Monday, September 29, 2014

Threats? Or Action?

Reflect well on this battle cry from Robert P. George:

Last May, one of the most influential conservative and religious intellectual leaders in America gave a somber speech in Washington, declaring it to be “Good Friday in America for Christians.” In this exclusive two part video interview, Princeton’s Robert P. George admitted, “that was a hard speech to give.”

“Christians, and those rejecting the me-generation liberal dogma of ‘if it feels good do it,’ are no longer tolerable by the intellectual and cultural elite,” says George, 59, director of the James Madison program at Princeton University. Citing the political witch hunt that forced Brendan Eich’s departure as CEO of Mozilla for a small contribution to a conservative political cause, George said politically correct mobs “threaten us with consequences if we refuse to call what is good evil, and what is evil, good. They command us to conform our thinking to their orthodoxy, or else say nothing at all.”

Yet instead of accepting this liberal cultural dominance, George offers a call to arms with practical advice for the embattled faithful. Encouraging conservatives to model themselves off the early civil rights leaders who clung to noble bedrock free speech principles liberals claim to embrace today, George says “our first and most effective move is to hold these elites to their principles.”

I have only one quibble with Professor George's assessment: the PC crowd waving torches and pitchforks at us and the political elite that benefit from their madness are no longer threatening; they're acting -- ruthlessly and without remorse -- to chain us down to their dogmas, silenced and unable to escape.

They're acting because we made the fatal mistake of "compromising" with them through self-censorship to avoid "offending" anyone. But note who isn't afraid of "offending" whom, and never has been. Our pusillanimity emboldened them sufficiently to take up legal and political cudgels and have at us.

Ahhh, one-way "tolerance." Ain't it wonderful?

It really doesn't matter what your personal convictions are about sin. Christians and non-Christians differ on such things. Indeed, Christians tend to differ with one another, even intra-denominationally. Inasmuch as religious convictions are and will forever remain a wholly personal matter, it would be as wrong for us to impose our views on those who disagree as is the contemporary reverse. Yet we refrain from standing up for ourselves and one another out of...what? Fear of disapproval by persons whose behavior we deplore?

No. Just as in the post below, the magic word was and remains "compromise." Except in this particular case, the "compromise" went as follows: "You folks agree to accept our deviances in every way, and we'll agree not to prosecute you for 'discrimination.'" Until the Left had command of the nation's legal and regulatory mechanisms and could act against us penally, we could at least speak our minds and follow our consciences in our private actions. "Anti-discrimination" laws and the vicious regulatory bureaucracies that enforce them have made it hazardous even to voice a complaint to one another.

All rights fall dead when the banner of "discrimination" is waved at them, including the right of freedom of expression.

I think it was Oliver Wendell Holmes, generally no friend to freedom, who wrote that real freedom of expression must include "freedom for the thought we hate." If that isn't obvious to you, the problem lies with you, not with the concept of freedom. A "freedom" that ceases as soon as someone declares himself "offended" or "discriminated against" is just a cosmetic applied to totalitarianism: "You want to remain free? Just agree with us in all things and do exactly as we say." The Soviets and Red Chinese honor that sort of "freedom."

Freedom -- political freedom, the guarantee against a State-imposed penalty for saying or doing as you please -- must include all the following, without exception:

  • Freedom of thought and conscience;
  • Absolute rights to control one's own body;
  • Freedom of expression, regardless of medium;
  • Freedom to acquire and retain any item of any description;
  • Freedom in economic matters: i.e., in production and commerce;
  • Freedom to choose one's own associates, including for economic purposes;
  • Freedom of travel through both unowned and "public" lands and thoroughfares;

...with the sole limitation that one must not inflict objective damage upon others in the enjoyment of one's freedom. "Offense" is not objective damage; neither is "discrimination." Yet these are the shillelaghs that have been used to browbeat us out of virtually all the freedom our great grandparents enjoyed.

There cannot be a "right" to demand that to which you have no right. That includes any demand that others forgo the exercise of their rights. But this is the regime under which we suffer today.

Professor George has given us our marching orders. Unfortunately, given the current legal and political milieu, those of us who rally to his banner are likely to take casualties: We will be reviled -- and "discriminated" against -- at the very least. But if you genuinely believe in freedom -- the right to do as you damned well please as long as you refrain from harming others -- that's not a sufficient reason not to march.

The marshaling area is freedom of expression. From there, all else won't necessarily follow, but we cannot have any of our other freedoms back until we insist on this one.

Joyously and unabashedly.
Be braced for nasty consequences.
This wont be a bloodless campaign.
Do it anyway.

And pray.

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