On whom to blame the sins of civilization?
In almost every chapter of 2 Kings in the Old Testament is the recurring announcement of a king's passing. It begins with how King So-and-So "slept with his fathers" and his son became king. The follow-up reads, "And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord and did make all Israel sin."
Until COVID and Critical Race Theory, my view of Israel sinning was that Israel was predisposed (as we all are) to wanting to sin. The kings didn't so much "make" them sin as gave them permission. COVID and identity politics have caused me to re-examine who is most responsible for a society's sins.
The sins of the world's denizens are numerous, and I find that at the bottom of a multitude of the sins are the government and "elites." The James Stewart movie It's a Wonderful Life resonates precisely because society's conscience understands that Pottersville isn't named after "old man" Potter because he brought "dream" prosperity to a sleepy Bedford Falls. Old man Potter purposely brought vice and corruption to the town because vice sells. Potter is an archetype of the wicked, moneyed elite backed by government power.
Take civilization's sin of slavery. It was endemic not because the average wage-earner next door needed a "lawn guy." The acquisition of slaves on a world scale was by all school history accounts a venture of essentially moneyed elites and governments in all parts of the world. What else are Nebuchadnezzar, King Ferdinand, and Queen Isabella, plantation-owners, and Mao if not government and elites with slaves?
If we look at the tragic treatment of American Indians, from the Revolutionary War to the end of the Civil War, the government and Indians signed some 368 treaties. An article on history.com closes a paragraph with the words "resulting in many broken promises on the part of the U.S. government." Notice that the burden of broken promises is not on the common people, but on the U.S. government.
Let us revisit 2 Kings' "and he did make Israel sin" in light of the vaxxed, the unvaxxed, Critical Race Theory, the world's ever-expanding self-important elites, and their governments. The blanket degrading and indictment of shameful, unvaxxed white peasants and associated classes is simply elitist government browbeating. White peasants are either insufferably privileged at best or hateful supremacists at worst. The average person must default to being the elite's hatchet serfs or become a scorned resistance class to be physically shut down.
In hindsight, one can argue a case for or against particular elites, whether private or government, but even so, they are the ones with access to the levers of power and profile. They can and do make people sin via heavy-handed repetition, threats of canceling, or outright coercion.
In the elitists' big scheme, it is we, the peasants who are to shoulder the burden of their sins and apologize. To vote to expand government and their ability to do that even if one is convinced of government's superior intentions is to further cement one's societal caste as that of powerless peasants. The elites' and their governments' hope is that after a while, the peasants will find sin and abomination more appealing than moral order.
Spruce Fontaine is an artist and retired college art instructor.
Image via Pxhere.