It could be argued that the United States of America holds an unique position in the world in that for the most part the nation's sociopolitical system attempts to balance the competing needs of both the group and the individual. This impressive feat is accomplished in part as a result of distinctive foundations such as a constitutional framework of government and the underlying moral assumptions shared by various interpretations of the Judeo-Christian philosophical tradition.
Without these restraints, eventually this way of life so easily taken for granted would collapse in favor of tyranny or anarchy with it becoming increasingly difficult to tell such extremities apart. Startlingly, one does not have to expend too much time and effort to find influential voices advocating for the abolition of these safeguards. Often such thinkers do so from a perspective claiming to be religions in terms of its motivating orientation or at least on behalf of organizations having accumulated a significant percentage of the largess upon which they operate by appealing to that particular underlying behavioral motivation.
For example, in the 12/30/12 edition of the New York Times, Georgetown University Professor of Constitutional Law Louis Michael Seidman published an essay titled “Let's Give Up On The Constitution”. In this analysis, an intellectual employed by a prominent Roman Catholic institution advocates abolishing the document upon which the foundations of the governing structures of the Republic rest because of the numerous instances throughout American history in which adherence to the strictures of the document proved too burdensome and in which deviation from proved the expeditious thing to do. Examples cited include Justice Robert Jackson's admission that the decision handed down in “Brown vs. Board of Education” was based on moral and political necessity rather than any explicitly constitutional provision and Franklin Roosevelt's presupposition that the Constitution was a declaration of aspirations rather than binding possibilities.
Louis Seidman remarks with the condescension endemic to the professorial class, “In the face of this long history of disobedience, it is hard to take seriously the claim of the Constitution's defenders that we would be reduced to a Hobbesian state of nature... Our sometimes flagrant disregard of the Constitution has not produced chaos or totalitarianism; on the contrary, it has helped to grow and prosper.”
The Americans of Japanese, German, and Italian ancestry interred during World Wat II might argue otherwise. Therefore, invoking Roosevelt's admonition that the Constitution is only a set of suggestions rather than an obligation might not be that good of an idea after all.
In the remainder of his analysis, Professor Seidman attempts to assure the reader that what ensures the continuation of America's fundamental liberties and semi-functioning government (at least in comparison to what prevails in most other parts of the world) is not some piece of paper that would literally disintegrate if not kept under the strictest climate-controlled conditions. Rather, the proverbial American way of life is continued by what Professor Seidman categorizes as “entrenched institutions and habits of thought and, most important, that sense that we are one nation and work out our differences.”
But without paper the Constitution to keep competing and disparate interests and factions in check within a clearly delineated framework, would what we enjoy as Americans endure for very long? As examples of what he suggests as viable political regimes that provide civilized structures without relying upon a formalized written constitution are the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
But while these countries might hold hours of endless fascination of the setting of many a BBC drama or picture postcards, are either really a place the average American would really want to live? To put it bluntly, the population of New Zealand is about as white as the sheep for which that pastured land is famous. Would that country be able to survive and endure if its population were as varied as the United States with sizable hordes refusing to abide by the values that make a viable society possible?
In terms of the diversity we are obligated to applaud as nothing but positive or face accusations of assorted thought crimes, the United Kingdom might be more akin to its sibling society in the United States. However, in many profound ways, in this regard Great Britain is nothing to be proud of or desire to emulate.
There swarms from the Third World, like plagues of grasshoppers, eagerly consume the sustenance that is provided like none other. And like these ravenous insects, significant percentages of these migrants would rather destroy than preserve the bounty set before them.
For example, in Britain, instead of exhibiting a little respect and gratitude for being extended the privilege of even being allowed to reside in such a land to begin with, one Islamist of African origins murdered a member of that nation's military along the roadside and then proudly documented the act by testifying to the atrocity in a video while still soaked in the blood of his victim. Elsewhere in that same country, others sharing in this same particular so-called religion expect their hosts to accommodate their alien peculiarities rather than for the newcomers to tone these down as any polite guest might.. For example, a number practicing polygamy demanded that each wife be allowed entrance into the country where she is in turn granted additional welfare benefits for each new whelp she continues to push out at a rate that would probably exhaust a tribblbe (the fuzzy aliens from the original Star Trek that Bones McCoy pointed out were born pregnant).
In both the United Kingdom and New Zealand, those daring to articulate perspectives against this sort of cultural subversion could be charged with assorted thought crimes on the grounds of racial or ethnic disparagement. That is because, unlike in America, the United Kingdom and New Zealand have not enshrined freedom of expression as a fundamental right in a constitution, the very thing Professor Seidman cavalierly suggests we abolish in favor of a proposed brave new world.
In his proposal, Professor Seidman even goes out of his way to address concerns raised by those shocked by what it is their discernment warns he is suggesting. He assures, “This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and ... against governmental deprivations of life, liberty, and property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.”
But if these are not protected by a constitution that exists somewhat to an extent beyond the whims of ordinary politics and expediency, who is to say such niceties should not be abolished or withheld from non-compliant segments of the population when doing so would be convenient. For example, is gay marriage any longer a “right” should fifty-one percent in a plebiscite or whatever other methods are utilized to determine these kinds of questions in a world where nothing is any longer set in concrete?
Professor Seidman continues, “Nor should we have a debate about, for instance, how long the president's term should last or whether Congress should consist of two houses. Some matters are better left settled, even if not in exactly the way we favor.” Once more, who is to say?
If there is no Constitution, by what authority does one impose the perspective that such things are hereby settled? You can no longer point to an article, section, or clause of the Constitution and say, “Look. It says so right there.”
Professor Seidman's gentlemanly view of society might be barely functional in a world where most of the population adhere roughly to a similar set of values. However, such a Western world in general and an America in particular sadly no longer exists.
There is now within our midst sizable Islamic populations that not only demand their right to practice their barbarous customs but also demand that the rest of us surrender to them as well or face overwhelming violence. And this is not the only movement seeking to remake America and to eliminate what little remains of that distinct way of life and cultural perspective.
For instance, no longer is it enough to allow those that derive their deepest carnal pleasures in ways most would be shocked by or not find so appealing to so do so off on their own. Now, under threat of financial ruination, we are forced to render compelled approval in ways that violate our own convictions and sensibilities.
According to assorted accounts, Christian bakers have been forced to provide cakes for gay weddings when there were no doubt numerous others willing to provide such culinary services. Elsewhere, young girls have been forced to look on in horror in the locker or restroom as the person undressing there before them turns out that at the most basic level is still a man no matter how vehemently they attempt to deny nature's manifest construction.
Given that Professor Seidman is a professor of Constitutional Law, one would think that in calling for the elimination of the U.S. Constitution that he was essentially derailing his own gravy train as Georgetown University professors probably pull in a hefty salary and are esteemed as part of the nation's intellectual elite.
But even if scholarship in traditional constitutional studies were to become an extinct discipline, those such as Professor Seidman convined they are so much better than the rest of us will still think it will be their place to tell the rest of us what to do. However, it will simply no longer be from the standpoint of a traditional understanding of morality. This is evidenced by the “New Social Contract” called for by Evangelical Christian Progressive Jim Wallis.
In classical democratic theory, in a social contract both parties agree to fulfill a delineated number of obligations in order to receive a desired benefit. This is done from a perspective of self-interest as much or maybe even more so than to meet the desires or needs of the other party.
For example, no matter how much they claim otherwise and might even pitch in during a time of crisis, the generic big box retailer or even the so-called “mom and pop” shop down the street really don't care one way or the other whether your nutritional needs are being met. What they really care about and might even be willing to go out of their way to see that your dietary inclinations are satisfied fot is if you are willing to relent to the agreed upon price for the desired commodity.
Something similar could be said of the individuals and institutions involved in the so-called social contract. Under that theory, if parties feel that the terms are not being met, individuals are free to look elsewhere for the purposes of finding their fulfillment. For example, in a constitutional republic, individuals are free to change church affiliations or their religion entirely. In terms of government, citizens are theoretically free to either change their leaders through periodic elections or the parameters of governing structures through the amendment process.
Such is not necessarily the case regarding the idea of a covenant. For unlike the idea of a contract, the notion of a covenant often does not possess the same degree of personal self-interest. Covenant carries with it the idea of being imposed upon the individual from without by a greater power irrespective of the desire of the individual or that the individual is expected to fulfill certain obligations without expectations of benefit in return.
For example, a number of such covenants are detailed in the pages of the Bible. Foremost among these ranks the covenants between God and the Nation of Israel as promised to the Patriarch Abraham. Although he and his descendants were blessed as a result especially when by living in accordance with these stipulations, it was God that sought this people ought and laid out the terms with little room for negotiation.
But probably the kind of covenant most are most familiar with is none other than marriage. Though marriage is usually entered into voluntarily by the involved parties, in a context that honors the institution properly, it can only be exited under the strictest of conditions that would leave the party initially guilty of violating the binding terms profoundly sanctioned often to the verge of ruination. The notion of contract provides for a way out even if there is a penalty for invoking this particular provision.
In January 2013, planetary elites met at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. One of the sessions convened was titled “The Moral Economy: From Social Contract To Social Covenant”. The purpose of the undertaking was to establish a framework that would foster “(1) the dignity of the human person, (2) the importance of the common good, which transcends individual interests, and (3) the need for stewardship of the planet and prosperity.”
What's so wrong with any of that, one might easily ask? After all, each of these things sounds noble almost to the point of being inspirational. The problem arises in regards as to how these are defined and who does the defining.
For example, one of the issues harped about the most by a variety of leftists ranging from the filthy slobs of the Occupy Movement all the way to Pope Francis is the need for income redistribution. So what if the technocrats overseeing the implementation of the social covenant decide to tackle that particular economic perplexity?
Most people are disturbed by the idea of their fellow man languishing in the deprivations of overwhelming poverty. But what if the overlords of the New Social Covenant decide that the way to address that is not by sustained acts of ongoing charity but rather through the forced confiscation of what you have earned with the seized resources supposedly directed towards those that really did not earn it but in reality much of it squandered by those administering such an unprecedented global effort. After all, the Pope has all that art work to upkeep there in the Vatican and assorted U.N. Functionaries like nothing better than to gather at posh resorts in the Swiss Alps or the French seaside to denounce reliance of the middle class upon automobiles while these elites fritter from conference to conference around the globe in private jets.
Those unable to expand their imaginations beyond the relatively comfortable reality that we at the moment are blessed to enjoy counter that should some sort of global authority move to seize what we have (beyond of course the increasingly exorbitant tax rates) concerned citizens can use their freedoms of speech and assembly to petition for the redress of their grievances and to raise overall awareness about policies that have expanded beyond the bounds of propriety. But does one need to be reminded that one of the very first liberties and freedoms curtailed by the social engineers of the technocratic elite is the very freedom of expression that was part of the Constitution that was abandoned earlier in this exposition as part of the reactionary past that was hindering the further development of the human species and society?
In this pending new world order, the law will not be the only social institution manipulating and conditioning the inmates of the planetary panopticon from exercising what at one time were categorized as individual rights. For religion in general and what passes for Christianity in particular will be invoked in pursuit of this agenda.
The foundation of this perspective can be discerned in an editorial published in the July/August 2014 issue of Christianity Today titled, “It's about the common good, not just the individual good.” According to the piece, the basis of America is not the individual or even the family as the union of two distinct individuals and the children that might result from such couplings but rather the COMMUNITY.
But if it is the larger group that is imbued with those restrictions upon concentrations of authority known as rights, what will protect the individual when the individual is viewed as nothing more than a malfunctioning cog in the machine or diseased cell in the larger social organism that must be eliminated or his flourishing curtailed over justifications no greater than the COMMUNITY has declared thusly? The Christianity Today article, in particular, briefly examines the implications of this in regards to children. Unfortunately, however, this analysis is disturbingly superficial and shortsighted.
The Christianity Today article quotes favorably of a Robert Putnam (the same sociologist that categorizes you as some sort of deviant if you bowl by yourself) at Georgetown University, “Kids from working-class homes used to be 'our kids' he said, Now they are other people's kids, and we expect other people to solve their problems. But young people are our future. Their problems are ours.”
The Christianity Today editorial realized that the remarks were speaking to the matter of inequality. In other words, the increasingly leftist Evangelical mouthpiece apparently has little problem in attempting to shame and manipulate you into forking over increasing percentages of what you have earned and saved. “What, you don't support the progressive income and inheritance taxes? Why do you hate children and refuse to do your part to usher in the revolutionary utopia?”
One would hope that the current editors of that particular publication would retain enough of its founders' intellectual heritage to realize that there exists more to life than merely the physical building blocks. As the such, the phrase “our kids” when spoken in reference to any youngsters other than those you might share with your respective spouse or have adopted as one's own ought to send chills down the spine of any reflective discerning individual.
For if children are to be seen as “our children” in terms of being the children of a respective COMMUNITY apart from a few basic needs such as minimal food, shelter, and maybe healthcare, what is to prevent governing authorities from intervening to dictate what you can and cannot teach in terms of religious doctrine and morality? For example, do you believe that belief in Jesus Christ as the only Begotten Son of God and member of the Trinity is the one true faith?
Well, in the New World Order where the good and preferences of the group come before those of the individual, such an outdated understanding of the ultimate cannot be allowed even if you are an otherwise peaceful individual with no intentions of harming anyone in a traditional sense of that concept. For the assumption that a source of authority exists outside the uniformity of the group consensus is the seed from which all conflict generates forth.
The First Amendment is not the only one of the derided and denigrated constitutional liberties endangered by those out to impose the fundamental transformation of America advocated by President Obama and embraced by certain radicals in the name of errant theology. For if the First Amendment is the constitutional provision upon which our foundational liberties rest, then the Second Amendment is the constitutional provision that attempts to make sure that the robust liberties elaborated in the First Amendment continue to endure. For despite what even the National Rifle Association has been intimidated into repeating, the Second Amendment is about far more that guaranteeing the right to hunt and participate in shooting sports.
Rather, the primary purpose of the Second Amendment is to recognize and enshrine the idea that each citizen has a role to play in protecting life, liberty, and property against threats to these precious commodities originating from both within and without the borders of the United States. And yes, as the very last resort after all other alternatives have been exhausted, that may mean solemnly with deliberation and reluctance taking up arms against whatever form the threat may take on the most regrettable of occasions.
But even more importantly, it is the Second rather than the First Amendment that actually serves as a barometer of the health of liberty and freedom throughout this land. For without a government and civil society that respects the right to keep and bear arms arms as described in the Second Amendment, the seemingly loftier protections of conviction and expression will not endure much longer. That is because a country or regime that refused to acknowledge the right to protect oneself will eventually not tolerate the right to think for oneself or in a manner not as directed by those holding power.
Even those claiming to view God as the highest authority cannot resist the temptation of the continuing centralization of power. This is evidenced in two 2013 issues of the Christian Century.
The editorial titled “Terror and Guns” examined the issue by comparing the three that lost their lives in the Boston Marathon Bombing to three that lost their lives that same day in acts of gun violence elsewhere across the nation. From that the editorial made the claim that 30,000 Americans are killed by guns each year compared to the seventeen Americans that lost their lives to acts of terrorism in 2012.
If such statistics are trustworthy, that certainly causes one to pause. But instead of making the case that the extensive national security and surveillance apparatus that these sorts of left-leaning publications condemn when applied to subversives of assorted revolutionary or radical perspectives be abolished, it is insinuated that a similarly heavy hand should be applied to the matter of gun crimes and even firearms ownership. The Christian Century writes, “Terrorist threats demand vigilance, and the government has responded by creating an extensive security and intelligence capability...Why can't the nation display the same kind of resolve when it comes to keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people?”
As evidence of this lamentation, editors of Christian Century write, “In the case of the Senate gun control bill, a majority of senators voted to strengthen background checks in people purchasing guns, but the 54-46 vote did not attain the 60 votes required in the Senate. Something is wrong with a process by which a minority can derail legislation that is supported by 90% of Americans.”
Apparently the editors could not leave their analysis at that. These propagandists continued, “Many of the votes against background checks were cast by senators from small or sparsely populated states. Based on population the vote of a senator from Wyoming has 66 times more value than that of a senator from California. This kind of disparity in political power is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.”
From that editorial, one would initially assume in terms of the issue emphasized on the surface that the concern would be a vast comprehensive national surveillance system that would determine who would be denied access to firearms. However, just as insidious is an underlying contempt for the structures of the Republic as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution.
For the United States of America does not consist solely of “We the people” merely as a singular mass or collective of individuals. Just as intrinsic to the understanding of this particular nation is “We the people” construed as fifty distinct jurisdictional entities known as states. From that particular vantage point, each of these is to be viewed as equal to the others in terms of the voice granted in the second body of the national legislature in determining the direction in terms of law and policy that will guide the nation as a comprehensive totality.
From the statement in the Christian Century commentary complaining that the political weight of a Wyoming senator is skewered in that jurisdiction's favor over that of California with its vastly larger population, the logic would conclude that right and wrong are determined by nothing more than majority opinion. So if we are to apply that principle in regards to the regulation of firearms, the shouldn't the good liberals at propaganda outfits such as the Christian Century allow the principle to be applied to other cultural issues nearly as contentious as those surrounding the Second Amendment?
For example, if most Americans were asked what they really believed without fear of retaliation on the part of the Thought Police, most would probably admit that they are not all that hip to the idea of gay marriage and certainly not open to the idea of transgenders especially men claiming that they are women as evidenced by their external endowments legally allowed to go into a public restroom where they can in close proximity to actual women and vulnerable children engage in some of life's most personal biological function as well as possibly seek these individuals out as victims to satisfy the most base of carnal impulses.
If a few senators can disrupt the will of the people in regards to one area of life, why should a few jurists not even as directly accountable to the electorate as these disputed legislators be allowed to impose a perspective at even greater odds with decency and common sense. For is not the chanted slogan of the ethical Thunder Dome in which the nearly constant social conflict takes place that there are no absolutes?
As interesting is how the appeal to traditional moral authority is only valid when it can be buttressed to support the preferred sensibilities of the prevailing elites. This was quite evident in a second Christian Century editorial published about a similar topic on 2/6/13 titled “Of Guns and Neighbors.”
The thesis of that broadside contends that individual rights are curtailed by the good of one's neighbor in Christian understanding. The editorial states, “In the biblical perspective, social issues are always framed primarily as questions of obligation, not of individual rights: not 'What do I get to do?' but 'What do we owe to God and neighbor?'.”
The editorial demonstrates how this reasoning is applied to the firearms debate by quoting Deuteronomy 22:8. The text reads, “When you build a new home, you shall make a parapet for your roof; otherwise you might have bloodguilt on your house , if anyone should fall from it.”
So what other nuggets of jurisprudence derived from the Book of Deuteronomy interpreted through the prism of the principle that “social issues are always framed primarily as questions of obligation, not of individual rights...” is the Christian Century editorial board going to come out in favor of? No doubt this propaganda rag of mainline Protestantism of the Episcopal and Presbyterian Church, USA variety has come out in full blown support of gay marriage.
Without question, it cannot be denied that the Old Testament legal books such as Deuteronomy explicitly opposed the homosexual lifestyle and by extension the agenda advocated by those most enthusiastically mired in these particular behaviors. Given the ethical standard called for by the Christian Century, is the publication now required to withdraw any support it might have articulated in favor of gay marriage? The editorial titled “Of Guns and Neighbors” just said ethics and morality are not determined by what we get out of something but rather upon what we owe our neighbor and, even more importantly, God.
As such, if it can be deduced from these texts that God does not endorse unrestricted access to firearms (something that is not clearly spelled out in the texts), shouldn't we at least admit that the only relationship with physical pleasure being one of the foundational cornerstones that God looks favorably upon without condemnation or criticism is monogamous heterosexual marriage? Those claiming otherwise have ignored the explicit directives of the Biblical text to such an extent that we might as well toss it aside entirely in regards to other issues regarding assorted ideologues desire to render behavioral, legislative, or policy pronouncements.
It is often assumed in Christian circles that the greatest threat to human liberty are often those that categorize themselves as atheist or agnostic in that their hostility towards God is outward and explicit. However, as has been emphasized in this analysis particularly in regards to the movement to either eliminate or comprehensively alter the understanding of America's most basic constitutional liberties, there are a number of voices claiming to be religious in nature utilizing the beliefs and principles derived from such for the purposes of manipulating those open to the perspectives of this particular social sphere into surrendering the sorts of protections not easily recoverable once they have been surrendered.
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. Frederick holds a BS in Political Science/History, a MA in Apologetics/Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a PhD. in Christian Apologetics from Newburgh Theological Seminary.