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CSotD: The Divine Right of Donnie

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: The powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. — Romans 13, 1-2

Ann Telnaes summons the ghost of Thomas Hobbes, who didn’t quite accept the theory of the Divine Right of Kings, but stopped well short of condemning it, either, in “The Leviathan.”

Ironically, it was easier to believe in Divine Right before the Reformation, but the audience that seems most eager to invest it in Dear Leader is overwhelmingly Protestant, albeit a branch of non-Catholic Christianity that, as noted here before, believes that once you have professed your attachment to God, He will continue to forgive anything you do.

This differs from Monopoly in that, in Monopoly, you can only use a “Get Out of Jail Free” card once, whereas, in that branch of religion, you can keep it and play it whenever you do something that would otherwise be perceived as sinful.

It’s been a half century since I plowed my way through the Leviathan and I wouldn’t want to do it again, but (as noted before) I’m currently reading a biography of Bonhoefer and have just reached the point where Hitler has been named chancellor just as Bonhoefer gave an address about the fuhrer theory.

The book explains that the German people, with no longer a firm belief in divine guidance or the Kaiser, adopted the concept of the “fuhrer” or “leader” as a way of resolving their chaotic post-war society.

Bonhoefer did not think this was a good idea.

Hitler thought it was an excellent idea, and eventually he and Bonhoefer would work out their differences, based on the concept that Hitler had jails and a gallows and Bonhoefer did not.

But in 1933, it just seemed that electing Nazis was perhaps a bad idea, though how bad an idea was, for the moment, theoretical.


That, as this meme suggests, is about where we are now.

I’ll keep reading about Bonhoefer, but I kind of know how the story plays out, and it’s all well and good to point out that we stopped it last time, until you consider the cost paid before that happy ending.


Meantime, I’m with those who were dumbstruck by Trump’s casual admission yesterday that he’d happily accept the assistance of foreign governments in channeling the outcome of our election, and his declaration that he would not comply with election laws that would require him to report such offers.

I hate hating Trump so personally, seeing him as a cheap thug and conman, because it seems to take the conversation away from sensible constitutional issues and political differences of opinion.

I always felt a little sorry for Nixon because he seemed to want friends. The night he snuck out of the White House and tried to talk about football with demonstrators at the Jefferson Memorial was, if not exactly sweet, at least pathetic enough to earn him a little sympathy.

And I know the chants of “Hey Hey LBJ: How many kids did you kill today?” broke his heart, because he was more trapped in bad policy than enthusiastic about leading it.

Not that I’d invite them to dinner, but I could oppose them on a political basis with a clear conscience.

It’s more complex to oppose a cheap, lying, self-serving gangster. You’re never sure how pure your motivations really are, because you’re never sure if you really disagree with him, or if you just want him out of your sight.

RJ Matson is right: Even Nixon would distance himself from this punk.


And now …

I’ve seen a lot of Brexit cartoons from across the briny, but mostly came away knowing that Theresa May had leopard-skin patterned shoes and that cartoonists did not seem to like her very much and that Boris Johnson has funny hair.

Beyond that, the issues have seemed distant and (thus) uncompelling, but this piece by Maartin Wolterink caught my eye because, not only does he not go overboard on Johnson’s hair, but I’m delighted that whosoever shall remove Britain from the European Union is thereby rightful King. Or Prime Minister. Whichever.

Particularly since Wolterink doesn’t depict him actually accomplishing it. A delightful use of a cultural reference, and one that is specifically dear to the heart of Merry Old England!

And speaking of cultural references …

Marco de Angilis works a whole raftload of cultural references into a simple cartoon, and I think if I were a school teacher, I’d like to have this as a poster for my classroom.

I’ll assume that the woman between William Tell and the Wicked Queen is Atalanta, but I am puzzled by the fellow at the head of the table, who looks like Robin Hood but, if so, I don’t know his association with apples. (The crossbow being Tell’s weapon of choice.)


One more about this:

Kevin Siers added to his graphic commentary on the NYTimes debacle with an incredibly insightful piece written some time ago by one of his editors.

If every editor were like that guy, working at a newspaper would be a whole lot more fun.

A friend once groused about a talented but difficult pair of subordinates in her department, but I pointed out that, when you see the stagecoach come whipping into town, there is a set of reins for each of those spirited horses, wrapped in a knot around the driver’s fist.

He knows that this horse needs the whip, that horse needs only a click and that horse will freak out at the slightest touch of the reins, and you have to know which rein goes to which horse if you want to fly into town and have everyone flock to their windows to see.

However, if you’d rather not deal with prima donnas, you can drive an oxcart and just plod in slowly and quietly.

This fellow Ed Williams obviously preferred driving the stagecoach.

Community Comments

#1 Brian Fies
@ 8:36 am

The sword and the stone cartoon is outstanding! Can Boris do it? Can anyone?

I think that is William Tell at the head of the table. His crossbow is on the floor beside his son. You may be reading his quiver strap as a longbow?

#2 mark johnson
@ 9:02 am

The captioned photos showing “Da Fewer” is quite funny.
On that subject, I’d add that Madeleine Albright’s book “Fascism” is an informative read, an overview of the movement. Given her personal family history of fleeing Nazis and then her adult career lends some valuable perspective. She resists labeling Trump a fascist but cautions the nation against acceptance of some disturbing trends he promotes( attacking free press, the courts, intelligence agencies and so forth)

#3 Mike Peterson
@ 9:27 am

You’re probably right, Brian — that could be a quiver full of bolts, not arrows, over his shoulder, in which case I would nominate the two beyond his son as Paris and either Helen or Aphrodite, depending on whether we’re linking the apple to the outcome or to the Judgement.

Makes more sense.

#4 William Wilson
@ 9:29 am

The apple comic, spot on!

#5 Becky F
@ 3:17 pm

Yes, the apple comic! I was looking for Johnny Appleseed, but love all the other connections.

#6 Ed Rush
@ 10:09 pm

This is one of your best columns I have seen, and that is a stiff competition. Keep it up, Mike.

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