Biden heads an administration, not a “regime”


Published February 26, 2024

WORLD Opinions

After years of persecution by the Russian state, dissident Alexei Navalny was found dead in a remote Siberian penal colony on Feb. 16. Officially, the cause of death remains murky; in practice, everyone knows that one way or another, Navalny was murdered by the man whose corruptions he dared to spend his life exposing: Vladimir Putin. The victim of repeated arrests on trumped-up charges, a poisoning attempt in 2020, imprisonment in brutal conditions without proper medical care, Navalny was not long for this world, and his death might seem like par for the course in Putin’s thuggish regime.

But that is precisely the point. At a time when many disgruntled Americans post angry memes about the “Biden regime,” Navalny’s life and death are a stark reminder of what a real “regime” is like—and why we should be grateful for the freedoms we enjoy.

The word “regime” technically denotes merely “a mode or system of government,” but its connotations are almost wholly negative, calling to mind totalitarian surveillance states or kleptocracies like North Korea. In recent years, however, it has become a popular term on the dissident right, comprising a kind of composite image of the “Deep State,” Anthony Fauci, DEI bureaucracies, and of course President Joe Biden. Evangelical leaders with the temerity to remind fellow believers of Biblical teaching on honoring civil authorities are dismissed as having capitulated to “the regime.” Such rhetoric goes hand-in-hand with murmurs about the need for resistance and revolution as the Biblical response to tyranny.

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Brad Littlejohn, Ph.D., is a Fellow in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life Program, where his work focuses on helping public leaders understand the intellectual and historical foundations of our current breakdown of public trust, social cohesion, and sound governance. His research investigates shifting understandings of the nature of freedom and authority, and how a more full-orbed conception of freedom, rooted in the Christian tradition, can inform policy that respects both the dignity of the individual and the urgency of the common good. He also serves as President of the Davenant Institute.

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