Archives for 3.12.08

conflict is not the same as chaos

So says Walter Russell Mead in a column today found at Entitled “Why Culture War May Never End“, the article argues that there is liberty and safety in humanity when there is freedom for conflict. Here is the concluding paragraph:

Conflict is not the same as chaos. It may be that in a fallen world, we need the excesses of each party to be held in check by the other parties. The idea that the imposition of a single perfect program on the state and on government, on the country, is the way to perfect happiness for mankind is an old and constant dream in the world. Given that human beings are fallen and that our reasoning processes can be skewed, our understandings of justice distorted, it may be that this kind of open society, which is one of competition and contestation, may over time be the best way for human beings.

Conflict isn’t easy. For those not directly involved in the conflict, it is often seen as unnecessary. Those most stridently involved are often seen as the culprits in the exchange, even if they are reacting to real error.

Mead is making his point about the benefits of conflict in an open society especially for the cause of individual liberty and freedom. I would like to make an application to the world of Christendom.

Consider, for example, the Fundamentalist/Modernist controversies of the 1920s.

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