Liberty: Yours, Mine, and Ours
All day, every day, we are bombarded with endless tweets, texts, articles, posts, and broadcasts. As a nation we suffer from news fatigue. Rightly so, many of the multitude of those sufferers lament that we might return to a time when exhaustion was gratefully shared inside the celebration of a job well done.
The fatigue we feel today is more akin to depression.
But the issues are real. Social media replaces social interaction, and media status supplants social responsibility. We have produced a generation who seeks glory by filming and posting the injustices that abound – too often they film standing alongside that injustice, rather than standing against it.
Across America disagreement and discussion have degenerated into destructive division. Among the greatest of these divisions is the widening gulf between “Haves” and “Have-Nots;” those who own and labor in production, and those who demand the fruits of it.
The arguments are not new.
The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence begins with: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” That earth-shaking political statement birthed a world-leading nation.
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that followed express concepts established thousands of years before in a biblical story, a story believed by many to be but myth. The equality proclaimed as self-evident in those documents comes from a story in which each of us is an image bearer of the Creator, the one from whom the writers of the Declaration of Independence claim their authority.
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Some take that to mean privilege. But according to that biblical story, the creation of mankind was followed immediately by that Creator’s first words to mankind: “And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful…’”
“Be fruitful,” not “you deserve.”
By definition, fruitful means abundantly productive. How is it then, that we have evolved into a country that denigrates producers as evil and proclaims victims as heroic?
Equality for all means that the ones who produce and the ones demanding of them – especially those who demand, so unreasonably, equality not in opportunity but in outcome – must equally embrace the risk of failure balanced with the incentive of success while they rightly shoulder the burden of responsibility; not just appropriate the reward.
In that world-changing document, the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers recognized as self-evident that the equality in which each of us shares precedes governments of men. They name its source as the Creator, the one in whom we find our humanity and by whom we are granted equality. As surely as the authors gain the authority to make their claim of equality from that Creator, so too from that Creator comes the obligation each of us bears to be fruitful…and the responsibility we bear to each other.
For those who would deny that Creator and instead trust in the theory of evolution, there is no basis for any claim of equality. For atheists, there is nothing but accidental and brief life assuredly ended by death. As there is nothing beyond that death, neither can there ultimately be Right or Wrong, but rather only that which works. In a world based on survival of the fittest, might makes right and to the victor belong the spoils. “Let us eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die” is, in such a universe, no more or less right or wrong than “Let us rape, burn and pillage.” The atheist’s definitions of Good and Evil are written not on our hearts by a loving and eternal Creator, but on crumbling parchment in vanishing ink. Genocide is no more than natural selection, and like beauty, right and wrong are only in the eyes of the beholder.
We know better.
In this broken world, if out of concern for the weak we demonize those strong enough to build, the caring ought ask themselves who then will stand for those who cannot stand for themselves?
Punishing society’s producers is a culture-killing death from within, suicide. Those who would devour the golden egg-laying goose, be warned…not only will there be no gold, there will be no more eggs.
There is much we can debate, but two things are sure. Firstly, the people on the other side of every discussion are, just like you, image bearers of that Creator. Secondly, not even a mountain of golden eggs – whether produced or demanded – will buy so much as one day in Eternity, which for non-believers means, you can’t take it with you!
Mike Kirkwood has authored What if…, a collection of short works and Fathers, a novel about how we got where we are today in America. Both are available at Amazon.com.