Delegated Powers - RR161AZ95

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Delegated Powers
Course: Course - From the Easy Chair
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 95
Length: 0:55:31
TapeCode: RR161AZ95
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
From the Easy Chair.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

Dr. R. J. Rushdoony, RR161AZ95, Delegated Powers from the Easy Chair, excellent colloquies on various subjects.

[Rushdoony] This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 205, October 18, 1989.

This evening Otto Scott and myself will discuss the subject of delegated powers.

Now this may sound a somewhat abstract subject, not related to our every day life, but I think it is intensely important, very, very essentially related to the problems of our time.

Let me start by calling attention to something in one of George Orwell’s earlier writings, I believe. Dorothy and I were discussing some thing the other day and she reminded of what Orwell had written. Before the empire, the British Empire fell Orwell had predicted that it would fall, {?} day was ended. And he gave a very telling and simple reason for what had happened and what was going to happen. He said, “Modern communications had sentenced the empire to death.” Because in the old days a colonial officer was far away in Africa or Asia or somewhere else in the Pacific and as a result it was his authority that prevailed. He had to be a man capable of making decisions and with some initiative. But once modern communication set in, it became possible for London to pick up a phone or use the wireless to send him a cable or call him and insist on not only a report, but make all the decisions. It meant that London, without a knowledge of what was going on in the field, was making the decisions and the men there out in Burma or wherever else they were flunkies.

Orwell observing this thought that an empire could not stand when everything was concentrated in London.

Now there was an inability to delegate the powers to those on the field who knew the conditions best. And, as a result, less and less were they able to get capable men. The old colonial officer who was a man capable of making decisions gave way to a bureaucratic ruled by bureaucrats. [00:03:26]

Well, with that general introduction, I will ask Otto

Well, with that general introduction, I will ask Otto to make a general statement about the question of delegated powers.

[Scott] Well, it is a very extensive question or subject. What Orwell observed in the empire as I have observed in corporations the... almost all crucial decisions flow up to the top. And the time of the men at the top in, well, let’s say a poorly managed organization, corporation or whatever, becomes overloaded with all decisions because they will not permit men in lesser positions to make a decision. Now this, of course, was according to Cincinnatus who wrote the book about our defeat in Vietnam. One of the reasons why we lost in Vietnam is that over the field troops that were even engaged in battle, there was a helicopter with senior commanders and over that a second helicopter with even more senior commanders who were relaying orders from the air down to the men on the ground. They were afraid to let anybody make an individual move. And, of course, this is becoming common place in the United States as... as a whole.

We have been listening recently to the reports of the San Francisco earthquake and it is interesting how many lectures are interspersed with the repertoires. They are afraid that people will be left bereft without a thought unless the commentator gives them a lecture.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Well, one of the interesting things, too, is that in churches whether they were Presbyterian or Episcopal or Catholic it used to be common place that the man in charge of the local parish rarely had contact with the powers above him. He was a man who made the decisions and lived with them. In those days the amount of records he was required to keep were minimal. They were essential records. Of course, marriages and excommunications, that sort of thing. But in the era of modern communications and the emphasis on records, men who are pastors are judged in those denominations where there is oversight by a presbytery, a bishop, district superintendent or the like. The emphasis is so heavily on records that their future very often depends on them. Their records are regularly examined by the minutes, say, of the session in order. Were they properly recorded? [00:06:53]

These are the things that are considered important

These are the things that are considered important so that the essential thing no longer matters. For example, in one church, a denomination, an elaborate program, this goes back 30 years, of an every member canvass was developed. Every man whose name was on the books and those who were not members, but were visiting, had to be canvassed regularly, annually to make a pledge and then if he didn't follow through you were to go after him gently.

Now, of course, most of those people did not realize that when you sign a pledge card it is a contract. You can be taken to court for it. I don’t know that churches have, but nonetheless, that is its status. This one particular case a pastor did not like the whole concept of the every member canvass and said, “I believe that people should give as they are given to.”

Well, that particular church was way out near the very top even though it was a parish of people of modest means, way up in the top in the entire area in terms of giving. But the pastor was rebuked because even though the giving was so good he had not followed the procedure.

[Scott] Proper process.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Well, that is very interesting. The phrase “delegated powers,” as you know, is a very old one in English law. One of the reasons for the English Civil War James... was Charles I forced loans from the people. He called it a loan, but, of course, it was a shake down. And he would send his agents out in the name of the king to demand a set amount of money from various land owners or peers and so forth. Each of these men had the power of the king. [00:09:26]

At the end of the civil war when Cromwell and the Roundheads

At the end of the civil war when Cromwell and the Roundheads took over, one of the things that was changed that never came back was what John Locke called the principle of delegated powers. And that is no realm can endure more than one king at a time.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] A king who can make 10,000 other kings is oppressive. So there are two things about delegated power. The main point was that the king could not delegate his power, because only the king could do certain things. Nobody in his name can do the same things, because the power is limited to the office. That was the underlying principle of our constitution. The powers of Congress were limited. The powers of the presidency were limited. The powers of the court were limited. And none of the three were allowed to encroach upon the powers of the other two.

Now that principle has been forgotten.

[Rushdoony] There is another aspect there, because we are also told in the constitution all powers not specifically given to the President, to Congress and to the courts, are reserved to the people.

[Scott] And there is no room in the Constitution for them to take those powers.

[Rushdoony] That is right. But they have.

[Scott] Oh, yes, they have, because they have forgotten their limitations. Now Congress has violated—and in a very major way—the principle of delegated powers, because Congress was entrusted by the Constitution with the power to enact legislation and with the power of the purse, period.

What Congress has done, namely in this century, but not entirely, has been to create agencies to administer the areas that it has enacted laws over... like the I. C. C. and the S. E. C. and the S. E. C. and the... and so forth. The agencies have received this power from Congress which has no real constitutional power to delegate it, because it is delegating its own power and not only has it delegated the power to these agencies to regulate certain areas of activity, but the agencies have expanded their power to set up a court system of their own, to set up a police system of their own so that the agencies not only write laws and forms of regulation, but they administer the forms and they adjudicate the obedience to the forms and they punish those who don’t follow the forms.

Now, of course, if you don’t like what the agency does, you can always appeal to the federal court, but first you have to go through the baffle of the agency. And there is no guarantee that the federal court will hear your appeal, because the Supreme Court has no persuaded Congress to enact a law saying that the Supreme Court can pick and choose, can reject if it wants to any and all appeals. [00:12:55]

So the court of highest appeal is not longer the court

So the court of highest appeal is not longer the court of last appeal. That could be the court of apples or someone else.

Now the proliferation of these agencies has created a massive bureaucracy which monitors every person in the United States from morning till night every day of his life. And yet the constitution has no space at all for any such activities.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] So there you see the violation of delegated powers.

[Rushdoony] Well, another area. Some years ago I did a little reading, off and on, about our foreign policy in the early years of the republic. And it did interest me how very often we sent strong men abroad. Sometimes they were literary figures, men who could well represent the United States. And since it took weeks for a boat to get any word to them, these men had to make key decisions whether they were in London, in Moscow, in Paris or Madrid. Wherever they were. And they made them.

Now sometimes the decisions were not very good. Certainly during the French Revolution George Washington was not happy with the decisions Monroe was making, who later became president, in Paris. Monroe was the liberal of his day and had some fuzzy ideas. But what the point is: the man in the field made them. That is no longer true.

[Scott] It is no longer true for the state department, because an ambassador now is just simply a fellow who goes and attends parties.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] The state department runs foreign affairs from the state department or from the oval office.

[Rushdoony] Exactly the kind of thing that Orwell was talking about.

[Scott] We don’t have an ambassadorial service in the true sense. I... and this is not new either. I recall that years ago, at least two... two decades ago and in some cases longer, I became aware of the fact that an American in trouble abroad could call for help from anybody except the state department. The state department says the laws of the local state take precedence over everything. So if you are caught stealing in Iran, you will lose a hand. [00:15:33]

[Rushdoony] Well, we have seen, for example, on the

[Rushdoony] Well, we have seen, for example, on the rare occasions when we have had a strong and intelligent man as an ambassador, professor Louis Tam, who provided the best and most intelligent reports that one could make, but I guess he was too intelligent for the state department. They could not tolerate his stand. He was supposed to be a mindless rubber stamp.

[Scott] {?} was a very good ambassador. His life was threatened in Colombia many times and attempts were made to assassinate him. The papers here didn't even report it.

[Rushdoony] No. He was not our kind of man as far as the state department was concerned.

Well, William Carroll Bark wrote, oh, 30 years or so ago, very telling analysis on the origins of the medieval world. And it was, to a large degree an account of the fall of Rome. Why Rome fell and why the medieval world began so totally decentralized, why it was that people did not want urban life, because cities died with the fall of Rome. And it was not because people were suddenly barbarians or they wanted a rural life, it was because life in the city had become unendurable through centralization. And he said the great evil in Rome was the great problem that everyone believed the answer to all things was simplification, centralization, the endless concentration of power at the top.

So it meant that nothing got ahead and you had endless people who were running around like King Charles’ men and forcing this centralized and brutal power over a people who had lost all their freedom.

[Scott] Well, there seems to be a tendency in human beings to enjoy a benevolent power and to get closer and closer to the source of power. Practically every corporation that I have ever studied was a monarchy. And the monarchy is the oldest form of government. It is still in existence. Gorbachev is the King of Russia at this point. He doesn't call himself a king, but he is. And we have what our founding fathers called an elective monarchy in the president and in recent years we have had some rather weak individuals occupying that very powerful office, but, nevertheless, a strong man would certainly show you that it contains a great deal of power.

And I really don’t know why there are so many who go into this form of involuntary servitude, but it is a very common failing. I have seen very few men and less and less as I get older who stand up the way we used to stand up. And, of course, in part this is due to the fact that the system today follows us so much more closely than it used to.

[Rushdoony] Here is another aspect of it. When you and I were somewhat younger, Otto, there was quite a network of baseball teams from coast to coast, all kinds of minor leagues, all kind of grades of minor leagues. People don’t appreciate how numerous they were and how the sporting pages would carry information about all these little leagues. And now no one is interested in that kind of baseball. They are only interested in watching the top teams. So that if Stockton or Sacramento have teams in a league, which they do, they have trouble finding an audience, because too often people want to watch only the best.

No to carry this over into other fields. Years ago when I was a student I was working part time and getting through college with a variety of jobs. And in this one office where I worked oh, the most trifling matters some clerk would say, “Well, what does the top man say about it?” Well, I am going to go and check with him.” [00:21:10]

In other words, we ...

In other words, we ...

[Scott] Exactly.

[Rushdoony] ... we want a monarchy and we want the ultimate power to say so which means you obliterate everything in between.

[Scott] Well, also you are protected.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Don’t forget that.

[Rushdoony] Yes, I had forgotten it.

[Scott] There is a... then if something goes wrong the top man can’t blame you. There is a Russian story. I can’t recall the author now. I am not too good on Russian names anyway, about this fellow who was a clerk and his name came up in the usual rotation manner for a possible increase in salary. And his superiors then quietly spent the day watching him and he came in and he took his coat off and his jacket off and he hung it up and wrote with his face back and he put a protector over his forearms and he opened up the ledger and he put his pen into the ink well and he perfectly copied everything there was. And he then... when he got through he would turn the page and do it again and he did that without slacking all day. At the end of the day he took the protectors off his sleeves and he put his cuffs down and his links together put his jacket on and his hat and said, “Good night, gentlemen,” and left promptly at the right moment.

So one said to the other, “I think perhaps we could promote him a little bit, give him a little bit more money. He seemed to have done pretty well.”

The other one said, “No, he is reckless.”

And the first one said, “Why?”

He said, “He never used a blotter.”

And this mentality permeates our country today.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Encounter magazine had an article about 15 years ago on this question, on the question that instant communication, Orwell’s observation, has now reached the point where individual liberty is no longer truly possible. With the computer, with a total dossier, with a complete record of everything you do, of where every money, every penny you spend goes, you cannot have a secret life. You cannot have a double life. You cannot have a private life.

[Rushdoony] An interesting observation on that. I saw something recently and I don’t remember the statistics on how the number of unlisted telephones are increasing because people do not want to be contacted. It destroys their ability to work and they feel that we will have a telephone for emergency services, but apart from that we want the freedom to go about our daily task.

[Scott] And then, you know, when the phone rings it is somebody that you know. I had an unlisted phone in New York. The regular phone you get surveys at six o'clock in the evening or 6:30 at some uncomfortable moment. There was one survey that called and Anne answered and the question was: What is your goal in life? And she said. I am an Anglican. And the party said, “Well, that is not the answer.” And Anne said, “That is not the question.” And Anne said, “That is the answer.” [00:24:54]

But I read now that the government has an outline and

But I read now that the government has an outline and a profile which marketing people acquire. They are now grouping the American people together in terms of their zip codes, in terms of the neighborhoods in which they live. And they have discovered, which, of course, we always knew that similar people are apt to live in similar localities. Now I don’t know whether the people make the locality or vice versa. It doesn’t seem to matter one way or the other. And on that basis they are directing advertising and voting appeals and congressmen’s mails and so forth.

Now all of this sounds so fearsomely efficient that you would really think that they are going to be able to control us, but I remember being asked by the oil company I was connected with what the chairman should say to the Church committee. The Church committee Senator Church was heading. And they were going to subpoena him and ask him about international payoffs.

I recall that in Washington, then, they refused to call Mr. Church this... a Church. They called him the Sunday school, because they said he wasn’t big enough to be a church, Senator Sunday school.

At any rate Senator Sunday school was thinking of going for president. And he was going to bring gin the chairman and the counsel said, “Well, what do you think he ought to say?”

And I knew they had exhausted all the conventional attempts. So I brought up the delegated powers issue and I said he should say that there is only one king and that since the company had already answered questions from the F. C. C. and the I. R. S. and various and sundry other groups, that to be called in by this final group was a little bit too much, that each of the groups had said they were the king. Senator Sunday school now was calling himself the king. He was trying to prove he was worthy of being a king by beating up American citizens in front of the world, which, of course, senatorial committees enjoy doing. And went down that line. [00:27:20]

Well, the counsel said, ...

Well, the counsel said, “We have tried everything else. Let’s try that.”

And I was amazed. I had never thought they would take that advice. I went home and then I waited a few weeks and nothing happened so I called up and said, “What happened?”

And they said, “Oh, oh, well, we showed that testimony, that statement to the senator’s staff and they tore up the subpoena.”

[Rushdoony] Very good.

[Scott] Now, in effect, it is a world of people not of rules. The rules are only applied—and we all know this—to certain people and not to all the people.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] And this is one of the reasons for the vast and growing disillusion of the nation with its government. It is no longer fair. People are afraid of it. It is no longer functioning properly.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

Before we continue, Otto, I would like to ask a question. Did you ever read Dmitry {?} Republic of the Southern Cross?

[Scott] No, I never did.

[Rushdoony] Did you read anything of {?}?

[Scott] No, I don’t think so.

[Rushdoony] Oh. He was a very interesting writer. In some respects brilliant and in other respects decadent. His most famous work which in 20s and 30s was out in a modern library trilogy was Christ and Antichrist. A great deal in it was very, very interesting. But he also had a great many peculiar ideas.

Well, he wrote one work, a short work, a novelette really entitled The Republic of the Southern Cross and it was about a totally scientific community wherein all the modern ideas, political, scientific and economic were applied. It was a community in Antarctica under the ice manufacturing everything automated, every person with a job to do totally controlled. The world of automation was carried over into the human sphere. And it was the marvel of the world and the nations were admiring it and looking forward to converting their nations into the same pattern.

And then suddenly there was a blackout as people in the Republic of the Southern Cross began suddenly to fall apart, to rebel, to do mindless things such as wrecking everything in sight. And that was the end of the Republic of the southern Cross. [00:30:30]

It was a very telling story

It was a very telling story. I haven’t done it justice. It is sad that it is forgotten when it is so much needed in our time.

[Scott] Interesting. It sounds very interesting. It, you know, I... I think I mentioned to you that I recently finished a book of analysis of The Odyssey and it was a rather interesting analysis. The writer reminded us that the word Odysseus means man of suffering. And his task, of course, was to come through these various tests. At the very end of his travels he was washed ashore, as you remember, on an island that was very remote, was occupied by the {?} who had an extremely advanced civilization because they were under the special protection of Poseidon. They had magic boats that could travel in the space of a thought anywhere in the world and that could travel over the water so they were never affected by the storms or the waves. And they had all the comforts that were possible to conceive in Homer’s time.

The princess who found Odysseus took him to her palace where he was bathed and dressed and then she went into her chambers, her rooms where her nursemaid came and her servants and took care of her. It was a great literary society in which they... the poets would play and sing and tell stories about events that happened, heroes of other places, other times. And, in effect, they saw life from a distance. They saw life from inside their shelter where there were remote from all the suffering and the tragedies and the ups and downs of other people.

And Odysseus’ last gift from them was to be placed in the magic boat with all kinds of presents, presents greater than the loot that the originally had from the fall of Troy and he was transferred through the quickness of thought back to Ithaca. And then Poseidon grew bored with the {?} and snuffed them out. And because they had never done anything, because they had never truly lived there was no record and no memory of them. And it was impossible to read this without suddenly thinking of the United States sitting here in this great garden, watching life on television, living in various soap operas and dreams, inundated with the literature of the ages and all the classics and watching all the tribulations of other parts of the world while we are removed. [00:33:59]

Well, we have something like the San Francisco earthquake

Well, we have something like the San Francisco earthquake and this comparable earthquake in Armenia, I understand, snuffed out 20,000 people. They snuffed out two or 300 in San Francisco. And we act as though this is a great terrible thing.

All Managua I reminded you a little while ago was snuffed out in five minutes. Tens of thousands because a real earthquake cannot be withstood by anything. And I think then, you know, to delegate power in a country like ours, if time of this sort is not really so difficult. When there is a crunch society then has got to either prove its value or relinquish its position.

[Rushdoony] Well, a remark so common among many Christians when they have adversity: Why did God let this happen to me? In other words, they want that dream life.

[Scott] Yes.

[Rushdoony] They want trouble free existence.

[Scott] Security.

[Rushdoony] Security.

[Scott] Security.

[Rushdoony] In a fallen world they want security.

[Scott] This is what Hitler offered.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] That is what they traded him for so he would take care of them. This is what Lenin offered.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] And without the tests, without the tests of life what is life? What good is life if it has no challenge and no risk?

[Rushdoony] Everybody wants God to make them his specially spoiled child.

[Scott] Well, you know, God’s favorites are the ones that he exacts the most from, the martyrs. [00:36:04]

[Rushdoony] Yes

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] And if he takes the most from the best and the least from the worst, you shouldn’t expect to get away with everything.

[Rushdoony] Yes, that is what we are told, that if we do not have the Lord’s chastening, then we are not sons, but bastards. That is not a popular passage in Scripture.

[Scott] There is a lot of passages in Scripture that are not popular. I mean, I once told a fellow, a drunk about the fool we turn into his sin like a dog to his vomit.

[Rushdoony] to his own... Yes.

[Scott] And he shuddered, shuddered visibly. He was shocked. There are people who are easily shocked, you know.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Not by the sort of things that you would expect them to be shocked by.

[Rushdoony] They are shocked if you say anything that strikes home where they are concerned. That is unpardonable. It is like the statement of a woman to me once that I was obviously not a Christian, because a Christian never hurts anybody’s feelings.

[Scott] Then a Christian could never be able to open his mouth, could he?

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Well, the whole question of power and authority in this country is very interesting. When we were young, as you were saying before, there was a great deal of talk about how independent we were. And there was a considerable amount of independence. You could still punch somebody in the nose without having a federal case made out of it and you could quit and get another job without a dossier or a résumé. We didn’t have therapists to come in to tell us how to handle our grief. We had friends. We had clergymen. We had a church. The idea that school children would be asked what their parents did at home was something that never entered anyone’s mind. And there has been a great deal of loss of freedom by simply not standing up.

[Rushdoony] We are talking about delegated powers and it is worthwhile just to consider what power means.

[Scott] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Because one of the things I have never forgotten was a good many years go visiting a community in northern Minnesota on the Canadian border when they had a heavy gumbo soil. When I was there it was early winter and there was no pavement on the streets. I put on my overshoes and walked from the hotel to a store across the street and it was as though I had snow shoes because the mud just clung to my feet and there was scrapers there that you would try to knock off at gumbo in order to go into any place. [00:39:28]

Well, one of the men there was telling me, he said

Well, one of the men there was telling me, he said, “You know, until recently nobody could work this land. You could not touch it with horse drawn equipment. It was too heavy a soil. But now it is a very rich and productive area, because we have the power to work.” Tractors.

Now his view of power was in terms of production, activity.

[Scott] Right.

[Rushdoony] But the modern concept of power is the power to rule over others, to put them down.

[Scott] Yes.

[Rushdoony] To do you will with other people. So the whole concept of power has been warped.

[Scott] Well, individual power came in with Christianity. The power of the individual was equal to the power of the state, because under God you were free. The only person you had to obey was God. You didn’t have to obey other men. Now this comes up in all kinds of forms. I once had a commission to do an article about psychological testing in the 50s. So I applied to three different companies for a job as a salesman and I said I was a business writer and I was tired of being a business writer, that I was used to interviewing businessmen and getting along with them and I thought that I could sell pretty well if I was selling intangible services and what not.

One of the companies was the U S News and World Report.

[Rushdoony] Oh.

[Scott] Which had something called the bureau of national affairs, I believe. I am not positive. And they were starting a whole series of law books and books on accounting to lawyers and accountants and they would add a supplement to them whenever Congress changed he rules and so forth, a very good service and they needed a man in the Wall Street district.

They gave me, I remember, an entire week of tests, psychological tests, including a test on your sense of humor. And I won’t repeat the jokes, but I remember a few of them. Some of them were funny and some of them were not. And I wrote on some of them, ha, ha, good joke. And others I write, bad joke, poor humor, things like that. And I answered all the questions honestly and at the very end of the interview I recall where the psychologist and he was a little fellow. His toes barely touched the floor from his chair. And he was... he was a mild kind of man and he said, “You kept saying you had done so well.” [00:42:20]

And I said, “Well, I don’t know how I could have done

And I said, “Well, I don’t know how I could have done so well. I didn’t answer all those questions.”

Oh, well, he said, “Some of those questions were only a {?} would answer. We are not in the business of hiring {?}.”

So in other words, some of these questions—Did you ever steal? Did you ever tell a lie? This and that—were questions that no reasonable man would answer and say no I never did. And did you ever take a pencil? You know, did you ever tell a social lie and so forth? And so there are a lot of tricks in the test. And my conclusion was that the tests were an invasion of privacy, but that you didn’t have to allow your privacy to be invaded. After all, you couldn’t expect the government to keep people from trying to invade your privacy. It was up to you to defend your liberties and to refuse to go along with such an invasion.

And the editors were very upset. They said, “Now that is not ... that is not right at all.” They said, “You didn’t need the job.”

I said, “How do you know I didn’t need the job?”

I mean, some of these were pretty good jobs and I might have taken then. I wouldn’t have taken them in any different way if I had decided that I wanted a job and they said, “Well, we doubt that, Otto. And ... and we just don't think that that is a valid conclusion.”

What they wanted me to say was, quite simply, that people were being victimized by the tests. And that brings up the whole question of victimization, of rights, whether your rights are given to you. Your rights are not given to you. You rights are something that you must exercise. If you don’t exercise, you have given them up.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Well, going back again to Orwell’s point, in the modern world, communications instead of bringing people together have been used to tyrannize over them. And, as a result, they have hindered communications.

[Scott] True.

[Rushdoony] The colonial officers that were governed from London and could not exercise an independent thought or practice free agents, were not improved thereby. They were diminished as persons. And this kind of use of communications compels people to withhold communication. They are afraid to speak out. They are afraid to express themselves.

[Scott] Well, I don't interview with a tape recorder, because nobody really wants to answer searching questions for all eternity. I ... I don’t use a tape recorder. I take notes like an old fashioned reporter which I am. And often after I put the notes away the interview begins, because then the man completely relaxes. [00:45:52]

And I am not so much interested in precisely what he

And I am not so much interested in precisely what he said as I am interested in what he meant to tell me. It is the significance of his remark that I am interested in. I don’t believe in tape recording telephone conversations. I don’t believe the tape recorder has been a good thing in our society at all.

You know about the case... we have discussed it recently at one of our breakfasts, I think, the Joe McGuiness case where he was sued by Dr. MacDonald the man who was convicted of murdering his wife and children. McGuiness, a writer, had gotten close to him, had lived in MacDonald’s apartment and had spent many hours interviewing him on the premise that he was going to present MacDonald’s side of the case to the world. In the end, he wrote a book proving to the best of his ability that MacDonald was guilty. And MacDonald charged him with a violation of trust. And McGuiness settled out of court for a very large sum of money because the book was a best seller and made quite a bit of money.

Then there was another Janet... I have forgotten her name. Another woman, a woman who writes for the New Yorker.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] ...who got next to what was his name the psychiatrist?

[Rushdoony] Yes. Not Massey.

[Scott] Massow?

[Rushdoony] Masson?

[Scott] Masson.

[Rushdoony] Jeffrey Masson.

[Scott] Jeffery Masson, who wormed her way into Masson’s confidence, listened to him and then wrote a book ridiculing him, portraying him as gigolo and quoting him as saying all sorts of things which he didn't say.

Well, apparently she was forced in court to bring her tape records in. They played the tapes and proved that he had never said what she quoted him as saying. She admitted she had made up the quotes. And yet the court ruled that the quotes were a fair reflection of the implications of what he said and therefore Masson lost the case. [00:48:08]

[Rushdoony] Which means it is now dangerous to be near

[Rushdoony] Which means it is now dangerous to be near a reporter because he has the right to invent what he wants.

[Scott] Well...

[Rushdoony] in this case.

[Scott] In that court and in that... before that judge. It is hard for me to believe that such a ruling could be upheld all the way, because, if so, it means that anyone could say anything about anybody.

Now we have already, in effect, destroyed the laws of slander for public figures. If that sort of ruling were to become widespread we would destroy the laws of slander for all people.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] And it comes back to the communications that you are talking about and the reason why people don’t speak.

The ... I... I notice a great difference in the country. I recall when we used to travel by train that you would sit there in the train and the fellow would come and sit next to you and within a half an hour he would tell you what he did for a living, how he got along with this wife, how much money he made, what he thought of the government and everything else. All kinds of things would come boiling out which you didn’t particularly care to know. But at any rate, he was totally free and uninhibited.

Today I fly across the country and I have tried this several times. If I don't speak, the other person won’t all the way across the United States. And when they do speak they are very careful. What are they afraid of?

Well, they are afraid of this society of ours which seems to have eyes everywhere and where nothing is sacred.

[Rushdoony] Communion is gone because community is gone. Nobody sings as people did.

[Scott] Well, how could you sing a rock song?

[Rushdoony] No. you can’t. But you didn’t get a group anywhere going places in a car or a bus and everybody started singing.

[Scott] That ... as soon as it was dark.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Yes.

[Scott] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Or when it wasn’t dark.

[Scott] Yes, I remember it many summers. Yes. Delegated powers. Well, we are becoming a very powerful nation, we are told. We have become a superpower. It is hard to believe. We can’t fight {?}. We can’t fight Nicaragua. But we are supposed to be a super power. It is a great super power. I must say.

[Rushdoony] Well, we have come...

  [Scott] {?}

[Rushdoony] Well, we beat the pants off of Granada, Granada.

[Scott] Granada.

[Rushdoony] Yeah.

[Scott] Well, that was with difficulty, I understand.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] And they put out more medals. They put out lots of medals for that. I really should charge the government for those... my lack of medals.

[Rushdoony] Well, they gave the medals to people who were never there. They were in the Pentagon. [00:51:01]

[Scott] But Congress now seems not to have as much

[Scott] But Congress now seems not to have as much power as it thought it had even with all these agencies. It is a very strange set of affairs.

[Rushdoony] The false exercise of power leads to the destruction of power. That is what we are seeing in the Soviet Union with all these years of the abuse of power, power has eroded. Power is collapsing.

[Scott] Well, contracts used to be the substance of the law. Almost all law was contract law. And the question before the law was whether the contract was violated by one part or another and whether the violation caused an injury. Contract law is being replaced by torts.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] I which a violation is being charged by an individual against a group or against another individual. In effect, torts invent new crimes and new liabilities. So we have left the old shelter of the law and moved into a sort of a cannibalistic Hobbesian society where all fights all.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Well, Orwell saw this sort of thing and the basic to 1984. When he wrote 1984 he presented a world in which no one had any initiative or power on their own, where an anonymous big brother who may or may not have existed, who might have been a collection of people was presented as the lord and master of all. All things were under him. And he did not dare think independently.

[Scott] Well, big brother never did appear in the novel, if you recall.

[Rushdoony] That is right.

[Scott] He was mentioned, but he never appeared. Now we have the big brother system without big brother. We don’t have an individual. We don’t have a Hitler. We don’t have a Stalin or a Lenin or a Castro or whatever. So, therefore, we have the illusion that we have more freedom. But with all these committees, all these agencies, all these commissions, it is hard for me to think of an unregulated area as, in fact, the liberals every so often say, “Aha, that is an unregulated area.”

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] As though that is a terrible thing. That ... we must see that that area is governed and monitored. We must not allow this to become regulated.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Well, of course this contains the seeds of its own downfall.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Well, we have just a couple of minutes. Is there a last statement you would like to make now, Otto? [00:54:08]

[Scott] Yes. I think the Christian revival, the Christian Reconstruction is a sign that the encroachment of power upon the individual is arousing the Christian instincts of the people.

[Rushdoony] Yes and the resistance is growing. I was talking with a pastor today who in terms of what Shelby Sharpe wrote about is being taken to court and they are going to fight. And it is exciting to see the resistance. It means problems. It means a battle, but it means our people out there who are ready to fight for their Christian freedom.

[Scott] Marvelous.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Well, thank you all for listening and God bless you.

[Voice] Authorized by the Chalcedon Foundation. Archived by the Mount Olive Tape Library. Digitized by

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