Tyranny vs Anarchy

by drclarkjensen on September 17, 2010

To continue the train of thought from yesterday, some 25 years ago I attended a seminar put on by the National Center for Constitutional studies.  I learned a lot.  As I discussed in ruler’s law vs people’s law, there were some simple yet profound truths that were taught that day.  Another simple truth I learned about government was the importance of avoiding the two polar extremes of anarchy and tyranny in government.

Anarchy of course is the condition where no law exists.  It is the worse kind of government because it is chaos and survival of the fittest.  No one is safe, nor is property safe or respected.  If you can take it, it is yours.  If you can’t hang on to it tight enough, it belongs to someone else.  When society totally breaks down, anarchy is the result.  No one wants to have anarchy.

The other extreme is tyranny.  Tyranny is the condition where too much law is present.  The rules are oppressive and usually tyranny is the result of a man or a group of men having too much power and authority and then misusing that power and authority to take away from men freedoms and God given rights.

The challenge of government is to find the perfect balance between too much law on one hand and too little law on the other.  When the colonies were first formed they adopted the Articles of Confederation as their charter.  Unfortunately the Articles were too close to anarchy.  Under the articles the confederacy had no authority to tax, raise money, or enforce any law that was passed by the legislature.  Nor was there any provision for either an executive or a judiciary.

George Washington and the Revolutionary War armies fought under the Articles and they almost starved to death as a result.  After the war, it looked as if the country would fall apart.  States were treating each other as soverign nations, they were charging tarrifs to each other and inflation was terrible.

Thankfully, they Constitutional convention was held and our divinely inspired Constitution was written.  It provided our new nation with enough law, but not so much that the people were at risk of loosing our freedoms.

Unfortunately over time, all governments tend to drift towards tyranny.  Our government is not exception.  As our federal government ignores the ideas of limited government and separation of powers, power becomes concentrated in the federal government and we move towards rulers law and towards tyranny.

If we want to get back to the balanced center, the states and the people need to reclaim the authority and power that is theirs.  To do that, we need an educated people.  Go tell your neighbors.

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