Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Nature of Government

" A government is an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area.
Do men need such an institution -- and why?"
Ayn Rand The Virtue of Selfishness

I'm not a Bible scholar, but remember in Samuel how the people of Israel had decided that they must have a king. The logic behind their decision was: "All our neighbors have kings." Never mind that God had been their King all along, but God didn't say no, and he called on Samuel to annoint Saul for the people insist on having a king.

Samuel, and every prophet who came after him, held a very low opinion of human kings. Samuel resisted the very idea on the ground that the people of God were under the care and keeping of their heavenly king. Their king was the God who had created them, the God who had set them apart to be the People of God. A human king would be redundant. Copyright © 2008 The Episcopal Church - Sermons that work

But, in the end, the people prevailed. Samuel anointed a man named Saul whom the people chose to lead them. Samuel had been told by God to choose Saul, but Samuel had them cast lots anyway, believing that God would sovereignly control the lot. The lot finally fell on Saul. Saul's first qualification from the voters' perspective was that he was tall; he stood head and shoulders taller than everyone else, he had been successful in battle. No mention was made of his governing skills, except by Samuel; and no one was listening to Samuel. Saul was, quite simply, the man of the moment.

Yet in a few years he had lost his contact with God, lost the anointing of the Spirit, lost his humility, lost his character, lost his kingdom and lost everything. We can follow all the human kings, some good, some great, some with tragic results. The folly of man being governed by man however, is still with us today, and I'm not suggesting we could live well without government.

I'm not an anarchist suggesting we try to rule ourselves and expect that everyone will just stay out of each others way. No, we are social creatures who benefit by living in cooperation with one another, and in a world of irrational and godless men, we may be wise to rely not only on our "man of the moment", but on our God and King.

Our founding fathers were not anarchists either. They were however, revolutionary traitors to a government that sought to control the people of the land, not only in social matters, but in their private and religious matters as well. The first settlers weren't revolutionaries. Remember, they came to put some distance between themselves and their Government. The new world offered space to create new societies in which they could worship without interference—like the Pilgrims and Puritans who founded New England.

Some who were considered troublemakers and radicals in their homelands, like the liberals fleeing the failed European revolutions of 1848, America offered the opportunity to make a new life in a land that valued liberty. To others, like Cuban revolutionary José Martí, the United States provided a temporary refuge while they worked to free their homelands from colonial rule or tyrannical governments.
Source: Destination America by Charles A. Wills

The point is we are a country that was built on the promise, on the dream, on the hope that we are a people who control our own government, and our government was designed to serve the people. Not to feed them and clothe them and tell them how to live their lives. Not to protect them from themselves or tax them out of fairness [welfare] or punishment [vice tax]. Taxes should be collected only to fund the basics of the government and the areas that we've contracted the government to handle. [a standing army, safe air traffic]. If I want to opt out of the SS system, I should be able to do so...this is really quite laughable if you start to make a list.

I fear very much that we as a nation, as a people have allowed the government to become something of a behemoth that needs to be restricted and tamed back into submission. I don't know what, short of a revolution, will bring people back to their senses. I know that most immigrants know what America is and was...and they didn't come here looking for welfare... we taught them that. Remember Tito, the builder on the campaign trail. I loved how he said..."we don't want crumbs, we want opportunity". I love that line...cause those congressmen won't be inviting you on their yachts or their backyard bbq's. You will be getting crumbs that they funded off the backs of the men and women who used to be a free people.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chicago, Chicago....

A press release from the Attorney General's office today confirmed an early morning breaking story.
Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges alleging that they and others are engaging in ongoing criminal activity: conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits for Blagojevich by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a United States Senator; threatening to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich; and to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for official actions – both historically and now in a push before a new state ethics law takes effect January 1, 2009.

I wonder how much of this Chicago politics as usual we can expect or anticipate in Washington? I'm not sure how shocked we should be since the Attorney General's office has been investigating the governor for years... YEARS!! Oh, and this isn't unique in Illinois politics.

Former Illinois Gov. George H. Ryan, Sr., was indicted in 2003 by a federal grand jury on racketeering conspiracy, mail and tax fraud and false statements charges alleging public corruption during his terms as Illinois Secretary of State from 1991 to 1999 and as Governor from 1999 to 2003. Ryan and certain of his associates allegedly engaged in a pattern of corruption that included performing official government acts, awarding lucrative government contracts and leases, and using the resources of the State of Illinois for the personal and financial benefit of Ryan, members of his family, his campaign organization and certain associates.

What is it about Illinois? Is it just Chicago politics, the finely honed machine that may have coined the phrase, "vote early, vote often". I wondered why Chicago was part of BHO's political history. How a young man with a multi-cultural and international background, from Hawaii, Indonesia, and Occidental in LA, end up in some east coast liberal college, then Harvard Law and then chooses to settle and learn in Chicago. It was one of those 'missing links' that seemed out of place in an already interesting bio. I know the public bio aired during the campaign questioned why a Harvard Law graduate, who could have commanded a 6 figure income after graduation, chose to be a community organizer...and chose Chicago to learn. Didn't Hawaii or California have communities that needed organizing? Makes more sense for an islander to choose Los Angeles over Chicago. I guess Chicago gives one the kind of education that requires boots on the ground.