World of Humanism and its Growing Collapse - RR177A1
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[Introductory speaker] It’s a real honor to be able to introduce our first speaker this morning, Dr. Rushdoony has certainly made a major contribution to the area of the reconstruction of Christian philosophy and the clarification of biblical thought and practice in the totality of life, he has written scores of books, he is a recognized authority in the area of church state relations, he is often called upon to be a witness speaker at court hearing on the subject. The ripples of his work have gone out over the whole world and he has been a faithful faithful man in upholding the law word of God to the nations. And because of this we do owe him a great debt of gratitude and let’s express that this morning as we welcome him. Dr. Rushdoony. [Applause]
[Rushdoony] a French political scientist has said that the world today is a race towards destruction, self-destruction. That the Soviet Union is near collapse internally, that it has problems with regard to its economy and its internal organization which are beyond its ability to remedy, that while it is militarily strong it is incredibly weak internally. On the other hand the west is morally weak, as the spirit of surrender is at every point giving way to the Soviet Union. And so, the conclusion was it is a race to see which side will commit suicide first. The saddest part of this whole picture is the persistent unwillingness in the face of this crisis of people who profess to be Christian to make an unequivocal stand. All too many people in the church approach Jesus Christ as I’ve often remarked, as a fire and life insurance salesman, not as sovereign, not as Lord. People come to the church for a variety of reasons, to find a wife or husband quite often, for business reasons, for the welfare of their children, to meet people, and so on and on and the result an impotent church. [00:03:12]
Historically the nations have been equally dishonest...
Historically the nations have been equally dishonest when they have had a semblance of Christianity. Acknowledging Christ for them is fine, if God does not interfere with their national affairs. God is expected to support the nations, rather than the nations supporting the Lord. Louie the 14th on one occasion said “God seems to have forgotten all I have done for Him.” [Laughter] In politics too often as with people, God is a great insurance agent, and fulsome honor is paid to Him in words, but not in reality. At the dawn of the modern age, one political theorist, Jean Bodin, very clearly saw the issues with regard to lordship or sovereignty, because the words are the same. He wrote and I quote: “if we insist that absolute power means exemption from all law whatsoever, there is no prince in the world who can be regarded as sovereign, since all the princes of the earth are subject to the laws of God and of nature, and even to certain human laws, common to all nations.” Very clearly Jean Bodin saw what sovereignty meant. To be a sovereign is to be above the law, a sovereign can be bound by no law, we as Christians believe that Christ is Lord, that Lordship is an attribute of the triune God. The most common term in the old testament for God is Lord, Adonai, Adonenu. In the New Testament, again, Lord, Kurios, words that are translatable into our English also, as sovereign. Thus God I described from one end of scripture to the other as the sovereign, the Lord over the nations. And no Man can legislate for a sovereign. We can pass no laws to tie Gods hands; we can in no way tell God what He must do. And this is why once a state claims sovereignty, no law can bind it. [00:06:20]
At the time of the war of independence the history...
At the time of the war of independence the history books fail to tell us that one of the most common slogans of the colonials, a battle cry that began in western Pennsylvania and was reported by British agents to London was simply this: as against King George as sovereign, they declared, no sovereign but Jesus Christ, and it was this temper that marked the war of independence and led to the fact that the word sovereign and sovereignty was totally excluded from the constitution. This marked this nation as unique, unique in the concert of nations in that we had a country which did not take sovereignty unto itself. The term sovereignty was first applied to this country by martial and a Supreme Court decision. But as late as the Versailles Treaty, secretary of state Lansing objected to the term, but it is now routinely asserted by the courts, so that when in trials and I’m on the witness stand I make a point of the fact that there is no reference to sovereignty in the constitution, judges look surprised. But to claim sovereignty is to say that no law can bind you, no law congress passes can bind the federal government. It is sovereign according to its claims. On any pretext whatsoever, the Supreme Court on the grounds of sovereignty can set aside every law. One certainty as Kurland, an expert on Supreme Court decisions has referred to is this: that no longer does any law ever wind up meaning ,when the courts and the bureaucrats are through with it, what the framers of the law intended by it. [00:09:06]
This should not surprise us...
This should not surprise us. A sovereign cannot be bound by law, a sovereign is the source of law so that today most of our law comes not from congress but from bureaucratic agencies of the federal government, and because of the assertion of sovereignty and the final analysis, those decrees, those regulations are more binding than acts of congress. People cannot bind a sovereign, a sovereign binds his people. Once the state asserts sovereignty it makes no difference whether you call it the Soviet Union, or the United States, it’s a question of time then. Unless you reverse the process, until the two have a common life. Jean Bodin knew this, he very clearly set it forth, but as Apteker has commented with regard to Bodin having made such a statement, hear the implications of it as Bodin develops it and I quote: “beyond this though Bodin had his own particular rather less orthodox view of the monarch and law. Whereas tradition had it that the monarchs definitive function is to administer justice, Bodin declared that the rulers definitive function is to create law. If possible in accordance with natural laws, but in practice of course, often enough not. The ruler in this view is essentially a lawmaker and the enforcer of the laws he makes. Bodin wrote it is clear that the principle mark of sovereign majesty and absolute power is the right to impose laws generally on all subjects regardless of their consent. And he declared that law is nothing else than the command of the sovereign and the exercise of his sovereign power.” Thus sovereignty has become an attribute of the modern state, with deadly results. One of the results that very early appeared was deism. Now most of the history books will tell you that deism was a philosophical doctrine that developed in the 18th century. However, if we go back into the institutes of Calvin, as we will subsequently, Calvin attacked Deism a couple of centuries before it was supposedly born, before it even had a name. [00:12:39]
Why? Because Deism developed not out of philosophical...
Why? Because Deism developed not out of philosophical thought but out of political realities as the nation states developed, and as they asserted sovereignty, the sovereignty of the monarch. They began to relegate God to the person who started things, and then became an absentee lord, an absentee landlord. And so sovereignty was left by God according to them, in the hands of the kings who exercised divine rights. As a result, Deism made legitimate the political exercise of sovereignty by the rulers of the state. the state gains sovereignty, Christ was dethroned, authority was transferred from the bible and Christ to the ruler, and the bible was simply used to vindicate rulers. James the 1st, on March 21st 1609 said to parliament and I quote: “The state of monarchy is the most supreme thing upon earth. For kings are not only Gods lieutenants upon earth and sit upon Gods throne, but even by God himself they are called gods, they are B3 principle similitudes that illustrate the state of monarchy, one taken out of the word of God and the other two out of the grounds of policy and philosophy. In the scriptures kings are called gods and so their power after a certain relation compared to the divine power. Kings are also compared to fathers of families for a king is truly father of his people, the political father. And lastly, kings are compared to the head of this microcosm of the body of man” [00:15:04]
First, King James took from the Bible the texts that...
First, King James took from the Bible the texts that refer to a ministry under God of judges as little gods exercising Gods law, and forcing it to claim sovereignty in lawmaking power for himself, in direct contradiction of the Bible. Second, James compared the king to the father of families, an argument from the natural order, and he placed himself at the head of all families and usurped the powers of the family for the state. And third he said the king is the head of this microcosm of the body of man. The nation was seen by James as an organic whole, like the church, the body of Christ with the king as the savior, the Christ at its head. Now since Henry the eighth in England the monarch had been head of both church and state, replacing Christ. James now asserted himself to be the mystical head of church and state and also of every family, a triple headship. He declared that the king is before the law, the creator of the law, and above the law. In the true law of free monarchies, he wrote and I quote: “the king therefor in Scotland was before any estate or ranks of men within the same, before any parliaments were held or laws made, and by them was the land distributed which at first was wholly theirs, states erected and discerned and forms of government devised and established. And so it follows of necessity that the kings were the authors and makers of the law, not the laws of the kings.” The king for James is thus the source of law. The fundamental law for him as Macklewayne noted a generation ago was the law of the king and nothing more. Thus for James the king is a kind of Christ, and both church state and family are aspects of his mystical body. [00:17:57]
Earlier in the Middle Ages, Augustinas Triumphas, a...
Earlier in the Middle Ages, Augustinas Triumphas, a prominent thinker within the church who died in 1328, said on one occasion, and this was basic to his philosophy, the good of the pope is superior to that of the whole church. Kantorowicz, commenting on Augustinas Triumphas’ statement said and I quote: “here the head so to speak has devoured the whole mystical body, what mattered was not the corpus ecclesia, but the caput ecclesia. Not the body of the church, but the head of the church, as though life itself or the continuity of life rested in the head alone, and not in the head and members together.” It was such theology that destroyed the medieval church, and the like theology is now destroying the state. Whether or not Louis the 14th ever actually said “I am the state” or “the state, it is I” this summed up his essential philosophy. He believed emphatically that the state was summed up in his person, and in terms of subsequent political thinking, this increasingly came to be true. Others saw the people summed up in the general will as Rousseau did. So that the general will as it came to focus in the leadership, expressed the will of the people and the people could not express it for themselves. In Marxist thought of course the dictatorship of the proletariat expresses the will of the people, so the body is absorbed into the head, but this is not all. As Otto Scott has called attention to in his study of Robespierre: The Voice of Virtue; Robespierre and the other thinkers of the French revolution developed something that is very much with us, the doctrine of the purge, and as Otto Scott defines it, “it is a medical term meaning the forced expulsion of feces. He gave it a new meaning that is with us still.” As Rousseau said: “the general will is always right, and ever tends to the public advantage” and that general will is expressed through the head of the state. Sometime I’m thinking of writing a paper on the modern doctrine of the state, and entitling it: From Body to Feces. (Laughter) Because this is what the people have become, and it’s no joke. Very literally, in terms of political theory, the state is now not only the head, the person of the rulers, but the body as well in political thinking. [00:21:53]
And the people if they resist are the feces to be expelled...
And the people if they resist are the feces to be expelled. The Soviet Union brings this modern trend into focus and as a result the Soviet Union in the vanguard of humanistic statism tells us where we are all going unless we reverse the direction, and the extent of the decay. Civilization is in crisis, it is dying. Material comforts are not lacking in our culture, but men’s hearts fail them for fear, the state has devoured the people and the institutions thereof. Controls are now over every area of life and thought, the family is now controlled and the move progressively is to control the church, the last uncontrolled area in American life. Commerce and farming are controlled, and the state is now sovereign increasingly over virtually everything. We must therefore echo Isaiah’s words: O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us, but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. Our problem is not conspiracies and there are God knows enough of them around us, our problem is ourselves, that we have not lived in faithfulness to the only true sovereign, the Lord God of hosts before whom according to His word as declared through Isaiah the nations are as nothing. And we have taken those things who God calls nothing and made them lords over us, and we have looked to them for salvation. Spangler, one of the more brilliant philosophers and thinkers of this century all the same called the state and I quote: “the highest of all the time symbols that have come into existence within a culture.” [00:24:38]
But this is to deny as all our humanistic scholars...
But this is to deny as all our humanistic scholars do, the most dramatic and significant aspect of history, Gods revelation throughout the old testament, culminating in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the second person of the trinity, and the growth of His kingdom. Life for us is now defined not by God but by the state, and it is interesting the extent to which this is dominating the popular mind. A few years ago J. Paul Getty, in his lifetime the richest man in the world sought immortality in two ways according to his biographer: first he sought it in politics; he wanted to be an ambassador, an important figure. He failed there. Second he sought it in the great modern substitute for religion, art, culture, he sought to be a patron, he founded a museum in southern California and he has so richly endowed it with hundreds of hundreds of millions that it will now be creating a network of museums. Never before has a museum been so richly endowed, and many have been richly endowed. The state as God walking on earth as Hagel defined it is now seen by man as the area of meaning. Therefore it is now the area of predestination, of planning, and control. It is the guide to heaven on earth, but there is a growing disillusion. [00:27:02]
As a result, culture has come into the fore in recent...
As a result, culture has come into the fore in recent years, state supported culture, as now the realm of vision and truth in the new area of meaning. In the Soviet Union every little community has its opera house to prove that they have culture, that they have meaning to their lives. But culture is religion externalized, and we cannot understand the culture around us except in terms of the religion set forth by the tempter and in genesis 3:5 “ye shall be as gods, every man his own god knowing, determining yourself good and evil, right and wrong and what constitutes law.” The modern age began in philosophy with De Carte’s “I think therefor I am.” The world being governed by the mind of man, and the mind of man as determinative of all things. In the first half of the last century in this country Theodore Parker, a transcendentalist and Unitarian leader, declared and I quote: “the orthodox place the Bible above the soul, we the soul above the Bible.” For Parker and the others the individual is sovereign. In fact, Parker went so far as to say “I am, therefore God exists.” Later Unitarians felt they could drop the second half of that proposition and simply say “I am.”, echoing God’s definition of himself. I Am that I Am, I am He that is, the eternal, the self-existent one. In the face of this, the sad fact is that the Christian community is so often bankrupt. [00:29:36]
Recently in an English periodical which sees itself...
Recently in an English periodical which sees itself as being Christian in some sense and conservative, nonetheless there was a very favorable article on Ezra Pound. The writer, (Antony Cooney?) wrote and I quote: “what Pound proposed was that a work of art was autonomous, it did not exist for anything else but itself. In creating it the artist was creating an objective universe with its own logic and its own syntax, a work of art does not exist either to entertain or convey a message, social, political, or moral. Art must therefore be objective, the creation of assimilated experience, not the outpouring of personal emotion. Further because its function is neither to entertain nor to instruct the masses, there is no reason why it should be easily accessible, “the public can go to hell, Pound declared, the artist is not required to dilute his creation for the sake of philistines and morons.” Because art is autonomous, it is irresponsible. The artist as his own god is not accountable to anyone but himself, if to himself. Strictly speaking, autonomy in art means that art is meaningless to all except possibly the artist at the moment he created his creation. At best, an outsider can logically only admire the artist’s success in rejecting and expressing contempt for all God given meaning. [00:31:38]
It is ironic today that the patrons of modern art are...
It is ironic today that the patrons of modern art are largely big business, which pours millions into buying modern art to prove, as they exhibit it in their warehouses that they are thoroughly part of the modern world. You see some of the poorer expressions of it in your hotel rooms. (Laughter) Annually, millions upon millions are poured into meaningless art by big business, once merchants funded the constructions and churches, monasteries, missionary activities and charities, now it is meaningless art, sodomite causes, and the like. And the concept of autonomy and sovereignty are thus supported by people who are marked for destruction. One result is, what the liberals call, alienation and the communications gap. Well if there is no meaning to life, there can be no communication because without meaning, where is there anything to communicate? As a result, the death wish increases. Freud saw himself as the culminating thinker of humanism, the two great predecessors being Copernicus and Darwin, but he also saw himself as the grave digger of humanism, because he had demonstrated that it had nothing but a will to death. [00:33:55]
The state as sovereign has made life meaningless, and...
The state as sovereign has made life meaningless, and therefore evil and corruption prevail because if good and evil are equally meaningless, and if we’ve lived beyond good and evil, what has more appeal to fallen man than evil? Modern man has tried to find a substitute in the state, or an autonomous man for god. Ralph Waldo Emerson sought something within the natural world and within man to replace Romans 8:28 recognizing that here in what he hated most, Calvinism and its realistic approach to the sovereignty of God, was a great undercurrent of strength, the everlasting arms that would undergird man, “for as we know, all things work together for the good of them that love God, for them who are the called according to His purpose.” What could he come up with to replace that? Finally, he came up with this solution, and declared it in a lecture in England, this is his statement: “even in a brothel, man in on his way to all that is greatest and good. Even in a brothel, a house of prostitution, a man is on his way to all that is great and good. Why? Because man’s self-expression can only lead to good, since man is sovereign” for Emerson. It is ironic that the evangelicals of the day could not answer Emerson effectively, it was a conservative fellow Unitarian that summed it up perhaps best, when he said that Emerson was a very dangerous man, because of his total naturalism and he concluded and I quote Andrews Norton “if there are no miracles, there is no religion.” Now in a sense Norton was wrong, there are many naturalistic religion, most of them are. But Norton was right in this respect; he saw that without the supernatural, all religions ultimately wound up in a human cesspool, their gods, their hopes failed them. The state as god is one such failure now turning the entire world into a cesspool. [00:37:28]
It is a sovereign that is still worshipped, but whose...
It is a sovereign that is still worshipped, but whose idiocies are daily ridiculed, even in the most oppressive dictatorships. Men have a contempt for false gods, and they do not last. The false gods are dying all around us, all over the world, the sovereignty of the state is a dead end for man, and also for civil government. The modern state gives us both law and life without meaning, without purpose, and the results thereof are deadly. There is no hope for the future except from a Christian community that takes seriously again the Lordship, the Sovereignty of the triune God. Thank you. (Applause) [00:38:55]