By Kevin McVicker
Spring Grove, PA – Fiscal cliffs, nagging unemployment and budget debates are urgent reminders that the American economy is in a precarious state, but these economic troubles can also be traced to a cultural problem residing in the soul of society and individuals rather than the balance sheet.
In his new 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 [February 19, 2013], scholar John Horvat II compares the current United States economy and society to a ship on a never-ending cruise. The passengers indulge their appetites on spectacles, entertainment, games, gadgets and consumption that they come to see as entitlements.
What many Americans don’t realize is that as they engage in what Horvat sees as a restless personal and societal drive to consume and gratify—what he coins “frenetic intemperance”—they are unprepared to face a gathering financial storm on the horizon that threatens the whole American way of life.
Americans, writes Horvat, must address this overarching problem, this “restless spirit of intemperance that is constantly throwing our economy out of balance.” Their frenetic intemperance, spurred on by the ready-to-please modern economy, pushes society to throw off legitimate restraints and gratify disordered passions.
Horvat sees a way to face the coming storm. He proposes a return to an organic Christian order. This means abandoning what he calls the “Rule of Money,” which emphasizes risky speculation, irresponsible extension of credit and accumulation of monstrous debt. It involves adopting instead, a “Rule of Honor,” which holds in high regard leadership, integrity and excellence especially when embedded in Church, family and community.
Horvat claims frenetic intemperance has now become unsustainable, and Americans must take measures individually and as a society to weather the storm, which include:
1. Self-analysis: Have the courage to disengage from a culture of frenetic intemperance with its risky speculation, unbalanced consumerism, rushed schedules, and stress-filled lives.
2. Organic alternatives: Restore the human element back into economy by embracing duty, sense of place, the family spirit, a passion for justice and Christian charity.
3. Debate: Understand the gravity of the crisis, and engage in the debate over the nation’s future course.
4. Sacrifice: Put aside legitimate self-interest and rally around the refreshing principles of an organic Christian order that will restore health to both economy and society.
5. Spiritual remedy: Like the Prodigal Son, this involves a reawakening that leads to the renouncing of the errors of a warped culture, and a grand return home to the wellspring of those high ideals that inspired Christian civilization.
Amid the present chaos, gridlock and fiscal irresponsibility, Return to Order is much more than a book; it’s a vision to restore the American soul.
John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author. He heads the Tradition, Family, and Property Commission on American Studies. His regular commentary appears at returntoorder.org.
To schedule an interview, please contact Kevin McVicker with Shirley & Banister Public Affairs at (703) 739-5920 or [email protected].