The other day I read a blog post by Peter Leithart entitled “Give Peace a Chance.” Commenting on the book The Question of Peace in Modern Politics, Leithart believes that “the editors begin from assumptions that need to be questioned.” From here Leithart begins to question the editors assumption:
A couple of weeks ago I was having a discussion with a friend (you know who you are!) about various “macro” subjects: Bible, culture, politics (and how they all intertwine). As our discussion progressed (and regressed) we came to a point where my friend said “that’s just your opinion.” and then expected that our conversation to be over.
Cultural and political engagement is inevitable. Negative engagement is still engagement. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer “Not to act is to act. Not to speak is to speak.” We can never assume that removing our voice and actions from openly political or cultural engagement is an actual removal.
However, we must never assume that constructive engagement is inevitable. We must not assume that just because we are always engaging that all engagement is constructive.
With these assumptions we can see where two errors can arise:
On the one hand there are those who believe that believe that they can disengage from what is happening in their current cultural or politics scene. They are blind to the fact that this perceived disengagement is simply a form of engagement in the negative form. Again, Bonhoeffer says that not acting is a form of action & not speaking is a form of speaking.
The other mistake comes from those who perceive the myth of disengagement. They understand that they are always engaging in some form or another. Even thought this group understands the inevitable nature of engagement, they use this as an excuse toward mindless or shallow engagement. These people engage in a reactionary or defensive manner. To make an allusion to this post’s title: this is a case of inevitable but unhelpful engagement.
In order for a more constructive dialogue to emerge from the current climate of reactionaries & hermits we need to address these issues. Too often we grow up in our society seeing only two options for engaging in cultural or political issues. We grow up seeing seeing two options: 1) Political talking heads addressing issues from a very shallow, reactionary position merely pandering for votes. 2) Teachers, pastors, parents avoiding issues entirely due to a fear of being perceived as one of the aforementioned political talking heads.
When it comes to engagement, we must understand that neither of these examples should be perceived as desirable. Instead, we need examples of individuals who know how to engage with the issues in a clear-headed and deep level; people who are clearly not pandering for votes but at the same time are unafraid to deal with the issues.
Food for thought.
I’ve been out of town since last Friday so I haven’t been up on the blog at all. I watched this 10 minute clip of Ron Paul addressing the issue of military intervention in Iraq last night and thought it was very informative and helpful so I wanted to share it here. What you will find in Ron Paul is something that is extremely rare in a modern-day politician, that is, principle. Ron Paul works from the Libertarian principles of non-intervention & non-aggression. What makes these principles so unique in our day and age is the fact that they are not so easily manipulated by emotional propaganda like every other political approach to just about everything. Enjoy!
Many thanks to LewRockwell.com for posting this one! This short video making fun of your standard commercial for a political candidate is funny, sad, and true all at the same time. Enjoy!