Talk to most people today, and you will find them deeply burrowed into one of two impenetrable bunkers – liberal and conservative. From fortified citadels, they lob incendiary assaults and charges at one another. In both camps, the armies are largely unwilling to acknowledge anything positive or noble about the other. National unity, weakened for decades, has been finally been broken.
An honest effort to promote unity in the midst of a politically-charged and increasingly belligerent cultural schism demands an alternative approach rather than a return to past failures. The “a pox on both your houses” condemnation wreaks of hubris and moral superiority and helps no one. And moral compromise is never an option for an honorable person. Nevertheless, there have been positive changes made to American culture as a result of liberalism that can be acknowledged without violating one’s personal integrity.
We who grew up watching Captain Kangaroo and the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite on television, might admit that the increased acceptance of people with physical and mental disabilities has been good for us all. No longer are less-than-whole people stuffed into mental hospitals to waste away their lives. Access to society has been improved for the handicapped and injured.
Despite the set-backs of recent years, racial and ethnic inclusion has been a positive development that can be partially attributed to liberal viewpoints. There is a greater openness to foreign cultures and people in the United States than ever before. Once the barriers of isolation and language are removed, Americans tend to see that we have more in common with the peoples of the world than we have in conflict.
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In addition, substance-abuse and alcoholism treatment has become highly effective. Just one hundred years ago, the American Medical Association relegated alcoholism to a moral condition and largely abandoned those caught in its clutches. Today, millions of lives are spared from ruin. Like potent medicinal drugs however, liberalism is useful only within a narrow context.
Properly applied, liberalism’s strength is shown in relationship building, promoting empathy and interpersonal communications. But it’s disastrous when imposed upon any situation in which principles are of primary import. Politicians over-prescribed and recklessly applied liberalism to our political system, where it made millions drunk with its rejection of personal responsibility and warm fluid comfort. From there, it was injected into the fields of science, medicine, journalism and academia, corrupting minds, weakening human souls and polluting the entire culture.
The reason that liberalism is unsuitable to most applications is that it is based upon capricious emotions and subjective feelings rather than principle, fact and reason. Reliable scientific studies and basic human morality require an exploration of evidence in search of efficacy. Liberalism corrupts these realms by dictating that conclusions be constrained by perception rather than purpose, by feelings rather than facts and by popularity rather than precept.
Liberalism is now rotting our justice system and the military services. Its destructive influence is evident and undeniable. How did something so useful become such a deadly pathogen? It was misapplied to areas where it is extremely harmful and in lethal concentrations.
Just as overindulgence in carnal satisfaction ends in destroyed lives, misapplication of liberal permissiveness wrecks cultures and nations. America’s dangerous foray into radical liberalism has produced a host of social ills from abortion and A.I.D.S. to epidemic rates of divorce and teen suicide.
What is the right place and purpose for liberal ideology in a free society? Most people already know the answer and their lives demonstrate this knowledge. Liberalism must be confined to areas in which personal relationships can benefit from flexibility without harming others. But when it comes to applications in which principles must be upheld such as child-rearing, education and medicine, it should be used sparingly. In areas, where standards must be rigorously defended such as governmental regulation, politics, the justice system, military services and science, liberalism must be rejected universally.
Nowhere is the proper balance between human flexibility and adherence to irrevocable principle better illustrated than in a biblically-based Christian church. The trouble is that many churches are not making disciples. Instead, they are surrendering to the wickedness of a corrupt world and embracing self-serving adults to the impairment of both Church and state.
The God of creation has given mankind the answers to all of our personal and national problems. It’s time we got to work putting them into practice, first in our private lives and then, in the public square.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.