No-Show might have been expected to put down allnpre-millennialist heresy for good. However, another, morenintellectual strain was imported from England in a formn(dispensationalism) that appealed powerfully to conservativenevangelicals who were offended by the liberal habit ofnequating God’s will with their own peculiar schemes ofnsocial reform.nThe post-millennialists had — and continue to have —nthe intellectuals, while the pre-millennialists possess thenhearts and minds of the most fervent Protestants in America.nTo a great extent, the real conflict in American life today isnnot between liberals and conservatives (much less betweennCommunists and ex-Communists) but between two rivalnmillennialisms: between a secular creed that puts its faith inntechnology, progress, and democracy; and the hardshellnconviction that man, left to his own devices (which includendemocratic capitalism), will worship the anti-Christ. Thenmiddle way pursued by catholics (i.e. Roman Catholics,nEastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, and even Calvinists),nwho do not spend their lives in some impossible future,nhas little hold on the public imagination.nAlthough the mainstream of Christian thought has beennresolutely “amillennialist,” Christians have always found itnhard to resist the temptation to construct the Kingdom ofnGod in the here and now. Every December we are treatednto Christmas cards from United Nations agencies thatnproclaim, in the words of the heavenly host: “Peace onnEarth, Good will toward men.”nTo a great extent, the real conflict innAmerican life today is between two rivalnmillennialisms.nIt was from scriptural passages like this that such variednwriters as the gentle Origen and the Leveller WilliamnWalwyn conceived their ideas of universal salvation. (InnOrigen’s heresy even Satan is eventually reconciled to God.)nFor more vindictive temperaments, however, it has nevernseemed right to extend the promise of a harmonious worldnorder to all mankind, regardless of character or behavior.nThere are men and women who, day by day, add bricks andnmortar to the walls of Hell, and it seems a shame that theynshould never be allowed to stoke its fires.nIn this passage (Luke II. H), at least, the vision ofnuniversal peace rests upon a probably faulty text, since thenbest manuscript authorities read: “Peace on earth amongnmen oi eudokia” — a word which might mean either goodnwill or good repute. On either interpretation of the word,npeace on earth is restricted to those whose faith and conductnreveal the operation of grace within their hearts.nIt is a small thing, perhaps, a difference between angenitive and a nominative case in a Greek text, but theninterpretation raises ethical and political questions thatncontinue to plague the human race. The different readingsnlead to two quite distinct visions of human life, and not justnin relation to salvation. For if the harsher interpretationnseems to restrict salvation to men of good will or to men whonhave found favor in the eyes of God, it also implies a view ofn14/CHRONICLESnnnhuman social life in which the good are forever compelled tonstruggle with evil, and the sheep are forever being butted bynthe goats.nThe more prevalent philosophical view of the past fewncenturies has been the charitable conviction that mennand nations are essentially good, and that once they arenliberated from the fetters of superstition, tradition, andnoppressive political order, men will unite into one happynfamily governed by the popular will. In one form or another,nit was the dream of Robespierre and Napoleon, of Marx andnLenin, and of Adolph Hitler, who once confided tonHermann Rauschning that national states had outlived theirnusefulness. The time had come, he said, for world government.nToday, the specific form this delusion takes, at least innpublic, is democratic globalism. But no one above the age ofn25 can seriously believe that the world will ever be governed,nin whole or in part, on democratic principles. Democracyncan work in a church congregation, certainly, and in a smallntown, yes, and in a rural state, perhaps, but not in the city ofnNew York or the state of California, much less the UnitednStates. Most of these political entities, I think we allnunderstand, are governed by the machinery of cabals andninterest groups. Their family feuds may sometimes give thenimpression of democracy, but then even the most rigidnoligarchies sometimes succumb to partisan struggles. Hitlernhad to eliminate Ernst Rohm and the SA; Stalin purged thenTrotskyists, Bukharinists, and — incidentally — the Jewsnfrom the Communist Party.nIn America, however, our own party state — the tool ofngovernment contractors, unionized government employees,nand minority interest groups — can deal more successfullynwith each competing claim by buying them all off with taxndollars. As for the limited government that depended upon anresponsible citizenry of farmers and tradesmen who knewnhow to mind their own business — what we used to callndemocracy in the days of Jefferson, Jackson, and Bryan —nthere is hardly a trace to be found, except in remote areasnthat have kept themselves relatively free from the infectionnof federal funds.nIf the current dream of world unity and the end of historynhas little or nothing to do with democracy, then whatnprecisely is the meaning of all this talk of global democracy?nConservatives do not know what to make of it, becausenideology — especially a global ideology — is foreign to theirnnature, but leftists, who have been putting up with this NewnRepublican silliness for some time, know a scam when theynsee one. John Judis, writing recently in In These Times,ncame close to endorsing the old conservative isolationismnthat is enjoying a modest revival these days, but the bestncomment was made by Erwin Knoll, the genial editor of thenfar-left Progressive, who frequently hears complaints that hisnmagazine does not appear to support world government.nKnoll’s answer, he told me, was always the same: if theynthink the government of the United States is a repressiventyranny, what do they think these people will do when theynrun the whole world, without any fear of competition? Andnif you can answer that question, you are ready to face thenmillennium.nn