Why does human life even exist at all? Great thinkers, the ancient Greeks down to modern quantum physicists, have long pondered this same question. The universe is vast … yet as far as we know, the only part of Creation that is even slightly aware of its own existence is found only on this tiny speck of Creation – our earth. Therefore, there seems to be something very special about the distinct privilege of being alive, being human … even if only for a season.
The Judeo-Christian tradition. But why this privilege? The Judeo-Christian or Biblical tradition claims to have long understood the answer to that very question. According to this religious tradition, human life exists as sort of an "audience" to Creation. The Creator wanted some self-aware part of Creation to be able to join with its Creator in celebrating the wonder, the beauty, of it all. To do so would be to "glorify" Creation … make it come "alive" – well beyond just its mere existence.
And in that "joining" with the Creator, with Yahweh, with God the Father of it all, we humans became more than just things wandering around on this planet. As Jesus himself expressed things, we would come to the awesome understanding of ourselves as sons and daughters of this Most High God. God himself would be understood to be our true, our eternal, Abba or Daddy. That's quite an attachment to Creation, and with the Creator himself!
Mystics of all sorts of cultures and times have come to something of the same conclusion … as they have sought to become "one" with the world about them. But for Christians, the path to that oneness was no longer a question to be pondered … but instead a path already well understood. Jesus personified that path … so that those who followed his lead would complete their assigned purpose in being given the privilege of life.
Christians also have long understood this relative brief time of life on this planet as something of an internship or an apprenticeship for something that followed life on this planet: our fellowship in the realm beyond Creation with God himself … for all eternity. It was sort of like life in the womb for a baby … part of its preparation for something yet bigger that laid beyond the womb.
But why would Christians believe in something, such as Eternity or Heaven, that no living person has ever seen personally? Why should anyone in their right minds begin to believe something that has no visible proof to us living here on earth. Don't we just die … and become food for worms?
That's why Jesus's resurrection was so very, very important to Christians. In God as Father sending Jesus his Son back from his death on the cross … for at least 40 days and to at least 500 or more witnesses, God was putting before us earthlings the proof we would need to believe. But again, it would require belief … not just on the part of those 500, but also on the part of those after them that would believe their testimony. But such belief was what ultimately made Christianity stand out – way out – beyond all other understandings of the times … in Judeo-Roman times – down to today. It is certainly what made Christians stand out among the citizens of those first-century days … when Christians sang hymns as they faced the death in the arenas, deaths designed by the Roman authorities to entertain the masses.
But the Christian witness did more than entertain. It changed the lives of others.
The Call to be a City on a Hill … a Light to the Nations. This points to the fact that Christianity has always been more than just a personal path to greatness … and eternal life for the person of faith. For those who have been "elected" by God to a life of such Christian faith, they have also been commissioned by God to show others the way to the same sonship and daughtership that they enjoy with God as their Father. Jesus himself made it clear that those so elected or "called" were to serve as apostles (Greek for "ones sent out") or missionaries – to use the more modern term. Christianity was not just a privilege for themselves alone. It was a call to greater service … to help bring all human life to have a successful "internship" in this life – and thus to find "salvation." For Christians, the matter of what happened to souls who were not able to be reached by the "gospel" (good news) of Jesus and his ministry was problematic. So there was an urgency to the commission to preach to all the nations. But Christians also knew that God had other means to achieve whatever he wanted concerning human life. And therefore, they were to leave such matters as salvation to him. Nonetheless, their commission was clear – and urgent: preach the good news wherever/whenever possible.
Calvin's Geneva sets the example. John Calvin put new life into Christianity when in the mid-1500s he "reformed" the city of Geneva along the lines of what the Bible refers to as a "City on a Hill," a "Light to the Nations. Europeans from every country flocked to Geneva to see what was happening there.
Here was a society that freely chose its own leaders, affirmed and reaffirmed on a regular basis … no longer a society living under the absolute sovereignty of some princely family which controlled all social life, not just politically but also economically, culturally and spiritually. In Geneva that kind of sovereignty belonged to the citizens of the city themselves … all of them on an equal basis.
And the reason that Geneva was headed down that road was because what was driving this dynamic was the clear directions that God had given humankind through Jesus himself: the critical understanding that we all stood as equals before God – loved by him on an equal (and quite full) basis … as a very good father would. Thus the social duties and rights or rewards that God assigned his children were also to have an equal standing in the earthly or human social realm … in line with Christian gospel standards. Consequently, these equal rights and duties together became the social "disciplines" that shaped Geneva into a powerful social enterprise.
This was the kind of democracy that had not been seen in Europe for centuries. Thus it was little wonder that multitudes of "middle class" Europeans flocked to Geneva to see what was going on there. Awesomely, Geneva was serving as God's "City on a Hill," his "Light to the Nations" … precisely as God wanted his people to live and flourish. Those that flocked to Geneva included numerous English … who were so impressed by Calvin's reforms that they returned to England hoping to see those same social-moral-spiritual reforms put in place in their home country.
Setting up the Geneva model in America. But that was not to be … because the English King James sensed that allowing these "Puritans" such a range of power – putting way too much power in the hands of his subjects – would be to undermine greatly his own royal sovereignty. And his son Charles was even more opposed … to the point that the Puritans, under Winthrop's leadership, decided to head to the New World … to put in place there a "Geneva" of their own making … from scratch!
And thus it was that English America, at least in the Northern and Middle Colonies – in covenant with God himself – was set up to pursue the Christian commission of being that City on the Hill, that Light to the Nations. In short, America had a purpose – a grand purpose – for its existence from its very founding.
In essence, America would show others how a true Christian society was to live … as a community of equals, founded and fully guided by Biblical principles, the community members themselves totally responsible on a personal or individual basis for directing the life of their community according to those Biblical principles.
They had their officers of course, elected and reelected annually … called on by the community to serve – not dominate or control – the community. Such control belonged to the people themselves. The only authority that the quite sovereign community members would allow to dominate their community was no less than God himself. Or as some would eventually put it in its most basic form: "No King but Jesus"! And indeed, America would come to serve the world as just such a political-social inspiration.
But tragically when the French (who became very impressed with the American model in serving alongside these independent-minded Americans in the later 1700s during their War of Independence) attempted this same thing … it turned out to be a huge disaster. And that was because the French saw only the outward appearance of a society built on the full sovereignty of its people … but had no understanding of the vital moral-spiritual foundations that made just such a society possible. Apart from just those same Christian foundations, they would be trying to build a similar society on very shaking (actually disastrous) grounds of "human reason."
The wanderings of God's people. In setting up human life on this planet, God did not design people to be his puppets. He truly wanted humans who would, of their own accord, of their own free will, take those steps to join him in the celebration of Creation, of life itself.
But such freedom comes with a price … which is the freedom to not play along with God. In empowering human life with the power to choose the path of life – among a number of different options – God gave man the power to go his own way, not necessarily the one that God wanted him to go. That was ultimately man's own choice.
Furthermore, God would not take away that freedom when he saw the wrong path being taken … for that would be to indeed turn man into a mere puppet. God would advise his people (the prophets and teachers he sent to guide and warn them) … but still let the people themselves decide.
The tragedy is that it is very tempting of the human ego to want to use that freedom to set oneself up completely to follow the path that, at the moment, seems desirable … even necessary. For that, a person does not need God's counsel.
Human reason can indeed come up with its own strategies and tactics for getting what it wants. But that virtually never is the best choice ... if it is not in line with God's own instructions.
Thus it is that "temptation" makes the choice to connect fully with God even more problematic, more difficult. But God intended this challenge to be there (he could remove the powers of temptation any time he wanted … if he indeed ever wanted to do so) to "prove" the worthiness of his children … individually and corporately.
The Bible is full of stories about the wanderings of God's "chosen" (that is "model") people, the Israelites … in following their own lines of reasoning rather than God's directions. And the results were invariably the same: disaster.
But the Bible also tells of the times, again and again, when God would come to their rescue … usually at the point when the Israelite disaster was so great that the Israelites were ready to listen to him – in particular, to the ones he sent to them to guide them out of the mess they had made.
But the Bible also relates how God eventually got tired of constantly rescuing the Israelites … and finally let ten of the twelve tribes remain in their state of disaster … essentially ending their existence as a distinct – not to mention chosen – people. They simply disappeared from history.
That's scary … and meant to be a warning to God's people … a warning that Christians are usually well aware of.
Puritan wandering … and the Great Awakening. And so the same development came eventually to the Puritans (late 1600s) – that is, the third or fourth generation of Puritans after the earlier first and founding generation of the 1630s. The latter group became a people of "reason" … some of them even using such "reason" to get caught up in witchcraft, and all its disastrous ugliness. In any case, most of them were abandoning their Biblical moral-spiritual foundations … in finding "better" ways of going at life. That was not good for a people commissioned by God to serve him in a very special way.
But God was not finished with his Covenant people … and in the 1730s and 1740s unleashed a great wind of spiritual revival across the thirteen colonies. He wanted that "City on a Hill" not to lose its role as a "Light to the Nations." Thus it was that he stirred the American colonials back to a very strong spiritual character.
He did so not because – like the Israelites of old – they had fallen into deep disaster … though they were headed that way. It was because just such a potential disaster (war with Britain) laid yet ahead of them. And God did not want his Covenant People to fail in carrying out his very special calling. He wanted that Light to stay lit.
America defends its independence. And so, like the Puritans of old – blocked 150 years earlier by a suspicious King James and a hostile King Charles – the Americans now (1770s) found themselves up against another King, George III, who saw the independent-mindedness of the Americans as a distinct danger to his own royal absolutism. In short, he did not like at all the "Light" that this American "City on a Hill" was sending out to the world, in particular to his subjects back in England.
But what George III did not realize was that he was not just coming up against these odd-ball Americans. He was putting himself in opposition to God and God's own plans in this matter.
And the Americans resisted, despite the fact that they were vastly outgunned by the British military … because they knew at some level, some quite deeply in fact, the dynamic of who it was that exactly supported their cause – and why. The very existence of a free America was vital to the world, because it was vital to God. And so they fought … as soldiers of the cross.
"A Republic … if you can keep it." Once they had cleared away George's efforts to break their freedom, they were quick to assemble a new political union, designed to unify and thus defend that same freedom, lest some other European power (or England itself) should try again to take away that freedom. Thus delegates from America's thirteen new states gathered in Philadelphia over the summer of 1787 to assemble a strong but carefully framed or limited political union.
These were very well-educated men and they knew their history well, both Biblical history and political-social history … reaching all the way back to the political-social dynamics of ancient Israel, Greece and Rome. Thus they knew very well what works socially, and what does not work … and why this is always the case. This is because they based their knowledge on actual historical proof … and not just on some form of utopian idealism typical of most social planners.
They were well aware of the dangers of unbounded "democracy" … where the social and moral disciplines of Athens had become by the later-400s BC so weakened by enormous material success that the citizens were easily led by slick demagogues to do the most destructive things imaginable. Easily manipulated Athenians did horrible things to others (their neighboring Greek cities) … as well as to themselves (sending their strongest leaders into exile … and their greatest philosopher to his death – because of the petty political jealousies of their "sophisticated" or Sophist leaders).
The delegates were also very aware of the way the ancient Roman Republic – on which they finally decided to model their new political order – lost its way as a society of laws (based on those ancient 12 bronze tablets posted in the Roman Forum since 450 BC) rather than human wills. Roman society, like any society, had a number of social divisions … which made political unity very difficult. They saw how consequently the Republic, during the first century and a half before Christ came under the designs of numerous social "reformers," who proposed deep changes in those long-standing laws … in an effort to "correct" this growing social problem. But the American delegates were also well aware that each attempt to rewrite the constitutional foundations of Roman society only made the situation worse.
Finally Rome had to call on the military (the imperium) to impose order on the community. And thus it was that Rome drifted from being a Republic to an Empire. The Romans had lost their citizen-based Republic and had it replaced by a very hierarchical (top-down) social order run no longer by the citizens themselves but by the small circle of military leaders and the massive (and expensive) military order they commanded. The American delegates were strongly supportive of the underlying idea of the Republic: that it was supposed to be based on a deeply based and thus unchanging set of constitutional foundations. These fundamental laws were supposedly designed to hold true against the tendency of politicians to want to "reform" those standards according to partisan interests cultivated by demagogic politicians … who used such situations to advance their own personal political careers. But establishing any constitution to be able to hold up against such political dynamics would be greatly challenging. Thus it was when Franklin was asked what exactly the delegates had come up with for the thirteen states by way of a new political order, Franklin's response was "a Republic … if you can keep it"
But they counted on several features of the constitutional order they had designed to help keep such political challenges under some kind of management. They tried to make sure that no single part of the system would have a dominating hand in the country's affairs … creating in their new republic a kind of checks and balances system in the way they distributed various powers widely and on a limited basis.
But they were also counting very heavily on America's very Christian (Calvinist) governing principles they had been living by for over a century and a half to hold the constitutional order together. That was because they were counting on God not only to be their provider (thus they frequently termed God as "the Provider" or "Providence"). They were looking to him to be the defender of this Christian social order. They knew that God was as interested as they were in America remaining as God's City on a Hill, his Light to the Nations.
Slavery. Unfortunately, not all of young America was founded on this strong Calvinist egalitarian ethic. The Southern states had simply transmitted the older English feudal idea (rule over the multitudes by a small but very privileged landed aristocracy) to the colonies when they arrived here. Yes, the South had fought alongside the more Calvinist New England and Middle Colonies against George's efforts to force them under his absolute rule. But beyond that there were huge differences in the way the American North and the American South went at life. And that would soon become very problematic.
On a number of accounts Northern and Southern cultures were quite different. But symbolically the difference eventually got boiled down to a single issue: slavery. It's not that the North suddenly decided that slavery was an absolute evil, likely to bring harsh judgment down on America by a God enraged at such treatment of fellow humans and thus in total violation of the principle of being a Light to the Nations. It took a long time for Northerners to see slavery as such a dark, abnormal institution … because it really was not that abnormal as societies of the day were structured. Slavery was an ancient and not uncommon social practice.
But it was embarrassing that England and France, not America, were showing the way out of this horrible treatment of fellow humans.
Nor were the Southerners so totally dedicated to the issue of slavery … not at first anyway. Thus Washington had his slaves freed at his death (but not his wife's because he had no such property rights over her slaves). Jefferson also saw the need to end the practice … though he got himself in such a financial mess that at his death, his slaves had to be sold rather than be freed to clear his estate of the huge debts that he had run up.
But different paths of social development, and just sensitive egos, step by step turned the slavery issue into an all-or-nothing rivalry between the two sections of the country. America just simply was developing along two (and three if you add in the wild, wild West!) mutually hostile national lines. And thus it came to war … horribly bloody civil war (1860s).
And where was God in this? Southern "reason" created the idea that God himself had ordained slavery, as Blacks could survive only under White governance … citing the curse upon the "Sons of Ham" as their Biblical basis for this belief. That disregarded the entire message of the rest of the Bible, especially Jesus's gospel ministry. But it worked sufficiently well for the Southern troops who went off to war to defend the South against "Northern aggression."
Civil War. At the same time, the North went off to battle singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic: "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord" … indicating that they were defending God's cause itself.
And interestingly, Lincoln in his second inaugural address (1865) devoted the entire second half of the speech explaining God's hand and his justice in the outworking of the war they had just been through.
Indeed, it seems that just as the Great Awakening of the 1700s was unleashed by God to prepare his chosen people to stand their ground against royal tyranny, the Second Great Awakening unleashed in the first half of the 1800s had been designed for the same purpose: to help Christian America be able emotionally and spiritually to do the job of ending slavery … as destructive to human life as that effort would be. Defending the Light was never going to be easy. But it needed to be done, no matter how big the obstacles that had to be overcome.
Another wandering … and Progressivism. With the all-consuming issue of slavery finally resolved in 1865, America drifted off into a world of material self-preoccupation. The industrial demands of the Civil War had changed the American socio-economic dynamic deeply … as the momentum of industrialism merely gathered strength – greatly so – during the remaining part of the 1800s and into the early 1900s. The American industrial revolution had made some Americans very, very rich … at the same time that it drove landless young men to have to look to miserable service in the mines and manufacturing plants of those same wealthy individuals.
This simply was not acceptable in a society founded fundamentally on the Biblical basis of the equality of a Americans under God, under the law, and under any decent sense of social concern that Americans were expected to have for each other's welfare. Consequently, by the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s, a number of Americans decided to take whatever political action they could to correct this growing problem. We call these people the "Progressivists."
Their Progressivism was not necessarily attempting to "reform" the constitutional basis of American society. Progressivism saw itself as simply attempting adjustments in the way America's constitutional order was supposed to offer the same opportunities, rewards and duties of all of its citizens.
Of course Progressivism did intend to bring some amendments or "changes" to the U.S. Constitution itself. Thus for instance the 19th Amendment (ratified in 1920) extended the right to vote to women as well as men. But this was in no ways in violation of America's most fundamental social principle, the equality of all Americans. In other words, this constitutional amendment did not change the American constitutional foundations … but merely took them a step further forward in meeting the goals of that same order.
However, the 16th and 17th Amendments (both ratified in early 1913), did constitute a rather deep altering of American society's constitutional order … though that was not recognized at the time. The 16th Amendment gave the Washington government the right to tax American citizens directly … and the 17th Amendment took the selection of the U.S. Senators away from the state governments and gave that selection to the people themselves, thus "democratizing" the process.
This undercut greatly the intentions of the original framers of the Constitution to keep power divided and checked … so as not to let one part of the system begin to accumulate power … something that would then enable that part of the system to build up its power even more.
And it also conveyed the idea that the constitution was not quite as unchangeable as the framers tried to make it, remembering what happened to Rome once it got in the habit of constantly "reforming" its constitutional foundations.
Secular Humanism begins to challenge the Christian social-moral order. People assumed at the time that there was something supposedly "Christian" in Progressivism. Certainly to socially sensitive Christians, what they saw taking place in their beloved country was very wrong … and needed reform – deep reform. But ultimately, Progressivism as a social movement operated largely under its own moral logic … one that required no particular role for God himself in this matter. Moral reasoning seemed to offer its own logic, its own rules, its own goals … without having to bring God into the picture. Thus it was both "Christian" in identity and standards, and "Secular" or "Humanist" in actual performance. And, by and large, that worked quite fine for most American Christians.
But as the early 20th century developed, Humanism was fast challenging Christianity quite directly as the moral foundation of American society. Humanism claimed, in direct challenge to Christianity, that man's natural instincts were always to the good and that it was society and the way it was structured, not sinful human instinct, that was the problem. Thus the more the people are brought directly into the nation's political dynamics, through democratic reform, the higher the society would rise.
In fact it was just such thinking that would soon lead Wilson to engage the nation in the very, very bloody struggle "to make the world safe for democracy." While the horror of what was unleashed in this crusade for democracy ultimately shocked Wilson (and everyone else), it would not have shocked the framers of the original constitution who, on the basis of their understanding of both history and human nature itself, would not have been surprised that such a crusade ended the way it did.
Nationalism. This points to the fact that there was yet another social dynamic developing in the "Christian West," virtually (like Humanism) a religion in itself: Nationalism. The spirit of nationalism was, by the second half of the 1800s and early 1900s, sweeping through the "Christian West" like a huge emotional hurricane.
Just as we saw America splitting between North and South over very distinct and ultimately opposing social identities (not just slavery, but the very different social orders defining the North and South), so in Christian Europe people were beginning to construct new and ultimately very strong personal and social identities. And they were doing so on the basis of their particular linguistic makeup – a rising political dynamic rising from the language that the common people spoke at home.
Such linguistic affections, at least on the European continent, had never been a political issue previously … because the European ruling classes had taken on the French language to communicate with each other across the span of that continent. On the other hand, the common people spoke all kinds of languages and dialects, mixed here and there across Europe. And what the common people spoke had been, up until this point, of no particular concern to Europe's ruling classes.
But as the 1800s developed, political authority was being taken up step by step by the masses, the little people, the "democratic" community. And as these commoners did so, their lines of communication with each other – that is the language that they spoke locally – became a rallying point for them. It was becoming of critical importance among increasingly self-aware political commoners in Europe to speak German, Italian, Russian, Swedish, Polish, Bulgarian, modern Greek, etc. These linguistic legacies even got highly romanticized in story, poetry and song.
Likewise, even their Christian identities got absorbed into the national idea. Or they just set the idea of Christianity and its importance aside … as they moved further down the nationalist road.
Thus it was that the European masses came to see their linguistic-ethnic birthright, their "nation" (from the Latin, natus meaning birth or birthright) as their all-defining, grandest, and noblest social good ... one that they were not only willing to devote their lives in service to, but even die for in its promotion and defense.
National imperialism. But this growing nationalist urge was going to bump one such growing social group against other similar groups around it: French against German, against Russian, against Turkish, against Italian, against English, etc. … especially when it came to the rising game of imperialism. Great national glory was sought in intense the competition to grab and control territory abroad, first in Asia, then in Africa.
But this was a game that left the latecomer Germany far behind in the competition for overseas empire (England and France got off to an earlier start in this game). Consequently, Germany was very aggressive in the face of that national-imperial shortcoming.
Soon, just like the American Civil War, social "reason" had become white hot in its sense of offense in the growing competition involved in this international political game. Troubles thus began to brew.
The "Great War" (World War One). Finally in 1914 tempers exploded as Austro-Hungarians took on the Serbs, the Russians came to the aid of the Serbs, the Germans came to the aid of the Austro-Hungarians, the French came to the aid of the Russians, the British came to the aid of the French and Russians, and the Turks got pulled into the conflict on the side of the Germans. It was now one group of nations against another group of nations … the goal being simply to kill as many of the national enemy as possible … in order to achieve glorious victory in this contest.
Then most amazingly, after several years of pointless slaughter in the trenches of Europe, President Wilson sent American soldiers to Europe in 1917 to join the action … to kill Germans – as many Germans as possible – because they were not as sufficiently "democratic" as the democracies Britain and France (actually far from true) … and now because of developments in Russia, that country as well (again, far, far from the truth). And even though thousands of young Americans would die in the process, Wilson claimed that this would bring glory to America as the savior of democracy. America's (imperialist) mission in the world was now to "make the world safe for democracy."
And where did God stand in this great Wilsonian "democratic" crusade? Nowhere. God was not consulted as to whether or not this was the role he wanted to see his covenant people take up. And that was because Wilson, actually a pastor's son, had no particular interest in such a matter. Wilson was undertaking this grand crusade for democracy because it stood supposedly on its own moral merits. Really? Killing all those Germans … whose Berlin government was no less democratic than England's London government? The man was delusional.
Needless to say, this wandering off on a new national course ended up in total disaster … for everyone involved, including Wilson himself. The price of such a moral mistake was ultimately incalculable.
World War Two. Americans were pursuing no such ideological ideal in taking up the fight with Japan and Germany, twenty years later in the early-mid 1940s. Americans simply found themselves at war – a very nasty war – because Japan and Germany believed that "democratic" America was a much-weakened society … and that they could bomb and attack America and force it under their control.
Americans, united strongly because of the rigors of the 1930s Depression and ready to sacrifice greatly to defend their nation, fought back … ultimately defeating the Germans and Japanese.
Truman – and America – going at post-war things the right way. Then after having defeated both countries in 1945, rather than trying to bring down German and Japanese society in vengeful humiliation, America – under Truman's leadership – did everything possible to help these former enemies rebuild … rebuild as the Germans and Japanese themselves understood how they needed to do so. This was Christianity in action … through such programs as the Marshall Plan. True, America set some larger boundaries for both Germany and Japan (to make sure that they did not return to former aggressive way). But mostly America just showed them an amazing amount of support. And former enemies became close national friends as a result.
America was able to approach matters this way because, under Truman's moral leadership, America chose to go at matters Christ's way, showing forgiveness – not vindictive "justice." In this way America demonstrated to Germany and Japan (and the world) the importance of going at life in a spirit of authentic love and peace (such as Lincoln intended to pursue at the end of the Civil War) that comes from a full reliance on God and his judgments, not man's self-serving judgments. This was a case of bringing to a former enemy God's peace … or Shalom, as the Jews call it. Indeed, Truman was not interested in enforcing the kind of heavy-handed "peace" that social justice crusaders (such as the post-Civil-War Radicals) typically like to impose on others.
This was Christian peace, the kind that permits a high degree of tolerance of our social differences – differences which in Christ we can easily learn to live above. In fact, in Christ, we not only tolerate each other … we respect each other. Thus most importantly, this was America serving God as his City on a Hill, his Light to the Nations. And how was it exactly that the Americans themselves were able to follow Truman … and overcome their own personal hurts brought on by the war? It came from the same revived Christian spirit that Americans had quietly turned to during the dark days of the Depression … when very little that man could do was helping the situation much (Roosevelt's New Deal had run out of steam by 1937).
No Great Awakening had taken place to bring this Christian moral-spiritual revival about. It's just that members of this particular generation of Americans (quite properly referred to as the "Greatest Generation") found themselves personally and privately much more serious in spirit in the way they now went at things (including Roosevelt … during the days leading up to and during that horrible war). They remembered that God was expecting bigger things of America – and always had done so – and they were now very willing to work with that.
Indeed, at this point – during the Cold War 1950s – when America was the primary defender of Western Civilization, Americans were great church-goers … very aware of America's place of greatness "under God" and him alone. And that understanding reached strongly from the streets of America all the way up to Eisenhower's White House.
The battle for equality. But there was a quite dark side to this American picture: the treatment of Southern Blacks … which had improved absolutely not a bit over the previous century. And there to challenge America on this matter was Christian pastor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a powerful voice in getting America to pay attention to the way Southern Blacks were excluded from the American political process. He and his followers marched … and marched – ultimately all the way to the nation's capital in 1963. He occupied no governmental position … but became an outstanding national leader – because he was recognized (certainly in the North at least) as representing the very best of what America stood for.
All King was asking for was the right of Blacks to live as equals in our American world. His goal was not to cripple the White community … only make sure that Blacks had the same rights as the Irish, the Italians, the Polish, the Greeks, etc. had once received to make their way upward, economically and socially into that "White" world. Fair enough.
But … welfare dependency. However, President Johnson, with his new Great Society Program, went further – much further – in seeing that it was the government's job to create special socio-economic opportunities for the Blacks, by backing strongly the idea of state welfare and affirmative action for Blacks. That sounded like a good idea … if you didn't look too closely at the social impact that this was bound to have.
First of all, just like the societies of Central America – where the people have always expected those that ruled over them to provide the economic payoff that society is supposed to offer – such a program ends up creating not the old American idea of personal initiative (self-government "from below") but instead the condition of what Latin American analysts term la dependencia … or the social situation in which the people are able to do very little on their own behalf, having become completely dependent on government welfare (elite-directed government "from above") ... actually a social-moral leftover from the earlier days of Spanish feudal society and government.
But this condition of heavy dependency on the generosity of the ruling state and its particular governmental agents encourages very little by way of the development of real economic assets (Central America is not known for its productivity). Actual economic dynamics under those conditions function largely in the form of a governmental redistribution of any assets still located within society. Assets of course quickly dry up when there is so little incentive to be productive … when the government takes the assets that entrepreneurs produce (or simply taxes them to the point where there is little payoff resulting from a person's investment of time and effort in a particular enterprise) … in order to reward others. It's called "socialism." And it doesn't work well for a society over the long run.
The tragic consequences were that this extensive governmental social intervention promoted by Johnson as the key feature of his "Great Society" program, became something of the American political fashion of the times ... at least for the Democratic Party. But tragically it worked in such a way that it helped break up the strong Black family … when "welfare" meant social payoff to unwed mothers … as long as no supporting male was found to be present and available to provide that support.
What this "welfare incentive" did to the Black male, and what that did to the Black family, was tragic. The Black family (or for that matter, any family) was the one institution that had long helped people forward in life … providing children a critical amount of greatly-needed personal training and social wisdom – so a rising generation would be able to take on life's many challenges with some degree of success. And now that very key institution of the family was being cut to pieces.
This was not just a matter of economics. Multitudes of young Black males were now expected to grow up without the guidance of a father ... to teach them the rules of the game of life, its goals, its boundaries, its disciplines, its wisest expectations. And young Black females were being raised without much knowledge of what to expect from proper male behavior, having had no loving fatherly example and thus no standard to make the best choices in building their own lives.
The welfare state offered no such personal counsel. And the public schools were not well equipped to fill in the moral-spiritual void either. Thus the "welfare state" produced a personal and thus also social tragedy of the worst kind. Consequently, crime rates within Black communities rose to horrible heights … and the prisons filled up accordingly.
"Category thinking" (nationalism, tribalism, racism, sexism, etc.) Secondly, a "revolution of rising expectations" took over as a very strong social force within the Black community, especially among the youth. When economic and social expectations were not being met as quickly as had been expected, anger at the larger society became the end result.
And into this dynamic stepped the Black Panthers. Unlike King, who sought to integrate the Blacks into the White world and its ways, the Black Panthers chose the path of separation from that larger American world … offering in place of integration a very militant anti-White racism as the emotional-spiritual path that they wanted to see the Black community take up.
This only made the situation even more disastrous for everyone involved … as is always the case with "category" thinking, whether nationalism, tribalism, sectarianism, classism, racism, sexism or any other "ism" that sets one group of people against another group of people.
As a Light to the Nations, God's expectation was that America would model compassion and love … rather than nasty infighting. And the militant effort by one group to dominate another was definitely not supposed to be part of the program. God wanted unity within his Covenant Society.
But that seemingly was not going to happen … not by human design anyway. Once again, similar to the agonizing years of the early-mid 1800s, social-ideological battle lines were beginning to be drawn up by the end of the 1960s.
The fundamentals of a growing dispute. A big part of what made America so chaotic, as it left behind it the comparative serenity of the 1950s to enter the confusion and even violence of the 1960s, was a result of the way that the American worldview built strongly on Christian ideals and understanding was coming under very serious challenge from the world of Secular Humanism.
America's obvious grand success itself at that point had raised all kinds of debate, not only over the question of what it was that had brought the country to such stature as a global superpower … but now at this point how it was supposed to move forward socially, culturally, spiritually ... to take on some of the remaining social challenges the nation still faced.
The critical issue under debate was the question of whether it was solely human effort or whether it was Divine guidance that brought this success about. And depending on the answer to that question, it raised the next question: what then were the next steps that America should be taking to protect, preserve and then advance America's very successful place in the world's scheme of things. Who's chief responsibility for setting the direction and pace of America's continuing development was it: man or God?
The Supreme Court gets involved. In a very important way, the U.S. Supreme Court took the first steps to resolve the debate. Their main political agent to get the ball rolling was the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), whose idea of civil liberty was to "free" Americans from the superstition of Christianity … gaining fame as just such a civil libertarian association all the way back to the 1920s when this organization supported the Darwinist worldview in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial.
Thus at first the ACLU got the Supreme Court to forbid prayer in the schooling of America's youth (1962). Then with success in this enterprise, the organization moved to the matter of the Bible as America's primary moral foundation … getting the Supreme Court also to forbid the reading of the Bible as part of the shaping of the morals of America's youth (1963). In both cases ACLU lawyers put forward the idea that these activities, prayer and Bible reading, violated the very terms of the First Amendment … and had no proper place in the public life of America. And the Supreme Court justices were ideologically inclined to agree with them.
This was the first seriously successful step of the Humanists in their ongoing effort to replace Christian social foundations with the social foundations of Humanism. And tragically, no one was able to block, or even slow up this development … as the fundamental order had no way of knowing what to do when the justices of the Supreme Court, that were supposed to be refereeing the game of national politics, decided to become themselves key players in the nation's political games … and players with no known restraints on their behavior once they got things going their way.
Thus in this same process, the Supreme Court, not Congress, was making itself the supreme source of America's fundamental laws, the constitutional order itself, on which American society was supposed to rest. And still, to this day, no one knows how to bring the Supreme Court under restraint. Appointing "originalists" supposedly dedicated to moving the Court back to the position intended for it by the designers of the original Constitution is supposed to help in this regard. But so much judicial power is very seductive even to those with the best of intentions … and thus it is very hard to stay a true "originalist" over the longer lifetime appointment of a Supreme Court justice.
A mechanical versus a mystical universe. What was actually happening was the ACLU and Secular Humanists like them were attempting to do the same thing the 1930s Humanists had tried to do with their Humanist Manifesto: bring down the Christian worldview as fundamental in American life. They intended to replace it with a much more "enlightened" Secular worldview … meaning the fundamental understanding that the world does not operate mystically – by the hand of some unseen god – but instead, mechanically. "Mystically" was a dynamic that clearly fell well beyond automatic (or mechanical) human control. "Mechanically" was not. "Mechanically" invited human control. And by "mechanically," Secularists meant not only the physical world, not only the biological world, but also the social world of man as well. Using human reason or "science" – not some appeal to a non-existent god – a proper mechanical process directed by those knowledgeable in such social science would take America all the way to a state of true Utopia.
Following out their materialist or mechanistic worldview, American intellectuals were increasingly determined to head down this road of Human Enlightenment, certain that with the "scientific" guidance they could offer society, America would continue to progress even further as a "Great Society." And as the 1960s developed, this secular-scientific attitude took over not only the Supreme Court, it took over the Johnson White House. And even more strangely, it took over much of the highly educated leadership of America's major denominations. A general feeling was coming over America that the nation needed to be led by those of well-developed or "educated" reason, not by the untested personal faith and understanding of the American commoners (the group that Hillary Clinton would one day term as the "deplorables").
Humanists versus Darwinists. However … a major problem that existed within this rising Secularist social camp was that they could not agree on exactly how human nature itself was to provide the necessary dynamic for such utopian progress.
The Humanists among them were quite Rousseauian in believing that man, freed from all existent social restraints (in other words, in undertaking deep social revolution overthrowing the "outdated" patterns of the past) would automatically, by man's very human nature, now come to utopian social greatness. In short they wanted to go at life the same way the French once did under Robespierre, the American themselves had done under Wilson, the Russians had done under Lenin and Stalin, and the Chinese were at that time doing under Mao. Tear the system down … and then watch the beauty of what consequently emerges most naturally.
It's amazing how the Humanists never gave up … despite all the historical examples that demonstrated very clearly that it is not the Bible that does not get things right, with its idea of "original sin" and the need for man to put himself under Divine guidance before he destroys himself and everything around him. The Humanists, despite all historical evidence to the contrary, remained unfailingly willing to bring down everything around themselves … with the unyielding belief that utopia, not chaos, would then automatically (mechanically) result.
Then there were the Secular Darwinists, who took a very different view of human nature … seeing that life moved forward mechanically on the basis of the more powerful players in life taking control over the process … even if it meant having to knock the weaker players out of the game to bring that game to success.
Thus while the Humanists were all about natural human harmony as the driving force in life, the Darwinists were all about natural human dominance as the driving force in life. Both were Secularists … both were actually allies in the effort to depose the Christian worldview ... but they were also very, very different in how they intended to take things after having eliminated the Christian world view.
Basically what was happening in the 1960s was that the Humanists were taking the lead in bringing Christianity down … but the Darwinists, not the Humanists, were moving into the moral vacuum thus created in order to take over what happened next.
The advance against the Christian worldview continues. With America's original social-cultural-spiritual standards being brought down everywhere, this left open the contest for a replacement for those standards. It was easy enough for the Humanists who had taken up the cause to "change" America. All they had to do was to oppose everything that had gone before. But as to what was supposed to replace it, they had no clear idea on what to go with. Supposedly mere human instinct would suffice. So … tear things down. And let the "natural" arise in its place.
By 1973 the ACLU had moved the Supreme Court to put purely Secular standards in place of Biblical standards as the measure of what could and what could not be taught in the actual content of American education.
And what exactly were those Secular standards? That remained to be seen … as America moved down the path of setting aside one after another of the Christian social standards that America previously long lived by. Men had to step away from their traditional (actually rather universal) position as social leaders. Sexuality was no longer focused on the uniting and building of American families … but was simply a matter of "free" pleasure – any way you wanted it. Abortion was now widely available when such sexual behavior produced results (not surprisingly) that were not taken into consideration at the time of the pleasant activity. And the state was increasingly putting itself in place of the family as the shaper of American society and culture … starting with the Black community.
Humanists were "freeing" America from all social restraints. The only social practice they forbid was the attempt to continue to live by Christian standards. And Christianity itself was clearly on the social decline … as the old American denominations (Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, etc.) had begun a decline in membership since the mid-1960s, a decline that seemingly was not ever to be reversed. With their own leadership tending to have rather Humanist tendencies themselves, these long-standing religious communities just did not know how to answer the social-moral-spiritual challenges placed before them.
When Reagan took over the presidency in 1981, he attempted to swing things back to the former ways in introducing – not once but twice (1984 and 1985) – a constitutional amendment allowing prayer in public institutions, including most importantly, public schools. But despite polls that showed that 80% of Americans supported his amendment effort (but tragically, denominational leaders once again did not), he could not get Congress to come up with the 2/3rds vote needed to get things moving.
Then in 1987 the Supreme Court ruled that the teaching that the universe was directed by the powers of a Creator rather than by the Darwinian evolutionary process was unconstitutional … because such "creationism" was religion rather than science (like Darwinism is supposed to be) … and anything religious was forbidden as content in American public education. This was so ... because the Supreme Court said so.
That seemed to settle the matter for certain … until 2005, when a school district in Pennsylvania made the critical error of inviting (a three-paragraph statement read at the beginning of the school year) its students merely to look beyond Darwinism and – on their own – check out the idea of "intelligent design."
The federal judge in the matter slapped a $1 million fine on the school district as a warning to all … to not ever again attempt such a brazen effort to widen the worldview beyond the Secular boundaries established by the Supreme Court. In short, the federal courts made it very clear that the Christian worldview was over as a national idea.
The Federal Courts continue their assault on Christianity. Obama did not intend in any particular way to be anti-Christian in the deep "change" he wanted to put America through. But inevitably his "change" by necessity found itself undercutting the last of the key social institutions supporting Christian America: the traditional American family.
He had to have known full well what would happen in appointing two particular individuals to the Supreme Court in 2009 and 2010 … especially in any certain challenge to the place that the traditional American family still held as the foundation of American society ... the last holdout against a total takeover by state authorities of American society, culture and even spiritual foundations.
Americans had seen that challenge coming their way … and with one of the biggest majorities ever, in 1996 Congress passed, and Clinton signed into law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). But now, in two steps to the goal (2013 and 2015) Obama's two female (also unmarried and childless) Supreme Court appointees tipped the balance in the Court's two decisions that declared DOMA to be unconstitutional ... in which five justices supported or affirmed those decisions – versus four justices opposing or dissenting in those two key decisions.
How so? Indeed, the Court itself was highly divided (ideologically) over this matter. At the same time, again by another 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that a California law (approved through a popular referendum) which refused to recognize the legal validity of homosexual marriages was unconstitutional.
But by this time, it was increasingly apparent that it was ideological politics, not legal principle, driving these decisions. Indeed, the way the Court went at issues as fundamental to American society as DOMA – using its immense, virtually unlimited, power to decide such matters (and by the slimmest of majorities) – made the Supreme Court exactly that: a solidly political institution.
This was something the original designers of the Constitution had not seen coming. And thus they had set up a judicial court in the new Republic – with no known way to check the growth of such absolute "judicial" power within their new Republic.
Not surprising were the political battles in the Senate that occurred when it came time to approve or confirm the president's Supreme Court appointments. That was because it was increasingly apparent that it was the Supreme Court, not Congress, that was at this point the creator and defender of America's all-defining fundamental laws and social norms.
America was ultimately not to be directed by the American people through their representatives in Congress, but by a tiny ruling elite that was accountable to no one but themselves once in power.
Tragically, this resembled much too closely the way the Roman military inserted itself as the people's savior into a dominant position in Roman political affairs, sadly ending Rome as a Republic ... putting Rome under imperial rule (rule from above rather than rule from below). In the very same manner, America was losing ground to its political saviors "from above." Actually, what was happening with the Supreme Court was not even the fiction of "democracy from above." It was simply dictatorship.
America's social divisions deepen even further under ongoing efforts as "reform." With America's original social-cultural-spiritual standards being brought down everywhere, this has left open the contest for a replacement for those standards. It has been easy enough for those who had taken up the cause to "change" America. All they had to do was to oppose everything that had gone before. But as to what was supposed to replace it, they have shown America no clear idea on what then is intended precisely to replace the destroyed traditional social foundations … except to put more power in the hands of "enlightened" Washington authorities – and the members of the equally "enlightened" media and academic circles that support the Secular-Humanist domination by Washington.
It is important to remember how quickly a house can be burned to the ground … in comparison to the much, much greater time and expense involved in rebuilding it. The same applies no less to a society.
Worse … like the French Revolution, a social vacuum created by revolution itself spawns a multitude of very rational, very picture-perfect or utopian ideas put forward by this group and that … none of them tested in the laboratory of reality … and none of them able to pull all the utopian Idealists together to form some kind of harmonious working group. Thus as these reformers compete to have their own ideals take the lead, chaos rather than wise resolve to come up with ideas and ideals that they could all agree on have typically characterized this effort at "social progress."
Tragically, we are seeing this dynamic develop in America … as a result of the deep "change" that "reformers" have put America under. And it has produced exactly the predicted chaos that always accompanies such action.
Thankfully, the social-political chaos that America has been caught up in has not reached the order of the French or Russian or Chinese revolutions where it required dictatorship (France and Russia) or a complete and disastrously belated backing off of the "reform" effort (China) to bring things back to order. But it is headed in that direction. Worse, America's political leadership has seemed to find big political profit in championing the cause of one or another of these competing social groups, not only making unity all the more difficult but in fact merely intensifying the mutual hostility overtaking the American peace.
And this political confusion and resulting chaos has not been just for a short season of disappointment … and anger. It's as if these divisions, and the anger they encourage, were taking a rather permanent place in American politics. This not only has a scary similarity to the loss of the Roman Republic, it looks tragically like America going through the early 1800s, step by step dividing ever deeper over the symbolic issue of slavery. And we know what it took to finally bring that divisive issue to an end. Obama, Trump and now Biden seem to have believed that it was better to support and encourage one side or other of the divide, rather than find the higher ground where Americans could once again pull together, where something of a political "middle" could settle things down.
But that higher ground is never found in or through human reason. A society has to go much higher than that to arrive at a grander level of social being. And (some) Americans know that such higher ground is found only in the willingness of society to follow the One who made the rules of life: God himself.
As we have seen, Biden talked the unity talk at his inauguration … but then immediately proceeded to his office to put into force the ideological agenda of merely one side of the American divide. That certainly offered distinct advantages to that particular group … but not to the nation as a whole. Quite the opposite. Meanwhile, Trump is gathering forces on the sidelines, ready to resume the counter attack as soon as possible.
America's youth are brought into the contest. Complements of the constant pressuring of America's youth to take the Humanist rather than the Christian path to adulthood, social standards have come to be treated by so many younger Americans as if they were the biggest threat to personal freedom imaginable. They are even equated with "Fascism." Unlike Christianity, Humanism sees no need to carefully regulate the development of rising generations of Americans, because of the belief of Humanists that if the youth were truly left to simply trust their own instincts to make life choices as they developed, they would be certain to arrive at adulthood on a much healthier basis. This has proven over and over again to be a very bad idea.
Society is group behavior … shaped into effective social action through training and discipline. Without wise social instruction coming from the adult generation to its rising generation, the latter will never come to know how to "do adult" correctly. Society in its workings is very similar to the world of sports. In any sporting event, there are very specific rules prescribing what the goals and rules of the game happen to be … and, if a team sport (as most are), what the guidelines happen to be which will help those players work together to meet those goals.
And – what Humanists fail to understand – these goals, rules and guidelines are not found in mere human instinct. Quite the contrary. To create a truly effective or "winning" team, that team (or society) needs the vital training, discipline and support of a coach to bring the players to an understanding of what is expected of them as individual players working closely together to bring the team to victory. There's no room for self-important prima donnas on a team that has a chance for such victory. They must work together as a unit, guided by all the social norms and rules that govern how a game is played.
Indeed, involvement in sports is a very old way of getting youth to understand how the larger society they are about to enter actually works – what its expectations are, what its rules are, what its rewards happen to be – so that they do not get themselves in trouble as adults in falling afoul of society's rules and regulations. … and end up in prison – or worse.
Unfortunately, America is seeing way too much of the latter … as it advances ever deeper into Humanism.
America is in trouble … deep trouble. And so are its Western friends.
America struggles forward as a continuing Christian Light to the Nations ... against growing Humanism. In the early 1970s, when Nixon was pulling the last of the American troops out of Vietnam – and simply extending economic aid to help the pro-American Saigon government develop a viable social order (sort of a Marshall Plan for Vietnam) – Humanists in Congress got the bright idea that cutting off all such aid would "free up" the Vietnamese from American "imperialism."
Subsequently, with Nixon and Ford prevented from giving any kind of support to the Saigon government, we found ourselves having to make a cowardly escape from Vietnam when the social order we were "freeing up" came to collapse. Then we got to watch our Vietnamese friends get butchered. And soon we also got to watch in horror that same social breakdown extend itself next door to the "killing fields" of Cambodia. In all of this, America was not being a Light to the Nations.
But thankfully we wised up a bit. As the world's sole superpower in the 1980s and 1990s, Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton demonstrated to the world a very Christian desire to support – not impose their worldview and political system on – the nations of the world … as these nations struggled to meet their own social challenges. We supported, not dictated, Russia's and China's effort to move freely out into the larger world. True, we did intervene in the crises of Kuwait, Bosnia, and Kosovo. But in those instances, we simply policed the situation. We did not attempt to "reform" anybody. We kicked Iraq out of Kuwait and Serbia out of both Bosnia and Kosovo … to end Iraqi bullying and Yugoslavian ethnic cleansing. Then we made no attempts to go further with the matter. We had no interest in remaking our opponents along Idealist (Humanist/Darwinist) social-political lines. … that is, engage in "nation-building."
America's Humanism/Darwinism seems to take charge of America foreign policy as the country enters the 21st century. The entry into the 21st century saw America apparently having learned nothing from the grand tragedy of Vietnam. We clearly saw what happened with the takedown of the Diem regime in 1963 … which merely deepened the chaos in Vietnam … prompting Johnson then to send in a few more American troops, then more troops, then more troops, etc.
But this did not stop Bush Jr. from attempting to "free up" Iraq so that it could step forward as a new democracy in bringing down Saddam Hussein's government in that country. Unsurprisingly – and most tragically, – Bush's massive military effort (Shock and Awe) did not lead to a Humanist utopia for that country … but instead, horrible infighting.
And Bush's similar effort to undercut Afghanistan's Pashto tribesmen in their support of the Taliban did nothing but throw Afghanistan into ever-deeper chaos and violence. And how exactly was our effort to undercut Syria's President Assad such a "humanitarian" venture? He was simply trying to hold a multi-ethnic country together in the face of Syria's fall into social disintegration. And the same held true for Gaddafi in Libya.
How would we have felt if France or Britain (or both) had decided that it was the "humanitarian" thing to do to undercut Lincoln in the same way we undercut Assad and Gaddafi … because Lincoln's effort to keep the Union together in one piece through military means was in violation of every precept that all Humanists find themselves living and dying for? Thank God (literally) that the leaders of France and Britain did not decide to "go Humanist" on us in the 1860s.
What is truly amazing is how it seems always the case that "going Humanist" (undercutting social authority) ends up with the necessity of having to "go Darwinian" (restoring order by the use of domineering means).
What does it take to hold a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian, multi-class society (as all societies at some point tend to be) in a state of peace ... where the streets are safe, homes are secure, and the people able to enjoy the simple prosperity that makes for human happiness?
Christianity has always had a powerful answer to that question: let God direct, inspire, provide ... through similar actions that we sons and daughters of his do on his behalf. And God will prove very faithful to those who do so, providing them with the means to be so generous and supportive of others. Indeed, America was originally set up to illustrate exactly that answer as the City on a Hill, a Light to the Nations. And America has clearly succeeded marvelously when it went at things in this manner. So why then are Humanism and Darwinism so set on bringing down the Christian worldview and the Christian constitutional foundations that have served both America itself and the surrounding world so well?
Somehow Humanism still feels the strong need to prove itself … against Christianity. And Darwinism is totally scornful of Christianity.
Meanwhile, China has to be loving this … watching America, the leader of the "Free World," completely caught up in internal fratricide. Presently, because of being so fully caught up in this political infighting, America is of no use to the world. Consequently, this has allowed Xi Jinping's China to move unopposed in inserting its dominating political influence here and there around the world – slowly but surely taking over the position of honor that America once used to occupy.
China is very much in the process of doing to the world what European nations did in their more aggressive days of the 1800s: secure their own global empires by taking control of all local economic and social (and thus political) dynamics in Africa and Asia. China is busy at exactly that same thing. And in doing so China is extending its reach even beyond Asia and Africa … to Latin America.
And even Europe itself is finding that it is it having to choose between American leadership and Chinese leadership. Indeed, Russia has signed on fully as a Chinese "associate." And so have other European nations, at least to the extent that they are now part of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. Will America wake up one day to find itself surrounded, cut out of a highly pro-China universe … forced to accept whatever terms China is willing to extend to it by way of favors?
This is how international politics works … much the same way Europe was forced to proceed after World War Two, when the only hope it had of returning to any level of social ability was to accept American leadership – the only, and most horrible, alternative being Soviet Russian leadership. American leadership was at least generous. Soviet Russian leadership was not.
Will Chinese leadership be so generous? But with no alternative power to challenge it (unless that somehow might eventually be India) … there is no reason for China to be generous. Look at its behavior in Tibet back in the aggressive days of Mao Zedong. Look at what it is doing today in the Xinjiang Province. Generosity is not what it is offering its neighboring Uyghurs. And there's no reason it should. China needs room to expand. And Uyghur territory offers that possibility.
It's really no different than what Anglo-America did to the Cherokee, Sioux, Comanche, etc. These tribes were disunited, used to fighting among themselves … rather than getting their act together to hold off Anglo expansion. Thus nature ran its course. The strong and united overpowered the disunited and thus weak .
And so that is the reality that America – that indeed even Western Civilization itself – is faced with today. We either rise to the challenge, defend ourselves – most importantly morally so that we can think straight politically – or become nothing more than pawns in a Chinese universe.