Monday, September 26, 2005
The Left, Right, And Liars
Sigmund, Carl and Alfred posted about the odd alliance between our extreme left, the extreme right, dictators and tyrannical philosophies. I think it is a very important post. He is trying to cover a lot of ground in as short a space as possible, but he manages to touch on some very important points:
American religious activism first came about as a result of the persecution of Christians in many repressive regimes. The truth soon became clear- the left would not take up the cause, for any number of reasons. As a result, the religious right mobilized. Their first unlikely ally were progressive and liberal Jewish groups, who understood quite clearly what religious persecution meant.This is very true, and it is one of the oddest things about the current landscape. The American Jewish community has always been a very small group relative to the rest of the population, but it has also been consistently on the side of progress and human rights. It's politically incorrect to say it now, but it was significant in the abolitionist movement (which was also religiously based) , was on the forefront of the labor rights movement, the civil rights movement and played a big part in the women's rights movement. I can say from living in the Bible Belt that the evangelical churches have a high respect for the Jewish community on a number of different levels. They respect their biblical position as the chosen people of God, but they also have a great respect for their ethical voice.
The left have become a part of the Arab world , complete with conspiracy theories and visceral hatred, and the justification of the most heinous of violence. They demand rights without addressing obligations and have little tolerance for those with different ideas. It is acceptable to call for the death of an opponent, and no one objects. There is no debate- only name calling and calls for the destruction of those they cannot agree with or those who get in their way.For proof of this contention, all you have to do is look at the fulsome praise for George Galloway from the extremist wing of the left. Along with that the left in Europe and America has become almost reflexively anti-Semitic. I find it very hard to distinguish between the extreme left and the extreme right these days. They both admire dictators, they both seem terrified by the idea of individual freedom, most especially freedom of conscience, and they both seem fueled by contempt and hate. Only the names differ.
SC&A begins with the following statement:
Freedom and rights do not originate or function in a vacuum. They are only some of the necessary ingredients of the complex recipe that comprise a functioning and productive society. As with any recipe, it is the interchange and interaction of necessary ingredients that produce the desired result.This is true, but it almost seems to have dropped out of our political consciousness. Individual rights and freedoms really don't conflict with social and cultural norms, unless rights and freedoms are construed to require active approval and endorsement by society for every path an individual wants to take. Crimes (which are inherently violations of other individual's rights) are of course outside of this rule.
Alongside those basic freedom and rights, there must also be an exchange. In exchange for those rights and freedoms, there must also exist law and order, social and cultural norms for all and not just the privileged few, and most importantly, there must be be a sense of obligation and duty to society. If any of those things are lacking, and the emphasis remains on the 'self ' and individual 'rights,' that society will self destruct.
What I am speaking of here is the dropping of the concept of "tolerance" for the concept of "endorsement". It is no longer enough, in our wacky culture, to say that people who espouse strange religions, believe ardently in the redeeming and communion-like nature of promiscuous sex, campaign for polygamous marriage, etc, should not be actively discriminated against. Now discrimination is defined as expressing disapproval of their choices and speaking publicly about their bad consequences
That isn't freedom. It certainly doesn't make for a healthy society. It destroys public debate. If you look at the extreme left and the right in this country, neither one believes in freedom. I suppose that's because the great mass of people don't subscribe to their views, so they know they can never gain control in a free society. What's left but destruction and anarchy? This is the goal of the extreme right, the extreme left, and the environmentalist anarchists. They are all lying their heads off and they are all desperately trying to prevent other people from being allowed to counter their lies.
The left may claim that the right is intolerant, but is it tolerant to keep military recruiters off campuses and exclude them from job fairs? The left wants to smash any black conservatives (as does David Duke!), destroy Israel and get rid of Jewish academics (as does the Aryan Nation!), eviscerate women who aren't appropriately jingoistic about male chauvinism (the right wants to make them all subservient), silence their old religious allies like the Catholic church (never an ally of the extreme right, always an enemy), and even eliminate free speech. I hardly think it is a coincidence that the extreme right has the same goals. These people are often dismissed as being silly. They are that, but they are also silly in a vicious, physical way.
I am not speaking of liberals when I use the term "the left", but a group that has abandoned liberal ideology altogether. And I am not speaking of conservatives when I use the term "the right", but of groups that believe in a racialist, supremicist ideology. Both of these groups have an absolutely obsessive, knee-jerk hatred of the concepts of personal responsibility and live-and-let-live tolerance. I suppose they are fellow travelers for a time because they know they can't succeed alone.
All the rest of us can't succeed if we let them control public discourse. The most important right we have is that of free speech. Free speech is always going to offend someone. Too bad. Mass graves and burning crosses offend me. You can't avoid those without having free speech. You can't maintain free speech unless you exercise that right. So, as Tommy of Striving For Average has suggested, make it your business to offend someone today. It's the patriotic thing to do.
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