I warn the reader, I am of short temper as I compose this piece. I am also on my high horse, breathing rarified air and standing behind my professorial podium. So, if you are not in the mood to deal with this, you are dismissed from class, but there will be a quiz on the information I am about to cover and it will be a substantial part of your final grade. You decide for yourself.
I start with a couple definitions:
Definition of PRINCIPLE
1a : a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption b (1) : a rule or code of conduct (2) : habitual devotion to right principles c : the laws or facts of nature underlying the working of an artificial device
Definition of COMPROMISE
1a : settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions b : something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things
Now, I believe that we have individual rights and liberty, that they are God-given, and that you and I create govt. to protect these God-given rights and liberty. If I am willing to “compromise” on these beliefs, then these are not personal principles or ideals, they are just platitudes. And if they are platitudes, then they are no God-given, they are social constructs and, as such, are within the power of society and/or govt. to change as they will. Furthermore, if these rights and liberties are not individual, or if they are not God-given, I have no justification to claim them as my own, or to object if and when they are trampled upon by society/govt. This is a simple function of basic logic.
This brings me to another fundamental of who I am: I believe in the necessity of using reason to guide my decisions and my actions. I know full well that I am not perfect, that no mortal man is or ever will be and that this means everything we do in our lives is subject to error. At the same time, I understand that I have a duty to myself, my Creator and to each of my fellow citizens to use my faculties of reason to the best of my ability and understanding to guide me in making the best decisions and taking the most correct actions possible with the single goal in mind of protecting and preserving individual rights and liberties.
I believe there are two basic ways of looking at this world: through a “constrained” prism that holds human nature is flawed, can never be perfected and, therefore, we should govern ourselves as best we can so as to live in accord with the natural order of things and the “unconstrained” view that holds human nature is and can be perfected by human direction. Furthermore, I believe those who hold an “unconstrained” view of human nature are either borderline or are actually evil in nature. As I believe our rights are God-given and, thus, inalienable, those who believe man has a perfectible nature are essentially claiming that man can replace God. The consequences of this line of reasoning are that our rights cease to be inalienable and become “privileges” granted by the power that is seeking to “perfect” mankind. In addition to this, it means that there can never be an ideal for what man should be or can become as there will be a different notion for every individual on the planet. This makes the goal of those who hold an “unconstrained” view of the world literally impossible to obtain, which then makes their argument nothing more than an excuse to rule over all mankind. I reject the objective of the “unconstrained” view of man along with the entire line of thinking associated with it.
The “unconstrained” view of man is typically associated with utopian ideas of society, which again are most often expressed by collectivist thinking. When was the last time you actually looked up the definition of “utopia?”
Definition of UTOPIA
1: an imaginary and indefinitely remote place
2often capitalized : a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions
3: an impractical scheme for social improvement
Therefore, by definition, those who argue for “what should be,” or what “ought to be” are arguing from their own, personal ideal of what these ambiguous notions mean. As I have already pointed out, this – at present – leaves room for some 7 billion different utopias. In other words, the idea of what should be meet the very definition of a utopia: imaginary and impossible. That these ideas always encompass all of society makes them collectivist. And the collectivist political ideology goes by many names: Communist, Fascist, Socialist and, in America, by the name Progressive.
According to my way of thinking, this means we should reject the arguments for any form of collectivist society as going against the natural order. Instead, we should seek to organize society to work within the natural order, and that means by placing emphasis on the individual. It also means that govt. should be structured so as to treat every citizen as equally as possible, as the natural order is that all men are equal in the eyes of the Creator and in terms of their rights and liberty. These are the ideals and principles upon which this nation was founded, and the reason for it success in such a short period of time. That so many in this country still hold to some aspect of these principles is also why this nation has managed to survive the collectivist assaults upon it for so long. However, it will not hold on much longer as the number of people now willing to compromise these principles for some perceived political gain have exceeded those who are willing to hold their ground.
This is not some theoretical or academic matter. This is a real world issue and it has real world ramifications for our society and our nation. Our founders differed bitterly on many things, but most of what they differed about dealt with how to achieve their goals. When it came to the principles of individual rights and freedom, there was little division among them. Our founders told us this adherence to our ideals and principles was essential to our freedom. They called it virtue, and they told us a people cannot and will not remain free if they lose their virtue because it will lead to the loss of morality. For them, virtue and morality were inextricably linked, and they were mutually supported through religion. It was all tied to their belief in the Creator, and like it or not, they founded this nation upon their belief in the Creator and the extension of the individual rights and liberty He gives every person. None of this can be said about us today because too many of us no longer understand the necessity of holding firm to one’s principles. We have accepted the lie that we must “compromise” to achieve political goals: political goals which are far too often tied to Party ideology rather than the founding principles and ideals of individual rights and liberty.
If one starts to “compromise” on one’s rights and liberty, by definition, you are giving up your rights and liberty for something you deem more important. There are two problems with this: first, you cannot give up something that is inalienable and second, if you are willing to give up your rights, you do not deserve them or your liberty and should have no say in demanding them as you have just proven you cannot be trusted to protect my rights and liberty. So it is with our current political situation.
I am often accused of being a dreamer. So be it. I am accused of not being serious. This I reject. I say it is those who are playing this game of Party politics who are not being serious. They are the ones who have rejected their duty to themselves and to each other. It is not good enough to tell ourselves we are voting for a lesser evil. Evil is evil, no matter what form or intensity. It is not enough to say we will vote for this guy and fix things later. You have already admitted you are willing to compromise your liberty, and history shows that, once surrendered, it is seldom regained and never by the generation that surrendered it. I will not stand with any man or woman who refuses to defend my rights and liberty equally as vigorously as I am attempting to defend theirs.
Still, reason tells me I am stuck within a two-Party system that values Party over country and I must deal with it as best I can. I accept this reality as it is my duty to do so. However, this does not mean I must vote Party line. In fact, it tells me I should seek to vote outside the Party whenever and wherever possible. Now, because I know that anyone advocating a collectivist or “unconstrained” view of society must be rejected, this leaves me to find the person I feel has the best understanding of what this nation was intended to be and why. Once I find this person, it is my duty to vote for him or her no matter what, and to reject those who argue I should vote for someone else based on an argument of “compromise.” Compromise is how we got in the predicament we now find ourselves, and further compromise will lead us deeper into the woods.
If we want to save what is left of this nation, we must return to the natural order of things, and that can only be done by fighting to regain our personal sense of virtue. Virtue means never compromising on principles – ever. It means doing the right thing, even when there is a personal cost attached. The right thing means preserving everyone’s individual rights and liberty, not just our own. If they are God-given, then this is a duty to the Creator, not just ourselves and each other. But first, you must know what your principles are, and then you must use them to guide your decisions and actions. We can no longer do whatever we want or “think” best on a case-by-case basis; we must work out a personal philosophy of life as it is, not as we want it to be. Then we must live accordingly. Bending what we believe to suit our desires is the antithesis of principle and the very thinking that led us where we are now. It is also anti-American, if you define “American” as those ideals and principles upon which this nation was founded.
No, friends, the only answer is to vote principle. That is the hill upon which I stand, and it is the hill from which I now refuse to budge. True, I may be fighting a losing battle, especially if my fellow citizens are too faint of heart to stand with me. But I no longer care. I believe I have to answer for what I did in this life, and I know that, far too often, I compromised principle for my reasons and not His. No more. Whether there are enough American left to stand with me or not, on the principles which founded this nation is where I stand, and here I damn well stay!