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Enemies of Progress

There are many enemies of progress in this nation, but we want to deal with four in this edition.
An old African proverb says, “when there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” The enemy of progress is an individual who undermines the growth and development of anything without providing any positive alternatives. Thus, the enemy of progress as it pertains to Liberian is an individual who does everything to undermine the growth, development, and integrity of the nation without providing any solutions.
The first enemy of progress – are those who get away with evil in the nation in such as corruption, embezzlement, and others. Those public servants who have stolen millions in taxpayers funds and gone with impunity can be branded as enemies of progress because they committed these acts against the society. There are people within the government who do things that are contradictory to the principles embodied in the Constitution.

The second enemy of progress – are those who violate the oath of office. For instance, people swearing to the oath of office are obligated to stand for what they swore.
The oath of office for every civil servant and military officer of the Republic of Liberia requires that the individual “support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia against all enemies: foreign and domestic.” As cited in the Constitution,

Schedule 1. “This Schedule shall form and be an integral part of this Constitution and shall have the same force as any other provision thereof.” Schedule 2. All public officials and employees, whether elected or appointed, holding office of public trust, shall subscribe to a solemn oath or affirmation as follows: “I, do solemnly swear (affirm) that I will support, uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Liberia, bear true faith and allegiance to the Republic, and will faithfully, conscientiously, and impartially discharge the duties and functions of the office to the best of my ability. So help me God.

Many people have taken such an oath, but only a few have tried to live up to it. Because of our citizenship as Liberians, we are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the Constitution. An oath is an act of calling upon God as a witness to what one says, thereby treating it as sacred. Violation of an oath or vow is an offense against God. Therefore, People who took oaths in this nation often abused them, swearing by things they will in no form fulfill which is unaccepted to God.

God himself set an example of taken an oath in Deuteronomy 9:5, “It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to you fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” The issue of vow or oath is reinforced in Matthew 5:33, “Again you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the LORD.” I Peter 5:8 says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devours.” In this context, we can consider an adversary as someone who was elected and has taken the oath to serve in government but became corrupt and sabotaged the nation in some way. These adversaries embraced legal positivism, sue for nihilistic libertinism, and seek ways to avoid the consequences of their actions.

The third enemy of progress – those who fall in the Social strain theory developed by a famed American sociologist named Robert K. Merton. He wrote in his research “that social structures within society may pressure citizens to commit crimes.” Systems of society affect the perception and needs of its people. Many in government today have been so badly influenced by the corrupt system that they have form coalitions to overwhelm the society with the sheer force of people who defend them because of social strain. Many leaders have taken public offices with good intention but allowed the corrupt system to thwart their plans for good.

The fourth enemy of progress – is treachery which can be seen in Psalm 119:158, “I behold the Treacherous and loathe them because they do not keep your word.” Moreover, Proverbs 2:22 says, “But the wicked will be cut-off from the land and the treacherous will be uprooted from it.” Proverbs 13:15 says, “Good understanding produces favor, but the way of the treacherous is hard.” When treacherous people lead a nation, things get very hard. Treachery, behavior or an action in which certain people betray their country or betray a person who trusts them.” The Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines it as “the violation of allegiance or faith and confidence.

“It is an act of perfidy or treason. These different definitions are for clarity, to give us a picture of the real enemy of progress in the nation. Since independence, the Liberian people have elected several leaders but almost all if not, everyone has let the people down by betraying their trust. The noun treachery comes from the old French word trechier, which means “to cheat.” Many corrupt governments or dictators have been accused of treachery, deceiving the people and abusing their trust. Greed is a common cause of treachery; and with the promise of wealth, people can be tempted to betray their own countries. Thomas Jefferson said, “Injustice in government undermines the foundations of a society.” A nation, therefore, must take measures to encourage its members along the paths of justice and morality. The judicial system was established so that people could remedy many injustices and prosecute individuals who stand as enemies of progress. Several decades ago J. Reuben Clark spoke about the need for a solid support of the Constitution. He said,

God provided that in this land of liberty, our political allegiance shall run not to individuals, that is, to government officials, no matter how great or how small they maybe. Under His plan, our allegiance and the only allegiance we owe as citizens or denizens of the United States, runs to our inspired Constitution which God himself set up. So, runs the oath of office of those who participate in government. A certain loyalty we do owe to the office which a man holds, but even here we owe just by reason of our citizenship, no loyalty to the man himself. In other countries it is to the individual that allegiance runs. This principle of allegiance to the Constitution is basic to our freedom. It is one of the great principles that distinguishes this “land of liberty” from other countries.

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