About America

A friend and family member recently posted a comment of Facebook that was critical of the President of the United States.  I have no objection to that, as I have many criticisms of our current President also, but reading it encouraged me to go to the website where the original comment was posted in order to learn more about the author.  On that website, the mission of the organization (whose name i choose to withhold) is given:

[Name redacted]  mission is to reinvigorate the American people with the principles of American exceptionalism: personal freedom, personal responsibility, a commitment to Judeo-Christian values, and a strong national defense. We believe in limited government with Constitutionally-enumerated powers only. We believe that the size of the federal government should be dramatically reduced and that government’s regulatory stranglehold on the free enterprise system should be lifted. We believe in freedom.

Well, freedom is high on the list.  Are our personal freedoms being eroded? Are churches being closed?  Are people being arrested for writing or speaking against the government? Is my freedom to travel being curtailed?  No, no, no and no.  Our personal freedom has never been greater.

Personal responsibility?  Well this one is certainly complicated, but I do see our legal system being overrun with way too many lawsuits seeking to abdicate personal responsibility and find someone else to blame.  When baby strollers have to have labels advising you not to fold up the stroller with your baby in it, it is time to advocate for personal responsibility.

A commitment to Judeo-Christian values.  First of all I would never make any call to abolish religion or close churches or arrest anyone for praying to their deity of choice.  But let us be clear: those who founded the United States were theists in the tradition of Christianity, but they saw what happens when church and state combine (it was/is called the Church of England).  And they wanted no part of it.  In the Constitution they forbade two things: the establishment of a state religion and the requirement of a religious test for any government office.  It was clear they wanted religious rule and government rule to be separate.

Which brings me back to personal freedom, and why a commitment to Judeo-Christian values sometimes rubs me the wrong way.  Case in point: same-sex marriage.  There is in my mind no good moral reason to prohibit same sex marriage.  Those who oppose it usually cite their religious scriptures.  But if we believe in personal freedom, why do we allow one person to choose to marry ‘Person A’ but prohibit another person?  There is no good moral reasoning to support that position.  Unless you use your “Judeo-Christian” values to support oppression.

The last ideal cited is a strong national defense.  Because we all know our Judeo-Christian values tell us that when someone slaps our cheek we should turn and let them have it with an AK-47.  That irony aside, I guess I would need to know the exact definition of a strong national defense.  I don’t believe we need a large imperial force of soldiers deployed around the world. It costs too much money, and instead of enhancing our position in the world it makes other countries suspicious and resentful.  In the long run I think that hurts us much more than it helps us.

In closing, I am very suspicious of the ideals of this web site.  Eliminating government regulation sounds great, until you remember it government regulation that has resulted in clean air and clean water, the elimination of child labor and the creation of workplaces where a man does not have to fear that he might lose an eye or an arm or a life.  Sure, government gets carried away and it is far from perfect.  But I am afraid that the personal freedom espoused by this site is the personal freedom to oppress me.

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