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Saturday, September 10, 2005

This I Believe

I believe.

It is not a very radical concept, but it is a very important one. Far too many of my countrymen are all too ready to surrender their principles rather than “offend” anyone. If we do not stand up for what we believe, we will lose our ability to do so. If we do not raise our voices and boldly proclaim, “I believe this!” all that we have come to know as hallowed and sacred will be in danger.

It has happened before. History has shown us time and time again, when people subordinate their beliefs, whether for the sake of economic stability, for the established authorities, or for fear of offending others, the result is, invariably, catastrophic.

In Germany, voters abandoned their beliefs in the face of disastrous inflation, and gave Hitler absolute power. Confronted with little opposition, the Fuhrer slowly outlawed 'wrong thought,' eventually leading to a complete ban on anything that opposed, or even threatened to oppose, the Third Reich. This happened in the most civilized country in Central Europe – in the land of Martin Luther – because people were willing to subordinate their principles to something they were told was more important.

The mere notion of being “narrow-minded” is enough for most of us to sacrifice our ideals on that unholy altar. And I am one American who is tired of it. I am one American who proud to stand up and say, “I believe in something.” If that is intolerant, than so be it, because I believe in true tolerance: putting up with others for the sake of a civil society, not accepting anything anyone else believes just because they believe it. To do so would be to tear a contradiction in the very fabric of my soul.

So here I stand. Today I’m going to tell you what I believe in. It is a small step, but I think it is a step in the right direction.

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