Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some Further Thoughts

Earlier I shared some thoughts about why the health care debate (and the government in general) is making me so cranky. I wrote, "I'm so concerned about the health care debate because I feel vulnerable to arbitrary power. I no longer trust the government to respect the limits of the law." That's true on an instinctive level. I hear Pelosi spout off or Obama lie like a champion and I want to smack their heads together and stop the madness. On this level I feel myself getting aggressive and angry because they aren't playing by the rules and they need to be stopped. This is Dirty Harry mode.

But Dirty Harry mode is a lousy way to live; it's reactionary. It's incapable of creating life or sustaining it. It's all about catharsis, but catharsis goes flat. It's about setting people straight, but other people aren't objects and life isn't that mechanistic. However tempting the thought might be, it won't work to simply impose one's will. That, after all, is the problem in America. Folks are usurping the law (or ignoring it) to impose their will.

So what to do with this crap sandwich? My lovely wife is a Godsend (both literally and figuratively). As I prattled on about these things one night she cut me off.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places.
Isn't it nice to have a wife who quotes Habakkuk? But I needed to hear that. And I need to hear it every day. My security does not come from government, it comes from God. Full stop. I will be secure in him all my days no matter the foolishness that men concoct. However, that does not mean that I resign myself to it. Quite the contrary. As a man made free by Christ I am a slave to no other. And of course that is the very basis upon which this country was founded! I never memorized the Declaration of Independence, but I think it's a good idea. I think I'll do it with my kids. For the time being, though, here is a particularly striking paragraph that attests to these ideas and the promise that remains for a brighter future.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.


  1. and this too: Well stated.

  2. "he makes my feet like the deer's;"

    That would come in quite handy this weekend at deer camp. ;)

  3. Wow W.B., that was your best post ever. Accolades to you and your wife!