When I was a young lad I wasted too much time reading outrageous things. One useful bit of all those hours lost reading nonsense came to me today. I was writing the introduction to this article when I remembered an old tale by a Russian author. That writer used a very ingenious device to place the readers outside history looking in.
Imagine a report, written by a quasi-immortal being from a very old race living in a distant galaxy. We will call him Lord Blot, a man exiled to a planet in the vicinity of Earth. Blot committed some serious sin back in his youth, when he was barely two million years old. Men of Blot’s race live very long lives, almost as long as the lives of some stars. So shameful were Blot’s faults, that his betters condemned him to exile. They sent him off to conduct a long scientific study on the development of humanity on Earth.
Young Lord Blot lands on Mars about the time Abraham was born, some forty centuries ago. Armed with a potent telescope and assisted by powerful computers, Blot begins to take notes diligently. He hopes his betters will see his good disposition and reduce his sentence to a few million years at most.
Today, we will try to look at a snapshot of human history through the eyes of Lord Blot. For the next few minutes, pretend that you are a soul several millions years old. You are watching human beings whose lives, compared to your own, are as long as the life of a gnat.
Lord Blot observes the emergence of Modern Capitalism in Western Europe. The first corporations organize, making and losing big fortunes. Those companies make enormous profits trading with China, India, and the Americas. Some even have huge armies and fleets of ships fit for trade and war. These networks of trade extend their influence around the globe. At that time there are still kings that practice the ancient religions. Their subjects are for the most part Christians, recently divided in two bands: Catholics and Protestants. The old Christendom shatters in a number of “national churches” that continue to teach most of the Christian moral truths. Eventually a great rebellion grabs control of France. The French Revolution spreads its ideas around the world and soon new movements are born: Liberalism, Socialism, Communism, etc.
The abundance of money allows many to have lots of free time. Ingenious men begin to harness the forces of nature. Men discover electricity, magnetism, gravity and other natural forces. By the mid 19th century, factories produce goods faster and faster. Societies that remained stable since the days of the Roman Empire are changed almost overnight. From the 17th, to the 20th century Capitalism grows, virtually conquering the world. About the end of the 19th century, religion begins to lose its foothold among the common people. By the end of the 20th century, the influence of religion diminishes greatly. After two World Wars and plenty of social upheavals Capitalism begins to die.
The death of Capitalism begins when religion is expelled from schools and public life. The State begins to monopolize dialog in the public square and gradually grow more and more hostile to religion. The forces unleashed by the French Revolution a few centuries before are now in control of large portions of Government. Enormous social problems develop as societies gradually abandon the old moral codes.
In time, that free-for-all mentality invades even the hallowed halls of Capitalism. Decoupled from their social and moral obligations, the corporations “go global.” They focus on generating quick profits anywhere at any cost. The same forces that pulled millions out of poverty and squalor are transformed to extract as much money from global markets as possible, never caring about the moral consequences.
Without the guidance of religion both the populace and the upper classes enter a dark age of affluence without satisfaction. Common life, business life and political life are approaching total chaos at an increasing speed.
At this point, our imaginary Lord Blot writes home to his supervisors, in that far distant galaxy:
“Unless mankind returns to God, their world will be lost. They do not seem to know that it is impossible to sustain social systems for long without good morals.”
When Jesus of Nazareth began to preach, he started with: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel!” It looks like our societies, even the leaders of the Church, need to hear that again. “Repent” means to turn around. “Believe in the Gospel” means to learn about Jesus’ message. Christianity can keep human societies running smoothly without other compulsion than that of a good conscience. That is not only cost-effective; it leads men and women to live happy, fulfilling lives.
When observed from afar, Capitalism began to lose momentum when it began detaching from Christian morals. No one in his right mind can imagine that a world without moral boundaries could end in anything but a bloodbath.
In a few days, Americans will have a chance to begin turning this process around. Keep in mind that winning one election, even a dozen elections, is not going to solve this problem. We have to be ready to push back the hordes of chaos for the next generation or two, even beyond. God is still in control but … we may plunge into a long age of darkness if we don’t do our part.
We all have our God-given talents; this is the time to use them well.