Before Christmas the president of an American woman’s college had her students put away their mobile phones and Ipods and spend some time reflecting in silence. Apparently the idea is spreading. (See the report here.)
As the New Year approaches I feel the need to follow the lead of these young people and do some inner contemplation. A lot has happened over the last few years and I have changed a lot. I need some time to think about what all these changes mean.
One change that is nagging at me that I want to think about is in my attitude toward politics. I think at heart I am generally still a conservative, at least on social issues. Economically, I believe encouraging entrepreneuralism is the best thing our nation can do, and I think the conservatives are best at doing that.
However, I believe in a lot of ways I am reversing the old adage, “If you are young and not a liberal you have no heart; if you are old and not a conservative, you have no head.” I see a lot of suffering in the world, and I want to do my part to alleviate it before I pass on. I am becoming more politically liberal as I progress through middle age.
The conservatives I think want to do attack poverty and need, too, but in a roundabout way that isn’t good enough. In theory, they believe that wealth trickles down to the masses. But I think the recent economic problems and scandals show that greed gets in the way.
The liberals approach the suffering of the poor and needy more directly. In the words of Barack Obama, they want “to spread the wealth around.”
In the past I would have rebelled in revulsion at such a statement. But now, I am not so sure. At least people like President Obama want to do something about the problem of suffering immediately.
I could become easily become a Democrat if it weren’t for their tendency to support social liberalism that I think is morally bankrupt. I also am not sure I can make the jump because big government is as corrupt as capitalism. It is also terribly innefficient. But I am more willing than I used to be to give the Democratic approach a try, and to look the other way at their benevolence toward the social left .
When I was overseas I was a Fox News junkie. Part of the reason for this was that the network was available on my computer. But the other reason was because I agreed more with their political reporting. It seemed more fair. Now I don’t care so much to watch them anymore. I don’t really care to watch the eggheads on MSNBC or other liberal media either. Some kind of change has come over me.
This is why I want to take make the effort to reflect on this and determine where I really stand politically. Perhaps I am more interested in personally doing something about helping people who are suffering than standing on the sidelines and letting the politicians do it for me.