Thoughts About “An Ideology without Promise”

Michael Gerson’s column, “An Ideology Without Promise,” appeared on the Web site of the Washington Post on Sept. 20, 2012.

Mr. Gerson’s attempt to help us see the need for subtlety and distinction in an age where the broad brush and the generalization are rampant is a noble one. I’d agree that clinging to ideologies does little to explain the complexity of our current circumstances. His indictment of reductionism is spot-on. What began as an acknowledgment of the Creator-endowed rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” has become a frantic clinging to the society-guaranteed entitlements to something akin to “security, license, and the guarantee of painlessness.”

I believe that our culture, as embraced by both left and right, has gone a long way toward surrendering those rights because we find them a difficult and sometimes challenging responsibility to bear. Instead, we seek to minimize risk and hardship at the cost of our freedom, which as a gift from God, is always relentlessly communal and not individualistic.