WFT- conservatism

05 February 2011

Previously in the Words For Thought series we examined the word "liberalism".  Now let's take a look at conservatism.  Here is what Merriam-Webster has to say about it:

Conservatism

1 capitalized a : the principles and policies of a Conservative party    b : the Conservative party 2 a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established    b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage) 3 : the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change

Let's consider #2a: a disposition in politics to preserve what is established.  At the core of the idea that is the United States is the Constitution.  I believe that we should preserve what is established.  In this sense I am a conservative.

Roe v Wade is established case law in our nation but in no way do I want to preserve that!  Instead, I think the Scriptural example of the Bereans is best: we should examine Scripture to see if something is true.  Paul provides us excellent advice in this regard:

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; (1 Thes 5:21)

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Php 4:8)

 

Looking at definition #2b we see a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability.  Why would anyone oppose social stability?  Probably because they are discontent with their lot in life and want to change things.

John had these words of advice about that:

"Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages." (Luke 3:14)

Paul offers similar encouragement:

"..I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." (Php 4:11)

Why should we be content if things aren't going well for us?  We should recognize that G-d is in control of our circumstances and that He has brought us to those circumstances for a reason.  (James 1:2-4)

The #2b definition mentions gradual change.  Why should change be gradual?  Why not just make immediate changes and be done with it?  In our current, sinful state we are flawed and our decisions, our actions, and their results are often flawed as well.  We should be purposeful in seeking G-d's guidance, diligent in our obedience to His instruction, and cautious in our decisions lest we react out of the desires of our flesh.  Gradual change can be a good thing.

The last part of the definition mentions support of lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs.  These are things that fit the traditional understanding of "conservative".

These do not, however, fit G-d's perfect model of His Kingdom.

In the Millenial Kingdom, with all of G-d's laws in place, there is a 20% tithe every year... just for starters.  20+% does not sound like a low tax rate!  Of course, half of that (10%) is used to throw a huge, week-long party for yourself and your family in Jerusalem four out of every seven years.  Two out of every seven years this "second tithe" is given to orphans and widows.  (Deuteronomy 14:22-29)

His laws govern every business and investment transaction (Deuteronomy 29:9).

Yet the good news is that He provides the strong national defense (Exodus 14:14, Psalm 62:6 KJV, Zechariah 2:5) and He supports the concept of individual financial responsibility (2 Thes 3:10).

This form of conservatism is necessary in today's flawed and sinful world but in the Kingdom it will no longer be the proper model for living.

May we abide in Him until the time of His glorious return.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

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Yom Chamishi, 7 Adar, 5778

Thursday, February 22, 2018

 

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