The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the tag “liberal”

Questions Science Will Never Solve?

by Adam McIntosh

Blogger George Dvorsky for Altering Perspectives has written a piece titled, 8 Great Philosophical Questions That We’ll Never Solve. Dvorsky’s premise is that philosophy goes where “hard science” cannot, therefore some of the most fundamental questions of our existence cannot be answered with absolute certainty. The eight questions listed in the article are: Why is there something rather than nothing? Is our universe real? Do we have free will? Does God exist? Is there life after death? Can you really experience anything objectively? What is the best moral system? And What are numbers?

The Christian faith, of course, has answers to all of these questions to some degree. We may not have exhaustive knowledge of every topic but we do possess a view of reality that is consistent within itself and that serves as a guide for philosophical musings. As for Dvorsky, not so much. On the existence of the universe:

Why is there all this stuff in the universe, and why is it governed by such exquisitely precise laws? And why should anything exist at all? We inhabit a universe with such things as spiral galaxies, the aurora borealis, and SpongeBob Squarepants.”

Read more…

Advertisements

Is the Bible a Panacea for Poor Government?

What is the role of the government? To be sure, this question is answered in different ways by different people.

Libertarian: to get out of the way.

Conservative: to protect and defend us, our property, and our rights.

Liberal: to protect us from ourselves.

Bible: to punish evildoers and reward the righteous.

At first glance, these seem to be mutually exclusive, especially when we consider what each group means by those statements. Read more…

Biblical Government: Anarchy, Minarchy, or Statism?

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

an·ar·chy (nr-k): Rules without rulers; the doctrine of abolishing all compulsory, tax-funded government. Crime would be dealt with through the free market as private agencies offer judicial services based on consumer preferences.

min·ar·chy (mnr-k): Minimal rule; the belief that civil government rightfully exists to protect individuals from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud. Law enforcement, courts and military are valid government services.

stat·ism (sttzm): The practice or doctrine of giving a centralized government control over economic planning and policy, usually including the acceptance of welfarism and militarism.

If you adhere to a minarchist view of civil government, a statist has probably accused you of being an anarchist at least once in your life. Read more…

Rand Paul Is Still My Senator

In early 2009, I was a fairly new fan of Congressman Ron Paul, having learned of him during the 2008 presidential election. You can imagine my excitement when I heard that his son, Rand Paul, was thinking of running for the U.S. Senate. When I found out he would be representing Kentucky – my home state – it was that much more invigorating. I knew immediately that I would do everything I could in my local community to raise support for Rand.

The first order of business was to bring Rand to my city for a live speaking event. If he decided to run I knew he would be going up against establishment candidates in both the primary and general elections Read more…

The Battle in Bear Country » Sullivan v Wilson: Is Civil Marriage for Gay Couples Good for Society?

The University of Idaho hosted a public debate, to a crowd of over 800, on February 27, 2013. The debate was participated in by Andrew Sullivan, blogger and former senior editor of The Atlantic, and Douglas Wilson, pastor of Christ Church of Moscow, ID, author and educator. The topic of the debate: Is Civil Marriage for Gay Couples Good for Society?

Battle of the Beards

Battle of the Beards

Read more…

Jesus the Socialist Hippie?

This past weekend I had the privilege of seeing this photo on the internet:

I say “privilege” with all the sarcasm you can possibly fathom. There are so many false assumptions being made in this short statement that it is hard to know where to begin. Perhaps I should just roll my eyes and forget about it. But no, this is a very misguided statement that requires a serious response.

Liberals like to use biblical admonitions to take care of the poor as justification for government-run healthcare, but a logical leap of this magnitude never sets foot on solid ground. Jesus certainly does give away free healthcare and he commands his followers to do the same:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” – Luke 4:18

“Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.” – Luke 7:22

“If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” – Matthew 19:21

“They will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – Matthew 25:37-40

“…when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” – Luke 14:13

None of these verses prove what the liberal wants to prove. For starters, the healthcare that Jesus gives away is his own. The eternal Son of God heals by his own life-giving power and blood. This is completely reversed with government-run healthcare. The government has no life-giving power on its own. It must necessarily take from someone else, by force, to provide its services. The way of Christ is one of mercy and self-sacrifice; the way of socialism is theft and coercion.

Secondly, Jesus gives the responsibility of taking care of the poor to individuals within the Church. Does Jesus say, “Sell what you have and give it to the government, so that the government can give it to the poor”? Does Jesus say, “Let the government take your property away from you so that they can provide for the needy”? No! Jesus wants his people to be people of charity, people who bring healing to their communities in the spirit of mercy and self-sacrifice. The early Christians followed Christ’s example by giving tithes and offerings to take care of themselves and the community (Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:32-35). They didn’t lobby the Roman Empire to pass welfare legislation.

I believe most liberals have good intentions in wanting the government to provide healthcare, but that doesn’t mean it’s a legitimate method. Ignoring the needs of others is wrong, but forcing charity is wrong as well. Doing the right thing in the wrong way is never right.

So, is Jesus a socialist hippie? Far from it. Jesus is our great high priest, through whom we find healing and rest. In him, every Christian is a priest (1 Peter 2:9) and we share the responsibility of sacrificial service to our communities. The Church is supposed to be the institution that cares for the sick, clothes the naked and feeds the hungry – not Washington, DC.

by Adam McIntosh

Bush, War, Conservatives, and the Search for Consistency

One of the perplexing dilemmas we face as those who oppose the over-reach of the Federal Government is the inconsistency we see in such movements. While on the one hand, we opine viciously in opposition to all forms of welfarism, on the other hand, we support and encourage our military efforts ( a form of international welfarism).
In his essay for The American Conservative, Ivan Eland discusses this inconsistency and warns conservatives that they can’t have it both ways:

“Conservatives should be leery of jumping into wars not only because American powers may become overextended—especially in a time of fiscal crisis—but because war makes government expand rapidly at home, even in areas of national security.”[1]

It is also fair to say that the Conservative mood has changed drastically in these last few years. Just as Democrats are quick to oppose a policy under a Republican governance, so too are they quick to support that same policy under a Democratic presidency.[2] I would like to think Republicans have learned their lessons, but they are just as prone to falling into the cycle of political hypocrisy. On a positive note, I have heard growing opposition to Obama’s Drone Strikes’ Policy from Republicans. Much of this opposition stems from the non-hawkish Senator, Rand Paul.

In his 2007 book, A Tragic Legacy, Glenn Greenwald details many of the former Bush supporters who have now come to see the light on America’s endless wars. Among them is Rod Dreher, a former contributor to National Review. In 2001, Dreher declared, “Thank God we have a Republican in the White House.”[3] Dreher later describes his regret for supporting Bush’s policies:

I see that I was the fool…the consequences of his (Bush’s) failure will be far, far worse than anything Carter did.

These political transformations are the results of a long line of unintended consequences, or what Chalmers Johnson referred to as Blowback.

I am convinced that serious minded Republicans are willing to count the cost, and the cost has been high. The U.S accounts for more than 50% of the world’s military spending[4] and with all that might it has left the Middle East desolate and unstable. The eloquent “No Nation-Building ” answer given by then candidate George Bush should be our policy. It is costing us too much. And as Eland observes, once warfare starts, taxes and spending continue:

Conservatives should not fail to recognize that war is the most prominent cause of the massive welfare state that has been erected in the United State.

Hopefully, consistency will return to small-government conservatives. We cannot continue to stay on budget at home, while distributing our credit cards abroad.


[1] The American Conservative, January/February 2013

[3] Greenwald, Glenn, A Tragic Legacy: How Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, 34-35.

[4] Ibid. 3

A Cup of Poison to the Lips of Liberalism

English Speaking Justice

Are you a liberal?  G. P. Grant thinks you’re insane if you’re not. In his 1974 book, English-Speaking Justice, he proposes,

“Liberalism in its generic form is surely something that all decent men accept as good—‘conservatives’ included.  In so far as the word ‘liberalism’ is used to describe the belief that political liberty is a central human good, it is difficult for me to consider as sane those who would deny that they are liberals.”

Is this merely semantic quibbling? Without any more being said, I suppose, yes, it would be nothing more than a violation of Paul’s admonition to Timothy to “not quarrel about words” (2 Tim 2:14), but what if in the end it isn’t?  To quarrel about words would be like quarrelling about anything else—fruitless. To be succinct with our words would be to be like God, who has revealed Himself using words that mean one thing, therefore not meaning something else.

In his 1955 work, The Defense of the Faith, Cornelius Van Til states, “the ‘what’ must precede the ‘that’; the connotation must precede the denotation; at least the latter cannot be discussed intelligently without at once considering the former.”  In other words, how can we know what we’re talking about unless the words representing the ideas we’re discussing mean one thing instead of another?  Van Til asks how we can discuss the existence of a god, if the god in question has no definite attributes.  The ‘what’ must precede the ‘that’.

In our current political landscape, ‘liberal’ has become synonymous with ‘Democrat’, while ‘conservative’ equals ‘Republican’.  G. P. Grant argues that perhaps the Republican relationship with conservatism is accurate, but the Democratic comparison should be with ‘progressivism’ instead of with ‘liberalism’.  For the Democrat, liberty is not the goal as much as progress is, and if progress is the goal, then it is one that can never be reached.  A traveler can never arrive at their destination, if the only reason to go on the trip is to be in a state of perpetual motion.

100 years ago, G. K. Chesterton summed-up progressivism in his work, “Heretics”.   He wrote,

“It is not merely true that the age which has settled least what is progress is this ‘progressive’ age. It is, moreover, true that the people who have settled least what is progress are the most ‘progressive’ people in it. The ordinary mass, the men who have never troubled about progress, might be trusted perhaps to progress.”

So when Barak Obama ran on the monoplankular platform of “Change” in 2008, the election’s outcome showed that Americans were indeed progressivists and not liberals at all.  “We don’t care where you take us, Mr. Obama, as long as you get us out of here.”  As his two terms have progressed, we’ve found President Obama to be quite the conservative as he maintains many of Bush’s policies that he pledged to “change”, and quite the opposite of a true liberal as he’s sought to repossess American liberties granted by America’s Fathers in her Constitution.  While admitting that the word ‘liberal’ has come to mean only ‘secular liberal’, Grant stresses that this does not change the fact that the underlying foundations of liberty and freedom remain constant.   Since liberty is still the opposite of tyranny, the word ’liberal’ is has become a misnomer– a glaring misnomer that we’re now stuck with.

In Part IV of English-Speaking Justice, Grant gets to his most salient point by describing Roe v. Wade as the “cup of poison to the lips of liberalism”.  He elegantly shows that between two members of the same species, the “right” of the one to exist should outweigh the “right” of the other to enjoy privacy and comfort.  However, the high court’s decision to refuse the term ‘person’ to one still in utero, reveals that modern liberalism is not about human rights at all.  Humans in the womb and humans outside of the womb are still both humans by scientific definition, but the modern liberal agenda set this empirically verifiable fact aside and replaced it with an abstraction of ‘personhood’ that allowed them to cater to a constituency that furthered their political agendas instead of one that didn’t.

Dr. Roberta Bayer, at Patrick Henry College, has summarized Grant’s analysis this way:

“Although the court claimed to be confining its decision to the categories given by the American Constitution, interpreted within a liberal world view, it still found a basis ‘for denying the most elementary right of traditional justice to members of our own species.”  Thus, the justices must have held certain philosophical assumptions about being (nature) that were genealogically connected to some other philosophical tradition, a tradition neither guided by the Constitution, nor by what might be known scientifically about the development of the fetus in utero.  In fact, the evidence of science would have made it more, rather than less, reasonable to hold that the fetus is a distinct individual with a given nature.”

Whereas American liberalism had been fighting for ‘justice’ and ‘equality’ for nearly 200 years, Roe stands in a stark contrast to those noble concepts.  All that had been gained for equal human rights might as well be trampled underfoot, for the salt has lost it’s savor. All of the arguments for equal rights between slaves and free men;  all of the arguments for equal rights between women and men;  all of the arguments for equal rights between blacks and whites are totally eclipsed by the court-sanctioned murder of the most vulnerable members of our species.  The 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, has to be the most inegalitarian U. S. document ever written, and it was the product of the liberal left–the ‘champions’ of equal rights.

Based on Grant’s definition of a ‘liberal’ as “someone who believes political liberty is a central human good”, the pro-life movement has out-liberalled the liberals by mammoth proportions.  How can a so-called liberal deny the weakest members of its species the right to exist and still lay any legitimate claim to be a defender of liberty and equality?  They can’t.  They have placed the poisoned cup to their lips and drunk deeply.  Liberalism is dead, and the death has been ruled a suicide.

Immigration, Amnesty, and the Bible

The Senate has proposed–through some mini-caucus known as the Senate “Gang of Eight”–an immigration reform bill that has big support from the President, enough that he’s not going to offer his own proposal. The proposal begins with bipartisan support because the group is made up of four Republicans (McCain, Graham, Rubio, and Flake) and four Democrats (Schumer, Durbin, Menendez, and Bennet). Although, it having bipartisan support across Congress is less than promising.

The proposal is essentially one that mandates secure borders. Upon securing the border, a trigger is enacted that would give legal status to the approximately 11 million illegals living within the United States currently.

The proposal seems to be in opposition to the typical position held by conservatives: secure borders, no amnesty. Conservatives argue that while America is known as a melting pot of civilizations, no melting pot can remain a sovereign nation without protecting its values (such as a common language, religious values–on a very basic, general level, political ideas–typified in the Constitution, and patriotic loyalty. These things can be protected while the melting pot continues in diversity so long as the influx of diversity is restricted enough that the immigrants have time to be assimilated before their views can become the majority view.

Liberals, on the other hand, see it more along the lines of a human rights issue. These people came here for the chance to succeed and prosper and that’s what we have to offer, the “American Dream.” We cannot refuse a chance at the dream to someone just because we don’t like the minority background–a violation of human rights. It would be wrong to uproot these people (the 11 million illegal immigrants) from their homes, families, careers, churches, and communities simply because we don’t like the way they got here. They are already part of the melting pot, and doing just fine.

Libertarians–while far from a monolithic group–look at it from a slightly different perspective. America is made up of private property and private property holders. The government has no authority over private property and cannot restrict access to it. Thus, if I am a private property owner, I have the right to allow whomever I choose on my property, or to buy my property, or to be employed on my property. This means I can employ, sell to, or rent to anyone, regardless of their point of origin. The 11 million illegal immigrants are illegal based on the arbitrary rules of a government that is violating my private property rights when it makes such rules. The rule is, by definition, an illegal, unconstitutional, and unjust rule, and therefore should be reformed.

What needs to be considered in analyzing the “Gang of Eight’s” proposal is not whether the Democratic President Obama likes it, nor whether it was written by Democrats, Republicans, or both. It is not necessary to know whether FoxNews agrees with it or CNN or MSNBC or the Huffington Post or Drudge Report. What needs to be examined are the philosophical, theological, and political underpinnings of why one is in favor of or opposed to immigration.

For example, if you would normally take the conservative view, would you consistently apply those same arguments to the Church? Would you try to justify refusing Church membership to a large group of Chinese converts because they language, religious views, and values they would bring to your local congregation might overpower the values of the congregation currently?

If you would normally take the liberal view, would you consistently apply those same arguments to your own home? If someone just moved in and began homesteading on your property, would you refuse to have them forcibly removed on the basis of basic human rights?

If you would normally take the libertarian view, would you make no room for restricting the borders for concerns of national security? Should the borders at least be patrolled, if not to stop immigrants from access to private property holders, then at least to be surveyed for potential threats to national security (suitcase nukes, dirty bombs, chemical weapons, etc.)?

Finally, we must ask questions about the unintended consequences of our reform. If this reform basically states that we are going to start securing our borders, and once we do any and all illegal immigrants currently within our borders will become legal, then aren’t we basically offering a huge carrot for a mad rush of illegal immigration to push across the borders now, before they become secure, in order to receive that amnesty? And, if we are, does it matter? Should we even be trying to stop them by securing the borders anyway?

The Bible is silent on securing the border or restricting immigration. It does, however, teach the assimilation of strangers into the culture of the nation, “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Lev 19:34).

Every Four Years, It’s The End of The World Again

by Adam McIntosh

At this very moment, the fate of America hangs in the balance. Re-electing President Obama will result in the destruction of America as we know it. It will lead to the Islamic takeover of our western heritage. Mitt Romney, however, loves America and knows it is the hope of the earth. He alone can save us from Obama’s agenda of ushering in the apocalypse. Cast your vote for Romney this Tuesday and be amazed at the marvelous deeds he will accomplish. A vote for Romney is a vote for all that is holy and righteous in this land.”

Sounds like a pro-Romney argument you’ve heard recently, right? It’s my amateur attempt at writing an attack ad, but I think I captured the overall perspective of those who insist you must vote for Romney if you wish to be a decent American, and a decent Christian. It seems that we are always on the brink of impending doom if we don’t vote for the Republican nominee. Obama is the great enemy and Romney is our coming savior.

Our Democrat friends aren’t immune to this way of thinking, either. They buy into messianic scenarios just as easily. In 2008, it was proclaimed that Obama would establish peace in the world and usher in a much needed era of war-ending, civil-rights-protecting, transparent government. Today, we’re hearing that Romney will overturn Roe v. Wade, ban gay marriage and let sick people just die, along with hurricane victims. Obama is the champion we must vote for and Romney is the terrifying adversary.

This apocalyptic mindset is borderline idolatrous. Both parties repeat the same rhetoric and propaganda each cycle, regardless of who the candidates are. Every four years, it’s the end of the world again – except that it’s not. Jesus the Christ is ruler of the universe, not Romney or Obama. He is reigning from his throne working all things according to the counsel of his will and for our good (Eph. 1:11; Rom. 8:28). We shouldn’t worry about political scare tactics; the only thing we have to fear is God himself. The cosmos will not blow up if the “wrong guy” is elected. In fact, all leaders are given authority by God (John 19:11; Rom. 13:1). As hard as it is to believe, God planned for Barack Obama to be president. Same with George W. Bush and those before him. But this doesn’t mean that all leaders are justified in their actions. God often raises up tyrannical leaders as an act of judgment (1 Sam. 8:1-22). What it does mean is that God uses our voting strategies to bring about his will. Regardless of who is elected on Tuesday, the President of Presidents will still be seated on his heavenly throne.

In his providence, Christ has placed Americans in a nation where voting is an option (not a mandate) and where multiple candidates can be on the ballot. There is no law, biblical or constitutional, that says we must vote. Nor is there a law that says we must vote for one particular candidate. Next time someone tries to guilt-trip you into voting or voting for a particular candidate – with the implication that you are an irresponsible citizen if you don’t – simply smile and say, “Chill out! Jesus is in control.”

Yet, we certainly do have responsibilities when it comes to electing our leaders. We are instructed to pray for them (1 Tim. 2:1-2) and to obey them as long as it doesn’t necessitate disobeying God (Acts 5:27–29; Rom. 13:2-5). We should also use wisdom in our voting strategies. We are supposed to proclaim the lordship of Christ in all areas of life, including politics. This means that we can’t make apathetic or uninformed decisions. But it’s precisely because Jesus is Lord that we aren’t obligated to vote a particular way. We don’t know the future and he has not told us which candidate he plans to elect. As has been previously argued, there are valid points made for each voting strategy. The question to ask yourself is,“which result would best further the kingdom?” Christians won’t always agree on the answer to that. We won’t know God’s answer to that until Tuesday night.

Post Navigation