4 Ways Pluralism Serves the Rich and Powerful
Pluralism has become the central uniting factor in much of our society, yet I wonder if many people have considered its implications. If pluralism truly means ALL views are welcome to the table, is that the best means of securing freedom and tolerance? And if not “all”, what authority do we appeal to for the boundary? The state? Popular opinion? As pluralism increasingly becomes America’s new dogma, it’s important we realize the ways it will inevitably serve the status quo of the rich and powerful.
1. If truth and morality are relative, we can’t say “no”The greatest measure of freedom is not our ability to choose or define ourselves, but our ability to say “no” to the majority or ruling class. Ironically, as pluralism becomes the assumption more and more in our society - with regard to moral foundations, worldviews, religion, identity, gender, etc. - then we lose the ability to defend the defenseless in our society. What was intended to include the defenseless actually undercuts their ability to take moral stands, evacuating moral outrage of any force. Arguing that healthcare is a human right simply because we’ve decided in the last few years that it is a human right is not a convincing argument. If all humans are made in the image of God with inherent value, the state cannot give or take away that value, it should simply recognize and act in light of it.
2. The rich and powerful will always have more options
As choice and self-determination become the bedrock of our society, and even the source of our identity, then the rich and powerful will continue to have a huge advantage toward “identity creation.” Whether it is because of financial, bodily, familial, or other reasons, the less resources I bring to the table, the less I am able to change my identity. Pluralism assumes that you or anyone else does not have to change, and that there are no objective demands, we can all simply choose to be ourselves. The status quo is always served by an ideology that prioritizes individual choices, which make no public demands. But if I can only choose my own identity, not fight for an objective right, those who hope in changing the status quo are left with a hopeless burden.
3. Pluralism without moral boundaries leads to tyranny
Humans are inescapable governed publicly and privately by some authority. It may be our own desires, genes, family background, or something perceived as more “transcendent” like God, but “you gotta serve somebody”, as Bob Dylan famously said. The danger of our cultural trends today lies in the lack of any moral foundation or boundary. The result will not be a freedom from authority, but simply a switch from one type of authority to another. The authority in a democracy is the majority, and if there’s no other check on the majority, it very easily becomes tyrannical.
4. Objective Truth is not the enemy of freedom, but its guardian
As New Testament scholar, NT Wright, put it, “Resurrection is not the re-description of death; it is its overthrow and, with that, the overthrow of those whose power depends on it.” Because the early Christian martyrs believed in a truth and authority above Caesar, they did not have to submit to his authority. Though it has (wrongly, in my opinion) served as the “opiate of the masses”, Christianity is inherently revolutionary in the sense that no earthly authority can ever fully tyrannize its followers. If the state or the majority becomes our highest authority, it becomes our god, to whom we look for purpose and on whom we depend for human rights. If God is my highest authority, I have the courage and resources to fight injustice and love others according to trans-cultural values.
Originally published at HuffPost