As a longtime observer of politics, I am just a little bemused by the hand-wringing and navel gazing taking place within Republican Party circles, simply because every party that loses an election immediately goes into panic mode, and they always propose some version of “moving to the center” and discarding the “extremists” at the fringe.
The Democrats went through a similar period of introspection after 12 years out of the White House, and again following the 1994 Republican Revolution that captured the U.S. House of Representatives after 40 years of Democratic Party control. They pilloried the “extremists” and said they needed to move to the center, thinking it was the key to their long-term political viability. The party labels may change, but the song remains the same.
I was discussing this cycle with a pastor friend of mine since many in the GOP have decided to turn on the social conservatives, the heart, soul, hands and feet of the party who are, for the most part, evangelical Christians.
“Maybe the voters would love us more if we abandoned the principles of our most loyal supporters adopted some of the positions of our opponents,” they opine. Well, that may not be how they would present their argument, but that is in fact what they are suggesting.
Strictly from a political perspective, this is ludicrous.
If voters are given a choice between committed Democrats and Republicans trying to be more like Democrats, guess who they’re going to pick?
The whole notion of an opposition party is to promote and defend an opposing worldview, and offer the electorate a choice. To those who think the GOP is going to see a surge of electoral support without the passion and principles of the social conservative movement, I say “Good luck with that.” Moderates generally don’t sacrifice their time, talents, and treasure the way social conservatives do – that’s why they’re called moderates – and, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, if you think the GOP is a defeated party with social conservatives in it, wait until you see what it looks like without them.
The Democrats, after all, once thought they should discard their “extremists” if they were going to win, yet they currently hold the White House and the U.S. Senate with a platform that is more left of center than at any time in their history.
It is precisely the devotion and commitment of evangelicals to the political process, however, that has my pastor friend apoplectic, and he threw down a proposal to me so radical that I can’t help but share it.
In some respects, his proposal reminded me of John Galt, a key figure in Ayn Rand’s book, Atlas Shrugged, who grew tired of being used and demeaned by the state and the “takers” of society, and decided to lead a movement where he and producers like himself would go on strike, “stopping the motor of the world” and showing them the futility of a society without the creators, innovators and producers.
Conscientious Christians on both sides of the political aisle have been used by the political process for decades now, and if they are honest with themselves, none of the goals they sought to achieve through these earthly institutions have come to pass in any meaningful way.
Whether you declare yourself to be on the left and look to politics to care for the poor, the sick and the hungry, or you land on the right and expect politics to protect the unborn, affirm the family, and promote life, liberty and the fruits of one’s labor, if you are honest with yourself, you will admit that you’ve gotten very little return on your investment of time, skill, money and passion.
So, my pastor friend suggested that it’s time for Christians to remove themselves from politics altogether – no voting, no running for office, no time, money or talent toward achieving political success. They will continue to obey the law, but they will completely disengage from politics.
In other words, it’s time for Christians to “go Galt” on the political process.
Have I got your attention?
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