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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Presidential End Game

As I watch the playing out of this election, I find myself increasingly dismayed. One thing that I'm noticing is the very different outlook of the two major candidates. There are many policy points, but a general observation might be that one party champions individual efforts while the other wants to establish governmental monopolies that will produce *universal* solutions to groups of people to *make things more equal*.

Whenever people start talking about *groups* I get nervous, because it's very easy to lose the individual's autonomy within the group's well-being. For example, I am horrified at the vilification of *Joe the Plumber*. Doesn't the character assassination of this man seems like overkill for his simply asking an honest question? Is *Joe the Plumber's* individual reputation worth trading for whatever group benefit may supposedly result? The point is, ad hominem attacks don't change the fact that he asked a good question that applies to many many people.

I'd like to quote CS Lewis from "Man or Rabbit?" in his collection of essays, God in the Dock. He says:

"To the Materialist things like nations, classes, civilizations must be more important than individuals, because the individuals live only seventy odd years each and the group may last for centuries. But to the Christian, individuals are more important, for they live eternally; and races, civilizations and the like, are in comparison the creatures of a day."

No matter what your political views, I hope that you are in prayer for our country for this critical election. (2 Chronicles 7:14)


Alison Bryant said...

Well said, Amy. I have the same concerns. Thanks for exploring this part of the issue.

Philangelus said...

Starting on October 27th, many are engaging in Nine Days Of Prayer for the election's outcome. I may do that too. (Nine days being the time in Acts between Jesus's ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit.)

I love the point about how civilizations are built to last longer than individuals. It never occurred to me before, but I do see things the way Lewis does, that civilization is there to enable us to get into Heaven, not that we're around to perpetuate civilizations. It's an awesome insight!

Ivy said...

It's strange because both groups value the individual, but understand that differently.

One maintains the status quo. It doesn't matter if you've scored a triple or were born on third base, you've "achieved".

The other maintains possibility. It says that everyone should get the same chance at bat.

Amy Deardon said...

Hi Ivy -- The election of an African-American for president demonstrates that perhaps our country has healed the evils of slavery and Jim Crow politics forever. Every person, black or white, is the Lord's creation, infinitely valuable.

Responding to your comment -- I certainly agree with you that some people are born with more advantages and easier access to the benefits of our society. It's morally essential to remove these handicaps whenever possible, although it's critical not to lower the standards -- educate and support the person to the point where he or she MEETS the standards! (individual, not group, approach. And yes, I've done this myself.) The *achievers* I know aren't simply handed a big salary on a platter -- they work their tails off.