Uz and Oz
Psalm 2 begins, "Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together."
Just before Christmas, President Barack Obama met with the leaders of China, India, Brazil, and South Africa. Obama then announced that he and the four aimed to limit global warming "to no more than 2 degrees Celsius" (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and planned "to take action to meet this objective."
Since much of whatever global warming is occurring seems beyond man's control, this plan enters the annals of arrogance alongside the tower of Babel and Nebuchadnezzar's self-glorification.
Perhaps 4,000 years ago, when four men plus a citizen of Uz named Job attempted to discern why Job's environment had rapidly disintegrated, God answered their statements with questions: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?. . . Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding."
That was Uz. Now we live in Oz. We think we have understanding. The great wizard says he and his congressional associates can control the thermometer, the odometer ("cash for clunkers"), and the sphygmomanometer: Even the measuring of blood pressure may soon be a governmental project.
How will Americans this year react-politically, economically, culturally-to such arrogance? And how will today's terrorists and tomorrow's aggressors take advantage of the opportunities afforded them?
We explore some of those questions on the following pages. The answers will come into focus throughout 2010 on distant battlefields, in downtown office suites, in voting booths, and sometimes on the streets.