In my last post, I argued that, under Natural Law, the government has a duty to support, preserve and defend the world view upon which it is built. In this post, I will argue for the way the government can properly do this without violating the Principles of Natural Law.
The first thing we need to understand is that the government can only have the authority to do those things that any individual in society has a Natural Right to do, themselves. This restriction is inherent in the principles governing the Social Contract (in the U.S., we call that contract ‘The U.S. Constitution’). Or, to put this another way, the government does not and cannot have rights or authorities greater than those of every single individual it governs. What it has is the permission of the People to exercise their individual Natural Rights on their behalf, and even then, only under certain conditions and only to a certain extent. Therefore, the government cannot exercise force over any citizen where that force violates the Principles of Natural Law or the Social Contract. If it does so, it acts unjustly, breaks the Social Contract and, if egregious enough, enters into a state of war with the People.
The second thing we need to understand is that, if they are not breaking the law, the government does not have and cannot have the authority to control private citizens, institutions or organizations. Unless a law has been broken, the only area where the government has the authority to control is in the public square. And by ‘the public square,’ we mean those properties and institutions that are supported by public monies and/or recognized as available for the common use. For example: the ocean is not owned by any one individual, therefore, it is available for common use. Therefore, the resources found in the ocean would fall under the just authority of the government to control. The ‘air ways’ (i.e. radio frequencies) would be another area where the government could claim a just authority. Furthermore, if the land or institution is supported by public monies, such as a public park or public school, the government has a just claim to exercise its authority over them, as well. This is because these public lands and institutions belong to and exist for the benefit of every individual in society equally.
This next point is where things get troublesome for many. Where public property or institutions are concerned, the government has a duty to use and manage them and their operations in a way that preserves the Natural Rights of the individual, but — at the same time — supports, preserves and defends the world view upon which that system of government is built. Why? The answer is simple: because that world view is the source of that government’s authority. The use of public resources to attack or destroy the world view upon which that system is founded is called subversion and it constitutes an attack on both the Social Contract and the People, as well. If the government were to allow such an act, it would be giving aid and comfort to an enemy against which the Social Contract demands the government protect the People. Such an act would nullify the Social Contract. If a Social Contract is nullified, the government ceases to exist as a rightful authority over the People. Instead, it becomes nothing more than an enemy of the People using their resources to wage war upon the People, and the People have every right to fight back against it (which, by the way, is the true reason for the 2nd Amendment: to insure the People will always retain the ability to resist a government that turns on them).
This leaves us with the problem of how the government can allow the use of public properties and resources without ignoring its duty to protect the world view upon which it is founded. Let’s take two cases to illustrate how this can be done.
First, we will consider the Peoples’ right to use public property. The People have a Natural Right to assemble and to seek redress of grievance. But there is no Natural Right to conduct a protest, especially a protest that interferes with the daily conduct of public institutions and/or private citizens. Remember, you have no right to do anything that forces your will upon another, or restricts another from justly exercising their will. If a group holds a protest where property is destroyed or even where the free movement of others on public property is impeded, that is a violation of the Natural Rights of those property owners and/or people prevented from moving about freely on mutually owned property. The same would apply if a protest disrupted the proper functioning of a government service. That service is meant to serve every member of society, therefore, anyone who interferes with that function has violated the Social Contract (i.e. broken the civil and Natural Law). Therefore, while government must protect the right of a person or group to use public land as a meeting place, it also has a duty to make sure that person or group does not interfere with the rights of other citizens. If they do, they should be arrested and charged accordingly — each and every one of them, no matter what the cost. To not do so is to provide aid and comfort to people who are breaking the Social Contract by which they have agree to live. That is subversion and, if the government allows it to happen too often, the government effectively joins sides with that subversive element, at which time, it can no longer claim to be the just authority over the People. It has effectively entered into a state of war with the People and the People are justified in dealing with it accordingly.
Next, let us consider the case of a public institution such as a school. Schools are supposed to be a place of learning, and learning requires that we challenge ourselves by considering new and opposing ideas. The government has a duty to preserve this practice. However, it has an equal or greater duty to see to it that the schools teach all subjects fairly and in light of their historical context. Where the founding world view of a society is concerned, this is an especially pressing duty. If the government allows any school that receives public funding of any kind to attack the founding world view, the government actively engages in subversion. In a case such as our schools, where citizens are supposed to be taught about why their system was chosen in the first place, such an act is sufficient to warrant to dissolution of the government. There need be no other violation. Allowing the minds of the next generation to be turned against the existing system is a direct attack on the People, and if the government allows it, it has chosen to side with those conducting that attack and ceases to be a legitimate authority. It has become a domestic enemy, instead.
Now, I am fully aware that there will be people who will claim that this amounts to a violation of free speech. That is not the case. Where public funds are involved, the government cannot allow anything that can be considered subversive to exist. This is because the government is charged with the protection of each and every citizen, equally. To allow any view other than the founding view — the view upon which that society is structured and by which the government draws its authority, is to attack that society and its People. If it helps, think of it this way. Do I have a right to come into your home and demand that you and your entire family pay me to lecture you about what you should believe or how you should conduct your household? If you do not think I have the right to force you to pay me to do these things, then how can anyone argue that the government does? Because, if students are going to be forced to go to school by aw, and the people forced to pay top support that school, then the moment that school teaches anything that does not support the world view upon which that society is based, it has assumed my place in my example: it is forcing you to pay to listen to me tell you what you should think and how you should live in your own home. It is for this reason that the government has a duty to insure that our public institutions support, preserve and defend the world view upon which our society was founded (this is essentially how Edmund Burke defined ‘Conservatism,’ and note: it can apply to any society and/or system).
So, if the government has a duty to ensure the current world view is protected, then how can anyone possibly change the government? Well, first, no one is saying that change will be or should be easy or fast. It takes work, and it should. After all, we are talking about convincing the whole of society to willingly agree to make a change. If we are going to do this, we owe it to society to make sure we have convinced society that our change is better than what we have and that we should make the change for that reason. This can be done, and it can be done without miss-using any public property or money. One of the best examples of how this type of change can be affected can be found in the history of the early Christian Church. Historians often like to give credit for the Western world to the Greeks, but the true driving force behind the changes to the Greco-Roman Empire that lead to what we now know as ‘The West’ was the way the early Christian believers lived and treated others. They had no money, no land, no political power. They were even outlawed. Yet they changed the world. Dr. King did much the same thing, as did Gandhi. So we have examples of how such changes can be made without forcing society to pay for them. The problem for most who will disagree is that, when it comes right down to it, the changes they want to make are not popular enough to convince society to agree to make the changes they want to make, so they have to find a way to force the People to comply with their desires. That is a clear violation of Natural Law and, if the government helps with such an agenda — in any way — it joins in that attack on the People.
Therefore, where public property and institutions are concerned, the proper role of government is to insure that every individual is treated equally, and that their individual rights and property are equally protected. This means the government has a duty to make sure the public square remains as neutral as possible, and that no person or group is allowed to use public resources to push a private agenda. Finally, the government has a duty to support, preserve and defend the world view upon which it was founded because that is part of what it was charged to do when it was formed, and it is the only way the government can continue to draw legitimate authority to exercise its duties.