Archive for the ‘government’ Tag

A Sea Change?   Leave a comment

A bedrock tenet of the American justice system until the 20th century was that everybody was presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law before a jury of one’s peers … which would be people in the community in which you live.

Christopher Wray is pictured in 2003. | GettyThat has slowly gone away to where an accusation of a crime is considered as good as proof of a crime and the federal courts believe that a trial for an Alaskan in Florida is the same thing as a jury of your peers. Gross injustice comes about from these sorts of mishandling of the justice system.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-to-nominate-christopher-wray-as-next-fbi-director/2017/06/07/a3cf7790-4b78-11e7-a186-60c031eab644_story.html?utm_term=.8f93c2f2dec2

I had been skeptical of the FBI for a long time when they began investigating people here in Alaska for holding “radical” ideas … ideas like I espouse all the time on this blog … that people have rights inherent in their being alive and that the government has no authority to violate those rights, some of which are listed in the Constitution, while others can be inferred from the premise of you own yourself and  you own your property.

The FBI has sent informants into private homes to gather information on various people here … all of whom, to my knowledge, are just people going about their lives, trying to negotiate the labyrinthine maze of government regulations that encompass us all about and assure that many of us, through no fault of our own, commit felonies without even realizing it. These people under FBI investigation are NOT presumed innocent. They are tricked by the informants into saying things they actually don’t mean, into wording what they do mean in ways that are incriminating and, then, if that doesn’t work, the informants out and out lie to get what they want. Of course, this ignores that fact that these people are pretending to be friends while in reality they are informants for our domestic surveillance agency.

So, President Trump may be making a move in the right direction. Christopher Wray is a defense attorney, which means he has spent his career automatically presuming innocence. I don’t particularly care for his work with the Department of Justice during the 911 aftermath, but I think we all realize that mistakes were made following a horrific terrorist attack on the mainland of the United States. This contrasts to James Comey, and most former FBI directors, who spent the majority of their careers as prosecutors and Deep State employees. Sessions and Mueller had experience as private defense attorneys, but most of these people are tightly embedded, and therefore indoctrinated, with the Deep State.

Again, I’ve said that whenever President Trump does something I approve of, I’ll say so. He’s still not out of the doghouse for the bombing of the Syrian airfield, but this is a step in a right direction. This is another of those times when the people who voted for Trump influenced his policies, because many of the Trump voters I know have been asking for reform of the FBI and this looks like (potential) reform.

 

An Ant’s Guide to Management Theory   3 comments

Governance by Idiots   Leave a comment

Wow, I wrote this three years ago and it remains completely timely. Time for a reposting. Lela

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted February 14, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

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Eliminating Marriage Licenses   Leave a comment

Image result for image of marriageA few years ago, I became convinced that we ought to do away with marriage licenses entirely and replace them (actually go back to using) with civil contracts. At the time, I contemplated that it would be decades before any government entity would get on board.

Surprise! Alabama’s Senate considered the question in May 2016, resulting in the 22-3 passage of Senate Bill 377, which would abolish marriage licenses in favor of a plain contract filed with the Probate office.

 

There’s a long convoluted history to this. Marriage licenses came about in the early part of the 20th century as a means to stop interracial marriage and reduce procreation among “undesirables”. This was all powered by eugenics, a very American idea back then. They later became entrenched as a standard of proof for government benefits claims.

Traditionally, marriage has been a religious and social construct. If the couple had assets to worry about, a legal contract was drawn up as a private matter between the parties involved – often including not only the couple, but their parents, legal representative, clergy and witnesses. Marriage was seen as an individual choice like any other good or services and the government wasn’t involved.

 

We’ve been in a full-out battle for some time now over the definition of marriage, trying to find a legal standard that applied to everyone. There is no way I am every agreeing with Ellen Degeneres on that topic. To me, marriage is between a man and God and a woman and God and then between the man and woman and God and because God never ends His convenants, it would be for a lifetime. We could stop living together, but we could not become unmarried. I’m pretty sure Ellen would leave God out of it entirely and it would be between her and a successive string of women, something the Bible clearly shows to be part of the sexual immorality Christians are to flee.

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That Ellen shacks up with other women is really none of my concern … until she invites me to her wedding. I would decline because I’m told to flee sexual immorality and approving of her sexual immorality is the same as participating in it myself. Of course, these days I really don’t have a choice to decline if I work in a profession that is wedding related. If the current trend continues, I suspect I won’t have the option to decline even as a friend. Which is why it is important to me to get government out of marriage. I prefer not to have to choose between violating God’s clear commands and being charged with a hate crime. I don’t hate anyone, but a part of my religious observance is obeying God’s commands and He clearly tells me to flee sexual immorality … yours as well as my own … and not just homosexuality. That just happens to be the sexual immorality under discussion at the moment. Regardless, it is impossible to say you don’t approve of homosexuality if you are attending the wedding, even as an unwilling service provider, Nothing says “it doesn’t matter” so much as attending the nuptials.

So, going back to Alabama – this step would go a long way toward ending the division and confusion over marriage both in Alabama, and hopefully … eventually, the rest of the country. As long as we need a permission slip from the government to get married, the voters will imagine themselves as having a stake in those decisions which rightfully involve only the parties to the exchange. Alabama’s conservative politicians and judges anticipate being forced by courts to accept same-sex marriage and they rightfully want nothing to do with the moral conundrum that represents. By getting rid of licenses entirely, they remove their own moral culpability  for approving something utterly offensive to God.

The search for a single legal definition of marriage for everyone threatens real damage to the institution of marriage and to anyone who happens to disagree with that single government-mandated definition. Using contracts rather than license leaves the terms and conditions up to the couple and gets government out of the definition process.

Eliminating the marriage license and replacing it with a contract would take us a long way toward ending the culture wars by giving us one less thing to fight about.

 

 

 

Posted December 11, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in cultural divide, Uncategorized

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Officer Charged … Finally   Leave a comment

Image result for image of police brutalityGood! This is the sort of common sense process that ought to accompany every officer-involved shooting. Anytime an officer shoots a citizen, no matter the circumstances, there ought to be a coroner’s inquest and a full investigation as if it were a crime BECAUSE it should not be presumed lawful for police to kill citizens. PERIOD! Then, if it is found that the civilian was shooting at the cop or trying to harm someone else … then and ONLY THEN should the police officer be exonerated and allowed back on duty.

This would force the police into the same position that an ordinary citizen is placed in if we are ever called upon to protect ourselves from a crime. No, police should NOT be treated as a special class of citizen.

But watch. This is only the first step in the process. Second-degree manslaughter is basically negligent homicide. Here in Alaska that carries about a two-year minimum sentence with a maximum sentence of 10 years. Philando Castile was murdered by this officer for exercising his Constitutional right to go forth armed. Because of the unfair bias towards police, expect Officer Yanez to be offered a plea deal that brings this down to something like reckless endangerment and likely offered a no-jail-time sentence. There will be no justice for Castile because he was a citizen acting in a lawful manner, but Yanez is a special class of citizen who is allowed to get away with murder.

If it goes to trial, expect him to be acquitted, because juries are notoriously sympathetic to cops … even when cops kill people who weren’t doing anything wrong. Lela

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/minnesota-prosecutors-provide-update-castile-case-43576549

A Minnesota police officer has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Philando Castile, a black man whose girlfriend streamed the gruesome aftermath of the fatal shooting live on Facebook, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot the 32-year-old during a July 6 traffic stop in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was in the car along with her young daughter at the time. The woman said Castile was shot several times while reaching for his ID after telling Yanez he had a gun permit and was armed.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, whose office will prosecute the case, said Yanez shot Castile seven times, and that the evidence shows Castile was calm and complied with the officer’s requests. Prosecutors believe Castile never tried to pull his handgun from his pocket, Choi said, adding that as Castile was dying, he moaned and uttered his final words: “I wasn’t reaching for it.”

Choi said the officer’s unreasonable fear cannot justify the use of deadly force.

“No reasonable officer, knowing, seeing and hearing what officer Yanez did at the time, would’ve used deadly force under these circumstances,” Choi said as he announced the charges. If convicted of second-degree manslaughter, Yanez could face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

Yanez’s attorney, Tom Kelly, has said Yanez, who is Latino, was reacting to the presence of a gun, and that one reason Yanez pulled Castile over was because he thought he looked like a possible match for an armed robbery suspect. Choi said Wednesday that Castile was not a suspect in that robbery.

Kelly did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment on the charges Wednesday.

Family members claimed Castile, an elementary school cafeteria worker, was racially profiled.

Choi got the case from investigators in late September and began reviewing the evidence for possible charges. Choi resisted pressure immediately after the shooting to turn the case over to a special prosecutor, but added one to his team to get an outside perspective. He also enlisted the help of national use-of-force consultants.

The shooting prompted numerous protests, including a weekslong demonstration outside the governor’s mansion and one protest that shut down Interstate 94 in St. Paul for hours. The interstate protest resulted in about 50 arrests and injuries to more than 20 officers, after police said they were hit with cement chunks, bottles, rocks and other objects.

The shooting also exposed a disproportionate number of arrests of African-Americans in St. Anthony, Lauderdale and Falcon Heights, which are all patrolled by the St. Anthony Police Department. The Associated Press reported in July that an analysis of police data showed black people made up nearly half of all arrests made by St. Anthony officers in 2016. Census data shows that just 7 percent of residents in the three cities are black.

The fatal shootings of black men and boys by police officers have come under heightened scrutiny since the 2014 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and led to calls nationwide for officers to be held criminally responsible.

No charges were filed in the death of 18-year-old Brown, who was unarmed, after a grand jury found officer Darren Wilson acted in self-defense. The white officer had said Brown tried to grab his gun during a struggle through the window of the police vehicle and then came toward him threateningly after briefly running away.

Other police shooting deaths also did not result in charges, including the killings of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014 in Cleveland and 24-year-old Jamar Clark last year in Minneapolis. A grand jury determined the white officer who shot Tamir had no way of knowing whether the boy, who was drawing a pellet gun from his waistband, was trying to hand it over or show them it wasn’t real.

In the Clark case, prosecutors said the two white officers involved in the shooting feared for their lives when Clark tried to grab an officer’s weapon during a struggle.

Officers have been charged in other cases, though. Michael Slager, a white officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, who has since been fired, is currently on trial for murder in the 2015 death of 50-year-old Walter Scott, an unarmed black man who was shot while running from a traffic stop. More recently, Betty Jo Shelby, a white Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer was charged with first-degree manslaughter in the Sept. 16 shooting of Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old unarmed black man whose car was stopped in the middle of the road.

When looking at whether to file charges, authorities must determine if the officer believed he or she, or fellow officers, were in danger in the moment the decision is made to shoot. If the fear of danger is deemed reasonable, charges are typically not filed. To prove a serious charge such as murder, prosecutors must also show that the officer was not just reckless, but had ill intentions.

Posted November 19, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Government

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‘Affordable Care’: Higher Premiums, Higher Deductibles, Worse Healthcare | Michael F. Cannon   1 comment

The “affordable” plans make consumers pay higher premiums and more out of pocket costs.

Source: ‘Affordable Care’: Higher Premiums, Higher Deductibles, Worse Healthcare | Michael F. Cannon

Posted July 29, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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What the Swiss Can Teach NYC   Leave a comment

What The Swiss Can Teach New York City

NEW YORK CITY – America is falling apart.  Anyone who travels in this great land knows it.

This great city is crumbling.  I’m scared to take the underwater tunnels to Long Island or New Jersey. Our local airport, LaGuardia, should be in Zimbabwe.

The American Society of Civil Engineers warns that crumbling roads, rusting bridges, decaying railroads and transit systems are costing the nation $129 billion each year, and that crumbling infrastructure adds $97 billion annually and caused travel delays of $28 billion annually.

I raise this scandalous  issue because Switzerland, a tiny nation of only 8.2 million, just opened the remarkable Gothard Base Tunnel, the world’s longest and deepest rail and road tunnel drilled right through the highest Alps.

Source: What the Swiss Can Teach NYC

 

 

I have not traveled in Switzerland and, being from Alaska where federal highway standards cannot stand up to permafrost, I tend to see the Lower 48 highways as LOVELY, but the argument is essentially a good one … except highways really need to be taken care of by states, not the federal government, and privatized if possible. Think about it. The State of Alaska does not actually build the highways. Private contractors do the actual work. So why not cut out the middle man and make roads a whole lot less expensive to build? Lela

Jefferson’s Lament   3 comments

Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Major John Cartwright in 1824, when both were elderly men. The purpose of the letter was to praise Major Cartwright’s book on the history of Anglo-Saxon rights, but Jefferson also attempted to explain the American experiment to Cartwright. Although I might enjoy reading Cartwright’s book as much as Mr. Jefferson did, as an American, I am much more interested in what Jefferson had to say about the country he lived in.

After remarking on what he found interesting and hopeful in Anglo-Saxon history, Jefferson turned to America.

Our Revolution commenced on more favorable ground. It presented us an album on which we were free to write what we pleased. We had no occasion to search into musty records, to hunt up royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institutions of a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of nature, and found them engraved on our hearts.

The American Revolution was based on Lockean notions of natural law, which Jefferson insisted issued from human nature. The Anglo-Saxons had an ancient history of exercising those rights, lost in the Norman invasion, but reconstituted when kings were put in their place as limited monarchs once more. For them to move toward liberty had required an exploration of and a negotiation with their past. The Americans had mostly a blank slate on which to draw.

Yet we did not avail ourselves of all the advantages of our position. We had never been permitted to exercise self-government. When forced to assume it, we were novices in its science. Its principles and forms had entered little into our former education. We established however some, although not all its important principles.

“We were,” Jefferson seems to say, “Like kids in a candystore, complete novices at this self-government notion.” Americans didn’t really know what they were doing, so they established some of the guiding principles of self-government, but they also missed some. It’s important to remember that Jefferson was in France at the time of the Constitutional Convention. John Adams was in Holland. Ben Franklin was old. The old guard of the Revolution was not well represented in Philadelphia that hot summer of 1787. Had they been there, the Constitution might have been a better document. At least, Jefferson thought so.

The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.

Jefferson found little fault with the state constitutions. For the most part, they stated:

  • All power is inherent in the people and is theirs to exercise in direct democracy and/or by selecting representatives
  • They have a right to be armed at all times
  • They have freedom of person
  • They have freedom of religion
  • They have freedom of property
  • They have freedom of the press

I wonder what Jefferson would think of our current state of affairs, where we have the largest prison population in the world, major presidential candidates who want to disarm the entire country, survelliance programs that potentially are tracking each and every one of us on a daily basis, government telling people they must violate their faith to obey the government, eminent domain, and press corps that lick the boots of the White House.

In the structure of our legislatures, we think experience has proved the benefit of subjecting questions to two separate bodies of deliberants; but in constituting these, natural right has been mistaken, some making one of these bodies, and some both, the representatives of property instead of persons; whereas the double deliberation might be as well obtained without any violation of true principle, either by requiring a greater age in one of the bodies, or by electing a proper number of representatives of persons, dividing them by lots into two chambers, and renewing the division at frequent intervals, in order to break up all cabals.

Jefferson here praises the separation of powers and encourages the frequent flushing of the legislature. What would he think of us today?

Virginia, of which I am myself a native and resident, was not only the first of the States, but, I believe I may say, the first of the nations of the earth, which assembled its wise men peaceably together to form a fundamental constitution, to commit it to writing, and place it among their archives, where every one should be free to appeal to its text. But this act was very imperfect. The other States, as they proceeded successively to the same work, made successive improvements; and several of them, still further corrected by experience, have, by conventions, still further amended their first forms. My own State has gone on so far with its premiere ebauche; but it is now proposing to call a convention for amendment.

All right, first, I have to thank Jefferson for teaching me a new word “ebauche” which is the preliminary sketch of a canvas prior to painting. I didn’t know it had a specific term.

Jefferson was very proud of Virginia and its exercise in self-government. Virginia may, he said, have been the first nation (note that he calls it a NATION, not a state) to write a constitution and put it on permanent record for everyone to appeal to. Yet, he admitted, it was an imperfect document and wanted amendment. Other States had discovered improvements, areas of liberty that required acknowledgment. It was time for Virginia to amend its constitution as well.

Among other improvements, I hope they will adopt the subdivision of our counties into wards. The former may be estimated at an average of twenty-four miles square; the latter should be about six miles square each, and would answer to the hundreds of your Saxon Alfred. In each of these might be, 1. An elementary school. 2. A company of militia, with its officers. 3. A justice of the peace and constable. 4. Each ward should take care of their own poor. 5. Their own roads. 6. Their own police. 7. Elect within themselves one or more jurors to attend the courts of justice. And 8. Give in at their Folk-house, their votes for all functionaries reserved to their election. Each ward would thus be a small republic within itself, and every man in the State would thus become an acting member of the common government, transacting in person a great portion of its rights and duties, subordinate indeed, yet important, and entirely within his competence. The wit of man cannot devise a more solid basis for a free, durable and well administered republic.

Jefferson then laid-out what he hoped a republic might look like. He wanted small wards to divide larger counties. Each of those wards should:

  1. educate its children
  2. provide for its defense
  3. assure peace within its borders
  4. take care of its own poor
  5. build its own roads
  6. hire its own police
  7. elect jurors
  8. vote for representatives

Jefferson envisioned each ward being a republic unto itself, where every man would have a voice, exercising their rights and duties. He saw this as the foundation of republican self-government.

I have to say that if our communities were organized in this way now, we might have less frustration with our government. In the borough that I live in, we have a geographic divide between conservatives — mostly working-class (although some are college-educated) and former military who live on the east end of the borough (sort of like a county) and liberals – mostly university professors and government employees who live on the west side of the borough. These two broad groups are in a tug-of-war with one another, each trying to coerce the other into doing things their way. Would it not be better if we had smaller units where folks with similar ideas could work together to achieve their goals and pretty much ignore adjacent neighborhoods that have divergent goals?

Jefferson himself admitted that this letter was long and rambling (he was 84 years old, after all), so I’m going to make this a two part series.

Jefferson on the Federal Government

Allure of Power with Becky Akers   6 comments

Christian AnarchyLELA: Becky Akers has returned for more discussion on how Christianity aligns with anarchism, which is not a mainstream notion among Christians, although you will find elements of it in anabaptist traditions. Welcome back, Becky.

BECKY: Thanks, Lela. Last time we closed on a note that should utterly damn the State for every Christian: our arch-enemy, the one who mocks our Lord and gloated over His agony on the cross, who accuses us to God while seeking our destruction and eternal damnation, is the driving force behind political government. Satan owns the State. And he not only brags about that, but our merciful God recorded the conversation for us. Clearly, He wishes us to understand the State’s true nature lest political slavery ensnare us, as it has so many Christians over the centuries.

LELA: I think I know where you’re headed with this.

BECKY [smiles]: And here I consider myself a woman of mystery.

Political power is very, very alluring. Any power is, of course: strength, influence, the ability to get things done—all immensely flatter our fallen natures. “Look what I can do!” we say, whether it’s bench-pressing 500 pounds, chairing a meeting, or forcing people to do things our way. That last is particularly intoxicating, and I think it explains the State’s appeal, not only for politicians and bureaucrats but for their multitudes of victims who admire and, worse yet, cheer their depravity.

The Biblical prescription for changing the world relies on persuasion, reasoning, setting a Christian example, and, above all, waiting on the Holy Spirit to work, one heart at a time. This is slow, tedious effort. It’s often overlooked, usually unappreciated, and hardly glamorous. We don’t make headlines when we tell the cashier, “Here, you gave me back a dollar too much in change.” We don’t earn a Nobel Prize for remaining faithful to our spouse. Visiting shut-ins and prisoners, caring for widows and orphans, doesn’t make for scintillating press conferences. And the results of such patient example-setting, persuading, etc., are frequently obscure or, when noticed, disappointing. You teach boys in Sunday School for 15 years; you don’t know that one of them would have died of AIDS, three would not have attended seminary, and another 14 would have divorced but for the Scriptural precepts they studied with you. But you do learn that the kid who mouthed off in class any time his family bothered attending church becomes a serial killer when his mug-shot stares at you from Newsmax.

LELA: Christian work is a slow, labor-intensive process of loving rather than forcing. And it is a very voluntary process, with all the difficulties associated with a volunteer process.

BECKY: Exactly. Contrast that dissatisfying, boring method with the dramatic results that government—i.e., organized, physical force—achieves. Politicians pass a law, and bingo, behavior changes overnight. Bureaucrats begin regulating a new industry and entrepreneurs ten times cleverer than they must now obey them. A cop stops you at a checkpoint; you smile nervously and kowtow because the consequences of his displeasure can ruin your day or even your life.

That’s intoxicating stuff. Who doesn’t want results from his effort? Who doesn’t want all and sundry acknowledging his authority, even cringing at it? Compulsion achieves, and quickly. It succeeds where persuasion, reason and prayer fail, or seem to.

LELA: Which explains the rise of the Religious Right in the 1980s and onward … feeling like they were failing to influence society sufficiently by voluntary means, they sought the aid of government to achieve their goals.

BECKY: Yep. Like so many otherwise devout Christians, they fell into Satan’s trap of statism. Such believers tragically, inexplicably ignore the devil’s clear announcement of ownership in Matthew 4.

We’ve all heard or read this passage hundreds of times. Satan appears to a Jesus weary and weak from forty days of fasting in the wilderness. He famously tempts Him with three different ploys; let’s consider the final one:

 (Verse 8) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; (9) And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Lela, when you offer to give me something, you must own it first, correct? Now of course, you could proffer your neighbor’s cat or his boat—but I’d certainly protest, “Hey, wait a minute, you can’t give me that! It isn’t yours!”

LELA: The old saw that the Brooklyn Bridge is for sale? Yeah, you would hope people wouldn’t fall for that … at least nobody rich enough to afford it.

BECKY: Ah, but notice that our Lord doesn’t contest Satan’s ability to “give” him the “kingdoms of the world” (and the word “kingdom” in the original Greek is the same one for “government” that was so conspicuously missing from the passage in Romans 13. Its root is “basileus,” meaning “king” alone, unlike our use of “kingdom” for a whole country, including the people over whom a king rules. Our vernacular would better translate it as “politicians” or “government.” Satan is referring here specifically to the various political rulers over the terrain he and the Creator are surveying).

LELA: Strong’s says it’s the authority to rule not the kingdom itself.

BECKY: Exactly. Christ here tacitly agrees that Satan reigns in and through the world’s governments when He refuses to buy them by worshipping the devil.

This isn’t our only proof of government’s Satanic overseer. Let me ask, Lela: who tortured our Lord to death?

LELA: We did.

BECKY: That’s right: our sins nailed Him to that cross. But what was the actual agency of His death? The Roman government. Indeed, the Gospels emphasize that only government had the requisite force and legal authority to commit this murder. The religious establishment, much as they hate Christ and crave His death, is impotent: it takes the State to torture and impale an innocent Man.

And as it does so, its utterly demonic, hellishly brutal nature is highlighted for anyone with eyes to see. Pilate admits that Jesus is entirely innocent—yet he condemns Him to flogging. The kangaroo trial, the ridicule and degradation, the unconscionable cruelty of forcing the condemned to carry his own cross: these reveal the State in its true form, stripped of the fancy rhetoric, the flag-waving and appeals to “patriotism,” that usually cloak its horror. (I further explore the Crucifixion’s testimony of the State’s Satanic possession here.)

Christians ought to despise political government solely for crucifying our Lord. My gracious, if the State falsely accused our child, our parent, or our spouse and then electrocuted him (a quick and merciful death, compared to crucifixion), we would loathe the politicians and bureaucrats responsible, would we not? Would we ever trust government again, let alone pledge it our allegiance? Yet we prattle about God’s “ordaining” government and our “Christian” duty to “honor” the State when it fiendishly tortured our Savior to death. Where is our loyalty? Where is our decency? Where is the love, let alone worship, we owe our God? What unspeakable ingrates most Christians are as they cede the adoration and obedience due Christ to the very entity that crucified Him.

Lela, the State violates the Golden Rule, flouts the Ten Commandments, and infuriates our Lord by preying on the poor. It savagely murdered the Son of God while its owner laughed; it is the devil’s dominion. We should long ago have declared eternal, relentless war against it. Instead, Christians venerate the satanic State. They justify their idolatry with faulty translations of two Scriptural passages while deliberately ignoring a host of others, preaching and practicing subservience despite “the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.” Why?

LELA: Honestly, I think Christians like the idea of liberty, but we’re afraid of too much liberty. We know human nature is not a lovely thing since the Fall, so we believe that government is necessary to prevent human nature from riding society off the rails. It’s what James Madison said about “if men were angels, government would not be necessary.” I think we also realize that while many Christians could live under the authority of Jesus Christ and get along without government rules, many of our neighbors live outside the law of God and we fear they would take advantage of freedom to oppress those around them, including us. I admire anarchism for the message of liberty, but I hesitate to fully embrace it because I’ve seen the hearts of human beings. So I invite you to come back for more discussion on the subject.

 

Becky Akers is a free-lance writer and historian who has written two novels about the American Revolution, Halestorm and Abducting Arnold.

Biblical Anarchy 2   3 comments

LELA: Becky Akers and I continue our conversation on anarchy and Christianity. See earlier installments on the Conversation with an Anarchist page.

BECKY: Hello again, Lela. We parted last time on a question that had long puzzled me: how to reconcile Romans 13 and I Peter 2:13-17 with the rest of the Bible. Those two passages seem to extol government and urge not only our compliance but our enthusiastic support. Yet a myriad of other verses condemn the State’s wickedness, as we saw last week.

LELA: Thanks for coming back, Becky. I’m definitely stumped by the apparent contradiction. As a Baptist, I find my church tries very hard to take the entire Bible into context. I know a couple of pastors who are cool in their attitude toward government and/or military conflict, but most Baptists are straight up statists who consider me a radical for advocating for state secession and federalization and they base that stance on those two verses. How do you resolve it?

BECKY: Yep, the apparent contradiction between those verses and other passages, such as Judges 9, I Samuel 8, Psalm 2, etc., troubled me greatly. So did the silliness of asserting that “rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.” [Romans 13:3] This is obviously untrue of any and all political governments: even a cursory examination of history shows the diametrical opposite, let alone our own experiences with politicians and bureaucrats. Meanwhile, Christians are worse than fools to believe or to preach such lunacy. So how could God, writing through Paul, allege such an absurdity?

LELA: Especially since Nero was emperor of Rome at the time. It would seem patently obvious that Christians had a great deal to fear from him even if they were doing good.

BECKY: Especially if they were doing good! Well, Lela, I searched long and hard for an explanation. I read a great many commentaries from other Christian anarchists—and some who were not so Christian.

LELA: I’ve noticed that in researching this topic that a fair number of anarchists claiming to be Christians just dismiss the verses they don’t like – claim they were added by Constantine or the Catholic Church.

BECKY: Exactly. But true Christians never presuppose that the Bible is just another book from which we pick and choose what we wish to believe. It is the Word of God in its entirety, even those parts that mystify us or confuse our puny, finite minds. Ergo, I immediately ruled out anyone who denied the Bible’s authority, who pooh-poohed either passage as not really inspired or as some government’s later interpolation, or who dismissed these verses as Paul and Peter’s disingenuous attempt to placate their Roman persecutors.

LELA: I totally agree. I don’t know how someone can call themselves a Christian, but ignore the parts of God’s word they don’t agree with. That standard often makes for some complications, but it’s the only way to be true to my faith, I think.

BECKY: Anyway, after crashing into lots of dead ends, I finally found this masterful treatment of Romans 13 and I Peter 2. The author makes an excellent case for their wildly inaccurate translations from the original Greek – and though I don’t read Hebrew, as I mentioned previously, I studied both Greek and Latin as my major in college. So I was able to verify his thesis that the Greek words used in these passages do not typically pertain to government; rather, they refer to other “authorities,” such as our biological fathers, owners of property, etc. (I am over-simplifying here and urge folks to read the article rather than rely on my inadequate summary.) Indeed, the usual translations, whether King James or more modern ones, err so egregiously that they invert the meaning, upholding the State instead of its private and far superior alternatives.

LELA: My Greek is not as good as yours. I have to rely on helps and on friends who have studied Greek. I went to the Net Bible’s Greek interlinear of Romans 13 and cross-referenced with Strongs and found that it is a voluntary giving in for the purposes of cooperation. There’s an element in the word “exousia” (translated governing authorities) of the power of choice or liberty. In 1 Peter, I found similar ideas of voluntaryism with the idea that the king (or ruler of the people) is to be estimated (or judged) by the people. I’m pretty sure that the Christians of Paul and Peter’s time would have estimated Nero as a crazy man who wanted them all dead. At some point we’re going to have to talk about whether we can adequately estimate the value of a ruler through elections, but let’s continue with the Scriptures for now.

BECKY: Restoring their true content to these two sections of Holy Writ shows us yet again that our omnipotent, omniscient God does not contradict Himself. (And now, the third verse of Romans 13 makes utter sense, too: our fathers, tutors, and other familial and social “rulers” do indeed reward us when we do well!) The Lord utterly opposes evil, even from politicians and government. And His revelation bears this out in all its chapters, including those that fallen sinners have (deliberately) mis-translated.

Meanwhile, in addition to the Bible’s outright condemnations of political government, Scripture also implies that the State should not exist. We find some of the most egregious implications against the State in the Ten Commandments.

Too many Christians read these laws as if the Sixth and Eighth end with the words “unless thou wearest a badge and a polyester costume that the State issueth.” Yet “You shall not murder” and “You shall not steal” are pretty much absolute. They permit no exceptions, nor do they read, “You shall not murder unless the State says it’s OK because those little brown people over there in Iraq might be terrorists” or “You shall not steal unless the government lusts after the ‘revenue’ from the traffic tickets you write hapless drivers.”

Let’s think about that for a moment to understand how truly radical it is. If the Lord – and we, His followers – hold the State to the Eighth Commandment, if indeed no one, not the IRS, not the Congress or president, no bureaucrat, no politician, no cop or judge, can legitimately, “morally” force anyone to hand over his wealth, then taxation will screech to a halt. Government cannot function, cannot even exist, without the taxes it steals from us. The State will disappear.

Likewise with war, which is nothing more than organized, State-mandated mass murder. Randolph Bourne very wisely observed that “War is the health of the State.” Other philosophers have noted that wars allow governments to grow exponentially, that legislators who pass “emergency measures” while bullets are flying do not rescind them when peace is declared. New taxes, new bureaucracies, new infringements on freedom – war allows the State to foist all these on its subjects.

But if we take the Commandment against murder seriously, if indeed no one, not the Pentagon, not the Congress or president, no bureaucrat, no politician, no cop or judge, can legitimately, “morally” murder another person, even a foreign one, then war will end. And the State will shrink dramatically if it doesn’t completely vanish.

Until that glorious day, however, many churches and Christians act as if the Ten Commandments are mere suggestions, and ones they can safely ignore at that. Far from rebuking or shunning members of their congregations who volunteer to murder on government’s behalf, they praise them. And while I have gagged at plenty of sermons about how “honest” Christians will never cheat on their taxes, I have yet to hear one on how honest Christians will oppose official theft and all the evils politicians buy with our money, from abortions to the White House’s lies , lavish living , and orgies .

In case the Ten Commandments’ prohibition of the State’s life-blood doesn’t convince readers that political government is incompatible with the Bible, I’ll look at another of our Lord’s implications next week, Lela. Hint: many people consider this one “golden.”

LELA: I look forward to that.
Becky Akers is a free-lance writer and historian who has written two novels about the American Revolution, Halestorm and Abducting Arnold.

 

 

Halestorm and Abducting Arnold, the revolutionary novels. Buy them before they’re banned!

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