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commentary: Socialism is Mob Rule (Part Two)

John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 29-Feb-20; Sermon #1531c; 13 minutes

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The 2020 American Presidential election will be a contest between liberals and conservatives. The historical definition of conservatism in politics and culture focuses upon maintaining traditional order, distrust of government, and opposition to change (in values, mores and tradition). Liberalism, on the other hand, inclines toward reform or to change in values or mores, challenging traditional values, the status quo. The pop-culture stereotype portrays conservatives as stodgy, narrow-minded, self-righteous, intolerant do-gooders; conversely, the stereotype for liberals portrays them as daring and tolerant activists. Looked at in these terms, the most conservative Being in the universe is the changeless God (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17). Many religious people in America realize that liberals threaten adherence to the moral principles taught in God's Word. Furthermore, they realize that Satan is the poster child of liberalism, as he agitates for change in directions which are contrary to God's righteousness (Proverbs 24:21).

This is, "Socialism is Mob Rule (Part Two)," only I'm not going to talk very much about Socialism. I am still laying the groundwork on this entire subject, and I think that this one is a necessary part of the whole story here.

The last time I gave a commentary, I spoke on the subject of one of the major issues that is confronting those of us here in the United States because we are living during the lead up to the next presidential election this coming November. Thus, the terms "liberalism" and "conservatism" may well disturb our sense of well-being daily. Now, why "disturb"? Because we really do not know how the fact that a person is considered liberal or conservative is going to impact us specifically in their decision-making should they be elected. But I kid you not, it means a great deal. That commentary came almost 100% from my own observations, arrived at simply by experiencing life for these 87 years.

History and geography were always my favorite subjects preceding through school. It almost seemed, even to me as a kid, that I had a gift for them and truly enjoyed those subjects when they were taught. Presidential elections do impact history, and a president's inclinations do very much impact our lives.

Consider how our current president's inclination to fire off tweets is impacting our lives, to some small degree. I personally believe it was truly a blessing that this nation was given a gift by God whenever Abraham Lincoln was installed by Him. He was a man of humble conservative bearing, and the wisdom to go with it in that office during the Civil War period, or this nation might not have survived as united whenever that tragedy ended. His demeanor had a stabilizing effect on the administration.

I'm going to give you two contrasting definitions so that you will be able to determine perhaps a bit more clearly why the terms are so important to our sense of well-being. Please understand that these definitions that I'm going to give you are generalizations to some degree, and that I am thinking of them only in terms of their potential political impact. But at the same time, the definitions' generalizations remain essentially correct.

Why "only essentially"? It is because it is entirely possible for a candidate—just like you and me—to be considered politically or religiously conservative, while at the same time radically liberal regarding, let's just say, the clothing that he chooses to wear. I know that that's rather far out, but I think that it makes a point. People's inclinations do vary to some degree on some points.

The definitions, though somewhat broad, may be subject to almost infinite extrapolation and application on almost any given subject. This is why it's so hard to pin this down. But at the same time, the definitions themselves remain essentially correct regarding a specific person's specific point of view on a specific subject. It's one of the purposes of the election campaign to find the candidate who most agrees with your agenda for your life and its interests. That's the hard part.

Here is what many dictionaries provide. The definitions I'm going to give you are brief and pointed. Conservatism is characterized by the inclination, most importantly in politics and religion, to maintain the existing or traditional order and traditional institutions, combined with a general distrust of government, political activism, and is generally opposed to change. That last point is the one that most comes out in public debate—opposition to sudden change.

Liberalism, on the other hand, is characterized by inclining toward opinions or policies favoring what is usually termed "progress"—that's a broad word—or sometimes "reform," as in politics or religion. One of the sidebars—this is kind of interesting—to both of these terms is interesting, to say the least. It is that, in America, both of these terms carry with them generalized emotional feelings, either for or against either of them. Well, that thought is probably true worldwide, but I'm only familiar here with the United States. "Liberal" and "conservative" causes explosions in conversation if people take them seriously, and they need to be taken seriously in a presidential election.

Those feelings are that conservatives have a tendency to be thought of as being narrow-minded, stern, and self-righteous do-gooders who keep others locked in unattractive and unproductive ways. And here, in fast moving America, it is generally a cross they must bear, because change in America is looked upon so positively. Wait till you hear something else, just in a few minutes.

Liberals, on the other hand, tend to be thought of as being tolerant, broadminded, and someone exciting, perhaps even daring and somewhat scary, because they seem to provoke others in challenging other's conventions. "Upsetting the apple cart," is another way of putting that.

Here is the thing that I think is so interesting, and that, brethren, is the way both tend to be portrayed in two of America's more effective, but not necessarily active, teachers. Guess what those teachers are? The novels and movies. Just think about movies, especially—how conservatives are usually pictured: self-righteous do-gooders.

Before we go any further, we must answer this question—each one of us. In regard to conduct, do you know who—by definition—is the most conservative of all who lived or who have ever lived? Who's the most conservative of all? God. God is a conservative. He never changes! He sets the standards and He never changes.

You're beginning to see a little bit why it's the religious people who are upset with what is happening in the campaign, because they know that God never changes and that's the way they want to be, if they are really sincere about what they and who they worship.

On the other hand, Satan easily qualifies as the poster boy of liberality. Now please do not say that Ritenbaugh is saying that all people who are liberal about something are tools of Satan. They are not. We're talking about government here. We're talking about people's conduct and what their standards are. When we have something that is right, you stick with it.

I think I've told you what my father-in-law told me. He said when he was a boy, he was told by some older guy, "When you find a good rut, stay in it." That's kind of the way he was.

In regard to conduct, every human, beginning with Adam and Eve, is a liberal by degrees. Until God calls us and begins to work on our minds to bring us to repentance, we will continue to steadfastly hold on to our liberal inclinations.

Brethren, I arrived at this conclusion: The famous American swamp in Washington, D. C., is overflowing its banks with liberals.


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