A Golden Mean Between Galt and Gone

Aristotle wrote his Nicomachean Ethics 340 years before Christ was born. Within that text, we find the Golden Mean–a call to virtue, the mean between two extremes, a deficiency of a virtuous quality, and an excess of the quality.

For example, if courage is the mean, rashness would be the excess, and cowardice would be the deficiency.

Today in America, we struggle to find a mean between Galt–a reference to Ayn Rand’s objectivism–and Gone–absolute rejection of American tradition.

Galt refers to a character in Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. John Galt attended Patrick Henry University, a fictional institution of higher learning.

Galt’s philosophy, the mirror of Rand’s, exalts the human spirit, capitalism, and atheism.

In alluding to Patrick Henry, Rand lauds his revolutionary quest for independence but rejects his faith.

And she wasn’t neutral in her renunciation of faith. She was virulently atheistic.

Not so Patrick Henry. When he argued that the colonists must go to war against the British, he declared that “An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!” Henry built his argument on a foundation of faith.

Many in the Galt camp today are gearing up for arms without God. A 2013 study claimed that 30 percent of those surveyed believed an armed revolution may be necessary to secure our constitutional rights.

We are no less divided now than we were then.

The Galt faction professes an excess of American bravado, absent the balancing influence of faith. It has moved beyond deficiency in faith to hostility.

The Galt excesses of bravado and hostility to faith eliminate the effects of faith: “Objectivism rejects the altruistic premise of self-sacrifice”–a pillar principle of Christianity.

The Gone faction in America is also hostile toward Christianity. But unlike the Galt perspective, this deficiency (of faith) and excess (of hatred for it) includes a rejection of American values. It equates Christianity, a conservative moral code, and a capitalist economy, with all the evils of slavery.

Gone urges deficiencies in order and faith and an excess of chaos. It preaches the message of critical theory–that society is comprised only of oppressed and oppressors. Every person is one or the other. There is none else.

Neither of these extremes can ever bring us to a peaceful, virtuous mean.

F.H. Buckley has written American Secession: The Looming Threat of a National Breakup. Here’s part of what goodreads.com says about the book:

“Across the world, large countries are staring down secession movements. Many have already split apart. Do we imagine that we, almost alone in the world, are immune? We had a civil war to prevent a secession, and we’re tempted to see that terrible precedent as proof against another effort. This book explodes that comforting belief and shows just how easy it would be for a state to exit the Union if that’s what its voters wanted.

“But if that isn’t what we really want, Buckley proposes another option, a kind of Secession Lite, that could heal our divisions while allowing us to keep our identity as Americans.”

Secession Lite would require a live and let live mentality. I’ve written before about the divide between city and country–the demarcation of much of our disagreement over faith, economics, and morality.

Perhaps Buckley has found a philosophical mean that could ensure freedom of conscience. For example, freedom for municipalities to respect life, if they choose. Freedom for pharmacists to refuse to provide the means for abortion. Freedom for children to openly pray in government-run schools.

Localities could be free to democratically decide what to do about crime, immigration, and education.

The idea of secession today sounds crazy. He tells us it’s not. It’s real and on the way.

Crazy is what we’re experiencing in 2020. Our divided house hovers over a chasm of chaos. And crazy will continue until we find a Golden Mean of citizenship we can agree on.

Or see our nation destroyed for its lack.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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26 Replies to “A Golden Mean Between Galt and Gone”

  1. I pray if it will be found. While I personally lean to a “live and let live”, mean solution, I don’t believe that a great many are willing to accept that. I am certainly not wiling to accept an Orwellian society where history, tradition, freedom, and liberty is replaced with social justice and humanism. Nor do I wish to eliminate all that don’t share my chosen way of living. “In the middle” can be a dangerous place to be, but if I must one day choose a side, know that I have already made that choice. I am Christian. Will I fight to defend my freedom in Christ and protect the blessings God has given me? Yes. Will I bind up the wounds of my enemy and show them compassion and God’s love, in hopes they too might experience those heights? Yes.

    1. God is the in-between two extremes of faithlessness. In-between, today, does seem dangerous. Thank you for your heart, J.D. God bless! And God bless America!

  2. I fear you are right: a secession is not off the table by any means. It’s not wild fable but a real possibility. I don’t want to see that. I pray that we cleave to God and make turning to Him our priority. He’ll make all our paths straight.

  3. These times are definitely in need of strong prayers. With all the bad stuff happening, I am thankful we can turn to God and ask for His help and His forgiveness. I am also thankful that even in the bad times, God provides joy in the simplest moments.

  4. I too pray for our country to return to a place where we have the faith of our fathers and the freedom to express that faith openly.

  5. This post mirrors my own observations, even among Christians who wave the patriotic flag of “rights,” but won’t consider a hint of self-sacrifice in discussions with those of opposing views. And I use the word “discussion” loosely since what’s occurring has a greater resemblance to shouting matches than to discussions.
    Lord, help us!

    1. Shouting is a way to shut down discourse. And few are interested in conversation. But the sacrifices coming to us will be much bigger than the rhetorical farces we call discussion today. Thanks, Ava. God bless!

  6. Such a thought-provoking post, Nancy.

    It is nearly impossible to find a healthy mean if people rely only on their own wisdom. People are fickle, and they often lead by their distorted perspectives, preferences, and comforts. I am included in this bunch when my heart and mind are not on Christ.

    Christ is the only One who is holy and just, who can balance the perfect line of grace and truth. I pray that our governing leaders will find Christ as their mean and lead from His wisdom.

  7. “The idea of secession today sounds crazy. He tells us it’s not. It’s real and on the way.

    Crazy is what we’re experiencing in 2020. Our divided house hovers over a chasm of chaos. And crazy will continue until we find a Golden Mean of citizenship we can agree on.

    Or see our nation destroyed for its lack.”

    so, since Christians can’t agree on what morals their god wants, what heaven and hell are, how one should be baptized, how to be saved, it should be great fun to see the religious war among all of you when you “secede”.

    the happily secular laws of the US allow all of you Christians to hate each other but to practice your many versions of Christianity. Can you imagine if one of you tried to declare that only your version could be followed? Yep, pretty much the violence and nonsense from medieval Europe with you all burning each other at the stake.

    1. I’d recommend my book to you. If you private message me, I’ll be happy to send you a free copy. It invites Christians to understand each other better and shows how Billy Graham, Saint Pope John Paul II, and Charles Colson worked to bring unity to Christians. Christianity has had evil influences. People do misrepresent the Gospel. But it also has elevated women’s rights and produced the movement to end slavery, (see William Wilberforce). Your comments seem filled with anger. God bless you with the peace of heart only He can bring you.

  8. Nancy, there’s so much food for thought in your words. I believe you are right. Unless we can find that golden mean between Galt and Gone, our nation and all it has espoused is doomed to extinction. We need to look to a Standard higher than ourselves if we’re to find it.

  9. So much depth to your post as well as truth. Oh I fear for the spirit of America. Only God can heal. I’m praying for Christians to wake up, rise up, and stand firm on the word of God. Thanks for sharing a post to ponder, and then hopefully act (as God would have us act).

  10. A definite call to our knees. We must take this battle to the Lord because the fight is against the forces of evil that are seeking to destroy. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Great insight, Nancy. Personally and as a nation, I hope to never gear up for arms without God. Like Patrick Henry, and many of our founding fathers, I pray we keep a “balancing influence of faith. “

  12. Such a deep and profound article. Thank you for thinking this through and articulating our reality for this moment in time. We are most certainly in perilous times and I believe one small match could start an unstoppable fire. May we pray for more people to turn to Christ. Only He can provide the truth and love we need.

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