Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More Biblical Conservatism

I don't find this article nearly has hateful as Kevin Mucullough's yesterday, but it's still not good. It's by Michael Medved and it's about how the passover teaches us to be conservative. Apparently.
Leviticus 19:15 declares: "You shall not commit a perversion of justice: you shall not favor the poor and you shall not honor the great, with righteousness shall you judge your fellow."

. . . It should, indeed, come as a revelation and a rebuke to all liberals that Holy Scripture identifies "favoring the poor" as "a perversion of justice."

As I argued in my recent townhall column about the essence of liberalism (posted on March 21st), the outlook of the left insists upon favoring the poor and the unfortunate—and thereby injecting unfairness and discrimination into the very core of politics and government. Favoring the poor, like favoring the rich, brings unequal treatment based on status, not actions. Justice requires rewarding good behavior, no matter its source, and discouraging and punishing bad actions, no matter who performs them.
Neither Medved's interpretation of the scriptures nor his definition of liberalism seem accurate to me. Here's the problem; Medved has a medieval view of how society and particularly government works. Government does two things; judges and protects. Under those limitations, he concludes that higher taxes for the wealthy are a form of judgment that promotes the poor over the wealthy. An unjust judgment.

Of course liberals believe that Government is how we approach issues that are too big for us to tackle individually. Problems like education or poverty. The bible notes repeatedly that we are all one community. The poverty of one is a problem for everybody. So we as a society and as a people have taken steps to see fight poverty, to keep it from hurting us. It's not a matter of justice; it's not saying that the rich deserve to get punished for being wealthy. It's a societal problem, and this is the mechanism we want to employ to fix it.

I also find it hilarious that a conservative would complain that Democrats favor the poor unjustly, when on issue after issue conservatives clearly favor the rich even in matters of justice. Should we for example require companies to clean up the environmental messes they create? Republicans might say yes; but their opposition to the superfund and the EPA make it clear that they don't. Should we require companies to treat their workers justly, and create a safe working environment? Again, Republicans might say yes, but they oppose any serious effort to do so.

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