Since the news of the Melania’s speech involving plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s campaign speech broke there have been a lot of people on the right trying to justify it and say it is okay. This is infuriating because it says that our principles are not steadfast or true and are only use to convict the Left of their wrongdoing but not our own people. That makes us hypocrites and immoral. So I am going to go over some of the excuses I have heard and tell you why plagiarism is more important than you think.
- Well Hillary and Obama do it too.
I am sorry did we all go back to elementary school and no one tell me? When I was a little girl and I did something wrong and got caught, I was never let off the hook simply because I said, “Well, so and so did it too!” The response I often got back from my mother was, “Well I am not so and so’s mother! I am your mother and in this house we do not do that! And if I was so and so’s mother, they would be in trouble too!” This excuse is very childish and illogical. As if because someone else does something wrong, we should be allowed to get away with it as well.
If you are going to go with that argument you have to start to support the following:
- abortion 2. gay marriage 3. gun confiscation 4. no school choice including homeschooling. 5. mandatory vaccinations 6. euthanasia 7. amnesty for illegals 8. no or limited military spending and resources. 9. larger government 10) no religious liberty.
If you don’t support these things and obviously you don’t if you call yourself conservative then you cannot sit there and say “Well the Left does it, so it is okay.” Since when do we measure ourselves by the Left’s standard and since when has anything the Left has done been okay with us? We must also remember if the roles had been reversed and Michelle had stolen Melania’s speech, we would be having a field day and not excusing Michelle for her duplicity. It can’t be okay for us but not for them, that is not morals that is hypocrisy.
Why it is not okay for conservatives:
In this section, I will give you the Biblical basis for why a particular argument is wrong, while the initial section will deal with it in a more “secularized” way. In this case, it flies in the face of the first commandment, “Have no other god before me.” God gave us Exodus 20, so we may know what is appropriate for us and what is not. The commandments have no caveats, there are no “unless it pertains to the following then I am completely okay with it.” When you start justifying your behavior based upon what your neighbor does, you are lifting that neighbor up over the authority of God and we call that idolatry. While we may live in the world and have to follow the laws of man, our first allegiance is always to God and if man’s rules conflict with God’s, we must adhere to God’s first and foremost.
2. It is just words, it is no big deal
As a writer, this angers me to no end. It is because I am a writer I know how much words matter. Words shape who we are. If you ask people to define themselves, the first word that pops out of their mouths is the word people have told them they are. So if someone says they are dumb, it is because they have been told they are dumb their entire lives. If someone says they are smart, it is because they have been told that as well. The very fact that I started this paragraph with “as a writer” proves my point. I have been told I am a writer all my life so that is how I see myself. It is true, we can accept those words about ourselves or not. But it doesn’t change the fact that words impact who we are. We either accept them and go on with our lives or we reject them and try to create a better life. Words matter.
Why it is not okay for conservatives
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
What was God? THE WORD!!! If that doesn’t matter to you then throw His book away. Throw away the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, throw away the Book of Mormon and every other divine work. Because they are all just words! If words don’t matter why do we care about the Communist Manifesto, they are just words. If they are just words, why do we care if the Koran is being taught to our children?
Our whole first amendment of our constitution deals with your capacity to use words. 1) Freedom of religion-written word of God 2) Freedom of speech-the ability to speak to the government freely and without reprecussions 3) Freedom of press-freedom to write to a large group of people without punishment. 4) Freedom of assembly-free to express ideas and thoughts in groups. 5) Freedom to redress the government-how do most people redress the government? By letter or in these days email. More written words. Words are so important, the very first thing we did as a nation was protect them.
Our Father in heaven cared about words so much that he was the Word. Our Founding Fathers cared about words so much, they protected them at all cost. We should do the same
3. Speechwriters do this kind of stuff all the time.
Then speechwriters should know better. This is not the same as using common idioms or analogies. This is not the same as writing a speech and using the phrase “knowledge is power.” When you use someone else’s words, verbatim, without giving them credit that is plagiarism. Speechwriters know, or should know, that plagiarism is against the law and as such they should take special care. Someone told me, “Well they watch hours of campaign speeches, some of it is bound to get stuck in their head.” That is why we have this thing called plagiarism checkers, so you can check to see if you accidentally copied someone’s else’s work. Also, if you are matching someone’s exact words, the chances are you copying them. There is no getting around that, someone deliberately copied that text…period.
Why it is not okay for conservatives
Plagiarism involves the act of theft. Again we read in Exodus 20:15 Thou shalt not steal. So whether speechwriters do it all the time is immaterial. We are to uphold the commandment thou shall not steal. Just because it was not tangible, it is no less theft. The theft of one’s ideas is why we have copyright, patent, and trademark laws. If you do not think protecting ideas is important then you haven’t read 1984. If you don’t think protecting ideas is important, then wait until your ideas become “illegal.” If you don’t think protecting ideas are important, then you don’t understand the very concept of America. America was and is an idea. An idea that had never been tried before in human history. Theft is never okay. Theft of ideas is diabolical.
The final analysis is this, you cannot hold one side accountable for their actions and not hold your side accountable as well. If we are to have a moral, upright and civilized society, we need to be a society of law and order. If I break the law, whether it is trespass or murder, then I should pay the price for my actions, as long as the punishment fits the crime. No one should be executed for trespass and no one should get community service for murder.
The Right has shown itself not to be the party of law and order. And whether you are stealing someone’s work or booing a candidate for saying you should vote your principles, we have become a nation of hedonistic animals who no longer care for truth, justice, and the American way as we used to hear on Superman (no plagiarizing here), we only care if our side wins and at any cost.