Why I reject liberalism & progressivism (pt 2)

The founders understood that the only way to make the national government work within the framework they put into place was the individual exercise of religion. Religion had long been a function of the state in Europe and while the founders rejected that concept. The Federalist Papers, the writings of Benjamin Franklin, and others highlight the belief that the only valid form of religion is when one worships God according to the dictates of their conscious. Unlike state religion headed by political forces, personal religion holds the practitioner to a higher standard of morality. This underscores a simple understanding of with every right we have we also have an equal and moral responsibility. Put into practice, if one claims they have the freedom of worship then they have the moral and equal obligation to respect the rights of others to practice theirs. At the time the Constitution was written, atheism was not common within the colonies or within Great Britain.

Each of the freedoms deemed important enough to enshrine within the Constitution are now the ones we see under assault by the modern Liberal and Progressive. The most common rights under assault are those of freedom of speech, freedom of worship, the freedom of press, the requirement of a warrant for legal searches and seizures, and the right to bear arms. At the heart of Liberalism is the desire to create a national consensus – a nation that thinks with one mind, speaks with one voice, and where all allegiance is given to the state. During the First World War, Woodrow Wilson and other Progressives sought to silence all opposition to the war effort. Laws, such as the  Espionage Act of 1917 and Sedition Act of 1918, were passed to not only restrict the right to public protest of the war, but included publishing anything critical of the government, or even criticizing members of Congress or the President. Similar laws were passed during the Roosevelt administration during World War II. During both wars, the American press was unable to legally publish any materials that could appear to question presidential leadership and America’s war efforts. Although similar legislation has not been passed since, since the 2008 election, the Obama administration and its supporters have again sought to silence criticism by claiming that anyone speaking out against the administration, its policies, and agenda are simply racist. It may not have the force of law but it does have a chilling effect on legitimate discussion.

Freedom of speech becomes the cornerstone of the First Amendment because without it, there can be no freedom of religion, press, or the right to peacefully assemble, or to be able to petition the government. With the current climate of political correctness within society, I am often reminded of the writings of Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” and think of how far we have fallen from this mindset the founders of our nation shared. There are certain words that have been banned, and in some cases criminalized, as to not offend members of our society. As offensive as I find the vulgarity and imagery in rap music, the same right that gives me the ability to post blog entries or to sing praises to God gives them the same rights to declare what is within their minds and hearts. Hate speech laws attempt to regulate what can and cannot be said. It declares certain speech to be offensive and assigns penalties for violating its code. The problem is that the criteria used to determine what is offensive and what is acceptable is fluid and not grounded in anything other than the opinions of those who pass and enforce such speech codes.

The same freedoms that allow us to gather in the church of our choice also allows for groups such as the Nation of Islam, the Ku Klux Klan, and other extremist groups to peacefully assemble is also under attack. No matter how much one may agree with the policies of the Boy Scouts of America, Curves, the Knights of Columbus, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, or any other organization that practices discriminatory membership, they do have the right to restrict their membership according to standards set by the organization. This right of free-association is something that must be protected and defended for a variety of reasons. It is human nature to seek out those with whom we either share ideology or have something in common with, whether it be moral values or experiences. This is now under attack with some Liberals calling such practices as exclusionary and are petitioning laws that would prevent organizations from imposing membership standards. It is being claimed that groups with such membership standards are denying basic rights and freedoms to others, regardless of the criteria or standards being used to determine membership eligibility.

This movement challenging membership standards did not begin overnight. Back in the mid-1990s, education experts and child psychologists began to urge school districts to adopt a policy that invitations cannot be given out unless every student in the class is given one. While this sounds nice and fair, it is far from being either. Within our nation’s schools we have created a false reality that young people become accustomed to. Many have problems in college and adulthood because the support system they have become accustomed to in school no longer exists. How many people would invite coworkers to their wedding just because they work with them? In my experiences, the only time I have been asked or have asked a coworker to attend such an important life event is when I have had a friendship with them. For whatever reason, we all have people who simply do not like us – and that is normal. How we cope with these situations in childhood often prepares us for similar situations in adulthood. Do we really want a society where it is a bureaucracy that tells us with whom we can have as friends? Do we want that same bureaucracy to define what groups we can associate with as a means to enforce “diversity”?

Religion itself is also under attack by the Liberals and Progressives of our nation. The founders resisted the pressures to create a state church with the understanding that one’s relationship with their creator is the most sacred, basic relationship and right we have. With the recent political rhetoric from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Fox News: Hillary: ‘Religious Beliefs’ Must Change For Sake Of Abortion), (Washington Examiner: Hillary Clinton slaps Texas, religious foes of gay marriage) and from President Obama and his administration (The Examiner: Obama: Americans need to shift religious views to accept gay marriage) are just a couple examples of the calls from the Liberal and Progressive leadership seeking to assert governmental pressure to those wishing to uphold traditional fundamentalist understanding of marriage. Already we are hearing the voices of the Liberal demanding that churches that will not accept or perform gay marriage be stripped of their tax exempt status. In other words, what the American liberal is demanding is that you must change your faith to adopt the standards dictated by whatever administration is in power or the church will be taxed or have other legal remedies set against them. This is the anti-thesis of the First Amendment and harkens more to what existed in Europe where whatever the religious views of the king were became the faith of the subject. Instead of religion being a personal matter between the practitioner and God, it now becomes regulated and adjusted by a bureaucracy of men and women who have usurped the authority of God.

Religion shares something in common with the other rights already discussed – these rights are at the core of human individuality. What makes us who we are and ever hope to become is grounded in the First Amendment. When you restrict any of these rights you are restricting people from being able to be individuals. As previously stated, liberalism seeks to create a national consensus without room for any deviation or individuality. One of the goals of common core was to eliminate the deviation of public education curriculum at the local and state level. One of the goals of the gay rights movement, as recently exposed by the news media, is to assure that the acceptance homosexuality experiences in predominantly liberal areas of the nation becomes the national standard, regardless of the local community’s opposition to it (according to the 2010 U.S. Census less than 5% of the national population identified itself as GLBTQ). Essentially with this decision, Liberals and Progressives won far more than gay marriage rights but the right to use the national government and the federal court system to silence future debate and seek legal remedy to those who disagree with the progressive agenda.

More to come a future post

There are many more reasons why I reject liberalism and progressivism. Another one surfaced when Melissa Harris-Perry, a Liberal and host of MSNBC, stated that children do not belong to their parents but to the government. This is not a new concept and has been a part of the liberal ideology since the late nineteenth century. At its heart begs the question are we truly citizens or simply property owned by the state.  But as the subtitle above suggests, that will be another topic for another day.

 

Alan Simmons

Alan Simmons is an adjunct instructor of history at Henderson Community College. He has been teaching at the college/university level since 2004. Within the scope of his degrees, his areas of emphasis are U.S. foreign policy, public policy history, political history, and U.S. history.

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