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Francis Schaeffer on the Origins of Relativism in the Church

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From Going Rogue

Mrs. MOTW was very sweet and brought home Sarah Palin's Going Rogue for me from the library. Haven't read it all yet, obviously, and may just skim it instead of reading it thoroughly (I am very pressed for time, as always), but just flipping through it, I came across this, and thought it worth sharing. Emphasis, where present, is mine and in bold:
Since leaving office I've frequently been asked, "What does Sarah Palin stand for? What's your vision for the future?"

I welcome the opportunity to share it. Keep in mind, I tell my parents the greatest gift they ever gave me, besides building a foundation of love for family and for healthy competition, was an upbringing in Alaska. The pioneering spirit of the Last Frontier has shaped me.

I am an independent person who had the good fortune to come of age in the era of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. I am a registered Republican because the planks in that party's platform are stronger than any others upon which to build Alaska and America. I disagree with some of the characters in the party machine, but the GOP stands for principles that will strengthen and secure the country, if they are applied. I'm not obsessively partisan, though, and I don't blame people who dislike political labels even more than I do. My husband, for example, isn't registered with any party, for sound reasons, having been an eyewitness to the idiosyncrasies of party machines. I also don't like the narrow stereotypes of either the "conservative" or the "liberal" label, but until we change the lingo, call me a Commonsense Conservative.

What does it mean to be a Commonsense Conservative?

At its most basic level, conservatism is a respect for history and tradition, including traditional moral principles. I do not believe I am more moral, certainly no better, than anyone else, and conservatives who act "holier than thou" turn my stomach. So do some elite liberals. But I do believe in a few timeless and unchanging truths, and chief among those is that man is fallen. This world is not perfect, and politicians will never make it so. This, above all, is what informs my pragmatic approach to politics.

I am a conservative because I deal with the world as it is--complicated and beautiful, tragic and hopeful. I am a conservative because I believe in the rights and the responsibilities and the inherent dignity of the individual.

In his book A Conflict of Visions, Thomas Sowell explains the underlying assumptions or "visions" that shape our opinions and the way we approach social and political issues. He identifies two separate visions: the unconstrained and the constrained.

People who adhere to the unconstrained vision (the label applied to them is "liberal" or "left-wing") believe that human nature is changeable (therefore perfectible) and that society's problems can all be solved if only the poor, ignorant, disorganized public is told what to do and rational plans are enacted. And who better to make those plans than an elite bureaucracy pulling the strings and organizing society according to their master blueprint? No one can doubt that our current leaders in Washington subscribe to this unconstrained vision.

Conservatives believe in the "constrained" political vision because we know that human nature is flawed and that there are limitations to what can be done in Washington to "fix" society's problems. Commonsense Conservatives deal with human nature as it is--with its unavoidable weaknesses and its potential for goodness. We see the world as it is--imperfect but filled with beauty. We hope for the best. We believe people can change for the better, but we do not ignore history's lessons and waste time chasing utopian pipe dreams.

We don't trust utopian promises from politicians. The role of government is not to perfect us but to protect us--to protect our inalienable rights. The role of government in a civil society is to protect the individual and to establish a social contract so that we can live together in peace.
And all the people said, "Amen!"

Look, I've said before that Mrs. Palin is not my idea of the perfect conservative--but her unabashed avowal of the very principle that I have been hammering on for months encourages me. Yes, that is what government is for. It is here to protect our God-given unalienable rights--which is no more and no less than Thomas Jefferson said in our Declaration of Independence. It is not here to serve as a means by which one group of people can plunder another group of people. It is not here as a medium by which one group of people can finance what they conceive to be society's good with money from other people's pockets. It is not here to serve as a means by which you can chuck all responsibility for your health, your retirement, and your children's education.

It is here to protect your rights. That Mrs. Palin understands that is a very big thing with me.

I can think of other conservatives whom I would prefer to see as president, but they ain't a-runnin', at least not yet. Put Sarah Palin up against a looting, statist thug like Barack Obama, and I'll vote for her without hesitation.

As an aside, some of you won't like that I called President Obama a "looting, statist thug." You think it sounds mean.

You are the same people that told me, "MOTW (though I went by my real name then), give him the benefit of the doubt."

And I told you, "I'm looking at his track record, and his track record is that of a not-so-semi-socialist, abortocentrist, leftist, Christophobic, power-grubbing demagogue."

And you said, "You're so mean!"

Almost a year later, I wonder when you are going to admit that I was not mean at all, but simply descriptive. Probably never, even though the truth of what I told you then is now manifest. I was wrong on not one single point that I can recall. And you? You will not admit what this man is, because to do so means admitting that you had no idea what you were talking about, and that, you will never do. It would eat you up alive to admit that I was right and you were wrong.

And as a second aside, I believe I coined the term "Common Sense Conservative" before Mrs. Palin did. See my definition here.

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