From Apathy to Dependence . . .
Vol: 24 Issue: 2 Saturday, July 2, 2016
America is 240 years old on Monday, having exceeded its life expectancy by some forty years, according to historical models.
America has outlived the 200 year lifespan of historical democracies in part, because America was founded as a Constitutional Republic and it functioned as such for most of its history.
The American Republic operates as a representative democracy, which is not the same thing as a pure democracy.
Why do most democracies have such a limited lifespan? There are two major reasons, both of which are self-evident to this generation. Democracies are generally born out of bondage. They start life with great spiritual faith and independence.
That independence begins to wane once its citizens realize that they can vote for themselves generous bounties from the public treasury. Soon after, those same citizens become more or less totally dependent on the government through entitlements and government social programs that they are again in bondage, this time, to the government they created.
Sound familiar? One can trace America’s decline to the mid-1930’s when Franklin Roosevelt instituted his “New Deal” designed to help Americans climb out of the Great Depression.
The Great Depression followed the Stock Market Crash of 1929. What most Americans don’t realize is that Stock Market Crash bankrupted the United States. The Roaring Twenties boom was financed by debt. That debt peaked on October 29th, 1929.
Throughout the 1920s a long boom took stock prices to peaks never before seen. From 1920 to 1929 stocks more than quadrupled in value. Many investors became convinced that stocks were a sure thing and borrowed heavily to invest more money in the market.
But in 1929, the bubble burst and stocks started down an even more precipitous cliff. In 1932 and 1933, they hit bottom, down about 80% from their highs in the late 1920s. This had sharp effects on the economy.
Demand for goods declined because people felt poor because of their losses in the stock market. New investment could not be financed through the sale of stock, because no one would buy the new stock.
But perhaps the most important effect was chaos in the banking system as banks tried to collect on loans made to stockmarket investors whose holdings were now worth little or nothing at all. Worse, many banks had themselves invested depositors’ money in the stockmarket.
When word spread that banks’ assets contained huge uncollectable loans and almost worthless stock certificates, depositors rushed to withdraw their savings. Unable to raise fresh funds from the Federal Reserve System, banks began failing by the hundreds in 1932 and 1933.
By the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt as president in March 1933, the banking system of the United States had largely ceased to function. Depositors had seen $140 billion disappear when their banks failed. Businesses could not get credit for inventory. Checks could not be used for payments because no one knew which checks were worthless and which were sound.
Roosevelt closed all the banks in the United States for three days – a “bank holiday.”
Private ownership of gold was outlawed, and the nation’s gold was confiscated by decree. It was quietly transferred to the European banks who owned America’s debt as part of a bankruptcy agreement.
Americans were compensated for their losses with paper money which, at the time, was stamped as ‘redeemable in lawful US money’ which, as it turned out, was the paper money itself.
Since paper money had no intrinsic value of its own and there was an infinite supply of it, the government could create it as needed to finance the various entitlement programs it created.
Those entitlement programs were a two-edged sword. In the first place, they afforded politicians the keys unlimited power. Here’s how it works. When the politicians want to pass some unpopular or unsustainable policy, they have two options available to them.
They can ‘buy’ the votes necessary by offering or expanding a new entitlement program. Or they can threaten to eliminate some entitlement already in existence.
The Democrats generally choose the first option, where the Republicans tend to favor Option Two. Bill Clinton’s favored method was to buy off the voters by offering new entitlements, expanding Social Security, Medicare, welfare, etc.
When the Republicans won control of Congress in 1994, they exercised their power by warning of dire threats to the Social Security system. Newt Gingrich’s efforts to reform Medicare and Social Security won him the title of “the Grinch.”
It is no accident that most Republicans tend to be upper-middle class while most Democrats fall into the category of ‘working poor’. The Democrats do best in heavily populated urban areas where the most social programs are. Republicans do best in rural areas where people are less reliant on government handouts. But both rely on the use of entitlements to keep the voters in bondage.
The “Downfall of Democracies” is generally attributed to Alexander Tytler, a Scottish history professor (1714-1778).
Professor Tytler argued that,
“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
1) From bondage to spiritual faith; 2) From spiritual faith to great courage; 3) From courage to liberty; 4)From liberty to abundance; 5) From abundance to complacency; 6) From complacency to apathy; 7) From apathy to dependence; and, 8) From dependency back into bondage.”
America has progressed from being overtaxed slaves of King George of England, to a new republic that accepted any religious faith, to a wonderful new country with a brilliant constitution, to being the richest country in the world.
From there, we’ve digressed to where over 50% of eligible voters don’t bother to go to the polls. A major portion of Americans are literally demanding government benefits. The next step is the eventual loss of all our freedoms.
Some argue we are now at the “apathy to dependence” phase of the professor’s theory with over 30% of the nation’s population already having reached the “governmental dependency” phase.
It is hard to form a mental picture of America as it will exist on its 300th birthday. It is hard to form a mental picture of what America will be like just twenty years from now.
Will it still be a representative republic? A pure democracy? An Islamic theocracy? A dictatorship? It’s anybody’s guess. About the only thing anybody is really sure of is that America’s glory days are behind her.
“Freedom of religion” in America now means freedom FROM any religion that is based in the Bible. America has abandoned God, and it seems that God is prepared to return the favor.
In America, it is ok to be a Muslim, a Buddhist, an atheist, a humanist, anything except a Christian or a Jew. President Bush can openly extol Islam as a ‘religion of peace and love’ without fear from the ACLU or People for the American Way, but he dare not speak the Name of Jesus Christ.
Schools can teach Islam as part of a mandatory curriculum, but students cannot pray in Jesus’ Name in public. Despite the best efforts of the anti-Christian Left, to the rest of the world, America is still viewed as the world’s most Christian nation. And it is one of the world’s most universally hated nations because of it.
All this seems counter-intuitive. We acknowledge that our national blessings come from God, and, as a nation we despise Him for it.
The Declaration of Independence specifically states our rights are God-given, and therefore outside of the government’s authority to abridge them. Those who shout the most loudly about their Constitutional rights are among those who are most dedicated to mythologizing the Guarantor of those rights.
It is admittedly a pretty depressing briefing, especially on the Fourth of July. Some might call it ‘fatalistic’. But the fact is, the world has a fatal disease, and America has caught it.
America still enjoys the title of the freest country on the face of the planet, but that freedom is intrinsically linked to the God Who inspired that freedom. For now.
The one bright ray of sunshine is the fact that, according to the Bible, none of this is happening by accident. The Bible forecasts this exact scenario as part of a Divine Plan for the Ages. While Bible prophecy appears to forecast gloom and doom, to believers, it is a message of hope.
A few years ago our little dog was attacked and mauled by a pit bull. The vet gave me an antibiotic cream with which to dress her open wounds. Twice a day, I have to apply the cream, which causes her tremendous pain. She doesn’t understand why it is necessary, just that it hurts, and that it is me that is hurting her.
But she lets me apply the cream because she trusts me.
The same Bible that prophesied the gloom and doom also promises that, before judgment comes on the whole earth,
“the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)
We don’t know what it is going to be like, we only have His assurance that it will be better than this. The Apostle Paul tells us that,
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1st Corinthians 2:9)
As scary as it all seems, we know that we can trust Him.
“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:18)