God’s fingerprints are all over America as it was founded. And other than the nastier DNA he’d injected into individual men thousands of years earlier, Satan was noticeable by his absence at America’s founding. All the people who came to America arrived with their standard share of wrath, envy, pride, and a sea-chest full of “don’t give a damn’s”. But they were also proclaimed Christian.
In short, the Devil never saw “America” coming.
But how to tell this story without mentioning either God or Old Clootie is a different task. To acquaint non-believers, especially young, smarter-than-thou nonbelievers, with the absolute uniqueness of America, you want to avoid references to God as an Invisible Hand, even as you go about proving beyond a reasonable doubt that America was not a fluke of nature, and by logical extension, had to be the creation of some intelligent design.
For the apologist (unlike the missionary, who can rarely get a foot in the door with the modern nonbeliever) it’s three logical steps forward before the scales will begin to fall from their eyes. And the apologist will be lucky to get past the first. The rest is up the “patient” (as Screwtape called them).
Of course, it’s like a thunderbolt (Shazzam!) when that occurs, only the apologist rarely gets to know. But if you can just start your smarter-than-you patients out with a dose of reverse engineering America, by asking one simple question:
If America and Americans did all these good things for themselves for over 200 years then why didn’t other country do any of these great things…music, arts, commerce, wealth creation, literature…except for the very few, in over 5000 years of marrying civilization to government the “other way”?
….you may be on your way.
This requires being able to set the patients off on a path of critical thinking that once was as common as chinking mud between the logs of the cabin you’d just built. For many this will be their first baby steps in a new direction.
And you may only get one shot at this so make the best of it, by leaving them in thought. They won’t necessarily leave the room with their mind changed about America. Sometimes this is as good as you can hope. The late William F Buckley, one of the fathers of modern conservatism, for years hosted televised debates against noted liberal intellectuals at elite liberal colleges. After just killing their panel with better facts, argument and a clear connecting of several dots the liberals spent the whole debate trying to dodge, at the close they would then poll the students as to who won. The Liberal side would always win 200 to 5 or something like that. “What ignoramuses!”, fans like me would moan. But Buckley wrote somewhere that when he walked away he would only smile to himself, “We got five more.” He knew the lay of the land.
This is the nature of apologetics. My favorite apologist, Ramon llull, was so good at this kind of argument his Muslim patients stoned him to death. At age 82.
History is your greatest asset, for the broad facts cannot be denied. That a bunch of colonials with muskets from over their fireplaces had out-strategized and out-fought the world’s greatest army at that point in history cannot be denied. That’s one basic fact, and modern haters of America, both foreign and domestic, have to concede them, even though they will hem and haw, and insert a bunch of “yes, but’s” before they try to change the subject. (Remember, committed leftists are never speaking to you, they are always speaking to an audience off-stage. The only real “gotcha” you can inflict on them is when you leave a mark on that off-stage audience, not the leftist in front of you.)
As I keep reminding you, Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen’s Patriot’s History of the United States is the best possible sourcebook for American historical facts. Chapter 1, the City on the Hill, 1492-1707, pgs 1-37 tells you all you need to know about America’s colonial founding to be able to lead a roomful of patients along this excursion in commonsense logic, garnished with facts that almost none of will know, so only a very few, (troublemakers) will attempt to contest…based on their own received wisdom that anything you might say good about America is likely not true.
But there is a second level of facts and conclusions that are drawn from our military victory over England. First, it led directly to the formation of the United States of America, 5-6 years later. That was its stated purpose, as proclaimed by Thomas Jefferson in his “Declaration of Independence” ten years earlier. From that the new Nation was formed under a very unique Constitution, “by and for the People.” Read its Preamble.
Never been tried before.
And a few English philosophers understood this at the time, while a much larger group of English and continental politicians recognized it as very bad thing, for it could upset an applecart that had been exclusively distributing its fruit for about 900 years. (More like 5000, actually, but who’s counting?)
So by 1788 royal houses that had never heard the name, United States of America, or George Washington, went to bed at night with a little fear and dread, but also hate that an “unimaginable thing” like America was actually alive and abroad in the world.
So, with this knowledge of what threat America’s new kind of government could mean to their tried and true style of government, and the further knowledge of their own tom-tom networks, so that within less than half a century most of the world’s common folk would also know about America, and began to dream they too could have that some day.
Many immigrated to America to find it for it was allowed in their home country.
So America keeps getting uniquer and uniguer, for all the historians of the day, in 1787, all the way to the current day, have still never seen a nation formed and remain together like America has, for over 230 years. Or allowed it.
But that freak of nature of 1776-1787 was nothing compared to the fact that that freak was not just still around 230 years later, but that it was also the richest nation on earth, and those riches had been spread across to almost 90% of its citizens. At the same time it was the freest nation in the history of the world. In fact, by 1950 almost all those older nations had adopted many of the forms of government America had popularized with their people…elections and elected legislatures (sort of like throwing a dog a bone, but a necessary evil in their eyes.)
Still, after 230 years, America is still the only genuinely free nation in the world. True all the others had to make concessions to America’s “design”. Even the Soviets had to call their many client states “republiks” and allow elections, sort of like Chicago, where there was only one real candidate, and two-or-three guys from a city union were designated to be the losers who would get 100 votes each.
Worse, by 1950 America was also the most powerful nation in the world, “the arsenal of Democracy” in World War II, which sent arms, loaned money, and gave over 400,000 of its sons in the liberation of those countries that had been conquered by the Axis powers.
And in the reconstruction of those “social democracies” after the war, America loaned billions of dollars, much of which has never been repaid.
In the end, that fact that no other state in the world would ever jump into an American-style democracy whole-hog over the past 230 years is because their governments still cannot conceive of a state that is operated from the bottom up. They have always controlled everything, and they have to continue to be able to control everything.
Why America has continued in its original design, although it is under heavy assault today, might be the freakiest thing about American success yet. You see, in all those 230 years, although the government got bigger and bigger, and bossier and bossier, 90% of those citizens still keep that musket up over the fireplace.
And while justified for self-defense, I think much of our history, at least until the mid 1900’s, has been as a stark reminder to local government, where until the 1950s, most of our taxes went, that their voters were better armed than their local police…so they’d better mind their P’s and Q’s. (I’ve long been an advocate of rekindling that reminder of the power in the people, only not with muskets. They’ll do fine as a reminder.)
But a thinking person might logically conclude that this simple “musket truth” may have had a lot to do with why the government could never get too big for its britches. And why, at every level of society, America expanded at an enormous clip simply because local and state government knew about that musket.
Now this is all speculation, not a fact, still it’s a speculation drawn on undeniable facts, so feel free to draw your own conclusions.
Concluding, my suggestion is to start with America the completed product of 2020 and ask your much smarter audience how, in nature, America could have gotten here? Ask how, without using any of the known ingredients of high civilization, such as kings, royals, and a roughly 20% elite class and the other 80% at some level of subordination to outright subservience, could a nation of homespuns have risen to greater heights than all of them combined, all on the shoulders of ordinary farmers and tradesmen, virtually all of them with a log cabin and chinking, in their family tree.
Just be aware of the stakes. The haters of America have gained almost exclusive charge of teaching these children for at least two generations now. And their list of backers go much further back than George Soros. The territory they want to reclaim, yes, reclaim, goes back to a time long before 1787, even before that time when Satan approached Christ in the Wilderness and tried to tempt him with all the kingdoms of the world, which, (his words) were his to give to anyone he wanted.
You audience won’t know this, nor should you tell them. Lead them there.
Thus endeth the lesson.
But what a delicious story it could be, for there must be a wonderful backstory of how Old Clootie totally missed what was going on in America while his minions were duking it out on the Continent over vanity, pride and religion, all because a pious German friar had nailed 95 Theses on the churches of Wittenberg in 1517 about the excesses of his Church. Had be been in Italy they would have burned him at the stake, like Savranola. America’s story was only an off-stage aside, the English version of the Reformation, with its own church, Catholic kings, Puritans, even a religious dictatorship still being played out in the new American colonies, as described in Chapter 1 of Patriot’s.
(As a point for future discussion, the average town council in Joplin Missouri in 1898 would have done the same thing as Luther in 1517 had the mining company that built that town attempted to take on dictatorial powers. Everyone had a musket. The dozens of B-Western horse operas of the 1930s-and 40’s were filmed on that very premise, where the good guys with the guys vanquished the bad guys with the guns.
(So the WWII generation would have had no problem understanding the root causes behind Luther’s striking out at a church leadership that had gotten too big for its britches.)
Satan had a near-fatal flaw that lasted into the 20th Century, and that was in looking at “his” political world entirely from the top-down. 5000 year-old habits are hard to break.
He has an interesting story, as he’s tried to interdict God’s plans for mankind, and I think I might try to tell it.