Get your political fix from an unrepentant political junkie.
May 28, 2015
In 1943, at the height of World War II, American illustrator Norman Rockwell painted the Four Freedoms: “Freedom of Speech,” “Freedom from Fear,” “Freedom of Worship,” and “Freedom from Want,” summarizing those American values worth defending in the most destructive war in history.
What does freedom mean in 2015 America? Freedom from getting our feelings hurt? Freedom to record electronically the most mundane details of our daily lives? Freedom to a free abortion at any time? Freedom to limit other people’s freedom when we disagree with them? Freedom from the consequences of our own choices?
Memorial Day is a yearly opportunity to evaluate our American values. When we honor our war dead, what do we value so as to make it worth their sacrifice? Living at the highest standard of living in the history of the world, temptation toward complacency allows us to be distracted by the material comforts we enjoy and forget the very foundation of our American culture.
American heritage is based on the belief in natural law, which provides those sacred and self-evident human rights that grant each individual the freedom to live peaceably. Once an individual’s freedom is violated, the wholeness of society is vulnerable.
Earlier this year, George Will, a Princeton man, discussed current American political thought at the William F. Buckley, Jr., Program at Yale, “Conservatives stress freedom, willing to accept disparities of social outcome, and regard the multiplication of entitlement and the mentality it breeds as inimical to the attitude essential to a free society. Liberals stress equality of outcome, and, therefore, tend to regard the multiplication of entitlements and entitlement mentality as enhancing public good, spreading dependency. Dependency is not unfortunate, but their agenda.” Society cannot have freedom and dependency. They are mutually exclusive, and one ensures the destruction of the other.
Political rhetoric in modern America too often depends on the enforcement of politically correct thought through Orwellian manipulation of definitions and double-speak, “Newspeak,” to “reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.” When a political agenda limits offensive speech, it limits freedom of speech, as is increasingly evident in public discourse and private conversation. While rude, offensive speech may be socially undesirable, it is not illegal. Mere disagreement is not synonymous to offense. Intellectual debate is abandoned quickly by ad hominem and character defamation.
This Memorial Day, as America mourns her war dead, and honors those who sacrificed for the sake of protecting our freedoms and cultural heritage, the American lexicon evolves, or is politically redesigned, and a law suit reaches the Supreme Court arguing for the right to a tax credit after a lover’s death. Hence, the new definition of marriage: two consenting adults engaged in a joint tax return.