America is missing the most important component of freedom
In his book, “UNSPEAKABLE – “Facing up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror,” Os Guinness lays out a clear minded view of this moment in time. Of particular importance to Americans is the following section of his book, focusing on the “American Experiment.” He points out that we have forgotten an ingredient of our system that is more important that all the others. The following is directly from his book.
“The Framers’ Forgotten Issue
The second grand erosion concerns the contemporary dismissal of the American Framers’ solution for the problems of freedom. For the brilliant generation that devised what George Washington called the “great experiment,” the hardest problem to solve was the transience of freedom. Not only is it harder to be free than not to be free, but freedom never lasts. In politics, as in all spheres of human endeavor, no success is forever. Success finally fails. The challenge therefore is not just to win freedom (the achievement of the revolution in 1776), or even to order freedom (the achievement of the Constitution in 1787); the challenge is to sustain freedom⎯an achievement that is never finished because it is the challenge not of years or even decades, but of centuries.
The Framers’ realism in tackling this task was born of their knowledge of history, and in particular their intimate knowledge of the classical understanding of why freedom never lasts. They used history to defy history, and the roots of their wisdom are the key to understanding the revolution of their solutions.
For such writers as the Roman statesman Cicero and the Greek historian Polybius, there were three menaces to sustaining freedom: external menaces from other powers, and two internal menaces⎯the corruption of customs and the passing of time. The American experiment was designed to counteract all three.
If asked today what the Framers’ solution was, most Americans cite the distinctive seperation of powers in the Constitution, and this is indeed a crucial part of the solution.
But in fact, the ingenius American system of checks and balances is only half of the framers’ solution, and in the framers’ view, it would be inadequate without the other part. The forgotten part of the framers’ solution may be called the enduring triangle of freedom: freedom requires virtue, virtue requires faith of some sort, and faith requires freedom. Only so can a free republic hope to remain free.
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom,” Benjamin Franklin said in support of the first assumption, and the framers’ unanimity on this point is a powerful chorus in his support. At the same time they were equally clear that law alone is not enough to restrain evil and sustain freedom. As John Adams put it⎯and the support was again overwhelming⎯”We have no government armed with powers 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 was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
The force of the framers’ declaration of this triangle of freedom is undeniable. But it is equally undeniable that many American leaders dismiss or overlook it today. On the one hand, the majority of believers in America have a faith so privatized that it has become “privately engaging and publicly irrelevant”⎯too amiably innocuous to serve the strenuous cause of freedom. On the other hand, the educated elite have espoused a different vision of public life, one in which faith, character and virtue are to be inviolably private and the public square⎯a neutral arena of competing interrests⎯is to be inviolably secular.
The framers’ arguments can be dismissed in one of several ways. Some argue that their views were only a matter of rhetoric and cant, though they themselves denied this. Others argue that they were children of their times, but a study of other republicans of their day shows this was not so. Finally, still others argue, we moderns have discovered some sustaining power for freedom that does what the framers thought the triangle of freedom was needed to do.
This last possibility is the most plausible, though people that make this claim should openly declare what the substitute is. Most people have nothing convincing to say at this point and fall back lamely on the answers of law and technology. A moment’s thought, however, would show that reliance on law without faith or virtue only produces more laws and greater regulations, just as reliance on technology without faith and virtue produces tighter and tighter systems of surveillance. In either case, freedom is steadily undermined.
It is also possible that the framers were not indulging in high-flying rhetoric better suited for the Fourth of July but were in fact correct⎯soundly, solidly correct with all the realism and wisdom of history and political theory on their side. For America to “work,” Americans must cultivate the virtues necessary for freedom and ensure that they are passed from generation to generation. This is the political challenge of our times. Without this triangle of freedom, freedom cannot and will not last. If we celebrate freedom but remove from it all virtue until no good remains, we will not only lose freedom but ensure that what is left is evil. Thus, if the framers were correct, the contemporary adulation of their genius that ignores the heart of their realism and brilliance is a fateful neglect that tips the scales toward some future evil that no checks and balances will be able to stop.”
– by Os Guinness – Copyright © 2005
(Note: 2005 was before America elected Barack Obama)
To clarify my point, if our culture continues into moral ruin, with LGBT, 50 Shades of Perversion, abortion on demand and every other sin, we cannot continue to be free. Our freedom will surely and soon be taken away from us unless we repent and call out to God for forgiveness.