James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Bush Cult

My cousin Douglas Wilson is a controversial figure in some conservative Reformed/Presbyterian denominations and in his hometown of Moscow, ID, where he pastors. At one point in my life I found some of his ideas attractive, and still often find his political views to be on target. Anyway, some of the accusations and criticisms against Wilson seem trivial and wrongheaded, while others appear valid; I'm not one to judge. I mention all this to explain a blog established by a former member of Wilson's church. Michael Metzler has called Wilson's Christ Church a pseudo-cult, and it's interesting to get the "other side" from people like Metzler. But Wilson has at least one thing right. Unlike most conservative Christians, Wilson does not buy into the Bush Cult. What's the point of "recovering" from the Wilson Cult, if one is to fall into the far deadlier trap of the Bush Cult?

The ideology of the Bush Cult is the most destructive force in America since the latter Progressive Era when Christians agitated for Prohibition and for entry into World War I. The essence of the Bush Cult ideology is that "godless" and "evil" nations should be punished with American guns, not ministered to by Christian missionaries, and that Western-style Democracy is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.

I'm not saying Metzler is in the Bush Cult, but he has fallen for the language of Bush Cultist Andrew Sandlin, a man who praised Bush's dreadful Second Inaugural and calls the President a "classical liberal." Metzler calls this from Sandlin a "nice piece," and excerpts this:
The United States is granted this responsibility not because she is a global political messiah, not because she is the world’s moral and military policeman, but because she has been given great wealth and power, and because God expects her to use those gifts justly and compassionately for the benefit of weaker individuals and nations. Rooting out terrorists and terrorist regimes is acting justly and compassionately. This is our burden as well as our calling. “To whom much is given much is required.”
Uh huh. The first sentence is self-contradictory. The United States has an obligation to go to war against nations and people who pose no threat to us not because we are the world's moral and military policeman. Not at all. Instead, the United States has this responsibility because she is the world's moral and military policeman. In the piece, Sandlin argues for the necessity of realpolitik, which is odd for one who "cautiously suppported" Bush's invasion of Iraq. No one with a realpolitik perspective could have endorsed that war, not least because Saddam's presence kept Iran and the Shi'ite ideology in check.

This is the rhetoric and logic of the Bush Cult, the justification for endless wars that will bankrupt America and turn her into a totalitarian state. Justifying their vision of a Messianic role for the American military by denying it's Messianic, and proclaiming realpolitik instead, is just Orwellian. A war for "regime change" in Iran will just create more terrorists, and expecting to successfully occupy a country four times the size of Iraq is delusional at best. We are not that rich, and we are not that powerful. A foreign policy committed to realpolitik would actually slant heavily toward non-intervention.

Metzler shouldn't leave one cult only to find himself trapped in a more dangerous one. He would do well to read what this guy had to say six years ago:
The modern state is really nothing more than a legalized cartel. These legalized cartels – whether fascist, communist, Nazi, or Western "democratic" – have developed a habit of bullying their wishes on other nations. This is the cause of the vast majority of wars in human history, though in the last 200 years, this cause has been dressed up by appeal to certain ideologies, "defending human rights," "preventing ethnic cleansing," and so on. ... The recent American wars against Iraq [i.e., the Persian Gulf War of 1991] and Serbia are not materially different from Hitler's invasion of Poland and Stalin's invasion of Hungary. All three employed the power of coercion – of a legalized cartel – to impose its will on another nation. Both Saddam Hussan and Slobodan Milosevic are in fact little tin-pot dictators who routinely deprive their citizens of life, liberty, and property – as all legalized cartels tend to do. But the American bombing missions did not solve this problem – it only deprived many more people of life, liberty, and property.

Godless, totalitarian regimes like those in Islamic nations, Iraq, and communist China can be gradually overcome by the methods Christians employed in overcoming the godless totalitarian regime known as the Roman Empire – self-government, personal godliness, covenant faithfulness, and patient perseverance under the lash of persecution. The Bible does not permit bombing missions, legalized murder, and the incineration of innocent civilians as an instrument to overturn the tyranny of evil regimes.


Most pre-World War II conservatives were known as "isolationists" (really they should have been called "non-interventionists"), for, as Rothbard observes, they feared both the domestic and foreign intrusions of civil government. Most of today's conservatives have abandoned their great Christian heritage, and have adopted the rabid military internationalism of William F. Buckley, National Review, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, and other establishment Republicans. All these have joined the international militarists on the Left ( i.e., Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Bill Bradley) and the great collaboration of America's legalized military cartel. Power tends to corrupt, asserted Lord Acton, that great defender of Christian liberty, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Power in the hands of a legalized cartel is dangerous indeed – particularly when it is devoted to murder, pillage, and holocaust in foreign nations.


  1. Thanks for the criticism. I'll think about it. I posted it to my site.

    Michael Metzler

  2. Shepherd said: "Rather than being motivated by independent clear thinking Michael Metzler is motivated entirely by what Doug Wilson says! It’s tragic to witness because in a very real sense Metzler’s life is governed by what his former pastor says. It’s one of the most pathetic forms of bondage I’ve ever seen, and it’s entirely self-imposed. Metzler thinks that Doug Wilson is running a cult because in a very real sense Metzler is functioning under a form of mind control, not unlike what happens in real cult groups. The difference is that Pastor Wilson never did anything to impose any mind control on him. Metzler did it all himself, and even a year after he’s been out of the Kirk he’s still operating under his self-imposed mind control."

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