Now, what we call left has basically two elements -- social and economic.
Social liberalism is the really really dangerous part, especially when it works its way into the law. As a conservative, what I mean is I am socially conservative. I believe that the locus of the our cultural wars is essentially based in thought and behavior. Everything flows from that. The better people we are, the less government we need.
When it comes to the left -- saying everything left of center, you move from sane, logical folks to insane totalitarians. From probably slightly right of center to well left of center is simply the aspects of the Gospel that refer to being stewards of the earth and meeting the needs of the poor. However, however, however, they differ on means. The further left you go, you encounter two things:
1. A stronger and stronger belief that government can meet the needs of the poor.
2. An increasing sense of human-defined justice -- one that often manifests itself in an attack on reason and institutions as inherently racist, sexist, classist, etc. -- and one that becomes more and more willing to use political power to achieve its ends.
The more you believe government is the answer, and the more you believe humans create the morality of justice and are justified in using governmental power to meet that idea of justice, the further left you are. At a certain point, you are sitting firmly in Satan's lap.
Because as liberals go further and further left, they pervert the idea of justice and abandon restraints on the use of governmental power. The way their politics play out, both socially and economically, is that they undermine the social and economic values that allow our individuals and communities to govern themselves while at the same time offering bigger and bigger government solutions to these problems.
And at the same time -- and this part I don't understand -- is they seem extremely resistant to criticism and absolutely loathe conservatives. Those two parts never made sense to me, though I suppose if you believe that the only thing standing in the way of a more just world are conservatives, it can make some sense. In other words, we conservatives, from the liberal POV, need to shut up and get out of the way of progress.
Now, I say this as a person, a man, an American and feeling downright non-partisan at the moment -- I believed in liberalism, and I kept seeing unintended consequences of liberal programs, and a knee-jerk response to criticism as a sign that there was something wrong with me.
I can recall, for example, criticizing the massive housing projects in the inner cities. It brought a knee-jerk response of "racist." And I was a liberal! Once I explained that I thought that the concentration of people in small areas made it difficult for parents to supervise their children and provide communities and security, and that I thought we needed to build smaller communities of low and mid-income housing closer to the earth, then it was like, "Oh, I see." As if I was suddenly a subversive, but had saved myself by explaining myself. I got very tired of doing this, btw. Now I say it's pretty friggin' obvious that Cabrini Green was a bad idea. Liberals eventually got the message, but not without attacking a lot of people along the way for criticizing their pretty programs.
Even now, to make this about me since it's my blog, I agree with the general principles of liberalism: that we should meet the needs of the poor. But I radically differ on the means -- and I think liberals should get no credit for good intentions, not with the human wreckage of their policies in front of them for 40 years.
How do we meet the serious needs of the poor? How do we create a more just society? These are questions that both conservatives and liberals ask. Liberals refuse to connect their destructive social agenda with economic ruin.
The answers are difficult. I reject many of my friends to the right's answer of "too bad." But I do know that my friends on the right usually have a fairly accurate vision of human nature, and will leave me alone. Progressive liberals will never leave us alone, and their view of human nature tends to be flawed.
You want no-fault divorce, abortion-on-demand, mass distribution of pornography, and a sexual revolution?
Great idea. But if you know human nature, what you'll get in a generation or two three is Game, a reversion to evolutionary psychology, unencumbered by Christian social morality, in the affairs between the sexes. The result is distrust and unhappiness, but worse, economic ruin.
If I sound pessimistic, it's because I am. I believe that the problems in our families is a cancer that is destroying our society from within, and without a return not only to faith, but to acting on that faith as well, no amount of governmental effort will matter.
A government cannot fix a culture. And our culture has been under a sustained, horrific attack. To the point where most liberals would agree.