Look to the Hills…REALLY???

pittsburgh 11

~ “What we need is more socialism!” said an older man sitting with me at coffee

“No! The problem is that we have too much government; we need less of it in order for things to go back to normal!” said a young woman wearing a Rand Paul t-shirt.

If you live in one of the failing economic countries of the Western World you have likely come to realize a transcendent truth; the government can’t save you.

With the housing bubble fresh in minds from 2008, failing stock markets, oil prices falling below record levels, and economies that are either on the verge of collapse (China, Russia, USA) or have already collapsed (Greece) the economic and financial sectors of the Western World are experiencing massive cataclysmic changes.

Truthfully, nothing is happening now that didn’t already happen in the past. Economies rise and economies fall, new leaders are elected who promise to save the people and give them better lives, and once elected, not much changes very much.

In the midst of all the ruckus are everyday people who don’t like the humdrum quality of their lives. Some people want to change their job, others want to move to somewhere more beautiful, and others simply want more money at the end of the day and feel less stressed out about their finances.

I suspect it is connected to some element of our human nature, but whenever we don’t like how things are going in our lives we tend to point the blame on others. Some people complain the government is too oppressive and others complain that we don’t have enough government, and even though these two solutions are on different ends of the spectrum; at the heart of each of these ideas lies the concept that we need to change the government in some way in order for our lives to be better.

I have a lot of opinions about government. I’ve read everything from Hobbes and Locke to Plato and Aristotle and I’ve thought out so many different ideas related to how to best operate a government that I’ve probably spent a little too much time thinking about the subject.

However, if I’m going to be honest and put aside my personal thoughts about to best formulate a  government for a moment, the real crux of the matter is that no matter what country or government you live under; ultimately you must look to the hills for your salvation does not come from the mandates of other humans.

You see, if you want to change your job, rather than waiting around for someone else to help you or waiting around for the government to formulate the right climate for you, you’ve just got to put things into perspective and focus on what is in your heart.

Of course, we might fail in our endeavors. We might not get everything we want out of life. But that is okay, nobody ever said the good life was going to be handed to us on a silver platter.

—) Do you want to be a writer, start writing

—) Do you want to be a musician, start playing music

—) Do you want to own a coffee shop, start learning what it will take to own one

—) Do you want to live near the ocean, figure out what you will have to change in your life to make it happen

The reality of the situation is that too often we want what we want, and we aren’t willing to make personal sacrifices. The lie of the Western World is that you can everything you want at no cost. Commercials tell us that a trip to paradise is merely a plane ticket away.

Everything comes at a cost, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

In theological terms, Jesus said the cost of following him was giving up everything. Yet how many Christians actually believe and practice that type of Christianity; precious few. Most Christians that I know care more about living their lives than giving everything they have to the poor or making the interests of others more important than their own interests.

One of the reasons Christianity has become somewhat irrelevant in Western Culture is that Christians didn’t want to sacrifice what they want in order to be Christians. And so Christians became wealthy suburbanites, soccer moms, and all-round disconnected people who spend more time accumulating material things than they do serving others.

A few years ago I mapped out on a piece of paper my goals; I realized that some of these goals would be difficult to obtain, but that was okay, because I would rather be working towards something that was in my heart, than merely waking up every day complaining about the economy.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains– where does my help come from?

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,


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Categories: Culture & Society

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11 replies

  1. In the end they both are right.
    We need to be more social and help out one and another, though we have put it in our thick skull we need to be paid according to work.
    Yet the hardest workers gets the least amount. We need to stick together and join hands to come up with a workable society.
    As the government does have to much control on what we eat and do and should do there is also to be thought they control the masses that take advantage of us dumb folk. Making sure we eat a little healthier.
    At the same time they point guilty fingers if we don’t adjust.
    After all they are and should be protecting us but the matter how is questionable.

    We are on our own, and the rules that are set are just as much helping us as setting us back.
    The climate we are in is just the same. The crisis isn’t helping though it makes us stronger.

    We have done so many things wrong and now we try to save what we destroyed but not taking responsibility. We just blame it on someone else.

    Great thoughts. And lets do what we can and hope to do be doing the right thing for us as well as everyone else.


  2. “The world has been abnormal for so long that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to live in a peaceful and reasonable climate. If there is to be any peace or reason, we have to create it in our own hearts and homes.”-madeleine l’engle

  3. Enjoyed this. Sounds like you’ve studied the humanities. We need more of that. It’s powerful stuff. I wonder if you’ve read Max Weber’s “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.” (Early 1900’s). He theorizes that work ethics and the accumulation of wealth became the best way to demonstrate ones religious favor in western cultures (e.g.to be idle is a sin, good works rewarded). I read it some 25 years ago and see signs -every day- that he was on to something.

    Thank you for your post. Enlightening and comforting to hear words of wisdom! It gives me hope.

  4. I have lived in “socialistic” Holland, and now I live in the USA, with states like Alaska where at least 50% owns a gun and alcoholism and suicide runs rampant – who’s to say what is best… I love both countries for their advantages, not for their weaknesses.

  5. The can-do attitude you suggest necessitates a society where the basic needs for stability, order, and security are met. You cannot become a writer if medical bankruptcy lurks around every corner, for example. The struggle for survival in a Hobbesian world will take all the energy needed for these relatively optional pursuits. What provides stability, order, and security? That would be government. The whole self-actualization mindset (“if you can dream it, you can achieve it”) assumes that these things are taken care of. Otherwise, you are spending all your time searching for sticks to burn for warmth and cooking fuel. Or working long hours at a job that eats a little bit more of your soul every day in order to hold onto health insurance.

    It isn’t about utopia, or a Government That Will Solve All Your Problems. It is about government that is Good Enough.

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