Carl Trueman

Reflections on Republocrat: Oppression and the Left

These reflections concern Carl Trueman’s Republocrat, Chapter 1. (For notes on the foreword and introduction, see A Serialized Review). Two questions were on my mind as I approached Chapter 1: (a) Is Trueman really a political liberal? (b) Does he accurately understand the conservatism he left behind?

Two themes comprise Chapter 1. Theme 1 is expressed in the chapter title, “Left Behind”: how those of “Old Left” (Trueman’s term) political views are now homeless because liberalism has been “hijacked by special interest groups” (p. 14). Theme 2 makes the first interesting: how Left thought about oppression developed from the 19th century to the present.

The chapter is divided into eight sections.

  • (Introductory paragraphs, p.1-2)
  • A Brief History of the Old Left (p. 2-5)
  • The Strange Love Affair of the Intelligentsia with Marxism (p. 5-6)
  • Success and Failure: the Road to Redefinition (p. 6-8)
  • Mr. Marx Meets Dr. Freud: the Changing Face of Oppression (p. 9-11)
  • How Authenticity Made the Left Inauthentic (p. 11-15)
  • Evangelicals and the New Left (p. 15-17)
  • Conclusion (p. 17-19)
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Reflections on Republocrat: A Serialized Book Review, Part 1

The name “Carl Trueman” didn’t mean a whole lot to me until recently. For some time, the name popped up often in blog-post links folks would email me. Sometimes something at the “Reformation 21” blog would catch my eye and turn out to be Trueman’s work.

Then a few months ago he began to really get my attention—in his response to the Elephant Room 2 confusion as well as subsequent insightful evaluations of the state of evangelicalism in general.

I had seen the book Republocrat: Confessions of Liberal Conservative some time before all that—without connecting its author to the blog work. Then one day it clicked. No, the Carl Trueman wrote Republocrat?

I had to read it. How could such a brilliant guy be so confused?

So why a serialized review of the book? Two reasons: (1) I’m more likely to finish the book this way; (2) it’s easier to write this way—and with school back in session, time’s tight. So, what follows is mostly pre-review notes standing in for the review.

Fly-over

The book consists of Foreword, Acknowledgments, Introduction and six chapters:

  1. Left Behind, 1
  2. The Slipperiness of Secularization, 21
  3. Not-So-Fantastic Mr. Fox, 41
  4. Living Life to the Max, 61
  5. Rulers of the Queen’s Navee [sic], 79
  6. Concluding Unpolitical Postscript, 101

The book is short.

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