I was invited to dinner by a fellow I met at Isaiah House. He's probably the one I would say has made the most dramatic improvement of the thousands I met there. But he still has a way to go.
He was a ferocious crack addict. He was incredibly hostile, angry, and insecure. He was a product of the federal government.
- He was an orphan, thanks in part to the federal government's attack on the institution of marriage.
- He lacks all abilities of self-government because his schools were prohibited by the federal government from teaching religion and morality, which America's Founding Fathers said are "necessary for good government and the happiness of mankind."
- He could never stand up and say "I'm a crack addict and I need help!" because the "help" he would receive from the federal government is a prison sentence and sexual abuse at the hands of psychopathic felons (which in fact he has received), which is part of D.C.'s "War on Drugs."
- On the other hand, I remember well a Thanksgiving weekend in which I spent several hours trying to help him stay clean and resist the temptation to use. Hour after hour of intense conversation against a background of prayer. The next day he received a disability check from the federal government, which had brilliantly declared drug addiction to be a "disability." That check (for more than a thousand dollars, as I recall) went straight to the drug dealers, and was gone in one weekend. (That's a good thing, of course, because that was your money and you probably would have mis-spent it. The government is here to help you.)
- During my years of social service, I've seen that the federal government is the greatest opponent of my efforts to help lift others out of poverty and slavery to sin. I have always been out-gunned by the feds when it comes to helping people like this.
He is today generally clean and sober, and generally well-behaved. But his habits and background occasionally surface.
On the way to chinese food, a 50-year old woman passed us on the left. Our formerly-homeless friend was driving a car whose engine he had rebuilt over the last few months. His moto-machismo was blasphemed by this insolent woman, and he gunned his new engine and recklessly swerved in front of her, and was then forced to go from 70 to 0 in a hundred feet to stop at an already red light. "Great use of gas," I said sarcastically to someone who had been complaining about high fuel prices. "We were supposed to make a right turn up ahead," I pointed out, now that we were in the far left-hand lane, thus "forcing" him to recklessly traverse 3 lanes of traffic in the next 200 feet. As he made the right turn, so did a unit from the Orange County Sheriff. His criminal record and my out-of-state Missouri license led us both to the curb.
I don't fault the police. Mr. Engine Rebuilder's driving was insane and dangerous. After his momentary burst of insanity, he was respectful and cooperative, and he was not even given a ticket (the officer knew it would have seriously messed up his budding career).
He has described to me how his world turns red with anger when his security is threatened. I can only dimly imagine how a woman driver can be such a threat to him. I hope our long and thoughtful conversation after the frisking will lead to some lasting change in his life, but his problems -- like the problems of everyone in trouble with the law -- are deeply spiritual, and require the work of the kind of voluntary associations that made America great. Not federal redistribution of wealth. Not federally distributed violence in prison.
"Liberty Under God" is the answer to America's problems, and the path to her restored greatness. It is also the path for each of us as individuals.