The Venal and Oppressive Police State- …the highest levels of the FBI have been secretly investigating and “harvesting” highly confidential information…”
by Bill Lockwood
“When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another [one branch of government], and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.” —Thomas Jefferson
Revelations of mass surveillance are pouring out of Washington, D.C. at an alarming rate. Wiretaps, electronic spying, harvesting of information and bugs not only upon members of the Trump Team, but upon all Americans, has become common knowledge—in complete violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, among others. The Bill of Rights has been completely trashed. What is being forged is a Police State where Gestapo tactics are no longer only “in the wings.”
How has this occurred? How have we landed exactly where Jefferson warned us not to go?
Step back for a moment. A prime cause of the American Gestapo is the gargantuan growth of government which has been occurring at an accelerating rate over the past 100 years. From the time of Woodrow Wilson through FDR, who purposefully brought all power to Washington, D.C., to the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson and Barack Obama– government itself has now exponentially matured to fearful proportions. Positioning itself as the benefactor of mankind—witness the welfare state—tentacles of government penetrate all corners of society.
We should not be surprised, therefore, that the highest levels of the FBI have been secretly investigating and “harvesting” highly confidential information that is being used as a political weapon—for this is the nature of government itself. A “dangerous fire” but a “fearful master.” The very opposite of the noble principles of limited government, enshrined in our Constitution, upon which we were founded.
Sadly, we must confess that not only Jefferson and the entire Founding generation warned us of a big government, but our own history in America demonstrates the foolishness of listening to the siren song of the state becoming our savior.
Most Americans are unaware of the fact that our forefathers on these shores experimented with socialistic philosophies which entails a large government and by nature involves oppression. Our ancestors weighed these ideas in the scales of human experience and found them to be wanting.
Plymouth Rock & Socialism
When the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock on a bleak day in December 1620, it was a colony established “for the glory of God.” Seeds of greatness were planted in American soil. But America’s future greatness depended in large measure upon the fact that the earliest settlers at Plymouth, after experimenting with socialism, flatly rejected collectivism (socialistic redistribution) in order to embrace the biblical teaching of “individualism.”
Collectivism is the political theory that encourages people to think about working for the STATE and to consider themselves as part of a “class” which would be granted certain benefits. Individualism, on the other hand, emphasizes that each individual has rights—that these rights are not granted to “groups” or belong to us because we are of a certain “class.”
Pilgrim fathers discovered at Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts that socialism is doomed to fail. William Bradford, in his work Plymouth Plantation, chronicled the rapid deterioration of the colony as a whole as they approached starvation under a socialistic system. The ideas that the “community” owns the goods and that individuals worked for “the company” instead of themselves produced laziness! This in turn caused the goods to be scarce and starvation began.
Most of all, socialism did not and does not today recognize the true nature of man. Because men are sinful by practice they cannot be expected to labor for no personal reward. Bradford even stated that the system of socialism, “If it did not cut relations God established among men, it did at least diminish and take [remove] mutual respect that should be preserved among men.” Almost sounds like a prophecy of streets in America that are today burning. Bradford and the Pilgrims, thankfully, rejected the socialistic model and warned future Americans of its bedevilment.
Jamestown Experiments with Socialism
Almost the same thing occurred at Jamestown Colony, established a few years earlier than Plymouth. Relying on a socialistic system in which laborers worked for “the colony” and depended upon it to “redistribute” the food supply, Jamestown was dying.
James Hamor, the first secretary of the colony, in his A True Discourse, noted that “glad was the man that could slip from his labor.” Instead, under the leadership of John Smith they adopted private property concepts and individualism and Hamor observed that the colony became ten times more prosperous! Discovered was the fact that socialism breeds hunger as workers came to regard it as a form of “injustice” and a kind of “slavery” that they were required to work.
Exactly the same principles were at work during the Revolutionary period. Historian Caleb Perry, in The Constitutional Principles of Thomas Jefferson, observed: “Free enterprise, according to all American historians, was the major issue in the American Revolution and, in the opinion of man, the most important issue. Political freedom was regarded as the necessary means for economic freedom. Irrefutably, the American Revolution was a revolt from the highly regulated economy of mercantilism.”
Mercantilism was, like socialism, a protectionist policy enacted by Great Britain, to assist the wealthy merchant class. It provided a monopoly to the mercantile sector of England as government eliminated competition. Thomas Jefferson himself lamented the socialistic system of bureaucratic regimentation which was part of mercantilism.
Famously he noted, “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another [one branch of government], and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.” This is exactly where we are. The checks and balances seem powerless.
What are we to learn from all of this? Evil forces have been working tirelessly since America’s inception, to destroy God’s blessing of freedom by creating a gargantuan totalitarian state. Flatly repudiating any connection with the Bible and its legacy of freedom, secular collective ideologies such as Marxism, Nazism or Socialism are not only incompatible with God but create an enormous governing apparatus which “attempts to squeeze human nature into unnatural shapes.”
The very essence and character of government, especially out-of-bounds unconstitutional government, will always be “venal and oppressive.” The police-state will flourish in the dank atmosphere we have crafted in America. If Americans do not roll it back now the unlawful surveillance we are witnessing will become the new norm.