A review of an article on God, the Founders, and Purpose of Human Government
a/k/a Baker’s Dozen ™ Reasons Human Government is Ungodly
By Nathan Barton
[Be advised: this commentary may seem to be overly religious. No apologies offered, since even non-religious people can use this information to convince their religious friends of the truth about government!]
Sometimes, people DO get it. And the sense of wonder in watching and reading as someone discovers the truth, and rejects the lies which they have been taught and taken for granted is incredibly uplifting.
For example, today this article from Apologetics Press crossed my desktop: God, the Founders, and the Purpose of Human Government by Dr. Dave Miller of AP.
Dave (whom I know of but do not know) is still far from a libertarian, much less a free-market anarchist. But he is certainly moving that direction and leaving behind his “faith tradition” which for the past 80 years has mostly been both accepting and highly supportive of human government.
But as this synopsis of the article shows, he is realizing the truth more and more: “America has lost sight of the true purpose of government as defined by both God and the Founding Fathers. Government was designed to secure and defend the citizen’s lives and property (unalienable rights imparted by God) by protecting them from those within and without the nation who would threaten their peace and safety.”
As a statement of minarchism, there would be few quibbles with this statement. As an anarchist and a Bible student, I would have SEVERAL quibbles. (1) Human government exists only in rebellion to God. Godly government as defined by Him is voluntary. God’s tolerance of human government is limited by how well government “secures and defends” those unalienable rights, but He and we recognize that 99.999% of human governments fail that simple test. (2) The greatest threat to peace and safety, both internal and external to a society (“nation”) IS the very human governments of which we are speaking.
So it is amazing that Dr. Miller goes as far as he does. This is NOT to say that he is correct, or that I agree with much of his articles. He twists Romans 13 (Paul’s discussion of human government) and Mark 12:17 (the tribute coin incident) horribly, if in keeping with most of his brethren. He therefore (unintentionally but wrongly) rejects the only legitimate government: that of God Himself, which men and women may freely accept OR reject (subject to the consequences of that choice).
He would be right, perhaps, IF human government actually did the things that these and other scriptural passages state that a ruler “who is a servant of God” should do. But they do NOT do these things. The list is a horrible one, taken from Dave’s own points:
1. maintain order: not just fully half the nations of the world have governments that fail to do this at any time. And here in the Fifty States, there are dozens if not hundreds of places, usually densely populated by both aggressors and victims, in which there is no order established OR maintained. (Consider the new death and wounded record for a Labor Day weekend in Chicago for 2016.)
2. maintain peace: The FedGov is currently fighting the SECOND-longest war in American history (the “war on terror,” the longest being the AmerInd “wars” which lasted at least a century), and rather than bringing peace to a dozen nations (among them, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) have instead spread war over more and more lands, not least of all the Fifty States themselves and the FedGov’s allies (the UK, Spain, France, Belgium, Egypt, and more).
3. provide protection: What protection does government or its agencies provide against criminals, especially those in the uniforms of police? Against bombings and beheadings, rape and murder? Some deterrence, perhaps, but very little more than responding to take the bodies to the morgue and the injured to the emergency rooms.
4. provide safety: What safety? In some cases, government forces owners and businesses to improve safety, or to have insurance against injuries or damage, but government itself is often the very reason that daily life is NOT safe: poor highway design, regulations that accomplish the opposite of what they are “supposed” to do, and slapping criminals on the hands before releasing them to go out and rob, steal, rape, and even murder again?
5. maintain stability in society: GOVERNMENT? Indeed, for the past half-century (if not longer), government has been a major cause of instability: social engineering, the perversion of education, the arbitrary prohibitions of various things resulting in chaos.
6. allowing citizens to live their lives in freedom: Again, for a half-century and much longer, the action of governments at all levels here in the Fifty States (and in much of the world) has been to destroy freedoms, even as private citizens and organizations (such as for-profit businesses) have provided greater freedom in so many ways.
7. be a terror to evil works (not a terror to good works): a quick perusal of news stories (mostly reported by alternative media) shows that not only is government more and more rarely a “terror” to those who do evil, but ever more a terror to those who do good works: exactly the opposite of supposed purpose. Talk to children trying to sell lemonade, to people trying to feed the hungry and homeless, to people trying to grow their own food, or improve their own homes, or provide goods and services to benefit people.
8. be an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil: as with #7, the wrath today is executed more and more on those who decry evil and try to practice good. Not only does government tolerate and promote what is (viewed by many christians and others) as evil, but actively attacks those who speak out against these things, in violation of its own prime directives.
9. sent for the punishment of evildoers: Indeed, government officials are attacked and castigated for even referring to mass murderers as “evildoers,” and the rate of punishment for those who clearly do evil are far less severe than those who are stupid and court harm to themselves, not to others. Indeed, government is often itself the evildoer, by most standards; and its agents are equally doers of evil more and more.
10. sent for the praise of those who do good: the praise is reserved for those who slavishly promote and obey government (well, SOME laws of government) and those people who are (in the eyes of christians and many others) perverted and harmful to others.
11. provide for great peace and prosperity: Government taxes the disfavored into poverty and discontent and resignation, while allowing their cronies to wax rich; we’ve already seen how human government in 2016 brings “peace.” (And consider the demicide of the 20th Century, little slowed so far in the 21st).
12. accept a role as God’s servant to accomplish these things: Yet, what we see throughout history is that government – human rulers – have from time immemorial sought to replace the Creator and be the god or gods of humans: from Nimrod to the Pharoahs of Egypt, the Emperors of China and Rome, the Shahs of Persia, and more. To call human government, as demonstrated by its own public actions, a “servant of God” is a mockery.
13. make it possible for citizens to live their own lives and have the freedom to make their own decisions: Need I belabor the point? Government, whether we are speaking of China or Iran, the Fifty States or Argentina, Nigeria or Russia, actively work to control their citizen’s lives on a daily and hourly basis, and seek to take more and more decisions away from the average person: the nanny state is NOT in any way godly.
Dr. Miller repeats the exhortation of the Scriptures to pray and give thanks for all men, including kings and “all who are in authority.” (In the Fifty States, supposedly this is “the people.”) In this I agree, because the purpose of that prayer is so “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life…” And if that means, like the Russian rabbi, praying that “God keep the Czar… far away from us,” or imprecatory prayer to be able to deal with the “rulers,” or prayer for them to repent and relieve us (and the world) of their evil actions? By all means, pray and pray.
I plan to revisit this article and address Dr. Miller’s long discussion of the American Founders, which contains much of interest. But for now, let me close my review by again pointing out that, despite its many errors, this is still a good sign that more and more people are waking up to the dangers of human government. And like me, deciding,
Enough is enough.