Sunday, July 01, 2012

In Praise of American Hypocrisy

This week 300 million Americans will at least be dimly aware that there is some kind of holiday. People get off work, there are parades, picnics, trips to the beach, Bar-B-Ques, and fireworks.

"Must be something going on here."

One survey a few years ago suggested that tens of millions of Americans believe that on "Independence Day" we celebrate the freeing of the slaves.

Probably more than that number of Americans know that on the 4th of July we commemorate the Declaration of Independence.

A much small number will actually read or reflect in any serious way on the meaning of that document.

And only a handful of "fringe," "wacko" "nutcases" actually believe that the propositions in the Declaration of Independence are actually true.

For this reason, our Federal guardians have wisely prohibited our local Public School teachers from teaching students that the Declaration of Independence is actually true.

Of course, Public School students can be taught that a bunch of dead white males used to believe that the Declaration was actually true.

They can even be taught that the Founding Fathers didn't really believe it was true, but merely promoted the Document in order to prop up their businesses and protect their ownership of slaves.

But Public School students can not be taught that the propositions in the Declaration of Independence are objectively true -- regardless of whether any person or government believes them to be true.

In other words, public schools teach the Declaration of Independence as history, as a relic, but not as enduring truth.

And beyond that, public schools inculcate tyranny rather than liberty as found in the Declaration.

So the 4th of July, like Christmas, is an exercise in national hypocrisy.

But that's a good thing.

Our nation is a little bit better because of vague myths like "Independence," "created equal," and "Christmas." Better than the government-coerced celebration of a mass murderer like Stalin or Mao.

This relates to our discussion yesterday about the danger of "warlords" emerging out of a libertarian society.

The transition from our current fascism into a libertarian society will only come with a revival of the influence of Christian principles.

When we arrive at a mature Christian/libertarian nation, there will obviously be a strong grassroots predisposition against aggression, coercion, and the whole "warlord lifestyle."

But there's always a critic of the libertarian vision who will say that if we get rid of too much fascism and socialism, a "warlord society" will emerge.

The Bible paints a different picture.

In the Old Covenant, if you came into contact with death and uncleanness, you yourself became unclean. But in the New Covenant, when the unclean comes in contact with the Christian, power flows out from Christ and the unclean becomes clean.

In subtle ways that might escape the observations and statistical calculations of the sociologist, ordinary people influence others when they make decisions based on Christian principles.

It's important to remember that a "warlord society" is a collective machine, not an individual "warlord." Hitler did not kill 6 million Jews; millions of Germans put on the German uniform and killed the Jews.

If there is sufficient opposition to coercion and aggression that our society should move from fascism to libertarianism, it will be because there are numerous individuals having a decentralized, grassroots influence on others. In such an environment, where does the "warlord society" come from? Who will wear the uniforms of the warlord?

In fact, however, even a superficial libertarianism, like a superficial Christianity, tends to intimidate warlords. Culture is powerful. Those who have a genetic, personality, or education-induced inclination to act like a warlord find themselves confronted with powerful moral influences in a Christian-libertarian society and instead of letting out their warlord tendencies, they pretend to be Christian-libertarians. ( <-- That's an important link. Read the verses. The verses are talking largely about warlords. ) Only when large numbers of the members of society reject libertarianism and begin manifesting warlord tendencies in their families, businesses, media, and voluntary associations, does a "warlord society" emerge in practice.

In other words, a "warlord society" emerges on the way down from Christian libertarianism, not on the way up beyond Christian libertarianism. If we are becoming more libertarian and Christian, the danger of a warlord society is not on our path; it's behind us.

Even Hypocrisy keeps us from the pure warlord society.

It would be better, of course, for people to be sincerely converted to Christian liberty. It would be better for America if we actually knew what the Declaration of Independence really said and took risks to defend those propositions:

  • That there really is a God, and His existence is a "self-evident truth"
  • That our rights really are the product of the intelligent design of our Creator
              (not a gift from the government)
  • That all Americans really are obligated to conform their lives to
              "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"
  • That one day our actions really must pass judgment with
              "the Supreme Judge of the world"
  • That all Americans should have "a firm reliance on
              the Protection of Divine Providence."
  • That Americans have a duty -- not just a right
              -- to abolish any government
              that becomes a tyranny.

Most Americans do not believe in America's Birth Certificate.

But at least they like to think they do.

And they want others to think that they do.

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