Saturday, September 20, 2008

Why I am a Republican - Part V

So, why am I a Republican? In brief, we have few options. If we believe we should participate in the political process we can think of ourselves as independent/non-aligned or we can identify with one of the two major political parties. I have argued we should not vote according to single issues and I have implied we should not vote for individual candidates. Either of these approaches leaves us drifting, carried along by immanent concerns and surface issues. Building a better country requires that we select a course and follow it. We should align ourselves with the party that best reflects our core values and our beliefs about humanity and civil government. We should vote for the party that shares our vision of what constitutes the best society.

I am a Republican because I am a conservative, not a liberal. As I have argued the conservative philosophy best represents my core beliefs: human nature, sin, social values, etc. I do not believe the Republican Party has all the answers. In fact, I believe it is often wrong. I do not believe the Democrat Party is always wrong. However, there is a fundamental difference in the direction they would take us as a nation. The conservative view ties our future to our past and in particular to the values of the founders of our great nation. The liberal view leaves the future open to the capricious imaginations of people without grounding in any truth beyond ourselves. I do not believe Republicans are more righteous than democrats. I do not believe Democrats are not personally guided by their faith and values. I simply believe the liberal philosophy that guides the Democrat Party is in its essence a form of secular humanism that will ultimately lead to the destruction of our nation. The conservative philosophy of the Republicans is grounded in Christian humanism that asserts the potential of people and nations while holding to a faith in God as prerequisite for achieving that potential.

I am not a conservative because I desire to impose my conservative views on others. In fact the core values of the founders of America that I desire to conserve center on a commitment to the precept of personal liberty. I do not believe the founders of America were infallible; we can disagree with them and amend our constitution to reflect our beliefs, but we do have a covenant with them and with our progeny to make those changes only with careful deliberation.

I cannot be a liberal in part because I am convinced the liberal philosophy inherently places the desires of the majority in conflict with the worth and dignity of the minority and the individual. This conflict is presently seen in the Democratic oft expressed concern for the middle class. This appeal fosters class warfare between the middle class and the wealthy, or at the very least it villainizes as greedy those who have accumulated wealth (greed is an equal opportunity sin common to all classes of society). Ironically, this conflict ignores the needs and dignity of the members of the so called lower class and thus becomes an invisible assault on them. In spite of a desire for justice (albeit focused on economic justice), liberalism inevitably leads to injustice. Due to the nature to sin, humans blame their problems on others. Politicians of all stripes profit through the blame game. It seems to me, liberalism has inherent within a special inclination to blame. (Granted Republicans blame big government and liberals, and Democrats include in their list big business and conservatives.)

I believe I have one more Part to write. Stay tuned. Let me know what you think.


Lisa Campagna said...

I really appreciate your sharing all this. I'm chewing on it and looking forward to what comes next.

And while I'm hesitant to provoke a riot :), I appreciate Cheryl chiming in with the opposing point of view and wish she were able to do so more. Seeing both sides "hashed out" helps me see both sides more clearly.

Derek said...

This is very dangerous ground...posting something like this on the Internet of another person's site...

I came to the point where the issue of abortion was not going to dictate my vote. Yes, I believe it is murder and a sin. But I also felt that narcissistic capitalism was a sin as well, that seeking personal absolution by naming systems (like market dynamics) as the culprit was a sinful denial, that it is evil to subsidize a system that does not personally implicate anyone...and if conservatives really believe in not 'grading' sins then what?

As well, I felt cheated in some ways by the highly conservative escapism in which I was taught to shut out "the world". Though I would not have changed the past and I believe that God used them for good in me. In fact, despite my own retrospective frustration, I was not developmentally ready to have that worldview deconstructed without some tradition to ground me prior to such openness or imagination.

Probably the greatest reason why I have felt less and less conservative (and one which will prevent me from casting my lot whole-heartedly with conservativism) is that I have felt that conservativism (and its courting/manipulation of the church) only served to further the church's impotent enculturation to American consumerism and to silence any prophetic speech due to a numb indifference. Besides it seems conservative evangelicalism has tended to harbor more and more uncritical thought and uncritical 'believers' who although theoretically acknowledging personal engagement in areas of spirituality (like personal salvation) are really often mindlessly homogenized in assent to reductist propositions.

All that to say I appreciate your thoughts on this. They are wise and helpful as always.