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Petraeus and the moral bankruptness of social conservatism

I think it is rather funny how two major golden boys in the "Conservative Idol" game have been taken down by infidelity in the past few weeks: Dinesh D’Souza and now General Petraeus.

It is especially sickening, though, that according to “conservatives” the military is supposed to be the virtuous of virtuous groups, we are supposed to honor the living daylights out of them, give them special treatment (even moral license), etc., and yet at the highest levels we find such immoral scumbags. And people still think they can make decisions about who lives and who dies?

I keep growing in my dislike for social "conservatives" because, basically, they are complete and total statists. Oh yes, they say they want limited, small government, low taxes – except when it comes to enforcing their social values at the point of a gun and to making sure the military has unlimited expense accounts to police the world and blow up countries they find nominally offensive.

Even as a theologically conservative Christian, I cannot stand being associated with the socially “conservative” philosophy overall. If I had to label it, I’d say I am socially Biblical, not conservative. Even though God’s theocracy/monarchy in Israel had civil laws that we do not, nowhere in Scripture are we called as Christians to make the State make people moral.

Of course, being socially Biblical as well as a libertarian, I intuitively recognize that you cannot make people moral. People must make the choice to be moral freely. That does not meant there are no boundaries whatsoever (we expect prohibitions on violence), but personal morals must be adhered to voluntarily. If I am to believe the Bible, I cannot be a social conservative, nor a social liberal.

What do you think, is it time to abandon the term “socially conservative,” but not even replace it with “socially liberal”? Can we be “socially Biblical” and retain some nominal kinship to people on both sides? Is calling our position “socially Biblical” even a good idea in the first place? Let us know in the comments.

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Dr. Norman Horn

Norman founded LibertarianChristians.com and the Libertarian Christian Institute, and currently serves as its President and Editor-in-Chief. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from the Austin Graduate School of Theology. He currently is a Postdoctoral researcher in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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