Beliefs: The Agents of Change
By Dr. Patti Amsden
Beliefs –the stuff of which civilizations are formed. Beliefs – the catalysts from which movements are spawned.
Beliefs – the causes for which men live and die. Differing beliefs about the nature of reality, ethics, and values lead to
differing behaviors. The dominant belief of a collective people or of the leaders of a country will drive that
culture. All of life grows from, is maintained by, and bears the fruit of mankind’s beliefs.
For example, a Marxist worldview gained a standing in the arena of ideas via the writings of Karl Marx in the late 1800’s. Marx postulated that the group in power propagated oppression upon those not in power. The elite authoritarians were charged with societal and fiscal evils. Liberation of the underprivileged working class, the proletariat, became
the goal of the Marxist mindset; and those ideological axioms gave rise to systems of government, commerce, and various social structures.
Marxist belief generated communistic cultures including Leninism and Trotskyism in Russia or Maoism in China.
Although the economic application of Marxism, with its materialistic worldview, failed to produce strong financial systems as it had promised, the ideology stills augurs its viability. The belief did not crumble with the Berlin Wall. It lives today codified as ‘multiculturalism’, ‘political correctness,’ and even‘cultural Marxism.’
The basic belief of class warfare between the have and have-nots, the aristocratic and the hoi polloi, the rule-givers and those proles governed by the privileged continues with a present-day cultural emphasis. Minority groups such as women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and homosexuals fall under the category of those oppressed while groups identified as male, white, Euro-centric, heterosexual, capitalist, and even Christian become labeled as the oppressors.
Social Marxism has the same goals as Economic Marxism: a cultural revolution to dethrone the ruling class who propagate traditional ideas, liberate the common class with promises of equality and utopia, and inaugurate change under the title of social liberation. Marxism is a belief that manifests in actions. Beliefs do not remain isolated in academia nor are they only specimens to b examined under the microscope of rhetorical or philosophical meanderings. If social Marxism is alive in the United States, then a cultural revolution is the goal of those who embrace that maxim.
Anyone who announces that they are committed to being an agent of change is proclaiming that they will dismantle one set of axioms and replace those presuppositions with opposing and contradicting beliefs. The promise of change is revalent on the American political and societal landscape. The discerning citizen must ask which belief will be outdated and which ideology will provide the infrastructure for the new world.
Not all beliefs are equal. There is an elitism of ideas because some are superior to others. The question begs to be answered: if fiscal Marxism did not work in Germany or Russia, will social Marxism work in the States? What our nation believes will determine the nation we will become.
Principle: Our nation must embrace values that will both preserve our freedoms and hold us together?
Not on My Watch!
By Dr. Patti Amsden
My husband recently broke his arm. The doctor set the bone and put his arm in a cast. Now, he is inconvenienced by the orthopedic restraint that hinders movement, places hardships upon daily routines, and limits the kinds of clothing he can wear. I remind him that today’s temporary discomfort is much better than an untended break that would yield tomorrow’s permanent deformity.
Who of us has not been forced to live with a hard circumstance in the present in order to avoid an even more difficult condition in the future? Just ask someone who has undergone surgery on the road to health or inquire of one whose job has forced relocation as the pathway to financial security. Drastic measures must, at certain
seasons, be taken to secure a future
If we avoid the current hard process, we may not like the future repercussions. If we live in denial of the immediate cost, we may find that we will forfeit the very health or happiness that our denial sought to secure. Tomorrow’s blessing is often
secured by today’s sacrifice. But if we believe that the stakes are too high and the consequences too grave to sacrifice today, we will substitute today’s provisional reward instead of securing tomorrow’s enduring success. Such a belief defies sanity. To swindle our tomorrow for our comfort today is equivalent to a death wish.
Nations also seek to delay consequences, as leaders do not want the hard readjustments to come down on their tenure. Those with a philosophy of “Not on my watch!” are willing to roll the tough times over upon the next generation. Denial has consequences. It catches up.
The Bible tells the story of a king named Hezekiah who had been miraculously healed by God from a life-threatening disease and given an additional fifteen years. God granted him a future, but he failed to secure a future for his nation.
After entertaining foreign dignitaries who were national enemies, Hezekiah was informed by the prophet Isaiah that the next generation would be conquered and led into captivity by the nation with whom Hezekiah had leagued. His
response? “At least there will be peace and security during the remainder of my own lifetime!” Modern day translation: “At least it won’t happen on my watch!” He could have petitioned God, repented, changed things. Why should Hezekiah not think God would be equally merciful to the nation as God had been to him? Perhaps Hezekiah believed that delayed
destruction was better than immediate discipline.
What about America’s leaders who choose a 12 trillion dollar bailout, corporation rescues, and over 15 trillion dollar national debt? Are they willing to buy today’s liberties with tomorrow’s servitude? Who will throw away the national credit cards or do the surgery to cut away excessive growth of government? Will the politicians continue to embrace “Not on my watch!” and allow our children to inherit a lifetime of bondage?
Principle: A people’s group or a nation’s transcendent values define their character, culture, and things they are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve them.
Security over Freedom
By Dr. Patti Amsden
Several days ago, I engaged in a conversation that thrust me into a sense of bewilderment. The other party in our chat was fairly agitated about the national debt, the expansion of federal government, high taxation, and a number of other politically motivated issues. She was outspoken about her conservative views. She believes that the actions of the last several decades from all three branches of the U.S. government have been eroding both personal and national freedom.
The word ‘socialism’ was frequently thrown into her conversation, along with the terms ‘redistribution of wealth’ and ‘entitlement programs.’ She even stated that she and her family could barely afford to live in their new home because the property taxes were exorbitant. Any casual listener would have categorized her with the right-wingers, tea-partiers, conservative talk-show supporters – you know, that grass roots movement that is gaining momentum throughout the
And then she contradicted her presuppositions. She didn’t know she did it. She was still talking with great fervor and conviction. She began to complain about the cost of her daughter’s involvement in cheerleading. She felt that the public
school that her child attended was unjust in subsidizing other sports while denying that cheerleading was also a sport and therefore deserving of public funds. She felt that her daughter deserved an equal share of tax-payer revenue.
I departed the interaction wondering how she had not realized that public education and all the extra curricular activities that the state-supported schools provide are funded by redistribution of wealth. She had apparently not deliberated on the concept that she agreed with the state’s right to confiscate money from her neighbor through taxation so that her
child could be educated “free.”
I wondered to myself how she – or any of us – can have it both ways. Can we protest our high property taxes while extending our hand to receive tax’s bounty for free education? The question begs to be answered from more areas than schooling. Can we resent taxation that pays for our neighbor’s children to attend state schools while holding out our hands for free medications? Do we dispute the right of the neighboring state to receive federal funding for a pet project but appreciate government grants to our state for our particular earmark? I am wondering if all of us are willing to tolerate a certain amount of redistribution of wealth – at least that which provides for our needs? Perhaps it is just the other guy’s socialism that we don’t like. Perhaps we wish to protect our freedom yet are willing to forfeit our neighbor’s freedom
for our personal security.
If any of us view the state as our benefactor, we run the risk of selling our freedom – and our neighbor’s – for the promise of security. Educational security, health security, retirement security, and job security all come at a price. Someone pays. Someone’s freedom is at risk to provide each security. To live presuppositionally consistent, each conservative must ask if he or she is willing to live with just enough theft to insure his or her own security. Our national debt is a over 15 trillion dollars. For every $1.00 of federal spending, 43 cents of that dollar is borrowed money. A nation that values security over liberty may find itself in danger of losing both.
Principle: The foundations of all forms of freedom are found in defining those thoughts, actions, and systems
which will destroy freedom itself.
Who Must Keep the Law?
By Dr. Patti Amsden
Laws are standards of what is allowed and not allowed. All societies throughout all history have, through either written text or verbal tradition, established the rules by which the populace must comply. Law is imperative to the health of a people. Lawlessness is anarchy, which is a system without established law-givers, law-enforcers, and laws. Anarchy breeds chaos, disorder, and mayhem because every man is a law unto himself until the guy (or group) with the
biggest weapon temporarily subdues the contest.
Whether or not law should govern a people is not nor has it ever been in dispute. The disagreement arises over who is empowered to make the law and over who must keep the law. Each system of government defines those with the power to set the standards. In a monarchy, a king, queen, or emperor sovereignty legislates. In a oligarchy, governing power is
vested in a few persons or an elite group. Democracy is rule by the majority of the people, while a Republic is presentational of the people but constitutionally designed to limit control from a governing elite and mob rule of an omnipotent majority.
The United States was founded as a republic but has functioned in the most recent decades as a democracy and may yet be in danger of morphing into a presidential and congressional oligarchy. Setting the laws of a land is the mandate and the responsibility of the rulers. Who is empowered to make the laws – the representatives, the masses, or the elite – is defined by the style of government a nation adopts.
The next important question is “Who must keep the law?” Is the standard of right and wrong only to be applied to those being governed or should it also apply to those decreeing the imperatives? For example, if an ordinary person is forbidden to kill, should the king likewise be forbidden? Apparently, the Bible story about King David taking the life of Uriah
indicates that both king and commoner must obey the laws against murder. (II Sam. 11)
What about theft? If law forbids a person to steal a neighbor’s goods, can a collective democracy steal private property, thus exempting themselves from the law they created for the individual? Can a few elite congresspersons pass legislation to which the general public must comply while yet excluding themselves from both the tenet and the penalty? Is the directive of ‘do as I say not as I do’ the basic rule of governing? Is such a legal recedent the intent of the law? Is it justice, fairness, or goodness?
The scriptures define the government of God, which is called a Theocracy. God tells all humanity the canon of His laws. Yet, the God who is above and beyond all that He created, does not exempt Himself from His standards. His law is just and He personifies justice. Only an unjust ruler excuses himself from the requirements of rectitude. Who must keep the law? The answer– everyone!
Principle: Tyranny takes place when any jurisdictional government or group attempts to remove the rights of any other
A Written Statement of Faith
By Dr. Patti Amsden
On February 17, 2010, a group of national leaders met in the library at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate in an effort to unify conservatives. On that historic site, they signed the Mount Vernon Statement. The document affirms the urgency for a “restatement of Constitutional conservatism grounded in the priceless principle of ordered liberty articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”
The one-page treatise declares that each of the nation’s “founding ideas is presently under sustained attack.” The signers have decided to counter the attack by “resolutely defending the high ground of America’s founding principles.” How have they elected to defend? They have written a statement of faith, a declaration of dogma, a creed of
Brilliant strategy! A clearly articulated belief draws a line in the sand. Deception occurs when the truth of what is meant
is obscured by vague phraseology and obtuse meanings. Reality is lost when language and meaning are violated. Any person or group who dares to write the meaning and make it plain exposes contrary views and alienates those who
embrace opposing ideologies but, conversely, brings to light analogous views and galvanizes those who acknowledge like philosophies. The Mount Vernon Statement is a galvanizing document for Constitutional conservatives.
History records a time in the early church when the Gospel was spreading from Jerusalem into the Greek world. An amalgamation of doctrine occurred when Bible truth and Gnostic dualism blended. Fundamentals were being lost in syncretism. What did the church fathers do? They formulated creeds. They clearly defined their code of belief, which was to function as the reference point in the war of conflicting realities. Creeds such as the Apostles’ and the Nicene have endured throughout the ages as a litmus test to sound Biblical truth.
Constitutional conservatives have embarked on a similar course. They affirm the writings of the framers of the Republic of the United States. They clearly state their purpose, goals, and beliefs. They define what they stand for and what they stand against. The clarion call is clear and it is also divisive. The reader is enraged or encouraged, provoked or pleased, antagonistic or adherent. They outline the exclusivity of their philosophy, which is intellectual integrity, because any system that claims to be the source of truth is implicitly exclusive of contradictory truth.
The Constitutional conservatives have thrown down the gauntlet. Will the progressives and the liberals do the same?
Will the varying ideologies be so bold as to write the tenets of their beliefs? What if all camps were to reveal the epistemological moorings upon which the faction is based? Some party members might defect. Those who embrace like-mindedness would increase in unity and momentum. The sect would be strengthened. The Constitutional conservatives have chosen to chart a future based upon clearly articulated presuppositions. Perhaps they have set the tone for governance in the United States.
Principle: Sustainable organizations or governments must operate and remain committed to constitutions or founding documents, which define the transcendent values and principles of operation, the conditions required to become a citizen
of the organization, and participation in its governance, responsibility, and blessing