Revisiting the Christian and State Relationship.

Archive for the ‘secession’ Category

Medina and Texas secession

(Via dailypaul.com)

Are we living in USA 5.0?

Whatever one may think of Hauerwas, he has a point:

Who has the infinite duty to honor the infinite claim of every person to the pursuit of happiness? The answer of the eighteenth century, and of those who have followed, is familiar: it is the nation-state. The nation-state replaces the holy church and the holy-empire as the centerpiece in the post-enlightenement ordering of society . . . the nation-state has taken the place of God as the source to which we look for happiness, health, and welfare (Stanley Hauerwas, After Christendom, p. 66).

For long years the situation has developed. The powers that be would prefer that we go blandly onward believing a cardboard cut-out picture. The United States is the land of the free and the home of the brave. “We” are always the good guys. No need to be concerned. Those who run the country are ever engaged in “the art of cutting into this chaos [the messy way things actually are] and imposing a simplified definition on the situation, that is, making people act as if the simplified picture were the reality” (F. G. Bailey, Humbuggery and Manipulation, p. 2).

Still, the networked-world renders this a difficult prospect. The state has failed. Today, even those of us who grew up attending state schools, indoctrinated into all the fine tales about the goodness of this fine nation, sense that the United States of America isn’t quite what it once was. In fact, the history of this nation is divided rather easily into periods, each dominated by a distinct ethos. One way to outline these is as follows.

United States of America 1.0
1775 – 1782 War of Secession from England (Revolutionary War / War of Independence)
1776 Declaration of Independence
1777 – 1789 Articles of Confederation
United States of America 2.0
1789 – 1791 Constitution
1791 Bill of Rights (first ten amendments to the Constitution added)
1819 US Supreme Court rules congress’ powers not limited to those expressly delegated
United States of America 3.0
1846 – 1848 Mexican-American War (US acquires Alta-Mexico, i.e. The southwestern states)
1861 – 1865 War of Northern Aggression (Southern War for Secession, Civil War)
1862 Creation of US agency that became the IRS (Internal Revenue Service)
1869 US Supreme Court in Texas vs. White rules US Constitution does not permit states to secede
1886 Creation of US agency that became the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms)
1898 Spanish-American War (US gains control of Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam)
1898 US steals Hawaii
1908 Creation of US agency that became FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
United States of America 4.0
1913 16th Amendment to Constitution legalizes Federal income taxes
1913 17th Amendment to Constitution changes to direct election of senators
1913 Federal Reserve Act establishes Central Bank
1917 Woodrow Wilson and US entry into World War I
1919 18th amendment to the US constitution prohibits manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol
1929 – 1940 Great Depression I
1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt and US entry into World War II
1942 – 1945 110,000 Japanese descended imprisoned in US concentration camps by executive order 9066
1945 135,000 German civilians killed in Dresden bombing by Britain and US
1945 100,000 Japanese civilians killed in fire-bombing of Tokyo by US
1945 220,000 Japanese civilians killed by US nuclear weapons attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
1945 – 1963 US the primary polluter in above-ground nuclear testing
1947 Creation of US agency CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)
1950 – 1953 US-Korean War
1952 Creation of US agency NSA/CSS (National Security Agency / Central Security Service)
1965 – 1973 US-Vietnam War
1971 US abolishes gold standard, moves to only fiat currency
1979 Creation of US agency FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
1983 US invasion of Grenada
United States of America 5.0
1990 – 1991 US-Iraq War I (Persian Gulf War)
2001 USA Patriot Act
2001 – Present US-Afghanistan War
2002 Creation of US agency DHS (Department of Homeland Security)
2003 – Present US-Iraq War II
2007 Directive 51 gives president authority to declare suspension of regular operation of government
2007 US spy satellites in use against US citizens
2007 – Present Great Depression II
2008 US soldiers stationed and operating on US mainland

USA 1.0 covers the period of the United States’ war to secede from Britain. Many of the 13 former colonies specified that they were confederating in union as sovereign states.

Under USA 2.0, a major shift occurred from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution. The result was centralization of power and a substantial weakening of the powers of the individual states. In the space of less than 30 years, the working of the Federal government moved from the tenth amendment’s language of powers “expressly delegated” by the Constitution, to the US Supreme Court ruling in 1819 that Congress’ powers were not limited to those expressly delegated. The hand-writing was on the wall, but who wanted to see it? Murray N. Rothbard states what had become obvious: “the Constitution has proved to be an instrument for ratifying the expansion of State power rather than the opposite” (For a New Liberty, p. 67).

In USA 3.0, we see naked thirst for empire slipping into the open. The idea of Manifest Destiny justified the expansion of the state. The lands of Native Americans were seized, treaties they signed disregarded by the USA. Overseas, numerous lands were taken by force. Finally, war between North and South was loosed after the imposition by the North of the Morrill Tariff Act of 1861, which imposed a 47 percent tax on the value of all imported goods coming through Southern ports. At this point, the Southern states sought to secede from the Union. The North aggressed. Where slavery had been ended peacefully almost everywhere else, in America it was ended via cataclysmic bloodbath in a northern victory.

In USA 4.0, the deterioration continues. Power is further centralized at the Federal level. A central bank is restored and the devaluation of the dollar proceeds. US presidents manage to manipulate facts and circumstances such that public opinion which had firmly opposed entry into world wars was turned. During WWII the US is directly responsible for the killing of half a million civilians, beside foreign military. American citizens of Japanese descent on the West Coast are rounded up and imprisoned in dozens of concentration camps. The cold war began and the wealth of US citizenry was spent on stockpiles of genocidal weapons. The nation renounced the gold standard and moved to a purely fiat currency. (Several cases of foreign “regime change” under 4.0 and 5.0 are not here noted.)

In USA 5.0, we have empire fully on display. With the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, the US stood at a crossroads. No longer “necessary,” it was time to shrink the military-industrial complex. Fat chance. Instead, the US embarks on a further round of foreign military adventures, buying-off other nations and forming coalitions providing a cover of legitimacy. The terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 offered convenient justification for government surveillance of its own citizens. Unrestricted spending by the US triggers worldwide economic collapse. US debt during this period assumes catastrophic proportions. In repudiation of Posse Comitatus, US soldiers are stationed in the United States mainland to be available for use against US citizens in case of “civil unrest.”

We summarize, noting that there have been at least five iterations of the United States of America. From the initial concept of a very limited government and soveriegnty of the states in union, the state has travelled to its present situation as an autonomous behemoth operating independent of its founding values. The idea of a state whose power is limited by a piece of paper has run its course. We live in the result. In human terms, only time will tell whether the whole thing comes tumbling down of its own weight, or solidifies into a perpetual totalitarian regime as bad as the worst science fiction nightmare.

Welcome to America 5.0!

Christian anarchist adventure

Here I am, a few years in. I am a Seventh-day Adventist and I am a Christian anarchist. Like many bloggers, my first energies go to my family and my profession. In between, I seek to offer multiple blog entries during the week, and, on occasion, work on my larger projects which I always intend to publish. Once in awhile I publish one, even when I am not satisfied with it, when the hungry belly of the blog begins to rumble.

So here is yet another flow-of-consciousness entry. Today, a few notes about my journey.

When every election time rolled around I would search among the political-party options, ever dissatisfied. A long term feature of my thinking was fiscal conservatism. I have long thought that state spending was thoroughly out of control. As time went on I eventually found the libertarian option via someone over at National Review online. I bought a book, a “primer” on libertarianism. It all seemed to make a great deal of sense. At last I was on my way. I joined the Libertarian party.

Along the way came Ron Paul. In the first Republican presidential debate in the 2008 election cycle, I saw, considered, and appreciated. Ron was a fresh window. Somewhere along the way I found Lewrockwell.com and Mises.org. I downloaded an audio book by Murray Rothbard. I was on my way! Soon I was an anarcho-capitalist. And I was not alone. I began to discover other Christian libertarian and anarchist blogs. It means a lot to know you are not (humanly speaking) alone. I rejoice to see that others see what I see.

But I am a Christian and as I had always wanted but had never been able to reconcile my religious and political views, I began to explore Christian anarchism. Enter Jacques Ellul and Vernard Eller. I have read several of their books by now, and have found in them some powerful insights, even while I recognize that all of our theological points do not fit together.

I am continuing to read and learn, as time permits. I feel that the next two or three decades (if it takes that long) here in America, will see—at the minimum—the total collapse of the dollar. As for the nation, it seems to me that it has crossed the point of no return. I look for a collapse of the United State. When the debt load becomes not only unbearable, but widely acknowledged as unbearable, the states will mutually secede one from another and repudiate the debt. In short, I anticipate a time of turmoil unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, perhaps unlike anything anyone in the West has faced for centuries. It is not that I wish it, but that I anticipate it. It is not that I see it in Bible prophecy, but that I see it in the way the world is.

I have already accomplished a harmonization between my anarchism and my Christianity. This offers me a benchmark from which to proceed. I no longer look to the state as solution, but recognize it as machinery that is inevitably wielded for injustice by fallen humans.

I look to a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness reigns. On the way to that, I will not build my hopes here, but I will seek in my own tiny corner of planet earth, to live out with increasing clarity the biblical vision of justice and mercy and reliance upon God. The state is an idol—a big, fat one, squatting in obscenity in the middle of the human room. It offers—for a price—a refuge from personal responsibility or morality. It is a cold monster, a dehumanizing venus flytrap for people, a baited hook. I realize that to become a true man, I must carry on, shedding illusions one by one. I rejoice that I am part way there, or at least that I have started the journey and passed the first few mile markers. I am embarked on the Christian anarchy adventure.

No doubt there are horrors along the way, and all this path offers is “the truth, nothing more.” But that will be enough. Anarchism and Christianity are not mutually exclusive; far from it. They fit together very closely. Jesus is THE ARCHE, the true One, one who entered the experience of the creatures He Himself made and walked beside us, sweating and abused by those who would impose themselves upon others. The seekers of power crucified Him. He had set aside the glory that He had with the Father before the world was (John 17:5). But He took it up again and rose from the dead (John 10:18; Revelation 1:18). He brings to an end all human arkys (Daniel 2:34, 35, 44). I am preparing for the new earth in which righteousness dwells, and certainly no human state. Then men will be true men; all illusions will be done. Perhaps some reader will join me on the journey.

How the US stole Hawaii

Ever heard of Dole Bananas?

http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/HAWAII/hawaii.html

Georgia GOP and secession

Almost half said they would prefer to secede. Interesting:

http://rawstory.com/08/blog/2009/05/01/poll-almost-half-of-georgia-gop-think-state-would-be-better-off-seceding/#tab=home&url=home.php

It looks like we are going to see more and more of this.

The main objection to secession?

Kelse Moen, in the April 27, 2009 Emory Wheel, offers a most interesting observation concerning secession:

But there is another objection to secession, and this, I think, is the most important one. It explains the apoplexy we see in modern-day liberals—and even in some statist conservatives—whenever the topic of secession is broached. The Progressive philosophy, the foundation of modern-day liberalism, is built on a belief in the efficacy of central power—that the government possesses the means of curing any social affliction, if only we get the right people in power. Heaven is only an election away!

Secession threatens that view because it is a radical attack on central power as such. How often do we hear of those “backwards Christians” or those “redneck reactionaries” who won’t accept Roe v. Wade, the War on Poverty, or whatever other socially transformative project the Washington establishment is peddling?

Progressivism can only work if those rubes out in the countryside just shut up and go along. It’s always the fault of those obstructionists—they never gave Roosevelt or Johnson or Obama the chance to make the change we needed.

The problem becomes much worse when those rubes out in the countryside can just walk away. The social transformers begin to see that the society they wish to transform is growing ever smaller. The Progressives cry foul. And so they should. They do not value liberty; they value only ideology, and they seek to force the world to conform to their ideology at gunpoint. (Read the whole article here: http://www.emorywheel.com/detail.php?n=27073, accessed 2009-05-01).

Here is the divide: one group believes in totalitarianism; the other believes in liberty.

Jacques Ellul nails it:

It is not true that people want to be free. They want the advantages of independence without the difficulties or duties of freedom. Freedom is hard to live with. It devours and demands . . . . Exodus tells us several times that when the Hebrew people were delivered from bondage in Egypt, when faced with the problems of living in freedom they wanted to go back. They had no provisions. The way was uncertain. The future was unknown. The strange will of their Liberator God was incomprehensible. Better slavery with a guaranteed minimum wage! . . . The more security and guarantees we want against things, the less free we are. Tyrants are not to be feared today,but our own frantic need of security is. Freedom inevitably means insecurity and responsibility. But we moderns above all seek above all to be responsible for nothing. Yet we want an air of freedom, an appearance of liberty. We want to vote. We want a party system . . . we dare to talk of freedom (Jacques Ellul, The Subversion of Christianity, pp. 167-169).

I have abbreviated Ellul’s argument. He pierces through our righteous pretensions and helps us understand where we have gone. The state has trained us to dependency; we are afraid to be free. We prefer to hand off our responsibilities to others. This leads to centralized power, and try this: it trains us to trust in man rather than to trust in God.

The state is dangerous. Not so much because its cheerleaders are all malevolent; they are not. But because it is the center of a system of things that subtly trains us to trust in other flesh. People lay their hopes upon the collective and disperse their responsibilities to it. The individual, in contrast, not trusting in the collective, having nothing else to fall back on, learns to combine with God (Philippians 2:12, 13). The result has a positive impact on others (James 1:25, 27; 2:15-17; Matthew 25:37-40).

When the day was wearing out and the vast crowd had nothing to eat, the disciples came to Jesus and reported the problem to Him. He told them to distribute food. As they distributed, the food was multiplied (Luke 9:12-17). Being a Christian strengthens us in acting on personal initiative and trusting in God.

The very opposite happens when we trust in the state. First, it is bureaucratic, impersonal; humanity is less likely to be expressed. Again, whatever aid the state distributes has first been taken by force through taxation. Since it is other people’s money, it is always spent more prodigally. Then there are the many layers of administrative machinery, all employees who are paid to arrive at output. At the end of the day just running the state machine has consumed most of the resources. People learn to gather at the spigot and wait for the machine to spit out its dollops of help. It saps initiative and rewards inaction. It certainly trains no one to trust in God.

The threat of secession, if it exists, is actually a help for the state; it would it avoid exposing the secret realities of its theft, inefficiency, and inhumanity. That threat has not existed in the United State since 1865. It is probably returning too late to make a difference; the state is already doomed by its excesses. Moen and Ellul combine to show that personal responsibility-taking and Christian character growth are more likely apart from centralized human power. The financial burdens created by the state guarantee secession. We will be better Christians and social afflictions will more likely be cured under small, or better yet, no government.

All the artificiality and redistribution and privilege created by centralized power—and all the trust in human solutions—needs to be stripped away. And so we come full circle: one group believes in totalitarianism; the other believes in liberty. Most totalitarians probably don’t realize that that is what they are. The question of secessionism can be a door to open the way to clarification and reassessment. Here is the point: Those who trust in the state do not need God. When they discover that the wizard is only a bankrupt man behind the curtain (Wizard of Oz reference), they may see new possibilities in liberty, and in our Liberator.

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