The Politics Of Loving Your Neighbor: A Commitment To People and Place

I dislike political ideologies, in fact they make me cringe. Whether it comes from the Left or The Opium Den the Right, they have the unintended effect of often disregarding the actual context of issues for the sake of the fidelity of the paradigm. When ideologies take precedence over people, real issues having to do with real people have the tendency of being submerged by rhetoric, up to something like 47% percent.

Now, the one or two people who have read my posts here with any consistency might remember the guiding principle of Loving Your Neighbor that I have suggested as a corrective to rabid nationalism parading as patriotism and ideologies of personal wealth success as the primary goal of the responsible citizen.

But my intention today is take a further step and suggest that it is more than simply an idea that frees patriotism from the bonds of radical nationalism, but that it is a guiding principle that not only explicates the primary purpose of the blessing that is wealth but also displays the impoverished state of Republican politics.

The slogan of the New Conservative seems to be that wealth is the great indicator of personal success, a measure of your contribution to society and the personification of the American Dream; when in fact it confuses upward mobility with liberty. What they fail to appreciate is that on the one hand this marginalizes and disenfranchises some 47% percent of the population (there’s that figure again) and overlooks that fact that rightly understood, as I shall endeavor to explain, wealth proves to be the most burdensome of all the potential possessions of the denizens of a just society.

Justice is what separates society from anarchy, it is the fundamental distinction and possession of government which distinguishes it from mere brigandage. To quote St. Augustine, “In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery?” Society is something which elevates us above the mere beast, but justice is what separates us from the madman, from the tyrant, from oppression.

But the pursuit of justice, if it is the primary obligation of society, must begin with the individual and ripple outward to infiltrate the deepest and darkest crevices of society, yet failing that, government becomes the institution of last resort, where justice is maintained and exercised as the essential right of the people. This is also an indication of where the Right has got wrong and Left has got it right, it’s why I’m a Democrat rather than an independent. For all of our flaws and internal disagreements, of which there are many, we are united by the essential conviction that the calls for justice begin with the people and become the responsibility of government when the demand for justice falls on the deaf ears of the elite; justice is sovereign.

So how exactly, you might ask, are justice and wealth related that it causes wealth to be burdensome rather than liberating? Well, as our President has rightly pointed out, personal success is not simply the result of individual effort but instead is the culmination of a symbiosis that, whether regarded or not, produces the environment and opportunity for personal achievement. When we admit that success is an irreducible element in the tapestry of our people and place, we must also admit that our blessings gift us with the burden of becoming the opportunity for those without that others were for us. To do otherwise is unjust and unpatriotic. Yet it is not a burden that is oppressive. Instead, it is an opportunity to be a true patriot, to exercise intimate concern and care for our People and Place.

America, come election time, we have the opportunity to show the world what a real patriot is. We can show the world that we can band together, setting our difference aside, not to combat terrorism or foreign powers, but to care for the People and Place which birthed us and gave us all that we have. To be a people who care more about eliminating poverty and ignorance than about victory and profit. And Democrats, we have to be both the conservatives and the liberals, the Republicans have committed suicide, it’s up to us now.

Let’s not fail.