Revisiting the Christian and State Relationship.

A new Rasmussen poll of Texans shows the following:

Thirty-one percent (31%) of Texas voters say that their state has the right to secede from the United States and form an independent country.

However, the latest Rasmussen Reports poll in the state finds that if the matter was put to a vote, it wouldn’t even be close. Three-fourths (75%) of Lone Star State voters would opt to remain in the United States. Only 18% would vote to secede, and seven percent (7%) are not sure what they’d choose (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/states_general/texas/in_texas_31_say_state_has_right_to_secede_from_u_s_but_75_opt_to_stay, accessed 2009-04-17 15:36Z).

The United States (that is, today’s United State) had its beginning in a war of secession. America did not fight to take over Britain, but to secede from it. Texas, for that matter, seceded from Mexico in 1836 and eventually, joined in the war in defense of Southern secession (incorrectly called the Civil war). So, Texas joined a secessionist nation (USA) and itself seceded twice. And in 2009 69% of Texans do not affirm the right to secede?

They are confused.

What brings on wars of secession? People want to determine for themselves how they will live, and another group wants to exercise lordship over them. Which calls to mind Scriptures such as (Mark 10:42-45; Luke 22:24-26). James warns that the cause of conflict rises from unconverted people seeking material wealth and control (James 4:1-4).

When people acquire control over other people, they exploit them. No matter how good their intentions, that is the end result. Sale warns that “when governments become centralized and enlarged beyond a certain limited range, they not only cease to solve problems, they actually begin to create them” (Kirkpatrick Sale, Human Scale, p. 98). We do it to ourselves.

He who thus domineers over you . . . has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you. Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How could he dare assail you if he had no cooperation from you? What would he do to you if you yourself did not connive with the thief who plunders you, if you were not accomplices of the murderer who kills you, if you were not traitors to yourselves? (Etienne de la Boetie, The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, p. 52, op. cit. in Hoppe, Democracy, p. 90).

Yes. We do it to ourselves. But bigger is not always better, and offering others grants of power over ourselves means to vacate those same God-given powers to others. Genesis one shows that God granted dominion to both Adam and to Eve (Genesis 1:26-28). Humans were never granted dominion over each other, but over the creation. Jesus came to release the captives (Luke 4:18). He came to return to us the grant of power that Adam forsook (6:16). Adam disobeyed and became servant of Satan, and all of his descendants are born weak (Romans 5:6).

How readily we surrender what little freedom we have! How quickly we hand dominion off to someone else—other than God and other than ourselves. How fearful is the idea of freedom. Deep down we prefer to slink on in bondage, to be identified with evolution from slime before being identified with being made in the image of God. The Lord is always trying to lift us up, and we are always trying to bow ourselves down. We place ourselves in subjection to others.

Surely Hoppe is right when he argues that political competition is a far more effective device for limiting a government’s natural desire to expand its exploitative powers than are internal constitutional limitations (See Democracy—The God That Failed, fn. p. 110).

If you insist on having a state, then there should be many small states to choose from. They can compete for citizens by the arrangements they make.

Secession is only a temporary solution. The creation of a state inevitably creates a territorial monopoly, an exploitative platform. In 2009 the state functions as a redistributor of wealth, taking from some and giving to a select group of others. The taking, for many from whom it is taken, is involuntary. However, the receiving of the taken money is also voluntary. Accepting Caesar’s money means accepting Caesar’s servitude.

There are options other than the state. Will we ever get there? Maybe. More likely, not. At least, not before the return of Christ. In the new earth we anticipate a return to Edenic liberty, to living under the direct lordship of God. In essence, it will be an anarchist state of existence, freely at one with Him, directly in communion with Him, and no intervening engines or agencies of exploitation.

If that is a situation that we are presently in training for, then we ought today to be moving personally toward that ideal. And not only personally, but perhaps events will so order matters that we will have more practice in self government in this life. We want to get out from under the illusions, distortions, and exploitations of the state. We want to grow our characters by living in a realistic New Testament environment where we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:4-10).

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