Did Someone Mention “Our Great Country”?
by Randy Duey
Thirty years ago, when I was a freshman in Dysfunctional Government 101, I would probably have been at least mildly offended if someone criticized me for being proud of my country. Curious, but a little stung. But I’ve learned a lot about the ugly realities of life since then and most of it has cured me of any affection for government or country.
I recently read Albert Jay Nock’s “Our Enemy, the State”, which would be the primary text for Dysfunctional Government 101. I was relieved to find a very welcome affirmation in it of some pretty radical conclusions I had formed. I’ll be quoting from it later but for now, here’s this gem: “There appears to be a curious difficulty about exercising reflective thought upon the actual nature of an institution into which one is born…” (Nock) No kidding.
That was 1935, before the media was nearly the obnoxious Big Brother it has become. Today, human beings are like flotsam on a river of state propaganda that constantly extols the virtues of government, the necessity of government, the inevitability of government. It carries us down the stream of our lives whispering into our ear at every turn, “I am the power and the glory. Obey me and I will make all things right for you.”
It’s impossible to escape the propaganda which is, of course, by design, and which is the reason so many still use this foolish term of endearment: “our great country.” But it’s not impossible to acquire an enlightened immunity to propaganda. A little unprejudiced, dispassionate inquiry may be beneficial…
A country is made up of three basic elements – the land, the people, and the government. The land has no moral content and doesn’t by itself, make a country. Even the people and the land together don’t necessarily make a country. But a government is a sure sign of a country and, since it represents human nature at its lowest, is always the problem. Political boundaries are a sure sign there’s an animal on the prowl, watching its territory, and probably its neighbors’, too.
Countries are formed by application of force. “The positive testimony of history is that the State invariably had its origin in conquest and confiscation. No primitive state known to history had its origin in any other manner.” (Nock)
What’s the basic unit of government? Many years ago a debate waged over which was the more important – the federal government or the state governments. It continues even today. If you’re in the ruling class, you probably favor the former and if you’re not, you probably favor the latter. Thomas Jefferson thought the basic unit should be the township. Smaller is better. But it’s all just a jurisdictional dispute.
The problem with the state’s rights argument is that every evil avoided by nullification of the federal jurisdiction is equally available to the state and, indeed, is already present. We make no improvement in our lot by jurisdictional restrictions.
As in so many things, the best authority on a question of importance is the Bible. The unit of government established by God is the nuclear family: A man has authority over his wife and children. And the real question here is just that – authority: What is its nature, who has it, and over whom?
God knows our limitations. He made man in such a way that, with few exceptions, he can be relied on to care deeply enough for his family to take care of them in their best interests rather than over his own. But men can’t be trusted any further than that. God didn’t give authority to some men over others.
That may sound awfully radical. It did to me at first. But that’s my understanding of the Bible. The Bible talks about kings, their deeds, and their governments constantly, but you’ll look high and low and not find Divine sanction of government.
There are two nonconformities worth noting: First, military emergencies require leaders to carry out, with speed and coordination, the maneuvers necessary to win military engagements. But armies are ad hoc committees; as soon as the emergency is over, so is the army. Otherwise, the army operates under Israel Law. There’s no special military jurisdiction which makes its own laws.
Second, is the institution of Judge. As far as I know, anyone can be asked to judge a question between disputants. Naturally, you’d ask someone who has exceptional knowledge of the Law and how to apply it to real-life situations. Long ago God had a closer relationship with His people and actually selected the first judges himself. Although the immediacy of that relationship changed over the centuries, the function of judges didn’t. But there was no “office” of judge. There was no salary from the public treasury because there was no public treasury. Judges sowed and reaped like everyone else. In New Testament times the capacity of judge was transferred to elders.
The full-grown beast that rules us today began with the creation of an “office”, a position of authority. If the only office in the world today were that of dog catcher, tomorrow’s dog catcher would also be the mayor, police chief, general, etc. It’s the nature of the beast. When you create offices and endow them with authority, you enter the domain of the State. God’s strategy was to not let the process ever begin.
A State is a loaded gun sitting on a table in a room full of psychopaths. It’s only a matter of time until one psychopath picks it up and uses it against the others. Whatever human beings want that requires the creation of an office, they’re much better off without.
There’s a wild idea that’s been given credence in patriot circles for as long as I can remember – that our American government is a carryover from that of old Israel’s; that there’s somehow a direct line of descent from Biblical principles to us. This foolishness, born of lack of research and blind acceptance of hearsay, couldn’t be more wrong.
Israel lived under God’s law, the Kingdom of Heaven. We live under Man’s law, the Kingdom of Hell. Israel had no legislature because their Law was written by God. There will never be an end to American laws because they’re written by men. Israel had no State, while we live under a State, which is our curse for rejecting God as our King. He gave us His Law to save us from the State.
Our form of government is the State; Israel’s was the nuclear family. God was the husband and we were the family he took care of. It was a covenant relationship and we broke it. From that point on we weren’t old Israel anymore. We became the new Israel. We demanded a king and a State and God gave them to us and told us what the consequences would be in I Samuel 8 – that the State would take everything and give nothing.
The following is an economic law quoted by Nock: “Man tends to satisfy his needs and desires with the least possible exertion.”
There are two basic ways of making a living:
- The economic solution – by production and trade
- The political solution – by uncompensated confiscation
Obviously, the second solution is the easier way. It refers to the common thievery made possible by control of the State apparatus. “Moreover, the sole invariable characteristic of the State is the economic exploitation of one class by another.” (Nock) “The State… is not based on the idea of natural rights, but on the idea that the individual has no rights except those the State may provisionally grant him.” (Nock)
No matter what the State does, we love it. “Thus while every day chronicles a failure, there appears every day the belief that it needs but an act of Parliament and a staff of officers to effect any end desired.” (Nock) The staple deception of party politics; the fuel for our four-year liar’s conventions to crown our next commander-in-thief!
America has always been a State. The early settlements were large corporations created by European aristocrats. They tightly controlled trade and profits for themselves, wielding the apparatus of State as a great battle-axe, making war on the people and subjecting them to tribute.
“…nowhere in the American colonial civil order was there ever a trace of democracy. The political structure was always that of merchant-State; Americans have never known any other. Furthermore, the philosophy of natural rights and popular sovereignty was never once exhibited anywhere in American political practice during the colonial period, from the first settlement in 1607 down to …1776.” (Nock)
Our ‘founding fathers’, for whom right-wingers burden themselves with a naïve reverence, were the point men for a ruling class who viewed us little people with such cynicism and disdain that they actively, consciously strove for our complete subjugation. These were the men who deliberated at the Constitutional Convention of 1789 which was “…made up wholly of men representing [the ruling class]. The great majority of them, possibly as many as four-fifths, were public creditors [money lenders]; one-fifth were industrialists, traders, shippers; and many of them were lawyers. They planned and executed a coup d’etat, simply tossing the Articles of Confederation into the wastebasket, and drafting a constitution de novo…” (Nock)
Twenty years ago, when I was reading Teddy Roosevelt’s “Winning of the West”, my little patriotic world was shaken when I discovered that Daniel Boone, American hero, was an inveterate land speculator. When he said he needed “elbow room”, I guess he really meant more opportunity for ill-gotten gains. Now I learn from Nock that Washington, Patrick Henry, Ben Franklin, nearly every signer of the Declaration of Independence and every one of the ‘founding fathers’ were doing the same thing.
They used their control of the State to award themselves huge land grants, surveyed the land and sold it for profit. Think about it: It wasn’t just that they made no improvements before reselling. Nor was it that they made fortunes on land that wasn’t theirs and contracts that were unavailable to all but a few. Their chief sin was a very deep one.
In the reduction of people to slavery, the most important objective is always to separate them from their land. A people who own land can’t be enslaved. In Bible Law, the relationship of people to the land is sacred and is regulated by the Jubilee. Each family is awarded enough land every 50 years to meet its needs.
By their willingness to interfere in one of the most important principles of Bible Law, our ‘founding fathers’ put themselves solidly in the camp of the enemy – the State.
Our country, our State, our Constitution, our founding fathers – they’re all products of human beings. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” ~Jeremiah 17:9
It’s not a good policy to make heroes out of men. They can’t live up to great expectations. Everything about every country that’s ever existed is the product of men. There’s never been a great country and there never will be. There’s never been one that wasn’t born in iniquity and then went downhill from there.
Society has to deal realistically with human nature. Ours obviously doesn’t.
Ask God for wisdom every day.