With the Syria debacle threatening to turn into a fully blown constitutional crisis, it is easy to forget some of the fundamental understandings all free men dare not forget. Progressives, like the Chinese, take the long view. They never abandon their goals, even though it take a century to achieve them, whether by law or trickery. Therefore it may be worthwhile to revisit the nature of evil, and the tools we need to fight it and remain free.
Evil. Most Americans will acknowledge its existence on at least an abstract level, but beyond that, discord reigns. It may seem on first glance odd, even paradoxical those that support freedom as embodied by the Constitution also acknowledge the existence of evil—in fact and not as abstraction—but upon closer examination, their acknowledgement is rationality itself.
The history of freedom begins with the value of each individual. In his excellent book, The Gifts of The Jews, Thomas Cahill explains that prior to the coming of the one God, people lived in a state modern progressives would surely recognize: as replaceable cogs in an ever-turning wheel, nameless vassals of a god-king whose lives had only the worth accorded them by their ruler. But God spoke to Abraham, and the reality that each human life is of inestimable value was made manifest. From that moment forward, the absolute power of the state was broken. Fate–manipulated by kings–no longer determined each man’s destiny; he did it himself through his choices and labor. Man was free—and responsible for himself.
Ironically, it is here, in the time before Abraham, that Progressivism is mired. Only those who heard and heeded God have truly progressed, then and now. Self-proclaimed progressives remain locked in the slavery of the ancient model of Statism and the worship of a god-like leader and his elite. They accept the ancient idea that each man’s worth is measured by his utility to the state, that his destiny is to be determined by the state’s preferences and goals. To be sure, modern progressives believe themselves to be so good, so virtuous, so intelligent that they will be somehow unaffected by the policies they intend to impose on others–such as the Congress exempting themselves and their vassals from the full effects of Obamacare–yet they are nonetheless willingly accepting the chains of slavery.
How does this understanding relate to the existence of evil? The free man, the man responsible for his choices, his destiny, must of necessity see the world as it is rather than as he wishes it to be. He knows the fallen nature of man and accepts that utopia is not of this worldly existence. He accepts not just the abstraction of evil as some nebulous force counterbalancing good, but as a reality that might confront him or those he loves anywhere at any time, as a threat which might destroy him or them because that is the nature of evil. He accepts this because he knows that Satan–the source of evil–exists and he knows that all men are free to choose good or evil.
This fundamental freedom renders the amoral preferences of the state and its god-like elite meaningless. Above all, the free man cherishes God’s greatest gift: life. He realizes that to ignore the reality and ever-present threat of evil, to be unprepared to meet and overcome it, is to place himself and those he loves at the mercy of the merciless, to choose to irresponsibly risk God’s greatest gift.
Not so the Progressive who looks to the state for guidance, sustenance and meaning through its rhetoric and supposed establishment of social and economic “justice,” which is not justice for all, nor the equality of all men before an unchanging, easily understood body of law, but merely the ever-changing whims of those in power. The state has no humanity, no conscience. It constantly extols the welfare of “the people,” but “the people” are the ultimate abstraction. The state cares nothing for the life or welfare of the individual. Thus the ObamaCare death panels” about which Sarah Palin and others warned, and over which they were brutally vilified, have been proven to exist in the thousands of pages of the bill we had to pass before we could find out what was in it. Far more surprises are yet to be revealed in the thousands of pages of regulations, many of which are still being drafted, that are in many ways more important and destructive to liberty than the law itself. The aged and infirm will be sentenced to death by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats—amoral functionaries of the state—the better to establish social and economic justice for the good of “the people,” unless of course, you happen to be one of “the people,” about whom the state is not currently fond.
The ultimate truth of Socialism is that evil exists only in resistance to the state and its goals. In Marxist states, resistance is rewarded with death, whether lingering torture or a bullet to the back of the head as in China, which bills the families of its victims for the bullet used to kill them. In socialist—Marxism lite—states, there is no equality under the law, for the law exists not to secure and protect the rights of men, but to serve the ever-changing needs of the state. Socialists may not kill those that resist Statism outright, but they will harass, slander, bankrupt and eventually, imprison them. This is justified with the assumption that resistance is always counter to the will of “the people,” and the will of “the people” is always to be determined solely by the ruling elite who alone are qualified to lead the grateful, utterly dependent people on the glorious path of Socialism.
The logic of Socialism, such as it is, is easy to apprehend. The needs of the individual are meaningless. Individual lives have value and meaning only in service to the state, which reevaluates such value and meaning on a continual basis. Barack Obama could no more disown the Reverend Wright than he could his white grandmother, until he threw Reverend Wright—and for all intents and purposes his white grandmother—under the campaign bus. For Progressives, nothing is immutable and unchanging, except the necessity of Progressive change regardless of how contradictory that change is to all previous progressive reality. This allows politicians like Mr. Obama to first draw a red line, and only a short time later, claim that he did not.
Therefore there is no such thing as an inalienable right, a God-given right, because Progressivism cannot admit to a power greater than itself. There can be no individual right to life, so there can be no inalienable right to preserve life, hence no inalienable right to self-defense.
The state will protect those lives it chooses to protect, yet even a democracy has no legal obligation to protect any life, and as for a moral obligation, morality is whatever the socialist state says it is at any moment. Because the state is supreme, this cannot be a contradiction, for the state cannot be wrong, therefore, it cannot contradict itself.
Thus is the central conflict between conservatives and progressives writ large, and underlies the domestic battle over the IRS, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, Syria and more. The foundation of Conservatism is the inestimable value of the individual who, being in charge of his destiny, is a moral being ultimately responsible for his decisions and actions. There can be no question that such men have an inalienable right to protect their lives and the lives of others, and that this right encompasses the means to protect life, not only in the home, but wherever they are.
Progressives cannot recognize the value of the individual for to do so would be to admit that over-arching control of the state over the lives of men is illegitimate. Men must be responsible to the state, dependent upon it for their very sustenance. They cannot be allowed to own or use arms, for such men have the means to challenge the state and might be moved to do so. The state must have the power—the sole power—to decide who will live or die, and the existence of any individual must always depend on their temporary, situational utility to the state.
The Second Amendment is not an anachronism, written in such obscure language that it cannot be understood by the contemporary mind (though I harbor a suspicion this may indeed be so for progressive brains). It is not a collective right, for there is no such thing. Collective rights are mere privileges bestowed and revoked by the state. The Second Amendment does not bestow an inalienable right; it merely acknowledges and secures it. It warns Progressives to keep their hands off. Because evil is everywhere and may strike at any time, free men have the inalienable right to possess and carry—to keep and bear, in the quaint language of the Constitution—arms to defeat evil, the ultimate goal of which is the debasement and destruction of life and the soul.
Progressives cannot abide any of this for to do so would be to utterly undermine not only the foundations of their philosophy but to undermine the necessary conditions for and the legitimacy of their rule. Ultimately, those who most loudly and dramatically beat their breasts and rend their garments on behalf of “the people” always intend to deprive them of the fundamental means to protect their lives, to continue to be part of the nameless, faceless mass of ‘the people.” Few things frighten statists more than an armed, capable, restive populace, and rightly so, for they know that “the people” do not support them.
Evil exists and its most useful tactic and greatest accomplishment is tricking useful idiots into believing that it does not exist. For this reason, the genuine adherence of any politician to the Second Amendment should be our most important consideration in lending our political support. They that do not honestly support it and all it implies do not support the continuing existence of each of us, and in this failure, they enable evil and its eternal bloodlust for the destruction of life.
What greater, more important issue exists for free men who wish to remain free?