Liberalism Masquerading as American Judeo-Christian Values
The period of the Enlightenment initiated a fascination with the individual, culminating in the establishment of the USA. In the Declaration of Independence, our Founders established the right of a people to overthrow unjust rulers under natural law and to abolish tyranny. While the Articles of Confederation failed owing to a weak union, the Framers corrected this in the Constitution. They established a different form of representative democracy from the European parliamentary system. In Europe, the people had accepted joint cooperation between powerful individuals, businesses, and government owing to their history of feudalism. In the European system the executive branch arises from the majority party of the legislature. In the American approach the three branches are distinct, limiting any branch's power. This has worked well for 220 years. The economic result is a more diffuse capitalism. With a less unified government, it is harder for politicians to regulate our economy.
Our socio-political system incorporates the Judeo-Christian ethos. Embossed on our money are the words "in God we trust" and "liberty." This results from the Framers' belief that God grants freedom. In America, many of the earliest settlers were seeking religious freedom from the Church of England. The Pilgrims and Puritans followed a Hebraic form of Christianity with their dependence upon scripture rather than church leadership. American “manifest destiny” was seen by these immigrants as an expression of God's satisfaction with America as the inheritor of his covenant from the Jews. Charity and community virtues were seen as religious requirements. In "A Model of Christian Charity" delivered by Gov. John Winthrop in 1630 on board the ship Arbella, he borrows the biblical principles from the Old and New Testament which underlie American generosity and collectivism which was necessary for survival in a new and hostile environment. During the period of the Enlightenment in Europe the ideas of individual rights and material wealth were encouraged by Voltaire, Adam Smith, Kant, and Hegel. The Enlightenment in Europe ultimately merged the established aristocracy with a state regulated capitalism. It was this structure that Marx and Engels sought to replace. In our country there was no established aristocracy resulting from feudalism, so a meritocracy ensued, with an individualistic capitalism (sometimes falsely called laissez faire). This divided government has reduced control over our economy. However, gaining control over 16% of our economy through the health care system may allow politicians to establish a more European styled socialist society. This explains the relentless effort despite the Massachusetts’ senatorial results. Politicians have seized upon our concern for equality and decency which is our religious legacy. They have substituted a secular “fairness” to gain greater control over our lives.
Socialism is devoid of religious purpose (through relativism or humanism), while capitalists often invoke religion (as absolute natural law). Religious dogma has been supplemented by modern calls for “social justice and social action.” Ministers, priests, and rabbis have long called for help for the less fortunate. So the American religious community has merged political purposes with religion. Though Americans are overwhelmingly theistic, church and synagogue attendance has declined. This void is being filled by government and secular social action groups. Early schools in America were organized through churches, but eventually elementary and secondary education was adopted by the government to ensure equal access. The result has been an expensive mediocrity. Is the same ahead for the health care industry?
There are differences between Judeo-Christianity and socialism. Socialism postulates a solution to questions of inequity through class struggle, favoring the disadvantaged over the wealthy. The Judeo-Christian ethic looks to the rejection of God's word as the cause of failure. The different approaches do not stop the atheists from appropriating the terminology of religion. And therein is the Achilles heel of the American values. Secular politicians use our concern for less fortunate people to secure greater power, thus eroding our freedoms. And that is the disguise in this masquerade.