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Re: [eldil] Digest Number 37

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  • Yvonne Aburrow
    Fascinating, Steve - could you expand on that? Gerald Gardner was (embarassingly) a Conservative -- but most subsequent Wiccans have been and are left-wing.
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 28, 2008
      Fascinating, Steve - could you expand on that?

      Gerald Gardner was (embarassingly) a Conservative -- but most subsequent Wiccans have been and are left-wing.

      cheers
      Yvonne

      On Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 7:22 PM, <eldil@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


      And it tends to reinforce my belief that theological liberalism goes hand in
      hand with political conservatism and vice versa
      --
      Steve Hayes
      E-mail: shayes@...
      Web:    http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/litmain.htm
      http://methodius.blogspot.com




      Messages in this topic (1)





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      --
      Yvonne
      ~~
      http://yaburrow.googlepages.com/
    • Steve Hayes
      ... I don t know much about the politics of Gerald Gardner and Wiccans, so I ll take your word for it. Among Christians, however, it is perhaps most succinctly
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 28, 2008
        On 28 Jul 2008 at 20:42, Yvonne Aburrow wrote:

        > Fascinating, Steve - could you expand on that?
        >
        > Gerald Gardner was (embarassingly) a Conservative -- but most subsequent
        > Wiccans have been and are left-wing.

        I don't know much about the politics of Gerald Gardner and Wiccans, so I'll
        take your word for it.

        Among Christians, however, it is perhaps most succinctly stated by G.K.
        Chesterton.

        "As long as the vision of heaven is always changing, the vision of earth will
        be exactly the same. No ideal will remain long enough to be realized, or even
        partly realized. The modern young man will never change his environment; for
        he will always change his mind."

        In other words, if you keep chaning your theology, you will never change the
        world. And theological liberalism is always changing the content of the
        Christian faith to bring it into line with what is acceptable (or thought to
        be acceptable) to "modern man" -- in other words, the political status quo.

        To quote Chesterton again:

        "Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to suit the
        vision. Progress does mean (just now) that we are always changing the vision.
        It should mean that we are slow but sure in bringing justice and mercy among
        men: it does mean that we are very swift in doubting the desirability of
        justice and mercy: a wild page from any Prussian sophist makes men doubt it.
        Progress should mean that we are always walking towards the New Jerusalem. It
        does mean that the New Jerusalem is always walking away from us. We are not
        altering the real to suit the ideal. We are altering the ideal: it is
        easier."

        and again:

        "Silly examples are always simpler; let us suppose a man wanted a particular
        kind of world; say, a blue world. He would have no cause to complain of the
        slightness or swiftness of his task; he might toil for a long time at the
        transformation; he could work away (in every sense) until all was blue. He
        could have heroic adventures; the putting of the last touches to a blue
        tiger. He could have fairy dreams; the dawn of a blue moon. But if he worked
        hard, that high-minded reformer would certainly (from his own point of view)
        leave the world better and bluer than he found it. If he altered a blade of
        grass to his favourite colour every day, he would get on slowly. But if he
        altered his favourite colour every day, he would not get on at all. If, after
        reading a fresh philosopher, he started to paint everything red or yellow,
        his work would be thrown away: there would be nothing to show except a few
        blue tigers walking about, specimens of his early bad manner. This is exactly
        the position of the average modern thinker."

        When I went to the UK to study theology I skipped the country in haste to
        escape the clutches of the South African Security Police. How close a thing
        it was was only revealed when the archives of the apartheid state were opened
        after it had ended. I arrived after a long and weary journey, a semi-refugee,
        at the house of my host who was entertaininging one of the most nototious
        theological liberals of the day, the Rt Revd John A.T. Robinson, bishop of
        Woolwich, whose book "Honest to God" had caused a huge storm in Anglican
        circles. And he simply couldn't understand why I had put so much energy into
        opposing the Vorster rgime in South Africa. His thinking was Establishment
        through and through. It is so much easier to change your theology than to
        change the world.

        Another example:

        A few years ago a group broke away from the biggest Dutch Reformed Church in
        South Africa, the NG Kerk, because they were concerned that the NG Kerk was
        having second thoughts about its support for apartheid. They formed the
        Afrikaans Protestant Church.

        I asked a church historian, a member of the NG Kerk, why they had started a
        new denomination instead of simply joining the more conservative
        (politically) NH Kerk, which had it written in their church constitution that
        "there shall be no equality in church or state", and was therefore as
        segregationist as they come.

        He replied that they thought the NH Kerk was too liberal. Yes, it was
        politically conservative, and stood firmly for segregation, but they allowed
        dancing at church functions, and their theology was much more fluid. To the
        NH Kerk, it didn't matter so much what you believed, as long as you did it
        separately and blacks were kept "in their place".


        --
        Steve Hayes
        E-mail: shayes@...
        Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/stevesig.htm
        http://people.tribe.net/hayesstw
        Blog: http://methodius.blogspot.com
        Phone: 083-342-3563 or 012-333-6727
      • Yvonne Aburrow
        Dear Steve Ah, I see you are using liberal in a special sense of the word, to mean vacillating. I think you are completely wrong about this, and here s
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 29, 2008
          Dear Steve

          Ah, I see you are using "liberal" in a 'special' sense of the word, to
          mean vacillating.

          I think you are completely wrong about this, and here's why.

          The Unitarian Universalists are about as liberal (in the true sense)
          as it is possible to be. They stand up for gay rights, women's
          rights, and include gays, Pagans, Buddhists, Hindus & Jews in their
          congregations. Two of them died for their beliefs last Sunday. They
          stood in front of other members of their congregation to shield them
          from a gunman who was shooting at them. The gunman shot at them
          specifically for their liberal and inclusive attitudes. Their
          liberality is not built on shifting sands; it is an ever-expanding
          circle of inclusivity. Their Kingdom of Heaven is not receding from
          them as they march towards it; they are building it here on earth.

          I am truly honoured to count myself as a Unitarian knowing that such
          people are Unitarians.

          I'm sorry you had such a negative experience with the Rev Robinson.
          Are you saying that he was going to betray you to the South African
          Security Police?

          Yvonne

          --- In eldil@yahoogroups.com, "Steve Hayes" <hayesstw@...> wrote:

          > Among Christians, however, it is perhaps most succinctly stated by G.K.
          > Chesterton.
          >
          > "As long as the vision of heaven is always changing, the vision of
          earth will
          > be exactly the same. No ideal will remain long enough to be
          realized, or even
          > partly realized. The modern young man will never change his
          environment; for
          > he will always change his mind."
          >
          > In other words, if you keep chaning your theology, you will never
          change the
          > world. And theological liberalism is always changing the content of the
          > Christian faith to bring it into line with what is acceptable (or
          thought to
          > be acceptable) to "modern man" -- in other words, the political
          status quo.

          > When I went to the UK to study theology I skipped the country in
          haste to
          > escape the clutches of the South African Security Police. How close
          a thing
          > it was was only revealed when the archives of the apartheid state
          were opened
          > after it had ended. I arrived after a long and weary journey, a
          semi-refugee,
          > at the house of my host who was entertaininging one of the most
          nototious
          > theological liberals of the day, the Rt Revd John A.T. Robinson,
          bishop of
          > Woolwich, whose book "Honest to God" had caused a huge storm in
          Anglican
          > circles. And he simply couldn't understand why I had put so much
          energy into
          > opposing the Vorster rgime in South Africa. His thinking was
          Establishment
          > through and through. It is so much easier to change your theology
          than to
          > change the world.



          > --
          > Steve Hayes
          > E-mail: shayes@...
          > Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/stevesig.htm
          > http://people.tribe.net/hayesstw
          > Blog: http://methodius.blogspot.com
          > Phone: 083-342-3563 or 012-333-6727
          >
        • Steve Hayes
          ... Not necessarily. But I do distinguish between political, theological and economic liberalism, which are three different things, and do not necessarily go
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 29, 2008
            On 29 Jul 2008 at 19:07, Yvonne Aburrow wrote:

            > Ah, I see you are using "liberal" in a 'special' sense of the word, to
            > mean vacillating.

            Not necessarily.

            But I do distinguish between political, theological and economic liberalism,
            which are three different things, and do not necessarily go together.

            >
            > I think you are completely wrong about this, and here's why.
            >
            > The Unitarian Universalists are about as liberal (in the true sense)
            > as it is possible to be. They stand up for gay rights, women's
            > rights, and include gays, Pagans, Buddhists, Hindus & Jews in their
            > congregations. Two of them died for their beliefs last Sunday. They
            > stood in front of other members of their congregation to shield them
            > from a gunman who was shooting at them. The gunman shot at them
            > specifically for their liberal and inclusive attitudes. Their
            > liberality is not built on shifting sands; it is an ever-expanding
            > circle of inclusivity. Their Kingdom of Heaven is not receding from
            > them as they march towards it; they are building it here on earth.
            >
            > I am truly honoured to count myself as a Unitarian knowing that such
            > people are Unitarians.

            I really don't know enough about the theology of Unitarians (with a big U) to
            comment,

            Jews and Muslims are unitarians (with a small u).

            > I'm sorry you had such a negative experience with the Rev Robinson.
            > Are you saying that he was going to betray you to the South African
            > Security Police?

            No, just that his liberal theology did not lead him to see any need to change
            the world.

            Perhaps this may clarify what I mean by the terms:

            POLITICAL DEFINITIONS

            Updated: 1 January 2008

            There is often a great deal of confusion about political terms
            like "left" and "right", or "liberal" and "conservative". In
            part the confusion arises because the terms tend to have
            different connotations in different places. They are also
            confused because they are often applied to different dimensions
            of social life, and in any conversation, unless both parties
            have the same dimension in mind, the listener may get a picture
            that is very different from what the speaker is trying to con-
            vey.

            Another source of confusion is that political groups and parties
            may choose to describe themselves by one or more of these terms.
            So where there is a party called a "Liberal" party, or a "Con-
            servative" party, liberalism and conservatism will tend to be
            identified with the policies of those parties, even though the
            policies may change over time.

            Here is a rough indication of the different dimensions, or
            levels, of political and social life, and where the various
            terms fit in the left-right continuum. It is sometimes difficult
            to place some groups. Many who call themselves "libertarian" are
            actually leftist on the political level, and rightist on the
            economic level. Communist parties have tended to be the opposite
            - left on the economic level, and right on the political freedom
            level.

            LEFT <-- --> RIGHT
            POLITICAL FREEDOM

            <-- Anarchist Libertarian Liberal Authoritarian Totalitarian -->

            ECONOMICS

            <-- Communist Socialist Mixed Economy Capitalist Laissez-faire
            -->

            SOCIAL CHANGE

            <-- Revolutionary Radical Conservative Reactionary -->

            POWER DISTRIBUTION

            <-- Democracy Oligarchy Aristocracy Monarchy Dictatorship -->

            Anarchist - one who believes that "no government is good
            government". Most anarchists would agree on that,
            though on not much else. Some anarchists are
            socialist, while others believe in laissez faire
            capitalism. Some anarchists have been nihilists - they
            have believed that everything in society needs to be
            destroyed, in order to start again from scratch.
            Aristocracy - this comes from a Greek word meaning "rule of the
            best". Aristocracy is found in societies that have
            rigid stratification of social classes based on birth.
            Members of the aristocracy are born to rule, others
            are born as workers, peasants, traders, etc. It is
            very difficult to cross from one class to another,
            because the classes are defined by descent.
            Authoritarian - authoritarian government is "strong" government.
            It is a system in which the government has a lot of
            power, and uses it. Morality and certain standards of
            behaviour are laid down by the government and enforced
            by law, often with heavy punishments. There is often
            censorship of news and views that the government does
            not like. There may be some degree of indoctrination
            in schools and other educational institutions. Dissent
            is discouraged.
            Capitalism - a mode of economic production requiring the use of
            capital, or being largely dependent on capital, and
            the spirit underlying this principle. Capitalism
            appeared in early modern Europe. Capitalist enterprise
            showed a deliberate search for and acquisition of
            money, in place of a mere effort to maintain a tra-
            ditional livelihood. When the industrial revolution
            took place, those who accumulated wealth to own
            factories, plant and equipment became known as cap-
            italists. In our day, capitalism is largely defined in
            terms of Marx's critique of it - as a society in which
            the state and society are organised in such a way as
            to be favourable to capitalists - in other words the
            laissez-faire economy.
            Communist - communism is primarily an economic doctrine. It is
            the belief that all the means of production, dis-
            tribution and exchange should be communally owned. In
            its Marxist form, it is also the belief that there are
            several stages of history, and that communism is the
            final stage, in which the state will wither away, and
            that the principle will be "from each according to his
            ability, to each according to his need". But this must
            be preceded by the "socialist stage", which would be
            ushered in by the "dictatorship of the proletariat",
            where the principle would be "from each according to
            his ability, to each according to his work".
            Conservative - conservatives desire as little change as
            possible. They are happy with society the way it is
            (the status quo). If changes are needed, they are seen
            as minor ones, and conservatives believe they should
            be introduced gradually, and slowly. Conservatism does
            not say very much about the *kind* of society or
            status quo that conservatives wish to maintain. For
            example, in the USSR under Gorbachev, conservatives
            opposed the changes implied in the ideas of glasnost
            and perestroika. They wanted to keep things the way
            they were, with the Communist Party retaining sole
            power in the government. So conservatives may seek to
            retain an aristocratic, a communist, or a liberal
            democratic society. This is why the terms "con-
            servative" and "liberal" are not opposites, as many
            people seem to think. Where there is a liberal-
            democratic society, liberals will tend to be con-
            servative, in that they will see no need to change it.
            In a dictatorial or totalitarian society, liberals
            will not be conservative, but will tend to be radical
            or revolutionary.
            Democracy - democracy (derived from the Greek for "power to the
            people") is the idea that political power comes from
            all the people. Government should be with the consent
            of the governed. There are several varieties of
            democracy. Popular Democracy attempts to allow the
            general body of citizens to vote on particular issues,
            or at least important ones. This is difficult in a big
            country, though it might be possible in a small
            community. In big countries, the usual form of
            democracy is representative democracy, where the
            people elect their representatives who make the laws
            and administer them.
            Liberal - a fairly wide term, that can have different meanings
            depending on whether it is used in a political,
            economic, social or theological sense. Political
            liberals are usually in favour of democratic
            government (one man, one vote), and a limitation on
            government control of people's lives. This is
            generally expressed by the term "the rule of law" -
            liberals are opposed to oppression, arbitrary exercise
            of government power, imprisonment or other punishment
            without trial and so on. So political liberals believe
            that "the government governs best that governs least".
            Economic liberalism (which was associated with
            political liberalism in the 19th century) is in favour
            of laissez-faire economics and free trade. At the
            beginning of the 21st century economic liberalism is
            often called "neoliberalism". Theological liberalism
            is usually associated with the idea that Christian
            theology should be brought up to date, and made to fit
            in with the ideas of the current society. Theological
            liberalism often goes hand in hand with political con-
            servatism; political liberalism may be linked to
            theological conservatism. Using the term "liberal" on
            its own can often be confusing.
            Libertarian - libertarians are usually extreme individualists.
            They believe that everyone should be free to do
            whatever pleases them, as long as it does not harm
            anyone else. Unlike anarchists they believe in minimal
            government rather than no government at all - the pur-
            pose of government is simply to protect them from
            those who would impinge on their social, political,
            economic and moral freedoms.
            Monarchy - a monarchy is a society in which there is a single
            ruler, a king or queen, who may be hereditary or
            elected, in whom all power is seen to reside
            theoretically, if not in practice. Government is in
            the name of the king (or queen). The courts and jus-
            tice are the king's courts. The land belongs to the
            king, and the king allocates the right to occupy it.
            In pagan societies, the king or emperor is sometimes
            seen as the visible representation of a god. The god
            is a kind of "national spirit" and is the real ruler
            of the nation. In Christian societies, monarchs have
            been seen as the image of God's rule, so the king is
            seen as a steward of God's rule. Some Christian mon-
            archists therefore regard democracy as rebellion
            against God. On the other hand, in the Old Testament,
            monarchy (which was known in the pagan sense, among
            the Gentiles) was seen as rebellion against God, at
            least for Israelites (see I Samuel 8). A con-
            stitutional monarchy is a compromise between monarchy
            and democracy, in which the monarch and the people are
            co-rulers, and the monarch's power is limited.
            Neoliberalism - Neoliberalism is a revival of economic
            liberalism in the 21st century, and linked with
            globalisation. It favours laissez faire economics and
            free trade and investment across international
            boundaries, with privatisation of state-owned infra-
            structure like health services, telecommunications
            etc.
            Oligarchy - oligarchy is the rule of a few people. Unlike a
            monarchy, there is not a single ruler. Unlike
            democracy, not all citizens have a say in government.
            Before 1994 South Africa was a race oligarchy - people
            had a say in the government only if they belonged to
            certain race groups.
            Radical - radicals believe that changes in the structure of
            society need to be deep. They believe that there is
            something wrong with society as it is, and it needs a
            deep and thorough change. The difference between
            radicals and revolutionaries is that radical change is
            not necessarily sudden or immediate, but it is far-
            reaching.
            Reactionary - reactionaries are those who think there have been
            too many changes already, and they want to change
            things back to what they were before (the status quo
            ante). After the French Revolution, there was a
            reaction, because some thought there was too much
            freedom and democracy. So this was replaced by the
            dictatorship of Napoleon, and eventually the monarchy
            was restored.
            Revolutionary - revolution is rapid and complete change
            throughout the ordering of society. Revolution may
            take various forms - political, economic or both. In a
            political revolution, the political power structure
            will change, such as from autocracy to democracy (as
            in the French Revolution in 1789), or from democracy
            to dictatorship (as in the rise of the Nazis in
            Germany in 1933). A revolution may be peaceful or
            violent, and needs to be distinguished from a coup
            d'etat. In a coup d'etat, there is a change of people
            in power, accomplished by force or threat of force,
            but there is little change in the social or political
            structure.
            Socialism - for the Marxist definition, see "communism". There
            have, however, been other definitions of socialism,
            based on the general idea that cooperation is a better
            principle for ordering society than competition, and
            that production should be for use rather than profit.
            Totalitarian - a totalitarian government is one in which the
            state and its power is exalted to supreme power. Its
            ideal is that the government should control every
            aspect of the lives of its citizens. Totalitarian
            governments usually base themselves on an ideology,
            which all citizens are expected to accept. The
            government controls all the news media, and in schools
            everything must be in accordance with the official
            ideology. Non-conformity and dissent are severely
            punished, and those who get out of line may be
            imprisoned without trial. All institutions - courts,
            schools, religious bodies, commercial firms, etc.,
            have to toe the party line or be suppressed.

            This document was compiled by Steve Hayes from various sources
            Updated: 1 January 2008

            --
            Steve Hayes
            E-mail: shayes@...
            Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/stevesig.htm
            http://people.tribe.net/hayesstw
            Blog: http://methodius.blogspot.com
            Phone: 083-342-3563 or 012-333-6727
          • Yvonne Aburrow
            Hi Steve That s a good list, but you missed out Distributism (invented by Catholic social theorists, and I *think* espoused by Chesterton): the distribution of
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 31, 2008
              Hi Steve

              That's a good list, but you missed out Distributism (invented by Catholic social theorists, and I *think* espoused by Chesterton): the distribution of power to the lowest possible level, and the fair allocation of goods and services.  Kind of a more practical version of Anarchism.

              Here's where I fit personally on the various spectra:

              LEFT <--                                               --> RIGHT
                                    POLITICAL FREEDOM

              <-- Libertarian / Liberal  -->
              (I'd be an anarchist in an ideal world)

                                        ECONOMICS

                                <-- Mixed Economy -->

                                      SOCIAL CHANGE

              <--   Radical        -->
              (there was no middle ground on that one)

                                    POWER DISTRIBUTION
              <-- Democracy
              (or Distributism, but without the Catholic overtones)

              As regards Lewis' politics, I'd say he made himself fairly clear about them in That Hideous Strength.

              There's an excellent article about the politics and theology of Unitarians here:
              http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2008/07/of-madmen-and-martyrs.html

              --
              Yvonne
              ~~
              http://yaburrow.googlepages.com/
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