Thursday, May 3, 2018
IDEOLOGY AS ETHICS
Some comments about…
Ideology as ethics and mantras posing as reasoned argument; the sad state of American politics and the zombie zeal of political followers, with the contingent dismissal of biblical Truth while adhering to Evangelical rhetoric.
· To criticize Trump is not the same as endorsing Hillary.
· Even a bad man can get some good stuff done, and for that we thank no one but God. We can give Trump his due as having raised some real issues, and even accomplished some good, while recognizing what is shameful, and dangerous.
· I respect the office of the President, as such I show respect to the person who holds it. I pray for whoever might be in that office while at the same time I can completely disagree, even despise, either their personal behavior or policies. I cannot imagine the grace that Daniel needed to live, and serve, under the narcissistic king Nebuchadnezzar.
· To believe that the liberal media never says anything true is about the same as believing that Fox News always tells the truth. One of course is more patently partisan while the other is consistently condescending.
· For godly people to look over immorality, lying, slander, and bullying in the hope of a national moral revival is fairly idiotic and certainly short sighted. It is embarrassing to hear Evangelicals say, in so many words, that the ends justify the means.
· To dismantle and resist government regulations sounds like a good idea for someone’s business interests, until one’s own children eat contaminated food, use untested and expired drugs, drink leaded water from the tap, get cheated by the undersized gallon at the gas pump, and have an uninspected bridge fall on them.
· Cutting taxes always sounds good, until one realizes that America’s failure to pay its bills results in the collapse of both physical and social infrastructure. Politicizing infrastructure as “pork” while claiming to be the champion of “cost cutting” has been the strategy of hucksters and our present irresponsible government, on both federal and state levels.
· Being a “fiscal” conservative cannot legitimately mean consistent deficit funding for conservative political love babies, whatever they happen to be.
· The de-funding of social infrastructure is always the first victim of an irresponsible government, while the funding of it usually ends up being forced by the courts. To this end we have an epidemic of mentally ill homeless people, over-crowded prisons with resultant violence and riots, teachers (even in “right to work” states) who have to create state wide strikes to get a fair wage, and inadequate state protection of children, the elderly, and the poor.
· The Church cannot replace the State for the creation and support of social infrastructure for all of a nation’s citizens, nor can it create the economic environment for entrepreneurial enterprise to create wealth.
· The Church must rise up to do more (and it can) for its own people, the people in and around its locations and outreach, and the general welfare, with wise and best practices for human flourishing.
· It is the exercise of democracy that creates the boundaries for government provision and the taxation it requires for that provision. It is the exercise of democracy that creates the boundaries and the incentives for free enterprise by government regulation or government restraint.
· To create a government of reactionary laws and policies in order to protect the nation from terrorism and illegal immigration creates a legacy of torture, false imprisonment, kangaroo courts, and incipient jingoistic nationalism and creates a too comfortable context for public racism.
· It is far too easy to use the motive of fear to create hasty, unreasonable, and potentially illegal recourse to national concerns. Demagogues thrive in such environments while people without power are crushed. Embarrassment and shame will become our internal national emotion, while inhumanity, meanness, and selfishness our national reputation.
· We have real problems and real enemies and it will take wisdom to solve and resist them. We need rational national discussion and consensus, following our original democratic and constitutional principles. We cannot abandon the most essential of our moral values to somehow create a safe and moral future.
· Without the protection of life; unborn, black, students, police officers, and general citizens collectively we cannot really claim that the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” continues to guide us. Life must be a value without qualification, and must be a higher value than personal choice or unregulated gun sales.
· Without the welcome to immigrants, and especially the poor immigrant, we cannot continue to claim to be the beacon of liberty and the harbor of safety.
· Our history has always conflicted with our ideals and it is our national fight to strive to live up to those ideals. America cannot simply be about providing freedom for those who have achieved economic self-sufficiency, it must also mean the inclusion of others into this land of opportunity.
· We must find a way to humanely and wisely integrate the immigrant into a land of welcome. There is no reason, except political intransigence, for us not to come up with an efficient, legal, honest, humane, and understandable process for all concerned.
· We are not a nation created by the French Revolution. We are not simply the product of the enlightenment, nor unbridled and crass capitalism. Our national motto is not based on Atheism, but “In God We Trust.” We are not simply a nation of and for personal freedom but of collective justice and goodness. These two things are the constant American tension.
· We are the child of the Protestant Reformation, and are still continuing the experiment of the American Revolution, the perfecting of our American Constitution and the fulfilling of the American Civil War to end slavery, unite the nation, and constitutionally protect the God given humanity of all people.
· We have been too often shamed by racism, imperialism, and greed. We have also been blessed and applauded for love, kindness, humanity, and the sacrifice to prove it. This must continue to be a land where we seek to live up to our best lights given to us in the best of our national religious and moral heritage.
· Without a constant and honest self-examination of our behavior and practice in the light of Biblical truth we end up blindly following political ideology, becoming stubborn, antagonistic, self-righteous, even mean.
· We must hold our political ideology much more loosely, much more humbly, than our theological convictions. Our desire to achieve political objectives cannot and must not cause us to abandon godly practices and ethical behavior. We cannot simply seek strategy that wins but which is righteous. We must not sacrifice character for victory because it is the quality of our character that is the essential battle.
I seek to be sincere in my opinions, and not merely cynical. However, I know that I can be sincerely wrong especially in seeking political solutions. My earnest hope is to remain humble before the absolute values of God’s Holy Word.