Religious Extremism or Traditional Values?

When I see the Obama Administration trying to force their version of health care on us, trying to shove Cap and Trade down our throats, and telling us that we can have everything we want without any tax increases, it sounds like the irresponsible parent telling the children they can do what they please without fear of consequences.

Of course, the natural result of such liberalism is a bunch of spoiled brats with an entitlement mentality. Sadly, that's what too many Americans have been conditioned for during the past thirty to forty years. The reason we're in this wealth-sucking black hole is because of an elite ideological group of elected reps who think they can wave a magic wand and create not equal opportunity, but equal results. Hence, if you didn't work hard and save up enough money for a down payment on a house or a car, that doesn't mean you should be denied something that others have.

Our parents wanted to make us happy, but they understood the danger of taking satisfaction to the extreme. In addition, they understood the need to teach us the merits of self-sacrifice. They realized that we would grow up and be released into a world in which discipline was a key factor in our maturity. When they said no to our requests, even to our demands, it was because they were keeping us from believing that we could have anything we wanted if we simply held our breath and stomped our feet. If you have liberal parents, they probably gave in every time you pouted, screamed, or engaged in other childish tantrums. But, if you're really lucky, you have parents who taught you that life isn't always fair and that nobody owes you a living. They were preparing you for adulthood.

What our government is doing today exemplifies the liberal parent/spoiled child syndrome. Liberals say you should have everything you want, freedom is unlimited, and every grievance should be soothed by the curative balm of government largesse. Conversely, conservatives say you must take responsibility for your own future and not use the blame game as a crutch. When you take advantage of a legal product like cigarettes, despite warnings of ill effects, you should not expect a multimillion dollar "reward" for your own lack of discipline when you get sick. Blowing up like a tick on fast food burgers, fries, and shakes doesn't mean you have the right to get rich as part of a class-action lawsuit brought by an army of obese opportunists. And getting pregnant because you didn't behave responsibly by taking precautions shouldn't give you a license to kill the child growing inside you.

Behavior must have consequences; otherwise, we'll be ruled by animal instincts. Freedom must have limitations; otherwise, we'll have chaos. Civilization is a social contract in which the participants must agree on the terms of an orderly existence. Those terms involve moral obligations that are consistent with the dominant culture. History teaches us that great civilizations are conquered from within, perhaps because, in their striving for greatness, they neglect and abandon the principles that built their success. Those principles usually were, and are, grounded in religion. Before there were laws in books, there was religion in the hearts and minds of people struggling to carve a decent life out of a cruel and brutish landscape. Before there was a Constitution to guide us in the building of a nation, there was religion to guide us in the spiritual recognition of a soul.

Yet in spite of all the lessons of history, we find ourselves in the classic struggle between good and evil. Murder, rape, child abuse and pornography have become so commonplace that the public pays scant attention unless the victim or the offender is a celebrity. Bodies found in garbage dumpsters may not be mentioned at all if a sports playoff game is in the headlines.

We have been systematically conditioned to tolerate behavior that once would have elicited gasps from even the most seasoned exhibitionists. It appears that we have lost our ability to be shocked. Nevertheless, in the face of all this evidence that we are in desperate need of a spiritual Renaissance, those who strive for a rebirth of values are pejoratively referred to as members of the "religious right." In other words, if you want a return to the days when twelve-year-olds were not having sex with their teachers (an almost weekly headline), child molesters weren't soliciting children on the Internet (NAMBLA), and murders didn't occur in multiples (daily headline), you must be some sort of extremist. Well, if being an extremist means having faith in a higher power and clinging to a values-based moral code, then I'll wear the label proudly.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. Email Bob.
When I see the Obama Administration trying to force their version of health care on us, trying to shove Cap and Trade down our throats, and telling us that we can have everything we want without any tax increases, it sounds like the irresponsible parent telling the children they can do what they please without fear of consequences.

Of course, the natural result of such liberalism is a bunch of spoiled brats with an entitlement mentality. Sadly, that's what too many Americans have been conditioned for during the past thirty to forty years. The reason we're in this wealth-sucking black hole is because of an elite ideological group of elected reps who think they can wave a magic wand and create not equal opportunity, but equal results. Hence, if you didn't work hard and save up enough money for a down payment on a house or a car, that doesn't mean you should be denied something that others have.

Our parents wanted to make us happy, but they understood the danger of taking satisfaction to the extreme. In addition, they understood the need to teach us the merits of self-sacrifice. They realized that we would grow up and be released into a world in which discipline was a key factor in our maturity. When they said no to our requests, even to our demands, it was because they were keeping us from believing that we could have anything we wanted if we simply held our breath and stomped our feet. If you have liberal parents, they probably gave in every time you pouted, screamed, or engaged in other childish tantrums. But, if you're really lucky, you have parents who taught you that life isn't always fair and that nobody owes you a living. They were preparing you for adulthood.

What our government is doing today exemplifies the liberal parent/spoiled child syndrome. Liberals say you should have everything you want, freedom is unlimited, and every grievance should be soothed by the curative balm of government largesse. Conversely, conservatives say you must take responsibility for your own future and not use the blame game as a crutch. When you take advantage of a legal product like cigarettes, despite warnings of ill effects, you should not expect a multimillion dollar "reward" for your own lack of discipline when you get sick. Blowing up like a tick on fast food burgers, fries, and shakes doesn't mean you have the right to get rich as part of a class-action lawsuit brought by an army of obese opportunists. And getting pregnant because you didn't behave responsibly by taking precautions shouldn't give you a license to kill the child growing inside you.

Behavior must have consequences; otherwise, we'll be ruled by animal instincts. Freedom must have limitations; otherwise, we'll have chaos. Civilization is a social contract in which the participants must agree on the terms of an orderly existence. Those terms involve moral obligations that are consistent with the dominant culture. History teaches us that great civilizations are conquered from within, perhaps because, in their striving for greatness, they neglect and abandon the principles that built their success. Those principles usually were, and are, grounded in religion. Before there were laws in books, there was religion in the hearts and minds of people struggling to carve a decent life out of a cruel and brutish landscape. Before there was a Constitution to guide us in the building of a nation, there was religion to guide us in the spiritual recognition of a soul.

Yet in spite of all the lessons of history, we find ourselves in the classic struggle between good and evil. Murder, rape, child abuse and pornography have become so commonplace that the public pays scant attention unless the victim or the offender is a celebrity. Bodies found in garbage dumpsters may not be mentioned at all if a sports playoff game is in the headlines.

We have been systematically conditioned to tolerate behavior that once would have elicited gasps from even the most seasoned exhibitionists. It appears that we have lost our ability to be shocked. Nevertheless, in the face of all this evidence that we are in desperate need of a spiritual Renaissance, those who strive for a rebirth of values are pejoratively referred to as members of the "religious right." In other words, if you want a return to the days when twelve-year-olds were not having sex with their teachers (an almost weekly headline), child molesters weren't soliciting children on the Internet (NAMBLA), and murders didn't occur in multiples (daily headline), you must be some sort of extremist. Well, if being an extremist means having faith in a higher power and clinging to a values-based moral code, then I'll wear the label proudly.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. Email Bob.