2014-06-20 Peeling the onion
ACH Study Groups
Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders
7659 Gingerblossom Drive
Citrus Heights, CA 95621
This is a letter to our friends –
Peeling the onion
The online “Principles of American Government” (PAG) course is now in its 3rd week. I wish this course were compulsory for every political activist, parent, and high school student! We study the principles that inspired America’s founders. What is it that prompted them to stand and face down the (then) world’s mightiest military force and its civil government? What did they understand? What did they believe. What was the foundation they had that our generation doesn’t understand or has forgotten?
The next PAG course begins on Monday, September 8, 2014. Student comments and course syllabus may be found on the ACH web site (see letterhead). Please phone or e-mail me for further information.
PAG students learn to “peel the onion.” That is, pull back all the layers of a thing until reaching its fundamental parts.
For example: To “govern” is to direct, regulate, control, or restrain. Thus, we may govern ourselves, our families, our church, and our civil government. Family, church and state (civil government) make up the structure of every human society. The family is the building block of a society. Every society has a corporate understanding of a “higher power” they treat as god (little “g” as used here). The vertical relationship between families and god, or God (as the case may be), we call “church.” The horizontal relationship between families and families, we call “state.”
I have found the Bible to be the most proven and reliable source for the rules by which things are governed.
Family, church, and state are the only human organizations I find in the Bible, which God ordained, and through which He works. Christ summed up the whole Bible with the simple command – Love God and love others (“vertical” and “horizontal” relationship).
Reason tells us there are only three fundamental ways to govern a human organization: Rule of one; Rule of a few; Rule of many. There are no other ways. Every human organization is ruled by some combination of these three elements. It is a rare exception, for an organization to be ruled by only one form, exclusively.
The names we assign to these forms: Rule of one – “monarchy”; Rule of a few – “aristocracy”; Rule of many – “democracy”. I find all three forma in the Bible. Each form has its assets and its liabilities. For example, a monarch can get things done without having to get agreement from anyone else. On the other hand, such unlimited power easily corrupts. The other two forms may also become corrupted.
An unlawful monarchy is called a “tyranny.”
An unlawful aristocracy is called an “oligarchy.”
An unlawful democracy is called an “anarchy.”
America’s founders tried to highlight the strengths of each form and limit the faults of each form. Thus we have “checks and balances” between the Executive (one); Judicial (few), Legislative (many) departments of our government.
Another fundamental principle, illustrated through human history: The corporate vertical relationship between a society and its god (or God) will always determine is horizontal relationship – that is – its form of civil government. Never the other way around.
What follows is a timely quotation is from Verna Hall (1960) in the Preface of the book she compiled and that we use as a PAG text book.
“In proportion as Americans let go of faith in the absolute power of God, they have accepted the belief in an all powerful State. This is true of peoples or nations, for their idea of God determines the form of their civil, political, religious and social institutions. Communism and socialism are anti-God and anti-Christian; the battle against communism and socialism never was, and is not now, just economic and political; it is religious. Shall Christianity be taken captive?”