Mending Walls: Faith, Part 3
This is an open trackbacks post, open all weekend long, through the Fourth of July. Link to this post and track back. More below the post body.
In part 1 of “Mending Walls: Faith” I very, very briefly discussed the faith (fides) covenant meme so lacking in today’s society. In part 2, I even more briefly outlined how this lack has affected the three realms of legitimate governance in society, civil government, marriage & family and, for Christians at least, the church.
In this last installment, I’ll once again very briefly mention some examples that illustrate how the current culture of faithlessness affects everyday life and how the moribund state of the faith covenant in civil government, marriage & family and in churches affects everyday life.
Keep in mind: I will NOT explore this topic in depth, although this will still be a tad long as compared to most blogposts. It’d take a full length book for each of these three parts to cover the topic seriously. That being said, and knowing it’ll be a tad longer than the majority of blogposts you may read today, either page on off or CLICk to read more at the link.
As with Part 2, I’m simply going to list three examples with a very brief commentary and then leave it to your abilities to generalize to other effects in society at large.
First consider the faith meme in the business world. Remember, faith, properly understood, is upchain/downchain loyalty. At its best it is a bilateral contract of trusting obedience on the one hand and providence and protection on the other. The faith covenant is in this sense something like a walled city in ancient days. Those who were citizens of the city frequently went out to work outside its walls during the day, retiring behind its walls at night in the safety and protection from banditry, war, etc. that the city offered… in exchange for fullfilling the duties and responsibilities of the city governor/ruler. There’s a lot more to be drawn from this analogy, especially since it was no analogy in ancient times; it was a reality. But we still may draw from this analogy to see where some walls are broken and in need of mending or replacing in today’s society.
For one thing, employment. In the pastâ€”even here in Americaâ€”a person could take a job when entering the workforce and expect to hold it throughout his entire working life, followed by a modest pension (which he was expected to plan for and manage in his retiurement). Now, this wasn’t across the board, of course, but at least in middlin’ to large companies, this seemed at one time to be expected.
Nowadays? There is neither upchain loyalty from employers to their employers nor downchain loyalty to employees . sure, it’s easy to point out that massive layoffs by large corporations are an easy example of the latter, but in how many cases has a lack of upchain loyalty been the first poison in the well? Does anyone doubt that the severe financial pinch GM is in now is not largely a result of the top-heaviness of employee “gimmes” exacted by greedy unions, or that the whirlwind American automotice workers are reaping only in part now is a result of such union greed? Only the blind (or union blind) would argue otherwise.
But what of the petty disloyalties that go on day in and day out on both sides of the street in the business world? “Stretching” one’s break time, as but one very small example, is theft from one’s employer, plain and simple, just as much as taking office supplies home is. And those are simple, everyday, “harmless” disloyalties, often perpetrated by people who feel their employer is has no loyalty to them, either.
And all too often they are right. But whiuch really came first? (OK: a different answer for each situation, most likely. Sometimes the chicken, sometimes the egg.)
But apart from general workplace disloyalties, how about a specific profession or two?
Doctors who perform abortions certainly have no regard for faithfullness to the Hippocratic Oathâ€”even modern variants that proclaim the value of human life. Ask Gianna Jessen, a survivor of an abortion doctor’s attempt to abort her when she was about 1.5 months from delivery.
I swear by Apollo the physician, by Ã†sculapius, Hygeia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgement, the following Oath.
To consider dear to me as my parents him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and if necessary to share my goods with him; To look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art if they so desire without fee or written promise; to impart to my sons and the sons of the master who taught me and the disciples who have enrolled themselves and have agreed to the rules of the profession, but to these alone the precepts and the instruction.
I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.
To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death.
Nor will I give a woman a pessary to procure abortion.
But I will preserve the purity of my life and my art.
I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art.
In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves.
All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal.
If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot.”
No thanks to a doctor’s twisted lack of faith to any principle of real value to human life, Gianna Jessen is now 29 years old, running marathons and maintaining a career in the recording industry… in spite of the cerebral palsy caused by a doctor’s faithless behavior.
And what of that other bastion of civilization, the practice of law? Well, in civil government, there vertainly is no lack of bureaucratic adherence to Pournelle’s Iron Law:
â€¦in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.
Whenever it is a case of survival (or expansion) of the bureaucracy winning out against achieving the bureaucracy’s purpose, then that’s certainly a breech of faith. Placing the importance of their own power and gain above the social contract to fullfill the buraeucracy’s goals is certainly a breech of faith, both with society at large and with the bureaucracy itself.
And how many of us have discovered the truth of Pournelle’s Iron Law at the whim of some petty bureaucrat?
His vows are lightly spoken,
His faith is hard to bind,
His trust is easy broken,
He fears his fellow-kind.
The nearest mob will move him
To break the pledge he gave â€”
Oh, a Servant when he Reigneth
Is more than ever slave!
But more than that, what of the legions of lawyers in private practice as well as government bureaucracies who treat the rule of law as a game whose rules are there simply for manipulation for the benefit of those who can buy the most lawyers, swing the biggest stick? Sadly, there’s a good foundation for many lawyer jokes.
Yes, I know there are employers/employees who still show honest downchain/upchain loyalty to each other. Yes I know there are good, honest, caring and faithful doctors and lawyers. There may even be a government bureaucrat somewhere (yeh, you, Paul ) hiding as a sheep in a pack of wolves.
But the memes we live with today are largely those of uncaring, greedy businessmen, more and more doctors who are more concerned with their investment portfolios than with their patients and with staying faithful to the ethical principles that lay the foundation of Western medicine, and lawyersâ€”both government lawyers and those in private practiceâ€”who are themselves the very model of the powerful preying upon the weak.
But it does not have to be so. We can insist, first, that we remain faithful and trustworthy in all our dealings–with our civil government, in our homes and churches and in our workplace. And we can insist that those who do not behave so pay the price of their faithlessness.
Vote the bastards out of office; make divorce harder and shame parents who needlessly (though I’m sure most of them can find excuses) neglect their children by handing them over first to socialist creches then to socialist “day prisons”; call imperial pastors and those who twist and lie about scriptures to account; boycott businesses that treat their employees shamefully while striving to be a faithful employee, if that’s our lot; keep our oaths, and keep the faith with the highest standards mof our professions.
No matter what it seems to cost us.
Because the cost to our society, and to our children and grandchildren and progeny yet unknown, is far too great if we do not.
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TB-posted to Stop the ACLU
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