Commentary by Linda: Is Man a Programmed Machine, or does He Have Free Will?

In commenting on the current mortgage and bail-out crisis, Thomas Sowell said,  “[B]ailing out people who made ill-advised mortgages makes no more sense that bailing out people who lost their life savings in Las Vegas casinos.” —quote from PatriotPost.US, 08-39 


Most Americans view Sowell's observation as sound common-sense, for we really do know that 'right' (ie., truth, integrity, bravery) and 'wrong' (lying, stealing, cowardice) are not the same things but different things, just as light is different from dark, straight is different from bent, and water is different from oil. Therefore each one of us ought to be held personally responsible for our choices, whether good or bad.  When we honor people who willfully chose to risk their own lives to save the lives of others---the 9/11 responders for instance--we are really saying that human life does have value and is worth saving, therefore those who risk their own lives in order to save the lives of others have done a good thing, hence they ought to be rewarded and/or honored for their courage and self-sacrifice.  On the other hand, when an individual willfully chooses to do a wrong thing, that is, to lie, cheat, to run away and leave someone else to drown, to defraud others, or to commit murder, it just makes sense that the perpetrators of these  bad choices be held personally accountable as well.  With regards to the mortgage crisis, no one forced the lending institutions and the people who accepted  loans which they really knew were 'too-good-to-true' to make the choices they made, hence the perpetrators of the crisis ought to bear the penalties for the bad choices they made and not society at large.


Though those who hold to this common-sense view may not realize it, the genesis of this way of thinking is unique to America's founding Christian-Judeo worldview.   Christianity teaches that though man is essentially good, he nevertheless contains within his nature the seeds of evil, and its through the abuse of free will that man chooses to do  wrong things.  America's Founders believed so strongly in this view of man that they implanted within the framework of our founding documents, internal controls such as the separation of powers whose sole concern is to prevent collectivized power from falling into the hands of corruptible man.  Our founders firmly believed that tyranny is the rotten fruit of the abuse of free will; that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.


For almost 100 years however, our founding worldview has been under attack by people who hold to a worldview that is the complete opposite of our Christian worldview.  In this worldview, which we know as Liberalism, Progressivism, and Marxism for instance,  man neither contains within himself the seeds of evil nor possesses free will.  In essence, man is a machine programmed entirely by unseen forces of nature.  In practical terms this means that mankind is controlled by his base impulses (instincts) and emotions.  Having no free will, he is helpless to choose anything other than to act upon his basest impulses and emotions.  In this way of thinking, the Ten Commandments and Biblical sexual ethics such as monogamy are viewed as cruel and unusual punishment.


Behind the mortgage crisis is the chaos-and-immorality producing worldview of Progressivism.   Moral relativism is one logical consequence of the Progressive way of reasoning.  Increasing levels of chaos, anarchy, pornography,crime, paranoia, hysteria, confusion, and moral rot in general is another.   Add to this the total demonizing and terrorizing of anyone who holds to our founding worldview. 


If we truly seek to prevent our civilization from imploding, as it is currently on the fast-track to doing, we must willfully choose to put aside our fear of demonization and then choose to boldly speak truth to lies.  We really do possess free will, let us utilize it rightly for the good fight.