The sin that dooms America

(Note, Jan. 29: See a blogger’s eloquent follow-up on Jeff W.’s comment, with further discussion, here.)

Jeff W. writes:

I am getting a strong feeling lately that the Western world can no longer dodge God’s punishment. Americans and Europeans are not much better than the Babylonians. They have violated too many of God’s laws and are completely unrepentant.

It is now clear to me, for example, that America cannot solve its budget problems. Spending will continue until a massive financial crisis stops it.

Americans are very thievish. If God’s justice is not brought to bear against thieves, they will continue stealing until they devour everything that is good. God cannot allow that.

Thievishness is just one of America’s problems, however.

LA replies:

It is very insightful of you to see America’s budget crisis as, at bottom, a matter of theft—not as an economic or spending problem, nor as a technical or managerial problem which only specialists can grasp, but as the expression of a familiar, classic, well-understood human sin.

According to John Ciardi, Dante considered thievishness and evil counsel to be the two main sins that doomed the Florence of his time.

Dante puts thieves lower in hell than murderers, and their punishment is particularly horrible. See Cantos XXIV and XXV of The Inferno.

- end of initial entry -

January 28

Kathlene M. writes:

Jeff W. is correct in pointing out that theft, which is a violation of the Seventh Commandment, is not the only sin that is threatening America. Consider other violations of the Ten Commandments and how they’re affecting America.

1. I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol.

Our government seeks to eliminate God entirely and replace God with government. Man has become an idol. America is starting to resemble the soulless state of the former Soviet Union.

4. Honor your father and mother.

6. You shall not commit adultery.

9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

Our government and society work against traditional two-parent families and promote perverted values. Society has lost its moral compass and devolves further into a pit of despair, immorality and nihilism.

5. You shall not kill/murder.

Our government and society condone abortion. Result: 50 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. Human value, especially that of children, has been diminished and our society has lost its conscience and soul. Child pornography is just one symptom.

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Liberals and our government are all too willing to malign conservatives as accessories to murder as we’ve seen in the recent Tucson massacre. Result: hatred, civil unrest, and a divided nation where family members are pitted against each other.

10. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Our government and fellow citizens are pushing socialism and class envy, promoting the idea that people deserve the fruits of someone else’s labor. The housing crash and financial crisis were a result of this sin: government promoted the idea that everyone, regardless of ability and income, deserved expensive homes for nothing.

Bill W. writes:

Jeff W. is completely right, but I think it’s even worse than may be immediately obvious. Most of us feel that, at root, the welfare state and the concomitant transfer of money is a form of thievery. I’ve thought for several years that anyone who votes for a Democrat is either a thief or an endorser of thievery. Liberals obviously feel differently, and will tell you that if people are in need, that those needs have to be met, and that our welfare state is really a form of collective kindness and mercy to the poor. But virtue is not virtue if it is compulsory, and the forced nature of the welfare state colors everything. This form of “charity,” rather than really helping people, creates dependence, undermines thrift and hard work, and destroys people spiritually, both by undermining what is good, and also by creating a sense of wounded, resentful expectation—the idea that the world owes them something. I’m a doctor. And having worked with Medicaid patients in emergency rooms before, I can tell you that they are far more demanding, suspicious, complaining and overall “entitled” than any other group.

Forgot to bring a list of the medications you take to the ER at 3 a.m.? “No one told me I had to do that, and no one gave me no list.”

Oh, you missed your follow up appointment after your surgery? “Well no one couldn’t give me no ride, and no one called me to remind me anyhow.”

Do you mind if one of our medical students talks with your first? “Oh no! Don’t be trying to put no student on me! I wanna see the best doctor in here, and tell him he needs to come NOW.”

It goes on and on. I’ve also seen the opposite—real charity work. My father, who is an ophthalmologist, worked for several years in Papau New Guinea, where simple cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness. After a surgical follow-up appointment where he examined around twenty eyes, all of whom had had cataract surgery, they were all sitting on a long bench in his clinic as he went person-to-person, assembly line style. As he took the bandages off of each person, he could tell instantly if the surgery had worked well—they started smiling. On more than one occasion, the patients would begin singing, in Pidgin, “Jesus open-em ai belong mi” (Jesus opened my eyes). And there was a real graciousness, a sense of warmth and wonder, which permeated the room. I’ve never seen anything like it from the poor in the U.S., and I think that the difference lies in the nature of the act. When one person, realizing that God has blessed him deeply, tries to share the blessing, the inner motivation behind the action is obvious, and there is real relationship there. But when a state, a bureaucracy, tries to accomplish the same, it breeds resentment. The money, or time, or resources may be equivalent, but the nature of the act is different—it’s not a blessing being shared, but an obligation (perceived) that is being carried out, and only then by force. So the recipient, seeing that “his rights” are being only incompletely restored to him reacts with resentment, and the “payer” (all the rest of us) react with resentment because deep down we know we’re being stolen from.

And of course it’s deeply ironic, that those who most decry anyone forcing their beliefs on another, do precisely the same by voting to maintain the welfare state, and in so doing make the problem worse, and breed resentments, hatreds and class warfare as well.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 27, 2011 06:20 PM | Send

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