For about 20 years, Ray Keating wrote a weekly column - a short time with the New York City Tribune, more than 11 years with Newsday, another seven years with Long Island Business News, plus another year-and-a-half with RealClearMarkets.com. As an economist, Keating also pens an assortment of analyses each week. With the Keating Files, he decided to expand his efforts with regular commentary touching on a broad range of issues, written by himself and an assortment of talented contributors and columnists. So, here goes...

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Ray Keating's New Book "Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel"

Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel is Ray Keating’s sixteenth work of fiction, and the first in the Alliance of Saint Michael series. 



The Alliance of Saint Michael brings together men and women with varied backgrounds and talents to work covertly against the two most significant threats to Christianity and civilization at the dawn of the 1930s - communism and fascism.

 

In Moscow, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is going to be obliterated to make way for the Palace of the Soviets. The Alliance of St. Michael readies itself for its first mission – find and salvage a rare item of great significance from the cathedral before the building is lost.

 

Regarding Cathedral

 

"A stellar depiction of time period and tension. With so many swirling motives and three-dimensional characters in the mix, there is inherent tension for readers, as they eagerly anticipate one of Keating’s classic twists. The depth of historical detail is notable; a good deal of research went into the crafting of this novel, which gives it an authentic and immersive feel. The complex puzzle makes for a page-turning and unpredictable ride, and a firm foundation for Keating’s enticing new series."  - Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★

 

Order the paperbacks, hardcovers and Kindle editions right here!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

"Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel" Released by Award-Winning Author Ray Keating

 Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel is a new edge-of-your-seat adventure from Ray Keating. This is his sixteenth work of fiction, and the first in the Alliance of Saint Michael series. 


The Alliance of Saint Michael brings together men and women with varied backgrounds and talents to work covertly against the two most significant threats to Christianity and civilization at the dawn of the 1930s - communism and fascism.

 

In Moscow, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is going to be obliterated to make way for the Palace of the Soviets. The Alliance of St. Michael readies itself for its first mission – find and salvage a rare item of great significance from the cathedral before the building is lost.

 

Cathedral is a work of historical fiction filled with interesting characters that readers will come to care about, nail-biting moments, thrilling action, assorted mysteries and questions, love, danger, friendship, and reflections on God, faith, war, one’s calling in life and more.

 

Ray Keating, who is known for penning 15 Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries (with more coming), said, “I’m excited to introduce new stories and characters set in a time of grave dangers. I found it particularly fascinating to explore how these characters choose to act in a time when Western Civilization is confronted by the challenges of both fascism and communism.”

 

Regarding Ray Keating, Kirkus Reviews calls his books “exhilarating.” Lutheran Book Review says, “I miss Tom Clancy. Keating fills that void for me.” The retired host of KFUO radio’s BookTalk declares, “Ray Keating is a great novelist.”

 

Paperbacks, hardcovers and the Kindle edition of Cathedral are available at Amazon.com, and signed books at www.RayKeatingOnline.com

 

Review copies, and author interviews and appearances are available upon request. 

 

Contact: Ray Keating

Phone: 631-909-1122

E-mail: raykeating@keatingreports.com

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Your Next Reading Obsession - Ray Keating's Pastor Stephen Grant Series!

 Looking for your next great series obsession? Dive into Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries. Or if already a reader of these page-turners, make sure you’re caught up.


Stephen Grant, pastor at St. Mary’s Lutheran Church on Long Island, former Navy SEAL and onetime CIA operative, came on the thriller/mystery scene in Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel. During 15 books in the series so far, readers come to see that Grant didn’t fully leave his old life behind. He often must wrestle with how his current work as a pastor intersects with his former life with the CIA. With a wide-ranging group of recurring characters – from his days with the Agency to his parish work – the reader is treated to action, suspense, humor, various relationships, faith, love, adventure, mystery, and opportunities for reflection and discussion.

 

Kirkus Reviews has called Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant “an engaging and multifaceted character” and “a consistently entertaining hero.” Lutheran Book Review says, “I miss Tom Clancy. Keating fills that void for me.” The retired host of KFUO radio’s BookTalk declares, “Ray Keating is a great novelist.” David Keene of The Washington Times calls these novels “great reads.”  And another reviewer observes, “How I'd love to see Pastor Grant on Netflix!” 

 

In an article titled “If James Bond Became a Pastor” covering Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers/mysteries series, author and columnist Gene Veith noted, “Mr. Keating knows how to tell an exciting story. And these books, like the James Bond novels, are ridiculously entertaining.”

 

And the “Book Series in Order” website declares, “Many noteworthy critics have given rave reviews to books of the series and have applauded the efforts of author Ray Keating in coming up with such an exciting series and unique character… The worldwide success of this series helped Ray Keating in establishing himself in the ranks of the noteworthy authors of the spy thriller/espionage genre.”

 

Paperbacks and Kindle editions of all 15 books, and counting, are available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08SW8HB34?binding=paperback&ref=dbs_dp_rwt_sb_tpbk

 

Signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

NEW BOOK: “The Weekly Economist” Helps Readers to Think More Like an Economist

 Ray Keating’s New Book Offers Quick Reads on Wide-Ranging Topics and Questions Related to the Economy and Business



If you don’t have a degree in economics, how do you figure out what actually makes economic sense and what doesn’t? Ray Keating, a leading economist on small business and entrepreneurship, offers help with a new book titled The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist.

 

Whether via CNBC, CNN, FOX, websites, or other outlets, many assertions regarding the economy and economic policy are presented that leave people wondering what’s accurate and what’s not. That’s especially the case when declarations by one talking head are conflicted by the next one. The Weekly Economist offers quick reads on topics essential to thinking clearly on economics, or applying sound economic principles to hot topics.

 

Ray Keating notes, “Yes, economics and thinking more like an economist matter. It is my hope that individuals, by taking just a few minutes for a quick read each week, can clarify their thinking on economics, and thereby, improve their own lives, and the lives of family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, as well as people across the nation and around the world."

 

Beyond a general readership interested in the economy, The Weekly Economist is ideal for the classroom, boardroom and workplace.

 

The Weekly Economist complements Ray Keating’s Free Trade Rocks: 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know, which is an excellent economics introduction to the often controversial topic of free trade.

 

Paperbacks, hardcovers and the Kindle edition of The Weekly Economist are available at Amazon.com, and signed books at www.RayKeatingOnline.com

 

Review copies, and author interviews and appearances are available upon request. 

 

Praise for Ray Keating’s work…

 

“Keating is at his best when tackling the issue that introduced him to the world of conservative thought: the benefits of the free market.”  - Kirkus Reviews

 

“Keating is no sour-puss conservative... Keating’s pro-growth agenda of dramatic supply-side tax and regulatory cuts, school choice, and much smaller government stands as New York’s only chance at rebirth.”  - Steve Forbes

 

Ray Keating's "take on the economy is unabashedly supply-side, offering a clear understanding that risk taking and entrepreneurship are the engines of economic growth.” - Jack Kemp

 

“Keating manages to bring this seemingly dull subject to accessible life with real-world examples often torn straight from recent headlines, along with a comprehensive and (mostly) impartial view on the topic.” – Self-Publishing Review on Free Trade Rocks!

 

“A common-sense explanation of why politicians and bureaucrats shouldn't throw sand in the gears of global trade.” - Dan Mitchell, Chairman, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, on Free Trade Rocks!

Friday, April 15, 2022

Pastor Stephen Grant Thrillers & Mysteries in Order!

 While you don’t have to read the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries in order, there is a plus to doing so. Therefore, here is the reading order of the books so far – with more to come! Enjoy! By the way, Paperback and Kindle editions are at Amazon.com, and signed books at RayKeatingOnline.com.



1) Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating

 

Warrior Monk revolves around a former CIA assassin, Stephen Grant, who has lived a far different, relatively quiet life as a parish pastor in recent years. However, a shooting at his church, a historic papal proposal, and threats to the pope's life mean that Grant's former and current lives collide. Grant must tap the varied skills learned as a government agent, a theologian and a pastor not only to protect the pope, but also to feel his way through a minefield of personal challenges. The second edition of Warrior Monk includes a new Introduction by Ray Keating, as well as a new Epilogue that points to an upcoming Pastor Stephen Grant novel.

 

2) Root of All Evil? A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating

 

Do God, politics and money mix? In Root of All Evil?, the combination can turn out quite deadly. Keating introduced readers to Stephen Grant, a former CIA operative and current parish pastor, in the fun and highly praised Warrior Monk. Now, Grant is back in Root of All Evil? It’s a breathtaking thriller involving drug traffickers, politicians, the CIA and FBI, a shadowy foreign regime, the Church, and money. Charity, envy and greed are on display. Throughout, action runs high.

 

3) An Advent for Religious Liberty: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating

 

Advent and Christmas approach. It’s supposed to be a special season for Christians. But it’s different this time in New York City. Religious liberty is under assault. The Catholic Church has been called a “hate group.” And it’s the newly elected mayor of New York City who has set off this religious and political firestorm. Some people react with prayer – others with violence and murder. Stephen Grant, former CIA operative turned pastor, faces deadly challenges during what becomes known as “An Advent for Religious Liberty.” Grant works with the cardinal who leads the Archdiocese of New York, the FBI, current friends, and former CIA colleagues to fight for religious liberty, and against dangers both spiritual and physical.

 

4) The River: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating

 

Some refer to Las Vegas as Sin City. But the sins being committed in The River are not what one might typically expect. Rather, it’s about murder. Stephen Grant once used lethal skills for the Navy SEALs and the CIA. Now, years later, he’s a pastor. How does this man of action and faith react when his wife is kidnapped, a deep mystery must be untangled, and both allies and suspects from his CIA days arrive on the scene? How far can Grant go – or will he go – to save the woman he loves? Will he seek justice or revenge, and can he tell the difference any longer? 

 

5) Murderer’s Row: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating

 

How do rescuing a Christian family from the clutches of Islamic terrorists, minor league baseball in New York, a string of grisly murders, sordid politics, and a pastor, who once was a Navy SEAL and CIA operative, tie together? Murderer’s Row is the fifth Pastor Stephen Grant novel, and Keating serves up fascinating characters, gripping adventure, and a tangled murder mystery, along with faith, politics, humor, and, yes, baseball.

 

6) Wine Into Water: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating

 

Blood, wine, sin, justice and forgiveness… Who knew the wine business could be so sordid and violent? That’s what happens when it's infiltrated by counterfeiters.  A pastor, once a Navy SEAL and CIA operative, is pulled into action to help unravel a mystery involving fake wine, murder and revenge. Stephen Grant is called to take on evil, while staying rooted in his life as a pastor.

 

7) Lionhearts: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating

 

War has arrived on American soil, with Islamic terrorists using new tactics. Few are safe, including Christians, politicians, and the media. Pastor Stephen Grant taps into his past with the Navy SEALS and the CIA to help wage a war of flesh and blood, ideas, history, and beliefs. This is about defending both the U.S. and Christianity.

 

8) Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating

 

Could President Ronald Reagan’s influence reach into the former “evil empire”? The media refers to a businessman on the rise as “Russia’s Reagan.” Unfortunately, others seek a return to the old ways, longing for Russia’s former “greatness.” The dispute becomes deadly. Conflict stretches from the Reagan Presidential Library in California to the White House to a Russian Orthodox monastery to the Kremlin. Stephen Grant, pastor at St. Mary’s Lutheran Church on Long Island, a former Navy SEAL and onetime CIA operative, stands at the center of the tumult.

 

9) Heroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story by Ray Keating

 

As a onetime Navy SEAL, a former CIA operative and a pastor, many people call Stephen Grant a hero. At various times defending the Christian Church and the United States over the years, he has journeyed across the nation and around the world. But now Grant finds himself in an entirely unfamiliar setting – a comic book, science fiction and fantasy convention. But he still joins forces with a unique set of heroes in an attempt to foil a villainous plot against one of the all-time great comic book writers and artists.

 

10) Shifting Sands: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story by Ray Keating

 

Beach volleyball is about fun, sun and sand. But when a big-time tournament arrives on a pier in New York City, danger and international intrigue are added to the mix. Stephen Grant, a former Navy SEAL, onetime CIA operative, and current pastor, is on the scene with his wife, friends and former CIA colleagues. While battles on the volleyball court play out, deadly struggles between good and evil are engaged on and off the sand. 

 

11) Deep Rough: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating

 

One man faces challenges as a pastor in China. His son has become a breakout phenom in the world of professional golf. The Chinese government is displeased with both, and their lives are in danger. Stephen Grant – a onetime Navy SEAL, former CIA operative and current pastor – has a history with the communist Chinese, while also claiming a pretty solid golf game. His unique experience and skills unexpectedly put him alongside old friends; at some of golf’s biggest tournaments as a caddy and bodyguard; and in the middle of an international struggle over Christian persecution, a mission of revenge, and a battle between good and evil.

 

12) The Traitor: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating

 

Stephen Grant – former Navy SEAL, onetime CIA operative and current pastor – looks forward to a time of prayer and reflection during a retreat at a monastery in Europe. But when he stumbles upon an infamous CIA traitor in a small village, Grant’s plans change dramatically. While a debate rages over government secrets and the intelligence community, a deadly race for survival is underway. From a pro-democracy demonstration in Hong Kong to the CIA’s headquarters in Langley to a monastery in France, the action and intrigue never let up.

 

13) Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating

 

More than 500 years ago, two men – Jan Hus and Martin Luther – tried to bring about change in the Catholic Church. They suffered, with one burned at the stake. Could a modern-day pope transform these reformers from heretics to heroes in the eyes of the Catholic Church? Shadowy figures inside and outside the Vatican oppose Pope Paul VII’s efforts, and stand willing to do anything to stop him. For help, the pope turns to Stephen Grant, a Lutheran pastor, former Navy SEAL and onetime CIA operative.

 

14) Past Lives: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story by Ray Keating

 

Torn from pages of his own journal, Pastor Stephen Grant tells about threats, murder and puzzling people from his past. It’s a compelling mystery involving action, unexpected turns, lost innocence, sought-after perspective, and twisted revenge. This is the first Pastor Stephen Grant story told from Grant’s own viewpoint, unfolding each day in the pages of his journal.

 

 

15) What’s Lost? A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story by Ray Keating

 

From the pages of his own journal, Pastor Stephen Grant tells a riveting mystery involving deception, betrayal, sacrifice and friendship, along with plenty of action and questions about what we truly can know about others. Grant takes us on a personal journey across decades and around the world, from Long Island to Vietnam. This is the second Pastor Stephen Grant story told from Grant’s own viewpoint, unfolding each day in the pages of his journal.

 

Paperback and Kindle editions are at Amazon.com, and signed books at RayKeatingOnline.com.

 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Easter Sale on Ray Keating's Books

 


Easter Sale at www.RayKeatingOnline.com! Save 15% on Signed Editions of Ray Keating’s Books! 

Save on any or all of the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries. Save on pre-ordering Ray’s new novel Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel. Save on Ray’s books on the economy and business, including pre-ordering The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist. Save on everything! 

Use coupon code “Easter15” at checkout. Sale ends on April 19th! Go to www.RayKeatingOnline.com


Monday, April 4, 2022

From Ray Keating - Pastor Stephen Grant Novels and a New Series

Ray Keating is the author of fifteen Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, and the first novel in a new series is on the way!

 

First, consider starting or catching up on Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries



Stephen Grant, pastor at St. Mary’s Lutheran Church on Long Island, former Navy SEAL and onetime CIA operative, came on the thriller/mystery scene in Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel. During 15 books in the series so far, readers come to see that Grant didn’t fully leave his old life behind. He often must wrestle with how his current work as a pastor intersects with his former life with the CIA. With a wide-ranging group of recurring characters – from his days with the Agency to his parish work – the reader is treated to action, suspense, humor, various relationships, faith, love, adventure, mystery, and opportunities for reflection and discussion.

 

About Keating and his Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, Kirkus Reviews simply says “exhilarating.” Lutheran Book Review says, “I miss Tom Clancy. Keating fills that void for me.” The retired host of KFUO radio’s BookTalk declares, “Ray Keating is a great novelist.” David Keene of The Washington Times calls these novels “great reads.”  And another reviewer observes, “How I'd love to see Pastor Grant on Netflix!” 

 

In an article titled “If James Bond Became a Pastor” covering Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers/mysteries series, author and columnist Gene Veith noted, “Mr. Keating knows how to tell an exciting story. And these books, like the James Bond novels, are ridiculously entertaining.”

 

By the way, signed books are at www.RayKeatingOnline.com

 

Second, please consider pre-ordering Ray’s new novel – CATHEDRAL: AN ALLIANCE OF SAINT MICHAEL NOVEL.


Yes, CATHEDRAL is Ray Keating’s sixteenth work of fiction, and the first in the Alliance of Saint Michael series. 


 

The Alliance of Saint Michael brings together men and women with varied backgrounds and talents to work covertly against the two most significant threats to Christianity and civilization at the dawn of the 1930s - communism and fascism.

 

In Moscow, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is going to be obliterated to make way for the Palace of the Soviets. The Alliance of St. Michael readies itself for its first mission – find and salvage a rare item of great significance from the cathedral before the building is lost.


By the way, signed books are at www.RayKeatingOnline.com.


Saturday, March 26, 2022

Pre-Order Ray Keating's New Book - "The Weekly Economist"

 Pre-Order Ray Keating’s New Book Today – The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist – Signed by the Author – Pre-Order Here!  


If you don’t have a degree in economics, how do you figure out what actually makes economic sense and what doesn’t? Ray Keating, a leading economist on small business and entrepreneurship, offers help with a new book titled The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist.

 

Whether via CNBC, CNN, FOX, websites, or other outlets, many assertions regarding the economy and economic policy are presented that leave people wondering what’s accurate and what’s not. That’s especially the case when declarations by one talking head are conflicted by the next one. The Weekly Economist offers quick reads on topics essential to thinking clearly on economics, or apply sound economic principles to hot topics.

 

Ray Keating writes, “Yes, economics and thinking more like an economist matter. It is my hope that individuals, by taking just a few minutes for a quick read each week, can clarify their thinking on economics, and thereby, improve their own lives, and the lives of family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, as well as people across the nation and around the world."

 

Praise for Ray Keating’s work…

 

“Keating is at his best when tackling the issue that introduced him to the world of conservative thought: the benefits of the free market.”  - Kirkus Reviews

 

“Keating is no sour-puss conservative... Keating’s pro-growth agenda of dramatic supply-side tax and regulatory cuts, school choice, and much smaller government stands as New York’s only chance at rebirth.”  - Steve Forbes

 

Ray Keating's "take on the economy is unabashedly supply-side, offering a clear understanding that risk taking and entrepreneurship are the engines of economic growth.” - Jack Kemp

 

Monday, March 21, 2022

What is Stagflation, Anyway?

 

Free Enterprise in Three Minutes with Ray Keating – Episode #142: What is Stagflation and How to Fight It? – Ray Keating explains what stagflation is, when and how we dealt with it before, and the economic policy lessons for today. And all in roughly three minutes - wow! Tune in.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Thankful for James Madison on His Birthday

 by Ray Keating

The Keating Files – March 16, 2022

 

Today, March 16, marks the birthday of James Madison, often called the Father of the Constitution. 



Madison was big on separation of powers, and checks and balances. And thank God he was. What the Founders created in the Constitution was truly exceptional (to be completed by Lincoln and the Civil War).

 

And looking at our current and previous two presidents, and far, far too many members of the current Congress, my appreciation for what Madison and the Founders achieved in terms of checks and balances, and separation of powers, has been multiplied many times over.

 

Perhaps Madison’s key point on these matters was the following:

 

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty is this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.” 

 

Madison very much understood the need for checks and balances in government in order to protect liberty and limit the governmental abuse of power, no matter the source of such abuse. He understood the potential for abuse from those in government, as well as from the majority in a pure democracy. Hence, the Constitution is an exquisitely balanced document meant to protect natural rights, for example, as laid out in the Declaration of Independence.

 

As for government and policy today, we need to re-establish or regain what has been lost in terms of those checks and balances, and separation of powers. For example, Congress has been far too willing to hand over legislative powers to the president. Hence, we get Presidents Trump and Biden unilaterally imposing tariffs, while the power to tax is one of those separated powers allocated to Congress by the Constitution. And we see the Supreme Court grabbing the power to legislate from Congress because … well … too many justices simply want to go far beyond interpreting and applying what’s actually written in the Constitution. Judicial activism means the judiciary expands its power.

 

I think it’s safe to say that Madison would be appalled by all of this, and more.

 

Do we need another James Madison? No. We just need people in public life who have a Madisonian appreciation and understanding of the Constitution, government and human nature.

 

_________

 

Ray Keating is a columnist, novelist, economist, podcaster and entrepreneur. The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

 

Keating writes the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries. Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is the 13th book in the series, followed by Past Lives: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story and What’s Lost? A Pastor Stephen Grant Short StorySigned books are available at www.RayKeatingOnline.com.

 

Some of Keating’s best columns and essays are available in Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New YorkAnd his other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know. Again, signed books at www.RayKeatingOnline.com.

 

In addition, get organized in 2022 with either of Ray Keating’s TO DO List Solution Planners – The Lutheran Planner 2022 or The Disney Planner 2022.

 

Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.

 

Check out Ray Keating’s Disney news and entertainment site at www.DisneyBizJournal.com.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Fantasy and Sci-Fi Author Brandon Sanderson's Wild Kickstarter Success


PRESS CLUB C Podcast with Ray Keating – Episode #78: Brandon Sanderson’s Wild Kickstarter Success – Fantasy and sci-fi author Brandon Sanderson’s incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign should be celebrated by authors and readers. And yes, there are plenty of lessons for writers and other entrepreneurs to take away from Sanderson’s campaign. Tune in now!

Friday, December 31, 2021

A 2022 New Year’s Resolution for America: Less Politics

 by Ray Keating

The Keating Files – December 31, 2021

 

Here’s a suggestion: Americans need to come together to make a joint New Year’s Resolution. What should that resolution be? Less politics in 2022 – a lot less.



Nearly everything touched by politics gets corrupted. It’s not really a question of “if” but only of “when.” That is, how long will it take for the corruption to become manifest? Make no mistake, the ills of politics long have been spreading throughout our society, undermining institutions, and making daily life far less joyful. But the descent seems to have accelerated in recent years, with fewer Americans recognizing the corruption.

 

To paraphrase William F. Buckley, Jr.’s declaration in 1955 that his new magazine, National Review, “stands athwart history yelling stop,” it’s time in 2022, to stand athwart politics yelling stop.

 

And it must be understood that “politics” and “government” cannot be separated in any coherent manner. Politics merely is the control over government, the exercise of authority, or the art, if you will, of governing. Quite frankly, more government means more politics.

 

Of course, history is laden with warnings about politics and politicians. The psalmist had good reason to exhort: “Put not your trust in princes…” (Psalm 146:3) And in Common Sense (1776), Thomas Paine bluntly declared: “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

 

James Madison, often referred to as the Father of the U.S. Constitution, noted: 

 

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty is this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.” 

 

Madison very much understood the need for checks and balances in government given his concerns regarding the abuse of power.

 

None of this should be news to Americans, but it seems to be for many these days.

 

The political Left long has been at the forefront politicizing society. After all, the Left views government action not only as a cure-all for any and all real or perceived ills in life, but politics as the path to progress and improvement. Hence, the label “progressives.” So, to say the least, the Left has not been on board with Psalm 146, with Thomas Paine’s take on government, nor quite frankly, with Madison and much of the Constitution. On that last point, if doubted, understand that the predominate view of constitutional interpretation on the Left is judicial activism, which amounts to the Constitution saying whatever at least five members of the U.S. Supreme Court say it says, never mind what is actually written in the document itself.

 

However, new to this particular march of politicization have been many on the Right. Though they usually call themselves conservatives, those now embracing the expansion of politics, and therefore government, rank as populists, who also are supported or fueled by political panderers and opportunists. Like those on the Left, these populists see themselves as victims. It’s about being a victim of political enemies; big business, especially “Big Tech”; immigrants; international trade; and of course, elites. The list goes on.

 

So, the primary thrust of our politics these days is between progressives and populists each seeking to use government. The agendas differ (though not always), but the goal stands the same, i.e., seize and use the power of government. This has led to an intensely divisive political battle being engaged far beyond the typical realms of politics.

 

The Christian Church

 

Christianity, for example, has been anything but immune. The Left long has been playing politics within the Church. Mainline Protestant churches and parts of the Catholic Church have been in the business of tossing aside the truths of Holy Scripture – to varying degrees from the Ten Commandments to Jesus’ incarnation, death and atonement for the sins of all, and resurrection – in favor of taking up assorted political causes in the name of the Church. Political activism by many leaders in the Church not only takes place in areas where Christians have the freedom to disagree, such as where Scripture is silent, but even where Scripture points in the opposite direction.

 

More traditional or conservative Christian churches and movements have pushed back against such efforts for decades. But now, large swathes of evangelicals and “conservative” Christians have moved beyond a defense of more traditional Christianity to an ends-justify-the-means politicization. That has included, for example, a see-no-evil, character-does-not-matter embrace of President Donald Trump because he was perceived as being “on our side” on various issues, like abortion, but interestingly not on marriage.

 

Perhaps even more troubling, however, is how a Trumpian divisiveness has reached into the Church to create a scenario whereby Christians, including assorted clergy, view their political opponents as evil and unreachable. That flies in the face of what Jesus teaches. In fact, some movements within Christianity argue for a general retreat from society itself due to assorted political and cultural developments – a turn inward. You know, let’s just preach to the choir. Again, that’s not what Jesus calls for, and it flies in the face of the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

 

These developments are about politics trumping God’s Word. They are about greater confidence in politics than in the Church and its mission. They are about the corrupting nature of politics. And we see it flourishing now among both the Left and Right within the Church.

 

The list continues.

 

Economics or Politics?

 

My own profession overflows with examples of politics corrupting the economics discipline. While considerable disagreement exists among economic schools of thought on an array of issues, how much of that disagreement springs from various economists ignoring fundamental laws of economics due to their own political preferences? 

 

The temptation to dress up political preferences in the garb of economics has been around a long time, especially given how economics and economists get tied to policy analyses and proposals. Arguably, the door was blown open to politics being dressed up as economics when John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s justified massive government action to juice up aggregate demand and the economy. From that point forward, it has been increasingly easy to find economists willing to slap some economics makeup on almost any governmental action. Today, that goes for government spending being an engine of economic growth to justifying protectionist trade policies to advocating for increases in a government-mandated minimum wage to ignoring any possible negatives of raising costs on entrepreneurs, businesses and investors to asserting that immigrants are negatives for the economy. None of this makes economic sense; instead, it’s about the politics of various economists.

 

The corruption of politics is clear.

 

Sports and Politics

 

How about sports? Sure. We’ve seen where a handful of players use their spots as professional athletes to advance political causes. Politicians react, especially in hopes of fueling anger and action among their respective bases. Matters escalate far beyond the simple reality that a few athletes in a particular league have taken a controversial, usually shallow, stand. Sports become politicized. Interestingly, though, with sports, politics tend to be short-lived rather than something more substantive. Causes come and go, as do the reactions. People declare that they’ll never watch a game again because some players disagree with them on this or that political point. But not long after, everyone is gathered back around the television wearing their jerseys. 

 

But another political storm no doubt will emerge, or be manufactured, and divisions will again be accentuated.

 

The Politics of Business?

 

How about business? At one time, American businesses were studiously nonpolitical. After all, why wade into politics and potentially aggravate half of your customers? Of course, there are cases where politicians seek to impose additional burdens on businesses, and it would be irresponsible for companies not to make clear their positions on such matters. But the pressure and willingness to get political beyond those situations have been ramped up in recent times.

 

Many business executives are stuck wondering which issues are actual trends in the marketplace, and which are stirred up by politicians and activists. Other executives seem to lack a fundamental understanding of the role of profits in a business, as well as in the marketplace in terms of allocating resources, and have embraced political causes as guides for running companies. Eventually, though, businesses that make decisions that run counter to what consumers want and need will be punished in the marketplace.

 

There’s more, of course, including in education, in “Hollywood,” in publishing, in news reporting, etc. Heck, largely via political manipulation, we’ve even managed to politicize getting vaccinated to save lives and limit the spread of a pandemic. The list is rather exhausting.

 

Populists, Progressives and No Real Surprises

 

The populist Right seems to be a strange mix of a harsh libertarianism with extreme distrust of everything government is involved in, including running elections; a politically-focused chunk of evangelicalism that seems more Republican than Christian; a paranoia regarding technology, large businesses, immigrants and the international economy; an isolationism regarding foreign policy; and yet, an authoritarian streak if their people (like Donald Trump) were running the government. 

 

This contrasts with a progessive Left that is no longer shy about brandishing its ignorance of economics, its unwavering love of government, and its willingness to call for adopting socialism (though it’s not clear that many of these pro-socialists actually know what socialism is, and the same goes for many of today’s critics of these efforts). These progressives certainly see no ills in imposing higher taxes and increased regulations, but instead view these as minor, preliminary matters in their larger plans. They share with the populists a penchant for isolationism on most international matters, such as trade and U.S. global leadership, that is, unless an international effort advances the Left’s secular religion of environmentalism. For good measure, the Left’s social agenda no longer allows for mere disagreement, discussion or even civil argument with others, but instead, it is a matter of punishing those who fail to get on board. The temptations of Stalinism are never completely lost on the Left.

 

So, in this era where one major political party is immersed in a radical progressivism and the other in a radical populism, no one should be surprised by the spread of politics and divisiveness across society. We can be saddened by it, distressed by it, and worried about where the U.S. might be headed, but being surprised is no longer in the cards. In a real and tragic sense, we have caught up to the descent that’s been going on in parts of Europe for some time now, that is, a rampaging progressivism on the Left and a dark populism on the Right.

 

Another Option?

 

What to do? Is there another option? Yes. Traditional, or American, conservatism offers insights. That is, the conservatism with roots in the American founding, and made clear in much of the thinking and actions of assorted individuals like Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge, Jack Kemp, William F. Buckley, Jr., George Will, and Ronald Reagan.

 

Regarding politics and its proper role as they relate to this time and topic, the conservative would say that men and women have a right to be free from arbitrary force; that political freedom cannot be separated from economic freedom; and that the purpose of government is to protect freedom by protecting life, limb and property, providing for a national defense, and administering justice. This limited view of government naturally points to a limited view of politics. As conservative historian Lee Edwards put it: “The conservative looks upon politics as the art of achieving the maximum amount of freedom for individuals that is consistent with the maintenance of social order.” 

 

Yes, this description leaves plenty of room for diverse views, disagreement and debate. It always has. But in today’s politics, both Left and Right, Democrats and Republicans, seem to stand against or in ignorance of these basic tenets. And given that Democrats never claimed to be conservatives, this ignorance or opposition is a far more egregious offense for Republicans and others who label themselves as being “conservative.”

 

Think about this traditional view of politics, and compare it to our current affairs, and to both the Democratic and Republican parties. Again, it’s deeply troubling. But is all lost?

 

No. From the traditional Christian to the traditional conservative (for which, by the way, there is a great deal of overlap, with Judeo-Christian values serving as part of the foundation of conservativism – but alas that is a subject to delve more deeply into on another day), while serious reasons for worry exist, this does not, or should not, translate into a loss of confidence in truths and principles. But it does mean that hard work lies ahead in order to teach, persuade and correct, and treat civilly, not denigrate and name call, those with whom we disagree.

 

I think of my favorite quote, which I reference often, from President Reagan: “We’ve made much progress already. So, let us go forth with good cheer and stout hearts – happy warriors out to seize back a country and a world to freedom.”

 

And yes, this all can start with a New Year’s Resolution for less politics in 2022. It’s a conservative resolution that perhaps many Americans, who are sick of the spreading corruption of politics, now stand open to considering and perhaps adopting.

 

_________

 

Ray Keating is a columnist, novelist, economist, podcaster and entrepreneur. The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

 

Keating writes the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries. Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is the 13th book in the series, followed by Past Lives: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story and What’s Lost? A Pastor Stephen Grant Short StorySigned books are available at www.RayKeatingOnline.com.

 

Some of Keating’s best columns and essays are available in Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New YorkAnd his other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know. Again, signed books at www.RayKeatingOnline.com.

 

In addition, get organized in 2022 with either of Ray Keating’s TO DO List Solution Planners – The Lutheran Planner 2022 or The Disney Planner 2022.

 

Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.

 

Check out Ray Keating’s Disney news and entertainment site at www.DisneyBizJournal.com.