Edmund Burke once wrote, “Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.”
This is very true. It does not bode well for the continued existence of the current American republic if it disintegrates into a superficial rule of the mob actually controlled by a de facto but unrecognized elite that is not held to expectations of strong moral fibre and resolve.
The Necessity of Upright Leaders, and its Inadequacy
There will always be inequalities in an earthly society, even when all members are equally valued as fellow men created by the glorious Lord of heaven and earth. We might have a more virtuous people with responsibilities placed on the “ruling class” rather than attempted abolition of such a class with unintended establishment of another in its place with none of the virtues of a class expected to uphold the highest standards.
At the same time, I do not, unlike the little of Plato I have seen, believe in concentrating on the justice of the ruling class to the neglect of the justice and earnest, godly faith of the classes that support their leadership. A city cannot be good just by virtue (no pun intended) of its citizens following its good leaders.
Yes, it is important, as Confucius says, as does the Bible implicitly in Kings and Chronicles, that the leaders of the state be upright and good examples to those they lead, but we also see, especially in those Old Testament histories, that this is not enough. The people as a whole cannot desire to be good unless they are taught to do so. But no (post)modern education would ever attempt to make such impositions, because “all opinions are equally valid.” Or if not, what “works” in the (social) engineer’s sense is always given priority over what is true and beautiful.
Educating a People
Don’t make me gag. Really, now. No, really. I reject these fake notions of education that do nothing but puff man up with his fake knowledge and force him to get a degree just to get a “good job”. While we push ever-higher “educational attainment”, which to the vast majority of people now signifies (the sham of) a real education, nothing happens. And so we either raise idiots or waste people’s time forcing them to sit through years of school to get a job.
No, if a person wants to go attend university without the aim of attaining wisdom in the ways of truth and beauty, even if the school may have become ill-equipped to educate students in this way, let him be denied admission. Four years of his life are better not wasted.
Of course, the fact remains that the system continues to demand college degrees. But it needs reform, and badly, or all universities will do is make money and spew out graduates that are trained in mere information of a hyperspecialized nature and corrupted to the ways of subhuman behaviour.
I am not optimistic about America’s chances of changing in time, but perhaps people will begin to read C.S. Lewis’ The Abolition of Man and begin to see in what a sorry state our schools are. And all the slaves of fashion go marching into their doom, the abyss of the modernists and postmodernists, to which these world views threaten to drag the entire populace. Slaves, for that is what they are, slaves to a sterility that stifles even the spirit’s thirst for real learning — pardon the compulsive consonance.
The odd thing is — and yet I scarcely should be at all surprised — this view infects Christians’ thinking too, subtly or not. It is the sad, complicated tale of a population’s deterioration into corruption and bondage. Or so we hope it will not come to pass.
A Base People
Can liberty long endure? A society held in bondage is captive to its own evil desires. God does not have to put up with this forever. He has brought down powerful nations before, and there is nothing to say that He will not do it again. “Mene, mene, tekel, uparsin,” it might be said.
A base society has no base. It is built upon a bed of sand. Then it collapses.