Jerry Newcombe

As the fallout from the Bowe Bergdahl swap for five Taliban prisoners of war continues to reverberate, there’s a fascinating statement from one MSNBC host on the subject.

On 6/4/14, “Now with Alexander Wagner,” the MSNBC host said she hoped the swap may lead to “broader negotiations” with the Taliban. (Hat tip to

“Broader negotiations” with the terroristic Taliban? Reasoning with those who have proven themselves incapable of humane reasoning?

This got me to thinking: What is the essence of liberalism? Is it elitism---the notion that big government can take better care of you and yours than you can?

Is the essence of liberalism the abolition of private property? Is it that people should have the freedom to do whatever they want to, to define their own right and wrong?

I think all these things are corollaries, no doubt. But in my view the essence of liberalism begins with a flawed premise, a flawed anthropology, that says that man is basically good.

In the liberal view, we can negotiate with the Taliban, even though they want to kill us unless we convert to their brand of Islam, because deep down they’re good.

In 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain could proudly declare there will be “peace in our time” because he had the signature of “Herr Hitler” to prove it. Subsequent events in World War II proved him stupendously wrong.

The problem of liberalism is that it doesn’t recognize the biblical truth, proven repeatedly in history, that man is sinful and that the best form of government recognizes that and therefore separates power, so no individual or oligarchy can amass too much of it.

Why has America historically succeeded in granting us freedom? It’s because the founding fathers recognized this fact. They did everything in their power to limit how much power any one man or group of people might have.

James Madison played an important role in the writing of our Constitution. He noted that since men are not angels, government is necessary. But men are not angels, and since government is run by men, we also need protection from the government (Federalist #51). Belief in the sinfulness of man can be seen in the Constitution with its strict separation of powers.

The Bible is very clear. It does not teach that we are perfect, but rather that we are sinful. Jesus said, “If you then, who are evil…” Paul said, “There’s no one good, no, not one.” Jeremiah noted, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

Jerry Newcombe

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is a key archivist of the D. James Kennedy Legacy Library and a Christian TV producer.