Did Churchill Get It Backwards?

Can you all stand some semi-philosophical musing? Because I’ve been mulling something over, and wonder where you all come down on my rethinking of an old adage…

We’ve all heard the saying, usually credited to Winston Churchill, to the effect that “if you’re under 30 and not a liberal, you don’t have a heart, but if you are over 30 and not conservative, you don’t have a brain.”

As I have aged, studied law and history, and dabbled in political philosophy, I’ve come to think old Winston (or whoever) got it exactly backwards.

When I was much younger, the importance of individualism, of personal responsibility for success or failure seemed obvious: one’s life prospects were shaped by one’s energy, skill, hard work, moral merit…People who failed to do well in life simply lacked some essential personal attribute (if it was intellect, that was an unfortunate consequence of heredity, but other deficits seemed more optional.)

As a young person, I shared America’s cultural emphasis on individual merit and obliviousness of systemic realities.  It never occurred to me that the popular admonition to “Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps!” incorporated the very misleading assumption that everyone had bootstraps.(Not to mention feet.)

When I had lived a little longer–and especially when I went to law school–I began to see the flaw in those early assumptions. It turns out that our society has a number of structural elements that make life a lot harder for some individuals than for others.

A couple of random examples:

I still remember a long-ago conversation with a friend–a criminal defense lawyer–who explained that when the police arrested a middle-class white kid for smoking pot, he could usually get him off with what amounted to a slap on the wrist. If that kid was Black, however, the result was usually different. The system was less forgiving. (He also pointed out that the White kid from the suburbs who was “using” in the basement rec room of his house was far less likely to be apprehended than the the poor Black kid who was nabbed on the street…)

And I often think of another friend–White male, intelligent, 6’2,” athletic, whose parents had both graduated from prestigious universities– who firmly believed that his own (moderate) success was exclusively the result of his individual merit and hard work, and who insisted that anyone in America could achieve what he had if they just tried.

There are–as most of us now recognize–many, many more examples of what we’ve come to call the operation of “privilege”–a status that may not confer benefits, but does eliminate structural  barriers faced by people who encounter those barriers by virtue of their race, religion, gender, poverty or other facet of their identity or status.

It was my encounter with the political philosophy of John Rawls, and especially  his “veil of ignorance,” that really  opened my eyes to the importance of social systems to our individual life prospects. Rawls’ challenge is deceptively simple: imagine you haven’t been born yet, and you don’t have any way of knowing what your circumstances and personal attributes will be. You might be Black or White, beautiful or ugly, smart or mentally stunted, healthy or maimed, born into wealth or poverty…the lists (and options) go on. What kind of world– with what kind of social contract– would you want to be born into?

What sort of society would be most likely to treat you fairly no matter who or what you turned out to be?

Individual merit, however we define that, is obviously important. So are the social systems within which we individuals must apply our particular skills and talents. If America ever emerges from the “cold civil war” in which it is currently embroiled, we need to consider the appropriate balance between the two. We don’t want or need a system that fails to reward diligence and creativity–but we also can’t afford to perpetuate the structural barriers that prevent too many of our citizens from applying their diligence and creativity in ways that benefit us all.

Rawls had a lot to say about that, too.


  1. I was very conservative on many issues when I was younger, although I did not share the rights hate for LGBTQA or environmental protection. As I aged I read more broadly and found I could not verify many right wing beliefs or talking points but I could liberal ones. The liberals ( leftist are different but we use that term out of laziness) have a better argument, usually, and more of a commitment to community. I started casting a few votes for democrats in the early 1990s when republicans on the ballot were just too ignorant or extreme. When trump won the NH primary I left the party and 4 years later became a democrat. Todays republicans have fallen hard for fascism. Democrats aren’t perfect, and they aren’t “communist”, Marxist, or socialist, but unlike the republicans they actually care about more than themselves. Although republicans love to invoke biblical references it is the democrats that actually put the teaching of the Christ into policy, unintentionally maybe but helping others, treating others as you want them to treat you, welcome refugees etc aren’t republican values but they are the values taught by the Christ and the democrats)

  2. Both ideas are right . . . for different people, for different reasons, and at different times. It seems to me this is why we have an ongoing study in those fields of knowledge called, reason, logic, and ethics.
    I was conservative when I was young, because my parents were, but when I got older( late 20s) I became liberal, and that is mostly because I began to observe things I had never even heard about when I was younger.
    Knowledge, experience, and observing – and in this country, reading & thinking about the Preamble to the Constitution – make us what we are as much as anything – or NOT valuing those things and NOT reading the Constitution.
    I went to a very conservative Christian college whose motto (painted on a small sign at the corner of the campus) was a few words from the Gospel of John 8:32. ‘You shall know the Truth & the Truth shall make you Free.’
    It’s kind of interesting that now, it’s idea of what Truth actually is has evolved over my lifetime!
    Secondly, my thinking about the Constitution led me to kind of make up my own ‘political’ motto, which is one of the few things I have put in a prominent place on my FB page:
    “The Preamble IS the Constitution – the rest of it is just the mechanics.”

    After rambling along like this, let me conclude with something I first heard of in a Government Class somewhere in my youth: we have a ‘Living’ Constitution, which means it has been re-interpreted over the life time of our Constitutional government. Things come and they go. Things change and things become irrelevant, so we must keep it’s ideas alive – and LIVE by them, not just the current rules.
    And to put a time, person, or idea behind the problems we face now? The so-called ‘originalist’ thinking propounded by Antonin Scalia and adopted by half the voters of this country, as taught now by Clarence Thomas & the 4 other Conservatives on SCOTUS.

  3. “AUGUST 29, 2008
    These quotes make for good storytelling but popular myth has falsely attributed them to Winston Churchill
    Conservative by the Time You’re 35
    ‘If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.’

    There is no record of anyone hearing Churchill say this.”

    Above is copied and pasted from the International Churchill Society; there is also no record of anyone hearing Churchill saying another often attributed quote to him (copied from the same source); “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

    Whoever the first quote is attributed to, it makes no sense today and probably didn’t make sense when it first appeared. That second quoted statement is more fitting to the Churchill I have envisioned the man to be in my reading of his history. A primary example is his hesitation to agree to the UK taking part in the planning and carrying out of D Day with General Eisenhower and our allies. He finally used that Churchill leadership courage to “sit down and listen” or we might be living in a different world today.

    Last night we were once again bombarded with a repeat of 2015 with Trump, who in no way appears liberal or conservative, but a dictator rivaling Adolph Hitler. He has a new “hair do” with a new dye job; the only change since 2015. To quote Muhammad Ali; “If you are the same person at 50 you were at 30, you have wasted 20 years of your life.” Trump has has wasted more than 40 years of his life; he has also wasted 6 years of this nation’s government and the lives of Americans. He has switched political parties like he switched his women; whichever will most meet his needs.

    “Individual merit, however we define that, is obviously important.”

    He has nothing of merit to offer but will continue to beg, borrow and steal what he wants. “What goes around, comes around.” has no positive connotation in that “Big surprise announcement” last night. Can we survive it a second time?

  4. This is why Einstein called communism and capitalism “evil’ for what they do to the individual spirit because we are BOTH an individual and part of the collective. It’s not an either-or proposition.

    Ayn Rand’s objectivism or rugged individualism embraced by the Koch’s right-wingers is embracing Fascism. Read Trump’s announcement for the 2024 presidential campaign. I don’t believe his role is to win but to continue dragging both parties to the right for the oligarchs behind the scenes.

    Our economic issues have also followed this lurch to the right, with the oligarchy gaining ever more wealth, creating even less democracy. They need control to maintain it. This will fail. We see it happening now at the G20 and with the ensuing mess about to befall the financial sector again. The FED will not be able to bail them out this time.

    As Einstein stated, we need to devise a societal system that embraces our individuality and connectedness, regardless of age. 😉

  5. I was fairly Liberal when I joined the US Navy, even more so when I was discharged. Seeing what people will do to others in the name of their county just made me sick. After participating in the evac of Siagon and the rescue of the USS Mayaguez I swore to get out after one hitch and never have anything more to do with the military.

  6. I have always been a liberal, just maybe not so liberal as I am today. As I look back on the development of my political philosophy, I recognize the influence of Catholic school on my early thinking, which made me a touch more conservative. However, I also recall being vehemently opposed to Joe McCarthy and his hearings before I ever set foot in a classroom. I might just be, at long last, returning to my roots.

    I only have one real issue with today’s progressives and I have harped on that before in this space, so I’ll just say we cannot hold historical figures to the standards and norms of today’s society. We should recognize them for what they did within the framework of their own time. Don’t lionize anyone, but don’t denigrate anyone, either.

  7. Professor-decades ago, (and I am not trying to age you) you impacted my thinking, and I am forever grateful to you. Please do not think too much of yourself, as others (teachers, mentors, coaches, friends) also impacted me. I may be the outlier, but I can never/ever remember a time when I was not on the very liberal side. I thank you for helping me think that way. You were one of those teacher/mentors.

  8. Interesting debate, but the root cause of almost all our ills is poverty. Our poverty rate is swept under the rug by both parties; their financial backers don’t want to be called onto that carpet for their irresponsible actions. What I mean by that is corporate America, instead of shipping jobs overseas for the sake of the quarterly report, should have resurrected and followed the GM model of creating technically capable workers who could build those products. Yes, their pay would have been higher than that in China or Mexico, but so what? It’s all relative anyway. But in the long-term, however, that skilled labor force would have swamped the rest of the world – except maybe not Japan – and reaped massive profits in the long term.

    It’s expensive to support poverty in a humane way. The right-wing profiteers scream about socialism, but it is their own and their stockholders lust for short-term profits that drive the class separation along economic lines. Race, of course, exacerbates the problem (“Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism”).

    Is this a liberal point of view? Probably real analysts, if they read all of our comments, would say yes. I don’t care. What matters is what is best for our society. Our society doesn’t operate on a quarterly report basis. It operates from one election to the next. Sending American jobs overseas has ALWAYS been a cynical, greedy and irresponsible action. Guess who pushes that action in its addiction to money: REPUBLICANS. That party is our major problem.

  9. Gloria Steinham, in her book, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, has an essay about the gender differences here. She argues that young men start out more radical but get co-opted into the system and grow more conservative as they age. It’s the opposite with women, who tend to conform when young, but as they figure out how sexist the system is, get more radical as they get older. It’s a very thoughtful essay and the book is a wonderful intro to a very sensible feminism.

  10. Liberal or conservative, or anywhere between, is not confined to an age bracket; as a very young child I questioned (only to myself) why and how my parents could have such near hatred to “coloreds” and the Jews who owned neighborhood businesses they spent their money in. People who had done nothing against them; never had personal contact with and hoped they never would. Could I have been a child liberal? I never fit in with my family’s beliefs or most of the neighbors. Why couldn’t the “colored” kids living 2 blocks from “my” school go to school with me when white kids from 8-10 blocks away could? Why did they hate the Black man named Watts who raped a white woman and cheered when he was executed but the white in-and-out mental patient next door had raped a woman down the street and broke into our home one night when Dad worked nights and attempted to attack my mother? She sent me next door to have the neighbor call police and was very upset but understanding that Walter was on a home visit from Central State Hospital.

    Liberal or conservative one old adage holds true; “Before enlightenment we chop wood and carry water; after enlightenment we chop wood and carry water.” In today’s world we pay utility companies to provide heat and water; but those bills come to all of us and there have always been those who have needed help keeping those bills paid. Are we helping liberals or conservatives? It is obvious the conservative do not want to continue helping those they claim “do nothing to help themselves”. Hmm; guess that quote is true, but my heart and my brain are in sync regarding helping those in need and I am well aware that there will always be those who don’t deserve help will find a way to get it.

  11. I’ll just throw this out there, American and British conservatism are vastly different from each other. British conservatism is more atheistic, American conservatism has embraced its interpretation of religion.

    And then you have Hillary Clinton who was actually demonized for claiming her favorite book was/is the Bible!!!! It took that other individual 6 years ago to throw a wrench in the gearbox of any sort of progress and accelerate the level of ignorance by those who were always looking behind them while running full speed ahead.

    Like Marv used to talk about the book; “Virus Of The Mind,” which is quite fascinating, you all should read that one when you have time! 6 years ago the individual with the Maltov Cocktail approach to “Gubment,” and all of, Society gave permission slips to the ignorant ones. But it also was contagious moving across this planet and just like the COVID-19 Virus, it spread like wildfire outside of “Merca!” Here, you would hear the lamenting of dumbing down “Merca,” so that was obviously on American conservatives mind! Dumbbells are not just for working out, dumbbells are also dumb as they are solid pieces of iron! And if you can turn your followers into dumbbells, they’ll follow the leader straight into the deep end while not even knowing how to swim.

    Dumbbells sink just like a stone in an ocean of knowledge, compassion, empathy, wisdom, common sense and conscience. Just just as water is wet, stupidity is very tangible.

    Hypocrisy is not hard to identify, and, when conservatism projects its desires on others, you know exactly what’s on their mind and their plan of action. That’s why dumbbells are so valuable to them. Keep them dumb, and just like lemmings, they’ll follow!

    Proverbs 10:14 reads; “those who are wise treasure up knowledge, but the mouth of the fool invites ruin.”

    Proverbs 9:9 reads; “share with a wise person, and he will become wiser. Teach someone righteous, and he will add to his learning.”

    Back in the days when scripture was being written, the Hebrews had a word Chokh•mah’ The Greeks had a word So•phia’a which meant skill, wisdom, knowledge. In those instances in scripture, you have to read the words around one particular descriptor. And realize that there’s much more to wisdom!

    The vanity of human leadership, of kings and priests and governmental leadership usually, as a matter of fact not just usually, but always negates wisdom. Because pride, desire, self aggrandizement, and a reach for power overrides the common sense and the restraint of conscience which leads to disastrous consequences.

    Winston Churchill actually was an avid believer in God’s kingdom. And, he expressed that God’s kingdom would be established by god-fearing statesman and that those statesmen would bring about a universal peace, until that time, man will never have peace.

    Getting to the privilege aspect of what Sheila was talking about today, Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden” pretty much wraps it all up with a bow.

    The white race really has an issue with being superior or possess superior forms of wisdom. And I’m not talking about everyone white, but those who seem to have much influence.

    The Queen of Sheba who was the full of wisdom in her own right, compared Superior to many leaders of the world during those times, was so impressed by King Solomon, that she actually praised his God! She commented on his servants and his subjects, and how it wasn’t because of the riches and opulence, that surrounded them all the time, but it was about his God-given wisdom! And that they could hear it every single day.

    The ability to process knowledge and experience into a form of conduct and teaching called wisdom is not common today. Winston Churchill was an intellectual man, but he still missed the mark as they say. Abraham Lincoln was much closer to that wisdom, but he was assassinated before he could complete what his Bible trained conscience taught him.

    One thing that Lincoln knew, is that wisdom was not dictated by the color of one’s skin or the level of their wealth, or their caste in life! It was based on practical knowledge and experience, on compassion and empathy, on concern and love, and above all, on faith. He was a good man, along with Winston Churchill, unfortunately, they came up short for various reasons. And, that level of wisdom is few and far apart in our current enlightened day and age.

  12. Not sure these tags mean anything to the coming generations. They strongly believe in equal rights to be whomever I want to be and do whatever I want that doesn’t directly hurt others. Such is why they strongly support minority rights, gay rights and abortion rights. Beyond that is of little interest.

    Having fun dialogue about liberals and conservatives conveniently distracts us away from the real dividing line in our society, wealth/power. This is why we don’t tax those guys and why they don’t go to jail.

  13. Lester is correct about the outcomes of a society that leans towards the oligarchs, but what do you expect in an oligarchy?

    If we were a true democracy, society would lean more toward fairness to all, with truth being its centerpiece. I don’t believe the US was founded this way, or at least I cannot see it in our history, nor that of our British parents.

    Those with wealth have always made the rules; hence, the rules and systems have been rigged to keep them as rulers. Those who wake up to this class structure find it very odd, whether they are young or old. Our words don’t follow our deeds. 😉

  14. I suspect that the earliest marker for whether a person becomes conservative or liberal is compassion. If a child’s early expressions of compassion are not encouraged and supported by their parents or some adult that has influence over them, that trait is rubbed out and a hardness takes hold to the detriment of themselves and society. Manners and religion cover this deficit for the most part allowing the self-centered and heartless to succeed in an economic system geared to award success to the selfish and greedy among us. Competition is encouraged, not sharing. Sad.

  15. Theresa,

    What you say makes sad sense. Sad because all the evidence regarding folks younger than 50 suggests that there lives on the Web are low compassion and that they are modeling that effectively to their kids.

  16. If one separates life from politics it’s pretty evident that our traditional culture works well for most of us but there are and will always be some of us who do not enjoy what most of us have and some times in every life that are disappointing.

    I got a kick out of Trumpy last night in a tasteless but otherwise palatial estate telling us how terrible our lives are. If he was Zelenski that might make sense, but not here, not now.

    But in every situation, I have been taught that improvement is possible and have never experienced perfection so that lesson has been reinforced. Whose life can be improved? Is that really such a difficult question? The government already works fine for the haves. Enjoy all that we have. But we can do better for the few. Why not?

    Pervasive, persuasive entertainment has driven us inside our heads rather than into the world around us. Just walk away from it. Live in this world, not the make-believe one that media creates just to keep us watching commercials. Your life is worth so much more than that. Properly invested it can change the world for those whose lives scream for improvement.

  17. Pete – you gotta find a social media pulpit and become an “influencer”. Might make some big bucks on the side, too! 🙂 🙂

  18. Never heard this say from ‘Churchhill’–coming from working class–I always noted my friends with money had it easier. They were able to tap into their parents connections. In my mid-twenties my saying was “it isn’t what you know that gets you in the doorway but who you know”

    This whole boot strap thing is a myth and is used to beat up on people who do not have the money to make the connections. In my psychology 101 classes, we discussed the locus of control–Internal vs External–If you believe that you have control over what happens, you have what psychologists refer to as an internal locus of control. If you believe that you have no control over what happens and that external variables are to blame, you have what is known as an external locus of control. As I read your blog-I went back to this class lesson that needed a bit more nuance in going over this theory. In my 20’s as a woman coming from working class–I saw my locus of control external.

    I can’t recall the research but historical data shows that it is very rare for a child born in poverty to get up and out of poverty and so lets further traumatize the individual for not getting out from under poverty.

    I went searching for this statistic and found this article in Bloomberg — https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-19/why-some-children-born-into-poverty-become-successful

    This economy doesn’t work for most of us and we do not have equal access to America’s ‘bounty’

  19. I’ve always thought I was a liberal because I suffered loss at an early age. My neighbor put a gun in his mouth when I was 4 and I heard the gun go off. That was my friends dad that died. They moved away and I never saw them again. Two of his daughters took their own lives in their 30s.

    I was always the helper but I was surrounded by “conservatives “ so thought I was one too. I left home at 18 and came back several times more liberal than when I left. I went to an evangelical college in my 40s and had to write papers about my religion. I had to lie because I was already giving myself permission to be an atheist. I graduated with a half a point below honors. I guess I fooled them. Now, raging leftist. Smiles…

  20. Sheila, regarding your last paragraph, balance is indeed the key to resolving this issue. Whether we talk about an individual organism or an ecosystem or a human society, balance is required for survival. One of the most important points of balance which must be maintained, in spite of changing conditions, is that between competition and cooperation.
    Humans are not apart from nature, we are a part of nature and, in nature, loss of balance is lethal.
    John keeps emphasizing the importance of faith. I see faith as more of an obstacle than an asset. But there is no reason why we can’t live peacefully as neighbors as long as neither of us has the power to impose our beliefs on the other. This, too, requires balance.
    Our current political system tends to favor extremism over balance. As problem solvers, we can discover what is causing this, (gerrymandering, primaries, or whatever) and work to fix it. Actually, many people are already doing so.
    People have been solving problems and making our lives better for as long as there have been people. History provides me with all the evidence I need to maintain my hope that we will continue doing so. But because this is hope, not faith, I acknowledge that I may be mistaken.

  21. Sharon – “One of the most important points of balance which must be maintained, in spite of changing conditions, is that between competition and cooperation.” If you primarily self-focused, neither matters. Per Popeye, what matters is “I am what I am”…(and I like that).

  22. being raised by a invalid grandmother and working class grandad and a mom who didnt have time. set me out the door everyday into a big city neighborhood,to discover my own needs. i ate everyday,had a clean room to sleep in..many a window i could see into didnt. kids i grew up with had less than myself. i still see that open window with a street sense that tuned me to look. no matter what i was going to be,it wasnt a suit. learning from the poor and why, i continued to work for a living, standing with my own class. over decades ive transitioned to a conservative area of this country to find some relitive calm. finding a conservitive state,(s) i found the strife and grift more open and the anti anything abundant and cruel beyong what those smiling faces you see on heartland of america post cards. there a song by buck owens,( met him once face to face)the streets of bakersfield,there too, i went to high school.(10th grade at 17)until i ditched that for vietnam. i figured (seriously)nam was easier than the slam and sham of bakerfield. i made the navy a home with a job skill need than to politically kill people.
    being working class with a skill,at least kept me outta the gutter. being with the same socioecomomic class never made me feel less. (than maybe someone who sees it that way) driving a truck kept me movin,discovering how to hustle in another line of work, the best was being in a diversafied population. liberal,you bet,and always will be. after being here in blood red NoDak,sodak, ive seen for 36 years the contempt and rage by pure ignorance,laziness, lack of intellectual reading beyond head line news,or how they interpret it..that is conservatism as its bred here.depression era ploitics and beliefs. sure im the one who doesnt read right? i do, but its mainstream about this bluecollar now. its how to survive and know who to point a finger at and to. the way i express the need for the working class liberal to push for their rights,is my lifes work. conservitism has only generated propaganda and lies to allow themselves to feel in power,and buy a political party. maga be damn,this has been a ongoing political structure..being in the street made me look at why theres poverty,and who keeps perpetutating its existance and why$. my street sense doesnt allow me to shy away froma fight,at 67,i still have agility and guts to face off with someone else. my generosity in my small way is known here,and they look at me as someone nice with a street edge. i made a point, im not here to go to church with you or drink in your bars.(22 years here and i never set foot in any of the 2 bars here or churches). its a stagnate world here in NoDak, all thats ever going to happen here is another maga movement and more anti something..
    damn i love being a working class liberal. now wheres my t shirt with the blue target on it…

  23. Since I usually view societal ills through an economic lens, I agree with Vern’s effort today. We are the “richest” country in the world but simultaneously have millions in poverty. Our problem is not wealth but rather its maldistribution.

    Aha! screams the rich and corporate class (backed up by religion, racists, the Protestant work ethic, the corporate press et al), a socialist! That ends the argument. The rich have spoken. All of the fruits of our economy belong to investors and their overpaid managers, though, as Piketty sets forth at length in his book Capital in the Twenty First Century, those who merely inherit such investments have no moral right to claim such investor assets as those they worked and slaved for – because they didn’t.

    We see the efforts of the rich and corporate class to legalize their superior position in the economic pecking order (especially since the Supreme Court unleashed corporate zillions to political parties and candidates) with such anomolies as Indiana’s “right to work” laws, which have little to do with work and a lot to do with suppression of union activities. There are many other legislative goodies legislatures dole out to their campaign contributors in re taxes, regulation etc. in the exchange for bri, I mean, money, but no goodies to the underpaid working class, who cannot compete with the rich and corporate class for favors.

    So what to do? I was opposed to GAW and unconvinced that other social programs were an answer to at least partially redistribute the fruits of our economy, but with this Supreme Court and Republicans leading the way to ever greater maldistribution, I am now in favor of adoption and/or expansion of all such programs. There are other stakeholders in this economy than those in the trinity of investor/management/labor – even those in poverty must needs be consumers of sorts – and environmentalists as well. Socialism? Hardly, but whatever the ism, I call it fair play.

  24. Lester, you lost me. I was talking about political and societal balance, not individual balance. Neither our society nor our political system is entirely competitive or entirely cooperative. We practice elements of both. I’m arguing that we could do better at balancing the two. Also that there are many people currently working to do that. Are you disagreeing with me?

  25. one point with Verns view, the shareholder. today we see commercials how to secure a better retirment and how some app,will reap wealth. im sure those private peoples money is the greater target than the rewards. how about how to restore,or inhance your credit line? great,keeping America in debt and dependant upon finacial inst to help ypu stay in debt. but no one mentions a living wage. damn,guess that would cut profits to shareholders ,CEOs .. but they will find some way to define it as socialism..

    now i gotta go shovel my 1/4 mile driveway

  26. Sharon Miller,

    I can see your point! I also would say that you can have hope without faith and you can’t have faith without hope. Do we hope that they’ll be a dawn tomorrow? Do we have faith there will be a dawn tomorrow? Do we have hope with that ATM will dispense the money we request? Or do we have faith that that will happen? Do we hope our car will start in the morning or do we have faith that it will. Do we have hope that we will wake up in the morning or do we have faith We will wake up in the morning.

    Faith is like love, the apostle Paul stated; “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

    As JoAnn so rightly pointed out a few threads back, concerning the mirror darkly.

    It refers to incomplete knowledge and thereby incomplete wisdom. A child will not have the same picture of life that their parent has, and definitely not the same picture of life that their grandparents are great grandparents have. Because they’ve been through more, they’ve experienced more, they’ve seen their hopes dashed, but they have the courage to continue having faith in what they believe whether religiously or secularly.

    Paul concludes his letter in 1st Corinthians the 13th chapter, so if you’re interested you can read that. 13: 13 reads now however, these three remain: Faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love.

    Trumpty Dumpty and all his little dumpties do not follow any sort of faithful direction. There is very little if any wisdom! And I’m leaning towards the any.

    The apostle Paul also said in Romans the 13th chapter: 10, “love does not work evil to one’s neighbor; therefore love is the laws fulfillment.”

    The apostle Paul was just quoting Jesus Christ at Matthew the 22nd chapter: 37-40.

    I would suggest you also read 2 Timothy the third chapter which Paul wrote.

    Hebrews the 11th chapter starts out by saying that “Faith is an assured expectation of things hoped for, The evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.”

    If your faith is strong enough, you will sacrifice everything you own for it.

    Look at a person being trapped in a location where a hurricane is bearing down, there is one boat or one bus or whatever that’s left taking people out the last one, do you get on that bus? Do you get on that boat? You probably will jump at the chance to get out! You have the faith in that bus or that boat that it will take you out of harm’s way. That is true Faith that in of itself is an example of what is. You’ve seen the benefits of those buses, those boats, even trains and planes and automobiles! That gives you faith before you ever get on board and it will accomplish the goal that you expect it to.

    One’s faith, one’s hope, one’s love, and one’s wisdom, are always referred to as something valuable, several statements in Scripture referred to those things as pearls!

    Jesus Christ said in Matthew the 7th chapter: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, neither throw your pearls before swine, if they may never trample them under their feet and turn around and rip you open.”

    What does that mean? Well, it means that it isn’t necessary to have someone rip apart your faith.

    If your faith along with your hope and your love including wisdom is strong, you don’t need approval from anyone else concerning that. You already know you are doing a good and appropriate thing.

    The Evangelical realm fails to realize any of this. Therefore, they are not conducting themselves with love, they are doing the complete opposite! Their hypocrisy will lead to their demise, they have no desire to learn about faith hope or love, only what the man or woman says from the pulpit! And from what I see, that man or woman is usually a liar.

  27. Yes, Winnie got it backwards. And, individual effort, much of the time, is only a part of what leads to success, as
    you so clearly describe it. Your 6’2″ buddy would obviously have had a very different life had he been born into
    a poor family living in the slums of some big city, let us say Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. I know of other people who
    have a very difficult time understanding the structural racism of the U.S. I had a college buddy, Jeffery, who was a
    very serious idealist, who became a teacher in a “disadvantaged” neighborhood because he wanted to help kids
    find their bootstraps. He left that job rather quickly, after realizing that the school system there was mostly focused
    on keeping the children from insistently misbehaving, acting out.
    Trump, btw, has no, knows no, connection to Conservatism nor to Liberalism. He has nothing but Trumpism in
    his rancid blood. He could not wait to announce until after the 12/6 Georgia runoff, as he’s reportedly been urged
    to do, because what he is running for is not toward a return to being POTUS, but away from indictment.
    I certainly did not watch his blather, last night, but, according to HCR, while he was on a rant about Angela Merkel,
    even Faux “News” cut the live feed.

  28. ,,Trump:::merdochism is alive and well, desantis will be anoited by murderoch,and his demon seed.
    trump,will dwell in limbo and be sued for non payments.his billionaire buddies will
    resume spitting on him.. i will light a blunt and inhale deeply,smiling as his sinking ass
    gets wet

  29. Sharon – not disagreeing at all. To clarify my view: “Neither our society nor our political system is entirely competitive or entirely cooperative. We practice elements of both. I’m arguing that we could do better at balancing the two.” AGREE

    “Also that there are many people currently working to do that.” Don’t really see that now, and, given the strong individualist orientation of the next generations, it is not likely to increase.

  30. John. We may seem to be speaking past each other if we do not agree on the meaning of the word faith. I’m going with my old Webster’s college dictionary.
    ” 1. Belief in God, revelation, or the like; …esp., orthodoxy in theology; in a practical religious sense, trust in God.” I’ll skip 2 and 3. “4. Complete confidence , esp. in someone or something open to question or suspicion.”
    I’m using the word in the sense of meaning # 1. I don’t believe gods or goddesses exist, so I have no faith. If you’re using it in the sense of meaning #4, then we still might need to define “complete” .

  31. To me faith is what we assume about things important to us personally when there’s no solid evidence to guide us. It’s what’s left over considering what all human scientific knowledge has revealed through evidence what we know about all we can measure. Faith therefore covers a great deal about life but science knowledge grows rapidly and unceasingly.

    The absence of faith and science is found in statements like “I have no idea.” Faith is “Here’s what I believe”, and science is “I know”.

  32. Pete, science isn’t “I know.” Science is “.This is what verifiable evidence supports.” Science requires an open mind.

  33. Sharon,

    No, not talking past you, I get what you’re saying. You’re a non-believer in anything but what you can visibly or tangently verify by sight and feel.

    Faith is faith, we can try to dissect the word, or the meaning of the word, but whether you have faith in God or faith that a political party, will make things the way you want them to be? Faith that politics can correct what’s wrong with secular society? But may I point out, when has politics or politicians or evangelicals or philosophizers or scientists for that matter ever really solved the world’s problems?

    They’ve all contributed to the world’s problems! The scientists used to teach us in school that the Big bang caused the universe! They also said that the universe was slowing down in its expansion and soon gravity would pull everything back together and it would start all over again after billions or trillions of years. Then, now we’re told that the universe is expanding more and more rapidly and eventually we’ll see nothing but a great void because everything will be so spread out. Now we’re told that there are new galaxies being formed New star clusters and systems! So, we were taught scientific truth but that scientific truth has kept changing. The Persians and the Greeks and the Romans all had functional waste management systems and running water in their bathrooms, but somehow, in the 1100s all the way up until the invention of sewage treatment in the 1800s, people were throwing their waste out the windows into the streets. They were defecating and urinating in hallways and street corners and what have you. People were dying of typhoid and every other disease caused by sewage and filth. Why? They had a handle on everything millennia several millennia before then. But so-called advanced modern men or society, used the world’s rivers as sewers. Scripture actually describes how humans should dispose of waste, but, obviously humanity never had faith in that memo. The world’s rivers were actually burning, on fire! In the 1960s. And, we have our wonderful politicians trying to go back to that reality! I have faith that humanity is ignorant! And I have faith that humanity is not going to get a handle on its issues! And, humanity is destroying the only home we have!

    Philosophy which is just something men riff with, seems to garner a lot of faith from most of humanity, but what has any of it solved? Science still pours money into weapons of death, you even have scientists denying climate change and so many other issues. So, if that’s the kind of faith that we hold up as a saving grace, well, then everything is doomed!

    Personally, my faith is just a little bit stronger than that, and I know there is more to it than man’s philosophy.

  34. As he explained in My Early Life, Churchill lost his Christian faith in his twenties.
    That makes him a liberal. Evidence missing=no faith.

  35. John, I’m afraid you do not get what I’m saying. Let me try again.
    I do not base my beliefs only on what I can see or feel. I’m not sure what “tangently” verify means.
    I do base my beliefs on things like personal experience, including what I gather through all my senses. This information is processed by my brain. It is organized, analyzed, synthesized and evaluated. All of us do this. It’s what our brains have evolved to do. Some people do it better than others. Sometimes we do it so easily and quickly that we are barely aware of having done it. For example, when I want to cross a busy road I analyze a lot of information (the width of the road, density and speed of the traffic, my ability to move quickly, etc.) and make a rapid judgement. If I believe I can make it and I’m wrong I might wind up as pavement pizza. If I’m right, I live to do more thinking.
    So my beliefs are not based only on the knowledge I sense, but also on what my brain does with that knowledge.
    Science is not merely a body of knowledge. It is also the process by which that knowledge has been gathered, tested, and verified to some degree of reliability. This scientific method does not produce certainty of proof, only probability of truth. So, as the process continues it expands and refines our understanding of the sense-able universe in which we live. Of course, what scientists believe to be true changes over time as new information is gathered and processed. This isn’t a weakness of science, it’s an indication that the process is working.
    Now, as to the value of science, I’ll simply say this. My life is about 3 times as long and orders of magnitude easier than it would have been had I been born 500 years ago and that difference is entirely due to science. If you can’t see the value of that, we are truly at an impasse.

  36. Sharon and John, science, along with pretty much every other thing we do is a way of making maps. Science is a way of making maps of what happens in different phsyical situations, rather than of a territory, and Sharon is right, it is also a methodology to make better maps. Alice Walker’s book, The Color Purple is a map to the experiences of a poor “colored” girl growing up in the rural South. Our life narratives are inaccurate maps of our past and projected stories of our future that we get lost in and that keep is from living in the present moment. If we go out in the woods and sit quietly and truly commune with nature, we can get out of our maps an into the real world for a bit, or if we meditate enough we may be abel to be in the present for a few seconds or maybe minutes. But if you head for the woods leave your phone at home. Of course describing everything short of being present as a map is a map of how we map.

  37. Sharon and Anne,

    Now this type of conversation is enlightening .

    I’m sorry I was preoccupied and missed the last comments, but hopefully we can discuss more in the future . I so enjoy The perspective of women About anything. the women in my family on my mother’s side were always extremely strong. It was actually a matriarchy. The men were not wimps of course, but The women usually Ruddered the ship so to speak. I always tried to emulate That way of conduct and thought. Sharon, I meant tangibly not tangently . I would never disrespect your opinion Bye minimizing it tangently . I meant tangibly verify .

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