We like to think we’re all independent thinkers, and we are to a point, but I’m afraid our thinking is influenced by outside powers and principalities whether we like it or not; whether we know it or not.
The government is one of those forces; it’s a teacher of sorts with great influence and I’m not talking about public school systems necessarily. Government can shape our ideas in other, less obvious ways… and ideas have consequences.
When same-sex marriage was instantly made legal in all 50 states, it gave a high level “nod” to break (or keep breaking) the intrinsic link between marriage and procreation. Once people are taught to remove the rational basis for a norm, their adherence to that norm will certainly erode.
Soon after the ruling, I remember the local public library featuring books about “my two mommies” or “my two daddies” on prominent display. I also remember a local greeting card store suddenly having a “same sex” section with the anniversary cards. I thought, “Why have a special section just for this?” There is no special “opposite sex” card section. Many of the anniversary cards are not specific about any kind of sexual preference. They say things like, “To the one I love” or “For my spouse” so why a new special section. It was as if the official federal government “go-ahead” now made it ok to push things further along. If it’s legal, it can’t be that bad and the controversy is now behind us, right? So what will be next—a same sex section in the family planning aisle of your local drug store? I think not.
I feel the same about legalizing drugs. I’ve heard arguments on both sides, but I can remember my own personal situation as a young man in college. Back then, I could not say I was a faithful Catholic in any respect. I would drink alcohol, but stayed away from any kind of illegal drugs. I wouldn’t touch the stuff even when some of my friends did. Why not? I had no moral issue with it. I did worry what my family might think if I were caught, but the main deterrent was simply because they were illegal. I feared any run-ins with the law or anything criminal on my record. If certain drugs were legal at the time, I guarantee I would have at least tried them. I can’t say where that might have led and I don’t think I’m alone in this respect.
Euthanasia is another idea in the realm of ideas. Even where euthanasia is legal, I would classify it as something “voluntary-passive”. In other words completely voluntary, but not applauded, encouraged or coerced by the government or others. In time, it may become something “voluntary-active”; meaning still voluntary, but now applauded, encouraged and coerced. Government programs could be put in place to “teach” us what is “best”, not only for ourselves, but for our immediate families and society. As a people we have an obligation to encourage what is “right” and promote the common good. The “right to die” can now slowly morph into the “obligation to die”.
If you think this is not possible or too Orwellian, think of cigarette smoking. People are still free to smoke cigarettes today, but government anti-smoking campaigns, legislation and taxation have done a good job of breaking the will to smoke. The same can be done for those who insist on living for “no good reason”. Persistent social and financial pressure to do the “right thing” can break the will to live.
This is depressing stuff, but the reason I wanted to post about governments as teachers was because of THIS ARTICLE which gives a ray of hope in a weary world. Apparently the government of Hungary has been pushing (and thus teaching) a pro-family agenda creating an environment where marriages and families are flourishing and abortion numbers are dropping.
How so? Per the article, “The Fundamental Law (Hungary’s constitution) attaches special importance to the family, protects the institution of marriage, and states that the foundation of family lies in marriage and in parent-child relationship. It declares that Hungary shall encourage the commitment to have children.”
They do this by helping parents harmonize their career and child rearing, plus other special benefits like maternity support, paid childcare leave, family tax benefits, tax benefits that encourage young couples to marry, no-charge holiday camps for children, decreased utility costs, etc. Aside from the tax breaks, it sounds like a lot of big government spending programs, but if they’re going to spend, I’d rather it be on families & marriage as oppose to some other entitlements and special interests I can think of, but won’t mention here.
And remember… you will know them by their fruits. I found these stats from the article to be the most impressive:
2010 2017 % Difference
Number of abortions: 40,449 28,500 30% less!
Number of marriages: 35,520 50,600 42% more!
Number of divorces: 23,873 18,600 22% less!
How do these fruits compare to the fruits of our government programs in the U.S.?