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Moderation: The New Opium

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Karl Marx once declared religion to be the “opiate of the masses.” In his view, religion was simply a power-tool conceived by the ruling elite in order to sedate the workers into compliance. Feed the masses a few spoonfuls of religion, and they’ll happily put their heads down and get back to work. Religion, Marx believed, was the very antithesis of free thought. Free the masses from the shackles of religion and you will empower them to think independently. Before long these independent thinkers of the proletariat will tumble the ruling elite’s capitalistic empire and usher in a communistic utopia. Even though Marx’s theory has never been proven correct in history, he was right about one thing—independent thinkers are dangerous.

In similar fashion, the American news media are extending some opium of their own to the American public. Not a day goes by that an article, editorial or commentary isn’t published or aired extolling the virtues of the political “moderate” as the paragon of rationality. The recent retirement announcement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has taken this “moderation opiate” to new levels. If we are to take the media seriously, one would have to conclude that a judge who doesn’t believe anything would be the best one for the job.

Now the question is whether [Bush’s nominee] Judge Roberts, if confirmed, will … commit himself to recapturing a distant constitutional paradise in which the court was faithful to the original intent of the framers or whether, like the justice he would succeed, he finds himself comfortably in the middle rather than at the margin. [1]

Since it is stated as a fact that the Constitution is a distant paradise—certainly not applicable to today’s complex world—the only rational place for a Supreme Court nominee to be, ideologically, is in the middle. A favorite term of endearment for O’Connor by the media was the “swing vote.” Since nobody could ever really get a fix on where she would come down on an issue, she was, according to the media, in the middle. But it wasn’t until she began leaning to the left on recent rulings that she became the overnight media darling and shining example of what her replacement should be like. Pressure was put on President Bush almost immediately not to stack the court with another right-wing conservative like Scalia or Thomas, but to keep the court “balanced” with another “moderate, swing-vote” type.

Judge Roberts knows how to play the game though. He has stayed under the radar for the most part and the “conservative dirt” that the media are attempting to dig up on him is not sticking all that well. His stated view of Constitutional interpretation is as murky as they come:

I would not hew to a particular “school” of interpretation, but would follow the approach or approaches that seemed most suited in the particular case to correctly discerning the meaning of the provision at issue. [2]

Judge Roberts has learned his lessons at law school quite well. The “correctly discerning” Part 1s where the media’s concern lies. Without answering the question, he answers the question. He can serve up the opium almost as well as the New York Times editorial staff. The Times leaves no question as to where they stand on the confirmation of Judge Roberts:

The American people know little about Judge John Roberts, other than that President Bush is nominating him to fill Sandra Day O’Connor’s seat on the Supreme Court. But in the coming weeks that should change. The Senate has a duty to scrutinize his background and to question him closely at his confirmation hearings about substantive areas of the law. If he is a mainstream conservative in the tradition of Justice O’Connor, he should be confirmed. But if on closer inspection he turns out to be an extreme ideologue with an agenda of stripping away important rights, he should not be.[3]

In other words, Justice O’Connor was a “mainstream conservative” because she supported abortion rights and other liberal social stances. If Judge Roberts turns out to hold “extreme” views, then, according to the editorial, “we will end up with an America in which the federal government is powerless to protect against air pollution, unsafe working conditions and child labor.” [4] What extreme views would lead to such an America? The Times editorial staff claims it is the singular view of “federalism—the issue of how much power the federal government should have” that will lead us back to the Industrial Revolution. [5] Of course, the other view of Judge Roberts that is troubling to the Times is his “attitude toward abortion rights.” Conservatives are constantly derided in the media for making a political issue out of the “intensely personal” issue of a woman’s “right” to choose. The NY Times, however, makes it a pivotal political issue by making it one of their two concerns about Judge Roberts … so much for intensely personal, just keep the opium flowing.

This one example of media opium pushing is certainly not isolated. Pick up any paper, watch any news report and you will quickly see the agenda of the center being pushed harder and harder. This Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along” mentality is paralyzing the public. We are witnessing the social results of a mental ascension to post-modernism. Everybody’s right and nobody’s wrong—except for those who hold to extreme views. Even staunch liberals are re-inventing themselves as “progressives” to soften their radical rough edges. [6] However, a cursory glance at the “moderates” will reveal that their agenda is the same agenda as the liberals of five years ago, they just gave it a new name. Don’t fall for the sedating opium of the middle-preaching media. Nobody can live consistently with believing in nothing. Moderate evangelicals even attempt to appeal to the Bible to make their moderation case. [7] But Jesus made it plain where he stands on the current moderation opiate of the America media. He told the church in Laodicea that he will spew them out of his mouth because they were lukewarm, neither hot nor cold (Rev. 3:15–16). The church was lapping up the opium of the middle, taking pride in believing nothing too strongly. Jesus said he came to bring a sword (Matt. 10:34–35). He causes division because he is not a moderate. He is Truth and Truth divides by its very nature. His “extreme views” got Him executed and we, as His followers, should expect no less (John 15:20).

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