Republic or Monarchy?
By Hal Lindsey
Just after he and his colleagues had hammered out an agreement on the US Constitution, a woman came up to Benjamin Franklin and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
He answered, “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”
And that has been the question ever since. Can we keep it?
Alexis de Tocqueville was a French aristocrat who traveled extensively in the United States as he studied American democracy in the 1830s. As an aristocrat, he feared the volatility of a government vulnerable to the whims of the masses. He was also a religious skeptic. But in America, he found a force that calmed democracy’s inherent instability. That steadying influence was Christianity. He called America’s religious faith, “the great counterbalancing force to the instability and tyranny of democracy.”
His words remind me of John Adams’ famous quote on the same topic. “We have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
One of the ways avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness threaten to break the strong cords of our Constitution is embodied in a quote Ronald Reagan often used. “A democracy… can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship.”
Scholars debate the quote’s source. But in this case, it’s the thought that counts. And the thought is unsettling. Will America endure as a land of reliance on God, hard work, and productivity? Or will it eat the seed grain? Will one generation consume on itself the entire storehouse of seed meant to be planted for the next generation’s harvest?
We’re seeing that scenario play out in several nations around the world. Governments are trying to extricate themselves from the unsustainable promises made by their socialist counterparts in the previous generation. It’s like they’re caught in quicksand. They want to return to a time of greater personal responsibility, but dependence on government keeps pulling them back down.
While much of the world works to get out of socialist quicksand, a new generation of Americans seem intent on plunging in. A quick look at the ongoing tragedy in Venezuela should serve as a stark warning. But today, artificial intelligence engines feed individual Americans only those news items they want to read. In other words, news is being tailored to reinforce existing prejudices on all sides — especially for those who favor socialistic ideas.
But socialism is not the disease. It is a symptom of the disease — just one of many symptoms. The disease itself is identified in Romans 1:25. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie.”
Across America, members of the intelligentsia worry that democracy here is broken. And they don’t see how to fix it. But if we look at what’s really wrong with America, the solution becomes obvious.
The nation is spiritually ill. Therefore, the solution is also spiritual. We need a revival among Christians and a great awakening to the Gospel among the rest. God gave us this amazing land. Only He can repair it. But don’t look for a miracle imposed from the outside. God’s repair will only come when we invite the miracle into our own hearts.