We Are Endowed By The State With Certain Privileges

Dan has a great picture on his blog today.


It came, I think, from this site. The creator explains it:

As outrageous as the Christian Right’s overall agenda is, their specific arguments and beliefs can be worse. I have written many articles exploring the arguments and beliefs advocated the Christian Right in order to reveal just how awful, and awfully absurd, they can be. Mere words, though, cannot always convey the true absurdity of a position. Even the most carefully reasoned argument will not carry the emotional impact of the original ideas being dissected.

Visual imagery, though, can often communicate ideas more quickly than words and convey emotions more immediately than any argument. For that reason I have created propaganda posters which promote some of the beliefs of the Christian Right. The intention is satirical, not sympathetic, but even so I believe that both the images and the words accurately reflect what some on the Christian Right belief and advocate. The original posters were produced as government propaganda, mostly during the first and second world wars.

Before you dimiss the poster as a mean spirited attack on a straw man, read this article from a prominent member of the so called religious right, a member who would probably be described as one of its more moderate thinkers. Here’s the intro:

During World War II the United States government’s Office of War Information spearheaded a national campaign whose most well-known slogan was “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” The purpose of the campaign was to encourage citizens to not talk to each other about aspects of the war effort that could inadvertently divulge military plans, troop movements, or other secrets that could result in the loss of life and/or defeat in combat. . . .

The Bush administration should institute a similar campaign that instructs citizens of both the real dangers of proliferating classified information and that the meaning of the First Amendment is not a license to publish anything. If done correctly, this would have the effect of isolating, and bringing public condemnation upon, mainstream media, such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, that insist on publishing classified information that may result in placing American citizens and military personnel in the crosshairs of terrorists.

In order to pull this off, it would require a multi-media campaign that would not only include posters and radio (as in the 1940s), but also television, the Internet, and podcasts. They would have to be done well, with attractive and winsome citizens and narrators conveying a strong and serious message that does not come across as syrupy, heavy-handed, or inconsistent with the protection of civil liberties. Consider this commercial:

Everyone laughs when their grandparents talk about how gas used to cost a quarter, and a nickel got you a big ‘ol candy bar at the corner store. I’m about to have two kids, and I really don’t think it’s funny that one day I’ll be telling them that newspapers used to be able to publish anything they wanted; that in the old days we could leave our neighborhood without first showing the guards our national identification papers; that phone calls were private; and most importantly of all, that when America was free, if someone got arrested, they would be treated humanely and would not lose their liberty unless the state could convince a jury of normal people that the person committed a pre-defined crime.  

I don’t want to tell those stories. But every day, and especially after yesterday, it looks more and more like the tragic conglomeration of power hungry fascists and weak willed cowards in Washington has decided that our self evident, God given, inalienable rights are nothing but fancy dressing, things to be cast aside whenever they become inconvenient.

And that is what they are: merely inconvenient. Fighting the terrorists does not require us to relinquish who we are. Torture is not necessary. Warrantless wiretaps are not necessary. A King is not necessary. We do not have to become barbarians in order to fight the barbarians.

But this is the easy route.  The no real though involved route. Worst of all, the politically expedient route. Our “leaders” think most of us have already bowed before the terrorists. Do they think any of us would say”Give me liberty or give me death?” Yeah, right. They see us as groveling cowards: “Here’s my liberty, just make me feel safe.”   

Not me. And there is nothing special about me. If I want to find a better way to fight, then I assume most other folks do as well. We’re not ready to sell our souls. We want to fight the good fight. We want to hold our heads high. We want to win without muddying our hands with the filth of the enemy. We want our authority to be not just guns, but justice. We want to win as America.  

And we do not have to make the choice today, but if we ever had to decide between being right and being victorious, I’ll go down singing the Star Spangled Banner.  

So who is going to stand up and speak for the people like me? You want my vote? Then be an American. 

Explore posts in the same categories: God and government, National Politics

2 Comments on “We Are Endowed By The State With Certain Privileges”

  1. Kathy Says:

    “…I’ll go down singing the Star Spangled Banner.”

    And, unlike Denny Hastert, you’ll get the words right. I despair of finding leaders who will speak for the rest of us. They get elected, and they immediately start worrying about re-election. Caution, not courage, becomes the common denominator. Well, greed too for some of them.

  2. Dystopos Says:

    Over 200+ years America earned a lot of respect for its ideals. I know for a fact that there are some serious fundamentalist muslims out there, absolutely willing to fight and die for their ideals, that before the invasion of Iraq, would never have considered attacking the USA. I’m not sure that’s still the case. The public trashing of our ideals is, more than any military operation, going to put us at risk.

    No terrorist has ever claimed to “hate our liberty”. Is it capitulating to demand better of ourselves?

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