Treachery: A Few Wandering Thoughts

A few vignettes from the lowest circle of Dante’s Inferno:

The Russian ambassador to Washington now claims he did discuss campaign-related policy matters with Jeff Sessions, contrary to Sessions’ public denials. This comes just a day after Donald Trump, granting yet another exclusive interview to reporters from a paper he supposedly thinks is “fake news,” said he regrets choosing Sessions as his Attorney General.

Meanwhile, Trump’s apologists are still trying to evade the most disturbing fact at the heart of Trump Jr.’s meeting with alleged Russian government agents to discuss dirt on Hillary, namely that when Junior was expressly told in the set-up e-mail that this information-sharing offer was part of the Kremlin’s efforts to help Trump’s campaign, his response indicated only pleasure (“I love it”), not surprise or skepticism. We also know that Manafort and Kushner have their own awkward Russian connections — in addition to having been at the meeting with Junior and the Russian gang — which again were not openly and fully disclosed.

More and more, and not surprisingly, it’s beginning to look as though it will be Trump’s presidency that goes down in history as a “nothing-burger.”

Who feels bad for Jeff Sessions, being “thrown under the bus,” as they say, by the Orange McConnell? Sessions was the first U.S. Senator to jump on the Trump Train during the Republican primaries, thus granting Trump’s candidacy a level of legitimacy among skeptics and conservative pundits that it might never, and should never, have achieved. Sessions, in other words, is one of the few individuals who may be cited as a key player in the mainstream-ization of Donald Trump. He clearly saw a political advantage for himself in kowtowing to the alt-right cult. That his calculation is apparently blowing up in his face is some small consolation to the country he chose to sell for his thirty pieces of silver.

For years, the entire Republican Party ran on the promise to repeal Obamacare. Today, with a Republican President and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, it is clear that America is closer than ever to sliding precipitously into a single-payer health care system, i.e., full socialized medicine, and that no version of repeal was ever intended. I expect the changeover to single-payer to begin within Trump’s term as President, assuming he is not removed from office. The GOP and its media and intellectual supporters are already ushering the idea into the mainstream discussion as a legitimate option, “given the impossibility of repeal.”

This will go down as the GOP’s ultimate act of treason — and I don’t mean treason metaphorically here. Millions of people, over several years, voted for representatives who promised to defend their liberty. Their votes have won them the fast lane to practical tyranny, government ownership of their lives. Socialized medicine in America — which Trump is the first U.S. President ever to espouse openly as a good idea during his presidential campaign — will quell the last spark of meaningful resistance to global progressivism’s taming of the masses. The elected Republicans who are deliberately snatching defeat from the jaws of victory on this nation-defining issue deserve a fate much worse than contempt. But contempt is a good start.

But perhaps I am wrong to speak of today’s traitors and treason with such disdain. Perhaps there is more to these sell-outs than meets the eye. In a brilliant short story, “Three Versions of Judas,” Jorge Luis Borges outlines the radical theory of a fictional scholar, Nils Runeberg, regarding the true significance of Judas Iscariot. Runeberg reasons that since Jesus was a well-known teacher with many public appearances, there was no valid need for an informer to identify him to the authorities at all. And yet it would be blasphemous to imagine the Scripture to contain any superfluous or illogical events, from which it follows that Judas and his fateful kiss must have a deeper purpose than is traditionally believed.

Runeberg, developing his theory upon the foundations of earlier scholars who had argued that Judas’ betrayal is the indispensable mechanism by means of which the Crucifixion, and therefore the salvation of man, was achieved, speculates that this very fact reveals Judas — the means to salvation, the forgiveness of sins — to be the true fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, “He will sprout like a root in a dry soil; there is not good mien to him, nor beauty; despised of men and the least of them; a man of sorrow, and experienced in heartbreaks.” (Isaiah 53:2-3) What could embody the words “despised of men and the least of them,” Runeberg reasons, more perfectly than an informer and traitor? So perfect was God’s loving sacrifice for man that the Word was made flesh, not as a man without sin — an idea which “contains a contradiction,” according to Runeberg — but, on the contrary, as a man of perfect imperfection, the purest sinner, the eternally damned.

Perhaps the political class of this moment, in America, and by various degrees of degradation throughout the rest of the once-civilized world, is, like the fictional Nils Runeberg’s Judas, fulfilling an implausible prophecy of its own, preparing the future deliverance of mankind by means of their very corruption and treachery. Perhaps they are making the ultimate sacrifice — their eternal souls — in order to bring us to the moment of civilizational renewal. Perhaps, in their hateful progressive destruction, they are in fact humbly giving themselves away to save us.

Just a thought to take with you on your next walk through the quiet paths of Limbo.

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