December 3, 2014

Speaking American

“Blessed are you peacemakers,
 for you will be called the children of God.” –Jesus

“The peace-makers quiet the winds of the world ever ready to be up and blowing; they tend and cherish the interlacing roots of the ministering grass; they spin and twist many uniting cords, and they weave many supporting bands; they are the servants, for the truth’s sake, of the individual, of the family, of the world, of the great universal family of heaven and earth.” – George MacDonald

That wise old sage, Bill Clinton, posed the most fundamental question of our age:

“What kind of America do want to live in?”

Ferguson, Missouri is showing us what our choices are rapidly being reduced to:

Anarchy or oppression.

But the truth of the matter is anarchy and oppression are the two ends of the political spectrum our founders recognized. Zero government is anarchy. Total government is tyranny. The balanced middle is self-government or republicanism.

Self-government has a language all its own. So do the antagonists of self-government. Often the words are the same, but the meaning is at polar opposite to the foundational understanding of being American.

The Founders understood that diversity of beliefs, practices and meaning would pervade a free society made up, not of a particular race or ethnicity, but of a wide variety of people groups yearning to live free. They also believed that those diverse parts could be forged into something stronger than the individual parts. Thus the motto: E Pluribus Unum – out of diversity unity – was adopted to reflect this fundamental belief. A belief that superseded any antagonism between values and beliefs where antagonism, historically, birthed hatred, division, factions, war. A foundational belief in fundamental truths that shaped individual behavior, citizenship, and duty toward your neighbor for his good.

But to achieve this unity a fundamental agreement had to be made shaped by 1.) an egalitarian view of humanity – that all are created equal before God and the law; 2.) a hierarchal (elitist) view of ideas – namely, that some ideas, beliefs and values are superior to others. Ravi Zacharias, Christian apologist, notes that culture today has reversed this foundational construct and made ideas egalitarian, i.e., all ideas are essentially equal; and people elite, i.e., certain people are superior in intellect and credentials thereby giving them authority to dictate the lifestyles and practices of all others.

The Lexicon of Antagonism:

  • Pay it back: those who create wealth by providing goods and services that bless others are somehow morally obligated to “give back” some of the fruit of their labor to society.

  • Tolerance: all ideas, values and beliefs are morally equivalent and must be given equal acceptance by everyone.

  • Political correctness: unfettered compliance with a limited view of what is and is not socially acceptable as determined by an elite group of Power Worshippers.

  • Fairness: euphemism for redistribution.

  • Rights: whatever a collective group of people demand.

  • Redistribution: equal stuff; “leveling” as the Founders referred to it.

  • Sustainability: centralized planning of property use; manufacturing; distribution.

  • Community Organizer: agitating the sensibilities of neighborhoods by pitting people against one another; grossly stunting honest debate by mob tactics.

  • Entitlement: creating class envy by fanning the flames of coveting, jealousy and discontent; affirming victimhood and irresponsibility as an acceptable lifestyle.

  • Social justice: the notion that feeling good is more important than being good; relying on the coercive arm of government to do what can’t or won’t be done from 
the heart.

  • Democracy: mob rule that justifies overturning the principles of property rights and rule of law.

The lexicon of liberty:

  • Personal responsibility: we are free to choose our behavior but not free to choose the consequences; ultimately bad choices result in bad consequences; but the lessons learned make us a better person. Interfering with that process stunts the character growth of individuals and we all suffer for it.

  • Personal property: property begins with an individual’s own person and inherent in ownership is a duty to improve that property through education, training, risk taking, physical exertion. All materials gathered in the improvement process come under the authority of the individual and ought always be respected by others.

  • Social Contract: establishing boundaries between property rights as well as the duties imposed on individuals living cooperatively for mutual benefits within communities.

  • Free enterprise: the freedom to engage in contracts between individuals based on the law of consent: that people are capable of making decisions in their own self interest. People are free to try, fail, succeed and prosper.

  • Rule of law: the governments duty to respect individual property rights and enforce social contracts.

  • Justice: the freedom to live in peace with my neighbor and to be held accountable for any destructive actions toward my neighbor.

  • Duty: our individual responsibilities in living in social contracts.

  • Faith: trusting in transcendent powers and principles higher and deeper than our individual selves. Believing in the God-ness of goodness.

  • Representative Republic: selecting neighbors among us who will represent the views of our neighborhoods, communities, counties and states in issues impacting our social contract. Allowing them to engage in honest debate
to create laws and regulations that make society a better place for all. A Representative Republic keeps government at a size and scale to hold elected officials accountable and transparent for the decisions they make. It also protects the minority viewpoint while serving the desires of the majority.

  • Universal and Timeless truth: as surely as the Law of Gravity orders the behavior of planets so Absolute Truth orders the behavior of individuals and societies.

  • Limited government: Restricting the power of government to those things that I would or could do as an individual within the moral, ethical and legal boundaries established primarily by the local community; primarily protecting individual right to property.

  • Love Your Neighbor As Yourself: Tocqueville observed that America is Great because America is Good. Goodness should be the primary attribute of our culture and should be on display at all times! The primary question in America today is are becoming more or less a loving people? 
Change the language, change the people. Peacemakers are called to be engaged in the culture “tending and cherishing the interlacing roots…spinning and twisting many uniting cords.” Let us show up wherever people gather to influence the conversations toward Justice, Love and Truth. May the quality of our conversation reflect our deep conviction in the fundamental truth of America; a respect for other’s viewpoints; a growing ability to effectively persuade our neighbor knowing that we all are created for Truth and it still resonates in the hearts of the good.

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