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