The consummate battle in the history of the world has been to force people to do good.
This week we are celebrating battles. We are parading about in honor of wars won. Specifically, symbolically, we are pumping our collective fists in the air in honor of the victories won on US soil.
Today, celebrations and speeches are echoing over the hills and dales of Gettysburg. PA. For several straight days 150 years ago The Union was driven back. The Rebel cause was advancing. Then the winds shifted. The tide of freedom rolled in upon shoreline that divided liberty from servitude. When that tide receded it was blood red…from the blood of good men.
Of that massacre of a miniscule measure of mankind Abraham Lincoln uttered these words, always to be remembered by every American, perhaps by all the literate world, “we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground“.
In three days we shall celebrate the 237th anniversary of another combination of immortal words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”.
It should not be lost to the eye, ear, heart or mind of the casual observer that both these events declared without flinching that “we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty”.
There is a doctrine unknown to much of the world. I call it the doctrine of “original pride”. Poorly summarized in simplistic terms is says that Satan fell from grace with God because of his pride. He had desire to force all men to be good. Alternatively, Jesus Christ offered salvation not through force but through each person’s will. Joshua (the Hebrew name for Jesus), of the Old Testament summed it up quite well when he said “choose ye this day whom thou will serve”.
Throughout history the consummate battle has been between choice and compulsion.
The well-known dictators; Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Alexander the Great, King George, et al, have all professed to act in goodness to provide for their people. In the process they have trample that eternal right of choice. In the interest of forcing upon the people what was good they waged war against that which is truly good, the freedom to choose. Millions of lives have lain wasted in heaps through the ages of time because one man occasionally garnered the support to oppress all men into goodness, according to their narrow perspective of goodness.
The Declaration of Independence and the battle at Gettysburg, PA are but symbols of what mankind will do “for liberty” or “for force”. Colonist having crossed a raging ocean to choose to begin a new life of liberty proclaimed “We will not be slaves again”. Abraham Lincoln paid the utter most farthing to say to a group of people, most of whom he never met, nor would ever meet; you shall not be mastered, but rather shall be masters of your of choosing.
Throughout our various governments today there are thousand upon thousands of people overtly or subtly saying “I shall be your master…for your good!” These people find it convenient to oppress some so that others may benefit. Isn’t that good?
Indeed it is not at all good! At best it is sufficient. At its worst it is the imposition of servitude…in the “false” name of good.
It has always been, and shall always be that those who would force good upon others will ultimately force dominion upon them also.
Once shackled by oppression there is but one means of escape. It requires a hammer and chisel. They will beat not solely upon the chains that incarcerate but also upon the oppressor. When one is forced to be good, if not them than the generations that follow shall beat out their liberty upon anvil of oppression.
So, then, and now, the battle is really not about “good” at all. The battle is about the liberty to choose.
“And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
When we ALL become willing to beat our chains into plowshares we may rest assured that our swords and spears shall quickly follow course.