Freedom for One Requires Freedom for All
~ How the Left created a cold civil war and why liberals and conservatives must unite against them
Mar 31, 2019
Table of Contents
Even Totalitarians Want to Be Free
Have you ever met a totalitarian who stated, “I don’t want to be free”? Have you ever met a Nazi who yearned to be locked up? Or a dictator of any flavor who hollered, “I don’t believe in Freedom for Me!”
If you had, you would question their mental health. Unless of course, they felt so guilty that they actually did believe that they should be dragged to prison. That’s an unlikely scenario.
As you may have suspected, this is an exercise in common sense, which is not common enough.
This is an exercise in making theory personal.
Abraham Lincoln brilliantly stated:
Across all political, religious, and cultural divides isn’t it true that every honest human will be able to affirm this simple truth?
That’s very good news for the world, first because it confirms the fact that every normal person wants to be free, and second because the universal, individual desire for freedom is the foundation for this simple proposition:
This isn’t theoretical. It’s personal. It’s real. Ask the most fervent totalitarian that you can find if that person wants his or her freedoms taken away, right now, this instant. Tell them clearly: from this point on, you cannot speak or write as you wish. You cannot believe as you wish. You cannot assemble with people like you, and you cannot petition the government. You are no longer free. Full stop.
Of course, that totalitarian will be outraged that his or her freedoms have been removed. If they’re honest.
And then the justifications will begin. The totalitarian will say that they’re not the problem anyway—it’s those other nasty, pesky people who must be stopped from thinking badly, speaking badly, and acting badly. So it’s justified for that person to be free, but for others, well, it all depends if they’re “good.”
Here’s a True Fact: Liberals and Conservatives are Not Totalitarians
Even though both sides are not totalitarians, it is indeed a peculiar phenomenon that both liberals and conservatives commonly view “their side” as the good side—the side that is opposed to tyranny.
Conservatives tend to emphasize that America was founded on what they consider to be one of the most revolutionary documents in history, the U.S. Constitution and its amendments, including the Bill of Rights. They champion freedom from the tyranny of government as one of the most important principles that made America exceptional. They especially admire the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights:
Liberals commonly hold views that center around compassion for the down-trodden and the marginalized. Who can argue with that basic sentiment? Compassion is good! In fact, conservatives usually agree with liberals on this point because they often wholeheartedly endorse compassion and strive to emulate that sentiment.
Conservatives are, for example, very compassionate toward the victims of tyranny and crime. They strongly defend the innocent, and most of them love children and puppies as much as liberals do. It’s unfortunate that some conservatives don’t adequately articulate their resonance with compassion, and thus fall prey to inaccurate accusations of being cold-hearted.
Compassion for others is a point of commonality between liberals and conservatives—common ground that should bring them together. It’s a reasonable presumption that classical liberals and conservatives in America are not totalitarians. Both sides sincerely appreciate the value of individuals.
Yet here we are in 2019 with both liberals and conservatives expressing concern that America is headed toward totalitarianism. Both groups articulate that totalitarianism is a Bad Thing. The tragic irony of our current political and cultural climate is that each group is stating that the danger of totalitarianism is coming from the other side.
Liberals are worried that President Donald J. Trump is leading the country into fascism. They reference his brash and sometimes insulting manner of speaking and tweeting, and point to immigration policies that indicate—at least to them—that Trump is cruel and monstrous. Conservatives like to point out that Obama and previous Presidents had very similar policies and were not castigated in the same fashion.
Conservatives are convinced that Liberals are working to remove the Bill of Rights, starting with severe restrictions on free speech. They point to the recent phenomenon of deplatforming as evidence of a growing cultural totalitarianism. Conservatives are being kicked off Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and PayPal. Chase Manhattan Bank has canceled conservatives’ bank accounts. Hotels and restaurants are refusing service to conservatives, and conservatives are being physically attacked across the country.
The Hard-Left Has Set Liberals and Conservatives Against Each Other
The division between liberals and conservatives and the danger of totalitarianism in America have their source in a much smaller, but powerful group: the Left.
One way to define the Left is to say that it includes Marxists, progressives, socialists, and anarchists who are radically opposed to the principles of individual freedom that have their roots in Judeo-Christian values and the classical and founding principles of Western and American civilization.
The Left is the engine that is driving the cultural and political divide in America today. In plain terms, the Left is a destructive force that is not the friend of either liberals or conservatives. It is a real and present danger to the survival of a free America. It’s reasonable to say that if it were not for the actions of the Left over the last several decades, America would not be in the midst of what some describe as a “cold civil war.” Thus, both liberals and conservatives should join together and oppose the Left.
Some folks are concerned that labels alienate people, that even leftists are people who deserve to be treated as individuals. Yes, everyone is an individual, and every person (at least to many religious people) can grow and change and become a “good person.” Still, one can’t ignore the history of the twentieth century and the part that hard-left activists played in that century’s record of violence and mass-murder by governments like the USSR, China, Cuba, North Korea, and many more.
It is quite accurate to say that hard-left, Marxist, progressive activists are comfortable with totalitarianism, and feel that way because they view the power of the state as the solution to human suffering. Progressives believe that the state can, by exercising its will, transform humans into “good people”—by force when necessary.
If the rascally humans don’t want to cooperate, labor camps and mass graves are viable solutions, as illustrated by a sign in the Solovki Gulag concentration camp which stated, “With an Iron Fist, We Will Lead Humanity to Happiness.”
China is a current and dangerous example of an expansionist state that is continuing the efforts of the Left to reshape humans by force with its invasive program of surveillance, the assignment of freedom-restricting “social credit scores,” and labor camps. It is especially dangerous to the world because of its global tyrannical ambitions. It is not a friend to freedom-loving countries.
Photo of anti-Trump march by S L O W K I N G.
January 20, 2017, Released under the the GFDL v1.2
Peter Falkenberg Brown has been a Republican for many years. He was raised in Portland, Maine on the West End. His seventh great grandfather William Browne arrived in Boston (from Scotland) in the 1650s, and his third great grandfather Jonathan Brown was born in Hallowell, Maine in 1776.