Limited Federal Government
by: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
I write this piece from the perspective of a Christian, a patriot, and an advocate of Limited Government. Its intended audience is all people of all political and theological persuasions but is primarily written for the conservative and believer to give apologetic support for Limited Government and America’s return to its foundation as a Christian Nation.
I believe America’s foundation and her Constitutional Republican form of government were ordained and inspired by God. I believe the Constitutional Republic, with its 3 separate branches, and its capitalism-based economy, contains the necessary elements to manifest an operationally perfect system of government. But, the economic-governmental system by itself is lifeless and will not mechanically bring forth the optimum experience of societal function. Rather, the Capitalistic Republic must be given life, spirit, and direction by an entire nation of men, representatives, and citizens, who are unambiguously committed to manifesting the will of God on Earth. The impersonal forces and machinery of government and the market can be bent to any purpose, and neither liberalism, republicanism, nor a libertarian government formed only by the requirements of a free market has sufficient internal boundaries or incentives to guide men into a state of fulfillment in their public and private lives.
Our nation, governed by the limits of the Constitution, can only reach its potential of maximal similarity to Heaven when the citizens continuously struggle to manifest Godliness in their private and public lives. I believe America’s first immigrants, and the framers of our founding documents, intended to establish a Christian nation, and that America is falling from greatness because of our rejection of the Judeo-Christian ethic and commitments. The responsibility for restoring our land lies squarely on the backs of believers. It is not the pagans, atheists, and humanists who must first become holy, righteous and repent so that our nation may prosper, rather it is we as Christians who must lead. When Christendom truly lives the holy and righteous life implied by the name “Christ-in”, the brightness and righteousness of our lives will shine, and enroll the world to imitate that goodness and share in the rewards such a life offers.
2 Chronicles 7:14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Human nature is primarily driven by self-interest, which includes a lust for power, a desire to maintain its own existence and lifestyle at the expense of others, and a drive to control its environment by coercion, criticism, and force. A society populated with people who have not dedicated themselves to balancing these human traits with Godliness will manifest elements of these passions in their institutions of government and industry. The unsanctified human drive in the institutional, corporate, and governmental group-expression results in various forms of societal abuse. The compassionate Liberals now campaign on the promise to raise taxes to transfer wealth to the entitlement class. The holier than thou Liberals impose unGodly moral standards in the name of gender and sexual orientation equality and tolerance. The freedom loving Liberals legislate infanticide in the name of choice. The progressive Liberal declares Secular Humanism as the de facto state religion in the name of separation of church and state. The one world globalist Liberal opens our borders to illegal immigration, trade without restriction, and trilingual instruction pamphlets in the name of multiculturalism.
The stimulus to write this piece came from an email that raised the issue of imminent excessive government surveillance and regulation of personal decisions. A Godly government needs information to help facilitate the coordination of its various limited duties. But, surveillance as a tool for governmental quality control and management can be redirected to intimidate, coerce, and enable enforcement of laws that benefit the ego and unGodly social engineering of government more than it benefits the social order. Unless Godliness directs the individual and group spirits of a society, the government will pursue its own best interests at the expense of the populace. History is replete with examples of societies overtaken by tyrants. On some level, all people who have succumbed to tyranny have suffered from a deficiency in discernment and response to budding evil embedded within the social/political environment. Even the best government will be forced to engage in ever more draconian surveillance, legislation, and enforcement to fulfill its charter of maintaining the social order when the people abandon Godly self-regulation.
The philosophers from both sides of the political divide have offered solutions for social issues. The Liberal solution is, in general, an increase in government control, more spending on social programs, less religion, less government intrusion, and more enforcement in the areas of freedom of choice, tolerance, and equality. The Libertarian solution is little or no government and regulations while allowing the forces of the market to regulate human behavior. The Conservative seeks to reduce taxes, balance the budget, minimize government, and return God to public life. The following essay is largely an analysis of the Libertarian perspective of a society without government. The examination concludes that a central nervous system is required to control the movement of the body. Likewise, we need to fully represent the metaphor of the body in the society, by the organ of government, with its executive branch, courts, laws, and bureaucratic administration of those laws. But, having noted the necessity of government, we then emphasize that most of the duties of our current “New Deal-Great Society” government can be transferred to the private sector if the society is well organized and interconnected with the purpose of cooperation, and the people adhere to Godliness.
The essential hope of a Market-based government (Libertarian) is that the society will self regulate because the force of self-interest will be so strong and detailed that the regulation by law will be made obsolete. Such a system is value-free in the sense of not regulating anyone by any set of governmentally chosen set of supernaturally attributed morals. The essential hope of the Government based economy (Liberal) is that the wisdom of man will provide direction that will be higher than the pandering to base desires produced by the market and its appeal to man’s base appetites. The Limited Government (Conservative) seeks to take the best from both, and produce a synthesis of Godly Law that establishes the basic ground rules within which economy can function in its robust effort-rewarding manner that gives men the incentive to work and produce for profit and consumption.
The non-Christian population of the United States may see the common adoption of a Christian form of Godliness as the establishment of a theocracy or a Church-State religion. But, it is only returning America to its foundation, which has always tolerated other faiths, but it maintained the Judeo-Christian moral standard as the foundation for law and common civil relationship. Religion in a Christian nation would be self-imposed. But, without a majority who choose to vote, legislate, and manage the private sector on Christian principles, the social standard will revert away from the Godliness that produces the stable and lovely group ethic that allows Limited Government.
Prayer and Bible reading should not be mandatory, nor should church attendance, but if these good practices are not broadly maintained in the culture, the seeds of destruction will be sown in society. Limited Government allows people to choose their philosophical-religious beliefs, but social behavior that crosses the line of violation of others must be restricted. A judiciary comprised of men holding Godly standards is the only group that should try, convict, and punish on behalf of the state. But, the enforcement of most forms of antisocial behavior involving self, family, work, should be handled within the social unit close at hand. Likewise, the excellent behaviors such as prayer and Bible reading in school should be allowed and encouraged, as parents should be able to extend the teaching of their children to the large segments of imprinting time occupied by the classroom. Educational choice should be universal, as this makes the educational establishment accountable to the demands of a Godly marketplace. When people are enfranchised to vote with their feet and their money, the market responds to give them what they want. But again, the market is not the solution; it is only one tool of the society that must be sanctified.
I use the word “Godliness” extensively in this essay. The reader should understand that the intended meaning and implication of this word is love of self, neighbor, and God, as the Laws of God are summarized in this principle and spirit. Godliness refers to the entire spectrum of good and right manners, rules of relationship, ethics, and morals established by God as Right. Forgiveness of offense releases the soul to live in love and authorizes God to deliver justice. Love repays evil with good, but this does not mean accepting violation without response and letting evil prosper without resistance. Love informs the violator of his injury to person or property, and restraint is delivered in the form of boundaries, reduction in degrees of freedom and instruction. Love speaks the Truth but does so in love. To allow the evil to perpetuate unopposed enrolls the victim as a party to the violation. Confronting and establishing boundaries expresses love and creates a strong relationship with the violator. Confront the violation with humility, and have faith that the message will eventually be received. Always be open to the possibility of an error in my own judgment of right and wrong. Know that God loves each person, regardless of his or her political persuasion, economic standing, educational background, moral compass, or religious belief. But, there is a way of life that brings men into relationship with the Father God, and many ways that separate us from His fellowship. Following the path and pull of selfish human passions, un-moderated by love, separates us. It is our duty to be God’s light in showing that we actually care for the prosperity of every man’s soul and body.
The following essay was initiated and stimulated when John, a Libertarian, sent me the following email dramatizing how much personal data could soon be collected and made available to government, corporations, law enforcement, federal and state agencies and bureaucracies.
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 3:38 PM
Subject: FW: Ordering pizza in 2010
Ordering pizza in 2010. This is funny, but scary because it’s probably not too far from becoming reality.
Dear John, I enjoyed the future-reality shock humor. The point of the piece was no doubt to illustrate that big government wants to control us in every aspect of our lives, and you are undoubtedly right about the propensity of Big Government to expand and control. But, in the vein of our previous discussions about adopting a Libertarian style economy-only society, I believe it would be necessary to implement even more data collection than was illustrated in the 2010 Pizza piece if we do not have a governmental system.
Not sure about that, Tom. A completely private society could offer any services a government can offer, but services would be offered competitively, not monopolistically, and costs would be distributed more efficiently to those who benefit. You use a road and you pay for it. No collectivist taxes on everybody regardless of whether they use a resource or not. Etc.
There are private models of justice adjudication, private roads, private currency, etc. This pizza thing is a vision of a corporate society propped up by government protection from competition. In a private property society, one would agree to only the level of surveillance one chooses.
With government, you have monopoly power, and legislation, and if one does not participate in the national database one is a criminal and hauled off to jail. Government is about giving super-human rights to ordinary humans. I contend that nobody has the right to take my money by force regardless of whether he has a mask over his head or a shiny badge and a gun. We cannot hire others to steal, and yet voting is precisely a sanitized and respectable form of that. There must be something inherently immoral about giving certain human beings the right to steal with immunity or to initiate force against others.
Please don’t take my word for it! There are people smarter than I who have thought through all these issues and written books.
John, according to the “Let go and Let the Market” article by Gladish that you recently sent me, one way of implementing a Market-Only system that replaces government would be to use RFID monitoring of the entire populace. Gladish uses the data collection capabilities associated with modern technology at the center of his theory. To implement a cashless society, where credit is given based on service to the society and credit is withdrawn from the individual’s account due to moral violations, requires a great deal of information about the person so that the society/market can make these kinds of judgments. The Gladish article illuminates the fact that any system that seeks to eliminate government will introduce other institutions or methods to serve the same function, and other remedies must then be applied to fix the unexpected and often unpleasant side effects. Upon examining this subject, I have come to realize that Limited Government can only exist for a righteous and Godly people. When the people, their representatives, and commitment of government is to Godliness, it is possible for Government to shrink to its minimal necessary size.
I understand and agree with your point about the intrusiveness of government, and the possibility of delegating and reallocating the functions of government to private enterprise. To summarize, you believe that it is not necessary to have a system of top-down government-imposed laws, (or at most, that government should be very limited), and that private citizens or corporations can organize to perform many of the functions of government such as police and justice, allocation of resources, punishment of moral infractions by economic sanctions of various sorts, and in short do all the functions of society without governmental direction. I agree that such a system is possible. But, my comment about the need for a strong information collection and surveillance system being necessary to implement an “economy-only government” was given credence by the concept introduced in the Gladish article.
From that essay, I was alerted to the likelihood that a vast databank about each person’s life-transactions was possibly necessary in order to give proper feedback to enforce economic sanctions against those who do things that some people might consider wrong (such as murder and theft). Gladish proposes that it is possible to implement market sanctions against people who have engaged in trespassing of various sorts simply by making their behavior available known to the market. This appeal to the market for an impersonal, non-law/government imposed response, was meant to show the plausibility of creating a society without any appeal to, or definition of, moral standards.
(Note: the lack of any religion/mysticism based moral system seems to be a primary point in the Gladish theory. He really wanted to develop a society that could implement a perfect market-based regulation of the society without the acknowledgment of God in any way. He was really arguing against the need for government, and the laws and moral codes they imply. He was using the elimination of government as a surrogate opponent to show that God and His standards were unnecessary. He sought to create a system where the humanistic understanding of “best practices” could be reflected in the economy and executed to show that an entire society could be regulated without an appeal or reference to Godly morality. Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” The Founders intended that our government reflect Godliness in its structure and laws, just as God Himself intends that righteous government reflects His righteous will and way.)
But in order to give concreteness to his theory, and to implement this Godless system of economic feedback he noted that information would be needed to give indicators of each person’s credit-worthiness. Thus he introduced the solution of RFID or Biometrics tracking of each person’s productivity and violations of property and person. With this information included in the personal database, the raw data would be available for the market to judge a person’s creditworthiness. The combination of collecting detailed data about the person’s life, and the absolute power to grant the credit that sustains life and lifestyle, makes it possible to apply economic consequences upon them. Such force in a cashless, credit-only, society provides a near-irresistible force on the violator. If the data collection were extreme enough, the economic pressure on the individual would create a nation of sheep. The force and judgment of the economic system would be so precise that the economic feedback would shape everyone to fit the algorithmic judgment of the system.
And yes, society can agree to any level of surveillance of its citizens, just as it can organize its own police force, currency, independent territory, defense, research, and education system, etc.
(Note: any time a regulatory function is exercised by a subset population over the larger whole (e.g. police, judiciary, housing association executive committee, etc.), that subset is operating as a de facto government. These mini-governments are simply of a smaller size, and offer the possibility of more local control and participation than the macro-federal and state governments; i.e. entities that exercise the onerous duties of taxation and foolish appropriation of those resources. And, if this is the goal, to reduce the size of government and make it more personal and wise, then the privately employed system can do that. But, even the private system can grow and become impersonal, rude, and foolish. If the goal of privatization is to eliminate governmental, parental, rule-making bodies entirely, this is not logically possible. If the private system executes or enforces any rule-making or regulatory function, it has power over the participants and is a type of government.)
If we are to use only the forces and tools of the market to regulate the interpersonal behavior of the citizens, then the amount of finesse, dexterity, nimbleness, and agility of the economic system to do all these functions, without government, will require a huge amount of data collection. And this is the point where the potential slide into tyranny enters the market-only solution. The database must be available to all people so that they can each individually evaluate the creditworthiness of a person before rendering them goods or services. Otherwise, if each person does not judge every other person’s creditworthiness, the database of service credit, consumption and violation debits must be computed by the impersonal judgment of the credit-debit algorithm. The entry of the credit-debit algorithm into consideration illuminates the potential for abuse and tyranny since the algorithm will necessarily reflect someone’s judgment of Truth and Right behavior, or “best practices”.
Gladish clearly wishes to implement a society without the embedded morality of law imposed upon society. He wants to show that it is possible to create a society which does not even refer to a moral system at all and thereby shows the irrelevance of God. He desires to prove that by appealing only to the sense of best practices within humanity that society can function in a good, peaceful, and well-regulated way. And his alternate system is to show that the market-alone can make judgments of people’s creditworthiness and that this tool will give social feedback that alters behavior and shapes it toward that excellent pattern that we all desire of our fellow man. Gladish is proposing a society-wide cybernetic feedback system to shape behavior using economic incentives and disincentives. He proposes using RFID implants or biometrics to track the movements and transactions of all people at all times doing all things seems. With this raw data, he then applies an algorithmic analysis and gives people the reward of credit for good behavior such as work, volunteer service, kindness, voting, etc. And, for consumption of resources, carbon footprint, rude behavior, and criminal conduct, credit is subtracted from his account. I must admit the system is brilliant. It will produce an incredible society. This will work! Government will absolutely be unnecessary using such a system. It appeals to the most powerful tools available to shape human behavior, reward/aversion training, Operant conditioning, the Pavlovian signal, and the cybernetic loop. With society hooked up to such a loop, it will not be necessary to use force or government to control the society. Thus my comment, that the 2010 pizza story sounded very similar to the society of an economy-only government.
Gladish’s economy only system transfers the central nervous system function of the traditional government to impersonal enforcement by an economic algorithm that judges our creditworthiness. Instead of government using laws, the courts and police as enforcers of moral standards, our behavior is “shaped” according to the judgment of the best practices of the group mind of that society.
A nation without any data collection system, and no government, would be regulated much like the economies of the pre-industrial and information age. The economies in these times were subject to frequent boom and bust cycles, which appear to have been smoothed out somewhat.
(Note: This smoothness lasts as long as we follow the rules of good monetary and fiscal policy both publicly and privately. I refer in particular to the laws that Congress passed which forbade lending institutions to discriminate against people who could not qualify for a loan for lack of sufficient collateral, thus precipitating the current housing crisis.)
My point is that without any (or only a small amount of) data collection about the internal workings of the economic system, the potential for huge disparities between production and demand, or monopolistic entities arising that take over the economic landscape are real possibilities.
Likewise, it is possible for the tipping point of loans and credit to extend past the place where a person could realistically produce the value associated with that credit. Without calculations, without data, without monitoring of transactions and comparing creditworthiness against the proposed purchase, the aggregate societal economic balance sheet could easily become unbalanced. When the supply and demand do not match, the system can go unstable and produce shortages, recessions, and even depression. But, even these problems may be eventually solved by various limits, and systems put in place to reduce the risk and consequences even without intrusive data gathering.
I do not wish to impugn the economy-only government solely on the issue of the need for excessive surveillance, although I think it is an important consideration for those who wish to advocate for this solution to the problem of intrusive, corrupt, and ever-expanding government.
Rather, the more important criticism that I wish to confront about the economy-only government is its basis upon self-interest. This criticism may be shocking since its advocates tout the superiority and advantages of the market-based government because of its dependence upon this strong natural human emotion. Structuring a system that caters to the self-interest of every man yields a most productive society. Each individual naturally purses his own best self-interest by whatever means he deems most effective. If society values production and does not give him food, shelter, and entertainment if he does not produce value, then he will receive strong feedback that production is required.
In such a system, every man is equal and is forced by the natural demands of fairness to produce value so that he can receive value from others. And as sovereign controller of his credit expenditure, he can choose to transfer that credit to farmers in exchange for food, or he can give that credit to charities, agencies, research, education, or any other entity of his choice.
Every person desires freedom from forceful domination. We desire a society that regulates the passions of men and honors our inalienable rights. We desire protection from the bullying of other private citizens, the monopolistic practices and tendencies of corporations, and from government corrupted by the influences of power, fame, and wealth. The economy-only system has been presented as such a system. But, we should be cautious in placing our full trust in a system that is free from an acknowledgment of every citizen’s responsibility to embrace Godly self-regulation.
I see polar expressions of the world in all circumstances.
In the axis of government, the extreme poles are tyranny and anarchy. Note that tyranny and anarchy are only an infinitesimal part. The economy-only government is a type of anarchy. No man is superior to another in this system, and each made advocates for his best interest economically and morally by judging the creditworthiness of his trading partners in the society. But, for each person to judge the creditworthiness of his partner accurately, he needs a strong database to fully know his partner, so as to properly extend him credit. But, to do this he needs a data collection system which gives him that information. As a result, every person in that society, wishing to execute the same totally-independent judgment of their trading partners, agree to institute a data collection system and algorithmic computation of creditworthiness. The result is total independence from each other, but total reliance on the computation of the algorithm. The result is the tyranny of the algorithm. By this example and analysis, the point of connection of the opposite poles is illustrated, as is the unification of tyranny and anarchy.
Moving a small distance away from the extremes on both ends, and toward each other, the left wing polarity would be the strong central government with a socialistic control of the economy, strong bureaucracies, and many laws. The right-wing polarity would be a small government, private ownership of production, an information-rich society about self, others, and groups that enables social decision-making, plus an algorithmic recommendation for voting and consumption.
Moving closer to the center, we see a government like our current Constitutional Republic with its strong bureaucratic control of all phases of economic life. And, on the other side of that polarity, we see an economic system with less data collection, without algorithmic enforcement, and the use of cash instead of the cybernetic tracking and feedback system.
At the center we find a blend of the two polarities – the government and economy mixed together to form “Limited Government”. In this expression, we see the vast mix of credit and cash, economic indicators and social trends guiding production, corporate and professional self-regulation, transparent accountability of the public officials, common defense, and a people committed to moral self-regulation. But, such an ideal blend of the government and economy in the context of a Limited Government will only occur when the people have a deeply rooted, and personally lived commitment to God and His Way.
In the extreme expression of any system, the power is more concentrated and hence there is the possibility of exerting undue influence for personal benefit or to manifest a personally held belief about a greater good (such as we see in the jihadist philosophy). Human nature is strongly tempted to take advantage of available power.
In the case of the world governed by self-interest only, the system is likely to allow the cultivation and growth of an extremely virulent strain of self-interested individuals. These people make an art form of evading the modest barriers erected within polite society. This is the predator species; the trusting people who simply do their job, think about others and expect truthfulness are the societal prey.
The more a society promotes the pursuit of self-interest (without a sense of moral/Godly regulation to temper the desires of the self), the greater the probability that it will evolve a subpopulation of predators. Such a system is closely akin to the law of the jungle system, and while efficient and free, it is brutal. Charity, kindness, and heart must be incorporated into a “self-interest” based system so it produces more than an abundance of products at low prices.
I believe that for the self-interest based world to actually produce the joie de vivre that people really desire, it must incorporate the personality and properties of Godliness into the individual and societal values. This point is the major theme of my essay and is the only force in which I place my faith in the possibility of man creating a successful and stable Limited Government.
One possible transition scenario from our current state of Traditional Government to Limited Government, is for the entirety of the nation, individuals and groups, to suddenly embrace Godliness. Such a scenario is obviously unlikely but is considered to note that any system of government could be sanctified if all the people in the society and government spoke, acted, and thought in terms of legislating, adjudicating, and governing under the influence of Godliness.
Limited Government could evolve from any governmental system. Limited government at its “sweet spot” nourishes private ownership, rewards the risk of investment, labor, and invention; it collects extensive but non-intrusive data about production, consumption, and opinions; it provides easy ongoing interim, official non-binding voting on issues to give feedback to professionals, corporations, government agencies, judiciary, legislators, and executives; it has a media that reports the facts as objectively as possible, provides a place for the expression of opinion, and allows a forum for discussion about the issues, and is committed to presenting the news through the lens of Godliness. Ideally, Limited Government optimizes the establishment of limits and the satisfaction of desires and does it through mechanisms that are largely generated by the community debate and arise as a social consensus.
In the society that expresses itself according to the moral bias of Godliness, and under the social organization of Limited Government, the behavior of each man is properly respectful of the property and interests of his neighbors. And, various other intangible “best practices” of mankind optimize interactions on many subtle levels. To coordinate public activities, the Limited Government will require some level of data collection. Likewise, the majority of citizens must participate in some level of active community and professional involvement such as staying informed and voting about issues within the profession, union, or corporation. And, unless volunteers handle the duties of management and decision-making, the group would need to assess (private tax) its members to support administrators that serve in each cluster.
Without a set of standards for performance, behavior, and goals, and actual data regarding these parameters, it will be impossible for a private society, or government to intervene to improve performance. Intrusive monitoring of personal behavior is not necessary when the principles of Godliness are widely inculcated into the group, and every person supports and confronts his family members, friends, business associates, customers, and leaders with the principles of moral self-regulation. Likewise, the social monitoring machinery established for purposes of safety and defense can be trusted when the governing agencies are dedicated to the principles of Godliness.
Next, we examine another transition scenario starting with the Strong Central Government, and follow its gradual evolution into the optimum Limited Government. The first step in this transformation is the installation, election, or miraculous conversion of the heads of state and their cabinet. The leadership enforces Godliness from the highest level, and with this commitment to Godliness, the parental government exerts an influence on the citizens and institutions at each successively subservient level in the society.
Any system of Government can be endured and reasonably well enjoyed as long as the leaders of business and industry, the bureaucrats, professionals, labor, and homemakers bow to the rules of Godliness in conducting their professional and personal lives. Any system of government can transform into the optimum mix of government and private enterprise to form a Limited Government if the entire populace is likewise transformed. There will always be a problem with the stability of the system though, since the heart of man has such great affinity for pleasing self, over the Godly regulation of desire to love God’s way and to love neighbor as self, that after the horrors of one historical vignette has past, they forget, and seek to increase their pleasure over the amount allowed by the moderated consumption of pleasure available to the Godly. People are greedy, they want more, and they take more than is fair, more than they deserve for the amount that they have earned. God has created evil to tempt us, to continually challenge us to choose Him over the pleasures of the flesh at the expense of someone else. Thus, the only way to maintain the ideal society where limited government thrives in perpetuity is for the people to continue to warn their children of the dangers of the spirits that lie inside. The children must be taught the principles of goodness, and the evil they express in their temptations and transgression in lying, cheating, stealing, and fornicating must be confronted and used as object lessons to awaken the soul to the dragon that lies within. The parent that does not reign in the child and teach him the ways of the Lord and embed the spirit of self-regulation in his heart is a violator and puts the entire society at risk. Only one strong charismatic deluder needs to enter the world stage for a nation of unprepared sheep to be led into slavery. Therefore, parents need to teach their children the patterns of truth and lies in the public arena, and impress upon each one the personal responsibility that he has to confront evil in his fellow man. Assuming that “it isn’t my fight,” and “what right do I have to confront another person in their sin,” is the method by which the wolves grow strong and eventually terrorize and control the herd.
If the people are forced to be good and Godly by men with guns and shiny badges, the society will prosper. The good people will love the enforcement of righteousness, the evil will hate it, and those without a Godly moral compass will not be able to tell the difference. When the general population adopts the spirit of Godliness as an internal commitment, the authority of the State can be gradually transferred to a Godly strong private sector to self-regulate. Such is the natural progression toward the appropriate level of freedom.
People have the “right” to do Right, but they have no right to do Wrong. It makes no difference whether government or hired security corporations enforce right behavior. The argument is over who is more likely to enforce righteousness, and who is more likely to use the power of force to perpetrate and use their authorized power to steal and enslave. The Libertarian argues that government is inherently susceptible to the seduction of power because of the lack of personal consequence and investment.
This argument and consideration are true, and for this reason, we must populate the ranks of our civil servants with Godly men. We must ensure that the charters of each bureau and agency have the service of God written into their charters. We must require that the leadership of agencies, be men committed to Godliness in character, discrimination, and courage. Such men should be able to examine law, policy, and intent and confront error in their construction and execution. The manager in government and industry often only sees his position as oversight, rather than as judge and advocate for righteousness. Such a frame cannot be allowed in a Godly society. Every day, every person must take on the job of advocating for righteousness in his sphere, and do so without fear of livelihood and status.
The person serving in the governmental machine clearly faces temptations. He faces the challenge of falling into bureaucratic malaise where anything is acceptable that is dictated by law or his superiors. The standards of right and wrong become blurred and questionable as he sees arguments for both sides of the issue. The numbing effects of peer pressure, management, repetition, and moral complexity cause him to lose courage and conviction to confront the wrong he once saw clearly. He conforms to questionable policies and enforces them out of fear of loss of position or promotion if the commands of the hierarchy are questioned, challenged, resisted, or exposed. Still, all these temptations can be overcome by a commitment to Godliness.
We have clearly identified the fact that government has difficulty solving the problems of wealth allocation, poverty, job security, health care, drug addiction, and unemployment. But simply turning these problems over to the private sector will present its own set of challenges. Ultimately, the same requirements for Godliness that we considered above in the governmental hierarchy are active in the private sector. The major difference between the two realms, public and private is that the private sector is subject to the feedback loop of wealth creation. If no wealth or value is created, and if there is no demand for the product created, then the private enterprise fails.
But, the private institutions are subject to their own fatal flaws. The requirement to produce quarterly profits causes companies to shortchange R&D expenditures. The drive of wealth and greed causes the captains of industry to seek to consume their competition and raise prices as they establish monopolistic control. The drive to produce more faster, cheaper, and better pushes managers to push workers to higher levels of stress, with longer hours, and lower wages.
Thus, for the society to truly be a pleasant and joyous place to live, the private institutions should require their employees to behave in the ways of Godliness. The citizen should realize that supporting the cheapest foreign brand may place workers, the environment, or prosperity at home in peril. Simply instituting private enterprise in lieu of government will not immediately solve all the problems of society. But, the dog eats dog competition of free enterprise will provide pressure to produce results. Thus, these various social problems will probably get better under the automatic disciplinary hand of free enterprise. But, until Godliness is instituted as part of the corporate culture the workplace will still be a painful experience.
When the individual, corporation, and government embrace Godliness, the system will assume relative stability and righteousness. It was the intention of the Founders in their framing of the Constitutional Republic to establish a system of Limited Government based on the broad embed of personal self-government.
In our modern wired world, we can each begin the process of pushing to establish Godliness in our sphere of influence. The chances of Godliness taking hold and pushing back the sea of hedonism and Godless self-indulgence is slim. But, there is no point in just sitting back and capitulating. More than likely we will have to suffer some very great disaster, where people realize that we are not adequate to hold against the powers of darkness without the help of a miracle working God. At that time, we should be ready with our testimony and our plan of action.
Much discussion is held bantering the term “Limited Government” among the conservative circles. But, the meaning of this term is so ambiguous that we could easily argue that the best government is no government. But, reason, history, human nature, the Bible, the Constitution, and the metaphors of nature argue for an ecologically complex system that incorporates government and private enterprise in a single system. The complexity of moderation associated with competing and mutually interdependent systems creates ecological complexity and system robustness.
Personal self-government according to the Biblical principles of Godliness was the intention of the Founders in their establishment of a Constitutional Republic. If we take the Constitution and its implicit standard of Godliness as our national charter, we will begin to transfer the various functions of government to private enterprise.
When Godliness is the primary rule in a man’s life, only a minimal level of government is needed to coordinate, enforce, and focus the individual and group activity. Regardless of the path to Limited Government, Godliness is the central key to allowing societal stability, security, and satisfaction.
From this point on, I shall dispense with the discussion of the “Economy-Only Government” and shall instead focus on the optimization of the “Limited Government”. The perfect mix of government and private enterprise will not be advocated or explicitly elaborated, other than to recommend that a limited Federal and State government as advocated by the Founders. I believe the Constitutional template was divinely inspired, and I believe it will function well as the initial template for the implementation of a consciously chosen system of Limited Government in a complex ecology of private enterprise and a family of nations.
There are many possible mixes of government and private sector functions that society may choose. A large body of people will necessarily require the performance of many types of functions. Thus, people will specialize according to the needs of the time, and talents of the individual. These disparate activities of individual and groups comprising the economy-society must be coordinated and centralized at various levels, whether by a governmental or private institution.
Each society must decide how much personal data and monitoring is needed to regulate personal behavior, ethics, environment, and educational standards, etc. Laws, policies, agreements, or contracts will be made to guide industry and private behavior and to thus institutionalize the wisdom of experience. Likewise, the contingencies for change must be built into the system to adapt to internal and external pressures such as new technology, environmental concerns, resource scarcity, and international relations.
Note: In this essay, we have not stated how Godliness will arise, or even how to make it arise. Obviously, this is a critical consideration because the foundational consideration in establishing the Limited Government is a Godly society. Nevertheless, in its implemented state, Godliness will be a form of non-denominational Judeo-Christian ethics that will permeate society. There will be no creed or standard of orthodoxy that anyone must believe, but the general standard will be the hologram of Biblical Truth. This will leave the specifics of what Truth is, and how it is to be implemented, open to debate in every situation, personally, publicly and in government. No act of Congress will establish a religion, people are free to believe or not believe anything. Still, the Constitution is to be recognized as being based upon the general principles of Christianity and governing a Godly people. Law will be established with its foundation based upon the moral principles of the Bible, and a body of cases with precedent, argument, and justification. There will be a spirit of reverence and respect for God as creator and author of life that is held by all respectable members of society. Parents, educational establishments, courts, businesses, and bureaucracies will all speak, teach, and legislate overtly in terms of Christian ethics. There will be no law passed requiring a particular denominational worship, and no law passed declaring a particular doctrine as orthodox. But, there will be an open consideration and acknowledgment and debate at all levels of government, business, and family about the righteousness of any rule, policy, or fee as it relates to the Judeo Christian concept of Godliness.
But, we currently live in a society without an overt commitment to Godliness. We once were much more committed to life governed by this principle and spirit, but, in our current era, we have a socially liberal contingent that actively campaigns against any acknowledgment of Godliness in government. Our money still says, “In God we Trust” and our pledge still says, “One nation under God”, but these are straggling remnants that are crumbling as the generations and traditions are being replaced by Humanism, selfishness, greed, personal satisfaction, and desire.
The fundamental commandment of the Bible is summed up in the following verses:
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, ” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’38 “This is the first and great commandment.39 “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’40 “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
The above principle is the foundation of all social systems whether government or economy-based. Regardless of whether a nation is governed by law or by equity in trade, the nation and its people must have a respect for the Law of God and have the Spirit of God in their hearts. Godliness is expressed as acting on the spiritual insight that reveals how life really is to be lived in perfection as seen by God. Godliness is perceived as a vision, feeling, and/or sense of knowing of the way of God. Every person has the rudimentary leading of God in his heart, but it becomes much more refined and accessible when a person engages in daily Bible reading, accepts Jesus as his Lord, and immerses himself in the Holy Spirit. Thus, the personal vision of Godliness is available to every man who puts his heart, soul, mind, and strength into seeking to know the Truth.
For the sake of completeness, we must ask the age-old question, “What is Truth?” And, the simple answer is, “Truth is what God sees as objective reality.” Every moment has an actual content of physical position, a content of momentum, radiating forces, impending external forces, and intent. The momentum will provide a large force directing us toward our next moment’s position. Likewise, external forces (spiritual or mechanical), seen or unseen at the moment will influence us in the ensuing moments and may overpower and thus redirect our momentum. As spiritual and physical beings, we have a place in the universe as an active actor, and our presence, momentum, and intent will inherently influence the world around us. And finally, our intent can introduce a force into our own trajectory and alter it. God has a plan, a perfect template for our movement, and it is up to the individual to seek and find His way, and in that way is the optimized life.
Embedded in the very essence of life is the fact that laws govern the very structure and substance of the universe. These universal laws of nature extend outward from the conscious particulate understructure of nature, and they emanate outward from the structure and nature of our soul. Thus, the universal laws of nature penetrate into our volitional world and require us to function in various ways to avoid pain, experience pleasures, and maintain survival. As a result of the boundaries of movement that were built into the physical universe, we can only follow certain paths. As a result of the boundaries of pain built into the soul and the psychic universe, we are repelled from engaging in activities that threaten life and well being.
Regardless of our awareness of God and His Law, we are all subject to it. Consciously acknowledged or ignorant of the allowed pathways of the universe, they must be obeyed as a fact of life; no man operates outside of God’s laws, we just fail to optimize our experience by choosing a lesser subset of life rules. Attempting to escape and rebel only initiates forces that move to restore the errant soul toward the path of life.
We may feel that we are captains of our fate, and free to choose our moral standard. And, to an extent this is true. We can direct our lives toward a goal, and we may to a greater or lesser extent reach that goal, but ultimately, if forces larger than our will and physical power direct our lives and influence our minds, we will be blown by that wind. Disease, famine, war, pestilence, quakes, weather and death all demonstrate the existence of a force larger than our own. But these forces are not random or mindless; they all work together to manifest God’s purpose. The formative source-power is awesome, mysterious. Two paths can always be chosen, rebellion against God and hopelessness, or Hope and Faith that all things are working to move us toward the centerline of Righteousness and Truth. The framing of life as positive or negative, hopeful or hopeless, hating God as evil or loving God as good, seeing life as random or seeing life as God’s play, is our fundamental power of controlling destiny.
John, your premonition dream years ago of the cars piling up behind you on the freeway; and then shortly later in real life having a shopping cart actually appear in front of you, swerving, and seeing the cars pile up behind you, was a graphic illustration of the lawful, mechanical progression of life. It likewise demonstrated our ability to intervene to a degree in the sequence of life’s progression. We live in a Lawful universe, and we are subject to laws that in turn affect our sense of satisfaction and sorrow. Our free will is still operative even amidst this great mechanical progression, and our free will choices determine to a great extent our happiness and contentment with our state of life. Thus, the advantage to following the patterns of the larger Lawful universe; we will benefit by patterning our own lives along the paths of the God-given regulations and rules. We should follow the rules, not as a mindless true believer, but rather as a man filled with the Spirit, feeling, knowing, and riding the waves of direction by the Spirit. Such is where the mystery and adventure of life are experienced at their maximum. We are called to combat the forces of dissipation, disobedience and rebellion and enroll our fellow man in the way of Truth. We are to seek to manifest righteousness in the larger world by enrolling willing men to labor in the service of the Spirit of God in manifesting his plan of Goodness for mankind.
Thus, “self-interest” is just as important as “other-interest”, but both are subservient to the superior Laws of God, nature, and Life. No real wisdom is possible until we see the perspective of God. Until then we simply speak from example, experience, cited authority, or theory. Thus, self-interest is only one of the factors which must guide life. To hold self-interest too highly, places one of the gifts of God, one of his implanted desires, above God in our hierarchy of respect. When doing so we worship a false god, which produces its own failures. The only best, most satisfying paths of life are God’s paths; all else are suboptimal dreams and passions of man that seem good but produce less fruit than the bounty possible when following God’s leading and way.
We wish to progress from our current government as a Constitutional, Corporate Representative, semi-socialistic, Big Brother Nanny State, Globalist, Industrial-Government Alliance, to the optimum balance of market and government which we shall call “Limited Government”. The following sequence may produce this evolution.
1) Revival: This is a revival of the Spirit of God moving with power across the nation, moving people to conviction, repentance, and holiness. Either a renewal of the majority of the nation or all its leaders must overtake the nation. This could come by an act of war, natural calamity, Jesus returning as King with Power, the Spirit of God moving on the hearts of men such as in the First Great Awakening before the Revolutionary War, the Second Great Awakening before the Civil War, or by convincing proof that God was real by science or broad personal experience.
When the nation returns to God in a true, Spirit-led way, where every man knows that God is real and that His way is True, then the entire framework and spirit of the nation will change. Until then, the battle will rage between government, industry, nations, races, and the people. Currently, the battle for Godliness is being lost. The putative experts of our Secular Humanist nation, the physicists, biologists, and psychologists have used their interpretations of quantum mechanical uncertainty, relativity, evolution, and psychology to deny the Truth of God’s existence and give archeological, mythological, and theoretical credence to their claims of humanistic divinity; and the people have followed these false prophets like sheep.
The Humanistic path has won the hearts of man due to the combination of expert opinions of doubters in the specialized and esoteric fields of physics and biology; the desire of man to be free of external regulation so as to elevate the himself to the level of a god subject to no one; the lack of concrete daily experience of God and the associated plausible possibility of His non-existence; and God’s allowance of immediate pleasure associated with following the flesh.
As a result of God’s non-existence in the minds of men, the passions of the soul are elevated to the point that their satisfaction is the goal of life, rather than being the gifts of God whose proper satisfaction give life its texture and fullness. Every thinking man knows that the pleasures of the flesh are fleeting; that fame, gold, women, and power flare brightly, fade quickly, and leave us depleted. The long slow burn of moderation in all things gives us the daily long term satisfaction of a life well lived. The life lived with such balance in all things is its own reward; that path is the experience of Heaven on Earth, and the character one develops living in such a way maximizes our pleasure and reward in the life to come.
Godliness in its most practical terms means treating your neighbor, children, wife, employer, employees, superiors, and institutions with proper respect and love. That respect and love may at times appear more harsh than soft when discipline and boundaries must be established. The violator must be loved, but confronted, coached, and given proper instruction as to the fair and right boundaries of his territory. Fairness, justice, kindness, temperance, truth, and other virtues comprise the quiver of Godliness.
2) After a national Revival of Godliness, the sequences toward Limited Government may proceed from the top down, commencing with the commitment of the nation to Godliness at the highest level of national priority. a) The reversal of Everson vs. Board of Education bill that established by fiat Judicial activism the previously unknown, and unconstitutional precedent of “Separation of Church and State”. b) The reversal of Judicial decisions that take the 10 commandments from public buildings. c) The reversal of Judicial decisions preventing prayer and Bible reading in school. With this restoration of law that allows the next generation to carry on the faith of our Fathers, we can without impediment reinstate the extension of Godliness to every phase of government.
3) The sanctification should proceed in a parallel fashion, with all members, groups, and strata of society studying the Bible, learning the principles of Godly relationship, debating and studying how this applies to their particular life, making policy, and extending the discussion and enrollment to their superiors and inferiors. If we are to consider the transformation of the society from the top down, as in a leadership model, then the highest-ranking leaders (chief executive, cabinet and judges) will be the leaders in establishing Godly policy in their Agencies, and the leaders at each successive layer of management would do the same.
4) The people have the vote, and they must use their discrimination to elect governors, legislators, and judges who are mature in the faith, committed to putting on Godliness and restoring our way of life to its Godly heritage.
5) They are at the heart of government and give laws their power by interpreting and enforcing legislation. The bureaucrats must frame their reading of legislation in terms of the spirit of Godliness so as to properly direct the professions, trades, and corporations in righteous activity.
6) The influence of Godliness on the highest management throughout the society will trickle down through the layers of managers and workers in the professions, associations, administrative bureaucracies, corporations, managers, professionals, families, and children.
7) The media biases and shades the entirety of perceived reality. We no longer live in a world that is directly perceived. Our concept of the universe beyond our horizon is filtered, processed, and presented through the lens of someone and their agenda. The Bill of Rights gave us freedom of the press, but corporate interests and biases toward social radicalism have monopolized the information-space. They have directed our choices and made voting an exercise in giving public support to private enterprise large enough to pay for buying the public mind. Information must be made objective by intent. Commentary should be allowed, encouraged, and expected that frames the events of the day in terms of Godliness. Many commentators and much debate should be offered from many sides, but it should overtly confront how the daily stream of current events relate to Godliness.
As the society becomes more righteous, as per Matthew 22, placing God’s Law first in each man’s heart, and in turn loving neighbor as self, the society will become more refined at each layer in its functioning and relationship in Godly manners.
The society is affected from the top down, and the bottom up. As the people making up a group become more Godly, and they learn to give and take equitably, the professions and trades they occupy will become more Godly in their service of society. As the Associations learn Godly discipline, teaching, and regulation of their members, then the Administrative layer of Government that regulates the professions and trades becomes less necessary. Eventually, the Associations of professionals, trades, and corporations can take over the role of the Administrative Law, and this layer of government, which is currently so expensive and populous, can be largely eliminated.
An example of a profession regulating itself is seen in the Bar of lawyers, a privately operated, self-regulated, enforced, funded and administered group that is trusted by society to maintain the standards of Godliness among their practitioners. Of course Godliness has been lost as the standard by which Lawyers regulate themselves, and as a result, the trust society has placed in them is unfounded. But, this is an example of privatization of administrative law that has already been implemented, and it also illustrates the futility of expecting that privatization by itself will produce the intended result of moral optimization of professional self-regulation.
The same retreat of Government may occur in all arenas of regulation: energy, education, law, commerce, environment, etc. When the commitment to Godliness in control of self and in relationship to others is present, then there is no need for the overbearing force of Government to enforce Godliness. Rather, when those in society embrace Godliness as their primary directive and purpose, every layer and element within each layer of government and private industry becomes an agent of unified regulation to manifest the mind of Christ.
When Godliness is the prime directive of society at all levels, the layers of government become less and less necessary. Administrative government can be seen as a temporary teaching and modeling role to guide the Associations into establishing the proper machinery for Godly self-regulation. The layers of regulation by government can thus be abandoned, as their duties are relinquished to their corollaries in the private sector.
Of course, the dismantling of government agencies means that former public servants will be released from their duties and must be re-integrated into life as private employees. A note that may provide a bridge is that they could migrate into jobs as officers of the professional guilds in their regulatory functions. But ultimately, we wish to increase the labor force and hope that most will retrain and become productive members of society creating value by using their skills.
The natural outcome of this adoption of Godliness by the people, and their unions, associations, and guilds is the diminishment of government. As Godliness and the training and enforcement of right action are transferred to the people and their privately run organs of self-regulation, many of government’s current functions become largely unnecessary.
Such is the goal of Godliness, to let God be our king. Note that the cry of the Revolutionary War was “No King but King Jesus.” This is the goal, to have only righteousness and the spirit that directs righteousness be our overarching ruler to which we all submit. Until we all bow at that altar, we will be slaves of men and institutions that keep our animalistic passion underfoot. Such subjugation is well and right and all that man deserves until he has put on the adult maturity of Godliness. We must ultimately subject ourselves willingly, with awe, respect, and love to our Father God. He is the source of all, and to whom we bow and worship for the magnificent creation.
The overarching problem that must be solved is that,
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
Thus, the self-interest of man must be properly regulated in some way. The individual who asks for too much is like a cancer, occupying too much space, and taking too many resources. Those around him, unless they are effective warriors that beat back the aggression, may be damaged by his excessive consumption and occupation of space. If the individual grows in influence and organizes a company, gets elected as a legislator, appointed as a judge or administrator, he can extend his malignant influence to a greater degree and cause an industry or governmental bureaucracy to revolve around his desire for expansion of influence. There must be some force to oppose the bullies and cancerous tumors of life, industry, and government.
We should all have the standard of perfection, the pattern of health, the Law of God in our hearts, and when we see the invader, the unrighteous man and his action in our midst, we should take it upon ourselves to exert a force to stop him. Such is the place of personal power. It is our personal responsibility to make the world a Godly place by expelling the evil which seeks to manifest through the hearts of men. When the bullies and tyrants of youth are poorly controlled, they can become tyrants and lead a nation to wars of aggression and enroll the entire world in destructive wars of containment or defense. The police with shiny badges and guns are needed and appreciated when they enforce and judge according to the standards of Godliness, but when they are the agents of bullies, tyrants, and megalomaniacs we shudder in their presence and hate their subjugation.
Thus, it is not government that we hate, rather it is unrighteous and unGodly government that we cannot tolerate. It is the bonds of evil, unGodliness, and the intrusion of the agents of Hell whose bonds we seek to cast off.
Limited Government is a realistic goal as a later stage in the development of a Righteous society. When a Godly government develops, and the society follows suit (or is the reflection of the righteousness of the people) the various layers of government may fall off. When the government is no longer needed to create and enforce the righteousness that we all desire, government should follow the Framer’s intent of limited government and cheerfully execute the process of dissolution and transfer power to the private sector.
This progression toward dissolution of the bureaucracies will happen most strongly when the nation has committed itself to Godliness. The people will fear letting corporations, trades, and professions rule themselves if there is no commitment to Godliness in that sector; the fox should never be put in charge of watching the henhouse. To allow a self-interested profession to regulate itself is to invite abuse in the form of bullies and thieves.
A primal desire of the heart is to understand the origin of the universe and life and to feel complete in its relationship with its creator on all levels. If society has not embraced God as its overt source, then the miraculous will be missing at some level, and the creatures will still be longing for completion of their hearts’ desire.
Taxes, for the purpose of supporting the regulatory bureaucracy, become less and less onerous as government shrinks. But taxes may take another form, such as association, bar, union, or guild dues. If the need for group coordination still exists, employees must be hired or volunteers must execute those duties. Thus, the forceful arm of coercion may not disappear completely even in the post-Administrative Law era. The professional standards must still be enforced, and due will go to enforce our proper professional standards and duties. But, given the structure, where the people will more readily submit to the jury and rules of their colleagues. These laws, regulations, and policies are self-imposed. Since the professional associations are committed to righteousness, we know that the regulations at least have the intent of Godliness. We can thus hope and expect that the penalty for violations would actually reflect an appropriate chastening that is needed to restore rather than mechanically punish.
The majority of the functions of government can be transferred to the private sector when sufficient infrastructure in the private sector has been established. But again, the manifestation of Limited Government as a realized actual possibility arises out of the intelligent expression of Godliness. The perfection of Godly and Lawful Righteousness in a people makes Limited Government possible.