Joseph E. Schmitz (above), former Inspector General of the Pentagon and fellow Team B II co-author of Shariah: The Threat to America, elevates our way of thinking about the divide between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney regarding the essentially American principle of free speech codified in the First Amendment.
The dichotomy between the Obama approach and the Romney approach is a classic manifestation of what C.S. Lewis coined as, “The Principle of First and Second Things.”
First things are core values that define who you are. Second things, e.g., survival and money, are also very important. According to the Principle of First and Second Thing, if you only focus on second things, as important as they are, in the end you fail to achieve those second things -- and in the process you lose your first things. “You can’t get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things first.” C.S. Lewis, “Time and Tide,” reprinted in God in the Dock (1942).
A more recent “first things” expert explained the principle more bluntly, using the most basic of all “second things” to make the point: “The society that believes in nothing worth surviving for -- beyond mere survival -- will not survive.” Peter Kreeft, A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews With An Absolutist, p. 133 (1999).
BTW, Plato said essentially the same thing in 360 B.C.: “there are two different kinds of good things, the merely human and the divine; the former are consequential on the latter. Hence a city which accepts the greater goods acquires the lesser along with them, but one which refuses them misses both. . . .” Plato, The Laws 361b-d (360 BC).
Obama and his team tend to ignore American “first things,” e.g., the principles underlying our First Amendment, and focuses instead only on “second things,” e.g., money and survival – priorities for all humans, even atheist thugs.
Regarding Hillary Clinton’s recent suggestion that, “Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation,” tolerance per se is not an American “first thing.” To quote a famous American immigrant from a paradigmatically intolerant society (Nazi Germany): “Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.” Thomas Mann, “A Good Soldier,” in The Magic Mountain, 611 (1924 as Der Zauberberg) (John E. Woods transl., 2005).
Thank God that Mitt Romney has the courage publically to address American “first things.”