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Here man's true nature is discussed, focusing on mankind's excesses and godlike aspirations, which are epitomized in the State.
The existence and longevity of benign or benevolent States that have uplifted the souls of Man upon the Earth can be likened to the dancing flashes of a single sparkler on a long dark evening. With all the technological progress of the last three millennia, the eras of liberty, moral responsibility and broad prosperity stand out as beautiful and rare exceptions in an otherwise lamentable tale of cruelty, bloodshed and oppression stretching across cultures and continents. What is this “Man” and in what ways does he resemble the “image of G-d?”
It is precisely to the degree that Man looks into the mirror and sees not “the image of G-d” but becomes confused into thinking he sees the image of a god that the Evil Inclination has found his way into history of mankind. Perhaps no other vice is greater than when a person sees himself as the Master of his Destiny and the rightful ruler of all he sees. Man’s most primary drive is to be a god. The domination of other men is a primal desire. The fantasy that others can be put into one’s service. The fantasy that others life are dependent upon oneself and that the life, death or other dispositions of other humans and all that humans crave can be at one’s will is an Evil in the heart of humanity that shall not be vanquished in pre-Redemption history. To control what other have (their labor and the fruits of their labor, their wealth, their luxuries, and their bodies) pretty much quenches the thirst for murder, theft, envy, lust, cruelty and all the rest of Evil’s derivatives.
No one has perfected Lord Acton’s famous maxim “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” While our discussion in this chapter is principally on political power, this is equally true of economic power. Given the ability to exploit, it is the natural condition of an unchecked economic enterprise to do so. The truth is political and economic exploitation is almost invariably intertwined. There are good men who seek power and some that exercise it. The problem is that it takes almost a superhuman man or truly humbles sage not to be slowly morphed into a dangerous and predatory Political Animal. The governance of humanity is too important to depend on the appearance of saints. In free societies, the evil propensities of Political/Economic Power are held in check by some form of checks and balances in which equally ambitious men are enabled to keep the game relatively honest. The only true and uncorrupted politicians are the Don Quixote’s who never actually anticipate victory or those who have given up all ambition for future power.
A defining feature of conservatism is the reality of Evil as a force in the human psyche and in the world. Nothing attracts the Evil Inclination like Power. It is for this reason that Liberty can only exist when the domain of potential human power is limited. Only by constraints on Power can the Good Inclination be given room for expression. Any consolidation of Power leads to an essentially inhuman condition. In modern times we have seen this in totalitarian regimes from Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union, China, North Korea and Cuba. As of this writing North Korea stands as a perfect example of one dictator intoxicated with power to the point of utter madness that runs a nation armed only for aggression but whose people are starving.
discusses the archetypal tyrant:
The story of the Tower of Babel goes even deeper into the psychology of community and true versus tyrannical rule. The verse in Genesis continues “11.4 And they said ‘Come let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top shall reach to heaven, let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered all over the earth’”(ibid. p.55-56). In considering the deeper meaning of this passage and its contemporary meaning, I shall defer to the insights of the great Rabbi Hirsch.
However the community can prosper and attain perfection only if it assumes the same attitude toward G-d as the individual should; that is, if subordinates itself to G-d, if it uses the totality of its energies only in the service of G-d and if it sees its mission as nothing else but the employment of its combined forces to carry out, to the fullest extent possible, the tasks to be performed in the service of G-d…
In view of
the foregoing, we can now understand the meaning of “lest we be
scattered.” If a community is what is should be, then, even if it
has millions of members, it will require no artificial means to
hold it together; its bonds are inherent in the consciousness of
each individual member and its rallying point is G-d Himself. If,
however, a community does not regard itself as existing for the
individual, but vice versa, if it declares “Let us make a name for
ourselves” then, of course, the individual members must be compelled
or enticed by artificial methods, to submit to it command and to
sacrifice themselves for it…(The community) introduces a spurious
patriotism, when it unleashes that lust for glory which is regarded
as a vice in an individual but as a virtue in a community, the moral
mission of both the community and individual is undermined. All
passions have a saturation point but the lust for glory has no such
limits. This is not he only instance in history where lust for glory
has inspired the erection of a tower and the indiscriminate destruction
of all else in order to obtain building blocks for the rearing of
its own triumphs. All of subsequent world history tells of towers
of imaginary glory, which Nimrods knew how to entice or force their
nations to build. But as for the purely human life, the simple life
of ordinary men in their humble homes—of such things history has
only little to relate. Such things in the beautiful metaphor of
our Sages are recorded only by G-d, to be witnessed by Elijah and
the Messiah, those messengers and agents of mankind’s ultimate redemption.
Constitution is clearly an inspired document and a source of great
wisdom for the governance of a free people. The Founding Fathers
clearly recognized the Evil Inclination for power and established
a nation in which political power is limited and checked. An independent
judiciary was established to ensure that the passions of legislatures
or executives were curbed by the constraints put on the government
itself. There can be no doubt that some judges and justices have
allowed for the elephantiasis of modern American government. Most
government activities today are not enumerated in the Constitution.
The ninth and tenth amendments to the Bill of Rights have been almost
completely nullified in reality. The Ninth Amendment reads:
Clearly the Federal government was to be circumscribed in its powers and the initiative for communities and self-government was to remain sovereign. While certain public services are required in modern society, it does not follow that government monopolies are the way of providing those services. To the contrary, it often makes sense to make provisions for the private sector to meet public needs.
If any part of our Constitution needs amending it would be the nullification of the Sixteenth Amendment. This amendment reads: The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration. In one bold action, the Congress laid the foundation for class warfare and the creation of an endless source of revenue for government growth and the consequent granting of favors and privileges to politically empowered constituencies.
Are government programs for the “poor” truly compassionate vehicles for empowering the multigenerational underclass to become productive members of society? In fact, they are programs of continuous dependency and distinct disadvantages to work. Has America become a haven for the oppressed or merely a welfare magnet for the world’s poor to live off the productivity of American workers and enterprise? The answer is clear. There are politicians with a vested interest in promoting these dependencies to the constituencies, which these programs benefit. This can not be the nation of industrious and honest communities conceived by the founders and idealists of the American Dream. This dream of opportunity supported by incentives to work, create, and take risks and to dare to change the world is not just the American dream but the dream of all freedom loving people. It is the Global Dream. If the “light” goes out in America, the world itself will be in great darkness.
As we speak about dangerous government, we have discussed perhaps the most benevolent government in the world—the U.S. government. One can only imagine the horror of living in African or Latin American countries. The brutalities of the governments tyrannizing the Muslim world are beyond the imagination of most Western readers. Here we have true “Nimrods” ruling imaginary “states.” One can only be disgusted at those who see dollar signs when they look at the Chinese market, but look the other way at the Stalinist oppression of that barbaric regime. One can count perhaps 20 to 30 states out of nearly 200, which are not the incarnation of evil. A tiny minority of humanity lives in countries with even fundamental human freedoms. It is amazing to think that at the dawn of the twenty-first century, the majority of mankind lives in utter darkness and oppression.
In the next chapter, let us discover the differentiating factors between the Dangerous States and those that offer the hope of human freedom.