Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

11/07/2008 (10:45 am)

The Foundation

Since the nation, with the help of the public schools, is turning toward socialism, a system of government that has failed everywhere it’s been tried, it behooves us who recognize this as a bad thing to equip ourselves to explain, as succinctly as possible, why it’s a bad thing. We must become evangelists of human liberty, and we must be as effective as possible in our evangelism. We must hone our ability to explain why socialism fails, why free markets work… indeed, why men should be free in the first place.

In that spirit I want to recommend some good, meaty background reading that I encountered this morning. It’s an argument by a fellow who calls himself Thinking Man, apparently a student of philosophy. It says it’s about Global Warming, but in fact it’s a very basic argument for the liberty of man. He follows his brief lecture with a link to another article of his, explaining how industrialization produced the science, cleanliness, and civility from which we all benefit today. Both are essential reading.

I dispute his argument only where he draws individuality from evolution. My own thought is that if individuality evolved in that manner, then there is no particular reason for anything, let alone for caring whether man is free or not. Individuality comes from the love of God, who created us, like Himself, as sentient, choosing beings. But aside from that quibble — and it really is a quibble in the overall argument — he’s got it nailed, and we should ingest and internalize this argument, and repeat it as often as we can.

Hear:

Rationality is choice.

And choice presupposes the freedom to choose. Ultimately it is only the individual who can exercise the power of volition, or not. Government bureaus cannot. The state cannot. The collective cannot. Only the individuals who make up these entities.

If humans did not possess the faculty of choice, humans would be neither moral nor immoral but amoral, just as animals for this very reason are amoral.

But human action is chosen.

This, then, is what finally gives rise to the fact of human freedom as an epistemological necessity.

It’s also what it means to say that humans are free by nature: we are born with a cognitive faculty that gives us the power of choice; since this faculty is the primary method by which we thrive and keep ourselves alive, we must (therefore) be left free to exercise that faculty – and leave others likewise free…

Please note that this is not just some esoteric theory on how human freedom could conceivably be defended: the rights of each individual are demonstrably rooted in man’s cognitive quiddity – and for this precise reason, human freedom without an accurate and thorough understanding of man’s epistemologic nature can never be fully understood.

Or defended.

Liberty, said the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, is the soul’s right to breathe.

The American Revolution took place during an era where the liberty of man had been being discussed by major philosophers for at least 200 years. That men should be free was controversial but forward-thinking and liberal. Today, freedom is taken completely for granted; we in the US call what we have “liberty” by tradition, but don’t really know what liberty or slavery look like. This is partly why the nation can now accept a neo-Marxist leader uttering neo-Marxist and socialist formulations and not cringe; what they’re sacrificing does not loom in their minds as anything essential. “Liberty” has been robbed of any meaning aside from “I can have sex with whomever I like.” They don’t realize what they’ve already lost, nor what they’re about to lose. Once they lose it, it may take quite a while for them to discover why they’re so miserable. We need to be able to tell them, and tell them succinctly.

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