So What's This All About?

In case you didn't know, I'm in the multi-year-long process of posting a Christian devotional at the TAWG Blog. The TAWG Blog is, and always will be, mostly apolitical. For the most part, Bible-believing Christians will find little to disagree with there. But I also firmly believe that God's word can--and should--inform everything in life, and this should include politics and popular culture. How should we vote? How should we respond to hot topics such as abortion, capital punishment, taxes, and other issues? Which party, if either, is closer to the Biblical ideal? Tony Campolo and Ron Sider, Evangelicals whose political leanings are on the Left, have made the case in several of their writings that God wants his followers to vote politically on the Left more than on the Right. At times, some of them have gone so far as to equate voting on the Left with obedience to Christ, either subtly or not-so-subtly contending that the converse is true as well: If you vote Republican, you're sinning against the Savior.
I don't agree. I think that to the degree they actually resort to the Bible, they're misinterpreting it. With a whole bunch of caveats, I think politically conservative positions are a lot more compatible with the Scriptures than the Leftist positions.
Just to clarify, I would never accuse people who disagree with me--especially siblings in Christ--of what they accuse me of. I don't judge my own heart, much less anyone else's, and I don't equate political disagreement with theological fidelity to God. I have no reason to doubt their love for the Lord and "for the least of these," but I believe that they're sincerely wrong.
So there are two main purposes for this blog. One is to make a case for my political beliefs based on Scripture. The other is a bit more vague, basically to work out my political beliefs and figure out what's based on Scripture and what's based on my own biases. I certainly don't have all the answers. Some of this stuff I'm still figuring out. And I'm certainly open to correction. As long as you make your case civilly and based on Scripture, feel free to make a comment, and I promise I'll post it and consider your arguments thoughtfully and prayerfully. Who knows? Maybe we'll learn a little something from each other.
May God bless our common striving together towards both the "little t" truth and "Big T" Truth. Our watchword here is a line from C. S. Lewis's The Last Battle: "Further up and further in!"

P.S. -- Below on the left is "Topics I've Covered" which lists everything I've posted topically. It's come to my attention that some people would like to see everything just listed for them. If that's you, you can get it here. Thanks to my friend Stephen Young for the tip!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

One Nation Under God, Indivisible: Some Second Thoughts. . .

            No, I haven’t rethought my position on whether or not the Neo-Confederate movement has any validity. It doesn’t. I’ve read DiLorenzo’s and other NC stuff, and I remain unconvinced. However, I think I might’ve been a little too hard on libertarians in my postings. I’ve come across some material that’s softened my feelings towards them.
            In reading my postings on the NC movement and strain of thought, you might’ve gotten the impression that Libertarian=Neo-Confederate. I didn’t think that, but I take note that while not every Libertarian is a Neo-Confederate, it seems like there are a lot of them within the Libertarian movement and party. Ron Paul is a NC, and he’s kind of the standard bearer of libertarians to a large degree.
            However, I’ve come across this, and this, and this.
            Look, I don’t know how big and influential this one website is within the movement, but the very name is libertarianism.org. And I haven’t found a single rebuttal to their columns on the site. Basically they’re arguing congruently with one of my main theses in my series: A concern for personal liberty is—to be logically consistent—incompatible with a defense of the Confederacy. They'd agree with Krannawitter that slavery is the ultimate rejection of limited government. They look at the historical evidence, and they agree that it's overwhelming that the Confederacy was all about the slavery.
            Now, granted, they seem to be a lot more open than I would be to the notion that secession is a legal option under the Constitution. I think that’s nonsense on stilts. They also look a lot more askance than I would at Lincoln’s alleged violations of civil liberties. A lot of our disagreement--such as it is--goes back to the fundamental error of conflating legal secession (which the South claimed) and illegal (but sometimes justified) revolution. Any time anyone uses the term "secession" to refer to the American Revolution, you can immediately discern that there's a problem. NC's routinely do this, and by repeating their error the libertarians on the site concede way too much ground to them.
            But at least they’re totally in agreement with me that a love for liberty is completely irreconcilable with what the CSA stood for. They think it preposterous that any libertarian speak a word in defense of a nation whose raison d'être was the perpetuation and expansion of slavery based on white supremacism. Libertarians are really really keen on the notion that you belong to you, not to someone else and certainly not to the government, and slavery is the utter negation of that concept. They also have no problem utterly rejecting the preposterous notion that the CSA was some beachhead of personal liberty against a tyrannical federal government.
            Some quibbles aside, I think I find enough agreement with them to count them as allies in this ideological struggle.
            What do I take away from this? I think these and other libertarians would agree that there’s a (very low-grade) civil war taking place within the Libertarian movement on this issue. I don’t know the opinion percentages, but to be brutally frank, I’ve never heard of Jonathan Blanks or Jason Kuznicki before I was referred to these videos from queenofliberty.com (which I’ve recently discovered to my great benefit). I have heard of Walter E. Williams (he’s guest-hosted on Rush Limbaugh several times), and the Politically Incorrect guides are really popular among conservatives. Even if most libertarians actually reject the NC paradigm, the problem is that the NC-sympathetic libertarians have the loudest voices in our culture.
            I’m not a libertarian (big “L” or small “l”), although when it comes to most economic issues I really lean that way. I think they’re waaaay too naïve when it comes to national defense, and I think their view of government surveillance borders on paranoia at times. But I think they provide an invaluable voice for personal liberty within the conservative movement and the Republican Party (not by leaving the Republican Party and joining some clown party like the Libertarian). I’d probably call myself a libertarian-leaning conservative, to the degree there’s a difference to be made between the two.
            Having said all this, I don’t think I need to go back and change what I’ve written so far about the roots of the NC movement. It’s pretty undeniable that a lot of the most popular voices within the Libertarian movement are on the wrong side on this. I just want to be fair and stipulate that certainly not every libertarian buys into this nonsense, and apparently quite a few of them are trying to reclaim their movement from it.  
            I sincerely wish them nothing but the utmost success in this endeavor. 

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