For those who don’t recall the tale, Gideon was a general who was ordered to attack a large army (the Midianites and Amalekites). Now when he gathered an army, he got told it was too big (by God). So he winnowed it, then winnowed again, finally getting it down to 300. By implication, these were the “true” soldiers of Israel. He then proceeded to slaughter an army almost 500 times his size.

Now, the story of Gideon is the key reason many true believers don’t care about numbers. What they believe is that if the believers are true enough, God will balance the difference.

Enter politics, and the zealots that seem to have taken over the Republican party. We’ve entered a zealotry cycle. From here on in we’ll see True Believers get Their nominees selected as candidates. A few will win, but most will be soundly defeated as not only the other side but people who aren’t zealot and who used to be Republicans go the other way. The reaction will be to purge the party of the untrue. Obviously that’ll push even more Republicans into the ‘other’ camp, giving them even greater numbers, and giving the gideonites even greater losses.

Eventually the cycles end. It happens when either non-zealots take back control, or when non-zealots form a new party between the zealots and their old foes, and the zealots purge so long they become, well, pretty much a loud but insignificant fringe.

In 2010, Republicans will pick up some seats – not enough by any stretch to take over, but they’ll gain some seats. This will convince the zealots God is on their side. The 2012 candidates — congressional and presidential — will almost all be zealot approved nominees.

They’ll get their asses handed to them.

And for at least two more cycles after that you’ll see the cycle in play: purge for greater purity, lose, rant at how the loss was because they weren’t pure enough, repeat.

Honestly, it’s not going to be pretty. The zealots won’t keep it all within their own party. They’ll blame EVERYbody. Violence is likely, with the only question being how much and how cohesive. (Ironically, the greater and more cohesive, the sooner they’ll be made marginal. At a certain point they’re an armed rebellion and the US military will get involved. For a LOT of reasons I hope not, but I have no doubt they’d lose.)

There are situations in which Gideon’s principles are right – that a small group can count on something more to overcome the larger group. But when it is PURELY a matter of counting heads, the larger group wins.

And that’s democracy. Purely about counting heads. God isn’t going to assist voter fraud.


2 thoughts on “Gideonites

  1. My favorite sentences from this blog:

    “They’ll get their asses handed to them.”


    “God isn’t going to assist voter fraud.”

    but you really think this whole Tea Party, Evolution is Satan’s trick, my God is better than your God thing is going to get violent – violent to the point of military intervention? Gosh, I would rather have John and Yoko’s bed-ins than riots from zealots. (translation: Zealots scare the bejebus out of me!) Actually, any kind of fanatic sort of scares me. I take my religion and my politics like food and alcohol – moderation is a good thing!

    • Eventually, yes I think it will be violent.

      It may be so already.

      More than 10 congressmen (and women) who voted in favor of the health bill have received death threats. We’ve seen the windows of several democratic party offices smashed with bricks, some with death threats attached to the bricks. We’ve had the brother of a congressman’s gas line cut. ok, that one needs expansion.

      A couple of yahoos posted an address they claimed was that of Congressman Perriello with suggestions people go tell him how they feel. The address was actually that of his brother. The brother received some threats, the two yahoos were told that the threats had happened and that it was the congressman’s brother, and the response? a) huh – collateral damage. and b) well, when the congressman gives me his real address I’ll remove his brother’s from my site.

      Oh – someone went onto the screened porch and cut a propane gas line. Now a lot of idiots are asking what’s the big deal about cutting a bbq tank line, which tells me they’re all city idiots or McMansionites and don’t realize that in rural areas, like where the brother lives, propane tanks are 500 or more gallons and used to do a lot more than run a BBQ grill. And so far nobody’s giving details on the line actually cut.

      So yeah, I think the violence is already here. It’s just a matter of whether it goes septic or gets contained, again.

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