Keeping it Real

Because eyes are too subtle as virtue conveyances, it can be said that bumper stickers have become the windows to a liberal soul. I always make an effort of reading the latest adhesive graffiti splayed across the rear of Volvos and Priuses. After all, the owners of those vehicles have taken pains to advertise their hyper conformity. So it would be heartless of me to not even be slightly impressed.

Yesterday I saw a sticker that advised as follows: Real Christians Love Their Enemies

Ok, I understand. Real Shakers don’t have sex. Real People’s Templists go to Guyana. And real dodo birds don’t take flight. All of these things are true, though still not particularly compelling. Real Christians may very well love their enemies. And people who love their enemies with enough conviction eventually find their entire group loving from the clouds.

However this isn’t a contradiction of his thesis, but simply an ancillary effect of it. So even though the liberal Christian and his sticker may (or may not) be correct, they are both largely irrelevant. Because no one ever worries about following Shaker doctrine these days—even when it’s articulated accurately and precisely. Which leads me to conclude that the realest thing a group can do is remain populous and relevant enough that people keep printing bumper stickers about you. But I’m sure this truism is already pealing from the pulpits.

More interestingly from the perspective of the sticker monger was a concept I’m certain he did not intend to emphasize: you have enemies. It’s quite amusing to think this liberal Christian would recoil in rage and ridicule if you simply repeated the premise of his message. I would have loved to ask the car’s owner:

You assert that Christians have enemies. Do you mean this as individuals or as a group? Most groups do have enemies—or more mildly, “opposition”—presumably Christians are no different. Given their longevity, Christians may have ancient enemies, perhaps even mortal ones. So what groups are the enemies of Christians?

I presume the answer would be something along the lines of You crazy sectarian xenophobe, no one is trying to harm Christians, as he scraped at the sticker behind his leg with a fingernail. But if you’re exhorting love for your enemies, then you are conceding to having them. And acknowledging we have enemies could trigger an explosive twitter defecation. Thus a poor guy just trying to publicly display his pristine liberal plumage is suddenly being called Goebbels by his peers. A suboptimal outcome to be sure.

But who knows? Maybe he would mimic Russell Moore and say alt-right “supremacists” are the enemy of Christians. To which antifa would ask in astonishment: and you drive around preaching love for them?

Though the larger issue isn’t liberal slogans being snagged on logical hooks. The point of that bumper sticker wasn’t to promulgate the word of God. I hardly think Leviticus 18:22 is bound for his car’s backside. The only intention was to preen. Or in even less flattering terms, to conspicuously align with what he anticipates will be the dominant faction.

The lesson for the right is that I have never seen a bumper sticker reminding motorists that Real Americans Keep the Carried Interest Deduction. Political and cultural messages are best digested by the gut when they are brief, emotional, and provide a halo of self-righteousness. People are most motivated when they are most certain of their moral superiority. If no one wants to spray spittle while screaming your slogan in the face of their antagonists, then the message has been clumsily conceived.

And no Real American would argue that.

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18 thoughts on “Keeping it Real

  1. We had our son in pre school at a catholic church and there was one of those cars parked there nearly every day, presumably driven by on the the teachers. Yes, it was a Prius. What else? It had these kinds of slogans all over the back window and bumper. Must’ve been 20 of them, including at least 2 different versions of that “coexist” nonsense. It also had a couple Bernie stickers on it (we moved from there a couple months before the last election). But the one that always cracked me up was the “I’m catholic, and I vote!” sticker, sitting right next to a Bernie sticker. I’m neither catholic nor a bumper sticker enthusiast, so I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure those stickers refer to catholics objecting to being forced to pay for abortions and birth control. Plastered right next to a Bernie sticker. Like you, I always wanted to figure out who drove it and ask them if they were aware that those two things are diametrically opposed to each other, and ask them how it was they could be against abortion, but in favor of the guy who wants the government to give them to anyone that wants them, for “free”, which means at taxpayer’s (including catholic taxpayers) expense. I’d have probably followed that with a third question, which would involve inquiring how it was that someone so stupid was able to tie their shoes and drive a car. But, alas, my wife says I’m not allowed to do those kinds of things anymore, so I restrained myself. She also really liked that church, and got pretty annoyed with my constant “I can’t believe we put our child in the care of someone that stupid 3 days a week” comments every time I picked him up.

    • Like the Ds of Brave New World, the stupid person minding your pre-school son was probably pretty good at it, and perfectly suited for it. The problem arises when those same people are teaching high school classes.

  2. For a leftist, a standard is a weapon with which he attacks his enemies. For a typical religious conservative, a standard is a rope by which he hangs himself.

    One of my favorite points that you make repeatedly on this blog is that minimum requirement of a successful ideology is the physical survival of its subscribers. In a more sane time, this wouldn’t be an insight, but these days it needs to be said until it sticks.

    Loving your enemy doesn’t mean letting him destroy you. It’s possible to defend yourself or fight for your cause with a tempered heart and not succumb to bitterness and self-poisoning hatred. Christians used to understand and strive after this, but they are currently suffering, like almost all of us, from a tendency to interpret everything in an overly literal fashion.

    Turning the other cheek doesn’t mean bending over and relaxing your sphincter. A more charitable, realistic interpretation that takes metaphorical connotation into account is that a certain measure of detachment from struggle in the midst of conflict is necessary for spiritual health.

    Or, if you don’t buy that one, you can also read it as a subtle provocation. You’re saying to your assailant, “Hit me again and see what happens.”

    We could tease out many possible angles of what it means to love your enemies, but ultimately it’s for Christians to decide and not the people trying to put them in the dirt.

    The one dimensional mind that cretinously insists on literal readings for tactical advantage is a much bigger topic, one I may pick up sometime in the near future.

    Also, good to see you writing more regularly again, Porter.

    • “For a leftist, a standard is a weapon with which he attacks his enemies. For a typical religious conservative, a standard is a rope by which he hangs himself”

      That’s a great line. I’m not and never have been religious, so watching the moral preening is even more amusing to me. I’ve decided to take a much simpler approach. I despise them all. I’ll save the love for those that actually deserve it. The people intentionally engaged in ruining the country my children will grow up in deserve only hate and scorn.

      • Well said. We’re in the era of dwindling resources, the era of consequences. “Kindness” bestowed upon one group comes at the expense of another i.e. heart transplant for a Guatemalan immigrant but 3rd World health care for veterans. What a joke to call any such thing charity.

  3. That’s why I never be a good Christian, but my enemies will know that they should steer clear of me and mine.

  4. Pingback: Keeping it Real | Reaction Times

  5. I would pay top dollar for a Real Americans Keep the Carried Interest Deduction bumper sticker. I’m kinda tired of my Hell Yes I’m Drunk, Whaddaya Think I Am, A Stunt Driver? bumper sticker.

    My brother is a pastor in Oregon, and not the Liberal kind. He’s not Alt-Right, but he’s very conservative, which is the most any pastor can get away with nowadays. So basically he’s a stranger in a strange land, but he spent 20+ years as a missionary before this, so he’s used to it. Anyway, he sent me a bumper sticker a few years ago, because, finding this in Oregon, the shock value made it even funnier. It read “I Waste Gas and Run Over Small Children.”

    • How about

      “Real Americans Drive New Cars”

      “Real Americans Drive Used Cars”

      “Real Americans Drive Cars”

      “Real Americans. Driving since 1905”

      “Please to be Keeping your eyes on the Road”

      ********************

      Anyone coming up with and bringing online to market like yesterday can make a million bux with a cheap do-it-at-home bumper sticker printing system.

      There must be some reason such fad hasn’t already come and gone. Something in the adhesives will be difficulties.

    • In a pique of youthful obnoxiousness I purchased and put on a sticker that read

      “Gun Control means using both hands”

      and that very afternoon some crazy drew a gun and pointed it at my car, in passing. He was coming from a direction not seeing such sticker, so chalk it up to karma.

    • Sailer has a saying that someone’s mental health is directly proportional to the amount of bumber stickers that they DON’T have.

      Is that too simplistic of a statement, or is it true?

      • Hmmm. I have zero stickers on either of my (our) vehicles. As to my mental health, I think I’m quite mentally healthy, but I guess that’s kind of in the eye of the beholder. I’m sure there are plenty in this country that would read what I post here and elsewhere and come to the conclusion that I need a lobotomy.

  6. “So what groups are the enemies of Christians?”
    The clever shitlib would reply “Real Christians have no enemies, but the inauthentic ones believe they do.” However, this makes a poor candidate, sloganwise, for effective rear bumper proselytism. It requires two independent clauses and a judgment instead of economically shaming the whole group in a single rhetorical sniff.

  7. While we may be called to forgive those who trespass against us personally, real Christians are also supposed to hate evil/ God’s enemies. What Would Charles Martel Do?

  8. Working in the D.C./Baltimore metro I’m subjected to myriads of cars still virtue signaling with Obama/Biden bumper stickers daily. To my experience most political bumper stickers fade and peel a few months after the election, or after a couple car washes. So I assume these shit libs most have a crate full of new ones they keep reapplying so they stay looking fresh. And can keep hope alive…

  9. It’s not a question of “if”, rather it’s a question of “when”.

    Real Christians love their enemies AFTER they’ve surrendered, converted and (most importantly) repented.

  10. Carl Schmitt – The Concept of the Political.
    (About page 28)

    (Garbage words are ancient Greek in the book.)

    “As German and other languages do not distinguish between the private and political enemy, many misconceptions and falsifications are possible. The often quoted “Love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27) reads “diligite inimicos vestros,” ayunUtE -rou<; btl'}gou<; V/-lWV, and not diligite hastes vestras. No mention is made of the political enemy. Never in the thousand-year struggle between Christians and Moslems did it occur to a Christian to surrender rather than defend Europe out of love toward the Saracens or Turks. The enemy in the political sense need not be hated personally, and in the private sphere only does it make sense to love one's enemy, i.e., one's adversary. The Bible quotation touches the political antithesis even less than it intends to dissolve, for example, the antithesis of good and evil or beautiful and ugly. It certainly does not mean that one should love and support the enemies of one's own people."

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