After the announcement of some new, court decision, or administration change, I am frequently asked “how are you going to change teaching after this?”
That’s not a simple question, and before you read the answer (don’t peek), we need to cover a lot of ground, ground which few fully connect to events.
Be in the minority of logical well-thought people and read the complete article before peeking at the answer. You’ll be better prepared for events which will come soon to a country near you.
Circle Of Liberty
This diagram explains what you need to know about Democrats, Republicans, politics, and societies.
Most people desire freedom to live how they want. That’s the top of the circle. However, despots and tyrants attempt to push society from freedom to their complete control. That’s the bottom.
Notice, however, that whether you travel down the left (through liberalism, progressivism, socialism, communism, and Marxism), or down the right (through national socialism and fascism) you end up at the same place: tyranny, oppression, and a lack of freedom and liberty.
That alone explains why elections don’t create much change. Lurches (like the Obama administration’s toward the far-left) are somewhat evened out by lurches to the right, with the goal being staying at the top.
Of course, once you discover both the left and the far-right desire the same end (total control), you realize the ability to change political parties only creates the illusion of staying at the top — the overall march toward tyranny continues. History shows the United States slowly traveling down the left side, as socialist party “D” and socialist party “R” both exist as power-hungry control freaks.
To discover why the slide towards oppression naturally occurs, understand the difference between “negative static stability” and “positive static stability.” Suppose you place a ball at the top of the circle. It might stay there, but even a small gust of wind moves it from the top, and as it slides down either side, picks up speed, eventually settling at the bottom.
However, at the bottom, small changes may move from side to side, but forces generally move the ball back to the bottom.
- positive stability — tends to return to original position
- negative stability — tends to NOT return to original position
Looking at the circle of liberty, it’s obvious Freedom and Liberty are negative static stable. One small push off the top, and without considerable effort, tyranny results.
The bottom, however, is stable. It’s not difficult to remain in tyranny, as despots always exist, and the thirst for power and control are never quenched.
Law of Unintended Consequences
I heartily accept the motto, — “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically … But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. (Thoreau)
Even with good intentions, the law of unintended consequences always rears its ugly head and bites you in the … well … the posterior region.
For an example we’ll return to, consider the raging debate over marriage. Why is it such an issue? The law of unintended consequences, combined with bigger and ever far-reaching government.
People might not recall a time when the United States did not have an income tax. Someone somewhere dreamt up the brilliant idea to tax income as a means to fund the government, and the income tax was born.
Not such a big deal, right? You make $1, part of it goes to fund Federal government. Simple, right?
But they couldn’t stop there.
Over time politicians inserted various loopholes, deductions, exemptions, and credits to the code, so much so that today almost half the country pays no federal income tax at all, and for the minority of people who do pay federal income tax, no relationship exists between income level and real rate of taxation, due to deductions, exemptions, and credits.
It’s not how much you make — it’s who you lobby — which determines your tax bill.
A simple idea to fund the government gone horribly off the rails.
But it’s worse. Soon, deductions entered for married couples. After all, it’s not “fair” (be wary whenever a politician uses that word) for couples to pay more simply because they’re married (the so-called marriage penalty).
… and a slew of tax breaks and laws slipped in the tax code.
If you read the news, you’ve noticed the controversy over marriage. Why? Because for tax issues, how marriage becomes defined causes different rates to be charged.
That’s one reason the fight over defining marriage exists — direct result of tax law, big government, and complicated legal definitions and laws.
Big Government Fails to Solve Problems, Only Creates Them
Well meaning people create laws to (what they think will) solve problems, but lawmakers always forget the law of unintended consequences. Laws always create side effects. Sometimes minor, sometimes major, many times unhealthy.
In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. (Reagan Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981)
We believe in maximum Liberty and freedom; libertarian conservatism. The idea (with few exceptions) people should be allowed to live as they wish. Note that this does not imply how they live isn’t sin, or God won’t judge it, only that as a society (as mankind is woefully corrupt), the less government imposes on citizens the better life will be for those citizens (as power corrupts).
The founders had it right.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Government is best which governs least, leaving maximum liberty to citizens. That’s what the founders left us, and we stray considerably from their vision, all in the name of improving it (which proves amazingly difficult), while forgetting and denying the law of unintended consequences.
The founders were right, and the more we wonder off their trail, the more quicksand we encounter. Sadly government’s solution attempts to build bridges and other hacks to compensate for going off the road into a swamp, instead of getting back on the road (Constitutionally).
Big Government Fails
Let’s return to the debate over marriage. The question must not be what federal definition should exist, but why is the federal government defining marriage at all? What constitutional basis exists for it?
Problems created by big government (incomprehensible tax code), more laws, and less liberty are impossible to solve by more of the same.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result (Quote attributed to Einstein, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, and perhaps others).
Note that most in Washington DC exhibit signs of mental illness, continually (in spite of overwhelming evidence) believing problems caused by too many laws can be solved by … more laws, less liberty, and more oppression.
Income taxes began the slippery slope.
Someone thought to provide married different rates.
The fight over definition of marriage begins.
On and on it goes. Laws and regulations create (with the corresponding loss of liberty) more problems, not solve any. Consider the ACA (aka “Obamacare”) and compare the promises made to garner support for the idea, verses what actually happened. Instead of savings of thousands of dollars per year, costs went up. Instead of keeping your doctor …. well, that didn’t work out either.
Politicians lie to get bills passed increasing their power, and decreasing yours.
How can we get off the treadmill? Obviously the country must return from the swamp of big government and oppression, and return to the solid road of liberty and freedom, which only comes by smaller government, fewer laws, and abundant liberty.
In the case of marriage, an obvious and simple solution appears: get the Feds out of it. Little reason exists for national government to be so intertwined with personal lives (“get the government out of the bedroom”).
We end up with two distinct ideas:
- Religious marriage ceremonies can be whatever a group wants, married to whomever they want. If you want to marry the squirrel in the tree, go for it (remember that doesn’t mean God approves of it).
- Legal issues (wills, hospital visitation, bank accounts, etc) solved by a simple single page power of attorney granting whatever rights to the other the two agree on.
Children could use the same document to take care of aging parents, and parents would automatically have these rights for children until the age of 18.
Everyone (well, almost) would be happy. Nobody would be forced to perform a marriage they didn’t agree with, nobody would have to recognize any marriage they didn’t agree with, and everyone could create whatever associations they desired. Maximum freedom for everyone — at the same time.
A heated problem solved by smaller government, fewer laws, and more liberty, while the current situation only continues division.
99% would likely agree; only a small group (despots and tyrants) would be unhappy providing more liberty for people to live as they want with no intrusion from anyone.
That government is best which governs least.
So, as we begin, let us take inventory. We are a nation that has a government — not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government, which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed. (Reagan Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981)
Of course, this will never happen, because it would solve problems, and a few groups base their entire existence on continuing conflict and division … permanently.
Study the methods of Saul Alinsky to understand the methods used to create (and maintain) conflict for the purpose of power and control; disciples of Alinsky exist at the highest levels of government.
Alinsky tactics infest the church as well; progressive “Christianity” exists as a far-left political group, having little to do with God. You’ll frequently hear progressives speak of “social justice” which displays characteristics of a far-left Saul Alinsky political movement, not a Godly one.
Government and God
Problems exist due to failure to understand the following diagram.
- ‘A’ represents God’s Word.
- ‘C’ represents government law
- ‘B’ represents where those agree
Most of time society and God align (at least we like to think so), either because government is moral (i.e. the Founders and Constitution), or it’s a theocracy where a group imposes its view on others, in contradiction to freedom and liberty.
Those are not the same, and you must ask where morals come from.
For Christians, God’s Word defines morality. It’s unchanging, absolute, and eternal — whether you believe it or not.
Suppose a person denies God, as an atheist does. Richard Dawkins might be the most familiar atheist, and during an interview was asked where his morality came from.
“What defines your morality?” I asked with genuine curiosity.
There was an extended pause as Dawkins considered the question carefully. “Moral philosophic reasoning and a shifting zeitgeist.” He looked off and then continued. “We live in a society in which, nowadays, slavery is abominated, women are respected, children can’t be abused—all of which is different from previous centuries.” He leaned forward as he warmed to his subject.
At this point, perhaps a word of explanation is necessary. Zeitgeist is a German word meaning “spirit of the age.” Dawkins here refers to the prevailing moral climate or mood of a given place or time. We may observe that what constitutes moral or ethical behavior differs from one culture to another; indeed, it may even differ within a given culture. This is not in dispute. The question, rather, is this: should moral standards be based on the societal zeitgeist or should they look beyond it to something else?
I asked an obvious question: “As we speak of this shifting zeitgeist, how are we to determine who’s right? If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?”
“Yes, absolutely fascinating.” His response was immediate. “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right?”
That’s commonly known as value relativism — the idea situations, culture, time period, and a person’s attitude all combine to define right and wrong. No absolute authority exists.
That’s why Dawkins (rightfully) admits his worldview can’t condemn Hitler completely. Dawkins’ view proves the absurdity of atheism. It’s the logical equivalent of gibberish only accepted by those lacking critical thinking skills.
Absolute morality — defined by God’s Word — definitely exists. However while we hope government follows morality, it does not necessarily imply government should be a theocracy, as theocracies require power, and power corrupts, so the less power government has, the more freedom people have.
In a case where government aligns with morality, the following applies:
In different countries at different times, the circles may align closer, or diverge further apart. But what’s legal isn’t always godly, and what’s godly isn’t always legal; sometimes society and God don’t align well.
In this case citizens must either follow God or man. Big government destroys liberty and freedom, demanding allegiance to whatever the state claims is right, not what is right. As Dawkins pointed out, popular views on morality change depending on the mood of people.
To avoid this travesty, people should retain maximum freedom and liberty, with few exceptions; government’s job being safeguarding liberty, not destroying it. In this case big government creates law directly conflicting with God’s Word.
Avoiding this problem where government demands its citizens violate their conscience provides several positive results.
- Maximum freedom
- Fewer conflicts with religion … of any kind
- Less likely of tyranny and oppression of anyone
Who but despots and tyrants could argue with a government providing (and defending) those ideals?
Let’s call it libertarian conservatism, not libertarian (which ends in anarchy), nor theocracy (ends in dictatorship and minimum liberty).
That’s what the Founders gave us, and the further we wander off the path, the deeper into the quicksand we sink. The solution isn’t trying to endure the disaster, but get out of the mess we’re in and return to solid ground the Founders left us on.
The following chart illustrates where various factions appear on the freedom versus oppression scale. Complete freedom (anarchy or no government) appears on the left, while no liberty (oppression) appears on the right. All government and political ideas fall somewhere on this scale.
Where We’re Headed
The Obama administration lectures us we can’t have religious conviction (actually, we can have it, as long as nobody acts on it) and must bow to the altar of government rule, as some “rights” trump other rights. As we’ve already seen, more government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.
For example, a few in Washington attempted to tackle the healthcare problem. By creating more laws, more regulations, and less liberty, chaos ensued. How many lawsuits are working through the courts because of it? Some of them caused by government demanding certain actions violating the religious conscience of citizens.
Popular opinion says those religious people should not listen to their conscience, and perform whatever big government demands. After all, big gov decides right and wrong. Sadly, uber-radical’s goal of total submission to big government has been tried and rejected (they just continue to push failed ideas) not that long ago.
“Vee ver only following orders” they cried during war crimes trials after WWII. In other words, soldiers bowed to the state, and whatever morality pushed by the state soldiers must follow. Never forget what the Nazis did in Germany was legal (as Dawkins said “Moral philosophic reasoning and a shifting zeitgeist”).
After the war, when those were called to account for their actions, the “Nuremberg defense” of we just followed what government required was ruled invalid — just because government says you can (or can’t) do something does not relieve you of your responsibility to follow your “conscience” (whatever that means, for now we’ll leave undefined).
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him. http://www.nurembergacademy.org/the-nuremberg-legacy/the-nuremberg-principles/
The verdict? You should act based on what you know to be right, not what government says is right. Governments at various times have become horribly corrupt, and “following orders” is not a valid defense … no matter how popular today’s radicals attempt to make it, and force their perversion on others, as current international court says:
The fact that a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court has been committed by a person pursuant to an order of a Government or of a superior, whether military or civilian, shall not relieve that person of criminal responsibility… https://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/misc/57jq7h.htm
A few loopholes exist, but the principle remains: “Vee ver following orders” isn’t a valid defense. Just because a government says certain actions are legal (and in 1940’s Germany was legal), doesn’t make it right.
As the Obama administration fights in court to force groups to deny convictions and bow to the state, they promote failed and rejected morally bankrupt ideas.
Yes, it’s popular today for government to force groups to violate their beliefs, but those pushing such ideas — ideas known to be disgusting, repulsive, and wrong — fail to learn lessons from history. It’s been tried, and rejected. Those pushing such ideas are frankly, stupid, ignorant, and fail to be educated.
It’s 1939 in America, and what progressives want (forced adherence to whatever political correctness is in vogue currently) has been tried … and failed spectacularly.
Will we learn lessons from history, or repeat them? More importantly, what should you do?
The circles move in and out, but Christians should always try to live in the circle of God’s law. What the other does remains unimportant and irrelevant.
As circles move in and out, be advised if you find yourself on the wrong side of government, they can (and will) rain their full power down on you. It’s not pretty, but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong, or you should go along.
So to come back to the beginning, how will we change when xyz is in … or out … of favor?
Not at all. Not one bit. Not an inch or a pinch.
A bit anti-climatic, but truth isn’t found by polls, laws, or SCOTUS, but only by the absolute standard of right and wrong.
Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. (Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience”)
God’s Word is truth: absolute, and unchanging.
As an author and teacher, I don’t need to change, no matter which way popular opinion blows.
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)