his address he said: Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that
tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because
what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is
somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.
In this politically-charged national debate, we have President Obama and much of the left
arguing for a greater role of government in the lives of people, and on the right the Tea Party
and others are arguing for a smaller government. But, government is merely a framework for
governing and not the actual science of government which determines its size and reach. We
call the science of government politics.
Look in any modern dictionary and you will find the definition of politics given in a half-dozen or
more explanations, many with unfavorable connotations. One pushes the dictionary aside with
the thought that the soup contains the ingredients but not the flavor. To find the flavor,
particularly to understand what the founding Americans thought of politics, we need to go back
to Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language of 1828:
The science of government; that part of ethics which consists in the regulation and
government of a nation or state, for the preservation of its safety, peace, and prosperity;
comprehending the defense of its existence and rights against foreign control or conquest
… and the protection of its citizens in their rights, with the preservation and improvement
of their morals. (emphasis added)
We see that the early Americans believed that politics dealt with ethics (the moral code) and was
to be concerned with the preservation and improvement of the morals of the citizenry. So
politics is not the “heavy” as it is so often portrayed in modern times. Politics are necessary to
govern a people, but that governance can range between being very good and very bad. And
bad politics can result in a bloated, socialistic government or an austere, aloof, uncaring
government. This distinction between government and politics is important and not just an
exercise in academic hair-splitting.
With this understanding, two observations are necessary: government is ordained by God and
man has a fallen nature. The problem is not bad government but bad politics caused by
corruptible man who is not guided by the North Star of a biblical worldview resting on objective
truth. Therefore, it is not government that is the issue as portrayed by President Obama.
Rather, it is bad politics that is that separate, sinister entity that is the root of our problems,
the tyranny that constantly lurks around the corner.
Once again, bad politics comes from ignoring the corruptible nature of man in the governance
of a people. The Founders held a biblical worldview. They understood the truth of the fallen,
corrupt nature of man, and designed the Constitution with separation of powers and other
devices to control or mitigate that corrupt nature. But the modern liberals believe that man is
inherently good, not fallen and in need of redemption.
The contrast between the beliefs of the Founders and those of President Obama and the
humanist-liberal-progressive establishment could not be clearer.
Court, said, “Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which
is divine… Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual
assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other.”
However, President Obama in a speech titled “Our Future and Vision for America”, said,
At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It’s the art of the
impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts,
regardless of the consequences. To base one’s life on such uncompromising commitments
may be sublime, but to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous
For President Obama, it appears that human law must exclude divine law in the nation’s policy
making. President Obama also says that we should reject those voices who say that “…our
brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we
can’t be trusted.” I would submit that self-rule without the restraints of God’s law is the truly
dangerous thing which can’t be trusted. Ultimately, self-rule without God is the source of bad
Although the state has a proper role in God’s design of social systems, bad politics have
allowed the state to dramatically usurp the authority of other spheres within God’s social
system: family, church, labor and economics, education, man, and God Himself. In America,
God and Christianity are being driven from the public square. As the social order is swept clean
of God’s presence and influence, the lines between the spheres have blurred and opened the
way for the state to appropriate to itself a presumed authority over all aspects of life. Such
state authority ends in the tyranny of socialism or one of its various mutations which have
been responsible for the greatest death, destruction, and misery in the history of the world.
This is the sinister tyranny that Americans fear and which President Obama so blithely