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  • Writer's pictureJeff Utsch

Charting a Path Away From Moral Decay and Slavery

Lincoln wisely stated in 1858, “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.” 

These words are as relevant today as ever.

Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech foresaw the problems that would beset his nation.

The vision of the Founders for the eventual disappearance of slavery, Lincoln realized, had taken a wrong-turn with passage of the Kansas -Nebraska Act of 1854; the nascent policy of Popular Sovereignty; the disastrous Dred Scott decision; and annihilation of the long-standing Missouri Compromise. 

In a short period, instead of vanishing, slavery was on the rise, and the time-honored policy of accommodation, compromise and tolerance accorded slavery proponents was bearing rotten fruit. The founding social contract upon which we’d agreed was being shredded morally and contractually. 

Lincoln understood that one cannot compromise with those not willing to reciprocate. Our nation was tending in the wrong direction. The would-be President would not permit this to continue without attempting to steer us back.

Which vision of America would be realized? The competition of ideals was clear. The winner would determine if we were to be a nation of slavery – or not. Quoting from the New Testament, Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

“I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half-slave and half-free,” he said. “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all the one thing, or all the other”.

Lincoln and many others helped navigate the nation back towards the ideal of the Founders that “all men are created equal” and that there are certain moral truths by which we should aspire to live. 

While slavery has currently not existed in this nation for over 150 years, we are fighting a softer-yet-broader tyranny from our centrist masters in Washington, D.C. 

Will we decide to be free or live in a state of soft slavery? The choice is ours. 

Sadly, the evidence is overwhelming that we have veered away from moral truths and liberty’s hard-won path.  A correction is needed if we intend to keep our republic free in any sense of the word. 

It is wrong to merely blame our D.C. masters. As a people we have been complicit.

It is our own lack of understanding liberty and the limits on powers delegated to our executive branches, federal and state, and government in general, that have made us enablers.

Or, if we do understand freedom, we seem to be abandoning it if we get what we want, and our side is winning.  

It is also evident in our preference for perceived safety over individual liberty.

Our ignorance and complicity became manifest during the COVID lockdown. Most of us watched as governors unilaterally mandated shutdowns while our legislative branches sat idly by.  

Didn’t we fight a Revolutionary War against executive overreach? How easily we abandon that for which we once fought so nobly for!

Soft slavery takes this and many other pathways.

We were fine with excessive spending during COVID as long as we got our share. Do we not realize this inclines us – and even more, out children -- toward servitude and dependency? Does no one grasp the need to pay back? Do we not understand that the definition of slavery, or theft, is when one person consumes the production of another’s labor? We continue to devour the bread of generations to come without their consent. We have become their masters by eating bread now. Later, they will pay.

Where we are and whither we tend: We accept, even expect, corruption in government. We look to the government to solve our problems. We cancel people’s speech. We cancel people. We have lost our common vision. We have lost our common values. We are arbitrary in enforcing laws. We accept lawlessness if it suits our ends. We allow double standards. We consent to government takings without just compensation. We have accepted a hierarchical system of jurisprudence. We strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.  We worship the creation instead of the creator. We allow lies to go unchallenged. We are afraid to speak the truth. We allow men to compete in women’s sports. We prostrate ourselves before the Climate change Gods. We allow government to become an arm to prosecute political foes. We opt for safety over liberty. We abandon our own history and neglect hard fought lessons. We judge people by the color of their skin and reject MLK’s message. We accept false narratives as fact. We have become entitled and want to be taken care of. We form strong opinions based on emotion. We are lazy in our thinking. We scrape to find soldiers. We abandon allies. We have become colonials once again.  And the list continues. 

All of this has transpired under the auspices of accommodation, compromise, and tolerance.  

This does not show America tending towards that bright “City on a Hill” example for the rest of the world to admire and follow.  

It does show we are quickly losing our way. Our moral compass is broken, our formerly shared ideals and values have vanished, our priorities are lost, our love waxes cold, tempers flare, and common ground diminishes. 

When we become so expedient that we lose our understanding of and the importance of freedom and our priorities to maintain it, we surrender to the soft slave traders and reap the reward. They are the enemies of liberty and we become their allies, whether we, or they, know it or not. It does not matter whether we knowingly abandon our freedom or do so inadvertently. The result is the same.

Lincoln provided us the way to avoid it.

He stressed that it is our duty to ring the bell of truth and awaken the people before it is too late. Lincoln taught the arguments of his time were largely moral struggles between right and wrong; not just differing opinions. When the majority realized this, things would change. The same is true today.  

Lincoln would argue that each of us today has a responsibility to do something to correct our trajectory; we must do only what is right and let the consequences follow. 

We can no longer allow the enemies of liberty, soft slave traders, to accommodate newcomers who do not share our values. We cannot allow the elected to view the Constitution, which they swear to support, as an impediment to more grandiose goals. We cannot give political quarter to anyone who believes he has more power than that delegated by the governed. We must reject those offering tangibles for which we are not paying today. We must abandon the obscene concept that men can become women or compete against women in their sport.  We must put a hard stop to the idea that only certain voices can and should be heard. 

If we cave, we have taken the bait, fallen into the trap, of those who will enslave us.

Slavery? 

If, as a nation, we had followed our original trajectory towards “All men are created equal” with “Certain Unalienable Rights” and not let the American Creed get hijacked by those who rejected the Founders, we could have avoided a Civil War.

We are in the same spot today. 

We tend away from our ideals faster than at any time in our history. Can we now, as a nation, steer back on track to the sure path of principles outlined in our Declaration of Independence and protected by the Constitution? Or will the majority shirk their duty and be lulled away by sirens that will certainly sink the ship. 

It is up to us to first recognize what is happening, care enough to want to change it, and take necessary steps to do everything in our power to steer the ship of state back on course.  

To do this we need to speak the truth, clarify these issues as moral rights and wrongs, and gain not only converts but inspire those already persuaded to speak louder.

“In this age, in this country, public sentiment is everything,” Lincoln said. “With it, nothing can fail; against it, nothing can succeed. Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounces judicial decisions.”

We must change public sentiment, and this can be achieved only through education, conviction, and courageously speaking out, regardless of personal cost

Most of these issues are moral issues that have clear right and wrong answers.  May we teach and preach this to all willing to listen, and even some who are not.

This is the way.

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