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Confiscation

By R. J. Rushdoony
February 05, 2013

It is important for us to face up to the growing problem of confiscation, since it is an ever-threatening fact on the modern scene.

In London, England, a 10 year old girl was taken from her mother by a juvenile court. According to the Santa Barbara New-Press, March 4, 1966, "The child's only offense is to wipe her knife and fork with a table napkin before meals." Because the girl persisted, and the head-master barred her from "the school canteen," the mother "refused to send her to school" The child was then taken at once from the mother. Whether the child or mother were right or wrong is irrelevant: The central issue is the destruction by the state of a family. The normal procedure in such cases has been "a small fine." In this case, the state asserted its power to declare implicitly that any resistance to its will constitutes delinquency, and therefore the home must be broken. The state thus becomes the "true" parent of the child. The authority of the family is abolished by the authority of the state.

Another case: As a Los Angeles Times editorial for Wednesday morning, March 9, 1966, noted, "Last July the Department of Interior announced plans to offer recordable contracts to Imperial Valley farmers served by the All American Canal under which they would be required to dispose of holdings in excess of 160 acres. Now the department has asked the Department of Justice to file court action to enforce that limitation." This is the most recent development in a federal program which began in 1902. Its legal history is a tangled one. Even in terms of its own laws, the federal action is illegal. The purpose of this action is in effect "agrarian reform", the socialistic confiscation of private lands. Supposedly, the action is to favor small holdings, but no small farm is secure if the federal power to confiscate is admitted. If this step is morally valid, then the federal government also has the right to declare that a house with more than three bedrooms, or more than six rooms, cannot receive power until it is "shared" with someone else. The principle is exactly the same: it is theft by socialistic confiscation. The fact that the "law" is used to steal only makes the act more immoral.

In the Los Angeles Times for Thursday, March 1, 1966, President Johnson's call for "gun control" is reported. This attempt is to limit further the constitutional right to bear arms and an attack also on the right of self-defense. It is a step towards confiscation of rights as well as of arms.

The Whittier Daily News, March 9, L966, reports Martin Luther King's confiscation or seizure of a building in Chicago. Assuming that the 81-year-old landlord, John B. Bender, who has been legally served notice to correct 23 building code violations, was in the wrong, King's act is still immoral. To seize a building and collect its rents is theft; what would happen if a John Birch Society leader tried to do the same? Would he be free to continue lecturing and granting interviews? But King has over 100 union leaders assisting him in his programs, and the "law" today is a respecter of persons: it discriminates against property and property owners.

The Santa Ana Register, January 22, 1966, "the federal government has used $188,000 of the taxpayers' money to set up a subsidized newspaper in Willow Run, Michigan, which, in the subsidized newspapers' own words, was to provide ‘honest and true reporting (which) the government feels of interest.'" Other plans have been announced for a federal government press. Public funds are thus being used to further statist control of communications. Freedom of the press is thus being destroyed.

Taxation is increasingly becoming confiscation. Many people who own their homes are paying what almost amounts to a rental fee in taxes. And the end is not yet near.

Confiscation, in a variety of other ways, is a political and economic fact or threat. It is inescapably so. Socialism offers people the promise of paradise on earth, but socialism cannot deliver on its promises because it is economically a bankrupt system. Instead of plenty, it leads to poverty. The Ukraine under the tsars was "the breadbasket of Europe"; today, Russia must import grain to avoid starvation. Great Britain was once a center of world commerce and a prosperous people; socialism has made the life of the average Englishman a poor one. Socialism is a parasitic economy. It must rob, it must confiscate, in order to give; it cannot create new wealth, but it destroys existing wealth.

As a result, socialism steadily begins to founder and falter and move towards total collapse. When this happens, socialism is faced with a choice: who shall survive, the people or the state? Socialism claims to seek the people's welfare, but, faced with the question of survival, it sacrifices the people. For example, inflation develops, and the state has a decision: sacrifice socialism and its money management, or sacrifice the people? Stop deficit spending, or control private spending by inflation, taxation, and regulation? The socialist choice has always been to sacrifice the people.

But no sacrifice helps to prop up socialism more than briefly. More sacrifices are needed. Instead of admitting gross error and, going out of business, socialism puts the citizens out of business. It confiscates by inflation, taxation, regulation, and finally seizure. The citizens, private property, civil liberties, all things are steadily sacrificed to make the continuation of socialism possible. The promise of plenty, which seemed possible in the earlier stages of welfarism, begins to give way to the certainties of disaster. As long as it can confiscate and live, socialism will confiscate and live. This is socialism's historic answer to its economic problems: progressive confiscation

According to Psalm 24:1, "The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." Socialism confiscates not only man's possessions but it strikes also at God's sovereignty over the earth. It is an attempt of men to be gods, to be the re-creators of man and the earth. And God is jealous of His honor and power. The law of God's creation is thus totally against the socialist planners, and they are therefore doomed to fail. Their "new order of the ages" is the repeated failure of the ages and the condemned order. Because socialism cannot confiscate God's sovereignty, it is inescapably doomed to failure and destined to collapse.

We are therefore clearly living at the end of an era. Socialism is finished, and no desperate remedies will keep it alive indefinitely. It has taken the world's economy past the point of no return and is thus headed for total disaster. What we face is the worst phase of socialist desperation to keep its failing order alive. There will thus be a difficult period of survival, and then the fresh air of God's free world. We must prepare for survival and for reconstruction. Important to such a preparation is a sound Christian faith, a trust in His grace and mercy and His providential care, a use of godly wisdom and common sense, and the confidence that, although the times are difficult, we are on God's side, the winning side. Basic to such a preparation is the creation of Christian institutions, godly schools and colleges, and a deepening of our faith. The socialistic revolutionaries of today shout, "We shall overcome!" but God, according to David, laughs and has them in derision, for the victory is God's (Psalm 2). Martin Luther commented on Psalm 2:

"What a great measure of faith is necessary in order truly to believe this word: For who could have imagined that God laughed as Christ was suffering and the Jews exulting? So, too, when we are oppressed, how often do we still believe that those who oppose us are being derided by God, especially since it seems as if we were being oppressed and trodden under foot both by God and men?

...We should...fortify our hearts and look toward the invisible things and into the depths of the Word...I also shall laugh with my God."

(Taken from Roots of Reconstruction, p. 566; Chalcedon Position Paper No. 7)

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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