July 27, 2014 by JImbo
Yes, I know I sounded preachy in the last column. Perhaps that’s only right. Believe what you will, in a Creator or not. Belief in God is not required for a Belief in America.
However, the rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution are in fact sacred. They separate us from the misguided philosophies of the past that separated and divided humanity. They are fundamentally different than the “Divide and Conquer” philosophy that remains in place to this day in many countries and hearts.
You can see people as mere cogs in a machine, disposable and a means to an end. You can believe that the State or some other group is the supreme power. You can believe that the “ends justify the means” and that power is all that matters.
Or, you can believe that the individual person has value. You can believe that we are all created equal, though not identical. We all deserve an opportunity to go as far as we ourselves are willing to work for.
Which is it? You can’t have both. Either the individual IS or is NOT important. Where do you stand?
You can stand with the Progressives, who believe that “Progress” only comes through centralized state rule and enforcing your will on others. Or, you can stand with the “Libertarians” who believe that the individual has true value and government only exists to provide a useful took for us to work together. Either we control government, or government controls us.
As George Washington famously said: “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
That is the Libertarian argument. We need government only for what is in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8 if you’re wondering) Build an Army, run the Post Office, have Courts where citizens can bring their grievances, etc.
The government is NOT meant to enforce one person’s will on another. It is NOT meant to give one group an advantage over another. It is not meant to ESTABLISH what “normal” is and make sure people obey that “normal” set of rules.
Those are things that a Progressive thinks you need to do. They are convinced that people can’t make their own decisions in life. They think that government (made up of people) will somehow make better decisions for people than those people make themselves.
Yes, the phrase “blind leading the blind” does come to mind. Unfortunately, the Statist/Progressive can’t see it that way. You see THEY are “special” and so aren’t LIKE those “other people” who are clearly inferior.
Consider the example of a noisy neighbor bothering you with their loud music late at night.
The Libertarian says you go over and talk to them to CONVINCE them to turn their music down. Failing that, you convince your other neighbors to assist you. It’s all voluntary.
The Progressive/Statist says you call the police and have them threaten the neighbor with jail time or a heavy fine. To do this you need to make laws on EXACTLY how loud things can be and at what times. You need a police force to ensure that this noise ordinance is followed. You then need a court system, a clerk to collect fines, judges, more jails, etc. Is it really that big of a deal?
Short of physical violence, MOST issues can be solved on a local level by a simple conversation. Do you really need laws on what food you can eat, how long your grass can be or how fast you can drive? You mean you can’t figure all that you on your own?
I was accused recently of failing to give “liberals” their due in history. By this I’m guessing the critic meant “Progressives.” Citing Martin Luther King, Jr as a “Liberal’ kind of destroyed his case since the Reverend was about as Conservative as you get on most issues.
The critic was very in favor of government being involved in the civil rights movements, labor laws, and other “protections.” He did miss that in many of these example it was the GOVERNMENT who was the PROBLEM.
Who had laws passed against striking to support corporations who could pay lobbyists? Politicians. What were “Jim Crow” Laws? Aren’t laws passed by GOVERNMENT? They were’t “Jim Crow Suggestions.” No Pope came up with them.
What government was supporting Martin Luther King, Jr? The FBI who was investigating him to throw him in prison? Or the local authorities who didn’t want him to have a gun to protect himself from death threats? Maybe the Birmingham Police Dept was supposed to be HELPING him in Alabama?
You know who DID support him? Individuals. Through Churches.
The Civil Rights movement was started in CHURCHES. Before that, who were the Abolitionists who made the Union Army free the slaves in the Civil War? CHURCH GROUPS.
Who started Prohibition? Well, it’s blamed on Church Groups but honestly it was a GOVERNMENT solution thought up by Progressives working with President Woodrow Wilson. Yeah, go ahead and try to claim it was the “Right wingers” but it was “Left Winger” social scientists who came up with it. They worked the exact same way then against alcohol as Michelle Obama is with school lunches, sugary soft drinks, and Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on salt in NYC restaurants.
No CHURCH passed Prohibition. It was a Federal law.
Where am I going with this? It’s simple. Great movements have shaped this country. Those that have come through government edict have generally been BAD for us.
Regardless of what you believe about the evils of alcohol, or fatty food, or hate speech, or even poverty the “solutions” are often worse when imposed from above. Prohibition didn’t stop drinking but it did throw lots of people in jail for basically hurting no one. (A lot like the drug laws today.)
Affirmative action didn’t deter racism. Seeing citizens in the street willing to brave the attack dogs of government tyranny did it.
Foodstamps didn’t stop poverty. We have more than EVER! In fact, we have arguably MORE poverty NOW than we did fifty years ago when we started! Why? Even the best government programs simply can’t replace the positive effect of people TALKING to one another and using DEBATE and REASON to CONVINCE one another of the right thing to do.
If anything, more government bureaucracy only destroys our ability to communicate with one another. Instead of asking our neighbor to turn his music down, we call the police to do it for us.
Do you think that neighbor is going to want to be friendly the next time we see them? Or will they just be looking for an excuse to angrily call the police on YOU?
Is giving a person foodstamps doing anything for their dignity? Does it give them a positive support system? How about a food donation from a church willing to work with that person AS a person and maybe help them find a job?
Religious REVIVALS preceded the Abolition of Slavery in the 1860s and the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.I propose that we need to do MORE of these ”Freedom Rallies” or as I’d like to think of them “American Revivals.”
Not religious, but AMERICAN in nature. A religion is just an idea that brings people together. America is an idea.
If you stop following the Bible, you’re not longer a Christian. If you stop following the Constitution you’re no longer an American.
If we plopped a colony on the Moon, it would still be American as long as we brought the IDEA of America with us. If America were destroyed tomorrow and the survivors fled to some remote South Pacific island, it would still be America as long as we kept the idea alive. If a small country in Africa wholly accepted our Constitution and LIVED it, they would be AMERICANS at heart.
Conversely, if there is no faith to the idea of American, the Dream of America… there is no America. You could have the same land, same people, same buildings. However, if we ever stop believing in our American ideals it won’t be America.
As President Ronald Reagan famously said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
Let’s not JUST have single-issue rallies. This isn’t about guns, or the 2nd amendment. It’s not about religion and the 1st amendment. It’s not about privacy and the 5th amendment. It’s about FREEDOM, plain and simple. For everyone, all the time.
Ancient Rome forgot that. It wasn’t immediate. Slowly, over time they simply forgot how to be free. They gave away their freedoms. They invited in foreigners who didn’t accept what it was to be a Roman citizen. They went into debt and accepted dictators, not representatives.
Are we to go that way too? An idea only lives as long as it’s in our hearts and those of our children. There is no “little bit” of freedom. You can’t be free in one way and oppressed in another. All or nothing. We need to remember who we are. We need to remember what AMERICA is. Otherwise, the world will soon forget America ever existed.