Anger, Consumerism, and Big Government

I’m very much enjoying Chuck Colson’s My Final Word, which is a collection of his previously unpublished short articles.  While I don’t agree with everything Colson wrote, much of it is wise, timely, and helpful.  For instance, in one short article from around ten years ago he noted a puzzling fact: even though the United States and Britain both were doing quite well economically, their leaders were detested by so many of their citizens.  Why is this?  Why are so many people so angry? Colson wondered.  Here’s his two part answer, which I’ve edited for length:

1) The more people have, the angrier they get.  Witness the fact that America is regarded as one of the most unhappy nations on earth, according to recent studies.  We take more tranquilizers than any other people, and yet we have an extremely high standard of living.  The happiest people, according to the same survey, turned out to be Nigerians, who have one of the lowest standards of living.  The problem is, we are spoiled rotten.  We’ve got everything we could possibly want.  But we’re not happy and we don’t know why, so we get angry at everybody else.

2) The second problem is that we have politicized everything.  We think nothing is going to happen that isn’t proposed in Washington, argued by the talking heads at night, and then voted on, and if they can’t deliver, then we know that we should have thrown the bums out anyway.  If you once get the notion in your head that there’s a political solution to everything, and you don’t have to do anything except let those people take care of everything for you, you will eventually be controlled by those people.  But in the meantime, government will get so big and cumbersome it can’t even function.  And that’s the point we’re at.

Excellent points!  True happiness does not come from possessions or political programs.  Elsewhere Colson notes that true joy and happiness only come in Christ and from being part of his body, the church.

The above quote was taken from pages 122-123 of Colson’s, My Final Word (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015).  [Note: as with some other books on this blog, I received this one for the purpose of blogging/reviewing, and I am not compelled to give a positive review.]

shane lems

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One comment on “Anger, Consumerism, and Big Government

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