Can the state ever really make men good?
In recent months, this author has been accused of blasphemy by one of his intellectual friends, allegedly over the above political question. But though the question is simple, and the accusation upon first glance appears to be an isolated case, the charge upon further inspection assails far many more than myself, and comprises a collision between two very different, but often improperly defined, doctrines: those of the Christian libertarian and the Biblical conservative. It is this theological and political collision which I seek to explain, should the reader bear with me. (more…)
In a world of political slander and misrepresentations both purposeful and accidental, there are few insults less ridiculous than those pertaining to “Christian Sharia,” or, rather, that the logical conclusion of a Biblical legal stance is Arabic despotism. One doesn’t have to look far back in history to see that many figures (if not most) crucial to the establishment of classical liberalism, as well as to the foundation of the United States of America, proclaimed without hesitation that law itself, if it was ever to be just, must agree with the legal principles contained in Scripture or be opposed. (more…)
One of the most important questions facing civilization, not only in light of the savagery of London’s riots, but in all of history, is how civilization defines barbarism. (more…)
The other day, as I was on my way to work, I was driving through a relatively empty parking lot. Being in somewhat of a hurry, I was trying to save as much time as possible, taking the route in which I had expected the least amount of traffic and cruising over speed bumps. But as I moved quickly to my destination, and a young woman crossed in front of me, a wave of impatience smothered my sensitivity and urged me to continue at my same pace. Surely she can speed up, I thought. And she did: I did not slow down. (more…)
In John Stuart Mill‘s most influential and widely read work, On Liberty, he defended what he considered to be one of the most important pillars of any successful society, liberty of thought, and consequently of speech. And it is plain from reading On Liberty that Americans have taken his suggestions quite seriously, not only supporting legislation to protect speech from governmental prohibition, but also instituting laws which protect against the so-called tyranny of private opinion. But has this endeavor actually promoted discussion and rationality, or has it actually suppressed both? (more…)
It has been said, by persons such as Abraham Lincoln, that the cause of tyranny can oftentimes be mistaken for and promoted as the cause of liberty. If this is the case, then Americans must concern themselves most seriously with understanding what liberty is, and also what it is not.
John Stuart Mill, in what is perhaps his most famous and influential work, On Liberty, helped build the foundation for a modern understanding of freedom, one which an overwhelming number of Americans support. In doing so, he argued that for a society to be properly liberated, its citizens must be guaranteed freedom of thought and speech, liberty of tastes and pursuits, and freedom of association. Yet, expressly recognizing in the first chapter of On Liberty that these liberties were too radical without certain restrictions, he sought the boundaries within which they should exist. And by setting those particular boundaries, like so many of his followers on both the left and right do today he unwittingly destroyed the foundation for the liberty he sought in the first place. (more…)
An overwhelming number of conservatives proclaim support for the constitution, and even liberals rally behind the rights they believe the Constitution protects. But is it possible for either side to truly be interested in constitutionalism?
If one considers that our bill of rights guarantees freedom of speech in very broad terms, it is only fair to ask what speech is. To list just a few examples, speech includes giving away military secrets and weapons blueprints, lying under oath, sexually harassing female coworkers (without hands, of course), phoning a bomb threat, engaging in insider trading, threatening to kill one’s neighbors, and conspiring to assassinate people. None of these, at the current moment, are legal, and common sense requires that many of them remain so. (more…)
The other day, I greatly offended an Arabic associate of mine. During a conversation about the social contract, I tried to use an example of a group forming themselves into a nation, and I had begun the example with the statement, “suppose that a group of people like you were to get together, and decide to build your own country, with your own laws.”
His objection to my statement was that Christians and conservatives oftentimes enjoy separating themselves from everyone else, that we believe that people like him are not part of our group, that we in essence discriminate. In this particular instance, I referred to him as people like you, leading toward an idea and an effect which I had not intended. Why, he asked, could we not just all be considered human, and on the same team? (more…)
Must an increase in empathy signal a decrease in law?
Let us consider, for a moment, that someone has wronged you by stealing your car. When the person is caught by police, you have the option to press charges, but then discover that your neighbor–whose wife is dying from cancer, after they both lost their jobs–stole your car out of desperation to rush to meet her in the hospital, since he thought she was about to die. Begging your forgiveness with tears in his eyes, the man sinks to his knees in court, clasps his hands together, and looks at you directly. At this moment, moved with compassion, in an act of mercy you allow the man to walk free.
Compassion, then, is our friend. A placing of ourselves in the shoes of others, imagining their hardship and deciding–in some particular instance, to side with them, to recognize that had you been in their position, you would have been desperate as well. And this empathy, in many cases, is noble. (more…)
Imagine, for a moment, that your boss has been treating you poorly (for many of you, this may not be very difficult). After weeks of abuse, you finally become so frustrated, that you start to wonder whether you should finally quit your job and join the ranks of the unemployed. Perhaps this might lead to something better, perhaps not. But there is one thing that you know, and it is that remaining where you are is simply unacceptable.
This freedom to abandon your employer is oftentimes taken for granted, oftentimes forgotten in our modern world of anti-corporate rhetoric. But while many leftists decry the abuses of the business-owner, they oftentimes forget that the governmental remedy can be more dangerous than the poison. (more…)
The other day, I came across a feminist blog about the movie “Tangled,” a movie I know almost nothing about, other than that it’s racist, sexist, and evil. Girl With Pen writes: “The bad news is that it re-hashes the same old story – that as a woman you can either be a princess awaiting her prince or an evil stepmother/witch, that if you are male, you get all the action (in many senses of the word) and that beauty equals white, blonde, thin, and young.” Let us all grab our pitchforks.
The first reason we should be at arms is because of the racism. You see, when we apply positive affirmations of beauty to white people, it logically implies that all the other races cannot possess these traits, and are in fact less beautiful than white people. Consider also that the princess, in Tangled’s case, is white, blonde, and young. Solely because of movies such as Tangled, it is entirely likely that an entire generation of American boys will find young blondes to be sexually attractive. I, as one tragic example, have fallen prey to this most odious of ploys. (more…)
The TEA Party has got establishment Republicans’ panties in a major twist. While most party insiders argue that fiscal conservatism is the uniting factor which will bring Americans out of a socialist abyss, TEA Partiers (despite some obvious ideological diversity within their ranks) aren’t so sure that fiscal conservatism alone is the answer, bringing a serious brand of social conservatism into the mix. Supposedly this foray into “archaic” and “unwinnable” social issues could cost Republicans the elections, but what could Republicans lose without social conservatism? (more…)
One of the major insults the Left enjoys throwing at conservatives is that we’re xenophobic. Every time the question of amnesty, border control, assimilation, and immigration is raised, it seems the Democrats (and even some high-ranking Republicans) go for the throat, loudly proclaiming that our only reason for serious immigration reform is a deeply-rooted racism, a fear and hatred of other cultures–especially brown and black ones–and a selfishness which keeps us from embracing the poor. Unfortunately, this packs quite an emotional punch: much of the active American public are quick to take action against conservatives solely based upon this concept.
But before addressing the concept of conservative xenophobia, we need to have a clear understanding of Leftism. According to Dictionary.com, Leftism is “A descriptive term for liberal, radical, or revolutionary political views, particularly the view that there are unacceptable social inequalities in the present order of society. Communists and socialists, as well as moderate liberals, come under the term left-wing.” In totality, and especially in regard to the issue of massive and illegal immigration, Leftists are concerned that the welfare of non-citizens is sub-par, and so Leftists want to allow them access to the wealth and political power of our United States. It is this redistributionary stance regarding wealth and power that makes the Leftist a Leftist, and differs sharply from a conservative viewpoint on immigration, which values the immigrant solely based upon their contribution to the American dream by becoming a true-blooded American. (more…)
It’s no secret that most of the secular public enjoys labeling Christians (serious Christians, anyway) as irrational, backward, and dangerous. Ever since the Enlightenment, humanity has increasingly become its own god, replacing the West’s foundational religion, Christianity, with reason. Supposedly, this transfer of sanctity is supposed to beget a golden age of unprecedented civility and creativity, unhindered by the archaic bondage of religion, progressing our species into a liberated utopia in which every man would be his own king. But secular rationalists–meaning, those who rely on mankind’s rationality as the sole source of morality and social advancement–are not being fair: under their own standards of humanist evolution, even the process of secular rationality fails to achieve its own goals. (more…)
The other day, I had the privilege of watching the television while a smarmy Muslim condescendingly downplayed the significance of the 9/11 mosque controversy. His argument consisted of something along the lines of “Is this what our national dialogue has been reduced to?” As though almost to say that Americans were too culturally insensitive and bigoted to allow the building of a mosque which would overlook Ground Zero. And to be sure, most people who support the building of the mosque adopt this pompous position, pretending that if we truly are tolerant and accepting of other cultures, we should be able to accept the building of an Islamic temple over a building ruined by an Islamically-motivated mass-murder. Surely, they argue, we are beyond squabblings and sensitivities, and we should be able to just accept cohabitation with other cultures.
It is this attitude which precisely highlights the problem with the doctrine of tolerance. While those who accept a multicultural postmodern perspective agree that acceptance must hypothetically occur amongst all in a racially diverse and religiously pluralistic society, the logical mechanics of tolerance suggest that the direction of tolerance can only exist toward one group in any clash of cultures. (more…)