Liberalism

A liberal is someone who agrees with and votes in support for the political philosophy, and by extension type of government that will represent their favored view. Liberalism has a spectrum of definitions that help break down the many approaches of thought towards governance seen throughout history that regulates the activities, mainly economic, of the people.[1] Liberty is the result of interaction between the government and the individual to whatever degree is allowed by the temporary representation the people put into power. Liberty in the religious context is the spiritual and moral outcome that constitutes Christianity.

Characteristics

Within the 21st century political landscape of the United States for example, the Republican party to some extent embraces classic liberalism or what can be called conservatism, while the Democrat political party tends to support a new, more progressive liberalism.

Classic Liberal

Classic liberalism or traditionally liberalism as it was originally conceptualized during the 18th, 19th and early 20th century, is the economic philosophy recognizing a political economy needs to be rooted within the honored principles of private property, land or soil, and an individual. A democratic government under classic liberalism goes so far as to suggest that land ownership by individuals or what can be called private property accumulation ensures both a limited government and a fomenting of individual liberty. The idea being that a free market can be attained by defining wealth through making it equal to the labor put into the production or refinement of the resources the land, or private property provides an individual. Classic liberalism is similar to free market capitalism in that a type of economic power is maintained for individuals to counter that of the federal government. Classical liberalism as well as capitalism reject the redistribution of wealth as a legitimate tenet of government.

As 20th century politics within the United States maintained a Keynesian model of economics, at first a supporter of Keynes, Milton Friedman starting in the 1950’s largely lead a revitalization of classic liberalism as a viable political and/or economic philosophy. A reinterpretation of the Keynesian consumption function model, a mathematical formula to express consumer spending, grew into an economic theory of monetarism that included far-reaching assumptions recognizing a constant rate of unemployment and concluding that the federal government should not micromanage the economy. Essentially a carefully crafted monetary policy which recognized constant realities, as was argued by Friedman, could have prevented the Great Depression rather then prolonged it as the Keynesian model of large-scale deficit spending which inevitably leads to increased federal government involvement did.[2][3][4]

New Liberal

During the 20th century in opposition to classic liberalism an intellectual critique emerged based upon John Maynard Keynes (born in 1883) (Keynesian) economic view, arguing for increased international and national economic intervention.[5] A British economist Keynes rose to fame during the end of the Great War (World War I) through critiquing reparation payments imposed by the Allied Forces against Germany. Even more so critical was Keynes of the Council of Four that consisted of Georges Benjamin Clemenceau of France, Lloyd George of Britain and Woodrow Wilson of the United States and a minor member of Vittorio Orlando of Italy. Keynes determined that the cost was to great for Germany and it would remain politically unstable as a direct result. Later in his career John Maynard Keynes, at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference he was the main architect behind the formulation of the International Monetary Fund.[6]

The IMF is still in existence today becoming so universal in fact that all Western governments, indeed almost all of the world has adopted this globalist view of controlling national economies by internationally fixed exchange rates, and by merging all borrowing and lending by nations into very few international institutions that interject stability after crisis.[7] This limits freedom of the federal government of a specific nation, when a member of the IMF and thus the world community, to embrace free market individuality of business policies isolated from overbearing external pressures. New liberalism, or a Keynesian model of economics within domestic politics, started reshaping laws of national governments during the opening decades of the 20th century. In accordance to international bureaucratic will Keynesian economics remains an overwhelming intellectual view of governance. Keynesian economics with an international adoption was furthered in the light of The Great Depression of the United States and the New Deal. The New Deal was the federal response to what it deemed a crisis, although its scope and application became unconstitutional and ultimately thuggish. The unprecedented federal involvement was seen by the international intellectual elite as proof that capitalism was broke. The international community thought capitalism was weak and in need of governmental involvement, proving the socialist model of Europe that was brewing. Not only did the New Deal determine a new outlook or argument against capitalism defended ever since with great fervor, but it encouraged an intellectual culture that celebrates overreaching at the federal level by way of Keynesian economics.[8]

Toward the end of the opening decade of the 21st century a resurgence of Keynesian economics in the U.S. is seen by dramatic government activism increasing reach deeper into all aspects of the economy. This is accomplished by spending rather then spending cuts and tax increases rather then reduction on individuals and corporations.[9] The Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2010 is the catalyst to further spending by the federal government and thus inherently incorporate the Keynesian model within U.S. domestic policy.[10] Elected politicians of the Congress of the U.S. voted to pass trillion-dollar stimulus packages and other highly expensive pieces of legislation to help the economy.[11][12][13][14] Large sums of money were also given to the Keynesian designed IMF for foreign development in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis in which the European Union member Greece was uniquely hit. Greece could not withstand the additional impact of the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) and brought to the surface substantial debt burdens urgently showing need for an economic bailout from the world.[15][16][17]

Progressive Liberal

Generally someone who supports a progressive or essentially social approach towards the economics of new liberalism. Progressive reform policies are presented within the U.S. Presidential administrations of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson considered a leading intellectual of the progressive movement[18], Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Progressive liberalism applied nationally through domestic federal government activism is considered the only way of amelioration for social inequalities. Progressive liberalism has also been called “revisionist,” “modern liberalism,” or a, “welfare state mentality” and is seen as the force behind the implementation of “social justice.”[19]

Contemporary progressive arguments are also found in the gambit of controversial issues. A type of interpretation is used by judges said to be judicial activists by its stance counter to that of an originalist perspective toward the Constitution. Progressive liberals attempt to empower the national government by international integration, neglecting sovereignty, heavy domestic corporate and individual taxation supporting social trends such as abortion, gay marriage and generally the legalization of (again through taxing) marijuana.

Liberal Christian Theology

Liberal Christianity, liberal Christian theology or just liberal theology are the terms used to articulate and define assumptions of eisegesis that have been historically inherited by celebrating mans reason alone as the sole source of legitimacy and authority when reading ancient, historical documents such as the Bible. Embraced during The Age of Enlightenment (18th and 19th century), a time when the superior view of mans reason encroached into everyday life welcomed with broad adoption of its philosophical principles lifting man up to a point which he was ultimate. Inevitably introduced into all realms of life including religious, enlightenment radically changed cultural, social and political milieus that ran counter to the reason of man. Thus governments adopted a secular mindset that pushes further into religious institutions and faith based organizations founded within the age of modernity.

An upheaval of mans approach toward Christianity and religion in general was underway. Liberal theology altered appreciation of the Word of God which allowed the text to speak for itself through a scientific methodology, to one that dictates mans reasoned philosophies into it, thus contradicting the Biblical text through eisegesis casting a shadow over its claims. Liberal theology in modernity philosophically follows that what cannot be explicitly proven by completely naturalistic processes through a Darwinian evolutionary model cannot be interpreted as the immediate context of the Bible demands. The result is a type of postmodern application of a literal interpretative method, used to bring unnecessary internal and external criticisms upon many elements of the Bible.

Liberal theology practices an entirely different set of philosophical axioms to inform its religious movement, and thus attempts to reinterpret established foundations of Christianity. Foundations which during the late 20th and 21st centuries have generally been referred to as conservative Christianity because of the reliance on historically developed and inherited disciplines of Biblical exegesis and theology.

Progressive Christianity

Those who differ from conservative Christians, often find their theology differing as well and by application their politics in accordance with the progressive social liberation agenda and thus are sometimes referred to as progressive Christians. The liberal theological foundation seems to consistently run counter to a critical exegesis. Progressive Christianity and its inherent political nature produce a commitment to socio-political change that is suppose to produce economic liberation for the poor, which is Biblical. But the overwhelming secular appeal is not, based on stances questioning traditional theological foundations and political institutions.[20][21]

Nation of Islam

The Nation of Islam founded in 1930’s Detroit, Michigan by W. D. Fard Muhammad (1877-1934) precedes contemporary black liberation theology and maintains a more explicit form within the many declarations of W. D. Fard Muhammad and his first disciple Elijah Muhammad (1897 to 1975). It is related to Christianity and Islam because the NOI teaches that W. D. Fard Muhammad is both the Messiah of Christianity and the Mahdi of Islam. It is based around white oppression with a deeply woven eisegesis reading into the Bible unique NOI history and teachings that Louis Farakahn (current leader of NOI) uses in an attempt to validate the black race and determine theologically, by way of the Bible, the importance of the African struggle with slavery.[22]

Black Liberation Theology

A controversial alternative theology created amidst the 1960s civil-rights activism. Black liberation theology is a particular way to interpret the Bible, specifically the Gospels, into a focus on the mistreated, poor and down-trodden of the world in general, but the United States society in particular. It became synonymous with the Africans historical focus on European slavery.

Essentially a postmodern (enlightened-literal eisegesis) interpretation that derives a social-religious doctrine, embracing a type of collective salvation black liberation theology is determined upon the whole of society to lift the poor out of poverty into wealth. An Afro-centric re-orientation of the Gospels from the so-called white perspective recognizes and illuminates the uniquely oppressed black community by reading in their particular struggle. Black liberation even goes so far as to portray Jesus, “… as a brown-skinned revolutionary.” The characteristics of Christ highlighted when following black liberation theology is not salvation of mankind through faith in His life, death and resurrection but rather His determined acts of helping eradicate poverty in society. This particular reading of Scripture found common ground and appealed to the black community, effectively Cone deemed this approach toward eisegesis as especially prescient because he saw whites being economically oppressive towards blacks.[23]

Black liberation theology was summed up in A Black Theology of Liberation By James H. Cone published in 1970.[24][25] James Cone within the book points to the central Biblical foundation for his liberation theology, and thus by his particular eisegesis black liberation theology. It is from verses 17-20 of Luke chapter 4 that Cone determined Jesus work was essentially liberation, which is true, but the unique eisegesis interpreting the Bible as foreshadowing African history with slavery is very misleading.

17And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 18″THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, 19TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.” 20And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Luke 4:17-20

References

  1. “liberalism.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010. Merriam-Webster Online. 11 July 2010 <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberalism>
  2. Capitalism and freedom By Milton Friedman, Rose D. Friedman
  3. Milton Friedman By Wikipedia
  4. TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism Milton Friedman interviewed By Peter Robinson for Uncommon Knowledge. February 10, 1999.
  5. Wikipedia:John Maynard Keynes By Wikipedia
  6. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money By John Maynard Keynes. Page xv.
  7. Greek Debt Crisis Won’t Spread Through Europe, Officials Say By Christian Vits and Rainer Buergin ; April 26, 2010
  8. The Great Depression with Amity Shlaes Amity Shlaes interviewed by Peter M. Robinson
  9. Obama’s Desperate Search for Effective Stimulus Published on September 8, 2010 by J.D. Foster, Ph.D.
  10. Keynes vs. Hayek = Obama vs. Merkel? By The Foundry. Posted June 25th, 2010
  11. 2008-2009 Keynesian resurgence By Wikipedia
  12. The Do’s and Don’ts of an Economic Stimulus Posted January 18th, 2008
  13. Scandal: Less than 7% of Trillion-Dollar ‘Stimulus’ Spent on Infrastructure By Connie Hair. 09/08/2010
  14. Implementing Obamacare: A New Exercise in Old-Fashioned Central Planning Published on September 10, 2010 by John S. Hoff
  15. China to buy Greece: Why I am suddenly less comfortable? Posted by Clyde Middleton on Oct 4 2010
  16. Presto: Another $750 BillionWall Street Journal. April 14, 2009
  17. Who’s on the Hook for the IMF’s Greek Bailout?Wall Street Journal. May 10, 2010.
  18. Wikipedia:Woodrow Wilson By Wikipedia
  19. Wikipedia:History of liberalism By Wikipedia
  20. Grassroots Progressive Christianity A Quiet Revolution By By Hal Taussig
  21. Progressive Christianity By Wikipedia
  22. Nation of Islam Study Guide 21
  23. Toward a Black Theology Ebony magazine. By Dr. James H. Cone. pg. 113
  24. Black Liberation Theology, in its Founder’s Words Rev. James Cone interviewed by Terry Gross for NPR. March 31, 2008
  25. A Black Theology of Liberation Book Reviews
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: