Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The Intolerance of the Collective
It is for the same reason that sinners cannot tolerate saints, that the stupid and brutish cannot tolerate the intelligent and peaceful or that Democrats cannot tolerate Republicans. I am only half-kidding on that last one.
It is also the fundamental difference between a Christian nation and an Islamic one. It is no accident that wherever Christian nations spring up, inevitably the idea of the value of the individual over the nation-state becomes the law of the land. In the early stages the nation accepts that the rights of the individual are granted him by the state or the sovereign. But soon, it becomes apparent to all that if God so loved us that He gave His son for our salvation, then the individual must be important. If God Himself gives us the right to choose for good or ill and does not lift his hand to force us to do otherwise, then the right of the individual to choose his own destiny must, therefore, be the fundamental principle of the universe.
And before you complain about the ten commandments and all those laws in the Old Testament, let me point out that God tolerates disobedience to His law. He could well squelch all sin and turn us into obedient robots which have no choice but to obey. He does not. Instead God offers to scrub our souls and help free us of all the negative habits, passions and lusts that hijack our free will and to deliver back to us ourselves - as we choose to be and free from all our demons. We are people of the law because we choose to be, not because we live in terror of the state. That is an enormous difference.
Heaven will be heaven because it is the land of ultimate liberty, peopled entirely by those who believe utterly in the idea that one should treat his fellows as he himself would want to be treated. I do not believe God will have to destroy evil men. I believe that God need only withdraw the good from the Earth and leave them to their own devices. Evil will destroy itself I believe and needs no help from anyone to do so.
The progressive/socialist/Marxist/communist believe that man can be perfected by the law and punishment and that there are certain men who are destined to wield great power and to direct the collectivist state because of their talent and ability. Those who believe in the Golden Rule also believe that no man can be trusted with absolute power or even permanent power of any sort. Kings and princes, dukes and barons are not trust-worthy because they hold hereditary power and power tends to corrupt. While I don't believe that power inevitably corrupts, I do believe that power inevitably attracts the corruptible.
It is why, inevitably, Christianity, despite its emphasis on obedience to God's laws (or more likely because of it), tends to produce the societies with the most personal liberty. The true Children of God do not believe any man can be trusted with power, especially absolute power over his fellows. It follows inevitably from the Golden Rule. Tolkien's life's work was retelling that to a post-modernist world that doesn't believe anything really matters so you might as well grab what you can get. Tolkien says, "Yes. There is something that matters."
Again as throughout history the great battle lines are drawn between Good and Evil. That doesn't mean evil guys don't fight among themselves. They do. They constantly vie for power and most wars are ambiguous to that extent. But the great over-arching conflict in this world turns out to be between those who believe that Might is right and those who believe that Might must only used for the right. You can always tell the good guys. They are the ones that didn't choose to fight, but were drawn into it against their will and who do not keep their conquests when the war is over. Sometimes, however, both good and evil are represented within the same army.
It makes the battle lines a bit muddy sometimes.