We never learn, do we. Societies rise, prosper, decay, crumble, then rise again, over and over (“Lather. Rinse. Repeat.”). What would it take to stop the cycle? We must know the cause first, and the root of the problem is human nature. We’re not all equal in strength, intelligence, opportunity, and moral character. Let me try to illustrate this from an economic angle.
Let’s say, for example, that three people are loaned a thousand dollars each to work with. Person A is very aggressive and has good business sense. Person B is of average intelligence and character, and follows the adage ’moderation in all things’. Person C is a lazy hedonist. They have a month to report back on their progress.
At the end of the month, A has tripled the money. B doubled it. C squandered the whole wad on parties.
What should the loaner do now? There are two typical reactions: communism and free enterprise.
If the loaner is a communist, he decides it isn’t fair that A and B have more than C, so he gives everyone the same amount again. This time, A and B realize that their work is for nothing since C will consume it all, so they both squander theirs this time just like C, then come back to the loaner for their 1,000 handout. So now not even the loaner makes money, and all of them are eventually reduced to poverty. Facing this scenario, the loaner decides the only solution is to force the three to work for him.
If the loaner is a capitalist with good moral character, he will reward A and B for their hard work and give them even more to use the next time. But C will not be given anything and will be forced to work for his day to day living expenses. So everyone but C, those who took it upon themselves to do well, will prosper.
But suppose A is of low moral character and the loaner finds out he got part of his profits by robbing B or C. Then the loaner has to put A in jail, but this requires that some of the funds go to supporting A, and everyone has a lot less money to work with now because A is no longer producing high profits. If the loaner is also of low moral character, he’ll let A out and keep giving handouts to the victims just to keep them in the game.
So communism fails because nobody is motivated to excel, and capitalism fails if the vast majority are not of high moral character. And if government is a greedy control freak, nothing else matters. A society only lasts as long as the people have some kind of moral standard, and such people will not tolerate an overbearing government forever. If either the people or the government are self-serving, there will eventually be decay and then revolt.
Once again we see that character does matter. And history tells us that people need something more than The State or even prosperity itself as motivation for moral living. Neither the highest philosophy nor the most demanding religions have proven effective to change the heart and make people work for the common good.
Only a moral standard as high as God’s can end the cycle. And only God can give people the power to rise above themselves. If you truly want peace and equality for all mankind, come to the only One who can make it happen: Jesus. Please read the “Go to Heaven!” article listed here under Features for details.