CORRUPTED BY OUR SUPPOSED GENEROSITY — PART 4

In Part 3 of this series, we wondered:  What Are The Consequences Of Accepting The Logical Argument For Robin Hood Government? We decided that Robin Hood government vastly empowers the ruling class. Here we will consider how Robin Hood government conflicts with traditional wisdom. We will do so by contemplating a moral question.

Do We Deserve To Be A Free People?

What Are The Alternatives

If a people wishes to be free, that people must share in common a sincere belief in high moral principles. For example, what would you do if one of your neighbors did not believe that stealing is wrong? What if that neighbor stole from you? How would you protect your property from that thieving neighbor? Here are some of the possibilities.

  • If the rest of your neighbors believe stealing is wrong, you could join forces with your other neighbors to stop the thief from stealing.
  • If the rest of your neighbors are thieves too, you could get some of them to form a compact with you. For example, in return for protecting each other’s property, you could help each other steal from “outsiders” or the “lower” classes. After all, is there not honor among thieves?
  • If the rest of your neighbors think little of your thieving abilities, dislike your accent, abhor your skin color, despise religious preference, or just do not like you; you could either pay tribute or become the slave of a stronger neighbor.
  • If you are strong enough yourself, you could just kill that troublesome neighbor and be done with him. Due process? A trial? Well, that sort of thing is only needed where most people are honest.

What kind of arrangement do we have in today’s America? To put that in perspective, let’s review a little history.

A Little History

Moses was perhaps the first person to codify a set of high moral principles into Law. What he wrote exists today in the Old Testament as the Mosaic Law. Unfortunately, after the Jews began to use the Mosaic Law as their legal system, they created some ridiculous legal interpretations. Jesus famously pointed to some of these legal errors. Here is one example.

Matthew 12:9-14 Amplified Bible (AMP)

9 And going on from there, He went into their synagogue.

10 And behold, a man was there with one withered hand. And they said to Him, Is it lawful or allowable to cure people on the Sabbath days?—that they might accuse Him.

11 But He said to them, What man is there among you, if he has only one sheep and it falls into a pit or ditch on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?

12 How much better and of more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful and allowable to do good on the Sabbath days.

13 Then He said to the man, Reach out your hand. And the man reached it out and it was restored, as sound as the other one.

14 But the Pharisees went out and held a consultation against Him, how they might do away with Him.

Believing that Jesus would heal the man with the withered hand, the Pharisees had set a trap for Jesus. On the Sabbath, they offered Jesus the opportunity to heal a man with a withered hand. Then, after He had healed the man, the Pharisees made plans to kill Jesus. Why? What were they defending? Why would they risk a confrontation with someone they believed could perform miracles? Apparently, they were more concerned about their strange traditions than they were with God.

Consider this encounter.

Mark 7:1-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

7 One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. 2 They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. 3 (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions. 4 Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.)

5 So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”

6 Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,

‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’

8 For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”

9 Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. 10 For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ 11 But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ 12 In this way, you let them disregard their needy parents. 13 And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”

The Pharisees knew nothing about germs, but they craved the prestige they gained from religious ceremony. What Jesus observed is that the Pharisees cared more for their ceremonial traditions than they did for the Law that God had provided for them.

The Situation Today

When our nation’s founders wrote the Constitution, they said that Constitution was a man-made law. Therefore, we do not say that the Constitution is sacred; no one says that what the People created they have no right to alter. Nonetheless, we do demand that our officials, both those we elect and those we appoint, swear to support and defend the Constitution. Thus, we make sacred their service to our nation.

Sadly, just as the Jews allowed their traditions to supersede the Mosaic Law, we have broken with our Constitution by establishing ill-considered legal precedents. What is our fundamental error? When our elected officials promise us something we want, we fail to hold them accountable. We allow our leaders to ignore the Constitution, and they have inverted our rights.

Consider how the Declaration of Independence speaks of rights. The Declaration of Independence speaks of the rights to life, liberty, and property.

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.

Too many of our modern leaders have chosen to compete with the Creator by offering their supporters new rights. President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously provided a list of new rights in his Second Bill of Rights. Unsatisfied with just protecting citizen rights, Roosevelt also wanted the Federal Government to give the citizens of the United States their rights.  Here is a summary of what Roosevelt offered.

  • A useful and remunerative job or a business that produces a decent living.
  • Adequate food and clothing and recreation.
  • Freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad.
  • A decent home.
  • Adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.
  • Adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.
  • A good education.

How did Roosevelt justify these rights? He used this line.

All of these rights spell security (emphasis added). And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

Because of such promises by Socialist leaders, philosophers now categorize rights as negative or liberty rights and as positive or claim rights (In Section 2.1.8 of Rights and in Section 3.b of Human Rights respectively, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy define and explain the differences between these kinds of rights.). What is important to note is this, we can respect each other’s negative rights or the liberty rights with relative ease.

Negative rights can be respected simply by each person refraining from interfering with each other, while it may be difficult or even impossible to fulfill everyone’s positive rights if the sum of people’s claims outstrips the resources available. (from Section 2.1.8 of Rights).

However, claim rights or positive rights require the services or property of others to create these rights.

The former (claim rights) are rights one holds to some specific good or service, which some other has a duty to provide. (from Section 3.b of Human Rights).

Because government must take from some its citizens to give other citizens their positive or claim rights, Margaret Thatcher observed the following:

Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them. —Margaret Thatcher, in a TV interview for Thames TV This Week on Feb. 5, 1976

Therefore, as Thatcher observed it must, our increasingly socialistic government is running out of other people’s money (that is, our money). So we face a choice. We can repent, stop stealing from each other, and work to restore an honorable government; or we can each start figuring out what else we will sacrifice in order to survive in the midst of a nation of thieves.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.  –Benjamin Franklin (from here)

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