Reflections on the Progressives and US History Class

English: "Glassworks. Midnight. Location:...

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I go to a strongly conservative Christian liberal arts college. This post reflects that.


“Don’t miss the forest for the trees.”

But the forest is made of trees. A country is made of people, individuals, humans, stories, lives.

The accusation that our classmates don’t care about people isn’t entirely true; the problem is that they forget the people in pursuit of the ideas. The ideas are beneficial to people; they may even honestly say that they are working for people, but the main thing is the idea. The Greatest good. The best society.

So they miss the people. And they appear uncaring. Because they don’t even think about it.

They say that regulations are making it difficult for people now. That the consequences are not acceptable.

Look at her.

They refuse to see the children. They are willfully blind because they don’t want to be confused in their ideals. They have decided who is good, and who is bad, and they cannot bear to think otherwise.

The Progressives were bad. They gave us the result of overregulation.

But they also gave us edible food, and took children out of danger, and made medicines safer. And our classmates sit here taking advantage of that and condemn the progressives for the inefficiencies we have to put up with.

America is always good. It gives us democracy.

But it also bullies small countries, and kills innocent children, and sanctions sin. And our classmates sit here in the midst of this blood on our hands and refuse to see it.

They stare into the eyes of wounded children and refuse them refuge.

I’m scared.


It’s no wonder we are accused of callousness. It’s not callousness so much as a refusal to allow our humanity to color our logic. We are humans. We are beings of both logic and emotion. We cannot operate only on the basis of one. Pure logic would lead us to a Darwinistic winner-take-all scenario. Pure emotion would lead us to a cradle-like mother state.

Our classmates have chosen logic over emotion, and I can understand the lure of that choice. It doesn’t hurt. It gives you the safety of always being in the right. You don’t have to care, because everything is absolute and personal responsibility means you don’t have to worry about others; they can take care of themselves. And maybe they have a point; there are places that government doesn’t need to go. But right now, they are safe inside of a box of logic, and they can’t realize that people are messy and that there is no such thing as a perfect solution.

They are reacting to the overwhelming emotion of our culture. I’m not excusing them. They have gone too far. But they are reacting, not reasoning.

In our world, emotion is king of the day, and it gives a different sort of comfort. Not the comfort of a box, but the comfort of a pillow–smothering and soft, till you realize you can’t breath. You can do one nice thing, and it will make you happy. And nothing will change. You can care and look like a nice person, and think you’re a nice person, and it will all be nice. But nothing will change. You can pass laws that make everything seem nice. But people won’t change.

You have to love the people. You have to have a plan. You must be both logical and emotional, to love with your mind and your heart, and with your strength you must carry it out.

You have to see the forest. But you can’t forget the trees.

You have to lead the country. But you have to love the people.

When we reach the point that we say, “It is expedient that one die for the many,” we have lost.

Caiaphas said that. Jesus said, “I lay my own life down.”

We cannot lay others’ lives down for them. We can only lay down our own.

God have mercy on us all.

Companion songs:

“Do You Want To Know,” Josh Wilson.

“Asleep In The Light,” Keith Green.

“Through the Eye,” Michael Card.

“Go to the Hungry Ones,” Keith Green.

“Heal Our Land,” Michael Card.

Categories: History | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Reflections on the Progressives and US History Class

  1. Sperare

    Well spoken: “people are messy and that there is no such thing as a perfect solution.”

    As a student at this same college, who has long wrestled with this same issue, I humbly say–amen. But don’t be too hard on the classmates who insist on the strictly logical. Some do take that route thoughtlessly, but others take it thoughtfully, believing it really is the better way, and you cannot know everyone’s heart.

    There is no easy answer.

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