By Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
Sunday, April 19, 2009 7:00 AM
The writer of the piece below confronts the issue of standing up to defend our inalienable rights, but he does not explore the origin or limits of those rights. The choice of the word, “inalienable” implies that man cannot alienate himself from those behavior possibilities. But clearly, these inalienable rights that we so much desire, are actually seldom experienced fully and without violation. In fact, the inalienable rights, “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness” (or in the original drafts, “Life, Liberty, and Property”) were commonly abridged and violated throughout history. Thus at best, inalienable rights are optimum options of the human experience, since they are certainly not requirements nor universal experiences of humanity.
Some chose to frame life in terms of a debate between a world designed by God, versus one that evolved randomly. In the created universe, inalienable rights came from a declaration by God. From the evolutionist’s perspective, life evolved randomly and all that survived was an indication of the human traits that resulted in the greatest survival advantage. Thus, inalienable rights, and their desire, must represent the most desirable life experiences.
Life is too complex to explain the exquisite balance and play of life with such a simplistic driving mechanism as survival and random changes. Nevertheless, in the process of creation, God may have used survival as an axis of examination when designing the creation and human soul.
God chose to embed the desire for survival, loving relationship, and high personal enjoyment within the human heart. The evolutionary perspective of man’s creation is a subset of God’s creation process. We don’t know how God designed the universe, but He may have run the creation as a virtual reality thought experiment many times before manifesting the reality that we see. Scripture declares that Christ was slain before the foundation of the earth, indicating that the outcome of the universe on some level was already planned. Apparently, God knew that a redeemer, a sacrificial lamb was necessary to save a world so deeply embedded with evil, temptation, and rebellion.
The complexity of motives driving the human heart lend credibility to the argument that He embedded multiple competing soul-forces in men’s hearts. Desire for survival is one of the criteria God and man use to judge life and make decisions. But, clearly, survival is not the only axis men use to judge life upon, nor the only force perpetuating certain traits. For example, men may choose to sacrifice their own lives to serve the group or stand for a principle.
(Note: those who choose to see all of life through the lens of survival will not be convinced by any example or argument, as all behaviors can be mapped onto survival if tortured sufficiently.)
Men are driven by a mix of forces. In the simplistic case, a man would seek to find the optimum balance between the two poles such as physical survival and immortality, procreation and selfish satisfaction, affinity and competition, understanding and mystery, justice and random chance, peace and adventure, and liberty and exploration of boundaries.
But, most real-world cases would contain many poles which required a proper balance. And, movement between one set of poles will often produce movement on others. Thus, the maximization of pleasure or any other parameter, while minimizing another negative outcome, quickly becomes overwhelming. People thus often use the body to integrate the risks and rewards and let the subconscious mind report a feeling that represents the optimized solution.
If the spirit realm exists, then another layer of forces and criteria may compete with the drive for physical survival. The heart may choose to optimize survival for eternity over wealth, happiness, or peace. The inner knowledge of this larger aspect of life may drive men to sacrifice physical life for a more permanent eternal survival. Choices which bring men into an affinity with the heart and way of God certainly would certainly enhance spiritual prosperity. Thus, the ultimate survival criteria may be those choices that draw man into an eternal fellowship with the sustainer and creator of life.
From this line of examination, we may get a glimpse of understanding as to why Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Jesus was the incarnated God-man, the one who lived, embodied, spoke of, and demonstrated the possibility of living life as the optimum man. He is our guide and sets the standard for our perfect expression of righteousness. Survival in this world, and the development of eternal life character are based upon living His standard and Way and adopting His spirit as our own. His way is the way of eternal life, and within that way is the set of Rights we innately recognize as inalienable.
Another perspective to examine is the meaning and choice of the word “Rights” to describe life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and those enumerated by the Bill of Rights. Obviously, the word “Right” is at the base of the word “Rights”, therefore “Rights” refers to “that which is Right”. Thus “Rights” implies a divinely established set of behaviors that fall into the category of the Absolute good, as in Righteousness.
To this point, we have pursued an argument to establish that inalienable rights are synonymous with the set of behaviors equivalent to the Absolute Good. Our next claim to establish is that these good and pleasant life expressions are not required – only options. People, circumstances, and God interact to create a government of the people. On an absolute level, every man has free will, but when placed in a group situation, the character of the leader and the group mind can impose restrictions that rise to the level of tyranny. Thus, inalienable rights can only be expressed when the leader and general populace choose to subject themselves to laws consistent with the standard of Christ and His Holy Spirit.
In our discussion, we have declared that God is the Creator of the mind and the desires of the soul. And, that inalienable rights are simply one of the good and Godly desires which He has implanted in the heart. But, that the experience of these ultimately good “Rights” was created only as a possibility. The inalienable rights are actually, “desires held by both by God and man, for the optimum organization of the government of social life.” But, these deeply held desires are opposed by strong forces, as they should be. The experience of these inalienable rights is the reward, the prize for overcoming the enemy, the opponent of men’s souls. God created the possibilities of goodness and the opponent to realizing them. He created a free will universe that allows the entire spectrum possibilities, and man will receive the results of his choices.
Men have throughout history had difficulty properly choosing Right behavior in self and group government. Thus, the inalienable rights, which are desirable and available at all times, have seldom manifested. The rare experience of group behavior that manifests an environment allowing the expression of inalienable rights gives us clues as to the nature and meaning of the drama of life.
Premise #1: God created man, and He created the Earth as a platform for man to experience relationship with Him, others, and self.
Premise #2: God gave man desires and aversions which are experienced as pleasure and pain, and cause him to avoid pain and pursue pleasurable activities.
Premise #3: Christ, as creator, and incarnation of the perfected way of Man, established the boundaries of proper relationship.
Premise #4: When men as a group adopt the way of Christ in governing their personal lives, their vision will clear sufficiently to recognize the proper group organization that will allow the societal expression and personal experience of the inalienable rights.
The creation was designed for man as a stage, a set for him to play upon, and ideally to experience a loving relationship with God and man. The key obstacle to successfully performing this play is “experiencing a loving relationship”. Men do not know the proper rules and way of expressing love with each other and God. Instead, they follow their flesh and feelings and satisfy their personal drives and needs, rather than considering the needs of another. True love and care involve compromise and negotiation to ensure that the other is satisfied fairly. But, such a simple concept becomes almost completely obscured by the passions of personal need and prejudice. Such is the work of the opponent of our soul, who constantly implants thoughts, stimulates memory, ignites desire, and blinds us with personal perspective. We are caught in a struggle between what is right and selfish feelings that demand satisfaction. Ignorance may hide the struggle and disguise it as simply injustice. All this to illustrate that men are involved in a complex play with the allegiance of our eternal soul as the prize in the battle between Heaven and Hell.
Life is a play. And, a play is only meaningful when a protagonist and antagonist struggle to resolve a conflict and win a prize for winning the battle.
–The protagonist inherently defines a boundary around righteous behavior, thought, speech, and property, which is the territory he must rightfully hold, regain, and/or defend against invasion.
–The antagonist seeks to violate proper boundaries and take or keep stolen territory.
–The prize is the allegiance of a man’s soul. The kingdoms of righteousness and unrighteousness battle for possession of these abstract territories of the heart, soul, mind, spirit, and material space.
That battle for territory includes the exercise of Rights, which represent the highest possibilities of expression of man’s relationship with self, others, and God. Rights in this sense, are options of human behavior, and the antagonist seeks to impede, prevent, or dissuade the exercise of those rights through many types of force including trickery, intimidation, and boredom.
Rights embody the optimum possibility of human behavior. They exert no force other than the sweet and gentle pull of attractive desire. But, their action on the human heart stimulates a desire for the pleasure of optimum relationship. Rights are the highest possibility of human organization and behavior – they are an example of good and Godly Law lived out in the social and personal realm. The pull to exercise our inalienable Rights draws men constantly, just like gravity. But, the pull of Rights is often overwhelmed by other forces, such as security, fear, sensual addiction, power, and inappropriate gain.
Life provides innumerable possibilities of action and choice, and each possibility provides a degree of freedom. The choice can produce pleasure or pain, and satisfy the divine relationship or alienate it. Each individual has abilities and deficiencies. And, each situation has possibilities requiring little energy to manifest, as well as other possibilities that would require moderate to extreme energy to make real.
The barriers to action, and open thoroughfares to action, define the terrain of reasonable life possibilities. This life terrain, with its barriers and open paths, are the props and setup of the stage of life. The consequences of choosing various paths give meaning to the dilemmas we face at each moment and gives real power and gravity to our life drama. The typical human psyche seeks to minimize pain and energy expenditure and maximize pleasure and possessions of various sorts. But, taken from a larger perspective, the play of life is only a schoolyard, a training ground for the development of character. And this is significant because the character developed on earth will last for eternity. Thus, the stakes of the game are high. Pleasure and joy come from right living now, and eternal joy comes from the development of Godly character.
A universe with real meaning must have consequences based upon choice. Thus, a universe with true choice implies the possibility of freedom and slavery. Either polarity can be experienced as determined by choice. But, the liberty available in Christ is even outside of this polarity. The liberty of Christ is to choose between two morally neutral possibilities, and experience the outcome of either path, without retribution or cost to the soul or scaring of character.
While growing in maturity as a Godly man, we experience the negative feedback of pain and diminished freedom when walking outside of the Law. The entire play of the universe speaks to us in the cryptic language of life-experience. Pain and pleasure, thoughts and emotions give us feedback about the meaning of any given drama. The whole of life experience is a stimulus-response system, designed to teach and produce a proper relationship with God, man, and self. If we follow the guidance of experience and the wisdom of Scripture, we man learn the Right way of being, thinking, acting, and speaking.
Part of the foundation of meaning is seen in the principle of polarity. Some of the life polarities include rights and their denial, pleasure and the reciprocal possibility of pain, hard work with just reward and unanticipated tragic loss. The construction of a universe with meaning demands a full spectrum of pleasure and pain, justice and injustice, logical clarity and obscured understanding, justified consequences, and random costly failure.
The principle of polarity gives texture, passion, visibility, choice, and meaning to the struggles and experience of life. God-given inalienable rights exist as the apex of the human experience. They guide us toward proper group behavior with a mysterious and desirable inner attraction. But, all proper group behavior depends ultimately upon a general society of men of right understanding who act rightly in their daily personal affairs. Such men can discriminate properly and elect representatives who are likewise wise and able to discriminate on the level of righteous group regulation.
All of the best, all of the most fulfilling, all of the greatest rewards of life experience arise only by intent, effort, and purposeful creation that matches the perfection of God’s intent for man.
God has created the principle of inalienable rights as part of the foundation of human nature. Their experience in group life arises as the most common reward of a society of men dedicated to living life in His Way. Inalienable Rights are an important constituent thread throughout all of human experience. They stand alongside the archetypal principalities including beauty, power, justice, freedom, truth, and love.
The existence of inalienable rights implies that such Rights are inherent within the human soul, or have been given by intentional purpose by a Creator. But, since such rights can be abridged by unrighteous government, these Rights are only rewarded to those who have enrolled a sufficient critical mass to form an essentially righteous society. Inalienable Rights are the prized tokens won in the battle of life discipline earned as a reward for enrolling an entire society in living according to the principles of Godliness.
For meaning and choice to exist, life must administer properly deserved consequences, but there must also be an element of uncertainty of consequence. The full range of consequences must be possible: immediate, intermediate, extremely delayed, and there must also be the possibly unjust consequences. The delay in justice gives room for doubt and question of the very existence of an absolute Law, a benevolent and loving God, a Creator with a good plan for life, the pantheon of virtues, and inalienable Rights. The delay of justice gives the appearance of possibly winning against the most powerful force in the universe, beating the house, having absolute freedom without payment. Delayed justice gives crime, sin, rebellion, selfishness, and excessive profits without commensurate cost the patina of True options, and actual eternal viability. Injustice gives hope to the criminal and requires perseverance in faith for the righteous.
Only fools choose to believe in eternally delayed justice or injustice. Justice will always prevail, eventually – some injustice and delayed justice will not be properly adjudicated till the heavenly court convenes, still, justice will be done. All economic transactions will be properly measured and all accounts will be properly settled. Life presents only the illusion of winning against God and skewing the scales of justice. The fool is susceptible because of ignorance of the mechanism. Some are fools because of stupidity, being unable to grasp the connection between cause and effect. Others are fools because of rebellion, they understand and know the rules of life, but choose to believe that their sin will remain secret and their debt will remain unpaid. Fundamentally, ignorance underlies all foolishness. This ignorance should be met with the same compassion as Jesus gave those who crucified him, saying, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” The remedy for ignorance is the knowledge of the Way of Jesus.
John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Knowledge of the Truth sets one free. Wisdom based on the way of God enables the fool to choose right behavior and change his course.
The universe has been populated with spiritual forces dedicated to seducing the fool into believing he can oppose the ruler of the universe and His vast machinery of spiritual power. The fool is blind to the unseen forces mobilized against the violator of Truth and Justice. The Rights given by God are authorized but not required that governments and societies allow men to exercise those rights. Men suffer for their unGodly choices. All paths but God’s lead to suboptimal outcomes. Men can only maximize their freedom and happiness to the extent they perfect their righteousness.
The forces of darkness, authorized by and created by God to operate in the universe, seek to maximize man’s rebellion against the absolute Rules of Righteousness. Capitulation to temptation gives grounds for suppression, confiscation, and extraction of men’s inalienable Rights. Violating the Laws of God, rebelling against His way, reveals man (as an individual and/or group) as unworthy of properly executing the freedoms allowed by proper restraint and action.
The man who uses speech to advocate unGodliness has violated his Right to do Right, and thus stands in jeopardy of being restrained in his expression. The child who screams during the theatre has no Right to his free expression, even though such expression is natural and driven by deep internal desire. Feelings and possibilities are not indicators of the right choices in life. Wisdom should direct our decisions.
The terminology, “inalienable rights” causes us to frame certain types of activities as rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were elaborated by the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution, but there are limits to each of the rights. , as mentioned above regarding free speech. The superior law is the law of God, and as humans, we must use wisdom to properly limit their choices and actions. Those who cannot properly restrain themselves must be restrained by force. For example, speech conspiring to commit murder is clearly worthy of discipline and suppression. All Rights have their limits.
Regarding the Right to bear arms, can the gun owner be trusted to use it with proper skill, to control his passions and impulses, and properly judge the times for use of deadly force? A Right with such strong consequence for misuse must be exercised with great discipline and restraint. Such rights should be reserved for mature men, Godly adults who can be trusted to exercise the same Right judgment as would come from the Throne of God.
And yes, the unrighteous state that seeks to suppress the righteous expression of Rights deserves resistance. Mature men of God by definition deserve to exercise their inalienable rights. A mature and Godly society has every right to resist the suppression of Godly speech, arms, assembly, press, and worship.
Inalienable rights exist in principle eternally. But, Godly government codifies, supports, and facilitates the broad social expression of these eternal principles. Only when society is largely self-governed by Godly righteousness will men’s policies, declarations, and customs of group conduct allow the inalienable rights to flourish.
God constructed the universe to allow actual freedom, and He desires men to grow into the maturity of exercising the full spectrum of those possibilities He has ordained. When men come of age, and mature in the sense of Godliness, God Himself authorizes the full expression of the inalienable rights. God desires that we resist the temptation of rebellion, the seduction of pleasure, the thrill of abandon, and the un-tempered reaction against injustice and hurt.
Our degree of mastery of the knowledge of Right choices is the first requirement of putting on the mind of Christ. The second half requires that we resist the devil as we master the passions of the flesh, resist the temptations of emotion, and properly identify the erroneous doctrines of men. As we gain maturity in putting on goodness and resist the temptations of evil, we find ourselves authorized to act in the Liberty of Christ.
—– Original Message —–
To: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
Sent: Saturday, April 18, 2009 11:10 PM
Subject: FW: Begging for Freedom
I’m forwarding this to you because I believe that the message is important and I think you can handle the intellectual stimulation. If not, I apologize, and please let me know so I will not forward similar emails to you in the future.
Begging for Freedom
How many people REALLY believe in unalienable rights? How many people REALLY believe in freedom? Not many. Even among those who call themselves pro-freedom, many still have some residue of the slave mentality. Let’s use the example of the right of self-defense, which is the basis for the right to possess weapons, such as firearms (as acknowledged in the Second Amendment). Even among gun owners, how many people REALLY consider self-defense a “right”? Almost all gun owners would SAY they believe it’s a right, but do they really?
Here is a test: If owning a firearm was “illegal,” would you still have the right to do it? Suppose the Second Amendment was repealed, via the proper procedures for amending the Constitution. And suppose the feds and all the states then outlawed private gun ownership entirely. Would you STILL have the right to be armed? Yes, you would. And at this point, I expect most gun owners would say the same, although the discussion would be making some of them start to feel a bit nervous. You see, people have been so indoctrinated into viewing politician commands as some morally binding gospel, which they call “law”, that they feel uncomfortable even discussing the concept of violating such so-called “law” in order to protect individual rights. Let’s go one step further. If the Second Amendment was repealed, and private gun ownership was outlawed, and the police showed up at your house to take yours, would you have the right to use any means necessary to stop them? Would you have the right to start gunning down “law enforcers” if they tried to disarm you? Quite a few gun owners (including me) would still say, “Hell, yes, I would!” But others would hesitate and squirm. And that’s where someone’s real principles can be seen. If you believe in individual rights, then you have to believe that NOTHING–no election, no legislation, nothing–can take them away. (That’s what “unalienable” means.) As Jefferson explained in the Declaration of Independence, if those calling themselves “government” decide to violate your rights, you have every right–the DUTY, even–to resist, including with deadly force, if necessary. Of course, resisting tyranny is almost always hazardous, and you may have to choose which battles to fight. But the principle remains: if you have a “right” to do something, then, by definition, you don’t ever have an obligation to let ANYONE interfere with your exercise of that right. And if shooting a cop in the head is required to preserve your rights, you are perfectly justified in doing so. So NOW how many people are uncomfortable with the discussion? Probably quite a few: all the people who do NOT really believe in unalienable rights. Let’s make it even a bit LESS comfortable: If some “government” thug tries to forcibly stop you from speaking your mind, do you have the right to forcibly resist his efforts, even if that requires killing him? Yep. And if you have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, do you have the right to use force–deadly force, if necessary–to stop any “law enforcer” who tries to search you or your house without a warrant and without just cause? Yep.A “right” that requires “government” permission is not a right, but a government-granted privilege. A “right” that legislation can negate is not a right. And yet most of the pro-freedom movement goes to great lengths to ASK those in “government” to please not violate our rights. They lobby for legislation protecting their rights or lobby against legislation which will infringe on their rights. They try to elect people who will preserve their rights, or at least not violate them even more than before. In other words, they beg for their freedom, as if they need the PERMISSION of tyrants to be free. Why? If you have RIGHTS, why would ever ASK those who don’t respect those rights to give you their blessing? Would you ask a carjacker if he would please refrain from stealing your car? How well would that work? Would you try to elect a new carjacker for your neighborhood, who will be nicer? Or would you SHOOT THE BASTARD? Every time the American tyrants push some new totalitarian stunt and wage some new attack on your rights–which is happening at an almost incomprehensible rate these days–do something about it. No, I don’t mean writing to “your” congressman. (“You” have a congressman about as much as “you” can have a carjacker.) And I don’t mean voting. If you want to do something that the tyrants will actually notice, and actually care about, every time they take a step towards totalitarianism, go buy another gun, or more ammo, or a couple of high-capacity clips. Go to the range a few more times. Make sure you have the equipment and the skills necessary to enforce your rights yourself. The politicians know they can completely ignore all the letter-writing campaigns, petitions, and other examples of peasants pathetically begging their masters to be nice. But I’ll tell you one thing they are NOT ignoring–one thing they DID notice–was the HUGE number of people who have been buying guns and ammunition since Barack Ostalin won the election. Violence is the only language “authority” ever speaks, and in the end, is the only language it understands. Or, as Patrick Henry put it…
“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright FORCE. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”
One final note: If the foregoing message made you nervous and uncomfortable–if you’re one of those who likes to talk about “rights” as long as you don’t have to think about actually resisting “authority” (with something more meaningful and effective than a vote or a letter)–then by all means, send “your” congressman a letter saying, “I agree that I have no rights, and I will only do what you give me permission to do.” And then, when the poop eventually strikes the air-propulsion unit, stay out of the way. Maybe you’ll get lucky, and people who actually have principles and believe in rights will save yours.
Larken Rose http://www.larkenrose.com