Biblical Government & Authority

The Bible speaks to 4 types of government/authority.

In descending order based on the quantity of authority delegated by God:

Self-government:  We are accountable for our own actions being right.

Family-government:  Husbands/Fathers have specific authorities/responsibilities, as do Wives/Mothers and Children.

Church-government:  Who should be deacons, elders, teachers, etc.

Civil-government:  To protect individuals from theft (of life, liberty or property) at the hands of other individuals.

Civil-government has a natural tendency to encroach on the realms of the responsibilities of individuals, families & churches.  This is the natural result of a depraved human nature that chooses to abandon responsibilities to categories that absorb the tasks in an effort to increase their perverse desire for power over others.  Individuals prefer to abdicate their responsibilities to the government so the government can take care of them.  That rarely works out well – examples are men abdicating responsibilities as husband and father, healthcare for all, women abdicating responsibilities as wives and mothers.

Theology – The Study of God

Theology - The Study of God

The Bible is our complete authority! Truth (even beyond the essentials of the Gospel) should be universally sought after, agreed upon and applied. We share, teach, discuss & compare various doctrines. We strive to aid in knowledge of and application of Scripture to areas of life in which Christians confront serious challenges from our culture: Education, Worship, Evolution, Politics, Church Government & Discipline, etc.

Truth Principles:

  • There is only 1 truth.
  • Contradictory notions require that at least one of the notions is not true.
  • Truth is not dependent on belief.
  • Belief does not create truth.

The Pledge of Allegiance – A Historical Perspective

The current (after 4 revisions) Pledge of Allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag(1) of the United(2) States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one(3) Nation under God, indivisible(3), With liberty and justice for all.

Commentary:

1 – A decorated cloth or graven image is not an appropriate or logical focus of one’s allegiance.  Allegiance is more properly, powerfully and significantly given to God alone.  In a subordinate sense it may even be extended to persons or to ideas.  Even if a flag is the symbolic representation of what is worthy of allegiance, the allegiance itself does not belong to the flag.

2 – In the Declaration of Independence, our founding document, the word united was not capitalized when used in the phrase “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, . . .”  This is appropriate as the states were seen then and for the future as voluntarily associated (not irrevocably united) with one another for the common good and not as subservient entities of the newly “united States of America.”  The new general government was created by and for the states who just as they joined the club voluntarily maintained the right to leave the club voluntarily should circumstances change.  Lincoln fought a war to prove this wrong but only established that the general (National or Federal) government had the “power” to keep the states captive, not that the general government had the “right” to prevent their leaving the union.

3 – The addition of the words “one” and “indivisible” were intended by the socialist Francis Bellamy (creator of the original pledge) to portray the several united states as one entity which implies that the sovereignty of the individuals and the states had been surrendered to this new overlord (The United States of America) which was never the intent of the Founding Fathers, the citizenry or the states who represented them in the formation of the union.

A better “Pledge of Allegiance” might be:

I pledge allegiance to Liberty and Justice for all Citizens and States of these united States of America, a Constitutional Republic under God.

or:

I pledge allegiance to God alone, who inspired our founding fathers to promote liberty and justice for all citizens of these united, yet independent, states of America, our Constitutional Republic.

For a fuller history of the pledge’s origins see:

www.zerohedge.com/political/why-patriots-shouldnt-pledge-allegiance

Rights, Privileges & Responsibilities

Rights:

Individuals have inherent God given rights. (If you’re an atheist you might say rights as a result of ones humanity or reason or some other explanation but the logical set of rights is similar.) These rights are most commonly expressed as ‘life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness.’ The ‘pursuit of happiness’ is a euphemism for ‘private property’ as at the time of our Declaration of Independence some people were immorally and without justification but ‘legally’ allowed to be owned by other people. As slavery was not to be incorporated into the Declaration of Independence the substitution made sense then — not now. John Locke had it right even earlier as ‘life, liberty & property.’ My summary is that individuals have the God given and government protected right to life, liberty, private property and privacy to the extent that one’s privacy cannot be violated in ways that could jeopardize those rights.

The ‘Right to Life’ is the right to not be killed, kidnapped, enslaved, etc. The question of our day is ‘When does that right begin?’ Conception is the only logical, defensible and specific point.

The ‘Right to Liberty’ is the right to do whatever does not violate another’s rights. Examples: The right to believe anything. The right to say anything. The right to own anything you can acquire from an owner without force or fraud. The rights to travel, association, etc. The challenge of the day is travel. This is why I am not offended (as many of my libertarian and anarchist friends are) by government roads. I’m fully accepting that roads predated government and that privately owned roads can exist with some advantages over government roads. However, the ‘right’ to travel is important but fragile and thus justifies (to me) a smidgen of government. Setting aside unpractical theoretical arguments for the moment, what is the proper form of government roads? For now the existing infrastructure works for the most part but we need modifications to recover the rights of travel and privacy. If travel is a ‘right’ as I contend that it is then licenses, tags, permits, tolls, cameras, license plate readers, revenue based policing, etc. must be curtailed. No right is absolute as rights can properly be revoked as punishment for those who violate the rights of others. Highways do not need to be completely anything goes zones but should not have routine stops, speed traps, etc.

The ‘Right to Property’ allows for the private ownership of most real and personal property. Possibly even intellectual property but that is beyond the scope of this article. As a ‘right’ this ownership cannot be taxed. No real estate property taxes. No auto ad valorem taxes. No boat taxes, etc.

The ‘Right to Privacy’ allows individuals protection from spying that would create a foundation for the violation of their other rights. For example: Any right an individual chooses to exercise may not be documented by government. IE. Government may not keep records on a person’s speech, religion, ownership of firearms, etc.
 
Privileges:
 
Privileges are similar to ‘rights’ except they exist as delegated transfers from the owner of the ‘right’ being transferred. Example: Pedro owns his house and some food. He invites Natasha over for dinner. She has the privilege of visiting in Pedro’s house and eating his food.
 

Prohibitions:

Each person is limited to using his own property, public property and property he has the owners permission to use. That’s all! AKA: Don’t injure, kill or take what’s not yours. Ie. NO STEALING. BTW, There’s a great book by that name, ‘Know Stealing’ by Shane Coley.

Price Gouging?

Price Gouging?

When fear mongers and pandering politicians (pardon my redundancy) call market pricing “price gouging” they are attempting to manipulate the vulnerable into submission.

Raising prices in times of short term shortages caused by disruptive events is the most compassionate path possible! Keeping prices below the equilibrium price free markets automatically provide guarantees inappropriate allocation and shortages and pain. And sometimes death.

Example 1:
Bottled gallons of water sell for $1 each. A tornado/fire/earthquake/bomb/etc. destroys the municipal water supply.

With government price controls:  Without the raising of prices above $1, the supply is quickly purchased by the first few individuals to get to the stores. Those few have enough water to drink, bathe, flush toilets, wash the dog, etc. The masses drink what they happen to have — water, juice, milk, soup, etc. but start dehydrating within a few days. Some drink contaminated water and get sick. Some die. Compassionate individuals act alone and through charities to get water to the area ASAP but some time is required. Government also acts to take from one group (taxpayers) and give to another (victims) but there is a time required there too.

Without government price controls:  The store owner acting on either greed or compassion (it doesn’t matter) raises the price to $5 per gallon of water. People don’t wash their dogs. They don’t stockpile so excessively. They buy what they need and leave some for others in need. The stores continue to adjust their prices in order to maintain some supply for those individuals (both charities and victims) who have the greatest needs to meet. There is now more time available to restore production before people die in mass.

Example 2:
Motel rooms are $100/night. A disaster forces evacuations and a shortage ensues.

With government price controls: All the rooms are quickly rented and filled at only slightly above average occupancy rates per room. Many more sleep outside, in cars, under bridges, etc.

Without government price controls:  Rooms rent for $500/night. Extended families and even strangers combine resources to put large numbers of people into the rooms. Crowded but with heat, air, water, toilets, etc. Fewer are unable to get shelter. Compassionate individuals will be better able to allocate resources to those most in need as well. This is because they will be able to outbid the selfish in some cases. That is illegal with price fixing. People will find inside room for expectant mothers and the like.

Conclusion:

Artificially low prices in times of emergency cause shortages and pain.

Taxation

Legitimate Taxation or Theft by Government?

“Thou shalt not steal” is the 8th Commandment. To steal is to take the property of another against his will. If theft by an individual is wrong can theft by government be condoned? Yes, but only under certain specific circumstances:

The government must be established by the consent of the governed.
The tax must be for a purpose authorized by the governed.

Our national and state governments have been established and maintained by the consent of the governed, but we must establish the purposes authorized by the Constitutional rule of law and only those purposes warrant taxation.

For the national government of the United States, the standard is the U.S. Constitution as amended and those laws that are allowed by the Constitution. In Georgia the standard is the Georgia State Constitution and those state laws that are allowed by the State Constitution. When there is a conflict between the national law and the state law, state law is superior except in those enumerated powers specified in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution with the sole exception being the delegation in the U.S. Constitution (principally in the Bill of Rights) of some rights directly to the citizens which preclude government at any level from infringing on those rights. Local governments only exist at the will of the state and as such may do nothing that is not delegated to them by the state.

The funding of government actions which meet all of the above criteria are legitimate and are not theft as they are authorized by the governed. Any government actions not consistent with any part of the above criteria are theft, wrong, immoral and legally unenforceable. Every citizen and every state has the moral right to refuse to pay any tax that is not properly authorized.

How much should we be taxed?

Taxation should only be in the amount necessary to accomplish the properly authorized actions. Those actions can be accomplished by:

3.3% local
3.3% state
3.3% national
9.9% total tax

The 9.9% being slightly less than the tithe is no mistake. We must individually and as a nation have proper priorities. Government at every level must be restrained so that only legitimate functions of government are performed. When that is done 9.9% will be plenty. If we limit taxation to this amount our individual and family budgets and our economy as a whole will benefit greatly.

How should we be taxed?

There are only two things that can be taxed: production (income) and consumption (spending). To tax something is to put a penalty on it. When a behavior is penalized there is a reduction in that behavior. Wealth for a nation, a state or an individual is what is produced minus what is consumed:

Production
-Consumption
Wealth

A decrease in production causes a decrease in wealth. Therefore, production should not be taxed. A decrease in consumption causes an increase in wealth. Therefore, consumption is the better source of tax revenue.

But the Biblical tithe was based on production and not consumption. Doesn’t God know best?

The Biblical tithe was based on the blessings of God. By tithing on production/income/blessings the individual is reminded of the grace of God that is the root of all love, truth and individual salvation. God does know best. His choice of asking for a portion of our increase is not a model for the collection of taxes by civil government. It is a reminder that all we have comes by God’s grace. Balance is provided by the tithe on production and the tax on consumption; grace balanced by force.

Any payments to any government (other than gifts) are taxes. Taxes may be specific or general. Specific taxes are in direct proportion to benefit received. An example is the stamp purchased from the post office. The post office should be eliminated (by Constitutional Amendment) but until then it is a properly authorized government function. General taxes are those collected from a broad base of taxpayers for a variety of uses.

General taxation, being the bulk of taxation, is what is at issue here. Having established that taxes should be on consumption all that remains is to determine which forms of consumption should be taxed. The ideal characteristics of taxed consumption are:

Broad base so everyone pays
If one person pays another’s share this redistribution of wealth becomes government-sponsored theft.
On the minimum basket of goods and services for efficiency sake
Waste is a form of theft.
On end users only as intermediate users are actually producers
No VAT (value added tax) and no tax on businesses.

Taxing corporations is especially destructive of individual and national wealth. Corporations do not really pay taxes; they simply pass the corporate taxation on to the consumer of their products or services. This transfer is inefficient and counterproductive. If the goods and/or services are consumed in this country/state the citizenry pays the tax as surely as if they were taxed more directly and efficiently. If foreigners consume the good and/or services it is even more important that we do not reduce that consumption by raising the price. When our local production is sold abroad we profit as individuals (through job creation), as corporations (through profits for owners/stockholders) and as a nation through a favorable balance of trade with other nations. The danger of a deficit trade balance is beyond the scope of this article.

Therefore we are left with taxing individuals on their purchases of goods and/or services. To tax both goods and services would be good in that it is more broad based but bad in that it is an inefficient taxing of a larger number of transactions. Since all citizens purchase both goods and services we need only tax one. Since purchases of tangible goods are more easily monitored and accounted for they are the preferred source of tax.

Therefore, a sales tax on tangible goods is the best tax. For simplicity, efficiency and protection from governmental limitations on our liberties the tax should be at the same rate and on all purchases of non-investment tangible finished goods. There is a temptation to set varying tax rates to encourage or discourage some expenditures. Social engineering is not the proper or Constitutional role of government and no class of expenditure should be preferred or penalized to accomplish such an end.

What about poor people? Surely we shouldn’t tax the poor!

Poor people are already getting an unavoidable and huge advantage in that they are taxed much less because they purchase much less. A good argument could be made that each person should pay the same number of dollars in taxes. It is imperative that we avoid the situation in which the poorest 51% of the electorate votes for whoever will steal from the most productive 49% to provide booty to those who are less productive. Aid to the poor is a moral responsibility of individuals, families and churches. It is not the role of government and government is not in a position to help the poor the way individuals, families and churches can. Government too often only enables the continuation of bad habits and choices without the accountability provided my local involvement.

What about real estate property taxes?

Real Estate should not be taxed. Property taxes make homeowners tenants of the government, subject to eviction for non-payment and thus not full owners.

What better way to recover from the Real Estate Depression than to eliminate real estate property taxes? Values would go up immediately as people would have all the advantages of ownership without the biggest disadvantage of ownership.

It would also create a greater incentive to own outright. Now you really can’t own outright because even if you pay off the mortgage you’ll still have an annual payment for taxes. As we become less leveraged in real estate ownership we are all less vulnerable to a market crash like we’ve had recently as a result of too much debt. That makes all of our society more secure, owners and renters alike, as our economy is more stable and jobs are less at risk due to drastic adjustments in the housing market.

To afford the elimination of property taxes we will obviously have to reduce the size and scope of government or find other sources of income for the government. The first choice is best but even if we have to increase the consumption tax what could be worse than taxing our homes and land?

Is this politically achievable?

In politics the best policy is often the enemy of good policy. We are in a situation today that is very destructive. If the best policy is not politically viable today we should attempt to move to something better than what we have now. The best politically expedient alternative on the horizon is the FairTax.

Nullification is the rightful remedy.

Nullification & Interposition

Nullification is when a State declares a federal law (or policy, mandate, order, regulation, etc.) to be unconstitutional (not allowed by the US Constitution) and therefore null and void in said State.  

Jury nullification is a great and underutilized concept as well but that’s for another article.

Interposition goes one step further by the State putting itself between her Citizens and the federal agents who might attempt to enforce the unconstitutional law.

Example: The federal law that requires shotguns to have barrels at least 18″ long is unconstitutional. Congress had no authority under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution to enact such a law. A state would NULLIFY said unconstitutional law by simply declaring it unconstitutional. But that’s just declaring what is true without preventing a federal agent from arresting a citizen of the State who saws off his .410 shotgun to make a better snake gun to protect himself from rattlesnakes. The State needs to also INTERPOSE itself in defense of the Citizen by making it a felony for any agent of the federal government to attempt to infringe on the Citizen’s right to own and sell the modified shotgun.

Most of what Congress does (and has done) is unconstitutional.  Congress has become the problem and cannot be counted on to correct the problem.  It’s now up to the States.  It’s the Governor and the State General Assembly that must tell the federal government to back off.  I don’t see the federal government saying “oops, we were wrong, sorry, we’ll voluntarily give up all the control we usurped from individual Citizens and States.”  It’s not human nature and even if a few states were able to elect Constitutionalists to Congress they would not be in the majority in the foreseeable future.

The State’s authority for taking this action is based on the 10th Amendment.

Here’s a website with more information:

http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/about/about-the-tenth-amendment/

War — What is it good for?

Two types of war: Offensive & Defensive.

Offensive war is the use of military to control, steal, kidnap, assault or murder without moral authority — a sin against God and man.
 
Defensive war is the use of military force to defend against control, theft, kidnapping, assault or murder — usually a bad plan for its intended purpose.
 
A better plan: If every American had a handgun, a rifle and a shotgun, we would not be a soft target and we wouldn’t need to be meddling beyond our shores.

How to Achieve Term Limits

Elections should be all the term limits we need but they are not. With each term in office an elected official gains political contacts and name recognition making re-election easier and easier. Most elected officials become worse over time. The tendency is for them to develop a world view wherein they side with government in the battle between government and people. They accept and enjoy their status as ‘leaders’ governing their serfs. A few stand the test of time with humility and dedication to proper limited government ideology. Very few.
 
How do we avoid being ruled by career politicians with corrupted values?
 
Term Limits. But they’re in charge and they won’t vote against their own selfish interests. So what to do? Vanishing Golden Parachutes.
 
After their 1st term if an elected official does not run for re-election he gets a full pension for life.
 
After their 2nd term if an elected official does not run for re-election he gets a half pension for life.
 
After a 3rd term he gets no pension ever.
 
Those in office now have the option to be grandfathered into the old system or take the new system as if this were their first term.
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