How often have you heard people complain about religion in education, or business in politics? Do complaints about government being too involved in your personal life, or the media having too much influence over politics, sound familiar? It is because many of the problems faced today are caused by permitting or even demanding these institutions exert control over one another.
Here are what I consider to be the biggest institutions of society:
Religion – Education – Business – Government – Families – Media
The media is a mess with their entanglement with political parties. Schools have lost the focus of teaching and are a battleground for theology and politics. The lines between business and government are getting blurrier each day. Science has been rocked by the scandals of political influence. Even the definitions of marriage and family are being defined by the courts and voters.
Please take a moment to consider smaller connections between these groups as the path to follow. The old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercial with the line, “You got peanut butter in my chocolate? Hey, you got chocolate in my peanut butter!” ended with a delicious treat. When this same event occurs in society, we often end up with something that tastes nasty.
A sure way for things to get messed up is when any of the major institutions exert too much influence over any of the others. Each institution works fine by itself, when focused on its own area of expertise. It’s when these groups blend and mesh together that society goes haywire. They each perform best when they aren’t interfering or interfered by other institutions.
The economy is a mess, and much of the mess can be attributed to the government/big bank entwinement. Both exert too much influence over one another. The banks shouldn’t be coming to the government for loans, and the government shouldn’t be telling the banks to whom or how to loan money. Each side claims to have been seduced by the other. Wouldn’t we be better off if the two had never slept together in the first place?
The news media is another mess. There isn’t a whole lot of news covered in the news, but there is a plethora of political discussion. I’ve watched Mike Huckabee on Fox News–a combination of religion, politics and media. Being a pastor is a good thing; governors provide good public service, and a journalist discussing political issues is an important service. But these are three distinct positions. The flip side of Huckabee is Al Gore: Vice President, filmmaker and author, and environmental preacher. Separately each can be beneficial, but the resulting mixture of religion, politics, business, and media muddies the water, providing less news and more polarized viewpoints.
Some of the problems facing education can attributed to the distractions caused by external influences. Should schools be involved in leading prayers or used to teach tolerance? Schools are there to educate children with the tools they’ll need to survive as adults, and not to change the shape of the next generation’s society. They shouldn’t be used to install patriotism or environmentalism because that’s not their role.
The list goes on and on how each group causes problems for the others. This isn’t a left vs. right or liberal vs. conservative problem; it’s a problem with our society as a whole not enforcing boundaries. Each institution resents it when the other institutions cross the boundaries, but unfortunately the resentment they feel towards external influences doesn’t stop them trying to manipulate other groups.
The principle of I can’t be free unless everyone is free needs to be applied here. For each group to be free to achieve their goals, they must be willing to give up the influence they exert on each other. They have to be willing to clean their corner of society instead of trying to clean up society as a whole.