Why I am a "liberal" and other conservative ideas
Dr. Everett PiperDr. Piper is the President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Associated with Chuck Colson’s Breakpoint and Centurions programs, Dr. Piper is the author of "Why I am a 'Liberal' and Other Conservative Ideas" http://www.whyiamaliberal.com/. He has also authored "The Wrong Side of the Door: Why Ideas Matter. Piper is a frequent speaker on Christian education, Biblical worldview, and applied apologetics in both regional and national venues. For more information go to www.okwu.edu or go to www.everettpiper.com .
- 2008 Dec 03
Our arguments often lose their power and significance when we fail to focus on the "bigger ideas" and the objective integrity of the words and language for which our movement has traditionally been known. In this context here is why I believe my "liberal" credentials (as well as yours) will stand up well against those of any of our peers in the contemporary academic, social and political venues of our day.
I am a liberal because I believe that the best education is one that indeed liberates. It liberates us from the consequences of those things that are wrong and frees us to live within the beauty of those things that are right.
I am a liberal because of my passion for a liberal arts education – An education that is driven by the hunger for answers rather than the protection of opinions, An education that is not subject to the ebb and flow of personal agendas or political fads, an education that is not afraid to put all ideas on the table because there is confidence that in the end we will embrace what is true and discard what is false.
I am a liberal because I believe in freedom: Freedom of thought and expression and the freedom to descent from consensus. I am energized by the unapologetic pursuit of truth. Wherever it leads I am confident in the words, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
I am a liberal because I believe in integration. Truth cannot be segregated into false dichotomies but it is an integrated whole. The liberally educated person recognizes that we cannot and should not separate personal life from private life, the head from the heart, fact from faith, or belief from behavior.
I am a liberal because I believe in Conservation. There are ideas that are tested by time, defended by reason, validated by experience, and confirmed by revelation and these ideas should be conserved. We are in fact endowed by our Creator with an objective moral understanding. We do know that rape is wrong, that the Holocaust was bad, and that hatred and racism are to be reviled. Even though we cannot produce these truths in a test tube we hold them to be self-evident laws that no human being can deny.
I am a liberal because I recognize that when we exchange the truth for a lie that we build a house of cards that will fall to mankind's inevitable temper tantrum of seeking control and power. History tells us time and time again that to deny what is right and true and embrace what is wrong and false is to fall prey to the rule of the gang or the tyranny of one. We need look no further than to the lessons of Mao, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, or Robespierre for such evidence.
I am a liberal because I believe in liberty. I believe liberty is the antithesis of slavery and slavery is the unavoidable outcome of lies: Lies about who we are as people, lies about what is right and what is wrong; Lies about man and lies about God.
Here is the question: Are we really free today or are we now becoming more and more enslaved by the constructs of the Uberminsch – The superman – the power brokers, elites, the ‘fittest” who have survived in the political arenas of campaigns or campuses? Are we free to live within the boundaries of justice that come from the classical liberal education of the Uni-Versity – Uni-verities – Uni-Veritas - or are we becoming more and more bound by group think, political correctness, and populous power - what M.Scott Peck calls the diabolical human mind?
You see good education – complete education – liberal education must be grounded in the conservation of what is immutable and right and just and real. It should seek to reclaim what has been coopted and to reveal what has been compromised. It should be free of intimidation and should honor open inquiry and the right to dissent. It should have confidence in the measuring rod of Truth – that unalienable standard that is bigger and better than the crowd or the consensus.
Education – truly Liberal education –is the business of pursuing Truth. It isn’t about constructing opinions. As MLK told us in his letter from the