Haberkornian Conservatism® For Dummies (like me)
[With all due deference to the family members who share my name, I am appropriating our name for use in defining my political philosophy. Legal complaints may be lodged through my attorney…if I had one.]
The beauty of the American system is that civic and political individuality is encouraged (and expected). This means that not all self-proclaimed Liberals will disagree with all of my stances…and likewise, not all self- described Conservatives will see things exactly as I do.
To begin, we must first define what I mean by Haberkornian Conservatism® (Haven’t yet decided on shorthand… H-Cons, Korny-Cons, Korn on the Cons?).
Haberkornian Conservatism® has its deepest roots in Biblical Christianity and grows out of two key concepts:
1.) Man is Fallen and by nature tends towards every possible form of evil (ie, rebellion from God).
2.) God gave Man free will and dominion over the Earth, with the implicit instruction to subjugate and take care of it.
Those two principles set up the opposite but equal truths which are the tension that Haberkornian Conservatism® tries to resolve:
Man is incapable of good on his own, BUT, Man must be allowed to govern himself.
Governments are created BECAUSE of the former, and they are IMPROVED by the latter. Haberkornian Conservatism® seeks to balance the Two Truths by melding a pragmatic mind with an idealistic heart.
So, blah blah blah… what’s my point?
As fully devoted followers of Christ, it’s important for us to surrender all our thoughts and actions to God. To deny ourselves and put Christ first and others second with the type of sacrificial love that flows from a Holy Spirit-filled heart. (…As a deeply imperfect fully devoted follower of Christ, I certainly don’t always succeed in this, but it must remain my desire).
This temperance of thought and action is the starting point for how we should choose to think (and act). The biblical worldview moves beyond simply being a prism from which we see things and becomes a lifestyle. To put it as Paul does, we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Two quick notes on that thought:
1) Paul prefaces that statement by admonishing to not conform to or copy the patterns, customs, thinking, etc. of the World. The biggest temptation for Christians when it comes to political philosophy is to ally and merge with thinking that does not flow from God. That dangerous type of syncretism happens on the Right as well as the Left, but should be fervently avoided (though that’s easier said than done).
2) In order to be truly transformed by the Holy Spirit, it is necessary to understand what exactly are the “patterns” of this World we are meant to avoid. An open heart and a mind focused on Christ will help to reveal the World’s system.
To be a little less “heady”, using some common modern political terms, I think Haberkornian Conservatism® is extremely socially and fiscally conservative, but much more Center-Right when it comes to general governance. (Exit question: in the previous sentence is the word “extremely” an adadverb…or an adverbverb?)
Please forgive my impertinent boldness, but I would venture that no kind of man-enforced compulsion can truly be considered Christian. I am still ruminating on all the varied implications of that thought but here are a few:
*Following God’s Will requires you to be a Free Actor
*No laws made by any Nation State are inherently Christian
*Forcing fake charity through taxation and regulation is not Christian
The list clearly goes on and on… but for practical purposes, that statement helps us focus on a few policy details that we can filter through Haberkornian Conservatism®. First would be the positions on Free Markets and Taxation/Regulation.
A Haberkornian Conservative® takes the position that it is the sole province of the Church to take care of people in need. When government begins to provide for some people, it must do so at the harm of others. This is neither moral, nor good for the civic health of any community. Those depending on the government soon become slaves to the State. Such is the path to despotism that we have seen in communist and socialist States.
If the Haberkornian Conservative® follows through with their calling to take care of all the needs of their fellow believers, the community-at-large may be spared the tyranny of government “assistance”. The Church also seeks to spread the Gospel, inviting non-believers to see Christ’s love reflected in how we treat each other. Indeed, if anyone is in need, whether they are a believer or not, Christians are called to act. Meeting the physical needs of non-believers offers another chance for them to see Christ at work. This, in turn, may open the door for the non-believer to seek after Christ.
The bottom line is that once people’s needs are met by the Church, there is no need for State intervention. The government may then return to its proper and limited functions. This will result in greatly decreased revenue needed by the government, as well as fiscal solvency (since programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will cease to be needed) . Taxes will need to fall significantly, and the Haberkornian Conservative® believes a Flat Tax system would best serve us under the above conditions.
The Free Market operates best when it’s participants do not act solely in their own personal interest. It is at this point that some of my Libertarian friends have spit out their coffee and are contemplating how they might slap me. But hear me out…
If Christianity is more than “fire insurance” and is actually a way of life, then the first sentence of the previous paragraph must be true. Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments by saying: Love God with all your being and Love people sacrificially. If everyone is taking care of everyone else’s needs, there is no need for self-serving pursuits. Granted, that is the ideal, and since we live in a fallen world, not everyone will put other’s needs before themselves…so, a Christian might find himself with their own needs unmet. That is where faith and sacrifice come into play and becomes a topic for a completely different conversation.
The bottom line is that even if some people are simply acting for their own sake within the Free Market, it is incumbent upon the Christian (and by extension, the Haberkornian Conservative®) to be others-centered.
As a general Conservative, I have tried my darndest to apply a more Randian approach to my philosophy. But, when push came to shove, it became apparent that Objectivist beliefs are completely at odds with Christianity. Ayn Rand made a valiant effort to distinguish plain selfishness from what she called “rational self interest”… but as they say, you can put lipstick on a pig, yada yada yada.
Self-interest does not jibe with Christianity. So, if we believe Christianity is true, then we must also believe that it’s tenets produce the best possible world. Moving from there, it becomes self-evident that “putting others first” is the best way to operate within the Free Market.
That should be a starting point for discussion. I am interested to find out what others think. As a matter of full disclosure, a lot of these ideas I have presented are not original to myself. I simply have put some thoughts together from various sources to attempt a synthesis of a cohesive political philosophy.