Living in the Land of Lies discussed some progressive principles, how they impact society and differ from our founding ideas. Progressive ideas are not limited to any particular political party. This article draws from the 2016 Democratic Party Platform, a platform steeped in progressive ideas representing man’s enlightenment of himself. Man turned toward man, or man and man alone.
At its heart, the Democratic platform presents government solutions to all our current problems. Actions requiring government expenditures and intervention. The words invest, investing, and investment occur over 60 times in just 50 pages. Some of their stated ends I agree with, but it’s not just the ends alone that matter. The means used to achieve them are at least as important—and overlooked.
This article refutes the economic and moral bases underlying the Democratic platform. The Democrats approach fails in both cases. The next article examines three specific policy areas from their platform.
The Economic Argument
Like everything else, government is not free. Whenever a new government solution is created, a whole host of new activities are required to support it. These include;
· Application processing
· Application approval
· Fund disbursements
· Overseeing solution compliance
· Program audits
· Investigating out of compliance instances
· Enforcement actions when non-compliance is found
· Solution management
· Solution support functions, such as IT and Operations
Each new regulation or law requires hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of new federal employees for support. Not one of these new positions creates any economic value, and probably takes away from it. In general, government is a fiscally irresponsible problem solving approach. It is estimated the federal government provides about $ .30 in services for each tax dollar it receives.[i] A private charity performing at this level would likely be prosecuted for fraud or malfeasance. From a Biblical view it is bad stewardship, and man was charged with stewarding God’s creation.
But It’s Not Just About Government
The good news doesn’t end there. Additional expenses are not only incurred by government whenever one of their solutions is implemented, but each and every organization subject to the new requirements also incurs additional costs for;
· Compliance monitoring
· Support functions
None of these new program related activities add value to the economy either. These new functions produce nothing. Instead they increase costs and reduce profitability if the increases cannot be passed on to those using the goods or services. Even if the cost increases are passed on, they take disposable income that would have been used to make other purchases. The only party winning under this approach is government itself. Everyone else loses, except the few well connected elite.
The Moral Argument
It is now time for the moral argument. God is good. If He weren’t, you probably wouldn’t be here because neither you nor your ancestors would have been created. You would not have been granted the gift of existence.
Someone good must be virtuous—righteous or morally upright. Justice is the virtue of giving each their due. An example. A worker earns their wages and should be paid what they have earned. It is morally right. Doing the moral thing is good. Therefore a moral being must give someone what they have earned, what they are due. As God is not only good, but the source of good, He must also be morality’s source. As God is creation’s Creator, He is also its Governor. In Jonathan Edwards’ words;
[T]he Creator of the world is doubtless also the Governor of it. He that had power to give being to the world, and set all the parts of it in order, has doubtless power to dispose of the world, to continue the order he has constituted, or to alter it.[ii]
God’s governance is the only absolute power. This governance requires communication. As Governor, God’s law is one means of communicating His commands to His creation. This is referred to as the law of Nature’s God contained within scripture. As Creator, His law is supreme. Man’s disobedience is therefore rebellion, a rebellion that is the closest man can come to committing a capital crime against God. If God is just, man must be punished for that rebellion. There is no balance as envisioned by pagan thought, no mixing between good works and bad works. Virtue is not a balance. There are only fully virtue and vice. Our individual choices make the difference.
The Difference Between Pagan and Christian Morality
Christianity provides a unique solution to the pagan paradox noted above. “Paganism declared that virtue was a balance. Christianity declared it was in a conflict; the collision of two passions apparently opposite.”[iii] Conflict within a will to do good or evil, to promote virtue or practice vice. This view is Christianity’s key to ethics. Paganism holds this passion to be a mixture, a blending of white and black into gray. Accepting this pagan view means becoming not too much of anything. One is neither too prideful nor too humble, too boastful nor too meek. However, when one strives to become not too much of anything, they also become not much of anything. We do not fulfill our purpose as we do not utilize the gifts we’ve each received.
What Does This Have To Do with Politics?
Quite simply we belong to Him, and this is true in two ways. The first is through our creation by Him. In this sense of belonging we have no choice. The second is through our obedience to Him as Governor. In this second sense we have a choice, for we were each given the gift of free will. The ability to choose the actions we take. This is freedom, and we cannot fulfill our purpose without it. Through our choices we are “not merely to be his subjects and servants, but to be his children.”[iv]
Governance is to have a moral foundation. This requires communication between Creator and created, between Governor and governed, in order to promote His declarations, methods, rules, and enforcements. This understanding is necessary in order for us to choose obedience. This understanding requires revelation. We are not born with it. The only way we learn it is through education, but we’ve shut God out of our government, schools, the public square, and even some of our churches. All in the name of a corrupted idea labeled ‘separation of church and state.’ A perversion of the original idea created by man’s legal mind.
The Biblical View
This morality requires self-sacrifice. Several passages in both the Old and New Testaments point this out. “[S]o we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly.”[v] All power comes from God. “For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”[vi] Rulers are not exempt from this “for rulers are servants of God.”[vii]
Finally, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.”[viii] There is a distinction between man’s governance and God’s. Man uses his power to be served, God’s exerts His power to serve others.
Moral leaders create environments promoting virtue and unity as a people. This virtue and unity produces good, leads to prosperity, and promotes peace. Immoral leaders, on the other hand, promote vice and create division among a people. Vice and division lead to weakness, jealousy, envy, and hate. It promotes strife and discord. It leads to war, either with other nations or civil war within. Look at the last nine years. Which road are we on?
Political parties make little difference. We can look at the irresponsible spending under Bush the younger’s administration. Spending that accelerated under the Obama Administration. Their excuses do not matter, because the problems they cite were in turn caused by poor governance and other weak minded decision making. Division increased under Obama along many fronts. Racial tensions increased, as did differences between genders, sexual orientation, and the divide between those that have and those that do not. We can look at issues such as abortion, gay marriage, gender confusion and many others. These are the result of a society that has lost its way because we no longer teach what is necessary for success. It is evidence we are no longer a single people. Sodom and Gomorrah are here.
There is no freedom without faith, and if our faith wanes so will our freedom. We will not be able to manage self-governance. Instead we will trade our freedom for economic security, a promised security that can never be delivered because it is a false promise. Our security is our responsibility. Giving that responsibility to another is an illusion, one for which we are ultimately held accountable.
The next article examines the areas of education, poverty, and healthcare within the Democratic platform.
[i] Edwards, James Rolph, The Costs of Public Income Redistribution and Private Charity, p. 3, Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 21, No. 2, Summer, 2007.
[ii] Edwards, Jonathan, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 2, p. 937, Hendrickson Publishers, 2006.
[iii] Chesterton, G.K., Orthodoxy, p.59, Jefferson Publication, 2015.
[iv] Edwards, Jonathan, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 2, p. 939, Hendrickson Publishers, 2006.
[v] Romans 12:5-6, New American Standard Bible.