Sam Weaver
March 4, 2003
The modern liberal worldview
By Sam Weaver

NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of columns designed to proffer my peculiar views and insights concerning Western worldviews and culture.

A worldview is a person’s comprehensive philosophy of life. Every worldview consists of four fundamental building blocks. These building blocks are 1) Religion, 2) Politics, 3) Economics, and 4) Science.

This entry in my series will examine the modern Western liberal worldview. It will address all four elements of intellectual thought as they relate to today’s liberal worldview philosophy.

Religion

The religion of the modern liberal is atheism (a.k.a., secularism, humanism, or “secular humanism”). One might think that atheism is not a religion. Rather, one might argue, atheism is the complete absence of any and all religious ideology. To the contrary, even the U.S. Supreme Court all but declared secular humanism a religion in the case of Torcaso vs. Watkins in 1961. Many atheists proudly reference this case.

(NOTE: The obiter dictum, stated by Justice Black in the case of Torcaso vs. Watkins, is an essential component of this case. Whether or not it was a “footnote,” or merely “said in passing,” it is not only relevant, it is quite important: “Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others.” [Emphasis added] Shouldn’t the following statement by Justice Black also have been an obiter dictum?: “We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person ‘to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.’ Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against non-believers, and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs.”)

But, please, don’t just take the orbiter dictum of Justice Black or, God forbid!, the word of the Supreme Court of the 1960’s! Consider, if you will, the very nature of every religion. Every religion contains two postulates: 1) an explanation of origins, and 2) an ethic. An atheist (or a secularist), by definition, rejects any notion of a Supernatural Creator. This rejection leads to the atheistic (or secular) ethic.

The modern liberal (or secular) explanation of origins hinges upon an acceptance of some variation of the “Big Bang ‘Theory’” and the “’Theory’ of Evolution.” (A bit more on that below, under the heading of Science.) Secularism rejects any belief in a Supernatural Creator and assumes that the universe and all life on earth came about through purely random, natural circumstance. There is no Creator, and there is no Divine Author of all law.

This random, natural explanation of the origin of life leads to the modern liberal ethic, which is often expressed in the phrase, “If it feels good, do it!” (It could be better stated, perhaps, in the phrase, “If it seems right, then go ahead and do it!”) The ethic of secularism is relativism. Law, and the “rightful” force of law, is developed through ever-evolving “mores.” Because “mores” change, law must evolve and adapt to fit both the time and the circumstances. There are no natural rights (rights that are endowed by a Creator); there are only legal rights (rights that are subject to change according to the will of the majority, the ruler [or ruling powers], or by judicial decision, for example).

The true, modern Western liberal believes in the inherent goodness of the nature of man. It is not the nature of man; rather the inequalities and prejudices of his environment make a person do bad things. If only such things as religious discord, political strife (e.g., “nationalism” and racism), and economic disparities (e.g., wealth vs. poverty) could be eradicated, then the whole world would live in harmony and peace. The really sad fact is that many Western liberals actually believe that it is within the power and the scope of world government to achieve this level of human “equality” and “security.” Die-hard liberals actually believe in this utopian pipe dream!

I am in no way claiming that all modern liberals are atheists! Religion is only one part (albeit the essential component!) of any worldview. I believe former President Carter when he says that he is a born-again Christian! (Who am I to judge President Carter’s relationship with the Omnipotent Creator? I would dare not, lest I myself be judged!) However, it is very obvious to me that the doctrines of relativism and the inherent goodness of man play a vital role in every aspect of modern liberal philosophy. My own understanding of Scripture coupled with hard-learned life experiences show me without any doubt whatsoever that these doctrines run counter to the doctrines of Judeo-Christianity.

Politics

Politics is the art and science of human government. Modern Western liberals believe that the primary role of government is to ensure the political (and economic) equality and security of every citizen. It could be argued that this idea of the role of government goes as far back in history as the world’s first king. As a beloved, respected, charismatic, and seemingly “benevolent” man, the earth’s very first king became the monarch over his subjects by convincing them that he would give them peace, security, and equality.

In modern Western society, however, the “enlightened” variant of this political idea has its roots in Rousseau and Hegel. Jean-Jacques Rousseau “liberated” the Christian world from the idea of the inherently evil nature of man. Rousseau “showed,” via specious argument, that “man is good by nature.” To his credit, however, Rousseau argued eloquently against monarchy. (And just so you’ll know that I know; John Locke, whose words echo throughout America’s Declaration of Independence, also believed in the inherent goodness of man. America’s Founders, thankfully, rejected this aspect of Locke!)

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel spoke of “God” as “the Absolute.” As I understand Hegel, “the Absolute” is a relativistic term that represents the general will of the people. I am not a brilliant person, and Hegel’s writings go beyond my I. Q. level; but from what I can gather through Hegel’s writings on God and “the Absolute,” he viewed national government as a sort of demigod. The ultimate charge of national government was to ensure the security and the equality of every citizen. In Hegel’s mind, a world-wide (global) government with the power, authority, and ability to provide (impose) complete safety and equality for (upon) every human being would be the ultimate embodiment of “the Absolute.” In other words, according to Hegel, a global government would be God.

Every modern Western liberal is willing to cede some degree of individual liberty to society (i.e., to government) in exchange for some degree of perceived happiness, equality, or safety. Benjamin Franklin said it best in two ways. First, he is credited with saying: "A man who is willing to give up a little freedom for a little security, deserves neither." Second, Old Ben stated,

“[I]…believe farther that this (new government under the Constitution) is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.” (For the full text of this written speech, click here.)

Modern liberals seek to empower the federal government and its vast bureaucracies for the sake of “justice,” “security,” and/or “equality.” Individual citizens should not necessarily be held accountable for their own actions; rather, government is responsible for the happiness and the well-being of every citizen. The modern liberal concept of politics is totalitarian (or BUREAUCRATIC) CONTROL of the masses. National guidelines (i.e., controls from the highest level, and encompassing the greatest authority of government) are the only way to ensure the relative justice, equality and safety of every citizen.

Again, this idea arose with the world’s first king. The modern version of this idea rightfully rejects absolute monarchy and the false doctrine of “the divine right of kings.” However, this modern (liberal) version merely replaces monarchy with bureaucracy. This modern Western political philosophy has its roots in the philosophies of Rousseau, Hegel, et. al. The ultimate modern liberal wants to empower a world government for the purpose of securing “justice,” “security,” and “equality” for all of the world’s people. In the mind of the ultimate modern liberal, government (esp., world government) is the Absolute. There is no god but human government!

Economics

A modern Western liberal believes that it is the responsibility of society (i.e., government) to ensure economic equality for all people. “Capitalism” (Stalin’s epithet—via Karl Marx—for free-enterprise) is inherently evil, it is surmised, because “capitalism” leads to unequal distribution of wealth. Modern liberals believe, as did Rousseau, that inequalities necessarily breed evil. A person is inherently good until something “foreign to him corrupts him,” according to Rousseau. In other words, it is man’s environment, not his nature, that compels him to make bad decisions and bad choices. Therefore, “reasons” the liberal, man is not responsible, nor should he even be held accountable for his poor decisions and his misguided choices. As long as great rifts in religious ideology, political power, economic class, or social status/levels of education exist in this world, man is simply a product of these divisions and inequalities. He cannot and must not be held responsible as long as these divisions and inequalities exist.

It is the job of government to provide a good economic environment for every member of society so that no one makes bad economic decisions or choices. What’s more, “bad” economic decisions and choices versus “good” ones are purely relative. No Supreme Creator and Author of Law has established what is bad and what is good. There is no clear standard of right and wrong or good and evil, except that which is established by human government. It is the duty of government, saith the liberal, to ensure the economic equality of every person—regardless of poor choices or lack of ambition, commitment to excellence, degree of talent, etc.

The modern Western liberal concept of economics is socialism. Socialism comes in many shapes and sizes, but its goal is always some form or some degree of shared communal wealth. The upshot of every socialistic scheme is the arbitrary confiscation of one man’s property or wealth for the arbitrary blessing of another.

James Madison, the Father of the U.S. Constitution, rejected just such a scheme more than two centuries ago. He wrote:

"Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. . . . This being the end of government, that alone is not a just government, . . . nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest." (See, for example, "Private Property: Right from God, Friend of Republics," by Steve Farrell.)

The economic idea of socialism flows from the secular humanist religious doctrines of the inherent goodness of man and relativism. It follows the modern liberal political idea of strong governmental (bureaucratic, or totalitarian) control.

Science

Science is the most extensive of the four worldview/cultural institutions. From a worldview perspective, science can be defined as a search for knowledge and understanding of the physical universe and all of its systems. In terms of culture, science includes language, art, architecture, entertainment, customs, traditions, and technologies. From both the worldview and the culture viewpoint, however, the most important aspect of science is the method of discovery. How does an individual approach his quest for knowledge and understanding? By what process does a society advance its technologies?

The modern liberal method of “’scientific’ discovery” is the dialectic method. Simply stated, a group of scholars and experts convenes to discuss and debate the latest peer-reviewed hypothesis of a certain field of study. After a period of discussion, debate and compromise, the hypothesis is either rejected, accepted, or accepted with modifications. An accepted hypothesis—even one that has been modified by the symposium—becomes the working “theory” of the day.

(Please note two important characteristics of this method: 1) It is primarily applied to such discoveries that are beyond the capability of science to fully prove or to comprehend; and, 2) it cedes power and liberty of individual scientists to certain panels of “scholars” and “experts.”)

The “Big Bang ‘Theory’” and the “’Theory’ of Evolution (as it is currently “accepted”) are both products of this method. It is completely beyond the scope of science at this time to prove—and it is beyond the capability of man to fully comprehend—exactly how the universe and life on earth came to be. Ultimately, this is absolutely a matter of faith! If truth be told, science simply cannot honestly answer the questions of how the universe began and how life on earth came to be! Bear in mind that the “scholars” and “experts” who accepted these so-called “theories” have all been heavily influenced by the naturalistic philosophies of men like Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin. At the risk of sounding like some whacko conspiracy theorist, I would even venture to state that these “scholars” and “experts” were indoctrinated in today’s secular, socialistic institutions of “higher learning” with mega-doses of the philosophies of these and many other men!

Objectivity is not a major part of the dialectic method of today’s secular “scientific” community. Empirical evidence is often discarded or totally ignored when it fails to meet the standards of “conventional wisdom.” I am convinced that you would be shocked by the amount of empirical evidence that is routinely overlooked by today’s scientists. I am both shocked and deeply saddened! Conventional wisdom demands that all things came about naturally. “Conventional ‘wisdom’” says, “There is no god.” Evidence to the contrary is “conveniently” swept under the proverbial rug.

Three types of modern Western liberals

There are basically three types of modern liberals: 1) Elitists, 2) Activists, and 3) Automatons. Elitists, for the most part, cling to the modern liberal worldview because they crave the degree of power and control that it offers them. Activist liberals are the “useful idiots” of the elitists. Activists by and large fight the emotionally-charged “good” fight for liberal causes with no clue of the damage that this “’good’ fight” is doing to American liberty and the American Ideal. Automatons vote for liberal candidates because they have been programmed by public schools, by the “media” and popular culture, by liberal politicians and pundits, and/or even by their parents or guardians to believe that the liberal worldview philosophy truly offers them peace, equality, and/or security with little or no requirement for responsibility or accountability on their part.

In the end, every modern liberal wants to fundamentally alter one or more of the four cultural institutions upon which this great nation was founded.

Stay tuned for my next column

A liberal is one who wants to change one or more of the four institutions upon which his society (i.e., culture, or nation) is established. A conservative is one who wants to fundamentally conserve all four institutions as they were founded. The ideas summarized above represent the four worldview/cultural institutions that the archetypical modern liberal wants to impose upon American society (not to mention all of Western civilization and—eventually—the world entirely!). If these impositions represent fundamental change in American society and American culture, then what are the institutions that conservatives want to preserve and maintain? Are these changes necessary for progress in the modern world? These questions will be addressed in my next column.

© Sam Weaver

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Sam Weaver

Sam Weaver is a native Texan. Lively discussions back in 1984--first with his very liberal girlfriend, and then with several college instructors--made him question his beliefs and his belief system... (more)

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