In Section 12 of Paper 70, Development of the State, the Melchizedek author sums things up with a list wrought from deep wisdom and long, long experience. Most of the items of this list appear in other Papers, especially the five Papers on social evolution (68-72).
The list items all but beg a comparison from the reader, no matter what nation, country or territory you might be native to.
Melchizedek's dozen freedom maintainers:
P.798 - §5 If men would maintain their freedom, they must, after having chosen their charter of liberty, provide for its wise, intelligent, and fearless interpretation to the end that there may be prevented:
1. Usurpation of unwarranted power by either the executive or legislative branches.
2. Machinations of ignorant and superstitious agitators.
3. Retardation of scientific progress.
4. Stalemate of the dominance of mediocrity.
5. Domination by vicious minorities.
6. Control by ambitious and clever would-be dictators.
7. Disastrous disruption of panics.
8. Exploitation by the unscrupulous.
9. Taxation enslavement of the citizenry by the state.
10. Failure of social and economic fairness.
11. Union of church and state.
12. Loss of personal liberty.
After this list appeared in the OPAD study forum, member Bonita offered her assessment of the USA in comparison:
Bonita...I'd say that here in the US we're up to our eyeballs in all twelve except #11. We've become so secular that there is no "church" to unite with "state". I would also go so far as to say that we've surpassed #1 as well. We already have unwarranted power in the executive and legislative branches and we're moving toward unwarranted power in the judicial branch as well since it has become just another branch of the legislature. And don't we now see #7 almost every day where it has come to the point that panic is normal and disruption is our everyday world, a constant state of confusion and disarray leading to entropy rather than evolution? No wonder everyone is on drugs of some kind or another. I guess we'll just have to take a transcendental view and consider it like the yin and yang of existence. Or how about the Phoenix? Anyway, I live in hope that if we destroy ourselves by not preventing these twelve disasters from occurring, we will remake ourselves more wisely. But will war necessarily be part of it? Right now we are in a severe war of ideas and words; but, we're sitting on the precipice of it exploding into a physical war if the appropriate spark comes along to ignite it. It won't take much, which is why I pray for leaders. Not just the ones we have but new ones who can see all this happening and know what to do about it.
I don't see the US in quite the same way, but close. That said, I've seen worse times for my nation, like the 1960's. Now I pray with Bonita for our world's leaders, for their best wisdom and service, let Father lead Urantia out of the morasses.
I thought Bonita did a fair job of expressing an opinion, and without the distraction of polemics or politics, she kept it on the "idea level". And just this morning she posted another comparative and thoughtful opinion on this topic, also in the OPAD subforum, based on another of Melchizedek's lists. Hope she doesn't mind it being reposted here:
There's been absolutely no measurable movement on most and retrograde movement on many, in my opinion.
1. Preservation of individual liberties.
2. Protection of the home.
3. Promotion of economic security.
4. Prevention of disease.
5. Compulsory education.
6. Compulsory employment.
7. Profitable utilization of leisure.
8. Care of the unfortunate.
9. Race improvement.
10. Promotion of science and art.
11. Promotion of philosophy--wisdom.
12. Augmentation of cosmic insight--spirituality.
1. I think individual liberties are slowly being regulated out of existence. If I try to say what I think in public, there's a chance I could get killed. If I want to chop a tree down on my property I have to submit a petition to the tree gods. If I want to drive without my seat belt buckled, I have to face a huge fine. If I want to give a gift of a car to my son, I have to pay taxes on what I already paid taxes on. So, I can't say what I want, do what I want or give away what I want without someone trying to stop me.
2. And my home? I just switched my bathtub from steel to fiberglass. I had to get permission from the township and then have it inspected. Not to see if the plumbing was done correctly, but to see if I really removed the steel one and put in a fiberglass one. The inspector stood in the doorway of the bathroom and handed me a "pass" slip. Speaking of inspections, I can't sell my home without having the government inspect it to make sure it's green enough. My house is blue.
3. Economic security. I don't know if you noticed, but money is being sucked out of your accounts every day. It's just evaporating. And there's new legislation that gives the government the power to property rights over your checking account with the power of attorney to just suck money out to pay your health insurance bills.
4. We are doing a great deal to prevent disease, but I don't know if you noticed that every other day there is a study out that negates the study from the day before. And the government really decides what is best for your health anyway, not based on any studies, but what is best for the political climate or the planetary climate (same thing I'd say). We're not allowed to eat transfats, salt, or anything over 500 calories . . . that's this year, next year it will be something different. You never know for sure what's going to kill you because it keeps changing every other day.
5. We already have compulsory education. Truant officers will round up your kids if they're not in school and parents will go to jail if their kids aren't being educated. And, evidence keeps mounting that state run education is very busy spending all that money being sucked out of your accounts in order to create the finest example of mediocrity this planet has ever seen.
6. Compulsory unemployment is what we have now that unemployment benefits are slowly being extended for life.
7. Profitable utilization of leisure now includes hookers for football players and sky high ticket prices to watch almost naked performers make a lot of noise and obscene gestures. Then we have voyeurism on steroids with phone hacking and reality shows that have nothing at all to do with reality.
8. Care of the unfortunate means giving them whatever they need to remain unfortunate for life.
9. Race improvement means reparations, social justice and reverse discrimination. It's really just a matter of which race is considered to be on top of the race struggle. So it's not improvement, it's just movement of power from top to bottom, bottom to top.
10. Promotion of science means getting grants to prove whatever is politically expedient and will get you more grants. Promotion of art means more reality TV and trumped up exposure of the weird and bizarre.
11. Promotion of wisdom . . . . . there's none of that. We're going backwards on that.
12. Augmentation of cosmic insight . . . . I don't think you'll find a single person on the street that even knows what that means. We're going nowhere on that. We haven't even started yet, let alone go backwards.
So I'm very pessimistic about all of it for this generation, but very hopeful for future generations because they will be able to look back on these dark ages and be grateful that they came out of them, and will never want to go back. So all the ugliness serves a purpose in the long run . . . . hopefully.
If you would like to put your country up for comparison to one or more of these lists, please do. And add how you plan to assist your nation, indeed the whole planet, in avoiding freedom's perilous pitfalls and potholes on the long road to a society truly "quivering on the brink" of great, and hopefully positive change.