Okay, first of all, I'm sorry that this is hideously long! You don't even have to read it all, never mind respond to it all. Just read it through and post something that responds to it in general terms. Our two major points of disagreement remain the same...
1. TOTALLY random selection of the first king.
2. Having no legal way of convicting the king of crimes and removing him from power, if not from this life like everyone else.
It would be rebellion against the natural flow of authority.
The king is over the whole nation, but not the law. The people, be it one person or a committee or the nation as a whole, do not have the authority over the king to remove him from leadership, nor is there any way to have a law in place that would allow them to remove him, because that would undermine his authority.
No it wouldn't.
Look, you can't have it both ways. The king is either under the law or he is isn't. If he is under it then he must obey it and if he doesn't then the law prescribes the means of both his trial and his punishment if convicted. If there is no way to put the king on trial or to convict him of a crime or to punish him then he is not under the law, by definition.
It's not the authority structure of the nation that I'm talking about, though. It's the natural structure of authority itself that flows downhill from God, through the law, to the leader of a nation, to his subjects, and from there, it's the leader of the household, which should be (but often isn't) the father, to the wife, to the children, to any pets.
That's the natural flow of authority that Bob talks about.
Any system that compromises that flow is inherently unnatural, if not unjust.
First of all this seems like a distinction without a difference, right? I mean, the authority structure of a nation is rightly defined by the natural structure of authority, is it not?
Also, as far it is goes, this all sounds terrific except that, in the proposed system, there seems to be no flow "through the law, to the leader of a nation". At what point can the law touch the king? What, other than a love for God, can motivate the king to obey a law that no one has any authority to enforce against him? Is the king under a sort of governmental grace or is he under the law of the land?
The only thing my argument presupposes is that the natural flow of authority being downhill comes from God, and that THAT should not be violated, and also that God likes it when individuals rule, and not multiple people.
I guess what I'm driving at is that you've not established that the flow of authority is valid at every point. Specifically, as I stated a moment ago, there seems to be no flow through the law to the king. At the very least there seems to be a strong eddy current in the flow in this area. The king's authority is defined by the law which he is then free to violate without fear of the law's prescribed punishment being applied to him or even that he would be convicted of the crime for that matter.
n other words, any government, so long as it keeps the natural flow of authority flowing downhill, and not try to compromise that flow, will, as a general rule of thumb, work better and be more successful than one that inherently does.
And as far as I'm aware, and I've asked you to see if you can think of any but, the only forms of government that do that naturally are monarchies and patriarchies, and perhaps dictatorships (would emperors be considered monarchs?) but other than that, I can't think of any others.
I don't think we disagree on this particular point. I have no problem with a monarchy, per se, nor with most of the rest of what Bob proposes. It just seems to me to need tweaking in a couple of areas. Namely the random choosing of the first king and also in the area of whether the king can get away with murdering his subjects (or whatever other law he wants to break.)
Actually, and I'm sure you've heard Bob say this before, but it was God through Moses who first wrote that the king is not above the law, but that he should keep a copy of it with him always, to guide him.
My position is the same. The king is not above the law. Being above every court in the land doesn't make him above the law, it just makes him above any human court, excepting an external government's intervention.
I understand that this is what you believe but it just seems to me that you're trying to have it both ways. On one hand you say that the king is not above the law but on the other hand acknowledge that there is no provision in the law that can be enforced against the king.
As above, from the proposed constitution
|Any amendment or command issued by the King in defiance of this Constitution including one that increases taxes, gives all subjects the responsibility to engage in non-violent civil disobedience, including by withholding taxes, against such offense [B P]. However the King, as the ultimate national judge, likely will prevail in his own court against innocents, his decisions final on Earth even if unjust [B P], unless of course overturned by a foreign power. The King, though required to obey the laws herein, dwells above the jurisdiction of any other court in the land [P]. If the Monarch violates this Constitution through wrongful amendments or otherwise, while no American court has standing to prosecute him, he awaits the Judgment of God |
"...his (the king's) decisions final on Earth even if unjust" is just another way of saying that the king is functionally above the law.
If a king can get away with unjust commands, what's to stop him from crushing the "non-violent civil disobedience" with the police force or even the military? Of course, there is nothing at all to stop him except perhaps if the police and the military both revolt against the king's command but then you're simply talking about either an outright civil war or at the very least some sort of coups d'état. Surely, there must be some civilized way to overcome an unjust king apart from the use of deadly force.
In other words, the law should deter him from changing the law, for one because it means every citizen in the nation would rebel against him, and two because any sane person would love to be exempt from taxes for up to two years by engraving the law and criminal code and placing it in their yard, which means that they are more likely to follow the law, and three because a single point of authority often rightly motivates.
In short what you're talking about is trying to set up the society in such a way as to making it politically impossible for the king to do something in opposition to the law by making the knowledge of the law so ubiquitous that it becomes socially stigmatic and therefore politically incorrect to violate the law.
In which direction is the flow of authority going in such a situation? From the top down or the bottom up?
On that third point, as an example, even though Pontius Pilate is probably the most wicked man in history for sentencing an innocent man to death, he still said Jesus was innocent. It was the "jury," the committee, that demanded he be put to death.
First of all the term "jury" and "committee" are not the perfect synonyms that this point wants to imply. They have similarities but they are not the same thing. The term "jury", as it is used today, implies a group of people who make potentially arbitrary decisions that the jury members are not held accountable for. There is almost no other sort of committee where this is the case.
Second, no one is advocating for a jury system anyway and most especially not one where jury members would not be held responsible for their decisions.
Again, my premise isn't that it would be unlawful, because then all it would take would be to incorporate it into the law, but that it would be WRONG to have a system that undermined the natural flow of authority.
As I said, you've not established that the proposed system meets this "natural flow of authority" criteria.
I hate to say it, Clete, but you're almost making the same argument a legalist makes when they defend the killing of innocent children or when they defend homosexuality. They're both legal, both accepted, but the actions themselves are still wrong.
This is completely backward!
You're the one here advocating for a CONSTITUTIONAL monarchy, where the king can ignore the constitution with effectively no legal consequence, or at least none that bears any resemblance to anything associated with justice. You just got through quoting Bob where he explicitly states that the king has the last word whether his word is just or not, right?
In other words, in the proposed system, the king's wrong behavior is not only morally wrong, it's legal!
In the same way, incorporating a system into the law to allow for the king to be removed is still wrong, even though it may be legal, because such a process inherently undermines his authority. It usurps his authority.
I disagree entirely. The law is the basis for his authority. The law came before the king just as God came before the law. And it was the law that prescribed the process by which the king was crowned and put in his place of authority. For that same law to prescribe a means by which a particular king could be removed only reinforces the notion that the nation is ruled by the law and not a man.
In other words, it makes the government circular, which, like the logical fallacy of circular reasoning, has no foundation.[/quote]
What? This is flatly wrong. The foundation of any human government is the law. The rule of law is the entire point of this entire discussion! The government is not based upon some nebulous, undefined notion of right vs. wrong but upon the law which clearly defines what is and is not permitted by those under it. Placing provisions in the law that permit a king to be held responsible for his actions does not usurp the king. On the contrary, if the king can ignore the law without legal consequence, it is the king who usurps the law.
It's in Colossians 1:16.
It's particularly in Romans 13:1-7.
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. - Romans 13:1-7 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans13:1-7&version=NKJV
"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities."
That includes those within the government.
"whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God"
If you have a system that usurps the authority of the ruler, you're effectively disobeying God.
This is only true if that usurpation is unlawful. Again, the king gets his authority from the law, not the other way around. Even the proposed system explicitly advocates the refusal to pay taxes if those taxes were enacted unlawfully. If the refusal to pay taxes is not considered a usurpation of the king's authority based on the fact that it is lawful disobedience to the king, per the constitution, then on what basis would a lawful removal of a king who has been convicted of a major crime be considered not only a usurpation of the king's authority but a rebellion against God?
I think you missed the point there.
The point is that a singular ruler has the possibility of being a good ruler, even though the majority of the rulers overall will be wicked, whereas a group of people ruling by committee is wicked and guaranteed to become more and more wicked over time, and thus such a government will decay orders of magnitude quicker than will a government where only one man rules.
No, this is not the point of picking the first king by random lottery. This is the point of having a king, yes, but it isn't the reason why the first one it picked at random.
The point of doing it by lots is the idea that God is going to control which side the dice falls on. A terrific assumption to make if you're Israel and thus happen to be the particular nation that God is actively working with and intervening on behalf of. Not such a terrific assumption of you're not that nation.
I don't think there is anyone who could claim to be wise enough to be able to devise such a system, because such an effort is, at best, foolish.
I know a decent man when I see one. Are you going to tell me that you are unable to know whether Bob Enyart, just to give one obvious example, would likely be a better king than would just any old randomly picked average person? You would make a better king than the average Joe Smuck who likely doesn't spend ten minutes a month giving serious thought to matters of morality, law, government or anything else that might qualify someone to be the leader of a nation.
I'm reminded of a vignette that Ravi Zacharias gave in one of his books. I think it was "Can Man Live Without God" but I'm not sure about that. He has the reader imaging himself walking alone down a dark alley when suddenly a group of men come out of a doorway into the alley. He then asks whether it would make a difference in your reaction if there was a sign above the doorway that read something along the lines of "Nightly men's bible study here. All are welcome!"?
It would totally make all the difference in the world, right? That's because people are capable of making correct moral judgments and are in fact, quite good at doing so.
Is it then so unreasonable to, at the very least, pick someone to be the first king who has some qualifications to be the moral leader of the nation? Do we really have to have closeted homosexuals, fornicators, idolators and all other haters of God on equal footing in the random selection of the first king of what is an overtly Christian government?
Only God is wise enough, and even He can't see the future.
Well, that's true enough and if there were some means by which we could have God Himself choose the king, then I'd be all in but there is no biblical guarantee that God would do so for this or any other nation in the dispensation of grace.
And then the King, who is the highest judge in the land, would simply dismiss the case against himself.
Yeah, in the proposed system he would! That's just the whole entire point!
There aught to be some legal provision where such a criminal proceeding can take place where the king has no authority to undo the verdict. How that proceeding would be initiated and how it would proceed, I do not know. I'm not advocating a specific legal process but only that such a process is not only possible but aught to exist as a matter of principle and that if it does not, the king exists in a de facto position above the law.
If he's a good king, then why should his advisors not help guide him?
And if he's a bad king, then why would he listen to such proceedings anyways?
That's why his fate (to use a pagan term) rests in God's hands, so to speak, and not in a legal proceeding that wouldn't work anyways.
Why wouldn't it work?
Your argument presupposes that any king has the ability to ignore the law. If that were the case it would be a fatal argument against the entire notion that such a governmental system was just in the first place.
"The people" means whatever legal proceeding anyone could ever think up, popular vote, court hearing, you name it.
No it doesn't.
It can mean that but it doesn't have to mean that nor has it meant that throughout the history of this country. Quite the contrary, in fact. The framers spent a good deal of effort trying their best to greatly limit the influence of democracy in our government. It has increased it's influence but its still quite far from even being what the framer referred to as "mob rule" much less "whatever legal proceeding anyone could ever think up". The fact is that it's rather difficult to get a law passed in this country and even harder to get an existing law over turned, regardless of how unpopular it is.
Besides all that, I'm not suggesting any form of democratic means of removing the king where a king can be removed because he is unpopular.
Or what, do you think some computer program should oversee such a trial? It doesn't even know the difference between right and wrong, how is it going to determine if the king is either? I know that sounds silly, but I can't think of any alternatives that don't involve "people."
You're arguing against your own proposed system. Any court is run by people including the entire system of courts the proposed system would have at it's core. Every judge is a human judge and all of them would be held accountable for their decisions by other human judges. All of them, that is, except the king who sits above it all, untouchable by any law or legal proceeding.
No system is any more trustworthy than the people who are chosen to run it. That's just as true of your system as it would be if that same system was used with provisions added that held the king accountable for his actions.
Here's the difference though: The proposed government doesn't try to prevent tyranny. It acknowledges it as a possibility, but notes that such a ruler is accountable to THE Ultimate Authority, God Himself.
We are all accountable to God, JudgeRightly! All of us! Why then should regular people be subject to both God and the king? Why permit the king to ignore the law while he gets to crush his subjects under his boot? What makes the king any different than me in regards to criminal justice and the rule of law this side of the judgement of God?
All the other governments that have been proposed ever throughout the course of history (aside from God setting up Israel) have all tried in some way or another to prevent tyranny. Not one of them has ever succeeded. It's a utopia. It doesn't exist, nor can it, not until Christ Himself is ruling.
This is not relevant and does not help your argument in the slightest.
Further, I don't believe it's quite true. Governments have not attempted to prevent tyranny but to curtail it, to limit it. Some governments have succeeded in that effort more than others. I challenge you to find any government in the whole history of man that has afforded its citizens more freedom than you have right now on March 13, 2020 than does the United States of America. If you think this government is tyrannical, you need to reexamine you definition of tyranny. You and I both are "one percenters". We are more wealthy than 99% of all the human beings that have ever existed on the face of the Earth. We have the freedom to live were we like, worship as we like, and do whatever it is we decide we want to do for a living. We both have likely owned several homes and currently own more than one car, each of which is worth more money than most people alive today make in a year's time. We have instant access to any sort of food you can think virtually all of which is available in such quantity that it is all not only available on demand but quite affordable. You can go to the doctor any time you decide that it's warranted and again, it is, for the most part, quite easily affordable. All because we live in a capitalistic country (capitalism is the opposite of tyranny). In short, there has never been a better time as a human being to be alive on planet Earth and there has never been a better place to live than in the United States of America.
Now, that isn't because of our republican form of government, it's because of our capitalistic form of economy but nevertheless, we are not living under a tyrant yet, although the left is trying hard and making progress in that direction.
You know that isn't true, Clete. Our government is probably one of the MOST tyrannical governments.
Unbelievably false. Totally complete irrational nonsense.
If you think this country is more tyrannical than Mexico then explain to me why we are in the process of building barriers to keep people from leaving their home country, traveling all the way through the entire nation of Mexico on foot to get to here? Why do people risk their lives and the lives of their own children at every opportunity to cross an ocean to get from Cuba to the Florida coast?
By what possible metric could anyone suppose that the United States is anything remotely like truly tyrannical governments like that of Iraq under Saddam Hussein or the current Syrian government under Bashar al-Assad or communist China's Xi Jinping or North Korea's Kim Jong-un. And those are all countries that have (or had) kings (or the equivalent)!
Have you ever been to Europe? If you think we have laws here, don't ever bother even visiting Europe! They've got rules on top of rules on top of rules that govern every aspect of your life over there. You can't even throw away a piece of trash over there without think about the rules governing which bin that piece of trash has to go into. It's ridiculous!
We have probably one of the most extensive law systems in the world which is just a system, not a justice system (kgov.com/just-a-system, we have some of the highest tax rates in the world (https://kgov.com/taxes
), the government has its fingers in just about everything we do in our daily lives, and it lets criminal perverts run rampant through the streets of our biggest cities, all while letting murderers continue to murder innocent children behind closed doors, and they even make money off of it.
If that's not tyrannical, I don't know what is.
Yeah, sorry but it's the latter.
I mean, I get your point but this is just flat out not a tyranny under any definition of the word. There is not one law, regulation or rule that could not be over turned if the population decided to do so. That doesn't mean it's just because it can over turn good laws just as quickly as it can over turn bad ones but that's not the point. The point is that this is not a tyranny.
Just a few years ago we just elected a man as President that has set about deleting a great deal of power from the government and massively decreasing the tax burden on virtually every citizen. That does not happen if the country is ruled by a tyrant.
All of us are completely free to leave the state we live it or even leave the country itself and never come back. We don't have to have permission from the government to leave, we don't even have to tell the government where we are going or why we are going there. We can travel to any nation in the world at virtually a moment's notice and most other nations would never force us to ever go back home. That is the absolute opposite of a tyrannical government.
Want to start a business? You can do it! In nearly all cases, you don't need anyone's permission whatsoever. So long as you pay your taxes and aren't doing something crazy like selling children or illicit drugs or some other criminal enterprise, you are completely free to start whatever business you desire. That is the opposite of a tyranny.
I could literally go on for hours. You do not live under a tyrannical government - period.
I'm trying to find it, but it's in either first or second Samuel that God defines a tyrannical government as one that takes more than 10% of one's goods as tax.
Here in the US, the government takes around 40-50%.
In one sense tyranny exists in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. It is also a matter of degrees where one government is "tyrannical" in comparison to another but I'm talking about an actual tyranny where the government rules by fiat command, where there is no rule of law and were people have to get permission from the government to do anything of any importance and aren't free to speak their mind, to assemble as they desire or to worship as the see fit, etc.
I'm gonna use your phrase here, Clete.
I reject that premise and so reject your argument, the premise being that America has done a really good job of preventing tyranny.
Saying it doesn't make it so.
That point DOES, at the very least, not favor a system by which to prevent tyranny, but certainly does not go against a system that does not try to prevent tyranny. (Sorry for all the double negatives, it's the only way I know how to say what I wanted to say.)
Regardless, it's your affirmative case to make and your making the unsupported claim that "human government cannot prevent tyranny; such a government would be an illusion, denying reality" does exactly zero to advance your case.
Further, even if it is impossible to eliminate tyranny outright, that does not imply that mitigating / minimizing it cannot be done with some success. Surely you don't wish to argue that because some degree of tyranny is unavoidable that we should just concede to it and make no effort to curtail it in any way.
If it is the contention that the proposed system is the best possible system, it seems your task then is to demonstrate that the proposed system would yield the least possible amount of tyranny. The proposed system, however, has as a core feature that the law cannot be applied to the king so good luck with that.
Which again, isn't my position.
The king would not be above the law, only above every court in the land, barring an external government's invasion, takeover, and subsequent intervention in his actions.
You cannot be above every court in the land without being above the law of the land.
If there is no way to enforce a law against someone then that person is not under that law.
You surely understand this principle. We are not under the law (i.e. the Mosaic Law) because we have been crucified with Christ. There is, therefore, nothing left for the law to say to us, no further provision in the law that can be legally applied to us. That doesn't mean that it's okay for us to harm our neighbors, right? We will still stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for our lives just as you suggest would happen with the king if he decided to ignore the constitution and the rest of the law.
In other words, this idea that the king will answer to God for his disobedience to the law of the land conflates two separate issues. The law of the land, the criminal justice and other governmental rules and regulations, are not what we will give an account to God about, except to the extent that our obedience (or lack thereof) was moral in nature. This is because the human governmental laws have to do with governing our physical lives. Once we are physically dead, the laws of the United States, regardless of their nature, no longer apply. Thus God cannot apply the law of the land to a dead king. God cannot, for example, apply the death penalty to a king who murdered his subjects because the king is already physically dead!
This is what I was getting at before when I said in a previous post about how we are all going answer to God for the things we've done in this life right along with the king who was place in a de facto position above the law.
Well, no, it means that the type of government we have in the US is a circular government, which it is, and has, therefore, no foundation.
This point simply makes no sense. It has every bit as much of a foundation as any other government does, if not more. That foundation being the rule of law. The fact that our government has been corrupted doesn't remove or even change the Constitution itself nor can that corruption rightly be blamed on the law. On the contrary, it is the rule of law that makes it at least possible to fix the corruption, to remove unjust governmental rules and regulations and to improve, at least in part, the proper function of the government.
And you shouldn't skip this point too quickly. It's a critical point. The United States as currently constituted has a means by which it is at least theoretically possible to steer a wayward government back on course. There are legal procedures that could be followed that would restore the freedoms the citizens of this nation once enjoyed to the point of taking them for granted. In the proposed system however, the only recourse against tyranny is either to wait for the king to repent, for him to die and hope that his heir won't be as much of a tyrant, or simple outright rebellion, which, if successful, would very likely lead to entirely different form of government altogether.
Is not God the ultimate ruler over all?
Did God delegate authority to the rulers to govern?
It is wrong to usurp the authority of a government, because doing so violates God's will for governments to govern.
This argument begs the question. It is only valid from within your proposed system and only then if that system is valid, which is what is being debated.
It also tacitly concedes that the king, under the proposed system is, in fact, above the law because, by your own statement, it would be a usurpation of the king to enforce the law against him.
On the other hand, it would not be any form of usurpation to follow the law! If the law had provisions to permit the king to be held in the docket and to stand trial then there is no violation of the law and thus no usurpation of anyone's power. The only one guilty of usurping the power of the king would be the king himself. That is, if the king is under the law and therefore derives his authority from the law and then if he violates that law, he has usurped his own authority by breaking the law which grants him his authority.
I reject that premise and so reject your argument.
The monarch is not above the law.
I think I've established that he is.
What law can be enforced against the king under the proposed system?
The answer is, "None! There can be no violation of the law enforced against the king because he has the authority to overturn any decision made in any court."
By your own words, the king is above every court in the land.
I think I answered this above... But I want to add a verse that might bring this into perspective:
[JESUS]But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
[/JESUS] - Luke 12:48 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke12:48&version=NKJV
In other words, the punishment will be far greater for a ruler who disobeyed the law, than for one of his subjects who disobeyed the law, because the ruler is responsible and accountable for those he rules over.
This is true anyway! Regardless of the form of government.
In other words, this just does not do anything to argue in favor of having a king that the law cannot touch.
He's not permitted to do so. Yet he may do so anyways, simply because he has a will. He may choose to follow the law, or he may choose to not follow it.
He's not a robot, he's human. He's under the law like everyone else, yet he will be held to a much higher standard than others simply because he is over an entire nation.
The difference being that a king gets to not be punished for it by the criminal justice system. He is, therefore, above the criminal justice system, by definition.
Let me respond by asking you this question, and I'm pretty sure you know the answer, and so will know where I'm going with this hopefully:
Is it possible to prevent all crime? Or is man clever enough to work around any system put in place to prevent him from committing the crime he wants to commit?
This question answers itself and it is not relevant.
The relevant point is that absolute power corrupts absolutely and by your own admission, the king, even if he does not have the expression permission to do so, does have the power to ignore the law if he so wills to do so.
The result is going to be a nation with one tyrant after another with maybe a spattering of good kings every few generations or so, if the nation is lucky.
Let me just say, this is probably the most fun I've had on TOL in a while. I'm really enjoying this! I just wish I had more time to reply! I've been recovering from being sick since about Wednesday last week, so I wasn't able to reply over the weekend like I wanted to, but I have some free time right now that has given me the opportunity to reply. To God be the glory!
Ditto that! :jump: