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Wisdom – the new national deficit

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Getty Images/Yuichiro Chino

If there’s one succinct way to sum up the chaos and corruption we see every day in America it would be that we have lost our skill at living.  

Not coincidentally, that’s the exact definition of the Hebrew word chakmah, which is translated as “wisdom” in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the Greek term for wisdom is sophia, which means to understand a concept, to comprehend, to analyze and think about something. But to the ancient Hebrews, wisdom meant to pursue a life smartly lived.

And boy, have we lost that ability today. The lack of wisdom is everywhere and has become our new and most alarming national deficit.

For example, our oftentimes high-IQ but ignorant politicians somehow can’t grasp that if a person is repeatedly arrested for assaulting people but constantly let go, their thinking is not, “What a kind and merciful society I live in, I will now do better,” but rather, “I can assault anyone with impunity. They are afraid of me.”

Further, bureaucrats sure didn’t seem to understand the effect distributing large sums of free cash would have on our already-lazy society. A June 2021 analysis by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity found that a family of four with two parents out of work earned around $72,000 in unemployment benefits and government handouts during COVID. With that being more than the national median household income, those in charge effectively popularized the ethos that work isn’t a virtue, and the government is here to help you avoid it.

Not surprisingly, because of screw-ups like that, America’s GDP is declining because less people are working and more are sitting on the sidelines, mooching. One example that hits close to home for me is a patient of my brother’s who told him she was moving from our state to California for the sole reason that she can get more free money there and elude work altogether.

Our work rate for those in their prime working years, 25 to 54, has been declining since the turn of the century. The economic fallout is obvious — slow growth, less expansion, with economist Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute describing America’s nonworking men now not “doing” civil society, and instead staying home watching screens, which he rightly describes as “fundamentally degrading.”

Speaking of degrading, how about the lack of practical common sense so many manifest as they endlessly yammer on and on about sensitivity, yet aren’t sensitive enough to save the young people who are dying on the other side of their door? However, this shouldn’t be surprising given how our foolish society views its young.

As Ann Coulter observes, we are a culture attached to the druidical religion of extreme liberalism where not separating your recyclables is a sin, but abortion is nothing more than a medical procedure.

Even more bizarre is that, as Matt Walsh correctly points out, we have hundreds of species on the protected list (including insects and even plants) who have greater legal protections in the United States of America than human babies. Walsh says, “To make matters all the more grotesque and insane, the fetal and embryonic stages of all of these animals are also protected. The law draws no distinction between an embryonic sea turtle and an adult sea turtle. When it comes to sea turtles, there is never a time when they are just a useless clump of cells. Only human beings are considered totally worthless in their earliest stages of development. A bee larva enjoys a higher status than a human being at any point in the latter’s gestation.” 

But the lack of wisdom we manifest here goes further and extends even to those politicians committed to championing the lives of the unborn. Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan justifiably bemoans the formation of “sanctuary cities” that are committed to abortion and work to shut down pro-life pregnancy centers, but also points a finger back at pro-life leaders when he asks: “Where is the choice for the frightened young pregnant mom, usually African-American or Latina, who desperately wants to keep her baby but is having trouble paying her rent, putting food on the table, and filling her gas tank? Where is her sanctuary? Will the only answer for her be to destroy her offspring?”

There are plenty more practical examples of our national wisdom deficit:

High school students going to their psychology class and being told their biggest problem is self-esteem and self-worth, but then going to their biology class where they’re instructed that they are just a cosmic accident with no intrinsic value whatsoever …

People screaming that truth is relative, but then being angry at everyone who disagrees with them…

Trans ideology robbing women of their history and taking male privilege to a whole new level, because now nothing that women can lay claim to as women is off-limits to men…

Bribing politicians saying it’s unfair for students to pay off their college loans, yet not understanding it’s much more unfair to demand that you and I pay them off...

Economic-ignorant people who decry trickle-down economics and yet work feverishly to implement trickle-up poverty…

Activist media pundits parading so-called victims of society in front of us every day and not honestly admitting that these same people are currently the most protected class of human beings in existence…

Extreme liberals demanding the most severe changes in the HR policies of companies for which they work, with the end result being an environment where they now admit they don’t even like working with each other, let alone those they disagree with…

I could go on, but instead it’s better to focus on the solution to our lack of wisdom than continue to cite examples of it.

John Calvin nails our remedy when he writes, “Error can never be eradicated from the heart of man until the true knowledge of God has been implanted in it.” Absent that, pushing God and His wisdom away is the norm especially if the issue becomes personal. As C. S. Lewis said, “It is as the subject matter comes nearer to man himself that their anti-religious bias hardens.”  

But a heart that’s been awakened by God can hear His appeal to acquire wisdom, which the writer of Proverbs describes this way: “Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge? Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you” (Prov 1:20-23).  

But without a revival of God in our hearts, we’re doomed to persist in going down our wisdom-less path and have only the wrath of God awaiting us at the end:

“Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; and you neglected all my counsel and did not want my reproof; I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer” (Prov 1:24-28).

Does that scare anyone else besides me?

Robin Schumacher is an accomplished software executive and Christian apologist who has written many articles, authored and contributed to several Christian books, appeared on nationally syndicated radio programs, and presented at apologetic events. He holds a BS in Business, Master's in Christian apologetics and a Ph.D. in New Testament. His latest book is, A Confident Faith: Winning people to Christ with the apologetics of the Apostle Paul.

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