Welcome to Brian's Bits, where Brian gets to share at length about various topics stirring inside of him.
The Tyrannical Nanny
5 October 2013
The continuing soap-opera drama in Washington D.C. over the federal budget — which has led to a partial government shutdown — speaks volumes about where our country is at and where it is headed.

An article on the Fox News Web site Thursday opened with an insightful statement and urgent question: "For all its downsides, the budget stalemate has helped shed light on a pressing question — which parts of the government can Americans live without?"

For an it-would-be-funny-if-it-weren't-so-sad satire of the shutdown, don't miss Daniel Greenfield's Government Shuts Down, Nation Descends into Riots, Looting and Cannibalism.

During the hundred or so years before the United States became an independent nation, as well as the hundred or so years afterwards, immigrants flocked to America in order to escape governmental tyranny. They didn't arrive here looking for government hand-outs and support. They simply wanted the freedom and opportunity to work hard and build lives for themselves without the burden of government oppression. It wasn't at all easy to leave everything behind and make the dangerous voyage to the New World, but ubiquitous tyranny forced many to leave Europe to search for a better way.

The Founding Fathers of the United States purposely established a small, unobtrusive government, with plenty of checks and balances, in order to avert the possibility of tyrannical European-style government taking root in America.

Imagine the shock and horror these Founding Fathers would be feeling in our day if they could see the tyrannical government their descendants have created — the very system they were trying to escape from and prevent! The last thing on their minds was the modern Nanny State. Lest there is any doubt about the overbearing control exerted by modern government policy, let's take a few moments to survey the landscape: Such governmental meddling and control comes at a great cost — not only morally and socially, but most definitely at great financial cost. The current national debt is nearly $17 trillion. That staggering number does not even include an additional $46 trillion in unfunded obligations like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

The American government and the American people are living WAY beyond their means. Rather than cutting back, eliminating luxuries and waste, getting back to basics, and living in reality, America lives in a fantasy world sustained by massive debt. Sooner rather than later that illusion will come crashing down, and America will have a rude and extremely painful awakening.

For an excellent article on government bloat, waste, and the current budget crisis, see Daniel Greenfield's The Sun Sets on Washington D.C.

I've written a number of articles in the past about the financial and governmental problems of the United States, so I don't want to go into any more detail here. I encourage you to read the following articles for more information about these important subjects: Of course, all what I have listed above is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Whole books and Web sites could be (and probably have been) written about American governmental tyranny and abuse of power. How is it that we as a nation have sunk so low? And how is it that many Americans don't even realize that we have fallen so far? What has caused the land of the pioneers to become a bloated Nanny State? I think there are a number of dynamics involved.

  • Overzealous do-gooders: C.S. Lewis astutely observed that "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

    There's no denying that the teachings of Christianity had a profound influence on the development of American culture and values. The desire to help others still runs deep in our society. This has resulted in a large number of organizations, and even government departments and programs, dedicated to aiding those in need.

    Unfortunately, as our citizens and society become more and more estranged from God, this do-gooding becomes more and more unhealthy and even destructive. The desire to do good must be balanced with Biblical wisdom and morality. Failure to do so can easily been seen all around us — and in the list of overbearing governmental meddling above.
  • Lust for power and control: As the famous quote from Lord Acton accurately explains, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

    Once most politicians gain power, they are loath to give it up. Instead, they often seek more power in order to extend and perpetuate their control. Therefore, it is extremely rare, and almost impossible, for government to reduce its power and control voluntarily. In almost all cases, those in power must be forced to let go, either through the ballot box, adverse circumstances, or even revolution.

    Although I believe that these two points have played a role in the formation of our modern Nanny State, I don't think they are the most important forces at work. This next one, I think, is a much more powerful influence.
  • Spoiled baby citizens: Protestors, the Media, and opposing politicians alike have all been accusing members of congress of acting like children. This may very well be true. But in their very criticisms, these accusers are doing the very same thing. We have become a nation of whining babies!

    When God was announcing the judgment He was about to bring on the Jewish nation, He proclaimed through His prophet, "I will make mere youths their officials; children will rule over them." (Isaiah 3:4) The fact that we are a nation with childish leaders may very well be a sign of God's judgment against America as well.

    Joseph de Maistre famously wrote, "Every nation gets the government it deserves." If so, then having Obama for president for eight years surely says a lot about the horrible condition of our nation. Because we have become a country of self-centered, greedy babies wanting our full share of the Nanny State breast, is it any wonder that our politicians are just the same?

    I've already written an article about this entitlement mentality: It's Not Fair!
  • Church failing to do its job: And now we finally come to what I believe is the real issue. I think it could very well be that this is the root cause of our American Nanny State: the Church — the people of Yeshua — abandoning its purpose and calling, and failing to do its job. I have already written extensively about this in Radical Pruning, but I will touch on a few of the main points here.

    God never intended the government to fulfill the role of the Church. That's why things are so out of whack in America and the West. Education, medical care, social security, helping the poor, protecting the environment — these areas are all the responsibility of God's people, NOT the government. And historically they have been in the Church's sphere of control until modern times.

    But I don't believe it was because the government was greedy for power that they slipped from the Church's domain. No, it is because the people of God abdicated their role. Those who call themselves Christians have neglected the needs of the people around them — so much so, that the government, like a cancerous growth, invades and takes over that area.

    In many areas of social responsibility the Church has dropped the ball, and the government has reshaped itself to fill the void. I believe that the major responsibility for turning our government into an Nanny State lies with those who call themselves Christians, yet fail miserably to live as Christ taught. Then, after the government had taken over these areas, Christians have felt compelled to get into politics, using political power to force "Christian morality" on society.
Unfortunately, the Titanic U.S. is heading full speed ahead for the gargantuan iceberg of debt, which sooner or later is going to sink this country like that mountain of ice sank the ship. And just like the officer and crew of the Titanic, the governmental leaders in the U.S. are too overconfident, blind and stupid to change course before it's too late.

Tragically, the leaders of the church in America are just as overconfident, blind and stupid. Rather than going back to what the Bible teaches, they try to invent all sorts of new gimmicks to address these problems. Rather than conform to the principles in the New Testament, the church in the West is caught up in its own humanistic thinking and methods, as I have shared about in The Myth of a Christian Nation and Pagan Christianity?


I have already mentioned this in Billions and Billions of Dollars Ago... and some other articles, but it is so important that I must share it again here, in a somewhat different form. There is a simple solution to all of these problems which would transform our nation and revolutionize our Christianity.

What if ... ALL the churches in America sold ALL of their property and buildings, and laid off ALL of their paid staff, and used ALL of the resulting money to help the needy in American instead of spending it on themselves, as they do now?

What if ... the church in America told the U.S. government: "From now on, WE will be completely responsible for education, medical care, social security, helping the poor, and protecting the environment — it's no longer your responsibility"?

Imagine all that could be accomplished by such a simple but radical agenda:
  • The size of the government could be greatly reduced. Whole sections of the government could be shut down!
  • Taxes could be greatly reduced.
  • The national debt could be greatly reduced and even eliminated.
  • The needy could be helped individually by warm-hearted believers rather than being treated like a number by cold-hearted institutions.
  • The church could start following the New Testament example of meeting in homes instead of costly church buildings, and having volunteer, part-time leaders instead of paid, professional leaders.
  • The American people would no longer look at the church as self-righteous Pharisees, but as living examples of Yeshua.
Imagine the impact such a radical repentance and radical lifestyle would have on America, and the whole world! Such a step would revolutionize our society, our government and our faith. It would replace the Nanny State with the Good Samaritan Commonwealth. And I'm not even talking about individual Christians selling all they have and giving to the poor, but just the Institutional Church itself.

So why is this simple solution not being implemented? Why is it not even being talked about? Am I the only one who thinks this is a good idea?

Could it be that many pastors are, in ruling over their little church kingdoms, as addicted to power and control as our national leaders in Washington D.C.? Are pastors as unwilling to put themselves out of a job as government workers are? Even if, in both cases, it would be for the good of the nation?

Or is the fault to be found more in the church goers rather than the church leaders? Have they been so brainwashed by 1,700 years of church history that they cannot conceive of meeting together without church buildings? Have Christians been so spoiled by having pastors do all the work that they just couldn't imagine having to do the work of the ministry themselves?

Abandoning church buildings and property as well as paid clergy and staff would be the best thing to happen to Christianity in 1,700 years. It would also be the best thing to happen to this nation in its much shorter history. The tyrannical Nanny can be deposed — so what are we waiting for?


Just the day after I posted this article I came across a very relevant article on the NBC News Web site: As U.S. struggles with health reform, the Amish go their own way. Here are some interesting excerpts:
... it is not the idea of health insurance the Amish reject. The close-knit communities essentially insure themselves. "We have our own health care," said a retired Amish carpenter. "They (hospitals) give you a bill," he said. "If you can't pay it, your church will." The Amish system is a little more complicated than that....

While practices vary by community, most Amish fund their health care through a system that merges church aid, benefit auctions and negotiated discounts with local hospitals — promising quick cash payment in exchange for lower rates.

"The way they come together to pay for health care is amazing," said Jan Bergen, chief operating officer at Lancaster General Health. "It's a tithing. Their sense of responsibility extends beyond themselves and to the community."

"The basic religious reason driving their resistance is that, as a religious faith, the church community should take care of its own members," said Donald Kraybill, author of The Amish and professor at Elizabethtown College. "If there's a disaster like a tornado, fire or hospital bill, the community should come together for that."

"We don't want government paying for our things," said an Amish man from Kinzers, Pennsylvania. "We want to pay our own way." The man from Kinzers said his community relies on two funds. Nearly every family contributes monthly to a hospital aid fund, while large bills are also paid with free-will offerings.
I'm starting to think that if the vast majority of American Christianity can't even get to this level, then there is no way the ideas I shared above would work. If American Christians could get their act together and follow the good example of the Amish, then it just might be possible we would have something to offer to the whole nation. But if we can't even extricate ourselves from the Nanny State, how can we expect to rescue the entire nation from it?

I think the Amish man quoted above sums it up best: "We don't want government paying for our things. We want to pay our own way." AMEN!
This article is 12th a series of articles on this Web site related to American Politics and Culture which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
5  Nov  2008
5  Dec  2008
6  Mar  2010
18  Sep  2010
18  Apr  2011
19  Apr  2011
20  Apr  2011
21  Apr  2011
8  Nov  2011
28  Jun  2013
11  Sep  2013
The Tyrannical Nanny
5  Oct  2013
29  Apr  2014
2  Jul  2014
26  Jun  2015
28  Aug  2015
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