Saturday, November 15, 2008


So now that the election's over (yep, Obama won), we can all settle down and get back to all the other things we discuss. What? You want to keep talking about politics? Well, here you go then.

In this season of evaluation of where each party is at (or in the Republicans' case, where they're not at), I think it's useful to look at the errors in worldview members of wings in both parties tend to make.

J. Budziszewski is a professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. About ten years ago, he wrote a couple articles for First Things. The first is entitled The Problem With Conservatism. In it he sets forth eight moral errors of political conservatism. He then contrasts the political conservative trajectory with the biblical worldview. Here are the errors:
  1. Civil Religionism: America is a chosen nation, and its projects are a proper focus of religious aspiration. Christianity: America is but one nation among many, no less loved by God, but no more.
  2. Instrumentalism: Faith should be used for the ends of the state. Christianity: Believers should be good citizens, but faith is not a tool.
  3. Moralism: God's grace needs the help of the state. Christianity: Merely asks that the state get out of the way.
  4. Caesarism: The laws of man are higher than the laws of God. Christianity: The laws of God are higher than the laws of man.
  5. Traditionalism: What has been done is what should be done. Christianity: Any merely human custom may have to be repented.
  6. Neutralism: Everyone ought to mind his own business, therefore moral and religious judgments should be avoided. Christianity: While one ought to mind his own business, moral and religious judgments can never be avoided.
  7. Mammonism: Wealth is the object of commonwealth, and its continual increase even better. Christianity: Wealth is a snare, and its continual increase even worse.
  8. Meritism: I should do unto others as they deserve. Christianity: I should do unto others not as they deserve, but as they need.
So they wouldn't feel left out, he also wrote an article entitled The Problem With Liberalism. Its points:
  1. Propitiationism: I should do unto others as they want. Christianity: I should do unto others as they need.
  2. Expropiationism: I may take from others to help the needy, giving nothing of my own. Christianity: I should give of my own to help the needy, taking from no one.
  3. Solipsism: Human beings make themselves, belong to themselves, and have value in and of themselves. Christianity: Human beings are made by God, belong to Him, and have value because they are loved by Him and made in His image.
  4. Absolutism: We cannot be blamed when we violate the moral law, either because we cannot help it, because we have no choice, or because it is our choice. Christianity: We must be blamed, because we are morally responsible beings.
  5. Perfectionism: Human effort is adequate to cure human evil. Christianity: Our sin, like our guilt, can be erased only by the grace of God through faith in Christ.
  6. Universalism: The human race forms a harmony whose divisions are ultimately either unreal or unimportant. Christianity: Human harmony has been shattered by sin and cannot be fully healed by any means short of conversion.
  7. Neutralism: The virtue of tolerance requires suspending judgments about good and evil. Christianity: The virtue of tolerance requires making judgments about good and evil.
  8. Collectivism: The state is more important to the child than the family. Christianity: The family is more important to the child than the state.
  9. The Fallacy of Desperate Gestures: "The perfectionist acts, at least in the beginning, from a desire to relieve someone else's pain. The desperationist acts to relieve his own: the pain of pity, the pain of impotence, the pain of indignation. He is like a man who beats on a foggy television screen with a pipe wrench, not because the wrench will fix the picture but because it is handy and feels good to use."
Thoughts? Do these points resonate with you?

(ht: JT)


Anonymous said...

I disagree with the supposed tenets of conservatism listed and think that the ones listed under Christianity are a far better match for true conservatives.

I'm also shocked to see absolutism listed as being a liberal tenet. It is liberals who much more often than not do not believe in absolute truth.

In the book Letters to a Young Conservative Dinesh D'Souza makes a great case for the following: when you boil it down, the difference between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives believe in absolute truth and liberals do not.

I am not a Christian because I am conservative, I am conservative because I am a Christian.


Robby said...

Sadly the discussion remains Democrat vs Republican when they are both so similar and both so wrong.

Robby said...

I don't really understand this article, it seems to contradict itself throughout and also generalize/misclassify several positions.

Westy said... similar and both so wrong.

How are they so similar? Are they wrong in different ways than listed above?

Robby said...

Because of how our system is setup it's extremely biased towards only 2 parties. These parties have stolen ideas from each other and share the same goal on the large majority of issues while completely ignoring any opinions that are different from what the 2 parties now agree on. Obama won on the idea of change when the reality is virtually no real differences from the past. Ironically, voters like the idea of change way more than actual change so they'll probably get what they want anyways which is the status quo.