Politics and the Church – Building a Free Nation [Part 3]

So now that the foundations of a free nation were laid, what were the results of 175 years of American liberalism?  Today the word ‘liberal’, to many, has negative connotations.  But it was not always treated in such a manner.  The encouragement of private imitative and self-determination and the protection of the individual citizen from the encroachment of man-made systems have now had over 175 years to prove themselves.  Did the liberation of the citizen from the systems of the past prove beneficial?

     The United States, like all new countries, started poor in capital and badly in debt.  Although other nations have often had equal access to natural resources, the United States slowly but consistently forged ahead.  Stepping back slightly in history, in 1952, with only 7% of the world’s population and 6% of the earth’s territory, the United States has acquired through peaceful industry nearly 50% of the world’s developed wealth.  Each year its citizens grow, build, sell, buy and use more goods and services than any other country in existence…no wonder people want to come here legally and illegally, and the communist philosophy wants to destroy it.

     With a population of 180 million (1962), the United States has succeeded in approaching the economists’ dream of total employment by providing jobs for 63 million people while approximately 37 million of its youth have enrolled in school.  Each year the people of the United States spend more than 200 billion dollars on personal goods and services.  This means a per capita income of $1,453 which is twice the per capita income in Britain, five times the per capita income in Russia, and seven times the per capita income in Italy.  According to the American Automobile Association, people of the United States spend more than 9 billion dollars on vacations each year.  Individual savings amount to 17 billion dollars annually, and 3 out of 4 families are covered by life insurance.  Of the 50 million dwelling units in the nation, 60 percent are occupied by their owners.  The millions of acres of developed farmland produce more food than its citizens can eat.  The productive capacity of the United States is the largest in the world.   It owns 30 percent of the world’s railroad mileage, 76 percent of its automobiles, 51 percent of its trucks, 47 percent of its radios, 42 percent of its electric power output, and 47 percent of its steel.  Each year, until recently, the United States produced 51 percent of the world’s output of petroleum and about 30 percent of its coal.  The US merchant fleets have replaced Britain’s as the rulers of the seas with the greatest volume of foreign trade. (Statistics taken from the 1954 Information Almanac published by the MacMillan Co., New York, P.80) 

     Certain foreign propaganda agents have tried to depict the US wealth as a fortuitous gift of nature.  Economists have pointed out that many foreign nations have equal access to resources and could duplicate the wealth of the United States if they were willing to accept the principles of government and economics which make the development of such wealth possible. Propaganda agents have insisted that since the United States has become remarkably wealthy, it should divide that wealth with the rest of the poverty-stricken world.  Economists have answered this by pointing out that what America has to share with the world is not so much her wealth, as her time-tested system of government and economics.  What foreign nations envy in America is the fruition of 175+ years of true liberalism.

     Marx made his most damaging mistake while drawing up the blueprints for a Communist society by designing them for a creature which never existed.  He misinterpreted the nature of man.  Since then, the Communists have expended vast quantities of strategy and energy trying to change the instinctive desires of man, but this has proven impossible.  While nations which toyed with Socialism and Communism progressed slowly, stood still, or slid backwards, Capitalism rolled steadily on.  Two things in particular have made modern Capitalism increasingly successful.  First, its capacity to satisfy the inherent needs and desires of man, and second, its capacity to function efficiently with very little guidance or supervision.  Today, we see certain facets of government trying to upset this process that has proven so successful.  While Capitalism contains a certain spirit of the jungle when observed in its wild, uncultivated state where men have used it for selfish, individual survival.  This is where Christianity has played an important role.  Under domestication and tempered with the ingredient of good will toward men, Capitalism has proven to be man’s most effective device for developing material wealth and for general social advancement, in other words, for community survival.  So, what is this nature of man, his desires and needs, that Capitalism seems to satisfy?

     Man turns out to be a physical-spiritual being.  To ignore either facet of his nature would be as fatal for us as it was for Marx.

     On the physical side, we observe that man is an elaborate and complex organism with a capacity to register and react to sensations ranging from excruciating pain to ecstatic pleasure.  A vast array of human needs grows out of man’s desire to avoid pain or discomfort and achieve physical satisfaction and pleasure from life.  What are some of these needs?

     Satisfying hunger; quenching thirst; satisfying tastes; being warm in cold weather and cool in warm weather; avoiding illness; being relieved of pain; having comfortable and attractive clothes; having comfortable home and surroundings; enjoying perfumes and pleasant odors; hearing pleasant sounds; enjoying relaxation and recreation; participating in marital associations; enjoying the sensation of movement and travel; and seeing colorful objects or colorful scenery.  These are just some of the physical needs of man.

     So now, what about the other half of man’s nature…the spiritual side?  Man, as an intelligent, self-knowing, self-determining being, is capable of having strong feelings ranging all the way from sublime hope to deep fear and despair.  Sometimes these are closely related to physical needs and frustrations; sometimes they a purely intellectual.  Regardless of their origin, they are very real and result in a wide pattern of intellectual or spiritual needs.  They are:

To be of individual importance so as to count for something as a person; to enjoy owning things; to be appreciated for some unique and important contribution; to have a satisfactory degree of economic security; to feel the satisfaction of sacrificing or risking something to achieve progress; to have the opportunity for creativity; to feel family solidarity; to enjoy the right of privacy; to have freedom of expression in matters of opinion; to feel significant in determining matters of political importance; and to be protected in convictions of religion and conscience.

     Many economic systems which men have invented tend to smother or ignore these needs.  To that same extent these systems are bound to smother man’s greatest source of motivating power.   What is that power and what is the source of that power?  Today our greatest source of power can come through loneliness.  Multiple instances reveal that loneliness can result from not following God.  Loneliness will force us to seek a way out or drive us deeper into a never-ending spiral of depression where man’s needs cannot be found.  Were we find ourselves in a purposeless void we can lose all hope of pursuing either physical or spiritual needs.  I believe that our primary need lies in the spiritual realm. It is only when we come to know God and know that He loves us and knows who we are, that we can truly find our purpose in life and seek those physical and spiritual goals God built into us.  So, what is this thing called ‘loneliness’?  How can we recognize it?

   Emotional loneliness: No one really loves me.

   Relational loneliness: No one knows the real me nor even cares to know the real me.

   Vocational loneliness: My life has no meaning.

   Spiritual loneliness: I feel so alone. The experience of being cut off from God.

   Physical loneliness: No one around to share the load. Isolation of not having people to help.

   Situational loneliness: Feeling rejected, unwanted.  Excluded from various life circumstances.

     So, what is the remedy for the pain of ‘alone’?

   First, we were never meant to be alone.  We were made for companionship.  Lonely is how we were created to feel when we are unhinged from connection.

   Second, God offers a solution for the pain of alone by inviting us into relationship with himself and others.

   Third, God reminds us of his ongoing offering in our loneliness.

     So how did we evolve from discussing man’s physical and spiritual needs to the subject of loneliness?  For man to be able to fit into the world God has made for us we must be able to first overcome the debilitating curse of loneliness.  It is from a foundation of being known and loved that we can venture into a relationship with other people.  We can finally pursue the nature of man that God gave us. It is the Communist goal to eliminate this feeling of purpose and being loved and to treat a person as nothing more than a cog in a giant machine…living only to survive with a hope that this ‘God’ will sometime save the day.  Any wonder that Communism wants to destroy the Church?

-Bob Munsey

‘Knowing that God intimately knows us can change the way we live.’  (“You are not Alone…six affirmations from a loving God’) Elisa Morgan, Our Daily Bread Publishing, 2021)

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