We really shouldn’t have to remind ourselves of that which is real and true, but we seem to be losing sight of all veracity. Technology makes it easy to pretend, to make up a preferred world, a virtual world where we can vote away poverty and war, self-discipline and work, morality and consequences. We need to be slapped back into the real world, and the real world can be briefly summed up as follows:
1. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
No individual and no group ranks higher than anyone else. Those in government are as likely to be evil as anyone else, for evil exists in the heart of man. People lie, and people in power lie more often than the rest of us. People in illegitimate power lie the most. Obama lying about the efficacy of the ACA is amazing not because he said it, but because so many people believed it. Perhaps those people also believe that we can create a better reality by lying about this one. We can’t. The nature of man is what it is and the only way to deal with it is to believe on Jesus’ work on the cross. No other method has ever been discovered.
2. Honor your father and your mother. Exodus 20:12
Family holds a society together. The mothers and fathers of each family unit are the most basal level of authority. When our forefathers were planning our new government they researched ancient governments that had been highly effective. They looked at the Law of ancient Israel. They looked at the Greek democracies. And they studied the old Anglo Saxon hundreds. A hundred was a piece of land that could support 100 households, or hides. Each hundred was divided up into 10 tithes for more local administration. Each tithe contained roughly 10 households, each of which was ruled by the family patriarch (and matriarch – though her husband wouldn’t have admitted it). It was this structure that inspired our local/county/state/federal arrangement. And at the bottom of it all is the family. If the family crumbles it all collapses.
Let’s say in one tithe half of the fathers have sex with women from other tithes and children ensue, then where do those children belong? What happens to their mothers? Under whose jurisdiction are they? What if this causes war between one family and another? Who takes care of the abandoned wives? If two of the men in this group decide they prefer each other to any wife, then that tribe has been robbed of two families worth of children. Crumble, crumble. It does no good to redefine “family.” It does no good to redefine “marriage.” The reality is society only runs smoothly with a mother and father in command of each family.
3. Love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:31
Not only are we to care for others, we are to love and respect our selves. Human beings are motivated by enlightened self-interest. God designed us that way. It is not the same thing as narcissism or selfishness; it does not imply a lack of care for others. It goes hand in hand with the primary importance of the family. If we concentrate on making things good for our selves, and our family, then the nation will prosper, wealth will be created and poverty, and most crime, will dissipate. Read about the first years in Jamestown 1607-1610 – they lived under a communal system, the men worked as bonded labor, not as independent landowners, and ¾ of the colony starved to death. Eventually they reorganized, allowed each family its own plot of land, learned to grow and market tobacco, and prospered. But first they had to harness the individual reality of self-interest.
Corollary to the concept of enlightened self-interest -- making a profit is not a vice; it is evidence that we are doing a good job providing for our families and producing something useful for our communities. We are so constructed as to expect some payoff for our labor, for our risk-taking, for our creative production. Profit is how we measure that payoff. Remember Paul’s admonition: The one who is not willing to work shall not eat. 2nd Thessalonians 3:10
4. The poor you will always have with you. Matthew 26:11
Making someone else poor does not make anyone else rich. A recent headline announced: “Top 85 richest people are worth more than the 3.5 billion poorest.” So? This smacks of a toddler complaint – Johnny got a bigger cookie than I did. How is it a problem that some people become very rich? It matters if they did anything immoral or illegal to gain that money, but by what method, and under what moral code, can that wealth be confiscated? How do we know that a person’s fortune is not a gift for him from God? What makes us the judge of whether or not he needs that income?
And we can’t pawn our own personal and spiritual growth off onto others. No one gets virtue credit for forcing someone else to fulfill our charitable duties. Suggesting that another person give his/her wealth to assuage our guilt/concern for the poor is just gilded form of theft.
5. There will be wars and rumors of wars. Matthew 24:6
Downplaying our need to protect our selves and our allies in no way prevents war and in fact may cause it. Turning our noses up and disdaining the military does nothing to dissuade Iran or any other radical Muslim group. They still want to kill us. Why? Because they are unrestrained evil, not because we are. No amount of self-flagellation, appeasement and pussy-footing will dissuade the Islamists from carrying out their demonic plans. No amount of pretending that Islam is a religion of peace will make it one.
These realities are tough. They are carved into the stone of the highest mountain, engraved on all healthy souls, etched into the subconscious of every sensible person. They will not go away.