I was born in 1977, and for most of my life if I listened closely enough, somewhere I could hear some leftist shouting “Stop imposing your morality on me!” Today I’ll be writing about why I agree.
This is an article for the right-minded electorate. Before we get started, try to internalize this and keep it in mind as you read on. We’ve all heard Sun Tzu’s correct assertion that to mitigate opposition, you must understand that opposition. Echoing that, keep in mind that we on the Right have an enormous yet entirely untapped advantage over the leftists who oppose us.
If we both want liberty and opportunity for all, and we understand the Left’s good intentions but the Left sees only evil and greed in ours, whose good intentions are likely more intellectually evolved? It’s more than an interesting observation. It’s an advantage we can use if we get our arms around it. To win the “morality” conversation, we’re gonna have to.
The Left’s Good Intentions
Even the leftists who love America so much that they insist on “fundamentally transforming” it are operating from a place of good intentions. They truly believe what they’re doing is morally good. The bad news is that since they also believe the ends justify the means, they’re willing to create as much division, disparity, and destruction as necessary en route to achieving what they believe to be “good.”
But since they can’t confess a need to break America down in order to rebuild it, since they can’t tell the electorate they value “good crises” and thus not only capitalize on but also create them, they must package their goals in a more palatable way. In 2017, virtually every time that means they wrap their agenda in “Giving is good.” The goal is a bigger government dictating to smaller individuals so they can (by their estimation) more equitably redistribute resources, but the packaging sounds more like “Be nice” and “Giving is good.”
We see it with cradle-to-grave entitlements, as they demand we must do it because “Jesus was a socialist!” We see it with amnesty, as they demand we must do it because “The pope says so!”
We see it when they insist that we adopt their version of “Who we are as a nation,” which always ends up meaning “Give more!” (Never mind that the phrase “Who we are as a nation” chills free speech and implies that we’re a monolith, thereby negating what we are, which is a nation of free and diverse individuals.)
Yes, of course giving is good. But responsible adults don’t run their lives, households, or businesses on that premise alone. Nor should our government.
Liberty’s Incidental Moral Good
I spent years asking anyone who will listen, Right or Left, this question: Why are murder and theft illegal in the United States? I get a variety of answers stemming from “Biblical truth” to “Hold the bad guys accountable.” These, I humbly submit, are merely byproducts.
That murder and theft are illegal in the United States has nothing to do with “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not steal.” We have these laws because in the United States people are afforded certain rights, such as to life and to property. Our laws may mirror those of many other nations, but in the United States, they’re less about controlling the behavior of others and more about protecting our rights as individuals.
If you’re a person of faith then you likely believe God’s greatest gift to us is life, and that his second greatest gift is free will. In the United States, our Founders codified the gift of free will. They called it “liberty.”
Liberty is effectively free will, minus the right to infringe on others’ rights. It’s the sole conduit between your life and your pursuit of happiness. Embedded with an inherent moral good, it’s the single instance in our founding principles that actually “imposes” morality, and it does so not purposefully but incidentally. Virtually every other law we have, as noted, is about protecting your rights.
Stop Imposing Morality
I am a lifelong and practicing Christian, but I think we should reject and oppose using the government to impose morality or legislate charity, foremost because in doing so we negate the very merits of both morality and charity.
If we’re forced to behave morally or give to charity rather than doing so voluntarily, there’s really no merit to it. It’s no different than robbing someone and giving her money to charity, then crediting that person’s “giving nature.” Additionally, the more the government forces us to behave morally or act charitably, the less we’ll be inclined to do voluntarily.
Consider those who insist that health care is a right (it isn’t), but never bothered to ask their own insurers about putting their uninsured friends or neighbors on their own policies. Instead, they just sit around patting each other on the back for insisting that the government force us all to be as charitable as they never have been or will be individually.
I’m not going to try to social-engineer readers’ views by talking about who we are as a nation, but we should resist becoming a nation that collectively hides behind “we gave at the office” simply because we pay taxes. When we battle the Left in a game of “who can be more like Christ in government” (I’m looking at you, John Kasich), that’s exactly what we’re headed.
Moreover, and I invite you to correct me if you think I’m wrong, but I doubt Jesus’ big hope for the world was that someday Caesar would force good works through government mandates. It’s far more likely he hoped we as individuals would find our own way to morality, voluntarily, using free will. A nation like the United States, which has codified that free will so long as citizens don’t infringe on others’ rights, likely enables the most fertile ground for each of us as individuals to live out Jesus’ teachings.
Charity Isn’t Government’s Job, It’s Ours
So the next time some liberal, whose team is typically the one insisting “Jesus is a fairytale! Stop imposing your morality on me!” goes on to say or imply things like “Jesus was a socialist! Enact the pope’s Christian sharia because it’s the ‘moral’ thing to do!” you can now hit him or her right back with “Stop imposing your morality on me!”
The next time Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, Kasich, or Jeb Bush claim morality should guide the U.S. government and that forcing government-mandated charity and morality is good for everyone, I’d ask them to please leave Jesus out of it as he’s strongly rumored to prefer free will.
Trying to force morality or charity — especially through compulsory, corruptible government largess — serves foremost to mitigate not only the value of each, but organic instances of each as well. As the Left increasingly use religion and morality to attack us, we should be ready to respond. This article was intended to help get us thinking about that.