Thursday, 6 July 2017

When the State Preys on Citizens


At this blog we have raised several times the issue of civil asset forfeiture.  When the state seizes private property without due cause, we are confronted with the ancient evil of Ahab and Jezebel.  It turns out that Ahabism is alive and well in our day.  

Angelo Codevilla describes the practice as follows:
Civil forfeiture was revived as a measure against drug dealers.  But according to James Bovard, 80 percent of the people whose property is seized under drug laws are never formally charged with any crime.  The percentage of those whose property is seized by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Fish and Wildlife Service and who are never charged, must less convicted, is even higher.  The Supreme Court has ruled that even a person's total innocence does not protect that person's property.  What a weapon against a citizen!

For whatever motive, an official accuses a citizen of a vague or unsubstantiated offense, then inflicts punishment on the spot by seizing the person's land, machinery, or transportation.  A livelihood is ruined.  The citizen can go to an ordinary court to try to prove his innocence.  But that costs money he does not always have, to fight bureaucrats who stand to lose nothing.  The citizen who is unlucky enough to draw the attention of a willful bureaucrat is typically reduced to doing at least part of what the bureaucrat wanted, plus signing a waiver of his right to sue.  [Angelo Codevilla, The Character of Nations: How Politics Makes and Breaks Prosperity, Family, and Civility (New York: Basic Books, 1997), p. 252.]
Queen Jezebel, the pagan Phoenician,  was the great champion of Baalism in Northern Israel.  Her husband, King Ahab went along for the ride.   Ahab coveted the prime vineyard of Naboth.  Jezebel organised and arranged civil forfeiture of Naboth's property.  Her doom was thus made sure.
When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it. And she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out of the window. And as Jehu entered the gate, she said, “Is it peace, you Zimri, murderer of your master?” And he lifted up his face to the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked out at him. He said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down. And some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, and they trampled on her. Then he went in and ate and drank. And he said, “See now to this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king's daughter.” But when they went to bury her, they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. When they came back and told him, he said, “This is the word of the Lord, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, ‘In the territory of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel, and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as dung on the face of the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.’”  [II Kings 9: 30-37]
Some things never change.  Well, actually they can and do--because the ultimate Lord of all is Jesus Christ Himself.  But, when pagans and paganism take hold of a culture, the extortion and seizure of citizens' property, or Ahabism inevitably makes its unwelcome return.

God is not mocked.  Let all Ahabists take note.

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