In praise of spirit over letter


With all the hubbub surrounding politics regarding deregulation and oversight, it seems a good time to mention a few related things.

One of the things that makes Christian theology beautiful is its spiritual revolution over the letter of the law. It is this philosophical shift that inspired American limited, restricted government, enshrined as a constitutional democratic republic. (For the record, I choose my words carefully: I do not advocate that this is a Christian nation founded by Christians, however, we do see a clear influence of, amongst other motivations, the scriptures in the formation of America.) As we see a concept of Christian liberty as taught in the New Testament (a proper reading of the New Testament proclaims what we should or can do, rather than what we cannot), we see in the Constitution clearly defined limitations on government, not citizens. Sadly, that concept has been routinely ignored, particularly in recent years by all parties and branches in government.

With the controversial bailout package passed by Congress came much discussion about the sources of our recent economic meltdown. Typically, Democrats blamed deregulation while Republicans blamed lack of oversight.

Constitutionally-limited government is predicated upon the decency or goodness of a nation’s citizenry. Tocqueville said it thus: When America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great; noting that the concept of American liberty was so intertwined with fervent preaching of the Gospel that it was clear the source of goodness was in the churches and places of worship from city to countryside.

Decent people need not be placed under the thumb of excessive stipulations or legalities. Decent people accept people who will preside over and defend constitutionally-limited government, which is why we have presidents and not kings, premiers, chancellors or tyrants, as well as a Congress that has specifically enumerated powers. When decent people preside over the halls of government, there is no concern for trespassing on those powers because their role is clear, defined and accepted: service, not dominion.

Again, an axiom found in scripture that has lasting repercussions beyond spiritual affairs: Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint.

People who need strict boundaries and black and white rules are people with no sense of responsibility or self-control. Because they lack a basic inner sense of right and wrong, and have never been exposed to the concept of natural law, they are hardly more than animals: selfish creatures constantly starved by the insatiable hunger for self-gratification. People who are dangers to themselves because of their reckless self-interest are people who need straitjackets and restraints.

Self-interest, and a good dose of deception, caused the fall. Self-interest is the antithesis of liberty.

Federal codex and regulations now exceed 25,000 pages of legal mumbo-jumbo, while the Constitution has been replaced with the US Legal Code, full of enough thou shalt nots to make even the most embittered wayward soul, having a propensity toward complaining about faith-based legalism, cringe. Clearly, we are a people who are a danger to ourselves governed by people whose self-interest is political ideology instead of the vigorous defense of the Constitution and their fellow Americans.

Clearly, we are a people who necessitate tyranny. As Tarkin aptly put it: Fear will keep them in line.

Which brings us to the current economic meltdown. Things were allowed to get this bad by everyone:

-Government which held mortgage lenders hostage in the name of politically-correct egalitarianism and then got into the debt management business with high risk mortgages via government-sponsored entities. The same party that advocated the destruction of black neighborhoods in the name of public housing projects passed the original Community Reinvestment Act and its modification, which is directly to blame for the mess we’re in right now;

-Banks and other financial entities that offered variable and adjustable rate mortgages with impunity and disregard for their own well being (see also: Countryside, amongst others), as well as buying up bad debt portfolios from others (see also, Brothers, Lehman, amongst others);

-Those who borrowed without consulting an attorney or doing due diligence before signing the paperwork for their own inevitable execution;

-Government again, for failing to do anything until there was no choice but to engage in socialism the likes of which may completely destroy free enterprise in America;

-And finally, taxpayers for not throwing a second Boston Tea Party over such a blatantly risky, taxpayer-funded, Yuan-funded potential fiscal apocalypse.

The reality of the matter is that this mess is neither the Democrats’ nor Republicans’ responsibility. It is not because of regulation, deregulation or oversight. It is because we are a nation of irresponsible, nihilistic sub-humans, by irresponsible, nihilistic sub-humans and for irresponsible. nihilistic sub-humans. ‘People’ hardly suffices to adequately explain who we have become in ‘civilized’ society.

Corporate lawyers pour over legislation in order to find loopholes, so they can do what is wrong without breaking the law. McCain and Feingold were able to get campaign finance reform from dream to reality, only to see the 527 nightmare, while a certain presidential campaign is living high off the hog thanks in part to donations amounting to just underneath the disclosure threshold. In a culture poisoned by power and greed (in no particular order), what do you expect? 501 tax exemption, a perfectly-decent allowance for charitable organizations, has allowed a whole bumper crop of crisis cult health-and-wealth ‘churches’ that live apart from the burden of taxation, only to line the pockets of sleazy snake oil salesmen preaching their offensive and heretical doctrines, while well-intentioned organizations trying to attain 501 status to do meaningful religious or charitable work need to go through miles of red tape to the status so many others appear to abuse.

[EDITORIAL ASIDE: Given the cultural climate we have now, further given that we will be facing up to a trillion-dollar deficit in the upcoming months, rest assured that balancing the budget will include finding fresh manflesh for the Uru-khai. Churches and synagogues, the cross hairs are upon you, your property and your income, I mean, donations, irrespective of who heads the next administration. The sun is setting on you because of those who abuse the privilege of exemption. Indeed, night cometh, when no man can work.]

I advocate neither morality nor Christianity as the solution, mainly because mob rule is already entrenched within our borders. The only stability that will come will be by force and not from the goodwill within us as people. It has already begun, and while I do not hold any particular eschatological stance, mostly because there is so much work yet to be done that it is utterly presumptuous and absurd to look to the stars, we can see the foundations of [potentially friendly, potentially not] totalitarianism laid in our civic and federal halls.

When America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

The principles of American liberty are beautiful, yet nothing compared to the liberty of following the way of Christ. Reason, charity, faith and self-government are ideals nearly lost in the throes of those blindly following Hegel’s dialectic (on both sides). As a philosopher, a Christian, a theologian, husband, brother, son and human, existence without these core tenets is existence bound first by chains of the soul, then by chains of the body.

We spent decades fighting for the full liberty of our human brothers because of the color of their skin. We spend millions of dollars fighting for the liberty of oppressed people in the Middle East. Why are we not vigorously defending the liberty of America? How can we assail tyrannous ideology overseas and ignore the rising tyrant(s) within our own borders? Or overturn the death-inducing letter of the law there, but to return to the death-inducing letter here?

Where is the spirit of the law in American society today?

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