During the Communist threat several decades ago, people consoled themselves with this philosophy: “Better red than dead.” In the presence of threats, intimidation, and political extortion, it seemed like a sensible attitude to embrace. Many thought such a resignation would not affect their lives in any meaningful way and adopted it. Few considered its implications and foundations.
Actually, it required the sacrifice of something of value for expediency. Usually, that sacrifice compromised or excluded matters of principle and truth. Expediency opted for the error of the lesser of two evils (see here) and hoped for the illusory short-term benefits of market place advantages, political influence, or relief from problems that obstructed business or personal activity.
At that time, these pressures upon Americans came from outside forces, which threatened the foundations of the nation. In a very real fashion, however, the philosophy of this creed, manipulated by the familiar tactics of extortion by threats, intimidation, and political and economic coercion, pervades American society today.
Multitudes of examples of it permeate America’s culture. Political correctness, sacrifice for the greater good (see here), the role of Christianity in society, and the demand for “intolerant tolerance,” to name only a few, influence significant segments of American society. One prominent example revolves around the ongoing attacks against Rush Limbaugh to suppress his free speech by using threats, intimidation, and political and economic extortion against his sponsors.
Those who submit today to these tactics fail to understand that they have made themselves susceptible to these devices on future issues, perhaps ones of greater consequence. They fail to recognize the cumulative effects of their selfishness. They sacrifice the future on the altar of the immediate.
That which appears initially as a practical solution with minimal negative effects creates significant implications. Unwittingly, those who yield to coercive attacks in hopes of reaping its deceptive benefits take the initial steps towards slavery. The extorter always demands additional concessions from previous victims, increasing subjection to the extorter. Ultimately, slavery leads to tyranny.
Perhaps the greatest destructive effects result from unintended consequences of yielding to coercion. The attitude of “I’ll cross that bridge when I get there” will not work if one does not have the opportunity and/or the means to get to the bridge. Further, the bridge may not exist, then.
Because of its disastrous effects upon society and life, Americans, therefore, must reject the philosophy of “Better red than dead” and its false claims based upon partial truths and untruths. They must deny expedient compromise for illusory benefits. They must search for the truth and separate it from error. Then, the truth and its relevance to the circumstances they face will mold their decisions and actions, which will lead from slavery to freedom.
In the end, only the truth sets you free.