The Colin Kaepernick controversy is symptomatic of our days. A major league football quarterback sits down during the national anthem as a protest. The liberals crown him a hero exercising his freedom to protest against alleged injustice. The conservatives deplore his action (rightly so) because it dishonors the flag and the nation. Another case in point is that of the Satanic Mass in Oklahoma City held last month offending God and countless Catholics. Liberals hailed this event as an exercise in freedom of expression. Those opposing saw it was a horrific blasphemy of the worst sort.
The dilemma of these situations is afflictive to countless Americans who do not know how to deal with the problem. On one hand, they are told that freedom of expression is an absolute right, which includes the freedom to sit down during the national anthem, hold a ceremony against Christ and His Mother or even to burn or spit on the American flag. At the same time, these Americans know deep down it is wrong to do these things.
It is one of those problematic internal contradictions of liberalism that constantly flares up. Liberalism allows people to do destructive things that undermine the freedom and welfare of the nation. It permits acts that jeopardize the bedrock of virtues that sustain the country. It says if you can do something, you should, regardless of its consequences.
Moreover, liberalism destroys the defense mechanisms by which society might protect itself against such aberrations by proclaiming itself morally neutral and refusing to declare anything right or wrong. As long as no one is physically hurt by acts, there is no limit to what freedom allows—even if it dishonors God or the nation. The more anti-social and offensive the behavior, the more inebriating is the rush of freedom.
Finally, the liberals take this contradiction yet further by relying upon an ever-evolving interpretation of the Constitution to claim their “right” to do these ever more morally offensive actions far beyond anything foreseen by the Founders. They even secure court decisions that create these “rights.” And by doing this, they leave those who oppose these actions constitutionally defenseless and politically immobilized.
In a society where everything is allowed—where if you can do it, you should—there is only one action that is not permitted: To affirm that something is categorically wrong and should not be done. There is only one thing that one is not free to express and that is the assertion that such controversial actions are immoral. Anyone who states there is an objective moral law based on human nature and valid for all times and places is censored, ridiculed, and scorned. As the Sorbonne students in the 1968 riots said: “It is forbidden to forbid.”
Against those who claim “if you can do it, you should,” the only defense is to proclaim loudly and clearly that “just because you can do it does not mean you should.” The mere fact that it is legally permitted does not mean it is right.
We must have the courage to declare that these liberal “rights” are not right but wrong. They may be legal, but they are not moral. They may be allowed, but they are still sinful. Our true right to declare their “rights” (like procured abortion) categorically wrong and contrary to moral and natural law must be vigorously protected. We must insist that our moral protest is also free speech in its highest form, must be heard, and, more importantly, is right.
Moreover, we must point out that the basic premises of liberalism are wrong and are bringing us to ruin. The foundations of any order, even a liberal order, are not only its freedoms or rights but above all its bedrock of virtues, mores, and duties attached to natural law that secures and sustains a free society. It is not a constitution but the values embedded in it that turn a piece of paper into a foundational document that safeguards the public order. Liberalism’s amoral position is a false illusion since it has always lived off the borrowed social capital of a moral social order.
Russell Kirk defines the battlefield well when he affirmed that beneath any formal constitution “lies an unwritten constitution much more difficult to define, but really more powerful: the body of institutions, customs, manners, conventions, and voluntary associations which may not even be mentioned in the formal constitution, but which nevertheless form the fabric of social reality and sustain the formal constitution.”
We are reaching the point in which this fabric of social reality is shredded, causing the nation to be polarized and disjointed. The nation will no longer be sustained as the most absurd “rights” are being affirmed, and the most offensive acts are declared acceptable. Someone needs to say: This should not be done!
When judicial fiats take from our hands the means to defend ourselves against that which is morally wrong, we must have recourse to Kirk’s fundamental return to order. That is why it is so important that we fight the Culture War that defends and restores the powerful unwritten constitution consisting of that body of institutions, customs, and morals that sustain the nation. These are the natural social mechanisms that compel us to do freely that which is morally right and avoid as onerous all that is morally wrong.
When these institutions are strengthened, something happens that Kaepernick and others simply don’t get: Fresh organic solutions to problems and injustices arise that far outshine the shallow gestures, micro-aggressions and hashtag movements that liberals and media love. It is by revitalizing our social order not by tearing it down that we come across ways to resolve our problems. The top-down legal and legislative decisions that liberals have used so effectively to undermine society do not address those “permanent things” that capture the heart and soul of the nation.
By appealing to this higher more powerful manner of acting in society we can render their constitutional victories hollow (as Roe v. Wade has been made hollow). Countless Americans left voiceless by judicial fiats will then have a say in their future. Thus, our overwhelming protest can make the wrongful act of dishonoring the flag or national anthem shameful and onerous. Our outcry against the killing of the unborn turns what was supposed to be a routine surgical procedure into a moral dilemma. Our boycott of transgender tyranny in department stores can make their policies unprofitable. Protesting against Satanism can prevent it from entering into the mainstream.
This does not resolve liberalism’s internal contradictions, but it is a powerful way to fight back against an ever-greater tyranny that threatens the nation. Most importantly, our moral protest resonates before God in Heaven, from where the true solution to the mess we are in will certainly come.