Building Lives and Nations Requires Unchanging Truths
Listen to John Adams and George Washington.
We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion…Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. — John Adams
Why do progressives so aggressively persist in creating flawed public policies that run counter to the Judeo-Christian faith and the values that create strong families and strong nations, when the facts so clearly demonstrate the cost to the American people and our nation of the folly of their inventions? Anyone not blinded by ideology can see the exorbitant price we are paying for the breakdown of the family, disintegration of moral restraint, and cultural upheaval. Years of analyzing the trend data have convinced me that the left’s rejection of traditional Judeo-Christian morality is at the root of most broken relationships — including family breakdown. Growing up in material prosperity can never compensate for those conditions of moral poverty that inevitably produce isolation, despair, and emotional pain.
In the absence of family and faith, ideas, values and behavior are subconsciously imbibed from the cruder elements of the culture and are cheapened by the activities of those who seek to make a profit or advance themselves without regard for morality or even decency; likewise, in the absence of a strong religious influence, culture and circumstances are also affected by the era’s dominant ideas and values. They interact like a river and its banks. Usually the flow of the river is directed by the banks, but at times, the river shapes the banks, as powerful surges erode and overflow the surrounding territory. A seemingly invulnerable boulder in the midst of a river redirects the current; but, under certain circumstances, the current of the river can move the obstruction, or over time, reshape the hardest rock. Sometimes cultural ideals and values are as obvious to observers as the dam that blocks the flow of a river; other times they are hidden from view like a riptide under the ocean’s surface that only the trained observer can detect even when people are getting caught and swept away.
For nearly fifty years, opinion leaders, from Hollywood actors and entertainment celebrities to academic intellectuals and policy makers, have relentlessly sold and modeled a self-indulgent lifestyle that is supposedly “natural” and completely free of any negative consequences. Fiction has been labeled fact: narcissistic self-centeredness has been the epitome of glamour, sophistication, and a natural characteristic of the good life. “Edginess” and “attitude” are essential to a “hip” and “cool” image. No effort has been spared to promote a rose-colored view of promiscuity.
Much as bad money drives good money out of circulation, liberal ideas and values — tailored to the baser parts of human nature — have too often prevailed in the competition with traditional values and ideas. Liberal researchers have produced an endless stream of studies obfuscating the causes of the nation’s social problems and sugarcoated the ill effects of utopian policies. But the obvious correlations in the data have been downplayed by cautions about selection bias. There was an enormous effort to keep the focus off the clearly evident negative consequences of the non-traditional lifestyles approved of — no, tirelessly advocated by — those who had participated in the 1960s sexual revolution that overthrew the Judeo-Christian foundations of our social order.
We are not yet to the point that there is consensus about the detrimental effects on culture and society when strong families no longer provide the stability needed for community cohesiveness. We are not yet to the point where the general public is ready to admit that without moral absolutes to restrain selfish behavior, our children are at risk.
But, reality continues to force itself on us. Situations like the Boston Marathon bombing, the Ariel Castro kidnapping, the Navy Yard shootings, and the recent tragedy in Ferguson, remind us that utopia is not realistic. When there are no underlying moral principles providing a foundation for society, when there are no institutional values unifying the populace, even the best programs and most honorable of intentions are doomed to failure. It is not enough to be well intentioned if, at the same time people are unrealistic. Societies around the world have suffered grievously from programs and policies that were marketed as steps to a better world. Yet intelligent people persist in turning a blind eye to the enslavement and death that has followed from each new Utopian scheme sold as offering freedom from the “obligations of traditional morality.” We are assured that the actors in each of these tragedies meant well, despite having failed miserably and on a colossal scale, as is documented by an abundance of historical data as well as the contemporary wreckage on display in many locations in America today.
We are learning — the hard way — that “truth will out.” And it is not your truth or my truth but The Truth –– the Judeo-Christian values, principles and standards of behavior that generations of people and successful nations throughout history have used as the foundation on which to build their lives and their societies. Certainly, this wisdom prevailed from the beginning of this great nation, but has now been cast aside for fanciful, unproven theories. We will only regain what we have lost if we acknowledge the obvious truth summarized succinctly by George Washington, “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.”
First published at the American Spectator
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