Both of these statements could be the title for today’s subject. I was tempted to put both in one long sentence, but that would have only worked two hundred years ago when titles were long. This article is also about “Freedom and Form” in human societies. That also could have been the title.
So, I rolled the dice and chose the “liberal” title to catch your attention. Now, that I’ve got you thinking, let’s discuss a possible Best Explanation of this seeming contradiction. First, let’s define the terms liberal and conservative.
Two worldviews are currently fighting for supremacy in America and other nations around the world. One is the Christian worldview upon which this nation was founded that finds its roots in the teachings of biblical revelation. Generally speaking, a conservative political and social philosophy is consistent with the Christian view of life. That’s why in 2000 a high percentage of Christians voted for George E. Bush because he was generally known as a conservative politician. Christians, or traditional values people, vote conservative if they’re consistent with the Bible’s perspective.
The other worldview that has gained ascendancy in American life in the past forty years could be described as atheist, secular, or progressive (that’s what they like to call themselves). These words are all synonyms. Generally speaking, a liberal political or social philosophy is consistent with the atheist view of life. That’s also why in 2000 a high percentage of secularists voted for John Kerry–because he was known as the liberal politician. Secularists or progressives vote liberal if they’re consistent with their worldview.
Thus conservatives share a Christian view of reality. Liberals share an atheist view of life. That’s not an opinion–it’s just a fact. Not all conservatives are Christians; Not all liberals are atheists. However, Christians tend to be conservative and secularists tend to be liberal. It can be no other way.
Now back to the seeming contradiction. Have you ever wondered why liberals always want freedom, liberty or lack of constraints in moral areas (such as sex, marriage, abortion etc.), but on the other hand they strongly favor governmental controls, restraints or regulations on business and all forms of the free enterprise system? That doesn’t appear to be consistent. Why not freedom in morals and freedom in the marketplace? Or why not restraints on morality and restraints on business?
On the other side, conservatives want restraints, controls, or regulations on personal morality in society such as sexual immorality, the sanctity of life and marriage (between a man and woman), but on the other hand seek freedom, liberty, and a lack of constraints in the realm of business and commerce. We might ask again: Why don’t conservatives want either freedom or controls in both categories?
Not only are both camps inconsistent on freedom and regulation, but also choose opposite realms for liberty and control. Conservatives want morals to be regulated and enterprise to be free. Liberals want businesses to be regulated and morality to be free. Some examples will make this point clear.
In 2008, those who supported Barack Obama cast their votes for the liberal (atheist) view of life. Barack Obama is not just a liberal–he’s a radical liberal–the most liberal senator in the US Congress form 2006-2008. As a liberal president, Obama believes in freedom in morality such as abortion and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual transgender values such as the White House LGBT “Party” that was held this week.
On the other hand, he strongly believes in controlling business and free enterprise as seen by his strong arm tactics in the “Cap & Trade” legislation passed by the House. He shows this tendency in other business areas such as the take-over of various banks, government ownership of GM, his new stable of “czars” and the coming vision of government controlled health care. Obama and his followers want moral license to do anything they want; They also work hard to place mammoth controls and regulations on the American free enterprise system.
George W. Bush represented the polar opposite as president. He wanted restraints and controls on embryonic cell research, abortion, and did not support the homosexual liberation agenda. On the other side, he gave tax cuts to business, encouraging growth and creativity, and put his trust in the free enterprise system and liberation of the markets.
So WHY do liberals want moral freedom and business control–and conservatives desire moral controls and freedom for businesses?
I believe there are two best explanations for these differences.
First is the reality of form and freedom in human existence–the need for balance in life. Human beings have been designed by God to need both order and flexibility in their lives. We need “form” for stability and continuity, and we need “freedom” for creativity and expression. If all we have is “form,” our world is stable but robotic. If we are simply “free” then life becomes flighty and unsure. A balance of form and freedom are need to give wholeness to life.
In fact, true freedom cannot exist without wholesome constraint. For example, if everything in the room in which I’m writing was “free,” then chairs would be floating in the air, tables wouldn’t hold together, my computer would dissolve and there would be chaos. The “form” in the materials around me allow me as a human being to move “freely” through the room without being decked by a levitating table. My freedom is dependent on necessary form.
All of us live our lives in a balancing act of form and freedom. We have life habits such as homes in which to live, jobs to do, alarm clocks for wake up– i.e. patterns that are necessary for stability and security. But we also need the spontaneous and free side of life where we can call a friend, take a trip, do something crazy–i.e. acts of freedom and creativity that bring a zest and joy to life. If life has too much form, we get bored. If there’s too much freedom, we probably won’t live very long.
So these dual realities dictate our pursuit of both form and freedom in life. Liberals balance it out with freedom in morality and form in business. Conservatives strike the balance with order in morality and freedom in business and vocation.
And here’s the second reason why they choose what they do.
I believe it’s the truth of spiritual warfare. There’s a God and there’s a devil. That’s the Best Explanation.
Here’s how it works. God is the perfection of moral character. He is the standard of morality–what is right and what is wrong. He is righteously and justly for sexual purity, honoring marriage, respecting life, and moral self-control which is foundational to happiness and holiness. He knows that all immorality is both self-and-socially-destructive–and will separate a person from his holiness for eternity. God requires “form” in our moral relationships for our good.
He is also the Creator of the universe and all it contains. He wants man to take dominion over the earth–to steward and improve it. This can only be done through freedom, creativity, innovation, and few restraints on industry and enterprise. God’s “invisible hand” of freedom is the key to invention, prosperity and success. And God desires his creatures to be moral so that they can be productive.
So followers of God are for controls on morality and freedom in business.
It’s the equation for success.
But there is also a devil, impacting the hearts and minds of people who do not believe. This being–called Satan or Lucifer–influences non-believers in his direction. Satan wants to destroy people (John 10:10), and the easiest way to do this is to blind them to right and wrong. That’s why he’s for free sex, fornication, pornography, homosexuality, killing babies, altering marriage–and anything else that cripples the human spirit and separates them from a holy God. He also desires to bring them to poverty of life and health through government controls of commerce and industry. Satan wants people immoral and poor.
So followers of Lucifer (either consciously or unconsciously) are for freedom in morals and controls on business.
It’s the recipe for destruction.
Thus, the Best Explanation for this contradiction is that there are two primary spiritual forces in the world shaping people’s thoughts and positions. There is a God and there is a devil.
That explains it best.
Now you know what conservative and liberal mean. You know where each idea comes from. The genius of America was the power of morality producing freedom and prosperity–through faith in God. The downfall of America will be achieved through the decay of immorality that produces poverty–through faith in men (devil-inspired).
As we -approach the 4th of July–I pray that we will choose faith, morality and liberty–for our good and God’s glory.