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Centralized Coercion vs. Limited Government
Why is Centralized Government Coercion a Moral & Spiritual Evil...
but Limited Coercion a Positive Moral Good...?
And what is our "Universal, Cosmic Constitution"?
F. Earle Fox
Note: This material will become part of a book,
The Theology of Civil Government: Why Government Requires God.
See also: A New Reformation, & the Middle Class & the Imago Dei, & He's My King! that's Why! & Obama & Pharaoh
1. WE ARE AT WAR...
Christians have a very difficult time explaining why a limited government for a free people is a good and is according to the purposes of God, and why a centralized government is not just unfortunate, but evil, destructive of human welfare, and contrary to the law and grace of God. Christians have been taught to consider secularism as one of the legitimate options, "just another way of looking at things". And now paganism is making a comeback with the same claim. Relative truth.
But neither secularism or paganism can stay friendly to Biblical religion, not even allowing Biblical religion as an allowed option in a freemarket of ideas. There is a war between us which cannot be avoided. We have opposing views of the spiritual life and of the moral life. The question is how do the different religions pursue warfare? The Biblical way is by the Way of the Cross, pursuit of truth spoken in love.
In other words, we are in a spiritual/culture war in which everything, literally, is at stake. One view will win, the other will die. Biblical culture is not compatible with secular or pagan. There is no bridge between them. Christians and Jews should stop pussy-footing around about good and evil, and call a spade a spade. We can love and befriend our secular and pagan neighbors. That is a command from God. But we cannot agree with their philosophies or religions which are rooted outside of the Biblical worldview and Gospel.
That is not to say that there is no good in secular or pagan cultures, or that there are no noble persons there. This is about worldviews, not about persons. The Biblical worldview runs counter to both secular and pagan worldviews on every major issue. It can be said that pagan and secular persons were searching for some of the same resolutions as Biblical people. The Greek philosophers were doing their best to find the meaning of justice and the good life. But, with their best honest efforts, their worldview presuppositions kept them from finding the true answers discoverable only in Biblical revelation.
The dividing line between them comes from being created by an Intelligent Designer versus evolving out of some primordial "stuff". The two worldviews are incompatible on every major point. Neither secularism nor paganism will long allow Biblical religion to survive, neither Jewish nor Christian, if they can help it. And now Islam. Christians are routinely persecuted all over the world, mostly by Communists and Muslims. Christians would likewise like to eradicate secularism and paganism, but Christians are bound to do it with intelligent, loving persuasion, not by force or deceit.
Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan told us that the good government was a government big and strong enough to exert its will directly over just about every possible situation that might arise. Total control. Only that, he thought, would bring peace among the fractious citizens we everywhere have. But, as Thomas Jefferson said, Any government big enough to give you all you need is strong enough to take it all away.... And it sooner or later will.
Governments in Hobbes' time did not have the methods of surveillance and control that we now have, so one wonders, if he understood current government use of surveillance, mind-control, etc., whether that would change his mind about wanting it so big and controlling.
Limited government works only with people morally united under the law and grace of God, a people who want to obey the law, who are committed to obedience as a positive good. For example: "If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech, Mar. 6, 1956. A people who resent obedience to the law will require a much larger police force to keep in line. In areas where there has been a strong Christian spiritual renewal, jails are closed and police forces shrink.
It happened in Wales in the early 1900's, and in Almolonga, Guatamala, in Cali, Columbia, and other places such as Hemet, California in the 1990's, and in at least one whole nation in Africa. It happens mostly with individuals, families, and churches. God can transform America.
It is time we Christians learned how to explain these matters
with truth and grace.
2. WHAT IS CENTRALIZING?
We can cut through much unhelpful debate by bringing the issue down to two choices: centralized government vs. a government limited by God for a free people. Government is (rightly) about coercion. As George Washington remarked: "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action." Government should be left to action and actors responsible to God, the supreme Governor, King of kings and Lord of lords.
We make laws only to enforce or forbid something, by coercive force if necessary. If nothing needs to be enforced, no laws will be needed, and thus also no government. So we must decide what should be enforced and what should never be enforced. The differences between Biblical and secular/pagan government become the more clear as we see how differently they each handle the use of coercive force.
Whether centralization comes from the right, middle, or left makes little difference. The people soon become victims. Why? Because centralized power attracts the power hungry, the control-minded, and those who think they know how to run everyone else's life. That is part of the reason why a welfare state will sooner or later become a police state.
Today's centralizers are not so foolish as to say that the people as such cannot be trusted. But that is what centralizing implies. They know that being so honest would alienate many from them. So they go at it another way. They try to claim the moral high ground. They create a class warfare by juxtaposing the poor and downtrodden good folks against the strong and wealthy evil folks. That is a very unrealistic opposition, if only because the so-called "classes" are constantly changing members, and because the rich are no more evil as such than are the poor. Over time, many poor get wealthy, and some wealthy descend into poverty. Furthermore, it takes a massive mind-control program, brainwashing, hence government education, to get the people to believe such nonsense. And then steadily increasing police control to make it all stick together. Centralization is inherently unnatural in an intellectually, morally, and spiritually healthy society.
What things then do centralizers want to accomplish? Here are five -- just for starters.
(1) They want to expand the limited government given to us by God though our founding fathers to a centralized bureaucratically controlled administration which does not acknowledge God. Go here to see the religious direction Obama is taking America.
(2) They want to take from us a freemarket of ideas, that is, our freedom to explore the truth without coercive interference so long as we give others that same freedom. They capture the freemarket of ideas away from the people by control of education, the media, and the family. A massive and very effective mind-control program -- literally.
Hitler told parents who objected to his rule that he owned their children now, that through his school system he would control their future, and there was nothing they could do about it. That same brainwashing is happening in American government-run schools. There is little or no freemarket of ideas, or serious challenge permitted to the status quo.
People who run such programs can be identified because they hate challenges, they hate honest inquiry into their program, and will fight it with more darkness. They live in the dark and cannot abide the light. (See John 3:19) They do not want to know the truth, they just want their way. The first sign of spiritual warfare is the systematic subversion of truth (see Romans 1:18 ff.).
(3) They want to take away the freemarket of commerce, the world of producers and consumers, and dictate from a bureaucratic administration how to run the economy. That control includes welfare and health care. It includes dictating where and how much of what resources will be invested at any given time.
Their reasoning is determined mostly by their political drive for power, not legitimate economic needs.
(4) They want to take away from the general population the right to defend themselves with arms, reducing the 2nd Amendment to no effect, removing all guns from the people and giving them all to the central government. That means that only criminals and the government are armed. The rest of us are at the mercy of those with the guns. It is assumed, of course, that the government with guns will then protect us from the criminals with guns.
That will not happen, or only rarely, because the police cannot be everywhere at once. (Nor would we even want them to be.) And worse, a centralized power always attracts the power-hungry. So the criminally minded, those with a sociopathic mindset, gradually infiltrate the government. Now the criminals have all the guns.
This explains the research which R. J. Rummel provides at www.hawaii.edu/powerkills, the horrendous carnage caused over history by centralized governments. Power kills. That power comes directly from the centralization of government.
(5) And, most of all, they want to destroy Biblical religion because Biblical religion is their worst enemy. The moral unity of the people given by Biblical religion makes their program impossible. So they set out, Gramsci-wise, to subvert the culture from the bottom up as well as the top down. When people lose their faith in God, they turn almost automatically to government to take the place of God. Only Big Bureaucratic Government looks Big Enough to replace God. And, only a Godly and united people can keep government on a Constitutional tether, out of the hands of criminally minded centralizers.
Where, at any given time, has centralization produced a vibrant economy? Where is there a track record of success, measured by any rational means?
Centralizers tell us that this is "for our benefit", the benefit of "the people". But which people? They take away the possibility of making our own decision about any important part of our lives. They control us by government education, government welfare and health care, and by government coercive force. And then tell us that is for our benefit?
The only healthy way is for we, the people, to be effectively in
control of our govenors, not they in control of us. That can happen only under
God, the kind of government
our founding fathers provided in the Declaration and Constitution.
3. THE CREDIBILITY PROBLEM
Why would anybody believe such "centralized" nonsense? They can keep that illusion going only by continually cranking up class warfare, picturing the freemarketers as selfish, controlling, tyrannical, and themselves as the saviors from evil capitalists. The supposed "salvation" has never once happened -- because the centralizers do not want it to. The hope for it by their victims is nevertheless kept alive only by the deceit of class warfare. If you can dumb down the people through control of education, the media, and the family, you can control the thinking and choosing of the people, pretend to be their friends, and demonize their real friends. You are taught to focus your resentments against "those" people.
Class warfare can be sustained only by keeping firm
control of the education of children and the media, and undermining the family. But mostly it can
be sustained only by subverting the intellectual, moral, and
spiritual resources of the
culture -- the churches, the pulpits, altars, and schools of America, which are to be
the intellectual, moral, and spiritual teachers of the people. Once the
churches fall, the end is near. That had begun to happen already by the
early-1800's -- though the roots of this decline go back to the Middle Ages.
4. THE BIBLICAL ALTERNATIVE
A freemarket economy raises up a middle class, entrepreneurs who invest their wealth to create more wealth, which then spreads through the whole of the community through the freemarketing process. The freemarket economy under God has been by far the most efficient distributor of wealth to the masses of the people. One must conclude, then, that the centralized government is not "for the people" except to have them under its control. It does not trust the people to make their own decisions -- not about guns, not about educating themselves or how to explore ideas, not about production and consumption, not about health care or welfare, not about how to govern themselves, and, perhaps most of all, not about their spiritual lives. They must get control of the spiritual life of the culture or their program will be overturned. So the churches must be subverted from within, controlled from without, or eliminated.
Why do we believe such persons who trust no one but themselves, who think that we should trust them with unchallengeable power over our lives? All of this is happening today in America. What is there left of importance about which they will trust us to make our own decisions?
Biblical government under God, on the other hand, understands that no person can be trusted with much power, and so limits the power of civil government, by putting all power and authority first under God, and secondly in the hands of we, the people, the voting public, and then by separating and dispersing government power and authority among many different levels of the people (federal, state, county, city, town). Sovereignty does not rest with the government, it rests with the people under God through elections and impeachments, and if necessary by that "well regulated militia" mandated by the 2nd Amendment.
The Biblical God (and thus His form of government) trust even His fallen people far more than any centralizer in history has done. But that trust assumes a people united under God. Moral unity under God gives the people a powerful moral authority, binding them into a unified whole who understand the difference between right and wrong, and who will wield their united influence for righteousness against trespassers -- in or out of the government.
The synergy released by a government limited to its task as referee for the population, defender against invasion, and manager of the public space and utilities (roads, parks, etc.), all governed by a people spiritually educated and equipped by family, Church, and freemarket education -- is enormous. The driving energy is not in the government, but in the people themselves under the law and grace of God. Government is then seen not as the originator of law, but the obedient supporter of a law higher than itself. Top-down government kills that synergy, and will leave the people flacid, apathetic, resentful, or hostile. The human race was intelligently designed for God's kind of government, for the people, not the people for it.
The centralized system is a lying and deceitful enterprise resting on a hand-crafted illusion of class warfare, to sluice the wealth of the society into their own pockets. The poor will never get rich, and, excepting for those in charge of the centralization scheme, the rich will be confiscated of their wealth. Every centralized government creates a new aristocracy and thus a new serfdom, which is forbidden by the American Constitution (article 1, section 9, last paragraph, and section 10, first paragraph).
Where have these deficits not proven true in any venture toward Communism or Socialism? Where have the general population become vibrant and creative, joyfully passing on their culture to their children?
Vigorous populations happen routinely among healthy Christian and
Jewish cultures, but our current socialist/communist societies do not in the
West even want to pass on their cultures. (Can self-centered
pleasure-seeking be called "culture"?) They are literally (demographically) dying
and betraying themselves into the hands of a totalitarian Islam, enemy of Biblical religion and of any other
self-respecting people. Who benefits by this?
5. THE WORST POSSIBLE CHOICE...
Each of the five goods above is being taken from us, the people in the freemarket, and being given to that entity which, over history, has wrought more havoc on humanity than all the other sources combined -- centralized government. Centralizers have taken a Godly Biblical society with roots going back four millennia to the call by God of Abraham out of paganism, but now, by Gramsci-style subversive principles , eroding those Godly foundations to the point of near collapse. Back to Eden again. We think we know better than God, and with the same consequences: we descend into chaos.
We have been persuaded (by "relativizing" truth) to give away the intellectual,
moral, and spiritual resources of America to the enemy of God and of any free
people. The effect is to bring us again ever more directly under the rule of Satan.
Centralized government is, or will soon become, satanic, devoted to the
destruction of the Biblical worldview, Good News, and the authority of God.
Only that Godly
authority, wedded to grace, can turn our disaster around.
6. WHO BENEFITS?
Who, in this arrangement, comes out with the benefits? Qui bono? The supposed intent is that those people who receive the redistribution of wealth will be the beneficiaries. The good poor will benefit at the expense of the evil rich. But they purchase that benefit at the cost of themselves becoming dependents of the State. So, they get seduced by promises which will never be fulfilled.
The State steals from the rich (confiscatory taxes) so as to have money to lure the poor into perpetual dependency (as in education, welfare, and health care). The middle class producers of the goods we all need are themselves reduced by this plunder to subservience to the state. That means necessarily the destruction of the middle class and of the economy. And the poor still remain poor.
So the real beneficiaries are those (surprise! surprise!) at the top of the power pyramid who control the now wards of the state. Those recipients at the bottom do not know that the majority of the wealth is skimmed off. The "beneficiaries" become serfs on the government plantation. All this is done through mechanisms such as the Federal Reserve (with similar private banks in other countries), taxes, and administrative tyranny.
At no point does this scheme show trust for anyone outside of its own inner circle. It does not trust the wards of the state to become independent, and it does not trust those who are independently making their own living. It sees the latter as their enemies, and the former as their "useful idiots".
In Godly government, the place of coercive force is under direction by ourselves, the people under God, the voting public. The synergy and direction for civilization must come from God through the people, not from the government. The coercive force of government is first of all to protect all those freedoms specifically from the centralizers, who want those freedoms only for themselves. That is spelled out in the Declaration of Independence. Government is not to enslave us, but to protect the freemarket of honest discourse, especially in government, and most especially in the legislature where laws are made by the people, for the people, and under God. Coercive force is legitimately used in a Godly government to keep freedom intact, not to subvert it in the name of "doing the right thing" for the pseudo-oppressed.
Are there truly oppressed? Centralized government itself has been by far the greatest oppressor of all time. Why would any sane person want to give it all the guns? Taking away the freedom of the people to make their own legitimate choices is treason against the people, precisely that for which the American Declaration and Constitution were written "to alter or abolish". Taking away freedom in this manner is not just "another way of doing things". It is evil and to be thrown out of government. The spiritual energy from God, flowing freely through the population creates a powerful and unbreakable unity. When government tries to substitute its own energy and direction in place of God, the effect is stifling and deadly. The energy from God-less government is wholly opposed to the freedom of the sons and daughters of God.
If that is not true, then the American War for Independence was itself treason against George III, not a legitimate and conservative revolution to protect the freedoms they had already had by charter with the king for nearly 200 years.
So we conclude that the centralizers themselves, not the people, benefit, especially since the "right" and the "left" have joined forces in their globalist venture. Left-wing centralizers from the world of Big Government have joined forces with Right-wing centralizers from the world of Corporate Monopoly. In effect, the Big Money people appear to have bought out the Big Government people (go to www.themoneymasters.com and get or see their video of that title). Politicians, always in need of money for their next project, if not themselves submitted to God, will be easy bribery targets for the financially well off.
But the "benefitting"
enjoyed by the centralizers is a Pyrrhic victory. The cost to their own
souls is devastating. "For what does it profit a man, to gain the
whole world and forfeit his life?" (Mark 8:36)
7. THE CURE - OUR UNIVERSAL, COSMIC CONSTITUTION
Only the restoration of Biblical government by a God-fearing people can reestablish the freedoms with which we are gifted by God. No other source can give us those freedoms. So secular and pagan people who value their freedoms want something they can have only at the cost of something they are unwilling to grant -- the sovereignty of God. Christians should be boldly proclaiming the Good News, not only for our personal salvation, but the Good News for the public arena, that Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, does indeed, as indicated by the Declaration, grant us those freedoms, inalienable and secure.
Constitutional sovereignty lies with the people under God, not with the government. The free online course given at www.hillsdale.edu (go to Hillsdale College Page) on the Declaration and Constitution clearly and convincingly demonstrates where the sovereignty lies, among the people, and why we must keep it that way. As William Blackstone, preeminent British jurist at the time of the Revolution, implies, the law of God (Decalogue and Two Great Commandment) is our universal, cosmic constitution, that by which all peoples, all governments everywhere, are bound.
Some will retort that "this is theocracy!" -- which they interpret as tyranny. 'Theocracy' means rule by the law and grace of God. So tyranny would depend upon the kind of God who rules the cosmos.
We do indeed have examples of alleged divinities who show a tyrannical bent. But the God and Father of Jesus Christ, the one, holy, and undivided Trinity, is the cosmic enemy of all tyranny. Who else but the God of the Bible tells us that the law, His law, is made for man, not man for the law? (Mark 2:27) What other divinity has paid the price of crucifixion to make that principle clear to His people?
Tyranny is what one finds in secular and pagan centralized government all through history to the present day. The 20th century was a prime example. The tyrant wants the law no longer to be for the people, as God mandates, but for themselves. It has been the Biblical influence almost alone which has introduced us to a government compatible with the freedom of the people, from the poorest to the richest.
Centralized government is thus a material and substantial evil, not a good. Government limited under God and to His purposes is a good, not an evil. We must force the public discussion on these issues.
It is precisely those born-again children of God [see Easter-Lent series], secure in their own salvation, i.e., secure and united in their being and in their moral direction, who can keep civil government on a constitutional tether so as to preserve the freedoms of all persons, of any faith, that is, who agree to the terms of the Declaration and Constitutional covenant between (1) God, (2) ourselves, and (3) our government (in that descending order).
Some might not agree that God is part of the bargain, but they must be required to agree to the terms of mutual respect and search for the truth of the matters at hand. A mutual commitment to the truth about both personal and community issues is the first level of community, the basic level which must precede all others. Persons who will not make that commitment should not vote, or be naturalized into citizenship. Commitment to truth is part and parcel of our Constitutional order.
If the voting citizens taken as a body, constitutes the Highest Officer of the state (that would be the effective meaning of we, the people, being sovereign over our government), then every citizen when registering to vote should take the same oath of office that other officers of the state take, swearing to defend the Constitution. Impeachment of such individual officers might be hard to enforce, but it would highlight the point that the people, not elected officials, are the Highest Officer, and that as such they have specific responsibilities, the violation of which does have consequences.
None of this can happen until Judeo-Christians
clearly articulate the Biblical understanding of civil government, and show that
a theocracy committed to truth-seeking is indeed the
road to political as well as personal freedom in Christ.
THEOCRACY on a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
God invites His people onto a level playing field of His own construction, as illustrated over and over throughout Scripture (e.g., "Come, let us reason together..." Isaiah 1:18). So the first step of Godly evangelism is be open to that arena of truth-testing, the challenge to see who has the truth in an honest open discussion, offering that level playing field as the place of encounter.
This is how the meek, those who are stabilized in God, not in themselves or by the world, will inherit the earth -- as the level playing field upon which to meet other people openly and freely. Evangelism means inviting people into that adventure of personal spiritual growth, not foisting something on them. Living in that stability from God, the people of God can stand openly and honestly, not defensively, on the level field, giving them the advantage of freedom. The defensive are inhibited from that openness and freedom. By their walls of defensiveness, they lock themselves out from the earth, the sacramental world of reality.
The secular and pagan worlds are incapable of creating and sustaining such a level playing field because they can produce neither ontological stability nor moral order by which to unite the people. So secularism and paganism always tilt toward division and disunity of the people and thus centralization of coercion to produce the unity.
God wants us to be truth-seekers before being position-defenders -- to ensure that the positions we defend will indeed be the truth. Truth-seeking requires the same level playing field in the open, public arena which the Constitution was written to provide in civil government. Anyone can speak his mind, but he has to win the debate by honest presentation of fact and logic, not by lies, deceit, or coercion. He must submit his case to open critique. He must guarantee that same freedom to every other party to the discussion, and expect the same loyalty from others to principle and love of persons. The reason that every party to the discussion must guarantee that mutual freedom is that God guarantees it. Built on the love of God, truth-seeking and love of neighbor is the bottom foundation of the Godly moral order.
So there are theocracies and then there are theocracies. Not all theocracies are created equal. The theocracy of the Bible is the only possible guarantee of a limited government for a free people. The Constitution puts it: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government," (Article IV, Section 4), that is, the kind of government built on these principles of mutual respect for each other's freedoms under the law and grace of God. Equality of representation (given by the level playing field) stands on the originating equality of creation in the Image of God, so thus we all stand equal before each other and equal before any government on earth.
A Biblical civilization, intellectually, morally, and spiritually fueled by God on His level playing field through families, churches, and societies, with a Godly government restricted to being referee, is not just efficient politically, it is a beautiful and powerful thing to behold. We need no government nanny telling us how to run our lives, and how to fill the coffers of our pseudo-rulers. The difference between society constructed under the law and the grace of God and society constructed on the world's terms is, in the final resolution, the difference between heaven and hell.
So, let us take our future into our hands, and
(1) the limited government which is to protect these things, not steal them;
(2) the control of our own education and that of our children with the consequent restoration of a freemarket of ideas;
(3) the freemarket among consumers and producers to restore a Godly economic powerhouse;
(4) our right (even obligation) and ability as citizens to defend ourselves against enemies both foreign and domestic;
and most importantly,
(5) the genuine freedom of religion implied in the freemarket of ideas, where truth-seeking is the prior foundation of all position-defending.
The assertion that "theocracy equals tyranny" is false, often spoken or implied in public, reacting to religious presence in the public arena. Interestingly however, that charge is limited almost entirely to Biblical religion. It has been the intellectual, moral, and spiritual weak-kneed response of Christians which has allowed this foolishness to go nearly unchallenged in the West. The evidence is clearly and overwhelmingly not on the side of secular or pagan interests, but on the side of Common Sense Christianity.
Note: This material will become part of a book,
The Theology of Civil Government: Why Government Requires God.
See also: A New Reformation, the Middle Class & the Imago Dei, & He's My King! that's Why!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Date Posted - 09/13/2012 - Date Last Edited - 12/30/2012