The Thin Veneer of Civilization

Americans have glimpsed the erosion of the all-too-thin veneer of civilization in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy as victims scrambled to acquire the supplies needed for survival by reverting to the human instinct for preservation of oneself at the cost of others. 

Civilization is the material and instrumental side of human cultures that is complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally hierarchical and urbanized and serve to distinguish those cultures from the unrefined barbaric cultures who have not mastered this organizational complexity. Culture is the evolved human capacity to classify and represent experiences with symbols and to act imaginatively and creatively. The distinct ways that people living in different parts of the world have classified and represented their experiences and acted creatively have given rise to the distinct cultures found in our world.

Culture and civilization are processes that developed over thousands of years integrating the experiences of a people group into a set of beliefs and practices to guide their lives and raise their standard of living. As part of civilization, humans organized into governments and adopted morals because chaos does not promote the efficiency required to raise living standards. Technological innovations were discovered to increase the complexity of civilization and promote even greater technological innovation to raise the culture’s standard of living. Agriculture provided a steady food supply allowing humans to urbanize and stratify through division of labor. Moving from self sufficiency where one did everything for oneself in a mediocre fashion to a system where one concentrated on one task to the point of mastery allowed people access to better goods through trade. International trade allowed for the promulgation of successful ideas between cultures and the creative application of these new ideas.

Governments have generally recognized the benefits to promoting policies that serve to increase the standard of living among their citizens and most have worked toward this goal. Different organizational forms and economic systems have been experimented with by different cultures in an attempt to discover that formula for success that allows citizens to thrive and living conditions to be elevated. America’s adoption of limited government and capitalism allowed it to become the world’s superpower in less than 400 years since its founding. It would appear that this formula of limited government, personal freedom, and capitalism would be celebrated as the model to emulate for unleashing human creativity in the service of mankind.

Despite the evidence of its success, there are many who refuse to see the benefits of this formula and insist on working towards its demise either from arrogance, ego, or nefarious manipulation to gain power. Some are incapable of divesting themselves from their beliefs in other systems, and their pride does not allow them to admit mistakes even if they stand to benefit greatly from the admission. Then there are those perfectly capable of rationally seeing the benefits of such an arrangement, but determine to manipulate the system to accumulate personal power at the expense of others who must live under the nefarious machinations employed to accomplish their desire for ego satisfaction.

The radical secular progressives and the RINO GOP establishment form the two wings of the party of big government. The party of big government is the antithesis of the formula of limited government, personal freedom, and capitalism found to be so successful in unleashing human creativity to increase living standards. Big government seeks a return to the Dark Ages where free thinking is discouraged through official policies such as political correctness and speech codes. Creativity is stifled through the censorship of government sponsorship of the arts where bureaucrats decide to fund those projects appropriate to the promotion of the big government ideals. Businesses are regulated to the point that they seek to satisfy government mandates instead of the customers they purportedly serve. Wealth is portrayed as evil and businessmen are painted as corrupt predators preying on the weak and uninformed consumer. Access to employment is controlled through union guilds whose membership is required for eligibility.

The progressives have been particularly adept at undermining our culture and values through their promotion of abortion, easy divorce, promiscuity, pornography, gay marriage, feminism, and a host of other scurrilous social initiatives designed to weaken our institutions and fray the fabric of our society. We are left as cynics unable to believe in anything greater than the satisfaction of our own desires and unable to defend the country in which we no longer believe.

Government has a duty to regulate public morals as part of its responsibility to protect its citizens both from others and from each other. Sexual morality promotes health and longevity by reducing the transmission of disease, and raises the standard of living by keeping the family unit intact so children are brought up with a sense of cooperation to further increase living standards. Governments should promote sexual morality as being in the best interests of their citizens. Divorce should be difficult to obtain, and promiscuity should be discouraged through restricted access to abortion. Yes, there is conflict between maximizing liberty and minimizing sexual freedom for the good of society. We work these gray areas out as best we can, balancing the concept of personal liberty with the need to protect public morals. Government can regulate the public square without coming into the bedroom.

There can be no doubt that the radical progressives have sought to undermine our society through the promotion of sexual liberation, protection of obscenity under the guise of censorship, elimination of divorce barriers under the guise of making it easier for women to leave bad situations, promotion of abortion by calling it a woman’s choice and eliciting images of dangerous back alley procedures, and a host of other immoral policies. They seek to destroy our society and eliminate our standard of living in the name of fairness, a concept they misappropriate for their own evil ends.

God warned of the evil of promoting chaos and self liberation throughout the Bible, and the consequences of these practices are demonstrated repeatedly in its pages. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because the people there were lost and their continued presence served to corrupt others. They had no redeeming value. Sexual liberation sounds great in theory because it sounds like sex will be on tap for the asking, but that is not the case. What really happens is that our institutions are destroyed, the fabric of our society is worn away, a narcissistic attitude consumes us, and our standard of living wanes as we sink into self indulgence.

The thing that makes personal liberty possible is personal responsibility. We enact laws to govern citizen behavior when the citizens demonstrate that they can no longer exercise the personal responsibility to police themselves, resulting in the fact that we all lose a little more of our personal liberty. The situation in which we now find ourselves is one where we’re not just itching for more sexual licentiousness, but we have a group itching to foist it upon us for their own nefarious reasons. They care not for the good of society, only their own personal motives. They know the right thing to do, but actively work towards an opposing goal they know will harm us and society. It benefits them to do so despite the results.

As God frequently warns in the Bible, unrestrained access to evil merely corrupts one and enslaves them to sin. Only when we turn away from sin do we truly become free as we are no longer in sin’s grasp.

The civilization that took centuries to build up for the betterment of mankind can be quickly erased in the face of disaster when the focus shifts from increasing the standard of living to survival at all costs. The time it takes to erode this thin veneer of civilization depends upon the underlying strength of our societal fabric. A societal fabric weakened by radical secular progressivism will rend much faster than a societal fabric strengthened by conservative fidelity to the institutions which are the thread used to weave this societal fabric.

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One Response to The Thin Veneer of Civilization

  1. GodSaidManSaid says:

    Civilization represents man living on a higher order than any other creature. God created the materials for the universe, then ordered them according to His will. Therefore order is Godly and disorder, chaos, et al, are unGodly, or evil. Many today are working feverishly to tear down, to disorder society, to create chaos, to discredit and dismantle institutions which have represented order for thousands of years. All this is evil, destructive, and will have disasterous results.

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