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“A man’s gotta know his limitations.” —Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan in Magnum Force (1973)
The above quote from the iconic Mr. Eastwood applies to literally dozens of situations, people, and events we are currently dealing with in this month of elections. I dare not start the obvious list because, after several consecutive months of heavy stuff, I promised myself—and perhaps you—a short respite from the deafening sound of addressing the major things which have us all socially trapped in a box canyon at present. We have broken “limits laws” scattered in every direction by countless leaders and influencers who should have known better. People, governments, and a myriad of organizations are grasping for relief, whatever the cost. They have obviously either not seen Clint’s movies or forgotten what they should have learned from them. Clint Eastwood, prophet. Just think what that would do to our theology!
For more than forty years, as a traveling victim of Berkeley’s political theory major courses, I have searched for predictable and insightful principles in almost all realms of life. I have, literally, files full of notes, seminars, and teachings related to my quest. From big picture science to virtually all the social “ologies,” I have pushed onward in my quest, sometimes humming to myself U2’s, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. About eight years ago, I began to finally land the plane and listed out Ten Master Principles which met my criteria. To qualify as an ultimate principle, it had to pass the test: It had to be true in every generation, true in every ethnic group, and true in every one of the five jurisdictions of biblical government (self, family, ecclesiastic, economic, and civil). I have succumbed to adding two more but vowed to stop there. These now Twelve Master Principles are practical as “testers” for the strategic applications of personal decision-making, all the way up to complex public-policy analysis. They also allow us to analyze the government’s applications of policy in a truly unique and revolutionary fashion, but that remains for another day. They are as follows:
“Limits,” ninth in the above list, has two applications that are equally important but push in opposite directions: 1) limits of safety and resource availability, and 2) limits for our personal safety or that of others. To the point of this discussion, the latter is our target. As a frightening example, how much new fiat currency can we release to the public (unlike the quantitative-easing digital “money” which only went to banks) before runaway inflation sinks the ship? How many Supreme Court judges before we ruin the checks and balances of our three primary institutions of government? How many more general uses of identity politics injected into our social-national dialogues before reunifying our nation is no longer possible? Oops, there I go again breaking my own intention of keeping this conversation friendly and frolicking.
Back to Clint, the man who made millions of moviegoers feel good watching him solve his problems (without endless committee reviews) and dispense justice to people who had clearly exceeded their limits. I feel smiley all over again. Right now, our challenges are multiple, and few of the really big issues promise us quick or easy solutions. I have said in many places that God’s judgment is often the place with no good choices in any direction. All of them are costly. Why? Because people, especially our leaders, ran way over the limits, either not seeing them or not believing in them. Friends and countrymen, limits prove objective reality exists and ensure we don’t break principles. They break us, and that is…