Ben Shapiro’s essay, We Have Nothing Left Holding Us Together, says it well. Read the whole thing below (emphases added). Despite what they say, liberals/progressives/the Left are not pursuing unity.
On Friday, a South Carolina high school stopped students from bringing American flags to a football game against a heavily Hispanic rival school. Why? The principal was presumably worried that waving the flag might offend the Hispanic students. According to the principal, “This decision would be made anytime that the American flag, or any other symbol, sign, cheer, or action on the part of our fans would potentially compromise the safety of all in attendance at a school event.”
This isn’t the first such situation. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that a public school in California could ban students from wearing a shirt emblazoned with an American flag on Cinco de Mayo thanks to fears over racial conflict at the school. The lawyer for the children complained, “This opens the door for a school to suppress any viewpoints that are opposed by a band of vocal and violent bullies.”
Meanwhile, has-been San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been widely praised in the media for refusing to stand for the national anthem during football games. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” explained the man earning an average of $19,000,000 per year for sitting on the bench. He continued: “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
We’re watching the end of America in real time.
That doesn’t mean that the country’s on the verge of actual implosion. But the idea of America required a common definition of being American: a love of country on the basis of its founding philosophy. That has now been undermined by the left.
Love of country doesn’t mean that you have to love everything about America, or that you can’t criticize America. But loving America means understanding that the country was founded on a unique basis — a uniquely good basis. That’s what the flag stands for. Not ethnic superiority or racial solidarity or police brutality but the notion of individual liberty and equal rights before God. But with the destruction of that central principle, the ties that bind us together are fraying. And the left loves that.
In fact, the two defining philosophical iterations of the modern left both make war with the ties that bind us together. In President Obama’s landmark second inaugural address, he openly said, “Being true to our founding documents … does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way.” This is the kind of definition worshipped by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has singlehandedly redefined the Constitution. He said, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”
But this means that liberty has no real definition outside of “stuff I want to do.” And we all want to do different stuff, sometimes at the expense of other people’s liberty. Subjective definitions of liberty, rather than a common definition, means a conflict of all against all, or at least a conflict of a government controlled by some who are targeting everyone else. It means that our flag is no longer a common symbol for our shared definition of liberty. It’s just a rag that means different things to different people based on their subjective experiences and definitions of reality.
And that means we have nothing holding us together.
The only way to restore the ties that bind us is to rededicate ourselves to the notion of liberty for which generations of Americans fought and died. But that won’t happen so long as the left insists that their feelings are more important than your rights.
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Sadly, this still rings true. Originally posted June 2008.
Given the current political circus rambling around the country, you, dear reader, may be forgiven if you think I am about to engage in a rant regarding the total vacuity of the political platform of one party, or the wrongheadedness of a significant portion of the other side’s platform (at least at this point). However, such is not the case. Others are doing an admirable job on this issue and I will let them take main stage in that arena. Instead, I am going to pontificate based on a thoroughly glorious experience of this past [i.e., in June 2008] weekend about the cultural vacuum currently strangling the vast majority of composers of music in this fair land.
My daughters are classical musicians, most recently trained in a major university here in the Midwest. A young man of our acquaintance graduated with them with a bachelor’s in composition, and from his shared experiences with my daughters, and my own observation, the composition “teachers” (and I use that term loosely at this point) at this university pride themselves in being “on the cutting edge” of avant-garde music. Their output is, to put it mildly, as memorable as the screeching of tires just before the impact in a 50 car pileup on a foggy day…and about as pleasant to the ear. These poor souls think they are oh so sophisticated in their rejection of the “Old School” that believes that, perhaps, music should be beautiful, melodious, and follow certain rules of structure and composition. Yet, having cast aside these “oppressive shackles,” their creations insult the definition of music, fitting much more readily into the category of noise, and cacophonous noise at that. Root canals are more pleasant, and ultimately, their output stimulates at best the three R’s: rejection, revulsion, and regurgitation!
In stark contrast to these emperors running around with no clothes, we have the titans of music from the past fully clothed in true regal splendor, Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms to name just the “3 B’s,” whose works are beloved still and have stood the test of time, and whose names are foreign to only the most illiterate (i.e., the public school educated). The experience to which I referred above was a performance of Beethoven’s glorious Ninth Symphony. Glorious is, was, and will be the word for such music. But why? What sets this music apart? Great, glorious, memorable music reaches into the human soul and resonates with the human spirit, elevating and reminding him of his divine origin, as the Psalmist so pointedly exclaims:
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands…. (Psalm 8:3-6)
Remember that the Psalms were Israel’s hymnal. Johann Sebastian Bach said, “Music’s only purpose should be for the glory of God and the recreation of the human spirit.” Not to be outdone, Martin Luther said of music:
He who despises music, as do all the fanatics, does not please me. Music is a gift of God, not a gift of men…. After theology I accord to music the highest place and greatest honor.
This connection to the divine is, of course, a primary reason for the degradation of the musical arts. Having its roots in Marxist/Leninist philosophy, the liberal worldview knows nothing of God and seeks to chase God from the culture and public discourse in all possible venues. This is not some shadowy conspiracy theory. In a previous post entitled The Enemy Within, I documented goals the Communist Party drafted and published in the 1950’s and which they then went about to implement all too successfully into the American cultural milieu to bring us down. Two of them read:
Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward, meaningless forms.”
Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.”
Note the adjectives they chose to describe what they wanted to create: “shapeless, awkward, meaningless, ugly,” and their goal to apply this to “all forms of artistic expression.” While the above only mentions art as found in museums, the art of the concert hall falls under this purview as well, and has suffered under their attack.
What to do?
Support your local radio station that plays classical music. Take your children to classical concerts and go yourself even if you don’t have children. (Hmm, take someone else’s?) Enrich your life with the glory of good music. Above all, be aware of this front on the cultural war and take your place on the line wherever you can.
The following was posted in January, 2008, and alas (!), political correctness still runs amuck and in ever widening circles. It’s sort of like the vampire that won’t die. We really need more people to shine the light of rationality and common sense more frequently in order to truly put the stake into the heart of this abomination. Too much damage has been, and is being done by this false philosophy.
One of my favorite words in classical Hebrew is that translated “vanity,” particularly in Ecclesiastes 1:2, “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” It is the word hebel, pronounced heh’-val (for those who really want to know, the middle letter is beth without a dagesh, thus it is pronounced as a “v” rather than the hard “b” which requires a dagesh…and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you aren’t missing anything germane to the main point of this post…this factoid is just an exercise in my pedantic desire to provide more information that you really wanted to know; but then, it is my blog…). The word literally means “a breath or vapor, a puff of air,” and thus came to designate anything insubstantial and lacking in reality or substance – in other words, our word “vanity.” But “vacuity” would work just as well.
The heart of political correctness (PC) is the demonization of anyone who says or does anything to offend any of various and sundry sensibilities of those holding to this ideology, often taking up offenses, or creating offenses, when none truly exist.
Point Number One: To offend is defined in the Oxford University Press dictionary supplied with WordPerfect as “1. to cause to feel hurt or resentful, 2. to be displeasing to, or 3. to commit an act that is illegal or that goes against an accepted principle.” This is admittedly a concise dictionary, but it seems correctly modern in that it does capture fairly well the nuances of the PC position. The first two deal specifically with feelings, and the third can easily be fit into such a subjective framework if the principle is itself subjective in nature, for example, “Thou shalt not make anyone feel bad or uncomfortable with anything they are saying or doing.”
Compare this definition, which I would consider all too subjective and thus insubstantial, to that of Noah Webster from 1828 (and as an aside, note the nature of the examples):
OFFEND’, v.t. [L. offendo; of and fendo, obs. to strike, hit, meet, or thrust against. We use the simple verb in fend, to fend off, to fence.]
1. To attack; to assail. [Not used.]
2. To displease; to make angry; to affront. It expresses rather less than make angry, and without any modifying word, it is nearly synonymous with displease. We are offended by rudeness, incivility and harsh language. Children offend their parents by disobedience, and parents offend their children by unreasonable austerity or restraint.
The emperor was grievously offended with them who had kept such negligent watch.
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city. Prov 18.
3. To shock; to wound; as, to offend the conscience.
4. To pain; to annoy; to injure; as, a strong light offends weak eyes.
5. To transgress; to violate; as, to offend the laws. But we generally use the intransitive verb in this sense, with against; to offend against the law.
6. To disturb, annoy, or cause to fall or stumble.
Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them. Psa 119.
7. To draw to evil, or hinder in obedience; to cause to sin or neglect duty.
If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out – if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off. Mat 5.
1. To transgress the moral or divine law; to sin; to commit a crime.
Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all. James 2.
In many things we offend all. James 3.
2. To cause dislike or anger.
I shall offend, either to detain or to give it.
But this phrase is really elliptical, some person being understood.
3. To be scandalized; to be stumbled.
If meat make my brother to offend – 1 Cor 8.
4. To offend against, to act injuriously or unjustly.
Nor yet against Caesar have I offended any thing at all. Acts 25.
5. To transgress; to violate; as, to offend against the laws of society, the laws of God, or the rules of civility or propriety.
We have offended against the Lord already. 2 Chr 28.
Note that, while the subjective aspect is present (and I do not deny that there is a subjective element), there is a significant increase in objectivity in this entry: the emphasis is more on the violation of principles and laws external to the one offended rather than simply their hurt feelings because someone disagrees with them.
Thus, my first point as illustrated by these definitions is simply that political correctness is vacuously empty because its primary basis is the most fickle and insubstantial of human responses, the emotions. While consistent with liberal multiculturalism with its denial of objective truth, this aspect of man is so easily manipulated and distorted that to base one’s responses on it is just plain stupid.
Point Number Two: The vacuity does not stop there, but continues in the double standard that renders the entire concept of political correctness illogical and irrational. As applied by the PC, the only offenses that are offensive are those committed by conservatives who hold to objective truth, particularly truth originating in the Judeo-Christian value system on which our country was founded. The problem is, even amongst liberals there are mutually exclusive ideologies, so you can’t avoid giving offense to someone if you stand for anything. There are as many opinions on most topics as there are people in the universe. So to attempt to hold a position that “offends” noone in this ambivalent wishy-washy way is logically impossible; what of those who are offended by wishy-washiness?!?
Someone has rightly observed that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything. Vacuity offers no resistance, but has no substance. Oddly enough, Paul’s description in Ephesians 4:14 comes to mind as an apt summary of what these people are truly like: “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
Political correctness: an idea whose death is long overdue. May it find its grave in 2008. [Well, how about 2015?!?!]
Forget about post-modern. We are now post-American. These were my thoughts post-Friday, and I was planning on expanding on them here. But Mr. Prager beat me to the punch, so to speak. I think his analysis is totally accurate and of such significance that I am reproducing it en toto below. It coincides with much previous commentary and analysis I’ve presented regarding the regrettable lack of critical thinking currently taking place in this country (as well as the rest of the world).
The Formal End to Judeo-Christian America
Dennis Prager | Jun 30, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the redefinition of marriage seals the end of America as the Founders envisioned it.
From well before 1776 until the second half of the 20th century, the moral values of the United States were rooted in the Bible and its God.
Unlike Europe, which defined itself as exclusively Christian, America became the first Judeo-Christian society. The American Founders were Christians — either theologically or culturally — but they were rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures. Even Americans who could not affirm traditional Christian or Jewish theology affirmed the centrality of God to ethics. Americans, from the Founders on, understood that without God, there is no moral truth, only moral opinion — and assumed that those truths were to be gleaned from the Bible more than anywhere else.
Beginning with the Supreme Court’s ban on nondenominational school prayer in 1962, the same-sex marriage decision has essentially completed the state’s secularization of American society. This is one thing about which both right and left, religious and secular, can agree. One side may rejoice over the fact, and the other may weep, but it is a fact.
Thomas Sowell nails it:
We may yet become the first nation to die from a terminal case of frivolity. Other great nations in history have been threatened by barbarians at the gates. We may be the first to be threatened by self-indulgent silliness inside the gates.
Read the whole thing.