Thursday, January 21, 2010

Freedom. Liberty. More religion means less government.

One of the themes coming out of the Massachusetts vote and the mood of the country is massive government programs will mean less freedom and liberty. While people are frustrated with the economy, I think people are also concerned with the expansion of the state, government. I support these sentiments but am ultimately concerned it will only be a short term reaction unless something deeper happens in the life our nation and state. There needs to be a revival of religious sentiments and belief to keep down the size of government and preserve freedom and liberty.

As Professor Bradley writes:
If more and more men are abandoning the religious communities that have provided solid moral formation for thousands of years, we should not be surprised by an increase in the explosion of demand for morally reprehensible products as well as the family breakdown that follows closely behind. With consciences formed by utility, pragmatism, and sensuality, instead of virtue, we should expect to find a culture with even more women subjected to the dehumanization of strip clubs, more misogynistic rap music, more adultery and divorce, more broken sexuality, more fatherlessness, more corruption in government and business, more individualism, and more loneliness.

Alexis de Tocqueville cautioned in his 1835 reflections on Democracy in America, that the pursuit of liberty without religion hurts society because it “tends to isolate [people] from one another, to concentrate every man's attention upon himself; and it lays open the soul to an inordinate love of material gratification.” In fact, Tocqueville says, “the main business of religions is to purify, control, and restrain that excessive and exclusive taste for well-being which men acquire in times of equality.” Religion makes us other-regarding.

As social problems mount, there will invariably be calls for more government. Only problem is this approach isn't very viable as we go deeper and deeper into debt as a nation. Government lacks the ability to throw money at social problems. Hopefully, this will result in individuals, churches, and communities being more engaged in addressing social issues in our own backyards.

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