Guest: Former Congressman Jim Renacci
Jim Renacci is an experienced business owner who created more than 1,500 jobs and employed over 3,000 people across the Buckeye State before running for Congress in 2010. He represented Ohio’s 16th District in the House of Representatives for four terms (2011-2019). He is also the chairman of Ohio’s Future Foundation, a policy and action oriented organization whose goal is to move the state forward. A Republican, he is a former city council president and two-term Mayor of Wadsworth, Ohio.
Excerpts from AG Barr’s speech . . .
“It seems to me that the passionate political divisions of today result from a conflict between two fundamentally different visions of the individual and his relationship to the state. One vision undergirds the political system we call liberal democracy, which limits government and gives priority to preserving personal liberty. The other vision propels a form of totalitarian democracy, which seeks to submerge the individual in a collectivist agenda. It subverts individual freedom in favor of elite conceptions about what best serves the collective.
“In my view, liberal democracy has reached its fullest expression in the Anglo-American political system. This system is responsible for unprecedented human freedom and progress. We providentially enjoy its blessings today.
“The wellsprings of this system are found in Augustinian Christianity. According to St. Augustine, man lives simultaneously in two realms. Each individual is a unique creation of God with a transcendent end and eternal life in the City of God. We are created to love our Creator in this world and become united with him in eternity. As Augustine writes in his Confessions, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
“At the same time, while we work toward our eternal destiny, we live in the temporal world – the City of Man. But this world is a fallen one. Man is stubbornly imperfect and prone to prey upon his fellow man. Unless there is a temporal authority capable of restraining the wicked – an authority with power here on earth – the wicked men would overwhelm the good ones and there could be no peace.”
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“Totalitarian democracy is based on the idea that man is naturally good, but has been corrupted by existing societal customs, conventions, and institutions. The path to perfection is to tear down these artifices and restore human society to its natural condition.
“This form of democracy is messianic in that it postulates a preordained, perfect scheme of things to which men will be inexorably led. Its goals are earthly and they are urgent. Although totalitarian democracy is democratic in form, it requires an all-knowing elite to guide the masses toward their determined end, and that elite relies on whipping up mass enthusiasm to preserve its power and achieve its goals.
“Totalitarian democracy is almost always secular and materialistic, and its adherents tend to treat politics as a substitute for religion. Their sacred mission is to use the coercive power of the state to remake man and society according to an abstract ideal of perfection. The virtue of any individual is defined by whether they are aligned with the program. Whatever means used are justified because, by definition, they will quicken the pace of mankind’s progress toward perfection.”
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“While many factors have contributed to the polarized politics of today, I think one significant reason our politics has become so intense and so ill-tempered is that some in the so-called “progressive” movement have broken away from the fold of liberal democracy to pursue a society more in line with the thinking of Rousseau than that of our nation’s Founders. That has played a major role in our politics becoming less like a disagreement within a family, and more like a blood feud between two different clans. “