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The Balkanization of America; Can we survive?
by R.B. Cox
22 January 2004US Flag

The divisions in America are deep seated and go to our most fundamental core beliefs. Some say it is a “cultural” war but this war is for the very soul of America.


My American Heritage Dictionary describes Balkanize as the dividing of a region or territory into small, often hostile units, as in the political division of the Balkans in the early 20th century.

Like a woman experiencing birth pangs, the United States of America is more frequently and more violently (at least for now in rhetoric only) becoming more Balkanized than any time in its modern history. Many will say it is just politics. But it is much more than that. It is deep seated and goes to the fundamental core beliefs of people. Some say it is a “cultural” war but this war is for the very soul of America.

Having the vision to match his wisdom, Benjamin Franklin after leaving the Constitutional Convention was asked, “Well Mr. Franklin what do we have a Monarchy or a Republic?”  Mr. Franklin replied, “A Republic, if we can keep it.” That question is perhaps more relevant today than ever.

Franklin could see that freedom was a double edged sword. If not careful, future Americans could take advantage of the choices freedom provides and these choices would someday collide. Like great tectonic plates crushing into each other, will an America survive as E Pluribus Unum or E Unum Pluribus?

Americans in search of greater freedom have collided with each other and the schisms have indeed been deep. The Civil rights movement was such a division, one that has made many strides but is still a work in progress. Yet there are those 2nd generation Civil rights advocates who have left Dr. Kings dream of a “color blind” society. Dr. King desired a society that judged people on the content of their character and not the color of their skin. However, those now seeking “civil rights” don’t want to be judged based on the content of their character and this I believe hits the nail on the head of America’s deepest divide. There are those who believe in moral absolutes vs. those who don’t, the secular vs. the religious. Will an America so divided on values, morals and the place of God in society remain one nation under God or become The Balkanized States of North America.

Is America simply following the societal corollary of the 2nd law of Thermodynamics, which states, A system, any system will proceed from order to disorder (become corrupted) if a greater force is not applied to that system.

The “greater force” that held society together at the founding of America was a moral and religious people. This is perhaps why President John Adams said in speaking about the Constitution, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

At the founding there were many issues still unresolved, slavery being the most prominent. The problem was eventually resolved but at a high price through the judgment of God as Benjamin Rush predicted in 1773. He said in a letter written to ministers, “Remember that national crimes require national punishments, and declaring what punishment awaits this evil, you may venture to assure them, that it cannot pass with impunity, unless God shall cease to be just or merciful.”

Truly moral and religious people are, as the founders knew; a self governing people.

They require few laws to keep them in line with others because they lived by higher laws that required them to “love thy neighbor,” “to do unto others as they wish others to do unto them.”  As long as the pulpits in the churches where they attended, as De Tocqueville described, were “aflame with righteousness,” the fabric of America held together. 

But sadly, as the flame of righteousness began to flicker, her churches gradually became more secularized. The secular society began impacting the churches and denominations instead of the churches and her people impacting society. Today in some of our largest Denominations one can scarcely detect any difference between secular society and church teachings. These denominations have become spiritually irrelevant and meaningless in impacting America for the good.

Are there no national consequences when “the people” of God have just as high a divorce rate and families destroyed as those outside the church. When priests prey on its most innocent victims but even more importantly, there is no sense of deep repentance from the guilty or the church hierarchy. Are their no repercussions when even people of “faith” like their secular brethren consider the killing of the innocent, a freedom of choice?

So what will happen to America if it continues to go down this road of godless secularization, where every vestige of God is removed from the public square, where public religious freedom is attacked, where every moral restraint is lifted in the name of freedom, where the greater force of righteousness withdraws from its religious people? 

One thing is certain, De Tocqueville describes what will happen and indeed what is happening when the flames of righteousness dim across America, “America will cease to be great.”

America will cease to be great; when good people have not the moral courage or the will to stand up to the evil in their own lives; when what used to be conducted shamefully in secret is now celebrated in the light of day; when unthinkable murderous acts not even contemplated forty years ago are now scarcely front page news; when public debate turns into a vitriolic ranting; when public leaders use the most vulgar of language, yet are horrified that the Ten Commandments are displayed in some sleepy out of the way location in middle America; when our largest economic export becomes pornography.

This is the choice that freedom gives to America; revive the flame of righteousness in its churches and its people or continue down the balkanized path of irrelevancy that secular anarchy produces.

R.B. Cox is a self-employed asset optimization consultant
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