We live in a society, culture and political environment described as post-Christian and post-truth, descriptions that do not bode well for us, as is abundantly plain to see.
Alternatively, our founding fathers’ world view was built on presuppositions and principles deemed archaic and primitive today. However, I maintain the society they lived in was grounded in reality and truth, specifically, eternal self-evident truths held in recognition of the God of Nature and Nature’s God. Unlike us, they were not living a lie.
Their truth? Both man and nature needed to be subdued, principles that speak to some of the first commandments in the Bible. That is, today, people believe that nature and man are divine, benign and sacred in their own right apart from any concept of the need for redemption and control. The truth is altogether different.
Taking nature, for instance, consider the threats from heat and cold, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes for starters. Regarding mankind, do we even need to list warmongers, terrorists and career criminals as examples of the nature of man run amok?
For the purposes of this discussion, let’s focus on forest management as our example of nature left to her own devices.
From the beginning of time, man was divinely endowed with the opportunity and privilege to both steward and exploit the resources of the forests for fuel, shelter, infrastructure and tools.
In the process of this utilization, the forests were thereby managed for growth. Today, forest resources are protected from any form of extraction and active management, and the results are in.
Whereas, the delusional among us would like to blame climate change for the continual conflagrations besetting California, the truth of the matter is that we allowed our forests to grow to a density that was 10 times above and beyond what is healthy for the ecosystem.
The trees, having too much competition for nutrients, water and sunlight, became weak and subject to predation, and in this state alone, 140 million trees died as a result. Now, we have millions of acres of land denuded and devastated by the resultant inevitable conflagrations, because we ignored the age-old truths about the cycles of nature.
Speaking of man, let us consider the plight of the homeless.
Whereas, there are some really good people who have found themselves homeless through no fault of their own, the overwhelming vast majority of homeless are in their situation because of bad decisions, values, and choices in their lives having to do with drug and alcohol abuse, and an aversion to any form of accountability.
Nonetheless, for years, we have been throwing billions of dollars at these people, typically in the form of some type of housing and other services, naively hoping the underlying problems will go away. Yet, the problem is only growing worse.
Meanwhile, many homeless have succumbed to mental illness, meaning they are derelicts who can’t take care of themselves and who may present a threat to others.
Yet, overall, our society primarily keeps a hands-off, carrot-only approach while these people defile our downtown areas and community spaces, pollute our creeks and rivers, and continually start fires that could end up burning the town down, not to mention committing heinous acts of violence, including self-harm.
In the old days, the choices presented to the homeless were altogether different. Specifically, biblically speaking, if you don’t work, you don’t eat. And if you continue as a menace to society, and/or you can’t take care of yourself, you lose your freedom by way of jail or a sanitarium.
As Frederick Douglass noted, it is not easy to repair broken men, but we gave up the most effective means to do so. It was called tough love, and it has virtually nothing to do with today’s concept of tolerance.
Andy Caldwell is the COLAB executive director and host of “The Andy Caldwell Show,” airing 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays on KZSB AM 1290, the News-Press radio station.