“Recently a couple of stories have surfaced that most people are not associating with one another. In Russia, opposition leader Alexei Navalny returned to Moscow after having spent several months in Germany recovering from an attempt on his life by means of the old Soviet method of poisoning. In what was almost certainly at the direction of Vladimir Putin, Navalny was arrested as he stepped off the plane.
Meanwhile, here in the United States, Russia’s opponent during the Cold War, the City of Philadelphia took the gun away from 51-year-old Police Detective Jennifer Gugger. Her “crime”? She attended the rally in Washington on January 6th. There was no indication that she was inside the Capitol, simply at the rally. She had some strong posts on social media, especially about Vice President Mike Pence, but not anything that would constitute a direct threat.
What do these two seemingly quite different people have in common? They are both dissidents. They both acted as though they had the right to say and do what they said and did. They were both mistaken. In Russia, given its history of totalitarianism, Navalny likely knew what he was getting himself into. In our country, however, where totalitarianism is in its infant stages, it is quite likely that Gugger was caught unawares.
This is going to be commonplace for many of us over the next several years as we are forced to come to grips with the fact that this is no longer the “home of the free and the land of the brave.” We can stomp our feet and deny it, we can try to act as though we don’t accept it, but it is not going to change the reality that the great American experiment that was launched just over 230 years ago is finally producing empirical results. The conclusion: People are capable of sustaining individual liberty only for as long as they can be constrained by a system of law that suppresses and contains their true nature.
What exactly should we do in our role as dissidents?
Let’s break Western Civilization into two segments, secular and religious, and ask this question: Who was the most important dissident in history? In each segment, I believe we can come up with a clear winner: Socrates and Jesus Christ, respectively.
Socrates planted a flag in the ground for reason and rational thought. He built his intellectual “church” upon the rock of Plato, the philosopher to whom other philosophers say all must answer. Every advancement in Western Civilization, whether in agreement or not with the Ancient Greeks, is somehow derivative of what Socrates started.
As for Jesus Christ, there is hardly a need to defend this choice. To the extent that Judaism preceded Him and launched Him, He transcended it. As for other religions of the world that already existed, He surpassed them. As for religions that came after, they were in answer to Him. He built His church upon the rock that was Peter, and the world has never been the same.
These two great dissidents had two things in common. First, they were both killed, dramatically and tragically, as thanks for their efforts. Second, and more lastingly, they both embraced a method of teaching that caused them to last eternally and grow in influence:
They asked questions.”
This is one of the best articles on the subject I have read in a long time. It’s not a short read, but well worth your time to read and understand, and share…