The latest social trend – actually going on for a few decades now – is an anything goes mentality, a new amoral standard that there is no right and wrong, we are at liberty to do just about anything we damned well please.
Faith is mocked, churches are mocked, Christianity is mocked. Morality is old fashioned and those who promote it are called old fashioned, bigots, or intolerant. In fact, “tolerate everything” is the new highest value.
Our several million morally challenged citizens fail to realize that their abuse of liberty destroys their liberty and ours, as if they care. How is our liberty being abused? By the absence of personal responsibility. Personal liberty without personal responsibility results in chaos and anarchy – unless government comes to the rescue. This explains the unbridled growth of government to do the things that the irresponsible citizens refuse to do. Everything from educating our children, to babysitting, to feeding, to health care, to protecting us from ourselves in a thousand ways is the new found role of our federal government.
The relationship between the level of our personal responsibility, the resulting demand for more government (to do or control the things that the irresponsible fail to do or control) and the resulting loss of liberty is illustrated in the graphic below.
Here are the relationships that our population refuses to grasp:
- The greater we exercise our self discipline and personal responsibility as individuals, the LESS government is needed to provide for or to control us.
- The less we exercise our self discipline and personal responsibility, the MORE government is needed to provide for or to control us.
- The MORE we allow or demand government to provide for or control us, the fewer liberties we retain. They are subject to the arbitrary and universal requirements of the government.
- The LESS we allow or demand government to provide for or control us, the MORE liberties we retain. We retain our own autonomy to do what we believe is best for ourselves.
These are facts of life which are basic Biblical principles. Namely, the more we trust Christ, the more we will desire to obey his moral commandments and the less we will need external coercive means (like oppressive, depersonalized government) to control our behavior or to make up for our irresponsibility.
The remaing problem is which level of governance if most appropriate for what type of activity or human need.
The main levels of governance are, from smallest to largest are:
- The individual
- The family
- The neighborhood
- The city
- The county
- The region
- The state
- The nation
- Multi-national institutions (League of Nations; United Nations)
Each level has an appropriate set of duties and responsibilities. Unfortunately, too many duties and responsibilities have been pushed to higher and higher levels primarily because of the failure of exercising responsible behavior at the individual and local government levels.
Starting with the individual, he is either a believer and follower of God (the one True God) or he is not. To the extent he is a believer/follower, he will be governed by the laws of God (God’s moral principles). He will do this willingly out of love for and sense of awe toward his Creator. This is different from the compulsion felt from ideologies like Islam, where fear and intimidation through human actions force compliance.
Without such faith in God, the individual is left to his own devices, more like a pack of animals. The pack animal behavior in the US is growing, but is still constrained by the remnants of Christian morality left over from past decades. As Christian faith and morality recede, the pack animal instincts will increase. A stark example of this is the behavior of people in predominantly Islamic countries of the Middle East. If it isn’t Islam that controls the population, it will be some form of oppressive dictatorship that is required to control the population that otherwise lacks a sense of self-discipline and personal responsibility.
The higher the levels of government, such as the nation or multi-national institutions, the more they should be limited to research, voluntary coordination, or advisory roles and the less they should impose mandates on the lower levels of government. Unfortunately that has not been the case. The exception, and the primary legitimate purpose of the federal government is the national defense and facilitation of trade between nations. This role has been exceeded a thousand-fold.
As progressives insist, we are “progressing” toward less and less personal responsibility, more and more oppressive government, and less and less personal liberty.
That is the price of jettisoning our centuries of Christian faith and moral compass.