Secularism is Incompatible with Equality and Individual Rights

Jordan Rickards:              00:01 All right. Welcome to the video podcast question and answer session. Today’s question is “wouldn’t it be better to have a secular society that is governed by reason, in place of a society where religion continues to have such a strong influence?” Now this question actually does not come from a reader. It’s a question I heard over and over again while perusing YouTube videos of the late Christopher Hitchens who I’m sure many of you know was the leading public intellectual atheist of his day. Though, to be honest, I never thought Hitchens was all that brilliant for as well, right as he was. There are certainly smart atheists out there, but Hitchens always struck me as a garden variety atheist with a very smart accent who if he was uncommon in any way, it was the extent to which his arguments about faith were uncommonly unoriginal, disorganized and lazy. And he’d always advocate for the same thing, right? A secular society governed by reason, where faith has no place. And he would name great political philosophers who he admired, and actually who I admire too, like John Locke and Thomas Jefferson and say, why don’t we try a society based on their principles, on the principles not of faith but of the enlightenment, of reason? Well, the short answer is that the values of the enlightenment, which is to say equality and individual rights and liberties, are irrational without a creator. If you remove God from the equation, it is irrational to believe we are in any meaningful way equal and it’s irrational for the rights of individuals to exceed the rights of the group. By the way, we did create a society based on the principles at Thomas Jefferson espoused, as I’m sure most of you know, Jefferson was one of our founding fathers and probably our most important founding father being the principal architect of the Declaration of Independence, which is probably the preeminent political document ever written and it more than any other such document demonstrates that the values of the enlightenment, the values of equality and individual rights are not just inextricable from a creator but necessarily dependent on one. The most famous words from the Declaration of Independence are “we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Well, clearly saying we get our rights from a Creator is far from secular rationalism, and it has to be, and this is the key because the values of equality and individual rights are irrational without a creator. Remove God and how is it in any way rational to say it is self evident that we’re all equal? What could be less self evident than that? If anything is self evident, it’s that we’re unequal, that some of us are stronger than others, some of us are smarter than others, some of us are healthier than others and therefore better suited to survival of the fittest.

Jordan Rickards:              02:56 Some of us are better suited to be productive members of society than others and some of us are far more likely to be burdens on society than others. At least when you eliminate the Creator, that’s how you’d start viewing people. That’s what’s self evident. That’s what’s secular rationalism. Okay. And not only are we not created equal, we certainly do not become more equal as time progresses. So a secular, rational government must reject equality because it’s irrational. And once you reject equality under the law, all sorts of Pandora’s boxes have to open. Because if we’re not all equal, why should we have equal rights? Why do we tolerate those who are less equal? And who by being less strong and less smart and less productive, impose costs on the rest of us. And this starts to call into question individual rights because what if the well-being of the greater group can be improved by infringing on the rights of certain less equal individuals?

Jordan Rickards:              03:53 What if the rights of the majority can be improved by infringing on the rights of the minority? This is dangerous territory. And we’ve seen this before. It’s not hypothetical, it’s not untried as Hitchens would have you believe. This has been tried over and over again. And what you see in all these secular societies is a determination that they shouldn’t waste resources on the poor and the weak, but rather support the productive and the strong like China for example, and the Soviet Union and others where the best and the brightest get all the resources and for everyone else it’s survival of the fittest. That’s rational central planning for you. And in its extreme form, this is where you get eugenics from. This idea that we need to suppress and limit and ultimately eliminate what they call and this is their words, not mine, “undesirable populations.” Okay. This even happened in the United States in the early part of the 20th century where we were sterilizing quote unquote “mentally feeble” people because we wanted to eliminate them from the gene pool because we were trying to create a model world.

Jordan Rickards:              04:56 In fact, there’s a very famous Supreme Court case called Buck versus Bell, which is still valid law by the way, and which is still cited every now and then, where the court upheld the validity of mandatory sterilization of people with low IQs saying, and I quote, three generations of imbeciles is enough. Okay, that’s American law for you and this is what you get with secular rationalism. The rights of the strong exceed the rights of the weak and the rights of the many exceed the rights of the few. So you have to create, or I should say, you have to keep the Creator in the equation so that we are all equal in that we are all children of God, equal in His eyes, put here not randomly or in error, but deliberately and designed for specific purposes, each of us inherently valuable because we are each inherently valued by a God who is all knowing and all loving.

Jordan Rickards:              05:49 Now some secularist and atheist would say, “well look, you can reject God and still accept and codify the same and liberties that we’ve always known.” Well, first of all, we haven’t always known them. It was a quite an accomplishment to get to this point. But secondly, even if you codify them, it’s irrational to do so, and I just showed you why. The only way to have a society based on reason that values equality and individual rights, that preserves the gains of the Enlightenment, is to reject secularism. Now that’s not to say we should have a theocracy, but rather that a free people who value equality and individual rights and liberties must always remember to see the image of God and one another. All right, so there’s my answer. Thank you for watching. And as always, if you have questions you’d like me to answer or at least attempt to answer, please feel free to message me through the conservative Facebook page or directly through the website. All right, take care. And God bless.

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