Redeclaration of Independence
Our American culture is getting overrun, sadly, by radicals determined to displace or redefine independence. Instead of recognizing liberty as protection from arbitrary force, the term has become a benefit, an entitlement from the state, something which must be taken from others then granted to us—by force. In other words, a disturbing contradiction is wiping away our political culture, the values we uphold, and which uphold us.
Liberty is not something we need to gain, as much as realize that we possess. The only thing that we can give one another in regards to liberty is a greater awareness of it. The most deafening (yet thankfully defeated) criticism of this true, negative (i.e. removal of something) conception of liberty occurred during my college days. I went to UC Irvine (the same school where students recently deemed the American flag an offensive appropriation of nationalism or something like that).
I was a French major, and had my fill of French theory, too. Mostly snobby, convoluted, suffused with chronic rejections of power, confused with truth. Interesting discussions ensued, all in a nice accent, though. From Foucault, Barthes, and Derrida (a distinguished professor at my alma mater UC Irvine, where I am writing this essay now), the French “critical theory” mindset would be laid out to me and others a moral relativism based on challenging every context and value within text, a speech, or any other form of communication. This literary theory was called “deconstruction.”