When I was growing up, my parents would often say to me, “You know better!” as I messed up, and said and did things that were foolish or wrong. We are watching the infantilizing of our social ethos as emotionalism, erotic passions, and ideological narratives triumph over critical thinking, lasting virtues, and the search for the truth.
“We know better” a friend said to me in a coffee shop recently as we shared about many “hot topics.” As he spoke, my mind went to a whole list of inversions and perversions that are being peddled as true, and any disagreement is labeled as hatred, intolerance, or one of the new “phobias” that pop up each day.
In several coming posts, I will continue this theme of “We know better” and offer insights around the following issues where we deceive ourselves:
- We know that abortion kills a pre-born human being. While we may differ on permissibility, we know that a life is ending. Replacing “baby” with “fetus” does not change this.
- We know that the future of any child is improved when the biological parents finish high school, delay children until after marriage, work, and stay married. We know that fatherlessness is destroying communities trapped in poverty.
- We know that China is a serious threat to democracy and freedom, yet we refuse to take serious measures to confront their aggrandizements and injustices.
- We know that the world will not end in 10 or 100 years from climate change, but people in power love apocalyptic narratives that infringe on personal liberties, compel wealth transfers, and destroy the middle- and working classes.
- We know there are two biological sexes and that all but a miniscule number of persons are born female or male. We also know there are complexities involved in attractions and gender identity, but these do not change the binary nature of humankind.
- We know there are structural challenges to achieving equality for all people. We also know that every story of success includes agency, relationships, and hard work, regardless of gender or race.
- We know that parents bear primary responsibility for their children, including their education, religious beliefs, and moral sensibilities. We also know that teachers should be teaching basic subjects that prepare children for adulthood in the 21st century.
We know better about all of these topics…and we are afraid. We fear being labeled as the oppressor of women for opposing abortion. We fear being called racist for demanding fathers take responsibility for children they are producing. We are afraid of being called colonialist or xenophobic when we call out the Chinese government (We have no contentions with Chinese people per se) for its abuses. We are called callous capitalists if we do not mouth the inanities of climate fear. We are considered zealots and full of hatred for affirming basic biology. Making the family more important than government is impeding the “long march of Marxism” (Os Guinness) and hence the “new freedom” of the “new humanity” shaped by collectivism.
It is time to displace fear with love, for the Bible says that, “Love perfected casts out fear.” If we love God and our neighbor and desire flourishing for all, we will “know better” and stop lying to ourselves. Let’s not just react, but respond to these inanities with courage, love, and wisdom, seeking the maximum consensus possible. Stay tuned. In the next post we will take on abortion and offer a new vision for receiving children as gifts from God.
The 21st century is a world in transition. Millions of people are finding new work and being lifted out of poverty. Conversely, millions of others are exiled and suffering due to political and social instability fueled by war. Globalization of communications, economic systems and urbanization help us feel closer and learn from one another as never before. These same trends also create displacement, cultural confusion and vacuums that despots long to fill.
20th century empires and alliances are shifting as well. China is an economic and military power, with core weaknesses in civil rights and the economic subsidizing of its “capitalist” systems. Russia is once again expressing imperial ambitions. Emerging powers such as Brazil and India have growing educated classes no longer content to support the wealth of multinationals. The Middle East is as confusing as ever, with sharp increases in anti-Israel rhetoric (while the same nations ally with her against common foes) joined with competition for leadership of jihadi Islam.
The USA is at a crossroads, both domestically (as we have seen in Parts 1-3 of this series) and in her international standing. The following thoughts are proposals for improving our nation’s service to the global good while protecting humanitarian and national interests. All of these are doable, but they require moral and political courage – something lacking most of the time in all branches of our federal government. Here are the global facets of Vision 2016:
- Active, non-violent peacemaking efforts are rigorously pursued, with military action a regrettable last resort. One taken, its aims are clear and actions decisive, with as little loss of innocent life as possible.
- Our nation appreciates its blessings while humbly listening to others and learning from other nations aspiring for virtue-based liberty.
- Our military is deployed judiciously as an effective force for good – and not an occupying power – in conjunction with other freedom-loving allies. Our soldiers and veterans have the support systems they need.
- Best practices help us reign in the costs of foreign aid programs without hurting the most vulnerable.
- Israel is valued ally and Arab nations that support her right to exist peaceably as a recognized Jewish nation are part of a coalition we help to prosper.
- The Middle East will only know peace when Palestinian leaders recognize Israel as a Jewish nation, establish full diplomatic ties and crease terrorist activities.
- The nuclear ambitions of terrorist states are thwarted and genuine democratic movements are supported.
- Advocates of intolerance, subversion of freedom and violence are deported, prosecuted and unable to further their terrorist agendas.
- The USA must unite with the EU and other democracies to resist Islamic radicalism that calls to either two systems of law or violent overthrow of pluralistic regimes. One rule of law respecting all religious traditions is essential for social and political peace.
- Nations that claim religious tolerance are held accountable and groups that persecute people of other faiths are condemned and opposed.
- The United Nations is held accountable for its stewardship and our generous funding includes audits of its humanitarian and peacekeeping programs. It must remain a place of robust debate even when its opinions differ from our national interests; however, America will not sanction either corruption or known supporters of terrorism issuing directives.
- National sovereignty will never yield to any international political or military power. Cooperation is not coercion and no international court must ever trump an American one.
- Foreign aid moves from charity and relief to development and entrepreneurship that keeps jobs and wealth local.
- Free trade benefits economic well-being as well as fostering mutuality among diverse peoples. Governmentsubsidies hurt economic growth when they cease being a temporary catalyst and become long-term policy.
- American Presidents and the Congress will work for consensus on military and political initiatives instead of unilateral Executive actions.
- Climate change fears need to yield to stewardship of resources and expansion of wealth-creation. The global companies exploiting fear need to be put out of business.
Navigating our global future will require immense amounts of knowledge and wisdom, courage and humility, as well as clarity on priorities. Success in one part of the world does not half to come at the expense of another geography. Human flourishing is not a zero-sum game!When jobs move from America’s heartland to China, the response needs to be new wealth creation in the USA, remembering that someone across the ocean can now feed their family. At the same time, America must oppose all forms of sexual and work slavery, including suboptimal conditions in foreign factories.
America’s leadership is more than sheer force or economic power. It must arise from exemplary ethical, political and social principles that include freedom of conscience and religion, the rule of law, personal virtue, natural and property rights protected – not bestowed – by government and a virtuous citizenry that desires for all others the liberties they enjoy.