Jim Wallis, rebound spiritual adviser to President Obama, recently called for “dialogue” in his Huffington Post piece, How Christian Is Tea Party Libertarianism. Quick to seize the moment after Rand Paul, a libertarian, chimed in on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Wallis must have spent a few hours on this clownish, but self-revealing attempt to suggest that the members of the Tea Party in their support of limited government are Bad Samaritans.
After reading the article, similarities between Wallis’ argument and Dostoevsky’s “ The Grand Inquisitor” chapter in The Brothers Karamazov leapt right off Arianna’s Post.
The prescient novelist hit the nail on the head when it comes to men like Wallis.
In the fictionalized version of the temptation of Christ by the Inquisitor, Ivan tells his brother:
They have no such great cleverness…Perhaps nothing but Atheism, that’s all their secret. Your Inquisitor does not believe in God, that’s his secret.
Wallis the preacher might disagree with Ivan but graciously allows for “the reality of sin in all human institutions” and thus the need for government control.
The Inquisitor concurs:
Did we not love mankind, so meekly acknowledging their feebleness,lovingly lightening their burden,and permitting their weak nature even sin with our sanction.
Then Wallis writes of the libertarian’s “abandonment of the most vulnerable”, and that “compassion and social justice are fundamental Christian commitments.”
The Inquisitor elaborates:
Oh, we shall persuade them that they will only become free when they renounce their freedom to us and submit to us…for who can rule men if not he who holds their conscience and their bread in his hands.
There’s so much more in the prophetic few pages that Dostoevsky dedicates to the evil of the Grand Inquisitor, but the author leaves no doubt that all Christian commitments rest on the freedom of the individual to act or not act according to his conscience. Suffering or happiness ensues from the exercise of his free will. Nothing else is acceptable to Christ. The real Messiah will not promote social justice by sacrificing individual freedom. Sorry, Jim.
At the end of the discourse, the Inquisitor reveals the deceptive effects of social justice, and exposes the truth of Wallis’ defective argument. The end game is complete control of the masses—the same totalitarianism that Wallis warns about in his piece—placing it conveniently at the feet of corporate America; the same corporate America that butters his bread.
Like Wallis the Inquisitor wants control:
And they will have no secrets from us. We shall allow them or forbid them to live with their wives and mistresses, to have or not to have children…all, all they will bring to us and we shall have an answer for all. And they will be glad to believe our answer, for it will save them from the great anxiety and terrible agony they endure at present in making a free decision for themselves.
Even Wallis can’t buy the snake oil he’s selling in his HuffPo argument. So predictably and pathetically he plays the race card for the millionth time. He questions whether an “undercurrent of white resentment” exists in the Tea Party movement. Wallis’ final request couldn’t be more Dostoevskian when he condescendingly proposes in the style of the atheist Inquisitor, “Lets have a dialogue about how Christian the Tea Party Movement and its Libertarian philosophy really are.”
The narrator makes it clear the true motivations of those who use code words like ‘civil’ ‘dialogue’ and ‘conversation:’
When the Inquisitor stopped speaking he waited some time for his Prisoner (Christ) to answer him…the old man longed for him to say something however bitter and terrible.
Wallis, like the congressmen and women who defiantly walked through the rally against Obamacare on March 20th at the Capitol, longed for a “bitter and terrible response,” but discovered that we tea party patriots have no interest in hatred much less desperate pleas for empty discourse.