I have been listening to Steve Wilkins’ lectures on America’s first 350 years, and find myself greatly encouraged today, especially as at this writing I am at the homeschool expo in Chattanooga, manning the CSTHEA booth as editor of the newsletter. (The expo is open today at Camp Jordan until 4 p.m.)
Wilkins tells how the colonists rebelled against England not out of greed for lower taxes. Rather, they were offended that the parliament had interposed in their relations with the king, from whom the colonies had their charters. They were angry at what they viewed as usurpations of their rights and privileges, granted to them by the throne, and not by the legislative assembly.
In other words, the offense came in the form of government that imposed itself upon them. They did not object in principle to external government by a king across the sea, though it may have been heavy handed. The colonists objected to a violation of covenant. That violation had two parts. The king’s lassitude in protecting his relationship with his colonies. And the parliament’s intervention.
The parliament was being bitten by an infection fed by the work of Thomas Hobbes. In his book 1651 Leviathan, he argues for the absolutist state that has sway over all human activity. He says that the magistrate or state must have supreme authority of all the human condition, the manmade god under the God of heaven.
The Soveraign of a Common-wealth, be it an Assembly, or one Man, is not subject to the Civill Lawes. For having power to make, and repeale Lawes, he may when he pleaseth, free himselfe from that subjection, by repealing those Lawes that trouble him, and making of new; and consequently he was free before. For he is free, that can be free when he will: Nor is it possible for any person to be bound to himselfe; because he that can bind, can release; and therefore he that is bound to himselfe onely, is not bound.
This sort of thinking brought into the breasts of the legislators on the isles a sense of the absolute, of absolutism. Such a conception of their own power is that they hold what Hobbes called sovereignty. Though Hobbes was a man writing in a Christian context, he ascribes to man sovereignty. The scriptures ascribe that power to God alone.
Rev. Wilkins sees in the American war for independence and its struggle to reestablish the terms of the earlier covenant a conflict against absolutism and against violation of a covenant.
Whence local economy?
My argument for local economy is not merely that business should flourish in my city my county. It’s more than just boosting Chattanooga, as do such worthy publications as City Scope, which profiles remarkable local people such as Chris Green, who joined my little Friday morning coffee group, Panera Posse, in Hixson The argument for local economy touches on the spiritual life of the city, its faithfulness to the roots of many of its people in the Christian faith, its subjugation to the state and the nation at large, with its powers, media and credit- and industrially based economy.
The interest in my hometown, Chattanooga, and yours is to see how to encourage its material and spiritual prosperity in a time when the vision of Hobbes has come true. The civil law is the rule of one man, or an assembly, “not subject to the Civill Lawes.”
While on one hand Chattanooga is subject to arbitrary caprice, it is encouraging to meet people who don’t believe in caprice, but who act on principle.
I have encouraged Alex McElhaney, the young defendant in a traffic roadblock case, to be true to the principles of a free man, and to be childish enough to believe that the Georgia constitution’s article 13 prohibits the state from searching and stopping him without warrant or probable cause. See essays just below this one on the mainpage.
Yesterday in an interview I encouraged Aaron Bing, an activist in local food and an activist for the right to keep chickens in the city limits, to not be afraid. If he is violating the ordinance banning chickens, he needs to be confident that if he is confronted by the police, that he is still right. My argument to Mr. Bing is that if he is cited to sessions court by the police, that he is the only one who can bring the issue to the people. If he is found guilty in city court, Mr. Bing can appeal for trial de novo in a real court. He can demand a jury trial in county court, and give the people of the county an occasion to reject the ban by finding him not guilty based on a preponderance of the evidence.
Video streaming by UstreamAaron Bing brings me up to date about the chicken ordinance that was defeated in the Chattanooga City Council. The ordinance would have allowed chickens under highly patronizing conditions.
‡ The full name is Leviathan or the Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-wealth Ecclesiastical and Civill