Monday, October 16, 2000

Week of 10/16/2000

Lessons Forgotten
- by David Matthews 2

"It is easier to show the disorder that must accompany reform than the order that should follow it." - Frederic Bastiat

This past week, World Net Daily featured a conservative article by Casey Brooks that bemoaned about what she sees as liberalism gone wild. She constantly talked about how "God" has been taken away from everything in the world… as if that were even possible!

It’s pretty much the usual conservative spiel, talking about how the sexual revolution took away the "sanctity" of sex from marriage, how abortion took away the "sanctity" of the womb and of motherhood, how removing "God" from the schools somehow permitted lawlessness and mass murder to run rampant through the hallways. Then she complained that liberals would eventually remove "God" off our currency - thus completing what the writer saw as the completion of the liberal agenda of a god-less, hedonistic, "humanistic" world of chaos and destruction.

Of course, the conservatives ALWAYS have a solution. And not just a solution.. but THE solution: turn everything over to them! Go back to the old days where the church and state were essentially one and the same. Bring back government-enforced prayer by the dominant religion of the area. Once again criminalize anything sexual in nature unless sanctioned by that same dominant religion. Force their morals down your throats, and indoctrinate your children, and your children’s children… all in the name of "a better society."

Sorry folks, but I’ve got to be brutally honest with you on this.. the conservative dream is nothing but a pipe dream!

First of all, you cannot "go back" to what someone considers to be the "good old days." The only way that would be possible would involve a time machine.

Each decade and each period of human civilization is conditioned by previous events. The "Roaring" 1920’s came as a response to the insanity of World War I. The 1950’s were a response to the chaos of World War II. The 1960’s came in response to the conservative backlash of the 1950’s. The "greedy" 1980’s came as a result of the baby boomers of the 1970’s. Each era and each circumstance dictated by unique events, as well as the advancements of technology. World Wars I and II were unique from the Civil War because motion pictures and radio made it possible to bring the war home. The Vietnam war was different than from any other war because television made it possible for the horrors of the battlefield to come straight into our living rooms. Even how Saddam Hussein was able to communicate to his forces in Iraq during the Gulf War - and thus remain hiding from US forces - would not have been possible if not for the Internet.

But while each era may be unique, there are lessons in each period in history that must be learned - both for good and for bad - or else they will come back to haunt us if we fail to heed them. And in that regard, both liberal and conservatives are dreadfully failing History 101.

Take the issue of sex and the sexual revolution. Contrary to the delusions of conservatives, the sexual revolution was NOT about creating some kind of world-wide, anything-goes orgy. Rather, it was to give people the right to decide whom they were going to be intimate with. That means breaking down a LOT of laws and rules that were established by.. you guessed it.. moralists who determined that the physical act that leads to human reproduction did not really belong to the individual. They felt it belonged to the state, to the church, and ultimately to THEM. So to take control of your body, they had government pass laws that dictated which actions were and were not permitted, even between consenting adults, even in the privacy of their own homes. And they dictated that ANYTHING sexual in nature was under their control. Sexual expressions, sexual clothing, discussions on sex, even the means to control pregnancy was subject to government laws and government controls, crafted and enforced by people who did their damnedest to make such things illegal.

The whole purpose of the sexual revolution was to free sexual expression and sexuality from the clutches of government and from the dictates of religion and of those dysfunctional moralists, and put control of your body with YOU, where it belonged in the first place.

In other words, one could very well argue that the whole sexual revolution was to get government off our backs and out of our private lives. Sounds like a certain conservative mantra of the 1980’s, doesn’t it?

Then there is the issue of "God" and state, "God" and the workplace, "God" and school, and "God" in any other place that conservatives complain about. I say "God" in quotations not because I don’t believe in God, but rather I make reference to the dominant religions. You see, in the eyes of these dominant religions, THEY speak on behalf of "God".

Many conservatives believe that there really is no such thing as a separation of church and state. That’s why they are so fervent in getting their religious views integrated into every aspect of society. What they fail to understand, though, is that the freedom of religion that they so proudly proclaim is diluted when religion integrates itself into government.

Conservatives love to proclaim that the words "In God We Trust" are a part of the US monetary system… but it was only put in there in the 1950’s BY conservatives on the excuse to separate themselves from the "god-less" Soviets. Same thing with the Pledge of Allegiance.. a poem written by a self-professed Christian Socialist. The words "under God" were not included until the 1950’s. Both of these references to religion can easily be removed, and should be.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote that men are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights", he did not necessarily mean God. Only those church-state conservatives who have "God" on the brain equated "Creator" with their "God."

But when liberals moved to purge those influences of theocracy and separate church and state, they put the onus of religious teaching where it belongs - with the parents and with the church. The state has absolutely no business whatsoever endorsing one particular set of religious beliefs over others, be they in a courthouse, in the halls of Congress, or in the local schools.

Conservatives always seem to have the answer.. and the answer is just to go back to those "good old days". They never seem to modify their position, or to offer any practical solutions that help us move forward - even though such a notion could very well be an oxymoron for conservative (with emphasis on the "moron" part). There is a good reason behind it. If they do modify their position, then they will have to admit that the stances of the past that they so devoutly defended were WRONG. They would much rather wait, and have society buckle under their own mistakes and then let the liberals admit that THEIR ideas were wrong.

Truth be told, we need less bantering from the liberal and conservative sides and turning to more libertarian solutions.

The way conservatives can prove that their positions were in the right is not to push for going back to the days of trickle-down moralization from government. Rather they need to take their arguments to the streets and argue their case one-by-one to the people. Yes, it means having to admit in some ways to being in error. There’s nothing wrong with that. Think of it as further proving that only one being in the universe can be absolutely perfect.

Liberals also need to be willing to emphasize the shift in responsibility when they talk about breaking down the old laws and old rules. There’s nothing wrong in letting people develop their own standards to replace the ones you’re knocking down. Change will not happen overnight, but letting people get used to it at their own pace will make things go smoothly. Think of all of the things that were once taboo that are now accepted!

In order for us to learn the lessons of today, we must be willing to embrace that middle ground- the more libertarian perspective. If we can’t grasp those lessons, and are willing to learn from them, then they WILL come back to haunt us. And haunt us they will, again, and again, and again, until we do learn those lessons and move on!

Or as Edward Gibson once said, "All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance."

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