“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within”
― Will Durant [i]
According to Harold J. Berman, former law professor at Harvard University and author of Law and Revolution, history is driven by revolutions that drive changes in the law structure of society that affect the governance of people, places and things. A true revolution shows itself successful by a change of legal structure in total, and one that is in place 75 years after the initial revolution took place.[ii] All else is merely a passing revolt, or disruption, thus unimportant in the total scheme of things.
According to Berman, the current philosophical ideas behind the traditional symbols of religion and government here in America are in opposition to what they used to symbolize in the past.[iii] Furthermore, what was once the guiding ideals of our nation for hundreds of years began to change thus breaking the historic core relationship of faith and practice that determines a nation’s societal structure, daily life and therefore its future.
Equally problematic, the organizations we had built to safeguard our nation began over time to institutionalize and solidify and their purpose shifted from service to maintaining power.[iv] America’s societal structure became more technologically advanced, yet the overall impulse and direction of the nation began to tend toward centralization and the loss of freedom for American citizens.
Why has this happened? Why is there such a disconnect between the present and the past definitions of these symbols and the historical reality behind them? Why in terms of government policy and the rule of law, is there so much confusion over the interpretation of the Constitution of the United States[v] and what it allows those who govern to do?[vi]
What has happened to a society when both the traditional and the religious meanings of our holidays can be easily “canceled” by both school boards and city councils without a word of protest from local citizens?
The Loss of Core Values
Sadly, most people are not aware of the link to the past other than various holidays of which the true meaning has long been forgotten by the general populace. For the few who are historically minded, they certainly are not very motivated by it anymore as an ethos to be understood, maintained, and guarded. This is why they are so easily manipulated from one end of the spectrum of acceptability to the other end of the spectrum[vii] by the ebb and flow of public opinion, education, media, and government rather than be guided by principle – they are not rooted.
For example, why do we celebrate the Fourth of July, wave flags[viii] that were not in existence at the time of our Declaration of Independence fromEngland,and sing songs which originated at the time of the French Revolution with their anti-Christian nationalistic patriotism?[ix] Does anyone even know what the Declaration discusses? Why do we celebrate a holiday commemorating an event so far back in our history all the while ignoring the dissonance between those “principles” listed in said document and our modern legal American reality: the rise of centralization and the slow loss of freedom?
It must be understood that with this “centralization” will come the further alienation of man from God thus the loss of his freedom and his purpose for existence as our government structure becomes all-encompassing in its desire to plan, predict, and control mankind from womb to tomb for the “good of the nation.”[x] At which point, the very problems that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written to prevent will have in fact occurred.[xi] Even more important than the political aspect of America’s problems is the uncertainty within the Christian Church as to what constitutes doctrinal orthodoxy as well as doctrinal orthopraxy. Case in point: Americans do not know what bathroom to use because they have a worldview problem!
This “worldview” issue is equally a problem for those outside the Christian community also because unless the Church, as “the ground and pillar of the truth” (1 Tim.3:15) does its job prophetically according to Scripture (2 Tim.3:16-17) there will be no base for truth (Col.2:8-10) thus leaving man and the cities he lives within in a state of intellectual and moral free-fall (Gal.6:7).
What must be done?
Return to Source
History is not static and we will never return to “the good ole days” much less restore the philosophy behind the 4th of July found in the Declaration of Independence. The “United States of America” is no longer “united” by anything except an April 15th tax bill, the color of money (assuming DC does not force digital currency upon us), and a geographic location.
Adding to the above concern is the false presupposition held by some that getting “the right man” in Washington DC will solve our problems is counter historical. Pulling a lever for our favorite candidate (the lesser of two evils?) has never changed things within the hearts and minds of men, women, and children nationwide. The so-called political “unity” both pre and post election within each party is only a temporary truce between alienated squabbling citizens until the next election spectacle brought to us by the power brokers who actually rule the country[xii] (as the recent “debt-limit” debacle that even some of the “stalwart Republicans” allowed Biden to push through show).
Rather, true change will require repentance at the local level within households, churches and communities (2 Chronicles 7:14). That, and the need to band together to pray and work as they seek to rebuild society (Nehemiah 2:18) from the ground up: from neighborhoods, to cities, to counties, and individual states in that order.
Indeed, and as Ernest Renan wrote over a hundred years ago:
A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle. Two things which, it is true to say, only unite them, make up this soul, this spiritual principle. The one is in the past, the other is in the present. One is the common possession of the rich legacy of the past; the other is agreement in the present, the desire to live together, the will to continue to value the heritage received undivided… Therefore, a nation is a great unity, made up of the feeling of sacrifices one has made and of those that one would make again. A nation presupposes the past; however it continues in the present because of a tangible fact: agreement, the clearly expressed desire to continue communal life.[xiii]
In other words, to truly have a unified people there needs to be a similar history that everyone could point to as a specific version of the past that they all share and take pride in. Equally important, and in some ways even more important, is the desire for a unified present with the hope of a shared future based upon both a plan for the future as well as a similar world and life view that everyone agrees to live in accordance with at the local level.
This “shared past” and “shared future” are inescapable aspects of city life and that “social bond” which is necessary if the city is to continue beyond one generation as a manifestation of community in the true sense. For it is inescapably the basis of the union that will determine the communion. As fourth century theologian Augustine noted, this “basis” was Christ and the love for Him and one’s fellow man that would provide for the manifestation of social peace within the true City amongst the earthly city.[xiv]
In other words, it is not the State at the national level that will facilitate this moral virtue necessary for social concord between people but the grace of God upon man’s heart,[xv] and Christian sensibilities as taught by the Christian Church,[xvi] and lived out according to the Christian faith that facilitates the growth of a unifying worldview that provides the basis for social cohesion, human flourishing and the opportunity for rebuilding the American Republic that once was!
We Are Here to Help
At Christian Liberty Homeschools, we continue to espouse the same world and life view as we did over half a century ago without hesitation or obfuscation. Our homeschooling program continues on within the same traditions, values and historic beliefs that we always have had and espoused at: www.homeschools.org
Recommended Book from CLH:
God & Government:
Law & Liberty
Manual of Christian Doctrine:
[ii] Harold J. Berman, Law and Revolution, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983),p.99-100.
[iii] The traditional symbols of community in the West, the traditional images and metaphors, have been above all religious and legal. In the twentieth century, however, for the first time, religion has become largely a private affair, while law has become largely a matter of practical expediency. The connection between the religious metaphor and the legal metaphor has been broken. Neither expresses any longer the community’s vision of its future and its past; neither commands any longer its passionate loyalty. p. vi.
[iv] Carroll Quigley, The Evolution of Civilizations, (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 1979), p. 103-118. As Carroll Quigley pointed out, the engine of a civilizations progress, once institutionalized, becomes the instrument of its stagnation, and eventually its destruction..
[ix] It must be remembered that “nationalism” is a civil religion insofar as the organizing principle of the culture is commitment to the State. A democratic society in which the nation or its system is the highest loyalty and the bond of social relationships is implicitly statist). Oddly enough, and as Dr. Ken Talbot affirms in this statement from his education lectures: “The nationalism found in all our songs and pledges comes from the French Revolution... It’s not Christianity...” Tape # 8, History & Philosophy of Christian Education class of Whitefield College (World View Productions: Lakeland, Florida).
[x] John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education, (New York: The Oxford Village Press, 2000/2001), p. 367 – 380. Larry Abraham, Call It Conspiracy, (Seattle, WA: Double A Publications, 1971, 83, 85), p. 3 – 144.
[xi] Tenth Amendment and States Rights.
[xii]Melissa Rossi, What Every American Should Know About Who's Really Running the World, (New York, NY: Plume, 2005). John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education, (New York: The Oxford Village Press, 2000/2001), p. 367 – 380. Larry Abraham, Call It Conspiracy, (Seattle, WA: Double A Publications, 1971, 83, 85), p. 3 – 144.
[xiii] “Discours et conferences. Qu’est-ce qu’ ne nation?, Oeuvres”, Tome I, p. 903f.
[xiv] Augustine, The City of God, Trans. Henry Bettenson, (London, England: Penguin Books, 1972; 1984), XIX.xiv.
[xv]Ibid, XIV.i,iv; XV.iv.
[xvi] Augustine, De Trinitate, (a.k.a. Trin.) Trans. John Burnaby in Volume VIII of The Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia, The Westminster Press, 1955), IX.i.i.