DIY

DIYthumbby Deana Chadwell    1/5/14
We’re Americans, therefore we love freedom. We all wave flags, light fireworks on the 4th of July, and periodically declare something unconstitutional. I hear very little talk extolling the virtues of dictatorships (Michael Moore notwithstanding), or arguing in favor of slavery, but we are divided on the issue of liberty. We’re having a huge national argument, but we aren’t drawing the lines on the right boundaries.. We all want freedom, but we disagree about freedom from what.

Most of us still want the freedom outlined for us by the Bill of Rights. We want to be able to speak our minds without government coercion, to gather together when and where we please. We want to worship and believe what conscience and upbringing requires of us, sans government regulation. We demand the right to defend ourselves against all who are lawless – governmental or civilian. We expect our private property to be inviolately ours, to do with as we please, and for it to be, in fact, private. We believe we have the right to face down our government regarding its own malpractice. Our Constitution guarantees us those freedoms.[pullquote]Nothing can ever abolish the inevitable results of our moral failures. We can demand free birth control and abort unwanted babies, but we will still suffer the physical disease, the psychological and societal damage done by widespread promiscuity.[/pullquote]

It does not protect us from hearing or seeing that with which we disagree. It does not force others to see things our way. In most areas, it does not deny the individual states the right to disagree with federal declarations. The Constitution does not hold anyone’s arm up behind his back – not even when he might deserve it. The Bill of Rights merely builds a fence around the three branches of the federal government, a fence designed to keep that government at bay.

This is not understood by a large number of Americans today who seem to think that this nearly sacred document exists to 1) protect them from the opinions of other non-governmental Americans, and 2) to exempt them from the consequences of their own immorality.

This is unfortunate. Nothing can ever abolish the inevitable results of our moral failures. We can demand free birth control and abort unwanted babies, but we will still suffer the physical disease, the psychological and societal damage done by widespread promiscuity. Have you seen the study showing a huge increase in breast cancer risk for women who’ve had abortions?

We can also bring children into this world with no intention of parenting them because the government will support them and will do little to force us into properly rearing them. But we all suffer from the consequences of an undisciplined, ill-mannered, ignorant generation. The recent rash of flash mobs and knock-out assaults attests to this, to say nothing of a generation so ill-informed and self-centered that it elected Barack Obama.

We can change our minds about the acceptability of homosexual behavior, but we will not avoid the societal results of knocking holes in the foundations of society. I saw this happen in the microcosm of one of my dance classes one year. It was a quite an education — for me. This class, filled with dynamic, talented, fun students, of whom I was very fond, was 1/3 homosexual; 4 girls and 4 boys out of 24 students were loudly, proudly gay – or on some days bi-sexual. This seemed to destroy all rules of comportment. The straight girls refused to dress in the girls’ dressing room because of the lewd behavior of the lesbians. I could no longer trust my students to rehearse alone – their public behavior needed constant monitoring; I had no idea what they’d do without an adult present. (That’s not true – I knew fairly well what they’d be up to.) What I realized is that once you tear down that one taboo, all the others go with it. It was a frightening realization. Until then I hadn’t been much concerned about the issue – what an awakening, and there was little in the way of disciplinary action I could take; our school was very proud of its LBGT club.[pullquote]We can change our minds about the acceptability of homosexual behavior, but we will not avoid the societal results of knocking holes in the foundations of society.[/pullquote]

We can decriminalize drugs, but it won’t prevent them from destroying our minds and our ambitions. (This I’ve seen way too often – the energetic, brilliant young man who starts out the school year with determination and promise and then, right before my eyes, starts slouching into class later and later, turning in fewer and fewer assignments until, despite tons of parental angst, all hope of passing, let alone excelling, has evaporated like the smoke he enjoyed, or the kid, placid and quiet, who is suddenly wound tighter than a two-year old who needs a nap, who finds himself in screaming arguments and fist-flying fights, and ends up standing helpless in front of an angry dean.) Even if the pot or the meth were socially acceptable and legal, the results would be the same.

Whether we like it or not, pretending that natural restrictions do not exist is not freedom. It’s license, it’s excess, it’s lack of personal control. Denial of reality – legalized or not, is a form of insanity.

A great number of Americans today want freedom from consequences, freedom from responsibility, freedom from morality. It cannot be had. God designed us to operate on free will, but it isn’t an absolute freedom. I am not free from the laws of gravity – my bathroom scale reminds of that every time I step on it. I am not free from the ravages of aging, try as I might. And I am not free from moral responsibility. None of us are.[pullquote]Whether we like it or not, pretending that natural restrictions do not exist is not freedom. It’s license, it’s excess, it’s lack of personal control. Denial of reality – legalized or not, is a form of insanity.[/pullquote]

It is also an unfortunate truth that all of us, to one extent or another, wish we could be. Because of this inherent, universal flaw we have laws. Laws do not so much prevent egregious misbehavior – people still do horrific things, but laws serve two purposes:

• They provide a better means of justice for the victim than primitive, tribal revenge

• They set up sign posts, guidelines about what the society gives sanction to and what it refuses to accept. Those behaviors to which we cannot acquiesce are considered crimes. It is not true that we can’t legislate morality – if the moral breech is devastating enough, we can and we do. We legislate against murder, rape, theft, and assault. Time was when adultery was illegal (Remember The Scarlet Letter?), when we couldn’t, willy-nilly, kill unborn babies, when (pre-NAMBLA) pederasty was unquestionably criminal. No doubt those who have little control over their sexual deportment see this societal change as progress. The children affected would beg to differ, but then, who cares?

Now, in 2014, our laws no longer provide clear moral directions. Instead, our current laws disincentivize success in business, in education, in rearing children. We seem to be in the business of welcoming and encouraging immoral conduct and, instead, passing laws that encroach upon our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. There is nothing immoral or criminal about my using my telephone, but the government has decided it has the right to keep track of which people I speak to and when. There’s nothing threatening about my choosing one doctor over another, but now, in a “free” society, I may not be allowed to do so. The IRS, the most powerful arm of the government, now claims it needs to know what we read and to whose teaching we listen if our politics aren’t adequately pro-government. Is reading now morally questionable? Possibly criminal?

You see, our political problems are not Democrat versus Republican, or even liberal versus conservative, as much as they are freedom from self-control versus freedom from government. We are trading in self-governance for central governance.

Liberty is based on a profound, apparent paradox: No liberty is possible without self-control; if we don’t control ourselves, someone else, the government, will do that for us, and will do so with gleeful abandon. I would prefer to do it myself, thank you.
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Deana Chadwell blogs at ASingleWindow.com. • (1340 views)

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Deana Chadwell

About Deana Chadwell

I have spent my life teaching young people how to read and write and appreciate the wonder of words. I have worked with high school students and currently teach writing at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. I have spent more than forty years studying the Bible, theology, and apologetics and that finds its way into my writing whether I'm blogging about my experiences or my opinions. I have two and a half moldering novels, stacks of essays, hundreds of poems, some which have won state and national prizes. All that writing -- and more keeps popping up -- needs a home with a big plate glass window; it needs air; it needs a conversation. I am also an artist who works with cloth, yarn, beads, gourds, polymer clay, paint, and photography. And I make soap.
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14 Responses to DIY

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    A great number of Americans today want freedom from consequences, freedom from responsibility, freedom from morality. It cannot be had.

    And…

    You see, our political problems are not Democrat versus Republican, or even liberal versus conservative, as much as they are freedom from self-control versus freedom from government. We are trading in self-governance for central governance.

    Deana this is one of the best pieces you’ve written.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Basically, a large number of people have decided that the right to pursue happiness necessarily includes a guarantee of achieving, which certainly can only be done by government — and never mind that they can’t either.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I love Deana’s point about the “unleashing” factor:

      …their public behavior needed constant monitoring; I had no idea what they’d do without an adult present. (That’s not true – I knew fairly well what they’d be up to.) What I realized is that once you tear down that one taboo, all the others go with it. It was a frightening realization.

  3. Kender MacGowan says:

    Outstanding article. Thank you. Passing it on.

  4. Dave Harvey says:

    Finally got hold of this, Dee. It is well-written, as said above, and makes good points. I still have trouble with not accepting homosexual people, who seem to be “wired” for their preferences, as hard-wired as I am. The problems you described with the dance team sound awful, but that seems to have been a teen-age problem. I’m sorry you had to cope with it, but we all had to do that, in one form or another. (I had trouble with jock humor in my speech classes, when the varsity boys, accustomed to the trash talk of the gym, unintentionally intimidated the non-athletic types in my class. A quiet, understanding conference seemed to clear it up, partly because they also understood the value of supporting teammates.) There are several homosexual couples in our church (which has one gay bishop, I hear), and they are kind, loving, gentle, generous people who don’t show off.
    There’s a gay couple next door, too, who couldn’t be better neighbors. I don’t see license in their attitudes or behavior. They cleared the recent snow from the driveway of the elderly couple a couple of doors down. Terry said to me, “Don’t tell them who did this. Just say it was the good fairies.” I said, “Terry, I’m not gonna touch that!”

    • faba calculo says:

      Well said.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Dave, it’s quite possible to say the same thing about Muslims. “Well, I know this swell guy down the road who prays to Mecca three times every day and doesn’t show off.”

      I also know a few gay people who are just swell people as well. But the question isn’t whether there are swell people who are gay or who are Muslims. It’s about opposing movements that do not have mere “swellness” as their end goal.

      It is incumbent upon a self-governing people to grow a backbone, and some intellectual acumen, and understand that accepting a homosexual on a personal level (hate the sin, love the sinner) is entirely different from engaging the homosexual agenda and the radical conduct that ensues from this. Evidence of this bully-like behavior is a daily occurrence now.

      The cultural apologist never sees anything that he can’t dismiss as “Well, I know a swell person.” But there are a lot of not-swell things occurring in our society including the fascist-like intolerant agenda of the Gay Movement.

      I know a lot of swell Germans too, but I in no way would be a friend of Nazism. Swell people such as yourself need to be able to see all sides of this issue and not just bury your head in the sand of “Well, I know some swell people.”

      • faba calculo says:

        The problem here is that, when it came to gay, all the original article had to offer was anecdotes, so the anecdotes offered in rebuttal was fighting fire with fire.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          True, but the anecdotes that concern me are the many people victimized by the lavender thought police and their fellow homosexual militants (and other liberal fellow-travelers, such as the ACLU) — Bill Shedd, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Elane Photography and other businesses, Catholic Charities in the PDR of Taxachusetts, the people driven out of their jobs for supporting initiatives opposing homosexual marriage, Phil Robertson, Bob Newhart, Chick-fil-A, and the Family Research Council people who would have been murdered by Floyd Corkins on the basis of the propaganda of the professional hate-mongers at SPLC.

          But that’s getting to be an awful lot of anecdotal evidence, more than making up for the usual nice homosexuals we all know.

          • faba calculo says:

            First, a number of the things you cite aren’t anecdotes, or at very least have vital issues of law underlying them. Elane Photography may be an anecdote, but it’s an example of the operation of an unjust law, and therefore has importance far beyond the individual case. And, even as an anecdote, it’s an example of the use of legal force against a private citizen. Even if there were no underlying law, there would be the (admittedly less alarming and less general) issue of abuse of government power. Ditto for Catholic Charities of Boston. In fact, doubt ditto, that one counts not once per Catholic charity but once per denied adoption assistance.

            The anecdotes mentioned here, be it the nice gay neighbors or the mean girls in the locker room, really have no general application (other than “mean people suck”). There was some gay guys, and, at least at some point, they were nice. There were some gay girls, and, at least at this point, they weren’t. In both cases, that’s pretty much the end of the story.

            As for the rest, however, what does it “make up” for? Are the kindnesses of gays and the insane viciousness of Floyd Corkins like matter and anti-matter? If they come into contact, will they annihilate each other? There seems to be a conclusion you’re heading for along the lines of “There’s so many of these anecdotes that…”. That what?

            • Timothy Lane says:

              The relevance is the matter of militant activism, which is what most homosexual activism has devolved to. And do the nice homosexuals object to the militants?

              • faba calculo says:

                Well, this pro gay marriage activist (which would make me a “militant” in many people’s eyes) certainly objects strenuously to the places where force is applied (Elane cakes, Boston Catholic Charities, etc.) or where there is a threat of the application of force (i.e., Chick fila).

                In the cases where people merely threaten to disassociate (economically or otherwise) with those on the opposite side, while I don’t agree with being trigger happy in such things, since I’ve been making use of this approach since I was eight in making it clear (with my family) that we wouldn’t associate with 7-11 if they sold pornography in their stores, I don’t disagree with this tactic per se, as it’s a vital part of freedom of association.

    • Dave – I have nothing against gay people — that’s not the point. I know quite a few gay people and they are wonderful folks. Those kids in my class were some of my favorite students. It’s not the people — it’s what happens to social systems as a result that concerns me. Homosexuality is biblically frowned on just as are a thousand other human behaviors, many of which we seem to be born to. That doesn’t make those behaviors socially beneficial. I believe we’re instructed not to do certain things, in spite of our predilections, is that human society won’t work well if we just do what feels good.

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