My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

18 October 2006

Why I'm not a conservative

It may be more accurate to say that I'm not an American conservative. It's not because I'm not "conservative" in my positions, but because the basic idea of conservatism as seen in the name (i.e., conserving something in the past) has not worked and has not gotten us anywhere. Right now, conservatives would be happy to have America be like we were in 1950, or 1776, or whenever. Should we be happy with that? Rather, I'd like to think Christ would have us look to the future with something more than "let's go back a few years."

Of all people, Christians are to be looking forward, anticipating real and radical change as the kingship of Christ is exerted over the entire world. And, of all people, we should realize that conserving the past is, at best, a mixed proposition: everything in the past was tainted by original sin. Plus, what was in the past is why we are where we are now. What would we gain if we took a 50-year step backward? Or if we regained the America of the founding fathers? Well, in all likelihood, we would end up in this same exact spot in 50 years. Or 300.

Christ's kingdom is a harvest field to grow and reap, not a museum to preserve until He finally shows up. We don't think this way about ourselves ("I just want to stay as good as I am right now") or about the church ("remember when our church was 30 people? I wished we could go back there") - why would we think this way about the nation?

To wit, R. L. Dabney:

“[Conservatism's] history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward to perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It tends to risk nothing serious for the sake of truth.”

Perhaps my issues with conservatism are merely semantic - but I think there may be some help here for the church as she moves to shirk off her "place in the American political system" and realizes that our Savior is the same as our nation's King. As we head toward voting season, wondering how Jesus would vote, maybe it would be best to stick with being Christians and make decisions and vote votes based on how the King of the church would have us interact with His nations.


M&E said...

Leithart is getting to you. Har Har Har.

Jared said...

Check out Josh's blog, too. We're at a blog war!! Not really. But he has a nice take on the opposite side.

And no, Micah, PL is not "getting to me"...turns out that he's finally listening to what I've been saying all along.

Josh said...

I guess is depends on your definition of blog war! Haha!!

But thank you for your kind comments. More discussions like this need to happen amongst believers.

MarkPele said...

I hate how the liberals always seem to get the best names. I like "Progressive" but it's already taken.

I agree with the sentiment of the article. Conservatives spend all of their time putting on the brakes, but not trying to switch the Liberal train onto the right tracks. Being a nay-sayer is very comfortable, because if you're right, you get credit, and if you're wrong, no one cares anyway. This is why I got tired of listening to Rush Limbaugh.

Charity said...

ok, I admit it. I only came here to see pictures of Elias (right?) he is darling! (as are the others, of course) :o)