Leo V. over at the blog The Maryland Crustacean offer up his thoughts on the formation of his personal political ideology in his most recent entry, Tilting Towards Libertarianism, the full text of which you can read here. I will offer up some of my thoughts on his commentary below. For example, MDC wrote..
"As a teenager and as a young adult, I pegged myself on the left side of the political spectrum. I called myself a liberal, which is of course a misnomer. Those who call themselves liberal today typically look to the government as the promoter and guarantor of the general welfare. In their view, the government is somehow to achieve this noble end through regulation, control and even ownership of economic activity; by redistributing wealth; or by incentivizing desired human behavior through regulation or the tax code. I prefer to label this ideology for what it is: statism."
In my early teens when I first began to form my thoughts on politics, I too leaned liberal/democrat. Looking back on those days, I believe the main reason for this was the (back then) near monopoly of media outlets by such democrat-friendly and outright liberal pundits featured on the main television channels that I watched. I must admit that they did a tremendous sell job in protraying themselves as the party that really cares and actually has compassionate feelings on the social and political issues of the day. Only through the help of some conservatives that I came into contact with in my late teens and the emergence of conservative talk-radio in this country did I actually begin to come out of my fog and realize that there actually WAS another side to the discussion. a side that argued from a standpoint of real outcomes in the real world and not overly-simplistic, emotion based argumentation.
"..my “liberal” friends often present me with the shallow argument of “How can you be a Christian and not believe in helping the poor? Doesn’t Jesus tell you to sell your possessions and give to the poor? Didn’t the believers in the first church hold all their possessions in common, as recorded in Acts 4:32-35?" That argument is so easy to refute it is laughable, especially when it is coming from a liberal who otherwise has little use for religion in general or Christianity in particular. First of all, I do believe in helping the poor. Christian charity and helping “the least of these” is commendable, especially when it is not done under compulsion, for “God loves a cheerful giver”. On the other hand, liberals, socialists and other sundry leftists, who otherwise correctly insist on the separation of church and state, have no qualms about using the power of the state to help the poor by confiscating other people’s money. Christian charity ceases to be charity when it is imposed by the state. If my liberal friends are interested in helping their fellow man, they can reach into their own pockets, as I will endeavor to voluntarily reach into mine."
While the Bible tells us that we should be donating about ten percent of our income, the real figure among Christians is closer to three or three and a half percent. Thusly, the Kingdom of God is operating here on this plane of existance with roughly 1/3rd of what it's actual budget should be. Could you imagine if people the world over actually started to donate 10% of what they make and the amount of hunger and suffering that would be alleviated?
I would only add that it seems that if recipients took help from Christian charities, then certain destructive lifestyles and practices would be discouraged by the giver of said aid and probably be a condition of receiving it. The government, it would seem, is less effective in discouraging certain behaviors. 'If it feels good, then why not do it in the road?' and all that. After all, 'there's an election coming up and we don't want to tick people off' and yadda-yadda-yadda.