October 3, 2015

On “Taking Back the Country”

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

At the LRC blog, Laurence Vance writes:

A well-known conservative Christian lawyer is planning to announce later this month his plan to take back America. This is nothing new. It has been going on for years. I remember Jerry Falwell announcing the same plans back in the early 1980s. One problem with all of these plans is that none of them ever call on the U.S. government to stop intervening and bombing, maiming and killing, and invading and occupying other countries. If they say anything about the military, it will be that it needs a bigger budget.

Indeed; and this brings up all the other “plans” related to this.

“Take back this country for Christ.” “Restoring the name of God in this nation.” “We the people must demand Christian values!”

What do these mean? They are empty slogans.  They are unhelpful. They cannot actually be supported until the definition is known. Jumping aboard sloganeering bandwagons without asking for definitions is dangerous.

George Bush was one of the United States’ worst presidents. To continue on his course was a terrible idea. Therefore, something had to change. Obama recognized the sentiments. He campaigned on: “Hope and change.”  What changed? The party in power. Is there any hope? Yes, hope in the salvation of Christ, but certainly not in the current administration, nor in the various potential ones.

Would it not have been ridiculous to embrace Obama because he promised hope and change, without first considering what, exactly, he meant by such things?

So then, what is meant by taking back the country? We never find out. Sometimes we get glimpses: more war. This is not taking anything back. This is giving our liberties and future away.  Less taxes. Doesn’t matter; spending matters. Here’s the thing about tax cuts: they are meaningless if the budgets are merely going to be handled on the monetary side (that is, by the central bank’s inflation).  Deficits have to be funded. They will either be funded by direct expropriation (taxation) or indirect expropriation (inflation). Taxes stunt growth. Inflation causes artificial growth which results in massive busts and recessions. So when Bush said: “I cut taxes!” we finish his sentence: “but you printed more money.” Nothing praiseworthy. To be clear, tax cuts are always goods; but politicians who aid in the creation of boom bust cycles and expand the monetary base are not to be praised.

What else could it mean to “take the country back?” Sometimes it is meant that we are going to bring Christianity back to public schools. Problem: advocates of public schools are advocating socialist education. Sometimes it is meant that we “ought to save Social Security and Medicare” from the poor management skills of the Left. Problem: Social Security and Medicare are themselves socialistic. Sometimes it means that the Federal Government is going to help subsidize Christian organizations and “faith-based programs.” Problem: Government monetary support for such programs is socialistic, unconstitutional, and non-Christian.  John Robbins eloquently stated:

“The Biblical goal is not a bureaucracy staffed by Christians, but no bureaucracy. There should be no Christian Department of Education, no Christian Housing Department, no Christian Agriculture Department–simply because there should be no Departments of Education, Housing, and Agriculture, period. We do not need and should oppose a Christian Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms or a Christian Internal Revenue Service.

Some so-called Christians are engaged in a pursuit of political power that makes their activities almost indistinguishable from the activities of the social gospelers in the early and mid-twentieth century. This sort of political action has nothing to do with Scripture.”

“Taking back the country” is usually a slogan advocated by the populist right. There is nothing wrong with it per se. The problem is that most of the right’s leaders these days do not advocate things that are worthy of supporting.  I consider myself a rightist; but rightist politics in this country has become so tremendously wrongheaded, anti-capitalistic, and anti-free market that one’s immediate mental response should be skepticism.  Whenever someone uses the phrase, demand a definition. Are they seeking to dismantle any Federal agencies, end the Federal Reserve, eliminate the income tax, close foreign military bases, eradicate the various socialist medicare programs? No. And as a matter of historical fact, the populist right, that usually ends up supporting the GOP, is part and parcel of the protection and prolonging of these various evils.

Instead of “take the country back,” I would rather ignore the Federal Government, let it go bankrupt, let its overextended military corruption cause its own implosion. The true path to saving the “country” of “taking it back” is to let the private sector shake off the chains of the Federal Government. The true path is to nullify; to dissent from the system; to secede both physically and mentally.  To let first states secede from the Union; then the counties from the states; then the towns from the counties. And so on. This would do “the country” a great deal of good. Instead of following this path, however, the usual suspects leading the “Take Back the Country” brigade are really talking about taking over the reins of the world’s most powerful government.  They are usually talking about getting back into positions of power; that they might manage the empire according to their own vision.  None of this is worth of support.

Beware the demagogue.

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
  • How is secession supposed to happen without armed revolution?

  • Antonio

    C.Jay, precisely correct. I suspect that this conservative lawyer is Jay Sekulow, but I could be wrong.

    You are correct that most conservatives, when they hear that phrase, are thinking certain things, but the powers that be mean something else. Usually it means more war and more Federal government control of our lives, no matter what they say. They don’t intend to dismantle the State, but make it more efficient. That would be worse than what we have now. Now we can at least hope the Leviathan’s inefficiency gives us a little more breathing room than we would otherwise have. I shudder to think what a more efficient IRS, or EPA or other nanny-State bureaucracy would do to us.