THE PEOPLE'S WILL
And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom. And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom (11 Samuel 15:12-13).
David had at least eight wives and many sons. The line of succession to the throne was in doubt. This did not please Absalom. Like all revolutionaries, he was impatient to wear the robes of authority. He had already had his equally evil brother Amnon murdered (II Samuel 13:28-29). Now he plotted a conspiracy to overthrow David, capture the throne, and eliminate his family rivals. He pretended to be a friend of the people and a friend of righteous judgment (II Samuel 15:2-6). The Bible records, "so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel (v. 6). The people's hearts were easily stolen. Things have not changed. Absalom's rebellion led to civil war. He came very close to achieving his goal.
The Bible calls this action of Absalom and the people a conspiracy. The Hebrew word can also be translated as "treason." What this teaches us is that the people are not sovereign. God is sovereign, and His law is sovereign. The Bible does not teach "vox populi, vox dei" (the voice of the people is the voice of God). When the people of a society accept the idea that the people's will is absolutely sovereign, they thereby condemn themselves to a life of manipulation by corrupt elites that will seek to rule "in the name of the People." They have condemned themselves to a political order of rigged elections, "plebiscites," and 99% majority voting for one-party dictatorships.
The biblical doctrine of human leadership is the doctrine of representation.1 The leader is to represent God to the people and the people to God.2 Like the Old Testament priest who offered sacrifices to God for the people, so are the head of the household, the political ruler, and the church leader supposed to enforce righteous laws for the people (Romans 13: 1-7). Each has specific laws which he is supposed to enforce, but all three offices are to be governed by God's law God's principles of righteous judgment.
All political rule is founded on a doctrine of representation. This is an inescapable concept. It is never a question of "representation rs. no representation." It is always a question of whose representation? Which officer lawfully represents which group of people in what specified capacity before which sovereign lord? Until men understand and accept this biblical view of government self-government, family government, church government, and civil government they will be tossed to and fro by the conflicting winds of rebellious opinion.
God does not lodge absolute sovereignty in any human institution. Men are sinners, and no single institution can safely be entrusted with absolute sovereignty. Absolute power would corrupt sinful men if it were available, but it isn't. Nevertheless, some men seek it, and this search is a sign of their corruption and a means of corrupting them further.
The point is, conspiracies really do exist. People conspire together to achieve evil ends. We use the word to describe a confederacy which is set up for illegal or immoral ends. It is a confederation which aims at capturing power but without legitimate authorization by God or other God-ordained, lawful institutions. (The American Revolution was justified by its proponents by means of constitutional arguments. Congress was seen by them as a lawful confederation of lawfully ordained local state assemblies against a British Parliament which was illegally centralizing power and against a king who had capitulated to Parliament and who was therefore in a conspiracy against the colonial assemblies and traditional common law liberties.)3
There are numerous "establishment" theories that are used by conventional historians to explain the past: technological determinism, psychological determinism, economic determinism, geographical determinism, and random indeterminism. To this, add political history, military history, population history, the history of ideas, and too many other subfields to mention, let alone summarize. But in this century indeed, since Rousseau's late 18th-century writings one view seems to prevail, at least in the history textbooks: the will of the People.
The concept of "the People" has, for over a century, served the "toreadors" of professional historiography as a red cape: to focus the attention of the victims away from the sword. The People's will cannot be thwarted, we all know. Watch the People march forward! The People will control the evil special-interest groups. Federal legislation will protect the People, for the People have so willed it. Forget about actual individuals; keep your eyes on the People.
Does all this sound vaguely familiar? We can almost see Dorothy in front of the screen, with the Wizard's glaring face looking out at her. "Don't mess with the People! The People's will is sovereign!" she is warned. Meanwhile, Toto is behind the curtain, pulling at an old man's pants leg. "Pay no attention to the old man behind the curtain," she is sternly warned by the image.
There are some people behind that curtain who don't want you to pay any attention, and they are not "the People." They've even gone to the expense of training and employing three generations of professional historians to explain to you why nothing important is going on back there.
The problem is, too many conspiracy theorists naively believe in a conservative version of the will of the People. They understand that the People do not, in fact, understand what is going on, and that the People do not control the drift of events. Nevertheless, these theorists believe that if the People really did understand what is going on and has gone on, they would "take matters into their own hands." They would rise up and throw off their chains. In other words, the world should be governed by the People. The world could be governed by the People. It is just that somehow the world isn't governed by the People.
What we need, therefore, is a successful exposé of the conspirators. If enough Americans (or whoever) could just learn about their unelected masters, they would no longer tolerate such a state of affairs. Such a theory of history rests on a presupposition that men can be saved by knowledge. If men just knew what has taken place, they would reassert their lawful sovereignty over the affairs of men. They would vote in the "right" people. They would throw out the "bums." Thus, we must devote ourselves to a mass-based program of exposure. This, in and of itself, will bring the People to their senses.
God knew better. When He instructed the prophet Samuel to warn the people of Israel against establishing a king that is, warn them against establishing a king other than the Lord He knew that they would not heed the warning. Why not? Because their hearts were evil. They had become rebels against God; they did not want Him to rule over them any longer (I Samuel 8:7). So Samuel described the taxes, wars, and confiscation to come. Sure enough: they refused to listen.
So he warned them again: "And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day. Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay, but we will have a king rule over us; that we may be like other nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles" (I Samuel 8:18-20).
The testimony of their long-time spiritual leader did not bring the people of Israel to repentance. They refused to listen. Then why should mere knowledge about and exposure of immoral and elitist leaders bring today's voters to their senses? The primary issues of life are ethical, not intellectual. They are primarily questions of right and wrong, not true and false or, better put, the question of true and false facts cannot be dealt with successfully until men understand the difference between right and wrong acts. Until they are willing to choose right rather than wrong, all the facts in the world will not help them; the wide availability of facts will simply condemn them. From those to whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12:48).
"Who shot President Kennedy?" is not the main issue. What is relevant is this question: What kind of society were President Kennedy and his advisors, his successor Lyndon Johnson and his advisors, and their rivals the Communists really trying to build? The answer is clear: societies that either ignore God or reject God. They were generally successful in their efforts. Worry therefore about God's response to national indifference; don't worry too much about assassins.
Salvation by Education?
Question: If a group (or allied groups) of ideologically linked, educationally linked, financially linked, and even maritally linked rulers do, in fact, control the basic policy-making of the U.S. government, along with big banking, big labor, big business, and big everything else, do they do so in defiance of what most Americans would want them to do, if they knew who was controlling decision-making and how they were doing it? If they really do exercise such power, then they are clearly unelected rulers. If American voters had the opportunity to vote for them and their policies, would the voters elect them? Or would the voters throw them out?
If you answer, "Most Americans would throw out the conspirators, if they only knew about them," you are saying that you would throw them out because you know about them, and you think other Americans would agree with you.
I'm not so sure that they would. I think the whole "Gang of 2300" (Council on Foreign Relations) should be tossed out into the cold, cruel world of economic competition. If I were President of the United States, no C.F.R. member or Trilateral Commission member could serve in any position subject to my appointment. But that isn't the point. I am not sure that the "average" American voter cares one way or the other. I doubt that I could gain many votes for President in terms of such a campaign promise, other than from those who have read the various little paperback books on conspiracy, even if the power elite were to stand on the sidelines and refuse to get involved in the election.
It is unquestionably my job to get involved in an educational campaign. That is what this little book is all about. I want to get leaders of the future to see the issues the biblical issues and the Constitutional issues and abide by the Constitution, or change it openly, according to the rules. I think that voters (or at least those who care enough to take leadership positions locally) can eventually be persuaded to return to Constitutional principles. I think it will take something like a spiritual revival to accomplish this, however (which I happen to believe is coming). I know that it is my responsibility to try to win them back. This is the key word: back. Back from apathy, back from compromise, and back from false interpretations of the Constitution that have led to the centralization of power.
The Moral High Ground
What I am saying is this: the vast majority of American and Western voters began changing their economic opinions a century ago, decades before there was a C.F.R. A fundamental moral shift took place simultaneously with the rise of the con-spiratorial (or "proto-conspiratorial") groups. The more thoughtful elitists no doubt did what they could to accelerate this shift, but they could not have created it not in a "bottom-up," decentralized society, which the United States still was. The shift came because of widespread changes in theology, philosophy, and morality in the late nineteenth century, especially in urban churches and in the better universities. I believe that the most important factor in that shift was the rise of theological liberalism (what later came to be called the social gospel) and the spread of Darwinism and other forms of evolutionistic thinking.4 This moral shift led to the rise of the early twentieth-century American movement which historians call "Progressivism." The point is, it was part of a major shift in the climate of moral opinion, and no conspiratorial group created it. They did, however, use it and profit from it. They still do.
Take the case of the sixteenth amendment, the Federal income tax. (As an aside, Red Beckman and former Illinois revenue agent Bill Benson have discovered that it was never ratified properly in 1913. Technically, it is an illegal amendment.5 Is this really significant, except as a curiosity of history? The 14th amendment wasn't ratified legally, either, since certain states were not allowed to vote. The point is, the public in 1913 was willing to ratify it, even though certain technicalities were missing. There was no hue and cry of outrage when the amendment was announced as having passed. Why not? Therein lies a tale.)
How was that amendment sold to American voters? By an exceedingly evil appeal: "Soak the rich!" It was an appeal based on covetousness, pure and simple. And, like all forms of evil, it backfired. It led to the capture of the middle-class voters by the rich who were supposedly the targets of the law.
Rockefeller, Harriman, Morgan, Carnegie, and all the other "masters of 1913" knew how to to recruit and control professional politicians, who in turn knew how appeal to the voters. The 16th amendment was a classic Brer Rabbit ploy: "Don't toss us into that briar patch! Anything but that." And poor, dumb middle-class voters acted just like Brer Fox. They tossed the elite into the briar patch the briar patch of tax-exempt foundations, tax loopholes, family trusts, and all the rest· The elite had the lawyers and accountants. The middle class didn't.
Liberal historian and social commentator John Brooks has described the process well:
. . . when the founder of the Ford Motor Company and his son made their wills, they left 90 percent of their Ford stock to their private foundation rather than paying nearly all of it to the government in taxes, thereby making that foundation the richest charitable organization in the history of the world and, incidentally, preserving family control of the motor company, and even relieving the heirs to the other 10 percent of the stock of the necessity of paying any inheritance taxes! The hard-shelled Henry Ford, who had lived beyond his time, must have gone to his grave in 1947 chortling over how he had beat the government out of his money and made philanthropy pay.6
John D. Rockefeller, Sr., did the same thing. Andrew Carnegie did, too, but for different reasons: he had only one heir and really didn't believe that rich people should leave much money to heirs anyway.7 All three set up huge foundations, and they all became strategic institutions for the capture of influence. Liberals and left wing reformers were successful in capturing them.8 In 1983, Henry Ford II resigned in disgust from the board of the Ford Foundation, announcing that it had become an institution of anti-capitalist opinion. He learned slowly; it had been that from the very beginning.
When conservatives finally caught on and began to do the same thing in the 1960's, Congress changed the rules (in 1969). Today it is impossible for super-rich conservatives (and there aren't many of them any more, now that oil prices have dropped) to establish private foundations along the lines of the establishment's multi-billion dollar giants.
So, whose fault was it that the voters were willing to grant to the Federal government the government's primary instrument of oppression in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service? Who was seducing whom? As I see it, there was larceny in everyone's heart in 1913. The difference between the conspirators and the victims was the difference between the professional con artist and the petty thief. I keep thinking of the movie, "The Sting." If the intended victim of a sting operation had not been a thief in his heart, and willing to cheat the professional con, the operation could not have worked. Or as the character Mordecai Jones (George C. Scott) says in "The Flim-Flam Man": "You can't cheat an honest man." What he was really saying was that virtually everyone he encountered was dishonest. The whole world was his potential victim.
A Moral Campaign
My contention is that my proposed educational campaign must be a lot more than just intellectual. It will involve a lot more than persuading the average voter of the existence of a conspiracy which is misusing political power to the detriment of most voters. What is needed is a moral campaign. Facts without a principle of interpretation are useless. Exposing a conspiracy without offering an alternative is wasted time. You can't beat something with nothing.
We need to appeal to free market principles, for they are moral principles. They are outworkings of explicitly biblical laws. I realize that some conservatives and most free market economists have not argued this way in the past, especially academic types. Professional academics (especially the economists) want to leave morality out of the discussion. They want "value-free" solutions. This invocation of "value-free" economics has failed, again and again. Society has conducted a continuing empirical test of this intellectual appeal, and has registered a verdict: failure. Besides, does anyone except economists really believe that there is moral neutrality in economics, psychology, political science, or anything else? Naive "value-free" faith has been under attack for two centuries, and fewer and fewer scholars have taken it seriously since 1965.9
The other side appeals to our basest instincts in order to manipulate us. But they are careful always to adopt the language of morality. They take what appears to be the moral high ground. They come before the voters "in the name of the People." They ask only to be allowed to serve the People. They want to act in the interests of the People. They want to "harness the engine of government" for the benefit of the People.
For eight or nine decades, this classic flim-flam has worked. Why? Because there is larceny in the hearts of the voters, and widespread ignorance of biblical morality ("thou shalt not steal, even by majority vote"), economics ("there ain't no such thing as a free lunch"), and the U.S. Constitution ("the delegation and dispersal of political power"). The proper response is to appeal to men's highest instincts, and to show them that the limited government philosophy and the free market economy are grounded in moral values that are among the highest that any civilization has ever adopted. We must take the moral high ground. Nothing else stands a chance of overturning the present power-drunk political system. We must appeal to ethics in order to overcome our opponents' raw power.
We must also understand that they, too, have a moral vision, a theology. Without it, they could never have been successful over the long haul. Ideas have consequences, for good or evil. We must understand our opponents' theology, and then do whatever we can to cleanse our own thinking of our opponents' first principles. If we adopt their first principles, then any future competition between us and them is just another gangland struggle. Given the extent of their existing power, they will beat us every time.
Footnotes:1 Ray R. Sutton, That you May Prosper: Dominion By Covenant (2nd ed.; Tyler; Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), ch. 2.
2 Gary North, Leviticus: An Economic Commentary (Tyler; Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1994), ch. 4.
3 R.J. Rushdoony This Independent Republic: Studies in the Nature and Meaning of American History (Fairfax, Virginia: Thoburn Press,  1978), chaps. 2, 3.
4 C. Gregg Singer, A Theological Interpretation of American History (Nutley, New Jersey: Craig Press, 1964).
5 Bill Benson and M. J. 'Red' Beckman, The Law That Never Was The Fraud of the 16th Amendment and Personal lncome Tax (Box 550, South Holland, Illinois: Constitutional Research Associates, 1985).
6 John Brooks. The Great Leap: The Past Twenty-Five Years in America (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), p. 74.
7 Andrew Carnegie, The Gospel of Wealth (1889).
8 René Wormser; Foundations: Their Power and Influence (New York: Davin-Adar; 1958).
9 The most important book which undermined the academic world's self-confidence in its own neutrality was Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions (2nd ed.; University of Chicago Press, 1970), first published in 1962.