I’ve always described myself as a short term-pessimist but a long-term optimist. The long march of history shows that once great civilizations have collapsed into the rubble but later regained their senses and ascended with hope and determination to make cultural amends.
There was a time when American was not great. It could have ended with the socialist experiment in the Plymouth Colony among Christians who should have known better. Unlike liberals, the colonists came to their senses quickly and abandoned their socialistic economic experiment with folly.
William Bradford, the acting governor of the Plymouth Colony, wrote the following in his first-hand history of those events:
“The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years . . . that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God.
“For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without [being paid] that was thought injustice.”
“This [free enterprise] had very good success, for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.”
So a starving time later became a time of great success, not only for the colony but for the nation.
In his recent article “The West is Dead. Long Live the West,” Douglas Wilson writes: “The key to human history is the pattern of death and resurrection, and this is why faithful believers who are staring at the approach of 2014 with a baleful eye need to cheer up quite a bit. And by ‘cheer up’ I do not intend for anyone to adopt the unsupported optimism of an insufferable optimist. I am talking about understanding history in gospel terms, not panglossian terms.”
A series of photographs are making the rounds showing periods of history in stark contrast. One photo shows Adolf Hitler with the Eiffel Tower in the background and to the left of Hitler a modern-day image of a young man and woman enjoying one another and the peace and serenity of the day. Who would have thought that when the Nazis rolled into Paris in 1940 that there could ever be a future for the city? But there was.
Douglas Wilson quotes the following from Psalm 37:34-36:
Wait for the Lord and keep His way,
And He will exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
I have seen a wicked, violent man
Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil.
Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more;
I sought for him, but he could not be found.
Acting on the promises of God will bring about needed change. The Plymouth Pilgrims did not sit and wait for good things to happen. They saw what needed to be done and did them.