Posts Tagged ‘christian conservatives’

The media uproar over Mitt Romney’s hapless comment that the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax will vote for Obama is close to the heart of what really ails America.

Although Mitt Romney didn’t carry it this far, we are approaching that point in the Hegelian dialectic where Democracy self-destructs.  Ann Coulter, writing in World Net Daily, drew the obvious conclusions:

“Thanks to the myopia of our one-party media, most journalists are firmly convinced that voters will be appalled by Romney’s description of 47 percent of Americans as supporting Obama because they pay no income tax.

But the only people shocked by Romney’s statement of fact are those who would never vote Republican under any circumstances. Everyone else is saying, “Is it really as high as 47 percent?” – as the media impotently shouts, “No, you idiot! That’s not the point!”

There’s going to come a time, in the not-distant future, when it’s 51 percent paying no income tax. And when that happens, the party of big government will never lose another election. “

In spite of this logical fact of political life, many Christian conservatives continue to insist that America was established as a republic.  As usual, the discrepancy between the mythical past, and present poor performance is held to be an alleged departure from the original intent of the founding founders.  The latter have attained near demi-god status in the eyes of most Christian conservatives.

Myth:  Because the founding fathers established America as a republic, it is incorrect to refer to American government as a democracy

The initial step in this MythBusters’ investigation was some historical reflection.  We first noticed that Mitt Romney’s observation was nothing more than a restatement of a famous quotation, over 200 years old.

The Evils of Democracy

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.  From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”  Alexander Tytler, a Scottish born British attorney.

It is true that the Founding Fathers did claim to “guarantee every state in this union a republican form of government” (Art. IV).  But we noticed that the guarantee does not explicitly include the national government itself.

The Constitution gives the impression – on the surface at least – that its structure is designed to impose republican limits on government power. The three branches are said to check and balance each others’ powers.  And the federal form is supposed to give Congress limited, delegated powers, with all others reserved to the states.  Legislators are elected to represent their constituents, which is the key feature of a republic

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Moreover, other statements of the founding fathers indicate a clear distaste for democracy.  For example,

  • “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.” — John Adams
  • “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!” — Benjamin Franklin
  • “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%.”  — Thomas Jefferson
  • James Madison called democracy the “tyranny of the majority”

Added to this is the testimony of scripture when Korah issued a democratic challenge to Moses:  “…You have gone far enough, for all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” (Num. 16:3).

God was less than impressed by this Democratic argument.  In fact, He was barely restrained from destroying the entire congregation, but instead opened the earth to swallow Korah alive and all that was his.

Republican Skeleton, Democratic Heart

Nonetheless, whether the founders intended it or not, MythBusters research found that  government created by the United States Constitution is democratic at its core.  Democracy is by definition “a system of government of the whole population” (Oxford American Dictionary).   In a pure democracy the people vote on every issue and the government draws its authority from the body of the people rather than from God.

By contrast, a Biblical government would acknowledge its authority to be from God alone.  “…For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Rmn. 13:1).

The founders  relied heavily on John Locke and Locke denied the verity of the above verse in his chapter “On the Beginnings of Political Societies” in the “Second Treatise of Government.”  Locke asserted “…that which begins and actually constitutes any political society is nothing but the consent of any number of freemen capable of a majority to unite and incorporate into such a society.  And this is that, and that only which did or could give beginning to any lawful government in the world.”

Locke calls this the social compact or social contract.  Notice that it is founded exclusively on the consent of the majority — “that and that only.”  As noted above this is the essence of Democracy.

The preamble of the U. S. Constitution matches this template exactly when it affirms that “we the people…do ordain and establish this Constitution….”  Democracy is affirmed, God is thereby rejected, and all the trappings of Republicanism in the end come to nothing.

Case Closed:  While the Constitution may have the skeleton of a republic it has the heart of a democracy.  It is the heart that controls.  It is a heart not governed or limited by the law of God.  Every republican restraint will be undermined and evaded until all that is left is the individual against the raw power of the state, embodied  in the majority.

Mitt Romney is faced with this stark  reality.  History MythBusters concludes that the myth America was established as a republic is a half truth at best.  The only escape from the inevitable “followed by a dictatorship” is to humble ourselves as a nation under the mighty hand of God and return to his law in our system of justice.

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Christian conservatives are fond of telling us that America’s federal form of government means that power was originally decentralized under the Constitution.

Or at least it was divided more or less equally between the three levels of government – Federal, state and local.   According to Christian conservatives, somehow today power has accumulated in the Federal government and we need to get back to the founders original intent of state’s rights.  For example, a recent article on Political Outcast asks the rhetorical question, “Since When Are We the United State of America?”

“The original plan for this country was a federal, not Federalist plan.  It emphasized local government as the most important government for the individual.  That plan took a slight detour with the Declaration and the Constitution, both of which included populist language ( as if the national government could or should interface directly with ‘the  people’), but, in effect, civil government even then was generally decentralized – local.”

Myth:  the federal government established by the founding fathers in 1788 was designed to reserve most of the power for state and local levels of government.

The first sentence in the quote above is a bit enigmatic since the plan was in fact written and approved by what soon became known as the Federalist  Party.  But the key issue in our MythBusters investigation appears in the last sentence, “…in effect, civil government even then was generally decentralized – local.”

Most Christian conservatives at the time of ratification didn’t see it that way.  Patrick Henry estimated that nine tenths among the Virginia “yeomanry” were against the proposed Constitution.    Among the leadership, the anti-Federalist Party quickly arose to challenge the assertion that power was decentralized under the new government.

Patrick Henry emerged as a key anti-Federalist leader.  MythBusters examined the 24 speeches that he delivered at the Virginia Ratifying Convention in opposition to the proposed United States Constitution.  Henry presented many cogent arguments to support the thesis that the states were delivering unprecedented power to the national government.

In response to the question, “Since When Are We the United State of America,” Patrick Henry would emphatically tell you, “Since ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788!”

National, Not Federal Form of Government

Michael Minkoff states that “now we live under a national government that dictates to the local governments what they will and will not do and even taxes individuals directly….”  Notice it is stated as if this were some startling new development.

All of the evils that Mr. Minkoff complains of in the Political Outcast article were predicted by the anti-Federalists during the ratification debates.   Nationalism is inherent in the “we the people” formula of the Preamble.

Patrick Henry argued that “the people” were not the fit instruments for creating a government, this is the province of states.   But since “the people” as a mass were invoked, the government they created is of necessity a consolidated, national government.   The state legislatures were illegally bypassed, above the indignant, even anguished  protests of the elected state representatives.

The people have no right to enter into leagues, alliances, or confederations,” said Henry, “they are not the proper agents for this purpose.  States and foreign powers are the only proper agents for this kind of government (June 5, 1788).

Patrick Henry recognized the national character of the U S Constitution from the beginning, unlike today’s Christian conservatives.  “But now, sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country into a powerful and mighty empire.”

Contrived Crisis Creates Change

 Henry complained that an imaginary crisis had been contrived to transfer all of the substantial powers of government to the national level.  In particular, the power of the purse and the power of the sword.  He drew a contrast with England where “the sword and purse are not united…in the same hands as in this system.” (June 14).   The surrender of the militia to an all-powerful central government left the states defenseless.

Unlike today’s Christian conservatives, Patrick Henry expressed a literal hatred for the proposed constitution and every one of his dire predictions if it were ratified has come to pass, including two levels of oppressive taxation, an imperial supreme court, a bloody civil war within 100 years and an incredibly dangerous treaty clause.   The elastic clause and the general welfare clause give the feds everything else.

That’s not to mention the spiritual problems with the document. “We the people” replace God as the ordaining authority in the preamble. The stipulation that the Constitution itself and all subsequent human laws shall be the supreme law of the land, not the law of God. The rejection of any spiritual qualifications for holding public office. Tyranny is by definition rule apart from the law of God — the “perfect law of liberty” (james 1:25).

Case Closed:   The mere presence of the federal structure (multi-tier) does not guarantee freedom at the local level.  The structure of a federal form of government may be in place and all the power still be concentrated at the national level.  That is precisely what happened to America with adoption of the Constitution of 1788.

The Christian conservatives assertion that any substantial power was retained at the local level is a myth.  It is a bromide held out to the masses to create in them the illusion of liberty.