live in a self-contradiction otherwise. I think it’s also a proper assessment of the exec branch and its power right now, or at least its perceived power (and the implementation of law through executive order through Trump, Obama, Bush, and beyond); perceived power too often becomes self-fullfilling. Bernard Lonergan, a jesuit theologian and philosopher, discusses something similar as well: cycles of building and decline. When everything gets so complicated that specialists are needed for each and every facet of our lives (taxes, healthcare, etc, both of which I mention non-partisanly), and when these specialists are merely clinging to outmoded rules because they too have lost track of things (economists, banks, etc., in 2008), we begin to fall into mistrust, backlash, proper anger, and, frankly, sometimes self-righteous delusion….
And these illustrate power and the grasp for power.
We are working through Romans this summer at Snow Hill. One remarkable feature of Paul’s argument is the way he shifts from referencing sin as something we do to a power that exists, specifically that lords. The working out of this Power shows up in the way humans vie for power over others. Re-read Paul’s catalog in Romans 1.
The counter-revolution is the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul argues that in Christ Jesus comes liberation from the power of Sin. See if Loomer’s opening paragraph does not grab you,
The problem of power is as ancient as the age of man. The presence of power is manifest wherever two or more people are gathered together and have any kind of relationship. Its deeper and sometimes darker qualities emerge as soon as the omnipresent factor of inequality makes itself felt. (reference above)
If that first sentence grabs you, or the included paragraph, then you too are aware of the omnipresence of power and its companion inequality. The one common feature is that they both oppose us all.