A farmer who had a quarrelsome family called his sons and told them to lay a bunch of sticks before him. Then, after laying the sticks parallel to one another and binding them, he challenged his sons, one after another, to pick up the bundle and break it. They all tried, but in vain. Then, untying the bundle, he gave them the sticks to break one by one. This they did with the greatest ease. Then said the father, “Thus, my sons, as long as you remain united, you are a match for anything, but differ and separate, and you are undone.” (Aesop)
Scripture’s tale of the Tower of Babel holds an amazing statement by God, “If as ONE PEOPLE speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” Since Ancient Hebrew has no punctuation, bold lettering, underlining or other techniques to emphasize a word or phrase, Hebrew will double up words for emphasis. The word for ONE is doubled and it sticks out: ONE people and ONE language!
People as ONE, unified, and together are VERY powerful and that is why God doesn’t let it happen very often.
It is like so many GREAT things in human nature where we humans were given amazing gifts from God that can be used for good or evil. The gift of sex turns into the evil of abuse. The gift of creation turns into the evil of the Ubermensch, Eugenics and other genetic engineering. The gift of ONE, a people united can be the curse of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Soviet Union or it can be a United States that built an aircraft every 15 minutes in 1944 while having over 3 million men fighting to defeat evil.
We believe, falsely, that in the United States we have a democracy. We don’t have a democracy, we have a republic. As far back as Plato’s “Republic” and again in Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” and even in the “Federalist Papers” on which the US Constitution was based; democracy was feared and called the “Tyranny of the Majority.” Our Republic or “representative democracy”, guaranteed in Article IV of the Constitution, means that our elected representatives can vote AGAINST the majority of their constituents.
A people as ONE can rescue or defeat. A people as ONE can squash the minority or assure rights of all, whether you agree or disagree. We can do so much good together. We can do so much harm together. Tocqueville both feared and admired this balance of power. He said that the United States will be great as long as its people are good. But what happens when we cease to be good? What happens when the majority of people and their representatives are no longer good? When bad people are united and in a majority we must prepare ourselves for a tower of nonsensical babbling. Oh, wait ...