Sometimes reality stands up and strikes you in the face like a Roughned Odor punch to Jose Bautista’s jaw. I was reading John Robson’s column for C2C journal earlier today about the decay of western democracy particularly in the United States, but also in Canada.
We often don’t make much connection between our own private lives and our public lives that are lived through democratic institution; like our Federal Parliament or Provincial Legislatures, or even City Councils. Politicians aren’t drawn from a separate pool of humanity that is altogether different from the rest of us. They are the rest of us. They just live their lives in public view more so than most others. So when politicians behave badly, spend money recklessly, break promises, refuse to confess to wrongdoing, or abuse power – these aren’t flaws that are specific to politicians. These are sins that we as a society have grown accustomed to. They are sins that we ourselves commit in our personal lives and have become rather adept at justifying them to ourselves.
So is it really any wonder that politicians behave the same way publicly that we all behave privately? We can’t bifurcate ourselves. The more sin and dysfunction reign in our private lives, the more it will reign in our public life. The election of Justin Trudeau is a reflection of “modern Canada”. A gluttonous, hedonistic society that would prefer to ignore problems and just have fun, rather than confront the problems and protect the common good. The more hedonistic and gluttonous a people we become the more it necessitates controls from the outside. Hence we become less free.
What was previously discussed was an introduction to the root of the problem in Western civilization: we’ve lost our faith. We’ve abandoned the first principles that grounded us for so many years and made us prosperous and free. To the extent that we are a Christian country is the extent to which we still hold to what Jesus Christ taught, not our personal conception of what He taught (tolerance, non-judgementalism, etc.), but what He actually taught.
Christ referred to or spoke directly of the risk of hell more times than any other subject in the New Testament. The fear of that reality acted as a constraint on most of society for decades, but not anymore. Now everyone goes to heaven unless you’re Hitler, Stalin, a child rapist, or paedophile. One of our Lord’s most clear teachings was on divorce. Its in all four Gospels. Today roughly half of all marriages end in divorce and we as a “Christian” country seem to have no problem with that. Even worse, we’ve made divorce so easy to attain that we’ve ruined the meaning of marriage as a life long commitment until death do you part.
We’ve lost our sense of the natural law. We’ve forgotten that what will truly make us happy is to live in accordance with God’s law. We must assent to the created order that exists beyond us that is not our making, heaven and earth; land and sea; male and female. In defending marriage we often speak of the complementarity of the sexes. We’ve decided that even our biological sex is something that we can manipulate and control, and that the dual purposes of the sexual act can be divorced from each other. We can have sex without babies, babies without sex, and we can have both babies and sex without marriage.
As we’ve eliminated the inner constraints on our personal behaviour we’ve increased the outer constraints. Its not shocking that as the True Faith has been diminished and made a matter of private devotion, as opposed to a public religion, our freedom has slowly been slipping away. So the answer to our personal problems will be the answer to our public problems. God in the person of Jesus Christ, his only Son (the Divine Logos, the Word made flesh) that gave rise to all of creation because only through him can we be saved.