Our National Identity Crisis And True Freedom

Liberals can rewrite the definition of any word they please, but they can’t make men give birth, they can’t make women conceive children on their own, and they can’t ultimately change reality.

Woodman. DailyWire+. Michael Knowles.
Woodman. DailyWire+.

This is a portion of a speech delivered by Michael Knowles at CPAC on Thursday, February 22, 2024.

The decline of religion in America has eroded our identity at every level — from national politics all the way down to the basic unit of society: the family. Marriage, after all, is nothing other than a symbol of God’s love for his people. It’s no wonder, then, that many people today don’t even know what marriage is. Many people today seem to think that marriage can be whatever we want it to be. 

They sound like Humpty Dumpty, who tells Alice in Wonderland that when he uses a word “it means just what” he chooses “it to mean — neither more nor less.” When Alice asks Humpty Dumpty “whether one can” really “make words mean so many different things,” Humpty Dumpty responds, “The question is which is to be master — that’s all.”

We’re living through the looking glass and that is precisely the way the liberals think. They really believe that they are masters of the universe. They think they’re gods, who can create the world anew through the power of their words. But they aren’t and they can’t. They can’t really turn men into women. They can’t really turn a couple of men, or a couple of women — or three men and a billy goat, for that matter — into a marriage.

That’s just not what marriage is. No disrespect intended to anyone. Some people don’t want to get married. Okay, there’s no obligation. Marriage is not for everyone. But marriage has a meaning. Marriage is and always has been the union of a man and a woman ordered toward the procreation and education of children. If you don’t like that, don’t blame me. I didn’t make the rules. It wasn’t the mean old conservatives who invented marriage. Marriage is a natural institution. It just is what it is.

The Left will slander us as “hateful” for observing this fact. But there’s nothing hateful about it. There’s nothing hateful about reality. Quite the opposite, the truth sets us free. I’ll tell you what’s hateful. What’s hateful is to live — and to force others to live — according to lies. Liberals can rewrite the definition of any word they please, but they can’t make men give birth, they can’t make women conceive children on their own, and they can’t ultimately change reality.

WATCH: The Michael Knowles Show

So they tell more lies. They claim today that individuals have a “right” to a child. But of course no one can ever have the “right” to a child because children are people. And no one has the “right” to another person — because those people have rights themselves.

In our national identity crisis, we no longer recognize those rights. We no longer recognize people. Increasingly, we treat people as objects. We treat children as commodities to be bought and sold — designer babies to be purchased on the open market of the surrogacy industry so that adults can live out their fantasies. But those fantasies come at a cost — they come at the cost of creating children intentionally to deprive them of their natural mothers and fathers.

Absolutely ghastly but not surprising. We’re talking about people who claim the right to kill babies when the babies are inconvenient. If we have the right to kill babies, surely we have the right to buy and sell them too. If we have the right to give and take innocent human life, then we have the right to do anything — we’re as free as God himself.

But we aren’t God and increasingly we aren’t free. We’re less free today than we’ve ever been in this country. Because there’s no such thing as freedom without limits. Everything in this life comes with a tradeoff. It comes at a cost. People gain the “freedom” to get rid of babies they don’t want; the cost is that babies lose the freedom to live. Men gain the freedom to use the women’s bathroom; women lose the freedom to have their own bathrooms. Foreigners gain the freedom to enter our country as they please; Americans lose the freedom to make our own laws. Drug addicts gain the “freedom” to shoot fentanyl on the sidewalk; citizens lose the “freedom” to walk their sidewalks in safety and peace.

The “freedom” liberals offer is the dubious freedom of the drug addict. It’s the “freedom” to follow our lowest appetites, to deny our reason, and ultimately to destroy ourselves. It’s the “freedom” of Satan in “Paradise Lost” to make “a Hell of Heaven” and “a Heaven of Hell.” It’s the “freedom” of abject slavery, and it has made a hell of our country everywhere it’s taken hold.

The “freedom” the liberals promise is liberation from all limits: liberation from borders, from laws, standards, norms, family — even from biology. It’s a false freedom — a siren song. To liberate a nation from its borders is to erase the nation. To liberate a people from its family and its laws and customs is to erase the people. To liberate a man from his body is to kill the man.

True freedom is not the license to languish alone in ever-stranger fantasies but rather the right to flourish — all of us together — in reality. True freedom, to borrow another phrase from Ronald Reagan, is a “national policy based on what we know in our hearts is morally right.” How do we know what’s morally right? Because we have brains — even the liberals. They don’t always use them. But they have them. (Most of them do. I think.)

We have reason, and we have moral conscience. We know the difference between truth and falsehood, right and wrong. We know the difference between a man and a woman. We know the difference between an American and everyone else. Our problem is not so much one of confusion as cowardice. If we lose our identity, the fault will lie with our refusal to acknowledge our convictions and act on them.

Governor Bradford and the earliest Americans faced a similar crisis of identity. So they left a world of charming comforts and false freedom because, “they knew they were pilgrims, and looked not much on those things, but lifted up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country, and quieted their spirits.”

Our forebears knew who they were. The moment we once again follow in their footsteps is the moment we will remember who we are too.

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