Conservatism - EC363

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Conservatism
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 61
Length: 0:56:08
TapeCode: ec363
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Easy Chair Series.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission

This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 363, May 31, 1996.

As I think most of you know, many of our topics are chosen by you. This does not mean that all the topics you suggest we are able to discuss. Sometimes we don’t know enough on the particular subject or so little that we could only talk maybe five, 10 minutes instead of an hour.

Tonight we are going to discuss subjects chosen by one of you, Susan C. {?}. First American Conservatism or we can make it Conservatism generally. This is an important subject and it has been a topic of discussion for a great many years. In fact, the first one to bring it up and to discuss it at some length in an important essay was Robert Dabney, the great southern theologian who was chief of staff for Stonewall Jackson.

And what Dabney had to say was this. That Conservatism in the United States was usually the Liberalism of about 20 years earlier. It was just tagging along with the left of its day and proving to be a rather sort of echo.

John Lofton some years ago said that the conservatives were 10 years behind the left echoing the platform and the policies of the left of 10 years ago. Howard Philips say they don’t take 10 years any longer.

What is the reason for this? We have in the modern world something unusual in the history of the West. It began much earlier in Europe. Here it began in the last century, the separation of religion and politics. It used to be that the policies of our national leaders were self consciously religious. You see that clearly in George Washington’s farewell address. It appeared in the statements at times of others, John Quincy Adams certainly demonstrated that at the 50th anniversary of the U. S. Constitution in a very emotional and impassioned address. [00:03:36]

Now if you do not have a thoroughly Christian and biblical

Now if you do not have a thoroughly Christian and biblical premise, you are going to have a humanistic one. And the American left has been logical. It has usually more and more openly in this century had a humanistic premise. As a result, it has a consistency that conservatism has lacked. Conservatism has been issue oriented rather than faith oriented. It has been against this or that and in time compromised on them because it has had no sound religious premise.

I have at times reminded people of this. Once in Washington, DC, attending some meetings where a number of prominent people were speakers, I overheard a conversation in which a man characterized Howard Philips as a very fine man, but a loser, because he fought for things because he believed they were right rather than because he felt that he could win. And he cited several issues, among them the abortion issue. And the speaker said it is an issue where you should say you are against abortion, but do nothing to fight it. That way you don’t rock the boat and you don’t offend the pro life people.

That is Pragmatism. And Pragmatism has very, very seriously undermined American Conservatism. So that has been a very serious problem on our side or the conservative side. Again, and here I part company with the conservative movement radically and emphatically. They are against the social policies that increase Statism which I would agree with. They have no alternative. Social financing has to be provided. [00:06:28]

Now in the early years of the colonial era and in the

Now in the early years of the colonial era and in the early years of the republic, private association, Christian in character were created to meet every kind of social need. They took care of health, education and charity. They did it through the contribution of ordinary citizens. When Alexis de Tocqueville came here in the 1820s, I believe, and then wrote Democracy in America, which, around 1831 to 33 was translated into English in two volumes, he said that the real government of the United States was private associations, by which he meant all those several thousand Christian agencies that met every conceivable need, the needs of children, the needs of the elderly, the needs of the sick, the poor, the immigrants, the ignorant and so on and on. All that began to be taken over with the presidency of Andrew Jackson.

One reason why this happened was Revivalism. Arminian Revivalism took over in the United States and the revivalists were totally against the involvement of Christians in all these worldly activities. They were too spiritual for that and all they were interested in was in saving souls. They killed off the Christian school movement which covered the country. They wanted to leave education and health, welfare, charity, education to the state. They succeeded. The mess we have today is the work of these defective Arminian revivalistic churches which beginning in the 1820s began to revolutionize American life. [00:09:15]

Within 10, 15 years you had public education beginning

Within 10, 15 years you had public education beginning in Massachusetts. You had one area after another divested of Christian support. The results are with us today. If Christians don’t like the world they see outside their houses, they have themselves to blame. They brought it about. And a great many of them are hostile to Christian Reconstruction which would undo that evil work.

Well, as a result, American Conservatism became opposition, opposition to the growth of Statist power, but an unwillingness to do anything about it and a steady retreat.

The position that Goldwater held in the early 60s he certainly did not hold 10 and 20 years later and his statements in recent years have been an embarrassment to those who call themselves conservatives. This is not surprising. The same is true of others. One conservative leader after another retreated from his earlier premises. This was true of the Republican presidents without exception.

On the other hand the left has consistently grown in its awareness of the fundamentals of its position. It has become more and more logically Statist, more and more ready to see the state take over one sphere of life after the other. So we are seeing what is happening all around us.

Well, one of the consequences—to take a little more time with this—is the separation of religion and morality. One current publication devotes a sizable percentage of its issue to the problem we have today with children and youth, their lack of morality or values as they say it, their increasing propensity to violence. More than one man in law enforcement and more than one judge has commented on the fact that now we have younger and younger criminals, even murderers not even half way to their teens who are without remorse. And teenage killers who are brutal and proud of what they do. [00:12:58]

We keep hearing people say we need a return to moral

We keep hearing people say we need a return to moral values. We had one politician write a book, Book of Virtues, I believe was the title of it. How can you have virtue without a faith? It is rootless. It does not exist.

In the last century, mid century one English scholar Matthew Arnold saw the rescission of faith in England with Darwinism. His poem Dover Beach is a melancholy declaration of how the tide is receding, religion is going. He never saw it coming back, of course. And so he made his new religion the affirmation of morality. Somehow without any roots, without anything of substance behind it, people were to say, “Well, we like the biblical morality and though we don’t believe in the biblical God or in Jesus Christ, we will maintain these moral standards because they are the best for civilization.”

And, of course, the growing response to that of many, many youth, beginning in Matthew Arnold’s time and growing ever since is: Who says so? Where is your authority? What makes you think honesty and chastity and respect for human life is true? The world that is red in tooth and claw where men are evolving animals has no moral imperatives. Evolution doesn’t give us a moral law. [00:15:20]

Well, we are seeing the steady development of the implicatio

Well, we are seeing the steady development of the implications of that position. And Matthew Arnold’s biblical morality without the biblical God and Christ now are your value clarification courses where every child is told: Choose your own moral standards, your own values is the term they use. All are equally valid, except any value system which says it is the true one. It is true for you only if you like it.

Well, with that introduction, Douglas, would you like to comment on the subject of American Conservatism?

[Murray] Well, it is a big arena, obviously, because everybody defines Conservatism by their own perceptions and their own opinions. Probably the great victory of the left is that they have succeeded in confusing the bulk of the people on the right by redefining the terminologies and nobody really knows what Conservatism means anymore, other than from their own vantage point, their own perceptions and their own opinions. Most recently the Neo Conservative movement divorced themselves from moral issues and that is what the Republican party is... intends to run on this time is a platform devoid of... really devoid of moral issues. Some of the candidates will pay lip service to it during election time, but as soon as the election is over, they will do nothing about them. Even I think Scalia on the Supreme Court most recently in his opinion on the Colorado gay issue said that the court should not be looked upon as the means of deciding these issues, that these issues should not be ... there should be no directives from on high, that the people themselves are going to have to settle the issue. So we are seeing the Supreme Court abdicate the field. They don’t.... the... the politicians don’t want to deal with moral issues. The Supreme Court doesn’t want to deal with moral issues and we have an immoral executive branch of the government. Then the entire government has become immoral, amoral and immoral by definition. [00:18:34]

So there is not ...

So there is not ... there is not much to the conservative movement left anymore except the people who have, they perceive, conservatism from a religious view point. But the left has spent a great deal of energy in the past 15 or 20 years that I have been aware of demonizing the religious right as a means of marginalizing and rendering them ineffective as a political force. And the countervailing thing to this is we are now seeing some of the people in the so-called religious right moving closer to the left. They are beginning to abandon and equivocate and compromise on moral issues such as abortion and other issues in order to gain political ground. And just as Rush said, this compromise it... it is going to destroy them. You know, you have either got a position, you are either going to hold a position based on biblical principles or you are going to abandon it. There is ... there is no middle ground. Just to gain political power and then what have you got when you get it? It... it is... it is a hollow victory because in the process of achieving that victory you have sown seeds of your own defeat.

So I see the, you know, besides the fact that the ... the... you know, it is almost becoming cliché that the right won’t fight. You know, we have seen one political leader after another come into the arena with all kinds of ... of fervor at the beginning of their careers and within a relatively short period of time they have compromised so many times in their voting record and that their... their actions no longer parallel their... their speeches when you compare their voting record to the speeches that they give at reelection time. There is a wide... a wide gulf between what they say and what they do. [00:21:15]

So you have to look at politicians by what they do

So you have to look at politicians by what they do, their voting record. People who are shocked when they were lied to by George Bush about the tax pledge, shouldn’t have been surprised. They may have been disappointed, but anybody who was surprised is naïve. You know, this is the... this is the reason that the ... the term limitation thing has, you know, has come out of that frustration of people’s realization that they have been conned. They have been lied to. And that they understand now that the... the... the blood sport of politics or the ... what... what politics has become forces anyone that stays in it to compromise away all moral principle in order to achieve power. But it is a hollow victory.

You mentioned the ... the gradual drift to the left, Rush, over the past 30, 40 years. I recently heard a recording of a speech given by Hubert H. Humphrey who, you know, 30 years ago was considered about as far to the left as you could get, not totally to... not radically left, but a ... a very, you know, Socialist oriented individual. And today his speeches sound conservative compared to what you hear the left spouting today.

But the agenda, you see, the agenda of the left has changed. It keeps ... it keeps... has evolved into something that is totally irrational now and it has people buffaloed. They keep redefining the terms. The left has become masters of deceit and the right is buffaloing. They don’t know what to do about it. They are frustrated. You hear this anger and frustration on every one of these so-called conservative talk shows. They... every one of these guys say, “I am frustrated and I am angry because of the disingenuousness of the left.” And the ... the... the conservatives are frustrated because they don’t want to jump into the cesspool with the left in order to confront them. But they forget the one weapon that they have that the left doesn’t have and that is the moral high ground. And yet they want to abandon the moral high ground which is the only weapon that they have got that is going to be effective in the long run. [00:24:01]

[Voice] I think

[Voice] I think... I think to understand modern American Conservatism is a little easier than understanding Liberalism in some ways, because political Conservatism is controlled ... is... is the opposing force to Liberalism. We have been dominated by Liberalism, the shift to the left throughout much of the century. Certainly longer than my lifetime. Conservatism is always going to be dictated by what is going to win elections. How can I pose the shift to Liberalism and yet still maintain the popularity? So you are always going to have ... see conservatives from one election to the next, from generation to generation moving closer to Liberalism just staying a few steps behind, but not trying to distance themselves. If they stay back where they were in the 20s or the 30s or the 40s there is a greater difference. As long as the... the population is voting for... for Liberal causes, politicians who are geared in many cases not in principle, but they are geared to winning political victories. They are geared to winning elections because without winning elections they are no force. That is the way the world of politics works.

So they are always trying to stay not too far behind, but just far enough behind so it looks like there is a difference, a choice. And so a conservative that loses one election is going to be pushed out. Somebody with a little bit more liberal ideas say, “Look. I... I am the middle guy.” Nobody likes to call themselves a conservative. Nobody wants to call themselves a liberal. Everybody wants to be the middle of the road. So the conservative is kind of playing... hanging on to the coattails of the liberal and saying, “I want some of the same force that swept you into power. I want to get a little bit of that from the undecided voters, the people who may shift a little bit my way.” And so I can... I can... I can understand from a strictly political strategy why Conservatism has compromised time and time again. When it is divorced from ethical consideration, the moral considerations, it is going to shift towards the winning side.

[multiple voices]

[Voice] Which has been viewed for so long as ... as Liberalism.

[Murray] What... what ... what is happening now, we are seeing the serious third party challenges because neither the ... of the two dominant, would have been the dominant political parties for the last 40, 50 years have a majority any longer. Clinton was... was elected with 42 percent of the vote of the registered voters, but they don’t tell you how many people don’t register and how many people don’t go to the polls anymore. So the number of people involved in the political process on either side is shrinking gradually to the point of the ... neither... neither party can dominate an election except... except by fraud and deception.

[Voice] But the... I... I have heard people say that, well, this looks like there is a movement going to be towards a new party or maybe yes and maybe no. But what would hearten me if I was an old line liberal or a compromising conservative I would look at that and say, “Yes, but who are they turning to? A Ross Perot before they understood what he even stood for or what side of the fence he was even on. He was a name and nothing more. [00:27:40]

A Colin Powell who has such seemingly popular support

A Colin Powell who has such seemingly popular support. And nobody knew whether he was a Republican, a Democrat, a conservative or a liberal. Long after his name was being bounced around in all sorts of circles as a great candidate.

If I was a Republican big wig or a Democratic big wig, I would look at that and say, “The American populace wants somebody they can believe in, but they aren’t voting on principle. They are voting for... they will vote for Ross Perot. They don’t know much about, an unknown entity. They will go after a Colin Powell and try to draft him. And they don’t know what he stands for. And they will go with this guy or that guy, but they don't see any principle. They don't see any core of belief around which they can center. If they thought there was real shift one way or the other, I think they would go toward that direction.

[Rushdoony] If I may interrupt for a moment. I am... I a moment you will turn your tape over please. But I forgot to name our panelists this evening. Douglas Murray and Paul Biddle and Mark Rushdoony. Andrew Sandlin is in bed with a bad back so to his regret and ours he could not be with us tonight.

I would like to call attention to an episode that took place not too many weeks ago. The Southern Baptists invited Supreme Court Justice Scalia to speak to them. He gave an excellent talk affirming the necessity of having a moral and a theological foundation to affirm the biblical God and the faith of Scripture. This he saw as essential to our position as a country and to our law.

The reaction of the media to something that 50 and 75 years ago would have been routine kind of talk for any person in high public office was a savage one. They acted ashamed that he was on the Supreme Court. One media comment was that what will he ask us to do next, burn witches? They treated him as an irresponsible and a dangerous character. [00:30:33]

Of course, the whole outlook of these critics was

Of course, the whole outlook of these critics was: How dare you call attention to Christianity and to our need for a Christian foundation? That was an unforgivable offense. It tells us how far we have come. And the fact that there was not a single leader among American conservatives to challenge that kind of attack on Scalia—or at least none that I heard of—was revelatory. If they agreed with Scalia, they probably were afraid they would be attacked similarly if they came to his defense.

[Murray] Exactly. No courage.

[Rushdoony] On... on the other hand, other justices and public figures can go anywhere and affirm the tenets of Humanism and of anti Christianity and nothing is said. It is simply the wisdom of our time and these men, because they have so said, are to be revered, honored.

[Murray] Well, Humanism is now the established religion of the state.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] We all acknowledge that. So what Scalia did was commit heresy.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] I mean, he is being burned in, you know, the American way of doing things is rather unique. I mean, he is... Scalia has been treated as if he were a witch and has been burned at the stake by the American press. And what we have to recognize it as such. This is just the way the liberals do things through the liberal media. He has committed heresy and he is going to be punished for it. They are going to make him feel the pain every time anybody makes a comment and they are going to do it consistently, not just Scalia. I mean, that is... he is... he is just going to be the ... made a... not a scapegoat, but they are going to... they are going to make a... an example of what is going to happen to any other conservative whose speaks out in a like manner. You see, they... that is the reason I am sure they carefully chose Scalia, because they could... they could make an example of Scalia. Scalia can’t fight back, because he is not, you know, other than, you know, making that sort of a speech, giving his own personal opinion. He is not going to go on... I don’t think he is going to on radio and television and... and fight back. [00:33:29]

But where is the conservative movement? It is up to

But where is the conservative movement? It is up to the American conservative movement to... to fight for him, to fight for what he believes in, what we should all believe in.

[Rushdoony] Clarence Thomas was just cancelled as a graduation speaker.

[Murray] I saw that. Yeah.

[Rushdoony] Now, where are the conservative verses to defend him? Is it unthinkable any longer to allow a conservative to speak?

[Murray] If they are being silenced. This is... this is what it means to live in a Totalitarian regime.

[Rushdoony] Yes, which means if the conservatives who are succeeding are doing so by sacrificing the heart of their position.

[Murray] Exactly. You are... they are not going to speak out because it is going to ruin their book sales and it is going to ruin their speaking engagements and they are afraid that they will loose clout and access and they are deathly afraid of being marginalized by the media. And you have got to give the left credit. They have been very, very successful at neutralizing the American conservative movement, because they just jump in like a hawk and a chicken every time they open their mouth. And, you know, somebody is going to have to say enough is enough.

[Voice] Well, I... I think of some of the things you said there, Doug. And within the conservative side and it reflects what Rush has said, too. I... I think we have what I would characterize as Christian conservatives and we have nominal conservatives. And when you see the shift in over periods of time from what we considered a conservative viewpoint in 1962 in the Goldwater era, to what we consider a conservative viewpoint today. They are not... they are not the same. They are different conservative viewpoints. And the reason is because they are nominally conservative. But they are not Christian conservative. The Christian Conservatism does not change, because it is scripturally based.

[Murray] Well, the American...

[Voice] But the nominal Conservatism does.

[Murray] Yeah. American conservatives have become too polite. They haven’t had their nose bloodied for a long time. They have to be willing to get down in the dirt and fight and they are just too polite. And that just isn’t going to get the job done. They are going to have to get... get... get their... speak their mind, not be afraid of the consequences and they are going to have to get their nose bloodied, because in every instance where I have seen people stand up to liberals, in 99 percent of the cases they are so shocked by someone actually standing up to them, because they have such a ... an unabated run for so many years of every time there is a pronouncement by an environmentalist or anybody else, the politicians in power just automatically bow to them, automatically bow and scrape. [00:36:52]

[Voice] I think

[Voice] I think... I think that sort of ties into the nominal conservative and the Christian conservative also. A nominal conservative versus a liberal to me... or I should say conservative versus a liberal, conservatives are prone to be risk averse and liberals are having a tendency to be risk accepters. I mean you get into a nominal conservative, it is a question of what he puts the risk aversion against, versus what a Christian risks.

If you are a nominal conservative you protect what you perceive as your interest. When you are a Christian conservative you protect what you think is God’s interest. And therefore you are willing to commit less to risk as a nominal conservative than you are a Christian conservative. That is the reason the Christian conservatives in this country, I believe, have been the ones out in front really taking it on the chin sometimes and trying to maintain a consistency of Conservatism versus nominal Christians who say, “My aversion to risk and my unwillingness to give up or lose anything has to do with what I possess. I will make myself the god and determine what is my possessions that I am willing to put at risk.” The Christian conservative he views it as God’s and therefore it can be put at risk. He will go out on point. He will take a position. He will declare a position that is in conflict or in contrast to a liberal’s position. But I think we have those two types of conservatives and I they have affected how Conservatism has changed in the last 30 years.

[Murray] Well, this... this whole thing can be laid at the feet of the neo conservatives because they have created this schism, you see. The neo conservatives like Christie Todd Whitman and all these governors and so forth, they will automatically respond to the Christian conservatives as being uncompromising, unwilling to, you know, to be realistic. So they have got us fighting amongst ourselves. We have created the best of all possible worlds for the liberals. Liberals don’t have to do very much except wait for those opportunities like Scalia or somebody to get up and make an independent statement and especially if he is a high profile individual like Scalia or someone who is in a... what you would call an exalted status like Scalia and then nail him, you know, just try to destroy him, you know, like they went after Bork and they went after Thomas and they are going to go after Scalia. They are going to try to do everything they can to destroy the... the... the base that... that... that these fellows stand on. And because thy know the conservatives. They are not going to come to their... to their defense. [00:39:51]

[Voice] That is

[Voice] That is... that is because of the nature of many of the conservatives they would seek support from.

[Voice] And... and... and that the... rally three factions, probably three major factions among what you could call the American conservative movement which isn’t going anywhere, the American conservative movement is not a movement. It is... it is in quick sand. It is devouring itself with the oldest strategy in the world of divide and conquer and nobody sees it because everybody is pulling in a different direction. The American conservative movement, if you can call it that, is moving from its own center outward, away from cohesiveness, away from having any real power base, away from having any kind of organization, because they, you know, you have got one faction that is only interested in money, could care less about morality. You have got another group that is interested in morality, but it... they don’t know how to bring it to bear. And they are afraid that if they are consistent or they speak out, that they are going to be... that they are... they are too tender. You know? They... they are... they are so afraid of criticism that they are scared to death to say anything.

[Voice] When these Christian conservatives, Rush, like I recognize Scalia as what I would characterize as a Christian conservative versus a nominal conservative. When I think of other people in that mold of Christian conservative, I can’t think of a one that hasn’t been lambasted by the ... the... what should I say? The emotive press.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] Ok? Now and I was just wondering if anyone could tell me if they could think of a Christian conservative or a conservative who holds to Christian values and ... and, in effect, does not put... put God’s interest at risk. If we can think of any who have not been lambasted?

[Rushdoony] If they have not been, it is because their profession and their faith are two different things. It is interesting that Billy Graham, of course, has been able to say very recently that he thinks of President Clinton as a fine Christian and wishes he would become a evangelist or something. [00:42:18]

[Voice] We can hope for him to become something

[Voice] We can hope for him to become something.

[Rushdoony] And not even the liberals laugh openly about that.

[Voice] He would... he would make a... perhaps a candidate to replace Billy Graham when he retires, but... Billy Graham states openly that back in the 50s he condemned Communism, for instance.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] And... and he stopped that in the 60s when that became unpopular. And he freely admits that. I can remember a few year ago, this is three, four years ago on one of these major evening interview shows Billy Graham was asked, it was a one on one interview, point blank about a... what about abortion. He said, “I have an opinion about that. But I don’t ... I choose not to ... to express it. I am going to keep it personal.”

[Murray] I am sure God will reward him for his forthrightness.

[Rushdoony] Remarkable courage.

[Voice] And for the Christian conservative does not demonstrate his conservatism, his unwillingness to put God’s interest at risk, then is he really a Christian conservative? And I look at Mark and Mark is going no, no. And I think all of us here are going no, no. And you have to live what you portray yourself to be.

[Voice] When you compromise your victories are very, very small and insignificant. When... when the Republican party, let’s take it back to Paul. When the Republican party compromises with the Democrats and stays a few steps behind or as Howard Philips says the Democrats want to drive off.... drive us off the cliff at 90 miles an hour and the Republicans believe in driving off the cliff at a safe and sane 55 miles an hour. And... and when conservatives do that, when they make gains they are really rather insignificant.

[Murray] With seatbelt harnesses and head gear.

[Rushdoony] That...

[Murray] Firmly attached.

[Rushdoony] Well, Conservatism is meaningless unless you begin with the question: What am I trying to conserve? And if it is nothing but the United States I knew as a child or a youth, it is empty. It has to be something transcendent. It has to be what God has given us in the way of a moral law, a faith, a way of salvation, a belief that it is not politics that will save us, but Christ alone.

Now that is an unchanging premise. But if you separate yourself from that, your conservatism will be saving what the Democrats believed in 10 years ago. It won’t have any substance to it. And that is the problem. That is why, as I began, I pointed out that the weakness of conservatism all over the world throughout Europe and the Americas has been that it has steadily disassociated itself from Christianity except very nominally. [00:45:43]

There will be no doubt somebody to lead in prayer at

There will be no doubt somebody to lead in prayer at the Republican national convention as at the Democratic convention. The prayers won’t mean much, except that maybe God will judge the stupid preacher who got up there and blessed such an enterprise.

But we have to recognize that they have nothing they want to conserve any longer except their power. And both Republicans and Democrats today are conservative in that humanistic sense. They want to conserve a position of power. They have no moral premises that they clearly and unequivocally stand on.

[Voice] You know, in that mode, Rush, I... in my own mind I try to think of how I see liberals and conservatives in head count. And I always think of conservatives being more or less individuals and liberals seeking group acceptance and group programs. As... as you and I were talking about that television news where Hillary Clinton visited a high school in Sacramento and they spoke to the high school students who would probably have a Democratic lean, but they were speaking of programs that they wanted put in place to effect their interest whereas a conservative, if he is a Christian conservative, he believes that God made him in his image, gave him dominion, gave him authority and a role to play as an individual. He doesn’t have to go to the government or the state to ratify his concern, to come out with a committee, to come out with a group or a package of laws to further that. So liberals are much different in terms of headcount than conservatives also. And think that is one of the reasons, Doug, also we have a rough time getting cohesion amongst conservatives, because we tend to be more individualistic. They say that Democrats put everyone under the tent. But I really believe conservatives tend to put ... if we group conservatives, conservatives come in all different stripes, colors and hues. They are not monolithic, one mind. So I... I think we have a difference in... in terms of how we view conservatives. I think they are individuals. I think of liberals as being groups. [00:48:13]

[Voice] Well, that brings up a

[Voice] Well, that brings up a... up the point. A lot of people feel the alternative to Liberalism is Libertarianism and the autonomy, basically, of the individual. And that has some practical benefits on individual issues, but it completely leaves out morality. It completely leaves out an ethical basis to what you do with this freedom. It may solve some of the problems of Statism, but it doesn't solve our basic...

[Murray] Well, it is... it is a smorgasbord of...

[Voice] ...basic problems...

[Murray] {?} of the tastiest food on the menu. And that is what current day Libertarianism seems to be in really their position paper. They just pick {?} what they think is good and let the rest go. The... the difficult decisions are for somebody else.

[Rushdoony] I mentioned when I began this evening Matthew Arnold attempting to substitute morality for religion. And now men are replacing morality with a belief in amorality, with a belief that the issues are technological rather than moral.

President Kennedy when he spoke at one of the universities in New England said that the moral issues had been settled and now our basic problems were the technological choices whereby to usher in the thoroughly good society. So we have been living in a post moral age, as it were, because since then we have tried through one bureaucratic solution after another to solve social problems. But conservatives have either agreed with that in a more moderate sense or they have tried to divest themselves of the responsibility for these causes in a political way without recognizing there has to be a moral assumption of responsibility for social financing, as I said earlier. [00:51:08]

So we have moved very, very rapidly in this century

So we have moved very, very rapidly in this century from a theological position to an anti moral position. One legal scholar has said that we are seeing the collapse of law, because law is being replaced increasingly by bureaucracies and bureaucratic law and by another idea. Law is being replaced by therapy, the therapeutic state. We have seen in a very sensational murder trail recently here in California where the man has admitted murdering this young girl and apparently sexually molesting her. But he has pleaded not guilty on the grounds that he was not responsible since he was taking narcotics. Of course, it is known that for some time he apparently stalked the girl.

[Murray] Well, that used to be the defense of drunk drivers. But the mothers against drunk drivers group said, “Enough is enough. We don’t buy that argument.” You know, so it is... it is time for society to take the same point of view with the drug thing, you know. If you... if you make the decision that you are going to alter your state of mind to the point that you are no longer able to behave what would be considered rationally, then you have willfully committed the act and should be responsible for the whatever consequences of whatever actions take place while you are under the influence.

It won’t get you out of... as you are arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, it won’t get you out of that. I mean, what makes this guy think he is going to get out of a murder... being tried for murder? If you are... if you are stopped today, whether... it doesn’t make any difference whether you are, you know, weaving down the street as the highway patrol stops you and you are impaired. It doesn’t make any difference what the substance is. They take you to jail anyway.

[Rushdoony] Well...

[Murray] The law doesn’t differentiate. If you are impaired to the point where you commit a murder, you know, why should the law differentiate between one crime and another as to whether or not you are impaired or not? It... it is illogical.

[Rushdoony] The argument increasingly is that any murder involves an impaired mental outlook and, therefore, the attempt is to apply the not guilty by reason of temporary insanity to every case. [00:54:20]

[Murray] Well, we used to have the Twinkie defense

[Murray] Well, we used to have the Twinkie defense. Now we have got the wimpy defense.

[Voice] Well, the whole idea that someone does some... when somebody does something to say they are sick is... that is not the point. They are evil.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] And the action is evil. To say they are sick, if they are sick that means they can be healed.

[Murray] Well, this is part of the... of the redefining of terminology that we have got from the left over the years is in... you know, as I mention, this is why conservatives are easily confused. They are buffaloed, because as soon as they try to apply one of these terms like evil which means something to them, they are immediately told that they are wrong. It is a sickness. This can be cured. Just subject yourself to the will of the state and we have a... we have an answer for you.

[Rushdoony] The doctrine of sin is very, very unpopular because it applies a moral responsibility and a moral guilt. Whereas if you take these other approaches, what you are saying is: I am not guilty when I do something wrong because I am a naturally good person and some kid of impairment led me to it.

Well, our time is up. Thank you all for listening and God bless you.

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