by S. M. Hutchens
The conversation as to how to fulfill the whole Law could once be carried out in this country, when all parties to it based their arguments upon biblical principles—for example, the question of which foreign nationals could properly be designated refugees from oppression and cared for as such, or which monetary policies were forms of theft and which represented righteous attention to the needs of one's neighbor. (Consider William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech against hard money and FDR's confiscation of personally owned gold.)
Opposing forces within Christianity often congealed along party lines, so that in my early days as a voter I could and did vote for Democrat candidates in United States elections. But the corruption of political argument from morality has gone so deep in that party that the roots of its convictions and actions must be sought in very different places than they used to be. This is, I believe, the reason the culture war now represents an unbridgeable chasm, essentially between those who believe in the truth of the eternal Torah, however well they find themselves able to conform to it, and those who have consciously willed to reject it and put something else—ideological or, increasingly, merely appetitive—in its place.
The lowest forms of partisanship combine at an appetitive root—at unreasoning lust: the debauched Republican and his Democrat counterpart have no principles, even bad ones, and want the same thing—the satisfaction of a chaotic and insatiable ego—while the Marxist and the Randian Objectivist who hates him, at home in the far reaches of left and right, may be morally insane, but retain in that insanity a memory of the divine order.
S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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