Category Archives: Politics

Alexander Hamilton on the Law of Nature

While delving into the historical reasons for the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution, I came across a letter written by Alexander Hamilton in 1775. In this letter, he argued that unjust laws were not binding on man when they contradict the natural laws given by God.

“The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power. … When the first principles of civil society are violated, and the rights of a whole people are invaded, the common forms of municipal law are not to be regarded. Men may then betake themselves to the law of nature; and, if they but conform their actions, to that standard, all cavils [petty objections] against them, betray either ignorance or dishonesty. There are some events in society, to which human laws cannot extend; but when applied to them lose all their force and efficacy. In short, when human laws contradict or discountenance the means, which are necessary to preserve the essential rights of any society, they defeat the proper end of all laws, and so become null and void. ”

— Alexander Hamilton in The Farmer Refuted

Hamilton’s reasoning may sound familiar to Christian readers. In at least two biblical instances, people stood against unjust laws. The first case involves the Egyptian midwives who refused to throw newborn baby boys into the Nile River. The second case is that of the Apostle Peter when he was brought before the Sanhedrin for healing a lame man and speaking in the name of Jesus.

So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

Acts 4:18-20 NKJV

Does this mean that any person should immediately disobey the American government when they disagree with a current law? Before going overboard with civil disobedience, we need to remember that government is also ordained by God (Rom. 13:1-7). While we would rightly disobey any law that mandated the killing of babies or the silencing of those who proclaim the gospel of Jesus, we are not granted carte blanche to disobey God-ordained government for any and all reasons.

In the case of the American Revolution, the founders went to great lengths to debate what the proper response was to British tyranny. They eventually agreed that their government had overstepped their bounds and were no longer acting lawfully toward the rights of the colonies. Because of that, they chose to rebel against the government for appropriate reasons. Honestly, this will take more study to completely understand, but Hamilton’s words highlight what the founders were thinking at the time.

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P.S. If you click on the link to Hamilton’s 3 page letter, you may also want to have a dictionary ready to understand all that he says. I had to look up words such as eclaircissement, coeval, mediately, consanguinity, sagaciously, and cavils. Apparently, Hamilton’s 19-year-old vocabulary was well beyond mine.

How a leader’s private life affects others

A college professor recently made an interesting point about the ancient Hebrew kings Saul and David. Both kings allowed sin to hurt their families and eventually their kingdoms. Their actions and the results that followed show how our private lives can affect other people.

Some might say as the soul goes of the leader, so goes his family. And as the family goes so goes the commonwealth or the kingdom. So there is a direct connection between the private morality of the leaders and the public success of the kingdom. … If the king is a good king, life will go well for the kingdom. If the king is disordered in his soul, his family might be disordered and the decline of his family might be mirrored in the decline of his kingdom. This possibility is evermore prevalent in modern republics when the people are kings. If they are disordered in their private lives the challenge of self-government itself might fail as well.

The application is a good one. Just as the private morality of those kings hurt their kingdoms, so can my godliness or lack of it affect those under my care. It made me stop and think more seriously about my lifestyle and daily habits. How am I affecting others?

Are wealthy people the problem?

Matt Bors

Distorting the Tax Policy Debate

George Orwell warned us about the use of “meaningless words” in politics, words that are endlessly repeated by sloganeering politicians until they have no meaning at all. Meaningless words certainly were on display during last week’s congressional debate over the latest tax bill.

Over and over again we heard trite, empty phrases like “tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%,” “tax giveaways,” “tax earmarks,” and “borrowing money to give to millionaires.” Time and time again the same falsehoods were presented as fact, and reported as such by a credulous media.

But all of these clichés about taxes are based on the presumption that government has a right to all of your income, and so government “gives” you something when it allows you to keep a portion of that income. To this mindset, tax cuts represent a “cost” to government. After all, they argue, money that really ought to go to the most noble of purposes– wealth redistribution via taxation–is being kept by greedy people and corporations who just don’t want to pay their fair share.

Far too many Americans truly believe that tax cuts represent a government giveaway, indistinguishable from an outright subsidy or entitlement payment. To combat this mindset, we need to be clear with our language.

A subsidy, properly understood, occurs when government takes tax dollars and gives them to favored individuals, companies, or industries. A tax cut, by contrast, simply means government takes less from an individual, company, or industry. When government takes less from you, it has not given you anything; it merely has harmed you less. This is the critical distinction that has been lost in the endless, tired debate about tax policy.

Of course the bill passed last week did contain some actual spending, mostly in the form of an extension of unemployment benefits for another 13 months. The total spending in the bill amounted to about $60 billion. But the tax savings in the bill, meaning the amount of money that will remain in the hands of taxpayers rather than being sent to Washington, is approximately $850 billion. So while a clean tax bill certainly would have been preferable, the tax relief it contains is significant. It means $850 billion will be spent, saved, or invested by American citizens rather than being sent into the black hole known as the federal treasury.

The media, however, dutifully reported that opposition to the bill came from concerned members of Congress who felt the $850 billion “cost” of the bill was too high, and would add too much to the deficit. As always, they could not distinguish between government giving and government taking away. The American people already pay plenty in federal taxes; the deficit is the result of a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Had the bill not passed, millions of Americans would have seen their paychecks shrink in January due to increased tax withholding. That is the plain and simple truth, and that is why I voted for the bill.

Ron Paul.12/20/10

Can government create jobs for us?

After years of studying business and economics, I have come to the conclusion that the government cannot create private sector jobs. The sole responsibility of government is to follow the Constitution and enforce laws. A functioning limited government will foster an environment where individual citizens and businesses can create jobs.

Matthew P. Cantrell
Libertarian Candidate for Ohio Treasurer of State

Rand Paul Clarifies Civil Rights Opinion

Paul clarified his views in a written statement Thursday, saying whatever concerns he may have had about parts of the Civil Rights Act, he has not — and has never — called for repealing it.

“Even though this matter was settled when I was 2, and no serious people are seeking to revisit it except to score cheap political points, I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Paul, 47, said.

“Let me be clear: I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws,” he said.

Rand Paul Says He’s Being ‘Trashed Up and Down’ by ‘Democratic Talking Points’

Government Power Grabs

“The federal government has far overreached in its power grabs. Just look at the recent national healthcare schemes, which my opponent supports. The federal government, for the first time ever, is mandating that individuals purchase a product. The federal government is out of control, and those who love liberty and value individual and state’s rights must stand up to it.”

U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky as quoted by Jack Kenny in Paul: No Repeal of Civil Rights Act on Friday, 21 May 2010