In light of recent events, this post from 3 years ago seems worth revisiting.
There is nothing conservative about taking a course of action based on faith that things will somehow work out if we do the right things, and there is nothing liberal or progressive about having kings or government grant us rights and take care of us.
“Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.” ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Putting aside for now which side is which, C.S. Lewis has defined the basic difference between the political Right and the political Left. One side sees the world as a struggle between good and evil. The other side battles against those who have such a simple black and white view of the world. I have come to the realization that the words we use to describe our political divide have been defined by the second side, those who do not know about either good or evil. They cannot see the difference. They do not see that the political divide is the ongoing struggle between good and evil. They do not see that evil hides behind good intentions and lives in shades of gray where it rarely reveals its true nature. There is no such thing as an ideological spectrum with Liberals on one end, Conservatives on the other end, and Moderates in the middle. Those on the Left are not Liberals and Progressives fighting against tradition. Those on the Right side are not Conservatives defending tradition. There are no such things as Moderates. Despite the overwhelming acceptance of these perceptions, they are all wrong.
William F. Buckley, Jr. famously said, “A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling Stop!” What a great image. I can see a fellow on the Right, a Conservative, boldly standing in the path of history trying to stop powerful Leftist forces from sweeping away him and his values and his way of life. However, if we accept that image, then we are also buying into the idea that throughout history civilization has been steadily moving to the left. That presupposition is simply and demonstrably not true. In fact it is a complete misrepresentation of history. Those on the Right have been the ones civilizing the world and making life better. Those on the Left have been trying to stop the progress of civilization. It is time to come to grips with reality. Throughout history there have been two worldviews battling each other. The people we have been calling Conservatives have actually been the ones making the world a better place, and the people we have been calling Liberals and Progressives have been trying to stop progress. The Left has been repeatedly swept away by what is right and continues to try to stop the progress that has brought liberty and freedom to so many.
In the context of our times, it may be technically accurate to say that those who are for the Constitution, E Pluribus Unum, and opposite-sex marriage are upholding their traditional values and are, in that sense, Conservatives. However, in a broader historic sense, none of those values are natural to man. Those values are revolutionary and opposed to man’s nature. It is those on the Left standing against the Constitution, advocating diversity, and approving same sex marriage who are “…standing athwart history, yelling Stop!” The Constitution, “out of many one”, and opposite-sex marriage are radical ideas. Barbarians, Godless savages, emperors, kings, tyrants, dictators, Muslims, Nazis, Communists, and Socialists have been trying to destroy these radical ideas and to stop the progress of Western civilization for over 2000 years. They are the true Conservatives trying to preserve the traditions of man. They are the ones “yelling Stop”. There is nothing progressive or liberal about them.
People on the Right seem pleased to identify themselves as Conservatives while people on the left are thrilled to pass themselves off as Liberals and Progressives. But those people who call themselves Liberals and/or Progressives are really people who are desperately trying to hold on to the traditions of the past. They are the ones who are close-minded and opposed to the progress made over the last 2000 years, and who want to go back to a time when men decided how other men should live, when people were divided instead of united, and when men did as they pleased with other men and women. For over 2000 years those on the Right have been the radicals who rejected tyranny and barbarism and who have been civilizing the world. Those on the Left have fought against the progress made by the civilized world. It is time to call the Left what it is: uncivilized and barbaric. How else to explain its obsession with tearing down the foundations of civilization, and with stopping the progress made by the Western world? The current incorrect definitions of Conservative and Progressive have made it nearly impossible to see the real difference between the Left and Right.
The meaning of the words “conservative” and “progressive” have been perverted to the point that people as progressive and radical as Martin Luther, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Jesus Himself are considered to be Conservatives. There was nothing conservative about what they each did to make the world a better and more civilized place. Our progress is due to people like them; radicals who blew-up the established order and made the world a better place. The true progressive radicals throughout history are people on the Right who gave up personal gain for a higher purpose. They showed restraint and realized the importance of family and children to our civilization’s survival. They see people as equals before God and man. Meanwhile, those now erroneously called Progressives and Liberals champion centralized authority and sexual practices that were the norm before the rise of Western civilization.
Despite the many thousands of words written about Liberals and Conservatives, the clear difference between Left and Right have been obscured by an ideological spectrum consisting of a seemingly infinite number of positions. Some Conservatives are Social Conservatives, but not Economic Conservatives. Others are Economic Conservatives but not Social Conservatives. Some Conservatives are both. Some Liberals have Conservative views on economics. Other Liberals may have some Conservative social views. And there are Neo-Cons, Alt Rights, Nationalists, Patriots, Libertarians, Populists, Evangelicals, Anarchists, Separatists, Socialists, Communists, and many others. Many people think all of the above are too extreme and describe themselves as Moderates. Everyone on the Left and on the Right seems to accept the idea of an ideological spectrum ranging from far left to far right with Moderates in the middle. The exact definitions of Liberal and Conservative have been hard to pin down because the whole premise behind them is wrong. The ideological spectrum is actually black and white, not shades of gray.
From the time that I was young I was taught that there was an ideological spectrum, and that there were evil extremists on both ends of the spectrum. Far to the left were the Communists like Stalin, and far to the right were the white supremacists and Nazis. (I recently read an explanation of why Communists are on the left and Nazis are on the right. Nationalism is considered a right-wing idea and Communists are not nationalistic, but Nazis are nationalistic. Or is it the other way around?). As I grew older I realized that the Communists and the Nazis had both killed millions and millions of people and were both evil. Since evil is evil no matter what names it is given I found it helpful to think of the ideological spectrum as being similar to a sphere. If you went left and I went right we would travel past mainstream progressives on the left and mainstream conservatives on the right and eventually meet on the backside of the sphere where we would find ourselves with the most extreme examples of left and right. I imagined that I would find Stalin sitting there with Hitler sipping tea from fine china cups liberated from their original owners while they enjoyed a good laugh and some Cuban cigars. This sphere analogy meant to me at the time that the best thing to do in life was to neither go left or right, but to stay in the middle of the front of the sphere where it was relatively safe. The opposite of extremism and evil seemed to be non-judgmental moderation with no real convictions about much of anything. This spherical view of the political spectrum puts evil in charge since the only safe place for the not so extreme people is on the opposite side of the sphere where they hope they can escape the extremes of the Left and the Right.
In reality my sphere analogy was completely wrong. There are only two ways of thinking about life. One way is to believe that what is right has been defined by God, and that if man strives to do what is right, then life will turn out for the best. The other way is to believe that man defines what is right and can make life better by acting on logic and reason. The first world-view rests on faith and is an accurate definition of the “Right”. The second world-view rests on man’s will and is an accurate definition of the “Left”. The true progressives of the last 2000 years are those on the Right. There is no sphere or graduated spectrum, no middle ground or gray area exists between these two worldviews. The Left claims that evil exists at the far left and at the far right, but that makes no sense. Evil is evil and is opposed to what is right. On the left is man, inherently imperfect, and on the right is God. All those who do evil are on the left because God occupies the far right. No evil exists on the “far right”. The Right sees all men as equal and wants to share the benefits of progress and Western Civilization with the entire world. The Left stands in opposition and claims that all cultures are equal. The left is dedicated to undoing Western Civilization.
On the right is civilization, Christian Civilization. I shall not continue to call it “Western” or even “Judeo-Christian”. The principles underlying the Western World and the United States of America are extremely radical and were set in motion by the most controversial and radial being ever to walk on the earth: Jesus Christ. They did not exist before Him. Jesus said He was God and that He was creating a new world. He put a simple new set of radical principles in place to fulfill and replace the ones in the Old Testament that God had made for the Jewish people. Once unleashed these radical principles spread from the Middle East to Europe and then to the Americas and Australia. Jesus said He would divide the world and He did. In order to understand the events that swirl around us we must start by recognizing that those on the Left are barbarians and use the tactics of the barbarians who came before them. What the world calls “conservative” is actually radical and progressive. What the world calls “liberal” is actually traditional and barbaric.
Western Civilization rests on the Christian belief that all men and women are equals before God and are all sinners in need of the Savior’s grace. These beliefs are the most radical progressive and liberal ideas in human history, and the foundation for our country, a country “of the people”. There has never been a more radical and progressive form of government than the one defined by the U.S. Constitution. Those who do not believe that individuals can govern themselves are the true traditionalists who want the United States to become a nation with a government that grants its subjects their rights just like all of the governments of old. They are the ones planting their feet in front of Christianity’s progress yelling, “Stop”. They are the real Conservatives. They are the ones in opposition to the individual. They are the ones whose thinking can be traced to the kings and emperors of old and the dictators and tyrants of today. They have lost the war against what is good and right, but rather than concede defeat they continue to do what they can to make men and women suffer while they promise “income equality”, equal outcomes, and even virgins in the after-life to all who would turn back from progress and make them king. There is nothing conservative about taking a course of action based on faith that things will somehow work out if we do the right things, and there is nothing liberal or progressive about having kings or government grant us rights and take care of us.
The founders of the United States rejected all of the traditional forms of authority and government and established a system of self-governance different from anything that came before it. Progressive and radical revolutionaries founded the United States of America. They fought against the Conservatives who were loyal to the King, and their heirs continue to fight today against those who would bring back the age-old traditions of centralized authority and barbarism.
I am amazed every time someone says that there is too much conflict between the Left and the Right. People, they say, should just get along. I do understand why people think that compromise should be possible. If you accept the idea that there is a broad spectrum of “main-stream” beliefs lying between the extremes at left and right ends of the spectrum, then it is not too big of a logical leap to think that all those in the “main-stream” should be able to get along. Liberals current understanding of themselves and Conservatives reinforce that hope. Liberals think of themselves as open-minded, non-materialistic, and emotional people. They keep up with the latest ideas and evolve with the times. They welcome change and rebel against inequality in any area of life. They think that progress means more than better material things, and that everyone, no matter how odd they may seem, has to be respected for their beliefs. Conservatives are thought of as people who are close-minded and whose thinking is based on old ideas, and outdated moral standards. It seems to Liberal minds that Conservatives should see how well meaning Liberals are. Liberals do not see any irony when they disrespect and misrepresent the beliefs of Christians. How can anyone see the truth when these Liberal presuppositions are so unrelated to the real conflict? Rebellion against the traditions of man is best exemplified by those who sacrifice for others and put others before themselves, not by those who look inward for inspiration and think destroying civilization is true rebellion. The real conflict going on in this world is the one between evil and good. Saying that two ill-defined groups are in conflict, and that compromise is possible is buying in to the lie that there is no such thing as evil and no such thing as good.
I realize as I write this that I will not convince evil to become good or to acknowledge there is an ongoing battle between itself and good. Nock said he wrote for a remnant. Me too. To be as clear as possible: the conflict in our world is between Christianity and evil. When that thought first appeared in my brain, probably due to Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians and C.S. Lewis, I initially rejected it. What about all of the other religions? What about all of the really smart people I see on TV and the magazines and websites I read? They do not talk or write about Christianity much at all. How could this one religion be that big a deal?
I have read about what makes our country great. You probably have too. I also have looked up into the sky. So have you. I do not think much about looking up into the sky. The sun, clouds, blue sky, the moon, and the stars are all there, but I do not dwell on their existence, or think them particularly remarkable. It seems equally unremarkable to us that the people who founded this country did not need a king. After all none of us have lived under a king. We have always had our republic. George Washington is given a lot of credit for not continuing as President when he could have. He could have made himself king. What is lost on all of us now is that Washington did not turn down a kingship because he was a man of high character. He was, of course, a man of very high character. He turned down kingship because he had a King. His King, and the King of our Christian culture and our country was and is Jesus Christ. Washington trusted God and passed on trying to replace Jesus. If he never explained himself exactly that way, it is because he probably never thought it that remarkable an insight. The sky is up and Jesus is King, obviously.
One of the readily discernible differences between countries led by those on the Left and those on the Right, is that countries on the Right, which includes most of the Western world, are led by people who took power through peaceful means. Most, if not all, of the countries on the Left, which includes the Communist and Muslim countries, are led by people who are in power by force. In the earliest days of man, as far as historians can determine, almost all leaders were the strongest men in their tribe, village, region, or country. That is the nature of man. Communists believe that all property should be held by the state and that each person should receive according to his need and give according to his ability. In practice, the people who decide how much each person is to give and receive, are the strongest and they get more than they give or need. Communist dictators, Islamic state leaders, kings, and other tyrants almost always have far more than anyone else in their country. In those countries the strong and the powerful make the most money. In countries with Christian foundations, the highest paid people are actors, artists, athletes, authors, bankers, doctors, entrepreneurs, journalists, lawyers, models, radio talk-show hosts, and televangelists. None of them rule over others, and while some may have many employees or be physically strong, none rule by force. And yet, these people from the Christian world dominate the earth in a sense, even though they do not control armies and are not strong. Just what Jesus meant when he said that the meek shall inherit the earth.
Throughout history Christian culture has not achieved more than any other by mere coincidence. It seems completely illogical to the Left, but Christian countries, by letting the meek thrive, make the world a better place. Those opposed to Christianity are opposed to progress and to civilization itself. Those opposed to Christianity are the true Conservatives. Civilization, as we in America know it, was created from the Right. Christians are the true Liberals and Progressives making the world better by faith that it will get better if we do our best to do what is right.
The Left is not Liberal or Progressive. A better word to describe the Left is Barbaric. The Right is not Conservative. A better word to describe the Right is Christian. Perhaps you do not consider yourself either, but we are all one or the other whether we accept it or not.