The Liberal Ideal Vs Conservative Ideas

The Liberal Ideal

By: By Udo W. Middelmann

"The modern liberal sees himself far more free from the form of the universe, from agreed definitions as well as from practical and moral limitations. He starts from the image of a future world of his own making and then works backwards. To him all things are (eventually) possible, all reality subject to change in order to produce an environment, that is good or will make human beings good. Wrong is only in one's mind, a state of incompleteness now, to be improved with progress, programs and the will of 'the people.'

Freedom from 'religious prejudice' means that there may not be a god at all. Perhaps we are all god ourselves. At best the personal God of the Bible becomes the private god of one's inner light. More likely he is seen as a part of a process to harmonious perfection, the force behind everything.
As today's Liberals tend to deny any true and lasting truth, private property is also looked at with suspicion as an expression of selfishness, which prevents that harmony and puts pot holes into any road to harmony. Only controlled and distributed equality are the moral and fair outcome of life. An ideal, an image in his mind, determines actions. In search of that harmony the choices of individuals are guided to have only personal consequences. Material choices about life, work habits, punctuality, efficiency and such must not lead to material differences.

So convinced is he of his autonomy to image a better world, he no longer needs to work with the reality of nature or of people. He will be tempted to find ways to impose his ideal for the improvement of mankind. The freedom to disagree is easily limited by law, including taxes, with guarantees of a better way for the community, thereby denying 'inalienable rights' and 'self-evident' truth. The liberal will redefine both god and state to serve his ends. He will resist the state when an objective standard is upheld, but will use the power of the state to accompany his own liberal agenda. His affirmation of abortion rights, of homosexual marriages, of distributive justice and of multi-culturalism express both a denial of a created order and the rights of people to think and to define reality otherwise in any important area.

For there is barely any room within the liberal palace for a person with convictions of truth. He is in this way the modern Roman, for whom also all religions were allowed as long as they did not claim to be true.

Characteristic for the liberal is his focus on an ideal about man and society. It remains a dream, an abstraction. It does not relate to the child, the woman or the man whom we know as neighbors today. The embrace of an ideal more than a reality surfaces in many contemporary issues. One can find it in the efforts to build self-esteem while neglecting the emphasis on skills and real competitiveness. The current quest for personal happiness in any stage of life liberated one from faithfulness to any previous promises. Loyalties and commitments relate more to myself, my job, my personal career goals than to others. The former understanding of commitment is seen to act like fetters, which prevent the discovery of the changing human potential.

For the sake of feeling better you are invited to forget real needs, obligations and self-discipline. The 'pursuit of happiness' has become the notion of a right to selfish fulfillment, sensual pleasure, and material equality in a life without risk or obligation. To get there, one advocates preferential treatment based on association with a group rather than on merit. In every case, the facts of the real world are neglected to pursue the dream with little responsibility.

Modern Liberalism gives the impression, from the root of the word itself, that we are free to desire, to demand, to interpret and to try all things without being tied to any part of the real world. The liberal assumes that all things can and should be redefined if necessary. "The only thing to fear is fear itself" and "All problems have been made by man and by man they shall be solved" are two slogans associated with liberal programs. There is no stability, there are no permanent things. Where the older Marxist said: "Each historic moment has its own justification", the modern Liberal promises that life owes me the satisfaction of every right, protected or assumed. Each generation invents anew what a human being is in his social, economic and legal context. There is no end to dreaming, no limit to hope, no restraint to self-realization. We never have to go beyond our adolescence.
Traditions, perspectives and values loose their reference to an objective world. Reality only exists as an historical personal perspective in light of the present. New realities can be invented, claimed and then actualized.

I recall a geography textbook, in which the separation between Africa and Asia ran up the Persian Gulf, not the Red Sea, in order to have the birthplace of Mohammed on the Arabian peninsula become a part of Africa. Islam would then be the religion of Africa. On another occasion I was told that Jesus must have been black, for otherwise he would not have been received in Egypt during the from Herod's fury.

For liberals the conservatives exist as a constant hindrance to progress and the development of what is seen as human potential for good in every person. Conservatives always harp on the need to have both feet on the ground of reality!"

Udo W. Middelmann,
The Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation
100 Hardscrabble Road; Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510

Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development

NEXT POST: Conservative Ideas

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2 Responses May 14, 2012

Amazing how the liberals always seem to reject what the scriptures say, just because they(liberal) don't want to believe it. ignorance of the scripture is one thing, but to still deny the truth when scripture has been presented. We can not call right what God has called wrong.

Interesting, but I find I am not aligned with conservatives because the ones I know from my church are so hateful. I still find value in what you post and am looking forward to the next posting. I just don't think liberal believe in the perfectibility of mankind like you seem to advocate. I am more of a fan of Francis A. Schaeffer's son.