Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cultural Wars and "Winning the Game"

Yesterday, I heard an interview with Jim Leach on NPR. He is heading up a "humanities" project that wants to educate Amerians on philosophy, history of the U.S., politics, and there may be some other issues that I don't remember. His intent is to bring about a more "peaceful" solution to the present culture wars.

War occurs when there are two opposing views that "collide". Both think they need to "win the game". Both think they are justified and "right". And to win the game, it is believed that it is important to "stay the course" at all costs! But, is this cause worth it? I'm afraid American culture lends itself to the "ideal" of winning at all costs, without considering the ultimate costs to our civil discourse in the public square. We all need to learn to express our views with passion, but without personal attack, understanding that the very expression of political views were won by our Founders garuanteeing that America "wins" when "both sides", win. It is a balancing of power, when we have a "tug of war".

America's culture wars are about political goals, who will win at policy-making, and who will have to live their lives accordingly. These are issues that cannot co-exist peacefully because of their immense diversity and the impact that the "other side" thinks will transpire because of it.

It is unfortunately the case that for the most part, we are a two party system. The nuances of political philosphy are not important to "discover", as muh as maintaining the course of whichever agenda has been appealing. This is why I think that Congressman Leach has a noble purpose.

The conservative side, which believes in free markets and pro-life, have gone so far as to re-create scripture to further and sanction their political views. The political left, on the other hand, believes that the social concern and moral duty of Americans goes beyond their "own doorstep", so to speak. These two views have a vastly different politial philosophy, which certainly cannot co-exist, if one believes that "God" is on "your side". "Winning the game" because all important then, because of the feared consequences of the cultural impact at "home" and the world at large.

These views could be discussed more civilly, if one did not mix "god" into the "pot". But, holiness causes are prone to justify any means in the attempt to defend "God's honor", or "God's purposes", while the left would be more prone to defend the "greater good" for the "world". But, do we really know what the 'greater good" is for the world, really? Both sides sound presumptuous and arrogant, in their own way, whether about understanding "god", or about man having an omniscient and ominpresent view.

Jim Leach was a Republican Congressman from Iowa, so, I would imagine he has some "insight" into the conservative viewpoint. And beause he has been in politics, he understands the left. I wish him well on his journey, as the nation needs this type of "calming" influence.

And Americans need to understand their neighbor, as well as understanding their right to speak.

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