CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

You Must Do Something About This!

Aug 8, 2019

What is behind these mass killings in the West?

Whenever some crisis or problem arises, many people think there can be only one solution: the government needs to do something about it! Such is the state of affairs today that no matter what the issue, we first think that the government can and should step in and take charge.

Even things which we normally would have thought the government has little or no control over – such as the weather and climate – we now think that governments can somehow magically solve. We really believe that the state can fix every problem and right every wrong. Government has taken the place of God in being able to deal with all of life’s misfortunes, problems and woes.

But the truth is, governments cannot solve many of the problems that we face today. Indeed, we need to think this through even further: while governments often cannot save us from the various problems we face, they can often get us into such problems, or at least greatly contribute to them.

As Dr. Ben Carson once put it, “We’ve been conditioned to think that only politicians can solve our problems. But at some point, maybe we will wake up and recognize that it was politicians who created our problems.” Or as Ronald Reagan rightly said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’.”

He was even more blunt when he said this: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” And Thomas Sowell once put it this way: “No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.”

With more mass shootings in the US over the weekend, we have heard more of these calls for the government to step in and solve all these problems: “The government must act now!” “When is Trump going to do something about this?” “Why is Washington not fixing this?”

But this is another clear case of not only something that governments can not really solve, but of governments contributing to the problem in the first place. Sure, what many folks want is simply for the government to rescind the 2nd Amendment, or at least greatly curtail it.

This is not the place to go into a detailed discussion of the right of Americans to keep and bear arms, but a few quick points can be mentioned. The cities with the highest gun crime and gun murder rates happen to be in the cities with the strictest gun control laws in place.

For example, over the weekend some 60 people were shot in Chicago – a Democrat-controlled city with strict gun laws. Most of the other big cities with big gun problems are also run by Democrats, and also have strict firearms legislation in place. But some folks seem to think that if we just have even more gun control, all our problems will be solved.

But the truth is, the real problems are much deeper and much harder to fix than merely with quick solutions and legislative changes. Most of the mass shooters in the US have shared a number of traits: most have been raised in father-absent homes. Most have had mental health issues. Most have had drug problems. And of course most are spiritually adrift.

And all these issues have been caused by governments, or at least greatly exacerbated by governments. For example, the state has not just kicked God out of the classroom, but it is increasingly hounding him out of the country, and out of our lives. As the state becomes more and more secular and anti-God, we can see the bitter fruit of this in so many areas.

Broken families and fatherless homes is another primary example of how the government is making things worse. The welfare state is a classic case in point. Black families especially have been decimated by this. Only a minority of Black children grow up in a home with a biological mother and father today. And white families are catching up to this.

Welfare dependency contributes to the problem of out-of-wedlock pregnancies. After all, if you can get far more government handouts if you are a single mother than if you are in an intact, married heterosexual family, why not go for the free stuff?

So we have unprecedented numbers of children being raised in broken or fractured families, with record numbers of kids not having a biological father in their life. The social science research on the harmful effects of these less than ideal family structures has been documented for many decades now. But governments are not interested in addressing those sorts of core problems.

Of course we have also declared war on morality – certainly on absolute morality. Ethics is now all about our own personal preferences and feelings. We have told young people for decades now that there is no right and wrong, and they should just discover for themselves what is the best thing to do.

Governments have greatly contributed to this, whether by allowing open slather on pornography; allowing easy no-fault divorce; ravaging families by family-unfriendly tax systems; pushing secular public education which has long ago removed morality from the classroom; force-feeding the agendas of the radical activists, such as the homosexual and transgender lobbies; and so on.

And recall that under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations it was decided that it was wrong to keep the mentally ill in asylums and institutions. So they were basically just all dumped on the streets, and we are still dealing with that crisis today.

Thus it would be foolish to claim that the shootings we find happening in the US today are solely due to the availability of firearms. For many decades – even centuries – such firearms were readily available, yet we had hardly any problems with mass shootings and the like. Now in the past 15 to 20 years we have had a number of these incidents.

There are much deeper problems behind all this. Fractured families, the increased secularisation of society, the relativism of morality, and the inculcation of a me-first generation have all contributed to this. We have an entire generation of young people with a hole in the soul.

Indeed, the Christian takes things even further. If someone murders someone, that is obviously wrong – and sinful. But Jesus took things to another whole level when he said that if you hate someone, it is the same as murdering them. Jesus dealt with the root causes: the sinful human heart.

Guess what? Governments cannot fix that. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can deal with those sorts of core issues. But most Western nations have been working overtime to expel God from the public square. And they have largely succeeded. And now we wonder why we have so many seemingly intractable social problems.

Sure, governments do have a role to play – at least to some extent. They can reverse longstanding policies that lead to the breakup of marriages and families. They can get serious about things like violent pornography and violent video games which have all contributed to these shootings somewhat. They can call off their war on religion in the public square.

But the real issues will take much more than a quick fix from the government. And as long as people think the government will be able to fix all our problems, they will continue to be disappointed. At bottom, our problems are moral and spiritual.

And those sorts of problems require moral and spiritual solutions.

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8 Responses to You Must Do Something About This!

  • This is an excellent article Bill! I believe that you have identified the root cause of all the problems in Western society. I also believe that Left-wing policies and indoctrination of our society is a big problem. I have read that 90% of prisoners grew up without a father.

  • Could it be that the majority of people are aware of these facts, but choose to bury their heads in the sand, or remain indifferent and apathetic.
    Thank you Bill…..you are the guy who slaps us around the ears (metaphorically speaking) and wakes us out of our slumber to face the unpalatable truth. And stirs us to want to do something about it!

  • Good Diagnosis Dr Bill!
    I wonder – how can we encourage and affirm Christian Families to share in public their secrets for raising children with fathers and mothers, in marriages that last?

    It seems that the media are only interested in the broken, the controversial, and the dysfunctional in families.

  • Hi Bill, Great article. Have you written a comparison between the American and Australian worldviews on gun culture? I am trying to understand why there are many more mass killings in America than Australia. I must admit I don’t really understand this “must” be able to carry a gun, although I believe it was written into the USA constitution (?). Anything you could point me to, so I may understand this more, would be appreciated. ( I realise this is not simple, but a very complex issue). Thanks.

  • Thanks Joan. Yes it is a complex issue, and I may write a piece soon on this. But a few quick points in the meantime:
    -International comparisons are fraught with danger on this issue since things differ so much from country to country, and there are so many variables to consider.
    -Yes the 2nd Amendment is all about the right of Americans to bear arms. That is how the Brits were resisted and America became a nation!
    -Many jurisdictions around the world with strict gun controls laws still have very high crime and murder rates. And many jurisdictions with rather liberal gun control laws have low rates.
    -The are more people killed by guns in America than in Australia just as there are more smokers and car drivers in America – America simply has many more people. So it is the percentages and the like that we need to compare, not just raw numbers.

    There are dozens of books and hundreds of articles that can be pointed to. Here is just one piece:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2013/01/22/do-gun-control-laws-control-guns-n1493958

  • Thanks, Bill. Much to think about.

  • they teach there is no right and wrong yet when we give the right answer we are told we are wrong. a big problem is you can’t reason someone out of a position that they haven’t been reasoned into. too many today rely on emotion to decide for them. with no absolute truth only “my truth, your truth, his truth, her truth, and their truth” there are also no absolute facts as i can have my facts and you can have yours. as such having the truth and fact on your side has become meaningless in arguing with someone. If the church had been fighting this from the time these lies reared their ugly heads than we won’t be in this mess. now people follow ‘christ’ but not CHRIST the one of the bible. the world has redefined christ and christianity FOR us and we have gone right along with it. the world teaches US ‘this is what the bible really means’ and we say ‘oh yeah i guess you are right’ because we don’t want to contend for the faith. the worlds wisdom is ‘if something is difficult is isn’t worth doing’ and when it comes to preaching the truth we have adopted that. “It’s too hard to teach them all of this let’s just go with the flow” “who am I to say what is right and wrong. I know I believe so it is not too big a deal if he isn’t.” it is the same as “am I my brothers keeper?”

    we have to get the Lords house in order first as way too many christians don’t know or believe the truth. If we can win over christians we have NO chance with unbelievers. it took DECADES to a CENTURY to transform society into this cesspool it will take DECADES to a CENTURY to transform it into a Godly society.

    Question is: Do we have the guts to fight a prolonged war like that??? A truly GENERATIONAL conflict. Can we amass a D-Day type offensive on a sustained basis for the long haul?? Can we fight a war that our GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN we be in right alongside us??? Are we ready for the same persecution the NON-western church still sees EVERYDAY???? Or is it too difficult and the comforts of modern life too inviting for us??

  • Jesus and the Apostle Paul had more issues with, and were more sterner with the Religious people of their day, like the Scribes and Pharisees and the self righteous, – (the religious bible teachers of their day,) Jesus was much softer on the woman at the well. (the adulterous woman who had five husbands, ) than He was with the Religious people whom He drove out of the temple – “church” building. The woman at the well repented and she went out to proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ to others in her town and through this persons belief others repented and came to believe in Jesus.
    As Paul Wilson wrote, “We have to get the Lords house in order first”. that is: (teach the correct gospel.)
    2 Corinthians 13.5 NIV. Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ is in you – unless, of course you fail the test ?.

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