Why "Servant-Leadership" Is Dead

In leadership circles, the concept of "servant-leadership" is a popular one. It is regularly praised. And rightfully so.

A Brief History:

The concept has its origins in both ancient Eastern and Western religious traditions and philosophies. Most notably for many of us who are Christians, the concept can be demonstrated in the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels:

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be servant of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. ~ (Mark 10:42-45)

The phrase itself, "servant-leader" was coined by a Quaker, Robert K. Greenleaf, who in 1970 wrote a famous essay called "The Servant as Leader." He said the following:

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”

“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?“

Many businesses have embraced this idea, and incorporated it into their management and leadership culture. Likewise, many churches have found inspiration in Greenleaf's teaching on the matter.

All of this is wonderful and fantastic stuff. It's a concept that we have done well to embrace.

Current Church Culture:

However, I believe we are at the point in America and in the church where we need to bury the usage of the phrase "servant-leader." While the phrase is a powerful concept, I believe we are at the point that it has become extremely overused, and that it's now nothing more than a tired, worn out, and empty cliché, devoid of any real power or meaning.

Frankly, I believe the concept behind the phrase, while amazing, has been hijacked and twisted into something else altogether. And we are pretty much at the point today where the phrase "servant-leader" is preached and practiced in such a way that that those who use it really mean "leader" when they talk about the concept. There is very little concept of "servant" left in the application of this phrase.

In a nutshell, "servant-leadership" is dead. And we are guilty of killing it.

Take for example, many pastors in the church today. The bigger the church is, the more likely it is that you will never really know any of your pastors on a personal level. Gaining direct access to any of them usually means you have to go through a number of middle-men who will filter your ability to converse with or even know these individuals. If the pastor even recognizes your face, knows your name, or knows any details about your life, such is increasingly a rare thing.

Many pastors today serve (or rather lead) from a very isolated and detached position in the church they minister at. They are men on a platform, and the guy calling the shots behind closed doors. Everybody does what the pastor says, and those he employs exist to do nothing less than implement his vision.

Additionally, the bigger the church a pastor often leads, the bigger his salary, and the more "benefits" he receives in the process. It's never been more lucrative to be a "servant-leader" than at this time in history. Few pastors making over six-figures a year ever tell the church to stop raising their salary. As a result, churches often become very secretive about the compensation package the pastor receives, and most people have little clue where their pastor even lives.

I believe many of these guys are well intentioned. If you were to ask any of these men about servant-leadership, they could probably give you a very good talk on the matter, and they would praise its virtues and say it is their own philosophy of leadership.

But, demonstrating it and living it out is another matter altogether.

Everybody likes the idea behind servant-leadership, but at the end of the day, many prefer the idea of simply being a leader instead. Being a servant is something that is increasingly paid mere lip-service, and it is something many only pretend to be.

Being a leader on the other hand, is where the real action is at. Which is why we trip over ourselves to get the latest books on leadership, and go to Catalyst and Willow Creek Leadership conferences every year, so we can hear from the latest and greatest movers and shakers, and try to implement what we learn from them back at home.

Feeling like a leader increases our sense of self-importance, and even if we never attract much in the way of followers, we enjoy the high that comes from feeling like one just the same. In the process, it makes a lot of authors and speakers very wealthy, and many are more than happy to help you get that high. Very few people after all, ever became rich by writing a book about being a servant.

Consider the following case studies in leadership and servanthood.

Leadership Example: MLM Guru's

Many pastors today embrace a style of leadership that is not too far removed from people who head up MLM schemes (Multi-Level-Marketing), like in AMWAY, Pampered Chef, or Mary Kay. The people involved in these programs simply can't wait to tell you about the business "opportunity" they have for you. They hope you "join" them in their venture.

If you are a small fry and recent recruit in an MLM scheme, that means you'll be doing a lot of heavy leg work, and personally meeting with people over coffee to explain to them why they should join your network, and get in on the same "opportunity" you have.

In contrast, if you are the head of the MLM, you'll pretty much only show up to speak at packed out hotel conference rooms. The days of heavy lifting are over. All that remains is for you to show up at packed out events, and meet directly with those under you to help plan the event, and make sure everything goes as designed.

The conference room you show up to speak at is packed out because all the people under you have been busy recruiting to fill the conference hall. In the end, the low man on the totem-pole does all the real work, while the guy on top reaps all the benefits. He provides some direction, some vision, gives a pep-rally speech, and then goes back home, and allows all the money to trickle up to him. One day, most of the new recruits hope they can become the man on the stage.

The people at the bottom often receive very little compensation for their labor, and in good time, after failing to go much of anywhere, they realize the entire thing is a scam and they move on to something else.

Servant Example: The Gopher

In contrast to all of this, I think of the few years I spent after college working as an office clerk at a large international law firm. I essentially worked as a "gopher." After working in this position, if there is anybody who knows anything about what it means to be a servant today, it's me.

At the law firm, if somebody needed a package taken across town, I was the guy that got it there. If a conference room needed to be setup or broken down for a meeting, I was the guy that did that. I sorted the mail. I made photocopies. I restocked the supply closets. I refreshed paperclip trays. And if anybody needed anything whatsoever, I was to be their go-to guy. I was a servant in the law firm.

My office was located smack-dead in the middle of the firm, and I shared it with a couple other people in the same position. There were 4 doors in the "service center" that anybody could enter at any time of the day, and make their requests known. We were always available. No middle men existed between us and the secretaries, paralegals, associates, or managing partners. If somebody wanted something, we were to be Johnny on the spot, no matter how busy we were doing anything else. We were to never let the phone ring more than twice.

As a result of the nature of my work, I learned all 100 names of the people I served. I not only knew their names, but I also knew where some of them parked in our parking garage, what kind of car they drove, and I even knew where some of them lived. I knew their preferences and their expectations, and my job often required me to proactively anticipate their desires.

For example, one of the partners I worked for had a habit of drinking a lot of Diet Caffeine Free Coke. According to his secretary, he drank one can every hour on the hour every single day! As a result of knowing this, part of my job involved keeping our office fridge freshly stocked full of Diet Caffeine Free Coke on a daily basis... and it had to be cold. If I knew this attorney was going to be in a conference room for a couple hours, I had to make sure I put out a couple cold Diet Caffeine Free Coke's for him. A generic drink setup with a random assortment of soda's simply would not suffice.

Making a Decision:

Having read these two examples, which do you think sounds like the model of church leadership that exists today? And which example do you think is the most in keeping with the spirit of the New Testament? Do you think Jesus and the apostles were more like MLM guru's, or do you think they were more like gophers working at a law firm?

Today, do you think we are really behaving like servant-leaders? Or do you think we are just simply being leaders?

I believe we have become more like MLM guru's than gophers. And as a result of the phrase "servant-leader" becoming virtually meaningless, instead of trying to restore its true and proper meaning in the minds of people (if it ever was there to begin with), I think it is a word we would do well to strike from our vocabulary altogether, because we cannot use it without perverting it.

Instead, I think we would be better off simply using the word "servant" in our churches and businesses. Indeed, if you were to read the New Testament rather closely, you will find that the word "leader" was only used a couple times. Instead of describing themselves as leaders, Jesus and the apostles regularly referred to themselves and other ministers that worked alongside them as "servants." They looked at themselves as being there for you, and not the other way around.

Different Questions:

Leaders and servants ask a very different set of questions. They embody and operate under a very different value system and ethos.

Leaders ask questions like: How can I grow my church? How can I expand my spheres of influence? How can I better market my worship experiences and increase my Sunday attendance? How can I better structure my organization to maximize our assets (volunteers!) and resources (offerings!).

As servants, I believe we need to start asking a different set of questions.

Questions like: How can I be a better servant? What is it that the people in my life need from God? What is it that the people in my life need the most from me? How can I bless somebody today? What is it that I can do to help somebody else out? Where are people falling short in their lives or walk with God, and how can I help them fix that? How can I help somebody else become all that they can be? How can I help equip them to better do the things God has called them to do?


The idea of servant-leadership is something that I believe is in keeping with the heart of God. It's how He made leaders to function. Such is why this wisdom exists across Eastern and Western religious traditions and philosophies, and is not unique to the Bible. It's simply part of God's natural order and natural revelation.

Men do not exist to rule over others, rather, they exist to come alongside others and serve. None of us were born leaders. From the womb all of us were born subject to the will of somebody else (our parents).

And such is how we should continue to live out all of our days. Leaders aren't born, they are made. Which is why it is so important that no matter what position we find ourselves in within a church, business, or government, that we always keep in mind that we are never in a such a position to fulfill our dreams, but rather, we are where we are in order to help others fulfill their dreams.

Instead of thinking of ourselves as leaders, or as a servant-leaders, we simply need to look at ourselves as servants. And our aspiration and goal should simply be to be the best servant that we can be.

And if somebody calls us their leader, we should probably just silently chuckle on the inside, and ask what we can do for them next.


Houston, We Have A Problem!!!

According to this news report, the city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a number of pastors turn over copies of all of their sermons dealing with issues surrounding homosexuality, gender identity, and the city's lesbian mayor, Annise Parker.

Although all the details of this inquiry are not yet fully known, this has all the appearance of the government possibly violating the First Amendment rights of these Christian pastors, and for many, it feels like a mild form of persecution, and a foreboding omen of things to come.

Understandably, a lot of these pastors are upset about this demand, and many Christians across the country have expressed voices of outrage and are crying foul as well.

One pastor by the name of Dave Welch said:
"We are not afraid of this bully. We're not intimidated at all... We are not going to yield our First Amendment rights."

Another leader, Tony Perkins said:
"The state is breaching the wall of separation of church and state... Pastors need to step forward and challenge this across the country. I'd like to see literally thousands of pastors after they read this story begin to challenge government authorities- to dare them to come into their churches and demand their sermons."

According to the report, a number of pastors have said they will not comply with the subpoena request.

And as Americans, I believe they are taking the right position.

As a Christian, I believe their stance is completely wrong.

I am reminded of how Jesus taught us "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also." (Matthew 5:40)

I am reminded of how Jesus said that when people falsely slander us and persecute us, of how we are to "rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great." (Matthew 5:12)

I am reminded of a verse in Hebrews 10:34, in which its author recalls how his church "accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one."

I am reminded of how the apostle James, the brother of Jesus, once said "Count it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials." (James 1:2)

I am reminded how in the book of Acts, the apostle Paul was wrongfully imprisoned on bogus charges, dragged to court, and instead of demanding his release (which was almost granted to him), he looked at it as an opportunity to share his testimony with the highest officials in the land, and demanded an audience with higher courts, and accepted more time in prison as a result.

And sadly in all of this, I am reminded again and again how many Christians in the Church of Jesus Christ in America simply are not prepared to suffer. We are much more American than we are Christian. Our attitude is far removed from anything we can identify as Biblical. We are much more interested in securing, protecting, and asserting our "rights" than we are at obtaining eternal and everlasting treasure and joys.

I hang my head in disbelief. If these pastors are acting this way when the slightest bit of opposition arises, how will we as a church respond when when real trouble eventually comes?

We simply are not prepared to suffer my brethren.

Our identity is bound up in our earthly citizenship instead of our heavenly citizenship. We would rather fight back than do something of greater worth.

These pastors should rejoice over the opportunity to share their sermons with the city of Houston. They shouldn't have to answer a subponea. They should gladly take their sermons down to city hall, and hand them to the mayor herself. They should even offer to read them back to her, if she so desires.

But it seems like their minds are otherwise occupied on other things. They aren't thinking eternally. They are thinking like mere men.


Firing Jesus as our Therapist

Say hello to Jesus, the Therapist...

You've probably never heard Him called that. But if you were to survey a lot of popular preaching and teaching these days, I think you would discover that this is the role in which Jesus Christ is heavily cast as.

Week after week, book after book, and conference after conference (especially at women's Christian conferences), we hear a lot about the Jesus who is here to help us get over our inner struggles and emotional problems.

"No need to carry around all that emotional baggage anymore," they say, "Jesus will help do that for you!" Many are told that Jesus is here to help us forgive those who have wronged us, to free us from guilt, shame, and regret over our past, and to help us improve our self-image and the insecurities that cripple us in our daily lives.

While there is some truth to these things, I feel that our continual preaching of Jesus Christ as a divine therapist has created a lopsided perception of who the Lord actually is.  So much so that I think it is about time we fire Jesus Christ from being our therapist!

Don't get me wrong.  The Bible does say that Jesus is the "wonderful counselor," and our friend in a time of need.  He's here to take our burdens upon Himself.  He is the lifter of our head, a rock, a refuge, a mighty fortress, and strong tower.  He bottles our every tear.  He gives us joy unspeakable and full of glory.  He forgives our sins.  He restores our soul.  He is our healer.

And He is all these things, and a thousand more...

But for all these things the Lord is, these are not things the Bible spends all that much time talking about.

Instead the Bible prefers to talk about God's ultimate purposes in the world, what He's looking to accomplish in creation, and how He's called us to fit into all of that.

When the Bible does talk about issues surrounding our inner struggles, it isn't usually talking to people like you and me. Rather, it usually is talking to people who are experiencing literal life and death situations, and who are very much in need of real help.  And it's talking to people who are busy carrying out God's will for this world.

It's talking to people who are surrounded day in and day out by actual danger, who worry about how much it rained this year, and how that will impact their crops, and their ability to feed their families. It's talking to people who are being pursued by enemies looking to do more than just give them a bad day.  It's talking to people who were captured as the spoils of war, enslaved, brutalized, stripped from their home, separated from their families, and exiled from the land God had promised them.  It's talking to missionaries who traveled all over the world, preaching about Jesus, planting churches under harsh conditions, in which they suffered regular poverty, imprisonment, betrayal, and sometimes even death.

Most of us don't have these kind of problems.

Rather, we live in a land of plenty, where one of our biggest problems is deciding which appetizer to order off the menu at Chili's. Few of us have any actual "enemies" that want to take our lives, instead, we have what amounts to drama on Facebook. If we ever leave our present home, our biggest problem is deciding whether or not our next one should have an upgraded hardware and appliances in our new kitchen.  And the biggest struggle some of our church planters in America face is recruiting enough talented musicians to play on a Sunday morning.

I can't help but feel that when the Bible talks about Jesus dealing with our emotional issues, it's doesn't really have in mind the Lord helping people who are suffering from so-called "First World Problems."  

If you are a white, upper-middle class, stay-at-home-mom, whose husband works 80 hours a week, and you are stressed out about whether or not you can afford soccer camp, worried about juggling your hectic schedule, keeping your kids in line, and are struggling about your looks as you stand in line at the grocery store and see pictures of “Photoshopped” women on magazine covers....

I'm sorry to say, I'm not sure there is a lot that Jesus can say to you about these sorta things.

That's why you should probably fire Him as your Therapist.

In fact, I'm pretty sure if Jesus were to talk to you about a lot of these problems you suffer from, He would deal kindly towards you, and in the nicest way possible, He would probably tell you:

"Get over yourself already."

Of course, I have simply highly paraphrased what Jesus would possibly tell you in a theoretical one-on-one sit-down therapy session. He would say it so much better than I ever could. But at the end of the day, what He would say to you pretty much amounts to just that.

Your "inner healing" therapy sessions would be amazingly short.  We probably wouldn't like Jesus for this.

Yet in spite of these things, this has not stopped many preachers from preaching Jesus as your Therapist.  And it's no wonder that so many people flock to hear such a message, because frankly, it appeals to them in a very selfish way.

Jesus the Therapist demands nothing of us, promises to make us feel better about ourselves, and makes our struggles the center of His universe.  And being self-absorbed as we are, we can't help but be drawn to such preaching.

(And many ministries grow amazingly big doing just this! Sadly, they blame God for such growth.)

Honestly, I'm convinced that so much of the emotional baggage we carry around with us has little to do with the complexity of our problems and the challenges we face, but rather, because we have failed to submit ourselves to God's ultimate purposes for this world.  I'm convinced much of the inner struggles we face would disappear almost overnight if we stopped being so self-absorbed and making everything in this world about us, and started making our lives all about God's ultimate purposes for this world.

And notice, I said, God's purposes for this world... not God's purpose for me (there is a difference).

Consider the following verses:
"So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed in Him, 'If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free'" ~ John 8:31-32 (NASB)
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." ~ Ephesians 2:9 (NASB)
God created us as His workmanship, and He has a grand plan for this entire world that He wants us to participate in.  He wants us to go out into all of the world and accomplish His pleasure, build up His kingdom, and to be a blessing to others.  He wants us to take the Gospel to the ends of the Earth, and introduce people to Jesus.

Many of us never seriously think about such things. But, I'm convinced that only when we align our lives with God's purpose for the world, and start giving ourselves over to issues bigger than ourselves, and living as disciples of Jesus Christ, it is only in that we will find the "healing" that so many of us feel we need.  It's only then that the truth will set us free.  And such comes as a result of us entering into a lifestyle in which we follow the teachings of Jesus, and allow God to weave the stuff of His kingdom into the very fiber of our being.

Such only happens when we allow God to form godly character in us, as a direct response to His calling on our lives to be participants in His mission.  In this process of loving God, loving our neighbors, and serving both, we experience inward transformation, and develop a thing called "character."

And when you are put in a situation where you continually cultivate things like love, and where you grow in humility, and you practice forgiving those who harm you... you will gradually learn to "get over" a lot of issues surrounding guilt, shame, regret, feelings of condemnation, and inferiority. In following Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master, it is only then when such shackles will begin to fall off, and it is only then we will begin to experience and enjoy true freedom.


The Power of "Mad Money"

Do you notice your monthly checking and savings account balance trending downward month after month?

If so, you probably have a spending problem.

"But where does it go?" you may ask. After all, like a lot of people these days, you probably pay most, if not all of your bills online. And apart from some seasonal fluctuations in your utilities, your monthly expenses are pretty much the same.

So why doesn't the balance in your bank account increase?

If you are like me (or most people), you probably don't carry around a check ledger and record every single transaction. You spend pretty freely, guessing how much money you have in the bank on any given day, and primarily rely on periodic balance updates or warnings that get sent electronically to your e-mail or phone to alert you of any extreme transgressions.

And as a result, it is only towards the end of the month when you realize that you overspent.

The truth is (of which there is a lot of research to back up), if you use your ATM/debit card to make all of your purchases, you will tend to underestimate how much you actually spend compared to how much you truly spend. Using your ATM/debit card, you feel wealthier than you actually are, and you tend to spend more freely.

If you are trying to live off a budget (as we all should), then this is a REALLY bad method of controlling your personal finances. For example, let's say that you allow yourself $300 a month in "discretionary spending" on things such as shopping, eating out, going to Starbucks, date money, and entertainment. The chances are, if you rely on your ATM/debit card for the bulk of these purchases, you are probably going to blow your discretionary spending fund.

Don't feel bad, such is simply how human nature responds to plastic bank cards.

Being recently married, I found out that two people jointly using this method of personal finance tends to have a "multiplier effect," and it makes it all the more clear that this is a really bad way to manage finances. For example, on Friday I might go out to lunch with the guys at work, and on my wife's way home, she might swing by Target for an item or two. Then I might swing by Redbox, pick up a movie, order a pizza, and settle in for a lazy Friday evening.

But, before you know it, we've spent $100! Yet, each of us feels like we have only spent half of that. And we are only talking about how we handled our finances for one Friday out of the month. We still have the rest of the month ahead of us, in which we will likely repeat a similar pattern of destructive financial behavior!

Just imagine how well that plays out in the long run. It's a great way to become broke... and fast!

But, imagine how it could be better. Putting our heads together, my wife and I implemented a new strategy for controlling our monthly expenses.

Now, instead of using our ATM/debit card for our discretionary spending, we take out some cash at the start of every month, divide it between the two of us, and we call that our "MAD MONEY."

Under our new system, we take our monthly "mad money" and use it for all of our discretionary spending. Once we run out of the cash we took out, that's it... no more mad money to spend. When my wallet is empty, my hands are tied and I no longer have anything to freely spend. If I want to buy anything else, I need to ask my wife to borrower some of her "mad money," and vice versa.

The end result of our little experiment has been that since we've implemented our "mad money" system, every single month we've seen our bank balance increase.

And while we have not completely eliminated using our ATM/debit card in our discretionary spending category, that's ok. We've made significant progress in this arena, our behaviors are changing, our savings are growing, and we are going in the right direction.

Remember: Personal finance is a journey, not a destination.

I believe that simply keeping cash on hand will change not only the way you spend your money, but how much you spend, and help you grow your bank account balance in the process! Try it out, and let me know how it works. See if it won't make a difference.


Our Two Minutes of Hate

In the classic book "1984," which coined the phrase "Big Brother," George Orwell describes the workings of a totalitarian society in which the government controls every facet of your existence from cradle to grave.

Everything is centralized, and the government intrudes on every part of your life. Food and other goods are rationed. Your morning routine includes a daily exercise regimen in front of the TV, in which the instructor is able to observe whether or not you are meeting appropriate fitness standards and guidelines. "Thought police" closely monitor what everybody is thinking, and making sure everybody in society thinks the same basic things, and that those who do not conform are sent elsewhere to get "re-educated." Love, marriage, and sexual gratification are highly regulated, and the family unit is hijacked. History is constantly revised by the government in order to regulate the present. Previously published books, newspapers, and photos are regularly altered to this end.

The book has a big fan base with many politically conservative leaning individuals, such as myself. Republicans and Libertarians regularly praise the book and preach lessons learned from it. Anytime the United States government appears to try and expand its powers and become more controlling, many will appeal to the dreadful world George Orwell created. The book reminds us of the dangers of the government becoming too big, too powerful, and too controlling.

But there is a curious part of the story line that many among this crowd turn a blind eye to in regard to "Big Brother."

In the book, the country of Oceania lives in a state of perpetual and everlasting war with its enemies. "War is peace," is the official doctrine of the nation. There is a curious thing about the wars Oceania fights though. Her battles never really happen on her soil. The wars the nation fights in are always in some distant far-away land. It is waged against a people that the leaders swear are their enemies. War footage is always broadcast to the public over the airwaves to help reinforce this idea.

In order to rally national and patriotic unity, every day people are required to participate in an activity called, "The Two Minutes of Hate." During this event, citizens watch a short propaganda film that demonizes Oceania's enemies as cruel and barbaric. When the film shows, people will literally shout, curse, and throw things at the TV in order express their deep hatred for the mortal enemies of their nation. In the end, people chant in unison for their love and support of their country, and for Big Brother.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? It should. The parallels between our society and this fictionalized society are amazing.

Have you ever noticed that in America that we are almost always in a state of perpetual war? "Peace through strength" is our official doctrine. In the past century, all of our wars have happened in far and distant lands. Seldom does our enemy actually strike us directly on our turf, but that doesn't prevent us from constantly running around the globe and fighting them just the same.

Since World War I started in 1917, America has been involved in almost a constant state of war. The only decade in which we didn't actively engage in a battle was in the 1930's. And even in the few years of peace that we have experienced, we were often involved in military "stand-offs," such as during the "Cold War" with the Soviet Union, in which Americans regularly anticipated a nuclear fallout with the Russians, although one never came.

This Wiki article lists all of the wars the United States of America has participated in. Pay attention as to how we seem to be a nation perpetually at war, ever since our founding. Pay close attention to how in the past century, all of our wars have been fought abroad. The following nations have been declared our enemies at some time or another. Among them are: The Ottoman Empire, Japan, Germany, Russia/The Soviet Union, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, and the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS/ISIL).

Of all the nations that we've made war with, only 2 nations (Japan and Afghanistan) have ever directly attacked us.

So, what has caused us to get involved in so many wars all over the globe? How has the nation been unified and rallied? I believe we have our own version of the "Two Minutes of Hate" video.

You just have to turn on news outlets like CNN or Fox News to watch it.

While watching their "coverage," have you ever noticed your emotional reaction, and the reaction of people in your community to what you see? Historically, our emotions have been strong enough for us to fell compelled to wage war. Through the media, we have been conditioned by our government to hate the enemies they set before us.

Political pundits from the left and the right regularly use the news to run off a list of talking points about our enemies, and to demonize them as much as possible. And like the citizens of Oceania, we develop strong and emotional feelings of hatred towards these people groups and nations, yet we've never interacted with a single one of them at any given time in our lives.

The end result of all of this has been that if in the past century if you were to ask any "red blooded American" about what we should do to Germans, Japs, Russians, Koreans, Iraqis, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State... our solution has always been the same: support our troops, and bomb the living hell out of our enemies.

Where did we get these ideas? It has seldom ever through first-hand knowledge to our enemies threats, perceived danger just lurking around the corner, or boots on the ground. Our enemies have seldom ever done anything to actually threaten us or harm us or to make us feel endangered.

We only think people are our mortal enemies because a talking head on TV told us it was so. Yet we find ourselves year after year in a state of almost constant war, battling demons and barbarians abroad, in far-away lands.

It is ironic that as conservatives, we see the danger of a big government dominating our lives when it comes to our civil liberties, because of the lessons we feel we have learned in books like 1984. Yet, when it comes to the size of the government and its ability to lead us into everlasting war, instead of loudly protesting the idea, we are amongst the first to sign up for battle, and be champions of the cause.

A large military that is able to wage perpetual war is just as dangerous as a large government that is so powerful that it can regulate the smallest details of her citizens lives. Neither is to be desired. Indeed, it would seem the country that is perpetually at war is the one whose government has the power and strength to impose total control on her citizens.

As conservatives we should oppose bloated spending on the military as much as we oppose other parts of the government being large and in charge. And we should operate under the assumption that if our government is trying to get us to wage a war in land far-away, that they are probably lying to us about the dangers we face, and the actions that we need to take in order to defend ourselves.

We should look at our government's constant desire to lead us into perpetual war to be just as much as a power grab as anything else the government attempts to do for "the commond good."

As conservative, we should see our constant call to war as something strangely "Orwellian."