We Should’ve Been America

“With what shall I come to the Lord
And bow myself before the God on high?
Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings,
With yearling calves?
Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams,
In ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:6-8

I was up late with the baby the other night channel surfing and I came across the opening scenes of Casino. There was one quote from Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) that struck me as the key theme of the whole movie (I’ve redacted the foul language):

Matter of fact, nobody knew all the details. But it should have been perfect. I mean he had me, Nicky Santoro, his best friend watching his ***. And he had Ginger, the woman he loved on his arm. But in the end, we ****ed it all up. It should have been so sweet, too. But it turned out to be the last time that street guys like us were ever given anything that ****in’ valuable again.

It should have been perfect. They had the backing of the major mob bosses. They knew how to make a profit on a gambling enterprise. Everything was lined up for them to keep going in perpetuity, making a rather nice sum of money in the process – but they messed it up. They wanted too much. They wanted more than just the wiseguy profits and comfortable living. It all fell to pieces.

I honestly see America’s story in much the same light. At the revolution we had a country of predominantly Christians taken out from under the authoritarian rule of the British crown. It should’ve been perfect.

We failed out of the gate by tolerating slavery, for the sake of earthly wealth, a wrong that was eventually righted by a bloody, destructive civil war. Following the god of money ultimately cost a great deal more than we hoped to make through slavery.

The dalliance with the god of money didn’t end there. In the roaring twenties we used fractional reserve lending (of supposedly gold-backed money) to juice up a bubble and have a little more. (I know what you’re thinking – how do you lend more gold into existence than actually exists? You don’t.) We know how that ended.

What followed was a move toward statism and Keynesism. Honestly, how does a nation of Christians (mostly Christians) come to the conclusion that they should use the power of democracy, and the implicit threat of force, to make other folks do the right thing? Love of money had morphed into love of being in charge (of being god in the lives of our fellow men).

We made it through the depression, WWII, the Cold War, and all the rest, but the structures of statism and central planning were still in place. Each man has his hands (through the power of the state) on the lives of his neighbor. And while we fight each other over the minutiae of each others lives, the fiat currency system (the god of money) is steady pumping wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich.

What were we thinking? How did a nation of Christians end up looking like this? We should’ve been free. We should’ve been America.

The current economic distortions, the faux-god rule over the lives of my neighbors, the entitlement mentality coupled with power to vote anything we want into existence … this probably won’t end well. I’m not saying it has to end poorly, just that it can’t go on forever, and the likelihood of incremental moves away from the current situation toward true freedom appear rather unlikely.

OK, off to find a hatch that needs battening …

 

 

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