Spencer Lindquist | Central Coast RVC | President, Pepperdine CRs
Liberty. It’s one of America’s founding values. Our belief in liberty informs our system of government on every level and our belief in natural rights is baked into our political life. Somewhere along the way, however, our culture exchanged our belief in ordered liberty, a thoroughly American principle, with a belief in the leftist concept of liberation. Although these two words obviously share the same root, they’ve taken on two entirely different meanings in our society.
While liberty is a value in and of itself, a standalone principle that affirms human dignity, liberation is a process, an act that necessarily implies the existence and predominance of some larger oppressive force. This necessarily begs the question, what are these oppressive forces, be they real or fictional, that we ought to be liberated from?
According to the worldview of social justice warriors and so-called progressives, there seems to be no limit to the amount of oppression in our society. It’d appear that even the most innocuous, milquetoast practices and beliefs have been dubbed racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic, among a litany of other fashionable slur words. It’d seem that there is an ever multiplying list of oppressive forces that we must be liberated from.
Thanksgiving? Oppressive. Math? Oppressive. The nuclear family? Oppressive. Celebrating the Fourth of July? Oppressive. Having children? Oppressive. Supporting Christian businesses? Oppressive. Refuse to date a man pretending to be a woman or a woman pretending to be a man? Oppressive. The list goes on.
While it can be entertaining to poke fun at the left for unjustifiably calling every little thing oppressive no matter how innocuous, there is a deeper truth that can be gathered from this phenomena, namely that so many of these “oppressive” forces that we ought to be “liberated” from are the very foundations of a healthy society. I’m inclined to believe that this isn’t coincidental.
What does it look like to be liberated from these foundations? If we cut off family, discourage childbirth, attack religion, subvert healthy understandings of gender and relationships, undermine our national identity, and attack holiday traditions, will we really be more free? Or would we just be enslaved to the diktats of the cult of woke? Can anyone truly contend that people would be happier, healthier, or more fulfilled if they severed every familial, cultural, or religious tie in order to adhere to the ever changing preferences of the overzealous social justice mob? Conversely, wouldn’t it seem that, far from oppressing people, the social fabric of our society gives people’s lives great meaning and a connection to both the past and the future? Perhaps this social fabric is worth preserving, and perhaps conservatives should make its preservation our foremost aim. If one was to be freed from this social fabric and the responsibilities that it entails, such a person would quickly find themselves rootless and alone. Liberated from the duties of family, the history of the nation-state, and the constraints of religion, one would find themselves without a family to love, without an anthem to sing, and without a God to pray to. When such integral communal foundations are broken down, people become much easier to control as they desperately grasp for a new identity amidst their isolation - easy prey for radical political and social movements.
This is what “liberation” offers us - soul crushing isolation, familial, cultural, and religious alienation, and the threat of a new identity being forged on a far less healthy foundation. To be “liberated” from all that we hold dear isn’t liberty at all. It’s just tyranny by another name.