American Fascism and Business Cartels – Part 2

American Fascism and Business Cartels – Part 2

In the last blog post we considered some of the ways the Bible speaks against business cartels and other Fascist intrusions of the state into the free market by way of price controls, wage controls, tariffs, import quotas, compulsory trade union laws, rationing, regulation, licensing, threat of lawsuit, etc. In this blog post I will consider the first of two overarching Biblical principles of civics and liberty that are violated routinely by business cartels: overstepping the limited jurisdiction of the state.

Many Christians do not realize that the Bible calls for an exceedingly limited jurisdiction for the state. The Puritans held that whereas individuals are free to do anything not forbidden in the Bible, the church and state may only do what is specifically authorized in the Bible. This was historically called “the Regulative Principle of Government,” and it is perhaps the most fundamental principle of civics that needs to be understood by citizens if we are to push back American Fascism. Steve Schlissel very perceptively said, “Power is a commodity, subject to the law of scarcity: there’s just so much to go around. Find an undue concentration of power in one institution and you’ll likely discover it was obtained at the expense of another.”[1] American Fascism has steadily robbed power and responsibility from individuals, families, businesses, churches, and lower civil governments. It is time we considered the contours of civil jurisdiction.

In this post I will present an extremely simple and truncated statement of the historic Regulative Principle of Government: God alone has absolute sovereignty over all of life[2], and nations must unreservedly submit to Him as their Sovereign.[3] If God’s authority alone is absolute,[4] all human authority must be delegated,[5] limited,[6] specified,[7] and accountable to God.[8] As Romans 13:1 says in its discussion of civil government (literal Greek), “There is no authority if not from God.” This means that if God has not explicitly given authority for an action to the civil officer, he has no authority. This in turn means that the burden of proof is upon the civil governments (whether federal, state, county, or city governments) to prove from the Bible that God has delegated to them the authority they are exercising.

J. Rushdoony, who has studied the Biblical data on civil governments extensively, says that the civil jurisdiction is so limited that it is almost libertarian.[9] I will only mention three factors that illustrate this exceedingly small scope of civil government. First, the Bible did not allow for an income tax, property tax, inheritance tax, sales tax, or business tax.[10] This lack of massive tax revenues needed to run a big state automatically argues for an almost libertarian approach to government.[11] Second, Biblical law made no provision for a standing army, police, prisons, or massive agencies and boards.[12] Everything about Biblical civics argues against a police state and argues for small government. God intended crimes to be punishable only as citizen-victims brought charges[13] and provided two or three witness who were willing to bear the cost of false testimony.[14] Biblical civics was antithetical to police surveillance,[15] entrapment,[16] sting operations,[17] interrogation of suspects[18] or other forms of coerced testimony.[19] For an ungodly, intrusive state to use civil law as a club to enforce licensing, quotas, monopolies, or other Fascist controls would be an unlawful use of the law because it ignores the limits that God has placed upon all civil governmental jurisdiction. The third thing that necessitates a limited government approach to civics is that the Bible gives a very limited set of sins that are crimes. For example, though polygamy is a sin, it is not treated as a crime in Scripture. I define a crime as a sin that has a Biblical civil penalty explicitly connected to it. With this definition, the state has a very limited role indeed. The Fascist presuppositions that have resulted in state promoted cartels are antithetical to the Biblical principles of civics.

(to be continued in next blog post)

[1] http://www.messiahnyc.org/articlesDetail.asp?printv=1&id=113

[2] Psalm 2; 22:28; 59:13; Proverbs 21:1; Daniel 4:34-37; 5:21; Matthew 28:18; Acts 17:26; 1 Corinthians 15:27-28; Hebrews 2:8; Philippians 2.10.

[3] Psalm 2:1-12; Psalm 110:1-2; 1 Timothy 6:15

[4] Psalm 22:28; Daniel 4:34-35; Matthew 28:18; 1 Corinthians 15:27-28; Hebrews 2:8

[5] 2 Chronicles 13:5; Daniel 2:37,38; 7:6,12; Romans 13:1; John 19:11

[6] John 19:11; 2 Corinthians 10:13; Romans 13:1 [lit. “there is no authority if not from God”]

[7] Deuteronomy 5:32; 17:20

[8] Romans 13:1-6

[9] Consider the following statement by R. J. Rushdoony: “Few things are more commonly misunderstood than the nature and meaning of theocracy. It is commonly assumed to be a dictatorial rule by self-appointed men who claim to rule for God. In reality, theocracy in Biblical law is the closest thing to a radical libertarianism that can be had.” R. J. Rushdoony, Chalcedon Position Paper #15.

[10] For a particularly stimulating monograph on the subject of Biblical taxation, see Robert E. Fugate, Ph.D., Toward a Theology of Taxation. http://www.lordofthenations.com/resources/taxation

[11] On the Biblical information related to taxation, see Dr. Robert E. Fugate, Toward a Theology of Taxation (Omaha, NE: Thy Word is Truth Publishers, 2007)

[12] In a future blog I hope to comment on the problems with prisons, police departments, standing armies, and unaccountable agencies and boards.

[13] This was one of the reasons why the prostitutes 1 Kings 3 were not harassed by the state – no victim had brought charges. This was one of the things that made the Pharisees such hypocrites in John 8:1-12 when they brought the adulteress for prosecution. First, Jesus was not a magistrate, so they should not have brought her to Him. Second, there was no victim who was bringing charges. For other points of hypocrisy, see my exposition under Objection 2.

[14] False witnesses were severely dealt with (Deut. 19:18-21; Prov. 19:5; 21:28), so there had to be a pretty solid case before a victim would take someone to court. And though circumstantial evidence could supplement, it could never substitute for the minimum of two personal witnesses (Deut. 19:15).

[15] Police surveillance implies 1) initiation of prosecution can start with the state, 2) the state can look for evidence before it has a citizen bringing charges, 3) that it is the responsibility of the state to prevent crime rather than to punish crimes already committed. All of these are false assumptions. According to Biblical law, the witnesses were supposed to bring the case to court, to be the prosecution, and to be involved in the execution if it was a capital crime. (Ex. 23:1-9; Num 35:20; Deut. 17:4-7). If witnesses cannot prove the charge, then judgment has to be left to God (Numb. 5:12-31). The only examples of police surveillance in Scripture are portrayed as evil: for example, Saul’s use of people to give surveillance of David’s movements.

[16] The scribes, Pharisees and Herodians repeatedly tried to find Christ guilty of a crime by entrapment (Mark 3:2; 12:13; Luke 6:7; 11:54; 20:26; etc.). Entrapment was something known in ancient times (1 Sam. 28:9), but shunned by the righteous (1 Kings 3:16-28 – they knew these were harlots, but citizens had not pressed charges) and condemned in Scripture (Daniel 6; Jer. 5:26; Ps. 141:9-10).

[17] Sting operations and other diligent searches for evidence can only be engaged in after a citizen has brought charges (Deut 13:12-14; 19:15-21; Jer. 5:26; implied in lack of it with the harlots in 1 Kings 3, etc.).

[18] Though the Sanhedrin interrogated Jesus, they did so unlawfully. In the Bible the accused always had the right to remain silent. (Implied in Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6; 19:15 and affirmed by Christ’s silence in Mark 15:3-5; Matt. 27:14). The implication in the Old Testament was that the prosecution had the responsibility of bringing witnesses and that the accused did not.

[19] Even Achan (whom God had already tried and convicted) was only asked to give a voluntary confession in Joshua 7:9-26. The teaching that a person is innocent until proven guilty is only found in Biblical religion. No torture or other methods to extort confessions was allowed. Thus Paul rightly protested when he was treated as guilty until proven innocent (Acts 16:37) and the trial of Christ (as much of a Kangaroo court as it was!) was stymied in their attempt to prove Christ guilty. This however does not mean that a person cannot be condemned when he testifies to his own guilt. See for example 2Sam. 1:16 – For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the LORD’s anointed.’ ”