To Make America Great, Turn Back to God

To Make America Great, Turn Back to God

“If the nation is to prosper, it needs to return to that moral code based on the Ten Commandments and natural law that made America great.”

More than a White House contest between two candidates, the 2016 election was the groundswell of growing discontent over America’s increasingly socialist tone.

Now, thanks be to God, the conservative vote won the White House, Senate and House, and a record number of governorships and statehouse majorities. This reality has brought relief and awakened great hopes. Above all, conservatives were buoyed by the promises of President-elect Donald Trump who assured them they would not be forgotten and that they would have a voice. Now is the time to fulfill these promises. American conservative voters must not be betrayed.

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Joining with many organizations in the conservative movement, and acting as the voice for moral values of its 200,000 campaign members nationwide, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property—TFP expresses its hopes here and lists its demands for what must be done to right the course of the American nation.

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What moved America’s forgotten voters on November 8 was a shattered order that has affected all aspects of life. As was repeated during the election cycle, the whole system is broken, its liberal and permissive vision for society has failed and voters are desperately looking for solutions.

Burdened by overregulation and social breakdown, the American model that worked for so long no longer functions. Indeed, the system even works against the interests of citizens. It no longer fuels dreams but rather sows uncertainties and nightmares, bringing stress, anxiety and depression.

Components of a Return to Order

That is why the solution to the present crisis must involve a return to order that addresses the whole picture of what has gone wrong in America, not just pieces of the puzzle. It must above all address the forgotten moral issues that are commonly left behind by politicians.

All too often, conservatives have fought tooth and nail against that which they do not want to see implemented in the country—abortion, socialism, transgenderism, social engineering in the military. This election victory provides the opportunity to outline the kind of order they do want for America.

Thus, any proposal for a return to order must include the following three points:

1. It must be a moral order in which leaders fearlessly do everything possible to advance the cause of life, the traditional family and Christian morals. If the nation is to prosper, it needs to return to that moral code based on the Ten Commandments and natural law that made America great. People must no longer be afraid to affirm this and stand up to a politically correct culture that claims there is no right and wrong by blurring all definitions. Without this essential component, America will not recover.

Indeed, any attempt to stimulate the economy without this return to morality will fail, since an economic system cannot thrive without the firm foundation of a work ethic, honesty and trust. A culture that knows no moral restraint and is obsessed by the frenetic intemperance of instant gratification will always be unbalanced and must ultimately fail. A nation that continues on the path of moral destruction can expect nothing but disaster.

2. It must be an anti-socialist order based on free enterprise. America must be freed from the burden of onerous regulations, massive one-size-fits-all government programs and high taxes. It is time to find organic solutions based on the ingenuity of the American people, their love of ordered liberty and their practical sense to get things done well. It is time for leaders at all levels of society to step up to the plate with creative solutions that eschew intrusive government. As long as America is suffocating under the yoke of socialist tyranny, there will be no return to order.

3. It must be an order that enthrones God once again. America has always been a nation that trusted in Divine Providence. However, that trust is now waning. But if we are not on God’s side, how can we expect Him to be on our side?

Enthroning God Once Again

The forgotten conservatives who worked so hard for this victory want a return to order that will make America great. More importantly, they want to build that moral America that God will bless.

It makes no sense that a nation built on Christian principles and one that defeated atheist Nazism and Communism, finds itself in a situation where Ten Commandments monuments, crosses, nativity scenes and Christmas carols are targeted by secular rage.



For too long, political correctness has held sway, banishing God from His rightful place in society, and now, in some instances, replacing Him with the public worship of Satan. Americans from all walks of life must have the courage to exercise their right to honor God in the public square. They must not be afraid to call upon God’s blessing and implore His aid in these difficult times. They must keep and respect His law by living lives of virtue and charity. If she is to prosper and be great, America must enthrone God again.

Wholesale Change

We must now adopt a program of wholesale change by immediate and urgent executive, legislative and judicial actions to right the nation’s course. The work to be done encompasses change not just in government, but at the very core of our culture. And more than just our elected officials keeping their promises, the task involves everyone in the conservative movement: clergy, individuals, families, grassroots organizations, think tanks and academia. To effect this needed change, the mindsets of many Americans must change. The labor is monumental and calls for a willingness to fight for America greater than the dogged opposition of those whose liberal agenda has brought the country to the verge of ruin.

Fighting for Life

Among America’s forgotten voters are those who fight for the most vulnerable—the unborn—demanding for them the fundamental right to life. Now is the time to bleach out the stain on America’s honor, its great sin against God: Roe v. Wade.

These forgotten voters expect President-elect Trump to nominate, and the Republican majority in the Senate to confirm, unquestionably pro-life judges for the U.S. Supreme Court and all federal courts. These judges must subscribe to our Common Law legal tradition of a higher law (divine and natural law) that should inform the laws of the land. They should interpret the Constitution to mean what was written and intended by our Founding Fathers, putting an end to the judicial activism of the past decades. They expect federal and state governments to defund Planned Parenthood.

The forgotten pro-life voter not only expects life for the unborn, but protection against euthanasia and assisted suicide that ravage the moral landscape and threaten society’s most vulnerable.

Fighting for the American Family

America’s forgotten voters also include those who defend the sacred institutions of marriage and the family.

Now is the time to overturn that second immense sin against God: Obergefell v. Hodges.

Together with getting marriage right again, America’s forgotten pro-family voters expect a Trump Administration to overturn Obama’s tyranny that forced homosexual and transgender policies on federal workers and contractors, the military and, above all, the nation’s schools.

America’s forgotten pro-family voters expect the prompt burial of Common Core, No Child Left Behind, Every Child Succeeds and a whole slew of other socialist choke holds on the wholesome and solid education of America’s children.

All these things are tearing America and its families apart. Now is the time to set them right. Without strong families, America can never be great.

Fighting for an Anti-Socialist America

The nation’s forgotten voters reject and demand the immediate repeal of a massive tide of socialist regulation, legislation and entitlements that inhibit the nation’s economic development and suffocate their efforts to prosper.

They have two sets of demands from the nation’s political leadership.

First, they demand the quick repeal of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, the Death Tax and the thousands of socialist regulations and executive orders that are crippling and stifling America’s economy. This will liberate the nation’s potential, create jobs and help stabilize the economy.

Second, they demand the downsizing of government to its legitimate and constitutional limits. Not just the federal, but bloated and top-heavy state, county and municipal government as well.

Between killing the socialist regulatory behemoth and downsizing government, the economy will be stimulated, while government spending and debt will be reduced to manageable levels.

Fighting for America’s military and law enforcement

America’s forgotten voters demand the repeal of the sequester in our defense budget, and the homosexual, transgender and women-in-combat policies Obama imposed on our Armed Forces.

They demand a strong military and an Administration that backs it up in its role of defending the nation from all threats. These include a resurgent Russia and China, and Islamists who are pledged to destroy America and Western Christian civilization.

They are alarmed by the murder of our police officers and the anarchy now surfacing all over the country. They long for a return to the rule of law and a culture in which law and order are cherished and enforced.

Fighting for Sovereignty and a Pro-America Foreign Policy

Respect for borders is for a nation what respect for ownership and private property is to a family.

America’s forgotten voters demand this respect for borders and an end to sanctuary cities’ anarchical mocking of our immigration laws. They demand an end to the travesty of elections in which non-US citizens vote.

They demand a full reversal of Obama’s disastrous foreign policy including his Iran deal; the normalization of relations with Castro’s Marxist Cuba (the island prison); and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

They demand that America immediately reassure its traditional allies that the nation will always be true to its pledged word of honor and stands ready to defend them in the event of hostilities.

They warn against a misguided and baseless trust in and cooperation with a resurgent nationalist Russia and a faithless communist China. And they urge cautious and prudent measures to forestall the danger from a rising authoritarianism, as seen recently in Islamist Turkey.

* * *

These are the demands of millions of forgotten American voters on the cusp of the new Trump Administration and the TFP joins its voice to theirs.

May God grant wisdom, prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude to President-elect Trump and all our elected leaders.

And may the Blessed Mother protect and favor all Ten Commandments Americans who toil in the gigantic rebuilding that must be carried out, the rewarding labor of making America “one nation under God.”

 

November 15, 2016
The American TFP

 

 

Where Did Personal Debt Come From?

Where Did Personal Debt Come FromWith literally trillions of dollars in personal debt now hanging over the American consumer, the question might be asked as to where all this debt came from.

It has a long history. Buying on credit started at the turn of the twentieth century. Buying dreams on credit was an American invention that served to create the consumerism of modern times. The installment plan soon became the way to buy automobiles, furniture, pianos and high-ticket items. By 1924, for example, nearly 75 percent of all cars were bought on credit and 80 percent of all appliances.

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The promotion of personal debt turned credit into an engine of economic growth…and bankruptcy. Mass consumption led to the roaring twenties when consumer spending burst all limits and prepared the way for the bust of the Depression.


Subscription8.11Installment buying later prepared the way for the credit cards, long-term mortgages and other instruments of credit. The credit wave turned what was once considered a privilege to deserving individuals into an entitlement to be enjoyed by all Americans. It also prepared the tragic consequence of such uncontained spending – the mountain of personal debt that now threatens the nation.

The Dangers of the Word “Capitalism”

460px-Gustave_Dore_Lazarus_and_the_Rich_ManJesuit Fr. Bernard Dempsey warns against the use of the word “capitalism” in economic debate.

The principal reason is that there is really no such thing as capitalism. He claims the word cannot be defined scientifically and really only exists in a Marxist dream world. F.A. Hayak declared that the word is largely the “creation of [a] socialist interpretation of history.”

The word has come to be defined negatively as that which is the contrary Subscription11of Marxism. It is best is to stay away from the word, Fr. Dempsey claims, since “only a very foolish general accepts battle on terrain of his adversary’s choice.” (Bernard W. Dempsey, S.J., The Functional Economy, The Bases of Economic Organization, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1958, p. 162.)


The Rush of Twitter-Down Economics

Close up of friends using smart phones.It is difficult to get a handle on what exactly is happening in our troubled economy. Everyone feels the malaise but few know how to explain it. Some say the economy is getting slightly better; others say it is getting much worse. There is debt, unemployment and stagnation which some say is caused by too much government and others say comes from too little. A constant stream of messages, statements and generalizations leave the normal reader struggling to keep up. In the rush, we are often reduced to basing opinions on what can be gleaned from Internet headlines.

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These are dangerous times because economy is ruled today much more by the way it is perceived by the general public rather than the actual facts. It is becoming increasingly difficult to disregard the distorting hype of the media. Indeed, what passes for economics these days is not trickle-down but twitter-down economics.

In the nano-second rush of twitter-down economics, everyone grabs the part of the message they like so that it might be instantly posted. No one has time for explanations beyond those which can be texted. So much of what people believe is based on sound bytes designed to cause momentary sensations and emotional impressions. Anything vague or ambiguous can be, and is, tweeted into streams of confusing 140-character messages that cloud minds. The economic message becomes what you want it to be or even nothing at all.


All this is the result of what I call the “frenetic intemperance” of our times. We live in days of moral unrestraint and instant gratification. Everyone must have everything now, instantly and without effort or reflection. This gives rise to a whirlwind of activity that has long been tearing our economy and society apart. It even erodes our Faith. At the same time, it is breaking down economic thought since so much is based upon the instant and ephemeral. There is the general questioning of all that is reasoned or structured.

With the ever more frantic pace of today’s world, our economy is now at risk. Instead of relevant and serious economic discussion, we are seeing a fragmented postmodern mix of ideas where everything is possible and nothing is certain.

There is actually little new in the economic debate. What is new is the chaotic mixture of old rich v. poor narratives, recycled Keynesian nonsense, and impossible entitlement demands. There are distortions of free market ideas (such as the so-called trickle-down economics). There are socialist diatribes and leftover scraps from the Occupy Wall Street propaganda of the one percent. This tired and confusing mixture permeates everything and conveys the message that “capitalism” (whatever that means) has failed and we need to look elsewhere for solutions.

What is particularly dangerous about twitter-down economy is that policy becomes based on impressions that remain in the general public consciousness in the midst of this chaos. Reality risks being disregarded or contradicted. Our guiding principles are jettisoned. We head toward the coming economic storm rudderless, unaware of the real dangers that lurk ahead.

There are those who claim that the debate be carried out in this manner since a postmodern world should be addressed in postmodern terms. Such a policy only multiplies the confusion. There is really one way to deal with these matters in the rush of twitter-down economics. It involves denouncing the whirlwind of frenetic intemperance that fuels the superficial and ambiguous debates that swirl about.

At the same time, it is not enough to counter with a twitter-down defense of the free market or modern financial systems. We must return to the foundations of sound economy. This calls for reconnecting with the moral considerations and restraints that need to guide our economic actions and keep them balanced.

In short, we need a change in the dialectic that governs the debates now raging in face of the present economic crisis. Far from the tyranny of the 140-character tweet, we need to give postmodern man that for which he yearns: a categorical message presented with extreme clarity, logic and precision. There must be a return to order.

This is what I have endeavored to do in the book, Return to Order. I have sought to clearly Subscription11articulate what constitutes sound economy and its necessary connection to moral law. It is a daring proposal since it is grounded on an understanding of reality long abandoned. Indeed, ever since economic thought broke free from its moorings in moral philosophy and ethics, there have been those who have sought to keep such considerations out of this debate. The time has come for such reflections to return.

They must return not out of convenience but rather of urgent necessity. We are entering dangerous waters. Without a framework of clear principles to serve as beacon, we risk becoming wrecked upon the rocky shoals.

 

The Birth of Crisis Economics

The Birth of Crisis EconomicsThe present day economic crisis is nothing new. In fact, since the dawn of modern economy in the late eighteenth century, crisis is a permanent fixture. As the book, Return to Order states, this is in part due to the frenetic intemperance found in sectors of modern economy that are constantly throwing things out of balance.

Subscription11The reoccurring nature of these crises is affirmed by Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihn who state: “In the history of modern capitalism, crises are the norm, not the exception. That’s not to say that all crises are the same. Far from it: the particulars can change from disaster to disaster, and crises can trace their origins to different problems in different sectors of the economy.” (Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihn, Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance, Penguin Books, New York, 2011, p. 15)

Is Capitalism the Problem?

Money_expression_of_cultureI received a very interesting e-mail from a gentleman who has bought the book, Return to Order, and raised a number of very intriguing questions and comments.

His concern is that the book misdiagnoses our modern problem by not going straight to the root of the problem – capitalism. To get results, he claims, one must have the courage to reject capitalism in all its forms. Capitalism is a spiritual problem that embodies materialism, scientific utopianism, and libertarianism. He affirms that a careful reading of Saint Thomas and papal encyclicals over the last century warns us about the materialism of our days that has its origins in capitalism.

Of course, I agree with the writer that materialism, scientific utopianism and libertarianism are all effects of the present crisis. Each of these and many other effects are dealt with extensively and condemned in Return to Order.


I would, however, disagree that we should call the cause of these errors “capitalism” for three reasons.

The first reason is because the word is ambiguous. It has many meanings. Some interpret it to mean a system that created all the evils mentioned by my correspondent. Many simply equate capitalism with a market economy which has always been defended by the Church. By condemning one meaning, we risk condemning the other unjustly.

That is why I avoid the word altogether. Because of the term’s misuses, it is wiser to follow the advice of Jesuit economist Fr. Bernard Dempsey, who claims that capitalism is a word incapable of scientific definition, and one that should only be used with great reluctance and care, commenting: “Only a very foolish general accepts battle on the terrain of his adversary’s choice.”1

I might further note this has been the prudent policy of the Church over the last century. The Church has often spoken out against the abuses of “capitalism” such as materialism, individualism and scientific utopianism. However, it has never roundly condemned “capitalism” as such, lest it condemn inadvertently the market economy and other legitimate ways of conducting business. This position is found perfectly laid out in John Paul II’s 1993 Encyclical Centesimus Annus, where the distinctions between the word’s diverse meanings are well noted.

There is another reason why I do not use the ambiguous term “capitalism.” It is the term of choice of the Church’s enemies. Communists and socialists have always employed the tactic of using the very ambiguity of the term to unite useful allies to their cause. The Church cannot make common cause with those who hate and actively work to destroy Her. Marxism in all its forms is responsible for far more crimes against humanity and Holy Mother Church than any other system conceived by man. It makes no sense to join with those who use the term for their own subversive purposes when we have all the doctrines and means at our disposal to deal with the problem.

Finally, the last reason why I do not use the word “capitalism” as the cause for the present ills is because it cannot be the root cause of any moral decay.

The cause must be found within man himself not inside a system. It is one of the errors of Marxist analysis that stipulates that it is social structures and economic systems that cause the evils of mankind and not the sins and defects of character of man exercising his free will. To affirm that a system determines the behavior of men is to say that he has no free will.

Systems can influence us and favor our defects. However, this is ultimately a spiritual problem. That is why we must look for a moral defect that explains the crisis we face. One cannot, for example, fault the restrictions of the institution of marriage to explain the rise of a permissive society. Rather the causes must be found in the moral defects of sensuality and selfishness which in turn bring about the abuses.

Subscription12That is why I chose to coin the term “frenetic intemperance” to explain the phenomena inside the human soul that gave rise to the economic imbalance and frenzy we see today. One may disagree with its exact formulation, but it is a term that describes a moral defect that can be observed in history as it creates the imbalance that has plagued modern economy. It helps explain the rise of materialism, scientific utopianism and libertarianism. In short, the term goes to the root of the problem deep inside the soul of modern man.

 

1 Bernard W. Dempsey, The Functional Economy: The Bases of Economic Organization (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1958), 162.

Getting Off the “Sequester” Roller Coaster

When I think of the debate around the “sequester,” I think of an amusement park. I know that this is no laughing matter, but there’s something so incredibly unreal about the situation that an amusement park is what comes into mind.

This comes from observing how things like quantitative easing, derivative instruments and massive debt are artificially holding up our frenzied economy. They create the illusion of wealth and lead to a carnival-like atmosphere not unlike that of an amusement park. As long as everyone is having a good time, no one seems to be worried.

But with the “sequester,” something has changed ever so slightly. It is as if the whole nation has been sequestered and buckled into a roller coaster, which is now racing along. No one can get off until it stops. After the first cheap thrills, people start to realize that something is terribly wrong.


The ride’s operator tells the fun seekers that the roller coaster is actually broken and will not stop unless they manage to throw him extra fees along the way. This leads to dramatic episodes at every turn. The nation feels the rush of sudden stock market highs and fiscal-cliff lows.

What began as a thrill-seeking adventure has evolved into a nightmare. Everyone aboard is exhausted and stressed out. They cry out: “Anything to get off the roller coaster…and back to the carnival!”

What most people don’t realize is that the “sequester” is a consequence of an amusement-park economy. Amusement parks only work when they have visitors who lead normal working lives. They can be occasions for needed rest and recreation. However, no one can live in an amusement park permanently as an entitlement. But that is what many of us are trying to do.

There is, then, no doubt that we need to get off the roller coaster. But it is also time to stop living in the amusement park. This is no way to run a nation. It’s no way to run an economy.

The “sequester” is a symptom of a deeper problem and contradiction deep inside the soul of modern man. There is the constant desire to live in a fantasy world, without moral or economic restraints. This unreal world clashes with the real one, that requires norms and rules if it is to run efficiently and without major problems. Living in this contradiction though always results in dramatic crashes.

In my recent 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, I use the term “frenetic intemperance” to describe this reckless and restless spirit of unrestraint that has long plagued modern economy. I contend that we need to get rid of this now-dominant frenetic intemperance so the economy can be stable, healthy and prosperous once again.

We need to shift the debate from getting off the dramatic roller coaster to finding a way to leave the amusement park.

This cannot be done through legislation, regulation or rigid planning. Rather, it is something that must be addressed by changing our frenzied and rushed lifestyles where instant gratification is the order of the day. This requires a shift in values that must be adopted by individuals, families, communities, businesses, and, yes, governments. In short, we need to return to those spiritual, religious, moral and cultural values that have always served to order and temper economic activity.

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Broken roller coasters are dangerous things that should not be taken lightly. The last roller coaster nightmare — the 2008 subprime mortgage — cost the world over $10 trillion and almost brought the whole system down. Today’s “sequester” roller coaster economy continues to be dangerous. We should resist the temptation to look for superficial fixes.

What is needed are refreshing and lasting solutions that go beyond our obsession for amusement. We need to return to those fundamental institutions rooted in family, community and Faith that give meaning and value to life. Let’s get off the roller coaster, exit the amusement park, and return home.

 

From the Mail: Is There a Conspiracy?

From the Mail: Is There a Conspiracy?I received an email with a very interesting question from a reader of Return to Order. It occurred to me that others might have similar questions.

The question can be summed up like this: Have you seriously considered the possibility of a web of conspiracy behind our visible government that directs many of the financial dealings that give rise to big government and our economic crisis?

 

 

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To answer the question, I would point out that the Return to Order does indeed speak briefly of this conspiracy by referring to the thesis of Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira who affirms that there is a Revolution that has long been active in all fields in Western civilization and which I apply to economy. I point out in the book that this thesis of a Revolution finds support from many historians and Leo XIII.


While the existence of such a conspiracy is acknowledged, I suppose the real question is not about this brief reference but why Return to Order does not spend a lot of time exposing those involved and denouncing their financial dealings? Why was this not a central focus?

As one who has studied modern economy since 1986, I started researching and could not help but find a vast amount of material on all the wheelings-and-dealings of prominent figures that have done much to destroy free markets and lead us to our economic crisis. The temptation was to denounce all these figures and the whole economic system in one fell swoop.

However, as I studied I saw that this would not work. The whole system was not at fault. I saw a huge sector governed by free market principles, which consists of the normal operation of millions of vibrant companies—small, large, and huge—that engage in healthy competition and amply supply goods and services to the nation. There was really nothing here to criticize since this led to normal business activities that promoted prosperity.

textbook_on_intemperanceBut as I studied, I started to see a second more unrestrained current that had a constant destabilizing effect on an economy. This current represented not so much a group of people but a psychological, cultural and moral phenomenon inside economy varying in intensity and scope. And what’s more, I started to find all sorts of economists and other authors that saw and commented on this current. And I thought to myself: This is where the problem is. Understand this phenomenon and you will understand the economic crisis.

Everyone talked about this problem but no one would give it a name. And so, there is a term coined in the book that describes this problem; it is called frenetic intemperance.

Frenetic intemperance is a reckless and restless spirit inside certain sectors of modern economy that leads us to throw off legitimate restraints, and gratify all desires. It creates an economy that is frenzied and out of balance. It creates a culture of instant gratification.

It was then that I perceived that denouncing a complex web of persons, institutions and events over a long period of time would involve volumes and would only tell us how the system went wrong. Denouncing frenetic intemperance tells why it went wrong.

And so I decided to focus on why our economic crisis happened rather than how it happened. That is the strategy found in Return to Order. I try to go straight to the cause since we then have the elements to understand the crisis and do something about it.

In other words, it is much more important to find out what enables these financial machinations to happen than to detail the actual dealings themselves. The fact is that conspiracies don’t just happen. They usually channel some kind of bad tendency or trend inside society and guide it to their goals. If this bad tendency does not exist, they cannot carry out their designs. By denouncing frenetic intemperance, we could so to speak deprive the car of its gasoline.

I do not deny the need or importance of those authors that do show how the economy went wrong and name those responsible. These studies definitely have their role. However, if we denounce the figures that orchestrated our economic crisis without ridding ourselves of the frenetic intemperance that generated it, we cannot prevent another crisis and similar figures from reoccurring. We must address the central issue.

Subscription5.2Thus, Return to Order goes straight to the source. In face of frenetic intemperance, it proposes an organic Christian society with a corresponding temperance. It describes those institutions of family, community and faith that normally serve to temper the disordered passions that fuel frenetic intemperance and destroy free markets.

Keeping Small Government Small

hill-1024x768The battles that conservatives have waged in the Cultural War are grueling. We have to dispute every step of the way especially with a liberal political establishment and a vast socialistic bureaucracy. We also have to regenerate social institutions like family, community and faith against a hostile culture. There are no instant solutions in this struggle but just the blood, sweat and tears that are the characteristics of any conflict.

 

In the face of such difficulties, there is the temptation to think a shortcut might be possible. Perhaps we should forget all the grassroots bottom-up efforts that are so grueling. It would be much better to go for the jugular – simply get rid of big government, big education, big regulation, big everything. Once these monstrous structures are out of the way, everything big would instantly become small.

 

There is nothing wrong with making every legal effort to rid ourselves of the monstrous structures of big government especially those of bureaucratic rule and excessive regulation. However, this would only be a partial solution.

 

We need to remember that one reason (although not the only one) why big government became big in the first place was because the intermediary institutions of family, community and faith eroded and decayed. The government charged into the vacuum left behind and filled it with its programs and vast bureaucracies.


If we suddenly remove the monstrous structures of big government without any structures to replace them, everything will collapse on top of us and chaos will reign.

 

Small government doesn’t just happen. Smallness is not merely the absence of bigness. It involves rebuilding those small basic structures of society so eroded by our hostile culture. It requires an enormous effort—the same grueling effort, in fact, that we are presently employing in the Cultural War.

 

In an organic society, small government is only possible when family, community, voluntary associations and faith are strong. Big government needs to be rid of these intermediary bodies to stay big. Small government needs them more than ever to stay small.

 

Indeed, the small organic state does not brandish an immense power and authority like the modern state, but rather takes great joy in parceling out its sovereignty to these intermediary groups so that each might take care of its own. But this can only happen if there are vibrant groups to receive these parceled out powers.

 

Someone might object that we still have families, communities and churches that survive. Take the burden of big government off them, and everything will naturally fall into place without much grueling effort.

 

To this, we can reply that all these structures are but a shell of what they once were. True, they still manage to survive and would certainly benefit from the fall of big government. However, these surviving institutions alone are not enough to stem the tide of broken families, shattered communities and empty churches that blight our social landscape. The Detroitization of the nation is already far advanced. Our best defense against big government is a grueling moral regeneration of our social institutions.

 

Both efforts are necessary to bring about a return to order. However, by far the most important is the regeneration of our social institutions since small government can only stay small to the extent these flourish.

Subscription8.11

In my recent 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, I describe the historic process by which these associations have always served to keep small government small. These intermediary institutions are not mere counterparts of big government but have always been the very instruments by which big government was challenged and defeated.

 

It is no mystery why modern absolutist states wage a veritable war upon these associations. Hobbes and later Rousseau held that no social body should stand between the individual and the State. Napoleon went so far as to prohibit any association of over twenty persons. Communist regimes and socialist governments, past and present, do everything possible to destroy the family, community and faith.

 

Such actions recognize the fact that the individual alone is no match for big government’s powerful might. But when individuals gather together in social institutions, these associations are the natural means by which State power is curbed. They have always served as buffers between the individual and the State. They eliminate the need for the massive state, and reduce it to its proper and minimal role of the protector of the general order. They are also means by which a people can enjoy that rich social and culture life that makes life in society worth living.

 

Let us do everything possible to rid ourselves of big government, but let us, above all, secure the means to keep small government small.

 

 

 

Big Government Doesn’t Just Happen

United_States_ConstitutionThere are many who complain that big government is the root of all our problems. If we could but rid ourselves of its intrusive presence in our lives, things would be much better. Everyone complains about the effects of big government but few look at its cause.

 

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Big government does not just happen…

 

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Big Government Doesn’t Just Happen