Natural Law and Economic Prosperity

Benjamin Franklin, at age 81, addressing the Philadelphia Convention, June 28, 1787 said, “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God Governs in the affairs of men.”  After years of studying American History, the writings and biographies of the Founding Fathers, the Bible and America’s founding documents, I came to the same conclusion; as did Madison, Washington, Adams, and Jefferson; and when I consider the changes that have taken place in America, just during my lifetime, I am forced to also agree with Jefferson when he said, “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

America did not become the foremost nation on earth for over a hundred years due to the wisdom of man, but by the Providence of God. George Washington firmly believed this when he took over command of the militias surrounding the Port of Boston in 1775. The signers of the Declaration of Independence believed this when they signed their name to that document in 1776, fully realizing the consequences if they were wrong. James Madison expressed the same belief when he wrote in Federalist Number 37, “It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.”

For the first 80 years, America flourished and prospered believing itself to be an exceptional nation, especially blessed by the providence of God. This began to change with the Civil War, and a generation later, we began our long journey from a nation of religious, political and economic liberty to a secular nation that looked to government, rather than God, for the blessings of life. Today we find ourselves on the verge of Godless socialism, where faith in God is tolerated but not celebrated; where “busy-body politicians” restrict individual liberty at all levels of government, and the government takes the fruits of our labor from us, to be given to others.

There is ample evidence in our four-hundred-four year history to believe that our founding documents contain God’s plan for America based on “the laws of nature and nature‘s God”. When we ignore or reject the principles prescribed in that plan, we suffer the consequences. The best example is perhaps the Civil War; NO, I am not saying that the Civil War was a judgment from God. What I am saying is that had America accepted and abided by the principle that “all men are created equal” as stated in the Declaration of Independence, there would have been no reason for a Civil War with its devastating destruction of property and the loss of 500,000 lives would not have happened; not to mention the 100 years of racial strife engendered by the backlash from the “radical reconstruction” period after the war.

The problems we are facing today are due to our failure to honor the principles on which our nation was founded as outlined in our founding documents. Political correctness and the “nanny state” has devastated our culture. The primary reason for this is that we no longer honor God as the source of our blessings as a nation and no longer teach our children to keep his commandments. Our government system is failing due to our departure from the precepts of the constitution and the principle of the rule of law for our elected and appointed officials. When we exempt our leaders, from the President on down, from the necessity of following the law, is it any wonder that the citizenry has become less law abiding with each passing generation? Among the major problems we face today are our economic problems. The genesis of these problems are even more evident than those of our culture and politics.

We have rejected the principle of spontaneous order that governed our economy for the first century of our existence. Instead, we have turned to a form of central planning by government for the economic decisions we make. America is not the first country to believe that central planning is the way to prosperity, and it will not be the last. The problem is that it has never been successful, and in fact, it can never be because it violates the economic laws of nature. In a spontaneously ordered economy in a nation such as ours, millions of people make billions of economic decisions daily, based on their perception as to what is in their own best interest. The principle of spontaneous order arranges these decisions into a natural system that results in the highest possible level of prosperity for the maximum number of people.

In a centrally planned economy, government bureaucrats attempt to predict needs and organize resources to provide for an equal distribution of goods and services to everyone. The result is inefficiency, shortages, and a general decline in overall prosperity. Central planning does not and cannot work because no individual or collection of individuals has the intellectual capacity or management skills to anticipate and fulfill the needs of any group of people larger than those of an individual family. Even that does not always result in everyone’s satisfaction.

The principle of spontaneous economic order is the foundation of our capitalist system. The liberty of individuals to make their own personal economic decisions and live with the consequences is protected by the Constitution in Article I, Section 10 and defended by Jesus in Matthew 20: 1-15.  The current trend of the American government away from free market capitalism and toward the socialist ideal of a centrally planned and bureaucratically directed economy is not sanctioned by our Constitution or by the Judeo-Christian traditions of our culture. This trend must be reversed if we are to regain the liberty and prosperity we have lost over the past 100 years. American exceptionalism is not yet lost, but it is getting harder with each passing year to distinguish America from all the other nations of the world.

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