Where Is The Center Of Right And Left Wing Politics: In this episode, we talk with Rabbi Daniel Lapin about where the center of politics is that so many people often talk about. He will cause you to go deeper in your faith. Him being an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi he is able to explain so many things from a deeper understanding of scripture.
Air Date: 07/10/2017
Guests: Rabbi Daniel Lapin, David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture, this is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always looking at it from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premiere historian and the founder of WallBuilders, Tim Barton, national speaker, pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And my name’s Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state rep, national speaker, and author.
Find out more about us and the organization at our websites WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com. That second one WallBuildersLive.com is our radio site. You can get archives of the program. Also, find out more information about your host and some of the guests coming up.
Everyone Needs A Rabbi
In fact, later in the program, we’re going to have Rabbi Daniel Lapin with us. So David, Tim, before Rabbi Lapin joins us- part of the reason we wanted to get him on y’all said, “Man, this question we got from an audience member, he’d be great at addressing this particular question.”
Yeah, he’s great at addressing any question you throw at him.
He continues to be my Rabbi- in the last couple of weeks I’ve used him in several different presentations. And in some of those presentations, we’ve asked them afterward, “Hey, what stood out to you most?” And people choose Rabbi Lapin because what he does it’s a real epiphany kind of thing.
He has such good insight into so many areas. And as a Christian, he is my Rabbi. He is an Orthodox Rabbi. His website, I love it, is “You Need A Rabbi” and that is true. And for Christians, man, he will cause you to go deeper in your faith as an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi by explaining so many things that we just kind of don’t understand that at the Scriptures.
This is going to be one of them today. I’ve actually heard him talk about this which is why I thought it would be great for him to get on. But Rick, why don’t you read the question? let’s say we’re going to cover Rabbi Lapin.
What Does The Term ‘Center’ Mean In Politics
You got it. This comes from Scott in San Diego, “These days the talk is about being center right or center left. I find that to be confusing. After reading The 5,000 Year Leap I can only use the continuum suggested in there, the far right being anarchy and the far left being totalitarianism. That puts the Constitution just slightly more toward anarchy than totalitarianism. What is this ‘center’ spoken of so much and what is right and left of that? The Constitution should be the center. Yet, our government today is way left and the center they seem to speak of is left of that making center right to the left of where it should be, and more so depending on who’s speaking. I think we need to make terms mean the same thing every time we use them in the current use constantly changes. Please help with an explanation in how to get the truth in mainstream use.”
So great question about terminology and how to even step back and look at the political spectrum and use good terms when describing it.
Man, this sounds like a question out of Alice in Wonderland. Up and down and down is up and you fell up the rabbit hole. But that’s that’s a great, great point because what do those terms mean. They’re relative in some ways but relative to what? And Rabbi Lapin will have a great perspective on what those terms mean.
Stay with us folks, Rabbi Daniel Lapin when we return here on WallBuilders Live.
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment in American history. America is a special and unique nation. The average length for a constitution in other countries is only 17 years. But we’ve had ours for over two centuries. Our 4 percent of the world’s population produces 24 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and every year we produce more inventions and technology than the other 96 percent of the world combined.
In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville of France came to America, traveled the country, and in his famous book, “Democracy in America”, reported, “The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional. It may be believed that no Democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one.”
This is the origin of the phrase “American exceptionalism” and affirms that America is unique because of the distinctive ideas on which we’ve been based. Including in inalienable rights, individuals, and limited government, and the importance of religion, and morality. For more information about American exceptionalism go to WallBuilders.com.
Where Is The Center In Politics
Welcome back, thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live! Back with us again Rabbi Daniel Lapin, you can visit his website at RabbiDanielLapin.com. Always good to have you, Sir. Thanks for your time today!
Thank you very much indeed. I love being on WallBuilders radio.
Well, we love having you and we always get these tough questions sometimes from the audience and often David says that we have to get the Rabbi on to talk about this one. So we read it earlier in our program, gave folks the details, but essentially asking what does is this “center” of politics that people so often speak of? And what does it mean in our culture today? It seems to be changing. So we wanted to get a little perspective from you on this one.
Sure, I think the confusion stems from the term “left” and “right,” wouldn’t you say? Rick:
And so for instance, people speak of socialism of being “left.” And then presumably they say fascism is the “right.” So that would be people like the Nazis. But the problem with the Nazis is that the name “Nazi” actually is an acronym for “National Socialist Body.” And they did a whole lot of nationalizing of industry.
Yeah, we just said that was left not right.
But you see, the people say Nazis are fascist and therefore they are people of the right. And that then emphasizes our listeners’ question which is, “Ok, you got the bad folks on the right and the bad folks on the left. So where’s the center?” That’s what he’s asking.
How Political Terms Originated From The Bible
And the answer is that the question is phrased incorrectly. Our question assumes, like I said, that there’s this big long spectrum line and there’s a bunch of bad lefties like socialists on the left and there’s a bunch of bad fascists over there on the right. And us good guys have to find out where the center is. And this simply isn’t correct.
So let’s, first of all, take a quick look at where the origin of the term “left wing” and “right wing” for political usage are found. Where do we first find that coming from?
Interesting, I have no idea.
Well, interestingly enough it was the French National Assembly and this is just before the French Revolution. They have the National Assembly laid out with King and the noblemen on the right. And the people who ultimately brought about the French Revolution, those guys are sitting on the left.
Now, where does that come from? Where did they adopt that idea? So you’ve got the noble representatives of the existing establishment, that’s right. And the revolutionaries are trying to make the world a better place, well those guys are on the left. So where did they get it from?
They got it from scripture where the well-known verse says, “The heart of the wise man tends towards the right.” In Hebrew it’s *. “The heart of the wise person inclines to the right.”
And so the king and those guys were making the rules so they put themselves on the right saying that they’re the wise and then you’ve got the left-wing Revolutionary Socialist agitators on the left. That’s how they did it.
The reality, however, is that that right isn’t some extreme. Essentially, socialism and fascism are all cut from the same cloth. They’re just different sides of the same coin and the idea is in both cases, that the erosion of the family, the erosion of the individual, and the glorification of government and the states. And whether you are Mussolini, and Adolf Hitler, or Stalin, or Marx, they all agree on that. Exactly to what extent brutality is employed early in the process. And to what extent there is an attempt to masquerade that and to make it into a movement for the people. Those are slight differences between socialism and fascism.
But their goal is the same.
They’re both exactly the same.
They’re trying to get the exact same end which is for government to be the end all be all, not the family or religion.
Government has to be the end of everything, right.
The Expression Of Western Civilization Was Towards God
I think the easiest way to answer our audience member’s question is to say that you shouldn’t look at this as a spectrum with a bad left end, bad right end, and a good guy in the middle.
Let’s not look at it that way because that’s not actually correct. What we need to look at it is a spectrum if you like, or a poller where on one side you’ve got the little “g” of government and on the other extreme you’ve got the big “G” of God.
Now, what the Founders of America did, and you find this in their extemporaneous writings, you find this in so much of the documentation, and nobody knows this better than WallBuilders.
You’ve got the guys who were trying to model ancient Israel’s civic architecture based on God and the Bible. And that’s why so much of the essence of human aspiration in what we think of as Western civilization, whether it’s in Europe or in the United States of America, was always towards God. Whether it was the building of churches, and whether it was the art and the architecture, whether it was the music, all of the expression of western civilization was towards the Big “G” of God.
Now, against that, at the other extreme, we’ve got all the forces that are pushing for the little “g” of government. And that would be liberalism, progressivism- Don’t you love that word progressivism? Who wouldn’t want to be full of progress?
Right, sounds so sweet.
It sounds cool it’s like compassion, right? Accepting that if you don’t define it you’re left with the bad guys doing the defining. So there we are. The two extremes are the big “G” of God the little “g” of government and that’s which you get to choose.
Should We Use The Terms “Right” And “Left”
The terms “right” and “left” are probably best not to use. They don’t actually mean anything. For instance, today in America there’s constant talk of “right-wing extremists.” In fact, if you Google “right-wing” you’ll find the majority of it’s all right wing extremists. But do you ever find the phrase “left wing extremists?”
Rarely, if ever.
And the truth is that left wing extremists like the Nazis killed 15 million people, and left wing extremists like the Soviets killed 30 million people, and left wing extremists like * and the Chinese Revolution killed 50 million people. So where were all the left wing extremists?
This is the problem, people who are not familiar with all of this tend to say, “Oh, well you know, I’m not like both houses. I don’t like the right and I don’t like the left so I’m going to be in the center.”
But that’s a little bit like neutrality in a time of war. You’re not being very virtuous, or noble, or great human being when evil is battling against good. And you say, “You know what, I don’t want to fight at all, I’m going to be neutral.” Essentially, you’re hurting because of rights.
There isn’t such a thing is neutrality. That’s where people who say, “I’m looking for the Center. I’m a centrist. I’m a moderate.” What they really want to do is stay out of the fight. That’s what they really trying to do.
Yes, it’s the old silence in the face of evil is evil. Very quick break, we’ll be right back with more from Rabbi Daniel Lapin. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!
Bring A Speaker To Your Area
Hey, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. And as you’ve had the opportunity to listen to WallBuilders Live, you’ve probably heard a wealth of information about our nation, about our spiritual heritage, about the religious liberties, and about all the things that make America exceptional. And you might be thinking, “As incredible as this information is, I wish there was a way that I could get one of the WallBuilders guys to come to my area and share with my group.”
Whether it be a church, whether it be a Christian school, or public school, or some political event, or activity, if you’re interested in having a WallBuilders speaker come to your area, you can get on our website at www.WallBuilders.com and there’s a tab for scheduling. If you’ll click on that tab, you’ll notice there’s a list of information from speakers bio’s, to events that are already going on. And there’s a section where you can request an event, to bring this information about who we are, where we came from, our religious liberties, and freedoms. Go to the WallBuilders website and Bring a speaker to your area.
Choosing Between Government And God
We’re back on WallBuilders Live! Thanks for staying with us! Rabbi Daniel Lapin is our special guest today. Rabbi, right before the break you were talking about the idea of silence in the face of evil is evil and how people think they can choose neutrality at a time of evil versus good and that somehow they’re being good by choosing neutrality. But not so.
Exactly right, yes. And so I recommend that the terms “right” and “left” be relegated to the wastepaper basket. They simply are not that useful in understanding today’s political debate and instead we think in terms of in favor of Big “G” or little “g.”
In other words, we all understand that there needs to be a greater power in the world. I can’t do everything myself, who do I turn to? Well, my first recourse is either government, which it is for so many Americans. Or my first recourse is God, which it is for so many other Americans. But you do have this great canyon cutting through the heart of American culture.
It’s not between right or left, rich and poor, black and white, or men and women, or anything like that. It’s simply between those who on the one side see Judeo-Christian Biblical values as vital for our nation’s survival because that’s how we were brought into being. Or else we believe that it’s not God but it’s actually government and that’s where all goodness comes from.
There Has Never Been A Christian Socialist Society
Yes, so it’s big “G” or little “g.” So, it’s not the right or left thing, it’s just not accurate, and it’s, like you said, not useful. You’re either moving towards government as the epicenter of the community or towards God being the epicenter.
Rabbi, I remember that you have in one of your books or DVD messages, you talk about you’re either going to be an Abraham society or a nimrod society. Where can we point to people on that? Because you really cover this well.
Yeah. It’s a two-hour teaching program and it really does lay out the whole thing. So anybody who has any confusion about the language that is used in the news, or the terminology that is used politically, the right and the left. The teaching is called, “Power of Power. Decoding the Secrets of Babel.” And that is because the way the good Lord created us is that we do have a natural attraction for the appeal of socialism.
You can call it what you like, as I said you can call it liberalism, more progressive, or you can call it whatever you like, but this appeal in the heart of human beings to reject God- and here’s the thing you have to understand, that’s where you start if you reject God as a group of people the kind of civic society you then automatically produces socialism. This is one of the reasons that atheism has gone together with every communist socialistic regime or tyranny the world has ever had.
There’s never been a Christian society that said, “You know what, let’s be socialist.” There was a very brief, ill-fated attempt, experiment in the early days of the Plymouth colony but after they starved and many people had died they quickly realized that socialism was not part of God’s plan for human interaction and they abandoned it.
They got the bad results quick enough that they learned from it.
Fortunately, the results came quickly enough that they did not try and perpetuate it. This has happened in so many tragic societies with so many unnecessary deaths.
That’s so good the way you teach that. The first time, I think you were actually speaking at our legislators conference years back, when you started teaching that it was the first time my eyes really opened and understood that connection between the socialist, and the atheist, and the whole movement towards getting God out of the culture so that you could make government the epicenter for everyone.
The Hebrew Origin Of “Right” And “Left”
And that’s exactly what it is. And although I alluded to the heart of the wise man inclines towards the right, there is actually an interesting earlier reference to this right left bit. That’s where Abraham and Lot are about to separate in Genesis. Abraham says- Now, in the English Abrams says, “If you want to take the right, I’ll take the left. If you on the left I’ll take that right. But we’ve got to separate, our people are fighting.” And that, of course, is when Lot decided to move to the beautiful and seductive city of Sodom.
In the Hebrew original, in the Lord’s language, Abraham doesn’t say, “You got left I’ll go right. You go right I’ll go left.” What Abraham really is saying is, “I am going to go right regardless of whatever happens. I know you are going to choose the left and I really hope you don’t.”
No kidding, wow. So he already knew that there was evil to the left and knew it was better to go-
Exactly right. And I have no hesitation about saying this. Look, today people don’t like saying this, and I understand the problem and I don’t want to paint a great big red target on my back. But I do think it’s necessary to say- and I’m not saying you have to agree with me or anything, or a WallBuilders, this is just my opinion.
I’m Rabbi Daniel, and I say explicitly that the doctrines of the Democratic Party today are not the doctrines of a political philosophy. They are the doctrines of a sick and evil pathology. There’s no question about it.
Yeah, and we’re already seeing, like the Pilgrims, unfortunately, the bad results and hopefull, we’ll learn as a culture.
Well, don’t forget, it’s been 50 years that we have been abusing and maltreating the system that the Founders put in place.
Yeah, we’re not quick learners, huh?
And all these things tied together. I laugh when people say, “Well, I’m an economic conservative, but a social liberal.” The idea that you can separate sex and money is complete nonsense.
If you adopt liberalism in one well then you are contributing to the decline of the entire society. And as I say, you can call it liberalism, modernisms, communism, or progressivism, or socialism, it doesn’t really matter what you call it. But in all of those cases, it’s turning to the little “G” of government for the big solutions to life.
Such good teaching! Rabbi, I wish I could extend our program to hours long. But there is a way to do that, folks. You can get the Tower of Power, Decoding the Secrets of Babel right there at RabbiDanielLapin.com. We’ll make it easy with a link today.
Rabbi, we so enjoy having you and so appreciate your teaching and the wisdom we gain and look for to get you back next time.
I look forward. Thank you very much indeed. Great to be with you, God bless.
Hi, friends! This is Tim Barton of WallBuilders.This is a time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. I know, oftentimes as parents, were trying to find good content for our kids to read.
If you remember back in the Bible, the Book of Hebrews it has the Faith Hall of Fame, where they outlined the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity and our faith as well.
I wanted to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called, “The Courageous Leaders Collection” and this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers.
There’s a second collection called, “Heroes of History” in this collection you read about people like Benjamin Franklin, Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman, the list goes on and on.
This is a great collection for your young person to have and read. And it’s a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at WallBuilders.com.
Moment From America’s History
This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Crime is one of America’s most serious problems today. Its effects reach not only the direct victims of violence but even those who have not been attacked. The concern for crime has not been limited to this century, however. Our Founding Fathers were also concerned about it. Yet, the effects of crime unquestionably were much less in their generation. So what was their deterrent to crime?
Signer of the Constitution James McHenry answered that question. He explained, “The Holy Scriptures can alone secure to society order and peace. In vain, without the Bible, we increased Penal laws and draw protections around our institutions. Bibles are strong defenses, where they abound men cannot pursue wicked courses.”
Founding Father James McHenry believed that widely teaching the Bible was the best means to deter crime. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1 800 8 REBUILD.
Freedom And Inalienable Rights
Welcome back! Thanks for staying with us on WallBuilders Live! Thanks to Rabbi Lapin for being with us today as well. David, Tim, always a wealth of information from Rabbi Lapin.
Yeah, it is! And by the way, he alluded to it, he read it in Hebrew, but let me just give you the Bible verses. Ecclesiastes 10:2, “The heart of the wise inclines to the right but the heart of the fool to the left.” Again, the way he divines that and makes it a relatively kind of position thing. That verse makes a whole lot more sense.
I also thought it was interesting what he said with Abraham and Lot too, where Abraham says, “I’m going to go to the right. And I hope you join me.” That even puts such a different perspective on the thought of Abraham saying, “I’m going to do the right thing, and I hope you do the right thing. But regardless of what you do, I’m going to do the right thing.”
I thought it was interesting and he said, “I know you’re going to go to the left. I wish you’d do the right thing.” And sure enough, he ends up in Sodom and Gomorrah and pays a price for his family as a result and ends up with some really bad stories coming, even out of what happened between him and his daughters afterward.
I was really struck with that interpretation of that versus as well. “I’m going to do the right thing not. I’m going to do the right thing and you’re going to be doing the wrong thing. I wish you’d do the right thing.” That’s profound stuff.
Even back to the original question, which we read, which kind of led to us having Rabbi Lapin on the show today. It really reminded me how we get things from the right and the left it. And it reminded me of Reagan’s old famous speech, “the time for choosing”speech when he said, “It’s really that-
How do you know that speech? You weren’t even around.
I actually grew up in a family that studied history.
And Reagan’s speeches.
So we are familiar with some historical things. But Reagan says, “It’s not as much between right and left, it’s more about up and down.” Up has more freedom and down is more totalitarian more government.
Even when you look at, we’d call them the fringe right and the fringe left, however, you kind define some of this. Well, one of the frustrations now with so many of us who are Republicans, or Christians, or conservatives, or constitutionalists kind of even before Republican, we look at some of these rhinos going, “Oh my gosh! There’s big government and the others.”
Well, it’s because they’ve gone down in the equation instead of going, “Wait a second, up is more freedom, down as more government.” That’s what Reagan said, “It’s not really right and left it’s up and down. And we want people that are going to promote more freedom and not go down a greater government.
For me, that was the first thought when I read it. I know I’m not Rabbi Lapin and it’s a different direction but nonetheless, it did make me think of the kind of the ideas we want to promote, not just the right or the left, but the freedom, those inalienable rights from the Declaration. A lot different than just a conservative Republican versus liberal Democrat. No, we want freedom and inalienable rights.
It’s good. Good stuff today folks. More with Rabbi Lapin on our website. Be sure to go to his website because there’s again, a wealth of information there and some incredible programs. We’ve listened to many of them ourselves and have been fortunate to have him our legislators conference very often. We’re just telling you, there’s good stuff there that’s going to help your family, check it out. Thanks for listening today to WallBuilders Live!