At what point did our thinking tank?
Was it when we abandoned our work ethic and became dependent on handouts from the government? Maybe it was before that when we refused to curb our spending because of our own personal and corporate greed. Could it have tanked when we accepted the proposition that government really does know what is best – rather than the individual? Or was it in the midst of all of this when we simply stopped believing that our voices could even be heard within the sea of corruption that stymies Washington?
Regardless, it appears that many of us haven’t let the collective brain melt bother us too much because we don’t think that politics affects us immediately or personally. The sad thing is we are wrong and unaware of the degree to which it does. So we plod along through our days, weeks and months wholly unconscious that we are being stripped of our liberties one by one – a little here, a little there, just so that we barely notice. Sadly, when we finally do notice we may find that the decisions made by those in power affect us much more personally than many of us ever imagined they would.
For our part, I think we tend toward one of these three schools of thought.
One, we are in agreement with big government’s policies and don’t take issue with whatever our party thinks is best. “After all, they must have our best interests at heart.” We reason, “Those who disagree are against progress and motivated by self-interest not the good of the whole.”
Two, we just don’t want to get involved. We tell ourselves, “It takes too much time. I’m not sure I’m really qualified to speak to those issues. I’ll let the person who handles those kind of things handle them. Surely someone is holding them accountable. I have a business and a family to manage, why should I concern myself with the bureaucracy of people out of my scope of reference.”
Three, we are scared – scared of the implications if we stand up and speak out. We ask, “What if I’m wrong? I don’t have all the answers. When is it right to speak up, and when should I just be silent? What kind of response will I receive?”
For many I have noticed the tendency to jump on the bandwagon of popular thought, or that thought which everyone applauds as forward and inclusive. But for the one who differs on politics or issues of faith there is often no parade. Fear may cause him to tiptoe through a landmine of friends whom he is worried about upsetting lest he bring a firestorm down on himself along with the label intolerant. This same fear may keep others from coming to his aid.
These paradigms are nothing new. They play out day to day, from decade to decade, which is why this at some point ceases to be about politics or even current events. For at the end of the day all politics is folly, and every society a vapor, a breath. Every man’s reason is flawed and every man is subject to his Creator.
With this in mind we must ask ourselves. Are some ideas superior to others? The answer is yes, because truth is non-negotiable. Are some governments superior? Again, yes. It must be so because absolutes do exist. There are universal, physical and moral laws that we are bound by, and they demand adherence. Above all we must value the right of individuals to live their lives and sustain their liberty in peace. The entanglements of an invasive government choke out liberty. Therefore the government which protects its people without encroaching on their liberties is a superior form of government.
Let us not forget these words penned by our forefathers, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Declaration of Independence 1776
These men believed we each have a right to the pursuit of happiness but not necessarily to happiness itself or to another’s pursuit of happiness on our behalf. We lose ourselves when others begin making decisions for us. That is why we have a bill of rights.
George Washington said, “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
More recently Gerald Ford stated, "Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows us that as a government grows, liberty decreases."
We can no longer be bullied by a power-hungry government. We must no longer allow our taxes to be spent on stimulus packages the government can neither afford nor implement. No matter how good they are for us.
Is it my job to care for the widow and the orphan? Yes it is, but it is not government’s job to make me care for the widow and the orphan. This is the responsibility of the church and the individual. And we – the church, have failed on many fronts. First we have failed to speak truth with boldness, clarity and love, and secondly, we have been slow to follow through on Jesus’ command to take care of the least of these.
Are we selfish? Yes, we are, and we should weep over this sin. But the answer to our problems does not come by throwing money that we do not have at these problems. It certainly does not come from giving our earth more attention than we do her Creator. It comes only through repenting as a nation over our sin. This sin has been committed, not against the nations of the world, but against our God whom we have ignored. It is then and only then that our thinking will begin to rise from the gutter in which it now stagnates.
Maybe we should take our cue from the Old Testament which reads, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14