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Secular Political Ideology Vs. Biblical Moral Values: Continuing a Debate with Michael Lumish

Why I don't care much about Left vs. Right anymore. And four more points of disagreement in part two of an ongoing discussion.

Dave Swindle


October 20, 2013 - 8:00 am

A juxtaposed pair of excerpts from Dennis Prager’s Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.

2. Objective Values vs Subjective Values

It is because that I am an American liberal, and someone who marched against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that I feel some responsibility for standing up against the Obama administration’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood and the rise of political Islam.

David, however, feels that this is simply insufficient. He tells me that my,

“focus on politics doesn’t go deep enough. Left, Right, progressive, conservative — none of these ideologies matter if the person holding them does not really choose to believe in a transcendent God and thus Good and Evil.”

It is at this point, not surprisingly, that the conversation comes immediately to a grinding halt. I do not write about theology, although the history of religion is part of my academic background. When someone tells me that there is “Good” and there is “Evil” and that they stand for “Good” then there is nothing further to discuss, which is why it took me so long to finally respond to David.

Our disagreement: I believe in objective moral values, you, as a progressive, still choose to live according to subjective values. I have to be honest with you Michael. When I saw in your opening that you had put Good and Evil in quotes my heart literally sank.

Because in a sense you’re right. If you do not believe that the concepts of Good and Evil can ever be applied to describe something without quotes around it then we are indeed at an impasse. And this is a roadblock that I’ve hit up so many times before that I put it on my list:

5. Evil Is Something That Cannot Be Explained to Those Who Do Not Know What It Is. It Can Only Be Experienced.

Be happy for your “liberal” friends. They’ve been blessed not to comprehend evil yet. They’re still living in the Garden of Eden. Good for them. Maybe they’ll be lucky and never have to put their ideas to the test. Maybe they’ll never experience what Irving Kristol talked about, what it means for a liberal to be “mugged by reality.” Maybe they’ll never have to look a real evil person in the eye and experience the pain they can cause.


Well, going against my own advice, I will now attempt to explain Good vs Evil and how it applies in a political context. When I say that Left vs Right, Democrats vs Republicans, Liberals vs Conservatives are no longer as important to me as Good vs Evil, Law vs Criminal, and Judeo-Christian vs Antisemite then this is how my perspective has shifted…

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All Comments   (6)
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“The movement away from Christian moral standards has not meant moving to an alternative humanistic system of moral standards as was anticipated, but moving into a moral vacuum, especially in the areas of eroticism.”
-Malcolm Muggeridge
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Dave, I see those who espouse general "liberal" programs/policies/candidates as falling in these categories:

1. They actually have the same values as me, IOW, they are truly interested in justice and freedom and helping those down on their luck, and making sure all have the best life possible. You can have a reasonable discussion with these people. They might even convince me they are right on a point or two.

2. They want to go along to get along and base their views on the political fashion. It is impossible to respect them once revealed as such but we unfortunately have to engage them. The goal when doing so should be to "afflict the comfortable" so to speak. We should endeavor to communicate that when the inevitable bad consequences of progressivism come to fruition they are going to be hit just as hard as we are. Worse, probably.

3. Sociopaths who claim values they laugh at in private and pursue policies in the name of those values for the sole reason of increasing their wealth and power, which invariably means enslaving or impoverishing otherrs. They are no better than Nazis and have to be treated as such. They have to fought and exposed so those in categories 1 and 2 have a chance to reject them -- or may be without excuse if they choose to follow them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes that sounds in many ways accurate. Those who are duped, those who have no principles and live in nihilism, and those who are genuinely evil and sociopathic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
David wrote:
"So my primary objection to our political opponents is not that they have a bad foreign policy, or that they want to raise taxes too high to sabotage the economy, or that third trimester abortions have become sacrosanct. These are just symptoms of the disease, which lies deeper than politics."

Exactly. That's why they have been working so hard to destroy organized religion recently. Zombies want everyone else to join them as part of the living dead, who can no longer recognize Truth/Good and Evil. It's all smooth sailing once they accomplish that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have not yet had time to digest the fulness of the argument presented. There does seem to be a certain dispair in Swindle's discussion. I would like to suggest one argumentative strategy for convincing others to change values, which I call reverse logic. It runs so: 1. Induce out of the manfiold of one's opponent's assortment of theses the justifying ground of one's opponent's arguments. 2. Take time to highten one's opponent's consciousness of the underlying and justifying values.3. Show that said values leads to conclusions that one knows the opponent does not want to accept. Indeed, tactically, it is best only to suggest negativity and allow the opponent the discovery of insight.

This strategy is designed to bring the opponent into a self-conflict, i.e., a conflictive insight that what he holds valuable must be negated by very arguments offered for other theses. Within the terms of self-conflict, the opponent hopefully will start to want to believe differently. Wanting comes before convincing. At this point it is time to show that one's position exemplifies the newly discovered first principles. This should aid conversion of opinion.

There is a weakness here, namely that it may be that the opponent does not care and continues on anyway. Put differently, no matter what connection between first principles and my side of the argument, the opponent will concoct anything to avoid the conclusion. The most often used method is a change from an apple argument to an orange argument whose conclusions condemns the apple argument, although having nothing to do with it. This type of strategy works best in a person to person dialogue.
1 year ago
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