Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Unconstrained morality

The American Thinker, one of my favorite blogs, has come out with another really powerful article, this one about the coercive morality that characterizes both Islam and the Left:

What merit is there in not stealing because you fear that your hand will be cut off? In not drinking because you have no alcohol? In not being aroused by a woman in a burqa? An Islamofascist walks the streets of America and sees a man enter a massage parlor. "What an immoral society!" he thinks. He does not notice the men who do not go in. He sees the temptations Americans are subject to, but not their resistance to those temptations. He sees their immorality, but not their morality. Americans are free to be either moral or immoral. How immoral would our enemies be if they were free? America is free to be immoral, but when America is moral, its morality is genuine—because it is free to be immoral. No one praises prison inmates for not breaking into houses—or Saudi women for not having automobile accidents. The Islamofascist cannot conceive of morality without coercion. To the Islamofascist, coercion is morality, and freedom is immorality. Freedom is license to him, not the arena in which we choose good or evil. Morality is imposed and external, not free and internal. To the Biblically-grounded Christian or Jew, “the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man,” in the glorious words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. For too many Muslims, the battle line between good and evil runs between the Islamic world and the world yet to be conquered. *** Unfortunately, many in the West also see only the sins of America. They also confuse license and freedom, repression and self-control, taxation and charity. They also equate good conduct motivated by fear of temporal rulers and good conduct motivated by love of God and man. Above all, they too focus on the sins and alleged sins of others to the exclusion of their own sins and thereby equate changing someone else’s behavior with doing the right thing. The most moral people are, in their view, the people who most vigorously condemn traditional American values. An ordinary person might strive to benefit society by giving to a charity or volunteering; they strive to benefit society by promoting political and social change. They confuse poverty imposed by an economic system and voluntary poverty, destitution and poverty of spirit, backwardness and protection of the environment. They think that Americans are more materialist than people with fewer material goods—as if people in other countries don’t desire the same things. They think that socialism is compatible with Christianity and capitalism is not, forgetting that socialism is as much a system for producing material goods as capitalism is, just a less efficient one. They think that there is something inherently wrong with wanting a car that does not break down or a computer that does not crash, but cars, computers, and other consumer goods are not evil. Making idols of them is evil; putting them to good use is not. They think that because Native Americans were technologically backward, they must have been environmentalists. Again and again, they confuse morality with constraint: the constraint of poverty, the constraint of inefficiency, the constraint of backwardness, ultimately the constraint of tyranny.
Read it all. You won't be sorry you did.