The View From 1776

Kerry Bases his Campaign Strategy on Liberal “Values”

The liberal-socialist conception of values espoused by Senator Kerry is unrelated to the understanding of values that animated American colonists in 1776.  The differences take society in opposite directions.

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A July 14, 2004, Associated Press article states that John Kerry is aiming to co-opt “the traditional Republican values of patriotism and faith.”  The article goes on to say that Kerry wants to expand the definition of values to include health care, education, optimism, feel-your-pain sensitivity, and honesty.

This involves more than a bit of hypocrisy.  How can a liberal like Senator Kerry speak the word “values,” when our liberal-socialist school system teaches students that value judgments are unscientific?  How can Senator Kerry caustically denounce President Bush’s public professions of Christian faith when our multi-cultural educators preach that tolerance, meaning the absence of all standards, is the only socially acceptable stance?

Inclusion of “honesty” in the liberal values list can’t be taken seriously.  Senator Kerry established his political career by lying before a Congressional committee about the conduct of American servicemen in Vietnam.  His puppet-master, Senator Ted Kennedy, was thrown out of Harvard for cheating on exams, and he allowed a young woman to drown in an effort to shield his political reputation.  Lest we forget, President Clinton lost his license to practice law and paid fines of more than $75,000 for having perjured himself before both a Federal grand jury and a Federal District Court.

More serious than this hypocrisy is what Senator Kerry and his liberal sympathizers mean when they speak about values and talk about “giving our country back to us.”  Senator Kerry’s “values” are what the New York Times editorial board calls the mainstream.  Speaking about liberal-socialist “values” in this vein implies that they are the original Constitutional principles of our nation and that a Christian President like George Bush has usurped those principles with his pronouncements about morality and evil forces in the world.  One implication is that this Christian view of the world is responsible for what Al Gore called “dragging our good name through the mud” by annoying secular and socialistic France.

Even a limited inquiry will reveal that the liberal-socialist philosophical conception of values that underlies Senator Kerry’s campaign position is profoundly different from the understanding of American colonists in 1776.    So-called mainstream-values were well entrenched in academia by the late 1800s, but they acquired a public following only during the Depression when the New Deal imposed wide-ranging socialist state-planning.  “Giving our country back to us” means abandoning the moral values of Protestant Christianity that were the unwritten constitution for 325 years and cleaving to the socialistic theories of the last 71 years.

At the risk of being as boring as Senator Kerry is said to be, let’s explore the essence of that difference and how it came to be.

First, liberals’ ideas about “values” have to do with the absence of personal restraints and with material goods and services, which is what the welfare state is all about.  Values for the colonists were the elements of spiritual morality, the intangible qualities that differentiated humans from other animals. 

The values of 1776 preached individual self-restraint, self-reliance, and hard work for the future of one’s family.  Liberal values give us what has been called a juvenocracy, a society dominated by the heedless pursuit of instant gratification that is characteristic of inexperienced youth: devil take the hindmost; eat, drink, and be merry.

Values for liberals are the monetary benefits and privileges awarded to preferred groups.  Values for our nation’s founders were principles that were to guide each individual toward doing the right thing in a religious and moral sense.

The Massachusetts Bay colonists, coming to the New World for religious reasons, envisioned themselves as a light upon a hill, a beacon of righteous conduct for the rest of the world.  Liberals are anxious to cede more power to Big Brother, who will structure society in accordance with social justice by redistributing income and property from the haves to the have-nots.

Second, as with most of the evil of the modern Western world, liberals’ ideas of social justice originated in the ill-named Enlightenment of the 18th century.  A confluence of events led French pre-Revolutionary philosophers around 1750 and onwards to junk the thousands of years of civilization represented by Greek philosophy and Christendom.  The 1517 Reformation had splintered the Catholic Church; repeated wars between Catholic and Protestant political states devastated Western Europe between 1517 and 1648; and mathematics and physics made giant strides that led to the conviction that human reason could now understand, and therefore control and perfect, much of nature, including human conduct and political societies.

The group known as the French Encyclopedists became an effective spin-machine for the new views.  Their aim was to convert morality into a physics equation:  simply isolate the input variables that influenced human attitudes, desires, and conduct, then derive a formula that would permit intellectuals to regulate the proper mix of inputs to achieve the desired pattern of conduct and the proper structure of society.

Their first principle was that human conduct is nothing more than responses to external stimulae: people seek pleasure and avoid pain.  Thus pleasure is good, therefore virtuous, and pain is bad.  This formulation flatly rejects Western civilization’s concept of human beings intuiting, via religious revelation, a sense of Divine order in the universe, from which the human soul and intellect derive ideals of morality and civic virtue.

There was to be no more spiritual religion or belief in timeless moral principles.  Humans now were revealed to be essentially no different from earth worms reacting to heat, light, dryness, and dampness as they crawl along.

Virtue, in the Encyclopedists’ conception, becomes maximizing pleasure.  Evil is whatever oppresses humans seeking pleasure.  Thus Christianity is bad, because it counsels self-restraint and deferral of pleasure on behalf of one’s children.  A contemporary variation on that idea is the view expressed by some feminists that spiritual religion is just a device concocted by men to subjugate women.

In the Christian tradition that constituted Western civilization, all individuals, rich or poor, weak or powerful, had equal access to Divine Grace and eternal salvation.  They were counseled to see themselves as equally children of God, united by God’s love.  They were therefore to deal honestly and in good faith with others, even at personal cost to themselves, because they would one day die and face everlasting judgment.

Removing Western civilization at one shot, as the French philosophers did with the 1789 French Revolution, exposed a fundamental flaw in their mechanistic conception of virtue as the product of physical pleasure or pain.  How could one counsel a poor man not to steal bread for his family?  After all, that would maximize his pleasure, provided he could escape detection and apprehension by the police.

They proposed two solutions.  First, the poor man’s plight could be eliminated by taking property from the rich and redistributing it.  Second, as experience in the 19th and 20th centuries proved, government would be compelled to issue formal regulatory controls for an ever widening sphere of human activities.  The end point was the totalitarianism of Soviet Russia, Fascist Italy, and National Socialist German,

In a “value” system based on maximizing sensual pleasure, there must be no restraints on what people do or say in public.  This is especially true of Hollywood entertainers, whom Senators Kerry and Edwards describe as expressing “the soul of America” when they raise campaign funds by vulgarizing the names of political opponents and describing people who profess Christianity as Nazis.

It now becomes clear that this simplistic conception of sensual pleasure and pain as the basis of “values” is the force behind liberals’ preoccupation with battering down every remaining trace of restraint on public conduct.  Mainstream “values” thus coincide with ever increasing lewdness and vulgarity in print media, TV,  movies, and radio.  It is on this basis that liberal organizations like the ACLU decry Clear Channel Radio’s banning Howard Stern or Slim-Fast’s dropping Whoopie Goldberg as its advertising spokesman.  It is this calculus that rationalizes abortion to facilitate sexual promiscuity.

And it is this simple-minded liberal theory of “values” that is being taught to our school children as psychology and situation ethics.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 07/17 at 06:34 PM
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