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The Slippery Slope of Statism

In 1966, Russian-born American writer and philosopher Ayn Rand (who was actually born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum) wrote an essay called “The Roots of War”.  In it, she argued that the ultimate cause of war lies in the deadly ideology of statism.  She described statism as the idea that “man’s life and work belong to the state – to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation – and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own, tribal, collective good.”  Therefore, some have argued that if you are looking for the root cause of war, you won’t find it just by looking at how nations treat each other.  You have to look first at how nations treat their own citizens.  Rand’s point, therefore, is this: when statism takes hold, the result is dictatorship at home and war abroad. 


Whether or not Rand’s theory has proven true in relation to wars fought under the umbrella of statism, what is undeniable is that statism does lead to a radical shift in the relationship between a ruling state and its citizens.  According to philosopher Harry Binswanger (an associate of the late Ayn Rand’s) fascism and communism (which the world has suffered immeasurably under) are two of the more well-known variants of statism.  He is quoted as saying: “Fascism is racial statism and communism is statism of economic class.”  However, as we have experienced in the modern day, some leftist democracies should also be considered a form of statism, particularly where the state plays a significant role in regulating the economy, introducing and regulating social welfare programs and engaging in social engineering.  You see, even though our lives are full of freely made choices, we are also constrained by the rules and regulations of the State which rules over us.  Therefore, in this age, the human experience is an uneasy duality of autonomy and regulation.  I say “uneasy” becomes it is becoming apparent that as time goes on, those who see statism as a worthy replacement of democracy are really advocating for less autonomy and more regulation.


At this point, it is helpful to address the fact there is a difference between statehood and statism.  In simple terms, statehood implies the condition or status of being a state, whereas the “ism” of “statism” indicates a philosophy or worldview within the State.  The problem with statism is that, like most worldly ideologies, it claims to be the ultimate reality and ultimate authority.  As we have seen with other political and social ideologies in the past and present, the purveyors of this reality then set out to dethrone God.  That is why all forms of statism must be rejected by Christians.  We should not entertain the acceptance of any ideology which seeks to usurp God.


We must also recognise that the idea of statism is not merely intellectual.  When the government is perceived or claims itself to be the ultimate reality and ultimate authority, it greatly influences how we raise our families, how we educate our children, how we approach our careers, how we seek out medical care and how we choose to worship.  In fact, it even goes so far as to influence our search for meaning in our lives.  This is due to the fact that statism insists on the subjugation of everything to the interests of the State.  Because statism holds that government is the only source of morality and law, the individual suffers greatly, particularly when the rule of law evolves into the arbitrary rule of an elite class unchecked by natural law, religion, common law or tradition.  In fact, what we observe is that all forms of statism consist of an elite ruling class that imposes rules on the remainder of society, sometimes enforcing those rules through lethal force (in extreme cases) or public ridicule (particularly reserved for Christians).  However, also critical in maintaining their rule under statism is the control of information through state-controlled media, rule by a single party (with accompanying repression of opponents), restriction of free speech and mass surveillance. The current real-world example of the manifestation of these ideas is the Chinese Communist Party which goes to tremendous lengths to control every organisation, institution, social group and individual.  But what should not escape our attention is that globalists promote the Chinese model of nation building.  Klaus Schwab was quoted as saying, “I think we should be very careful in imposing systems.  But the Chinese model is certainly a very attractive model for quite a number of countries.”


But why is statism becoming such a problem in our age, particularly for previously freedom loving democracies?  Francis Schaeffer made a keen observation when he said, “The humanist world view with inevitable certainty leads in the direction of statism.  This is so because humanists, having no god, must put something at the centre, and it is inevitably society, government, or the state.”  Even though we are not at the point where all people are forced to swear an oath that “Caesar is Lord”, the pressure being brought to bear on believers to submit to the State is growing.  However, our refusal to bend the knee to the State enrages those who view statism as superior to Christian beliefs.  Author of the book The Rage Against God, Peter Hitchens wrote: “The Bible angers and frustrates those who believe that the pursuit of a perfect society justifies the quest for absolute power.”  After all, since God is sovereign, the State is not.  Since God’s law is supreme, none by man can be.  So, since the State tries to create man in its own image, it must destroy the man whom God created in His own image.  That is the reason behind the senseless surgeries, endless propaganda and war against Christianity. 


Statism is not the answer to man’s problems and Psalm 146 proves it.  Let me quote the Psalm in full:-


Praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD, O my soul!

While I live I will praise the LORD;

I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.

His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;

In that very day his plans perish.

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,

Whose hope is in the LORD his God,

Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them;

Who keeps truth forever,

Who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.

The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;

The LORD raises those who are bowed down;

The LORD loves the righteous.

The LORD watches over the strangers;

He relieves the fatherless and widow;

But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.

The LORD shall reign forever – your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the LORD!

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