The Erosion of the Protestant Work Ethic

Posted: July 4, 2009 by thesundowner in Uncategorized

A nation’s culture defines what is normal and acceptable in “polite” society; how we view right and wrong, who are heroes are, and what we want our children to believe, and emulate. Culture is based on the values that are widely accepted by society and that we want to transmit from generation to generation. Many things affect a nation’s culture, but few affect it so directly and profoundly as religion and politics—or lack thereof. The transmission of culture from generation to generation depends on a nation’s institutions (i.e. the family, church, schools, government agencies, the media, and so on). Few things affect these institutions more than religion and politics. As things stand today, this is bad news.

Why do I say that? Because politics, over the last several decades, has increasingly become more liberal and has created an entitlement mentality. And the church, overall, has dropped the ball on defining itself and defining the nation’s culture.

Protestant ethics, be they work ethics or whatever, are flawed to begin with, as they all disagree with one another, and agree on very little in common. Regardless, they have been too concerned with their own private turf wars—and infighting—to give heed to the moral decline around them… and do anything about it.

Consider just one example of how religion and politics can affect culture. A positive work ethic based on Biblical teaching has long been one of the cornerstones of American culture. In 2 Thessalonians 3:10 we read, “…if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” Proverbs 10:4-5 says, “He who deals with a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes one rich.” Proverbs 14:23 says, “In all labor there is profit…”

Reformers, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, translated these and other verses into what eventually became known as the Protestant work ethic. America’s founders adopted the Protestant work ethic as their own because it stressed such Scriptural values as thrift, diligence, self-reliance, self-discipline, responsibility, accountability, deferred gratification, and hard work.

The Protestant work ethic served America well for decades until politicians began to chip away at it with an ever-increasing number of laws and public policies that promote an entitlement mentality. *Liberal politicians, seeing opportunity in numbers, began rewarding idleness and sloth by taking from the more productive members of society and giving to the less productive. The liberals have done more to harm society—and certain segments of our population—by making dependent sycophants out of the populace, all the while they hold the proverbial carrot before their noses, yet never deliver.

The Obama administration has taken this concept *and kicked it into high gear using the Marxist theory known as “redistribution of wealth.”

This economic theory means taking money away from those who have earned it and giving it to those who have not earned it. In doing so, political leaders have collaborated in the creation of an entitlement mentality and the corresponding erosion of the Protestant work ethic as a cornerstone of American culture.

An entitlement mentality is the opposite of the Protestant work ethic. It is antithetical to everything that made America great. At a time when emerging industrialized nations such as China, Korea, Indonesia, and Malaysia are populated by people who are poor, hungry, and driven in their attitudes toward work—Americans have come to view working long, hard, and smart as the domain of fools.

Instead, more and more Americans are placing their hopes of attaining economic security on receiving government entitlements. Hence, America—aided and abetted by pandering politicians—has rapidly developed an entitlement culture. The unspoken question of this society seems to be: Why should I work, when the government will take care of me?

Undermine a nation’s religion and institutions—which is what the anti-God, anti-work, anti-American politics of the OPR (Obama-Pelosi-Reid) left is doing—and you undermine that nation’s culture.

Sadly, this has already happened in America and shouldn’t come as any surprise.

Liberals only support minorities who agree with them. Conservatives, however, do not evaluate a person by their gender or race. Rather, they focus on a candidate’s values, experience, and God-given abilities.

In 2000, Dr. Alan Keyes ran among many Republicans in the primaries and debated well.  He is a strong conservative and stands for smaller government, freedom for all, and personal accountability and responsibility.

Sarah Palin—a true American woman with the values that we would want for our own daughters—would make a terrific Vice President in some people’s mind, but I would propose a reversal of the ticket and suggest Palin-Keyes.

Sarah is my kind of woman: she hunts for her own food, feeds, cares for, and defends her family, and doesn’t take any crap off of liberals.  My kinda girl!


  1. Whatever happened to Orthodox work ethics? Do the Protestants hold a monopoly on “work” or “ethics?” Or am I just being prejudiced and unreasonable?

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I think we Orthodox all too frequently hold ourselves “aloof” from the heterodox (much less the pagans) among us. We really were not much around during the founding of the USA, and still are not a strong “force” in the US. Looking to the quintessential Orthodox countries, Russia and Greece, there is increasing erosion of any work ethic, much less Protestant, as the governments there eroded any of the people’s industry through their socialist and Communist ideologies in the 20th century, and it is spiling over into the 21st century.

    The Ol’ Curmudgeon is giving up. He says our country will collapse between now and the end of 2012. Since we don’t live near food sources anymore, there will be food riots and much illness, death and destruction.

    Check out I just wish I could afford to subscribe to the journal, but it is ‘way too rich for our budget!

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