Monday, April 18, 2011

Uh oh, here we go again...

...Who will be next to put forth a LDS political philosophy? This guy:

http://www.latterdayliberty.com

I will be straightforwards and call this bunk. I really don't care what sort of politics people propose; I fundamentally oppose any argument for/against any political system based on scripture and/or the Gospel. All of these arguments squeeze a subject as large as the universe itself into something the size of an elephant (or donkey, or eagle, or whatever). The Gospel is far larger, far more organic, and far more contradictory (if you only examine the surface, much like the rest of the natural world) than any one political theory can reasonably contain. All of them -- from Liberalism to Conservatism to Anarchy to Theocracy fail to really represent the Gospel in all of its power and glory.

Until the time comes when Christ himself reigns, we are stuck with imperfect people making imperfect decisions. And that's just within the Church; outside of the Church we must deal with the cultural mishmash that is the modern world. Politics in such a world are, by definition and of necessity, boisterous and rowdy and messy. People are strikingly different, so finding common ground can be a difficult business. In America we've managed to eke out an uneasy but largely peaceful existence by sheer force of will to move forward despite huge differences. All reformers must come face-to-face with this reality if they get so lucky as to attain positions of leadership. The current "Tea Party" types are learning this the hard way, the survival of their movement will depend far more on their ability to pave roads and take out the trash than their quest to defund Planned Parenthood or forcing the U.S. to default on its financial obligations. They are a perfect example of the imperfect people with whom we have to work. And, because they've won elections, those of us who think they're crazy have to work with them. We have to put up with their birtherism and looniness because at some point in time they will vote on bills. With the current composition of the House, and the Republican primary climate (witness the meteorotic rise (and let me be the first to predict the fall) of Donald Trump's political ambitions), they wield undue leverage. I hate it. But I live with it because that's the price of admission for living in our Democracy. And I love our system; all its messiness notwithstanding we are somehow able to hold this crazy ship together and move forwards. That, to me, is a modern miracle that is every bit as complex and contradictory as nature (and the Gospel), and well worth our time to understand and appreciate.

7 comments:

Passionate Moderate Mormon said...

Thanks for this post. I agree it is bunk and it's almost impossible to argue or reason with this kind of thing because of the veneer of religiosity that is spread all over it.

And I agree with your concept that the Lord has left us to govern ourselves through the mix and tumble of representative democracy. As difficult as it is, the Constitution and our resulting system of government are most important as a process to allow us to govern ourselves by finding the common ground. I just find it a lot harder to compromise with those who think compromise is an evil concept in and of itself. But you're right, the tea party will learn this or disappear. And in the mean time, the rest of us have to work with them even if that isn't much fun. (It is kinda fun to watch them fighting within the Republican party).

Trying not to be presumptuous, but I think the Lord cares more about HOW we deal with each other than what political views we espouse.

mnlop said...

Agreed. The old testament gives us everything we need to know with regard to politics and the failings of political leaders overzealous religious leaders. The new testament has a great deal to do with pointing out hypocrisy.

Jacob S. said...

It's probably worth pointing out here again, as Andrew said, that the purpose of this blog is not and was never to show that modern American liberalism is the only, or even at times the best, political fit with the church, only that they are compatible. I have heard too many times that a liberal cannot be a good member of the church and we flatly deny that and try to show how it is so with this blog.

"I think the Lord cares more about HOW we deal with each other than what political views we espouse."

I agree with this completely. A good person can espouse virtually any political philosophy, the key is to continue to be a good person, which is often difficult in the messy intersection of politics and religion.

Architect said...

The website is a book - not a party. I agree that the gospel is for all people regardless of politics. Each political party has planks in their respective platforms that are in direct opposition of the tenets of the gospel. Fortunately, we can choose to ignore those planks and stay in the various parties.

Andrew said...

Ah, but you see this perpetuates the fantasy that the Gospel has anything to say about politics at all. It's not about him promoting a "party", it's that the Gospel has something to say about "liberty". Really... I thought it was about faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

I put Gospel-centered political ideas right up there with numerology in the list of bad things happening to a great religious idea. When the concept of "freedom" is discussed in the Scriptures, it's entirely about the freedom of the soul from spiritual bondage. This has absolutely zero to do with politics, and everything to do with who you are as a person. I think that the Gospel can change a person's character (through the Atonement) and make bad men good and good men better. What they do in the political realm after that is up to them, and (so long as they obey the law) irrelevant to their status w.r.t. the Church or the Gospel.

Jacob S. said...

Andrew, I believe you will find this amusing:

http://blog.mcnaughtonart.com/2011/04/byu-censors-artwork-for-being-too.html

Go ahead and read the comments if you need a good laugh and then a good cry.

Andrew said...

Oh wow... That's really, uh, disturbing. I'm not sure I agree with the decision to pull the painting (I'm a free speech guy after all), but by golly that painting is... Special. I might write a whole article about it, since it so wholly encapsulates the strange psychology of LDS "patriotism".