Author: Treston Wheat

Love, War, and Peace: Christians and Foreign Policy

The 2012 presidential election is in full swing. The Republicans have lined up to vote for whomever they think shares their values and will beat Barack Obama. There is a large segment of the Republican base known as social conservatives and the “Religious Right.” Often these Christian voters focus on issues like abortion, gay marriage, prayer in schools, etc. However, Christians should also focus on more foreign policy issues, like war and peace, international development, and conflict zones. Christian ethics necessarily means that they have to reject certain international relations concepts, like realism and isolationism. Realism holds that all that matters are power and security; morals and ideals take a back seat. States may act however they wish as long as their strategic objectives are achieved. The three most famous proponents of this theory are Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Kissinger. Machiavelli famously quipped, “Those cruelties we may say are well employed, if it be permitted to speak well of things evil, which are done once for all under the necessity of self-preservation.” Hobbes believed in a war of all against all, and Kissinger applied these principles to his work as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. These principles go against the teachings of Christ and the Bible, wherein reciprocation and ethical behavior is commanded.  Jesus said, “Do unto others as you have them do unto you,” and “These things...

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Liberalism, the Self, and the Moral Order

American society and culture come from the vision of the Founders where the country would be a community of individuals. This at least partially inspired the States’ motto on currency e pluribus unum: out of many, one. However, contemporary liberalism goes against this concept and the idea of a contractually bound individual and state. For a liberal, the self is plenipotentiary and may act in any way it sees fit (as long as its actions harm no one else). Liberalism allows the self to perform any action under the belief that whatever the individual wants is right. The Left holds to a solipsistic form of truth and morals where there is no truth outside of what the individual wants. This plays out in a variety of policy options, especially abortion. Individuals within society are bound by a social contract which exists so that people who have determined their own government delegate power to it for protection. However, to keep a culture in cohesion and within order, individuals must also have contractual limitations amongst each other to preserve a prescriptive normative order. Morality, ethics, and tradition establish this normative order, and it is important that they are followed. Individuals cannot realistically do whatever they please; morality is necessary for a healthy culture. There are many arguments surrounding abortion, and they primarily focus on whether or not the fetus is a human life....

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Utopian Folly: Liberalism’s Philosophical Problem

Conservatives are good at attacking liberal policies and promoting their own.  Rarely, however, do conservatives try to undermine the basic political theory and philosophy on which liberalism rests. It is no surprise that most conservatives balk at these fields. Yet, I would like to engage liberalism at its core to show why the political philosophy of the left is hollow at best. Modern American liberalism rests on two fundamental tenets: that utopia is possible and truth is relative. This comes from the history of the Progressives at the end of 19th century and beginning of 20th.  But Progressives during that time were far different than their leftist counterparts of today.  They believed that they could help society by eliminating communal ills and staving off socialism.  Progressives like Jane Addams fought to make America better.  Liberalism today inherited the Progressives’ underlying philosophy, but little else. Conservatives have two avenues of criticism against liberalism; Christian doctrines and America’s founding documents are antithetical to liberalism’s utopian and relativist claims. First, the importance of Christianity’s response to liberalism comes from messianic thought and the concept of original sin.  According to Christian thought, only God can establish Heaven on Earth, or as the prophet Isaiah put it, “[T]hey shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” Liberals support...

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