Behind U.S. decline in economic freedom is a story of decline in spiritual freedom.
As long as government makes itself the tool of injustice—failing to uphold its basic mandate to protect life (you shall not murder) and refusing to defend people’s private ownership (you shall not steal)–prosperity will not return to the United States.
That is exactly what we see in stories like this one: “The US ranks #36 in the world for respecting property rights. Is this freedom?”
According to the newest Frasier Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World Index (released yesterday), the US ranked as one of the world’s freest economies from 1980 through 2000.
Since then the decline has hastened.
The US dramatically slipped to 9th in 2005 and its decline has continued ever since, to the point where the United States is now rated less economically free than Jordan.
This is no accident.
The mushroom cloud expansion of regulation has stifled small business and innovation.
Even more significantly, property rights and respect for rule of law that once defined the country have eroded.
From an alarming increase in government seizure of private property under the guise of eminent domain, to blatant disregard for the property rights of bondholders during bailouts, the US has plunged to #36 in the world in respecting property rights.
The decline of economic freedom in the US has destroyed opportunities, growth, and wealth creation along with it.
We have allowed government to become a weapon of oppression—favoring some people over others, based on political views, skin color, economic status, personal connections—which is simply a reflection of the darkening of the American heart, and the decline of robust Christianity.
The good news of what the Creator has done for us through Jesus is the answer.
It is not a message about living your best life now (if you are, eternally you’re going to Hell), or necessarily getting rich (try that message with a Christian in North Korea or Northern Syria)–it is a message about the reality of our guilt before God, and the free provision He Himself made for that guilt, which transforms everything.
The question is: Who is out there sharing, applying, and living that proclamation?
Spiritual freedom was the soil in which civic freedom flourished. You can’t lastingly have the latter without the former; because, once eyes are turned from God’s provision to what we can do with our own hands, it’s inevitable that many will turn to murder and theft for their sustenance.