The Cart Before the Horse

America has always been a nation of practical people; we know what we want and from the beginning we’ve used common sense and knowledge of history, both biblical and secular, to figure out how to get it. We knew from the get go that freedom was the ticket, that government was the enemy, that God was the foundation on which this nation must be built. A large portion of our citizenry, unfortunately, has forgotten these things, and the latest generations never learned them in the first place.

We’ve lost track of the paradoxical fact that you can’t have freedom without law.  Not only that, but you can’t have law without punishment. We’re seeing that right now as defunded police departments and lax district attorneys are allowing criminals to roam our streets with no fear of retribution. Inner city dwellers are no longer free to leave their homes and run their businesses. Not even major nabobs like Paul Pelosi are safe.

We also seem to think that we can have rights without responsibilities. We can’t maintain those rights without first learning the workings of our government, which is like no other the world has ever seen. We must be ready and able to defend the Constitution that is also unlike any the world has ever seen. We need to vote knowledgably and with the wellbeing of our fellow citizens in mind. We need to understand the economic principles that have brought us unparalleled prosperity.

But we are under the impression that we can have prosperity without production.  Production requires natural resources, which many think we have no right to. To take advantage of these natural resources requires us to disturb nature and since nature has taken the place of God, we can’t have that.  Production also requires knowledge, skill, and hard work, all of which have become seriously unpopular in recent years. Like Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, too many of us believe the myth that wealth can be had without effort. (Of course, if you can get elected to Congress, that may work out fine for you.)

Speaking of natural resources, there’s a popular notion that we can have comfort without the use of fossil fuels. Many of us make the mistake of thinking of electricity as an environmentally safe energy source, not realizing that electricity is not a form of energy, but rather a form of energy delivery.  It has to be generated from an actual form of energy -- coal, natural gas, oil. Of course we could use hydroelectric power, but then we disturb the salmon. What about solar? Wind? Those, of course, depend on the weather and there’s nothing less dependable than weather. Also, we have no practical way of storing this energy, which makes it available only when the wind blows or the sun shines.

While we’re talking about fuels, let’s explore another silly fantasy we’re living in. We’re trying to transport goods and people without using fossil fuels. Have you seen the latest stats on electric trucks? It isn’t pretty.

If we fail to transport goods cheaply, then farmers will have no way to get their products to market. Nor will they have any way to acquire the seed and fertilizer and machinery they need to do their jobs. Can you picture a combine with a long orange extension cord stretched out across the wheat fields? Farmers take an enormous financial risk every time they plant a crop and the thinner their profit margin, the fewer farmers there will be. The fewer farmers, the higher the price of food. We can’t have food without farmers and we can’t have farmers without fuel.

Which brings me to Nancy Pelosi’s recent statement about us needing illegals to pick our fruit. We are trying to stick our noses in the air about the evils of slavery (an evil, indeed), all the while sucking a slave class in through our southern border.  We’re also trying to solve the homeless problems among our own citizens while inviting in millions of illegals who are free to compete with Americans for decent-paying jobs as well as for inadequate housing options.

We’re assuming we can maintain our status as a nation without maintaining our borders. Never in the history of mankind has that worked. In fact, quite the opposite: countries that were good at protecting their borders even went so far as to extend those borders.  We’re collapsing ours. We have to be nuts.

We’re also trying to run schools without discipline and without expectations; we’ve traded solid curriculum for CRT and hypersexualization. We give awards for mere breathing; in fact, we’re trying a clever thing -- graduation without learning, without even attending.  (Nearly 20 years ago Oregon made it illegal to fail a student for nonattendance.) We’ve given up teaching real history for fantasy history. We’ve given up on math because we’re told that minorities find it difficult. Our children have missed two years of school, have had their immune systems tampered with, and have lost crucial linguistic and social development. But not to worry – a few drag queen read-alouds and all will be well.

Our medical institutions are limping as well. We’re trying to do medicine without compassion.  I always counted on the medical dictum, “First, do no harm.” That’s gone now, and has been exchanged for a promise to honor all witch doctor indigenous practices. I don’t know if that includes Uncle Judd’s moonshine, heavy doses of snake oil, or mustard compresses. We once trusted our doctors, our pharmacists. No more. There is no compassion in slicing up sexually confused children. There is no compassion in urging people to be vaccinated with a vaccine that does much more harm than it does good.  There’s money in those activities, but no compassion.

Perhaps that scenario follows naturally from our trying to do science without integrity. Here we are, nearly worshipping science as the dispenser of all knowledge, the grand knower of all things, but instead, science is a for-hire proposition just like everything else. He who pays for the study gets the results he desires. And if the scientist can hire on with big government, there’s even more moola to be made and more power to enjoy.

The fact is that we have become a society expecting to enjoy the benefits of trust, but we don’t much like truth. We want our pastors, our doctors, our journalists, our officials to inform us, but heaven help them if they don’t tell us what we want to hear. We each want our own truth, our own version of what is.

But mainly we are trying to have goodness without God, without Jesus Christ. Yet, though we’ve bid Him leave, He hasn’t. He’s still here, with us, raising great voices to lead America out of the dead end we’ve backed into. Those voices know Him, know that’s where real power lies, where real compassion is born, from which all goodness springs. Let’s vote well next month and let’s put the horse back in front of our cart. Let’s open our thinking to Grantor of our Freedoms.

Deana Chadwell is an adjunct professor and department head at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. She teaches writing, logic, and literature. She can be contacted at

Image: Public Domain

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