By Ivan Squall
Published April 1, 1992
The 1992 Democratic primary process seemed destined to offer voters not just mediocrity, but boredom as well, that is, until “Governor Moonbeam” flew in on his magic carpet, and we have not lacked for entertainment since. Jerry Brown has been described in the press as a charlatan, a political changeling, an opportunist, and a fake. Harsh indictments to be sure, and probably exaggerated since nobody could be all these things at the same time. Brown’s critics have countered that he requires only about 48 hours in order to cycle through each of these roles.
It is hard to place Brown in any traditional political category. To simply label him a liberal won’t suffice. That term is better suited to a Jackson, Dukakis, or Harkin. Brown is a political and spiritual eclectic, espousing far left environmental policies in the same breath as he pushes a flat tax policy which is more conservative that anything Ronald Reagan ever dared to propose. Of course, that isn’t such a difficult stretch after you’ve spent a few years attempting to integrate Buddhism and Christianity.
That’s not to say Brown is a closet conservative. He merely happens to stumble across some constructive ideas as a result of his stream of consciousness approach to politics. In fact, Brown’s liberal credentials are quite solid. Besides being an original champion of extreme environmental causes, he supports the imposition of a full-fledged Canadian style health care system in the U.S. He is strongly pro-abortion (not something he picked up during his years as a Jesuit seminarian), is an active supporter of much of the homosexual agenda, and is adamantly opposed to the “barbaric” concept of a death penalty. Brown has declared himself to be a kindred spirit to Ralph Nader, and has worked hard to convince Jesse Jackson to be his running mate.
Brown does differ from his liberal colleagues when it comes to lifestyle. Despite their class warfare rhetoric, liberal politicians are just as likely as any greedy, hard-hearted, country-club conservative to take full advantage of all the kingly perks which have sometimes accrued to those who wield political power in our nation. In sharp contrast to these bipartisan abuses of the public trust, Brown chose to dump the California Governor’s personal limousine and jet when he took office in 1975. Then he refused to take up residence in the Governor’s mansion instead opting to rent a $250/month apartment. This may have been a bit excessive, but he certainly chose to err in the right direction.
In his current presidential bid, Brown has made the cleansing of government corruption his primary focus, something few liberals or conservatives have been even willing to discuss. He presents himself as a moral crusader on behalf of Everyman, fighting to overthrow a bloated and arrogant Beltway oligarchy of career politicians and entrenched bureaucrats. His impassioned assaults are leveled without mercy against “money grubbing Congressmen” and every other species of “bought and paid for politicians.” If Brown’s campaign can help to make voters more aware of the sordid behavior of our governing officials and their patronage armies, then he will have made a valuable contribution toward the national reformation we so desperately need.
Not all of Brown’s critics dismiss him as a flake. In fact, many believe him to be the consummate opportunist with a deliberate method behind much of his madness. They portray him as a chameleon whose flip-flops on the issues are not only frequent but fundamental. Substantive examples abound, some of them on positions which form the core of Brown’s campaign platform.
Two planks in Brown’s platform somehow got warped as he tried to appeal to Michigan voters. Early in the campaign, he had repeatedly attacked Tom Harkin for having taken contributions from labor unions. Yet as soon as Harkin dropped out, Jerry Brown traded in his turtlenecks for a union jacket and began to curry favor with the same union leaders, focusing on the United Auto Workers PAC which provided $1.8 million to Democratic candidates in 1990. And as the audience changed, so did the message. Gone was Brown’s decade long defense of free trade and the North American common market. Whereas last year protectionists were nothing more than “crybabies who can’t compete,” today they are the patriotic defenders of American jobs which greedy capitalists plan to ship down to Mexico.
All this has led a disillusioned Mickey Cantor (Brown’s 1976 campaign manager) to ask the obvious question, “How many times can we allow Jerry Brown to reinvent himself?” In the opinion of columnist Michael Kinsley, “Brown’s campaign technique is to grab onto some issue he’s shown no previous sign of caring about and then to condemn with self-righteous wrath everyone else who fails to join him immediately in his newfound faith. Of course, this assumes that Brown genuinely does believe what he is preaching.
Brown himself has offered a disturbing analogy to justify his inconsistencies. He likens politics to paddling a canoe. One must alternate between paddling on the right and left sides in order to make the canoe go straight. This is situational ethics at its worst. One would rather Brown simply confess his own double-mindedness on many of the major issues facing our nation, and retract his bid to be captain of the ship of state until he can master the basics of moral/political navigation. No country can build a prosperous future unless it is first well grounded in a set of clear and unchanging bedrock principles. National malaise is the inevitable result of the instability and insecurity engendered by leadership which can only offer a vacillating vision of the future and which lacks a reliable moral compass to keep us on course.
The Bible has a lot to say about character, integrity and leadership qualities. For example, we are told that “a fool is hotheaded and reckless” (Proverbs 14:6), and that “it is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way” (Proverbs 19:2). Since these characteristics are inappropriate for any level of leadership, how much more then should they be considered disqualifications for someone seeking the presidency?
Scripture also tells us that “a man of understanding keeps a straight course” (Proverbs 15:21), but that “a double-minded man is unstable in all he does” (James 1:8). Should we not then look for leaders that exhibit clarity of vision, consistency of principle, and stability of character? If we not only apply these standards to our public officials, but actually endeavor to live them ourselves, then there is hope that as a nation we will no longer be “infants tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching, and by the cunning and craftiness of man in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14). Instead, we will have taken an important first step toward the restoration of maturity, security, morality and prosperity that our nation once enjoyed.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper »
Your comments are welcome!
Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)