Are you a political barbarian?

Roman soldier's helmet

Every election cycle, we hear Christian leaders encouraging everyone to throw strategy to the wind and just vote conscience.

While that sounds great, this line of reasoning is actually counter-productive to their goals.

Let me explain by telling a story.

An Illustration From History

In 61 AD, a small Roman army was drawn up in a narrow valley in England, facing a huge horde of long-haired, hideously-tattooed barbarian troops.

The Britons charged the Romans without any order or discipline, but the Romans just stood quietly with leveled spears. The troops behind the front ranks launched missiles over their comrades’ heads into the writhing barbarian mob. This continued for hours.

When the Britons began to tire, the Roman ranks began a steady advance. As they cut through the mob the Britons panicked and fled, and the battle turned into a massacre. Comparatively few Britons escaped and Rome was now the undisputed master of Britain.

The Britons had determination, courage, superior individual prowess, and right on their side. So why did they lose to a handful of Romans?

Because the Romans had a more effective strategy and were disciplined to deploy it.

What is a political barbarian?

A political barbarian is someone who approaches voting in the same way that those Britons approached fighting with the Romans. Political barbarians:

  • Are patriotic, God-fearing, and willing to die for country and for freedom
  • Are typically unwilling to yield to a general plan if they don’t agree with it 100%
  • Want radical solutions but have no idea how to get there

Many people who fall into this category are people I love and respect. They vote this way because they believe it’s right, and while I respect that, I can’t close my eyes to the fact that it’s not enough to be right. You also have to be effective.

The only difference between a political warrior and a political barbarian is strategy. 

You might be a political barbarian if…

  • You wouldn’t vote for someone who would save a few babies, if he wouldn’t save all of them
  • You wouldn’t vote for someone who would lower taxes, if they wouldn’t lower them enough
  • You wouldn’t vote for someone who would restrict the growth of government, because he wouldn’t bring government back to constitutional levels
  • When questioned about it, you recite the saying, “Duty is ours, results are God’s”

So is voting for religion and morality foolish?

Hardly. You want to vote Biblically as much as you can. But, the very first requirement listed for rulers in Exodus 18:21 is the word “able.” If you can’t build a platform and communicate your vision well enough to have a shot at getting elected, you’re not able. Period.

Christians should be like the sons of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do. They should be the leaders at effective strategy. It’s sad that the children of darkness are often wiser than the children of light.

What about “Duty is ours, results are God’s”?

There’s a time for that. But a lot of politics is more like farming than like fighting. Our duty starts long before election time, with recruiting and strategizing and fundraising and all the other hard work that goes into sowing a harvest of good candidates to choose from. If we haven’t done that, “voting conscience” at election time is less than heroic.

It’s okay if your focus is on reclaiming the culture at large instead of on politics. That’s an important part of the battle and God often calls different ones to focus on different areas. But please, don’t serve our freedoms up to the socialists on a silver platter while you work on it.

Remember, barbarians usually end up tilling the soil for their captors.

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  1. Why the Republican Party Should Not Unite - Yet | In Henry's Wake - October 22, 2013

    […] that turn a mob into an army: strategy and discipline. Political movements are the same way. If you don’t want to be political barbarians, you’ve got to get yourselves organized around a plan, and everyone has to go along with […]