“I can quit whenever I want. I am NOT ...
a gambling addict;
a meth addict.
As a clergyman, I have heard that phrase repeatedly. Each time I can pinpoint the vectors of this spiritual pathology: abuse, denial, and manipulation.
Abuse: I must have it. Denial: I don’t need it. Manipulation: You won’t give me more money? More time? Don’t you love me?
With addicts, family and friends hope for the best but brace themselves for the inevitable.
Keep these things in mind. Now. Switch tracks. Transpose the addiction I just described to a nation. But can a nation be addicted?
A nation is but a larger community of communities constructed on the foundational community of the family: “Man and wife.” The same vectors—location points for identifying personal addiction—are in play when diagnosing the spiritual health of a nation: Abuse, denial, and manipulation. I do not speak of meth or crack. I refer to the nation that gets strung out on government gifts. Abuse, denial, and manipulation now go big-time. Without intervention, like the drug addict, the disease-laden life of a nation begins a slow suicidal descent. History is the witness to the effects of Socialism. The rise and fall of nations offer abundant testimony to the irrefutable truth: Socialism is a drug dealer of the worst kind: selling the temporary euphoria of the welfare state for the price of personal freedom.
I am concerned that a nationwide addiction to that welfare state is spreading. There is little doubt that many of our fellow citizens are afflicted by a growing dependence on the State. Such dependence is a Tower-of-Babel-like trust in the Collective to supply what we once believed in God to provide. The calloused hands of hard work become soft, boneless as we revert to childish dependence on a pseudo-parent. Statism—the lawless rule of the State over the individual—denies the priority of God, the family, and the Church. Statism is a beast-like power that is fed and fattened on the fuel of ruling-class greed and submissive dependence of the masses. At first, it sounds too good to be true—“free” services—healthcare, rent, education. The State whispers the words of the chant, “Workers unite!” Property owners, business owners, families with hard-earned accumulated wealth are demonized.
Like any street-smart drug dealer, the Statist-bureaucrats keep creating more programs, spending more money to finance and ferment the people’s base passions. Each government intrusion becomes an invitation to ingest and inject more freebies.
It feels good. Until it doesn’t.
Socialism’s goal of equal outcomes is realized at the cost of your God-given liberty. Call it Socialism, or Communism, or Democratic Socialism, but “a rose—a poison—by any other name ...”
How did the Jackson Browne folk song put it? “O people, look around you; the signs are everywhere; you’ve left it to someone else to be the one to care ...” (Browne, “Rock Me on the Water). “Look around you,” indeed. It’s time for our families, not yet addicted, not yet under the opiate-spell of the Socialist dealers, to seek to save our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and our sons and daughters. The Imago Dei—the Image of God in Man—requires that we resist Statism, and rescue human beings caught in its deathly enchantment.
Remember the Red Holocaust
It seems easier to just consider State-control of “inalienable rights” a political preference. However, the “60 million and perhaps tens of millions more” (Rosefielde, 2009, 2), who were killed in the “Red Holocaust” of the Twentieth Century, cry from their graves, “Remember!” Remember the abuse: e.g., the Agrarian Wars of Mao, 1945–1948, during which the Chinese landowners were murdered by the millions [Terrill, 211–213] to “return” property to the “People”—entrusted to the Maoist regime. Remember the denial: The closet socialist replies, “Socialism? Malarkey! These programs are about ‘equity’ for all.” Equity for all meant savage persecution for the unwilling. The unwilling are almost always Christians and Jews. The martyrs cry, Remember the manipulation: the Orwellian-Newspeak—code-words invented to displace the Oldspeak worldview of Western Civilization—makes the propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, look amateurish.
What to Do?
I recently overheard a conversation, “Don’t think an election can stop the Socialist wrecking ball. It will take more than an election.” I agree.
If our freedoms come from God, then it is to God we must appeal. Here we find hope. For America was founded on a series of sacred covenants, vows made to God on behalf of Americans then unborn. As Perry Miller (1905–1963), the preeminent Harvard historian, taught, to understand America, one must admit her spiritual founding. Oxford historian Paul Johnson (1928–), likewise, points to the impulse for America to seek forgiveness, revival, and to be restored to the faith of our Fathers.
We must appeal to God through Christ to remember our forefathers’ prayers to be that “City on a hill,” shining the Gospel light of freedom to the world.
The Psalmist was realistic: “They turn evil into law” (Psalm 94:20). Sound familiar? Be not fooled by evildoers who manufacture a new morality out of old sin. And be not afraid. The Great Physician has cured many addicts, saved many pushers. He saved Nineveh. He can save America.
Let sacred memory stoke a Pilgrims’ faith, and may that faith become vision. Then will the dormant covenants of this City on a Hill be renewed. Then, too, shall we, and our progeny, say with the Psalmist:
“Unless the Lord had been my help,
My soul would soon have settled in silence” (Psalm 94:17).
Be not afraid. Aslan is on the move; and “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7).
Photo courtesy: Dori Drabek/Unsplash
Michael A. Milton (PhD, Wales) is a long-time Presbyterian minister (PCA) and a regular contributor to Salem Web Network. In addition to founding three churches, and the call as Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, Dr. Milton is a retired Army Chaplain (Colonel). He is the recipient of the Legion of Merit. Milton has also served as chancellor and president of seminaries and is the author of more than thirty books. He has composed and performed original music for five albums. He and his wife, Mae, reside in Western North Carolina. His most recent book is a second edition release: Hit by Friendly Fire: What to do when Another Believer Hurts You (Resource Publications, 2022). To learn more visit and subscribe: https://michaelmilton.org/about/.