Last week I started talking about having the Moral High Ground.
Per definition, one possesses the Moral High Ground when one displays an understanding of right from wrong, regardless of the laws of the land. Doing what’s right may be illegal, but per the definition, if you are choosing ethical behavior over obeying the law, you can sleep easy (in your jail cell, perhaps, but still…) knowing you possess the Moral High Ground.
Moral High Ground: Even the Ten Commandments?
The Ten Commandments cover a lot of this, and fundamental Christians believe in their perfect law.
- You shall have no other gods before me.
- You shall not make for yourself any likeness of anything that is in heaven above. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God.
- You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
- Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,but the seventh day is a Sabbath. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet anything that is your neighbor’s.
Skipping the first three, as they do not apply to me and my beliefs and breaking them isn’t going to potentially put anyone at physical risk, I covered numbers four through seven.
Let’s start with number EIGHT: You shall not steal.
I think we all agree that walking into a jewelry store and taking a pair of diamond earrings to wear to the ball is pretty trashy behavior. A four-year-old taking a Peppermint Patty from the grocery store (guilty!) is also a no-no. A teenager pocketing tapes and DVDs (guilty!) is rotten. Taking something for the thrill of getting away with a crime, or taking something because you want it SO. FUCKING. BAD. is just plain not good. We’re all on the same sheet of music here. Most of this falls under covetous behavior, which we’ll get into shortly.
But what about when your child is hungry? Is it okay to steal something for your baby to eat? Some would say that accepting welfare is like stealing from the hand of taxpayers. What about when you sneak candy into the theater? You’re stealing profits from the owner’s concession stand. What about burning DVDs? You’re stealing royalties from the musician.
One – I have zero problem considering theft if my children are starving.
Granted, I haven’t been quite that destitute, so it hasn’t been an issue, but YEAH, you read it here first. Andi-Roo would totally steal for her babies. Not a problem. And fuck you if you say you would not steal for your babies, were there no other options available to get food into their mouths. You’re either a very shitty parent or else a liar. I’m not saying it’s nice or pretty. I’m saying it’s the god damn truth. We would all steal to keep our loved ones alive.
Two – I pay taxes, motherfucker.
If I accept welfare from the government, it ain’t theft. It’s called a hand UP. A hand OUT would indicate I didn’t contribute. In which case, STFU because you have no idea what contributions I’ve made. I work, my hubz works, and my son works. My dad served this country, as have I, and my son is enlisting as well. If I qualify for assistance, I’m accepting it, guilt free. Shame on you if you think this is a form of theft. And also? Yippee-Skippee that tragedy hasn’t struck your corner. Now go be thankful for your blessings and quit worrying about what’s happening in my fucking household.
Three – I usually can’t afford to buy shit at the movies.
When I sneak candy into the theater, it’s because I had one-freaking-dollar and I bought something at the gas station. One-freaking-dollar will not score me anything from the theater’s concession stand. I was never going to buy something there anyway. No theft has occurred. So fuck off. Also? Last time I checked, they do not serve McD’s french fries (which also cost one-freaking-dollar). Maybe they should consider a dollar bin for the economically oppressed. Just puttin’ it out there.
Four – We don’t burn DVDs.
With the availability of films online via instant streaming, there is simply no reason we should. I’m not judging you, though.
I will admit we burn CDs from the library, particularly audio books.
But that is actually a GOOD thing, and here’s why. I have never purchased a book-on-CD. I never will. I borrow them from the library and listen to them as I exercise or clean house. But to do so, I have to copy them to my iTunes list so that they play on my iPod. Once I’ve copied the CDs, I return them to the library – thereby placing them back into circulation for other patrons. I’m sure the other borrowers are grateful for my swift turnaround rate. Also? Once I’ve listened to a book in its entirety, I delete it from account. It takes up space and I probably won’t listen to it again. Should I change my mind, I know where to borrow another copy.
Number Nine: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Well, yeah. I got nothing against this one, I guess. Don’t be a freaking liar-face and say shit about people that didn’t really happen. The only time I think of when it would be okay to break this would be if your babies are being threatened. But really, not even then. I’d have to be really imaginative to come up with a reasonable excuse for falsely accusing someone of a crime they didn’t commit.
Number Ten: You shall not covet anything that is your neighbor’s.
First, a definition.
Covet: (verb) to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others; to wish for, especially eagerly; to envy.
I have a difficult time seeing why WANTING SOMETHING REALLY, REALLY BADLY is wrongful. I mean, sure, it can drive you mad with negativity, but as long as you don’t act out on it, the wish itself is none of anybody else’s bees’ wax.
My mom has this hardbound copy of the Complete Shakespeare.
Ever since high school, I have wanted it. I read through it, took notes, rubbed its tattered cover, and wished she would give it to me. For whatever reason, she wouldn’t get up off it. She wouldn’t share her fingernail polishes, perfumes, and body sprays, either. My mom fostered an atmosphere of covetousness. She was selfish with her material objects and held onto them, even if she didn’t use them herself. The more she wouldn’t share, the more I WANTED.
So I stole things.
Nothing big. In elementary school I took things out of other kids’ desks, like pencils and erasers and stickers. As a high school student I shoplifted the tapes and CDs I mentioned earlier. I wasn’t a hardcore criminal, but YES, I was on my way to become such if some morals weren’t introduced. No one noticed I’d become quite the little rat.
But let’s be clear. It wasn’t the coveting that was the problem. It was the thievery. And eventually, I somehow got some morals and realized the error of my ways. Also? Oddly enough, I never stole books. It was as though I held them in too high regard. And my mom still has that god damn copy of Shakespeare. So I bought my own, and I’m happier for it.
My neighbors have a yard to put all others to shame.
I’m not talking about the actual grass or gardening or landscaping. I’m talking about the fact that dude builds something new every summer. He has created a potting shed, a playground, a garage, a covered porch, a workshop… shit, I’d have to go peek over the fence some more to guess what else is back there. And I gotta tell you: We covet the shit out of not only what he’s got, but his carpentry skills and his resources to act on them. It looks fucking great over there. You would covet it, too. Seriously.
There is a very thick and wide line between wanting something badly enough to conk someone over the head to grab it for yourself versus merely admiring what someone else has. This line begs the question of acceptance versus complacency; aspirations versus pie-in-the-sky nonsense. And that’s something I’ll discuss in the coming weeks. I’ll also be discussing the impetus for this series, an interview with Ben Shapiro in which he indicates that the Right must give up the Moral High Ground in order to “win” this crazy war they are waging on the Left. In his words: “If we have the moral high ground it means that we lose.”
Whatever THAT means.