My wife and I took three of our grandkids to Disneyland last week; a memorable trip and surprisingly thought-provoking. It had been some years since we had visited the Magic Kingdom so we were totally out of practice in exposing little ones to the flamboyant characters in their vivid habitat. About 4 minutes into the creepy Bug’s Life attraction, we scurried out of the 3D theater with our arms full of Mickey Mouse hats, cones of cotton candy, and three screaming, terrified children.
A gentle float through Small World soothed the young sensibilities and gave us time to map out a path through the softer side of the Happiest Place on Earth. But at every turn was the winning Disney formula; nasty villains threatening cruel acts against sweet characters and a hero who always saves the day by kicking the villain’s ass. It was Peter Pan versus Captain Hook to save Wendy, Eric versus Ursula to save Ariel, and the Prince versus the Evil Queen to save Snow White.
The conspicuous difference in this Disneyland visit compared to all of our previous trips was in the makeup of the crowd. Everywhere we looked, there were women wearing the hijab, the Muslim scarf. We even saw one gal in a full burka. I estimate that traditionally-dressed Muslims represented less than 1% of the visitors that day, but they were always noticeable in their antithetic garb.
I don’t pretend to understand much about the Muslim experience. But, where Christianity’s hero turned water into wine for a party, Islam’s hero would have punished people for drinking it. My curiosity was piqued at what must have been transpiring inside their minds, immersed in the same basic training that most of us Americans experienced while growing up; simple good guy versus bad guy tales where good guy always wins. And P.S., bad guys are jerks. Don’t root for the bad guy.
I do not despise Muslims for their religious beliefs. But I detest and reject the political articulation of their intolerant, discriminatory, chauvinistic, and anti-Semitic belief system. I could not help imagining that the ISIS version of The Happiest Place on Earth would feature shows where Wendy ends up on the Captain’s hook, Ursula fillets Ariel and the Evil Queen stones Snow White just before beheading Eric. And during Fantasmic, Disneyland’s greatest nightly performance surrounding the good versus evil plot, I began to realize the prominent exploitation of rotten people’s most effective tool: fear.
The prominent jerks of today are, of course, islamofascists. We call them terrorists because their primary tactic seems to be scaring people into submission. They follow in the wicked custom of the Vikings, the Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan. By committing ever-increasing imaginations of violent debauchery, they create for themselves the deviant euphoria of becoming someone to be feared. And while not as violent, we also see the advancement of purpose through fear in many other bullies of the world; the IRS, court-controlling litigators, and that one particular TSA agent at the Kansas City airport.
Heroes earn respect. Bullies demand fear. But fear is not only an undeserved position for cruel mortals. It turns out that fear is something sacred. Please forgive my quoting the Bible in an article written for the finance section of a political publication, but I have come to believe that this is of ultimate importance toward us humans optimally living among other humans.
Jeremiah 5:22-24 reads: “Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say to themselves, 'Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’”
As America’s founding fathers openly recognized in the Declaration of Independence, Nature’s God is the ultimate power as mankind’s Creator and giver of individual rights. The next, highest authority is the people. The people are the grantors of rights to the government, empowering elected officials, bureaucrats, the military, and law enforcement with the assignment of ensuring the people’s rights. In this hierarchy of the Laws of Nature, the only ones who should fear the government are those who assault the rights of the people. The one entity named to fear the people is the government. And the people are of right to fear Nature’s God.
The eternal struggle between Nature’s God and His creation is reflected in claiming the right to be feared. Bullies want to turn the natural hierarchy upside down, with their names at the top. Evil lusts for the reverence that belongs only to the Creator.
And believe it or not, evil is also addressed in America’s founding document: “…experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
The most meaningless catchphrase recorded in a presidential library is, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s attempt, during his first inaugural address in 1933, at calming the panic of the Great Depression. Sorry, Mr. President, but these are empty words – and misguided. The only thing free people have to fear is Nature’s God.