Los Angeles Times writer accuses Bachmann of following a bizarre cult—Christian conservatism
Michele Bachmann has some strange ideas on the Renaissance—very troubling.
Calm down. The article, which is a leftist hit piece (and is based on an article at The New Yorker), says that Bachmann is influenced by the Protestant philosopher and theologian Francis Schaeffer. The article is all about Schaeffer, not Bachmann, but in the classic manner of such hit pieces, it attributes everything Schaeffer ever said to Bachmann, presenting all his ideas as her ideas.
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Also, as much as I’ve read of Schaeffer, he is a sound thinker.
Many years ago, a reader told me he thought I was influenced by Schaeffer because all my ideas were like his. In fact I had never heard of him, let alone read him. I read some of Schaeffer at that point (not a lot, because I find his writing style clunky and hard to take), and his view of things, particularly on how people’s ideas of truth and God are expressed culturally, is very similar to mine.
So, if you think Bachmann is unacceptable because her ideas are similar to Schaeffer’s, you should think that I am unacceptable. I, like Schaeffer, say that man’s self is not the highest reality, but that man needs to follow a truth higher than his self, which is God. Not only is modern liberalism based on the rejection of any truth higher than man, i.e., God, but—as with the present article—it sees people who seriously believe in God as bizarre crazies who have no place in liberal-secularist America.
Liberal-secularism, asserting that man’s self and desires are the highest reality, culminates in the modern Provider State, in which everyone’s merely human desires and needs (that’s a favorite phrase of the liberal secularists, “the merely human”) must be satisfied by the State, which is itself the political expression of unguided, unconstrained human power. The ultimate outcome of this philosophy can be seen in today’s Britain, where the entitled and comfortable products of the Provider State rise up in joyous destruction, and the Provider State gives them free rein for four nights to trash the capital city.
As for Schaeffer’s view of the Renaissance, welcome to conservatism, Jim. The Renaissance, while it began within Christianity, increasingly developed the idea of human reason and human will as divorced from divine truth, and thus it can be reasonably seen as the ultimate source of today’s anti-God liberalism. This doesn’t necessarily mean rejecting the artistic works of the Renaissance, as the crude hit piece you sent me says, but it does mean that the Renaissance contained ultimately destructive ideas which must be looked at askance and resisted. The article portrays this as some whacked out notion. In fact it is basic to any intellectually serious cultural conservatism. For that matter, the Protestant Reformation itself was largely a reaction against the secularizing influences of the Renaissance. Maybe you find all Protestants “troubling,” and would exclude them from power. But that would mean erasing America as it’s existed for the last 400 years.
Paul Mulshine writes:
I get comments from these semi-literates such as the L.A. Times blogger all the time. What could the phrase “elitist sneers of a good person” possibly mean? A sneer isn’t “of” anything.
And I love to point out to such dolts that conservatism is by nature an elitist philosophy. That applies to both Burkean conservatism, which recognizes natural elites, and libertarian conservatism, which recognizes that elites will arise in any situation free of governmental manipulation. It’s the liberals who believe in egalitarianism. Ah for the good old days of William Jennings Bryan when such vermin identified as Democrats!
True and funny, except that I wouldn’t call Brian vermin, not by any stretch of the imagination. He was a great man, though wrong in his egalitarianism and his naivity about foreign policy.
Paul Mulshine replies:
I meant his followers, not him. That was the term Mencken always used. As for elitism, the funny thing is of course that an elite movement is unlikely by definition to win an election. Therefore the Republicans must recruit such simpletons as Palin and her supporters who automatically assume that any and all criticism of her comes from the left. But that’s the party’s problem, not yours and mine.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 12, 2011 10:45 AM | Send