A Word About Natural Rights, Old Books, Free Speech, and Hurricane Ian – The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show
My neighbor two houses down recently sent me a Mere Fidelity podcast episode interviewing ‘What’s Wrong with Rights?’ author Dr. Nigel Biggar. While I’m glad to have gotten the episode, I did not at all care for the dismissive attitude toward even the concept of natural rights which Dr. Biggar communicated.
It seems Dr. Biggar has only two categories for conversations about rights – statements of fact concerning the legal rights granted by civil governments, and moral appeals from the governed to be granted more rights by their governments. The trouble with this is that it leads to tyranny and arbitrary rule.
Remember here the premise of Romans 13, that governing authority is God-given, but has no less a mandate to reward those who do good and punish those who do evil. If that dual-purpose is what God has given this minister of civil government power and authority to achieve, it cannot possibly do its job well if it does not know what is right and wrong, or if we say that the government itself is the source of right and wrong.
On a related note, New Zealand’s prime minister – Jacinda Adern – says world leaders have an opportunity right now to crack down on free speech online. Ideas freely communicated are themselves weapons of war, in her view. And given how her government, as well as that of Australia next door, handled the COVID business, it’s not hard to imagine what kind of speech online she would like to see banned, or met with violent force if necessary to curtail.
But even as New Zealand’s prime minister is calling for more censorship, Italy’s first female PM is being censored online. Shadowbanned, shares of Giorgia Meloni’s speech are being suppressed. Meanwhile, the mainstream media headlines when you search for her on Google all describe her as “Extreme Right,” and “Far Right,” and “Hard Right.” Yet when I see what Larry Elder posted to Facebook about her, he says she’s a disciple of the late and great Roger Scruton. This is a word association game, it seems, by Google and others. It’s also a kind of brainwashing.
At the same time, Canada is reportedly allowing China to open up police stations to the north of us. Who ever heard of such a ridiculous thing? The only reason I can think of for why one nation would permit another nation to open up police stations in their country is colonization. That is to say, I see this as China colonizing Canada, and Justin Trudeau is entirely cool with it.
That is also to say that I see New Zealand’s PM talking about curtailing free speech online as a kind of colonization, at least of the ideas of the Chinese Communist Party; it’s the sort of thing they would do too. In fact, it’s the kind of thing they have done for decades now.
In other news, but perhaps very related, my wife sent me a link to a YouTube video share from the channel for ‘The Good and the Beautiful’ in which the founder, Jenny Phillips, talks about the difference between popular children’s books from 100-150 years ago and the most popular books of today.
The sentences now are short, simple, action-oriented, and relatively more concerned with the self than with others and the surrounding environment. By contrast, books 100-150 years ago had far more complexity, and more adjectives – more describing words.
Popular children’s books today make no mention of God, but frequently do contain rude humor, and disparaging remarks about family relationships.
It’s not just that our expectations are so low; it’s that many have demanded more and more that simplicity and self-absorption carry the day, rejecting work that is robust and espouses high ideals.
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