Friday, July 08, 2011

Socially Disruptive Radicalism

Former George W. Bush speechwriter, Michael Gerson, is a well known evangelical political thinker.  He writes for the Washington Post, and has previously criticized the libertarian views of Congressman Ron Paul.  The most recent critique I'm aware of was his reaction to Ron Paul's views on the drug war as stated at the South Carolina Republican Primary Debate.  You may read my comment concerning that blog here.

Gerson's most recent critique of Paul exposes the foundation of his rigid ideology as post-biblical theology.  A bold statement, no doubt.  Here is the critical passage from his recent critique:

Paul is sometimes viewed as a naive but fearless conservative role model — implying that other Republicans are timid or compromised. But the project of reversing the Great Society, the New Deal and progressive reform is not ideological purity; it is socially disruptive radicalism.

Now, this is why Gerson's "conservatism" is post-biblical.  As you might expect, Herbert Schlossberg has something to say on the matter:

"We take a wrong turn and find ourselves in what appears to be an endless bog.  We decide to turn around and retrace our steps to discover the correct route to the destination.  However, someone in our party has read his Hegel and tells us that we want to turn back the clock back.  The reply to that is that to go straight ahead will take us deeper into the bog without knowing how many miles it stretches or what lies beyond, that the destination is elsewhere, and that the only way we shall find it is to discover where we made our mistake.  Thus, the turning back has to do with space and not time.." (Idols For Destruction, p. 17)

If you didn't catch that, Schlossberg is arguing that those who want to "turn back the clock" have bought into Hegelian philosophy, implicitly, if not explicitly.  Gerson is arguing that a return to the sort of Constitutional Republican values our nation was founded upon is "socially disruptive radicalism."  I can hardly believe someone of Gerson's reputation would utter such a notion.  
 As Schlossberg points out, you can't get out of the bog by going further into it, you must turn around!  Again, this is precisely why we Christians find ourselves in the political bind we are in--we listen to men like Gerson, and we find ourselves deeper and deeper in the bog.  But Gerson would have us follow that bog into Mordor (to borrow another illustration), rather than back to the Shire.  Let us ignore the "useful idiots" such as Gerson, and seek the third way--a return to Constitutional Republicanism.

I should add that Hegelian philosophy, as C. Gregg Singer observes in his book A Theological Interpretation of American History, is the foundation for the anti-Christian movements of the 19th and early twentieth centuries, that oversaw the demolition of the Republic and the transformation into the democratic totalitarianism of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  The Hegelian Dialectic reached its apotheosis in the communism of Marx.  Just sayin'.

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Pilgrim said...

Good post. One of the things that oozes from Gerson is haughtiness, from Paul, humility.

One clarification:

"Schlossberg is arguing that those who want to "turn back the clock" have bought into Hegelian philosophy..."

I think Schlossie would say that the Gersons accuse the Paulites of moronic turn-back-the-clock thinking because the Gersons are Hegelians.

John said...

I suspect you're right, and that is what I was driving at. I still marvel at Gerson's admission.

When Gerson's latest book (City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era) came out, I was tempted to read it, hoping that his beliefs were better than I'd feared.

This article has dispelled any notion I had of bothering with the book.