From David, again, in Iraq:
I read your thing about Huckabee, and I think I finally figured out why he bothers me as much as does. He seems to embody a little bit of the gullibility of the modern evangelical movement. He takes a philosophical virtue and turns it into a practical vice. How many evangelicals have you met that desperately want to believe in the redemption of the most fallen people, in the ability to defeat poverty, in the power of “love” in the abstract to overcome evil?
All of those things are good things, but our actions in pursuit of these goals have to be grounded in the real world, with an ever-present knowledge of the desperate depravity of man. Redemption is possible, but so is deception, so we should protect the innocent from the consequences of deception while understanding that true redemption is its own reward – and the truly redeemed will understand that they must pay their debt to society and are not entitled to “get out of jail free” cards.
We can ease poverty, yes, but we can never eliminate it. Why? Because – in this country – poverty is all too often the result of terrible human failings, like drug addiction, illegitimacy, divorce, crime, etc. Giving money and resources to those who make very bad choices tends to empower further bad choices, not turn lives around. The fundamental failing of the leftist world view is that they fail to understand human nature. Christians do not have an excuse for this. Money and resources are effective after a life has been changed, not before. Throwing money and government programs at problems may make us feel good, but it is a poor substitute for the infinitely harder work of teaching and mentoring (as we discovered in our time working with many, many poor kids and families in Kentucky).
And good intentions are all too often seen by the evil or the deceived as a weakness to exploit, not a virtue to admire. Too many evangelicals are “harmless as doves” but decidedly not “wise as serpents.” Huckabee strikes me as the former, not the latter.