Isaiah 5:20 King James Version (KJV)
20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20 King James Version (KJV)
20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
September 9, 2012
Liberalism, generally, favors a bigger government and higher taxes to pay for it, while conservatives advocate moving in the opposite direction: limited government and low taxes.
Let’s face it. The government since FDR’s New Deal has gotten bigger. LBJ instituted the Great Society. (I want my Game Show Government, no matter the cost!) By now conservatives would say Uncle Sam is morbidly obese. But liberalism is still winning, and liberals claim the moral high ground.
But do they have the right to it?
Not if we follow what the Bible recommends.
I have to admit from the outset that I get nervous about applying the economic and political specifics of the Bible to the modern era. But maybe we can draw general principles from the ancient theocracy of the Old Testament, which eventually evolved (or devolved) into a royal theocracy.
Of course, we don’t — nor should we — live in a theocracy. So let’s proceed with caution as we look at the Bible.
The main principle here in this article is one that goes wrong: from simplicity to complexity. We need to reverse the process.
As for political power, Deuteronomy 17:16-20 reads:
16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself … he must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. 18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law … and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his brothers[.]
So the king must not accumulate large amounts of gold and silver, he is to follow the law, and he must not consider himself better than his fellow citizens. Lean and simple.
As for the flow of the material resources, we don’t need to go into the details about taxes and tithes and offerings in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). And I’m certainly not advocating going back to the Old Testament specifics on those policies.
Instead, as we notice that the resources flowed to a centralized place (the tabernacle), we just need to look at the same principle of simplicity.
There are three tithes (a tithe is a tenth) commanded in the Torah. Numbers 18:20-32 provides the tithe for Levites and priests: “It is your wages for your work in the tent of meeting” (v. 31). Second, the ancient Hebrews could bring their tithes, either in kind or in silver, and buy what they needed after they got to the tabernacle and celebrated the harvest. They could have a feast on their own tithe in God’s presence (Deuteronomy 14:22-27). Third, every three years, they were to set a tenth of their produce for the Levites who lived in their towns but were not allowed to have land to farm. This tithe was also for the poor and helpless and foreigners (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).
Next, the ancient Hebrews were to “redeem” their lives because God redeemed them out of Egypt (Exodus 30:11-16). This yearly payment, a kind of tax, was to go to the temple. In Jesus’ day, the temple tax was two drachmas, or about two days’ wages of a day laborer (Matthew 17:24-27). That’s low. Incidentally, Jesus paid that tax.
Finally, the people were required to bring sacrificial animals to the tabernacle (Leviticus 1:1-7:21). The well-to-do brought more expensive animals, while the poor could bring in less expensive ones or even grain in some sacrifices (Leviticus 5:7-13). The priests and Levites could share in some of the offerings, as their provision for food.
We don’t need to calculate how much these tithes and tax and offerings would cost today (one tithe was eaten by the giver, so how do you calculate that?). These laws were given in an agrarian society, which followed the rhythms of the harvests and animal reproduction.
The main point is that the Torah, which sets the standard, was reasonable, requiring low “payments” flowing to the central tabernacle. Lean and simple.
Later in Israel’s history, the people rejected God as king and insisted on a human king. Samuel the prophet, leading them in this transition, forewarns them that future kings would become oppressive.
11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8:11-18)
So the king will take the harvests, turn the people into laborers, conscript them into the military, and make their own servants work for him. Becoming slaves of sorts to the centralized government, the people will cry out for relief.
We are far from the simplicity laid out in Deuteronomy 17:16-20.
Solomon fits the description of a king who broke the basic rules.
1 Kings 10:16-18, 21-25 says:
16 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred bekas of gold went into each shield. 17 He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three minas of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.
18 Then the king made a great throne inlaid with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. … 21 All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days. 22 The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.
23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 25 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift – articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.
One positive picture from this long passage is that Solomon traded with other nations, and Israel enjoyed general prosperity. Yet the resources flowed directly back to Jerusalem and the king.
The dominant impression from this passage is what can best be described (anachronistically) as a command economy. That is, the central government accumulates and wields a lot of power and wealth, all of which is concentrated in Jerusalem and managed by a burgeoning bureaucracy, described earlier in 1 Kings 9:22-23. And to pay for this bureaucracy, assessments and duties and taxes in kind and metals increased.
Monarchs do that sort of thing. Should we?
And so it came to pass the people revolted.
After Solomon died, his son Rehoboam ascended to the throne. Would he carry on his father’s oppressive policies or lighten the burdens? The people were crying out for relief, just as Samuel had predicted. Unfortunately, the new king tightened things up. 1 Kings 12:14 says, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier[.]”
Thus, Israel split into two kingdoms, north and south, because of high taxes, an oppressive bureaucracy, and centralized power. We are far from Deuteronomy 17:16-20.
The American Context
We don’t have to — nor should we — apply the particulars of the Old Testament. We’re not a theocracy or monarchy, and we shouldn’t bring back a tithe-tax.
Instead, it is obvious that we have followed the same destructive path away from liberating simplicity, and we’re rushing pell-mell toward oppressive complexity. We’re already there.
A command economy and high and countless taxes and a huge bureaucracy were not the aim of our Founders, who often scoured the Greek, Roman, and biblical authors for principles about what to do and what not to do.
A command economy barges into the private sector to dictate, for example, to segments of the auto industry, which now needs more billions, or to command mortgage companies and force them to lend to the poor, though the poor cannot afford to pay them back.
Therefore, an executive is misguided when he seeks higher taxes on job-creators, while the tax rates are high already compared to those in other nations; when he wields a lot of power on his own, rising above the law and bypassing Congress; and when he walks with his chin held higher than his “subjects,” as he gazes out over the horizon at no one in particular.
Today, many conservatives have reached the sane conclusion that a 15-plus-trillion-dollar debt is immoral. George Bush let himself get co-opted by a Democrat-controlled House and Senate in 2006, and that’s when things went downhill. However, things got worse in 2008 — and much, much worse for the next fourfiscal years — because the Obama administration added five trillion (a record) to the debt. A debt that matches or exceeds our national income (GDP) is oppressive and destroys prosperity and freedom.
Further, heavy-handed regulations that have grown decade by decade, all exerted by a central bureaucracy, are bad for everyone but the central planners. The irony? We have to pay for the overregulation of our freedoms.
The Constitution is small, while the U.S. Code has grown over the decades. Think of the tax code managed by the IRS, another huge bureaucracy. Who can penetrate its labyrinth and come out alive? The tax code has become oppressively complicated.
Do we need to discuss 2,000-plus-page ObamaCare, which has 21 ticking tax bombs built into it, creates a huge bureaucracy, and limits personal freedom? Not to mention we can’t afford already existing Medicare and Medicaid?
Generally, the left teaches that we need a big government to implement social and economic justice (as leftists define the terms). However, when the government grows, freedom is restricted. There’s an inverse relationship between a big and powerful government and individual freedom, by definition.
The Bible teaches the opposite of a morbidly obese government. Therefore, the left no longer occupies the high ground, and the right no longer has to cede it.
Proverbs 13:22 says: “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.”
What kind of national inheritance are we leaving to the next generations? We’re leaving them nothing but oppressive burdens. How sad! How immoral!
You’ve heard of the Greatest Generation? Well, we’re the Irresponsible Generation.
We need to get back to a simple, lean, and reasonable government and low taxes.
That’s the moral high ground.
February 6, 2012
– The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials. – George Mason
A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms. – Richard Henry Lee
A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country. – James Madison
Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American…[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people. – Tenche Coxe
No free government was ever founded or ever preserved its liberty, without uniting the characters of the citizen and soldier in those destined for the defense of the state…. Such are a well regulated militia, composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property, as individuals, and their rights as freemen.” – “State Gazette,” Charleston, NV, 1788
The most effectual way to guard against a standing army, is to render it unnecessary. The most effectual way to render it unnecessary, is to give the general government full power to call forth the militia, and exert the whole natural strength of the Union, when necessary. Thus you will furnish the people with sure and certain protection, without recurring to this evil; and the certainty of this protection from the whole will be a strong inducement to individual exertion. – James Madison
What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. – Elbridge Gerry
I object to the power of Congress over the militia and to keep a standing army … The last resource of a free people is taken away; for Congress are to have the command of the Militia … Congress may give us a select militia which will, in fact, be a standing army–or Congress, afraid of a general militia, may say there shall be no militia at all. When a select militia is formed; the people in general may be disarmed. – John Smilie
The Militia is composed of free Citizens. There is therefore no Danger of their making use of their Power to the destruction of their own Rights, or suffering others to invade them. – Samuel Adams
In a people permitted and accustomed to bear arms, we have the rudiments of a militia, which properly consists of armed citizens, divided into military bands, and instructed at least in part in the use of arms for the purposes of war. Their civil occupations are not relinquished, except while they are actually in the field, and the inconvenience of withdrawing them from their accustomed labours, abridges the time required for military instruction. Militia therefore never amount to perfect soldiers, unless the public exigencies shall have kept them so long together as to absorb the civil, in the military character. – William Rawle, “A View of the Constitution of the United States of America”
The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws. – John Adams
By the last returns to the Department of War the militia force of the several States may be estimated at 800,000 men – infantry, artillery, and cavalry. – James Monroe
Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops… – Noah Webster
The great object is that every man be armed … Everyone who is able may have a gun. – Patrick Henry
Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature. – Samuel Adams
Arms in the hands of citizens [may] be used at individual discretion… in private self-defense … – John Adams
The second amendment to the federal constitution, as well as the constitutions of many of the states, guaranty to the people the right to bear arms. This is a natural right, not created or granted by the constitutions.” – Henry Campbell Black, “Handbook of American Constitutional Law,” 1895.
This [Second Amendment] may be considered as the true palladium of liberty …. The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction. – Saint George Tucker, “Blackstone’s Commentaries” (1803)
The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to Congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.” – William Rawle, “A View of the Constitution,” 1829
The Constitution shall never be construed….to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms – Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use them. – Richard Henry Lee, in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican
Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” – Patrick Henry debate in the state ratifying conventions
The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” – Thomas Jefferson
The rifle is the weapon of democracy. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military. The hired servants of our rulers. Only the government – and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws.” – Edward Abbey, “The Right to Arms,” 1979
For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution.” – Bliss vs. Commonwealth (1822)
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the milita, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right. – Nunn vs. State 1846
The provision in the Constitution granting the right to all persons to bear arms is a limitation upon the power of the Legislature to enact any law to the contrary. The exercise of a right guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be made subject to the will of the sheriff. – People vs. Zerillo (1922)
The maintenance of the right to bear arms is a most essential one to every free people and should not be whittled down by technical constructions. – State vs. Kerner (1921)
The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the “high powers” delegated directly to the citizen, and ‘is excepted out of the general powers of government.’ A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power. – Cockrum v. State (1859)
Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” – Thomas Jefferson’s “Commonplace Book,” 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764
If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege.” – Arkansas Supreme Court, 1878
The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed – Thomas Jefferson
What the subcommittee on the Constitution uncovered was clear — and long-lost proof that the Second Amendment to our Constitution was intended as an individual right of the American citizen to keep and carry arms in a peaceful manner, for the protection of himself, his family, and his freedom.” – Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Preface, “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms”
The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms – George Mason
Comment by Paul M. Clements53 minutes ago
Here’s the link for comments on the Dep’t of Agriculture/Forest Service plot to steal our water rights.
10) Only in America could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $40,000 a plate campaign fund raising event.
9) Only in America could people claim that the government still Discriminates against black Americans when we have a black President, a black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal workforce is black, while 12% of the population is black.
8) Only in America could we have had the two people most responsible For our tax code, Timothy Geithner, the head of the Treasury Department and Charles Rangel, who once ran the Ways and Means Committee, BOTH turn out to be tax dodgers who are in favor of higher Taxes.
7) Only in America can we have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.
6) Only in America would we make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege while we discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just become American Citizens.
5) Only in America could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country’s Constitution be thought of as “extremists.”
4) Only in America could you need to present a driver’s license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.
3) Only in America could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. Oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).
2) Only in America could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a trillion dollars more than it has per year for total spending of $7 million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn’t have nearly enough money.
1) Only in America could the rich people who pay 86% of all income taxes be accused of not paying their “fair share” by people who don’t pay any income taxes at all.
Posted on March 15, 2012
‘I’m About to Earmark This Cake for My Mouth’
S#@* lobbyists say
This November, you will make a choice. Will you choose One Nation Under Socialism?
McNaughton’s Answers to Questions Regarding This Painting:
Why the title “One Nation Under Socialism?”
Our federal government has been moving in the direction of socialism for over one hundred years. Many presidents and politicians have compromised the Constitution as we have given away our freedoms under the guise of entitlements and government intervention. When the people are willing to sacrifice the next generation for their current lifestyles and allow the federal government to have all the power for an illusory mess of pottage—you have chosen One Nation Under Socialism.
What do you mean by an ideology, which can never stand?
I will not support an ideology, which will lead to the destruction of America. In the history of the world, never has there been a recorded example where Socialism has led to the betterment of the human condition or improved the liberty of the people. I know there are varying degrees and definitions of “socialism.” Even the European model of Democratic Socialism has proven to be a dismal failure. Do you want to see our country become like Greece, Italy, Portugal, or even Great Britain?
What do you mean by “divisive, with no liberty or justice for anyone?”
Socialism uses the illusion of offering fairness and justice for everyone by redistributing the wealth of the nation; picking and choosing winners and losers. This administration has taken over our health care system, given bailouts to the automotive industry, banking industry and energy industry. They support the “Occupy Wall Street” movement of increased taxing of the rich to pay for the welfare of the “less rich.” The Constitution never guaranteed equal things—only equal rights and justice. In America we should be FREE TO SUCCEED and FREE TO FAIL!
At this very moment our Constitution is literally going up in flames. What will you do to preserve the Constitution and save America?
Why Socialism Failed …