Earthly governments are led by men which represent a morally weak and self-interested humanity. During the Gilded Age of the American industrial revolution, there was very little government control imposed on the unchecked ambitions of a few industrial giants. This bread a spirit of anarchism which fought the wealthy industrialists the only way they could, with bombs and guns. Two presidents, Garfield and McKinley, were assassinated. Industry needed government control, but how much?
At best, the people can expect a perennial tension between industry, now known as a free market society or capitalism, and those who promote a more dominant government involvement which some see as a form of democratic socialism. Either side ruling without the pushback of the other side would be at liberty to imposed unlimited restrictions on personal freedoms—greed unleashed on the right or a power hungry left.
In the USA there is even the ongoing debate over the constitution. Should it be interpreted as it was originally understood—almost like a national bible—or can we be more active and see the need to change or expand it without necessarily amending it. The 10th Amendment recognizes those powers enumerated in the constitution for the Federal government and, retains all other powers to the states. This is affectionately known as a federation of states or federalism. But the U.S. federal government has been growing by adding “agencies” empowered to write and enforce laws in place of congressional legislation (EPA, IRS, FDA, DEA etc.), something never thought of by the founding fathers.
And little is said about the internet by which private industry has been financially enriched. It was in its beginnings a government project since the research and development expense was beyond the humble resources of individual entrepreneurs. The same is true of GPS! In such government projects, the federal government went way beyond any constitutional prerogative or sanction.
The question being asked in the USA is: are personal freedoms better guaranteed and administrated by a democracy like in Athens of old invested in the people’s “popular” vote for a central government or by a federalist form of government using the electoral college to level the playing field among the states (more power to the states)?
I know: Over half the world is under a communistic rule putting the USA in the envious place here, in their minds, of simply reaching for the stars. Whatever we choose we are better off?
There is also a necessary tension between nationalism and globalization. Nationalism, a form of populism, is embraced by a people who want to favor their own well being, their own social progress and economic prosperity, without prioritizing an interest in any other nation. Two world wars were begun with the American people wanting to stay neutral—stay out of them. Both Presidents Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt needed to find a political way around this national attitude in order to help Great Britain and enter the war on the side of the allies. An extreme nationalism is fascism but short of an authoritarian form of government nationalism only puts one’s own country first or foremost.
Globalization was an ideology in modern times (since the end of the Vietnam war or President Carter’s Administration in America)1 to address global poverty and human rights globally. Trade agreements in modern times were set up to benefit underdeveloped countries. America went into debt encouraging economic growth around the globe.
But international trade goes back to the First Presidency. Then the interest was national. We needed to sell to other nations to build up a national treasury against national financial interests—like war. Charity, too, is clearly, another thing. Fighting epidemics in Africa or feeding starving children around the world must be carried on regardless the ideology a true democracy adopts for global social reform.
The purpose behind globalization is to lift another country economically out of poverty. Globalization isn’t targeting the individual need but the national need of an impoverished nation. Globalization pushes a democratic form of government, overturning dictators, and pushing for equality for all peoples. Supporting global women’s rights has been part of this movement.
To effectively encourage such a united effort on the part of participating countries certain governing rights were relinquished, empowering another world-wide organization to govern that effort. The World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization and the Paris Accords are three such organizations to which the USA signed off on—giving up its right to each organization to decide globally for us how best to address the global need the said organization was targeting. A growing nationalism now regrets this.
No nation is an island. Globalization as a tool against global poverty deserves a voice. When Jesus observed, “You will always have the poor among you”2 He was not resigned in disinterest to walk on by. Especially a nation claiming to be christian must continue to care in substantial and practical ways.
For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’3
But globalism must never speak out so loudly that it drowns out the voice of member nations. It must not demand so much of the resources of member nations to drive them into deep national debt. Strong and healthy nations, economically, are the only nations that have the means to address global poverty. I suppose it should be said somewhere that taxing an individual nation in the name of global reform should never be a blank check. Governmental redistribution of funds will never grow a healthy economy.
Whether as a nation (nationalism) or as a world in need (globalism) humankind is seeking a better form of government, a level of freedom, and ultimately a social utopia, but why does it still elude us?
I am writing this during a pandemic in which government involvement and medical necessity get all tangled up in political objectives which stresses even more the point that God needs to be in charge if we are to live in a utopian world. Evolutionary theory, so popular in our time, looks toward that manmade progress when through science they will see an end to injustice and poverty toward an economic and socially healthy world. But this is falsely imagined without God!
A glance at our own world should convince us that evolutionary social theory is an unreachable dream. If biblical prophecy is correct, we are actually heading toward dystopia and ultimately the apocalypse of Scripture before God ushers in His new world, God’s Kingdom, which believers should anticipate joyfully.
A utopian dream is nothing believers need to concern themselves with. Meanwhile, whatever government we find ourselves in, we need to accept— as Paul admonished.
Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would – Hebrews 13:17
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. – 1 Peter 2:13-16
None of this is forever. Take heart; for, we look forward to inheriting the kingdom of light.4
“Human rights, not anticommunism, would be the organizing principle of Carter’s approach to the world in the post-Vietnam era.” – Alan Brinkley, et al., “The American Presidency,” 461
2 John 12:8
3 Deuteronomy 15:11
4 Colossians 1:12