I fear lately we have become a nation of lost sheep. I’m reminded of the old parable on the subject that goes like this: “Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it? When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing. When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.” Luke 15:3-7
While the parable is supposed to be a comment on helping our fellow man, one has to understand that sheep, much like humans, come in different flavors. Generally, sheep are a natural herd animal; they physically stick together, eat together, sleep in groups and rarely wander too far from the flock. Occasionally, one will roam far afield and almost always find trouble.
It seems our government, particularly Congress and the current Administration, has assumed the role of head sheepherder with the intent of making sure we stay close to the flock, waiting anxiously for the head sheepherder to feed us. The effort to turn our country into a nation of sheep started quietly in 1965 with the advent of the Great Society programs. Like many government driven feel-good programs, there were some good parts to this movement, but also some bad. The end result after two generations appears to be a society where self-reliance has been replaced with standing at the trough waiting for handouts and bleating when we don’t get them.
The sheepherder mentality didn’t stop with the Great Society. In 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act, a broadly written law that included the concept that everyone should own a home, resulted in government pressure on banks and other lending institutions to relax lending standards. This insanity was followed by the debacle of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, quasi-government-private industry partnerships that gave new meaning to corruption and political philandering during the last two decades. By 2005, sub-prime lending included nearly half of all loans and set the stage for the eventual collapse of the housing market in 2007. Not surprisingly, progressive liberals cried for more government intervention, blindly denying what caused the problem in the first place.
It’s time to stop giving away the farm. Take a look at the countries that have embraced cradle to grave entitlements and spent their way into financial insolvency. Is this the future of the United States? Isn’t it time we celebrate the ninety-nine who need no repentance?