“The” government? No, only one government among many

Then what of individual rights? This was not a major concern in the medieval era. Why not? Because the individual’s rights were defended by institutions other than the civil government…

When men accept the state’s claim that it is the only sovereign, the only agency possessing the mark of government—demanding legal immunity from all other agencies—they become vulnerable to the tender mercies of the state. They have no higher earthly court of appeal. The state claims to be the only legitimate government. It uses coercion to enforce its claim. The citizen, now emancipated from all rival claims of authority, no longer has access to rival courts.

My two cents

This quote brings up some helpful points on how to view the state.

I guess I was taught by society to view “the government” (as people call it) and “the state” as one and the same. Now I understand there’s a difference, and the importance of not putting all of one’s eggs (rights) into one basket (the state). I wish more people could understand the danger of this.

R.J. Rushdoony has also made this point, that the (civil) government ought to be seen as one of several governments in the individual’s life, each with its own sphere of authority (as opposed to the state being an authority over everything). But if state-run schools have nothing to gain by teaching this, the status quo remains. Hopefully home schooling, Christian schooling, and private schooling can educate children correctly and teach the history of the development of the state—something I wasn’t taught.

If that happens—and people respond to it—then the state will be reduced to its proper role and relocated to under a higher authority (i.e. the law of God). The alternative (fully developed) is a state that steadily and increasingly arrogates power and politicises its own role—off its own back.

Quote source

North, G. (2013). Nisbet on Civil Government and Rival Governments. Available: http://www.garynorth.com/public/10962.cfm. Last accessed 10th Nov 2013.


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