June 3, 2014

People vs. Power

By In Articles, Politics

Among the various themes in which we have been engulfed in this country is the split between Those in Power and We the People.  This theme, which seems perfectly accurate because it has a smidgen of truth attached to it, works well with our environment of an alleged “two-party system.”  A two-party system, of course, that is more like a “one-party system” because of the similarities in economic and political structure that both party establishments pursue.

The theme goes something like this: there are very powerful people in Washington DC and they act in a way that is harmful toward the masses and therefore “We the People” need to take this country back and remove the power from the Bad Guys.

First, the smidgen of truth: it is true that there are very powerful people in DC and their actions are harmful toward the masses and the way to solve this problem is to remove the power.  “But wait,” you say, “isn’t that basically what you just said?”  Yes, but the difference comes when we consider what is meant by “removing the power.”

In reality, removing the power from the artificially powerful (that is, those who are powerful by immoral and illegal means) indicates that the authority should be taken away from the political class and be allowed to return to its natural resting place: in the individual.  The individual has rights to his property and the individual has authority over the body given to him by God.  The individual, when he acts in society must do so by consent and consistent with the will that God has given him.  This is the definition of freedom and libertarianism.  (I am required, by the nature of this website, to clarify that this is not a statement of endorsement for the Arminian theory of the freedom of the will –for I understand the will to be bound by its natural desire to sin.)

Now, apart from reality, and in the world of Dominant Social Themes, giving the power to “We the People” means something totally different.  Here, it is meant that there must be a transfer of power and authority from a oligarchy or a plutocracy to a political democracy.  This is a very different end-goal than that of the libertarian theory.  For in a political democracy, the people as a majority collective are able to make decisions on behalf of the minority or more generally, on behalf of all others.  There is a complete loss of respect for the individual human being.  But it is individuals, not collectives, who are made in the image of God and have rights and authority over that which God has given to them.

Thus, the narrative pits the political authority of the “Rich and Powerful” over against the political authority of the multitudes.  This is dangerous and ultimately the wrong dichotomy of power.  Rather, we should understand that the true dichotomy is between State and private authority.  On one hand sits the State, whether in a democratic (political control by many) or oligarchical (political control by few) form, and on the other hand sits the private individual with his property, which is his kingdom.  Thus whether we are ruled politically by “We the People” or by the “Powers that Be,” the State still plunders the individual against his will.  Democracy is no solution to other forms of authoritarianism.

If the multitudes do have authority, it is the authority invested in them as individuals by God to rule over the property that they have justly acquired.  But this is not what is meant today, as blabbered by the mainstream media and the textbooks which fill the schools, when “power to the people” is the doctrine put forth.  For it is meant in this troubling world of idea-control something akin to socialism!  Where the people ought to decide as a collective what the State is allowed to do!  This is not freedom! The progressivist statement that we need more democratic decision making as we move into the future will prove to be the means by which more freedoms are stolen from us.  Sadly, even the helpful group which is called the Tea Party fails to see this.  They claim to want to give power to the people! They want better representatives! This trust in a political system is the cause of our demise.

Look out among the multitudes.  Consider the consumer preferences in our society.  Look at the most popular celebrities and TV shows and habits.  See that the masses are very bad decisions makers, they are easily manipulated by terrible ideas, and they are largely opposed to principles, values, and the Christian religion.  Is this awful mass really the political solution to the present fascism that rules from Washington?  Do you really want more democracy?

How about a private property order?  How about radical decentralization?  How about not giving either the Power Elite nor the anti-capitalistic multitudes the political power to declare war on freedom.  How about dropping the false narrative and recognizing that our war is not against the rich, but rather against the State?  And at a deeper level, perhaps we should realize that our battle is not “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12)

Rather than giving more political power to the multitudes, we should aim to decrease the existence of political power from our society.  Ideally, all power would be authority derived from private property, not authority derived from political plunder of private property.  The wrongfulness of invading someone and his property, or threatening to do so, is the foundation of Statism.  The false idea that God-given moral commands are applicable to all except the political class is the problem, not a certain given structure of a State system.

As the central State continues to expand its influence in our time, and it will, do not expect it to be in the name of the glory of the State, as happened in Fascist Italy under Mussolini.  Rather, expect the American State to grow with the endorsement of celebrities and the multitudes.  Expect it to grow in the name of democracy and “The People.”  Expect it to grow under humanitarian pretenses.  The deluded Americans, under the assumption of democracy, will cheer their way to our demise.

This world is not our home.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com