Wednesday, May 18, 2016

In the end is liberalism not only on the side of history but makes for better history?

There is food for reconciling Christians' thought here, whatever we make of Obama's presidency, policies and, lately, prognostications.

12 comments:

Brendan McNeill said...

Can secular liberalism be sustained without its spiritual roots?

Peter Carrell said...

That, Brendan, is perhaps the greatest question facing the West today!

Brendan McNeill said...

In the context of our liberal cultural milieu, a parallel question for the Church might be: “Is liberal Christianity the last stage before apostasy?”

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, my response to Brendan's comment is:

Is conservative obscurantism the final step before oblivion?

There is much more at stake here than blessing a few Same-Sex Marriages

danielj said...

Brendan my 2 cents

an answer to your first question....there will come a time when that is true, is this that time, I doubt it the new atheists think it is

an answer to your second question No it is the first step toward the church becoming the way of Jesus the reign of God
blessings

Brian Kelly said...

"Orthodoxy is not democracy!" - Peter.

Truth never has been a matter of majority voting, even in modern scientific consensus, which must always be open in principle to refutation. The Greeks, certainly from Plato (think of his famous parable of the cave) understood that most of mankind was ignorant about reality (and, to anticipate Rumsfeld), didn't know that they didn't know. Progress in science came from challenging received 'knowledge' and offering experimental and observable alternatives: Galileo overturning Aristotle.
Truth in religious and social affairs is even more complex, and primarily because we are bound (or as I prefer to say, illuminated) by biblical revelation. But these questions are not resolved by majority voting either. Plato did not set much store by democracy per se, not least because he had seen what a mobocracy had done to his teacher Socrates. Nor did the founders of the American Republic set out to establish a democracy. Their goal was a 'virtuous republic' in which democracy was the capstone, not the foundation stone. But the inculcation of virtue in the body politic is a hard thing to do and it can be abraded away in time by neglect and accommodation to popular vices.

Brian Kelly said...

I liked the comparison of the American presidency with medieval papacy, with presumably the Supreme Court as the College of Cardinals, endowed with infallibility in their judgments until they change their minds.
What the article failed to note, of course, is that states - like papacies - cost a lot of money and for a long time now (not just under Obama), the US has been robbing the future.
Obama's legacy will be:
- the worst race relations in the US since the 1960s and a crippling obsession with identity politics
- the greatest expansion of the Federal Government since WWII
- the lowest standing of the US in the world since the 1930s
- the poorest state of affairs ever known in the Arab world, with crushing conditions for Christians and other minorities (a *bad* era for religious freedom)
- the poorest relations with Russia since about 1972
- the lowest participation of the population in the work force since c. 1936
- the highest level of public debt ever, and a vast expansion of persona debt, chiefly tuition fees. But hey, never mind, the kids will pay for it in a lifetime in McJobs.

This is not your father LBJ's 'liberalism'.

Craig Liken said...

An interesting summary Brian - pretty tough sort of legacy, many of which I'm not quite sure could have gone much differently. The economic ones I think are largely GFC driven - he took over the reins at a very nasty time - almost a "hospital pass" type of scenario.

Race relations is interesting - in some ways I think the US is finding that just because you give people "equality" of opportunity the underlying systemic issues (and attitudes) are very hard to fix. We have gone a slightly different way here in NZ (with Treaty payouts etc), but there are still problems even with attitudes - as was recently highlighted by the reaction to New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd's comments - I was frankly appalled at some of the things that were said - I haven't listened to or watched Hoskings since.

The Arab world - yes what a mess. Not just down to Obama though - what should he have done differently do you think?

Craig Liken said...

Sorry Brian - realised after I had posted that some of my comment may make little sense to you as you are in the UK. If you google Andrew Judd and have a look at some clips on what he said it will make more sense.

Brian Kelly said...

Thank you, Craig - I try to keep my finger on the pulse and have numerous communications to help keep me in the picture.
The relative successes of Maori in Australia is an intriguing question to me: there still seem to be opportunities in the Lucky Country for people with an enterprising spirit, when your background means nothing to others.
As for Obama and the Arab world: I think he was driven by hubris over his own racial and cultural identity, imagining he could wield 'soft power', while in reality he understands little about economics and other cultures. The failures in the Arab world - and beyond - have plunged Europe into the migrant crisis. I think Obama misread every crisis - Libya, Egypt, Syria - insulted the British and miscalculated with the Russians. But one of the game changers has been the advent of fracking (along with Canadian shale oil), which hugely reduced dependence on Mideast oil and brought world oil prices down. Without that (and Obama is no friend of fracking - or coal), a recession would have been inevitable.

Father Ron Smith said...

Interesting political observations here! Give me Obama every time - if trhe only alternative is Drumpf. At least, Obama knows all about what it means to be the subject of prejudice. I gfuarantee, if Donald Trump ever becomes President of the US, America and the rest of the world will need to watch out. He is social and political dynamite.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Let's remove the ad hominems, shall we?

Redacted Comment from Ron:

Brian Kelly; ... Obama has done more for the American public than anyone since Abraham Lincoln.

However, the anointing of your presidential hopeful, Donald Drumpf, (on to his 3rd Marriage) would undoubtedly please the conservative oligarchs in the U.S. He would also protect them from Muslims and Mexican immigrants. What a tussle, though, it must be for his Bible-Belt fans, to reconcile his womanising culture with his messianic politics