Martin Sieff recently noted the ways in which the US can be described as a “superpower of the left.” As blurred as the categories may be today, the point stands. Whether it is Democrats or Republicans, from an international perspective the US policy looks to be all of a piece. It is committed to the spread of its own style of govt. across the globe, even if that means direct intervention. Russia and China, by contrast, are now much more interested in their own national interests and, in a sense, retaining a “conservative”, that is, pragmatic, regionalist, non-utopian posture in the face of internationalist pressure.
Now, there is no inherent virtue in “conserving” or being “traditional.” Everything hinges on what is being conserved and the content of the tradition being embraced. Still, there is something to Mr. Sieff’s observation that “today’s neocons are really neo-Trotskyites promoting the old, doomed enthusiasms under a new label.” In fact, as Justin Raimondo pointed out in Reclaiming the American Right, Max Shachtman and other actual anti-Stalinist Communists contributed to the intellectual foundation of American neo-Conservatism. This seemingly came into its fullest manifestation with the so-called “Bush Doctrine,” and now, as Mr. Sieff’s article shows, the US can be described as a radical and even “leftist” world power.
The value in this observation is not to simply add to the name calling, as it too often the case in the American media. Rather, it is to show the weakness in our current political nomenclature, as the names rarely indicate the basic principles in play. This is also another reason why Christian citizens should eschew party identification. There may be good reasons to vote for one party or the other, or both or neither for that matter, but it is currently impossible to name any US political party as the obvious “Biblical” or “Christian” choice, nor is it even possible to call the one of them which likes to style itself “conservative” truly conservative in the old sense of that word.
Steven Wedgeworth is the pastor of Christ Church in Lakeland, Florida. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a Director for the Davenant Trust. A graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson, MS), Steven lives in Lakeland, FL with his wife, son, daughter, and two terriers.
The Calvinist International is a forum for research, resourcement, and renewal of Christian wisdom.