Charlie's Blog: Big Dictator


Big Dictator

when asked if the world would be a better place if Hussein and Qaddafi were still in power.

I don't agree with everything Donald Trump says, but I do agree with him that the world would be better if we let evil dictators remain in power. Naturally, this statement demands a hefty amount of qualification, so here it is.

Saddam Hussein and Moamar Qaddafi were evil men. This cannot be disputed. They were terrible leaders who committed atrocities on the people they governed. They were nothing less than criminals. So, why allow men like this to remain in power? We should allow it because they are preferrable to the alternative which is chaos and atrocity on a massive scale. This would be the abomination known as ISIS.

Government has one overarching and supreme purpose. This purpose is to restrain evil. Government establishes and preserves order. Here are the words of St. Paul,
 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
Now, these words rub raw our democratic sensibilities. Power comes from the people and not from God. The problem is that democracy shows how utterly unfit the populace is to govern itself. Government is instituted by God for the good of the people. Now, this begs a question. What if the government is evil? My reply is to point out that St. Paul is expressly pointing to the imperial government of Rome. This is the same government that would chop off his head. This would be the emperor Nero who would crucify Christians and set their bodies aflame to illuminate the night. How do we reconcile what St. Paul writes with what governments do?

The key to understanding this is to come to terms with the concept of authority. God is authoritarian. He is the supreme ruler of the universe. We must all live under His authority. Now, we can do like Satan and rebel against this authority. But what happens? Satan brings chaos and hell. All revolutions result in this chaos, and the chaos is only cured when order returns. Government is the restraint on chaos.

When those in power abuse their power, they are not living and governing under the rule of God's authority. These are wicked servants, and God will deal with them severely in His time and place. But we are not supposed to compound the error with our rebellion. When government does right, we obey. When it does wrong, we resist. Resistance is not the same as revolution. Resistance is obeying God's higher authority over the lower authority.

Jesus acknowledges this authority when He tells Pilate that Pilate's authority was given to him by His Father in Heaven. David does not slay King Saul even when he has the chance. Likewise, Israel is commanded to be in obedience to their Babylonian conquerors. The Bible is very clear about this issue of governmental authority. It is also clear about ecclesiastical authority as all Christians are called to be in authority to the Roman Catholic Church which Christ established.

When people try to overthrow authority, they are practicing rebellion. All rebellion is ultimately against God. You can see the consequences as the rebellion leads to chaos and anarchy. The French Revolution gave us the Reign of Terror. The Russian Revolution ended up establishing communism which was more authoritarian than any czar. And the Protestant Rebellion has given us Joel Osteen. The end is worse than the beginning.

The depravity of a government is proportional to the depravity of the people. You can see this with the Roman Empire. Rome was a depraved empire with paganism, bloodshed, and the rest. But as it became more Christian, it became kinder. This is also why the American Revolution which began in Enlightenment thought ended up returning to its Christian sensibilities with the Constitution. Hamilton, Madison, and the others could see the post-war chaos coming, and they headed it off. As stated in The Federalist Papers, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." Because of original sin, government will always be here.

The Middle East is run by depraved men because Muslims are a depraved people. They are so depraved that men like Hussein and Qaddafi were moderates in that part of the world. Taking them out without something to replace them merely takes the lid off of a cauldron of extreme violence, mayhem, and atrocity. The only remedy to this madness is severe and extreme leadership. If the Middle East were to become Christian, benign leadership could emerge. When Christianity wanes or becomes non-existence, extreme leadership emerges. Liberty is the product of a people's virtue. Tyranny is the product of people's vice and depravity. In short, people get the government they deserve. If you want liberty, be a Christian nation.

The policy of the Bush administration was to take out dictators like Saddam Hussein. The policy of the Obama adminstration has been a continuation of the Bush policy with its efforts against Qaddafi and now, Assad. But Obama compounds the error by creating a vacuum where "democracy" would emerge. This is laughable. Every place this policy has been pursued has been unmitigated disaster. The neocon foreign policy of Bush was incredibly stupid, but the neocons did admit they would have to stay and fill the vacuum for decades. Obama just leaves so something worse can emerge like the Islamic State. Now, late in the game, Obama has decided to stick around in Afghanistan.

The best policy is to not intervene. Whatever government exists in a place is probably the best that place can do. If a government or tyrant must be taken out, there should be a plan to fill that vacuum with another government. Order must always be the objective. Freedom comes from order. Order does not come freedom. That is a libertarian and progressive myth ignorant of the reality of human nature. Donald Trump is right. We have to tolerate the lesser evil for the sake of preventing the greater evil. I may vote for his lesser evil to help prevent the greater evil of Hillary Clinton if it comes to that.