Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Relentless pessimism and incurable optimism

Canadian Evangelical academic and author, Dr. Craig Carter, who blogs at "The Politics of the Cross Resurrected," explains in an interview at "Mere Orthodoxy" how his faith affects his political philosophy:
MO: Can you describe the way in which your Christian worldview has informed your political worldview?

CC: As a Christian, I am a relentless pessimist with regard to the City of Man and an incurable optimist with regard to the City of God. I am implacably opposed to all political philosophies which are either too optimistic with regard to the City of Man (eg. Progressivism, Marxism) or too dismissive of the City of God (eg. Secularism). Thoughtful and pious Christians are the people who can be trusted to govern best in this world because they are well aware of the failings of human nature due to original sin, which minimizes their tendency toward embracing Utopianism, and because they have a sense of being accountable to God on the Day of Judgment, which gives them a healthy fear of killing the innocent no matter how good the cause. Of course, Christians often fail to live up to their best insights and when they do fail it negates their advantage. I’d rather be governed by a modest, moral, Aristotelian pagan than by a sophisticated, post-Christian, crypto-Marxist. In the long run it is better to be ruled by a person who knows right from wrong, even if he still does the wrong thing sometimes (think Churchill for example), than by a person who thinks right and wrong are concepts that belong in fairy tales for children (think Stalin, for example).

I believe that Western civilization has been influenced by Christianity to an extent not seen in any other civilization in the world. I believe that this influence is responsible for important, universal and permanently valid principles such as: limited government, the rule of law, individual freedom, the division of powers, free speech, freedom of religion, free enterprise, and natural law as the basis of positive law. These principles are steadily being eroded in Western Europe and the UK, but are still powerfully influential in America, which is where the West will eventually make its last stand if present trends continue.

In the late modern West, I believe that an Augustinian must be a conservative and a conservative had better be an Augustinian if he wants to survive without falling into despair or converting to socialism. .... [more]
Interview: Craig Carter | Mere Orthodoxy