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Francis Schaeffer on the Origins of Relativism in the Church

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Paleocons, Paleoconservatism

Paleocon--and I do recommend you read the Wikipedia article--is a relatively modern term for what once might have been called "the Old Right." These are the people who, unlike the Neocons, react very negatively not only to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and the modern welfare state, but even to FDR's "New Deal." Their conservatism is, for the most part, pretty much what I describe as conservatism, period, and for the most part, I identify with the Paleocons.

Points where I may have some quibbles with Paleocons:

1) While I would not (as some do) describe them as hostile to Israel, it nevertheless seems to me that some of them are less willing to support Israel than may be wise. I do not think that the Biblical admonition that those who bless Israel will be blessed, and those who curse Israel, cursed, necessarily means that we, as a nation, are obligated to support Israel militarily or economically under all circumstances, but I also think, based on that Biblical instruction, that it is a capital mistake not to support Israel insofar as it is compatible with our Constitution.

2) Paleocons in general place much stock in the cultural homogeneity of a society--that is, they understand that if a society doesn't share certain core values, it is more likely to experience balkanization rather than unity. However, it sometimes seems to me that Paleocons carry this a little too far and some of them wind up confusing some of their personal values with the core values upon which this country was originally built. It is just something to watch out for.

3) Some Paleocons--and I am thinking particularly of Pat Buchanan here--seem to me to greatly misjudge Islam, and as a result, I'm not at all sure that their views on how to deal with rampant Islamism are completely realistic. Too often, they seem to think that if only America will mind its own business, rampant Islam will leave America alone. I don't think that is true; Islam is hegemonistic by nature. Whether we mind our own business or not (and it can be very hard for the world's pre-eminent military, economic, and cultural power to be perceived as "minding its own business," no matter how hard it tries), Islam's agenda demands that it will, sooner or later, come into conflict with us. If prudence is the hallmark of the conservative, then conservatism must take this reality into account.

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