Saturday, November 22, 2008

Liberalism, Conservativism, and Human Nature

I haven't discussed politics on this blog all that much. But often politics and theology intersect. I was reminded of this while reading a brief essay by P.J. O'Rourke in Why I Am a Reagan Conservative.

One major difference between liberalism and conservativism is how human nature is viewed. Liberalism sees humans as basically good. Conservativism knows that human nature is flawed (of course, the Bible teaches that human nature is more than merely flawed, rather it is utterly corrupt because of sin, but you get the point).

Here's how O'Rourke puts it in his essay:
The real faith of the Left is the holy goodness of humanity ... and the collective cosmic solidarity of mankind.
The paradoxical part of O'Rourke's essay is that Liberalism feels the need to reform humanity through the power of government and a so-called "New Man" which liberal policy and philosophy ought to produce (never mind the fact that this has already been tried and proven to be ineffective ... human nature is not changed by governmental regulations). And then comes my favorite part of the essay and the reason why I wanted to write this post. O'Rourke uses Biblical imagery to tell us what life would be like in this liberal utopia:
[S]uppose that an example of the virtuous "New Man" imagined by the Left reigns over heaven and earth. Call him "Ben." Or call him "Jerry." Anyway, Adam sacrifices all his ribs and half his backbone so that the Garden of Eden is representative of the full spectrum of human sexuality. Endangered species go first into the Ark. (Now, how do we get those brontosaurs out of the vegetable garden?) Moses is called to the mountaintop to retrieve the Ten Thousand Commandments cajoling the Israelites to be "in touch with themselves" and deploring behavior that's "hurtful and divisive." Joshua blows his horn and the residents of Jericho join in on recorders and tamborines. There's no capital punishment in the Judea of Pontius Pilate. Jesus does three to five in a minimum security imperial pen. He writes The Gospel of Prison Reform and starts a socially conscious, sustainable small business by using his heavenly powers to invent refrigeration. The symbol of universal salvation is an ice cream sundae. We are blessed with an infinite number of cleverly named delicious flavors. But we are required by law to use someone else's tongue to lick them.

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