And thus to D. G. Hart's case that evangelicalism is ultimately going to move in the direction of progressivism and has never had anything substantial to add intellectually to conservatism as a movement.
Irony of ironies: the Religious Right has spawned the Religious Left. Today in many evangelical circles, especially anywhere in the vicinity of a university community, affiliation with conservatism is viewed like membership in a leper colony.
Really? I've had the impression the Religious Right didn't spawn the Religious Left (as we know it now). The Religious Right attempted to replicate what they considered to have been the triumph of the Religious Left for the wrong kinds of causes in a rearguard attempt to move things back toward the right ones. That's my impression of the history, anyway. Maybe the Religious Left got mobilized because after Reagan they freaked out that the people they thought would never gain any power or influence actually got power and influence at all. Maybe it wasn't enough power and influence to get the kinds of theocratic police states lefties keep assuming conservative Christians want but enough to make them use that as a sales pitch to mobilize their own base. Enough, certainly, for Franky Schaeffer to keep acting like that's what his dad was on about and downplaying his own formative, self-admitted role in the whole affair, sordid or glorious as it may be depending on who you talk to.
Nevertheless, Hart awakens evangelicals to five factors that put them at odds with conservatism: (1) habitual appeal to the Bible as the prescriptive standard for national affairs, which abuses the Reformation principle of sola scriptura; (2) failure to differentiate the norms and tasks of the "little platoons" in society (e.g., family, work, church, neighborhood association, political party); (3) conflation of ultimate and proximate realities, thus neglecting "an older Augustinian view of the relationship between the City of God and the City of Man"; (4) naïveté about human depravity, beholden to a perfectionist model of sanctification; and (5) an anti-formalist attitude, which regards "the American political tradition's conventions of federalism, republicanism, and constitutionalism [as] merely formal arrangements that may be discarded if a better option surfaces." Bottom line:
… after thirty years of laboring with and supposedly listening to political conservatives, evangelicals have not expanded their intellectual repertoire significantly beyond the moral imperatives of the Bible. In fact, born-again Protestants show no more capacity to think conservatively than they did in the age of Billy Graham's greatest popularity. They do not know how to yell "stop" to the engines of modernity the way conservatives typically have. They have not learned to be wary of concentrations of power and wealth, frustrated with mass society and popular culture's distraction from "permanent things," or skeptical about any humanitarian plan to end human misery. Instead, evangelicals are more likely to support political plans to improve society, grow the economy, and expand the United States' global presence as long as doctors are not performing abortions and ministers are not presiding over the marriage of gay couples.I could write more about this but I kinda don't feel like it. I do, however, want to mention these links and point them out for your consideration. Right now I've been more interested in blogging about negative critical responses to Haydn and other stuff.