Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Theological Difference Between Republicans & Democrats

One of the things that people don't grasp is that there a different set of assumptions at work in the two political parties. At their root, these assumptions are really theological in character.

At issue is the nature of man. Is man good or is man evil? Many people will say man is good of course. Some will go further and say that man has a spark of the divine. If man is good and has a spark of the divine, he is then perfectible. All that has to be done is unleash that inner saint that is trapped inside of him. On the other hand, many, including myself, believe in the total depravity of man. Man is conceived with a sinful nature. This sinful nature needs to be redeemed and restrained. Even in the best of circumstances, the individual will fight this sinful nature their whole life.

Socialism, which is today embraced by the Democratic Party, is designed to bring out the inner saint. It assumes that man's higher nature is simply suppressed by economics and injustice. Yet, in practice, socialism only seems to bring out man's darkest impulses.

Conservatism assumes the dark nature of man. It assumes that the beast must be tamed. One of the ways to do this is punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. This is not just in law enforcement, but in all areas of policy. Consider this angle of economic policy. If you work hard in a peaceful and productive task we will promote you to a higher position and pay you more money. If you don't work hard and are not productive, you won't be paid as much. We do this to control man's sinful nature and keep man focused on good tasks that help their fellow man. Ultimately, any economically useful task will help others. Ironically, though, in this way we bring out the best in people. We make them cast aside their dark nature and become a little bit of the saint.

So Republicans and Democrats are not just political flavors with no real meaning. At their root, the two parties look at man in a radically different way. In short they each have a theology of man. And the differences are profound.

1 comment:

Kari said...

I completely agree. I was talking to a lady in a restaurant that had seen my book "The Fire and the Staff". She commented on it, so I asked her her theology. She was Unitarian and said man was inherently good, etc, I can't remember exactly, it was a while ago now, but then when I told her what I confessed, it was the exact opposite. Very stark difference! I also happen to know that Unitarians are mostly liberal Democrats. Along with most people that believe the Bible with Critical translation. Is that how you say it? Because then they think we can have heaven on this earth, not wait for the next. Impossible!