“Where love stops, power begins; and violence, and terror.” — Carl Jung, “The Undiscovered Self”
“We control life, Winston, at all its levels. You are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” — George Orwell, “1984”
“Do not go gently into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” — Dylan Thomas
An age-old question asked, what is the measure of a man? Is it the willingness to give, unasked? Is it faith in something greater than oneself? Is it the care and protection of those called family and those who are less fortunate? Is it living through empathy in a world gone mad? It is all these things and more. What is the result when she or he strays from those things that define them?
What is the measure of a nation of people? Is it their willingness to stand as a witness and an adversary against tyranny and oppression, at home and abroad? Is it the recognition that there is a calling of conscience that is intended to perpetuate justice and equality? Is it the care and protection of its citizens? It is all these things and more. And what is the result when a nation strays from those defining characteristics?
People and nations often define themselves according to the subscribed philosophical/religious/ideological tenets that shape their thought and belief. For many, America and some of its long-held beliefs, the very beliefs about freedom that inspired the American Revolution, have changed. This change may not reside inside your heart or in the hearts of those you know, but the transition has occurred, nonetheless, in American culture. As always, open eyes see many things.
The current trend toward believing that socialism is our political/economic savior may be popular in the minds of many, but it’s a loaded gun. Anybody remember how things worked out for the 20th century’s best example of state control — the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?
Aside from what is happening today, I believe this transition has occurred incrementally, and largely unnoticed by most of us, over many decades that span at least a century (or over 230 years if Lincoln and Jefferson were correct).
The people, decreasingly in control of their own destiny due to incrementally-increasing corporate, federal and state intervention, have over many years, and certainly today, been subject to a growing degree of subservience on multiple levels; the result of which, shamefully, would make us barely recognizable to those citizens who, in 1776, dared to rise up against the British Crown.
In the continuing transformation of the United States, it devolved over time to a point that the belief in, and acknowledgement of, a Creator God, through the efforts of establishment Science (a belief system/religion in its own right), academics, government, entertainment and the various media, has been replaced with a more Spartan assessment of humanity that has its philosophical roots in materialism, mechanism (e.g., man and the universe as a machine and the brain as a computer; all explained by the use of “scientific” reductionism), a form of humanism meant to replace the need for God (worshipping the creature more than the Creator) and, philosophically, egoistic hedonism (where the individual’s desire and pleasure reign supreme), among others.
Also thrown into the mix of the transformation is a transition to additional ideologies that seek to divide, degrade and diminish whole segments of the population, whether based on skin pigmentation, political leanings, personal opinion or religious belief, etc. This tactic, used by those in power or those who wish to ascend to power, is as old as humanity itself.
When people stray from what once defined them, they become less than they were before and more willing to be subservient to the powers around them; powers against which they are told they cannot prevail. So, too, with a nation. Silence = consent. Consent = servitude. And who or what are we serving?
Meantime, the phones get smarter while we get dumber, bound by invisible chains signifying our servitude to the political/corporate/media machine which is designed to transform and guide our thinking and, for some, their resulting actions.
And the intolerance of some in our society continues to grow, with accusation, cancellation and violence, by some, seemingly dictating public policy and government/corporate decisions based on who is worthy to have rights. China, Russia, Iran and others must be laughing their asses off. But, of course, none of them allow such in their countries.
As subservience is cemented through forces such as academics, politics and mainstream and social media, the masses, as willing or unwilling participants in the transformation, stand to become increasingly fearful, malleable or unwilling to confront the authority that shapes their worldview and convinces them that they are to believe what they are told to believe, and without question.
The sheep march in lock-step, while only the pesky, troublemaking citizens who complain about losing freedom, privacy and the right to free speech seem to be opposed to living in Surveillance Nation.
Some of you will remind me that Christians have biblical foreknowledge that mockery and persecution is to be expected and is unavoidable. This is true.
But where is it said that Christians are supposed to be accomplices to that persecution? Are we supposed to sit by in silence as our children are taught multiple theories disguised as facts by academics and textbook publishers?
Are we supposed to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye while our faith is slaughtered continuously by some in the media and by Hollywood, as it has been for more than four decades?
Are we to act like obedient children when Christianity is torn down, yet other religions go unimpeded, even promoted, through the actions of local, state and federal governments and corporate media?
And as Christians, are we to be so concerned about raising the money for the next expansion project at our church while our brothers and sisters in numerous countries live in abject poverty, and with some being beaten, raped and slaughtered only because they are Believers?
Do you think me too harsh? Then think about this — I know of a Middle Eastern man who, several years ago upon accepting Christ, said, “When I became a Christian, I expect to die.” He did.
Maybe in some ways we are like Esau, who sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. Many in America over the past century sold theirs, for a different kind of nourishment, swapping this nation’s birthright for increased control. People will fall for nearly anything if they are kept fed, entertained and relatively comfortable in the land of plenty, in the Land of Mammon (mammon being money, or anything that takes the place of God).
And are not some among us today timid and afraid to speak out when we see a wrong committed?
Through the disconnect arising from timidity, complacency and fear of those in (real or perceived) authority, we are participants in the ushering-in of the Biblical prophecy that will wipe the slate clean.
It was two millennia ago that the Roman Empire ruled Europe, north Africa and what today is called the Middle East. The power of Caesar was total. Today, nations have at their disposal far greater means of control. Power and control are molded and manifested through a litany of means, whether political or government pronouncements, mainstream media, social media, academics, etc.
Today, and ever-increasingly, groups are being turned against each other, with members of some groups always willing to do their part in the devolution of societies.
Thing is, I expect that some believe that when “their” side wins the day, they will be assured a place at the table. I think they are in for a surprise.
Promoted as a “righting of wrongs,” the masses, fueled by media and politics, who partake in tearing down society will find that they, too, will be on the chopping block if their ideological side wins the day and their real masters are unveiled.
And if that day comes, the “cancel culture” will find itself cancelled, or likely worse, given that the rage they fomented will no longer be tolerated by their masters once the transformation to the “new subdued America” is complete.
Being divided over any social/political agenda plays into the hands of those in control. And willingly giving up rights, or having them taken away without resisting, is the hallmark of a people already defeated. And wasn’t it Jesus, a scant 2,000 years ago, who said a house divided against itself cannot stand? Whether a church or a nation, that axiom applies.
Everything stated above is my opinion, assuming I’m still allowed to have one, just like you’re allowed to have your own.
That said, it’s long past time for each of us to ask ourselves the question — “Where do I stand?”
But, hey, maybe things are fine like they are, and maybe some of us should stop asking pesky questions. We can just have things keep moving along like they are today. And just look at the cool stuff we get in return.
We’re fat and lazy, addicted to our smartphones, technology and social media, dumbed-down by politics, academics and the media, afraid to get involved while hiding in place, afraid of Caesar’s power and afraid of our shadow; all while being comfortably numb, living in the Land of Mammon.
[Ben Nelms has been a reporter for The Citizen for more than 15 years.]