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It Might be a War, But it’s Not About Our Culture

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America as “the land of the free and the home of the brave” is not just a snippet of lyrics from our National Anthem, it is an axiom. A free people must be very brave because freedom isn’t free and must be continuously protected and defended against the forces of tyranny, especially those within their own ranks.

We must have a lot of courage (and prudence and temperance) to resist the unavoidable temptations that come with our liberty because the maintenance of order in a free society requires that every citizen voluntarily practice personal responsibility without the benefit of an Earthly system of punishment and reward designed to restrict free will and conscience beyond the prosecution of crimes that violate civil and human rights.

Freedom is a frightening prospect for people who lack the fortitude to resist temptations of the flesh and therefore have little to no faith in their fellow Americans’ ability to do the same. So they become “culture warriors” and fight for the preservation and expansion of oppressive laws that are intended to curtail temptation by placing limits upon free will and conscience.

A Contest Between Freedom and Tyranny

Cultural uniformity cannot be made essential to unity in our free and pluralistic society without defeating the principle of liberty and justice for all. American culture is a collective hodgepodge of many other world cultures and far too diverse to ever take any sort of homogenized form in which our country could remain free. We are obliged to exercise tolerance with regard to our cultural, religious and other differences in deference to the one commonality that binds us all together as Americans, our Constitution and the civil and human rights enumerated therein.

The “culture war” is not about Christians versus non-Christians or believers versus non-believers. Nor is it about the partisan battles between political parties and the various camps of esoteric liberals and ambiguous conservatives. It is not a question of whether America is a democracy or a theocracy (it’s neither, actually). And although some self-proclaimed culture warriors sincerely believe that it is their mission, it is not about the saved working furiously to convert the sinners before the Rapture.

In spite of growing confusion wrought by the propaganda and doublespeak of sanctimonious people who assume themselves to be qualified as moral dictators whose privilege it is to prescribe how their fellow Americans should live, this “culture war” is actually nothing more than a conflict of ideas and ideals in which freedom-loving Americans are pitted against the tyrannical forces of dogmatic absolutists who seek to mitigate liberty — and by that same measure, our Constitution — because they are afraid of freedom and the notion of free will and conscience uninhibited by an Earthly moral authority (as if us mere mortals could effectively fashion such a thing in the first place).

Which Side are You On?

Examine both sides of any of the various freedom versus tyranny (“culture war”) issues/battles. One side stands for free will and the other stands against it. One side denounces the injustice of oppression whenever their fellow Americans’ civil and human rights are arbitrarily violated or denied, while the other side feels oppressed when the civil and human rights of people they find objectionable are recognized as being equal to theirs. One side is willing to give their fellow Americans the benefit of the doubt, the other trusts no one — not even themselves.

Should there even be a contest between freedom and tyranny in America of all places? Is there really any contest between these two ideologies at all? Would the vast majority of Americans actually prefer to live under the oppressive doctrine of an authoritarian state rather than a system in which government has no authority over the free will and conscience of the people, except when it applies to protecting and defending our civil and human rights?

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About Margaret Romao Toigo