Question: Is the American political system broken?
Rick Warren: The American political system was built on the Calvinistic idea of the sin nature of every human being. And the founding fathers believed, because they were Protestants, believed that power has to be kept in check; that absolute power corrupts absolutely. And so there was a division of power. It was based on the Calvinistic, Christian view that you give a king total power, it’s going to corrupt him. So we divided it into the judiciary, and the executive branch, and the legislative branch. That check and balance of power is a wonderful thing in that it’s kept us from having dictators. But it’s also enormously slow.
And the problem is the more bills, the more laws, the more you pile on, it’s like having a boat. The more you pile on a boat, the slower the boat goes. And if you attach one lifeboat to it, maybe you can go pretty fast. But if you’ve got a thousand lifeboats pulling along, it really slows down. And America’s economy and America’s government is like an oil tanker. It takes 18 miles to make a u-turn.
If you’re in a rowboat; if you’re in Rwanda, you can turn around pretty quickly. So it’s enormously slow. Government does need to be reinvented in some ways that maintain the historic separation of powers; but streamline it and take some of those rowboats off where we; you can’t keep adding things, and adding things. It’s like in a personal life. If you keep adding things to your schedule, adding things to you schedule and you never take anything off your schedule, you’re going to burn out.
And if you’re burning the candle at both ends, you’re not as bright as you think you are.
Recorded on: December 11, 2007