In the past eight months, our country has witnessed some of the most absurd excesses of “freedom” in recent history. From violent inaugural protesters who broke windows and set cars on fire, to the violence at Middlebury College resulting in a professor’s head injury; from Madonna stating, “I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House” to actor Johnny Depp’s comment, “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” And of course the ISIS-like severed head of Donald Trump held up by “comedian” Kathy Griffin. From a professor at the Art Institute of Washington calling for Republican lawmakers to be “lined up and shot” to the attempted assassination of Republican congressional leadership. From the distasteful to the disgusting, the Regressives seem to think that violence is not only normal, but at times, a necessary component of “freedom” and “democracy.”
Devoid of ethical guidance, the Regressives incorrectly define both freedom and democracy. Aided by rewritten history books, students emerge from the educational system falsely defining freedom as the ability to do whatever they “feel” is right and defining democracy as the “freedom” to get whatever they want for free. This narcissistic vision of freedom has occurred because freedom has become divorced from ethics.
When the culture removes ethics from the law, all that remains is the letter of the law. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), a Russian writer, mathematician and political dissident, explained this dynamic in his 1978 Harvard commencement address:
“Every conflict is solved according to the letter of the law and this is considered to be the ultimate solution. … Voluntary self-restraint is almost unheard of: Everybody strives toward further expansion to the extreme limit of the legal frames.”
Solzhenitsyn observes that when the law alone (rather than law combined with ethical self-restraint) becomes the standard, people attempt to push the limits of legal freedom.
In the name of “neutrality” and “tolerance,” our culture has drifted from an ethical basis to a secular basis of freedom. Yet we have seen that secularism taken to its logical end yields arbitrary rule and condones violence as an appropriate means of problem-solving. Secular “freedom” permits people to do whatever they please, which is not freedom, but rather, barbarism.
Solzhenitsyn also noted,
“Violence has nothing to cover itself up with but lies, and lies can only persist through violence.”
This type of violence denies the basic human rights of everyone else except the perpetrator, who believes that he or she has “super rights” that outrank everyone else’s rights. Freedom without ethics produces the lie that a person can do whatever he or she pleases without thought to the dignity of any other human person.
Rather than self-restricting due to a moral code as true freedom suggests, violence must be enforced through conformity and coercion of thought. It remains “free” only to the strong ones who bully the weak. Devoid of any ethical basis, this self-gratifying “freedom” uses falsehood sustained through violence to strike fear into opponents and re-brand violence as acceptable.
The normalization of violence in our culture stems from secular, rather than ethical definitions of freedom and democracy. The lie that freedom means the freedom to do whatever you please, without any ethical mechanism of self-restraint has led to the chaos, violence and confusion of today.
This, however, is the logical end of the ultimate postmodern statement: “We all need to find our own truth.” Most proponents of this theory of tolerance never considered the question of whether a person’s “truth” might include the murder of those with whom he disagrees or the violence against those whom she dislikes. Making truth relative has made the law relative, and this ultimately makes rights relative. This explains why the Regressives fancy themselves as a “Protected Class” with special immunity from the law when it comes to violent behavior.
Ironically, the Founders of this country risked their lives in order to create a nation free from this totalitarian strategy of absolute control, violence and thought conformity. They wrote the laws of this country within a moral and ethical framework emphasizing the freedom to live ethically and peacefully, not the “freedom” to violate the rights of others.
Originally published on Patriot Post, July 13, 2017
Photo Credit: DmitriyMur/BigStock
Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave the commencement address at Harvard University, where he advocated the Universal Basic Income (UBI), a concept in which the government gives every adult a check — not for working, but for merely existing. Following his trip to Alaska this week, Zuckerberg announced that the UBI is a “bipartisan idea” worth exploring. But is it?
Zuckerberg is a Harvard drop-out billionaire who made his money from a technology concept that leverages the basic human need to be heard by others. It thrives upon social pressure and the desire to prove oneself and one’s worthiness to the world.
He attributes his success to “luck” and wants others to have access to capital via the UBI as a “cushion to try new ideas” so that they might achieve their dreams. Yet rather than starting an entrepreneurship training organization, or contributing his own billions to a UBI fund, Zuckerberg tasks this job to the government. “People like me should pay for it,” he did say, but through taxes that he can pay accountants to avoid.
Zuckerberg essentially wants a pension system, without one basic requirement: a pension fund. He fails to acknowledge a core problem — that the government has no money. The only way the government makes money is to tax those who work hard.
American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholar Charles Murray, a conservative, also advocates the UBI — as a replacement for current subsidy programs like Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, welfare programs and the agencies that manage them. Murray believes that the UBI will get rid of bureaucracy, but the real way to get rid of bureaucracy is to just get rid of it, not to create a new, different agency.
Murray advocates that an annual stipend would begin at age 21 with $13,000, $3,000 of which would be required for health care. $10,000 could then be spent freely. The stipend begins to lower once the recipient earns $30,000 or more per year. The lowest yearly stipend would be $6,500 per year for those who make $60,000 per year. In addition to being extremely expensive, the plan rewards the lazy and penalizes the hard-working. It subsidizes vice, rather than promoting human flourishing through hard work.
Murray also supports the UBI because he fears that people will lose their jobs to technological innovation, and that the great technological shifts will make many Americans jobless. However, historically people shift as technology shifts. Take, for example, the whaling industry. In the 19th century, most of the world burned whale blubber for fuel — for lamps, lights and lighthouses. With the invention of electricity, no one needed whale blubber anymore, and consequently, no one needed whalers or lighthouse keepers. The whalers and the lighthouse keepers had obsolete jobs, but did that mean they needed a check from the government? No, the people in those jobs found new jobs and history moved on.
This concept also assumes that people freed from the slavery of work will simply act in love and charity, or as Fortune’s Kevin O’ Marah says, have “the freedom to realize our personal best.” The key flaw in this thinking is that work somehow stifles our personal best, while leisure allows us to achieve it. However, if work presented a barrier to altruism and realizing one’s “personal best,” then public housing communities would be places of love, safety and entrepreneurial ventures. Instead, they are cesspools of violence, disintegrated families and crime.
Zuckerberg decries income inequality as wrong and suggests a “new social contract” including a UBI as a solution. Taken to its logical conclusion, however, the “solution” to income inequality involves everyone having the exact same life. There is, in fact, an existing system in which people are all given the same clothes to wear, fed the same food, and given the same life. It’s extremely fair. It’s called prison.
The Founders of this country pledged their “lives and fortunes” not for the prison of lifestyle “equality” but rather for the opportunity to work diligently and to achieve their dreams through ingenuity and hard work. Holding fast to the concept of America as the place of opportunity, rather than the land of subsidies, reacquaints us with the core values that make this country and her people truly flourish.
Originally published on Patriot Post, July 6, 2017.
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