"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

20 October 2008

Sometimes its good to hear someone else say it. (moved)

Since this book (Inside American Education) was published in 1993, I will clearly have to credit the author, Thomas Sowell, for being ahead of his time. But he said it. What needed to be said. What still needs to be said, but unfortunately will never really be heard by the people who need most to hear it. Well, let me just give you the quote, then we can talk about it:

"If you have no right to disapprove, then your approval means nothing. It may indeed be distressing to someone to have you express your opinion that his lifestyle is disgusting and his art, music, or writing is crude, shallow, or repugnant, but unless you are free to reach such conclusions, any praise you bestow is hollow and suspect. To say that A has a right to B's approval is to say that B has no right to his own opinion."

Or another quote I saw somewhere and will paraphrase, and I'm sorry I can't recall the attribution: equality is permanently at odds with liberty. In other words, in a free society, you can't guarantee that everyone will be treated equally. All men are indeed created equal, but they won't have equal pay, equal housing, equal education. All men are equal, but all lives will never be. And where society forces all lives to be equal, we have seen that all freedom is lost and humanity becomes yet another interchangeable part in the great system.

Equality is actually pretty unfair, too. Imagine that I should treat each of my children equally. My mother tried to do this and I was often held back from a freedom until my little brother was old enough to handle it, too. My own boys are so spread apart in age that such a scheme would be doomed to failure, and there are many tantrums as my youngest seeks equality with the eldest, which in fairness he cannot have as it would endanger his safety.

Life isn't equal. Freedom means the right to disapprove. Will my favor mean anything to you if it is forced? Would you want me as a friend if you knew my loyalty was not genuine? Would you rather be equal or would you rather be free?

I had a friend in college who got a lot of flack (to the extent that there was major public forum to address the issue) and outright hatred because he dared stand up against "affirmative action" and as an aside he also owned a Confederate flag. He knew the flag stood for states' rights, freedom... but so few in our culture think it stands for anything good and consider it a racist emblem. People hated him because he dared speak out as Sowell (who by the way is black) spoke in his book. My friend did not have the right to his opinion because it was on the censored list.

But there are others who will demand our approval anyway. These are the ones who lightly use the term racist for anyone not voting for Obama (give me a break! I would gladly have voted for Alan Keys!), who accuse women like me who question feminism of betraying womankind, who throw around words like heterosexist, homophobic, anti-choice, and intolerant as if they were candy at a Macy's parade.

I don't want my youngest to ever wonder whether he got admitted to a college because he's a "student of color." (What the heck does that mean anyway?) I recall wondering if I had been accepted to my own undergraduate school to help balance out the geographic distribution (there were few students from my home state, and being a woman, I surely got the extra nudge at my liberal college.) I want all my kids to earn their merits. I don't want my non-minority sons to resent others for maybe getting a little extra preference any more than a minority parent should want their children to think they needed the extra preference.

I can't deny that the equal rights movement has given us a lot of wonderful benefits. Thanks to the work of our forebears, a woman like me can receive as good an education as a man. My Korean born son will never have to be told "we don't serve your kind here" or called "yellow" (cringe!). I don't have to choose my neighborhood by race, my social circles can be ethnically mixed, I can enjoy a variety of ethnic foods and cultural opportunities right here in my hometown, and we do acknowledge indeed that all men are created equal.

We can enjoy all of that, but unless we sacrifice our freedom, we cannot enforce it. (And should we enforce it, we will no longer enjoy it, I can assure you.) I read a while back that in Britain, parents were flagged for possible child abusing racists if their kids said "Yuck" when forced to try ethnic foods. Well in a free society, my kids (who regularly eat Asian, Indian, Mexican, and all manner of European cuisine) have a right to say yuck... except when I cook it.

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