Big Government Can't Fix Immorality

We see it time and again.  Whether the problem is poverty, bad schools, gun violence, crime in general, or even the spread of disease, the liberal answer is always the same: more government.  The recent gun debate raging in America illustrates this well.

After the wickedness at Newtown, true to their "never let a crisis go to waste" mantra, Obama and his subordinates all across the U.S. have engaged in a full-on press to enact significant gun control legislation.  This continues in spite of the Senate's defeat of a bill in mid-April that would have increased background checks and banned certain "assault" weapons.

For President Obama, this allows him to carry on his never-ending campaign and give more speeches on the matter.  Whether speaking in Mexico (where his administration is responsible for placing thousands of untraceable weapons in the hands of criminals) or before police officers, Obama has vowed to keep fighting for gun control.

On June 5 of this year, USA Today highlighted "the plague of inner-city gun violence."  Much of the focus of the piece is on 20-year-old Anderson Baker -- a former gang-banger from Camden, New Jersey who (rightly) scoffs at the idea that gun control measures such as banning "assault" rifles and large gun magazines and increasing background checks would stem the tide of gun violence that is rampant in America's urban culture.

By his late teens, Baker had been involved in dozens of shootings.  The tough gun laws in New Jersey -- in 2011, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence ranked N.J.'s gun laws the second toughest in the country -- never once hindered Baker in securing his weapon of choice.

"I wanted to shoot people because that's what I saw growing up," said Baker who "grew up" without a father and whose mother had the first of her four children at age 13.  The USA Today article reveals that Camden city officials also have little hope that more gun laws, such as those proposed by Obama, are the answer.  Instead, Camden officials are clamoring for "a holistic solution that gets to the heart of why people such as Baker turn to violence in the first place."

As is so typical with today's liberal media and liberal politicians, and in spite of the plain evidence staring them in the face, there was not one mention of the breakdown of the family being at the root of what really plagues urban America.  Instead, USA Today notes that Camden lawmakers "almost to a person" were focused on "a failing education system, a dearth of jobs and a street culture that rewards and even encourages criminal behavior."

They left out poverty, lack of health care, and George W. Bush.  Of course, the reason why such things are given focus is that they beg for a political solution.  When confronted with the countless cultural tribulations that result from the millions of Americans who are living without a mother and father at home, almost any solution that can get people to the ballot box is preferred.

Another critical point: do you notice the often circular nature of the liberal arguments?  It can go something like this: violence is the result of poverty; poverty is the result of a lack of education; kids don't go to school because the schools are too violent.  It's dizzyingly maddening!

Now some might be wondering: with all of the conservative efforts when it comes to the "social issues," are not conservatives also using politics as a means to a moral end?  "Legislating morality" is often the accusation.

Conservative efforts are both the same and different.  First of all, as I have noted many times, all law is rooted in some morality.  Second, it is one thing to attempt legislation that encourages liberty, individual responsibility, and limited government while being true to God's Word; it is quite another to support legislation that promotes servitude and dependence and massively grows government -- to the tune of trillions of dollars -- and that is driven by whatever morality seems to be most popular at the time.

When dealing with the immorality that is destroying our nation, good government must recognize what it takes truly to change bad behavior -- something that "gets to the heart" of individuals, to quote the officials in Camden -- and, at best, partner with such efforts, or at least do nothing to hinder them.

In other words, we can't have a government that encourages sexual immorality, be it through taxpayer-funded abortions, promiscuous sexual education, or the promotion of homosexuality, and then wants to pay for the consequences of such immorality with billions in taxpayer-funded welfare.  We can't have a government that seeks to cure poverty or violence with a godless secular education system.  We can't have a government, as Grover Cleveland put it, that "encourages the expectation of paternal care" while weakening "the sturdiness of our national character."

In other words, we don't need a government that thinks that it can, through mere secular means, cure all that ails our culture.  We need a government (of course, that means elected officials) that understands that truly to change someone, truly to change behavior, requires getting to the heart of individuals.  And of course, this requires spiritual efforts, and we all know where that leads.

Trevor Grant Thomas: at the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.

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