The Right Revolution, Part One
May 21, 2008
For westerners, the word ‘revolution’ inspires great pride, for it was by way of revolution that the greatest and most free of societies were born.
The American and French revolutions (the offspring of the English Revolution) were to change the world irrevocably for the better. Europe was exposed to sunlight- she would not tolerate darkness again, even if it were to be temporarily imposed.
The Russian Revolution and the Chinese Revolution covered their respective nations and empires with darkness. Those who endured those revolutions were cast into a pit of darkness and failure.
In England, the newly born America and France, revolution was to bring war and hardship to those nations, if only for a short time. We measure the fruits of the English, American and French revolutions by freedoms, rights and democracy that are the oxygen of free peoples. The Russian and Chinese revolutions are measured by ever increasing oppression and violence that led to the deaths of hundreds of millions.
That is not to say that the western revolutions were perfect examples without excess and error (the violence and excesses of the French revolution comes immediately to mind) but when all is said and done, the revolutions of England, America and France were very different from those in Russia, China and their far away proxies.
The leaders of the English, American and French revolutions did not fear the ‘power of the people,’ nor did they seek power for themselves. They believed that people could be trusted to make decisions that would benefit all society, not just the privileged few.
While we see the notion that ‘All men are created equal,’ that was less clear for the English, Americans and French, at the time, those kind of ideas were nothing short of remarkable.
The advent of the printing press and easy dissemination of knowledge and information was as frightening as telecommunications and internet are to repressive regimes and to those who control the flow of information today. The supporters of the English, American and French revolutions were not just supporting the single issue of a ‘Government of the people, by the people and for the people’- they were empowering and entrusting the people with information and the flow of that information.
Any nation that restricts information and the flow of that information is an oppressive nation.
That truth more than any other, distinguishes free nations. No matter how sincere, noble or well meaning Karl Marx, Mao or even Jean Jacques Rousseau might have been, the excesses of the regimes and the leaders who espoused their philosophies were to enslave and terrify their respective nations. Leaders who enslave and terrorize are never leaders who liberate and free their nations, no matter their rhetoric.
There are those who would say that religion is as cruel and enslaving as any of the most cruel of tyrants. That of course is a deliberate deception.
We have noted that when Nietzsche declared that ‘God is dead,’ he was to a large degree correct. The God that Nietzsche referred to was indeed passing. The Church, once repressive and oppressive, was undergoing a transformation. It was understood that God no longer demanded uniformity or wanted to obliterate self expression. In fact, God celebrated the very things that were foundational to the Age of Enlightenment. As it turned out, God was perfectly able to look out for his own interests, without agendized human interventions. That is a truth rarely referred to- and it is an important truth. The founders of this country were fleeing religious persecution and in fact, the principles and guarantors of freedom in this country were deemed to be religious rights and not just secular rights. God made room for all kinds of believers and non believers. Free will no longer had any fine print attached to it.
Prior to the great revolutions that were to elevate mankind, religion mimicked the oppressive regimes in both style and substance and answered to those regimes . In fact, religions often served as the cloak of holiness that legitimized their ugly masters, contrived and in concert with those regimes (not unlike today’s incarnation of Islam).
There are regimes today who regard their citizens as no more than chattel, slaves really. Under the guise of ‘for the people,’ generations are laid to waste, their only purpose to ensure the repressive status quo. They are born into slavery and they die as slaves. Sad as it is, that is lot of most people born into oppressive regimes.
There are some who see their lot as slaves as temporary, not as a matter of identity. It is they who seek and demand freedom from oppression. They refuse to come to terms with hand they are dealt. It is they who choose the kind of revolution they can identify with. Time and time again, we see that when given a choice, people will always choose freedom.
Leviticus 25:10 is instructive:
Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.
That idea is coupled with the liberation of slaves.
The delivery from slavery is single most important aspect of a free and democratic society. It is no mistake that one of the predicates of the Judeo-Christian ethic so deeply embedded in all of us is the idea that the Israelites were delivered from slavery into freedom and in that freedom they were to fully appreciate their God and to exercise their free will. It is one thing when a slave prays to God- it is quite another when a free man chooses to worship. That is why freedom is a moral imperative and that is why we must be wholly committed to protecting freedom. Freedom is about the sanctity of free will and the choices each of us make.
The liberation from slavery is a process, of course. It takes time and is never easy. Nevertheless, it is the liberation from slavery that elevates mankind more than anything else. The great Utopias promised and ostensibly worked for are meaningless exercises if people are enslaved and their free will taken from them. In fact, the enslavement of man, even to the greater goals of a ‘revolution’ is antithetical to the very essence of our being.
Tomorrow, we will examine revolution, slavery and freedom and how those ideas- and ideals- have been lost.