The Bible says that man was given three blessings: to be fruitful, multiply and have dominion over the earth. God meant by "dominion" that mankind was to dominate the earth with love and create a prosperous and harmonious society. Since recorded history men and women have struggled with how to organize themselves in their communities and nations so that each person can benefit from the strength in numbers that a group can give an individual.
DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE
Many experiments have been made in politics and religion. Two thousand years ago the most famous man in history, Jesus, lived in a tiny country that was dominated by the powerful Roman Empire. Rome fell and historians have pondered why ever since. We have written a book titled Why Rome Fell that you can read in its entirety at our website: www.DivinePrinciple.com.
Today many social commentators say that America is like Rome in that she is the world's superpower and like Rome is in the process of falling. The debate over this is called the cultural war. There are two sides in this fierce battle over the minds and hearts of Americans and in other countries -- the Left and the Right. The Left goes by several names such as socialists, feminists, new dealers, liberals, leftists, big government, statists, progressives and Democrats. The Right has such names as capitalists, Christian Right, traditionalists, limited government, libertarian, conservative, and Republicans.
There are variations between groups on each side, but the general differences between the Left and the Right is huge. The authors of this book side with the Right. In this book we will look at both sides, but we will favor those who believe in democracy, limited government and capitalist economics.
ORTHODOX VS. PROGRESSIVE
Professor James Davison Hunter has written several books on the cultural war. He uses the terms "orthodox" and "progressive" to describe the two sides in his book, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America.
"Culture Wars presents a riveting account of how Christian fundamentalists, Orthodox Jews, and conservative Catholics have joined forces in a fierce battle against their progressive counterparts -- secularists, reform Jews, liberal Catholics and Protestants -- as each struggles to gain control over such fields of conflict as the family, art, education, law and politics. Not since the Civil War has there been such fundamental disagreement over basic assumptions about truth, freedom, and our national identity." The public debates "are topics of dispute at the corporate cocktail party and the factory cafeteria alike, in the high school civics classroom, in the church lounge after the weekly sermon, and at the kitchen table over the evening meal. Few of us leave these discussions without ardently voicing our own opinions on the matter at hand. Such passion is completely understandable. These are, after all, discussions about what is fundamentally right and wrong about the world we live in -- about what is ultimately good what is finally intolerable in our communities."
He writes, "Within communities that hold orthodox views, moral authority arises from a common commitment to transcendence, by which I mean a dynamic reality that is independent of, prior to, and more powerful than human experience. God and the realm God inhabits, for the orthodox, is indeed super- and supranatural. Of course transcendence has a different content and meaning in each tradition. In each tradition moreover, transcendence communicates its authority through different media: for example, through the spiritual perrogatives of the inerrant Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments; through the Torah and the community that upholds it; through the pope and the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church; through the Book of Mormon; and, small though the Unification Church may be, through Reverend Sun Myung Moon and the Divine Principle. Within each faith, the commitment to these specific media of moral authority is so forceful and unwavering that believers in each would consider sources other than their own as heretical."
"Yet despite these differences, there are formal attributes to their faith that are held in common with the others. As argued earlier, each maintains a paramount commitment to an external, definable, and transcendent authority. For the believers in each tradition, moral and spiritual truths have a supernatural origin beyond and yet barely graspable by human experience. Although the media through which transcendence speaks to people varies, they all believe that these truths are divinely 'revealed' in these written texts and not somehow discovered through human endeavor or subjective experience apart from these texts."
"God, they would say, is real and makes Himself tangible, directly .... From this authority derives a measure of value, purpose, goodness, and identity that is consistent, definable, and even absolute. In matters of moral judgment, the unequivocal appeal of orthodoxy is to these uncompromisable standards. It is, then, an authority that is universally valid -- adequate for every circumstance and context. It is an authority that is sufficient for all time."
Hunter says this about the Left: "The progressivist vision of moral authority poses a sharp contrast. For progressivists, moral authority is based, at least in part, in the resymbolization of historic faiths and philosophical traditions." What liberals do, he says, is first make it crystal clear that they are against the conservatives. He writes, "What compels this rejection of orthodoxy is the conviction that moral and spiritual truth is not a static and unchanging collection of scriptural facts and theological propositions, but a growing and incremental reality."
"There is, therefore, no objective and final revelation directly from God, and Scripture (of whatever form) is not revelation but only, and at best, a witness to revelation. ... moral and spiritual truth can only be conditional and relative." He gives an example of an organization of progressives as the American Humanist Association. "Moral authority on the progressivist side of the cultural divide tends not to be burdened by the weight of either 'natural law,' religious prerogative, or traditional community authority. ... it is a 'loose-bounded' authority, detached from the cultural moorings of traditional group membership. As such it carries few, if any, of the burdens of the past. Memory does not inhibit change: authority is distinctly forward-looking, open-ended, and malleable." Liberals like the words "flexible," and "creative" and "variety." They see things often as case by case. They like situational ethics.
Professor Hunter has no solution to the problem. He ends his book by saying that it is best for society to live by laws that are upheld "voluntarily" instead of by force. He rightly sees that politics is not going to make a harmonious society.
What is the solution to the problem of the polarization of society over the many black and white issues it hotly debates? The answer is that America and the world will become united as one family when they accept the ideology of the Divine Principle. You can read our version at www.DivinePrinciple.com.
THE CONSERVATIVE VISION
Hunter writes that conservatives see God working intimately with the Founding Fathers of America to build a nation that would be God's champion. They treasure such things as its money saying "In God We Trust" on it. "The founding documents" of America, conservatives think, "reflect the hand of divine providence." The Constitution was "divinely inspired." He writes, "The genius of the 'American experiment,' from this perspective was the creation of institutions that would guarantee both freedom and justice."
Hunter mentions several authors such as the Catholic scholar Michael Novak's The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism. But he says "the more vocal public theologians" for "capitalism -- the freedom to pursue economic gain without government interference" comes from many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. "Jerry Falwell repeatedly claimed that 'God is in favor of freedom, property, ownership, competition, diligence, work and acquisition. All of this is taught in the Word of God, in both the Old and New Testaments.' Therefore 'people should have the right to own property, to work hard, to achieve, to earn, and to win.' (Wisdom for Living) Elsewhere Falwell has written that 'the free-enterprise system is clearly outlined in the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. Jesus Christ made it clear that the work ethic was a part of His plan for man. Ownership of property is biblical.' (Listen America!). In a similar vein, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson has contended that "free enterprise is the economic system most nearly meeting humanity's God-given need for freedom. ... Capitalism satisfies the freedom-loving side of humanity.'" (The Secret Kingdom: A Promise of Hope and Freedom in a World of Turmoil)
"Underlying the reverential endorsement of capitalism among these Evangelicals is the conviction that economic and spiritual freedoms go hand in hand, that one is impossible without the other."
THE PROGRESSIVIST VISION
Hunter writes, "Those on the progressive side of the cultural divide rarely, if ever, attribute America's origins to the actions of a Supreme Being. The National Education Association, for example, insists that 'when the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution with its Bill of Rights, they explicitly designed it to guarantee a secular, humanistic state.'
"... the founding documents of the republic take on a different understanding from that maintained by cultural conservatives. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, for example, are not seen as reflecting absolutes either by God or rooted in nature; instead the founders gave us a 'living Constitution,' one that cannot be straightjaketed, forever attached to the culture of an agrarian, preindustrialized society, but one that grows and changes with a changing society. Law in a democratic society is one of the highest expressions of human rationality and must evolve as society evolves and matures. The ideals that it serves are also the ideals of freedom and justice."
"In this progressivist vision, freedom and justice are understood in fundamentally different ways than they are on the orthodox side of the cultural divide. Here freedom is defined largely in terms of the social and political rights of individuals. Liberals give "high tribute to 'pluralism' and 'diversity.' As Norman Lear of the People for the American Way argued, First and foremost among our shared values is a celebration of diversity and respect for the beliefs of others."
"It is not surprising that the founding myths advanced in progressivist circles tend to focus on the struggle of the founders to establish and preserve 'pluralism and diversity.' The names of Roger Williams, George Washington, John Adams, Tom Paine, James Madison, and Frederick Douglas are commonly invoked as champions of these principles. A People for the American Way publication maintained, 'Throughout our history, American men and women have fought hard to make this country a better place. They fought for fair representation. Open debate. A healthy respect for diverse public opinion ... [Thus,] America is the freest ... nation on earth. A legacy left to us by the Founders of our country.'"
"Justice, on the other hand, tends to be understood by progressivists in terms of equality and the end of oppression in the social world." Liberals are very concerned about things being "fair." Economic is central to the liberal vision. "It is in this light that, for example, the progressive journal Christianity and Crisis described the 'minimum wage' as a 'minimum justice.' The Religious Network for Equality for Women identified support for the Equal Rights Amendment, a comprehensive jobs program, affirmative action, an earning-sharing provision within Social Security, and so on, with 'God's call for justice.' Sojourners magazine called its commitment to speak on behalf of the poor and oppressed a 'commitment to justice,' .... Peace with Justice organizers in 1988 identified 'people of color, women, children, the hungry, the poor, small farmers,' and the like as 'victims of injustice.'" Leftists are often called "bleeding heart Liberals." They care for the lowly and see that Jesus would want government to force the rich to give to the poor and the government should be big. Conservatives say Jesus would only want voluntary giving and government should be small. Liberals use words like "caring," "heart," "compassion," "empathy," and call conservatives "greedy" and "hedonistic."
Both side use the same words, freedom and justice, but each defines it differently. Many on the Left are so afraid of the Right because they feel that conservatives will end democracy when they get in power. The Right is so religious that Leftists assume men like Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Sun Myung Moon would build a totalitarian puritanical theocracy if they got in control of America and the world. This is the view of Frederick Clarkson in his book Eternal Hostility. The Left has a difficult time in understanding religious people who believe in absolutes. They cannot conceive of a world in which everyone would have the same basic values of morality. To them it would be boring at the least and Orwellian at worst. The idea that there are absolute values is totally foreign and scary for a Liberal who fears anyone who thinks this will take away their freedom to commit sins like fornication, drugs and homosexuality.
THE HANDMAID'S TALE
The literary expression of their fear is the book and major motion picture The Handmaid's Tale written by the feminist Margaret Atwood. The great actor, Robert Duval, plays the leader of this nightmare utopia. He is an immoral patriarch who rapes women to have children that he can raise to be future religious Hitlers. To a Liberal, the agenda of the conservatives is "mean-spirited." Like Marx said in The Communist Manifesto the rich are evil and must be crushed. There must equality between people and only socialism can insure that. Government, to a liberal, is the God of this world. It is to be worshipped. It is the most important thing in anyone's life. Ronald Reagan used to make fun of liberals by calling Washinton D.C. the emerald city. To liberals, legislators, governors and the President of the United States are like messiahs. They are the saviors who will throw the money changers out of the temple. They are Santa Claus. They are Dad and Mom. Conservatives see that those who amass political power become Big Brother of 1984 and Animal Farm.
This book sides with those who see that God was behind the building of America and Satan was behind the building of the Soviet Union. God is behind the conservatives far more than He is with the liberals. The reason we are so confident about that is because we see how God has worked in human history as taught in the Divine Principle. You can read our version by going to our website where we have all of our books printed on line: www.DivinePrinciple.com.
Freedom works. Before we discuss the wonders of free enterprise and limited government, lets first look at the wonders of democracy. Liberals do not have to fear that conservatives would create a theocracy if they got in control. But conservatives are right to fear that if socialists got in power because it is tempting for evil men like Lenin and Hitler to abolish democracy when they get in power. Many socialists are naive to how evil men take over centralized governments. Conservatives want a limited government for just that reason. Power corrupts too many people and so it must be decentralized.