Independence Day Thoughts

What made the American Revolution fundamentally different than every other revolution in the world?

Larry Schweikart, over at Townhall, has an article that outlines “5 Ways the American Revolution Was Different From Other Revolutions”. Point 4 brings out the key element that highlights what really sets the American experience so far apart, saying,

“American Exceptionalism” was the origin for the Revolution.

Post-modernistic thinking rebels against such thoughts that make such distinctions as exceptional, because, due to Marxist tendencies that underlie such thinking. Those infected by such thinking claim to love diversity but if diversity truly exists and is to be truly appreciated then the fundamental differences will emerge and then one cannot help but perceive them and begin to categorize them into norms and what goes either above or below those norms in an exceptional sense.

Post-modernistic thinkers love norms, the problem is that they arbitrarily want to define what those norms are, and they despise anyone or anything that poses a break from those norms. They despise high moralistic structures, but are highly moralistic in their thinking, but they have nothing to which to appeal in order to justify their morality. Spend any time listening to their arguments and you hear clear moral outrage, there’s just no mediating means to define the borders and responses to that outrage. I find it interesting that just two to three years ago, it seemed like every time I turned on the news all that could be heard was a cry against “rape culture” which is defined in this article at Everyday Feminism as,

[…]situations in which sexual assault, rape, and general violence are ignored, trivialized, normalized, or made into jokes.

and how it was pervasive on college campuses. However, with the European “migrant crisis”, supposedly due to war in the Middle East, Sweden has become the number one rape capital in the world only above Lesotho, according to this 2015 study. The question is, how is this relevant to the American revolution and the idea of “American exceptionalism”?

This requires a historical mind that can look into history and make meaningful distinctions. Schweikart notes four key elements that made the American revolution stand out,

[…]1) a Protestant religious foundation; 2) the common law; 3) private property with written titles and deeds; and 4) a free market economy.

Now, while there are many historically uncomfortable elements that existed, the first point can truly stand out: a Protestant religious foundation. Why is that important?

Schweikart continues,

England had the last three traits, but not true Protestantism. England was originally Catholic, and even when the Church of England broke away from Rome, it was still a copy of the Catholic Church, with top-down governance. Germany had common law under the Germanic tribes, but not after Napoleon conquered Europe and installed civil law (if they had not lost it before then).

What’s interesting is that many, if not most of the first colonies were established as religious refuges for religious minorities from England. And while there was a measure of early religious persecution due to certain mindsets that were due to European thought processes. Once they got over here in the New World, those began to dissipate as the need for survival. It was those whose initial governing foundations were determined by Scripture that laid the foundation for a true revolution, whose aim was not purely political. Take the opening statement of the Declaration of Independence,

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Notice that there was a need to argue a case before the world of men for the rightfulness of their actions. The men who were, for all intents and purposes, signing their death warrant, wanted to present a meaningful defense for their actions and what they would do in the following months and years.

Their next statement is the most profound element of their testimony,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Notice the truths that are emphasized:

  1. all men are created equal–such a statement immediately undermines any presupposition of a purely naturalistic process bringing about human kind, it presumes man to be exceptional in regards to all other beings that exist on this plane. To deny this premise, immediately and permanently severs the next premise from any meaningful consideration.
  2. men (generic sense) are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights–if human kind is not the imager of their Creator and God then man can have unalienable rights. One of those rights that is endowed upon man is the right to partake of the creation, even that which is not human kind. Hence it follows that if man is not created, there is no equality and there can be no rights. That is why point 3 is so vital.
  3. governments exist to secure those rights–man cedes certain rights to the government to act as arbitrator between men, but governments cannot rule absolutely, just as a man is not the absolute authority over his own life.

Now, the fact that no specific Creator is named is used to argue that there was none in mind, however there is something that needs to be noted: there were no Hindus or Muslims present at the signing of the Declaration, rather there were people who were raised Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist. They knew exactly what Creator was being referred to and had no illusions otherwise. The logic of their argumentation flowed from that presupposition, a decidedly Christian presupposition.

Now how does this all fit together with post-modernism and rape culture argumentation?

I’m glad that you asked.

It is only operating within the bounds of those presuppositions that one can say that a woman has a true and meaningful right to not be raped or experience violence against her person. It is that exceptional worldview that allows for such definitions to exist, but not only to exist by actually have recourse within an exceptional nation, with a government based upon exceptional ideals. It’s all tied together.

See, here for more thoughts on unalienable rights.

And check out this message by Jeff Durbin on the gospel and true social justice.

 

 

 

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