Pagan Government Theory Insures Tyranny Returns to the West
Government as God is Liberalism’s Idea—Stolen From Ancient Pagan World
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Of the central core of ideas from socialism and Marxism, none is more important than erecting a government to operate as a kind of default god. While this could seem an accidental effect of Marxism’s war against religion, a better informed explanation exists. This reveals the real purpose of leftism as one of waging war against, and trying to murder God, Himself. After God is removed from the scene, imposition of a humanistic cult allows mankind to pursue all his desires unfettered.
More importantly—it erases the history of man’s sins against God. This overwhelming need of unregenerate man for secular absolution was one of the key insights of Eric Voegelin in his epic Modernity Without Restraint: The Political Religions, The New Science of Politics, and Science, Politics, and Gnosticism.
The fury against religion endemic in all leftist ideologies can only be understood as a Procrustean commitment to break and recast the fundamental order established in the farthest recesses of human history. On another level this struggle represents the battle between humanistic philosophy against revealed religion. Ultimately, given the spectacular, ghoulish and unprecedented failure of humanism to craft workable government as seen under communism, it is certain that man’s fate is at extreme risk. Therefore, the two essential worldviews of the modern era are posited against each other in this article—Marxism and its ilk versus the biblical view of the cosmos, against a backdrop of the classical worlds of Greece and Rome, where modernism takes its theory of government and man.
I. Theory of Government in Ancient World
In the ancient classical world of Greece and Rome there was no constitutional or natural law theory of government. Instead, a muscular legal system developed, as in Rome—yet the state did not have yet its modern functions. So, for example, permanent prosecutors had yet to be created—so all cases in court were waged by private lawyers. The great Cicero made his reputation on prosecuting Gaius Verres as a private citizen, for instance.
In the classical pagan world, government was the preeminent organization of society without parallel. Since there was no Bill of Rights, people had no defenses against the state. The notion of God-given personal, natural rights as contemplated by church thinkers, like Ockham and Aquinas, would have been seen absurd, if not unintelligible. For example, if warfare broke out, and the state demanded more wealth to wage war, for the citizen to refuse would be tantamount to treason. There was no absolute right to private property.
Within this context, the government operated as a de facto God because there was no theory or body to oppose it. Both Greece and Rome had representational, democratic assemblies, but the powers of these bodies were controlled by the elites. Further, there was no argument regarding whether the state or church should be preeminent since church didn’t exist. Instead, was the priestly college, a number of unrelated religious castes who received their marching orders from the state. For example, during a war the Senate might call for augury, that is a study of bird behavior, to predict the future. Yet it was up to the Senate whether the findings of the augurs were accepted, or how their findings might be applied.
The general theory animating Greek and Roman government was humanistic, pagan, and superstitious theory over an imperfect yet often effective skeleton of democratic and republican bodies.
II. Marxist Theory of Government
A. Marx’s Pagan Government Idea
Marxism rejects the Rule of Law, much like its supposed precursor, socialism. Our entire understanding of leftism must be premised on this fact. Marx himself failed to coherently outline a government theory in any kind of detail. But Marx did get his idea of government as God from Hegel who borrowed it from the atheist Jewish philosopher Spinoza. He taught no God existed, but to the extent the divine was present He expressed himself through government. This was an idea Spinoza himself borrowed from the ancient Greeks and Romans.
B. Rule of Law Lacking in Marxism
A lack of the Rule of Law is easily detected in Marxism. For example, Clarence B. Carson’s Basic Communism details how the Soviets went to great lengths to create the masquerade of a functional democratic government. Instead, the USSR was only ever a tyranny. One such way they created this masquerade was by creating three different constitutions, each one obscuring the real workings of the government.
While the Soviet constitution set out the powers of government and “rights of the people,” this work was not in the least a foundational law from which the rest of government powers and laws were drawn. In fact, one internal Soviet apologist wrote:
In the Soviet Union, the Constitution is regarded far more as a symbol or summary of the existing structure of government than as an immutable blueprint; it is descriptive rather than prescriptive.
This explanation defies the very definition of a Constitution which is everywhere else understood as the law above the law. In fact, the entire Soviet theory of constitutionalism was set in a class context, whereas rights were premised upon what class any individual was considered to represent. Further, rights and duties were likewise described in class terms. So for example, one writer states,
Members of the exploiting classes—businessmen, monks and priests, etc were disenfranchised and denied the right to hold office. The Bill of Rights was restated in class terms. Freedom of speech, of press, association, of assembly and of access to education was reserved to the working class.
This model of fake democratic organs obscuring tyranny is the essential aspect of all Liberal, Marxist and socialist movements.
C. Soviet Constitution a Mirage
Yet, anyone with even a cursory knowledge of Soviet history realizes that no average citizen, whether in the working class, or not—had any of these powers. Behind the typical constitutional language adopted by the Russians, the fact remained that no independent freedom of decision was given to the courts, legislature or any other body.
Instead, the Soviet Union was controlled by a very small cadre of party elites, numbering perhaps no more than 70, who made all decisions. The one-party system was a functional tyranny, and any who stepped outside this model brought down inevitable banishment to the gulag or death.
Why the Russian Revolution gave birth to such a monster is a worthy subject of debate. But since such revolutionary tyrannies were birthed in each historic case, which then led to horrific human rights disasters, we must assume that the problem is found in Marxism itself.
III. Humanism- Versus Rule of Law: Marx & Rutherford
A. Ten Commandments as Constitution Precursor
The chief problem in leftism is a lack of a Rule of Law—inherent in a system denying a divine law-giving function. Why this is true can be summed up in the juxtaposition between the “Ten Commandments” versus any random boiler plate humanistic philosophy.
While this explanation may seem simplistic, it actually exposes the core problem implicit in a lack of the Rule of Law. Because its not really relevant whether one accepts the idea of a set of commands coming from heaven. The point is these are unbreakable precepts which therefore form the firm foundation of any subsequent human law—simply because they cannot be set aside. This idea is the model for the US Constitution, set in a civil format and without religious dictate.
B. Secular Humanism, Marxism’s Unstable Foundation
Contrast this divine model to garden variety humanistic philosophy, the kind of which forms the outline of Marxism—or any other kind of leftist ideology—such as the Humanist Manifesto. Why should one humanistic rule be preferred over any other, except personal taste? In such a setting humans are highly at risk, by definition. According to P.H. Vigor in A Guide To Marxism, any act is acceptable to a Marxist given the right circumstances:
For ethics or morality, the fundamental point for a Marxist is that there is no such thing as an absolute Right and Wrong, being relative for a Marxist. A thing wrong at one time, and in one set of circumstances, will be right in another. It is therefore simply not possible to settle an argument with them by reference to ethical principles—by saying, for instance, that the consequence of a particular policy would be murder, and you cannot commit murder. From a Marxist standpoint, you can—in certain circumstances.
An example of Marx’s quixotic ideology is his view of human nature. Marx was excited to read Darwin’s works and believed himself providing an economic explanation of Darwin’s biological principles, according to Roger Trigg in Ideas of Human Nature, An Historical Introduction. This gave Marx an unsentimental, pseudo-scientific manner of describing others, not seeing individuals but…“the personification of economic-categories, the bearers of particular class-relations and interests.” As an atheistic Darwinian materialist, Marx believed in no religion, but felt people’s “human nature” can be changed, and for the better, in the right social conditions. Overall, Marx—like all socialist writers, believed salvation was a concept to apply only to the enlightened group, not individuals—since there was no afterlife to be saved into, anyway. If only the group matters, then Human Rights are an unnecessary fiction, as well.
C. Rev. Samuel Rutherford’s Lex, Rex—Rule of Law Established
Consider the opposite vision, as described by John Coffey in Politics, Religion And The British Revolutions, the Mind of Samuel Rutherford. This is the Rule of Law. Several outstanding facts present themselves in this study. Scottish divine and professor of theology Rutherford is the author of Lex, Rex or. The Law and the Prince, the most famous study of the Rule of Law in history.
First, Rutherford recognized the divine origin of government. He appeals to Scripture to make an opening argument of authority in such texts as Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2. He then affirms government as rooted in popular consent, as established by people. Rutherford concentrated on describing how humans and God together create a proper government.
Second, Rutherford understands government as properly based upon the covenant theory between man and God, such as seen in 1 Samuel 10. What is remarkable about Rutherford’s theory of covenant (a central theme of Reformed theology) was it not only established the government’s lawful role, but also set standards for lawful resistance, as well.
This follows from the belief that the king’s power comes from the people from whom he borrows their authority. And this addressed both the secular and religious aspects of proper kingship. This subject presupposed a dialectic relationship between God, king and the people as described in the famed Huguenot tract Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos. While the religious aspect was important, Rutherford concentrated on the civil relationship between king and subjects in Lex, Rex.
Third, Rutherford stressed the federal nature of proper human authority. Federalism is a theory of power located not nationally, or regionally, or locally—but shared between all three. Federalism presumes a covenanted theory of government. Such ideas were gleaned from governmental theory colossus Johann Althusis, especially Politica Methodice Digesta, whom Rutherford quoted freely.
Fourth, Rutherford rejected the notion of passive obedience sometimes associated with the Bible. Instead, Rutherford used Natural Law theory as a foundation for defensive wars, which he claimed were a kind of innocent violence. He also grounds his defense of the right of violent resistance to a tyrant in Roman law.
Fifth, Rutherford grounded proper civil authority in popular consent. He derived this from radical scholastic theory which claimed that authority was originally vested in the community. He used language later employed by such writers as Rousseau, claiming that all men were born free from the authority of government officials. The community held all political power in abstract which it then used to set up a concrete government to rule justly.
It is a simple fact that no leftism, whether Marxism, socialism, or any other garden variety liberalism, contains the seeds of human liberty. Whether by genius or luck, it is the biblical theory of government which carries the potential to defend men and women from unjust state actions.
For these reasons alone, it is crucial modern man does not abandon the West’s unique perspective on government and accept leftism’s pagan practices. These afford no people anywhere real safety from mindless tyrants. Instead we are at risk from bombastic, bureaucratic simpletons, drunk in their cruel quest for power, who move as zombie-like followers of their long-dead, failed general—Karl Marx.