And The Truth Shall Set You Free: 1 of many on conservative principles

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

There is no doubt that today’s American voter has no basis for making a voting decision. That is because today’s politician has no values or principles from which their policies derive, but shoot from the hip, flip-flopping from one stance to another. In the wake of politicians without substance, the American voter is forced to guess at the character of our leaders. We let the media portray candidates, whether talk radio or MSNBC. We need to return to a time where candidates explain their positions based on arguments and principles. Truth is the single most important principle that we base our political voting decisions.

I’m not talking about making sure candidates are truthful or making sure candidates follow up on campaign promises. Those are important, but what is most important is what the candidate’s belief of truth is. Does a politician believe in a truth that transcends time or a truth that changes and evolves over time? Can two people with opposing positions both cling to their own valid truths? What do you believe?

I believe in a truth that transcends. The same truth that prompted the Founders to write, “We hold these truths to be self evident” in the declaration of independence. I agree with the Founders that there are certain truths that mold successful societies and are still molding them to this day. Whenever I look at a policy, I look for an underlying truth. I test the truth to see if it can be consistently applied. If it cannot, then I look for alternatives. In this way, truth is an anchor that helps us make fair and consistent decisions.

There are many that do not agree with this position. In their point of view, truth can evolve and change from one person to another. This thought renders truth irrelevant and so beliefs become based on feelings and those feelings justify policy. Is it no wonder why so many people have no rational argument for why they support a policy? Listen to their responses. I guarantee that they will start with the words “I feel.”

Regardless of whether you’re progressive or conservative, the answer to this question should be important to you. In knowing what your representative believes allows us as voters to count on and understand the votes that will be made in the future. For example, a progressive democrat who does not ascribe to an evolving truth is not likely to vote for the social changes of the day.

Conservatives should ascribe to a transcending truth that is consistent from person to person and is not contingent on how much time elapses on this earth. So many of the policies and stances we take hinge on this idea and our very platform becomes pointless without it. I believe this is why many conservative leaders are so weak. They’ve lost touch with their beliefs on truth and as a result cannot defend the policies they are trying to advance. My advice to all conservatives, get in touch with your beliefs regarding truth.

8 comments

The Law said...

All the reason more why I still can't understand your lack of confidence in Obama. In terms of consistency, he is by far the most consistent politicain I've ever seen since I've been following poltics. I have watched all of the speechs, interviews, and most of the documentaries on Obama since the day he decided to run for office. And he has been delivering the same message everytime he hits the stump. There are some modifications, notably Afghanistan, but I think that is reasonable, because without being privvy to classified reports, its hard to assest exactly what you need. But he was pretty close. And many campaign promises he made (closing guantanamo, allowing stem cell research, middle class tax cuts, increase to the education budget, amongst many others) have already been made. This is the closest to a "what you see is what you get" president we've had in a long time. I think there are a lot of politicians who are like that on both sides on the aisle, but they don't get the recognition, because it's not a sexy news story.

We can blame polticians, but we can also blame voters who walk around like sheep, not getting involved with their poltics. Polticians haven't been held accountable because Americans never really demanded it.

April 8, 2009 at 6:32 PM

tL,

You are absolutely right. What you see is what you get with Obama as far as supporting that which he says he is going to do. However, please don't miss my point. I'm talking about your views on truth. I'm not going to disagree that Obama is truthful about his beliefs, but I do not agree with his beliefs. Obama clearly has a "the truth of today has evolved from the truth of yesterday" mentality as far as his policies are concerned.

This doesn't mean he flip flops, but it means that the truth that anchors my beliefs is not the same truth that anchors his. I believe he would say that his truths are new, they are hip with the times and since society has changed my truth is outdated.

Like I said, stay tuned, you'll see how what you believe in truth matters in terms of what you believe is right.

April 8, 2009 at 8:20 PM
The Law said...

No, I got ya 100%... it is interesting... Keith Olbermann had a segment on his show where he showed us an excerpt from a speech, he made to a high school 18 years ago... Obama has been saying the same message for a couple of decades now. He's the real deal bro... the politician that you seem to be looking for. He believed in the same principles back in the 80s when the social atmosphere was wholly different.

"I believe in a truth that transcends. The same truth that prompted the Founders to write, “We hold these truths to be self evident” in the declaration of independence. I agree with the Founders that there are certain truths that mold successful societies and are still molding them to this day. Whenever I look at a policy, I look for an underlying truth. I test the truth to see if it can be consistently applied. If it cannot, then I look for alternatives. In this way, truth is an anchor that helps us make fair and consistent decisions."

Actually, I think this phrase is the exact opposite meaning. The evolving truth is actually what makes this country so great. The truth is supposed to change with the times. And the genius of the declaration of independence and later the consitution, is our forefathers made it so the document can evolve with the times. It is the evolving truth that brought us from Plessy v. Ferguson to Brown vs. The Board of Education. It is the evolving truth that brought us from the 3/5ths rule to the Emancipation Proclaimation.

Obama knows this. And he knows it well. His speech "A More Perfect Union" is exactly about the evolving truth.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow."

The context is different, but idea is the same.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUgiveUdXXw

April 9, 2009 at 5:59 AM

tL,

Excellent response! I posted this because I wanted a frame of reference and to get people to understand where they are coming from.

I need to make a distinction. The Founders created a foundation that could deal with issues new and old. However, that foundation is rooted in truths that they believed goes back to the beginning of man and the human condition.

Interestingly, you mentioned two court cases where the Founders were quite clear in their Declaration of Independence "that all men are created equal." Those court cases were not a new framework, but the old one realized. You should read Lincoln. He was often citing the writing of the Founders as a basis for his belief that slavery should die.

However, I see no such link in Obama's writing. He does not anchor himself to the constitution or a philosophy, but an indoctrination based on I don't know what. I don't know where he's coming from. It's all psycho feel good babble to me. It sounds good, but what does it mean? If you do not mind me challenging you. What must we do tomorrow and why do you believe you are right about it? What is there that can convince me of your cause? What has changed in society that wasn't always in this world? Are murders different today that makes the death penalty outdated? Is the female body different today than in the past and now warrants abortion? Are poor people any different than the poor a century ago to merit redistribution of wealth? Are gun owners today less educated than the gun owner's of yesterday now meriting more restrictions?

In other words, I understand, know and believe the "truths" the Founders found "were self evident." Your truths? I don't know where they come from. It doesn't mean that I may not still concurr with your conclusions, but not your premises.

This post sets up truth as the important first step. In future posts I will lay out the particular truths that I believe transcend time and society.

April 9, 2009 at 8:01 AM

tL,

Here's another take. You say that truths evolve with society. Was Dred Scott then a truth in a time of slavery as you cite Brown v.Board of Education, or was the equality of man always truth? A truth that has existed since the origins of man? Or has equality just finally come about? I hold that equality has always been a truth and will always continue to be one. The truth has not evolved although society has.

Does this clear things up a bit?

April 9, 2009 at 8:09 AM
The Law said...

i accept you challenge! but i need a sec to think of the response lol. However, the turth has definitely evolved, because up until the Emancipation Proclaimation, all men were NOT created equal. And it still took some time after that for rights such as voting to recognized. Prior to the emancipation proclaimation, slaves were considered to be this man beast thing... half man, half mule... good enough to fight in a separate colored army, but not good enough to eat with at the dinner table... hell not even good enough for regular food (which is why the idea of chitlins (sp?) and ox tail and crap like that makes me a little... disturbed -- it is a throwback to times when we were treated like animals.

Progressive though relies on the evolving truth. As we learn more, and experience they ways of different people, your understanding of the world has to change. The problem with democrats of the past is they were all about change but lacked in a grounded principle... something republicans always had. Obama is different. His principle is fair play. As a renowned constituational scholar, I think his words are definitely more than feel good. I will stop here however, so I can properly phrase the resposne to your challenege =)

April 10, 2009 at 2:23 AM
The Law said...

Ok... I'm ready to deliver my super awesome earth shattering answer to your question:

"If you do not mind me challenging you. What must we do tomorrow and why do you believe you are right about it? What is there that can convince me of your cause? What has changed in society that wasn't always in this world? Are murders different today that makes the death penalty outdated? Is the female body different today than in the past and now warrants abortion? Are poor people any different than the poor a century ago to merit redistribution of wealth? Are gun owners today less educated than the gun owner's of yesterday now meriting more restrictions?

There is no such thing as the transcending truth. Truth is based upon the world view of a culture at a given time. As time marches forward, the pursuit of knowledge, an intimate understanding of how everything works, and our need to share what we have learned with others, shapes our perception of the truth. Thus, as a culture grows and evolves, what is true and what is not true must change. Accepting new information as the truth requires a certain level of intellectual sophistication (or outright willingness to follow mainstream thought like a lemming). History has shown that big change in philosophical, cultural, or intellectual thought was met very harshly, and passed off as “crazy talk.” In time however, if a new thought holds any water, others where pick up where the originator of the thought left off and share their similar finding to create a new line of mainstream thought, erasing the old truth, and creating a new one.

Until Galileo said the world was round, Europeans were thoroughly convinced it was flat. Similarly, he shook the world of Aristotelian thought when he suggested that it is density, not weight, that determined the properties of an object in freefall. At the time his work was ignored but as their understanding of the world evolved, the notion of what is truth evolved as well, and still stands as our current model in astronomy and physics.

Fast forwarding to today however, social issues do not have a transcending truth either. Rather than rolling off a bunch, I’ll address the specific examples you cited. The way people kill others hasn’t changed. However, our culture has evolved to a point where Hammurabi’s Code is not always the best punishment for a crime. Our evolve understanding of the world has allowed us to consider psycho therapy, rehabilitation, as a course for punishment instead of the taking of another life. The treatment and status of women in American has drastically improved.

We have evolved our thinking to not consider women as subordinates, but rather colleagues. Thus, when she is taken advantage of with rape, incest, sexual assault, or just plain unlucky (such as the case when contraceptives fail to work) she should not be burdened with the responsibilities and costs of motherhood or child birthing. And though it is up for debate, at which stage is an embryo is a real living thing is something that we are continuing to evaluate and find the truth the beginning of life. Our evolved understanding of socio-economic status, shows that there is clear evidence that the poor are caught in a feedback loop, and that the widening discrepancy between our top earners and our poorest creates a dangerous shift in the balance of power away from the people and the government, and instead to the people who control the flow of money. Thus, a strengthened middle class ensures that the ideals upon which our country was founded stays intact, and away from oligarchy.

Finally, we have evolved to understand that while there is still much use for guns, technology has forced us to reconsider how we create laws that promote and ensure the safety of others. When the second amendment was penned, there was no such thing as a handheld rifle that could fire 600 rounds per minute. In fact, the gatling gun of the colonial period was quite heavy and could only fire up to 1000 rounds per minute. It is difficult to imagine they considered only 150 years later there are handheld machine guns (M-60 for example) that rival its power. Most people recognize the need for guns for hunting, sport, and yes, self defense. However, rational thinking should suggest that there is no reason that anyone would need an assault rifle to do anything but assault others with it.

Still, I need to amend my opening statement, as I would be remiss to not mention the only thing that arguably could be considered as transcendent truth, the Bible. And therein lies the difference between progressives and conservatives. Today’s socio-political climate is only a manifestation of the timeless argument of progressivism vs. conservatism. Galileo vs. Aristotle, Obama vs. McCain, Democrats vs. Republicans, it is a different version of the same story. The story of one side whose believes are grounded in religion, and the other side that questions and challenges those beliefs. History has shown time and time again that progressive ideologies erodes the rigidness of religious belief, and in a way transforms that truth as well. It was only 50 years ago, when it was sinful to show a man and woman sleeping together in the same bed on TV. Now TV shows have full blown sex in them!

Does this mean that our moral fiber is eroding too? That progressivism is right and conservatism is wrong? No, and in fact, there is no right and wrong. The two ideologies are complementary. The boundaries of thought and expression (progressivism) are pushed to its limits. And once the limit is reached, conservatism comes back to restore balance to the cultural spectrum. We’ve seen the ebb and flow in recent times, from conservatism in the 40ss and 50s, to progressivism in the 60s and 70s, to conservatism in the 80s to mid 90s and currently in a progressive swing. However, conservative thought must, and does reconcile for the change in thought – the redefinition of truth. That is why a state like Iowa mock and ridicule homosexuality in the 80s, and pass measures to legalize gay marriage in 2009.

April 10, 2009 at 5:26 PM
The Law said...

my apologies for the typos btw... took a while to write and i was too lazy to proofread =)

April 10, 2009 at 5:30 PM

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