The Cutting Edge
by Ed Knudson
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Two Forms of Governance: Big Corporations Want to Snoop about Your Internet Behavior  3/27/2017  (7)

Obamacare is Not Imploding, Can Be Improved  3/24/2017  (18)

The Soul-Sucking, Attention-Eating Black Hole of the Trump Presidency  3/24/2017  (18)

An Avalanche of Absurdities: Chris Hedges on the Rise of Trump and American Fascism  3/21/2017  (23)

Of Course Obama Wiretapped Trump  3/21/2017  (23)

Trump Glorifies American Militarism with German Leader, Embarrassing Himself  3/18/2017  (43)

Most of Trump's Voters are Not Poor, but Regular Old Republicans  3/18/2017  (39)

Robert Mercer and Big Money Chose Trump to be President, not the People  3/17/2017  (42)

Stirring Up Muslim Hatred; The Need for a New Election  3/16/2017  (43)

Old Republican Tactic: Stoke Fear of Crime  3/13/2017  (69)

White People are Hurting Themselves  3/11/2017  (66)

Basic Civics Lesson for Libertarians  3/8/2017  (74)

Public Trust: Post-truth is Pre-fascim  3/8/2017  (127)

Martin Marty Center Publishes Column in Support of Disgraced White Nationalist, Milo Yiannopoulos  2/28/2017  (145)

Trump is Not a Normal Politician and Was Not Elected Fair and Square  2/21/2017  (370)

Trump is Using Immigrants as a Political Scapegoat: Very Bad  2/20/2017  (128)

To Dominate Politics, Business Needs Religious Extremism  2/13/2017  (145)

No Vision or Leadership from National Council of Churches  2/9/2017  (166)

Post-Factual Politics  2/8/2017  (152)

Trump May Want a Terrorist Attack  2/7/2017  (166)

For the Right Wing: Only Christians Deserve Religious Freedom  2/6/2017  (148)

Where Are the Reverends in Justice Movements?  2/3/2017  (194)

Trump is Centralizing Power: Resist Fascism  1/30/2017  (208)

Cry for Our Country: Spontaneous Demonstrations across America  1/28/2017  (192)

Truth in the Trump Era  1/23/2017  (231)

"We Will Not Go Away, Welcome to Your First Day"  1/21/2017  (210)

Violence, Racism, Authoritarianism Characterize Trump's Inaugural Speech  1/21/2017  (278)

First Things Doesn't Like that Trump Surrounds Himself with Prosperity Gospelers, Snake Oil Salesmen  1/17/2017  (281)

Newt Gingrich Gets Trump Wrong: Why Southerners Hate the Federal Government  12/27/2016  (282)

From Peace on Earth to an Election Based on Violence  12/23/2016  (306)

Bill O'Reilly Admits the Truth: For Republicans Elections are All about Race  12/23/2016  (363)

No Mandate for Trump, Says Jeff Merkley  12/22/2016  (298)

2010 Prediction: White People with Self-destructive Fantasies will Elect a Figure Like Trump  12/17/2016  (282)

Gore Vidal on Ayn Rand: God is "I"  12/14/2016  (281)

Russian Atheistic Ideas Now Dominate the American Political System  12/14/2016  (241)

Trump Over Performed the Most in Counties with the Highest Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Mortality Rates  12/9/2016  (262)

Back to the Catacombs for the Real Church  12/8/2016  (301)

A Prayer for Standing Rock  11/12/2016  (271)

Trump Will Be Impeached within a Year  11/11/2016  (309)

David Brooks on the Authoritarian Anti-Politics of Trump  11/10/2016  (295)

An Anti-Trump Resistance Movement Begins with Protesters in Streets Nationwide  11/10/2016  (293)

Hillary Lost Because of Her Husband's Economic Policies  11/9/2016  (300)

Evangelicals Elect a Racist Pervert as President  11/9/2016  (336)

Very Serious National Decline  11/9/2016  (297)

The Silly Controversy about Hillary's Emails  11/7/2016  (305)

Trump Offers to Rescue Lower Income White People in a Secular Rapture  11/2/2016  (282)

The Crisis of Conservative Intellectuals  11/1/2016  (320)

James Comey Should Resign or Be Fired  10/30/2016  (308)

Traveling Luther's Life 500 Years Later  10/24/2016  (337)

The Death of Tom Hayden  10/24/2016  (323)

False Superiority Syndrome: A Terrible Disease of the European White Mind  7/22/2016  (637)

Delusion: Ben Carson Thinks Saul Alinsky Worshipped the Devil  7/20/2016  (457)

Understanding the Context for Preaching  7/16/2016  (449)

Journalists Must Treat Trump Differently  7/15/2016  (436)

Reading Grace in History through a Black Lens  6/26/2016  (438)

A Dark Day for the UK  6/24/2016  (461)

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Has Got to Go to Unite Democrats Against the Racist, Trump  5/27/2016  (512)

John Caputo On Divine Sovereignty and the Weakness of God  5/23/2016  (457)

A Corrupt Form of Christianity is Destroying the Republican Party  4/5/2016  (587)

President Obama: 'We are Easter People'  3/31/2016  (558)

Evangelicals are Not Voting Trump, Jacksonians Are  3/31/2016  (543)

The Modern War on Drugs Began as Nixon's Racist Assault on Black People  3/24/2016  (545)

Listen to a Black Man Standing Silently at a Trump Rally  3/15/2016  (543)

Who Should be President? Strict Father or Nurturing Parent  3/3/2016  (591)

Trump is a Fraud Who is Playing the American People as Suckers, Says Romney  3/3/2016  (678)

Asked about Donald Trump's Wall, Pope Francis Suggests He 'Is Not Christian'  2/18/2016  (605)

How the Portland Media Help Make Domestic Terrorists into Heroes  2/6/2016  (566)

Flint, Michigan: Death Camp City  1/22/2016  (616)

Privatization of Public Land is a Bad Idea  1/22/2016  (639)

Peace Lutheran in Burns, Oregon, Requests Prayers  1/20/2016  (699)

How the Iraq War Created ISIS: Crucial Information for Understanding Terrorism  12/6/2015  (693)

Leading Republican Candidate Donald Trump: How Stupid are the People of Iowa?  11/13/2015  (650)

CNN Repeats Stupid Claim by Pew Research that Religious 'Nones' Dominate Democratic Party  11/5/2015  (673)

First Things has become Relevant to Only One Region of the Country: the South  11/2/2015  (697)

Tell Ben Carson to Give Up His Presidential Campaign  10/27/2015  (696)

Corporate-Funded Think Tanks have Created an Angry, Destructive Politics  10/24/2015  (646)

Protestants Need a Pope  9/30/2015  (716)

R.R. Reno at First Things is Disappointed by Pope Francis  9/25/2015  (773)

Matt Taibbi on the GOP Clown Car  8/15/2015  (840)

Pray to be Filled with Awe and Contemplation  8/12/2015  (773)

Jurgen Habermas: A New Possibility for Europe  7/21/2015  (933)

The Republican Party has become an Agent of Southern Religion, Racism and Anti-Unionism  7/20/2015  (785)

Historic Day: Gay Marriage Affirmed by Supreme Court in All 50 States  6/26/2015  (777)

Gun Manufacturers Cannot Be Christian says Pope Francis  6/22/2015  (867)

Pope Francis Teaches Us about Climate Change and the Moral Imperative to Act  6/20/2015  (889)

Cornel West Wows a Conservative University Audience  5/4/2015  (1078)

Police Violence in Baltimore  4/29/2015  (1105)

Bonhoeffer's Vision: An Outcast Church on the Margins of Society  4/25/2015  (946)

The Debate Over Cornel West  4/21/2015  (978)

Nebraska Doesn't Believe in the Free Market for Its Electricity  3/29/2015  (1034)

The New Political Mission of the Historic Protestant Church  3/16/2015  (1025)

When Fascism Comes to America; What Love of Country Really Means  3/1/2015  (1063)

Senators Marco Rubio and Joni Ernst Don't Know the Difference between Sunni and Shia Islam  2/28/2015  (1705)

The Shameful Media Attack on John Kitzhaber and Cylvia Hayes  2/18/2015  (1483)

Francis Says God Loves the Marginalized  2/16/2015  (1007)

Rand Paul Disqualifies Himself  2/4/2015  (1055)

Oxfam Report: How the Wealthy Get Their Money by Not Working or Paying Taxes  1/26/2015  (1034)

John Boehner Wants The U.S. to go to War with Iran  1/21/2015  (1050)

Martin Luther on Charlie Hebdo: Sick Secularism and Billy Graham  1/14/2015  (3036)

Whose Speech is Actually Free?  1/14/2015  (1114)

Historic Protestant Speech is Not Free in America Today  1/14/2015  (1272)

Wall Street has Bought Itself a Congress  12/15/2014  (1078)

Democrats Move to Encourage an Elizabeth Warren Candidancy  12/10/2014  (1094)

Iowa Lutherans: Don't Vote for Joni Ernst  10/27/2014  (2445)

Wendell Berry and Incarnational Theology  10/21/2014  (1327)

Did God Kill Jesus? Moltmann on Anticipated Terror and Joy  10/10/2014  (1304)

Stop the Oil Train Bombs  10/2/2014  (1283)

The Terrible Self-Righteousness of George Weigel at First Things  9/19/2014  (1304)

Violence All Across the World, including Ferguson, Missouri  8/15/2014  (1304)

Reagan's View of History Still Prevails  8/15/2014  (1270)

Nick Hanauer: Beware, Fellow Plutocrats, the Pitchforks are Coming  8/13/2014  (1295)

Blowing Up Jonah: The Political Use of Religious Symbols  8/12/2014  (1412)

Listen to Rabbi Henry Siegman on Gaza: Killing Innocents  8/1/2014  (1242)

The Lost Iraq War  7/30/2014  (1235)

It is Not Anti-Semitic to Question Israel's Right to Exist as an Ethnic State   7/24/2014  (1187)

Republicans Elect Mark Walker: A Racist, Blasphemous, Baptist Pastor  7/23/2014  (1666)

There is No Religious Left  7/22/2014  (1205)

Crisis in Ukraine: A Bit of Background  7/18/2014  (1158)

Teachers Turn Against Obama  7/12/2014  (1362)

The Trouble With Brain Science  7/12/2014  (1259)

The Roman Catholic Supreme Court Decides What is 'Sincere' Religious Belief   7/1/2014  (1315)

Karl Polanyi and the Stark Utopianism of Market Fundamentalism  7/1/2014  (1326)

Corporate Provided Health Care Has To Go  6/30/2014  (1256)

Brookings Report on Economic Justice and the Future of Religious Progressives  4/25/2014  (1335)

Coal Train Crisis Abates   4/16/2014  (1376)

Gay Marriage Ban Ending in England and Wales on Saturday  3/29/2014  (1375)

Obama Should Have Prosecuted the Bush Administration for War Crimes  3/28/2014  (1378)

A False Gospel: Corporate Christianity  3/27/2014  (1362)

Koch Brothers are Creating Their Own Political Party  1/26/2014  (1511)

Social Justice in New York City  1/1/2014  (1510)

God is a God of Freedom: Pope Francis and Liberation Theology  12/21/2013  (1510)

America, America, the Country that Kills Its Prophets  11/23/2013  (1687)

Thinking about a New Protestantism  11/21/2013  (1540)

Hysterical Anti-Communism: Billy Graham Urged the Killing of a Million Vietnamese  11/21/2013  (2337)

The Next President will be a Woman and a Methodist, but not Hillary  11/11/2013  (1542)

Regular Republicans are Beginning to Reject Their Leaders  11/11/2013  (1521)

Pastors: Help Your People Understand Obamacare  11/6/2013  (1584)

Mothers and Grandmothers on Abortion  11/5/2013  (1660)

Why Obamacare is a Political Con Job  10/30/2013  (1722)

Very Disturbing Governance by Media Manipulation  10/4/2013  (1790)

A Reformation Pope  10/2/2013  (1652)

When the Big Money Mafia Rule  10/1/2013  (1711)

Obama Wins Shutdown Battle  10/1/2013  (1850)

Samantha Power: Protection of the Innocent  9/11/2013  (1831)

Pope Francis to Meet with Gustavo Gutierrez, Founder of Liberation Theology  9/11/2013  (1796)

Apocalypse: Life Beyond Empire and Environmental Destruction  9/9/2013  (1691)

Joining Obama Against Himself?  9/5/2013  (1804)

Arab Spring: Transfer of Power in Syria  9/4/2013  (1764)

Religious Conflict in the History of Syria  9/3/2013  (1749)

Hunger Games: The Divide and Conquer Marketing Strategy of Fox News  8/7/2013  (1967)

The Terrible Mendacity of Stanley Kurtz  8/5/2013  (2254)

Obama Speaks on Verdict in Trayvon Martin Case  7/19/2013  (1764)

Summer Heat: Elders Called to Engage in Civil Disobedience  7/18/2013  (1828)

Business Predators Must Be Forced to Stop Their Damaging Behavior  5/26/2013  (1991)

Pastors Create Public Consciousness  5/26/2013  (1891)

Kathyrn Tanner: The Social Trinity and Politics  5/26/2013  (1978)

Obama Failed to Appoint Competent IRS Leaders  5/22/2013  (2043)

Occupy Theology: Obama has Broken the Hearts of the Young  5/20/2013  (1798)

Corporate Conspiracy Theories in Pastoral Consciousness  5/17/2013  (1977)

The Gosnell Verdict and Abortion Politics  5/16/2013  (2244)

False Equivalence, the IRS, and the Right's Persecution Complex  5/15/2013  (1967)

The NRA: Southern Political Terrorism  5/14/2013  (1900)

Public Violence  4/17/2013  (1759)

A Teacher is Raised  4/8/2013  (1802)

Stop Coal Exports  3/27/2013  (1887)

Health Care Hogs Drive Up Costs  3/27/2013  (1781)

Manufactured Landscapes  3/23/2013  (1852)

About Death Camp Thinking  3/22/2013  (1821)

Marriage Equality Goes Mainstream  3/21/2013  (1879)

Hope for the New Pope  3/14/2013  (1939)

The End of a Catholic Moment  3/12/2013  (1908)

Wealth Inequality is Much Worse than Most People Believe   3/11/2013  (1935)

The Government is Making Us Old  3/11/2013  (2124)

Fairness Now Means to Tax the Rich More  12/10/2012  (1987)

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness:THE NEW JIM CROW  11/14/2012  (2080)

A Victory for Life  11/7/2012  (1828)

Romney is Not a Christian  11/5/2012  (2072)

It's Not Theology that is Utopian Today, It's the Market Fundamentalists Like Romney  10/17/2012  (2422)

Why Does Romney Focus So Much On Apology?  9/12/2012  (1995)

A Way of Speaking that Wins Elections  9/6/2012  (1927)

Compared to Other Nations, America is Under-Taxed and More Unequal  8/31/2012  (1956)

Obedience, Not Liberty, is Highest Value for Real Conservatives  8/28/2012  (2012)

Romney Degrades Himself with Welfare Ad  8/28/2012  (1978)

Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All  8/3/2012  (2072)

Michele Bachmann: Say Stupid Things, Make Lots of Money  8/1/2012  (2009)

The Trees are Falling  7/14/2012  (2147)

President's Social Darwinism Comment Stirs Up Business Elite  4/16/2012  (2092)

Today is My Last Day at Goldman Sachs  3/14/2012  (2122)

Creation is Broken: Against Utopian Conservatives  3/9/2012  (2102)

Women have Spoken: The End of Rush Limbaugh  3/9/2012  (2085)

Nazism and Public Schools: Catholic Bishops Want Public Money for Their Own Schools  2/25/2012  (2571)

The Cynical Use of Religion by Economic Elites  2/23/2012  (2573)

The Continuing Attack by Religious Right against Mainline Christianity  2/22/2012  (2278)

A Phony Public Theology  2/22/2012  (2088)

Naming the Enemy: Biological Fundamentalism  2/17/2012  (2101)

Social Policy in Pastoral Consciousness: Who Should Serve the 'Poor'?  2/16/2012  (2149)

Bishops Reject Obama Compromise, the Devil is Forcing Birth Control  2/14/2012  (2128)

Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It  2/13/2012  (2104)

Romney Believes Constitution is Divine  2/11/2012  (2151)

Santorum Reveals His Political Philosophy with Comment on French Revolution  2/10/2012  (4771)

Legal Aspects of the Contraception Debate  2/9/2012  (2158)

Catholic Bishops Want Freedom to Oppress Women  2/8/2012  (2553)

David Stockman on Crony Capitalism, A Very Helpful Discussion  1/26/2012  (4541)

Wall Street to be Investigated  1/25/2012  (2497)

Obama Tells Truth about Economy  12/7/2011  (2115)

God Demands Justice  11/17/2011  (2085)

Understanding Protest Movements  11/15/2011  (2068)

Chris Hedges: People Have Finally Woken Up  10/8/2011  (2136)

A New Economic Strategy for Wall Street Protests  10/5/2011  (2161)

Wall Street Occupation Protest - Live Video  9/26/2011  (2185)

Tens of Thousands Protest in Israel; Citizens of the USA Should Also Hit the Streets  8/7/2011  (2241)

A Day of Blasphemy: Governor Rick Perry's Prayer Festival  8/5/2011  (2431)

Wall Street Hates the Tea Party  8/4/2011  (2264)

The Instability of the American Political System  7/27/2011  (2326)

Fukuyama on The Origins of Political Order  4/15/2011  (2289)

Obama Punches Back  4/13/2011  (2388)

Punish the Poor  4/9/2011  (2465)

Facing the Reality of Conflict and the Problem with Liberal Neutrality  3/21/2011  (2395)

The Republican Attack on Poor Women  2/20/2011  (2404)

A Real Spirit of Peace  2/11/2011  (2284)

Public Lies about Tax Cuts  2/10/2011  (2366)

The People Own the Streets  2/2/2011  (2382)

Political Violence Works  1/13/2011  (2498)

Religion as a Matter of Political Calculation  12/24/2010  (2592)

Tea Party Leader Says Methodist Church is the Religious Arm of Socialism   12/20/2010  (2647)

Bottom-up History: The Commoners of Atwood  12/13/2010  (2398)

Patriotic Millionaires Support Increase in Their OwnTaxes  12/10/2010  (2455)

Democrats Elected a Republican President  12/9/2010  (2418)

Obama Agrees to Increase Obscene Levels of Inequality  12/9/2010  (2317)

The Unemployed are Actual, Real People  12/3/2010  (2486)

A Deep Sense of Bewilderment and Betrayal  12/2/2010  (2487)

Chalmers Johnson Dies, Military Writer Who Told the Truth  11/21/2010  (2469)

Should the Rich Rule?  11/3/2010  (2332)

The Liberation Theology of Abraham Lincoln  10/12/2010  (2469)

Mass Psychosis as a Pastoral Concern  9/24/2010  (2539)

Glenn Beck and Apostolic Authority  8/31/2010  (2421)

A Moving Event  7/19/2010  (2372)

Gay Marriage to Become Law of the Land  6/21/2010  (2396)

Facing Death at the Center of Life  6/14/2010  (2450)

Rand Paul Exposes Tea Party Racism in Libertarianism  5/20/2010  (2572)

Equal Freedom: The Obama Doctrine  5/7/2010  (2759)

The Last Protestant is Leaving  4/9/2010  (2521)

Economics in Pastoral Consciousness  3/14/2010  (2603)

The Strategic Consciousness of the Protestant Pastor  3/1/2010  (2568)

Memesis and the Culture of Personal Crisis  2/15/2010  (2782)

Watch Out for that Communist Folk Music  1/22/2010  (2748)

The Political Cross at Xmas  12/23/2009  (2654)

There are Socialists and Communists in the White House  10/15/2009  (3290)

Send Money to ACORN Now!  9/19/2009  (3034)

The Moral Blindness of Glenn Beck  8/11/2009  (3128)

The Media Creation of Whacko Conservatism  7/30/2009  (2996)

Seven Pentecostal Mountains and Sarah Palin  7/16/2009  (3153)

Major Media Unfairly Presents Anti-Abortion Rhetoric  6/3/2009  (3097)

You Can Get Killed in a Public Church  6/2/2009  (3182)

Historical Jesus Theories: Bringing on the Reign of God  5/20/2009  (3514)

It's Not Socialism, It's Insanity  5/20/2009  (2986)

When Life Begins is Not at all Clear  5/19/2009  (3218)

The Political Use of Torture  4/25/2009  (3014)

Jesus is Not Some Phony Spook  4/22/2009  (2921)

Poisoned Waters, Chicken Shit and Smart Growth  4/21/2009  (3163)

The Significance of the Killing of Robert F. Kennedy  4/13/2009  (3145)

The Last Book by Neuhaus: America is Babylon  4/10/2009  (3381)

About the New Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships  4/9/2009  (3109)

Seeing the Truth about God and Economy  4/2/2009  (3300)

Big Bankers as Terrorists  3/23/2009  (3277)

Without Trust, No Economy  3/19/2009  (3132)

Exposing the Dual Structure of American Governance  3/19/2009  (3042)

Another Big Book on Justice  3/17/2009  (3054)

Why Pastors Need to Understand Rush Limbaugh  3/16/2009  (3112)

The Freeman Affair and the Israel Lobby  3/16/2009  (3134)

Uncreative Destruction  3/16/2009  (3148)

Some Truth about Income Tax Rates  3/13/2009  (3470)

Cultural Redemption: The Jewish-Arab Peace Song  3/13/2009  (3469)

The Poor Reputation of Evangelicals around the World  3/13/2009  (3193)

They have Stolen Our Language  3/11/2009  (3235)

CNBC: Mouthpiece for Business Ideology  3/11/2009  (3015)

Why Habermas?  3/11/2009  (3115)

Sex in God's Family  3/8/2009  (3303)


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First Things Doesn't Like that Trump Surrounds Himself with Prosperity Gospelers, Snake Oil Salesmen
1/17/2017

Paula White, a televangelist and advocate of the "prosperity gospel," preaches that wealth is a sign of God's favor So, of course, she has been chosen by Donald Trump to speak at his inauguration. He likes to hear that he is favored by God. It's a new form of the "divine right of kings" except it comes in the form of the "divine right of the businessman to make money and command power."

First Things magazine, which comments on faith and public life, doesn't seem to be too happy with Donald Trump, including his choice of Paula White. Carl R. Trueman has written an article, quoted below, blaming "the left" for creating "the psychological man" who needs therapy from such as the prosperity gospel preachers. The left gets blamed for whatever conservatives don't like. But the fact is that the idea of the so-called "free individual consumer" is a product of capitalism. It is actually liberals and socialists who believe in the dignity of work and workers so that they should be paid a living wage and enjoy safe working conditions. It is hyper-capitalists who put the greedy, needy self at the center of world in direct opposition to Christian faith. I say "hyper-capitalists" because there are many forms of capitalism; the form we are living with these days is utopian, magical-thinking capitalism, called "neoliberalism", which claims no government is needed to manage the market, the "market" magically orders society in a way that is best for everyone. Of course, this is what business owners want the rest of us to believe so they can take advantage of us.

Prosperity religion provides a way for the wealthy to justify themselves and relieve themselves of responsibility to others or the common good of the community. Paula White is a heretic, she is not preaching true, historic, orthodox Christianity. In fact, there are no historic Protestants who will be appearing at the inauguration. Those historic Protestants are today critical of irresponsible wealth, of both social and economic injustice, and of the abuse of the earth by the fossil fuel industry. They must now turn against Trump and provide the support system for resistance movements against his illegitimate administration.

Here is a portion of the First Things article for your interest:
Writing in the Washington Post, Michael Horton has offered a concise but compelling historical account and theological critique of the kind of religion White represents. He makes the legitimate point that Evangelicals should worry about having White’s teaching dressed up with the name of the gospel.

I agree with Horton’s analysis but would take the concern a step further. All Americans, not just Evangelicals, should be worried that Paula White is praying at the inauguration, though not for particularly religious reasons. By and large, the rites of American civic religion are harmless enough, bland baptisms of the status quo by the application of a bit of liturgy emptied of any real dogmatic significance or personal demands.

The real reason for concern is the fact that White’s brand of Christianity is a manifestation of the psyche of modern America in a religious idiom, and thoroughly continuous with the last eight years. As Horton points out, White’s Christianity is all about meeting needs, felt needs. It is a form of therapy—and rather materialist therapy—in skimpy religious garb. Where America was once pragmatic—and gloriously so, in that the “can-do” mentality of Americans was part of what made the country great—that pragmatism has become tied to psychological needs. Old-style pragmatism had a social purpose, in that it sought to work towards the common good. Now that the common good has been replaced with the well-being of the psychological self, that which works is that which makes me happy in the here and now.

Much punditry since the election has located the triumph of Trump in a backlash among poor, white voters against liberal urban elites. These were once the natural supporters of the old Left. But the Left has long since abandoned the poor through its transformation of the concept of oppression from an economic category into one of psychology. The Left is now therapeutic to its core. But Psychological Man is not by necessity the client of any particular political ideology, and the fact that, as Horton points out, Trump has surrounded himself with prosperity gospelers—the Christian equivalent of snake oil salesmen—bodes ill for the country. What America needs is not therapy for a poor white version of Psychological Man but a renewed vision of the common good built on a renewed understanding of a common human nature.

Sadly, many, if not all, of the most influential organs of our culture are committed to the cultivation of Psychological Man as the norm and thus the categories of therapy as the answer. The colleges and universities might well be writing the death warrants of their own credibility through the increasingly childish and irrelevant ravings of their most notorious academics and students—but they were never where the real danger lay. From commercials predicated on creating desires rather than on meeting utilitarian needs, to the therapeutic rhetoric of politicians of Left and Right, the gravitational pull toward a psychological understanding of the self is powerful and omnipresent.

There are undoubted positives to Trump, but they are by and large to be cast in negative terms. For example, he is unlikely to appoint extreme liberals to the Supreme Court. His record indicates that he is sufficiently dishonest for us to hope that he will not honor his scariest campaign promises. He is indifferent to religious freedom (as opposed to being actively hostile to it, as was his erstwhile Democratic opponent), and we might therefore see a slowdown or even a halt to the last few years’ trajectory on that issue.

But it is a day of small things indeed when the positives are all negatives. More disturbing, though, is the banal presence of Paula White at the inauguration. It is sad, and not simply for those who dislike such religious displays at civic events. It is sad because, on the big issue of the day—the question of what it means to be human—a Republican president is publicly endorsing the world of Psychological Man.




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