Last week—before I ran out of room—I told of how Boise's daily newspaper reprinted a portion of an Idaho Values Alliance blog dropping which used a Boise Weekly article as the stimulus for Bryan Fischer's explanation for what the fundamental difference is between conservatives and liberals. I hope like hell you read it because I have neither the time nor patience to write the whole thing over again. Besides, if I did, I would run out of room again and both you and I would have to wait for next week's Part III for me to get said what I set out to say when I started this. And I don't want to do a Part III. I didn't even really want to do a Part II. In fact, as the topic addressed herein concerns something Bryan Fischer wrote, it gave me the creeps even to do Part I. I don't know what it is about Fischer, but everything he does gives me the creeps. Maybe it's because I regard him and those like him as scavengers, feeding off the gangrenous tissue festering around the wounds the culture wars have inflicted on our nation. Yuck!
But anyway, let's get this over with.
I'll start by repeating Fischer's statement: "A conservative worldview [sic] believes that a culture's strength lies in its willingness to acknowledge God as the source of our civil rights and our liberties.
"A liberal worldview, on the other hand, looks to government as the solution for virtually everything."
Now, there's more than one way to gnaw on this bone. We could dwell on the irony that, if conservatives are as averse to government meddling as Mr. Fischer would have us believe—that if they truly put their faith in God rather than government—then why don't they trust in God to end abortion and homosexuality when He sees fit, instead of always trying to bloat the Constitution with their cattle-prod amendments?
Or ... I'm sure I could have filled a column by likening conservative disdain of government solutions to the old joke about the man who drowned in a flood because he would only put himself in the hands of God and not the emergency personnel who tried rescue him. Heard it? (The punch line is God at the Pearly Gates telling the deceased, "What d'ya' want? I sent you two boats and a helicopter!")
Or ... I could expand upon the point I ended with last week, about how Fischer is mixing abstract apples and organizational oranges. On the IVA site, Fischer confuses philosophy with function when he writes, "The three pillars of a conservative worldview are faith, family and freedom ...," and goes on to imply that when liberals expect their government to provide service, assistance or guidance, they are, in a sense, renouncing faith, family and freedom. Fischer then enters into the realm of the absurd when he finishes with, "In the worldview of social liberalism, Government has become God, Government has become the family and Government has become the Village." (A sample of what I might have written in that column: "No, Mr. Fischer. Just because we rely on the government to fix a pothole doesn't mean we pray to ACHD.)
But I've decided on a different tack than any of the above. As I believe that many conservatives believe what Fischer believes, I thought I would ask them which they are more satisfied with—the over-all job God has done or the overall job government has done. And for the duration of this column, I am willing to put aside any agnostic doubts as to whether God 1) exists, or 2) gives a holy hoot over what's going on down here in Vale-of-Sinville.
OK then, as Mr. Fischer and I are now operating under the same general precepts, let me say right up front what a good job God did with that Creation business. I'm not sure why He felt He had to throw in tornadoes, stinging nettle, mosquitoes and melanoma, but I'm sure He had His reasons.
But ... speaking of tornadoes (or hurricanes, earthquakes and floods), if your choice is between one of those wondrous acts of God or a bus load of mortal and imperfect FEMA bureaucrats with briefcases bulging with requisition forms, which gives you a greater sense of comfort when you see it coming to your community? (And of course, I refer to the FEMA as it was under presidents that weren't as God-approved as many conservatives seem to think George Bush is. Seriously, if liberals thought that governments always operated or always will operate as crappily as it has with this present administration, we'd probably have all gone conservative a long time ago. Fortunately, most liberals have the sense to realize that just because conservatives are so inept at running a government, it doesn't mean everybody is.)
Going on: Given a choice between God's rubella, God's polio and God's whooping cough, or the intrusion of some government-sponsored vaccination program, which would you pick for your children?
As E. coli and rat droppings come from the kingdom of the Lord, and the Food and Drug Administration comes from the kingdom of government, which kingdom do you want inspecting what goes into that salad bar you take your family to every Sunday after church services?
God gave us the free market system of economics, I'll grant you that—at least, I repeat, for the duration of this column. But since predatory lending practices and price gouging from commodity dealers are as natural to the free market as ringworm is to cats, and since a consumer-friendly government (not G. Bush's, but a good and sensible liberal's) would certainly bring banking regulation and investigations into possible price-fixing collusion and fraud, who would you prefer guiding us through the mess we're currently in? (And why would God care if we are in a mess, anyway? He's tax-exempt, so it's probably not costing Him a dime.)
Finally, as you get old and decrepit, to whom are you more apt to turn to for solace? God, whose gifts to the aging include the miracles of arthritis and Alzheimer's? Or a flawed government—the sort that previously brought us Social Security and Medicare?
We could go on to the End of Days, I suppose, listing the bounty of options we have between God's beneficence and government's. But I doubt any of it would shake Fisher's position. Why would it? After all, when he needs a little divine intervention—let's say, to pay the expenses for either his last crusade or his next—he simply turns to his faithful following and asks for more, and there doesn't seem to be a shortage of lambs willing to cough up the manna. Yea, verily I say unto you, the Lord has been very good for Bryan Fischer.