“The Universal is to be found in the State…The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on earth…We must therefore worship the State as the manifestation of the Divine on earth, and consider that, if it is difficult to comprehend Nature, it is harder to grasp the Essence of the State…the State is the march of God through the world…” — Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, as quoted in Popper, Karl R., The Open Society and its Enemies, 4th ed., 2 vols. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1963, vol. 2, p. 31.
“…the State ‘has the supreme right against the individual, whose supreme duty is to be a member of the State… for the right of the world spirit is above all special privileges.’” Author/historian William Shirer, quoting Georg Hegel in his The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1959, page 144).
Hegel, it probably doesn’t surprise you, was an important precursor to Marxism, in that he held that the State owned everything, and had all the prerogatives of God Almighty.
But that was also the view of the founder of the Progressive movement, Woodrow Wilson. As Wilson put it, the essence of Progressivism was that the individual “marry his interests to the state.” Jonah Goldberg noted that:
Wilson’s fascination with power is the leitmotif of his whole career. It informed his understanding of theology and politics, and their intersection. Power was God’s instrument on earth and therefore was always to be revered. In Congressional Government he admitted, “I cannot imagine power as a thing negative and not positive” (Liberal Fascism, p. 84).
We also learn of the founder of the Progressive movement that:
“Wilson would later argue when he was president that he was the right hand of God and that to stand against him was to thwart divine will.” [And that] “He always took the side of power, believing that power accrued to whoever was truly on God’s side” [Liberal Fascism, p. 85]
“‘Government,’ Wilson wrote approvingly in The State, ‘does now whatever experience permits or the times demand’” (found in Liberal Fascism, p. 86, with footnote].
Jonah Golderg cites Woodrow Wilson from his unintentionally chilling essay, Leaders of Men:
“Only a very gross substance of concrete conception can make any impression on the minds of the masses. They must get their ideas very absolutely put, and are much readier to receive a half truth whcih they can promptly understand than a whole truth which has too many sides to be seen all at once. The competent leader of men cares little for the internal niceties of other people’s characters: he cares much – everything – for the external uses to which they may be put … He supplies the power; others supply only the materials upon which that power operates … It is the power which dictates, dominates; the materials yield. Men are as clay in the hands of the consummate leader” (Liberal Fascism, p. 89; from Woodrow Wilson, Leaders of Men, 1952, pp. 20, 25-26].
And Wilson argued, “we must demand that the individual shall be willing to lose the sense of personal achievement, and shall be intent to realize his activity only in connection to the activity of the many.”
“God” was useful to Wilson and his fellow progressives in order to seize dictatorial powers and advance the cause of a Government as God. But the atheist communists founded a system in which God was overthrown, and the State could assume His prerogatives unto itself. Modern progressives have likewise banished God out of government, but they still fiercely stand for “Government as God.” “God” may largely be gone from their arguments, but, like Woodrow Wilson and like the communists, their worship of power remains.
Right now, today, we are facing an incredibly important issue in this country which boils down to the following question: Do we own the state, or does the State own us?
Now, someone might argue, “No one’s debating that. Liberals aren’t arguing that ‘the State owns citizens.’”
And I would argue, “Really?” And then I’d hand off the ball to Brit Hume.
BAIER: Senior political analyst Brit Hume is here with some thoughts about what the debate over the soon to expire tax cuts really means.
Good evening, Brit.
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Bret.
The running argument over extending the Bush tax cuts may come to nothing if Congress decides to go home in just three weeks, but it has been a revealing exchange nonetheless. The president’s call for extending the cuts for middle class taxpayers is an acknowledgment that President Bush did not just cut taxes for the rich as Democrats are fond of claiming. He cut them for all taxpayers.
Administration officials keep saying it’s a bad idea to keep the cuts in place for wealthier taxpayers because it would cost $700 billion in lost revenue over 10 years. What they don’t say is that keeping them for the middle class which they now support would cost about three times that much.
Still, the president’s position means he agrees with Republicans that raising people’s taxes in the midst of a flagging economy is a bad idea. But the very language used in discussing these issues tells you something as well. In Washington, letting people keep more of their own money is considered a cost. As if all the money really belongs to the government in the first place in which what you get to keep is an expenditure.
This sense of the primacy of government is reflected in the high percentage of stimulus funds used to bail out broke localities and protect the jobs of government workers. Democrats are proving once again that they are indeed the party of government. Americans think government is important, too. They just don’t think financing it takes priority over all else — Bret.
BAIER: Brit, “The Washington Post” is reporting that top Democratic leaders want to rebrand the extension of the Bush tax cuts to call them the Obama tax cuts for the middle class. What about that?
HUME: Well, if we had sat here a year and a half ago and one of us had said to the other that Democrats at this stage would be wanting to rebrand the Bush tax cuts and continue them and call them the Obama tax cuts, we’d have both fallen out of our chairs laughing. These are people who opposed these tax cuts when they were passed. They now not only want to extend them or at least the largest piece of them, but they want to put Barack Obama’s name on it. Bret, it doesn’t get any better than this.
BAIER: All right. Brit, thank you.
I recently wrote an article that refutes the Democrat contention that tax cuts have to be “paid for” or “cost” the government. And Brit Hume points out – as I do – that the Democrats screaming about the $700 billion that the rich’s tax cut would cost the Treasury, while simultaneously calling for a tax cut for the middle class (which they vigorously opposed during George W. Bush’s presidency) that would cost the Treasury $3 TRILLION according to the same report. But in the above special commentary, Brit Hume destroys the very premise by which the Democrats argue that the tax cuts should be treated as a “cost” to the government at all. On what ethical basis should allowing people to keep more of the money that they earned be deemed a “cost” to the government?
Think of it this way. Suppose I believe that my next door neighbor’s property belongs to me, and allowing my neighbor to keep what I think is really mine is a cost to me. Our prison system is filled with people who think precisely that way. But is it true? Well, only if the entitlement mindset of coveting what others have accumulated is the way the world should work. In that case, what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine, too. Otherwise, if my neighbor’s property actually belongs to my neighbor, then no matter how much he works or how much he profits, it doesn’t cost me anything. And it would frankly be immoral of me to think otherwise.
Here’s another way to think of it, in the words of Chief Justice John Roberts:
“I had someone ask me in this process — I don’t remember who it was, but somebody asked me, you know, ‘Are you going to be on the side of the little guy?’ And you obviously want to give an immediate answer, but as you reflect on it, if the Constitution says that the little guy should win, the little guy is going to win in court before me. But if the Constitution says that the big guy should win, well, then, the big guy is going to win, because my obligation is to the Constitution. That’s the oath.”
But while it IS the oath, it is no longer the system. Rather, we have a system that has been perverted by judicial activism and by the politics of class envy and class warfare.
Then there’s the fact that even the wealthiest billionaire becomes “the little guy” when confronted by the power of government.
Watching the September 16th Larry Kudlow program on CNBC, I learned that China has ten times the growth of the United States, and that China has lower taxes than we have. Meanwhile, Democrats are using Marxist class warfare and redistributionist arguments to try to raise American taxes even higher. With all due respect, what should you call a party that is even more communist now than communist China?
So let me ask again: Does the government own all of my wealth, and allow me to keep some of it? Do I belong to my government, or does my government belong to me?
In Washington under the Democrats’ philosophy, letting people keep more of their own money is considered a “cost.” It’s “lost revenue” for the government. As if all the money we earn really belongs to the government in the first place and that what government allows us to keep amounts to a government expenditure. In this mindset, we are wading neck deep into the waters of Marxist collectivism, and the view of Government (big ‘G’) as being our God and as Savior.
The story of abusive big government is not a recent one. The prophet Samuel describes it in the Old Testament:
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles. — 1 Samuel 8:19-20
Who are we really rejecting? God said to Samuel:
“…it is not you they have rejected, Samuel, but they have rejected me as their king.” — 1 Samuel 8:7
Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.” — 1 Samuel 8:10-18
The tenth of everything that God warned the people the king would take was on top of the tenth that belonged to God. Which is to say that the king would double their taxes in addition to treating the people like they belonged to him. Of course, that tyrant king was only seizing an additional tenth of his people’s wealth; imagine today, where in the highest-taxed states (which are all Democrat states, fwiw), some Americans are forced to pay more than half of their income in taxes. A mere extra tenth would be like a blessing to them.
From doubling our taxes to quintupling them; a good definition of “progressivism” is a political movement that is devoted to making things ever worse than they were before.
Our founding fathers went to war in their reaction against tyrannies which are nothing as compared to the tyrannies modern Americans now face every day.
Tyranny is the kind of thing that creeps up on a people. It’s not like we have a “Tyrant Party” that promises more tyranny, and then we vote for them. Rather, tyranny is “progressive.” The wrong people, or people with the wrong worldview, gain power, and then they just seize more and more and more of our freedoms. Until we wake up and wonder what happened.
47% of Americans pay no federal income taxes at all today, while demanding that a smaller and smaller group of people pay an increasing share of taxes.
But mark my words: the same government that believes that it owns the wealth of the wealthiest will all too-soon understand that it owns your wealth, too. And that it has the right to take from you whatever it demands.
Update, September 27, 2010: here we go again…
Tags: 1 Samuel, China, cost $700 billion, Do we own the state, God, Government as God, he will take, Hegel, John Roberts, king, Marxism, middle-class, or does the state own us?, power, rich, statolatry, tax cuts, taxes, the State 'has the supreme right against the individual, the State is the march of God through the world, tyranny, wealthiest, Woodrow Wilson, worship the state