Lurching Toward the Cliff
This post was inspired by this article in the Wall Street Journal and LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley’s discourse in October of 2006, called Rise Up O Men of God, in which he encourages young men in the church to get an education and learn to compete in a changing world.
Right now the world is watching the country of Greece, teetering on the brink of economic destruction, social upheaval and possibly even governmental collapse, based on that countries insolvency and debt load. Greece, like many European countries has adopted socialist polices. In the face of the financial crisis the country is facing, the government is implemented “austerity measures” designed to control costs and avoid economic ruin. Unfortunately, many segments of the population are rioting in the streets. Who are these people and why are they so mad?
Ordinary citizens in Greece are experiencing sharp reductions in the services and government programs they depend on for subsistence and survival. Pensions, salaries, health care benefits, social programs, education, etc. are all affected. Should a government be so instrumental in providing all of these services in lieu of the private sector? Many agree. I counter that this is the very epitome of “too big to fail.” What is happening in Greece has happened before in other countries, including France. A few years ago, young adults rioted in the streets of France over the lack of guaranteed jobs. When you view a job as a right extended to you from the government, and then you don’t get what you expected, you are understandably angry. However, this system of labor and economics is dangerous because it stifles individual innovation and ambition.
Could such things happen in the United States? Apart from the size and scale of the riots, these things are already at the door. The more the United States government places itself in the stead of the private sector in offering citizens benefits and “handouts” based on a belief of equality and human rights, the more dependent and less self-reliant the citizens become. Equality regardless of individual effort and contribution, is antithetical to a merit-based society that rewards those who take initiative, take risk to turn profit and educate themselves in order to compete. Simultaneously, burgeoning federal regulation and taxes to fund the social programs drive profitability down in the private sector, leading to more unemployment, and more dependence on government. Here is an article drawing comparisons between the Greek crisis and the U.S.
The United States is so far in debt that the average person cannot fathom the magnitude of it. The interdependency of the United States and her debtors, when viewed under a geo-political lens produces some stark realities. Is China a friend or foe? Both, actually. What kinds of conflicts of interest does that present? The same fiscal responsibility and principles of self-reliance taught in the Church of Jesus Christ apply equally to individuals, families, communities, civic governments, and state and federal governments. Balanced budgets are not old-fashioned. Debt can be a necessary and important tool, however, it is a dangerous and addictive allure to the undisciplined.
It is not unrealistic to foresee the United States unable to continue on the present spending spree engaged in by the federal government, to fund itself, its wars and the dole to American citizens. Social programs have their place. Tragedies strike, people are have times of need, but social programs should never be a core component of the life of nearly every citizen. Sadly over the course of several generations, we have grown prosperous, fat, lazy, entitled and we’ve lost our way. The government response to this condition is a band-aid to the fundamental root cause: the break down of the family. The stable, loving, God-fearing family unit is divinely created, appointed and support by God and is the instrument through which love, patience, respect, honor and duty is instilled into children. The ratio of functioning families to dysfunctional has steadily become more and more lopsided with each decade. When we reach a tipping point, when the number of children reared in dysfunctional, Godless homes and broken families reaches a critical mass, we will witness strife and government intervention on an unprecedented scale.
We are nearing the crest of the pride cycle, so clearly illustrated in the pages of the Book of Mormon, a cycle that plagued an ancient American nation, in whose remnants the United States of America was raised up. This cycle is universal, has been followed by countless societies and its only cure is worship of God and strict obedience to His laws and commandments.
Case in point, the number of uneducated men, ill-equipped to adapt to the changing needs of the American workforce. This is serious issue that will not go away. Joseph Smith prophesied that the United States government would get all the mobs it could handle for its failure to recognize the early Latter-Day Saint petitions for redress due to their suffering at the hands of mobs in Ohio, Missouri and later in Illinois. Based on scenes from the world stage, the current direction our nation’s government is taking, coupled with the effects of the breakdown of the family unit, we are witnessing the latest chapter of the saga of the downfall of our great country.