The American Pharisees

Today I wrote that the the progressive “revolution” is a coward’s revolution – that it came in on little cat’s feet and late after sundown. It was as unseeable as a ghost and as quiet as a lover’s whisper. Many people asked reasonable questions – how did we get here without noticing? How did so much power get in progressive hands? How did government become so powerful, co-opting the power of the individual?

I think the answer to these questions is that we have transformed from a handshake culture of honesty and honor into the culture of the ancient Pharisees of the Bible. The Pharisees were an “ancient Jewish sect, distinguished by strict observance of the traditional and written law, and commonly held to have pretensions to superior sanctity.” In other words, a legalistic society where “good” and “right” was determined by how well the laws were followed (in the biblical sense, that is an oversimplification but for these purposes, it will have to suffice).

America gradually became a Pharisaic culture as its citizens turned to law and the government to be the arbiter of what is right and wrong, what is good and evil. The common idea of such a culture is that if it is legal (or not specifically illegal) it is “right”. Perhaps the best example of this in practice is the “catch me if you can” attitude of President Obama and the “it depends on what the definition of “is” is” actions of both Clintons, Bill AND Hill.

Over time, we lost trust in ourselves and our fellow citizens to do the right thing when dealing with our fellow man – and as many sought ways around natural laws (and God’s as well) with which they disagreed or saw as an impediment to what they defined as “progress”, power to decide those matters were left to the government (and I include all three branches in that definition). When one gives the power to another entity decide one’s fate, one cedes one’s own power to decide.

When a man’s word is no longer his bond and it takes more than a handshake to seal a deal, we all lose individual liberty. John Adams wrote that ‘we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.”

When government is called upon to decide anything, it will eventually decide everything.

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