Reading Mark Steyn here on the corruption in American society it reminded me of something my brother Daryl once said years ago.
Some cop had been arrested for taking bribes and Daryl said, “When a whole society is corrupt how would you expect to have honest policemen?”
In other words, when there is moral failure in society the evidence is seen in individuals: it’s not just the criminal classes who are violent, lying, cheating and robbing. It is everyone. It is lying, cheating corrupt politicians, lazy, ineffectual and corrupt judges. Lawyers and teachers who are only in it for the money. Clergy and ministers corrupted by sex, money and power. When a society is corrupt the rot spreads into every corner.
The rot spreads like an insidious cancer, and when this begins to happen the officials get worried and react the only way they can react: with force.
That’s why corruption and decadence in society leads to a police state. The people in power, seeing how rotten everything is, resort to force.
“If we can’t make you be good, at least we will make sure you’re not bad, and if you are bad we’ll punish you and lock you up.”
Why is the American prison population so astronomically high?
And a vastly greater number of Americans — 1 in 31 according to 2009 Pew figures — are under U.S. corrections custody either through parole, probation, or incarceration. One in three Americans have a criminal record, according to recent FBI estimates. Go here to learn more
We send more people to jail because of errm, the high crime rate.
The answer is not more police, more prisons and more punishment.
G.K.Chesterton said “Every argument is a theological argument.”
The reason America is corrupt and decadent is because people have forsaken the concept of personal virtue.
Each individual is responsible for himself and his behaviors and no one can make you be good.
Instead, individuals must get a glimpse of real goodness and why it is attractive and worth pursuing.
They used to get this glimpse from within their family, their extended family, the community and their school.
Increasingly all they receive from these sources are examples of selfishness, pride, aggression and shallow materialism.
From the religious they too often receive only the examples of self righteousness, joyless duty, paranoid anger and fear.
We are in desperate need of a renewed Christian joyfulness–a cheerful abandonment to the Holy Spirit and a carefree exultation in the abundant life of Christ.
From that true virtue and love are made manifest, and it is by witnessing to this example that others will see our faith, hope and charity and wish to become that way too.
Then, and only then, will personal virtue flourish and only then will we see a genuinely human and humane society.