On The Third Way or the Reply to Dave

Fri 08 September 2017

(Comment to the article by Dave Schmelzer on a Christian and politics)

Hi, Dave,

let me add couple of comments from this side of The Pond.

First of all, of course, I blame completely confused American terminology, especially in the political matters. Here Socialists are not afraid to call themselves such, so they don't have to misuse a label of Liberal, which doesn't belong to them. Liberals here are mostly "let us alone" kind of people, mostly middle class entrepreneurs; small government, small taxes, but strongly anti-monopoly politics … that slogan is targeted both at government and at the large supranational business giants. And what you are saying is exactly what we would call Conservatism here (represented now for example by the German CDU and Frau Merkel or in the times when they are not wrecked by the lunacy of Brexit by the British Conservatives).

Let me here quote my beloved Conservative thinker Michael Oakshott (he was a professionally philosopher in Oxford, so sometimes his writing is a bit heavy, but on the other hand he was a don in Oxford so his writing is always perfect): “In political activity men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbor for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting point nor appointed destination.” Which is to say, that the most important part of Conservatism for me is that it is not ideology, it doesn't have any Communism or any shining ideal for which we need to sacrifice today. The biggest goal of politician is to deal with the current problems, not to drag his/her nation towards his ideal. (Also read “In Defense of Politics” by Bernard Crick)

In the same time, it seems to me that people who claim to be this kind of original Conservatives, tend to share Christian (or even more Reformed) scepticism towards human nature. Particularly from the deep distrust of human goodness comes both distrust towards government (which is in the end created by sinful humans) and certainly towards the great businessmen (greed may be the best organizing power of economics, but it is not something to be celebrated too much). Of course, here I have to mention Russel Kirk “The Conservative Mind”.

Category: faith Tagged: politics blogComment

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