It is very much part of our society today - and its not getting any calmer. The election of Donald Trump pointed a big spot-light on this half-century phenomena. We called it the culture war.
Remember, the two sides vying for the heart of society are the left-learning secular progressives (SP) versus the right-leaning traditional values conservatives (TVC).
SP, which sees the world through material and economic lenses, represents a utopian vision of society involving big government, regulations, political correctness, and revamping of traditional moral principles.
TVC’s worldview is wholistic, and focuses on all aspects of existence, including the spiritual, moral, and ethical. They prefer limited government, a free economy, strong military, family and moral values.
In this part, we will look more closely at traditional values conservatives
When it comes to Biblical standards, TVC sees these precepts as fixed and unchangeable: sexual morality, truthfulness, sanctity of life, Biblical integrity, marriage, family, and precepts of the Ten Commandments. Since these things are viewed as permanently good, they are embraced with both hands tightly.
TVC are consistently ‘pro-life’ when it comes to the abortion and/or euthanasia, assisted suicide debate; ‘pro-marriage/pro-family’ when it comes to the optimal societal arrangements; and they are ‘pro-Biblical morality’ when it comes to personal conduct.
With this in mind, TVC believe in limited government: that government exists to provide infrastructure, protect its citizens domestically and internationally, and take care of functions not covered by the private sector. Government does not create human rights, but is there to affirm and protect them. TVC believes in individual freedom with corresponding responsibility, constitutional government, democratic parliaments, and free-market economics, as well as the above-mentioned moral and spiritual values. Christians who are TVC believe it is God, not the government, to Whom we should look for meeting all their needs: economic, emotional, physical, mental, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. Most of these needs are beyond the reach of government but God is able and willing to take are of them all. God, also, is the source of our human rights.
Unlike progressivism, which believes in ‘equality of outcomes,’ TCV believe in ‘equality of opportunity’ - everyone should get a chance - but concede that some will reap 30, others 60, and others 100-fold. The hyper-equality bandwagon of SP is rejected: to take something that was rightfully earned by a productive person and give it to an unproductive person is considered a great injustice. While a vast governmental welfare system is viewed as inefficient, futile, and corrupt, TVC do strongly believe in private charities and family-community support which are much more effective of meeting the needs of the needy.
TVC believe that man, made in the image of God, can be corrupted by too much power. That’s why they advocate ‘separation of powers’ and ‘balance of power,’ so that no branch of government has too much power, thus providing for better governance. TVC want to maintain these things, arguing that the large government of the SP will distort or destroy the checks and balances, trample on human rights, and run the economy into the red until it hits the brick wall.
Are We Bit Of Both?
Though many will readily identify with either SP or TVC, there is an argument to say there is a bit of both in most of us. There are those on the SP Left (not many, but they exist) who believe in being moral in the traditional sense. And there are TVC who believe in some of the better known government entitlements programs.
For example, the US aged-pension, known as Social Security, is a ‘sacred cow’ to most Americans, regardless of political persuasion. If you want to raise the ire of the grey power brigade, just hint at touching Social Security, even with the most minimal and modest of reforms. Many people in Australia, America, and Britain, like the notion of a government benefits and safety net - but ignore the price such a net brings.
Yet, in short, if you believe in a big government who endeavours to take care of all your needs, but could end up telling you what to think, believe, or say, you are strongly leaning to the SP side. If you believe in individual initiative, freedom, responsibility, hard work, family values and traditional morality, you are on the TVC side.
Next time, we will contrast SP with TVC side-by-side