Recently, I wrote an article on the problem of presupposition and ultimately fallacy amongst progressive liberals. From my experience, it is very difficult to understand, let alone reason with the liberal-minded of today because of their core belief system and their fundamental commitment to that ideology.
Of course, any ideology has a core belief system upon which an individual and/or group evaluates other belief systems and commitments. In a general sense, the aversion that conservatives and liberals have towards each other is rooted in their fundamental and often opposing presuppositions and their commitment to those presuppositions.
Before I venture further into this subject matter, I would like to offer a working definition of presupposition courtesy of another blogger on WordPress.
What is a presupposition?
So what is a presupposition? A presupposition is a core belief or core commitment that we use to evaluate other beliefs or commitments. “Pre” in this sense is not “pre” as in prior in time, as if you make up your mind beforehand. Instead, it means “pre” as in basis or eminence. A presupposition is foundational to your other beliefs and provides a basis or framework for your other beliefs. Additionally, a presupposition is not a matter of the mind only – it’s not a hypothesis or a purely cognitive supposition. It is a commitment – a matter of the mind and heart.
Jed Kampen, A Day in His Court
In many ways, I wish I had referred to Kampen’s article earlier. As one can readily ascertain from the provided definition, a person’s presuppositions are NOT something he or she decides beforehand, a matter of hypothesis or mental reasoning only, but a bonafide commitment to a worldview upon which they view or filter everything else.
This alone should bring more understanding, and perhaps a little humility into our discussion of political ideology. Now, for the sake of brevity, I will not delve into what core values constitute liberalism versus conservatism. Once again, Google is your friend here. I can personally recommend the many articles on Wikipedia concerning the aforementioned as a good starting point.
I mentioned in a previous post, that as a younger person, many of the liberal issues surrounding individual rights, like freedom of religion and conscience and freedom of speech, appealed to me as a Christian or follower of Christ. Likewise, some of the community aspects of modern socialism, including caring for the poor and disenfranchised, appeared to be very similar to my own Christian belief system. Included in that were the sociocultural elements of growing up, at least in part, in a small farming community in western Canada, where faith, the Church, and socialist politics (New Democrat Party, i.e. the NDP) were an integral part of life.
It is my understanding that many of our core values, including our belief system, are instilled in us at a very early age.
Unlike more than a few of my peers in college and university, my core values and commitment to Christ was stronger than I thought. When I encountered the myriad of contrary and contradicting ideologies in a radical socialist university setting, I was not as easily swayed as some of my fellow students. I take no credit for that – I attribute that to the sovereignty and purpose of God in my life.
Many were young, their minds were ripe for the picking by less-than-scrupulous liberal and socialist ideologues who sought to remake them (us) in their image.
Truth be told, I “went to war” against more than one of my professors on matters of morality and ethics, only to suffer some ostracism from a few classmates and retaliation from professors (or TA’s) when it came to marking my essays and exams.
So much for free thinking and open debate in university. The politically correct police were alive and well on campus, even back in the early 1980’s. It might be interesting to note that both the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church had colleges on campus, neither of which I chose to enrol in. Nevertheless, more than one of the aforementioned liberal-minded socialist professors were tenured at either one of those colleges. No surprise there, but bitterly disappointing to me at the time.
It did not take me long to figure out that modern socialism is rooted in secular humanism, and by definition is Godless. That small community of farmers, mentioned earlier, supported socialism and voted NDP because it benefitted them economically at that time. Nothing more, nothing less. Of course, things have changed over the last 35 years or so. The socialist politics of yesterday have been swept away and replaced with conservatism almost universally in our province. The holdouts are unionists and those who depend on social services and the gravy train, especially those living in the more remote northern regions of the province.
Although modern liberalism is also rooted in secular humanism, there has been more tolerance and latitude for belief systems such as Christianity and its inherit morality and ethics. Unfortunately, what was true two or three decades ago in Canada, is no longer true today. As alluded to in an earlier post, somewhere along the line, liberalism expunged morality and ethics from its core values, at least in terms of absolute morality and ethics. Many of us who were once liberals, and Christian, have now sought shelter amongst conservatives.
Our nation has moved from legalizing abortion to euthanasia (physician assisted suicide). Politicians, lawyers, and judges have diluted the legal definition of marriage and family to something almost unrecognizable. The powers that be have chipped away, eroded, and limited freedom of speech. Political leaders are antagonizing the very principles of freedom of religion and conscience by repeatedly caving in to specific religious special interest groups. Just about anything in our culture that represents Christianity is under attack in the public realm by the aforementioned, amongst others. To disagree with an ideology, other than Christianity (apparently it is Ok to target Christians) and to question the morality and ethics of individuals or groups is to invite a barrage of vitriol and hatred, or worse.
Why do the aforementioned hate anyone or anything that would shine a light on that which is hidden in the darkness of their hearts and minds? Because they are as wholeheartedly committed to their ideology as I am to mine.
The question is “who is right?” Which ideology is vastly superior to the other? These are the questions we should be asking rather than just assuming (based on presuppositions) that all political and religious philosophies or ideologies are equal.
Nothing could be further from the truth. 🙂
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.