Anti-Corruption of Government or Anti-Government?
The John Birch Society is not anti-government. This is one reason why I am not a member of the John Birch Society. In a recent issue of the JBS Bulletin, Tom Gow explains the JBS position. In response, I wrote the following letter.
Tuesday, October 8, 1996
Dear Mr. McManus,
I just finished writing a letter to Tom Gow regarding his article in the JBS Bulletin, No. 447, “Anti-Corruption of Government, not Anti-Government.” Tom’s article explains why I have not joined the John Birch Society.
As I mentioned in my letter to him, I frequently attend JBS functions, and I have copies of virtually every edition of Review of the News, American Opinion, New American and JBS Bulletin ever published. I comb used book sales for JBS books and pass them out to friends. But I do not believe my application for JBS membership would be accepted. I am not just “anti-Corruption of Government.” I am anti-Government. I believe “government” is corruption.
I am not against law and order. I am very definitely for law (God’s Law) and a free and orderly society. I sent Tom Gow a list of character traits of a well-governed individual which I think I enclosed with the information I sent you on my case, now in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. My ultimate objective is similar to Mr. Welch’s as Tom quoted him on pp. 11-12: “a better world” in a Christian sense. I am trying “to set an example, by dedication, integrity, and purpose – in both word and deed – which men of good will, good conscience, and [Christian] ideals can
follow without hesitation.”
Well, I suppose there will be some hesitation to follow my “program” because we have all been taught that “Government” is necessary, whereas I teach it is utterly unnecessary. The idea of eliminating all “government” is shocking. But the Bible is clear to me: God never commands men to form a “State.” Those who do form such a political structure are rebelling against God’s Law (Cain, Nimrod, Babylon, etc.) and when God’s people try to be like these pagans, God says it is a rejection of Him (1 Samuel 8). Nothing in the Bible justifies the formation of a “Government,” although we are not
to engage in violent revolution against one that claims jurisdiction over us.
I wanted to call your attention to one paragraph in Tom’s article which I think illustrates the fallacies behind pro-“government” thinking.
[T]he [John Birch] Society recognizes that a certain amount of government is essential in a free society. How much? That amount needed to protect our God-given rights. Rights need to be protected from common criminals and especially from government itself. (p. 8)
| I am working for a Godly, well-governed society, but without a State. I believe in “self-government,” and obviously there can never be too much of this kind of government. We don’t need “a certain amount” of self-government to have a well-governed society. We need lots and lots of it; we can’t have too much! Tom speaks of “limited government,” meaning a State with “limited” powers. We can have too much of this kind of “government.” I believe less of this “government” will bring about more [self-]government!
What does Tom mean by “government?” Obviously when he says a free society needs a certain amount of “government,” Tom does not mean “a certain amount” of order, or “a certain amount” of Godly character, or “a certain amount” of humane behavior. He means a certain amount of coercion, a certain amount of monopolized violence. He means a “State” of some size. I do not believe that a State is necessary for a free society, and
in fact is the greatest threat to it.
How much monopolized violence is necessary? Tom answers, “That amount needed to protect our God-given rights.” Here is another concept which needs definition. I do not believe in “rights.” I have enclosed an article I wrote over 15 years ago (at a time when I still believed the “State” was morally legitimate) which critiques the concept of “rights.” Where does the Bible say God has given me a “right” not to be victimized by a “common criminal?” Is someone who demands money from me or slaps me on the cheek a “common criminal?” (See Matthew 5:38-48) Did Job have a “God-given right” to keep all of his possessions
and good health?
To be sure, Tom has a duty not to take my possessions. But we don’t need a “State” to tell us what duties God has already set before us. (In fact, our “government” has ruled it against the law for a government school to post the words “Thou shalt not steal” in its hallway.)
Further, assuming Tom is inclined to steal my possessions and act like a “common criminal,” do I have the “right” to steal from you in order to provide a well-armed security force to protect myself from Tom? If my security force fails its task and Tom succeeds in stealing from me, do I have a “right” to bomb Tom and his entire neighborhood? Nothing in the Bible would tell me that. Yet that is what a “State” is all about. Taxation is theft, and war is vengeance. Both are prohibited by God’s Law.
The State is not a Christian idea, it is a pagan one.
The myth that State violence is morally legitimate teaches young gang members that their own violence is legitimate. “Might makes right.”
The Fox Guards the Chickens
Next Tom says we need government to protect our rights because “Rights need to be protected . . . from government itself.” I’m sure you see the contradiction. Again, does the Bible say I have a “right” not to be persecuted by the government? Need I cite all the times the New Testament says we are to expect Government persecution, and how Jesus says we are to react?
If one of the occupation troops forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles.
(Matthew 5:41, TEV)
I do not have a “right” to be free from criminals, nor do I have a “right” to be free from government persecution. In fact, God plainly declares that He sends all these criminals as His “ministers” to build the likeness of Christ in us. (Romans 12-13)
Contrary to Scripture, our Founding Fathers refused to follow Christ, refused to pay taxes, and took up arms to kill and maim God’s “ministers.” They (and their Constitution) modeled and taught violence and vengeance as a means of solving our problems. Dozens of times a day, millions of Americans act like little States, and when someone “offends” them, they do not forgive; they do not follow Christ. They “stand up for their rights.” As a Christian, I do not support the U.S. Constitution.
My local American Opinion Bookstore carries a volume by Prof. R.J. Rummel entitled Death by Government. The State is the greatest source of crime and human destruction in the world. It does not “protect” our “rights.” I believe the greatest task facing us at the close of the 20th
century is to destroy the myth of “legitimate” government violence. The State is immoral and contrary to the teachings of Christ. Those who are a part of it must repent of their immoral acts. We need to teach people how to become self-governing disciples of Christ.
Tom and I clearly agree that most of what our “government” is doing these days is “unconstitutional.” I simply go one step further. Just as Tom does not believe in socialized “health care,” I do not believe in socialized “rights” care, or socialized “security” care.
Don’t forget: every act of a “government” is socialist. There is nothing logical nor impossible about people protecting themselves against criminals through the free market system – without a State. The John Birch Society advocates socialism, though a very small amount. And the system of socialism it has advocated (along with Washington, Adams, and Jefferson) has burgeoned into the greatest threat to human “rights” (if not human existence) in all of human history. Lord Acton well said, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I would add, “Limited power corrupts insidiously.”
Well, I hope you find this thought-provoking, and I look forward to hearing any comments you might have time to share with me, a true “anti-government extremist.”
Cordially in Christ,
For more information:
The Christian Anarchist Home Page
A Calvinist Defense of Anarcho-Capitalism
Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980).