Saturday, March 13, 2010

Government at Work

In his letter to the Romans (13:1-7), St. Paul instructs us that government is sent by God to keep order, and we are obliged to obey the law and subject ourselves to the "higher authorities." However, government itself is obliged to likewise submit to "higher authorities" - especially its own obligation to act out of protection of its citizens and the motivation to do good and restrain evil. Government at all levels is prone to corruption and the perils of "absolute power."

Hence, part of the exhortation of Romans 13 is for government to obey the moral law and any other limits imposed on the government by the law itself.

In 1849, Henry David Thoreau wrote: "That government is best which governs least" (a quote sometimes incorrectly attributed to Jefferson or Paine). Since this writing, we've seen such worldwide exponential growth in government as : the American federal government's complete takeover of the states, the centralization of Italy and Germany, the creation of the American Federal Reserve and the IMF and World Bank, two world wars, the Great Depression, the rise and fall of worldwide Communism, the press for a united European state, and the rise of the post-WW2 American superstate. In the 20th century alone, government has killed 203,000,000 people.

Some recent arbitrary and ridiculous examples of why small government is better than big government:
Bonus: a commenter on this last story wrote:

Stop me when this sounds familiar:

Step 1: You are free to do XYZ.

Step 2: You are free to do XYZ, but you must ask permission first.

Step 3: You are free to do XYZ, after getting permission, but are subject to reasonable "health and safety" regulations.

Step 4: You are free to do XYZ, but only after applying for a permit or license, paying the fee and getting permission. XYZ is subject to a variety of restrictions and regulations for the good of the community.

Step 5: You are free to do XYZ, but only if you are a member of a class with a certain kind of education or training and accredited by an "independent" XYZ organization or association. You must apply for a license with a steep price tag, and only a few licenses are available each year. XYZ is heavily regulated and managed by distant government bureaucrats. Cottage industries spring up to navigate you through the legal, procedural, and insurance issues involved with doing XYZ.

What's step 6? Come on, everyone, you know it.
Even a cursory glance at the news on the internet on a day to day basis is chock full of the folly of government - even here in my small city Gretna, Louisiana (the Louisiana part should have been a giveaway of funny business). And the one guy on the City Council who is saying what needs to be said is himself a crook.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Since government officials are God's ministers, they should be held to the same standards of conduct that you would expect of any other minister. We should not allow government officials to use Romans 13 as a fig leaf to cover their own misdeeds.

If you're being tired of being taxed and controlled to the hilt by corrupt government at all levels, you might want to read this book. It also explains why the majority of Americans now believe this about their own federal government and several states are starting to decentralize and wrest control back from the feds. And when you are ready to hold government accountable, you might want to read Lew Rockwell every day instead of the MSM and pro-government talk radio mouthpieces from the left and the right who all complain about Big Government and then propose the solution: Bigger Government.


Dan at Necessary Roughness said...

It's Henry David Thoreau.

Otherwise, I like it. :)

Father Hollywood said...

Thanks for the correction!