Theonomy’s “Radical Libertarianism”

Opinions have been exchanged over the relationship between Christianity and libertarianism. Some of these have had reference to the heritage of theonomy (or Christian Reconstruction) and the use of the term “libertarianism.” One writer criticizes “professing theonomists” who support the modern Liberty movement with appeal to R.J. Rushdoony’s works:

if Rushdoony ever used the term “libertarian” to describe himself, these professing theonomists commit the fallacy of equivocation. For if Rushdoony considered himself a libertarian, he certainly did not mean it in the sense Ron Paul does. Thus while Ron Paul and Rushdoony may have in common the word libertarianism, they surely do not have in common its meaning; they might as well use two different words.

While I would certainly acknowledge a particular foundational theological difference between the two overall philosophies,(1) the practical political platform of both is strikingly similar. They had much more than the mere word in common.

And we know that whatever is held in common here is ultimately borrowed theonomic capital.

More importantly, in most cases, it is this practical aspect—lower taxes, honest money, balanced budgets, minimal government, end to empire, etc.—to which both sides refer with the label “libertarian,” and thus the charge of equivocation does not hold up. For in the scope of political structure and law, the two in fact do have the same meaning.

This is clear from Rushdoony’s writings. Rushdoony (RJR) strongly compared his view of civil government (“theocracy”) to libertarianism—and not just libertarianism, but “the closest thing to radical libertarianism that can be had.” He wrote,

Few things are more commonly misunderstood than the nature and meaning of theocracy. It is commonly assumed to be a dictatorial rule by self-appointed men who claim to rule for God. In reality, theocracy in Biblical law is the closest thing to a radical libertarianism that can be had.(2)

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Let that sink in: “the closest thing to a radical libertarianism that can be had.”

This was not from some occasional article or passing thought. It was from a Chalcedon Foundation Position Paper, titled “The Meaning of Theocracy.” If this is not a definitive statement, nothing is.

In other words, just to be clear: in terms at least of political platform, Rushdoony’s theonomic theocracy was “the closest thing to a radical libertarianism that can be had.”

It is important to note here that RJR was not redefining “libertarian.” He was not defining “libertarian” in terms of his theocratic views, but just the opposite. He was defining theonomy in terms of the commonly understood libertarianism of his day—which would have been theoretically secular and humanistic at its foundation (though some Christians embraced it).

In other words, RJR he could praise this secular “radical libertarianism” for its political theory without personally accepting its theological foundations. The point was that anything which reduces the power of the state to its biblical proportions is an improvement toward a biblical society, and thus is to some degree welcome:

What we today fail to see, and must recapture, is the fact that the basic government is the self-government of covenant man; then the family is the central governing institution in Scripture. . . . Civil government must be one form of government among many, and a minor one.(3)

Indeed, “The state in Scripture is a minimal institution, and so too is the church as an institution. The rule of God’s law is essentially through the lives of men as they apply their faith, and as they create tithe agencies to govern various areas and needs. Where faith wanes, then theocracy wanes.(4)

Perhaps without irony, Rushdoony’s “minimal institution” finds a counterpart in the Libertarian Party’s own tagline: “Minimum government, Maximum freedom.” This is, of course, not to endorse the Libertarian Party, but only to show the basic goal in regard to political power is nearly identical.

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None of this is to say RJR did not qualify his own view, or to ignore his critiques of the philosophical foundations of humanism. But it does mean that as far as the goal of minimizing statist power and political centralization—the two philosophies can work together to promote the common benefit of minimal government.

There is more that must be said in regard to this, and I will write about it in the near future, but for now, it is important to clear the air on this matter.

So let it be clear, Rushdoony did not necessarily, in all contexts, have a different definition of “libertarianism” from the political platform per se.

Nor did he find it necessary constantly to distant himself from secular or “humanistic” libertarians as if by working with them his own message would be compromised.

This latter point is important as the same critic from above has made it a point: he implies it is unacceptable even to recognize secular libertarians in a book, or to give “such libertarians as Rothbard, F. A. Hayek, and Ludwig Von Mises” public approbation.

But RJR was unabashed in his approbation for these very guys,(5) and many more. Consider the Introduction to his Roots of Inflation:

One of the encouraging facts of our time is the rise of many able economists who are calling attention to the economic fallacies of our time. These are men of the Austrian school in the main. My debt to them is great. . . . The writings of many men, such as Von Mises, Röpke, Hazlitt, Greaves, Reisman, and many, many more have taught me much.(6)

The same Intro acknowledges Gary North and other Christians, but also adds a hat tip to secular libertarian think tank, “The Foundation for Economic Education” (FEE). RJR actually did some of his early writing for FEE.

If there were ever a time to be concerned over equivocation, it would have using a libertarian publication to advance such a libertarian message, especially if you meant something different by “libertarian” than they did.

Rush apparently had no qualms about their relationship, or about using secular libertarians or libertarian organizations to advance his message.

Further, Rush footnoted their works as authorities on particular subjects: it appears he took part of his critique of meritocracy from Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty, as his footnote reveals.(7) He sourced that very Ludwig von Mises (Human Action) and Hayek again (this time Capitalism and the Historians) in order to support a claim about leftist revisionism.(8) Elsewhere, he cited Von Mises’ view of “a harmony of interests” within a free-market economy.(9)

Sometimes he went beyond mere footnote. On one notable occasion, RJR wrote, “One of the more important books of this century was Albert Jay Nock’s Our Enemy, The State (Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho, 1935ff.).”

Nock was a one-time Episcopal minister who had left the clergy and, it appears, the faith altogether. He spent his later years as something of a recluse bordering on misanthropy.

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And it is not that RJR did not know these things: he acknowledged their differences. He went on to say of Nock:

Without agreeing with Nock in all things, it is necessary to agree with him that the modern state is man’s new church and saving institution. The state, however, is an anti-social institution, determined to suppress and destroy all the historic and religiously grounded powers of society. With F.D. Roosevelt and The New Deal, the goal of the statists became openly “the complete extinction of social power through absorption by the State.”(10)

Apparently, Rush had no problem with applauding the libertarian principles of people who did not fully share his Christian view of libertarianism—even if they were secular, agnostic libertarians.

Indeed, he thought Nock had written one of the most important books in the whole last century. Indeed, RJR said “it is necessary to agree with him.”

Sometimes, it is necessary to agree even with secular libertarians.

Not only did RJR footnote and uphold these guys himself, he published other people who did, too. He published Gary North’s articles in the appendices to his Institutes. In these appendices, North footnotes Mises three times(11) and later refers to F. A. Hayek’s “masterful book” The Road to Serfdom.(12) There was no outcry from Rushdoony as publisher.

Like I said, there is much more to say on this issue. In fact, it will be vital for me in the near future to make some important delineations. But for now, it is important to understand that the charge of equivocation against us theonomists who point to congruities between the political platforms of Rushdoony and representatives of the Liberty movement is absolutely unfounded.

There is no reason, then, for the sake of the advance of liberty, that we should distance ourselves from the vital contributions of the libertarian-minded in this regard.

This leaves open the question of to what extent a theonomist could support particular libertarians in office—which also raises important questions in turn. For example, if the choice for a president, or a nominee, were between a libertarian-ish Evangelical—who was not purely theonomic in his philosophical foundations—and any form of statist, wouldn’t this still technically be a “lesser of two evils” vote? Is there any difference in these types of cases at all? Are the differences in degree only, or also in principle? I hope to get to these questions before, say, late August.

In the meantime I think the liberty movement is vitally important in the sense that it is raising awareness, and more importantly, asking very candid and tough questions that have not been asked for centuries. This fervor and honesty must continue for future decades if real change is to come. And ultimately, the movement must grow foundationally Christian or it will fail.

The question now is about how best to proceed in the work of advancing liberty.

For the goals of the liberty movement, it will not be sufficient to achieve the presidency. It may, in fact, not even be necessary; but it certainly will not be sufficient. Liberty is not achieved through the mechanisms of tyranny—that is, the very offices of the central State that bred the tyranny to begin with.

Even if we, through the presidency, successfully stripped away all the tyranny that has grown up since 1789, what good would it do to takes us back to the top of the same slippery slope we’ve already gone down? It would be at best a holding action. A greater foundational change is needed.

Rush is clear that this must be done by spread of the Gospel and Christian self-government, not by top-down political implementation:

The essential government comes from the self-government of the Christian man. The U.S. was best governed when it was least governed, not because less control from the state was the essential ingredient but because Christian self-government was central in the eras of good government. Without strong, self-governing Christians taking back self-government under Christ in health, welfare, education, and more, we cannot return by politics to less statism.(13)

What this type of statement does is alert us to the main political enemy: statism.

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In light of this, the modern liberty movement has Christian enemies on two fronts: those who are statists, and those who are too pure to acknowledge a “libertarian” who is not theonomic enough.

The truth is that there are very few if any of the latter. Most are some form of statist when it comes down to it, and statism is by far the greater enemy than too much liberty.

And while RJR rightly believed we could not roll back statism by mere politics alone, it is a much greater shame that so many Christians ignore or dismiss the liberty movement for largely bogus reasons while trying to achieve aspects of a biblical society (life, marriage) through the unbiblical means of the central state.

RJR would applaud the modern Liberty movement, even if he would critique its theological foundations. But as for the statists, RJR called their attempts “the practical denial of Christ.”(14)

Choose this day whom you will serve.Endnotes:

  1. and it is ultimately vital, and I would side with Rushdoony()
  2. Roots of Reconstruction (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), 63.()
  3. Roots, 64.()
  4. Systematic Theology: In Two Volumes (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), 2:1141.()
  5. With the exception of Rothbard.()
  6. Ross House Books, 1982, i.()
  7. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (The Craig Press, 1973), 643n.()
  8. Intellectual Schizophrenia (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1961 [reprinted 2002]), 15.()
  9. Roots of Inflation, 85.()
  10. Roots of Reconstruction (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), 65.()
  11. pp. 802, 804, 806()
  12. p. 819()
  13. Systematic Theology, 2:1142; my emphasis.()
  14. The Foundations of Social Order, 170.()

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115 comments
E Harris
E Harris

Wow, I'd say Joel must have hit a nerve. This is probably the first time AV has had over a hundred comments under one article. 107 and counting...

aCultureWarrior
aCultureWarrior

Caleb writes: "Ron Paul believes, according to the Constitution, that the Federal government should leave this issue to the states. If you want to argue with his interpretation of the Constitution on this point, that’s fine. I don’t have a dog in that fight, however." First let me applaud you for defining what Libertarianism is all about (non aggresssion is a big part of it). Now show me a law that can be enforced without aggression. Regarding the Constitution and the men that wrote it: It's pretty clear where they stood on moral issues such as homosexuality. Sin is not a "states rights issue", the sooner Ron Paul acknowledges that, the sooner he can call himself a Christian conservative instead of a Loonatarian.

aCultureWarrior
aCultureWarrior

Arrow writes: "Ron Paul is correct that marriage is no business of the federal government. He is incorrect that homosexuals should be able to “marry”. Would prohibiting slavery or sex with children be the business of the federal government if some misguided state should decide to legislate in favor of those sins? (A Libertarian would then answer "But those acts aren't consensual!" To which I would reply "God doesn't recognize "consensual morality" as a standard for mankind to follow."). Arrow continues with: "Culture Warrior, if God disallows someone eternal life because they hold a mistaken belief, you are in for a monumental disappointment." You're confusing the words "mistaken" with "defiant" here Arrow. God is very clear about somethings, and homosexuality is one of them. If you need to hear the words of Ron Paul himself telling John Lofton that he doesn't think that homosexuality is a sin, email Mr. Lofton and I'm certain that he can provide the audio for you.

aCultureWarrior
aCultureWarrior

John Lofton writes: "For-the-record, lest I be misunderstood. I disassociate myself from anyone who says, flatly, that Ron Paul is NOT a Christian. Many who have erroneous doctrinal and theological views WILL go to Heaven. My criticism has been, and is, that Paul has no Biblical view re: the role, the purpose of, civil government." You personally heard from the mouth of Ron Paul during your 2007? interview that he didn't think that homosexuality is a sin. Ron Paul is a moral relativist who thinks that sins like abortion (murder) and recreational drug use are "states rights issue"; how is it that Ron Paul can be a Christian and a moral relativist at the same time?

Caleb
Caleb

Joel wrote: "More importantly, in most cases, it is this practical aspect—lower taxes, honest money, balanced budgets, minimal government, end to empire, etc.—to which both sides refer with the label 'libertarian,' and thus the charge of equivocation does not hold up. For in the scope of political structure and law, the two in fact do have the same meaning." Libertarianism has a comprehensive solution for limiting the state: the non-aggression principle. It is no surprise that libertarians and theonomists come to similar conclusions on certain issues because both positions seek to limit the civil government. However, as we all should recognize, the foundations are radically different (autonomy vs. theonomy). I am a bit confused by the last sentence of your statement above, Joel. You wrote that in the scope of political structure and law, libertarianism and theonomy have the same meaning. Sure, there are similarities with regard to structuring civil government on a more localized/decentralized level and also overlap on some Second Table issues (though penalties would differ almost across the board). But there is certainly not theoretical or practical agreement on the more important First Table issues (e.g., civil punishment of idolatry as an attack on the foundations of social order) or even many Second Table issues (e.g., civil punishment of sodomy/adultery as treason against the family). My point: Based on his priorities and voting ethics, it’s not unlikely that Rush would have supported Ron Paul. However, other than the motive of deconstructing statist tyranny, there doesn’t seem to be overlap between libertarianism and theonomy as to foundations of social order, purpose of civil government, basis for limiting civil government and protecting individual liberty, many matters of the law code, or ultimate goals. Whether we should work with libertarians as co-belligerents against statist tyranny is one question. But we shouldn’t try to equate the philosophies of libertarianism and theonomy as having the same meaning as to political structure and law. To do so would be, in my view, to commit the fallacy of equivocation.

Michael Earl Riemer
Michael Earl Riemer

I have read a lot of the posts. It seems a number of folks advocate "scraping" the Constitution, for it's not a "Christian document." While it might not be the best document for government that has ever been put together by a large consensus, of largely Christian men, it is the best document for government, outside of the Scriptures that I know of, and one of the best forms of government that I have read about in history, that has produced the freest and the most prosperous people the world has ever seen. Scrap the Constitution, and replace it with what? You would need, again, a group of Godly, knowledgeable, wise men/women who understand the Scriptures and the principles of law in the Scriptures to draft such a document. Is it even possible today, you could find enough wise men, who would even agree or have consensus on a few of the things needed to draft that kind of document so we may properly govern our nation? A machine-gun (the new Constitution, not drafted yet) is probably a better weapon to take to a battlefield to bring in the kingdom of God. But if all you have is a knife (the old Constitution, that has worked well for a long time), that is better then something that has not yet been invented/drafted. Let's clean and polish the old, remove the flaws, and all the while doing that, work on drafting a new "Christian" document for the governing of our nation. I for one cherish the Constitution, even with all of its flaws. Lets not do away with it, without a better replacement ready, before we burn the old one.

E Harris
E Harris

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/occupy-linked-radicals-smash-windows-at-nyc-business-in-chilling-display-of-violent-black-bloc-tactics/ A PHENOMENAL video on the bottom of this article! A christian anarchist trying to help out the Occupy movement. He's worth listening to. One thing people don't understand: is that the gateway into the kingdom of God-and-goodness is JESUS. He is the door. He is the demarkation line. Most occupiers are in that movement to "change" government... the Bible warns us against those who are actively trying to "change" things in this manner. Such people are doing it for SELFISH reasons, not out of spiritual motivation. Yet, there are some who seemingly have love for truth, who are mixed among the occupiers.

John Lofton
John Lofton

Agreed that we should not as Christians shun the work of these "libertarian" economists. I do not believe, however, that RJR and Ron Paul define "liberty" in the same way (and I saw no definition in the above article.) Rush believed liberty was within God's Law, ALL of God's Law. I know of no evidence that Paul believes this. RJR's view of the role of, the purpose of, the civil government, the state, is as follows, in volume one of his "Institutes," page 240: "The FIRST (emphasis his) and basic duty of the state is to further the Kingdom of God by recognizing the sovereignty of God and His word and conforming itself to the law-word of God. The state thus has a duty to be Christian. It must be Christian even as man, the family, the church, the school and all things else must be Christian. To hold otherwise is to assert the death of God in the sphere of the state. Because of its failure to require that the state must be Christian, because of its implicit death-of-God theology, the church has surrendered the state to apostate reason and the devil. The church has done this because it has denied the law of God. It has, in fact, implied God is dead outside the walls of the church, and it then must logically proclaim His death within the church." From all that I know, this is NOT Ron Paul's view of the civil government, the state. And it is because Paul has no Biblical view of the role of, the purpose of, the state that I have argued Christians must note vote for him or anybody who has no Biblical view of the role of, the purpose of, the state, Finally, I would urge all here to listen to my 2008 interview of Ron Paul. It was clear to me that he vehemently dislikes talking about "moral" issues where he is asked to make a judgment or even affirm what Scripture says. 118: Exclusive Interview: Ron Paul On God/Government; Abortion; Homosexuality; And Much More http://archive.theamericanview.com/index.php?id=898 John Lofton Recovering Republican JLof@aol.com

E Harris
E Harris

“Even if we, through the presidency, successfully stripped away all the tyranny that has grown up since 1789, what good would it do to takes us back to the top of the same slippery slope we’ve already gone down? It would be at best a holding action. A greater foundational change is needed.” Yes, even if we took it back to the Articles of Confederation, even if we took it back to state or even local government...or even back to individualistic anarchy... we're still on the same slippery slope that created all those things in the first place. It's all about human nature. Grappling with truths and sin. Our documents, treaties, and agreements, are only our pourous means of trying to hold our fleshly nature at bay, punish transgressions, and help us remember things. There is no perfect national document, nor even a perfect local document. It's ALL the lesser of two evils. Caught between the evil of utter transgression, and the evil of having to control/monitor/punish certain violent transgressions... we choose the lesser. But neither is the Answer. The Solution is and always will be JESUS, in the life of the individual, spread through the family, and out into society and culture. It is JESUS whose government is growing - bringing increasing peace and prosperity. The unseen mover in the last 2000 years, is that the REASON why we have had increasing light in Western Civilization is not due to human ingenuity...but due to the revelation of brotherhood, Godliness, and restraint that was exemplified in Jesus Christ - and is spread through faith and the Spirit. We are not about to collapse into a new Dark Age... As long as Christians keep SPEAKING TRUTH, wherever they go, then we have hope. Indeed, Jesus (operating in the hearts of individuals) is our only hope - for any region. The pietists aren't so bad after all. Pietists just vastly under-estimate their impact. So their confidence wanes because they are sometimes afraid of the epic picture, and so they choose only to focus on the "small" Personal picture. They don't see how their very faith has led to transformations and advancements throughout history...and how not everything needs to be spoken or recorded, in order to have massive impact in a culture. The Ultimate is not a system, but a Person. I remember reading about Van Til on the Chalcedon website - when that Ultimate truth finally began to sink in to my consciousness. God is not in a system. All systems and laws and truths are in God - and He is a Person, and He is Personal. This is not to negate the law: but to show the purpose for the law, it's limits, and its restraint. We are made in God's image: Hence, we are more than machines, as well. We are lesser persons made to relate to the Person of the Father through Jesus, the Way. In a way, it's a matter of letting the dead bury their dead. If a lawless people pretend to invent the law...then they bring their own troubles and concerns upon themselves. They will find themselves always digging and burying, and not truly celebrating life. I have a feeling that the "law" versus "grace" divide that Paul spoke about, is not just about Old Testament Jewish law, but also somewhat about the overarching concept of law. To reach back to the old, is going in the wrong direction. God's revolution of salvation is already underway. Somehow, we got to learn how to bring a free and personal New Testament Gospel mindset into direct interaction with Marxism and the governing political philosophies of our day. Invade THEIR minds, with the Truth that cannot be escaped no matter where they run. "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me." That's a clandestine image of the ekklesia rallying around the One. It's in Jesus Name that we march through history. He is our center. No other name beats his.

Calvin
Calvin

Joel, Ron Paul states that he doesn't believe homosexulaity is a sin and that God doesn't teach it is either! Ron Paul thinks its ok for homosexuals to marry and serve in the miliitary just as long as they "leave him alone." This is "liberty" as defined by the leading "libertarian" today. How can Christians in good conscience support this false and twisted "liberty" and such a candidate/party...just because he/they borrow the capital of limited government and free enterprise from the bible? LOL, lets support the liberal democrats then, they have also borrowed from the bible. They claim, teach and preach that "do unto others..." is the entire foundation supporting all their social programs! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIeW0DY64bE

Arrow
Arrow

You REALLY want Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Ruth Ginsberg to have power over marriage in your town?

Arrow
Arrow

Is there any legislative power that you think the federal government should NOT have? "People are being killed because XYZ state has an 80 MPH speed limit. This is immoral and must be overruled from Washington" "God condemns gluttony. The states refuse to limit the fat content of hamburgers, it is the duty of the federal government to force laws to limit fat intake" "Smoking..." "drugs..." "marriage..." etc. etc. etc.

E Harris
E Harris

Solution: WORDS MATTER. 1) It is not our Country's Governmental responsibility to do anything on the issue of marriage. It is a private and personal concern...best kept to the people themselves, and the ekklesia of their friends. As civil libertarians - we should not even think it a states issue (though Constitutionally, it is "up to the states"). As civil libertarians, we are more individualistic and personal than even the Constitution of any civil sword. The civil sword does not define marriage for us, nor does it regulate marriage and association for us. We are the ekklesia of Jesus Christ - we belong to him. And anyone who wants to join us - must enter through the door, which is Jesus Christ and repentence before Him. This is all very personal and individualistic. Our covenants and promises are made before Him and before each other, as people. 2) Marriage is a concept, a promise, a word. Its proper definition can be found in the Scriptures. So others may call something 'marriage' that is not marriage... but WE (christians) should stick to PROPER WORD DEFINITIONS. We should not call something that is not marriage, marriage. That taints our testimony, and anyone who wants to read our lives like an epistle - and then tries to line it up with the Bible - would have a rougher time translating what WE think marriage is, to what the BIBLE says it is. May our words line up with Bible, purely. When we use words found within the Bible - may we use them ONLY with the definitions and treatments found within Scripture. That way, we have a biblical vocabulary. It is more important for a king to SPEAK righteously... than to attempt to do (or not do) anything. Ron Paul cannot seem to control his mouth, on some topics (especially when it comes to faulty US foreign policy, making excuses for islamists and fallen human nature). It is more important to control your mouth (whoever you are, and wherever you speak) than to try to pull the levers of a state. It is through the mouth that ideas are crafted and maintained. It is agreement about ideas - that men tend to rest the world upon. So let our tongues speak word-for-word biblical truth. It's ok to venture beyond the Bible, but never to contradict it. Ron Paul is a libertarian, but not a biblical thinker. This means that his attitudes actually ENCOURAGE anarchism... as can be demonstrated in how the Occupy movement began to endorse him. One's attitudes and words actually have greater impact than one's physical sword. Whatever you elevate in word, attitude, and movement; is elevated in those around you within earshot. Obama once said to a news reporter: I want you to "lift this up" before the people (speaking about words and concepts).

Caleb
Caleb

I'm not here to defend the worst of Ron Paul's statements, but you seem confused about his positions (his statements don't necessarily lead to the inescapable conclusion that he's a moral relativist across the board, even though he seems confused on some things). More importantly, you seem confused about the nature of salvation. Do you agree with John that those with some erroneous doctrinal and theological views on certain points can go to heaven? If not, you better hope your theology is perfect at every point! (Of course, we should all strive for this, but I'm not familiar with any doctrine of "salvation through perfect theology alone.")

Caleb
Caleb

For a wonderful critique of libertarianism by a pre-eminent theonomist, check out this Bahnsen lecture (note: I unapologetically caution against the Federal Vision content on the following site): http://www.cmfnow.com/gb992libertarianismvschristianity.aspx. Once again, perhaps Bahnsen would have agreed with the strategy of teaming up with libertarians against statist tyranny. But he shred the system apart at the foundations as to law and even political structure. He leaves us no reason to equate theonomy and libertarianism.

E Harris
E Harris

Fascinating discussion, Mr. Riemer. Joel certainly helped stir up a lot - and it's great that everybody's talking. Talking (informed by scripture and prayer) is a lot of the answer about how we are to govern. That and doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God. Jesus said "Come, let us reason together..." Like the leftist marxists (who run Miracle Whip) say: keep an open mouth (if you know the truth, and want to share it). The left always keeps an open mouth, even if they are shouting pure emotionally-driven nonsense. So must we, in love: strive together for the unity of the faith of the gospel - and with outsiders: keep declaring the acceptable day of the Lord. Back in the 1700's a LOT of faith was still placed in centralized state apparatuses. There were free-thinkers and Christians who thought of ways that things could be better: but they had to contend with the mindsets of their time. Most minds back then placed an undue amount of respect in the "king" and the "pastorship/denomination" (and all forms of collectivism, even color boundaries). So they felt a higher need for creeds, councils, heirarchy, and an artificial headship to keep everyone in line. So these are the systems that they made, by virtue of their trust and faith. Such mindsets have been getting loos-er and free-er since just before the Reformation began, 500 years ago. (There were already people waiting to help free others, who knew the nature of the beast better than Luther did...they just needed an insider who knew the Bible to side with them.) Until we arrive at today: practical pandemonium. Every man for himself, almost. With those in the shaky seat on top trying to hold on by manipulating the mob/emotions, just like always. What is the answer? Another document? The answer is not a document. (For this reason, I say keep the one we got. Insist on it. Even as the lesser of two evils.) The answer is not in yet another document, creed, council, title, or whatnot. That's all been tried. And it gets very stale and corrupt with time...due to human nature. It's the nature of the beast. The answer is in keeping our mouths open, continuing to discuss and reason together. Coming together. Being individually free - but united IN JESUS, and in the Spirit of Christ! It's harder than it sounds. But it's our home. The power is not in a dead letter. The power is somewhere else. The liberals, and now the anarcho-statists, understand this. (But they don't have the power. They try to copy the public 'tactics' of Jesus' ekklesia, but with much less success.) The power is in TRUTH ITSELF. And for that reason, we keep an open mouth and an open mind. For that reason, secularists flooded the press: that was one of the FIRST places they went when they wanted to "change the world." If you want to have influence: talk about what's going on from your perspective, and win people's trust. The blogosphere and organizing power of the internet is exploding - just as those on the top are trying to put limits on it. News is becoming viral, and spreading faster than ever. The power is in the News. Liberals and anarcho-statists, just as many of us, didn't believe in the "constitution of the united states" either as a divine or stable document. They believe that you had to 'change with the times'. You had to keep an open mind, flow, adapt, grow, talk, think. They expected something better than the Constitution to come along (and He will...but secularists aren't the ones who bring Him... Jesus Christ brings peace). Secularists knew that if you can FEED people with WORD(s) you can profoundly influence how they view everything, and how they will behave, and who they will vote for. The power isn't in a lettered Constitution. Ever notice how they are always revising their school curriculums? And they RELISH this. And look at how much power a bunch of discordant and adaptive curriculums have had...over a single document. The power is in living people talking about the world and what's happening and why. (They speak in light of the Jesus and the Bible, or their worldview.) INDIVIDUALS make the decisions: and most often, based on their environmental factors (social, physical, spiritual environment). So keep talking - your speech has more power to affect the people around you, than the Constitution does. Your speech is even more powerful if there is high amounts of honesty, sincerity, and truth. We have a history book called the Bible. It hasn't been changed. And none of us understands its full meanings and implications. Rather than trying to "revise" a dead system such as the Constitution, we should hold politicians accountable to it, and (ourselves) walk on. You cannot call yourself the "United States of America" if you ignore its corporate constitution (what makes it be, as a verb). Simple as that. Anyone running for office within this structure, should be held accountable to what provided for the structure. But as for US (the ekklesia), we need to be discussin the nature of the church itself, and the nature of politics itself - in light of THE KINGDOM OF GOD which is here, now: "Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the HOLY SPIRIT." Words have meaning. And it is meaning that people are looking for...not just some document that will regulate their actions. People are hungry for meaning. So lets give it to them. Guide people through the maze (that is our present culture) to the ways of JESUS. And talk about the future possibilities for them and their children. Instead of talking statism or morality (in terms of the collective)... we need to Personalize the morality. It's not about higher or lower taxes. It's about People stealing, and envying other people. It's not about how long we put a person in jail for. It's about murder being wrong, and the only forgiveness being the cross...or the murderer is doomed eternally. It's not about controlling others or enforcing punishment. It's about finding a way OUT of sin and sinfulness. Guiding people's maddeningly collective/mob-like minds to the pure simplicity of the liberating Gospel message. And start there. Let's get back to REAL meanings. We can DRAG civilization back to reality - by insisting that every word be used with it's proper meaning. The Holy Spirit lets us know when a word is out of place and is being used improperly, with the wrong meaning. Like "Race"... what exactly is a 'race' and what are its limits, within the biological human body? "Race" as a general concept is an idea thought up by academics as a sort of "Racist Theory". Now it's taken to be fact, simply because the word is used so much. Rac-ism exists, but that doesn't mean that "race" itself exists. Color and traits exist...etc. We can be SPECIFIC with our wording. FORCE people to RECKON with the truth of every sentence and word that comes out of their mouths. What does the word "Constitution" MEAN? What does it mean to "Constitute" something? If we claim that the letters on a page are the constitution of the behavior KNOWN AS the United States of America... then fine. So much as people agree on the meanings of those words, and abide by them, they can call their contract/agreement whatever they choose. But truly, in a living sense, a constitution is always greater. What constitutes US? Who are WE? We are not of this world, we are the church and bride of Jesus Christ. The world is becoming aware of this truth -- but they have nowhere to run TO, without Jesus. Jesus is our constitution that liberates us from the collectivist worldly machinations: He IS the living and abiding Truth that holds everything together, including US. Marxism is great at destroying and debasing collectives, in its attempt to liberate the individual into a higher brotherhood. It can never get to it's "liberating" part, entering into complete equality and brotherhood (cuz physically there is no complete equality). So it is endlessly critiquing the old things, and never embracing the New in Jesus Christ. The New is INSIDE. That is where our equality, spirit, good rests. The New is not some impersonal force that elevates our pride, and makes us MORE prone to violence toward our fellow men. Instead, our brotherhood is based on a Person, Who is God, an OTHER to ourselves...keeping us humble. He is our equalizer. After all, every system that supposes brotherhood must have an equalizer: that is either a machine (ripping the heart out of living) or a man (showing that true brotherhood is not achievable). But GOD provided a way in Jesus Christ. Revelation 15 speaks of a TRANSPARENT and formless sea...mixed with intolerant FIRE... and the saints are STANDING beside it, not a part of it. They know who they are. And when they begin to declare truth... the following chapters are a rapid succession of judgment upon the world's systems. When the ekklesia is refined, stands together and declares truth: the world is then judged...and the gray area of shadows is no more. After Rev 15, it's either "in or out." The lines are being drawn. The church is seperating herself from the remnants of Babylonian thought. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/may/ross-douthat-bad-religion.html The most recent article I read over at Christianity Today was an interview with a hopelessly statist man calling himself a christian. He attempted to critique the "christian right" for trying to "politically dominate," but at the same time he tried to criticize the 'right' for increasingly abandoning the strengths of the old institutions, like the Roman Catholic Church, older denominations, and denominationalism in general. He suggested a return to denominationalism (and creeds and control) as a means for remedying what he sees as uncontrollable motivations of "the Christian right." That should tell you something about the nature of collectivist beasts, past and present. They exist to perpetuate CONTROL: not a Godly self-control in liberty, but an ungodly control over other people’s minds and bodies. It is precisely these types of control (that came out of the RCC and denominationalism) that has fed into the modern state of liberalism, and also encourages a maddening reaction against itself…in a perpetual cycle. An ekklesia who are Personally unified in JESUS CHRIST is the only thing that can break the insanity that is currently gripping the heart of Western Civilization.

Ted R. Weiland
Ted R. Weiland

Michael: "is the best document for government, outside of the Scriptures that I know of, and one of the best forms of government that I have read about in history, that has produced the freest and the most prosperous people the world has ever seen." Are you so sure? "As stated in the Preamble, another purpose of the Constitution is to 'secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." From childhood, Americans are indoctrinated to believe that, thanks to the Constitution, America is the freest nation on earth: 'The media ... has played a key role in persuading people that we are the most free nation on earth. While this may or may not be true, most people have never considered this possibility. If all of the other nations were under 100% totalitarian dictatorships, and the United States of America was only under a 95% totalitarian dictatorship, it could still be said that "America is the most free nation on earth." So it is a rather meaningless boat.' (James Bruggeman) 'Suppose it be "the best government on earth," does that prove its own goodness, or only the badness of all other governments?' (Lysander Spooner).... "Except for occasional interference from the British kings across the Atlantic, this nation experienced its greatest liberty in the 1600s and early 1700s. From the ratification of the Constitution until now, our liberty has been whittled away. At present, we would be hard-pressed to find a nation with less liberty than the United States of America." Excerpted from Chapter 3 "The Preamble: WE THE PEOPLE vs. YAHWEH." of "Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective" on our Online Book Page.

Caleb
Caleb

I agree with you on the need to work on a new document. Regrettably, the Constitution is a dead letter and may or may not ever be resurrected. We need to be ready to pick up the pieces to rebuild a new system on more consistently biblical foundations.

Ted R. Weiland
Ted R. Weiland

Michael: "[the constitution] is the best document for government, outside of the Scriptures that I know of" I agree, which only makes the contrast between man's best and Yahweh's perfect and altogether righteous judgments (Psalm 19:7-9) that much more powerful, revealing just how superior Yahweh's morality is to man's immorality. See "Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective" at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/blvc-index.php. Michael: "and one of the best forms of government that I have read about in history, that has produced the freest and the most prosperous people the world has ever seen. " Are you so sure? "As stated in the Preamble, another purpose of the Constitution is to 'secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.' From childhood, Americans are indoctrinated to believe that, thanks to the Constitution, America is the freest nation on earth: 'The media … has played a key role in persuading people that we are the most free nation on earth. While this may or may not be true, most people have never considered this possibility: If all of the other nations were under 100% totalitarian dictatorships, and the United States of America was only under a 95% totalitarian dictatorship, it could still be said that “America is the most free nation on earth.” So it is a rather meaningless boast.' (James Bruggeman) 'Suppose it be "the best government on earth,' does that prove its own goodness, or only the badness of all other governments?".... (Lysander Spooner) "Except for occasional interference from the British kings across the Atlantic, this nation experienced its greatest liberty in the 1600s and early 1700s. From the ratification of the Constitution until now, our liberty has been whittled away. At present, we would be hard-pressed to find a nation with less liberty than the United States of America." Excerpted from Chapter 3 "The Preamble: WE THE PEOPLE vs. YAHWEH." Michael: "Let’s clean and polish the old, remove the flaws, and all the while doing that, work on drafting a new 'Christian' document for the governing of our nation." To do so requires that at some point, we start over and do it right this time. There is hardly an article or amendment that is not antithetical to Yahweh's morality, if not, hostile to His sovereignty in some fashion. It is, therefore, a seditious document and America's national idol that, like as with Gideon of old, must be torn down before we can truly proceed with the kingdom of God. Find out how much you really know about the Constitution as compared to Yahweh's moral law (His commandments, statutes, and judgments). Take our Constitution Survey at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/constitutionsurvey/constitutionsurvey.php and receive a free copy of the "Primer" (an 85 page book, normally $7 plus shipping) of "Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective."

E Harris
E Harris

I just watched Chris Hedges for a while. He is a sly one. And his positions and philosophies are probably pretty near the epicenter of what's causing these worldwide problems. How he can remain sane, I don't know. Probably by abandoning any pretence of consistency - and allowing his reasoning to be purely selfish and feelings motivated. Yet, he's very practiced in his verbal balancing games. An atheist who calls himself a Christian. A guy who criticizes Obama & the New York Times - until a lady calls in saying that maybe the collusion of the NYT with Obama is corrupt. Then he defends the NYT. A guy who borrows all of the best rhetoric from the right and the left... to craft a narrative that suits himself and himself only... mainly because it's almost impossible to know where he stands unless you put him in front & ask him on a case-by-case basis. He's very preachey about non-violence...but he's not a pacifist... etc. etc. He's an Alinsky tactician...just like Obama. He even looks like Alinsky. This gets to my point: JESUS CHRIST 'as personal Lord and Savior' is the dividing line. Anyone who rejects JESUS, WILL NOT be profitable for the kingdom of God. Period. By their rhetoric, who they make alliances with, who they demonize, and who/what they encourage you to trust in. To an extend that a PERSON does not want to trust in Jesus - he is corrupt. No matter what positions he holds, or how educated he is, or how he sounds.

Doug
Doug

Calvin It seems you wish for a president to govern the way God did in the old testament. As imperfect as Ron Paul is this isn’t his roll as a president. Even though he has some flaws he’s far better than anyone else out there. See my comments to David Smith as well.

Doug
Doug

It seems you wish for a president to govern the way God did in the old testament. As imperfect as Ron Paul is this isn't his roll as a president. Even though he has some flaws he's far better than anyone else out there. See my comments to David Smith as well.

David Smith
David Smith

Calvin, though I am a Paul supporter, I don't agree with all of his positions. Though I have much sympathy for his Libertarianism, I believe he makes too much of the individual at the expense of the community (Calhoun's "concurrent majorities"? I'll have to think about that some more.). That said - and as, I suppose, a paleo-conservative - I can respect our differences because he ultimately believes in an original intent to the Constitution, as opposed to the lawlessness masquerading as Law with the living-and-breathing, make-up-the-law-as-you-go, case law positions of most judges and lawyers today. No, let's not idolize the Constitution, but it does contain many of the principles of our British tradition (e.g. Anglo-Saxon common law, Magna Carta, etc.) founded in our Christian heritage. So, while I vehemently disagree with him regarding homosexuality, for example, the fact that he would respect constitutional federalism means that he would stay out of state and local standards against its practice. I can live with that!

Arrow
Arrow

Yeah, Culture Warrior makes some good points, but I see someone like Ron Paul as being the imperfect but worthy candidate. Ironically, I am always accused of demanding "perfection" in a candidate, because I refuse to support the pond scum that the GOP always comes up with. Paul is proof that I don't expect that there can be a perfect candidate. But some here pick Paul apart on his one worst point, while voicing support for candidates who have absolutely no consistent Christian philosophical framework at all...but who mindlessly repeat the usual sound bites reminiscent of charlatans like George W. Bush. And candidates who, unlike Paul, don't think that the Golden Rule applies to foreign policy, and are in effect murderers.

Robert Davidson
Robert Davidson

You are wasting your time with aCultureWarrior. He and others in this thread who attack Ron Paul without providing a practical alternative solution remind me of the old joke about the Christian who's house is caught in a rising flood. A truck comes by and the driver offers a ride to safety but the Christian says, "No thanks - I've prayed and have faith that God will save me." Just when the waters reach the second story a boat arrives but the captain gets the same response, "No thanks - I've prayed and have faith that God will save me." The waters are about to cover the house when a helicopter pilot spots the Christian on his roof and offers a ride. Again the Christian says, "No thanks - I've prayed and have faith that God will save me." After drowning, the Christian arrives in Heaven and asks God for an explanation why He ignored his prayers. God replies, "I sent you a truck, a boat and a helicopter...what more did you want?"

Arrow
Arrow

Culture warrior says: "It’s time to get good Christian men (and women) back into public office..." 1. Can you name any? 2. What, specifically, are your criteria?

aCultureWarrior
aCultureWarrior

I don't want the above to rule us no more than I want the moral relativist Ron Paul to rule us. Remember what Romans 13:4 says Arrow: "For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. " The civil magistrate very well can't execute wrath on those who practive evil when they themselves are doing it. It's time to get good Christian men (and women) back into public office and do what God intended the civil magistrate to do: Good as seen through His eyes.

Arrow
Arrow

First of all, if you had read more carefully, you would not have made the mistake of thinking that I was comparing gluttony with homosexuality. I was asking YOU just how far you think the power of the federal government should reach, given that you apparently reject the limitations placed on it by the Constitution. Second, you are correct when you state that America's problems are the result of a loss of morality. But I believe that increasing and centralizing power in the hands of the Federal government is not a good solution at all, and will lead to godless tyranny. Third, I agree that RP's stated viewpoints on homosexuality are not good. You have picked his weakest point and tried to make it his defining characteristic. I only hope that judge other politicians as strictly. Last, the same goes for "libertarianism". Many here have cherry picked the fringe ideas of the movement and tried to characterized the entire philosophy on that basis. I believe that, properly understood, and properly practiced, libertarianism is in agreement with scripture.

aCultureWarrior
aCultureWarrior

Arrow: I'm a huge proponent of states rights, but our Founding Fathers didn't coin the phrase and write documents with the intention that the respective states could legitimize sodomy or the murder of the innocent unborn. Libertarians like Ron Paul have prostituted the meaning of "states rights". Remember, "Our constitution was made ONLY for a moral and religious people, it is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." It's a sad day in America when it's populace thinks that people and the respective states that they live in have a right to sin. Perhaps it's time to scrap the entire Constitution if people think that it stands for the legalization of sodomy, murdering the unborn, and getting hiiiiiigh off of crack cocaine. And leave it to a Libertarian to compare an overweight guy eating too much (gluttony) to homosexuality.

Arrow
Arrow

E, No offense, but "something about the way..." is pretty weak without FACTS. I would like to suggest that millions feel the same way as you because what RP talks about is so different from what we have been conditioned to think is "normal". He does not "suck up" top Iran, he deals with FACTS, which are different from what we have been told. Some objective study will bear this out.

E Harris
E Harris

No. I'm not anti-Paul. He was better than all of the other candidates, except Bachmann and even Santorum. (We actually had an 'ok' field this year, compared with other years. It's my hope that the whole 2016 field will have a libertarian flavor.) But something in Paul's approach to libertarianism, something about the way he conducts himself on stage, something about the way he sucked up to Romney while heavily criticizing Santorum (who was closer to him than Romney), something about the way he sucked up to Iran - tossing them unnecessary rhetorical red meat, the way he changed a position or two when pressure was placed on him, the way he said he doesn't see himself as president while he was still in the race and criticizing Santorum on behalf of Romney, just made me think he's not reliable. But I'd vote for him - and I'd be more happy about that vote than one for Santorum. IF he projected a confident, strident, rock-solid FAITH in principles beyond merely critiquing what the other guys (and Uncle Sam) is doing. He's basically a hippie with conservative tendencies...and he's got the backbone of a hippie when it comes down to it. I betcha. We SHOULD have followed the golden rule in US foreign policy, over the last 100 years. But we didn't. In fact, we didn't have a CONSISTENT foreign policy, period. But that being done, and the effects playing out, you don't have to make a fool out of yourself waving a RED FLAG IN FRONT OF A BULL like A-jad and his kind. They aren't nice people who will say 'mibad.' We will say 'mibad' and they will beat us to a pulp (if they can). Now that the problem is created, some QUIET strategic withdrawal is warranted - in a way that still shows strength and solidarity with the US of the past, without giving ruthless dictators any bones to chew on. Ruthless dictators, who abuse everyone around them, don't deserve a bone to chew on.

Arrow
Arrow

E, Were you part of the crowd that booed Ron Paul for saying that we should follow Jesus' golden rule in foreign policy? ;)

Caleb
Caleb

Hi, aCultureWarrior: Ron Paul is a political libertarian in the classical sense. He has clearly articulated his adherence to what is called the "non-aggression principle," which dictates that everyone should be free to do whatever they want as long as they do not aggress against others' rights, and the state should not interfere. This principle seeks to limit the state and causes libertarianism to have some resemblance with biblical (i.e., theonomic) thinking in certain respects. Ron Paul believes it is always immoral for the civil government to use force against people who do not aggress against others' "rights." Is this a biblical idea? It is not. You will not find it anywhere in Scripture, and you will find very clear evidence to the contrary. But this is his principle for civil government. I don't believe he would apply this principle across the board to all questions of ethics, simply to the role of civil government. And I don't think that makes him an unbeliever, simply dangerously confused on his doctrine of civil government. In accordance with the non-aggression principle, Ron Paul believes that "gays should be allowed to marry" (i.e., civil government should not interfere), as long as they do not "force" their definition of marriage on anyone else. Do I agree with this? No, I do not. Civil government has an interest in prosecuting adultery as treason against the family, so civil government needs to have an understanding of what the word "marriage" means (and the definition is derived from Scripture alone). Also, civil government has an interest in prosecuting sodomy as treason against the family, so civil government should not simply "allow" gays to marry. (If anyone is wondering how I came up with the idea of prosecuting adultery/sodomy, Rushdoony articulated this idea in a 1988 interview with Bill Moyers, and Rush derived the idea from biblical law, of course). Ron Paul believes, according to the Constitution, that the Federal government should leave this issue to the states. If you want to argue with his interpretation of the Constitution on this point, that's fine. I don't have a dog in that fight, however.

Arrow
Arrow

Ron Paul is correct that marriage is no business of the federal government. He is incorrect that homosexuals should be able to "marry". Culture Warrior, if God disallows someone eternal life because they hold a mistaken belief, you are in for a monumental disappointment.

aCultureWarrior
aCultureWarrior

Caleb: Are you aware that Ron Paul, during a recent Presidential debate, stated that he isn't against homosexual's marrying, and that it should be "left up to the states" to decide that? Paul is ignoring the basis of why God created man and woman: to marry and procreate. We all have our doctrinal differences and flaws, but if there is a sin that can't be forgiven, it's purposely leading others into sin, which Congressman Ron Paul is guilty of through his words and legislation. In the words of Christian conservative writer Selwyn Duke: "Let us be blunt: It is simply not possible to espouse relativism — which holds that right and wrong are opinion — and be a true Christian." http://selwynduke.typepad.com/selwyndukecom/2010/03/why-many-american-christians-really-are-un-christian.html Why would God allow someone like Ron Paul into Heaven if he doesn't even acknowledge God's Word as the absolute truth?

Michael Earl Riemer
Michael Earl Riemer

"The answer is not in yet another document, creed, council, title, or whatnot. That’s all been tried. And it gets very stale and corrupt with time…due to human nature. It’s the nature of the beast." I agree for the most part. While Ted R. Weiland and others may be correct about the Constitution, for the most part, but I think there is something most Americans do not understand which accounts for many of the wows that now face the U.S. people. That is contract, license, and agreement. If even a small percentage of Americans understood this, most of the problems we have (with the IRS and other government agencies & regulations) would go away in just a short time. I have related some of those problems in posts before, problems such as state issued marriage licenses, SS numbers, churches incorporating and the numerous other contracts most people enter into with the government and then complain when the conditions they agreed too, albeit unknowingly, the government holds them accountable too. Almost no one in the U.S. has taxable income according to the U.S. Constitution taxing restrictions Article 1 section 8 & 9 and needs to file a 1040 or any tax form. However, if they have a SS number, a bank account or have entered into contract with the government (IRS), in the many numerous ways and traps that have been set, they had better keep making out those tax forms, for, if they fail to do so, the government will hold them accountable, (as they should) and fine or jail them, for failure or breach of contract. Of course most, if they do end up in court have no idea that that is the reason they are there. The state has made it very difficult to live in the U.S. without getting in bed (contract, license, SS number, tax forms etc...) with it. It took me a long time to learn this. Yes, freedom is not free, it can be very costly.

Ted R. Weiland
Ted R. Weiland

Michael: "Just ask young Patrick Henry about the liberty that was to be had in Va. before the Constitution. There, you could not preach without a license! Henry saw first hand the merciless scourging a minister was given for preaching without permission from the State. The minister was one of twelve locked in jail because they refused to take a license. Three days later, they scourged him to death! There were many restrictions in place in those days that limited the freedom of the people." I have yet to see any prime source documentation for this story. If you can come up with it, I would love to see it. In the meantime, let's indeed ask Patrick Henry: "Convinced the Constitution would fail to secure and protect liberty, Patrick Henry voiced his concerns to the Virginia Ratifying Convention in 1788: '…I say our privileges and rights are in danger. …the new form of Government … will … effectually … oppress and ruin the people…. In some parts of the plan before you, the great rights of freemen are endangered, in other parts, absolutely taken away…. There will be no checks, no real balances, in this Government: What can avail your specious imaginary balances, your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous ideal checks and contrivances? …And yet who knows the dangers that this new system may produce: they are out of the sight of the common people: They cannot foresee latent consequences.... I see great jeopardy in this new Government.' (Patrick Henry, Ralph Ketcham, ed., “Speeches of Patrick Henry (June 5 and 7, 1788),” The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2003, 2nd ed.) pp. 200-08.) "In contrast to the federalists’ failed predictions, this and nearly everything the anti-federalists forecast about the Constitution has come true." Also excerpted from Chapter 3 "The Preamble: WE THE PEOPLE vs. YAHWEH."

Michael Earl Riemer
Michael Earl Riemer

"this nation experienced its greatest liberty in the 1600s and early 1700s. From the ratification of the Constitution until now, our liberty has been whittled away. At present, we would be hard-pressed to find a nation with less liberty than the United States of America." No, the greatest liberty was shortly after the Constitution was put into place. Just ask young Patrick Henry about the liberty that was to be had in Va. before the Constitution. There, you could not preach without a license! Henry saw first hand the merciless scourging a minister was given for preaching without permission from the State. The minister was one of twelve locked in jail because they refused to take a license. Three days later, they scourged him to death! There were many restrictions in place in those days that limited the freedom of the people. No, when the Constitution put into place, there was generally much more freedom held and given then before it was ratified. It is true that since the Constitution was ratified, I could agree, that for the most part our liberty has been slowly whittled away. I have read so many things within the last few weeks about the "freedom" most Americans think they have, but it's just an illusion. But even with the limited amount of freedom that we still have in the U.S. No one will be scourged to death for preaching without a license! I have spent some time in jail for committing a non-crime, so I know first hand the freedom we have lost. You may be thrown in jail for selling raw milk, but you will not be scourged to death for that "crime."

Arrow
Arrow

Thanks for the kind remarks. Paul treads the dangerous political ground of suggesting that America is not perfect, and may be responsible for some of our own problems. As I said, facts are what count. And the facts are that we have been meddling in other peoples' business for generations (see "shah of Iran"), making enemies in exchange for sweetheart business deals for political cronies. Instead of being offended by this kind of talk, Americans should recognize the our government has been shafting BOTH us AND the people of other nations, and should desire to change it. That is what RP is all about. But instead, people mistakenly equate the American people with the US government, and get offended. I'm not putting that all on you...but it is my observation in general, and of conservatives in particular.

E Harris
E Harris

Always enjoy talking with you, Arrow. Good points. The main reason I don't trust Ron Paul is that he constitently demonstrated (on the campaign trail) that he did not recognize the dangers and iniquities inherent to the human heart, especially the human heart in politics. He criticized Santorum, but stuck up for Romney... He criticized the US, and sympathized with "Iran" saying that they probably wouldn't even be seeking nukes if it weren't for us... (which does little to help us NOW. Paul didn't seem to understand the inherent danger posed by human nature combined with violent religion known as Islam.)

Arrow
Arrow

E Harris, I don't want to turn this into a "for or against Ron Paul" forum, but I guess he is a real-time example of what is being discussed. I think that some here are too quick to LABEL people, taking a shortcut past logical thinking about complex issues. In my observation (I don't know RP's heart or anyone else's) you are at least partially incorrect when you say that he has no solid foundation for his positions. First, of all, NO position has a solid foundation if it is not based on FACTS, regardless of what epistemologya person claims. RP claims to know Christ personally, and in fact has said outright that he goes through Christ to God for the basis of his policies. Is that a weak statement? You be the judge, but it is what it is. His positions take into account the FACTS of situations to a very large degree. The combination of all the above leads me to think that he should be a pretty reliable person, from a Christian perspective. To illustrate, you have mentioned that you don't like what he says about Ahmedinejad, and that you are more comfortable with Santorum on this. (Disclaimer..I am NOT saying that Ahmenedenijad is ok...neither did RP) You should check out the FACTS, about what has been said, and you will see that Santorum is spreading lies (lies that most people believe, but lies nonetheless) and Paul is telling the TRUTH. Let's see, what was it that Jesus said would set us free... The TRUTH of these matters mean life and death for thousands of people. Who is the Christian here? My point is that we serve no one by slapping labels on people based on excruciatingly rigid theological constructs that nobody can actually live up to, and excusing ourselves from any deep thought on the real issues. There were people who did that in Jesus' day. They were know as "Pharisees".

E Harris
E Harris

There is a difference between who you decide to vote for, and who you stand next to. I can vote for Romney, in order to kick Obama out. But I won't be standing by Romney. I'll defend his principles above outright communism. BUT I will be the first person campaigning to kick him out for a better Republican or independent TEA Party candidate. Is my hope in politics? No. I vote simply to "shrink back" and "fold up" our centralized national apparatus in a SANE WAY. We have enemies that would collapse it - in all of the worst ways... and leave themselves in charge of the parts that remain. Their objective is the same as it's always been: CONTROLLING MINDS and BODIES. That is the objective of those who think in terms of groups, instead of eventually liberating the individual-under-God from the group. The goal should be maturity: to some day take the crutch away and stand on your own. We are in Revelation 14. And we must prepare for Revelation 15: to stand, knowing our identity - beside an indisinguishable sea mixed with fire that doesn't like hypocrisy but yet also does not even know of any foundation or structure that it's comfortable with. Our structure is the Gospel and Jesus Christ. Period.

E Harris
E Harris

There are people, like Obama, who will VOICE correct principles in order to win your trust. Then, like Alinsky, every day is a new day. Glenn Beck's advice is to watch WHO you are standing next to. I'm starting to find that wiser and wiser. Don't look just at one or two things they SAY (or support) that you like. Look at their whole track record, who their friends are and WHY, and all of their positions as a whole: somewhere in there lies their true heart's agenda...that they WILL serve, if given your trust. Would I trust Ron Paul more than most? Yes. But does he have a solid mooring that keeps him consistently grounded in an unshakeable manner? No. Nor does he understand human nature (groovy, peace sign, rhetoric that half-justified A-jad in Iran). Because of this, I would be more likely to trust Santorum - even though he may be soft on the budget side. Why? Because I KNOW where his heart is. I see it, I feel it, and I can see (with some amount of firmness) what is in his heart. While Ron Paul seems to be more of a wet noodle who bows with the wind...he TALKS...but then sometimes votes however the wind is blowing. God looks at the heart, and it is impossible to know (without discernment) what is in the heart. We should look at HEART AND POLICY... in order to predict future actions. It takes a certain amount of feeling or discernment to detect the differences in motive, between say a Paul Ryan, a Chris Christie, a Joe Liberman, and a Bill Clinton...and a Barack Obama (who will SAY anything - and then do it's opposite at the same time, and won't restrict his activities TO WHAT WE CAN OBSERVE AND RECORD). Real, living faith in Jesus Christ is the answer. Jesus is becoming more politically relevant by the day. When Jesus reigns in a ruler's heart, peaceful discussion and debate are elevated. When Jesus is not in someone's heart: selfishness determines the direction...not faithfulness. It takes DISCERNMENT to know the difference.

Arrow
Arrow

But correct principles are correct no matter who voices them. All are held accountable to God's Law, in civil government as well as personal behavior. In politics ew are not looking for perfect people, we are looking for people who uphold perfect principles. This is not to say that we are not to demand Godly men for office, but simply draw the distinction between a person's status and the validity of law.

E Harris
E Harris

True, David. But since we have a presidency, whoever gets in that office has a profound affect on the psyche and trajectory of people's learning and discussion. What he says carries such weight in the minds of the carnal and easily swayed. Therefore, it is important to elect a person who would speak about righteous things - and who would hold up the authority of JESUS. He wouldn't even have to do much (the less, the better).

David Smith
David Smith

I would agree, Doug. Too many folks seem to have far too expansive a view of what the president's job is. Constitutionally, of course, it's far more modest. That's why I can support Ron Paul; if he indeed takes the Constitution seriously, then he'll leave the states and localities to govern themselves far more as their local cultures and communities dicatate. This was the intent of most of the founders; Brother Joel's recent series emphasizes this, county by county. Messrs. Lofton and Weiland, I'll simply have to agree to disagree with you all; we're looking at the same thing and seeing different things. And having gone to your website, Mr. Weiland, and viewing the questions, this was driven home even further. Grace and blessings, David Smith

John Lofton
John Lofton

The threshold most relevant question re: Paul is NOT whether he is right or wrong on a specific issue but rather does he have a Biblical view of civil government that determines his positions on specific issues. Clearly, he does not. Thus, I have argued no Christian should vote for him or ANYBODY who does not agree with God re: the purpose of civil government. John Lofton Recovering Republican JLof@aol.com

Ted R. Weiland
Ted R. Weiland

David: "the Constitution, but it does contain many of the principles of our British tradition (e.g. Anglo-Saxon common law, Magna Carta, etc.) founded in our Christian heritage." Christian heritage and Biblical heritage are not necessarily the same thing. The only test by which everything must be tested (including the Constitution) is Yahweh's morality as codified in His commandments, statutes, and judgments. By THIS standard the Constitution falls flat on its face. There is hardly an article or amendment which is not antithetical to Yahweh's morality, if not, hostile to His sovereignty. Find out how much you really know about the Constitution as compared to Yahweh's moral law (His commandments, statutes, and judgments). Take our Constitution Survey at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/constitutionsurvey/constitutionsurvey.php and receive a free copy of the "Primer" (an 85 page book, normally $7 plus shipping) of "Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective."

Doug
Doug

Ron Paul has said many times he believes marriage should be between one man and one women and that the Government should stay out of our bedroom and lives as much as possible. He wants to rule as the constitution dictates not as a dictator. As a christian I believe if you have half a brain and really look at his policies he would be far better as a president than these war mongering, military and bank backed power hungry puppets.