Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Free to Be?


This originally started as a comment to Major Mike's recent post entitled "Hating America".

One thing I have come to understand in my 30-something years on this planet is that people often mistakenly apply their own core values system to all of those around them. I have personally made the same mistake many times. But, in spite of my best efforts to find common ground with people regardless of their background, I constantly meet people that have a completely different perspective than I do.

I believe that much of the Left is applying their basic belief in human dignity, regardless of its many (misguided) manifestations, to everybody on the planet. They don't understand that there are people out there that are crazed enough to mortally devalue their own humanity, sometimes at the expense of the lives of those around them.

Curiously, however, they seem to find no human dignity in their fellow countrymen that have a slightly different view of the nature of human dignity. For instance, it's perfectly fine for them to view Christian Fundamentalists as whacko's that should be coerced to suicide. The minute you question the dignity, judgement or sanity of a member of a "foreign" religion or culture which they know nothing about, however, they are the first to come to the defense of the religious/cultural minority that you are "victimizing." EVERYONE BUT their fellow countrymen on the Right gets to be viewed through the "innocent until proven guilty" prism.

While the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian principles (not specific denominations, mind you - just the basics), its Constitution specifically allows for the free excercise of ANY religion, as long as said excercise does not infringe upon the basic rights of others. Although I'm not an expert on the subject, it seems to me that that early American settlers developed an innate understanding of the importance of being able to develop one's own system of beliefs, which logically and ethically led to the importance of protecting OTHER's right to their own beliefs.

But people in other geopolitcal entities are not so lucky. They have been kept under the thumb of either ruthless monarchs, dictators, ethnic hatred or religious intolerance. This shapes their world view, a view of which the American Left has no conception.

The Catch-22 is that the Left doesn't recognize that the kind of people they hate are the same kind of people who willingly sacrifice their lives so that people can have the right to disagree. Perhaps, stated simplistically, these people fight for the right to be hated by those they protect. We at MySandmen certainly recognize the profound debt and respect we owe to these protectors. But does the American Left?

If historical cycles remain true, the people of the United States will soon reach a point where they will have to fight to survive, both ideologically and existentially. The big question is not whether or not our planet will survive humanity (it will), but this: does an individual have the right to determine the meaning of their own existence?

I am as concerned and fearful as anybody else is with tragedy of misjudging people and fatally acting on that misjudgement. But I am equally as concerned about the resultant fashionable and/or selective abandonment of the principles we agreed upon 200 years ago: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

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