A presentation by a Christian libertarian at a recent LP chapter meeting, a recent forum discussion on the question “Was Jesus an Anarchist?,”and personal loss (the passing of my mother, in November) have set my thoughts as we enter into 2015 towards the Author of Liberty, and the promise of His Return. How close are we? After a long political campaign, and other events, please indulge me as I go over a few biblical considerations about the Second Coming, the Millennium, and the liberty that would exist in that order.
While no one can know the day and hour of His arrival, is He “at the door?” We don’t have an exact date, but, He did indicate the events of the Second Advent would happen sometime after the generation that saw the return of Jerusalem to control by the Israeli people. Per Revelation, the end of the age would also be upon us when it was logistically possible to track, monitor or permit/prevent everybody’s economic activity (the Beast system), which appears to be about now. To many believers, Hosea 6:1-2 teaches Jews would be risen after “2 days” (prophetic speech for 2 thousand years), which corresponds to the 2,000 year history of the Christian church.
Other (non-biblical) markers are the predictions of historic Christian figures (2nd century Barnabus et al) believed world history from Creation to the start of the millennium would be 6 prophetic days, with the final 2 ‘days’ being the 2000 years of the Church. Since the church era started about 32 AD, that would place the Return by or before 2032 AD. Luther (circa early 1500’s) likewise believed the Messiah would return in about 500 years after his time.
According to St. Malachy, a Catholic figure who is said to have predicted all the Popes from his time (circa 1139) to present, we are at the last Pope, who will become the Apostate Pope of the ‘end time.’ And some believe the real third prophecy of Fatima (withheld by the Roman Church for decades) revealed that the events of His Return would start sometime in this decade. And so on.
But how would a God-based Kingdom possibly be reconcilable with liberty, or does it even exist, as some (somewhat secular inclined) libertarians would ask? I would first say, briefly, that while God has a Kingdom, and it is definitely literal/historic or real, one enters into it and into His covenant on a voluntary basis. It is a voluntary order based on a recognition of His rightful authority and law, not a human civil government, that typically asserts authoritarian, monopoly control on everyone whether they consented to be under its rule or not. In this respect, it is an anarchist kingdom 100% free of false authority elements.
Second, the God of the new Testament is the same God of the Old Testament, whose attitude towards human civil government is reflected through His prophet in I Samuel chapter 8. Rather than set up another human kingdom that would take their land and crops, turn their sons into horsemen and troops, loot the people through taxes, or erect monuments to its rulers, etc., Samuel said the people could simply continue the simple anarchistic, non-authoritarian system of judges that had served them for hundreds of years. This plea by a prophet of God clearly teaches there is a legitimate anarchistic alternative to civil government, even as He still permitted the people to choose the latter anyway.
Satan still walks and administers this present world. Satan is working toward his throne in Jerusalem. But he holds all earthly governments, ever since the very first human government. And this factor, along with the sin nature, of course, is why all attempts at human civil government have eventually failed. The only earthly exception has been the non-governmental, anarchistic theocracy of ancient Israel, and (presently) the millennial Kingdom to be instituted at the return of Christ. The Bible does not seem to indicate it is possible for even anarchism to work, without God at the center. The Lord, always and forever, is the secret sauce.
It has arguably been the point of biblical history, and the 6,000 years of human civilization to show that Man could not succeed at governance on his own, due to sin and demonic influence. As the rest of the history of the kings of Israel and Judah showed, even a special people chosen by God and advised by His prophets lived in near constant disobedience, war, and disaster over the centuries. The whole point of those six ‘days’ was to prepare the race to finally accept Christ as ruler of the earthly kingdom during the seventh ‘day’ of civilized history, where we will enter His day of rest during the Millennium.
Apart from the Snowden revelations, the just released CIA Torture Report is probably the most important disclosure of CIA and other abusive intelligence programs since the Church hearings. Like in the ’70’s, we now have US Senate disclosed confirmation of massive conduct of ‘evil ops’ and the cover-up of same by the government. The fact that the Senate summary is doubtless cleaned up (and overstates the CIA’s role, to make them a scapegoat to cover the entire establishment’s sins) should not be overlooked.
Only the 600 page cleaned-up summary has been released to the public, not the 6,000 pages of classified documents that remain closed. Yet the FOX News/Neocon central command crowd claims even that is too much transparency. And that network played the “9-11, 9-11, WoT, WoT” card hard yesterday, saying that framework justifies the rough treatment “of just a couple of bad people” (Cavuto). The words “most of the tortured detainees were known to be innocent” strangely never passed the lips of the torture apologists during their all-day discussion of the report. I wonder why?
Karen Kwiatkowski had the most trenchant comment Ive seen so far:
Newsflash: the state as an institution tortures as a matter of course, and will always do so. Torture isn’t about the guy who gets tortured, it’s about creating and fostering thousands and tens of thousands of state enablers who do what they are told, blindly and without presenting a significant moral challenge. Until people stop doing what they are told, stop honoring the false idea that politicians and institutions have official privacy or deserve confidentiality, and distrust of the state becomes the spirit of the land, we will have many more opportunities to see, hear about and perhaps participate in torture at the hands of the state.
The election of 2014 is over, and John Clifton ended up getting the most votes of statewide LPNY candidates. While the party has not yet established permanent ballot status in New York, much progress has been made by Libertarians and liberty candidates nationwide. As announced previously, between election efforts, this blog reverts to being an ongoing review of liberty issues, and/or proposed efforts to bring about changes in that direction in New York and elsewhere. With or without electoral victory, there is much work to do to influence legislation, and build awareness of liberty principles and candidates for the future. Let’s keep moving!
LP candidate John Clifton says the most profound vote New Yorkers can cast Election day is one that will restore liberty to the state. Please vote for the freer, sounder and honest government represented by his candidacy for NYS Comptroller, and especially for Michael McDermott for Governor. Those concerned about ensuring more attention be given to repealing the NY Safe Act, Common Core, Obamacare, or other freedom stealing measures that have been implemented in New York should vote for Team liberty candidates to enable the Libertarian Party obtain 50,000 votes in the Governors race. In this context, a vote for the Republican candidate Bob Astorino for Governor is a wasted vote.
As many political observers have noted, neither Astorino nor McDermott may win, but the implications if the LP gets permanent ballot status are huge. The ballot complications in NY make it difficult for third parties without regular status to run more than a handful of candidates per election. But with that status, Libertarians can EASILY run strong constitutional candidates in all 62 counties for the next four years, and make a CONSTANT case for the 1st and 2nd Amendment, and other liberty rights that the GOP and Democrats simply do not, and will not make. The big picture is, third parties are determined to push such issues regardless of the election results, while the major parties have a track record of only mentioning them to get votes, with no legislative follow-up once they win.
Whatever the outcome, Clifton will continue to fight for the liberties and prosperity of New Yorkers and for America, either through ongoing political advocacy and campaigns, through his consultation work, or other projects. Your work at the ballot box can make a difference. VOTE FOR LIBERTY NOVEMBER 4!
More of John Clifton’s answers to the debate questions asked at the 10/15 NYS Comptroller debate:
- Working with the Governor: Why has the Governor declined to endorse the incumbent Comptroller, both in 2010 and currently? Why no joint campaign appearances, etc? Does this situation impact the Comptroller’s ability to audit executive agencies, or worsen the relationship? How do you [DiNapoli] navigate these rocky shoals, since the Governor is very powerful and has a long memory?
New York needs a less self-serving and more accountable chief executive, such as Michael McDermott, the LP candidate for Governor. The truth is, there are ‘clans’ or factions inside both major parties. Andrew Cuomo has been part of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s network of surrogates since the mid ‘90’s, while DiNapoli is an unaligned machine Democrat who got into office without their involvement or help. Coumo’s decisions have more to do with pleasing his clan, shunning non-clique members in his own party, or positioning himself and his team for higher office, than with serving New Yorkers.
- Subpoena Power: The Attorney General has recently piggybacked on the Comptroller office’s ability to issue subpoenas in public corruption cases. He has asked for that power, along with his predecessor Andrew Cuomo (when he served as AG), but Coumo has not given him this power since becoming Governor. Should the AG get it? Should the AG-Comptroller collaboration continue?
Subpoena power, and the power to confer criminal jurisdiction, curiously lies with the NYS Comptroller. Of course, a state Attorney General should have subpoena power to pursue state corruption issues, as there is plenty of it to pursue. The Governor understood this when he was AG, but apparently only wanted the power for himself, as he has cynically dropped his support once he became Governor. I would work with the AG to support providing subpoenas as needed, until this power can be given to that office outright.
- Shareholder Activism: Would you base your investment decisions on your political ideas? What comes first, investment returns, or political principles? As in investing, no matter what the company is doing, or not? And would acting on a company’s activity be an investing decision, or a policy decision?
To repeat, Libertarians believe in fundamental reform or repeal of public pension programs. We oppose government funding of businesses (i.e., subsidies) or corporate welfare. If I was investing monies as a private fund manager, investing considerations would come first. But because “investing” public funds is not a proper function of government, as a principled public figure I would put principle first, and advocate not doing so.
- Struggling Municipalities: Local governments upstate are feeling financially squeezed. They say the combination of an erosion of their industrial base, an imposed 2% cap on property tax increases, as well as flat levels of state aid have led to some pretty tough choices. Cuomo has responded by creating a fiscal restructuring board, and proposes an unprecedented $500 million next year to incentivize consolidations and mergers by local governments. As Comptroller, would you push for either course of action, or for a different course? Should the state share more of its revenues with cash-strapped municipalities? Has the state done enough to help? What is the role of the Comptroller here?
As a Libertarian, I see the explosion of taxation, regulation, unfunded mandates and other government force as the main factor behind the erosion of the state’s industrial base. The problem is not the absence of state subsidies, but too many subsidies and spending going on in all directions. A net 300,000 former New Yorkers have moved away from the state in the last few years, due to the negative impact of all the government overhead. Thank the heavens for the 2% cap on property taxes, otherwise those taxes would be increasing to the point where still more residents would be fleeing from the state.
The answer is also not adopting a policy of “austerity” via consolidations, or drastic cuts to essential services in the local governments (that is, basic government functions that Libertarians believe are justified as they protect the life, liberty and property of New Yorkers). The “austerity” that is needed is a radical reduction in non-essential state government spending, taxation, and borrowing. The state should be returning its excess revenues back to the taxpayers who were robbed in the first place. Audits and reports I would prepare as Comptroller would outline where fundamental reductions in the size and intrusiveness of government can be made, including ending taxes, regulations and mandates, along with other fiscal changes that will convert the state from being a fiscal basket case, into the economic breadbasket of the Northeast.
- Capital Plans: There are several big capital plans being discussed that have big numbers missing. That includes the Tappan Zee Bridge (with no indication of what the toll might be), and a 32 billion dollar MTA capital plan with only half of the funding designated. Does the state run an economic risk by launching major projects without the funding or those numbers fully in place, and if so what actions or warnings would you use as Comptroller, to warn against or curb the practice?
It is often said that elections are advanced auctions on stolen goods. The examples of capital plans just cited show how hopelessly committed legislators are to overspending, to the point where they commit to projects without a clue as to how to cover them. Of course this is a hazardous path economically, as it contributes to causing people to leave the state over the largess. My audits would expose this practice of “spending without figuring out how to mug the taxpayers first,” and recommend a solution (stop committing to unfunded projects, and only devise funding plans that are truly temporary, or automatically sunset). E.g., why are people told that tolls are imposed to pay for building a bridge, only to see the tolls never, ever end after the bridge is constructed? This overspending and overcharging of New Yorkers must end!