Pop quiz, everyone! It’s a review question from Chapter 24 of our 10th-grade Christianist textbook, World History and Cultures In Christian Perspective:
“What phenomenon at the beginning of the 20th century threatened to destroy the roots of Western civilization?”
OK, pencils down! Anyone care to share your answer?
No, it is not “buttsex,” and for that you can stay after class and muck out the Pony stalls.
The correct answer, of course, is “Liberalism.” We will give partial credit for “Marxism,” because same difference.
We get a little lesson on the meaning of “liberal,” including this buggy entomology: “The word liberal comes from a Latin word which means ‘free’” (The book doesn’t tell us which Latin word, because that might lead to Popery). We learn that some desires for freedom are good, such as free markets or a “liberal arts” education which “frees a person to think clearly for himself and not to depend on others to do his thinking for him” (as long as he thinks the right things, of course).
Modern liberalism, however, is the desire to be free from absolute standards and morals, especially those of the Scriptures. Beginning with the un-Biblical idea that man is basically good, liberalism challenges such basic assumptions as the existence of absolute truth, objective knowledge, and a universally binding morality.
Needless to say, the book’s later section on the Holocaust does not mention Anne Frank or her un-Biblical belief that “in spite of everything…people are truly good at heart,” because questions about whether Anne Frank is in Hell make many Christians uncomfortable. (OK, probably not these guys; they’d confidently say that’s the current location of most people who’ve ever lived, duh.) So what evils flow from thinking that people are good and are not bound by the universal morality of Christian publishers in Pensacola, FL?
Modern liberalism usually equates itself with the desire to free man from authority order, restraint, and responsibility; in practice, however, liberalism usually leads to the imposed restraints of government control over many aspects of life, resulting in the transfer of responsibility from the individual to the state. Instead of freedom, liberalism ends in slavery first to man’s unbridled passions (anarchy) and eventually to an all powerful, totalitarian state.
We get the sense that these guys are, like the Paul Reiser character in Diner, not entirely comfortable with nuance.* In case anyone missed the point in earlier chapters, we learn that Freedom is in fact Slavery:**
Indeed, the same ideas of unbelief and revolution (i.e. — the Enlightenment, German philosophy etc.) that gave rise to Communism, socialism, and other false philosophies also spawned modern liberalism. All ideas have consequences, and modern liberalism has had many tragic consequences — war, tyranny despair — for mankind.
Hyperbole in the defense of Western Culture is no vice. So, in contrast to this bleak, life-destroying idea, we have good wholesome American guts and decent church-going conservatives (with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces):
American and other Western conservatives believe there are eternal values that need to be preserved in human thought and action; they also seek to preserve the ]udeo-Christian heritage that has made Western civilization great.
OK, but Anne Frank is still in Hell. She was put there by liberals.
Western conservatism emphasizes the following principles:
(1) There are absolutes established by God — eternal values that need to be conserved. (This contrasts with the belief of many liberals that everything is relative and constantly changing, leaving man to create his own values.)
(2) There is more to life than this present physical world. Any idea that does not take the spiritual and eternal into consideration is limited and unrealistic.
Angels and miracles: Absolutely real. Natural selection: A fairy tale. As usual, we’d like to see these guys take a pledge to abstain from any medical interventions developed with knowledge based in evolutionary theory…
(3) Because of man’s fallen nature, there is a necessity for governmental authority (law) and for the order, responsibilities, and restraints of such traditional institutions as family, church, and community. And although government is important and necessary, government alone cannot provide for man’s needs.
(4) Because of the realities of human nature, people will be happier and more productive if they maintain private responsibility for their own property, families, and futures. If government controls these things, the result will be poverty and tyranny.
Government helping to feed people is slavery. Government oversight of uteruses and what people are allowed to do with their genitals is, of course, only common sense.
(5) Man’s sinful nature makes it impossible to perfect society (either through legislation, education, the arts, or any other means). Any attempt to impose a “perfect” system on mankind leads only to misery and despair. Man cannot solve every social problem.
Keeping sluts in line and making sure that no child ever finds a bad word in a library book, however, is admirable. Come to think of it, libraries are socialist. You only need one book, anyway.
(6) Because people differ from one another in many ways, any artificial attempt at creating and imposing “equality” upon society will lead to discontent and eventual dictatorship.
Our negroes were perfectly happy before all those outside agitators showed up and started stirring up trouble.
(7) For humanity to survive and prosper, the truths from the past must be transmitted to each generation (education), providing a foundation for facing present problems and setting a course for the future.
But not at taxpayer expense.
In case there were any questions, the authors include a perfectly clear and understandable graphic aid (which for some reason is missing in the more recent 3rd edition of the text):
We honestly have no idea what those arrows are supposed to indicate. Or the fact that they’re angled in the second instance. We may need to go lie down now. By way of summation, this section closes with a reminder that
Of course, the most powerful conservative force through the ages has been the Bible, which contains God’s revelation of Himself, the universe, man, morality and the conflict between good and evil.
Especially that Parable of the Talents? That’s some parable, that Parable of the Talents! Also, the parts about stoning homosexuals are pretty good. Needless to say, anyone suggesting that Jesus had any radical ideas about equality, human dignity, or how the poor should be treated is a dangerous agitator who should be reported to the authorities. The Sermon on the Mount is especially suspect.
*Comments on video disabled, possibly because the uploader found that easier than correcting his description of Barry Levinson’s movie as a “1982 Robert Altman film.” Goddamn troll.
**Yes, of course they later claim George Orwell, the socialist, as a conservative writer, since he “graphically portrayed the horrors of the totalitarian state.” Ugh, these people.
Next Week: More dangerous liberals of the 20th Century, like Sigmund Freud, Bertrand Russell, John Dewey, and…Kierkegaard and Nietzsche?