Culture

Liberty Is Not the Freedom to Use Violence

Our Founders emphasized the freedom to live ethically and peacefully, not the "freedom" to violate the rights of others.

Caroline Camden Lewis · Jul. 13, 2017

In the past eight months, our country has witnessed some of the most absurd excesses of “freedom” in recent history. From violent inaugural protesters who broke windows and set cars on fire, to the violence at Middlebury College resulting in a professor’s head injury; from Madonna stating, “I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House” to actor Johnny Depp’s comment, “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” And of course the ISIS-like severed head of Donald Trump held up by “comedian” Kathy Griffin. From a professor at the Art Institute of Washington calling for Republican lawmakers to be “lined up and shot” to the attempted assassination of Republican congressional leadership. From the distasteful to the disgusting, the Regressives seem to think that violence is not only normal, but at times, a necessary component of “freedom” and “democracy.”

(Note: Our system of government is a republic, not a democracy — a serious and meaningful distinction utterly lost on most Americans. We use the term “democracy” here simply for the purpose of discussion of leftist motivation.)

Devoid of ethical guidance, the Regressives incorrectly define both freedom and democracy. Aided by rewritten history books, students emerge from the educational system falsely defining freedom as the ability to do whatever they “feel” is right and defining democracy as the “freedom” to get whatever they want for free. This narcissistic vision of freedom has occurred because freedom has become divorced from ethics.

When the culture removes ethics from the law, all that remains is the letter of the law. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), a Russian writer, mathematician and political dissident, explained this dynamic in his 1978 Harvard commencement address:

“Every conflict is solved according to the letter of the law and this is considered to be the ultimate solution. … Voluntary self-restraint is almost unheard of: Everybody strives toward further expansion to the extreme limit of the legal frames.”

Solzhenitsyn observes that when the law alone (rather than law combined with ethical self-restraint) becomes the standard, people attempt to push the limits of legal freedom.

In the name of “neutrality” and “tolerance,” our culture has drifted from an ethical basis to a secular basis of freedom. Yet we have seen that secularism taken to its logical end yields arbitrary rule and condones violence as an appropriate means of problem-solving. Secular “freedom” permits people to do whatever they please, which is not freedom, but rather, barbarism.

Solzhenitsyn also noted, “Violence has nothing to cover itself up with but lies, and lies can only persist through violence.” This type of violence denies the basic human rights of everyone else except the perpetrator, who believes that he or she has “super rights” that outrank everyone else’s rights. Freedom without ethics produces the lie that a person can do whatever he or she pleases without thought to the dignity of any other human person.

Rather than self-restricting due to a moral code as true freedom suggests, violence must be enforced through conformity and coercion of thought. It remains “free” only to the strong ones who bully the weak. Devoid of any ethical basis, this self-gratifying “freedom” uses falsehood sustained through violence to strike fear into opponents and re-brand violence as acceptable.

The normalization of violence in our culture stems from secular, rather than ethical definitions of freedom and democracy. The lie that freedom means the freedom to do whatever you please, without any ethical mechanism of self-restraint has led to the chaos, violence and confusion of today.

This, however, is the logical end of the ultimate postmodern statement: “We all need to find our own truth.” Most proponents of this theory of tolerance never considered the question of whether a person’s “truth” might include the murder of those with whom he disagrees or the violence against those whom she dislikes. Making truth relative has made the law relative, and this ultimately makes rights relative. This explains why the Regressives fancy themselves as a “Protected Class” with special immunity from the law when it comes to violent behavior.

Ironically, the Founders of this country risked their lives in order to create a nation free from this totalitarian strategy of absolute control, violence and thought conformity. They wrote the laws of this country within a moral and ethical framework emphasizing the freedom to live ethically and peacefully, not the “freedom” to violate the rights of others.

As John Adams once wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” He wrote of true Liberty — something too few Americans today truly understand.

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