Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

On Pirate Ship Governance

Douglas Wilson
September 1, 2014

I have been arguing that Christians need to learn how to stand for liberty, but in order for this to happen they must first learn what it is. And when this happens, they will find themselves saying some outrageous things, like I am about to do.

Human rights — which everyone is automatically in favor of — are nonsensical and absurd unless we have a robust understanding of property rights. Property rights are human rights. In our age, we understand that human rights are a grand and glorious thing, but we are bewildered when it comes to the crucial matter of property. We are entirely in favor a birthday cakes, but are dubious and confused about the concept of cake batter.

First, some history. In 1772, the first statement by the colonial Committees of Correspondence was released. Samuel Adams is credited with being the primary force behind that statement, and it begins by itemizing the rights of the colonists as men. The first right was the right to life, the second was liberty, and the third was property. The echo we hear in the Declaration four years later is obvious. We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness is therefore grounded in our ability to own property.

But how may a free people, whose rights of property are duly respected, fund the costs of government? We all agree that taxes are a necessity, so how may taxes be levied on a free people? The fundamental principle is that because property is an unalienable right, this means that property can only be released by the consent of the owner, either directly or by his representative in the legislature. This is why taxation without representation is tyranny. The property that the government acquires from a people without their consent is therefore theft.Uncle Sam Thief

The whole point of government is the protection and preservation of property. If we call life and liberty our car, property is the fuel pump.

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Note that governments do not grant us these rights. Our rights are given by our Creator. Governments are created by the people in order to secure the rights we already have. Governments do not bestow rights upon anyone. Their sole duty is to recognize and protect them.

Now in order to have these rights granted to us by a Creator — follow me closely here — there has to be a Creator. One of the first steps in robbing us of our heritage of political liberty was spreading the insidious and morbid joke of Darwinism. Little bits of protoplasmic froth on the ocean of evolutionary development don’t have any rights to speak of.

Now when government becomes destructive of the central point, the telos of protecting our property, certain things follow from their destructiveness.

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”

That’s a tall order, and a big responsibility. In subsequent installments, I am going to be making some very practical suggestions. But the first thing — and it is a very necessary first step — is to get our minds around what has happened to us. How is our current government funded? As Hillary Clinton once famously put it, it takes a pillage.There are many examples of this, but our staggering deficit is saddling our great grandchildren with a gargantuan debt, and our great grandchildren don’t have any representatives in Congress. They are being burdened with obligations they have not consented to. That means that our irresponsibility and prodigality are our instruments for enslaving them. Not only so, but some progressives among us have the immortal gall to say that we are doing what we are doing “for the children.”

We are currently living under a form of government that our Constitution was explicitly designed to prevent. We are told ad nauseam that we are a free people, while at the same time our administrative managers, our ruling elites, reserve to themselves the right to dictate to us pretty much anything that comes into their heads. They walk the corridors of power with the demeanor you might expect from such little gods.

When the colonists successfully faced down Parliament over the Stamp Act, and it was reluctantly  withdrawn, Parliament at the same time passed the Declaratory Act, which in effect said that while Parliament was rescinding the law, they were not rescinding the principle. Just so you know, “we reserve the right to be tyrannical at any time.”

In this context, the first lesson we have to master is the lesson of understanding what is happening to us. We cannot put any solutions into effect unless and until we understand the problem. The problem is arbitrary administrative government, which is quite a different thing than representative free government.

Obviously it is a sin to steal, and it is not a sin to be stolen from. The first part is flat prohibited in Scripture (Ex. 20:15; Eph. 4:28), and the second part is intuitively obvious. Better to be wronged than to do wrong. But when making this point that it is not a sin to be stolen from, we are talking about someone sneaking into your garage at two in the morning and taking your bicycle. It is not wrong to be wronged in this way.

Our current sin is found in the way we are being stolen from. When God prohibits stealing, this assumes the institution of private property. When God prohibits adultery, what is in the background? Unless there is such a thing as marriage, you cannot have adultery. Adultery is defined as violation of marriage vows. In the same manner, stealing is violation of someone’s right to remain in possession of their own property.

So the requirement here is to learn a little blunt force honesty with yourself. It is not a sin to write a big check to the government. It is not a sin to be stolen from. It is a sin to write that check, so that a couple dozen bureaucrats can go down and pee it into the Potomac, and you tell yourself that you are just “doing your share.” That is the sin of being delusional when God has required us to be clear-headed. It is a sin to believe that our government is anything other than a pirate ship of the thieves, by the thieves, and for the thieves. It is a sin to go on believing the lies when we have no good reason to.

In short, the first step for the Christian taxpayer is the same as what you find in addiction recovery groups. First you have to admit you have a problem.

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