My wife woke up early this morning, convinced she heard somebody trying to get in our back door. She shook me awake (I'm a much heavier sleeper than she) and asked me to check it out. So I found the closest thing I could to a weapon and went downstairs while my wife called 911.
Turns out nobody was in the house, much to our relief. Based on the footprints in the snow, the cops thought somebody might have tried the back door but gave up after seeing our alarm system signage.
So all's well: don't worry Mom.
But it got me to thinking: how cool is it that we can make a simple phone call and have police on the scene within minutes? Even a little as a century ago, such an idea was impossible.
Throughout the course of the history of the Western world there has a steady march towards what can only be called civilization. The term implies justice, order, social consciousness, and has to be grounded in an understanding of the full dignity of the human person. Therefore society should indeed send police when a citizen feels threatened.
What is on the mind of the petty criminal who ignores societal norms and is willing to violate another person's liberty? Drugs? Gambling debts? A driven, targeted hatred of his victim? The one thing we can say with certainty is that this person is not a new phenomenon in world history. He has always been there. It's only through the advances of Western law & order that we can deal with him effectively. Some might not always object to the more Eastern concept of cutting off his hand or imprisoning his family, but even in his crime the criminal retains his human dignity and should be treated fairly.
So where did Western civilization get this concept from? It's plainly obvious: Christianity; specifically the Christianity that spread through Europe when the Roman Empire ceased its persecution. The conversion of Emperor Constantine and subsequent state endorsement of Christianity allowed the faith to shape culture with unprecedented intensity. As the Church and the State evolved in tandem through the centuries, state officials and monarchs frequently used the influence of the Church over people's lives and consciences to shape their own careers, which
is what led the founding fathers of the United States to proclaim that there would be no officially sanctioned religion in the new country, and that all people could practice their faith without fear of persecution.
This has widely been referred to as "separation between Church and State," and many people today believe it was to prevent the Church from interfering in secular matters. In reality, however, the concept was conceived to keep the State out of religion, as I've pointed out before.
My point here is that the order and structure we know today in Canada and the rest of the Western hemisphere is ours thanks to the Church. The things we take for granted every day, such as the heroics of our law & safety personnel, came hard-won by our forefathers, and they have paid with their blood time and time again to defend our way of life.
Nowadays as a society we are completely oblivious to the historical anomaly that our civilization is. We have no idea just how easily it can vanish; tyranny is held at bay only by the momentum we still carry from our ancestors, but we are decelerating. I would even suggest that we're braking, in preparation for a turn.
Chesterton once said that progress without direction is no progress at all. If steer away from our goal - a society where our worship of God translates into loving concern for our fellow man, to bring about real harmony and peace - then what sort of society will we be left with? Look at the parts of the world where Christianity either never spread to, or where it was expunged in its infancy, and you'll see what the alternative is. China. Egypt. Iran. Korea. That could be us.
When the self-declared enemies of all things Western voice their dismay that the new Democratic in the U.S. Senate & House are not going to be able to change anything in Iraq or Afghanistan, does it not strike us as odd that they would care? Or more bluntly put, when the people who want to kill us root for one of our political parties, should that not raise a red flag?
Wake up, society. Learn a bit of history, and remember what you've forgotten before you wake up missing a hand one day.