06 February 2024

Still Liberal and Utopia-Chasing

Before it even begins, I'm not some radicalized leftist rabble-rouser. The term “liberal” has been co-opted by the evil and the lazy and if you want to see me mad, bring it up. My liberalism is primarily in service to the terrestrial world that is coming, the world that comes when lower motivations and actions and (frankly) people are swept away.

Even the crazy social justice types think that the world would work a lot better if we just had the right people running things, and in a way, I think they're right - it will work much better, but only when the “wrong” people are gone and those who are left are “running” their own things. It won't work the way they envision it today and everyone will have to be far more responsible than anyone would prefer, but the vision of a kinder and less anxious world is actually on the way.

The key ingredient for the better world is the one least considered - Jesus Christ.

I believe it has to do with standards. Christ has some pretty high standards compared to society right now and most people are all aglow in either violating such standards or deciding they shouldn't exist at all, hoping that the glorious day that rids us of guilt and pain for our actions will dawn. However, the avoidance of consequences doesn't work, we find ourselves in a constant existential morning-after hang-over, and we seem stuck forever in the dark night of the soul, our hearts empty and vaguely aching.

I watched the 80s movie “Footloose” recently and I sympathized with the poor preacher man, watching his congregants, his own daughter, and even himself sliding down into depravity, all over the enforcement of standards. I didn't care so much about the music or the dancing (sorry fans), I saw a good person getting torn apart because he was working so hard to force other people to not do potentially harmful things. As a result, kids were going absolutely batty and becoming destructive, to themselves and everything else. From my perspective forty years in the future, the allowance of something like dancing seems to pale in the face of the ruin so many have made of their lives and the movie itself becomes excruciatingly dated.

Luckily, the answer to the '80s problems of dancing and the 2020s problems of unfulfilling sensuality or warmongering or any number of other perplexities is quite simple: Jesus Christ and his standards, as expressed in his commandments.

It may seem that I am working at cross-purposes. Wasn't the “Footloose” preacher establishing Christian standards and they didn't work? How can Christ be the answer then? In my mind, it is all about how the standards are applied and how people feel about that application. I know, after a statement like that, I'd better explain myself before I lose you readers completely!

I am an old-school liberal, all about liberty of action. I actually don't believe that you can successfully legislate morality. If you notice above, I highlighted references to the idea of force - that something powerful can compel the less powerful to obey. The “Footloose” kids were playing chicken with tractors, listening to “demon” music, and sneaking into the next county to get drunk, keeping the local police too busy to force everyone to obey the local morality laws.

There is never enough force necessary to get people to stop doing what they really want to do.

Actually, I have seen that force ends up encouraging disobedience and rebellion more than anything else. People are far more interested in exercising their liberty than being pushed into something, even if the result will be something good in the end. Not only do “the means not justify the ends”, often draconian “means” don't bring about anything like the “ends”.

Even God understands this and sets up post-mortal “rewards” for people who really don't want to be good and keep his rules. These rewards keep trouble-makers far from him and his followers! The one being who should be able to force everyone to behave doesn't choose to do so. If I were God (pesky mormonisms), I wouldn't want to spend all of my glorious eternity crushing rebelliousness either - I like lounging on the beach way more!

So, I still haven't described a workable system that will usher in the socialist utopia that my left-leaning tub-thumping friends crave. How can not enforcing standards compliance possibly be part of the solution?

The secret is in the other part of the solution: the trouble-makers are gone! I mean “gone” as in “not around”, vanished, somewhere else. If you read about the end times as described in the Bible, one of the elements is the separation of the “righteous” from the “wicked”. Earth life, mortality, whatever you want to call it, is really effective at revealing whether you really are a righteous person or if you just act virtuous when others are looking - a lifetime is too long to keep up pretenses and your true self will reveal itself. The wicked are the people who choose to disobey the standards/rules/commandments and never get around to correcting themselves. Sometime very soon, the wicked will not be living among the good folks, by whatever method God chooses to employ - war works well, so does famine, prison continents are effective, and pestilence is always a trusty tool. Regardless, the disobedient are out of the picture and everything that depends on people keeping the rules begins to work the way we always dreamed!

My liberal self understands one more very important part of the secret to the better world: we have to really make the daily choice to be among Christ's “righteous” by learning to be obedient and correcting ourselves when we come up short. Also, please don't get weird about “screwing up” - Christ created repentance so righteous people don't end up in the “wicked” camp through our present shortcomings - righteous people get around to personal change and obedience sooner than later and God takes note of it. It is not just about NOT being demonstrably wicked, righteousness is about actively doing good by helping those in need, for one example.

When everyone is good and obedient to God's laws, we are generous and kind and no one takes advantage of anyone else. People like that don't defraud the healthcare system, or insurance companies, or the government, and don't dig metaphorical pits to trip up others. In the coming Terrestrial world, everyone here will have proven themselves obedient to the standards that Christ has set for us, which makes everything work better all-around!

I'm still not a left-winger and I remain a bad enforcement-socialist. Marching around with signs and screaming in people's faces won't get us to the blessed utopian place - God and the people who obey him will make it happen. I want to be part of Christ's group and if you want to be a part of the millennial wonders to come, you should obey and join his group as well. It's the best investment for the future that you can make!