Thursday, July 31, 2014

Climbing Back Up

Up is the direction we want to go. In the Spherical Model, up is always a good thing: freedom, prosperity, and civilization. We’re experiencing too much tyranny, poverty, and savagery here in our beloved America than we should. And there’s even more of those bottom-of-the-sphere experiences around the world.
Twice now Americans have elected a socialist, anti-American president. Why would Americans do that? Why, when the choice is so stark, do so many not see with clarity enough to make good decisions? I see that solutions are not likely to come from political leaders. Nevertheless, whom we elect matters, because political leaders can do so much to make things worse, if their power is not held to constitutional limits.
Just another everyday mountain meant for climbing, in Utah
So I have been looking for something uplifting—literally and figuratively. One of the optimists I read was Andrew Klavan’s “Klavan on the Culture” post for July 4, 2014, "What I learned on the Trail." Here’s an excerpt:
I am a skilled hiker, but a week or so ago, I made a perilous error. Carelessly neglecting my clear and accurate guide, I mistook a side path for the main trail down the mountain. As I descended along the narrow track, the way became steeper and steeper until, abruptly, it ended at a sheer cliff above a long fall. Short on water, out of breath, weakened by the blistering heat, I looked up and saw my only other option was a dauntingly vertical climb back to the main trail above. My heart misgave me. 

Then three words came into my mind unbidden:  Don’t be afraid. 

I know who speaks those words to me. I said a quick prayer to him for courage and felt myself promptly flooded with the stuff. I began the climb, and though the way was very difficult, and even dangerous once or twice, I was surprised how quickly I found myself back on the main trail, the way home. 

Our country has made a similar error, and equally perilous. We have carelessly neglected our clear and accurate guide to the governance of a free people. We have gone by another way into a steeper and steeper decline. Soon, we will reach a point where the only choice is between a catastrophic fall and a long, hard, upward journey. Our hearts may tell us the climb is impossible. 

Don’t be afraid. 

I had a similar experience many years ago, as a young adult. I was just hiking, not rock climbing, up atop the hill/mountain overlooking the lake where I was camping with my family in the Uintah Mountains. I’d hiked it before and didn’t think it was a dangerous thing to do the hike alone. But I took a different route down, on the face nearest the lake. It wasn’t really a path, but I thought with the lake in view I wouldn’t get lost. But I did get stuck. Suddenly I was unintentionally rock climbing. And suddenly I couldn’t reach a next foothold down. Feeling slightly panicky, I saw that going back up was my only option, because a “catastrophic fall” was the other option. My upper body strength isn’t great, but with a quick prayer, I found a surprising amount of muscle to get myself back up to the last ledge. And from there I breathed away the panic and made my slow way back up to where I could take the more traditional route back to camp. 

The climbing metaphor is so applicable in our country today. So is the source of strength for the “dauntingly vertical climb.”  

That has to be the answer: Turn to God. Pray for courage, strength, and direction. Fearlessly move upward. 

In the Spherical Model, we know that much hinges on individuals and families living civilized, moral lives. Enough do that, and you have a moral, civilized community. Enough communities do that, and you have a moral, civilized state. Enough states do that, and you have a moral, civilized country again. And as we know from our history, a moral, civilized America has a tremendous impact for good in the world. 

Prosperity in the economic sphere is dependent on the morality of the people. Here’s economist Thomas Sowell saying so: 

There are no magic solutions [to getting out of poverty], at least none that I know of. Common sense, common decency, work and honesty are about all I can come up with. These things are not fancy or new or politically correct. But they have a better track record than much that we are doing today.—Thomas Sowell, “Poverty and Snowstorms,” May 20, 2014 

And then you connect the economic sphere to the political sphere, as economist Friedrich Hayek does here: 

To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm. . . The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson in humility, which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society—a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.—Friedrich Hayek, “The Pretense of Knowledge,” Nobel Prize lecture 1974 

Let’s go full circle and tie the political sphere back into the civilization sphere:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.—2 Corinthians 3:17
Start upward climb with love of God and family, honesty, obedience to the Ten Commandments. From there add some hard work and ingenuity, and you get prosperity. If you have government to protect your God-given rights and limit government from infringing on them, then you have freedom to build your civilized world.

What we need to do is known, and it’s simple. But it isn’t easy. And in a world that is twisting the meaning of good and evil, right and wrong, it takes courage to do the simple but hard things. But, with God’s help, the climb back up is doable, and not as daunting as it looks from below.

A favorite Mormon hymn, "Come, Come, Ye Saints," gives words of encouragement in a hard journey: "Fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake." God is up there, in the civilized upper portion of the sphere, reaching to help pull us up. He wants us thereenjoying civilization, prosperity, and freedom.

No comments:

Post a Comment