Santorum channels Thatcher: the shambles in the United Church of Christ — and America.
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Madness it was. And as indulgences were sold to gullible wealthy parishioners who believed that for a piece of silver here or a gold coin over there they would be free of sin, today’s UCC sells the notion that commitment to this or that “social justice” somehow saves the poor — and by now every American with a grievance — all while doing the modern equivalent of rescuing one from sin. To wit: salving the liberal conscience.
Plainly put, social justice today is the modern version of yesterday’s sale of indulgences. It makes one morally superior.
As John Robinson noted long ago, light and truth are still shining. And the hard fact is that in the not-so-ancient world of the 20th century, the light and truth of history has revealed what lies at the end of a path trod by those who insist on the moral superiority of social justice. Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek, in his trenchant 1976 book Law, Legislation and Liberty: The Mirage of Social Justice, perhaps channeling the willingness of Luther to challenge the conventional wisdom of the day, wrote this:
The commitment to “social justice” has in fact become the chief outlet for moral emotion, the distinguishing attribute of the good man, and the recognized sign of the possession of a moral conscience…. But the near-universal acceptance of a belief does not prove that it is valid or even meaningful any more than the general belief in witches or ghosts proved the validity of these concepts. What we have to deal with in the case of “social justice” is simply a quasi-religious superstition of the kind which we should respectfully leave in peace so long as it merely makes those happy who hold it, but which we must fight when it becomes the pretext of coercing other men. And the prevailing belief in “social justice” is at present probably the greatest threat to most other values of a free civilization.
Added Hayek about the actual record of social justice and the politics of moral emotion:
Most people are still unwilling to face the most alarming lesson of modern history: that the greatest crimes of our time have been committed by governments that had the enthusiastic support of millions of people who were guided by moral impulses. It is simply not true that Hitler or Mussolini, Lenin or Stalin, appealed only to the worst instincts of their people: they also appealed to some of the feelings which dominate contemporary democracies.
Whatever disillusionment the more mature supporters of these movements may have experienced as they came to see the effects of the policies they had supported, there can be no doubt that the rank and file of the communist, national-socialist or fascist movements contained many men and women inspired by ideals not very different from those of some of the most influential social philosophers in the Western countries. Some of them certainly believed that they were engaged in the creation of a just society in which the needs of the most deserving or “socially most valuable” would be better cared for. They were led by a desire for a visible common purpose which is our inheritance from the tribal society and which we still find breaking through everywhere.
In short, “social justice” is all about not Christ but moral tribalism, coercion and control. Specifically government control. It is about imposing the will of the left on you — and your task is to sit down and shut up.
In the context of religion, this “theology” is in fact, just as Senator Santorum says, a “phony theology.” An almost manic devotion not to God but the liberal God of the State.
And, to return to the world of American politics, it is exactly some version of this worship of the God of the State that is now metastasizing across the country, a virulent American cancer of the body politic.
It is precisely this “phony theology” that has a government employee rummaging through a child’s lunch bag in North Carolina, telling schools across the land what they can or cannot have in their vending machines. It is Obamacare’s death panels and the rejection of the breast cancer drug avastin by the FDA. It is what caused the financial meltdown of 2008,”social justice” mandating that banks give loans to those unable to afford a home — and patently unable to pay the loan back. There are endless examples.
Which in turn leads directly to the persistent success of the “non-Romney” candidates over the last few months.
Each in their own individual fashion, more and more Americans instinctively understand that the cancer of social justice that has left my denomination in a shambles and threatens to do the same to the country must be defeated outright. They understand this election is in fact not about Barack Obama at all but about the “phony theology” as applied to the economy, foreign policy, and, yes, social issues.
Understandably the Mullahs and Mullahettes of the phony theology are agog at being challenged.
Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, in theory a Republican, in typical Mullah style, has thrown down the gauntlet. Said Simpson of Santorum on Face the Nation:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?