We Need Pioneering Spirit Now More Than Ever
- 20 July 2008 by Author 0 Comments
We Need Pioneering Spirit Now More Than Ever
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 07/20/08
Over 160 years ago, a group of Americans left the heartland of America seeking religious liberty and seeking to escape the persecution bred of suspicion and intolerance. Their creed demanded of them subservience to the laws of the land, and submission to presidents and magistrates in honoring and upholding the law. Yet due to the murders, rapes and pillaging they suffered at the hands of local residents in Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri, they headed west where they hoped to establish communities and settlements where they could live without fear of reprisal because of their religion.
The courage those thousands of freedom-loving pioneers is what we celebrate around the 24th of July every year. On the 24th of July, 1847 the first of the LDS people arrived at the edge of the mountains overlooking the Salt Lake Valley and their leader, Brigham Young declared, “This is the place.” A monument and a pioneer village now mark that spot in the Eastern foothills of Salt Lake City.
The thousand mile trek, navigated by some on wagon and some with crudely constructed handcarts, left hundreds of gravestone markers strewn along the way, marking the final resting spot of those who were willing to sacrifice everything for their freedom and their faith, and who ultimately did. The tales of courage, sacrifice, and determination manifest by those early pioneers stand as veritable ensigns of their character to us more than 160 years later. They also stand as reminders of the traits we will need as pioneers of our own era to preserve and perpetuate the greatness of America.
The pioneers of the 19th century faced primarily physical perils of cold, disease, and exhaustion. We are pioneers of sorts in our time, as we face a new wave of perils that threaten not so much our lives, but the quality of life we enjoy in America. In our time, we face the peril of diminished freedom for questionable causes, and cynicism of the free market system that is the economic extension of fundamental personal liberty. We face the peril of secularism which seeks to remove any semblance of religion from the public square and would have us rewrite history to remove the Judeo-Christian value system from our culture and advocates pantheism centered in worship of the earth over advancement of human civilization.
We also face the peril of indoctrination by a mainstream media that advances an ideological agenda, sometimes subtly but increasingly overt. Most susceptible to such propaganda are our young people who are bombarded with subliminal and overt messages that would have them believe there is more truth and contemporary pertinence to contemporary secularists than in the words of our Founding Fathers.
We face the peril of a continued erosion of morality and propriety as any sense of right and wrong, but what is taught is couched in strictly secular terms. By so doing, morality is made relative, having no absolute values at the foundation of our collective belief system.
I relish the fact that our local observance of Pioneer Day has become an inclusive celebration. People of all races, creeds, and backgrounds enjoy the local festivities with apparently equal enthusiasm. This is truly a microcosm of the pioneering we face for future generations of Americans as we similarly unite across socio-economic and cultural lines to preserve the greatness of America for future generations.
In 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior: “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”
“The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back into bondage.”
Challenges exist for any generation of Americans, and we have our share of them. But with the same determination, courage, and fortitude exemplified by our forbears we will surmount our challenges. We will thereby not only leave a better nation as an inheritance for our posterity, but will grow in character and wisdom from the sojourn, as did previous generations of pioneers.
Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at email@example.com.