Baldwin’s “These are not negotiable”

A very dear friend of mine posted an essay by Chuck Baldwin, a politician, pastor, and radio personality titled “These are not negotiable“.  I do not exactly belong to the same school of thought as the essay’s author, so I tried to compose a response to the essay.  I have posted a version of the response below.  I do not intend to make this blog overtly political, but there are examples of how political ideologies can overlap with science in the essay which can be educational.  I invite your thoughts in the comments.  Feel free to contradict me, but as you read please keep in mind that I mean no disrespect and that it is NOT my intent to initiate a flame war. That being said, I must take issue with this essay and wish to highlight for you a few of my problems with it.

I am surprised and quite baffled that the author saw fit to actually imply that the government of the United States of America is or is within an ocean’s width of becoming despotism. That doesn’t even make logical sense when one considers the definition. Who or what small group would he say is the despot, when our leadership changes on a regular basis? Further, defining characteristics of despotism include the lack of a constitution, rule of law, and meaningful opposition to the despot. These are patently not the case with the US government. He is unfairly and, quite frankly, dishonestly implying that we are on the same level as the governments of North Korea, Iran, and the former Iraq. I am also, uncomfortable with his association of his cause with the “shot heard round the world.” It is irresponsible to even implicitly threaten violent regime change, when the government is, to reasonable argument, working within the constructs of documents penned by the great Americans that the author so rightfully reveres.

This also fails to acknowledge the fact that the government is fairly elected by the public and that the lawmakers are supported by their constituencies and are routinely removed when/if the people change their collective opinion of what is needed. Is money involved, is it influential? Yes. Would the author support laws to halt this influence? I doubt it from the tone from the tone of the essay, so this can not be used to support his claim to a despotic oligarchy. Those are free “men” (no free women?) bringing about change they see as beneficial. The point is, I believe that the essay is built upon a purposefully constructed straw man, and it does not bode well for his thesis.

Many of his “lines in the sand” are at face value indeed reasonable. I (even as what I am sure many would consider a raging liberal) fundamentally agree with the right to bear arms, free speech, property ownership, home schooling, freedom of worship, and more so long as your right does not usurp or infringe upon another’s. It is generally the last part that he does not mention, and by the implication of many of his explanations, he actually refutes many of his assertions.

Is it your right to impose on me a government that endorses and prefers a certain form of religion while at the same time touting that freedom of religion is central to our nation?

Is it a protected right to give my ailing grandmother an easily preventable disease even though she took the responsibility upon herself to get vaccinated against that disease, but due to her aging immune system the vaccine did not protect her? Or my young 13 year old neighbor who through no fault of her own was given by God an allergy to eggs which prevents her from having a particular vaccine? The fact is that vaccines work through heard immunity. They are NOT a fundamentally personal shield. Refusing required vaccines that have passed safety and efficacy  thresholds is indistinguishable from Mary Mallon’s refusing to cease working as a cook after she had been informed that she was able to pass typhoid to others through her work in the early 20th century. Is it truly the right of a parent to refuse proven treatment of a child due to religious beliefs if it causes the death or permanent impairment of the child? Is it a right to refuse western “big medicine’s” treatment of eczema in favor of an alternative medicine called homeopathy when the Western treatment all but guarantees full recovery and the child dies of something as curable as eczema. It is my opinion and that of most developed nations around the world that these later cases constitute criminal negligence and should be punishable by law. These are infringements on others’ right to life and health.

His repeated use of the bible as the primary and defining foundation of his policy propositions also squarely insults the founders he so relied on for justification earlier. What if the majority in the US were some other hypothetical religion? What if that religion’s holy book supported something more akin to sharia law or worse? Would it be in accordance with the constitution that they enact policy based on their books? Never mind that you are thinking “but that’s not the True religion,” because that is immaterial. Freedom of religion is NOT freedom to choose between Baptist, Methodist, Quaker, etc. It equally protects the freedom to choose no religion, Wicca, Druidism, even Satanism, and to worship and live your life according to their precepts insofar as you do not, in so doing, deprive another of their rights. It is therefore necessary to exclude to as high a degree as possible the writ and language of any and ALL particular religious leanings from the policy of the government of the US. And this is NOT in opposition but in DEFENSE  of the freedom we hold high.

Finally, it seems to me that his tone ventures dangerously close to advocating or at least providing justification for possible violence. But this would not be against a dictator in a foreign land, but an uprising against a government that is in the vast majority of cases playing by the written rules and supported by and acting on the behalf of the will of a very large part of the nation’s citizens. It would not be revolution but civil war. He even acknowledges that many if not MOST people are not on his side of at least some issues:

The same can be said for most of the mainstream churches in America today. They more resemble havens for politically correct, Big-Government ideology than they do bastions of Bible truth.

In the end, he comes off as a person who is bitter that their camp has not ended up with the majority of the people on its side.


3 thoughts on “Baldwin’s “These are not negotiable”

  1. Pingback: Think, and an update on the fetus. « Here and there and everywhere.

  2. SBD

    I appreciate this response. It is interesting how “freedom of religion” is interpreted as “freedom to impose my religion on someone else.” For example, with proposition 8 in California, it is considered freedom of religion to do what a person thinks is right to do in the context of their religion, and ban same-sex marriage. However, if a majority had passed a (for example) Muslim-sided law that required womyn to wear headscarves, it’s imposition on their freedom of religion.

    Basically, it’s okay if I do it to you, but not vice versa. Most people gave that stance up on the playground, but so it seems, not all.

    And thank you for noting, “no free women?” 🙂


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