Freedom is on the wane even as talk of liberation gets louder and louder .....
Political correctness creates the optical illusion that our era is one of new orthodoxies. Political correctness polices our assertions, true, but it does so in order to prevent them from becoming strong. It seeks a paradoxically obligatory inclusiveness, which is the postmodern perversion of Erasmus’s ideal of peace. Obligatory inclusion is a trompe l’oeil orthodoxy, one that explodes all orthodoxies. Talk to young proponents of identity politics. You will find they exhibit a combination of ideological ardor and moral minimalism bordering on relativism. This seems contradictory, but it is not. They presume that the authority of truth needs to be destroyed so that society can be fully inclusive and people can be free to choose to live in whatever way they wish.
.... I’m confident that investigative reporting will show that the activists currently making uproars at elite universities invariably go on to work for McKinsey and Goldman Sachs, or end up at elite law schools and other programs that further groom them for their roles in the ruling class.
.... Soul-defining truths come to be seen as public menaces, signs of an illiberal “dogmatism” at odds with the spirit of inclusion and a threat to “adult spirituality.” As Luther recognized, this may expand free choice, but it undermines freedom. The banishment of assertions from public life leaves us limp and uninspired. We have no basis on which to stand up to the principalities and powers that rule us. We must plight our troth to something higher than ourselves if we are to become capable of true freedom. Love’s bondage is the engine of liberty.
.... The depth and scope of today’s bondage to “the system” is extraordinary. This explains why something as bizarre as transgenderism gets widespread support from young people. The assertion that one is a woman, not a man, however misguided and self-defeating, seems like a powerful expression of freedom. To say “No!” to nature adds up to a remarkable (and unworkable) declaration of independence.
..... affirming truth sets us free. Asserting that there are intrinsically evil acts limits our choices. But in a deeper sense, these moral assertions provide the foundation for a culture of freedom. In a moral system in which everything depends upon circumstances or inner intentions, the resulting ambiguity favors the status quo. Without moral absolutes, we are left to our own devices, making us vulnerable to manipulation and intimidation. The principalities and powers that rule the “world” punish dissent. Given our weakness, we find ways to avoid paying a price for moral truth. At best, we retreat into an inward dissent that maintains outward conformity. At worst, we exploit the supposed ambiguities of moral truth to rationalize our compromises and capitulations.
.... Only a man who can say, “I will not” is genuinely free. I will not “accompany” the culture of death. I will not conform to the sexual revolution. I will not deny my Lord and God. The freedom to say no—no to evil, no to lies, no to groupthink and easy self-deceptions—is the grace of moral truth. It provides us with a natural anticipation of the supernatural freedom given in God’s Word.