Clinton on Conservatism and Liberalism

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At the dedication of the Clinton library, President Clinton said something that struck me as genuinely wise:

America has two great dominant strands of political thought. We're represented up here on this stage: conservatism, which at its very best draws lines that should not be crossed, and progressivism, which at its very best breaks down barriers that are no longer needed or should never have been erected in the first place.

That sounds right to me. Miroslav Volf, in Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (much of which I've read), following Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., in Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin (which I've read only quotes from by people I greatly respect who highly recommended it), take the view that the main sort of thing God did in creating the world was to bind together what belongs together and to separate what shouldn't be confused or diluted. Sin is the distortioin of those relationships (or, more accurately, sin is one distortion of one such relationship and has the effect of distorting others). I think Clinton is right that conservatives tend to emphasize one and liberals (not that he used the word) the other, and the wiser conservatives and liberals are the ones who are able to do both well. See GetReligion for a couple other choice quotes, one from Clinton and the other from the current Presdident Bush.

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