In previous this piece, we observed the stupendous, but intentionally created, ignorance among students at Columbia University, one of America’s Ivy League institutions of higher education.
The students were asked if they could name all five types of liberty protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The text of the Amendment and the list of the freedoms is given again here for reference:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The five freedoms stipulated are:
- Congress may not regulate religious practice by passage of any laws
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of the press
- The right of people to assemble peaceably and
- The right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
None of the students were able to state all five, and the most any of them could state in some garbled form was three.
We also noted that the sense of what constituted free speech was highly subjective, according to the emotional sensibilities of the students asked. But not one student referred to the constitutionally granted freedom of speech as being the law, though one did note that the Constitution does protect the liberty to say something even if it is unpleasant or hurtful to someone else to hear.
But that understanding clearly is dissolving. The spectre of “hate speech” has come to mean almost any sort of speech that is pro-traditional family values, pro-life and especially, pro-Christian. As the irony of the title of this article also demonstrates, it is absolutely amazing to consider that Christianity, the religion which alone in the world espouses the need to love one’s enemies, and to do good to those that would harm us, is now considered “hateful.”
One of the great reasons given for the study of history is simply that “we study history so we do not repeat it.” But the rejection of much of US history, and the simultaneous rejection of Christian history overall, has created the opportunity to repeat some of the most disastrous actions humanity has ever done.
Amidst all the talk of “tolerance”, “equality” and “compassion”, we already see violence and bloodshed, the abolishing of liberty, and the rumors of a new American Civil War seem more and more likely to come to pass.
At the core of this is the state of our people, which has sunk into lawlessness. It may not look like this to view the students in the Campus Reform video, but here is how it is true.
The old Church Slavonic and modern Russian languages both have an interesting word for this: “беззаконие” (bezzakoniye), which means, literally, “without law; lawless.” It is interesting to note that what the students said in the Campus Reform video was all lawless. There was no reference to authority. The definition of right or wrong was not based on law and principle; instead, it was based on emotion and personal evaluation.
But the original text of this psalm, used as a prayer does not talk about the identity of just individual wrong actions. It talks about removal of one’s personal present state of lawlessness, and it hammers this idea home over and over.
David understood this because he was trapped in it. He slept with someone else’s wife and got her pregnant. He could not set up a situation to make it look like the baby was by her husband, so he had the husband killed. Then he kept the woman, married her, and kept all of this a secret until one of his court prophets nailed him for it. David was out of control. However the counsel of Nathan was able to make the king ruthlessly aware of his lawless state. As horrible as David’s adultery and murderous conspiracy was, the even more serious matter was the fact that he could not stop himself, and needed strong intervention to start to break out of this trap.
He became aware of how utterly out of control he had become, how his state of mind was so lawless that he did these things, and then how he tried to conceal them. This was unbelievably painful for him to confront, but confront it he did, and he was able to turn his life around, and he stayed resolutely faithful to his God until the end. But during that lawless time, his kingdom hung in jeopardy.
Sometimes people in a state of lawlessness act very kind and compassionate. But the same people are just as easily stirred to violence and passion, even to the point of wishing or attempting to inflict injury or death upon those they disagree with – again, not in the basis of lawfulness, but purely in passion. Like David, these people are out of control.
Sometimes it seems funny, but with the discussion here in mind, consider this video segment:
Observing the insanity of the Trump-hating press gives us many examples of how bad this is. For two years now, a series of lies have been promulgated about President Trump, many of which are true – as applied to Hillary Clinton. And for two years, no one has been able to simply put a stop to the utter nonsense of Russiagate. The nation and its media seem powerless to just call the story bogus and be done with it. Emotion reigns so supreme over logic that the country is in a lawless state, devoid of the ability to see and accept truth.
This was the same thing that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about when she realized it in 1881 on the Fourth of July:
The crowd was scattering away then, but Laura stood stock still. Suddenly she had a completely new thought. The Declaration [of Independence] and the song [My Country, ’tis of Thee] came together in her mind, and she thought: God is America’s king.
She thought: Americans won’t obey any king on earth. Americans are free. That means they have to obey their own consciences. No king bosses Pa, he has to boss himself. Why (she thought), when I am a little older, Pa and Ma will stop telling me what to do, and there isn’t anyone else who has a right to give me orders. I will have to make myself be good.
Her whole mind seemed to be lighted up by that thought. This is what it means to be free. It means, you have to be good. “Our father’s God, author of liberty –“ The laws of Nature and of Nature’s God endow you with a right to life and liberty. Then you have to keep the laws of God, for God’s law is the only thing that gives you a right to be free.
It is important to know that Laura had been rigorously educated on the subject of American history and the Constitution of the United States. She was also raised in a family with a culture that while not overly religious, was nevertheless steeped in prayer and aligned with the knowledge that our own judgement is not to be trusted.
However, in the United States after her, things changed. The New York Post reports that schools in the United States stopped teaching American history. They note that in 2014, only 18 percent of high school students were proficient in US History. And why? Again, the same culture of lawlessness, a society fueled only by emotion and opinion of the day:
…[H]ow do we tell [Martin Luther] King’s story without telling the story of the Founding Fathers, the Constitution or of Abraham Lincoln? King’s protests were effective because they were grounded in the idea that America was supposed to be something specific, that the Constitution said so — and that we weren’t living up to those ideals.
The Brooklyn teacher I spoke with says instructors balk when it comes to history: They don’t want to offend anyone. “The more vocal and involved the parents are, the more likely the teacher will feel uncomfortable to teach certain things or say something that might create a problem.” Which leaves . . . Martin Luther King.
She cited issues around Thanksgiving, like teaching the story of pilgrims and the Native Americans breaking bread together as one that teachers might sideline for fear of parents complaining. Instead of addressing sticky subjects, we skip them altogether.
So, while liberal forces have advertised “compassion”, “reflection” and “self-criticism” as the hallmarks of “fairness”, in reality all they have done is to strip the central underpinnings of our nation’s liberty – the notion that liberty is God-given, the Constitution as the safeguard against government’s usurping of that liberty, and that of a nation governed by laws in obedience to the Great Lawgiver who is higher and above all kings of the earth.
With these foundational aspects gone, now all we have are people running around doing and saying what they think “feels right” at the time.