Remake America or Restore It?
Southern Evangelical Seminary’s ‘Philosophy, Politics and Economics’ Program Explores Topics Such as Why America Seems to Be Moving in a Radical Direction—Politically, Culturally and Economically
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—In late April, more than 10,000 people filled the Risch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to hear President Donald Trump rally his supporters and continue the charge to “Make America Great Again.”
Specifically, Trump talked of a strong economy and criticized his Democratic presidential opponents, which garnered cheers from the sizeable crowd. “They should change that to the Radical Left Democrat Party,” Trump had said. “It’s crazy what’s going on with them. Oh, do I look forward to running against them.”
Evangelical leader and Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) President Dr. Richard Land said the president knew just how to hit the mark when it came to his talking points.
Land is also a member of President Donald Trump’s advisory board for faith issues and explored the topic of radicalism and conservatism in America during two recent installments of his daily radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive.”
“Why are the Democratic candidates for president moving in such a radical direction politically, culturally and economically?” Land asks. “It is the culmination of a long trend. In 2008, President Barack Obama said he wanted to remake America, whereas his opponents wanted to restore America. President Obama pushed way beyond where a majority of Americans were willing to go. This provoked a strong reaction, which produced Donald Trump, which has produced a strong counter-reaction on the Left.
“As this country confronts radical change, conservatives want to restore an America of traditional values,” Land continued. “They fiercely desire an America that focuses on equality of opportunity, not guaranteed equality of outcome. They want a country where initiative, hard work and personal responsibility are rewarded, and where irresponsibility and lack of effort have negative consequences. They deeply desire the restoration of a moral symmetry where exemplary behavior is rewarded and less exemplary behavior is not.”
These conservative Americans, Land added, have rebelled against what they perceive to be a confiscatory redistribution of wealth, along with a consequent loss of economic opportunity, and the lowering of social horizons for their children and grandchildren.
Growing multitudes of Americans, he said, have come to believe their country took a tragically wrong turn—and it didn’t happen in the 2008 election or in 2012, but in the late 1960s.
“These people believe too many Americans followed the Woodstock generation in increasingly emphasizing personal rights and privileges at the expense of personal obligations and responsibilities,” Land said. “Many of those who now believe this was a foolish and destructive direction took that wrong turn themselves and now understand the tragic damage it has inflicted on their personal lives and on the country—abortion on demand, 40% of babies born out of wedlock, rampant child abuse, pornography, drug abuse, and the list goes on and on.
“They also want a country where patriotism is advocated and respected, not ridiculed and mocked. The side that emphasizes rights and privileges will foster a culture of entitlement. People are led to believe a job is a right, a promotion is a right, living well is a right and a certain standard of living is a right, regardless of effort or productivity. Those folks who emphasize general obligations and responsibilities say no. A certain standard of living is something you earn, and your words should be more than your right to an opinion. Your word should be your obligation to keep your commitments.
“The social warfare between traditionalists who emphasize obligations and responsibilities versus those emphasizing personal rights and privileges at the expense of obligations and responsibilities is now approaching what may well be its last climatic, decisive battle in the 2020 elections,” Land continued. “‘Remake vs. restore’—remake wants to overturn the Electoral College, pack the Supreme Court, abolish private health insurance, tax people at 70% rates and lower the standards of living of the vast majority of Americans through their catastrophic Green New Deal. The good news is the American people get to decide who wins. Christians must cast their vote by praying and participating fully in the upcoming primaries and the general election.
“America may well be in the balance.”
At SES, students delve into classroom discussions about topics like these through the recent addition of the “Philosophy, Politics and Economics” program. Offered primarily at just a few top-tier universities around the world, the PPE program introduces students to the Christian worldview of how philosophy, politics and economics intersect, focusing on the works of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Karl Marx, Thomas Aquinas, Robert Sirico, Jay Richards and others.
For 27 years, SES has existed to equip students and ministry leaders to share the Gospel from an intelligent, informed and rational biblical worldview. Courses, conferences, seminars, guest speakers and more seek to accomplish this longstanding mission. Central to this purpose is the provision of a biblical basis and an academic understanding of believers’ commitment to Christ. Therefore, SES seeks to provide an educational opportunity where the Christian worldview is both a framework for thinking and a dynamic for living.