Daily Archives: September 22, 2011

Video of the Day: “The Underlying Social Contract”


I picked up the buzz about this video of Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail in Massachusetts a couple of days ago and thought I’d post it at the end of the week. Now I find that I’m an also-ran as it begins to pop up everywhere. Even Rush Limbaugh has lumbered onto the scene, pre-emptively declaring Warren a “parasite.” She scares the insurrectionist right already, with the election still fourteen months away. It’s no wonder why.

If you haven’t already seen this video, you’ll be glad you did. This is what a “liberal narrative” sounds like (everybody’s citing what she says beginning at the 50 second mark). It’s so damn simple that it’s hard to imagine why liberal politicians haven’t been able to find it for the last three decades. If Obama had simply picked up the thread Warren follows here, he’d probably have a very different presidency today: one continuously refreshed by the hope he promised instead of deeply compromised and perpetually demoralized by the double-dealing of political nihilists. To know hope is to be able to speak a great truth with simple clarity.

Previous posts on Warren here and here.

Christian Love

Stephen Harper — who walked away from Canada’s commitments under the Kyoto treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — appears in a billboard campaign in Copenhagen, 2009

Our last few posts make this a good time to return to our ongoing “Frye on God” thread. Conservative politicians are the most likely to declare themselves Christians, but they are also the most likely to be missing any sense of Christian charity, especially with regard to the poor and the sick. Stephen Harper’s repetitions of “God bless Canada” do not otherwise appear to display much concern for the welfare of fellow Canadians in need, or for the vast expanses of nature that make up the Canadian landscape. Evangelical Christians, in fact, seem to possess a reckless disregard for the environment. Like other North American conservatives, they deny global warming in large numbers despite a virtually unanimous scientific consensus on the issue. Because big oil interests spend tens of millions of dollars every year to fund global warming denialism, it evidently is possible to serve both God and Mammon if you have a mind to do so. It’s as though a peculiar strain of Christian conservatism believes that, with the End Times coming, it doesn’t matter how much damage is inflicted along the way. As Tina Fey in her most recent rendering of Sarah Palin nicely put it, “I believe that global warming is just Jesus holding us closer.”

Those who cite the Bible as a strict source of authority often seem to have no idea what they’re talking about. The limit of their understanding is usually love. Here’s Frye in “On the Bible”:

[T]he response which the Bible itself insists on, the response of the spirit, is bound up with the conception of love, a word which perhaps means too many things in modern languages and may have rather a sentimental sound. But in the New Testament love is regarded not as one virtue among others but as the only virtue there is, and one which is possible only to God and to the spirit of man, a virtue which, in Paul’s language, believes and hopes everything [1 Corinthians 13:7], and thereby includes all the other virtues because, outside the order of love, faith and hope are not necessarily virtues at all. (CW 4, 164)