home  |  book  |  blogs  |   RSS  |  contact  |

About That River in Egypt Paychecks vs. Food Stamps

print view

8/28 vs. 10/2: Dueling Faith Traditions

by Christopher Chantrill
October 09, 2010 at 3:57 pm


IT’S pretty obvious that the One Nation rally held at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, 10/2, was in every way the left-wing version of Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally on 8/28.

Just as Glenn Beck’s rally was a celebration of the Judeo-Christian virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, American exceptionalism, and self-purification, the One Nation rally was all about the classic left-wing faith in the liberation of the victims from the oppressor.

One rally had faith in the idea that “we,” each of us, has a problem. It is up to us, by admitting our faults, our sin, to remake ourselves into the best we can be. We must each fight the demons within to become worthy citizens.

The other rally had faith in the idea that “they,” society, has a problem. If only it weren’t for exploitation, injustice, the powerful, then we could all live in harmony. So we must fight for the people against the powerful.

You could say that each of the two faith traditions caters for one of the two basic human personality types: those who think that they have a problem, and those who think the world has a problem. Not surprisingly the 8/28 folks, who believe that they have a problem, left a lot less litter on the Mall than the 10/2 folks, who believe that America has a problem.

President Obama, of course, belongs to the 10/2 tradition. He thinks that society has a problem. In his faith tradition, the idea of struggle for liberation is front and center, as he explained to students at Madison, Wisconsin, on September 28, 2010.

In every instance, progress took time. In every instance, progress took sacrifice. Progress took faith. You know, the slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs, they weren’t sure when slavery would end but they understood it was going to end. When women were out there marching for the right to vote, they weren’t sure when it was going to happen but they kept on going. (Applause.) When workers were organizing for the right to organize and were being intimidated, they weren’t sure when change was going to come but they knew it was going to come.

These are the basic stories that every Democratic speaker uses, and they tell a narrative of struggle against The Man. Notice the curious assumptions made by the president. The slaves are sitting around singing; the women are going around marching; the workers are going around organizing. They are all waiting for change to happen. These victims do not ever expect to effect change by their own effort. They just expect it to happen. They are waiting for the community organizers to do the heavy lifting.

Strictly speaking the 10/2 faith tradition that the president and his left-wing supporters share is the more realistic. It is certainly more traditional and ancient. From the beginning of the agricultural age, man has oppressed man, because the only thing that mattered was arable land. You had to fight to get it, and you had to serve the warrior class who would defend it. Right through the agricultural age, people that worked on the land were universally exploited and oppressed. So people arriving in the city from the country look for a powerful patron; they know that the party boss will exploit them, but they also hope he will protect them.

The 8/28 tradition is the new and radical tradition. It says that the world is run by a providential God who loves humankind and wants us to thrive. It is not really a dog-eat-dog world after all; it is a world in which aspiring young people can learn a skill, offer it to the world, and expect to thrive. How crazy is that!

As I wrote last week, some folks in the Democratic Party are worried that there aren’t enough victims to make up a lasting majority coalition. They want to appeal to the sweet spot in the electorate, the aspiring middle class, and they are troubled by the current Democratic policy mix that is heavy on top-down big government and bottom-up dependency.

It’s hard to believe that the aspiring middle class would be impressed by the lefty love-fest at the 10/2 rally. No doubt that’s why Americans for Prosperity put out a YouTube video of the event that had “socialism” in every frame. In case you missed the point, the audio featured the Red Army chorus singing the Soviet national anthem.

Of course the battle between 8/28 and 10/2 will never be over. But it’s comforting that Glenn Beck’s crowd covered a lot more ground at the Mall than the SEIU crowd.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

print view

To comment on this article at American Thinker click here.

To email the author, click here.



What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican

Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District

Liberal Coercion

[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State

Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050

Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values


Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization

Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph

Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self

Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion

Government Expenditure

The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

presented by Christopher Chantrill

Data Sources  •   •  Contact