by Deana Chadwell 2/26/17
I am a conservative – i.e. a person who wants to conserve those parts of our national past that have proven effective. America found the formula for maximum freedom and therefore for maximum prosperity. We are the only nation to have figured that out, so please, let’s not lose track of such a divine discovery. In spite of Trump’s victory we still have a large chunk of our population that’s ready to give up freedom. This is not surprising since our educational and media institutions have been trying to rid us of our fundamental national identity for over a hundred years.
The nineteenth century ushered in Charles Darwin. The twentieth century embedded his thinking in our schools and churches. Now, even though his ideas have proven as wobbly as a loose-wheeled cart, twenty-first century Western society perches on his precarious doctrine. Not just science, but society at large, is saturated with the idea that mankind is always getting better, brighter, more tolerant. Nothing in 20th century history bears that out – just the opposite. In fact, the social law of entropy is in full bloom – witness the collapse of much of the Middle East, the failure of our school system, and now the dissolution of the Democrat party. Nevertheless the “progressive” faction soldiers on, convinced that the perfect society is within reach and, more importantly, all that stands between humans and Nirvana is the past. If we can just sever ourselves from the embarrassing evidence of man’s flawed nature, we can move back into Eden. And what keeps that from happening? Writing.
Written documents are the basis for a successful society. Those communities without a written set of rules and ideas have stayed primitive and poverty-stricken. Those nations that have put in writing, or carved in stone, their most basic ideals and ideas have been more free to go about the business of conquering their environments and making both financial and social progress. The written–ness of documents, like our Constitution and the Bible, help maintain a stability, a continuity that provides a solid platform on which to build innovation and social improvements. If the documents are of questionable value (the Koran, for instance) the society suffers and even if those documents are of the very best and the nation fails to pass on their value and importance, the result will be the same – poverty and violence. Our nation is balanced right now on just such a razor’s edge.
America has based its social interactions and its governance on the two most important documents in human history. We have one historical foot placed square on the Ten Commandments and the other settled solidly on the Bill of Rights. And yet, the last administration did all it could to dislodge this stance. In fact the last century has seen a consistent hammering that has chipped away at these foundations; both government (through education and legislation, through court decisions and administrative dictates) and the 4th estate (through ridicule and neglect) have been whacking away at our foundational writings for decades.
Let’s look first at the importance of the Ten Commandments, which is not just a set religious dictates; it is a common sense guide to the behavior of wise and good people. The first demands that we love God. The second reiterates that by banning the worship of graven images. The third told us to avoid bandying about God’s name – swearing by Him, as if our word was as good as His. These first commandments merely underline that any law without the backing of our Creator will serve no purpose. We have to start there, with the understanding that God IS, and that He is absolutely perfect. Once there, a population, for the most part, polices itself and very little government is necessary. An appreciation of God is the foundation of freedom. A nation of atheists who had never been exposed to the behaviors delineated in the Commandments would cannibalize itself in just a few generations unless a heavy-handed government stepped in to control the population’s every move. Such a government would also operate sans God’s rules, thereby becoming ruthless and cruel, totalitarian and itself lawless.
But, but, but says the atheist, the Muslim, the Buddhist, don’t we have freedom of religion here? Well, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” doesn’t really say that you can believe anything you, or someone else, can conjure up. If you join a cult that practices human sacrifice, you’ll find yourself at odds with the law. If, you decide to become an Islamic jihadi, the DHS will not buy the 1st Amendment argument.
The next commandment tells us to take a day off each week. Man doesn’t appear to have ever done that prior to Moses and the Commandments. This Sabbath arrangement has two obvious purposes: one to set aside time to recognize our Creator, to celebrate all He has done for us, and for our own good, to take some time off, to rest. This is a practice we’d be wise to reinstate; too many of us work all the time and then we wonder why we suffer through divorces, drugged children, and heart disease.
We are to honor our parents. If we did that, a large part of our school problems would evaporate, crime rates would go way down, and divorce rates may even slow. Parents, of course, need to be honorable, which gets us back to the other Mosaic mandates. A man who loves God and honors his mother is more likely to treat his wife and children wisely and well. Parents who avoid adultery and prevarication are more likely to be respected by their children. It goes round and round, but note, if the majority of Americans adhered to or even attempted to adhere to these commands, how much less government intervention in our lives would be necessary. If most of us walked away from the temptation to covet what others have, socialism would have no devotees.
Look for a moment at the 6th and 8th commandments and then think about cities like Chicago and Detroit. Both sins are making these cities into war zones so violent police can’t get control. Murder has become a way of life in those cities.
Now turn your gaze to the 2nd Amendment. What would happen in those cities if citizens were not hampered in their ability to protect themselves? And, on the other hand, what would fighting that crime look like without the 3rd and 4th Amendments – police ransacking their way through our houses, bedding down there if they felt like it. What would being arrested look like without the 5th, 6th, 7thand 8th amendments? If the police could force you to confess, could hold you in jail indefinitely, could turn your trial over to a judge, whom you’d have to face on your own. What if, once the sham of a trial was over, the judge could sentence you to be drawn and quartered?
Why is it that our government was willing to give its approval to such limited powers? Because those framers of the Constitution knew that their constituencies were people who already governed themselves; they knew that they could govern the society with very light reins.
The balance created by these 20 laws has made America great. Ten laws to govern the people, and 10 to govern the government, and if we have even one more generation that doesn’t have those ideas embedded in their bones, we will not survive.
Deana Chadwell blogs at ASingleWindow.com and is a writing and speech professor at Pacific Bible College in Southern Oregon.
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