A big H/T to Paragraph Farmer, Patrick O’Hannigan for links to this post by the Anchoress, and this article in National Review — both tremendously level-headed. Each points to some very scary things (acquiescence to tyranny) that may not be very far in our future. Here’s the Anchoress:
The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.” – [G.K. Chesterton], broadcast talk 6-11-35
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.” – C.S. Lewis
Two Christ-professing Englishmen warning us from the early 20th Century, that to give up our freedom “for our own good,” is not freedom. It is acquiescing to tyranny with thumb in the mouth, iPod buds in the ear and the tv set on an endless loop of Sex and the City reruns.
What’s doubly worrisome is that, in hindsight, these quasi-prophets from the early twentieth century did a pretty darned good job intuiting the tyranny, mayhem and carnage that would happen in early middle part of that century, particularly in Europe. Triply worrisome is that other more secular analysts come to equally dire conclusions about where the world is headed today based on purely economic factors (e.g., a rock-star MIT professor who spoke at a recent workshop I ran recently for a major client).
And, speaking of Europe, here’s an excerpt from the National Review piece [emphasis added]:
“Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.”
- Canadian “Human Rights” Investigator Dean Steacy, responding to the question “What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate?”
This is the way free speech ends, not with a bang but as the result of an administrative hearing in a windowless basement in Vancouver, Canada.
At least that’s where a “Human Rights Tribunal” is taking place this week that will further solidify the Canadian legal position that the right not to be offended by something you read is more sacred than the freedom of the press.
At issue is a cover story National Review’s own Mark Steyn wrote for the Canadian newsweekly Maclean’s, titled “The Future Belongs to Islam.” An excerpt from Steyn’s bestselling book America Alone, the article highlighted the fact that demographic trends suggest that Muslims may well become a majority in much of Europe and that this obviously represents a threat to Europe as we know it. A few Muslim law students objected to the article and filed multiple complaints with Canada’s national and provincial “human rights” tribunals and presto! Steyn’s opinion and Maclean’s right to print it have now been effectively criminalized.
And speaking of freedom… here are some interesting, longer-term perspectives on the topic, from some pre-20th century writers. Out of context? Yes. Incomplete? Yes. But you’re all smart, web-savvy people. Click, read, think, pray and comment.
“…why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience?” (1 Corinthians 10:29)
“…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
“…some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.” (Galatians 2:4)
“…Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
“They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” (2 Peter 2:19)
Bottom line: freedom wasn’t invented by men. It did not arise fully formed from the consciences of America’s founders, much less from those of 1960s civil rights workers. It came (and will always come) from God.