Response by: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
Monday, June 1, 2009
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2009 6:57 PM
Subject: The First Leftists
The First Leftists
The entirety of this essay appears in Essays on Liberty, (volume 1, 1952, page 38).
The first leftists would not be popular in America today. That is true because the original leftists wanted to abolish government controls over industry, trade, and the professions. They wanted wages, prices, and profits to be determined by competition in a free market, and not by government decree. They were pledged to free their economy from government planning and to remove the government-guaranteed special privileges of guilds, unions, and associations whose members were banded together to use the law to set the price of their labor or capital or product above what it would be in a free market.
The first leftists were a group of newly elected representatives to the National Constituent Assembly at the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. They were labeled “leftists” merely because they happened to sit on the left side in the French Assembly.
The legislators who sat on the right side were referred to as the party of the Right, or rightists. The rightists or “reactionaries” stood for a highly centralized national government, special laws and privileges for unions and various other groups and classes, government economic monopolies in various necessities of life, and a continuation of government controls over prices, production, and distribution.
Early American Ideals
The ideals of the party of the Left were based largely on the spirit and principles of our own American Constitution. Those first French leftists stood for individual freedom of choice and personal responsibility for one’s own welfare. Their goal was a peaceful and legal limitation of the powers of the central government, a restoration of local self-government, an independent judiciary, and the abolition of special privileges.
Those leftists, holding a slim majority in the two years’ existence of the National Constituent Assembly, did a remarkable job. They limited the extreme powers of the central government. They removed special privileges that the government had granted to various groups and persons. Their idea of personal liberty with absolute equality before the law for all persons was rapidly becoming a reality. But before the program of those first leftists was completed, a violent minority from their own ranks — the revolutionary Jacobins — grasped the power of government and began their reign of terror and tyranny.
That development seems to have risen from this little-understood and dangerously deceptive arrangement: two groups of persons with entirely different motives may sometimes find themselves allied in what appears to be a common cause. As proof that this danger is not understood even today, we need only examine the results of our own “common cause” alliances with various dictators against various other dictators. So it was among the leftists in France in 1789. The larger faction wanted to limit the powers of government; the leaders of the other group wanted to overthrow the existing rulers and grasp the power themselves.
From: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2009 8:50 PM
Subject: The First Leftists
All law is legislated morality. When imposing the immorality of the Godless, wicked, and deviant through “legislation” onto the whole of society, we see the rise of the Jacobins, Hitlers, Stalins and Maos. I hesitate to dignify the immoral acts of social policy imposed by dictators with the noble title of “law”. Conformity with God’s Absolute Law brings only good, and man’s legislation which reflects that archetypal pattern maximizes the felicity of man and minimizes his pain. The greatest freedom arises naturally when following God’s way, and all excursions from the perfect path of law diminish our joy of life. The rebel’s life is exciting, and shaking a fist at God produces much drama, but ultimately such rebellion exhausts the soul. The wise child learns to shun the ways of rebellion and pursues the paths of wisdom and Righteousness, and is rewarded with abundant life.
The problem of the concentration of power is very real as the author so well illustrated by the history of leaders evolving into tyrants, and this aspect of the essay I agree with fully. In it, the author makes clear how the title of “Leftist” originally designated the party of those who opposed increased governmental control. He traces the turns of history and shows how this once-noble title has been usurped by those who advocate for bigger government and increasing control. The modern-day Leftist using a title that once was opposite to its current meaning illustrates how easily original message and
Not to disparage the message of the author, I felt it important to examine more closely the implicit argument for a fully free, no-leader type of philosophy. It is with this point that I believe we must begin our careful consideration of how much leadership and organization are at its minimum. I fully disagree with the concept of abandoning all organization and leadership with regard to government. Every collection of individuals, whether club, company, city, state, or nation requires leadership and laws to optimize safety, achievement, happiness, beauty, or other desired goal of the organization.
The human nervous system, with its central organization and peripheral local control, is probably the best metaphor for group behavior. Allow the individual parts to function at their highest and best level, but some external body and intelligence must serve as the eyes and mind to adapt, focus, and coordinate the efforts of the disparate parts. The extreme free-market advocate (anarchist) will argue that the functions of the state will be well served by simply letting the desires of the individual and group be expressed in the market, and the feedback of economy will direct the chaotic flow of human movement. And, to the largest extent, the optimum solution for the whole is the gentle unseen coordination produced by the self-organizing effect of industry and social purpose held by the group and individual guided by self-interest and moral standards. But, just as we see the individual body and corporation needing the coordination of a central director, I believe there is an irreducible level of regulation and organization of the group behavior around righteous principles and desirable goals as to maximize the satisfaction of individual needs. There is no need of the group that must or should be satisfied. Only the needs of the individual are important, so the goal is the satisfaction of individual needs.
Thus, I have come to accept that an irreducible level of local control is a necessity, as a part of the requirements for living in a group in a way that protects safety, promotes efficiency, or directs accomplishment. Coordination of people by local decree was given a nod by the 10th Amendment. In other words, little legislation should be made on the Federal level that micro-manages the industry of the individual. The Constitution and Bill of Rights make no provision for smaller governmental units than the States, and the 10th Amendment explicitly gives authority to legislate and judge all other matters not specifically reserved for the Federal government. The States should, in turn, make legislation in broad terms that should function as the framework within which the more specific regulations of counties and cities legislate and judge.
These governmental concepts are trivially obvious, but it in the crossing of the boundaries of Federal into State, and State into Local, that we have seen the movement toward the tyranny of central government. The elected representatives and elected officials have taken it upon themselves to legislate at a level of detail and jurisdiction that would be best left to local and State control. The Federal government has used various legal arguments, bent from the intent of spirit of those constitutional boundaries, to justify its usurpation of the powers that should have been left to matters of local policy (education, drugs, medicine, abortion, sexuality, religion, firearms…). Thus, the scenario for tyranny has been set in place.
Law by its very nature is the codification and legislation of morality. America is comprised of literally hundreds of thousands of localities, each should theoretically be authorized to legislate according to the dictates of the local moral codes that reflect the values of the populace and their particular circumstances. If such diversity of legislation were allowed to be exercised, every person would have the actual freedom to choose the “city-state” where he resonated with the spirit of the community and its standard of righteousness.
Granted, the theoretically any moral code may be chosen by each municipality and county, but being realistic, sustainable society and State will only flourish if it is based upon a right sense of morality at its foundation.
When talking about establishing a nation with Right standards, and honorable leaders, the question becomes, “Who is worthy of the honor of governing and legislating?” Plato offered the idea of allowing rulership only to a celibate, educated, priestly class of Guardians who had been selected from the best and had passed all the tests of training and life experience. While such a winnowing process is an excellent tool, the impracticality of it has left it without implementation throughout the annals of history. Thus, we are left with the question of how to choose leaders, who will ultimately rule, and who will make law as proxies for the citizens of the city-state, state, and nation.
Given the cloudiness of vision into the domain of spirit, our best hope for bringing Righteousness and wise policy manifested reality lies in electing Godly representatives; men who embrace a moral world view that corresponds closely to the actual Absolute Truth of God. Granted such a test cannot be administered and used as an objective test in choosing leaders. Nevertheless, we should note that living in accordance with those God-given natural laws operating within man’s nature will produce the best long-term results in terms of prosperity on all levels of being. A people ruled by wise king will rejoice, while those who labor under the yoke of a foolish ruler groan. Thus, while we cannot identify with certainty and detail those immutable natural laws of human organization, we can state with certainty that the overall health of the nation will be advanced toward its apex if Godly principles and standards govern the administration of the land.
Such was the intent of the Founders in leaving us as an implicitly Christian nation. I believe they chose to omit an explicit declaration of our foundations in the Christian faith because they knew that such a statement would open the door to a theocracy. Men are easily seduced by the opportunity to exert power, and many fall prey to the temptation to exert the near absolute-control one can wield when ruling in the name of God. The Founders attempted to navigate the fine line between secular and doctrinal tyranny.
The Founders solved this problem by 1) establishing principles based upon the Truth and Wisdom of Biblical standards, and 2) trusting that the common man, the general populace, would educate themselves and pursue a Biblical world view. The Constitution requires a moral people that govern themselves according to the highest principles of moral conduct and Godliness. The Founders knew that if the common man was released to pursue other gods and the associated less-perfect patterns of self-governance, to that extent the legislation and social order would decay because of its service of the lower human passions.
Ultimately, any moral error held by the common man and general culture will eventually reflect in its laws, group conduct, and industry. Every error will eventually bring death to the society if not identified and corrected, with the decay pace governed by the magnitude of the moral error. But, there is no easy or sure method of distinguishing truth from error, Judging truth based on feelings can seduce the flesh into many actions that produce short term pleasure and long term pain.
The Founders chose to use the moral social standards encrypted within the Bible as being a true reflection of the actual and True patterns of life intended by God. But, some may not embrace the concept that God used an arcane collection of historical writings as the medium for transmitting the ultimate Truth about living life to the world. Still, the effect it has had on transforming lives, giving purpose to life, and generally improving the moral tone of individuals, groups, and nations indicates that it resonates with the heart of man and inspires change. But, a tool that effective can also be misused for personal gain and satisfaction of the lust for power. Detractors have noted the excesses and sins of those who have used the Bible, religion, and the appearance of holiness as a shroud to hide their selfish motives and lustful hearts. In other words, just using the Bible doesn’t work, just calling the nation a Christian nation, or making laws based upon Biblical principle doesn’t produce the stable utopian Heaven on Earth that we are desiring. The battle to bring the perfection of Heaven to Earth is hard, and many internal demons must be overcome, much wisdom must be learned, and much skill must be developed to reach that ever-receding goal of a perfectly ordered social realm.
To establish a stable and ongoing moral foundation of character for the citizens that would rule themselves by wise choices, the Founders expected parents to educate their children and bring them up in the ways of the Lord. Only by the early inculcation of values to each succeeding generation would it be possible to perpetuate the righteousness and Christian philosophy that lies at the foundation of this nation.
But, that sacred lineage of trust began to weaken when parents delegated the teaching of their children to state institutions. The influence of the Holy Spirit was exorcized from the educational system when Judicial activists from the Highest bench declared that the government-run schools could not include instruction and indoctrination in the principles and spirit of Christianity. This last act removed the spirit and heart from our education system. The stories of miracles and the history that validates the value of our Christian heritage was systematically omitted from the minds and hearts of the succeeding generations of students. Instead, all manner of secular and world religions have taken the place of our own history. And naturally, the minds of the children move in the direction of their molding, and they rebel against the Christian religion which they are told is the source of virtually all the ills of western civilization.
The imposition of secular humanism upon the nation’s youth is a perfect illustration and example of the tyranny of the Central government leading a people into the subjugation by indoctrination with a lie that serves the purposes and values of the power elite. In the name of freedom from Church and Religion, under the extra-constitutional principle of “Separation of Church and State”, the state has imposed the religion of humanism upon us. As a confirmation of this theory, we note that this coup was not initiated by a majority of the elected representatives, who passed laws the reflected the sentiments and desires of the majority of the people. No, it was the Judicial oligarchs who declared new law from the bench and overturned legislation that opposed their agenda. The weakest of the governmental branches succeeded in self-elevation from their servant role as interpreters of the letter and spirit of the law to initiators and enforcers of law.
At this moment, the decay in the moral tone and character is not complete, but we have lost a great deal of the fiber and structure from the deep devotion and dedication to our spiritual heritage. A nation will commonly degrade its reproduction fidelity of ideas, passion, and purpose over the years. It takes a huge organizing force to create a nation to have a common vision, belief structure, and universal standard of goodness and truth. Such an organization of culture requires much energy, strong intent, and an extent of time. Through a long human drama where dedicated men pushed against strong forces that sought to dissipate the organizing principles of the Bible, we developed a society which expressed a nominal form of Christianity as our base moral code. We retained that semi-adequate spirit through much of our nation’s history. The fidelity and intensity weren’t present with enough strength to actually excel and bring all the good things that could have come to our nation. But, it was strong enough so that we were prosperous to a greater extent than other nations, and that level of faith and fidelity brought with it enough strength to protect our borders, maintain the unity of a common language, and based our laws and culture upon a single ideology.
But, once dissipated, that organization of belief is hard to return. And, without a miracle or extreme trauma, it may never return. If the current slide continues, we may be called upon to revolt against the tyrants who have imposed their own vision of a collectivist, secular nation upon the people. Many nations have already conducted the same experiment, it has always failed to deliver utopia, and instead always ends in horrific pain.
Before the Supreme Court legislated the principle of “Separation of Church and State” in 1947 we had an imperfect utopian Republic. But, the shackles of Judicial Legislation were placed upon our necks by the legislation against allowing the individual schools to choose to teach our Christian heritage.
Possibly the psychology driving this imposition of secular humanism lies in the desire to be free of the guilt of Christian morality. It may lie in the desire to feel the power of imposing an ideology on a people. Or, it may be out of the religious zeal to create
Regardless of the motive, the fact has been accomplished. Those who fear the conviction of conscience by the confrontation with Christian principles in public life has been almost fully eliminated. The Courts have legislated the removal of the strong and stable foundation upon which the edifice of a strong, good, and moral state stood. Now, some 60 years later we begin to see a first budding of the fruits of a nation living without right moral discernment. A deep loss of liberty will proceed eventually and naturally from our fallen moral state.