The Decline of the American Republic and the Return to the Lord
German Muñoz, Ph.D.
September 13, 2010
How Freedom Dies
When Christ said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing,” He was not kidding. The Lord was simply putting the creatures in their appropriate place, and giving them a lesson in humility. For this reason, when elites choose the love of vice over the love of God, self-destruction is at hand. They become full of themselves instead of full of God. Selfishness wins over charity. The acquisition of power and pleasure become the main goals.
One universal indicator of the decline of most constitutional republics is massive debt. The ruling classes use the debt to pay off, bribe, or bail out their political allies. Dying republics promise the voters more governmental services than can be paid by their declining productive classes. Eventually, the government goes broke and can not pay the debt.
Therefore, the debt will have to be paid by future generations and by foreign interests. This injustice against powerless future citizens will be made worse by the loss of national sovereignty. Out of control inflation is a typical result of massive debt arising from uncontrolled greed.
By this time, a culture of entitlement has spread throughout the society. People have become corrupted by their leaders as they promise benefits which the recipients do not have to pay. Corrupt leaders understand that the only way to rule is to increase the number of followers who depend on the subsidies from government. Ideally, the role of government should be to empower people not to need much of its services.
Even aliens feel entitled as they illegally cross over the borders and demand economic benefits and political participation, undermining those valuable and much needed immigrants who wait patiently to come to the country legally.
In the end, the people who have enjoyed the greatest benefits from the republic are the ones who are more likely to betray it. The elites resent any restrictions on their hunger for power. They will seek the elimination of constitutional restraints on the abuse of power such as separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism, and bills of rights.
Even diplomats will betray the republic as they side with foreign masters. The collaboration of Big Government, Big Business, Big Labor, and Big Media will create a Fascist dynamic which will strangle free enterprise, competition, innovation, and increase unemployment. They will redirect the national wealth to their narrow interests.
Nation-building efforts abroad undermine the vitality of the people and sabotage the constitution. The elites, to support pseudo international allies, will permit the immigration into the country of people who do not understand the meaning and the practice of freedom. What is worse, many of our young people will die to support worthless regimes.
The dying constitutional republic is affected by additional factors:
· Presidents deceive instead of illuminate
· Law-makers bribe and lie instead of legislate
· Judges legislate instead adjudicate
· The powerful intimidate instead of debate and persuade
· Journalists fabricate and advocate instead of investigate
· Schools and universities indoctrinate instead of educate
· Government unions confiscate instead of innovate
· Big Business emigrates instead of generate
· Families disintegrate instead of cultivate
· Parents terminate instead of procreate
· Hollywood denigrate instead of elevate
· The culture divide instead of integrate
Naturally, there are many ethical people in the above-mentioned groupings. They navigate through the abyss instead of abdicate. However, once the overall corruption reaches critical mass, it is hard for them to save the republic. Any moral restoration requires divine intervention.
The republic is dying because of sinfulness. Sin is a spiritual attack against God. Any assault against God is always a defiance of His truth, His goodness, His justice, and His beauty. It is no wonder that our culture is so full of intellectual confusion, evil, injustice and ugliness.
Humans are the ones who have ruined the republic. One cannot expect them to save it. Therefore, any chance of renewal depends on the grace of God working through those who have become holy. Holiness is nothing but the merging of our individual wills with the will of God.
Even after this process of sanctification, of painful purification, there is no guaranteeing that the republic can be saved. The only institution He promised to preserve till the end of time is the Church. However, we hope that God will not abandon a people who have remained faithful to Him and are committed to the love of God and of neighbor.
Christ, the Lord of History
The Declaration of Independence of the United States teaches that God endowed us with such inalienable rights as the right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to pursue our own personal happiness. At this point in our history, it is wise to turn to Him.
The imitation of Christ is the most powerful action for the transformation of the human heart. It empowers the improvement of society by creating better families, schools, churches, communities, small businesses, local governments, and many other important institutions. If one has difficulty in understanding what His will is, it is profitable to reflect on what He has already done as the Lord of History:
· Redeemed the world by paying for our sins with His life (Humani Generis)
· Raised the value of the family in a world full of polygamy, divorce, and violence against women, and redeemed marriage with its unity, indissolubility, and sanctity (Matthew 19:4-6)
· Made marriage a sacrament and not just a civil contract (Genesis 2:18)
· Made husbands and wives servants of each other (Ephesians 5:25,33)
· Emphasized the dignity of all people and warned us against stressing the differences among them above our common origins and humanity. Our diversity must not destroy our university, what makes us all the same as humans. (Galatians 3:28)
· Saw women as equal in dignity as men (Galatians 3:28)
· Raised the value of the child in a world involved in abortions, infanticide, euthanasia, and other practices of killing babies and children (Mathew 18:3-6)
· Sanctified labor in a world which hated manual work and where slaves had no rights before the law (Mark 6:3)
· Exalted the weak, the oppressed, children, and workers in a world where the poor were hated as inferior, dishonorable, and forgotten people (Luke 4:18-19, Matthew 5:3, Matthew 19:21, Matthew 25:40)
· Urged the charitable use of wealth while not condemning riches (Luke 6:38)
· Taught that helping the poor is not a question of justice but of charity, of love (Mark 12:30-31)
· Preached justice which begins with giving God what is due to Him (Matthew 5:6)
· Taught that charity or love fills the gaps left over by justice which gives the people only what they deserve (Mark 12:30-31)
· Demanded that we love our enemies (Matthew 5:44)
· Preached mercy in order to receive mercy (Matthew 5:7)
· Made clear that what makes you unclean is not what comes from outside but what comes from within such as pride, greed, envy, sloth, wrath, gluttony, and lust (Mark 7:21-23)
· Said that salvation comes from doing the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21)
· Taught humility (Luke 14:11)
· Counseled not to adore the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5-6)
· Made the distinction between the realm of Caesar (government) and the realm of God and gave more importance to the latter (Luke 20:20-26, Mark 12:17)
No republic can withstand the massive corruption of its ruling elites. At the end, what happens is that the elites abandon the republic as they betray the principles of limited government, natural law, and freedom. Personal repentance for sinfulness, the exercise of humility, obedience to His moral order, and love of the Lord and our neighbors are necessary for the restoration of the republic. However, even these might not be sufficient.
Christ did not come to promote a particular political agenda, ideology, or government. His Kingdom is not of this world. However, it can start now if people are willing to follow Him. There are only two commandments required to be part of His realm: to love God and to love neighbor. On these commandments we can all build better institutions.
Some critics will complain about bringing Christ into the political equation arguing that religion need not be a part of the correction to what ails us. However, this criticism is very weak. The fact is that close to 80% of Americans are Christians. The effort to make them better persons by making them more holy will heal the entire country and spread the good fruits to non-Christians as well. Besides, He is the Lord of all.
The secularists among us have never understood that their aggressive efforts to separate Christians from their Lord have not led to more just societies. The undermining of Christianity in previously faithful countries usually leads to the same end-Fascism. Religious minorities usually find better protection where Christianity is the strongest and holiest, as long as they have religious freedom. This is so because Christianity, in spite of its sinful members, is a religion whose essence is to love and to sacrifice for others. Where Christians are faithful and loving the entire land and people prosper. Long live the Lord.