Sunday, November 07, 2004

Christians and dissent

Since that is emerging as the 'official' story of Bush's election victory, now is a good time to examine what is that Christians expect from politics. It should surprise no one that it is not the same things liberals expect. The Liberal critique of the Christian in politics involves an unwitting projection of their own thoughts. The Maverick Philosopher writes:
Nobody wants a theocracy in the U.S. except the Islamo-fascists, and they want it everywhere. The fear among some leftists that the re-election of G.W. Bush is moving us towards theocracy shows just how delusional their thinking is. The problem with leftists is not so much stupidity as their ideological fixations. The latter prevent their minds from functioning properly. They see threats that aren't there and fail to see the ones that are. They ignore the very real theocratic threat of militant Islam, all the while fabricating a Christian theocratic threat. Hostility to religion, especially institutionalized religion, is a defining characteristic of the Left. We've known that since 1789. What is surprising, and truly bizarre, is the Left's going soft on militant Islam, the most virulent strain of religious bigotry ever to appear. It threatens all of their values. But their obsession with dissent is so great - dissent at all costs and against everything established - that they simply must denounce Bush and Co. as potential theocrats, all the while cozying up to militant Islam. Their hatred for Bush is so great that they will sacrifice their defining values just to oppose him. In their perversity, they think the enemy of their enemy is -- still their enemy.
It has always been my view that people who lean left are not necessarily stupid. Left and Right has almost nothing to do with smarts. Indeed, there can be little doubt that some left leaning people are quite intelligent. The problem is that even very smart people can't build a house on a soft, creaking foundation. That rotten foundation impairs everything that sits on it. For our society to function, we must be able to point this out in as many forms as possible. Even in elections. It is crucial that we retain the ability to question even these:
The hordes of the bien-pensant Left in the universities and the media, the sort of liberals who tolerate everything except those who disagree with them. Secularist elites who disdain religiosity except when it comes from Muslim fanatics. Europhile Brits who drip contempt for everything their country has ever done and long for its disappearance into a Greater Europe. Absurd, isolationist conservatives in America and Britain who think the struggles for freedom are always someone else’s fight. Hollywood sybarites and narcissists, self-appointed arbiters of a nation’s morals.

Soft-headed Europeans who think engagement and dialogue with mass murderers is the way to achieve lasting peace. French intellectuals for whom nothing has gone right in the world since 1789.

The United Nations, which, if it had its multilateral way, would still be faithfully minding a world in which half the population lived under or in fear of Soviet aggression. Most of Belgium. ... This may sound petty. It is not. This constellation of individuals, parties and institutions has very little in common other than the fact that it has contrived to be wrong on just about every important issue of my adult lifetime.

As the Maverick puts it:
... liberals and leftists must not be allowed to use ‘dissent’ to name only their beliefs, thereby abusing a perfectly good word. The same applies to such words as ‘criticism’ and ‘critical.’ There is nothing in the term ‘criticism’ to require that criticism be directed only against the status quo, or those in power. Those who are out of power, but desirous of it, are as open to criticism as anyone.
One of the planks of the modern left, typified by the sorts of dripping comments Theresa Kerry could not open her mouth without making, is that they are always on the outside looking in, that they, being on the margins and away from the unthinking hurly burly of the 'establishment' are in sole possession of objective truth (or at the very least, an objective methodology). They have a very hard time seeing their opinions and methods come into question. When they can't get it done through the vote, they then turn to the courts to impose their will. After all, they reason, we don't have the right to question what our bettors "know" is best. The Maverick describes leftist foundations by quoting from a book review by William Grimes in the NY Times:
Both ideologies [Stalin's and Hitler's], he maintains, derived legitimacy and passion from the cult of science. Germany would triumph because, in the Darwinian struggle for supremacy, the strong are destined to crush the weak. The Soviet Union marched forward into the future supremely confident that the iron laws of history and economics were on its side. There was no room for doubt, for compromise, or mercy toward opponents in either society.
Vallicella adds that todays leftists stand on that same ground, on that same quicksand foundation:
Their world view forbids any argument contrary to their views and any means is acceptable to destroy the other side. Today’s left, just like fascists and communists, does not accept religious views as an equal philosophy to be entered into the common dialogue.
The difference today is that for the moment, the majority of left leaning citizens still cling to ideas about pacifism and due process. Should that give way, we are headed for real trouble. Christians seeking political power, on the other hand, should be held in check by ideas of sin and grace, and should seek to peel the state back so that we - all of us - can go about our business, so that a just state can be built from the ground up, and not top down. Christians politicians who fail in this regard will be accountable to the rest of us (such as Bishop Henry in Calgary taking on Prime Minister Paul Martin). A politically motivated supreme court decision is very difficult to deal with and Christians must insist that the courts must remain arbiters and not writers of law. We should seek to shrink the state, not just in politics and business, but also in the bedroom. State funded abortion and no fault divorce are subsidies seeking to shield people from the consequences of their own free actions. Think about it. One can hardly call support for these things 'libertarian.' Finally, I leave you with a heartwarming collection of pictures of Liberal tolerance and good sportsmanship after the U.S. election (via Zombie), and especially to the one of the Back Bloq near the end.

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