The Decline of Freedom, The Foundation of all Tyranny
In our last article, The Real Destroyers of Liberties, we stated that the contributors to the decline of freedom throughout history included both the governments of the world who offer benefits, and those citizens who apply for and accept those benefits. All of the responses to that article were very positive, but one individual complained. I thought their comments were cutting to the heart of the matter, and were worthy of examination by all.
One of their first comments was:
“The ones who make the budget decisions in government were given that authority by the vote of the people.(common consent).”
This statement is absolutely true but it was prefaced with the word “Poppycock” suggesting that the article was not correct in its premise. They had quoted only the one statement in the article which was:
"To love benefits offered at the price of someone else's liberty is to love the human law that provides them more than we love our neighbor."
It is my hope that people will step back farther from the present dilemma, and take a wider look at their relationship with government and the circumstances that orchestrate the condition and fate of their society. The manner in which we relate to one another defines our society. If our liberty lessens in the world, it is because tyranny is increasing in the hearts of the people.
The comment continued by stating:
“In addition, should they not fund programs for the poor and the needy we as a nation would fall under the direct judgment of God because of that omission.”
They went on to quote Ezekiel 16 which describes the iniquity of Jerusalem and her sister Sodom, who were proud with a fullness of bread and an abundance of idleness had failed to strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
It is true that the sin of Sodom (and, from time to time, Jerusalem) was that they did not strengthen the poor and the needy of their society. But does the welfare of this society strengthen the poor or make them more dependent upon those who call themselves benefactors?
The free bread of Rome has long been listed as a contributor to its decline as a nation and demise as a republic. Its vast systems of social welfare did not strengthen the poor, but in fact made them more apathetic and indolent. It also divided the people, with the working class resenting the poor because of the inevitable abuse of such systems. The early Roman republic, as it rose to prominence centuries before the first Emperor or Christ, depended entirely on free will contributions within a mutual network of voluntary care of their needy.
It made them so strong a community that even the military was composed of unpaid local militias who kept the nation safe from foreign invasion or internal crime. Over time, the republic of Rome changed, becoming first an indirect democracy within a republic, and then an Empire providing a vast system of welfare through the benefaction of a government that exercised authority over an enfranchised citizenry.
This is where I must point to a cornerstone of error stated in the post:
“There's the alternative to a tax system which is to neglect the sick, afflicted, hungry and needy.”
The alternative to taxing your neighbor is charity. What a revolutionary idea in a world that has decided it is okay to covet their neighbor's goods through the agency of the governments they create!
America, the republic once depended entirely on the charity living in the hearts of the people. The government did not take wealth from one class of citizen to simply redistribute it to another under the pretense of charity. Common citizens like Horatio Bunce, as a natural inhabitant of a free country, understood and instructed his representative, Congressmen Crockett, in the principles of a free nation:
“The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be intrusted to man... You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity.”2
Every American should be well versed in the full text of this account of the principles of a government that represented a citizenry which still maintained its responsibilities, and, therefore, its God-given rights. That Congressman, Davy Crockett, never again voted to distribute funds provided through taxation under the guise of charity. If we are to be a free nation and reverse the current trend, then we must turn ourselves around and seek those forgotten principles of a once-great nation that is comprised of honest hardworking men and women who cared as much about their neighbors as they did themselves. From Abraham and Moses to Jesus Christ down through today, the message has been to love your neighbor as yourself, and not force him to contribute to your welfare, or the welfare of any one else, no matter how deserving the cause. If a contribution is not by choice, it is not charity.
There are different kinds of government, just as there are different kinds of people, but when we talk about a governments like the United States we should understand that “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”3 Any government that relies upon forcing the contributions of the people (who must bow to its will) is totally incapable of charity because it has nothing to give except what it takes by force or threat of force.
Ancient Israel, early Rome, and pioneering Americans sustained their communities in hard times with nothing more than charity and common brotherhood resulting from individual consent. The historical record and modern realities demonstrate that every nation that fails to respect the individuals right to choose will be brought down by that corruption, for they neglect of fundamental principles of love and liberty.
We cannot be free until we are willing to set our neighbor free from our own rapacious avarice. We will not get our rights back until we take back our responsibilities for ourselves, our families, and to our neighbor. Charity is the job of every man, but without the exercise of choice, there is no charity. The Bible, being a book about governments(both good ones and bad ones), tells us to love our neighbor as our self,4 and to not to covet anything that is our neighbors.5
If you are not diligent in this love and respect of neighbor, then you will go under tribute.6
One other comment that I must address here is the reference to “common consent”. Is that the common consent of the “collective”? Are we endowed by the mob with certain privileges that can be taken away by the majority, or are we endowed by God with certain rights inherent in the individual.
The United States was never a pure republic. It was to guarantee a republican form of government to the states, but it was an indirect democracy created by constitution at the will of the original state republics. A Republic is “that form of government in which the administration of affairs is open to all the citizens. In another sense, it signifies the state, independently of its government.”7
In the original American Republics, citizenship of the individual freeman depended upon his “ownership” of land as an estate, but “in the United States ‘it is a political obligation’ depending not on ownership of land, but on the enjoyment of the protection of government; and it ‘binds the citizen to the observance of all laws’ of his sovereign.”8
This distinction may be more than some may be able to chew in this brief article, but an example can be found in an examination of another adventure of Mr. Crockett. In the story “A Tale of Two Alamos,” 9 Hutton refers to William Barret Travis’ “line in the dust” as “that sublime moment of democratic choice.” As the story goes, Travis gave his men a choice of leaving or staying to fight a ”hopeless“ battle. All the men stayed but one Louis Rose, who climbed the wall and escaped to tell the story (and open a meat market in Nacogdochea). When asked why he didn’t stay, his reply was “By God, I wasn’t ready to die.”
If that had been a “sublime moment of democratic choice,” Rose would have been compelled to stay by the will of common consent, because as a voter he would have been obliged to submit to the outcome of the vote. Fortunately, it was a sublime moment of individual choice in the Texas Republic.
A democracy is a kind of common purse of rights. But the Bible tells us that such common purses run toward evil.10 Over and over again the Bible warns us not to take benefits11 from men who exercise authority one over12 the other, because what they offer is a snare and a trap,13 and will make us merchandise14 (or human resources), and a surety for debt.15
As I stated in the previous article, “No one is obliged to accept a benefit against his consent. But if he does not dissent, he will be considered as assenting.”16 We should know that “A person shall not be allowed to enrich himself unjustly at the expense of another.”17Any bounties, donations, or benefits that are not owed, but are accepted, will create an obligation to the one posing as a benefactor, on the part of the recipient. It may be argued that government owes you because you have paid --- but what you have paid has long been spent. That was your contribution, your sacrifice. Now you will only benefit by what is taken from others on your behalf. That is not liberty. That is not love.
The men who do the taking and doling out of benefits are only called benefactors. They offer you benefits and entitlements at the expense of your neighbor. “He who receives the benefit should also bear the disadvantage.”18 The disadvantage shall continue to increase if we continue to persist on this path to corruption.19
How has this corruption crept into our society? The list is too long to cover here, but the idea that the majority, through common consent, may rule over the minority with out violating God's law lies will bring the decline of freedom and is at the foundation of all tyranny.
1Poppycock from Latin pappa, food and kak, dung. It is a polite Dutch way of saying that someone is full of dung.
2Text from 1884 biography by Edward S. Ellis, "The Life of Colonel David Crockett," United States Congressman
4Leviticus 19:18 “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.”
Matthew 5:43 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.”
Matthew 19:19 “Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Matthew 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mark 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Mark 12:33 “And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Luke 10:27 “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”
Romans 13:9 “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Romans 13:10 “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Galatians 5:14 “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
James 2:8 “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:”
5Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
Deuteronomy 5:21, Exodus 18:21, Mark 7:22, Luke 12:15, 16:14, Romans 7:7, Romans 13:9, Hebrews 13:5, 2 Peter 2:3-14,
6“The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.” Proverbs 12:24
8Wallace v. Harmstad, 44 Pa. 492; etc. Black’s 3rd Ed. p. 95.
9SMU Mustang’s Spring 1986 alumni magazine. Story by Paul Andrew Hutton.
10“Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.” Proverbs 1:14-19
11Proverbs 23:1 “When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what [is] before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.”
12Matthew 20:25 “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, 'Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you':”
Mark 10:42 “But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, 'Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you':”
Luke 22:25 “And he said unto them, 'The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But it shall not be so among you.'”
13Psalms 69:22 “Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.”
Romans 11:9 “And David saith, 'Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them':”
142 Peter 2:3 “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
15Proverbs 17:18 “A man void of understanding striketh hands, [and] becometh surety in the presence of his friend.”