A Collision of World Views
Vol: 85 Issue: 28 Tuesday, October 28, 2008
A Collision of World Views
As Campaign ’08 continues to unfold in favor of Barack Obama, the most liberal candidate for the White House in US history, it has me scratching my head in wonderment.
Obama has countered charges of socialism, Marxism, racism, anti-Americanism and ultra-liberalism with what amounts to, “Yeah? So?”
And instead of his candidacy sinking like a stone, the American Left can’t seem to get enough of him. The more he espouses classical Marxist theory, the wilder his audiences cheer him on.
Conservatives are out of favor this year and liberals are in. There is no particular rhyme or reason that I can discern apart from popular ignorance of what the differences between the two world views.
First off, we need to define liberalism according to its classic sense, rather than the popular understanding of the word.
Politically speaking, classic liberalism doesn’t represent the Left, but rather, represents the center of the political spectrum.
The definition of ‘liberal’ is wildly abused by those, including yours truly, who have allowed the Left to appropriate the word to describe themselves.
Liberalism is not an ideology so much as it is the starting point for shared assumptions between right and left. Classical liberalism is actually what we label ‘conservativism’ whereas modern liberalism is best served by the label ‘progressivism.’
And so properly defined, the definition of a liberal is both an American-style conservative and an American-style progressive conservative. It is important to understand that these are ideologies, and not simply political labels.
A conservative is not necessarily the same as a Republican, and a liberal is not always the same as a Democrat. There are conservatives for whom the GOP is too liberal (in the sense of progressive) and there are liberals who think the Democrats are too conservative.
John McCain is a Republican. But John McCain is not a conservative. Barack Obama is a liberal who has openly accused the Democrats of conservatism.
A conservative would argue that a terrorist has no rights but an embryo does. That is based in the conservative principle of personal responsibility vs. self-evident truths.
To a conservative, that a human embryo is both human and innocent are self-evident truths. It is equally self-evident that a terrorist abrogated any claim to human rights when, by his actions, he placed himself outside of those boundaries of humanity.
A liberal would argue the opposite based on the principle that terrorists are human beings while embryos are not. Liberals would argue terrorists are the product of inequality and collective responsibility. And self-evident truths are subject to interpretation until government makes a law.
Note the glaring collision of worldviews this creates: There is mutual agreement on the concept of ‘human rights’ while there is no mutual agreement on the definition of ‘human’.
Progressive liberalism of the kind espoused by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid or Barack Obama is based in six key principles.
The first is Positive Law. This refers to the belief that individual rights are derived from written law. Liberals agree that certain basic rights, (life, liberty, property) are natural rights, they can, under certain conditions, be curtailed by the state.
The second fundamental principle of modern liberalism is where they put their faith. Liberals put their faith in progress, hence the label, ‘progressive’ and believe that every situation can be made better by change. Obama’s campaign theme is ‘change’ for change’s sake, because Barack Obama is a modern, progressive liberal.
Liberals believe their responsibility is to change the world and government is a tool to be used to that end. In his acceptance speech, John Kerry said, “We have it in our power to change the world.”
In his first inaugural address, Bill Clinton said: “Let us resolve to make our government a place for what Franklin Roosevelt called ‘bold, persistent experimentation,’ a government for our tomorrows, not our yesterday.”
The third fundamental principle of progressive liberalism is preference for equality over liberty. Obama’s recent ‘spread the wealth’ comment illustrates this principle well. A liberal is comfortable in trading certain freedoms, like the freedom to pursue unfettered wealth, for greater equality and social stability.
The fourth principle of progressive liberalism is a faith in the benevolence of government and the inherent goodness of human beings. Liberals therefore believe it is the responsibility of government to assist the disadvantaged in society as the champion of the downtrodden and the instrument of their deliverance.
( And that the wealthy won’t mind their wealth being confiscated to pay for it.)
The fifth principle of progressive liberalism is the belief in the perfectibility of individuals. Liberals believe that, with “proper education” everyone can lead happy, productive and virtuous lives.
The sixth and final principle of progressive liberalism is a belief in the community — Obama keeps repeating that “we’re all in this together,” (except conservatives, Republicans, xenophobic, gun-totin’ Bible-thumping rednecks, etc., who are all racist George Bush wannabes, but I digress. . .)
Obama claimed his time as a community organizer in Chicago as sufficient qualifications to be president of the United States because, as a progressive liberal, his faith is in the community. His responsibility is to change the government.
At the root of modern liberalism is not merely the desire for equality, but for the social progress that the progressive believes only an egalitarian society can achieve.
What does such mind-crushingly dull political theory have to do with Bible prophecy for the last days? Understanding those six principles of progressive liberalism provides the key to understanding the ‘Obama nation’ in its Scriptural and prophetical contexts.
Everybody is promoting Election ’08 as one of the most important in our lifetime, if not our history. They are doing it because they sense that it is, but if you asked ten people why, you’d get ten different answers.
This election has become a contest between competing world views. The first, and most baffling to non-progressives, is what makes a progressive liberal tick? It isn’t so important to know what he stands for as it is to know the fundamentals upon which those stands are constructed.
To quickly recap and contrast, the six key fundamentals of liberal progressive theory are; 1. Positive law 2. Progress 3. Equality over Liberty 4. Benevolent government 5. Human perfectability; and, 6. Community.
By contrast, the six fundamentals of modern conservative (classical liberal) theory are; 1. Natural law 2. Established institutions 3. Liberty over equality 4. Suspicion of power 5. Exceptionalism and; 6. Individualism.
This is about fundamental world views. Each provides a Scriptural snapshot. Look where progressive liberals put their faith.
In more laws. In social progress. In man’s ability to change the world. In the fundamental goodness of man, and in the benevolence of government.
There is no room in this worldview for the acknowledgement of God or and respect for His laws. It is upside down from end to end, Scripturally speaking.
This is not an indictment; it is an explanation for the world view of the Obama nation.
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools . . .Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.” (Romans 1:22,25)
The six points of progressive liberalism are all contained in Romans Chapter 1, beginning with verse 18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;”
As we’ve already learned, progressive liberalism and conservatism spring from the same classical liberal theory. Where they diverge is at the point where they put their faith.
The progressive’s faith is in man and his trust is in the social collective’s wisdom to govern.
The conservative’s faith is in the Divine and his trust is in individual responsibility. Government is a necessary evil.
Go down the list of issues near and dear to the hearts of the Obama nation. Compare them to the world view described by Paul in Romans 1:18-32. You’ll find everything from Marxist economic theory to Defense of Marriage Act represented there.
What is important is that THIS is what makes the Obama nation tick. This is a contest between opposing world views. In a sense, America is voting on the same question Joshua posed to the Israelites — and based in the same stark choice of world views.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14)
That is not to say that a vote for McCain is a vote for God. Nor am I saying a vote for Obama is a vote against God.
But the outcome will be an expression of the world view that America, as a nation, trusts to guide it for the next four years.
I believe that is why this is the most important general election of this or any other lifetime.
The Lord is watching this one very closely.