“Hope” and “Change” 2016?

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable.” – George Washington

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

By David Rogers
By David Rogers

This election year portends a new message of hope and change. This time the Trump, Sanders and Cruz campaigns all bemoan the status quo while promoting their particular panaceas. Hillary Clinton is the sole voice casting a positive version of recent history with simple room for improvement. What has really changed, and will the next group of leaders make any difference? With the election of Barack Obama in 2008 we were promised a “Fundamental Transformation of America” in league with his campaign theme of hope and change. As subsequent history has shown, the transformation we are experiencing is not exactly what the middle of the road voter was expecting. Things are not going well, socially, economically or politically, in the eyes of many Americans.

Much blame has been thrust upon the Obama administration for the deterioration of our society in general, and some of that blame has merit. Financial, foreign policy and economic problems are seen as real threats and such issues do need immediate and focused attention. But America’s problems are larger than the current administration and have been brewing since before Mr. Obama was in diapers, though he has pushed many problematic issues enthusiastically down the road. But what are the core issues defining change and where does the real leadership need to come from? Is the transformation of America from what we were fifty plus years ago a good thing? It is certainly difficult to declare that we are heading in a positive direction.

The nuclear family, the fundamental unit of society, as traditionally defined by a devotedly wed mother and father with children, where a love of God, community and country is often taught, has been under attack for decades. The definitions of family, happiness and success — moral equivalents that have been passed down for centuries with tried and true experience — have been whitewashed, redefined and “transformed” into more supposedly modern definitions. The full social costs of such “social engineering” are only beginning to be manifest. Where our Founding Fathers believed that God granted men the rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness, these virtues are now being replaced by the idea of a welfare state, with the resources of the state doled out mercifully by a ruling elite who allegedly guarantee security for all. Part of our transformation is trading individual incentive and liberty for the supposed safe keeping of government programs.

As author and pundit Mark Levin points out in his book “Plunder and Deceit”, the ultimate result of attempting to remove or redefine the moral lessons accumulated in a civil society over many generations is the ultimate loss of civility itself. When civil society, as defined by the moral equivalents forged through the trials and triumphs of precedent generations, no longer operates within established rules of civility the natural reaction is to look for any immediate solution. That solution is often sought, usually wrongfully, from some sort of statist intervention. A long line of despotic figures have risen to this challenge over the last century or two, claiming a state mandated imperative that supposedly cared for the oppressed. Their names usually live in historical infamy, leaving a trail of inhumanity and bloodshed in their wake. When the family and the longstanding moral virtues that flow from a strong and nurturing family crumble, so does the rest of society, and it does so in a manner that leaves any latent resident despots grinning at the opportunities.

The solution to the decay of family and the loss of moral civility lies not in the halls of a capitol building, but within the walls and hearts of the individual home. It begins and ends with the minds and hearts of those who are committed to nurturing each other and a new generation within the boundaries of well understood and communicated moral absolutes. It lies with individuals placing moral leadership at the head of their communities and quickly removing anyone from office who would trade the principles of liberty and basic morality for something less. When the moral tenets that have offered prosperity and protection for individuals and families for generations are broken down in the halls of power as well as within individual homes, social unrest, chaos and eventually tyranny eagerly await on the other side of the door.

America is indeed being transformed. But Mr. Obama does not take all of the credit despite being an enthusiastic enabler. The liberal definition of a “free society” that began in the 1960’s started the ball rolling down a hill of moral decay and decline in the cause of an unobtainable liberal utopia. The philosophies of the liberal sixties, with the refusal to acknowledge any moral absolute, thus redefining the mortal experience in terms of a loose moral relativism, now permeates the majority of our institutions of government and higher learning. This moral relativism has infiltrated not only our governing institutions, through leftist political philosophies, but the very family unit as destructive alternatives to the nuclear family, long eschewed by established civil norms, have become the “new normal”. Those not complying with this redefined normality are labeled as a phobic reactionaries or simply intolerant. The accusatory cries against Donald Trump as a racist are a simple illustration of the principle. This has been a game plan championed by radicals and despots through the ages.

We now have a generation that is being raised under the “transformational” assumptions that personal responsibilities can be subrogated to a false protectionist ideal provided by the university, the corporation or the state. This contradicts the very foundations of the American experiment which equate a society living under the tenets of liberty as a society that naturally assumes individual personal responsibility guided by a strict moral code. Without such personal moral commitment, which almost always begins its indoctrinations within the walls of the home, a complete breakdown of society is inevitable. Instead we get the classic radical stratagem of having elite power brokers helping to exacerbate societal problems then offering an expansion of state power, with the corollary erosion of personal liberties, to provide a supposed comforting solution.

Unfortunately, the symptomatic signs of such a breakdown and alleged cures are all around us. Divorce rates, absent parent households and children born to unwed mothers have become an epidemic. Financial irresponsibility, ranging from personal debt to personal bankruptcies to our national deficits, are at a point that threatens our entire financial system. Personal accountability and character are being subrogated to a larger societal game of blame. For each of these problems there are programs, safety nets, reworked budgets, soothing rhetoric and entitlements that a willing government will proffer to ease the pain of a society imploding under the burdens of its own moral decay. But at what cost?

The moral absolutes which have enabled the exercise of individual liberties for centuries are being swept away in a tide of “modern transformational thinking.” But such thinking has, until recently, been the venue of radicals who were once identified as the very mortal enemies of a freedom loving society. This thinking always revolves around an elite with nefarious and controlling motives demonstrating they know better than centuries of tried and true moral and civil experience. The bottom line is that things cannot continue on their current course without severe repercussions.

These changes have been rolling forth in our country for well over half a century now. And if we do not awaken to their implications, moral, historical and spiritual, we are destined for a rude and unpleasant day of accounting. A favorite scholar once penned “Men change very little and God not at all.” Neither do the fundamental principles that dictate liberty and prosperity change, despite rhetoric to the one end or another. Our current president, and any president to come, can talk about hope and change until they are blue in the face. Without a return to the fundamental moral responsibilities that define family, civil society and government itself, the only changes that will ultimately result will be unsavory to anyone who values the benefits of true liberty. The lack of leadership in these specific areas must be reversed at every level. If not, no set of political campaign promises will protect against the inevitable results.

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