Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Stable or Shifting Foundations?

By Brian Bresnahan

When confronted with both threats from abroad and internal pressures, which America can stand longer, the one existing and operating on a firm foundation or the one on an ever-shifting foundation?

When Americans are confronted with threats like Islamofascism whose focus and hope lies in our subjugation or destruction, our foundation requires inflexible resolve. But have we become a nation whose foundation is no longer solid, but is constantly shifting instead? And if we have developed a shifting foundation, can we withstand the onslaught of attacks, the “death of a thousand cuts,” Islamic terrorists are sure to employ?

The lack of resolve shown by some Americans in the face of Islamic extremists suggests that our foundation has shifted and that we might not possess the resolve and strength to endure such a fight. Not because our military lacks the ability to fight and win, but because the will of too many in America is based on an ever-shifting, relativistic, secularly influenced foundation, instead of an unyielding one.

The advance of secularism and relativism in our nation tears at the foundation necessary to sustain it against these threats. They demand that our foundation shift to suit their whims, preferences, and opinions.

Our nation was founded upon certain principles; principles derived from, but not exclusive to Judeo-Christian religious beliefs. These precepts, which did not also exclude other religions, were implemented through a democracy, the only form of government which allows their full potential to flourish.

But, secularism and relativism abandon and denounce both the religious and democratic principles that are the materials of our foundation. Relativism may adhere to some tenets of faith, but any philosophy which also argues at the same time for conscious disobedience to selected aspects of that faith is not strong enough to serve as a foundation for anything, let alone an entire nation.

Relativism justifies interpreting the basic rules of faith, humanity, and morality to fit the whims of the day. Our foundation does not require religious zealotry or intolerance of other beliefs, but its essence, its strength does rest upon an honest pursuit and application of these rules. Relativism does not.

Secularism demands a complete abandonment of these rules and principles. Thus, it demands the abandonment and the inherent, subsequent destruction of our foundation.

We see relativism and secularism manifested many ways in our nation, wanting to tear us apart, destroying the bulwark of our defenses against all threats, foreign and domestic.

They give rise to justifications for tearing down the institutions of faith, morality, and democracy which empowered our nation to reach this day.

For example, as Michael Novak argues in "The Universal Hunger for Liberty," democracy requires all facts be brought forward for review, examination, and discussion. Only from there can we reach an objective, intelligent conclusion which benefits our citizens. But relativism and secularism, by demanding and interjecting bias, have forced major, philosophically divergent views of what information should be reported and how. This enabled the rise of multiple other media sources from which to choose our news. As a result, we no longer discuss the same sets of information in our pursuit of decisions intended to benefit our citizens.

Democracy also requires, as Novak again argues, a loyal opposition in order to prevent a tyranny of the majority. But is the opposition from within America still loyal? Have relativism and secularism given them permission to stand for everything except America? Why don’t they verbally attack foreign enemies with the same venom as they attack those in America who oppose them or possess differing views? Why don’t they ever denounce the actions of terrorists or work incessantly to bring the reality of their brutality to the forefront? Why is their sole focus on denouncing and criticizing this nation, its leaders, and those who risk their lives to defend it?

Relativism and secularism have also shifted the foundation such that we no longer start from the same point with regard to areas which were historically common ground for all Americans. The history of our nation shows people at least somewhat unified in what they believed about humanity, morality, faith, and patriotism. But as the meaning and practice of those concepts have been turned on their head in our increasingly relativistic and secular nation, we have lost that common ground from which to move forward from.

Without common starting ground, common desires and visions for the future have become harder and harder to achieve. These differences are amplified by the fact we increasingly work from completely different sets of information in pursuit of those goals and our future.

If we are divided from the onset, have opposition of questionable loyalty, and also rely upon completely different sets of information from which we base our decisions and actions, are we also heading down opposing paths toward completely different visions of America?

If so, which America will stand, especially when confronted by outside forces intent on toppling all that’s been built? The America set on a firm foundation, the same foundation which made this country great, or the America set on an ever-shifting foundation subject to the leftists whims of relativism and secularism?

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