Twilight's Last Gleaming?
Prelude to Tyranny?
With an election coming next month - and one that may prove to be a "watershed" for the future of the Republic - it is an appropriate time to review the realities we are facing.
The Life Cycle of Democracies
There is a view among some historians that a democracy is an intrinsically unstable form of government:
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse...from the public treasury... The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years...
And the cycle is surprisingly predictable:
...from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again into bondage. -Alexander Tyler, 1750
Studies of the predictable decay of empires and cultures generally discern three primary aspects of their decline: Social Decay, Cultural Decay, and Moral Decay.1
The first, Social Decay, is characterized by the crisis of lawlessness, the loss of economic discipline, and the rise of bureaucracy.
This is associated with Cultural Decay: the decline of education, the weakening of cultural foundations, and the loss of respect for tradition.
All this is, of course, the result of Moral Decay: the rise of immorality, the decay of religious beliefs, and the subsequent devaluation of human life.
Where do we stand in this cycle? Let's take a brief inventory.
The State of the Union 2000
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.
A Tale of Two Cities
Things would seem to be going well: our stock indexes are at unprecedented highs. People are buying their third and fourth cars. Almost every home has a computer. It's hard to find anyone without a cellular phone on their belt. Our fuel costs less than the water we drink. "It is the best of times...."
However, we murder babies that are socially inconvenient. We change marriage partners like a fashion statement. We seem to have abandoned the sanctity of commitments in all of our relationships: our marriages, our business relationships, etc. Homosexuality is just an "alternative life-style."
In the Bible, God rebuked Israel for its brutality, murder, and warfare. But we have had Waco and Columbine High School. New York City has recorded more crimes than England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark, combined.
Immorality and deceit have come to characterize the highest offices of our nation as well. Our politics have condoned and covered up more murders than we dare list. Our public enterprises have been prostituted to the convenience of the elite.
Our entertainments celebrate adultery, fornication, violence, aberrant sexual practices, and every imaginable form of evil. We have become the primary exporters of all that God abhors. From His point of view, "It is the worst of times."
Lest we forget, our present administration has brought us the deaths of Vicky Weaver,2 Paul Wilcher,3 Vince Foster,4 Ron Brown,5 William Colby,6 Admiral Jeremy Boorda,7 and over 100 other mysterious deaths. And, of course, the shocking events in Oklahoma City and Waco.
Attempts to whitewash these outrages by the administration and the news media continue to be unconvincing. A number of the government's own witnesses and experts, who believed the BATF and FBI were at least partially at fault, have mysteriously died. Carlos Ghigliotty, the FLIR expert for the congressional investigation into the Waco carnage, was found dead in his apartment just prior to releasing his report confirming FBI gunfire into the Waco compound. The lingering questions continue unanswered: Why was an entire BATF swat team needed to serve a search warrant on the previously cooperative David Koresh? Why was Delta Force and tanks used against U.S. citizens in violation of Posse Comitatus law? Why have coroners and other officials changed their testimony in recent months?
The apparent corruption within the administration continues to be buried from review: Attorney General Janet Reno announced recently that she would not be appointing an independent counsel to investigate Al Gore's campaign fund-raising despite recommendations by campaign task force head Robert J. Colnrad (a Democrat) to the contrary.
A new book is apparently coming to press, titled Sell Out: Why Clinton's Impeachment Was Over Before It Began, by David Schippers, former chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. It claims Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and the Republican leadership in the Senate were determined to spike the trial before any evidence was presented.
While the credibility of the current administration is at an all-time low, it seems to make little difference, even in an election year! What is really going on? Where's the outrage? Or is this all part of a much larger problem?
Over the past 30 years, our population has increased 41%, but our Gross Domestic Product has tripled, and our social spending has had the benefit of a 500% increase. Impressive by any standard.
And yet, we have had a 500% increase in violent crime, a 400% increase in illegitimate births, a 400% increase in the divorce rate, a 300% increase in single parent homes, a 200% increase in teenage suicides, and a 75% decrease in SAT scores.8
Each day in America there are 2,795 teen pregnancies and 4,219 teenagers who contract a sexually transmitted disease. Every 64 seconds a baby is born to a teenage mother; five minutes later, a baby will have been born to a teenager who already has a child. Ten hours later, 560 babies will have been born to teenagers.
Over the past 30 years, we have conducted over 31 million abortions; every day there are 1,106 teen abortions alone! (When John the Baptist began his ministry, he was only 9 inches long and weighed about a pound and a half. In the womb, he was Spirit-filled, and leapt for joy).9
We are a nation in peril. We lead the industrialized world in murder, rape, and violent crime. In elementary and secondary education, we are near the bottom in achievement scores. There is a coarseness, callousness, cynicism, banality, and vulgarity signalling the decivilization of our nation.
An analysis of these, and virtually every social and cultural indicator, clearly shows a marked deterioration since the early 1960s. What event transpired then to cause this rapid and catastrophic destruction of our American culture? We outlawed God from our schools!10
The "Liberal" Agenda
All this is not a result of mismanagement. It is the intended result of the "liberal" agenda. It is the deliberate design to pursue the deconstruction of our nation, its heritage, family values, and traditions in pursuit of a utopian agenda built out of the failed policies of the past. And it is the deliberate program of those who are revising our history textbooks, stripping the country of its heritage and actively attacking the sanctity of the family from every quarter. Our military cemeteries are filled with patriots who died fighting against everything the liberals stand for. See The 'Liberal' Creed.
President James Garfield expressed it well:
Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature...
If the next centennial does not find us a great nation... it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.11
The Silent Pulpits
The apathy of the Christians is one of our biggest problems. Only one person in four put the present administration into office! However, our problem isn't Bill Clinton and Al Gore. They are but symptoms of our real problem: a lack of loyalty to our heritage.
This is, in part, due to the "silent pulpits" - those pulpits that encourage the neglect of our stewardship of the freedoms and heritage which have come to us at such a high price. This is the same brand of political correctness that brought Hitler to power and resulted in the Holocaust in Europe. And it may bring to a close the greatest experiment in personal freedom in the political history of Man.
(I believe that we each will be held accountable before the Throne of God for our stewardship of the distinctive mandate that has come to us through the prayers and diligence of our founders and patriots of our unique heritage.)
We need to take our heritage seriously. We need to recognize the adversary that is intrepidly eroding our freedoms - especially our freedom to worship. We need to exercise diligence and initiative in protecting our Republic, our rights, and our freedoms - especially for our children and grandchildren!
One of the most stirring quotes always comes to my mind:
If you love wealth more than liberty, and if you prefer the tranquility of servitude rather than the animated contest of freedom, then go home in peace. We seek neither your counsel nor your arms.
But bend down and lick the hands that feed you; and may your chains rest lightly upon you. And may posterity forget that you were our countryman. - Samuel Adams
The vote this November is one of the most critical for the future of the Republic. Not just for the presidency, but for the hundreds of other positions that will determine the tenor of the legislatures and executive offices - in the state house as well as the White House. But, what may be even more important; we need to hold them all accountable during the subsequent months in office!
However, neither George W. Bush nor Al Gore can solve our problems. Our problems go far deeper. We need to reestablish the rule of law in our land. We need to repair our own lack of diligence in safeguarding our freedoms.
We have something available to us that is even more powerful than the ballot box: our prayer closet. It's time we got serious.
It is manifestly true that only a miracle can save America! Fortunately, God is in the miracle business. So, first and foremost, we need to take seriously our commitment to our Monarch! Only our Lord Jesus Christ can, in His Sovereignty, bring us the kind of revival that it will take to reestablish the America that once was: a beachhead for the Gospel to a hurting world. Without Him, we can't. But without us, He won't.12
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This article was excerpted from our new briefing package, Twilight's Last Gleaming?.
Black, Jim Nelson , When Nations Die, Tyndale House, Wheaton IL, 1994.
Bork, Robert, Slouching Toward Gomorrah, HarperCollins Publishers, NY, 1996.
Lapin, Rabbi Daniel, America's Real War, Multnomah Publishers, Sisters OR, 1999.
Chalfant, John W., Abandonment Theology - The Clergy and the Decline of American Christianity, America - A Call to Greatness, Winter Park FL, 1999.