One of my favorites is the 1994 classic First Knight, a modern take on a medieval legend. I love it, because I’ve always liked the idea of fighting heroically for a cause, and King Arthur, in this movie portrayed by Sean Connery, is a valiant and wise man who embodies heroism. As a kid, I just liked the action of the movie, and the fact that Arthur was a champion in war. As I sat and watched the movie late last year, I saw in Arthur a champion of ideas – ideas he waged war to protect.
There are values worth fighting for, and freedom is chief among them. True lovers of liberty love peace, but are prepared for battle, because, in the words of King Arthur of Camelot, “there is a peace that can only be found on the other side of war.” There is good and evil in the world, and they constantly wage war against one another. Those who truly believe in freedom understand that freedom is the product of fighting and living for a cause greater than them. They understand that, in serving one another, we truly become free.
Think about this concept in our modern circumstance. America is in dire debt, largely because people want their lifestyles paid for by someone else. The overwhelming majority of annual U.S. Federal spending is in the form of massive entitlements and social programs and, even though the nation is drowning in debt, the plurality in most polls does not support cutting their program of choice.
It’s truly unbelievable.
I guess chivalry truly is dead, or at least dying, in our time. So long as everyone is looking out solely for themselves, we cannot expect to correct this nation’s course of deficits, debt and economic ruin.
This is precisely why values matter.
There are those in our country who claim to favor limited government and reduced Federal spending, while simultaneously supporting radically liberal social policy which makes their first goal unattainable. Think of it for a moment: the current economic crisis in America isn’t so much an economic crisis as a cultural crisis that has economic consequences. As I mentioned, the overwhelming majority of the annual deficits and national debt is related to entitlement spending, but Washington politicians are reluctant to cut these programs for fear of political retribution from angry voters. This has to change if we are to experience true change as a country.
The only people than can save America now are the American People – that includes all of us. The future of this free republic is now in our hands, and the outcome will be determined by how much moral clarity we can muster. If we believe in exercising our individual rights, in the context of caring for our neighbors, we will be willing to take personal responsibility instead of asking government to meet our every need. If we truly care about our kids and grandkids, we’ll be willing to back away from the belief that we’re entitled to all these social programs, and support cuts that will sustain American for future generations.
At the end of the day, we must have the chivalry of epic heroes like King Arthur, and live out one of the lines at the heart of First Knight: “in serving one another, we become free.” Perhaps slightly modified for our day, we can say “in serving one another we will remain free.”
The first Jewish man to become British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli once remarked “nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.” America needs more heroes, and heroes don’t have to make it to the big screen or the big time, they can be unknown and wholly heroic. After all, God alone is the Judge, and He knows those who are truly heroic.