Political soup, don’t eat the stuff, it’s quite toxic, but I wish to make sense of soup here, those mushy overcooked veggies now as indistinguishable as our political labels have become.
Has anyone seen the classical liberals? They seem to be lost in my bowl of soup somewhere, not unlike gelatinous pasta trying so desperately to incorporate itself into the broth. I once was a classical liberal I think, except they went and moved the middle and redefined the term itself, so now one is uncertain if they wish to even self identify with such an idea anymore.
So I like the clarity of conservative voices when it comes to things like faith, finances, building marriages, economies, and communities. I have valued wisdom from that quarter for years. Here’s the catcher though, I only value those who care. What does it mean to care? Well, that is a hard thing to define, but it speaks to the condition of one’s heart, it speaks to how one is motivated by a desire to make the world a better place for as many people as possible.
In a Christian context, you can put liberals and conservatives into your soup and they will begin to argue almost immediately, frothing all the broth around. Sometimes one must really put their reading glasses on in order to discern what is happening and glean some beauty, some fragrance, but they are actually fighting over how best to love one another. How amazing is that? Somewhere in the midst of the hubris and hyperbole of politics among the followers of Christ, there is still a powerful flavor to be found there, an essence of something quite lovely. They are fighting over how best to love one another. Charity, Agape, for the common good, for the greater world at large. Political love. How can we craft policies that most effectively show the grace and truth of Jesus Christ made manifest in our communities and in our country?
You aren’t supposed to say that these days but I say it all time. It is Christian values that have created this country where people are free to not believe or to express ideas that go against the grain. It is Christian ideals that built the idea of individual freedom and human rights. It is Chrstian ideals that fought to grant you the right to speak your mind without fear of being beheaded.
Now enter the alt-right, this swirling mass of toxicity that threatens to sour our whole pot of soup. Who are they, what are they? A rather diverse bunch of both evangelizing atheists and pseudo Christians, conservatives, libertarians, and anarchists. The right side of the political aisle, but the alternative-right. What many people don’t recognize is how much influence they have within our culture, especially on the internet. Here’s the catch though, they have a mantra and the mantra is “we don’t care.”
We don’t care. We don’t care about you, we don’t care about making the world a better place, we simply don’t care. VD with his millions of blog hits, seems to enjoy promoting this mantra himself, ad nauseam, so he says things like, “They will call us fascists. They will call us racists. They will call us Nazis. They will call us sexists. They will call us anti-semitic. They will call us ultra-nationalists. They will call us white supremacists. And whether those charges are true or not, we don’t care. Because we prefer to live in Western civilization, among civilized Western people.”
Wrong. I pluck you out of my soup, like a tiny unwanted rock trapped among the beans, just bits of meaningless grit, long forgotten dirt that should have been washed down the drain long ago.
One thing that defines “Western civilization,” is the fact that we care. We may argue over how exactly we are going to care, what our caring will look like and how it will manifest itself, but the idea that “we don’t care” is contrary to the idea of “Western civilization” and will therefore, quite rightly be rejected.
This does not necessarily please me, but as Jesus Christ in His wisdom has taught us, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
A victory in “not caring” is a loss for us all whereas a loss because “you care” becomes a victory. Love, war, or politics, doesn’t matter, the same principles always apply. Love conquers all. He already has and He’s now seated at the right hand of the Father. Our victory will always lie in Him, not in the world. Somewhat amusing, but God sure plays a good game.
Ross Douthat wrote about this here.
And Joel Stein of Time
Hat tip to dpmonahan who wrote about it, too