Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rights, the Press, and Reform or Revolution?

Government, whether national, parochial, or familial is instituted as a means of protection. Government is an ordering and structuring of society for the "common good'. Good government does not oppress, but gives a frame to live a "peaceful" life. Scriptures commend us to pray for government, so that our lives may be peaceful. But, what of reform or revolution, then?

Traditional "biblical" Christians are taught to submit, as 'this is the will of God in Christ Jesus, concerning you". This scripture is written with the assumption that "god controls" the events of life. This view is not affriming of what science knows to be true about time, the cosmos, and systems. Therefore, "biblical Christianity" does not exist, except in one's head. Personally, I find telling someone a "myth" to soothe their suffering, or soothe their conscience, is being dishonest.
But, theology has sought to bring about "hope" to give a reason in difficult situations or times. These theological "musings" are offensive, and can be horrendously oppressive.

The political realm is where "life happens". Politics drives policy, but ideas are what drive politics. The philosophical arguments about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is really where the battle should be waged.

Every human has life, but all do not have quality or liberty of life, much less the political freedom to pursue happiness. These are the practical issues that policy seeks to address on a global scale, but how? Liberty is not won except by exposing the costs of tyranny.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a political dissident for the U.S.S.R., in the March 15, 1976 article in U.S. News and World Report, said:

"Tyrants, bandits, puppets have come to power and pragmatice philosophy says: That
doesn't matter, we have to recognize them. And what is more, one should not consider
that the great principles of freedom finish at your own frontiers, that as long as you
have freedom, let the rest have pragmatism. No. Freedom is indivisible, and one has to
take a moral attitude toward it" (pg. 23).

The human heart is meant for freedom, and good government should allow freedom to the individual to pursue his own ends. Tyrannical governments have used many means to oppress; bad laws, no law, and God.

"All men are created equal with certain inalienable rights", "with liberty and justice for all", these are quotes that any American knows, and I hope, values. The principle is the value of the individual and the freedom that justice provides. No one should suffer under the hands of bad government, but most in this world, do. Americans do not live with fear of government interference in their private lives nor do we fear government paranoia, where government intrusively invades our physical space to demand an accounting.

Americans became a "people" because of the belief that none should be diminished or repressed. The cry of the Revolution was "no taxation without Representation". A Representative Republic "ideally" holds the leaders accountable to the people, not the people to the government. And the accountbility of the leader to the people they represent is the "vote".

In our free society, we are to give feedback to our representatives, as our voice is to be valued. If leaders are blind to the needs, values, suggestions of their people, then they have ceased to represent, and have become figure-heads or bandits of our treasury.

Free societies are only as free as the press. The press has great power in giving information to the people in our free society, but if the information is skewed, or suppressed, then the press is undermining our freedom, not just of the pertinent information, but our society as a whole. Again, let me quote Solzhenitsyn:

"The most important aspect of detente today is that there is not ideological detente. You
Western people simply can't grasp the power of Soviet propaganda."

Without free information, people are at the mercy of their rulers. I heard on a radio program yesterday, that some in our press are informed from the White House about news coverage. How one writes about the news can impact and influence public opinion. This adminstration obviously knows that without the press as a powerful weapon of reforming and revolutionizing our nation's values, "change" will not occur. Our society is to be an open and free one, but secret letters written by the President about national affairs, without accountability to Congress or the people, is acting without representing. The same independence of attitude was "applied" at Guantanamo Bay.

Government is a gift, but must be valued by responsible behavior. Leaders should be accountable, and the people fully informed. Otherwise, we are headed for the tyranny that Solzhenitsyn warned about. Americans must not allow that.

1 comment:

circuitrider said...

Thomas Jefferson said,"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitamate object of good government." As a Wesleyan minister, I am aware that early Wesleyans were not strangers to civil disobedience, especially regarding slavery when God's laws conflicted with man's laws. God bless...keith 1 Cor 13