Today’s post is by Andrew C. As a registered Democrat and a political junkie, it’s difficult for me not to notice politics at church. I’m often surprised by the positions and policies that people often take for granted, without much independent thought of their own.
Of course, I find that I tend to be reflexively liberal too if discussing a topic I haven’t given much thought to.
Why is that? Why do we tend to gravitate to one party, or one ideology, or the other?
Most political philosophers begin their treatises exploring the state of nature – that is, the condition of mankind before the creation of the state. This natural state justifies the creation of the state – either to primarily ensure equity and fairness (see Rawls, for instance) in the liberal vision or to primarily protect property and rights from people who are by nature greedy and devious (see Nozick, for example) in the more conservative viewpoint.
When you think of our natural state in a Gospel context, do you tend to think in terms that Paul would recognize, or terms that Joseph Smith emphasized? And does your fall-back idea of man’s natural state color your political view? That is, if you tend to think in Pauline terms, do you tend to agree that the state exists to primarily protect our property and persons and if you think of man in more Smithian terms, do you see the state as a means of assisting in achieving equality and potential-fulfillment?
(N.B. Students of philosophy: Please forgive my unschooled references to philosophical concepts. Feel free to clarify or add upon my interpretations in the comments.)