I pulled this clip from Obama’s “Job Summit” speech this afternoon to highlight something that's gone terribly awry with our culture: the right to human dignity. Like human rights, human dignity used in the postmodern, abstract, humanist sense, has nothing to do with the traditional (read: correct) meaning of the phrase.
All human beings are alike in having been made in the image of God, but that is not the same thing as saying that they share equally in the divine dignity, any more than they share in the divine goodness. President Obama thinks everyone is entitled to healthcare, money (spreading it around), and a job, to name just a few. But many men and women have no aspirations; make no demands on themselves, yet demand that all their demands should be met as they demand them.
Socialism has no standards regarding behavior or aspiration. Socialism is much more than an economic and political system. Socialism is a way of viewing oneself in relation to the world, and to other people. Socialism has a face, just as monarchy does. The face of monarchy is the king’s face. The face of socialism is the mob in all its dreary conformity, vulgarity, sloppiness, and lack of dignity.
Dignity is always established and maintained at the pinnacle of society, as a model for the classes below it, to imitate and maintain. But the modern world captivated by Obama is a place without dignity, a world where the true thing is highly suspect. Indeed, this highest and most noble, perhaps, of all human qualities is despised in men (e.g., strong faith and conviction in their faith, character (as opposed to today’s value placed on a character), and hard work with just rewards).
Dignity is imposed from the top down, but the top is not President Obama, or the king. The top is the throne of God.
If dignity is not to be found in God, then where else could it possibly be found? The modern answer seems to be the United Nations, where notions such as the Dignity of Man and Human Rights are loudly professed and defended. But human dignity, as the phrase is used today, does not dignify human beings, nor does it really try to. Instead, it dignifies man’s wants and preferences by elevating them to the status of rights. In this way, men are said to hold dignity by virtue of demanding things, not of being something in themselves. And instead of God receiving all the glory, we reserve the right to take it for ourselves in hopes that others praise our accomplishments. But just like love, one can not possess dignity unless it is derived from the Source – and I’m not talking about Obama. On the other hand, God, the gentleman that He is, dignifies Himself by allowing us the freedom to reject his Heavenly gifts for those of men.