Three Coyotes and a Sheep
Culture and Politics - Obama Nation Building
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 03 July 2012
When I say that the Bible requires limited government -- because a
claim to unlimited government by mortals is a spurious claim to Deity --
I do not mean that Christians may not find themselves living under
despotic regimes from time to time. Our understanding of these things
(given by grace) does not automatically transfer to those despots who do
not know and understand that God is the only God.
What I do mean to say is that believers and despots are always,
necessarily, on a collision course.
A despot is one who recognizes no
functioning authority above him, and a believer is one who knows and
confesses that there is a final authority beyond the realm of men, and
that this final authority is a functioning authority.
Given the nature of the case, at some point the despot is going to
demand some form of allegiance that the believer cannot in good
conscience render. What the despot requires will seem entirely
reasonable to a large number of people . . . just a small pinch of
incense. Just a little one.
That is what happened with the early Christians and their obedience
to Caesar. They had been obedient to Caesar too, numbered among his best
citizens and subjects, but their obedience had built-in limits, and
that is why they were on a collision course. That is what happened to
the founders of our republic as well. They were obedient to the king,
and bore with his depredations lawfully and patiently for years. They
exhausted every legal remedy. But their obedience had built-in limits,
and when they came to the point, their confession was, "No king but
Jesus." We are at a similar point, and we are going to be tested in a
If there is no god above the state, then the state is god. But if
there is a God above the state -- and there is -- then we may rejoice to
hear the glorious good news that the state is not god.
I have said that Congress is not Jesus, and have grounded our
resistance on that footing. But some will say that I am being delusional
-- "Whoever claimed that Congress was Jesus? John Roberts
never said, 'Congress is Jesus.' What are you going on about?" No, he
did not use those words, but the Supreme Court decision excluded, by
definition, any limiting principle.
No human authority is absolute -- not the authority of the family,
not that of the church and not that of the civil government. When one of
those authorities makes a claim that does not admit of any boundaries
or limits, then the time has come for an intervention.
Some might want to embrace the way of wishful thinking, the option of
shallow thinkers of every era. They may want to say, "Oh, surely, there
must a limiting principle around here somewhere. Let's just hope there is, and leave it to the establishment lawyers to figure one out."
I, for one, would be delighted to discover that a limiting principle
remains. If you are confident that there is one, would you please share
it with us? Under these criteria, just now established by the Court,
what could Congress and the president not do to us? Provided
they use the coercive power of taxation, what is prohibited to them from
the outset? You say there are limits on them still. Fine. What are they?
Democracy is not a limiting principle -- democracy is one of the
central things that must be limited, as the founders well knew.
Democracy is three coyotes and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch.