A “frenetic intemperance” is destabilizing our economy. It is a restless, explosive and relentless drive inside man. It seeks to throw off all legitimate restraints and gratify all disordered passions.
The Troubles We Now Face
Because of “frenetic intemperance,” our economy is coming apart under crushing debt obligations: personal, corporate, state and local government, out-of-control federal spending and debt, runaway trade deficits, a manufacturing base that has largely moved off-shore, and a wobbly dollar whose currency reserve status is increasingly challenged around the world. Crippling socialist regulations, laws, and taxes stifle businesses and individuals alike, squashing initiative and removing incentives to work and invest.
No one expects a house without a foundation to survive a hurricane. Likewise, it is unreasonable to expect that, as the winds resulting from decades of profligate, irresponsible behavior reach gale strength, our society will withstand their destructive power.
Will America Survive?
The crumbling of the “American way of life” does not necessarily mean the end of America. We must pray, work and trust in God that from the debris of our crumbling society, a new America will arise — an America of faith and family, service and honor.
It all hinges on how we confront the coming economic collapse.
This collapse may come suddenly, or in stages, like the steps of a staircase. In either case, we must be prepared.
Drawn from John Horvat’s ground-breaking book Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go, here are 10 Steps that will help you and your family.
1. Stand Your Ground
In face of the crisis, some suggest we flee to America’s remote recesses or move abroad. This is wrong, for the world is so interconnected and interdependent today that the crisis will reach us, one way or another. More importantly, now is the time to fight for America, not abandon her.
Wherever you live and whatever your occupation, you must stand your ground, fighting for the common good of the nation — legally and peacefully.
2. Reject False Solutions
False solutions abound. Know them and reject them. False solutions from the Left include: the push for more socialism, the surrender of our sovereignty to international courts, the move toward global government, and sub-consumerist, neo-tribal, and ecological ideologies. False solutions from the Right include a quasi-anarchical aversion to government, the nullification movement, secessionism, and off-the-grid survivalism.
3. Prepare with Prudence
Prudence is the virtue whereby we choose the adequate means to achieve our goal. In confronting a crisis, we often find it easier to focus on the practical measures. Certainly these are not to be neglected, but assembling the spiritual means that will help tackle troubles ahead is more important.
For this, you must strengthen your faith, fortify your principles, and reinforce your convictions. Start this prudent preparation with prayer and calm, reasoned reflection. It will make your principles solid and your attachment to our institutions firm. Only profound and solid reasons will sustain you in the hard, long struggle.
4. Examine Lifestyles and Personal Habits
The movement to turn America around starts within each of us, on the individual plane. Since frenetic intemperance and selfish individualism are at the root of our socio-economic troubles, we must resolutely oppose them in our personal lives.
This means eliminating certain habits and lifestyles, for example: spending beyond your means or on fads and fashions; making unwise, even reckless investments; being swept away by stress-filled schedules; allowing the frenzy of technological gadgetry to dominate your life; putting money above family, community or religion; preferring quantity over quality; and having an aversion to leisure and reflection.
5. Ponder the Moral Dimension
Frenetic intemperance is rooted in selfish unrestraint. It fosters individualism, whereby God and neighbor are shut out from the imagined universe we create for ourselves. But Saint John teaches: “[H]e that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not?” (1 John 4:20). How very different is the guiding principle preached and lived by Our Divine Savior: “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Through the generous giving of self we eradicate frenetic intemperance and selfish individualism from our lives.
Whatever America’s economic collapse entails for you and your family, developing the habit of self-sacrifice is excellent spiritual preparation. Indeed, this dedication to others and to the common good, this true charity, has sustained every Christian society for 2,000 years.
6. It Takes a Family
Parents correctly see their children as extensions of themselves and sacrifice for them. In turn, children feel compelled by the ties of nature to love, honor, and sacrifice for their parents who collaborated with God to give them their existence. These bonds of affection and service tend naturally to expand, moving beyond the nuclear to the extended family: grandparents, cousins, uncles, and so on.
Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum correctly noted that, “It takes a family.” The family is a powerful and affectionate social safety net, and can provide many of the services usurped by the cold modern State. As an economic entity, the family tends to create patterns of production and consumption different from the flawed individualist model of today.
From the economic standpoint, the temperate structures of family tradition protect men from cut-throat competition. The predatory influence of usury is lessened since many have recourse to the family in times of need.
Your family’s loving ambience is the easiest place for you to practice Christian charity.
7. It Takes a Village
From her perch on the Left, Hillary Clinton wrote that, “It takes a village.” This is perhaps the one point where we agree with her, though the underlying spirit is different. Hers is a socialist outlook, ours must be Christian.
We see the spirit of the family mirrored in associations and communities, towns and cities. These intermediate bodies between the family and the State are open to the temperate spirit of the family, which radiates its benevolent influence outwards.
This same family spirit has such a capacity to absorb and integrate that everyone in a region, even outside elements, eventually share a common family-like mentality, temperament and affection. A person from the South, for example, participates in the great “Southern family” or, to extend the analogy further, in our great American family.
Love your community. Be involved. Be proud of the good traits, traditions, products and cultural achievements of your region and do whatever you can to develop them further. Help others see the blessings God placed in your region.
8. It Takes a Christian State
This sentiment of affection is in fact the most important element of union for the State. Constitutions, laws, and institutions may be indispensable unifying elements, but the most vital of all is family-like affection, without which the State is doomed to be divided against itself. So many modern states glory in their divisions! They are divided by political parties, factions, or intense economic competition. They should rather seek glory in uniting social groups, factions, and parties. Marriages should unite families, industries, regions, and nations. True patriotism is nothing but this family sentiment and common love of native land writ large and applied to all those in the same country.
The Christian State gives unity, direction, and purpose to society — embracing, never absorbing; delegating, never concentrating; encouraging, never stifling.
Remain engaged in the Cultural War. Find ways to network with others and do everything you can so that our State and laws conform to the Divine and natural moral laws.
9. It Takes Fidelity
Without fidelity to our Christian Baptism, competition and power struggles will inevitably occur. As a result, the family ends up being devoured by society, and society by the State.
A Christian family spirit must permeate society and State. “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports,” wrote George Washington in his Farewell Address. And, though he spoke some 1,600 years ago, Saint Augustine’s teaching remains true today:
“Let those who say that the teachings of Christ are harmful to the State find armies with soldiers who live up to the standards of the teachings of Jesus. Let them provide governors, husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants, kings, judges, taxpayers and tax collectors who can compare to those who take Christian teachings to heart. Then let them dare to say that such teaching is contrary to the welfare of the State! Indeed, under no circumstances can they fail to realize that this teaching is the greatest safeguard of the State when faithfully observed.” (“Epis. 138 ad Marcellinum,” in Opera Omnia, vol. 2, in J.P. Migne, Patrologia Latina, col. 532.)
Become an apostle of this Christian spirit, helping others take it to heart in their daily lives.
10. It Takes Leadership
In face of the present economic crisis, we have two groups. Those with leadership qualities who succeed fabulously in what they do. And those who seek help and direction. What is missing is a way to unite the two groups. Therefore, we need to regenerate a culture that encourages representative figures to unify the nation and confront the crisis.
We must encourage all types of leadership that express ties of mutual trust. We should think of concrete ways — how we dress, speak, and lead — to become truly representative figures for those who look up to us (be they in our family, business, parish, community, region or state). This would lead us to discover ways to embrace duty, responsibility, and sacrifice and reject a misguided and selfish individualism.
With many such dedicated leaders at all levels of society, laboring for the common good, we can restore America.
You will lead in some areas (great or small) and follow in others. Honor your leadership. Show your gratitude and honor everyone in leadership.
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These 10 Steps to Prepare for America’s Economic Collapse give a quick insight into John Horvat’s 400-page book Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go (York, Penn.: York Press, 2013), ISBN: 978-0-9882148-0-4. Hardbound. Illustrated. $21.95 (shipping free).