I was originally going to be very screedy and ranty in this post. Perhaps even bufoonishly antagonistic. But, I had a change of heart. In the name of full disclosure and transparency, I think it only fair to reveal the direction I had been going in. Doing so will also serve as a jumping off point for the new post.
Here is what I had prepared in it’s unfinished entirely. The title, if I do say so myself, is a prime specimen of cordial nastiness.
“The Inflexible Dogma Of Ron Paul-Centered Libertarianism
So as not to (greatly) offend, the first few paragraphs should act as Disclaimer. Then we will get down to brass tacks (what does that even mean?).
There is no such thing as a monolithic voting bloc. Even within groups that tend to vote for specific candidates, each individual has their own reasons. The necessities of modern campaigning require a political strategy which paints groups of people in very broad brush strokes. This is effective, to a point, but misses complete Truth. Each of us operates under some kind of political framework, but still likely hold some inconsistent positions due to our personal experiences.
All of this is simply to indicate that the sub-group I shall be describing below is not indicative of either Libertarian-minded folks in general or Ron Paul supporters in particular.
Now, then, I believe there to be a certain way of thinking which resides in the hearts and minds of some of the more vociferous and aggressive Libertarians in America. These are the people who wear intransigence like a badge of honor – perhaps turning Goldwater’s old line about moderation and extremism and virtue and vice into some kind of personal mission statement, applicable in all situations.
A visceral hatred of compromise and an equal dislike of anyone who dares to suggest that political ‘principles’ are not”
… and from there I was going to rip to shreds the viewpoint and political modus operandi of some people I have tussled with here and there in comment forums across the vast cesspool of know-it-allness that is the internet.
But then, I realized that in a meta sort of way, I was doing exactly what I was accusing others of.
You see, my basic political philosophy melds a bit of pragmatism with a touch of moderation with a dash of ‘traditionality’ and a good measure of problem-solving centeredness. While that combination creates a superior [he says, mostly jokingly] type of political philosophy… it is by no means the only viable set of political principles.
So, I was holding dogmatically to my subscribed set of principles while criticizing other for… holding dogmatically to their set of principles.
Instead, let me suggest that my calling, as a Christian [as it relates to civic matters], is to seek harmony among all citizens. Now, before your new mental picture of me involves bell-bottoms, purple-tinted sunglasses, and a swaying circle of Kum-Ba-Yah-ing, let me attempt to elaborate.
Disagreements about how to get things done – as well as about what ‘things’ need doing – are bound to pop up in the civil arena. There will be differences in opinion on civic matters between Christians and non-Christians, between different Christians, and also between different non-Christians. This is OK. Such disagreements should not be the source of stress, anxiety, or disgust.
A Christian’s calling within the unwelcoming world of American political discourse is to be the bridge between people – to remind everyone of our common humanity. Reflecting Christ’s love, taking care of our own, helping others. Doing all these things while shaping the tone of discourse is the role Christians should play in ‘politics’.
A believer is free to hold political opinions, but what should separate us is how we express those opinions. The Christian is called to excellence in all things. We should participate in the National Discussion with knowledge, wisdom, and a tempered tongue.
There will of course be some non-negotiable’s for Christians, as we are called to be the salt and light of the Earth while acting as the voice for the voiceless. For one thing, Life is sacred. A Christian cannot support Abortion-On-Demand. A Christian should also seek to create a societal structure that 1) allows opportunity for all who are willing and 2) allows some kind of safety net (whether public or private) for those who are in true need and 3) encourages Justice for all
Everything else is a matter of style.
No doubt, I am guilty of being less than charitable and cheerful towards political beliefs I disagree with. I think we all probably fall short on that one every now and then. And over the past fifty to sixty years, Christians have largely taken one of two political paths:
- Ally with one political party or another and engage in demonization of the other side of the aisle
- Have disdain for American politics and just ignore civic society or actively try to separate themselves from political activity
The combination of Christians being corrupted by politics and Christians ignoring politics has allowed the tone of American discourse to sour. This has had the lamentable effect of disallowing the growth and nurture of true Statesmen in our modern political system.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
An engaged community of Christian believers can help shape the tone of politics in this country. In conclusion, I will say this:
The Christian is called to excellence in all things. We should participate in the National Discussion with knowledge, wisdom, and a tempered tongue.