The Modern State - EC382
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This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 382, March the fifth, 1997.
Douglas Murray, Andrew Sandlin, Mark Rushdoony and I will now be discussing the modern state, the modern state. When we do, I think it is well to recognize that the modern state is really the return of the ancient pagan state, that it is not a Christian institution or agency or civil government, but a radically pagan one.
I would like to read a few sentences from Social Groups in Modern England, Henry A. Mess, M E S S, published in 1940, more true now than when it was written. The writer says, “Let us next examine the term state. State is a political conception. It has to do with government. A group of persons are said to be citizens of a state when they live in a clearly defined territory and are all of them bound to observe certain rules of behavior which are drawn up and enforced by persons who have been given power or who have seized power for that purpose. It is a distinguishing mark of a state that there is no authority external and superior to itself,” unquote.
Now that sentence is the key one. It is a distinguishing mark of a state that there is no authority external and superior to itself.”
Now this means, of course, that over the centuries of Christendom, there have been very few states. It means also that into this century or up to it, the United States was not a state, because it did recognize a higher power. It did recognize that there was a law above and beyond the law. It was only in the early 1950s, 52, I believe, that the legal revolution took place whereby the Supreme Court made clear there was no higher law and it began to discard all the paraphernalia of Christianity. [00:03:15]
Now, of late we have seen a rather dramatic example...
Now, of late we have seen a rather dramatic example of this. San Francisco for 60 years has had a huge cross on top of a hill visible from many parts of the city. Easter sunrise services have been held there every year and other services as well. Now by the ruling of a court that cross must come down, because it constitutes an establishment of religion. However, in San Jose, a little south of San Francisco an Aztec serpent god is portrayed in a statue put up by the city in a public place, but the courts have sustained its legitimacy.
We are, of course, de-Christianizing the country. In one county a lawsuit took the cross off the police cars and sheriff’s cars because that area even to the name of the county reflected the Spanish era and had a name which in Spanish indicated that it was the holy cross area.
So biblical law, God’s law is invalid. It was once the law of the courtroom in this country. If you went to court the jury at least into the 1840s, a law professor has told me, would decide the case out of the Bible. We had very little statute law. No one thought anything of that. The country was Christian. The various states in many cases either had an established church or an establishment of Christianity.
Well, now we have a situation of growing lawlessness. When you abandon God, you also abandon law. [00:06:07]
Early in the Victorian era one of the leading figures...
Early in the Victorian era one of the leading figures in the intellectual life of England was Matthew Arnold. Matthew Arnold was ready to junk Christianity, regretfully, he said, but he saw no future for it. What he wanted to substitute in its place and a great many Victorians agreed was morality. He felt that the kind of morality that was represented by the Bible and Christianity was eternally true.
Well, within a few of years having doubted God, they doubted the morality that came from God and his Word. So today morality is seen as purely a matter of personal choice. And the result is that the tyrant state is in process of developing.
So we are in a crisis the world over. Having denied God, we have denied morality and the foundations of law. So law is being replaced by regulations, bureaucratic rules, the fiat will of judges, anything and everything, but a moral law. We are in a crisis. The modern state has made itself to be god. It has become what Hegel and the Hegelians wanted it to be, god walking on earth. This means there will be less and less freedom for us as this kind of thinking develops. It will be the end of freedom so that we are at a very grave crisis.
Douglas, you have seen a lot of this on the local county level as well as in urban centers where you have worked. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you see this modern state taking over more and more power from the people and playing God?
[Murray] Well, I think there is cause for optimism, because this government, as all governments have in the past, sow the seeds of their own destruction. [00:09:04]
[Murray] Through getting larger and larger. They consume more and more of the people’s wealth until there isn’t any anymore and when the money runs out they all go away. And it is just a... it is a... it is a... it is not a question of if, it is only a matter of time and I think that since this country is on the books five and a half trillion dollars in debt with another 20 some trillion dollars...
[Murray] ... of unfunded liabilities, we have got to be getting close to the end of the string here somewhere in the not too distant future, because all those clerks and all of those department heads driving the cars with the ... the pagers and the ... all the rest of it, the fax machines and all the rest of it, when there is no money to operate that machinery, that is the end of the game as it was in Rome. When the clerks didn’t get paid, that was the end of the game in Rome. There was nobody to run the empire and it fell apart. Rome wasn’t conquered. The barbarians walked in unopposed. And the same thing will happen here. There has been predictions that the United States will break down into regional entities along financial, you know, that have financial strengths in certain areas, but eventually the government, the government will no longer be able to govern because it won’t have the financial strength to govern. All of these axioms of politics that money is the mother’s milk of politics, money is the mother’s milk of the state. And without it, the state can’t exist. There is no practical way, although many have tried tax protesting and all of that which is stupid, but it is ... it simply gives credence to the fact that once government gets too large it... it can no longer function and it is just human nature when all of those people don’t get a paycheck they are going to go home. It is the end of the welfare state.
You know, and that is... it is interesting to me to hear politicians talk about corporate welfare. You know, they created it. They are the ones that, for instance, that loaned Chrysler the money to stay afloat. They are the ones that loaned Lockheed the money to stay afloat in order to maintain their political constituencies, because if they had cut off the money and they had let those businesses go bankrupt and put a lot of people out of work, those politicians would have been voted out of office. It is just that simple. [00:12:09]
So they are... the are hypocritical to a fault. They have created the welfare state and when the welfare state can no longer summon through taxes the money necessary to continue to function that will be the end of it.
I have a lot of people have asked me, local business people who are concerned and worried and apprehensive and so forth because nobody is making any money. Everybody is working at virtually a subsistence level and working very hard here in California despite the glowing reports from the chamber of commerce, et cetera. They are ... a lot of people are very concerned and they have... they asked me, you know, when it... where I think it is all going to end. And the answer is always the same, when the money runs out. And we... I don’t think we have to wait very long. The money has run out. And it is like, you know, the emperor has not clothes, but nobody wants to say so.
[Sandlin] Well, I was just thinking, Rush, that Plato taught that citizens exist for the purpose of the state. And a state that wants comprehensive control tends to hold that view. In the past 20 years we have had, for example, federal judges in this country, in fact one recently, I believe in Texas who said that children belong to the state. They don’t belong to the parents and one of the judges in Cleveland when I pastored in that area and this was now about, oh, 15 years ago, made some headlines by that comment. But that really is the mark of a state who wants to be god walking the earth when it finally believers that it owns the children of parents and, of course, all things else. That has to be resisted by Christians who press the claims of Jesus Christ saying that he owns everything. The state is a legitimate sphere of authority, but it is severely limited in Scripture, not for distributive justice, but retributive justice and only according to the law of God, not to redistribute wealth. But that is what Christians must be about, reducing the size of the state in a biblical way.
[Murray] I think a... a great current example is just watching the Soviet Union. You know, what really happened in the Soviet Union? They ran out of money.
[Sandlin] Socialism always... always does.
[Murray] They couldn’t... they couldn’t keep it together. They couldn’t pay the clerks, their soldiers, the ones that came back from Afghanistan and Chechnya are living in tents out in ... in remote areas and literally starving to death. So here is a perfect classic example of an empire that has fallen because it ran out of money. And yet the arrogance and stupidity of our leaders who think that they are going to dodge this... this same situation is... I mean it is... it just overwhelms me how they can continue day after day after day giving away billions of dollars and so forth that they don’t have. I mean, they are trained... you know, creating wealth out of thin air with debt and it gets bigger and bigger and bigger and, you know, the balloon as got to pop. [00:15:36]
[Rushdoony] You mentioned the Soviet Union...
[Rushdoony] You mentioned the Soviet Union. Someone who was over there about 15, 17 year ago reported that going by an army installation was very instructive. If you really learned what was going on there, it might seem impressive, but row upon row of trucks, hundreds upon hundreds of them would be sitting there because they were cannibalizing trucks to get parts to operate the ones that would operate and in some instances it would get down to one truck out of a hundred or more that was functioning.
[Murray] Would... would... would you be surprised to find out that our army is doing exactly the same thing, that it is absolutely impossible for army procurement people to ... to buy spare parts anymore because of all of the red tape involved. So what they do is they buy more trucks than they need knowing that they are going to take these brand new vehicles and tear them down for parts, you know, instead of buying... if they need 100 trucks, they buy 120 trucks knowing that 20 of those trucks are immediately going to be cannibalized for replacement parts. that is what they put in the warehouse. You go down to the ... to the surplus centers here, all of these military bases that they are decommissioning here in the western states are just full of these cannibalized vehicles. They are virtually... they... they are almost brand new. They have got a few hundred miles on them. They are selling them for 300 bucks a piece.
[Murray] So... so it... I mean it is going on here.
Now, they are very ... they... they are very wisely concealing this from the public, because they will not sell these vehicles to the public. You and I can’t go to a military base and bid on one of these cannibalized trucks and then go fix whatever it is that is missing on it. They will only sell these vehicles to public entities so that the public will not find out what they are doing. [00:18:02]
You see nothing about it in the press and you will...
You see nothing about it in the press and you will see nothing about it in the press. And they intentionally keep this from the public.
[M. Rushdoony] It has been a major source of Russian capital in the last few years is selling off military hardware and they are... their resources in that area are largely depleted now so they have a cash crisis. That is why the ... the military is not getting paid. Factory workers. I saw on the news the other day were being handed cartons of mayonnaise that they could trade and that was their... all the payment that they were going to get is mayonnaise.
There... as long as the power... the government can keep functioning it is going to keep functioning as usual. When there is a crisis and there is fair likely it is going to be a debt crisis or an economic crisis of some kind, there will be changes and it will come very, very rapidly, just as it came rapidly with the Soviet Union. What form they take is any number of cases, but I have a feeling that some of the change, a lot of the changes are going to be political and a lot of he changes, I think, and we see rumblings of it today are the states are going to start saying no to the federal government because there will be a consensus about the American people. They are going to point their fingers, because they are... Americans like to point their fingers and blame somebody. They are going to point... put... point the blame at Congress, federal government and say, “Look at what a mess you have gotten us into.” And, you know, there is a saying, you know, that has been around for years, just say no to drugs. It is just going to be, just say no to the federal government. And the states are going to a lot... assume a lot more responsibilities for what they should have been doing now for most of the century.
[Murray] Well, they have already admitted this, you know, the legislation that has been passed recently on welfare reform. I mean the federal government has got dragged kicking and screaming to the table and forced to admit that they are incapable of administering an efficient welfare program. So, you know, various governors who have taken the initiative have shown them in practical, in practical terms how to do a better job, how to get by with less and they have proven that they can do a better job than the federal government. So the federal government now has forced to ... to admit that they can’t do the job. So that is... that is the crack in the armor, the... you know, the... the crack in the wall. And that crack is going to get widened. The... the... the governors will continue to be emboldened by that success that they had recently.
[M. Rushdoony] And if things in the present administration, there are indictments, there is more rumblings of dishonesty or...
[Sandlin] Grumblings, you mean earthquakes. [00:21:05]
[M. Rushdoony] Funny... funny money and money gathering and so forth.
[Murray] Well, yeah, all of that...
[M. Rushdoony] Every... everything that discredits the federal government ultimately is going to help change things. And I am not being... talking about finance reform or anything like that. People are going to say, “Enough,” especially when it comes to what they have been promised as far as social security, they find that they are getting nothing.
[Murray] The... the only reason the media talks about it at all is because it is easy for people to understand, because these larger issues, for instance, that we have discussed. You know, you start talking about billions as John Lofton said or somebody said, you know, the accumulation of billions here and billions there and pretty soon you are talking about big money. Well, a few hundred thousand dollars in political contributions, I think they ... they have... the White house has magnanimously returned 350,000 dollars in allegedly illegal campaign contributions that were solicited in the White House, accepted in the White House and handed over to the Democratic National Committee. But that is nickel and dime stuff. I mean, 350,000 dollars, you know, wouldn’t put gas in the... in the federal limousine fleet in Washington, DC for a week. So it is... it is nickel and dime stuff.
The... the big issue that people need to understand is the enormous debt that we are looking at and, you know, as you say, at some point the ... the states will say, “Look, we have demonstrated that we can do a better job with this welfare stuff. You worry about your... your debt and we will worry about ours. So, you know, we are going to start collecting the taxes and we will give you what we think you need to run the federal government, provide the constitutional mandate of providing for the common defense, et cetera and let us take care of the rest of it. So it is not going to be a, you know, an open rebellion, but it is going to be a... I think a gradual transition of who is going to spend the money.
[M. Rushdoony] And I... I would hope that the counties would also assert themselves against the state legislatures. I know in California we have had an increasing problem in recent years as the state feels the pinch. The state tells local districts, well, there is fire districts, counties. You send us all your tax revenue and we will send you a check back and periodically deducting certain amounts that the local districts or the local counties never see again. It is gone.
[Murray] The... the... the guys at the state level are not stupid. They... they saw that this plan works so well for the federal government, well, why not for them? So they just copied the same scam, you know? Get all of the money and then dole it out and you ... when you control the purse strings, you control the power. You... you can... you dictate who, what and when. [00:24:03]
[Sandlin] Well, we need to remember, too, that the...
[Sandlin] Well, we need to remember, too, that the modern democratic state can exist only in collusion with the majority of the population. As long as citizens feel that they are entitled to certain guarantees, then they—as Rush uses the term that I like—they will have larceny in the heart and they will be perfectly willing for the federal government or the state governments to step in and confiscate wealth by means of taxation to redistribute wealth. So what I am saying is that individuals and families are going to have to be self disciplined enough to say we are not going to exist without this. We are going to exist without all of these handouts and we are going to … and that is, I think, when we can have large scale change.
[M. Rushdoony] And one of the modern myths that began in... in the last century is the myth that democracy will solve everything.
[M. Rushdoony] And we have had the most democratic governments and the most representative governments that we have ever had and things have only gotten worse, because the people want it. Like you say, there is larceny in people’s hearts.
[M. Rushdoony] They... they... they like the benefits. If they thought there was a benefit to federal power...
[M. Rushdoony] ...and taxation, if they got... thought they were going to get more in services than they paid in taxes...
[Murray] Well, everybody, you know, it is human nature. I mean the politicians have been superb at voting themselves benefits out of the public treasury. They voted themselves benefits superior to what the average person gets either from welfare or anything else. They get pensions, million dollar pensions and everything free to maintain their lifestyle for the rest of their lives. But what is interesting is that the chickens are starting to come home to roost with the gradual pulling away from Christianity. Polls that have been done, for instance, that have asked the question: Do you think that what the White House has done is immoral?
Well, people that are 50 and 60 years old they say yeah. You know, this is not right. But when they get down to people in their 30s, well, you know, it goes on. And then when they ask people in their 20s they say they don’t care, because, you know, to them, they automatically assume that politicians are crooked. All politicians are crooked.
[Sandlin] That is right. The data... that is right. That is a good point.
[Murray] And... and... and ... it... it... it is, you know, the... the... by the time you get down to the kids in their 20s and early 30s, they have already adopted the attitude that it is everybody for themselves. You know, you just keep moving and try to stay out of the ... stay out of the way of the federal government and the state government and get all you can get while you can get it.
[Sandlin] Yeah. And recent polls have indicated that especially in the age groups that you have said, more and more people re presuming that morality is not a prerequisite, any kind of morality.
[Murray] Well, it is they have been talked out of it. They have been conditioned out of it, both from the time they were in grade school.
[Sandlin] Well, they want to elect people to office that are like them.
[Sandlin] And ... and that is the problem. I mean that is the problem with people that attack the present president in spite of all of his sins. There... there are... there are thousands of men just like him who they would be happy to elect.
[Murray] They... the... the bottom line is... is that if Bill Clinton got thrown out of office tomorrow there is a hundred more just like him...
[Murray] ...waiting in the wings.
[Murray] You know, from Al Gore on down.
[Sandlin] Which means ultimately there are no political solutions. We have to have Christians solutions in the culture.
[Murray] Absolutely. Get to preaching there, Rush, and start pounding the table.
[Rushdoony] Well, the modern state, because it has no god, has no law. And that is its fundamental evil. There is no morality possible with a modern state. For the hicks like us they may go to church occasionally and mention God and talk a bit sanctimoniously when they are running for reelection, but most of the time they are not in the least bit interested in anything Christian or moral. [00:28:25]
I recall one writer in the ...
I recall one writer in the 50s writing about Washington, DC who concluded there was not a thimble full of Christianity in the entire city, that the political order paid lip service to religion and morality while disregarding it in practice, day after day, month after month, year in and year out.
Well, that was 40 years or so ago and the situation is much worse now. The idea of law is far, far gone. In its place is the idea of controls and coercion.
I was interested to read in a periodical which is conservative the statement that having been on a flight with a prominent conservative reformer, a member of congress, he said he was interested to see that he had with him a woman who was obviously—and the word he used—a floozy. And, of course, as they got off they separated until they got outside the airport. And he said, so much for a better moral stance by conservatives. [00:30:07]
When we go back into history we find that as the modern...
When we go back into history we find that as the modern state arose, it worked progressively to discredit God’s law. During the Cromwellian years Massachusetts, for example, had very definitely turned to biblical law. In fact, John Elliot the missionary to the Indians had started the villages of praying Indians as they were called, self governing units using God’s law. But what happened was that the minute King Charles II came to the throne he ordered every copy of Elliot’s compilation of biblical law destroyed, two copies alone survived, accidentally. Royal law was statist law. It asserted the priority and, in fact, the exclusive jurisdiction of the monarch over the people. God was not supposed to intervene. The king would take care of everything.
Well, of course, not only has God not been allowed to intervene, but he has been progressively dropped from the picture. So you have the blue print for tyranny, the state playing god. The state is god walking on earth.
This situation is not going to be reversed by any attempt at recapturing the state in any way other than by conversion.
There are too many people who believe that revolution or votes or pressure or taking to the streets is going to change the government. It won’t. People are born into sin. They are depraved. They will not change unless they are converted. So the choice is conversion or coercion. And all too many Christians choose coercion. They have all kinds of ideas of what we ought to do to take back power and I think we will see more idiots like that in the days ahead as things get worse. It is the epitome of futility. We have to return to the basic task of evangelism, bringing men and nations into captivity to Christ. [00:33:22]
[Sandlin] I ceaselessly remind people and we must constantly...
[Sandlin] I ceaselessly remind people and we must constantly do this, Rush, that we Christian Reconstructionists don’t want to replace big secular government, civil government with big Christian civil government and we are often slandered along that line.
[Sandlin] They say what we are trying to do is embrace central government and impose biblical law against everybody’s wishes and that is simply not true, because, as you pointed out, we believe, first, in self government of the Christian man under God and then family government and Church government and various intermediate governments and then only finally one government among many the state. Well, people need to understand that and it is... things are going to change, as you said, by biblical regeneration and by godly families and churches standing up for the faith. That is how long term change is going to come, not by getting the guns and attacking Sacramento or Washington, DC.
[M. Rushdoony] Yeah, I think a lot of people when they hear us talk about biblical law, when they think about law they think about laws, plural, many laws. And when they... we talk about biblical law they think we are talking about just that, a bunch of rules...
[M. Rushdoony] And then they... they identify the rules that we talk about, the laws that we talk about that they don’t like.
[M. Rushdoony] And we are talking about biblical law with a capital L.
[M. Rushdoony] As a... as a moral principle that has to govern man.
[Sandlin] And also we need to... when... when.... when... when they hear biblical law almost always they thinks in... think in terms of state law. But when we say biblical law, that is only a small aspect of the law.
[M. Rushdoony] Yes.
[Sandlin] I don't think that they understand that.
[Murray] We would be ahead on a numbers basis if nothing else. I think, Rush, you told me that in the Bible there is something like 600 specified laws.
[Rushdoony] Six hundred and thirteen according to the rabbinic count, which divides some laws into two and three. So a Christian count would be maybe 50, 75 less.
[Murray] Ok. In California, on an average the state legislature passes between 3000 and 4000 new laws every year.
[Murray] And you layer that on top of the ... along with the federal government with our full time career legislators who have nothing else to do but think of ways to treat us like Gulliver and keep attaching little strings to us by the thousands.
[Murray] So that you can’t move at all in any direction without tugging on some regulator’s chain up at the top.
[Sandlin] That is right.
[Murray] So we... we would be much further ahead with biblical law and it would be much easier to understand. Now people today are hard pressed to know when they are breaking the law because there are thousands of them. [00:36:29]
[Sandlin] That is right...
[Sandlin] That is right.
[Murray] I mean the... the tax laws. Nobody, virtually no one unless they have a very, very simple situation is bold enough to prepare their own income tax.
[M. Rushdoony] Yeah.
[Murray] The vast majority of people are so terrified that they are going to make some niggling little mistake and incur the wrath of the federal government, they are forced to go pay 150, 200 dollars to some, quotes, professional tax preparer who is supposed to know all the rules just so that they can sleep at night.
[Murray] And it is absurd.
[Sandlin] Yeah. People who think biblical law is tyrannical and, you know, there are so many out there like that. Oh, you stand for biblical law. Well, that is tyrannical. It is... it is... it is... it is absurd and... and amusing now. What do we have now? I mean, it is the absence of biblical law that leads to tyranny, not biblical law.
[Murray] Well, we have tyranny.
[Sandlin] That ... that... precisely. That is the whole point.
[M. Rushdoony] If you ask them what biblical laws they... they didn’t approve of it is probably a half a dozen.
[Sandlin] That is right.
[M. Rushdoony] ... that they are scared. It tells you it is a moral problem.
[Sandlin] That is right. It is a moral problem. Absolutely.
[M. Rushdoony] It is not the technicalities of biblical law.
[Sandlin] That is right.
[Murray] I asked a fellow a while back, you know, who asked me the question, you know, where is this all going to lead and, you know, how is it going to come out, you know, with all these problems with the government and so forth? And I said, you know, it would be very simple if we could just get people to follow the 10 Commandments. I mean there are 10 simple rules. It is simpler than the driver’s test. It is simpler than the pilot’s license. It is simpler than almost any kind of test you can take. If we could just get them to follow those 10 rules. And, you know, this fellow is a good Catholic, goes to church every Sunday. He said, “But that is... that is awfully hard to do.”
[Sandlin] Yeah. The 10 Commandments, not the 10 suggestions.
[Sandlin] That’s right. Yeah. There was, I believe, you heard the controversy a couple of weeks ago speaking of the 10 Commandments. It was of the judge in Alabama that had the 10 Commandments up on his chamber wall.
[Sandlin] And I believe it was ... did that end up that he was required to remove them?
[M. Rushdoony] He is being sued.
[M. Rushdoony] And also he had prayers, Christian prayers in... in the courtroom, in open court sessions and they have been doing that, apparently for many years. [00:39:02]
[Sandlin] Well, we know one thing...
[Sandlin] Well, we know one thing. These secularists want nothing but absolute dominion. They don't believe in freedom. They believe in their own freedom. That is, freedom from God and from biblical faith and freedom for everything that is anti God.
[Murray] And slavery to the state.
[Sandlin] And slavery to the state. One of the leading Jewish attorneys in the country, liberal Jew and if I... we mentioned his name before that, before the... the thing tonight said he would not be satisfied till every last vestige of any sort of organized religion is completely expunged from public life. I mean that was relentlessly driving him, by which he means he will substitute his own unorganized religion of Genesis chapter three and verse five, that he will be as God.
[Murray] Well, fortunately that is not the view of all of them. He simply gets a little more press.
[Sandlin] Yeah, that is true.
[Rushdoony] Well, we have a crisis. There are many people. I hear this regularly. These things come and go. The pendulum will swing in our favor after a while. Well, that is the surest kind of idiocy even though some very intelligent people express that. There is no historical pendulum. It is a question of either a reformation in which Christian regeneration is stressed or a further disintegration until the culture disappears or becomes absorbed by another conquering it.
[Murray] Well, there is a lot of possibilities, you know. The... one of the possibilities, because the... the presidency in this country has been given, quotes, emergency powers by Congress and, in effect what that means is overnight the president can become a dictator, absolute dictator. And ... and rule by decree. Congress seems to be more than willing to give up its prerogatives and give up the ... the coequal power structure of our government as long as they get all their perks.
[Sandlin] That is right. That is a compromise.
[Murray] As long as they get their... as long as they get their paychecks and as long as they continue to get their retirements and ... and all of their perks, they just as soon have the president run the country.
[Murray] And it... it won’t take very much to... to make that happen. This one acts as if he is ruling by decree by some of the things that he has come up with like the post term abortion and all that sort of thing or late term abortion issue. He is perfectly willing to take charge any time or at least people close to him are more than willing to take charge. So that is just one possible scenario. [00:42:18]
Another scenario is that the...
Another scenario is that the... the ... a lot of people’s attitudes may be changed towards religion if there is a cataclysmic event such as a tectonic plate shift.
[Sandlin] Or an economic collapse.
[Murray] Yeah. Any one of these things are going to make people instant or... realize that the government is not all powerful and it is interesting, for instance, during these floods to see how impotent the government really is. Every time there is a natural disaster here in California, the office of emergency services runs out there and, you know, makes all these grand pronouncements that, well, we didn't do very well this time, but we have reordered or priorities and we have restructured our procedures and we are going to do better next time.
Well, this keeps happening with every natural disaster.
[Murray] They never seen to get it right. And the more they do this, the more they show the general population that government is really incapable of coping with these things. So if some really big disaster comes along, you know, a major, major earthquake, an eight or a nine or, you know, like the earthquake they had down in the southeast part of the United States, you know, a long time ago, which, incidentally is 20 years overdue according to the earthquakologists. They are... you know, the Mississippi River ran backwards and some states filled up like lakes and, you know, some pretty big things happened.
Well, I imagine that anybody observing this would conclude that, hey, you know, there is somebody bigger than...
[Murray] ...that is, you know, running the show, you know, and the... and the argument is who is in charge? And it will become very apparent, very quick that he government is not in charge. They cannot control these kinds of events.
[Rushdoony] One of our problems today is that modern man has a religious trust in the state. I recall very vividly after World War II when portions of Oregon along the Columbia were built up when people who lived there knew that those were flood plains, that periodically that area was under water. But it was assumed that that was no longer a problem, that federal agencies would be able to cope with it. Well, not long into the ... well, maybe the late 40s, the early 50s, I think it was the late 40s there was a disastrous flood there and nobody learned anything by it because all over the country they began to build on flood plains whether it was in Orange County or up here in northern California or back east. And now they are getting disasters. And they are not waking up to the fact that we created them. [00:45:44]
One book describing these things was titled ...
One book describing these things was titled Acts of God: Acts of Men. And it pointed out that, indeed, there are things like earthquakes and the like that are acts of God, but today so many of our natural disasters are acts of men, a product of their contempt for God and for natural forces created by God.
So we are seeing this year in particular disasters all over the United States. And the question is: Are we going to learn anything from all of this?
[Murray] It is... it is interesting in... in casualty insurance policies in the fine print that they have slowly but surely eliminated the clause acts of God, because they are not sure which ones are which anymore.
[Sandlin] Well, there is reason to be pessimistic a little bit about this country, I don’t ... I think we need to mention what is going on in the African nation of Zambia. In 1991 a Christian president and vice president were both elected in that country which was socialistic, severely Marxist, a hot bed for Marxist training and torture and all sorts of things for 27 years and they have a largely Christian parliament now and while there are still problems there making the transition from Socialism to free market, there we have a case where evil has been reversed.
[Sandlin] Even though it is somewhat small scale. And that is something that we can rejoice in. And those brothers and sisters there in Zambia are either ignored or viciously attacked in the western press and we need to pray for them and do what we can to help them.
[Murray] It is interesting to note that the majority of these really ugly governments that have arisen post World War II in Africa that most of those leaders, some that have left the scene, some violently, most of them violently, were all educated...
[Sandlin] Trained in the west.
[Murray] Sorbonne and Paris.
[Sandlin] Yes, exactly.
[Murray] Where they learned all of the... the worst lessons of the... they learned all the wrong things about the French Revolution. [00:48:06]
[Sandlin] Well, Mao was the same and so many Communists...
[Sandlin] Well, Mao was the same and so many Communists it was the...
[Murray] But... but the interesting thing is that they always think they are going to get it right, that all these other guys before them that ... that failed, simply, you know, didn’t follow the plan. So all of these various Communist governments—Cambodia—all of these various governments where all of these guys have been trained in these... by Marxists, in the Marxist universities, they all think they are going to get it right. Our... our leaders in the White House think that they are going to get it right, that somehow all of these other presidents before or just... just didn’t get it right.
[Sandlin] And what is it? Is it von Mieses says in his book on Socialism? The problem with secular Socialists is that they think that they can change nature, they can alter the very structure of nature.
[Murray] Well, they are...
[Sandlin] ... they very structure of man. They think they are god.
[Murray] They are infected with perpetual terminal arrogance. It... it never ends.
[Sandlin] That is right.
[Murray] I mean, every generation seems to spawn a whole bunch of them again. They... they totally ignore history.
[Murray] And some of them pay for it with their lives. You know, a lot of...
[Sandlin] Well, that is why Socialism exists.
[Murray] A lot of them...
[Sandlin] ...because people ignore history. That is right.
[Murray] A lot of these African leaders, you know, they don’t get voted out. They get voted out of office at the... at the point of a gun, you know, by their own people. They get killed by their own people, but they don’t see it coming. So...
[Rushdoony] Well, it is interesting that you said they don’t learn from history. In Christian schools history is taught. In the public schools it is social studies and the whole point of social studies is how man can control the course of things, how he can control nature and other men and all social problems.
[Murray] Well, it is... it is how to get along by going along is what they teach.
[Rushdoony] But the Christian school students will in time control the future, because they are better prepared for it.
[Sandlin] And also they are going to be more and more of them because the wicked on the whole tend to abort their own seed and Christians tend to have more children and there are going to be more and more of them trained in the faith.
[M. Rushdoony] Well, it... things are... you can see things in the world are about to make a big change. If you go back 30 years you... your ... your forecast for the future was kind of locked into with NATO and the Soviet Union and Red China and those just looked like just these huge forces that... that were going to dominate things for 30 years. Now we are looking at a Soviet Union that... that no longer exists and that is... who knows what is going to even happen with Russia. We are looking at China is ... has major problems. There is talk about the... the change in Hong Kong going over. Many people believe that is going to really infect China with a spirit of free enterprise and freedom, that it is... rather... rather than basically squelching enterprise in Hong Kong... [00:51:31]
[M. Rushdoony] It is going to ... it may end up being the other way around.
[M. Rushdoony] And we see our economy very here we are... we are ... all our major enemies seem to be weak or defeated and we are looking at our own weakness and talking about our own weakness in that face and that... it shouldn’t be, so the... the next 30 years is obviously there is going to be some huge changes. There is maps are going to be redrawn.
[Sandlin] That is right.
[M. Rushdoony] The relations of nations are going to be redrawn. And when you factor in another thing, you know, the will of God and...and what the Spirit of God is going to do, we can say politically and economically major change is coming down. There is an infinite number of ways God can use that further to make dramatic changes that we can’t even foresee.
[Murray] Well, what... one of the statements that absolutely infuriates me by some of these brain dead people brain dead people in the media is that we won the Cold War. We won nothing. You know, it is like saying that the guy wound up at the end of the fight, you know, with only one black eye instead of two. You know, we are... we are both broke. We both spent all of our money. We just...
[Sandlin] We are left standing.
[Murray] You know, yeah, we are left standing, but, we... you know, we are bleeding to death financially.
[Rushdoony] As you know, Mark, the map makers are busy nowadays, because maps are changing.
[Rushdoony] ...so rapidly. And every year almost there are major changes somewhere around the world in the lines, the boundaries of countries. Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and the one stable area, not in terms of internal affairs, but in terms of boundaries is likely to be Latin America. There are those who feel that if Quebec goes independent some of the east coast Canadian areas will seek admission into the United States.
Well, there are other dramatic changes that are envisioned by many. The world is very unstable. It is falling apart, because as Yates said at the beginning of the century, the center does not hold. There is no center any longer. Men having lost their faith are like rudderless ships. And they are embarking on a collision course. [00:54:27]
Well, our time is nearing its end...
Well, our time is nearing its end. Is there a final comment that you would like to make?
[Murray] Well, I... you know, we... we often paint a ... a grim picture in some of our discussions, but I think it is wise to take heart from history and the... the foibles of past empires that we will not escape these... the changes which are coming. We don’t know what direction it is going to be, but I think as Christians we will be better prepared to meet whatever challenges come about and children who attend Christian school will be much better able to meet the challengers.
No one can really foretell exactly what is going to happen. You know, we can see trends or we think we can spot trends and we can see potential grim possibilities in the future, but the one definite thing that stands out is that God will be there for us if we are there for him and that all of the ... as, you know, I mentioned before, this empire will fall, too. Whether it is the money running out or whether it is a cataclysmic natural event that forces people to turn to God, because, believe me, when you got your back to the wall and the water is coming at you, the first thing on... when people get in a jam and I have... I have been in lots of them and I have been with people who have been in... in situations where death was immanent, the first thing they do is pray to God.
[Murray] You know, there... there are no such things as Atheists on the battle field.
[Murray] I can tell you that for certain.
[Sandlin] Well, let me accent that by reading a great verse in Daniel chapter two, a prediction of the sovereign God through Daniel. It says, “In the days of these kings,” that is the ancient empires, “shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed,” that is the kingdom of Christ. “And the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever.”
[Murray] Can’t get a better guarantee than that.
[Sandlin] That is right.
Well, thank you all for listening. Send in your questions and God bless you. Good night.