The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through eight stages.
Is America now at the point of repeating history by progressing from dependence back into bondage? You decide.
The principles underlying the eventual emergence of American civilization were forged as thousands of Europeans fled to the New World to escape the tyranny of religious persecution. Motivated by the idea that kings and other nobility were not the ultimate authority over man, these New World immigrants stripped themselves of bondage.
Stage 2: From Spiritual Faith To Great Courage
The same spiritual faith that freed the New World immigrants from bondage also enabled them to display great courage in the face of overwhelming odds. A vast, unexplored continent lay before them. Unimaginable courage was needed to tame this wild land, for them and for future generations to come.
Stage 3: From Courage To Liberty
The same courage that compelled millions to risk the unknown as they reached farther and farther into the western frontier was also the same courage that enabled them to free themselves from British tyranny from across the Atlantic. Liberty was won, not by the asking, but through the sacrifice of lives and treasure. Liberty was now a product of laws, not the product of the whimsical actions of capricious rulers. America had its liberty. Would America be a good steward of this precious gift?
Stage 4: From Liberty To Abundance
Never before seen liberty leads America to fantastic riches: riches of material goods as well as riches of the spirit. The world feels the effects of America’s abundance as human evil is confronted and human suffering is lessened. Millions benefit from the generosity that comes from America’s abundance of resources. (Thank-you, capitalism) America does what no other nation in the history of man has ever done: harness its riches in the name of good. Because of America’s abundance man’s existence becomes one of plenty.
Stage 5: From Abundance To Complacency
America’s abundance leads to a world of plenty, but at a cost. When man has plenty he is able to avoid discomfort. When there is no discomfort man accomplishes very little. When there is no discomfort man does not look outward. When there is no discomfort man ceases to look for something higher. Lack of discomfort leads to complacency. Complacency emerges to test man’s will.
Stage 6: From Complacency To Apathy
Complacency causes man to ignore the principles that made it possible for him to have complacency in the first place. No longer aware of the long chain of events that allowed him the luxury of complacency man begins to believe that his improved condition is simply the way things have always been. He cares not in trying to protect his improved condition because he sees no need to. Apathy is a very comfortable place for man.
Stage 7: From Apathy To Dependence
Apathy is a very comfortable place for man. But it soon becomes evident that in order to perpetuate this world of comfort man must relinquish to others what has for so long been his. Man relinquishes to others believing that what he relinquishes will purchase him happiness, freedom from want, and above all, his world of comfort. He detects not a bit of malice from those to which he relinquishes that which has for so long been his.
Stage 8: From Dependence Back Into Bondage
Because he did not believe other men would do malice with what he relinquished, man finds himself in bondage, in slavery. For, what is relinquished can never be retrieved. Man now looks back on what he once had and yearns that his world had not become one of comfort.
Ike Morgan is a math and science teacher. He lives in Exeter, Maine.