Our Threatened Freedom

Is Freedom Dangerous? (04:21)

R.J. Rushdoony


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:01 Is freedom dangerous? This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threaten freedom.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:08 In this century we have seen a dramatic change in American life, from a strong affirmation of freedom as a necessary and moral fact. We have turned rather steadily to a distrust of freedom and a belief in regulations. Is this faith in the health and virtue of regulation and controls justified? In certain areas of life, we all tend to believe in regulations. We do not believe that a man should have the freedom to shout, “Fire,” in a crowded theater. We do not believe that an 8-year-old child should have the freedom to drive a car. We do not believe that a murderer should be turned loose and have his freedom at will. Very obviously we place some very serious restrictions on freedom, even to the point of imprisonment and/or execution in some cases. However, our restrictions on freedom have historically had a common factor. We have held to the premise that an irresponsible person should not have freedom particularly if his activities can or have endangered or destroyed the lives of others. As a result, none of us have the right to should, “Fire,” in a crowded theater. To do so is dangerously irresponsible.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:35 The common fact in the limitation of freedom is this factor: irresponsibility which can be a menace to the lives and persons of others. We therefore control minors and limit their freedom. We also limit the freedom of convicted criminals because they have used their freedom to the injury of others. Increasingly however, our federal policy of regulations has another premise. Namely, that none of us can be trusted with freedom and therefore, none of us are entitled to the freedoms which were once commonplace. In other words, we all treated at the very least like children.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:18 Is this morally sound? It might be possible sometime in the near future to achieve such radical controls over all of us. Some very radical controls. Cars may be made so that we can never exceed the speed limit. Cigarettes and liquor can be totally abolished. A serious tax and/or heavy penalty can scare us out of being overweight. We may all be required to do conservation work, pick up street trash. Made too afraid by radical penalties to risk sexual and other sins and so on and on. Will we be morally stronger or morally weaker?

R.J. Rushdoony: 03:04 The fact is as state regulations increase, we become morally weaker. It is basic biblical faith that moral strength comes from inner regulations, not outer ones. And our inner regulations are governed by our faith and character. By our religious convictions. The more we rely on outer controls and regulations, the less we depend on inner regulations and the faith which makes them possible. And the freedom which gives them growth. To distrust freedom is to distrust growth. To distrust freedom is to trust in status controls rather than in God as the source of morality. When we try to make people good by status regulations, we are declaring that they must remain permanently as children. That the state can produce a better moral life than freedom under God. That the state knows best.

R.J. Rushdoony: 04:11 This I submit is a very dangerous belief. This has been R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threaten freedom.

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

Learn more about R.J. Rushdoony by visiting: https://chalcedon.edu/founder