Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Two Nations

An old friend has started a new blog named Two Nations.

Excerpts from first piece:

  • As a Christian, a passionate conservative, a soldier, and an American, I grow increasingly alarmed at what I'm seeing happen to my country; I fear we are more deeply divided than we were in 1861 with as little or less possibility for compromise. On the one side, you have folks like me who actually believe that there is such a thing as objective truth, that there is meaning, and that words actually contain plenty of said meaning. It is therefore axiomatic to me that documents such as the Bible contain meaning - original intentions - of authors spanning centuries in time, and that that meaning can be ascertained by readers centuries later if they will respect that fact and seek to ascertain their meaning bearing in mind historical context, grammar and usage, etc.

  • If we're going to have a productive debate, we have to at least agree on some common ground. I may believe that the Framers intended one thing in the 1st Ammendment, for example, and you may stand by another conclusion. But at least we're both in agreement that something like "original intent" exists, and we're therefore in the same "ball park". But consider this: If the Steelers and Patriots show up at the stadium they need to both agree on the basic rules of the game their playing, hopefully football. What would happen if an umpire decided that the offsides rule was out of date and sought to throw it out, particularly on a crucial play? Fans would have his head!

  • What I'm saying is this, those who do not adhere to the idea that the Constitution and the Declaration contain the values and rules, the covenant, if you will, between those in government and the governed may call themselves many things, but . . . they are no longer Americans!


Rick and Gary said...

I don't really buy the idea that we're two nations. Seems like the narcissism of small differences to me. But that's an incidental matter.

What I really disagree with is this notion that Liberal judges don't look at original intent. I think if you compared, say, Justice Souter's opinions to Justice Scalia's, you'd find that Souter spends a lot more time and effort trying to figure out original intent.

The conventional view is that Liberal judges are more aggresive in interpretation, with Roe v. Wade being the classic self-parody of judicial overreach. But there's a pretty good argument to be made that "conservative" judges are just as guilty of overreach. They just over reach for different results.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Rick,

Anytime words are interpreted, there is going to be some grey areas. Anytime words are interpreted by someone with a strong bias, there is going to be plenty of over-reaching. I don’t know that conservatives are just as guilty, but my bias prevents me from being completely objective.

I do think America has a very good system of division of power and checks and balances. All branches of government try to impose their will on the other branches most of the time. Presently we live in an age when there is a great many people who don’t think they need to follow the rules. Illegal immigration is a perfect example. Employers get away with what they are allowed to get away with and many get away with completely breaking the law. Judicial activism is another example. Judges often make law when they should be interpreting law. Major league baseball is another example. Many players find ways to mask illegal substances with the full knowledge of General Managers and coaches.

We do live in a country of two nations; those who play by the rules and those who use whatever means necessary to get what they want. I support and want to live in a nation of sensible laws that allow for individual freedom.

Rick and Gary said...

Oh, I'll definitely buy into that definition of two nations. But I think that the Depression and WWII created a special period of civic culture and shared sacrifice, the fruits of which we have been living of off for decades.

Since the 70's, we have been slowly reverting to the mean (no pun intended). Selfishness and rule breaking is the rule, not the exception, in the world and even in our own history. We're outrageously lucky to have grown up in a special time and place.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Rick,

The 1940’s was a world of great evil and a great sacrificial response to evil. However, my perspective is that the greatest generation raised one of the worst generations; mine. Most of my friends growing up had dads who worked their butt off keeping up with the Joneses but they didn’t have dads who transferred much in the way of values to them.

The 60’s and the 70’ in America was a country wandering the wilderness without any real direction. The New Deal, Vietnam, sex without commitment, and many more of the progressive ideas of that era have turned out to be disasters.

Staring in 1980, our country began to get some bearings and direction back based on traditional values. I am very impressed with many of the 20-somethings I meet; especially those who come from wealth and choose to join the military. However, our country is very divided and the outcome could still go either way. I am still very discouraged by the number of people who define success as a house or car, just as I am discouraged by the number of people who believe global warming is a man-made disaster in the making.

Benjamin Bush Jr. said...

I was under the impression that, as a child of God, the citizenship that really mattered was my citizenship in Heaven.
Also, why do we keep getting so bent out of shape when lost people, those who know not the Christ we know, act as if they are lost? Why do we expect them to act like Christians and get upset when they don't? In this country, and ever other, the only two groups are those in Christ and those outside Christ.
Those outside Christ don't need a message of reformation, they need the message of reconciliation, then the work of Christ's inner reformation begins with a heart tuned to Him. Just a thought!

David M. Smith said...

Hi Benjamin,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

I agree with you. The unsaved need reconciliation.

In some ways, God has blessed America much more than we deserve.

In some ways, I am discouraged by how broad the separation between God and America.