Advanced Worldview Analysis - Lesson 3

Political Positions

Political systems fall along a continuum between the extremes of anarchism and totalitarianism.

Ronald Nash
Advanced Worldview Analysis
Lesson 3
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Political Positions

Political Philosophy and the Christian Worldview

Part 2

Political Positions from Anarchism to Totalitarianism

                  Anti-statism (Minimal State)                                          Statism (Maximal State)
Extreme (0)                                                                  Moderate                                                                        Extreme (100)
Anarchism            Libertarianism                  Fusionism                                                                           Totalitarianism
Rothbard                  Rockwell                         Meyer, Reagan                 South Korea                                  North Korea
                                                                             Republicans                      Democrats                    
                                                                         Founding Fathers

  • Discussion of the content of a worldview and the criteria used to evaluate worldviews.

  • Discussion of liberalism and conservatism, and statism and anti-statism.

  • Political systems fall along a continuum between the extremes of anarchism and totalitarianism.

  • People favoring statism support extensive government involvement in education and social programs.

  • From a biblical point of view, statism is evil.

  • Discussion of justice on an individual and corporate level.

  • An economy based on capitalism has much less government involvement than an economy based on socialism.

  • Interventionism is a capitalistic economic system in which government gets involved to allow free exchange within a framework of laws.

  • Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of capitalism.

  • Two basic concepts of economics are limited resources and the choices we make that reflect our values.

  • Marxism is an economic system based on the idea of a class struggle with the goal of a classless society.

  • Article from The Free Market

  • The Bible and Socialism, Moral Defense of Capitalism

  • We are responsible to be a good steward of the wealth God gives us to manage.

  • Some of the root causes of poverty are government, social and religious systems.

  • Liberation theology is an ideology promoted by people trained in Marxism. True liberation theology delivers people from tyranny, poverty and sin.

  • Christians ought to care about poverty and oppression. People who hold differing economic and social theories propose very different approaches and solutions to these problems.

  • Discussion of the differences between evangelical liberals and conservatives.

  • Guest Lecturer, Alejandro Moreno-Morrison discussing the inflation of rights.

  • Guest Lecturer, Alejandro Moreno-Morrison discusses legal positivism.

  • A balanced approach toward environmentalism is needed because it can be a serious threat to individual liberty.

  • Discussion of how people work in a capitalistic system to address environmental concerns.

  • The public school system in the United States has fostered functional illiteracy, cultural illiteracy, and moral/spiritual illiteracy.

  • Discussion of the pros and cons of setting up a voucher system to fund the education system.

In this class, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of advanced worldview analysis, starting with an introduction to the concept of a worldview and its importance. You will explore the various components that make up a worldview, including epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and anthropology. The course delves into analyzing different worldviews such as theism, deism, naturalism, nihilism, and existentialism. Finally, you will learn about the role of the church and individual believers in engaging with culture and responding to worldview challenges, as well as strategies for effective communication of your own worldview.

Dr. Ronald Nash
Advanced Worldview Analysis
Political Positions
Lesson Transcript


But now what I want to do is to take my little continuum here and that is where our line is incidentally. The line between zero and one hundred is a continuum. Now that means it is a graded scale. As a graded scale, it is something very much like a bathroom scale. It is very much like a speedometer in an automobile. It tells you where approximately we can be somewhere between zero and a hundred. Now, over here I am going to write the word, this is on the right of our chart. We are going to call the whole right side of our continuum statism. And we are going to say that this dividing line, somewhere in the middle, separates anti-statism from statism. But now we are going to add one additional qualification. We are going to distinguish between extreme statism and moderate statism. Surely North Korea is a far more statist political entity than South Korea. And a lot of people in South Korea are unhappy with certain elements of their government but they cannot deny that it is far more moderate whatever it is, than North Korea. Likewise over here, we can distinguish between a moderate anti-statism and an extreme version of anti statism. Now right about here, which would be close to the middle, what I call moderate anti-statism you are going to have very sensible, intelligent, moderate people who recognize that too much government is bad. But as you go more and more towards the zero you are going to find more fanatical people, you notice my adjectives, how non-pejorative they are. You are going to find more and more people who think by the time you get finished here that all government is evil, and then you get degrees of difference in between. Now let’s play that out. Is there a name that describes the most extreme form of anti-statism which in fact teaches that all government is bad. Sure there is and we call that position anarchism. Now let me warn you about anarchism. The popular picture of an anarchist is a person who never cuts his hair, never takes a bath, grows his beard and always has hand grenades in all of his pockets. They kill people. Well, they are anarchist who can be describe like that, but seems to me that I used to have some friends who are anarchists. Well he wasn't a friend of mine but I will give you his name. I can do that his name was Murray Rothbard. Then over here, if we keep, now we've just been to the extreme far left of anti-statism. But if we move to a more moderate form of anti-statism and anarchism we come to a view called libertarianism. Now here is where the continuum really helps. There are degrees of anti-statism. Hence you have a continuum. There are degrees of statism. Hence you have a continuum. And there are degrees of libertarianism. Hence the continuum. Now these people think you ought to be free to do anything to your body that you want. There is only one thing wrong in the fanatical libertarian, and that is using coercion against other people. And why it is wrong because it violates the freedom of another sovereign individual. But you need to understand that there are some sensible libertarians who recognize that individual liberty cannot be divorced from moral law and if you go to the most reasonable group of those people and I can give you the name of one of them, Lew Rockwell. He calls himself a Christian Libertarian. People like Lew Rockwell, he runs the Von Mises Institute, which is in Auburn, Alabama. And before he died Murray Rothbard was connected with Lew Rockwell. Rockwell thinks that these people over here are just real, real weird people who ought to be avoided, freely, voluntarily of course. Christian libertarians are people who believe in the importance of the individual person, but who are not anarchists. They recognize that government is necessary. And I remember that before he died, Murray Rothbard who was this anarchist put ads in a number of nationwide newspapers saying that he was going to vote for George W. Bush's father back in 1990s because he knew that a statist like Bill Clinton was bad news for anybody who is a libertarian. Now when you continue in this direction, well lets come back to that. Let's leave that as a surprise. None of you have any idea what name I am going to write in here under moderate anti-statism. Let's go all the way over here to the most extreme form of statism. We have a name for that. We called that totalitarianism that is where the state is everything and the individual person and his society are nothing. And we know the nation states that fit that definition- North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Communist China, Cuba. Totalitarianism. Alright, then you have degrees. Now what we want to do is focus on the political situation in the United States of America. Moderate statism. I'm going to give you a name. Democrats. Am I wrong? is this not a, notice I don't say the, is this not a major dividing line between the Democrat's paradigm. Over here we could write some Republicans because there are a lot of Republicans who are over here on the statist side. You want some names? Jim Jeffords, the former Republican Senator from Vermont. He is now an independent but his heart was always here. And in fact, Jim Jeffords would not just be here. Jim Jeffords would be way over here. Now, let's take, and I'm not speaking pejoratively here. Correct me if I am wrong. There are degrees of statist sentiment among Democrats. Now a few years ago you would have found Ted Kennedy way over here and Ted Kennedy still is way over here on many issues. You could pick most of the Democrats and the House of Representatives, most of them are way over here and the reason why most of them are way over here is because those Democrats and the House who weren't over here have become Republicans. The major revolution happened in our political parties between 1970 and the present so that a lot of people who were elected as Democrats in the 60s and the 70s realized that they could no longer support the growing statist tendency of the Democratic Party. Now let's talk a little bit about Republicans. They are over the map. Ronald Reagan would be a moderate anti-statist. If you don't understand Ronald Reagan's convictions you don't understand what moderate anti-statism would be. William F. Buckley Jr. Over here. Let's think of some more. Here is a good one. The difference between George Bush the father, and George W. Bush the son. W is over here. The father would be over here, somewhere in never neverland. Remember, read my lips. No new taxes. Well, the father made his choice. He was snuckerd????? into him. W is over here. Now, you want to know something? This position right here, and notice there are degrees, probably I would once again be the consummate centrist here. I love the middle. Over here. These are the same people that Frank Meyer called Fusionists. That's what moderate anti-statism is. It is an attempt to seek the proper balance between individual liberty and social order short of statism. Now, I want you to get your excerpts from Social Justice and the Christian Church, because now we are going to find out where the America founding fathers fit in this. And I don't know whether you can stand the truth of this or not. Yes, you can. And if you want to shout, "Glory!", if you want to raise your hands or something else, I won't stop you, because this is exciting stuff.

The bottom of page 17 where I have a litte thing of my model there. This is the last paragraph on page 17. And if you want to object, raise your hand. And then we will all turn around and look at you. The more extreme statism becomes, the more it approximates the evils of totalitarianism. How can anybody in his right mind disagree with that? Oh, I got to be more objective here. Radical statists, that's these people who are way over here, radical statists tend to view the state as an end in itself, rather than as a means to achieving the ends of individual human beings. And if you don't recognize the truth of that, and what's going on right now in the US Congress, keep listening, frequently extreme statists hypothesize, I'll explain that in a moment, what is nothing more than a set of relationships among many individual human beings into an existing organism that has its own life, it's own moral duties, and its own rights. Some radical statists like Hegel, the German philosopher, went so far as to deify the state in its fascist form and notice one nice thing here, there is no difference between fascism and communism. They are totalitarian. In its fascist form, statism asserts that the individual is nothing while the state is everything. While Karl Marx may have longed for an eventual non statist socialism, the Marxist nations of today claim to a totalitarian state socialism that is every bit as destructive of individual liberty as the statism of the fascists.

I now want to talk about the founding fathers. We got to go back to page 13. One can hardly be a conservative without something to conserve or to defend. For the contemporary American conservative that which he seeks to conserve is nothing less than the system of government that is the legacy of the American founding fathers. That is how we get from fusionism to conservatism. What are we in the business of conserving? The form of government given to us by the founding fathers. Inherent in that system and articulated in such words as the Federalist Papers, our convictions about man and society that the conservatives believe constitute the foundations of his own political theory. For example, conservatives believe that one of their fundamental differences with liberalism is their opposition to what they see as a pervasive streak of utopianism in liberal social thought. Conservatives think that liberals consistently overestimated mankind's propensity for good and thus became infatuated with the basic error of utopianism, namely the perfect ability of man and the possibility of a perfect society. Have you been paying any attention to what American liberals have been saying about the people down at the Guantanamo Bay? Or about the American ttt????? Just a good kid who went astray. Give him a few trips to Dairy Queen and he'll be right back to where he was.

Now, last paragraph on page 14. It was because the framers of the Constitution believed that human nature could not be trusted that they created a complicated and cumbersome system of government in which the various checks and balances serve to make the attainment of absolute power by any 1 man or group of man extremely difficult. You know, that used to be in high school Civics 101. That's what that used to be before the radicals took over. We have a complicated form of government o make it difficult for any group of people to take it over and change it overnight. Beautiful idea. Notice these quotes. John Adams, 2nd President. You ought to read this new biography about John Adams. He says, "To expect self denial from men, when they have a majority in their favor and consequently power to gratify themselves is to disbelief all history and universal experience. It is to disbelief revelation and the Word of God which informs us the heart is deceitful in all things and desperately wicked". I don't know about you. But that put John Adams over here. Now, let's keep reading. Who else comes along here. Oh, we still have more from John Adams. John Adams answered, How then given this more Biblical realistic, this is a Biblical realistic view of human nature? Human beings are sinners. The heart is deceitful of all things. Where does this continuum stuff fit the Biblical view of human nature? What you do have over here is a whole dose of utopianism that human beings are not responsible, they'll get better if we only educate them. Adam's answer was a series of checks and balances, how can a free and orderly republic be maintained. Quote. This is from John Adams. "The essence of a free government consists in an effectual control of rivalries. Don't trust human nature. Unchecked government is t be rejected regardless of whether it is government of a King, an aristocracy, or an unrestrained majority. You know it just struck me. This is wonderful that we are saying this on President's Day. Even though we've had Presidents who don't believe this stuff. Even though government is necessary to control human passions and selfishness, government can itself become a menace should it grow to strong. You know what that sounds like? That sounds like moderate anti-statism.

Now James Madison, also a former President. Remember his wife Dolley? Here is a quote from James Madison, Federalist Paper 51. It may be a reflection on human nature that such devices as checks and balances should be necessary to control the abuses of government. What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature. If men were angels no government would be necessary. If angers were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. But of course men are not angels. And since a government must be established it must be a government which cannot abuse its authority. In Madison's words, you must first enable the government to control the governed and in the next place oblige it to control itself. 19th century liberals like John Stuart Mill, he was a classical liberal. He is a Hedonist. They believed that government should be limited because men are essentially good. That's the liberal blunder. American conservatives believe that government should be limited because men are evil. The conservative individual is disconcern ??? to find a political system in which bad men can do the least amount of harm. Now, I'm about to make a claim that only very few people know about. My claim is this. The classical liberalism and the classical conservatism that I described came decades after the founding fathers. 1820, 1850. Frank Meyer's recognition of fusionism coming around as an integration of classical liberalism and classical conservatism, that's something that Frank Meyer began to preach in the 1950s. But if what I'm telling you is the truth, and it is, the American founding fathers were the guys who first caught the vision of fusionism. The American conservative movement of the 1950s, 60s, 70s didn't start then, it started here. In the 1780s. In the Federalist Papers. These guys, Adams, Monroe, they deserve to be regarded as the greatest political thinkers in the modern world. Because they saw something that was then lost for 150 years. But what they saw became incarnated in the US Constitution. And it makes it even more frightening to recognize how people in this statist territory are doing their best to alter that Constitution.