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Jeffrey A. Ziegler President
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Fredrick Bastiat’s Orthodox Economic Presuppositions
The Creedal Basis of Free Enterprise
By Jeff Ziegler
With the inaugural address of Barak Obama upon us, we will undoubtedly hear grandiose swelling rhetoric concerning a myriad of salvific interventions of the Federal government into our current economic malaise. Many will embrace such “salvation” even at the expense of their own liberty. This devolution of thought is akin to a vertebrate metamorphosing into a jellyfish.
Yet as late as John F. Kennedy’s 1960 inaugural address wherein he stated that “… the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God” the concept of Christian Orthodoxy as foundational to human freedom was an assumed pinion of Western political thought. This notion is antithetical to the Obamanation motif which heralds the nihilistic homosexual John Keynes as a benign engine leading to Karl Marx as the ideal. The order which Kennedy acknowledged had many adherents. Yet its’ most ardent apologetic came from French economist Fredrick Bastiat who wrote his missive “The Law” in response to godless economic tyranny.
In examining Fredrick Bastiat’s economic theories (IE: Reagan Revolution) his theocentric worldview is an assumed fact of free markets. Yet what was once common knowledge is not so common today. Therefore, if we are to understand the economic theory of Fredrick Bastiat we have to understand his “creedal presuppositions.” For this discussion I will briefly outline these axioms using the familiar Nicene Creed.
The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made, Being of one substance with the Father, By whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary And was made man; And as crucified under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried; And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right of the Father; And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, Who spake by the Prophets. And I believe one holy Christian and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, And I look for the resurrection of the dead; and the life of the world to come. Amen.
As depicted in the First Article of the creed, God’s transcendent nature is conclusively rendered. Meaning that God is the sovereign creator who established all things both visible and invisible and who is distinct and apart from his creation. Genesis 1:1, Colossians 1:16,17. Hence, the God who created you is the Lord and the giver of life. It is God who sustains your body, your soul, your senses, your reasoning faculties. It is God who provides your sustenance, your house and home, your family and property. It is God who nurtures you and protects you from all evil. He does all of these things expressly for his divine pleasure and purpose. As the creature you stand in God’s image with a plenipotentiary role and divinely secured rights to increase and prosper.
Some of the basic concepts of liberty and freedom derived from the first article of Nicene or the notion of the transcendent- creator -God are as follows:
1) The right to life is a freedom granted by God. It is the transcendent-creator God who alone gives life. Any unlawful taking of life is murder. Therefore, if state sanctioned, state sponsored murder in the form of abortion is codified, you have a denial of God’s transcendence and have become tyranny to the unborn. Yet, this abomination is done under the aegis of a kind of humanistic “liberty” with rhetoric that is “pro-choice.” This so-called “liberty” is deity-denying and thus ends in the persecution and the death of the unborn. Beyond the immediacy of the horrid deed itself, such tyranny leads to the destruction of whole generations and thus a culture of death is perpetuated until that nation or culture is annihilated. Consequently, unless liberty under God is recognized, tyranny and death are the results not only for the unborn, but eventually, for the elderly, the sick, the infirmed and finally society as a whole.
2) The second major principle of liberty derived from the first article is that provision, and thus personal property comes from God and God alone. The same God that created the earth, gave man dominion over the it. Genesis 1:26-28 depicts man possessing ruling, and reordering the earth. Also, throughout God’s Law, the possession of land is a mark of God’s blessing and provision. Therefore, your family, your home, your property is a freedom and blessing that comes from God and not the state!
Ergo, all Fabian socialists, Marxists, Fascists and any other collectivist-statist ideals (Clinton) are attempts to usurp God and constitute a direct assault against personal property. How? If the state through coercive-abusive taxation, wealth redistribution or other paternalistic collectivist notions becomes your provider, in which you “live and move and have your being,” what right do you have to personal property? Who is your God? If the state gives, the state can take away, blessed be the name of the state. The denial of the truths expounded in the first article of the Nicene Creed is a denial of God’s transcendence and thus is a denial of the divinely secured freedoms of “life, liberty and property.”
The second article of the Nicene Creed establishes Christ as both fully god and fully man yet diminished in neither aspect. Meaning, Christ’s authority and rule is not confined to the spiritual or the unseen, but also extends to the visible-material world. For this reason, Christ’s Lordship is comprehensive in scope and absolute in power. In an individual salvific sense, we see it is Christ who has secured our redemption. Signifying, the elect have been made free from the power of sin, liberated from eternal damnation and freed from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3:13) So too, the redeemed have been delivered from the power of this present world system, liberated from bondage to Satan and the dominion of sin, and freed from the sting of death. (I Corinthians 15:55-57) Finally, the elect have been redeemed as Kings and Priests to testify of Christ’s dominion in the earth. (Revelation 1:6)
With the second article of the Nicene creed as a foundation, we in alliance with Bastiat can make the following deductions in regard to liberty.
1) Christ is fully god and fully man diminished in neither aspect. Which means His lordship and His plenipotentiary (governmental) authority is exhaustive. In other words, Christ’s rule is not confined to the invisible, for Jesus was incarnate into the visible-material world and so His rule extends to all spheres of life. This includes but is not limited to church life, family Life, economic life, and political life. Only in this context can notions of liberty thrive. Without the Crown and Covenant of Christ acknowledged, pluralism (many moralities) leads to the disintegration of society. It is instructive to note that tyrants tend to recruit religious pietists whose world-life-view confines the rule of Christ to the unseen or the spiritual (monasticism). In this context, the church would not resist the tyrant nor confront the tyrant with the claims of Christ, for the pietist denies Christ’s Crown and Covenant in the material world. Their belief holds that Christianity has nothing at all to say regarding civil polity or any other societal discipline. This notion has been contested with vigor by Pope Benedict in his landmark book “The Spirit of the Liturgy”.
2) As Christ saves and justifies the elect, they are saved from sin and delivered from religious coercion. The Reformation and recently Popes John Paul II and Benedict have signaled the end of political tyranny, for men have come to understand that it is God alone who justifies through the finished work of Christ and not the state nor any other institution. This emancipating ideal was not welcomed by those who wished the continuation of the slavish and feudal-political-economic paradigm of medieval Europe, nor is justification by faith and its resultant force toward freedom (Galatians 5:1) appreciated by statist collectivist tyrants today in whatever guise they don.
The third article of the Nicene Creed establishes one Holy Christian and Apostolic Church. The Church is the embassy of God on earth which represents his kingdom and rule through her Levitical (instructional) and Prophetic role. The Church is institutionally separate from the state. It must be free from all statist coercion to fulfill the Great Commission, which is to teach and bring under subjection through conversion all the nations of the earth to the claims of Christ. In the words of Cornelius Van Til “…the Biblical ideal or the sum of God’s will is the transformation of the world, every part of it, into a place of worship for Christ.” The Church under God is the primary engine for this global task of emancipation.
Principles of liberty derived from the third article of Nicea.
1) The Church is under God. The state is under God. Both, must acknowledge God and perform their respective duties according to His law. The Church is to instruct and when necessary rebuke the civil magistrate as to the ways of Christ. The state under God must punish lawbreakers and protect the church so that she is free to perform her divine charter. The Church and the state are not institutionally mingled. They are separate from each other but are not separate from God.
2) The Church has been given all the divine means to accomplish the Great Commission. The finished work of Christ, the Word of God, the sacraments, and the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father will bring all things under the subjection of Christ. Thus, the notion of Gospel liberty being shed throughout the world is divinely guaranteed to succeed. The enemies of liberty have throughout history resisted and persecuted the Church, systematically seeking to silence her Levitical and Prophetic voice. The Church as God’s embassy has been the bulwark to bring justice, righteousness and liberty to the nations. She can not and will not be defeated by the tyranny of man.
Humanism, Liberalism and Christian Orthodoxy
Humanism, replete with its own manifesto is a full orbed religion that aspires to the deification of man through statist, pagan and occultic influences. In repudiating Christian orthodoxy, principally the notion of God’s transcendence, Humanism becomes an amply articulated antichristian worldview. The humanistic notion of freedom elevates the state to the place of God and positions it as the author and protector of liberty. Thus from beginning to end, man is to be dependent on the state.
In operation, the kingdom of Humanism has touched every social institution in our nation including the Church. The power of Humanism practically applied could be termed “liberalism.” When found in the Church, liberalism attacks the orthodox ideal so as to reinterpret God in man’s image. In civil polity, liberalism becomes an imperialistic collectivist juggernaut that endeavors to knit all societal structures including the family and church, under its domain. We see this humanistic-collectivist belief principally in Genesis 13:1-9 with the building of the tower of Babel.
The world-life-view of Humanism can be depicted as a scientific-intellectual elite who has through time, reinvented God and ethics in man’s image; the antithesis of the Biblical record. Thus man as a kind of god engineers a “superior secular culture,” ever evolving into a forced egalitarian cooperative society: theoretically resulting in the utopian ideal. In this context the progress of the state is akin to divinity itself and therefore any religion that would impede such progress, or would attempt to decentralize its power is regarded as retrograde, fit for marginalization and eventual eradication. This was the anthem of the French Revolution (which Bastiat repudiates) and all other utopian social-political movements.
In comparison, Humanism and Christian orthodoxy viewed as life systems, are in constant struggle and combat, the results of which have profound effects on liberty and freedom. Christian orthodoxy agrees with the nature of the Kingdom of God in that neutrality does not exist in any area of life. The primary notion being that all knowledge has its genesis and application in an orthodox worldview and that any other man-centered idea, philosophy, political social theory, economic models, educational theories, indeed man’s civilization apart from the Western zenith, is at war with God. Therefore, the battle for liberty is between God’s order and man’s perceived autonomy or put another way between Christ and Caesar.
When autonomous man seeks liberty apart from God his tendency is first to revolution and anarchy. Hard on the heels of revolutionary chaos comes the political-social reordering of society, wherein anarchy is suppressed and messianic tyrannical statism is imposed (See Karl Marx and Das Capital). In such states virile expressions of the orthodox Faith are persecuted and the family becomes a factor of production. In other words true liberty is abandoned in favor of a secular religion and its resultant brutality. Could this happen in America? Has the process already begun?
Christian Orthodoxy and The American Experience
The primary doctrines of Christian Orthodoxy were once so pervasive and common in the embryonic stages of our nation that they were explicitly codified into colonial and state constitutions. As an example; the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina forbade anyone from holding office or to own property that would not acknowledge the God of the Scriptures. In 1703, the Carolinas made it illegal for anyone to “deny any one of the persons of the Holy Trinity to be God,” or to “deny the Christian religion to be true or the holy scriptures of both the Old and New Testament to be of divine authority.” Similar declarations can be found in nearly all of the New England colonial and state charters as well as Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Georgia. The advantage of explicitly incorporating Christian Orthodoxy into civil polity is threefold.
1) Recognizing Christ’s Crown and Covenant in the civil realm brings national divine blessing and advantage. Deuteronomy 4:1-8.
2) Explicitly tying God’s law to civil procedural laws, guards against civil polity (IE: The Constitution) being pirated by corrupt alien worldviews as represented by the ACLU, Act-Up, Move-On, Barbara Streisand and the whole of bitter lesbians, environmentalist-earth- worshippers and effete old communist employees from the East German government .
3) Greater prosperity and progress may be enjoyed as life, liberty and property is protected even while evil is suppressed. Read: FREE ENTERPRISE.
Christian Orthodoxy as expressed in early American culture recognized that the transcendent-creator God had made all things both visible and invisible. Indeed, all life was considered a gift from God and that God gave man the responsibility to preserve, develop and rule the creation. God was seen granting regenerate man with faculties and gifts as well as earthly resources in order to achieve Godly prosperity. Biblical law was applied however imperfectly, to protect and prosper this mandate consequently promoting liberty and limiting tyranny.
It could be argued that early American Christians were so successful in uniting orthodoxy and culture, and so enjoyed the blessings of the resultant freedoms that they began to allow anti-orthodox notions in the back door.
As an example; while one can find many Christian notions expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, the fact that no explicit mention of God and Christ can be found in them shows the deleterious effects of enlightenment rationalism, deism and humanism in muting the language. While it can be argued that The Constitution is simply procedural law, and that as long as a Christian cultural consensus exists, it will be used to promote Christian liberty, the fact that no acknowledgement exists to God brings a myriad of trouble, much of which is being acted out before our very eyes. For while a largely Christian culture did exist at the time of the Constitution’s ratification, such a culture is no longer prevalent. Which means the Constitution and its “procedural law” is now more often than not applied with a pagan humanistic consensus.
The result is that our once assumed “liberties” are being systematically undermined and thrown down by those who would be tyranny through their messianic statist political agenda. Read : Change- Barak Obama.
Having laid down the foundations of orthodoxy we may now delve into Bastiat having his world-life-view. See the reference below. His missive while brief is still too long for this narrative. One last comment: when visiting Sen. Tom Coburn’s offices you cannot leave without a copy of Bastiat’s “The Law” and it might be further noted that this little book was stated to be the most influential over the “Gipper” President Ronald Reagan. Oh that a renascence of such prosperity may once again launch our nation into a golden era of strapping American power.
See THE LAW: http://www.renewamerica.us/forum/misc/030126a.htm