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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Are You Threatened by Exxon?

Are You Threatened by Exxon?

Are you threatened by IBM?  Are you threatened by Apple?  Are you threatened by Coca Cola?  Are you threatened by Microsoft?  Are you threatened by any large or small corporation?  Do you fear them?  Are you afraid they will take away your freedom, or enslave you?  Of course not!

Big companies, medium sized companies, and small companies are operating in a free marketplace to the extent that government allows them to do so.  If you don’t like one company, you can use another that provides similar services or products.  If you don’t like Microsoft products, you can use Apple.  If you don’t like Coke, you can drink Pepsi.  If you don’t like Ford, you can drive a Toyota or a dozen other cars or trucks.  If you don’t like Exxon you can buy your gas somewhere else.

Companies must persuade individuals to buy or use their products.  There is no force involved.  If you don’t like one doctor, you can choose another.  If you don’t like one lawyer, you can hire another.  If you don’t like one barber, you can choose another.  It’s all part of the legacy freedom that you and I inherited from those who came before us.  No one gets up in the morning in fear that some company will limit their freedom.  No one wastes hours worrying about being enslaved by a company.  

No, in reality there are only two things to fear in life, government and God.  This thought is not original with me.  In fact, in a recent conversation with a good friend he recounted this observation from his father, “No one fears a business, but everyone should fear government.”

No business has ever enslaved someone, but government has done it repeatedly.  In fact, throughout human history government has enslaved men, women and children over and over again.  It is the natural tendency of government.  In the 18th century, the King of England encouraged the enslavement of African Americans because it made him personally wealthy.  Repeatedly early Americans—George Washington, Patrick Henry, et al sought to outlaw the importation of slaves, but every time it was vetoed by the King because it would have reduced his personal wealth.

Creation of the US Constitution involved a “compromise” on the issue of slavery.  Some have referred to it as the fatal flaw of the Constitution.  And indeed it was.  Less than one hundred years after ratification of the Constitution a bitter and bloody civil war was fought over the issue of slavery.  It was government and only government that made slavery possible.

In the 20th century slavery was widespread.  The greatest mass murderer of all time, Chairman Mao Zedong murdered more than 90 million Chinese as he enslaved an entire nation.  Flowing close behind was Russian Dictator Joseph Stalin who murdered more than 20 million.  And, of course, another all-powerful government maniac, Adolph Hitler and his National Socialist Party (NAZI) systematically killed upwards of 10 million.
Government is to be feared.  Government is always a threat to individual freedom.  Or as Thomas Jefferson put it, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

This was the understanding of the founders of our nation.  From the very beginning of time until today the concentration of power into the hands of one or a very few in government is a threat to your freedom and indeed, to your life.  There is no difference between the would-be rulers of today and Mao, Stalin and Hitler, except opportunity.
Where did the founders understanding this truism come from?  They comprehended the very real threat of big, centralized government because they were students of history.  They knew that human nature never changes.  They knew that man always tends toward self-aggrandizement, toward control over the lives of others because they were also students of the Bible.  In fact, as previously noted, it was the original sin—to become like God.  That’s what the devil promised in the Garden of Eden.  God had told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate from “…the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…” (Genesis 2:16).  But the devil said, “You certainly won’t die.  You’ll be like God…” (Genesis 3:4).

The founders knew what Isaiah meant when he said “Every word that passes through my lips is sinful (Isaiah 6:5).  They knew what the apostle Paul meant when he said, “Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God’s glory.” (Romans 3:23).  They also knew that God is a just God, therefore violation of his will, sin, was something to be feared.  While government is something that can enslave you, rejection of God can mean permanent separation from God and his love.  And of course, it was his love and mercy, as foretold in Isaiah that the founders also trusted in, “The people who walk in darkness will see a bright light.  The light will shine on those who live in the land of death’s shadow.” (Isaiah 9:2).  And that light, of course, was Jesus, the promised Messiah.  

This was the orientation and the perspective of those who signed the Declaration of Independence and of those who crafted the United States Constitution.  When men and women quit fearing God nothing restrains them from their most base instincts.  A reduction in individual restraint erodes freedom and inevitably leads to larger and more powerful government that limits personal freedom.  When free men and women fear the wrath of God for disobeying his will and they simultaneously show their love to Him because he sent a Savior, freedom thrives.  When trust in God declines and trust in ever bigger government grows, the end result is always human slavery.

You and I have nothing to fear from Exxon or Microsoft or Coca Cola, but we do have something to fear from large, all-powerful government.  That is what the 2012 election is all about.  Shall we continue to be led down the road to bigger government and less freedom by President Barack Obama and company, or shall we return to the vision of our founders?  That’s the real choice of 2012, perhaps an irreversible one.

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