In 1776, Americans’ behavior was prescribed by God and delivered to sovereign citizens by His churches; in 2019, a sovereign Godvernment increasingly imposes their behavior upon dependent citizens and their churches. The Founders’ plan has been stood upon its head.
America’s early European colonists were largely religious people; the thirteen original colonies included Protestants, Catholics, Jews and others; to join in a single nation, they had to proclaim religious tolerance and forbid religious favoritism by the state. The constitution they adopted was designed as Founder John Adams wrote, “for a moral and religious people.” That was inevitable at a time when Judeo-Christian prescriptions supplied by churches set the patterns for acceptable behavior and the goal was the imposition of limits upon government. That in turn rested naturally upon citizens whose sovereignty was granted by God and only then delegated by them to their government. But as historians know well, time passes, things change.
Technological industrialization tends to merge male and female utility; that in turn challenges much of the diversity of historical, religiously enforced male and female roles and behavior. Women have pursued the perceived freedom of accepted male behavior. That is one socio-religious revolution and it has been accelerated by economic pressure from the shrinkage of the middle class. At the same time, the socio-economic disruption was increased by rapid technological changes, wars and financial peaks and valleys that massively altered huge numbers of lives. The recurring needs of so many opened a door to politicians: Offer increased support from greater government as a replacement for the older “Protestant work ethic” and independence that had settled the country. Acceptance of governmental unemployment benefits evolved from a disgrace, to an entitlement, providing another social revolution as citizens devolved from sovereignty to dependency..
Public schools began to reinforce citizen dependency upon government; universities, unions and social leaders broadened it. With a newly tangible savior in front of them, people stopped going to church. Today, American judges order Catholics to pay for abortions. God and His law no longer sit above the state and with that, the state and no longer the people, is the sovereign. The state has thus become the final arbiter of human life and property; that should keep things interesting.
With such powers, it becomes understandable that the state is to be worshipped by obedient citizens and to dispose their lives, as predicted by Alexis de Tocqueville in his 1835 “Democracy in America.” Through their politicians, citizens propose; Godvernment disposes. Voters are the new faithful, praying at the shrine of Godvernment for the gift of release from historical reality at someone else’s – anyone else’s – expense. Smiling, they accept beneficence funded with debt that will be repaid by their children and grandchildren. It is a supreme act of faith – and selfishness, paradise unearned. And it is worship of a false god, for in worshipping government, a narcissistic humanity is worshipping itself, guaranteed failure in any test of sanity fit for this universe.