Monday, October 18, 2010

And speaking of Christianity...

I just had to share this post about the Cold War changed Protestantism. Here's a list of the things that mainstream Protestant leaders advocated in 1942:

• Ultimately, "a world government of delegated powers."

• Complete abandonment of U.S. isolationism.

• Strong immediate limitations on national sovereignty.

• International control of all armies & navies.

• "A universal system of money ... so planned as to prevent inflation and deflation."

• Worldwide freedom of immigration.

• Progressive elimination of all tariff and quota restrictions on world trade.

• "Autonomy for all subject and colonial peoples" (with much better treatment for Negroes in the U.S.).

• "No punitive reparations, no humiliating decrees of war guilt, no arbitrary dismemberment of nations."

• A "democratically controlled" international bank "to make development capital available in all parts of the world without the predatory and imperialistic aftermath so characteristic of large-scale private and governmental loans."

Hard to believe, no? Then again, the politics of the WWII and the time immediately following the War are most radically different from our politics today in the area of foreign policy. Following WWII, public sentiment in favor of a pretty radical vision of internationalism was pretty robust to a far greater extent than it is today, outside of a very small sliver of the left. I don't think all of these ideas are good, though I think the seventh, eighth and ninth items are pretty blindingly obvious, items two and ten have indeed come to pass, though I'm not sure we'll be able to construct a universal system of money that works for everyone, considering how Germany has been quite empowered in the ECB, at the expense of Greece and the others.

What I think has been lost the most in liberal thought over the past few decades is a broader, more idealistic vision of foreign policy. Granted, a lot of the '50s- and '60s-era liberal idealism about the world was a bit utopian and excessive, and politically speaking, one-worldism isn't a winner at this point. But we currently have an unbalanced situation where the right often wins on the topic by invoking nationalism, and the left comes back with a watered-down version of the same nationalism. I don't suppose I need to get specific here, but simply saying "John Kerry's presidential campaign" really ought to be enough. I get the tribalism complaint but the inescapable trend of the past few millennia has been toward ever-larger "tribes" and with the technology advances of the past few decades I suspect it will continue. It has brought a number of benefits along with it, and while tribalism is a strong force I don't think it's an impossible one to overcome. And there is definitely a Christian basis for that.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.