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Birzer and St Augustine on Kingdoms, Thieves, and Governments

Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – Approximately 1600 years ago, St Augustine knew better than to trust the government, calling them nothing more than a gang of thieves and robbers. And what have we learned in the time since then? Nothing, we trust them implicitly, we cash government checks, and we look up to them as if THEY are Saints. In these times we are in a dark tunnel and the light of liberty at the end is fading fast, but remember to let the lamp of experience guide your way.

Begin Mike Church Show Transcript

Mike:  I have something to read to you from my good friend Brad Birzer writing under the headline “St. Augustine Founding Philosopher of History.”  If you go all the way to the final paragraph, all the way back in the first century or so, the great St. Augustine had figured out what was to become of the Roman Empire and any other empire that went that way. Just listen to this. How prophetic was St. Augustine? I read this from Brad Birzer’s piece, which was in yesterday’s Pile of Prep.

[reading]

This, of course, presents a great dilemma for any Christian.  While we are already citizens of Heaven, we must live in the earthly City of Man.  “The earthly city,” St. Augustine reminds us, “which does not live by faith, seeks an earthly peace, and the end it proposes, in the well-ordered concord of civic obedience and rule, is the combination of men’s wills to attain to things which are helpful to this life.”  Therefore, the City of Man moves in never-ending Polybian cycles of birth, middle age, and death.  In the earthly city, “the princes and the nations it subdues are ruled by the love of ruling.”  Further, a Christian can never fully trust a government, which is, St. Augustine argued, nothing more than a gang of thieves and robbers that has bested all other gangs of thieves and robbers.  When justice dissolves—and justice is a gift from God, not from the world—“what are kingdoms but great robberies?  For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms?  The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed upon.”  One sees this clearly in St. Augustine’s view of the Roman empire.  “Rome is to him always, ‘the second Babylon,’” Dawson explained, “the supreme example of human pride and ambition, and he seems to take a bitter pleasure in recounting the crimes and misfortunes of her history.”

[end reading]

Mike:  What Birzer is reminding us, through St. Augustine, is you can’t trust any of these creeps.  Boy, have we trusted them.  [mocking] “We’re not to worry.  We’re Americans.  So what we’re running up debt and deficit?  That doesn’t mean we have crooked politicians everywhere.”  I say this, though.  I say crooked politicians are only possible and only tolerable insofar as a crooked people are willing to tolerate them.  What do you say about that?

This is why the conservative does not obsess over numbers.  This is why the true conservative obsesses over the good thing.  The only way you can ever combat any of this, you can have all the constitutions and confederations and secession acts you want, the only remedy ever presented that can effectively deal with the people and the people’s wills and wishes with life and with the vicissitudes of life is the good life as described by the good Christian or Judeo-Christian people.  That’s where you get ideas or good principles in government.  That is the only restraining force that we can ever hope for.

Again, the Constitution, or a constitution, is only as good as the people that agree to live under it.  What do you say of the people that are living under this one, my friends?  That’s not just crooked politicians.  What about the citizenry?  What about those that cash the government checks?  What about those that participate in the fleecing?  What about the State of Illinois, as we demonstrated here today, that’s $137 billion in the hole?  How does this happen?  This is massive criminal activity and theft on a scale never before seen in the history of man, yet this is tolerated?  People in Illinois, I don’t know.  I’m not hearing anything about this.  The only reason I saw it is because my friend Mish Shedlock reposted the editorial from the Trib on Sunday.

These are dark times indeed.  There is a way out.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  It is indeed the light of liberty and of limited government.  But you only get limited government if you have the rule of God instead of the rule of man.  In other words, you have to have a good people seeking the good life.  Not all of them are going to, but for crying out loud, maybe you can have a majority someday again.  That’s what the conservative ought to be seeking.

End Mike Church Show Transcript

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