The State As An Instrument For Popular Freedom?

The idea that “the state” is an inherently bad, negative thing seems to be counter to plain common sense, and on this score I have to dissent from the view even held by Thomas Paine that government is but a “necessary evil”. If government is a necessary evil, then so are all the popular national institutions a nation and its Peoples need in order to function as a cohesive commonwealth. It may very well be that Paine and his confederates had such a view of government in light of the abuses of unpopular government; that is government that was not in fact a popular national institution.

We should say that unpopular government is an evil that it is not only NOT necessary but that it positively threatens the nation’s existence, while popular government of the People is a positive good for the nation and is by no means evil. Government is not the problem, our understanding of the proper view and nature of the state as an instrument for popular freedom is what we find lacking. The freedom-minded have long had a negative, reactionary view of the state. I want to challenge the reader to have a positive and proactive view of the state as an instrument for popular freedom.

A positive state is a state that acts as an instrument for the actualization of a rational and ethical order that reflects the ethical substance of its Peoples within the whole nation.  

Through such a state the internal and external security and safety needs of the nation are met and in such a free and secure environment other popular national institutions may order and structure themselves in a rational and ethical manner to positively fulfill their role within their proper sphere of functional authority within the nation.

In this manner, the active participation of the Peoples of the nation within and through these popular national institutions serves not only the individual’s interest but the commonwealth of all.

When a state becomes a taker of the freedom of individuals, their communities of interest, and other popular national institutions, rather than merely being a protector of the freedom of the whole nation against all hazards, then it becomes to the Body Politic what a cancerous organ does to a physical body. It sucks the life from the rest of the body, takes over as the “head” over the People and their God, and kills the creative, moral, and national life of the People. At this point either the now malignant state, as a Politocracy (the triumph of politics over ALL aspects of national and individual life), must be removed and replaced with a healthy organ or the nation will die.

If, however, the ethical substance of the Peoples in the nation is corrupt, then simply changing the state will not suffice to cure the cancer, it will re-appear in some other form as other popular national institutions become corrupted and begin to suck the life out of the nation.

In other words, ANY popular national institution can become corrupted and suck the life out of the nation, not just the state: indeed it may be that when the state becomes corrupt it is becoming a tool in the hand of a once popular but now corrupted national institution. This is the reason for things like theocracy, plutocracy, oligarchy, fascism, communism, or simple dictatorships.

All in all, these systems fall within the definition of a Politocracy- a nation in which the political power controls all aspects of national and private life while a small group of individuals control the state for their own benefit and not for the benefit of the Peoples within the nation.

There are two key elements needed to produce and preserve a free commonwealth where the People Rule according to God’s Approved Wisdom, by their consent:  the activation of the popular national institutions through active participation and, most urgently, the maintenance, through education and cultural norms, of the ethical substance of the nation.

If the ethical substance is diminished and becomes polluted by negative ideas that lead to immorality, social ills, and death then participation will fall off and the once popular institutions will become corrupted, paving the way for some form of a Politocracy. If participation by the Peoples as individuals and communities of interest within their popular national institutions falls off, then these institutions will diminish the ethical substance of the Peoples and a process of becoming a Politocracy will occur.

The ethical substance of the Peoples, founded on sound principles and truths which are both relevant to the present and consistent with those ancient truths humanity has learned the hard way, is what guards the freedom of individuals, communities of interests, and whole Peoples within a nation.

The manifestation of this vitality of creative and spiritual energy is the active participation of individuals in their popular national institutions as well as the emergence from among them, and within those institutions, of leaders who are qualified by skill, character, participation, and the approbation of the people they lead.

The ideas of Hegel and Marx (Hegelian ideas that the state is the prime mover of history and the Marxist notion that material conditions are the prime mover of history) are flawed.

The prime mover of human history is the ongoing war between godliness and godlessness and the way this manifests in the history of nations is in the ethical substance of Peoples within the nations. History is primarily governed by the content and character of the ethical substance of Peoples; all other factors serve as secondary influences even if in some instances, at certain times, it might seem that other secondary factors are the leading influence on events.

Throughout history similar events have occurred which have led to different results, as in the case of the American Revolution versus the French Revolution. In the American case the ethical substance of the Peoples within America was strong enough to witness the birth of a state that was capable of moving freedom forward, while the French Revolution led to Politocracy and tyranny because the ethical substance of the French People at that time had been corrupted already.

The liberation of South Africa from racist rule did not lead to social collapse or a massive new Politocracy as it did in places like Rhodesia and the Congo: again, same event, different ethical substance of the Peoples involved. It may be argued that the South African Government is becoming a Politocracy, but that, despite its ideology, it hasn’t come as far along as most European nations is proof of some underlying positive ethical substance among all or some of its Peoples.

This is not to say any People is better than any other, every People who have had a corrupt ethical substance can obtain a sound ethical substance, and every People who have a sound ethical substance can degenerate and witness the corruption of their ethical substance.

A state is not in and of itself a bad thing. In Romans 13 the description of what we might call the state, as a protector of the good and punisher of the evil, is not negative at all. The officers of the state are considered to be “God’s minister to thee for good.” This is not the description of a state that punishes good and protects evil, a state that does not execute righteous judgment, and so it is not an endorsement, as some have supposed, of an unlimited state.

The state is sole bearer of the sword. In its martial functions it is simply not under the authority of the OTHER popular national institutions including the sacred, social, and economic authority of individuals, communities, Peoples, and the nation at large: These do not have arms as such, but arms for defense can only be owned, possessed, or used IN SERVICE OF THE STATE.

(NOTE: I am not talking about using guns for hunting or home defense, which are private concerns that the State has no legitimate authority over, although issuing licenses to ensure against over-harvesting is a legitimate concern of the state).

In America, the second amendment recognizes in private citizens the role of defenders of the freedom of the state against foreign or domestic threats by “the right to keep and bear arms”, in a sense then, private citizens are recognized in this nation as being liable for martial service when or if the state itself is threatened by other foreign or domestic threats, including, of course, the seizing of the state for parochial interests.

The prior ownership of these arms is proof against the national level of government becoming a tyrant over individuals and their local governments, but the object is to preserve a state that upholds freedom, even if the “enemy” is a domestic government that tries to take freedom, thereby destroying the FREE STATE of the PEOPLE from within.

This does not mean that a private citizen can “take up arms” or form some private “militia”, the proper channels for protecting the state are the organs of government from the local level upward. A town or county, or a state, is the only proper means by which and through which the martial resources of the Peoples of the nation can be organized or mobilized in times of need, but even here prudence dictates that all peaceful and legal redress and petitioning is utilize before ANY state, at ANY level, takes up arms against another state.

The key thing here is that STATES, not private individuals or other popular national institutions, are the sole bearer of the martial sword, even WHEN individuals own arms for private home defense, private hunting, and for being potential volunteers in service to their state from the local to the national level.

If then the sacred authority through some “national church” were to “arm” itself and begin to demand that its particular confession of faith become a mandatory confession for all people, then this would be the sacred intruding into the civilc which results in a theocracy where people who CLAIM to “hear from God” dictate law in the basis of their own private convictions.

This brings us to the role of “faith”, the convictions of the People, in the governance of the state.

The old Sunday “blue laws” were all well and good when they were genuinely popular, but as consensus changed, these laws were repealed by popular consensus. If they had been upheld against popular consensus on the basis of “religion” then this would have been a theocratic ruling.

Laws that violated individual conscious, such as requiring people to attend a worship service, were well out of the bounds of the state, as are the state sanction of marriage, which is a social and sacred institution that the state can uphold but cannot alter or abolish.

On the other hand, when the state decides that the religious faith of its citizens cannot and must not influence the results of elections or referenda, in so far as those beliefs relate to the legitimate functions of the civic authority of the state, then the opposite of a theocracy occurs, an “atheocracy”, a rule by atheists who deem their opinions to be superior to popular will.

For instance, the State is well within its bounds in regulating the foreign policy of the nation with regards to other nations. If the People decide that they want that policy to reflect their Christian beliefs in “doing unto others what you would have them do unto you”, and therefore refuse to allow the state to interfere in the internal affairs of a foreign nation without the consent or invitation of the People of that nation in defense of freedom for ALL their citizens. then this must be the policy!

If, on the other hand, the People say that the state should only give foreign aid to nations that are “Christian” then this would be “out of bounds” because one state cannot coerce or manipulate other states where the issue is their common faith: the People COULD demand that no foreign aid go to states that fail to protect the religious freedom of ALL of their citizens, because the state is properly supposed to be an agent for upholding freedom, not for upholding tyranny.

Regardless of the SOURCE of the beliefs or convictions of the People, and NONE are “off the table” in the decision-making process, the state is only limited by its legitimate civic authority and it cannot ever assume “headship” over the other authorities (sacred, social, economic), even though it acts to protect and maintain their freedom as popular national institutions.

Any effort to disqualify any set of beliefs as the basis for creating a popular consensus that becomes the guiding light for public policy is a breach against the civic authority of the People which is itself SUPREME over the agent of that authority, their state. It is only when those beliefs, if they become the popular consensus, move the state from being a protector of freedom to being a taker of freedom that a line is crossed.

The state cannot over-step its legitimate civic authority and take on the leading role in the other three authorities no matter what, whether it does so based on religious or irreligious grounds.

For this reason Sharia law is unjust, it not only violates the inherent rights of individuals, but it gives martial power to so-called sacred and social bodies and it makes the state subservient to those non-civic authorities, which forces the state to use its martial power in the other authorities and over them.

When the voters of California voted to uphold the long-held definition of marriage as being an institution of the sacred and social order defined by one man and one woman, the atheocracy of the Courts stepped in to over-rule them on the basis of atheistic doctrine, setting aside popular consent in favor of the opinion of an atheistic minority. This was an atheocratic ruling.

So here we see, on one hand the theocracy that can result from the “church” intruding into the matters of the civic authority and, on the other hand, the state interfering in matters best left to the sacred and social authorities of the People.

The state can be positive and good when it is constructed, in its structure and rules and even in how it choses its officials, as an instrument for popular freedom, when it protects the popular national institutions, when it reflects, primarily, the consensus of the whole PEOPLE of the nation, and when it preserves the external integrity of the individual, the family, communities of interests, Peoples, and popular national institutions against all hazards, regardless of their source, punishing evil and protecting good.

Such a state cannot be a “necessary evil”, for protecting good and punishing evil, and upholding popular freedom while reflecting the ethical substance of the Peoples of the nation are all good, positive, and useful things.

It is the Politocracy, a corrupted state that cannot live up to these righteous standards of governance, that is not necessary but that is only EVIL. Dealing with that state is not, however, a matter for martial resistance. The root problem is spiritual and any true uprising for freedom against a godless Politocracy MUST be spiritual first, foremost, and always!

We cannot, however, propose to wage spiritual war against something evil if we do not know and propose an alternative that is “good”. We must understand that the State MUST BE a positive instrument for popular freedom, we must stop just seeing the state as a “necessary evil”. When it is good, the state is good, when it is not good, it is evil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on February 22, 2012 at 4:39 pm by William Collier · Permalink
In: Blog · Tagged with: , , , ,

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