On our 41st anniversary my wife and I bought some wine. The check out clerk said, “I’ll need to see some ID.” “Why?” I asked. The store requires it. We check everyone’s ID who buys alcoholic beverages. I told her she must think I’m a teenager with a premature aging disease that makes me look older than I am. She didn’t laugh.
The law says you must be 21 years old to buy alcohol. I’m 74 years old and I certainly don’t look anywhere near 21. There is no reason to card a 74 year-old. It’s nonsense and I told her so. But she wasn’t listening. She didn’t care. She had her job to do. Period. No discussion. “We card everyone.” And that’s that.
There are a lot of folks out there who don’t seem to be bothered by this in the least. In fact, they’ve become used to providing their identification and other personal information at the drop of a hat for the convenience of making some purchase. Not only is personal information required when you make internet purchases or use various apps on your smart phones, but many stores offer savings which require your phone number and email address.
When you make purchases now days, giving them money isn’t enough. You also have to give them your personal information. Most people seem to accept this practice without question. But frankly, it terrifies me. I see it as no different from measures taken by totalitarian states to control their subjects. And by control, I mean restricting what you can do, where you can do it and how you can do it.
When you live under a dictatorship, you can be walking down the street minding your own business and for no cause the police can demand that you show them your papers. How does that kind of authoritarian power begin? At some point, people get used to being required to show their identification and personal information in order to receive some benefit. This is an example of what is called the boiling frog syndrome.
The theory is that if you put a frog into a pot of hot water it will try to jump out because it is aware of the danger. But if the water in the pot is comfortable to begin with and is gradually heated to the boiling point, the frog won’t be aware that he is being cooked until it is too late and it will make no attempt to get out of the pot.
Americans are very much like that unaware frog. The water is getting dangerously hot and they don’t know it. They are fat and prosperous, enjoying everything credit can buy and government can promise. But theirs is a flawed fantasy which is fundamentally unsustainable.
Basically, the fantasy is socialism — the idea that government can bring about equal and satisfactory conditions for everyone, which on the surface appears to be a noble, if not loving goal. The problem is that it isn’t real. History proves that, and so it comes as no surprise that those who support socialism ignore the history of socialism.
The fatal flaw of socialism is the power of the state over the people. Socialism always restricts personal freedoms and requires greater and greater government authority to enforce those restrictions. Socialism is based on the power of government to restrain its people. But freedom is only possible when the people exhibit their own self-restraint.
Historically in America, that self-restraint was based on most people’s belief that they were held accountable to the God of the Bible and his standards. In general, people did what was good and right not because government demanded it but because that was what God wanted them to do. Our American form of government was designed with the idea that people were to do for themselves and that the role of government was to protect their God-given rights to pursue their own lives, liberty and happiness.
This design was in the context of a culture that taught Biblical love and compassion for one’s neighbors. The idea of helping the poor had always been seen as a matter of personal charity, community service and church ministry. It was not seen as being primarily the job of government. But as we have become less of a Christian nation, we look less to our own personal response and expect more from the government.
On October 11, 2019, speaking at the University of Notre Dame Law School, Attorney General Bill Barr echoed a sentiment of our founding fathers. He said that the Framers of the U.S. Constitution believed that a “free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people.”
He also said, “And this is really what they meant by self-government. It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislature. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.”
The principles of self-restraint and personal responsibility are what make our form of government work. Socialism is the exact opposite. As we walk away from those principles and embrace the control others have over us, we will continue to lose our freedoms while they gain power in determining just how we live our lives, what liberties we have and what happiness we are allowed.
We are coming close to the “Show me your papers!” stage. How far beyond can we expect to see the mark of the beast imposed? Are you ready for that? From Revelation 13:15b-17
…cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also, it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.
Things are heating up. Are you getting used to it? You have a choice: either jump for freedom or boil like a frog.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. ~ Galatians 5:1
Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. ~ Acts 16:31