By Evelyn Pyburn
I was pretty young when I first heard the axiom that you cannot legislate morality, which is to say that you cannot force people to believe in something about which they are not intellectually convinced. I have never encountered anything to make me consider that to be untrue.
So it makes sense that the best way to convince people about a preferred approach to life is to persuade them. It is to understand that using force brings about only a façade of change that really achieves nothing except to generate smoldering resentment and the certainty of future violence.
So, why are so many people trying to FORCE others to accept specific ideas and beliefs? What are they thinking? Just because they have a club – most often the force of government — to make others act as though they agree, do they honestly believe they have changed minds? Do they really think they are achieving a societal improvement?
Using force is but to concede that one lacks the ability to address the mind, and more disturbingly it is an admission that they are without moral compunction about using force against others.
Our forefathers believed that it is unjust, barbaric and uncivilized to force individuals against their will. With the insight that force is an injustice that leads to conflict, violence and wars, they crafted a Constitution that established, not just the sovereignty of a nation, but the sovereignty of the individual citizen.
At its core this is what the founding was all about: to advance a process and a means of civil conduct based upon persuasion and recognizing the individual citizen as supreme to any group. It is to understand that a group is but an illusion. It does not exist without its individual constituents, each of which are distinct and unique, and each with a mind as their basic means of survival. To address the mind and abandon the use of force against the innocent individual — that is the aim of the Constitution.
That had never happened before nor since. If it is lost in the United States we may never be able to reclaim such liberty again.
When they speak of the “shot heard round the world,” it was this idea that so rocked the world and continues to do so. And, it is “the very idea of it” that aggravates the would-be tyrants of the day who attempt to utilize every form of deceit, bullying and violence to coerce others to relinquish this liberty – to relinquish their minds.
To the opposition’s everlasting chagrin, they dare not admit that it is still this idea which at core draws so many people to our gates. People from around the world want the individual liberty promised in our Constitution. While it is true that when they get here, they often stand with the progressives’ goal to eliminate individual choice, that is but a bizarre paradox that comes of the deceit of its adversaries – and truth be told it may not be as pervasive as many believe.
The adversaries cannot admit that freedom of choice is what immigrants want, nor dare they admit its amazing triumph in building the most successful country in the world. And, they do not even attempt to dissuade by manner of reason its preference, because it is undeniable that no country or body of people will treat each other with respect and civility unless it comes from the hearts and minds of each. However could one dispute that?
But further, how stupid is it to think that you can physically force someone to change their mind? Think about that! Maybe you can keep them from talking about what is on their minds by physical restraints. Maybe you can put them in prison for writing about it, or acting upon what they think. Yes, there are all kinds of shackles and clubs you can use to coerce other human beings … but you cannot change their minds by employing force. The only way to change a mind is by appealing to it with reason, new ideas or perhaps even emotional appeals. The only alternative is to use a club or the point of a gun to coerce their actions.
Because it is so reasonable, ”the very idea” holds strong, despite full- out assaults from a hundred different fronts.
So in recognizing Independence Day, understand that at its core, this is what it is all about – your personal freedom. And while so many other beneficiaries of this most precious right shun recognition of this holiday in preference to celebrations aimed at dividing our citizens and to further advance misinformation about the true nature of the “very idea”, know that the freedom it holds is a fragile gift which requires above all else that you understand and celebrate it.