Deadly Thresholds

“As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose–that it may violate property instead of protecting it–then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder.”

Frédéric BastiatThe Law

Over at Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds points to this tidbit from the Heritage Foundation:

“Two objections to the current state of federal law have been that no one knows how many federal crimes there are, and no one can easily find them all…

The American legal system has always presumed—often incorrectly—that every person knows every criminal law. In fact, no one—no police officer, no prosecutor, no judge, and no law professor—knows all of them. One reason why this problem has existed is that there is no compendium of all federal criminal laws that a person—or a lawyer—could turn to when issues arise.

In the past the Justice Department and the American Bar Association (ABA) separately attempted to prepare a list of federal offenses. Neither the Justice Department nor the ABA succeeded, no other component of the executive branch has picked up the baton since then, and no comprehensive, easily accessible list exists today…”

I would like to say that I am shocked, but I’m not. This is actually a predictable output from the government of a society that has given up on self-governance based on individual self-control and relies on the state to define all aspects of human interaction.

Think about it: If we pass a law that says it is illegal to do X, then we have to define what “X” is. We then have to codify every possible situation where “X” exists, what can be done to it, with it and when. That definition becomes pliable as it works its way through the judicial system and each court determines what the meaning if “X” is in this particular individual interaction. The permutations and combinations are mind boggling.

This is also an example of how a system of governance that relies on laws to maintain social order will eventually collapse under its own weight.

There are two types of individual control, external and internal.

External controls are laws and regulations. They are documented definitions of legal behavior that have consequences within the legal system. While they may have some effect as a deterrent and some would argue that defined punishments ranging from a parking ticket to capital punishment are such deterrents, there is no doubt that these deterrents do not stop the infractions from happening. Every day there are illegally parked vehicles and there unfortunately are also murders.

Internal controls are individual values, mores and standards that determine how one person relates to the next. For example, my internal controls – based on my Judeo-Christian beliefs – prevent me from going over to my neighbor’s house when he is at work, kicking down his door and taking his TV for myself. I also know it is a crime to do so as there are laws that define it as such, but if he is gone and there is no other entity present to enforce that external control, the only thing stopping me is me – my conscience that informs me what is right and what is wrong.

What is becoming clear to me is that a democratic Republic cannot survive when its citizens lose the ability to exercise internal controls. John Adams wrote:

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”

When we lose respect for others, when we lose sight of the Biblical Ten Commandments and vainly attempt to control the 7 deadly sins of pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth with legalism instead of spiritualism, we open the door to the progression of the creation of the impossibility of democratic socialism, totalitarianism and the eventual collapse of society into chaos and anarchy.

There are two types of indicators of activity in a society and its culture – lagging and leading indicators. The difference is that a lagging indicator is a measure that tells you if you have achieved a goal, a leading indicator tells you if you are likely to achieve it. The former is inherently focused on actions that caused a measurable result in the past, the latter on what we need to do to achieve a desired result in the future. In a business, measuring monthly sales is a lagging indicator, measuring stock-outs is a leading indicator because I know that if I eliminate them, I can make more sales.

Late last year an article was published in Scientific American that noted that there was a worldwide decline in religiosity, citing a global 14,000 subject survey by the Bertelsmann Foundation of Germany. In the same article, the author referenced a 2012 Pew survey noted that the fastest growing religious sect in America were the “nones”, a full 20% of Americans said they held no religious affiliation and that number jumped to a staggering 32% for young Americans under 30.

Could it be that the decline in religiosity in the US is a such leading indicator? Are the liberties and freedoms designed for our society being eroded because we are shifting our basis of governance from the internal control of a “moral and religious people” to a reliance on external controls through secular humanism and legalism?

I think there is an argument to be made that it is.

In my opinion – and one that seems to draw validation from centuries of history – liberty was created and is maintained in modern western civilization in direct proportion to the extent of a nation’s reliance on Judeo-Christian values.

So called “climate scientists” warn that even fraction of a degree of global temperature rise or an inch increase in sea level can spell disaster for certain species on the planet. If that is true, is it also not possible that there is a threshold of religiosity required for the survival of American Republic as well?

7 thoughts on “Deadly Thresholds

  1. As our founders understood, an individual’s rights come from God.

    Government only infringes upon, or takes away, ones rights to give to another…

    When a majority of people do not believe in God, do they believe in NOTHING ?

    How can one believe NOTHING endowed them unalienable rights?

    So they default to government, look to government to “give” them rights, privileges, and property. Governmental rights, privileges, and property, are all taken, by force, from someone else. Stolen against the producer or owner of those rights, privileges and property.

    Those who deny a CREATOR will always be subject to the manipulations of their government, who become their rulers.

    A freeman/woman controls their governance.
    A freeman/woman is not controlled by their government

    • Following are our founders words; who all lost either their lives, families lives, homes, fortunes, or all if the above:

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

      http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

      Respectfully,
      arguing our founders did not believe in a God, or Creator, is to do so without merit or truth.

      • Forgive me, what I should have said was that not all the Founders were Christians. However, many kept their opinions private, as is the case today, many pols play the pious card, because declared atheists cannot easily attain office.

  2. If may respond….

    As our founders understood, an individual’s rights come from God.—as some Founders BELIEVED, and not even all of them, so you are starting off with a falsehood.

    Government only infringes upon, or takes away, ones rights to give to another…—–I agree here, that is the role of government, to assume those powers granted to it.

    When a majority of people do not believe in God, do they believe in NOTHING ?—speaking for myself, we believe in most everything that you hold dear, family, personal integrity, equal opportunity; our separate congregations differ mainly in the existence of a Supreme Being.

    How can one believe NOTHING endowed them unalienable rights?—who says we have inalienable rights? Generations of slaves had no rights, and God didn’t serve papers on the bastards that beat and whipped them. Our Founders were at odds with the British over the subject of honoring treaties, the rights-minded colonists were opposed to such unprofitable behavior. Their bestowing of rights seems to have been limited to land-owning white guys.

    So they default to government, look to government to “give” them rights, privileges, and property. Governmental rights, privileges, and property, are all taken, by force, from someone else. Stolen against the producer or owner of those rights, privileges and property.—and you are part and parcel of this theft. Real Estate means ‘from the King. Land seized from native peoples was seized and sold to colonists, who passed it down , down , down to Texas95, hereby charged with reciving stolen goods.

    Those who deny a CREATOR will always be subject to the manipulations of their government, who become their rulers.—Christianity is patterned after a monarchy, a real intrusive and strict monarchy. People are ordered to obey without question, and even warned against seeking proof of Jesus divinity. (Doubting Thomas)

    A freeman/woman controls their governance.—but a freeman is no match for a freemob . People have had to band together in order to better their own individual chances of survival.
    A freeman/woman is not controlled by their government—-mr. Freeman needs to participate in the government in order to protect his rights. That is the main problem in our governance, the average American’s lack of desire or ability to be a part of a most important aspect of our daily lives.

    I like as little govt intrusion into my affairs as the next guy, but I like having clean air and water, something that private industry was not in the business of providing

  3. You’ve just reminded me of Anything Goes, from the Cole Porter musical of the same name:
    [RENO]
    Times have changed,
    And we’ve often rewound the clock,
    Since the Puritans got a shock,
    When they landed on Plymouth Rock.
    If today,
    Any shock they should try to stem,
    ‘Stead of landing on Plymouth Rock,
    Plymouth Rock would land on them.

    In olden days a glimpse of stocking
    Was looked on as something shocking,
    But now, God knows,
    Anything Goes.

    Good authors too who once knew better words,
    Now only use four letter words
    Writing prose, Anything Goes.

    The world has gone mad today
    And good’s bad today,
    And black’s white today,
    And day’s night today,
    When most guys today
    That women prize today
    Are just silly gigolos
    And though I’m not a great romancer
    I know that I’m bound to answer
    When you propose,
    Anything goes

    When grandmama whose age is eighty
    In night clubs is getting matey with gigolo’s,
    Anything Goes.

    When mothers pack and leave poor father
    Because they decide they’d rather be tennis pros,
    Anything Goes.

    If driving fast cars you like,
    If low bars you like,
    If old hymns you like,
    If bare limbs you like,
    If Mae West you like
    Or me undressed you like,
    Why, nobody will oppose!
    When every night,
    The set that’s smart
    Is intruding in nudist parties in studios,
    Anything Goes.

    [RENO, PASSENGERS & CREW]
    The world has gone mad today
    And good’s bad today,
    And black’s white today,
    And day’s night today,
    When most guys today
    That women prize today
    Are just silly gigolos
    And though I’m not a great romancer
    I know that I’m bound to answer
    When you propose,
    Anything goes

    [RENO]
    If saying your prayers you like,
    If green pears you like
    If old chairs you like,
    If back stairs you like,
    If love affairs you like
    With young bears you like,
    Why nobody will oppose!

    [ALL]
    And though I’m not a great romancer
    And though I’m not a great romancer
    I know that I’m bound to answer
    When you propose,
    Anything goes…
    Anything goes!

  4. There was a comment here amongst a plethora of the Usual Liberal/Democrat/ Socialist list of Lies that should be highlighted.

    I’ll leave the rest of the usual Garbage for other times…. but the Comment about Private industry and, by implication, Free enterprise Capitalism and indeed Representative Republicanism itself not being able and willing to insure clean air and water is what should be addressed by actual historical FACT………… Since the implication is clealrly stated that “Government” intrusion is what insures for us…..so therefore A Larger Gov’t iand more Intrusions what is necessary to insure Health, Clean air and water…….. and of course their “Dole payments of redistribution” which is always at the ROOT of this “altuistic” diatribe.

    The FACTS are that when the Wall came down on Communist/Fascist Europe the world was shown the utter destruction that had befalled the Eastern-Bloc Communist-Socialists sataes. Not only had they murdered 10s of Millions of their people….imprissoned millions more….but they had devastated the Natural Enviroment. This was true Throughout the Sovit Union…..Bulgaria….Albania…..Hungary….East Germany…..indeed ALL the Slavic states with the possible exception of Parts of Yugolavia…… It was true also of China ( and continues to be so today) with LESS access to the Chinese country side and industrial areas in 2013 than in the early 1980s because the press exposed the devastation to the Chinese ecology.

    Whereas as just TWO examples…..England and Western Germany by that time had virtually clean-up the Rhine and the Thames……not to mention the good health of America and Australia’s natural resources…… and Canada.

    The Bottom Line is that….as with everything else…..the Natural Environment was destroyed where Government Intrusion was the greatest and thrived much better in those areas where Government Intrusion was the LEAST !

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