Property and the Threats Against It - EC333

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Property and the Threats Against It
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 31
Length: 0:58:15
TapeCode: ec333
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Easy Chair Series.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.


This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 333, March the third, 1995.

This evening Douglas Murray, Andrew Sandlin, Mark Rushdoony and I will be discussing, first of all, property and the threats against it in our time.

One of the things that is most important in understanding the meaning of property is to recognize that over the centuries going back to pre Christian times, property has meant power. Power in any society over most of history has been land based. We should know that as Americans because a key legal decision in the colonial era formulated that premise for us. James Otis as judge said, “A man’s house is his castle.”

Now in so speaking he was setting froth an old premise of English law. Throughout Europe, in fact, and elsewhere, the nobility based their power on their possession of land. There was a reason for this. You can steal gold and silver, but it is harder to steal land. If you own a chunk of land you can defend it. You can live off of it in many cases. You can build and reside on it. The one threat to land over the centuries has been the state. By act of state, again and again, properties, real and otherwise, have been confiscated by the state.

Now we must recognize, however, that the modern era has usually chosen another means. We still have land confiscation. We do have a variety of agencies such as the DEA that will move in and seize a man’s property whether or not they find drugs in it. And three million American families have lost their properties in recent years through such confiscation. Not many of them actually had drugs in their possession. However, the basic means of confiscation has been by taxation. [00:03:33]

This has been a revolutionary step...[edit]

This has been a revolutionary step. The state has come to recognize that they need not do anything that will attract a great deal of attention, create concern. They can by means of taxation, step by step weaken the power of the owner over his property, make it virtually a possession of the state so that by taxation he is paying what amounts to rent. And in many a big city today the tax rate is so high that people are paying hundreds of dollars every month. Of course they pay it in two payments annually, but it amounts to hundreds of dollars per month for the right to live in their home. So we have a critical situation.

Now I said earlier that properly is power. And when the state begins to take property away its purpose is to shift power from the people to the state and this is why the control of land is so important. It is a form of revolution. Most people have no awareness of the fact that whether for good or ill except the means used were bad, the power of the English aristocracy was broken in the Victorian era by means of taxation. Power was transferred, in effect, to the state. The nobility were no longer independently wealthy.

Now, perhaps they should not have had what they did or perhaps they were abusing their power. But the point is they were broken by means of taxation. And this in time became a method whereby the middle classes in England were also broken. [00:06:01]

So the possession of property is a long contested matte...[edit]

So the possession of property is a long contested matte in the history of mankind. It has been the guarantee of freedom on the part of the people in many cases as in this country prior to the 1930s. But now it has become a guarantee of state power because its control over property is so great.

Well, with that general introduction, Douglas, do you want to add anything to it or supplement it? Whatever you want to say. Go right ahead.

[Murray] Well, I think we have been seeing a reign of terror, really, against the private property owner since the government arbitrarily decided to liquidate, I guess it is the Fourth Amendment against search and seizure. They have been seizing property in an unprecedented rate without charges, without probable cause. All you have to do is have someone state that they saw contraband or some illegal item at your address and in the door they come. And they... even if they get the address wrong and they ransack and destroy your house, there is no apology and there is no.... there is no repayment for the damage.

[Voice] In fact, the federal government is in collusion with local law enforcement agencies. I think, Rush, you and I were talking that I saw a letter from Janet Reno to local law enforcement agencies. I think it was written last year, perhaps last summer in which she was basically stating that we will split the proceeds of assets seized with you giving them an incentive to engage in this sort of confiscatory activity.

[Voice] Yeah, I think that that is where it really picked up steam is when they found out that they were now ... didn’t have to go to Congress to have their budgets increased. They could increased them themselves by stepping up the confiscations. But the... I said at the time that early on that this was a warning. The... you know, the Randy Weaver thing in northern Idaho and the Waco, Texas massacre and these are warnings to the reset of us. They are object lessons, really, to the rest of us. I think they were done intentionally for effect. I think they knew full well that it would get plenty of media attention and it would put the rest of our country on notice that the federal government was going to abrogate the Fourth Amendment and now they have just abrogated the other half of it. Now you now have any federal agency can conduct a warrantless search of your... your residence. [00:09:11]

[Voice] I think we need to remember that property,...[edit]

[Voice] I think we need to remember that property, first of all, must be seen theistically. The Bible says that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Man is playing God when he thinks he has absolute control over property. God in Genesis to both Adam and to Noah and then, of course, in Christ as the second Adam has given a dominion mandate, a dominion commission. So godly people should employ property to the advancement of the kingdom of God and legitimate means. This confiscation of property by means of taxation, too, we ought to remember in terms of biblical law, as Rush has pointed out so clearly in The Institutes is a violation of the Eighth Commandment. I mean, confiscatory taxation is a violation of the Eighth Commandment and we must constantly emphasize that point. I mean, we have a larcenist and thieving civil government and not just the United States, but elsewhere.

[Voice] Well, that is not the only means to...

[Voice] No, it is not the only means.

[Voice] ...taxation... it is by inflating the... the currency.

[Voice] Absolutely.

[Voice] That is a hidden tax.

[Voice] That is right.

[Voice] We were talking about income taxes, too. It is interesting. This idea of graduated income tax found a place in Karl Marx’s and Engle’s Communist Manifesto. They state, interestingly enough, that one of the marks—no pun intended—one of the marks of a society in which Communism was greatly advanced was a very steady graduated income tax.

Another, by the way, was free compulsory education.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] It is amazing. We think in the United States today that, boy, we have really put Communism to rout, you know, and yet we have assimilated so much of that ... of that claim.

[Voice] Well, it has become a matter of style in how we execute it.

[Voice] Exactly.

[Voice] Give them your name and...

[Voice] Right.

[Voice] But we have to go back to the idea this really is the assault on property really is... we can’t think merely in libertarian terms. We have got to think in theistic terms, that it is an attack on God and on the Christian faith.

Douglas, you and earlier before were chatting about Environmentalism. So much of the environmental agenda is an assault on property, of course. And they have demonstrated that time and time again.

[Voice] Well, there is a recent development... I... I subscribe to the Western Mining Journal and in it they comment every month on the moves at the BLM and the other federal agencies are making on public property and there has been enough of a backlash, what has been properly called the sagebrush rebellion which has been a sudden upwelling of organizations like people for the west and various other groups that have banded together and they have begun to resist the attempts of the federal government to throw, for instance, ranchers off of, you know, federal grazing lands and this sort of thing and taking timber harvesting areas out of production and to putting gates across the road so that you can’t get to a mining property even though people have claims, valid claims on the property. They won’t let you get to them so that you can mine them. And in some areas they have invoked like in Arizona and New Mexico, I believe, they have invoked this home rule as another effort that people have made where there is some loophole that allows people to declare home rule and apparent independence from the federal agencies. And there have been cases where ... where sheriffs of counties have actually gone down and stood by while bulldozer operators tore up BLM and the forest service gates. And the forest service, you know, people were gnashing their teeth, but the sheriff said, “You make a move and you are... you are arrested. You are going to jail.” [00:13:30]

So there is ... there have been confrontations, but they don’t get covered in the press. They only get covered in ... in the marginal media that have a direct interest in this effort.

But it is turning the corner. And the other significant thing is that the Congress committees that control the money that government uses to by. They have been very vigorously pursuing a program of buying land and putting it back under public, rather under federal control.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] The... the new Republican Congress has cut off the money for that. So that ... that effort has come to a halt and now they are going to try to reverse it. For instance, a six million acres set aside of desert in southern California which has absolutely no value except for mineral extraction that they are going to try to reverse all or most of that as well as some of these other set asides that the federal government has undertaken and spent a considerable amount of money. You know, if they want to do some deficit reduction, that would be a good place to start.

[Voice] I was thinking, too, of the tyranny of property taxes and the connection of property taxes to government schooling which today, of course, is called public schooling. A large portion of property taxes is used to finance government schools. So there we have the statist education in collusion with its confiscatory actions with regard to property.

[Voice] Well...

[Voice] And I think Christians need to stand up and be more vocal in opposing.

[Voice] California has taken a rather unprecedented step and they are taking the property taxes which are collected by the counties and then are turned around and remitted to the state and then the state is supposed to apportion the money back to the counties. Well the state recently decided to keep the money. So... which means that sheriff’s departments and fire departments have had to cut way back so that traditionally the kinds of public services that people considered very basic which is police and fire protection is no longer funded by local property tax. [00:16:01]

And this is kind of an unprecedented step...[edit]

And this is kind of an unprecedented step. I don’t know of anywhere else this has been done in the United States.

[Voice] I understand Michigan recently reversed or is considering reversing property taxation. Is that right? Or {?} my facts straight? I am not sure of that. I have heard something about that.

[Rushdoony] I don’t remember the details. There is something underway there, yes.

[Voice] I think it should be remembered that our... our founding fathers were quite ... quite wise when they wrote into the Constitution that the national government should not own land except for military installations such as ports and munitions depots and... and such... military bases and such.

[Voice] And post offices.

[Voice] And post offices. Yes. Of course with the Louisiana Purchase kind of put a ... through a wrench into that when we walked into that and... and Jefferson was aware that it was really unconstitutional when he did it. And he didn’t want to pass up the... the opportunity.

But the Northwestern Territories which are now primarily Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, the government, under the Articles of Confederation, even before the Constitution made the very wise decision that we are going to survey this land and with a few exceptions we are going to basically sell the land. And those ... that is some of the most productive farm land anywhere.

Further west, as we went west the government decided that we better stop giving this land away. Let’s keep it for ourselves. For many years that was really regarded as something, well, a violation of the Constitution nobody really wanted to bring up.

At some point, I am not sure when it was, the ... the federal court actually spoke to that issue and they in effect said in the classic case of Booth Construction of the Constitution that all these federally owned lands were military installations because they contained minerals and natural resources which in time of war could be used for... extracted and used for national defense. Therefore, they could be considered military installations. [00:18:15]

[Voice] Well, they...[edit]

[Voice] Well, they... obviously they can stretch anything to say anything or mean anything or achieve any purpose that they deem important. The ... the courts are very good at that, particularly the Supreme Court are masters at that. But they are ... the situation is beginning to turn, I think, because a lot of people are beginning to see that they can use. Because the 1872 mining law which was passed in order to try to encourage people to go out and prospect and find valuable mineral deposits and develop them in order to generate wealth for the country, because really that is where the wealth comes from. The gold that was found by the 49ers who are they going to sell it to? I mean, eventually it is going to go to the government. You know, it goes to store keepers and store keepers go to banks and banks go to the federal, you know, it goes to the federal depository. So it was in the government’s interest at that time to pass the 1872 mining law to get people to go out and look for gold. And although the territories that were opened up and the ... the Homestead Act. They were trying to encourage people to go out and acquire personal property, to clear it, to make it productive. I mean, this land was totally unproductive up until that time and create this enormous wealth and now the government wants to nationalize it and take it all back.

[Voice] The southern plains states used to be referred to on the map as the great American desert because it was without irrigation which is ... initially came with the windmill. That was basically useless. It couldn’t be used for anything until farmers made it.... came in and made it productive.

But imagine how our society would be different if the western lands were in private hands and could be used for productive purposes.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] Then there is something else I was thinking of while Denis was talking. I recall that Richard Weaver in his book Ideas have Consequences pointed out the necessity of equating property with land rather than merely liquid assets and all that, as I recall. And he pointed out that you have gotten away... of course, he wrote in the late 40s, but even at that time was we have gotten away from the idea that property is in land and more the idea of stocks and bonds and all that sort of thing. We have really destroyed the whole concept of property and that really dovetails with what you were talking about, Mark, that we need to emphasize the idea of... of the land itself because God was created. It is from there that we can receive our sustenance. It can’t be worshiped, of course. It Is wrong to worship nature, but nonetheless it is a gift of God. [00:21:18]

And our age of Wall Street brokerage, I think we need...[edit]

And our age of Wall Street brokerage, I think we need to remember that ... that wealth does come ultimately from God. But ... and ultimately from the land.

[Voice] The guy who was the ... the futures trader for that Bearing Bank that British bank. He gave a whole new dimension to the term easy come, easy go.

[Voice] Government is also a very poor landlord on the whole.

[Voice] Oh, yes.

[Voice] You know and maybe six, seven, eight years ago there was 148... 140,000 acres burned in the adjacent county and most of it was government owned land and some of it has still not been replanted with trees because it has to go through environmental hearings. The environmentalists don’t want you to spray anything that would control the weeds to encourage the trees to grow for timber purpose. The privately held land was replanted in the year. And those trees are already taller than we are. The... some of the government held land will take years to recover, decades and decades because they are going to let nature takes it course. The worst case of that is in the national parks where they don’t want anything unnatural done. If it burns, if a natural fire is caused by lightning, let it burn. They don’t want fire trucks even to go off the pavement... designated roads to fight fire. They don’t want helicopters to land in the back country of these wilderness areas. And the fact is that the most productive lands, the best cared for lands are not lands that are left to themselves to go wild because in the wild you have deformed trees. You have damaged trees. You have insect ridden trees. In the privately owned lands they control these things. The best forests in the world are the ones on privately owned lands. The old growth lands, if you see a real old growth timber, it will have a lot of dead , dying trees in it and some sparse large trees. But it won’t be productive land.

[Voice] Do you see the irony in this? I have thought of this. I was thinking a couple of years ago about this. Well, God gave to man in the Word of God, godly man, a dominion commission. They have almost reversed the order and now nature is taking dominion over man almost. And that really is the case in Environmentalism.

[Rushdoony] Yes, exactly.

[Voice] The animals may and, in some cases the plants, may, as it were, destroy man, rather than man taking dominion over the earth. It shows the utter perversity when men depart from the Scripture and revelation of God they... Romans chapter one says worship nature. And then nature begins to take dominion over them. [00:24:09]

[Voice] Well, it is not only government owned land...[edit]

[Voice] Well, it is not only government owned land, it is our land because our land comes under various environmental laws, zoning, licensure. You can’t do with your land what you want to. We live in an area here that became popular because of gold mining.

[Voice] Yeah.

[Voice] If you owned a piece of land and you wanted to sink a shaft to extract minerals from it, you didn’t have to ask anybody’s permission, nobody. In fact, in this county they didn’t even ask you to record at the county seat where your mine tunnels were.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] And so there has never been any real recording of where the mine tunnels were except incidentally on some maps will identify that there is a mine shaft here. But there are many hidden shafts, because nobody was asked...

[Voice] Yeah.

[Voice] ... not... not so much even to say where... where is your shaft? And all that was required was that you had the capital and the desire to risk your money to extract minerals from the ground.

And today if you wanted to open a small scale mine, we... it is really impossible to open a small scale mine because environmental requirements are such that it is... it is prohibitively expensive.

[Voice] Which is to say that the whole idea of genuine private property is almost gone.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] People say that you believe that you own your land. Don’t pay, you know, don’t pay taxes for a year and you see what happens to your land, your property.

[Voice] Or try to do anything.

[Voice] Oh, exactly, as Mark was pointing out.

[Voice] Zoning, the... the board of supervisors or the city council or the zoning commission, wherever you happen to be, has the power to ruin you or make you rich.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] They can say... they can tell you regarding your piece of property you can’t even build a house there.

[Voice] That is right.

[Voice] You can’t use that property you own.

[Voice] That is one they are willing to give up lucrative private businesses for those jobs. Who would spend 30 million dollars to become a senator and make 100,000 or 130,000 dollars a year?

[Voice] Well, one of the prime motives for becoming a county supervisor is if you want to create ... create a subdivision.

[Voice] It is punish your political enemies and reward your political friends.

[Voice] And, by the way, this is also constitutes a back door assault in many cases on churches. The states or the city, whoever, the civil government will come and knock on the door and say, “We are going to persecute you for religious beliefs.” They would, perhaps not be successful. But by means of particular zoning regulations and that sort of thing a number of churches have been attacked and severely damaged.

Schools have been told how many students you are allowed to enroll, because we don’t want too many cars here.

[Voice] Exactly.

[Voice] At nine in the morning and three in the afternoon.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] There are countless cases like that. [00:27:06]

[Voice] Well, there is all kinds of methods of control...[edit]

[Voice] Well, there is all kinds of methods of control, whether it is OSHA, for instance in mining. Unless there is a few mom and pop mines operating in California, there are a very few and dwindling rapidly in any major commercial operations. Most of the big commercial operations in this area are shutting down and moving out of the country. They are going to Central and South America. And not because the gold is gone, not because the minerals aren’t here. It is because the... the cost of complying with the regulations...

[Voice] That is right.

[Voice] ...is making it unprofitable to operate here.

[Voice] And even when it does in many cases the regulations tend to drive up prices and that harms the economy. So it is just a very vicious cycle.

[Voice] Well, it is... it is a tool and control.

[Voice] Yeah.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] Which is... which destroys freedom, because property should be a guarantee of freedom.

[Voice] Well, what is done...

[Voice] We don’t have freedom now. We have property... you may have a headache.

[Voice] Yeah. It is ... it is tyranny American style. The use of legislative controls instead of, you know, it is not done at the point of a gun as in China. It is done at the ... through the state legislature.

[Voice] Two, it tends to be anti covenantal and I am thinking especially of the steep inheritance taxes. For some reason people hate the idea, good old Democrats—and I am not referring to the Democratic party, but rather this pure egalitarian democratic ideal—they don’t like the idea that property should be handed down through the family.

Well, of course, that is an entirely biblical idea. But they despise that and they want to redistribute the wealth to more deserving people.

[Voice] Well, last year nobody left this country and renounced their US citizenship during the eight years that Reagan was in office. But since he went out of office, over 300 wealthy people have renounced their U S citizenship and moved their wealth out of the country. And now three is a proposal in Congress to tax you 80 percent if you try to leave the country.

[Voice] Oh, dear.

[Voice] That you would be forced to liquidate and you will pay the government 80 percent in order to buy your way out of the country.

[Voice] That certainly is a mark of tyranny in the culture we live in. And, unfortunately, as Rush and I were talking a few weeks ago, some younger people... this is always... they have always seen things this way and they don’t recognize that the culture could be any different. We need to... we need to oppose this tyranny in every way possible, every legitimate way possible.

[Voice] Well, the best way is through education. The... the big problem is that people are asleep. [00:30:04]

[Voice] Yeah.

[Voice] They don’t know that these things are going on. And young people have no idea that it was ever any different.

[Voice] Exactly.

[Rushdoony] Before we go any further, I would like to make a comment. These Easy Chairs began some years ago in my living room when I sat in an easy chair, but now we are in Joanna’s family room around a table and Mark says the chair is not an easy chair. It is a hard one.

Well, with that behind us, I would like to begin by saying the law of God sets forth the most property based society in all of history. It puts taxation out of the picture entirely as far as property is concerned. It cannot be taxed. As a result, a man’s house, indeed, in Old Testament society was his castle. And in this country, as long as we are led by the biblical premise that land could not be taxed, property could not be taxed, we were a free people.

In biblical order, freedom and the family are land based precisely because the family had freedom on its own land which could not be taxed. You could not enter it without the consent of the owner. It was, so to speak, you own country. It was very, very basic to the freedom that we enjoyed.

Very literally property was very much in mind with feudal system. The feudal lord was lord over his land. The king had no power over him, except by some kind of obligation to serve him in some reciprocal relation.

Well, in this country in terms of the Bible the land owner was lord in his home on his land. This is why Otis could say a man’s home is his castle. [00:33:06]

But we have whittled away at that because as we abandoned...[edit]

But we have whittled away at that because as we abandoned God and his law, we began to trust more man and his law.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] ... with the result that we have created a society that is... makes the world safe for the state, but dangerous to the property owner.

[Voice] That is right.

[Voice] Well, in... in essence the ... the land has been confiscated. I mean, all we have...

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] ... is in name only we pay for the right to call it ours, but whatever is produced on that land is taxed for socialist redistribution. But the property itself is taxed and the money is used for socialist redistribution. So, in effect, we are just like tenants.

[Voice] That is right.

[Voice] I was thinking, too, of the extent to which the Christian Church has become much too soft on this issue. Today a large number of evangelical colleges, some seminaries, but especially colleges have a campus on which the idea of Christian Socialism or redistribution of wealth runs rampant. A few years ago Ronald Seiter wrote a book...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] A terrible book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger which basically was baptized Socialism.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] It was, of course, anti theonomic to the core, because the Old Testament won’t permit that. And then by taking out of context some New Testament ideas of voluntary giving which the Bible certainly supports, was able to defend this socialistic ideal. But it is remarkable how many college students, Christian college students have no idea about the concept of a biblical view of property and have so many Socialist ideas running through their... running through their mind.

[Rushdoony] Well, you see this in the seminaries, too, Andrew. You see it, of course, every night in some form or another on television. I heard a speaker on PBS this past week describe Capitalism as a form of theft. So the anti biblical thinking is rampant in our culture. It is militantly opposed to property.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Some years ago Count Eric {?} wrote a book on equality which he is at present revising and enlarging. And there he made clear following the lead of de Tocqueville about 150 some years ago in his analysis of the United States that if you assert equality as your primary virtue you are going to destroy freedom. [00:36:32]

[Voice] Absolutely...[edit]

[Voice] Absolutely.

[Rushdoony] Because you cannot tolerate what freedom permits.

[Voice] Exactly.

[Rushdoony] Inequality. Some people getting ahead, others too lazy to get ahead or for some reason or another failing to get ahead.

[Voice] That is right.

[Rushdoony] So our emphasis on equality is destroying freedom in the United States.

[Voice] Absolutely. And you are right. De Tocqueville was so clear about that and he was so prescient in warning of that problem in a democracy that so emphasized the necessity of equality and that, again, the idea of equality is a blatant attack on the Word of God. The equality the Bible teaches is the equality of the sinfulness of man, original sin. It certainly does not teach that all men have the same ability, the same wealth, the same lot in life. And the attempt to equalize all of those things will always require a loss of freedom.

[Rushdoony] It is interesting that there is a manufactured quote from de Tocqueville to the effect that America is free because it is Christian. He never made that statement, although he had some very fine things to say about Christianity in the United States. But all these writers who use that quote and who have not read de Tocqueville usually...

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] ...pay no attention to the central warning he issued about the danger of equality.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] It leads to the enslavement of many people because it will not permit them to get ahead.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Is steels them of that which they have made, because it will have no man better than anyone else.

[Voice] And he, of course, spent several chapters talking about the tyranny of the majority.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] ... which he considered to be more dangerous than any other kind of tyranny because a single tyrant can be more easily overthrown. Even an aristocracy can be overthrown.

[Voice] But how do you overthrow an entire majority?

[Rushdoony] Well, one of the facts that very few people already face up to is that the French Revolution supposedly overthrew the tyranny of the monarchy. But the tyranny was small compared to what followed the French Revolution and has prevailed since in France. They have never had as low a rate of taxation as they had under Louis XVI. [00:39:15]

[Voice] And one thinks immediately of Orwell’s ...[edit]

[Voice] And one thinks immediately of Orwell’s Animal Farm.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] The story that usually revolutions that subvert tyrannies are always... almost always more tyrannical than the supposed tyrannies that they have subverted.

[Rushdoony] Yes. One of the proclamations that developed in Animal Farm when the pigs took over, I believe, and their motto was: All pigs are equal, but some pigs are more equal than others.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] Which indicates, too, his knowledge and this is the knowledge that all should have, that an idea of absolute equality is just totally utopian.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] I mean, Communism is a prime example. There was always the elite, always the party leaders. And, of course, they would claim otherwise, but it is just a possibility.

[Rushdoony] They... the gap between the rich and the poor was greater under Communism than under the Czars.

[Voice] Yes.

And we have got to get back to the idea of recognizing that this is all an inevitable result of hatred for God’s law and the hatred for Christianity.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] And, too, we talked about the fact that God owns everything. But statist man doesn’t like that.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] He wants to be the sovereign. And the true ultimate sovereign owns everything. Our God is sovereign, absolutely sovereign and, thus, controls all things. But man dislikes that and so he wants to reorder things including property according to his own dictates.

[Voice] Interesting even in the Garden of Eden God told them there is this one tree you can’t touch.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] And keep your hands off of it.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] Exactly.

[Rushdoony] And, of course, that is what they resented. Ye shall be as God. You are going to be equal to God.

[Voice] It is not surprising, then, as Rush sort of coined the term the messianic state as the state wants to play messiah. It wants to control property, all property and it does to a greater degree than we even today recognize. And, of course, we probably should bring up the idea of voting because as was pointed out by Dabney and many others years ago the whole idea of universal suffrage can easily be turned into a means of confiscation from the rich. And it has happened time and time and time again. It happens in all revolutionary situations. But it is remarkable especially in our society, Democratic politicians, but many Republicans, too, tend basically to buy votes that way. If you will vote for me, I will... [00:42:06]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] I will tax the rich and give you some of their money. If the same guy went to the polling booth and said, “I will give you five dollars to vote for me,” he would be thrown in jail supposedly.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] But the same man can stand up and say, “If you vote for me, I will redistribute the wealth,” and he is elected.

[Voice] Well, the... the term the American dream really describes the yearning on the part of people to have a place of their own. I talked to many people that... in countries and cities around the country that I visited back when I was in the military and moving around a lot. And you would be sitting next to somebody on the bus or an airplane or not necessarily an airplane, but on a bus or some form of public transportation and get to talking and I would ask them a question if they ... if they would tell me that they didn’t have anything, if they were on the move and so forth. I would ask them: What do you wish for yourself? What do you want for yourself out of this life?

And 99 times out of 100 it was they wanted a home, someplace that they could put down roots.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] ...and raise a family and have a place. And ... and it is curious that every species is like that.

[Voice] Yeah.

[Voice] You know, a ... a... a dog, for instance, will go nuts if it doesn't have a... a place that is designated that that is theirs.

[Voice] Yeah.

[Voice] That is right.

[Voice] Whether it is a place a mat on the floor or whatever. A cat has got to have their basket. A dog has got to have their bath mat or whatever and it is something innate in all species.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] We all have to have a place that we can... that we can anchor ourselves to.

[Voice] Yes.

And I was thinking Socialism, ideologically, has been quite prominent. Well, it goes back, of course, to ancient Greece and Sparta and so forth. And especially since the 19th century yet it recall escalated during the time of Roosevelt.

Rush, we have talked about that. Maybe you can talk about the idea of Roosevelt first and then, of course, the escalation in the Great Society under Lyndon Johnson.

[Rushdoony] The first statement that opposed human rights to property rights was by Theodore Roosevelt and it was after he had left the presidency. It was regarded as a Marxist idea and rightly so, because human rights equaled... means essentially freedom and the right to property. This is what they have meant over the generations. But he opposed the two, human rights and property rights.

Well, with Roosevelt, the opposition to the rich barons malefactors, the wealthy became a stock in trade. Now this did not mean he opposed them. He was playing a game to get the popular vote. This, however, became endemic to our society and one president after another has since then worked to increase taxation on the wealthy and on the middle class in the name of the people. [00:45:39]

And the net result is that now it is considered a matter...[edit]

And the net result is that now it is considered a matter of virtue that there is something wrong with you if you oppose higher taxes.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] So we have seen the steady loss of freedom under this banner of the people and the people’s rights meaning the people’s rights to what you have and what I have.

[Voice] And it is not...

[multiple voices]

[Voice] Go ahead.

[Voice] It is not surprising that a number of the Communist dictatorships really latched on to that word the people.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] Edmund Morgan wrote Inventing the People a number of years ago tracing that concept. So what it really means and I can’t remember the title of the book that I was reading. It was talking about Rousseau and his concept of the general will.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] Which is basically the idea that those in charge, the elite, will determine what the quote, general will is and act in the name of the people.

[Rushdoony] Yes. And they don’t mean that the general will is who gets the most votes or what people want. They know what the people should want and that is the general will.

[Voice] So there is always a character of Elitism in this.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] ...almost... well, virtually always, always a character of Elitism that there always will be an elite that will determine how the money will be confiscated and spent.

[Rushdoony] The insistence on equity over the centuries has been the central premise of one great tyranny after another.

[Voice] There is a... I think a change, though. You know, that is the ... the ship of state turns very slowly like a ship at sea, but you can see here and there little flashes of bright spots. For instance, in public housing projects in major urban centers where the ... the housing projects in many cases where as long as they remain under government control have just gone right down into the mud. You know, they are destroyed. They are crime ridden. People are afraid to go outside. Their windows are barred. I mean they are as much in a prison as any criminal that has been sentenced to a penitentiary. But in those cases where the... the residents of those complexes have taken control and the government has allowed them to take control, suddenly the weed infested areas turn into gardens. The graffiti gets painted out. They, in effect, create their own community. They have their own policing that patrols the area and keeps the criminal activity, minimizes criminal activity. And they figure it out for themselves.

[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:48:41]

[Voice] When they...[edit]

[Voice] When they... when the pain gets so great because of the crime and the terrible living conditions, they finally figure it out that only when they have control over the property do they have any control over their lives.

[Voice] And people tend to care for what they have an interest in.

[Voice] Sure.

[Voice] And, of course, that was demonstrated in the Soviet Union. They were forced a number of times to have...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] ... permit a small amount of privatization and it always flourished. It always flourished because God, as you indicated earlier, Denis, put that in man’s bosom and soul and just... to have his own place, his own lot, his own house, his own home as it were.

[Rushdoony] Well, the future of private property at present in the United States is not good. However, one hopeful sign is the growing rebellion. You referred to the sage brush rebellion. It is amazing how little of that is reported.

[Voice] Well, they are afraid because they are afraid to... really to educate the people that there is even an opposing view, much less discuss the merits of the issue.

[Rushdoony] Yes. There are dramatic stories connected with the sage brush rebellion, but they don’t get out.

[Voice] Well, the alternative press is what has spread the word.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] And that is all these organizations have newsletters and their networking through computer bulletin board systems.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] And really the state is doomed if they think that they can maintain this monopoly on information, because it is absolutely idiots... absolute idiocy.

[Voice] I could not agree more.

[Voice] All right.

[Voice] Because people are going to find a way around it. They just...’

[Voice] How are they going to control the internet? I mean, how are you going to regulate the internet.

[Voice] I mean, even the Russians, you know, with total control still had clandestine bulletin board systems over there.

[Voice] Exactly.

[Voice] I mean they found a way whether it was by amateur radio or by citizens band radio or running wires between apartment houses and people networking and talking to each other. Even at the point of a gun people will find a way around it and will communicate ideas and discuss issues. [00:51:08]

So for our government to assume they are going to maintain...[edit]

So for our government to assume they are going to maintain a monopoly on information and try to blank out opposing views or discussion of issues, shows how really mentally retarded they have to be.

[Voice] And, too, bureaucracy is always, always, always inefficient when compared to the private sector comparable action in the private sector. And for that reason, long term, it just cannot survive.

Rush is right. Short term it is not ... but long term not only because of our post millennial vision, but {?} we are looking at the facts as they are, just... I don't think it can survive.

[Rushdoony] Well, it was interesting on the reservation how the Indians regarded the federal agents as not even half wits.

[Voice] Not that good.

[Rushdoony] Yes. There are all kinds of private and often very crude jokes about people who would work for the government. Now a few would be singled out occasionally and every so many years they would say, “We had one man. He was... he was good, but he didn’t last long.” Which is true. I know that after the war a very fine young man came out of the military. He was a soil conservation expert and he became the first soil conservation agent on that reservation and another one as well. And being a conscientious Christian man he very earnestly worked to save money for the government so that he accomplished everything that was scheduled for him to accomplish and some more and returned money to Washington. They almost had a fit over that. They called him to a meeting in Salt Lake City. Then they called him to another meeting in Portland. They came down to try to reason with him. They regarded him as an outlaw. He was supposed to run a deficit and demand more money. When he repeated this three years running they demoted him and sent him to the smallest Indian agency in the west.

[Voice] Well, now that...

[Rushdoony] And he finally wound up out of the service. They couldn’t tolerate him.

[Voice] Nowadays if you handle the budget in any public agency and you wind up with a surplus at the end of the budget period and you turn the money back in, you know, it is almost considered un-American.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] They... they look down their nose at you.

[Voice] I have a question for our panelists. Is there any government agency that should not be privatized? Can you think of one?

[Voice] I can’t think of any.

[Voice] I can’t.

[Voice] Most of them need to be abolished.

[Voice] Exactly.

[Voice] They serve no useful purpose.

[Voice] Exactly.

[Voice] Well, the main functions of government are to provide justice and defense.

[Voice] That is right. [00:54:27]

[Voice] And these things...[edit]

[Voice] And these things... some things, I think, ought to be a function of the government because justice ought ... although there can be made private agencies that {?}

[Voice] For me like the armed forces, FBI, perhaps, maybe.

[Voice] Maybe, yes. Definitely the armed forces and certainly courts, I think...

[Voice] Yeah.

[Voice] ... out to be ... there ought to be some courts that ... that are part of the government because they... the government ought to represent justice.

[Voice] I think if there is any mistake made by the framers of the Constitution they put in too many vague terms that could be interpreted many different ways. It became a kaleidoscope of generating government control. The words “promote the general welfare.” I mean, you know, how many federal agencies...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] ...hang their hat on that one. If they would specify, for instance, provide of the common defense...

[Voice] Yeah.

[Voice] You know, that is pretty clear. Everybody understands what that entails. But when they us some of these other vague terms that open the door wide to interpretation, that is where we got into trouble.

[Voice] You know, to be fair to them, I think we can’t look back in hindsight and expect them to have anticipated all that has happened since then.

[Rushdoony] Well, on top of that the courts don’t need anything in the Constitution to make weird interpretations.

[Voice] They just make it up as they go along.

[Rushdoony] I... yes.

[Voice] Yeah.

[Rushdoony] I like the story, a true story in the early days of the country the Supreme Court, like Congress met for about two weeks every year or every other year and ... and it was because not much was expected of the federal government. The people did everything themselves.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Well, the Supreme Court meeting in Washington in days before air conditioning whether it was hot or cold they felt that the remedy was rum. And so they would send out for rum very often and they got criticized for it in the media. The newspapers started speaking about the heavy drinking supposedly that was going on in the Supreme Court chambers, not that anyone ever got drunk.

So they became very self conscious about that and decided that they would not drink unless it were raining and chilly. And so...

[Voice] Medicinal purposes only.

[Rushdoony] Yes. So on this one occasion John Marshal, the Chief Justice, was getting very, very thirsty so he told Justice Storey to go and look out of the window and see if there were any sign of clouds and the possibility of rain. And Storey came back and said, “I can honestly say there is no possibility of rain.” And Marshall blew up and he said, “Storey, that is the poorest legal opinion I have ever heard. Our jurisdiction is the whole of the United States. And it has to be raining somewhere. Bring on the rum.”

Well, thank you all for listening and God bless you.