Saturday, December 06, 2014

Conservative is relative...

I sat on a plane recently next to a Chinese student from Beijing who was attending college in the US. We were talking about newspapers and I suggested that The Wall Street Journal was a relatively conservative newspaper. He looked at me really funny.

It turns out that, since conservative means resistant to change or slow to change, in China the conservatives are those who do not want communism to change. To favor capitalistic reforms is progressive or "liberal" in China. Of course in America, capitalism is conservative and any movement toward Keynesian economics is considered liberal.

It shows that what is conservative depends on what tradition you are trying to preserve, that you do not want to change. For Wesleyans, the affirmation of women in ministry is conservative. For a Baptist, it's progressive.

"Conservative" and "progressive" are inevitably relative terms. So in China, Ted Cruz would be a flaming liberal on economics.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For some Baptists, the affirmation of women in ministry is "progressive"; for others of us Baptists, the struggle is to conserve the heritage of women's ordination bequethed to us.