There are those who believe that human rights were given to people by God. And there are those who believe that human rights were given to people by the State, the government, or in more primitive formulations, by the King. The former believe that individuals are best able to defend their rights if the government provides an impartial Rule of Law, in which every person no matter his or her station or relationship to the government is treated the same by the Law. The latter believe that individuals are unable to defend their own rights, and that governments should guarantee individual rights by interfering in, assisting, handicapping, and regulating their lives to whatever degree is needed to reach a fair, just, and equal society. The latter believe the purpose of the Law is not to hold everyone equally responsible for their own actions, but to force everyone into fair, just, and identical results.
This struggle has implications for our society and its politics.
Jeffrey Lord wrote a brilliant piece at the American Spectator that describes how conservatives consistently get demonized by the left-wing, anti-anti-communist press, and how this has happened ever since the days of the Alger Hiss trial. As was made evident by the title of Bill Buckley’s first book, God and Man at Yale, which earned him his own position in the list of those demonized by the anti-anti-communist press, the conflict made evident in this consistently repeated theme of demonization in American political life is the struggle between those who worship God and those who have replaced God with Man in their pantheon. This is the same as the struggle between individuals and the state.
Lord reviews the names of some of the most public victims of this demonization process.
William F. Buckley Jr.
Clement Haynesworth (a failed Nixon Supreme Court nominee)
Edwin Meese III
Douglas Ginsburg (Bork’s replacement as a Reagan Supreme Court nominee –and also failed)
Miguel Estrada (a star conservative lawyer, a Latino, blocked as a Bush appeals court nominee)
George W. Bush
I would add Michael Savage to that list. He has been reviled as much as anyone, simply for his advocacy of an American language, secure borders, American culture, and traditional morality.
As Lord explores so well, the reason for this consistent pattern of demonization is a struggle between two forces in American political discourse. One force takes the side of individual freedom from state power. The other force takes the side of state power over the individual. Many of those reading this will have experienced times in their lives when they, like the people in this list, were demonized by their liberal friends as Nazis, KKK members, racists, greedy scrooges, corporate slaves, evil, dummies, and so on, simply because they expressed a conservative opinion.
This struggle can be depicted in shorthand with any of a set of contrasting pairs.
- God vs. State
- Natural Law vs. Man’s Law
- Freedom vs. State Power
- Worship of God vs. Worship of Man
- Christianity vs. Atheism
- Christianity vs. Communism
- Anti-Communist vs. Anti-Anti-Communist
- Individualism vs. Statism
- Individualism vs. Collectivism
- Capitalism vs. Socialism
- American Conservatism vs. Progressivism
- Classical Liberalism vs. Contemporary Liberalism
- Tea Parties vs. Occupy Organizations
- Workers vs. Unions
- Charity vs. Welfare
- Pro-Life vs. Pro-Abortion
- Adoption vs. Abortion
- Equality before the Law vs. Affirmative Action
- Traditional Gender Roles vs. Feminist and Homosexual Activists
- Law Abiding Citizens vs. the Nanny State
- Republicans vs. Democrats
- Results vs. Intentions
- Facts vs. Political Correctness
- Free Market vs. State Controlled Economy
- Free Market in Medical Care vs. Medicaid and other Government Healthcare Systems
- English Speakers vs. Multiculturalists
- Melting Pot vs. Multiculturalism
- Saying “Illegal Aliens” vs. “Undocumented Immigrants”
- Prefer to Win Wars vs. Prefer to Lose Wars
- Love America vs. Blame America
Even though the pairs are not identical, it is extraordinary how often those who are atheists also prefer socialist forms of government, prefer unions to workers who are not unionized, prefer government jobs to private sector jobs, promote abortion, prefer socialized medicine, and claim that detailed regulations are absolutely necessary for everything but don’t restrict anything anyone would ever want to do. Just try to make sense of that last claim. You can’t if you have a logical brain cell remaining in your head, but our leftist betters can reconcile it by not using any brain cells at all.
So it would do those of us who are conservatives well to remember and recognize this when it happens. For it certainly will. The upcoming 2012 elections are set to be the most divisive, polarized, demonizing set of campaigns ever, with Barack Obama spending a billion dollars to paint his preferred opponent Mitt Romney as a racist, stupid, flip-flopping, out-of-touch, weirdo so that Obama and his flunkies in the media never have to mention the disaster Obama and the Democrat Party have been for America.
The media will try to get you to throw other conservatives overboard for various horrifying calumnies and charges that boil down to the fact that they are conservatives. You can assume that anything the media states is 99% Obama campaign talking points. Give the media all the credit they deserve, which is to say none at all. They’ve earned it, starting at least as early as the Alger Hiss case.
Keep your eyes open this election season and don’t let Obama and his media boosters bamboozle or flim-flam you.
And read the whole Lord piece. It’s well worth it.