A Conflict of Ideologies

I have written often before about the major differences between left and right political thought, and the bigger battle which is occurring: the struggle between the Judeo-Christian worldview and the secular humanist worldview. This is the ultimate contest, and the political debates are merely subsets of these much larger worldview issues.

Many thinkers have nicely laid out the various differences here. One author who has written countless articles and books on this is Thomas Sowell. He does a very good job of describing this ideological warfare, this war of worldviews.

As I wrote elsewhere, “The two main visions Sowell discusses are what he calls the constrained and the unconstrained visions. The constrained vision (the conservative worldview) acknowledges that there are limits. There are limits to human nature, limits to what governments can do, limits to what can be achieved in a society.

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A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles by Sowell, Thomas (Author) Amazon logo

“The unconstrained vision (the radical or leftist worldview) tends to downplay limits. Mankind is seen as more or less perfectible; social and political utopia is to a large extent achievable; and evil is not endemic or inherent in the human condition, and therefore is able to be mostly eliminated.

“The conservative vision tends to reflect the Judeo-Christian understanding that mankind is fallen, is limited, is prone to sin and self, and cannot produce heaven on earth, at least without the help of God. The left-liberal vision, by contrast, tends to see the human condition as innocent, malleable and perfectible, and tends to think that utopia on earth is achievable under the right social conditions.”

In a new article Sowell looks at how both fascism and socialism are really of one piece – they both belong to the domain of the left. He writes, “One of the reasons why both pro-Obama and anti-Obama observers may be reluctant to see him as fascist is that both tend to accept the prevailing notion that fascism is on the political right, while it is obvious that Obama is on the political left.

“Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely – and correctly – regarded as being on the political left. Jonah Goldberg’s great book Liberal Fascism cites overwhelming evidence of the fascists’ consistent pursuit of the goals of the left, and of the left’s embrace of the fascists as one of their own during the 1920s.

“Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a man of the left. It was in the 1930s, when ugly internal and international actions by Hitler and Mussolini repelled the world, that the left distanced themselves from fascism and its Nazi offshoot – and verbally transferred these totalitarian dictatorships to the right, saddling their opponents with these pariahs.

“What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people – like themselves – need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.

“The left’s vision is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves, as superior beings pursuing superior ends. In the United States, however, this vision conflicts with a Constitution that begins, ‘We the People…’ That is why the left has for more than a century been trying to get the Constitution’s limitations on government loosened or evaded by judges’ new interpretations, based on notions of ‘a living Constitution’ that will take decisions out of the hands of ‘We the People,’ and transfer those decisions to our betters.”

Quite right. And in another very recent article Matt Barber also speaks to these competing visions. As he says, “This is about worldview. This is about an epic clash between two irreconcilable, diametrically opposed socio-political philosophies. It’s a zero-sum game. Somebody wins and somebody loses.” And he does a nice job of summarising these two:

“On the one hand, we have secular-socialism, a cultural and political philosophy embraced by labor unions, Barack Obama, the base of the Democratic Party, the mainstream media and many of those controlling the reins of our elitist institutions. It is ‘progressivism.’ This is a philosophy that, throughout history, has proven to be a serial failure. One need only look to Europe for the latest example.

“This secularist worldview is based loosely on the unattainable, redistributionist ramblings of Karl Marx, the father of communism. It hates Christianity. It hates constitutionalism. It hates the precepts of individual liberty and responsibility codified throughout our nation’s founding documents. It embraces moral relativism and says there are no clear lines of demarcation between right and wrong. It says that government is God and that as government giveth, government taketh away. In sum: It’s garbage.”

“On the other hand we have the Judeo-Christian worldview. This is the socio-political philosophy embraced by our Founding Fathers. The historical record is unequivocal. It was within this framework that our U.S. Constitution was created. It is conservatism. It says that we are endowed by our ‘Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’

“It embraces the virtues of fiscal responsibility, individual liberty and personal charity. It says there is black and white – right and wrong. It strives for less government and more freedom. It acknowledges that there is a sovereign God – to whom we are all accountable – including both government and those whom ‘we the people’ place in government. It holds that as God giveth, God taketh away, and that you lying, cheating, ungodly snakes in Washington, D.C., better just take a step back and quick. In sum: It is truth.”

Yep, that is not a bad broad-brush look at these opposing ideologies, these manifestly incompatible worldviews. But if that is a bit too theoretical or intellectual for you to take in, I have another way of rounding all this off. And that is to simply share a poster which just appeared on another site. It pretty nicely summarises the state of play, and the war we are in – in very practical terms:

“Only under a godless government can you legally kill your children and go to jail for disciplining them. (All nations will be judged.)”

townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2012/06/12/socialist_or_fascist
townhall.com/columnists/mattbarber/2012/06/11/liberalism_is_terminally_ill

[1056 words]

2 Replies to “A Conflict of Ideologies”

  1. Ever since sin entered the world, a vacuum, a lack of good has been created, which evil is rushing to fill and goodness waits in its patience until it is invited, it wouldn’t be true goodness if it didn’t.
    If Jesus is the centre, the only one who can reconcile in himself all things, including those things which to us seem unreconcilable and yet have been created by him legitimate, then everything off centre is simply off. So it is not surprising that left and right show similarities, they are both similarly ungodly.

    Sadly, the entertainment media is filling our kids with this unrestrained view of things, as they can make it appear possible with their visual affects. Even in our daily living we have divorced cause and effect from how we live. My children know that certain weather conditions affect the chickens’ laying abilities and they know if they don’t feed them, we don’t have eggs. I have heard that some city kids actually have to be taught that eggs don’t come from a carton on a supermarket shelf, but they come from chickens and milk doesn’t magically appear in a milk bottle but actually comes out of cows. If we can build these things back into our children we are giving them some solid tools to evaluate a whole bunch of garbage that gets thrown at them every day.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

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