by Raymond Morris, ©2020
(Dec. 13, 2020) — There are certain restraints built into our culture that keep things from getting worse. California has wildfire problems. Having a local fire department can control the spread of those fires before they destroy neighborhoods. So, having a fire department is a good thing and it would not be wise to “defund” the fire department in a California town.
There are those among us who are addicted to drugs and are willing to do violence to others in order to get the money to buy drugs to feed their addiction. Those are people that the rest of society wants to keep under control because their judgment is impaired. Defunding the police department would remove one of the things restraining those addicts, who would otherwise do society harm.
There are other addictions and vices that also need to be controlled. Police will help keep drunk drivers off the road, preventing those who have trouble responsibly using alcohol from harming the innocent people who also use the roadways. Police will also serve to restrain those who lack restraint with their hormonal passions and lusts, who would otherwise take advantage of your daughters. So, you see, defunding the police because of perceived incidents of social injustice has an effect on removing restraints from those who are troubled in our society.
Are there other restraints, that are not as apparent, which we need to also make an effort to maintain in spite of the popular opinion that the restraints are unnecessary, or even oppressive? To ask the question more directly, are there important values within Christian ethics that are essential to a stable society, rather than merely trying to keep someone from having fun, or expressing his or her “true identity”?
Consider just one of the issues we face today. Did you know that ours is not the first society to want to reject restraints on experimenting with various forms of sexuality other than between a man and a woman? If you don’t know about the approval of homosexuality in ancient cultures, it is probably because those cultures are no longer with us. While some aspects of their written philosophy, history and technologies may still remain, their social structure has been forgotten. Just a couple examples of this are the Romans and the Aztecs, both of which had their society cast off sexual restraints. Apparently, those restraints were necessary to prevent the decay of their societies, because the previously strong and stable nations had their defenses weakened and were conquered by outside forces. For the Romans, the collapse was caused by the invasions of “barbarian tribes” from northern Europe beginning around 400 AD. For the Aztecs, it was the Spanish conquistadors in 1521.
In the ruins of those societies, it was not the progressive social views that survived. The people who remained after the failure of those cultures were focused on finding stability and feeding themselves, not on indulging in their own personal pleasures. The period immediately after the fall of the Roman empire was called the Dark Ages, rather than the Age of Enlightenment. It was a time of rebuilding after a total collapse, not the revolutionary breakthrough that our current Progressives are promising.
The things that the Progressives are offering, or even demanding be changed in our society, might just be taking away the restraints that had allowed us to become a prosperous society. The key is what does such a prosperous society do with the free time they have to indulge in various vices? Is there really such a thing as right and wrong woven into the fabric of creation?
History is littered with the ruins of societies which have dabbled with these same decisions before. If we allow ourselves to throw off restraints, we are very likely to join them in the list of cultures which are gone and forgotten.
Raymond Morris is a retired civil servant from a “blue” state with a desire to help people think with a biblical worldview concerning current events.