Young Earth Creationism Argument Part 3

Written by Paul Zannucci on 6:25 PM

This is a response I missed when posting the earlier ones. This is from someone we'll call TB:

Just to mix it up a bit: I don't think social conservatives want to force behavior; maybe define - or at least argue for - some social boundaries. Not the same thing. American conservatism is, imo, oriented around personal responsibility, personal autonomy, minimalist government, and a deep recognition that this is the one place in the world where those elements can be practiced to the benefit of the individual. That last is the 'essential' we need to all agree upon, and needs to be at the heart of what it means to be patriotic. And that kind of patriotism ought (and once did) guide all of our other personal, social, and political decisions: if we don't preserve this country as the one place where the individual is sacrosanct, it will exist nowhere in the world. I think it is the 'feeling' that we're losing that commitment to the welfare of the country first, because it directly provides our individul welfare, that moves political and social conservatives toward legalisms (what Paul is calling forced behavior).

Calvin Coolidge: "Patriotism is easy to understand. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country" (1923 Memorial Day speech). That's pretty close to the view of the founders, imo. It seems to be the connection between the individual and the society that modern liberalism can't make. Seems to me liberals reverse it: patriotism means looking out for your country by looking out for yourself. The conservative puts primacy on the country's good, even at personal harm, because that's how we keep a free place for individuals in the world. The liberal puts primacy on the individual, even at harm to the country, because they don't think they are free unless all authority is removed.

Both are ranges, of course. But I think trend in those two directions.

Really, I guess originalist patriotism was most closely like modern libertarianism. But infused with biblical morality - made civic. It was simply assumed that people were christianized in outlook if not outrightly Christian, and our founders' passion for individual liberty was based on the assumption that private and public appetites would be constrained by Christian moral commitment, infused as it was into the culture.

On the other hand, there is pretty good evidence the signers of the Declaration were pretty worried about what their noble experiment became. All or nearly all expressed some sense of disappointment before they died - generally feeling that the aristocratic sense of disinterested political and social leadership they felt they represented had been overrun by plebian capitalism, which they felt was just plain crass. They ended up disappointed utopians, really, fearing the future of the Republic might be a fractious dystopia. (I think the jury is still out on that.)

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