Today’s authoritarian America reflects the authoritarian roots of the biblical book of Revelation.
Recently, I had an extended conversation, about six hours, with people who identify as Christian conservative Republicans. They argued that American government must reflect Christian values.
I argued that America has matured into an authoritarian state and empowered an authoritarian leader because parts of the Christian bible promote authoritarian ideals.
Bear with me if you find this offensive.
In the book of Revelation, the aptly named final chapter of the bible, God divides the world into two groups, those who are with him and those who are against him. Those who are against him are given the so-called “mark of the beast” while those who are with him have their own mark. Those with God’s mark are protected against the death of the seven plagues, which God brings down upon the people of Earth for their many sins. After 42 months of cleansing, his people are left standing while the others — one-third of the planet — have been sentenced to death in judgment.
In Revelation 18:19 and 19:3–5, God’s people fall to their knees to declare his righteousness in the aftermath of the destruction of the greatest city on the planet, Babylon, and the death of her people. Rather than mourn the violence, God’s people cheered in exaltation at their victory.
“Woe! Woe, O great city,
where all who had ships on the sea
became rich through her wealth!
In one hour she has been brought to ruin!
The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.”
“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
both small and great!”
The book of Revelation makes clear that the judgment of God is that of an authoritarian God — the opposite of true Christianity.
Christ’s message was one of love, liberty, and the Golden Rule. He argued for feeding the poor, caring for the sick, and the overthrow of the corrupt, authoritarian status quo.
Christ’s message of love and respect for fellow mankind resonated with the people because we know in our hearts that love is truly the way.
And what did Christ receive in return?
Christ was nailed to the cross for violating the laws of the land. Christ had the audacity to challenge the laws and the ruling party of the day and he gave his life for it.
His life, his faith, and his actions are that of the ultimate anti-authoritarian and the true libertarian.
Christ Kept It Simple
Enlightened leaders do two things: They bring people together and they keep their message simple. In doing so, they empower their people to bring others into the tent to share the message.
It really is that simple.
So then why do we need a 1,000-page bible full of complex and confusing mystery when the leader professes the simplicity of love, liberty, and mutual respect for others?
Quite simply: we don’t.
To Confuse is to Abuse
Complexity and confusion lead people to give up our agency. If you want to gain power over another person or group of people, muddy the waters; confuse them; convince them that the situation is so complex that it is best to hire someone else to deal with it, and carry on the confusion until they throw their hands up in despair.
Once we have outsourced our decision-making authority to another, we are at their mercy.
James 2:14–26 argues that it is not enough to have faith. We must act on our faith as well, but if we are so confused that we rely on another to tell us what to believe and how to act, are we not acting on their faith rather than our own?
Complex and confusing systems are designed to maintain order for the powerful at the expense of the people. Likewise, complex and confusing books of mystery, such as the bible with its many contradictions, serve to confuse the readers with complexity so that we cede our individual authority to a higher authority.
Again, this is the opposite of Christ’s message of love and liberty, of respect for others, of free will, and of individual sovereignty.
America is in the throes of an identity crisis. We are either a nation of mysterious biblical authoritarianism, as described in the book of Revelation, or of love and liberty, as Christ taught.
Clear as Day
Christ gave his life for the cause of love, liberty, and mutual respect.
Christ believed that we have free will to make our own decisions and to deal with the repercussions.
Christ believed in teamwork, that we are only as strong as our weakest link and therefore advocated for empowering for the poor.
Christ believed in individual sovereignty, not the all-powerful authority of a government over its people.
Christ believed in keeping it simple.
Unfortunately, the authorities still managed to pollute his message with complexity and confusion.
And in America today, we are dealing with those consequences.
So What Are We To Do?
In 1926, Supreme Court Justice Sutherland out of Utah Territory penned the Void for Vagueness Doctrine, which became a constitutional rule. He asserted, in Connally v. General Construction Co., that laws are to be clear, objective, and easily understood by the average American in order to preserve our Fifth Amendment right to due process. Specifically, he stated that “a statute which either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application violates the first essential of due process of law.”
In other words, Supreme Court Justice Sutherland interpreted our founding documents to guarantee we, the people, with the freedom that comes with simplicity in the law — because with simplicity comes understanding.
Unfortunately, the very next year, in 1927, the United States assigned permanent authority to the Federal Reserve Bank to manage our currency in secret, in direct contradiction to Sutherland’s ruling. After all, we can neither understand nor supervise what is kept in secret.
A few years later, the world plunged into depression and a second world war. As we emerged from World War II, the secret authorities convinced the American people that to assure our security, we must create an intelligence system through the National Security Act of 1945, and provide them with unprecedented latitude that is wholly unaccountable to Congress through the CIA Act of 1947. This left the American people with faith and trust alone in the conduct of our officers.
In order to fund covert CIA operations, they led our politicians to outlaw drugs and alcohol thereby giving our intelligence community a monopoly on those markets. Gang violence led government to repeal alcohol prohibition; yet, drug prohibition remains in place today. We then commissioned our military to fight the spread of communism in Vietnam while gaining access to their valuable drugs and oil.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, our empowered secret authorities created a new menace, terrorism, which wears no uniform and roams free from nation to nation. They passed the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, providing appropriate tools required to intercept and obstruct terrorism, as the acronym reads. However, without supervision, our authorities took their liberty to construct a mass surveillance system to monitor the communications of not only our foes around the world but also liberty-loving Americans here at home.
They were able to do these things because of the liberty that secrecy affords them — at our expense.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add, ‘within the limit of the law’ because the law is often the tyrant’s will and always so when it violates the right of the individual.”
Rightful liberty for one is not at the expense of another.
We have empowered authority with a classified cloak of darkness with the hope that they will act in good faith. In return, authority has done what authority does best: increase and insulate power for themselves, using our faith as a weapon against us.
Because that’s what absolute power does; it corrupts absolutely.
Today, we are participating in the end game for authoritarianism in America. Our president, acting for the Federal Reserve Bank and its intelligence agencies, seeks total governmental control at the expense of the principle which made our country free and what made America great — our liberty.
To restore liberty in America, we must pursue a path of simplicity and transparency in the law.
Inspired Faith and Effective Action
After much research, I have compiled a three-step plan to restore liberty in America.
- Replace the Federal Reserve Bank with the Credit Union of the United States.
The second half of the Golden Rule states that whoever has the money, makes the rules. If we want to make the rules, then we must own our money.
To that end, with our clean, green, citizen-owned, and fully transparent credit union, we will shift power away from secret authority and into the transparent hands of the public, as our founders intended. We will get off of oil, out of oil-wars, invest in renewables and organics, and split the profits with the people instead of the banks. With clean air, fresh water, and healthy organic food, we will share in the savings of lower-cost healthcare. With nature-backed money that retains value over time, we, the people, not the bankers, will reap the well-earned fruits of our labor. And with control over our money, we will regain the liberty and authority to ensure that our Constitution is applied to all people at all times, by default and without exception.
2. End Qualified Immunity, Civil Asset Forfeiture, and the War on Drugs.
Government officials enjoy a “qualified immunity” from prosecution for violating our rights as a result of the 1947 CIA Act, the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act, and the rulings that followed. Civil asset forfeiture empowers and incentivizes law enforcement to seize and sell our property at a profit for their benefit and in violation of our Fourth Amendment right to be secure in our person, property, and communications. This is particularly troubling, because as a founding father, author of the Declaration of Independence, and third President of the United States Thomas Jefferson once said, “…law is often the tyrant’s will and also so when it violates the rights of the individual.”
Love and liberty respect the individual right of free will. Likewise, we hearken the words of Thomas Jefferson who defined rightful liberty as “unobstructed action within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” In other words, as long as our liberty does not infringe upon yours, we are free to live and do as we please. In law, this translates to the repeal of laws that criminalize victimless action, such as drug laws, gun laws, and so-called laws of morality. If we believe in love, liberty, and mutual respect as Jesus taught, and as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wrote in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution respectively, then our laws must reflect the latitude of action that accompanies rightful liberty and the Golden Rule.
By ending qualified immunity, civil asset forfeiture, the war on drugs, and victimless crimes, we will hold government officials accountable for their actions, align incentives with our human and environmental values, reduce the size of government, and restore liberty for the wrongly convicted. Moreover, by legalizing drugs, we will get people out of prison, off the pills, off the streets, and back to work; we will reunite and strengthen families, and we will eliminate the illicit markets that fund violence on the streets and corruption in government.
3. Pass a Void for Vagueness Amendment.
America is a nation of love, liberty, and the mutual respect of the Golden Rule. The measure of our liberty is limited only by our access to and understanding of the laws, information, and systems that constrain our thought and action. That is why Justice Sutherland wrote that for laws to comply with our Fifth Amendment right to due process, they must be written in a manner that is clear, objective, and easily understood by the average American.
What was once a constitutional rule has been cast aside by the authoritarian elite for their personal benefit. To restore our liberty, we must codify simplicity and transparency into our Constitution so that we never again fall prey to the deception of secrecy. We then must implement the systems that are necessary to facilitate simplicity and transparency in government. In doing so, we, the people, will be empowered with the same information as our elected officials, not upon request, but by default so as to ensure ease and simplicity in our supervisory duties.
This process will also provide an enormous natural stimulus to the economy by empowering entrepreneurs with the information necessary to identify and address inefficiency in government and in society. It is also important to note that natural economic stimulus involves freeing information from classification so that entrepreneurs may solve problems at a profit. True economic stimulus does not involve the fictitious creation of money through federal borrowing or the push of a button by the Federal Reserve Bank.
President Reagan spoke the words, “Trust, but verify,” because he didn’t trust the Soviets to honor their end of the nuclear disarmament deal. Likewise, our own government has proven what we already knew to be true, that absolute power corrupts absolutely and that it is not enough to trust authority to act in good faith without legal recourse.
America is a nation of love and liberty founded on the mutual respect ideal of the Golden Rule. To live up to our standard of excellence, we must regain control over our money, hold government accountable, and apply simplicity and transparency in government with laws and systems that are clear, objective, and easily understood by the average American. As we have seen, making exception to the rule of mutual respect and accountability is a recipe for authoritarian-induced disaster.
With this three-part liberty platform, we will create a clean, green America that is healthy, wealthy, and free.
On Love and Liberty
“I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made our country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.”
That’s Article VI of the Military Code of Conduct, and it’s very personal for me.
As a Marine Corps Officer, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic; however, it’s not only my word that binds me to my oath; I am also bound by my faith. I believe that the Constitution of the United States of America together with our Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights are inspired documents, reflective of Christ’s true teachings of love, liberty, and mutual respect. It’s the simplicity of the message of love and liberty that has inspired my faith and impelled my action to remain committed to our nation and my oath as a Marine, as a person, and as yet another target of authority.
As we take action to restore liberty in America, let us recall the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “The laws are not to change the heart, but to restrain the heartless.”
Let us restrain the heartless by attacking their tool of tyranny: complexity, subjectivity, and secrecy in the law. Let us shine a light into the darkness, to illuminate our faith, inform our action, and pave the path of love and liberty — and let our love of liberty inspire our faith and guide our action to create a more just and equitable society.
About the Candidate:
Joe McHugh is an independent candidate for president of the United States with ballot access in Utah and Colorado. He is a Marine Corps veteran, entrepreneur, and author with a background in finance and economics, and degrees of International Relations and Political Economics from Michigan State University and an MBA from Babson College, the #1 school in entrepreneurship worldwide. McHugh believes that a clean, green America is healthy, wealthy, and free. Donate $4.20 at LibertyStrikesBack.com to restore liberty and justice for all.