Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Why our system is faltering.

Watching the townhalls on TV, listening to the news coverage, and talking with fellow citizens had led me to believe that our system of government is failing. The United States isn't going to collapse. It is morphing. The reason isn't because people refuse to follow the Constitution. The reason is the premise of the Constitution.

The United States system is a wonderful, noble idea. Our nation has done many wonderful things. Nowhere else have people been more free to do what is right than here. It has largely been our system that has enabled that freedom. But the system is now faltering.

America is based on the fact that we have this document, called the Consitution, which sets up rules protecting people from tryanny and is supposed to keep everyone inside the bounds. It is expected, and was expected, that the document would be followed - that its interpretation would be given to a Supreme Court to figure out ambiguities in the law. Yes, the Constitution would keep the nation on a steady course.

But there is a flaw. The Supreme Court is able to overturn itself. What was right 30 years ago could be wrong tomorrow. Things can even be removed from the Constitution. A system like this can last for a while...maybe...500 years? But eventually it begins to break down. A system based on the letter of the law, which can be interpreted be elected people (or those appointed by those elected) will sway with the culture instead of sticking to eternal truths.

A system like this will become more and more totalitarian as it evolves. That seems like quite a jump, but let me explain my view. Eventually the people become demanding of the government because politicians use causes and promises to give things to constituents. Then, over time, they expect the freebies. This is because rather than unchanging truth, rather than praying for what is necessary, they "pray their Senators" for what they want.

And government becomes God. That god, which is nothing other than a system of the changing winds of culture, is a farce. Our country was based on a sort of humanism with God still in mind. But its end is a humanism in which we have replaced God with the mind. Those unchanging truths which the Founders believed in are no longer considered unchanging.

Its amazing that as the culture rots, the unchanging Truth of Original Sin makes itself ever more present. Man is still trying to make himself like a God, eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

But this system, which bases itself on a document that needs to be interpreted rings in my as something all too familiar. We have a system which will eventually break down, splinter, and cause all kinds of confusion. Eventually it is replaced by a new one...a dictatorship of whatever. There is no idea what is actually right or wrong and thousands of different interpretations that can change with the culture. Now where have we encountered this before?

I'm not here trying to criticize our Protestant brethren. This is about our government. Think about the general religious opinion of the country at the time of its founding. Would they have ever considered our nation would be where it is today? Would Calvin, Henry VIII, Zwingly, Luther or any of the other Protestant reformers ever have considered the state of Protestantism in our time? Would Washington, Jefferson, or Adams forseen the massive near-totalitarian state we have today?*

Probably not. But the Church saw it. The Church saw the flaws in the liberal republicanism of the new age. That system has its base in a religious opinion that the truth of a written document would be followed and interpreted properly by committees of elected men and guided by the hand of God. The system failed the first time a decision was overturned.

I love America and am a patriot. But we need Truth to rule us. We cannot rule the Truth. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!
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* They may have warned about the state becoming totalitarian, but I don't believe they actually saw it coming to the United States.

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"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton