Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Mike Huckabee on Moral Classes

Mike Huckabee, I have a question. If religion is such an impetus for good in your view, then why do you use it as a motivation for such evil?

According to an article in PilotOnlinee.com, For Republican Representative Newt Gingrich and Former Republican President Candidate Mike Huckabee gave speeches at an event in Virginia that aimed at promoting Christian participation in the political process. Ultimately, their aim was more specific – to promote the participation of an immoral subculture of Christianity that likes to attribute their immoral dispositions to a God in order to give them the illusion of legitimacy.

(See: PilotOnline Huckabee, Gingrich urge political engagement in Va. Beach)

Let us start with this quote:

Gingrich and Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, argued the rights of Americans stem from God and to ignore that connection is perilous.

For the sake of this posting I am not going to argue this point. It is false. However, ultimately, it does not matter where one's rights comes from, it matters what those rights are. If I have a right to freedom of speech, it may come from God, it may exist as relationship between a malleable desire and other desires. However, regardless of its origins, if I have a right to freedom of speech, then I have a right to freedom of speech.

Gingrich . . . said the ties to religion in American government date to the Declaration of Independence, when Thomas Jefferson wrote that men are endowed by God with certain inalienable rights.

We could dispute this. Jefferson said a lot of things, not all of which were true. One of the things he wrote was that men are created equal (and he did not at all have in mind the idea of 'mankind') in a context where the word ‘men’ did not include male blacks. We have, over time, recognized that some of the things written were mistaken. Even Gingrich would have to argue that they were mistaken, or he would paint himself into a moral corner he could not get out of.

Like Mike Huckabee did.

Huckabee told the audience he was disturbed to hear President Barack Obama say during his speech in Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday that one nation shouldn't be exalted over another. "The notion that we are just one of many among equals is nonsense," Huckabee said. The United States is a "blessed" nation, he said, calling American revolutionaries' defeat of the British empire "a miracle from God's hand."

This is an example of an immoral person assigning his immorality to God to give it an illusion of legitimacy.

Again, I have granted that people have certain rights. For the sake of argument I am not disputing the premise that those rights come from God as specified in the Declaration of Independence.

Did God give those rights only to Americans, or did he give them to 'all men' (meaning 'all human beings'). Jefferson wrote, 'All men are created equal.' Huckabee condemns the very idea of moral equality and instead professes a theory of moral classes, where those Christian Americans who support Huckabee are of a higher moral class than non-Americans.

Furthermore, Huckabee, rejecting the notions in the Declaration of Independence, holds that God himself is the author of these moral classes. God did not create all men equal. God created moral inequality, where Christian Americans who support Huckabee exist in a moral class above (and decidedly unequal to) that of the rest of the world.

In saying this, and in building his candidacy on this principle, Huckabee is practicing a time-honored tradition of promoting immorality and giving it an illusion of legitimacy by assigning it to God. To buy political favors, he tells his audience what effectively translates into a satement like, “You are God’s chosen people and God has given you the right to rule and the rest of the world the duty to obey.”

There are a lot of people who covet this type of message. It has been successful in the past. However, in doing so, Mike Huckabee is not be the first person to promote evil and assign that evil to God.


Burt Likko said...

A quibble, but not an unprofitable one: Jefferson sourced the rights of man to his "Creator," not necessarily to God. The Declaration of Independence certainly does not reference the Christian God. It's unlikely Jefferson was thinking of Thor or Isis, but Jefferson also went to great pains during his entire public life to obscure his personal religious beliefs. Assuming that he was a Deist or some variant of that set of beliefs, Jefferson would have identified the "Creator" as something akin to "Providence," which is decidedly different than the conscious motive force of a personal and personalized diety described in the book of Genesis.

Which is to say, we need not ever concede that rights come from God simply because Thomas Jefferson and dozens of his editors used an ambiguous phrase for political reasons.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Technically, a 'creator' does not even have to have intelligence. I can speak of the Mississippi River being the creator of the Mississippi River Delta, and a hotspot beneath the crust as being the creator of the Hawaiian Islands.

However, we must also remember that Jefferson was creating an article of propaganda. He was writing with the intent of inspiring others to action (or, at least, to non-interference) in the project of American Independence. In writing an article whose intent is to persuade others a standard rule is to appeal to reasons that others will find persuasive, even if one does not.

Knowing that the bulk of the people will expect an appeal to God's wishes, it was advisable for him to write an article that contains just such an appeal, regardless of what Jefferson may have personally felt about the legitimacy of that appeal.

Andy said...

Good post. I'm pretty pissed about Mike Huckabee's quote. BTW, the link doesn't work.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

This is the proper link:


Alonzo: Would you please give a source for the Huckabee quote near the end of your post regarding "masters" and "slaves"? It is not in the article which you linked, and I cannot find it online.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Michael Maddox

That was not meant to be a quote but a translation or a re-statement of an assumption that can be found within Huckabee's rhetoric.

I have edited the article for clarity.

Anonymous said...

O.K., that makes sense.

By the way, I am a new visitor to your blog. I am very impressed with what I have seen thus far. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

"Jefferson said a lot of things, not all of which were true. One of the things he wrote was that men are created equal (and he did not at all have in mind the idea of 'mankind') in a context where the word ‘men’ did not include male blacks."

First, I have to ask on what basis you claim Jefferson "did not at all have in mind the idea of 'mankind'. Second, as for the idea that Jefferson didn't mean blacks either, are you aware that, not only was this very point was intensely debated by Lincoln in both his written response to the Dred Scott decision and the Lincoln-Douglas debates, but that in Lincoln's original draft of the Declaration, he explicitly condemned slavery?

"[King George] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivatng and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people for whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the LIBERTIES of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the LIVES of another.]"


Anonymous said...

Sorry - JEFFERSON's original draft of the Declaration. My bad.