Archive for October, 2011

Modern Kings

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

The struggle between those who love liberty and those who love government boils down to a difference in commitment to the principle of equality. For centuries there were a few individuals who by virtue of their bloodline held enormous power over their fellowmen. They were called kings, princes, lords, emperors, czars, sultans, and so on. In many cases the power which these men held was virtually unchecked. They held the power to take anything from their subjects which force can take. Some countries even formally recognized this power as a divine right conferred by God for some inscrutable reason. Most kings considered themselves the masters and caretakers of their inferior subjects, much in the same way that a man is the master and caretaker of a pet dog.

A few brave men and women rose up and defied those tyrants. It wasn’t just the kings themselves that had to be dealt with; there was a host of supporters who had embraced loyalty to king as a moral duty, who fought tooth and claw to keep their position as human pets. Happily for our generation, the principle of equality gained a strong foothold and most of the kings were cast down. But the struggle over equality didn’t end there. Even here in the United States, the struggle continued. As democracy became fashionable and republics were established to take the place of kingdoms and empires, aspiring men and women saw new opportunities to seize power.

They didn’t try to call themselves kings, of course, that title had become too unpopular. Instead, they disguised themselves as the people’s representatives and then worked to convince people to give them the same powers that the kings had held. They worked to inculcate a blind acceptance of taxation as a moral duty, a right of government. They worked to seize control of the economy and “manage” the monetary supply. They expanded the power to make war, and, to our once humble republic, they grafted tentacles of empire. They worked to nationalize the education system, taxing the people to excess and then offering to give the money to the state school systems if they would adopt federal programs. Steadily they centralized power, taking it from the local governments and usurping it for themselves. It was a relatively gradual process. Every time there was a calamity of any kind, it was twisted and spun to support an ever increasing consolidation of power. War, sickness, economic troubles, crime, poverty, pollution, drug abuse, terrorism, and any other cause for alarm was used to consolidate more and more power to the federal government.

What does this have to do with equality? Each of the new powers they seized is predicated on the principle that all men are NOT created equal. These are not powers that an individual acting alone could rightfully exercise. No man has the right, for example, to insist that his neighbor fund his child’s education. No man has a right to force his neighbor to buy health insurance or give money to the poor. These powers, and others like them, are not derived from the people because the people never had them. They are powers usurped by government. Obviously the usurpation was not done by blatant appeal to force. Instead these grasping, aspiring men and women persuaded a portion of the people that they had power over their neighbors, that they somehow had the moral right to force them to support policies and programs that they liked or believed were economically expedient. They attacked the principle of equality by teaching the principle of tyranny by majority: that if they simply amassed enough votes, they could impose whatever regulation they thought best. This was a direct attack on human equality.

So here we are in the twenty-first century, and with the exception of a few figureheads and third world countries, the time of kings has nominally ended. But would our ancestors who fought so hard to throw off the yoke of kings be satisfied with our progress? We may not have kings in name, but we have men and women who claim powers typical of kings and who have far more effective methods of enforcing their commands than those ancient kings could ever have hoped for. It is high time for us to return to the principle of human equality and vote out these sneaky modern kings.