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Happy Easter! Jesus is a Libertarian! Praise Be His Name!

19 Apr
James Redfern’s classic scriptural analysis:

Jesus is an Anarchist
(A free-market/libertarian anarchist, that is–otherwise what is called an anarcho-capitalist.)
The above title may seem like strong words, for surely that can’t be correct? Jesus an anarchist? One must be joking, right?But you read correctly, and I will demonstrate exactly that. At this point you may be incredulous, but I assure you that I am quite serious. If you are a Christian and find the above title at all hard to believe then you of all people owe it to yourself to find out what the basis of this charge is, for if the above comes as news to you then you still have much to learn about Jesus and about the most vitally important struggle which has plagued mankind since the dawn of history: mankind’s continuing struggle between freedom and slavery, between value producers and the violent parasitical elite, between peace and war, between truth and deception. This is the central struggle which defines mankind’s history and, sadly, continues to do so. As Christians and as people in general, what we choose to believe and accept as the truth is equally as vitally important, for ultimately it is people’s beliefs about the world that will shape and determine what outcomes transpire in the world. If the mass of people believe in political falsehoods and deceptions then mankind will continue to repeat the same gruesome mistakes, as it does presently, and the aforementioned struggle will continue to be no closer to a desirable resolution. Genuine change must first come by changing one’s mind, and if what one had believed before was in error then one cannot expect good results to proceed forth from it. And all change starts with the individual. You can help change the world by simply changing your mind. All I ask of you is to believe in the truth–know the truth and the truth will make you free (John 8:32).

It is the purpose of this document to demonstrate the above claim, and if you are a Christian then I submit that it should be your task to honestly consider what is presented here, for if the above claim comes as a surprise then I will show that what you thought you knew about Jesus was not the whole story: Jesus is far more radical than many would have you believe, and for good reason–it threatens the status quo. For the consequence of this truth becoming understood and accepted by even one-tenth of the population would be quite dramatic indeed: governments would topple like so many dominoes. For as the 16th century Frenchman Étienne de la Boétie observed in The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude( tmh/articles/laboetie.html), all governments ultimately rest on the consent of the governed, even totalitarian dictatorships. Now this “consent” does not have to be in the form of active promotion and support of the State, it could simply be in the form of hopeless resignation, such as accepting the canard “nothing’s as sure as death and taxes.” All governments can only exist because the majority–in one form or another–accept them as at least being inevitable. They believe in the deception that even though government may be evil that it is nevertheless a necessary evil, and therefore cannot conceive of a better alternative. But if such were true then Jesus Christ’s whole message is a fallacy. But such is not the truth, there is an alternative: liberty. And I will show that Jesus has called us to liberty, and that liberty and Christ’s message are incompatible with government.

You may wonder where I got the one-tenth figure from in the above if all governments require the acceptance of their rule by the majority of their population. Again, the reason is because this acceptance doesn’t have to be active support but merely resigned, as it usually is. If just one-tenth of the population strongly believed that government was itself the greatest moral evil and that there was a better alternative it would be enough to turn the tide. Since most people are followers and uncritically accept the reigning political opinions, those who do not accept the status quo and who are able to form and articulate a critical alternative will come to be the intellectual leaders by default when the popular regime suffers a crisis and people begin to look for alternatives. If the history of governments teach us anything it is that such crisis is a regular occurrence, for governments by their nature tend toward instability. If it be asked Why then do we still have government?, it is here answered that it is because no viable alternative to government has been articulated by a critical mass at such a crisis, in that most people throughout history have accepted the deception that government is a necessary evil and could not conceive a better alternative.
Now I will articulate that better alternative, the one that Christ commanded us. I will show that Jesus and His message are necessarily anarchistic. And what better place to start than in the beginning?:

Jesus’s Very Life Began in an Act of Defiance to Government (And Would Later End in Defiance to Government)

If it were not for Joseph and Mary’s intentional act of defying that which they knew to be king Herod the Great’s will and escaping with baby Jesus from out of Herod’s mid as fugitives to the land of Egypt then Jesus would have been mercilessly killed and needless to say His ministry and the fulfillment of Scripture would have never come about. Thus in the most fundamental of regards, there is a great antagonism from the very start between Jesus and government (to say the least): Jesus was born into the world as a criminal and would latter be killed as a criminal–a criminal as so regarded by the government, that is. And what was baby Jesus’s crime? From Matthew 2:1-6 we find the answer:

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ” (NKJV, as elsewhere unless noted otherwise.)

So here we learn that Herod became troubled at the thought that there might be someone else that people would come to regard as their king other than Herod. Herod regarded Jesus as a threat to his power: was his fear unjustified? It is my judgement and this document’s central thesis that Herod was correct in his assessment of Jesus as being a threat to his power–although not just to Herod as an individual but to all that Herod represents, in a word: government; along with the unholy usurpation, deception and subjugation of people that it necessarily entails. For as I will show, Jesus’s Kingdom is to be the functional opposite of any Earth-bound kingdom which has ever existed. And for government, this is the ultimate crime of which Jesus was guilty, and which required His extermination.

Here we read of this pivotal act of holy defiance to government, without which there would be no Christ as we know of:

Matthew 2:13-15: Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
As well, so enraged was Herod upon learning that the wise men had disobeyed his order to report back to him on the location of baby Jesus that he ordered the extermination of all the male children in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas from age two and younger, all in the hopes that baby Jesus would be among the slaughtered (Matt. 2:12,16-18). It was only after king Herod the Great had perished that Joseph brought his family out of the land of Egypt, and then only to Nazareth as Herod’s son Archelaus was then reigning over Judea (Matt. 2:19-23).

How very considerate indeed Jesus was being when He advised His disciples in Mark 8:15:
Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

At the time Jesus offered the above advice He would have been referring to Herod Antipas. Jesus would later be mocked and ridiculed by Herod Antipas before finally being put to death as a common criminal by the Roman government (Luke 23:8-12). In handling the case of Jesus, Herod Antipas asked Jesus many questions, but Jesus refused to answer any of Herod’s questions (Luke 23:9). Thus, not only did Jesus’s very life begin in an act of holy defiance to government but it would also end in holy defiance to government. It was also Herod Antipas who beheaded John the Baptist (Matt. 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9).
The story of Jesus’s life can in part be summed up as suffering through this unjust Satanic world system for having preached the Truth, with government being chief among the culprits of this Satanic world system. All one has to do is review the life story of Jesus to plainly see that government–far from being instituted by God–is and has been a demonic tool of Satan used to oppress the righteous. And I will demonstrate that Jesus and the early Church leaders–as recorded the Bible–knew this to be the case and preached the same. The instrument which Satan used in an attempt to snuff-out that Truth in an act of deicide was government–from the beginning of Jesus’s life to the very end, it was government which sought to exterminate this most dangerous threat of all to its power.

The Golden Rule Unavoidably Results in Anarchism

Jesus commanded us that in all things we are to treat others as we would want others to treat us. Thus:
Matthew 5:17-18: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

Matthew 7:12: […] “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (See also Luke 6:31.)

By saying that this commandment is “the Law and the Prophets” Jesus is saying that by following this one commandment that one is thereby fulfilling the Law of Moses and the principles of the Prophets–in other words Jesus is saying that it is the be-all and end-all when it comes to the proper ethic of social relations. This ultimate social ethic which Jesus commanded everyone to follow is commonly known as the Golden Rule.

But if indeed Jesus actually meant what He said when He spoke these words–and He most certainly did–then this alone is more than enough to prove that Jesus is of necessity an anarchist, and not just any kind of anarchist, but a libertarian, free-market anarchist in particular.

The reason this would necessarily have to be the case is because it is impossible for any actual government to actually abide by the Golden Rule even in theory, let alone in practice. All governments must of necessity violate the Golden Rule, otherwise they would not be governments but would be something else instead.
To understand why this is unalterably true, one must first have a clear and precise understanding of just what a “government” is and just what it is not, i.e., the distinguishing characteristics of Government which differentiates it from all other things that are not Governments.

(When the word is used in the sense above) Government (i.e., a State) is that organization in society which attempts to maintain, and is generally successful at maintaining, a coercive regional monopoly over ultimate control of the law (i.e., on the courts and police, etc.)–this is a feature of all Governments; as well, historically speaking it has always been the case that it is the only organization in society that legally obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion.
It is here where we find why it is quite impossible for any government to actually abide by Jesus’s ultimate commandment. The reason quite simply is because all governments do to their subjects what they outlaw their subjects to do to them. That is, all governments, in order to be a government, must enforce a coercive monopoly on ultimate control of the law–this is a necessary feature of all governments. All governments set up courts and enforce control over ultimate judicial decision, while outlawing others from engaging in the same practice. Thus, for example, if a group of people become dissatisfied with the judicial services that the government is providing and decide to set up shop offering their own private arbitration and protection services on the market without seeking the permission of the government to do so then the government will attack these people and put an end to their competitive judicial services, and would thereby enforce its monopoly on ultimate control over the law. If the government failed to enforce its monopoly on ultimate control over the law then it would cease to be a government, but would instead become just another private protection agency offering its services on a competitive market.

The above scenario leaves out something extremely vital though, as it merely assumes that this government in question somehow obtains its revenue by voluntary contribution and not by coercion. Yet all actual governments throughout history have obtained their revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for contracted services but by coercion. Thus all governments throughout history steal and extort wealth from their subjects which they call “taxes,” yet at the same time governments make it illegal for their subjects to steal from each other or from the government. Thus here again in taxes we see that historically all governments do to their subjects what they outlaw their subjects to do to them. I say “historically” because while although all governments throughout history have found it necessary to fund their operations through theft and extortion, it is not necessarily the case that all governments in theory must be supported by taxes: one could imagine that most people in a certain society simply voluntarily donate their money to fund a government, as unlikely as that possibility is in practice. So while although a monopoly on ultimate control of the law is a logical necessity of all governments, taxes are not–taxes have simply been a practical necessity throughout all of history in order for governments to function.

And so we find that all governments must of necessity continuously violate Jesus’s ultimate social commandment even to simply exist. The principle which all governments are founded upon and follow may properly be termed the “Luciferian Principle.” This logically follows, because to not follow the Golden Rule is to do the opposite of the Golden Rule: i.e., rather than doing to others what you would want others to do to you, you would instead be doing to others what you do not want others to do to you. Hence, if we may term the Golden Rule the “Christ Principle,” or otherwise the “Christian Principle,” then it certainly follows that the opposite of this principle would properly be termed the “Luciferian Principle”: which is none other than doing to others what you do not want others to do to you.

It is for this reason that anyone that takes Jesus’s ultimate ethical commandment seriously must of necessity advocate the abolition of all Earthly governments wherever and whenever they may exist, as governments are necessarily incompatible with Jesus’s ultimate ethical commandment and diametrically opposed to it. In passing, it’s important for me to distinguish “Earthly governments” from what is sometimes called the “Kingdom of God” or the “Kingdom of Christ.” In the above discussion I have been analyzing governments as they are operated by men here on Earth–but as I will show, the “Kingdom” which Christ is to establish on Earth will be the functional and operational opposite of any kingdom which has ever existed on Earth before, i.e., it won’t actually be a government in the sense in which I defined above and will in fact be perfectly consistent with the Golden Rule.

Above I also stated that Jesus’s commandment of the Golden Rule not only proves that He is an anarchist, but also necessarily a libertarian, or free market, anarchist to be specific. The reason that this is so is because an anarchist is simply someone who desires no government to exist: only this and nothing more. Thus, one could desire no government to exist and yet still feel that it is alright to, say, slap people upside the head for no reason. Yet someone who follows the Golden Rule must not do to others what they do not want others to do to them–this necessarily means that one must respect the autonomy of other people’s person and their just property: which unavoidably leads to not just anarchism, as was demonstrated above, but also to the free-market, voluntarist, libertarian order. The rigorous proof of this is that everyone, by definition, objects to others aggressing against what they regard as their own property. If such were not the case then, by definition, such action would not be an aggression but a voluntary action. But ultimately all just property titles can be traced back by way of voluntary transactions (which would thus be consistent with the Golden Rule) to the homesteading of unused resources; or (2) in the case in which such resources were expropriated from a just owner and the just owner or his heir(s) can no longer be identified or are deceased, where the first non-aggressor possesses the resource (which can then be considered another form of homesteading). Thus, for anyone to come into possession of property which either was not homesteaded by themselves or which was not obtained by a voluntary transaction would thereby be violating the Golden Rule, for to do so would mean that they are obtaining a good by involuntary means from another who can trace their possession of the resource either to direct homesteading or through voluntary transactions leading back to homesteading (i.e., of either of the two types given above). Yet, by definition, this aggressor would not want others to take his property against his will which he had come into possession of by voluntary means–and surely everyone possesses such property, even if it is just their own body.

Hence, if Jesus was serious about the Golden Rule–and He most certainly was–then it necessarily means that He is a consistent libertarian, as the Golden Rule as a political ethic is completely congruent with the libertarian Non-Aggression Principle, i.e., that no person or group of people may initiate the use of force against another, or threaten to initiate force against another.

Jesus does not Respect the Person of Men

According to the Bible, every person is equally subject to the commands of God, and one does not become exempt from God’s law simply because one has managed to receive some sort of title of nobility. We are instructed to treat everyone by the same law. Yet this automatically rules out the possibility that governments could ever be legitimate, as they can only exist do to a privilege of monopoly on the ultimate control over the law which they enforce while excluding all competitors. As well, they collect taxes, which they call “theft” and “extortion” if anyone else engages in the same behavior against them or others.

As it is recorded in the Gospels, it seems that the people that knew of Jesus in His day were aware that He did not regard the person of men (i.e., titles of nobility, etc.):

Matthew 22:16: And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men.” (See also Mark 12:14.)

Yet this would have been merely conforming to people’s expectation that Jesus would have been following the Old Testament commands not to regard the person of men (Lev 19:15; Deu. 1:17; 16:19; Job 32:21; 34:19; Prov. 28:21.). But that this is indeed the case was confirmed in the apostles’ writings:
Galatians 2:6: But from those who seemed to be something–whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man–for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.

James 2:8,9: If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (See also 1 Peter 1:16.)

Yet consider what James’s above admonition means as it concerns Jesus’s ultimate ethical command of the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12; Luke 6:31). If we as Christians were to take Jesus’s command seriously and apply it to everyone without partiality, then it would necessarily require that we demand the abolition of all governments wherever they may exist, as they can only exist by a continuous violation of the Golden Rule (see above).

Jesus on Taxes: Nothing is (Rightly) Caesar’s!

The story of Jesus commanding us to give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s (Matt. 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26) is commonly misrepresented as His commanding us to give to Caesar the denari which he asks for (i.e., to pay taxes to government) as–it is assumed–the denari are Caesar’s, being that they have Caesar’s image and name on them. But Jesus never said that this was so! What Jesus did say though was an ingenious case of rhetorical misdirection to avoid being immediately arrested, which would have interfered with Old Testament prophecy of His betrayal as well as His own previous predictions of betrayal.

When the Pharisees asked Him whether or not it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar they did so as a ruse in the hopes of being able to either have Him arrested as a rebel by the Roman authorities or to have Him discredited in the eyes of His followers. At this time in Israel’s history it was an occupied territory of the Roman Empire, and taxes–which were being used to support this occupation–were much hated by the mass of the common Jews. Thus, this question was a clever Catch-22 posed to Jesus by the Pharisees: if Jesus answered that it is notlawful then the Pharisees would have Him put away, but if He answered that it is lawful then He would appear to be supporting the subjection of the Jewish people by a foreign power. Luke 20:20 makes the Pharisees’ intent in asking this question quite clear:

So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.

Thus, Jesus was not free to answer in just any casual manner. Of the Scripture prophecies which would have gone unfulfilled had He answered that it was fine to decline paying taxes and been arrested because of it are the betrayal by Judas (Psalm 41:9; Zech. 11:12,13), and His betrayer replaced (Psalm 109:8–see Acts 1:20); see also Acts 1:15-26 and Psalm 69:25. Here is a quote from Peter on this matter from Acts 1:16:

“Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.”

In Matt. 26:54,56 and Mark 14:49 Jesus testifies to this exact same thing after He was betrayed by Judas. As well, Jesus Himself twice foretold of His betrayal before He was asked the question on taxes–see Matt. 17:22; 20:18; Mark 9:31; 10:33; and Luke 9:44; 19:31. See also John 13:18-30, which testifies to the necessity of the fulfillment of Psalm 41:9, as Jesus here foretells of His betrayal by Judas.

In addition, it appears that the only reason Jesus paid the temple tax (and by supernatural means at that) as told in Matt. 17:24-27 was so as not to stir up trouble which would have interfered with the fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture and Jesus’s previous prediction of His betrayal as told in Matt. 17:22–neither of which would have been fulfilled had Jesus not paid the tax and been arrested because of it. Jesus Himself supports this view when He said of it “Nevertheless, lest we offend them . . .” (NKJV), which can also be translated “But we don’t want to cause trouble” (CEV). He said this after in effect saying that those who pay customs and taxes are not free (v. 25,26)–yet one reason Jesus came was to call us to liberty (Luke 4:18; Gal. 4:7; 5:1,13,14; 1 Cor. 7:23; 2 Cor. 3:17; James 1:25; 2:12).

It should be remembered in all of this that it was Jesus Himself who told us “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matt. 10:16). Jesus was being wise as a serpent as He never told us to pay taxes to Caesar, of which He could have done and still fulfilled Scripture and His previous predictions of betrayal. But the one thing He couldn’t have told people was that it was okay not to pay taxes as He would have been arrested on the spot, and Scripture and His predictions of betrayal would have gone unfulfilled. Yet the most important thing in all this is what Jesus did not say. Jesus never said that all or any of the denari were Caesar’s! Jesus simply said “Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” But this just begs the question, What is Caesar’s? Simply because the denari have Caesar’s name and image on them no more make them his than one carving their name into the back of a stolen TV set makes it theirs. Yet everything Caesar has has been taken by theft and extortion, therefore nothing is rightly his.

Tax Collectors are Sinners!

A further demonstration that Jesus considered the institution of taxation to be unjust is given in the below story:

Matthew 9:9-13: As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (See also Mark 2:14-17; Luke 5:27-32.)
It’s important to point out here that Jesus actually made a stronger case against the unrighteousness of tax collectors than the Pharisees originally had in questioning Jesus’s disciples about it: the Pharisees actually separated the tax collectors from the sinners when they asked “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Yet when Jesus heard this He answered the Pharisees by lumping the two groups together under the category of sinners–thus: “For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Yet since this is the story of Matthew the tax collector being called to repentance by Jesus we will do well to ask how it was that Matthew obtained repentance. The answer: By first giving up tax collecting! And from this beginning Matthew would thus go on to become one of Jesus’s twelve disciples.

On Paul and Romans 13 and Titus 3:1

It is often claimed that Christians are required to submit to government, as this is supposedly what Paul commanded that we are supposed to do in Romans 13. Thus:

Romans 13:1-7: Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
But in actual fact Paul never does tell us in above excerpt from Romans 13 to submit to government!–at least certainly not as they have existed on Earth and are operated by men. In fact, Paul would be an outright, boldfaced hypocrite were he to command anyone to do such a thing: for Paul himself did not submit to government, and if he had then he would not even have been alive to be able to write Romans 13. For Paul himself disobeyed government, and it is a good thing that he did as we would not even know of a Paul in the Bible had he not disobeyed government. As when Paul was still only known as Saul he escaped from the city of Damascus as he knew that the governor of that city, acting under the authority of Aretas the king, was coming with a garrison to arrest him in order that he be executed. This was right after Saul’s conversion to Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. The Jews in Damascus, hearing of Sauls conversion, plotted to kill him as a traitor to their cause in persecuting the Christians. Saul was let out of a window in the wall of Damascus under cover of night by some fellow disciples in Christ (see Acts 9:23-25). In none of Paul’s later writings does he divest himself, or disassociate himself, from these actions that he took in knowingly and purposely disobeying government: in fact, this very event is one of the things that he later cites in demonstration of his unwavering commitment to Christ (see 2 Cor. 12:22-33)!

Indeed, ever since Paul’s conversion to Jesus Christ, he spent the rest of his entire life in rebellion against mortal governments, and would at last–just as with Jesus before him–be executed by government, in this case by having his head chopped off. Paul was continuously in and out of prisons throughout his entire ministry for preaching the gospel of Christ; he was lashed with stripes 39 times by the “authorities” for preaching Christ; he was beaten with rods by the “authorities” for preaching Christ; and none of these rebellions of his did he ever disavow: indeed he cited them all as evidence of his commitment to Jesus (again, see 2 Cor. 12:22-33)!

Read the rest here.