One of my recent points, and one that drew some ire fire, was my contention that liberalism is inherently and tyrannically coercive, and that liberals, by advocating the programs of liberalism, are thereby advocating coercion.
Not being an anarchist, I believe that some forms of coercion are good and necessary, but because I also believe that cops, legislators, judges, and SWAT teams are made up of sinners, it is absolutely necessary for us to know that we have warrant from the Almighty God before we try to make anybody do anything. Before fining someone, or flogging him, or putting him in jail, or exiling him, or executing him, which pretty much exhausts the options, we had better know that what we are doing is authorized by God.If it is, well and good. If it is not, then we are abusing someone created in the image of God, and God is going to hold us accountable for it. We should either coerce with a clean conscience (and an open Bible), or not at all.
Liberals do not like this form of argument, because they want to pretend that there is nothing whatever coercive about what they are doing. They are not taxing certain individuals at abusive rates while simultaneously threatening the inadequately cooperative with imprisonment. No, what they are actually doing is that they are “asking” the “wealthy” to pay their “fair share.” Oh, since you put it that way . . .
Look. If you don’t do what they say, at some point in the proceedings, men with guns are going to show up at your house. I do not have a problem with this if those men with guns are going after a pedophile, or rapist, or a murderer. Go ahead. Coerce away. If you need them, I will provide you with the verses that show that God approves of this kind of coercion. But if they are showing up at a man’s house because he got tired of having bureaucrats pee a bunch of his money into the Potomac, then something has gone wrong somewhere. The liberal idea of democracy is three coyotes and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch.
They don’t want any limiting principle, in principle. Thus far, and no farther, is not a phrase that they like to find in the mouths of the voting public. It reminds them too much of that flag with the rattlesnake on it.
But in order to have a genuine limiting principle, one that works, it has to be grounded in the work and words of the God who made us all. One nation, under God.
So they abuse language to hide the coercive nature of their project. And one of their signature moves is to turn the tables on anyone who identifies and objects to their coercions. It is “coercive” to identify what they are doing. It hurts their feelings. Well, tough.
I am going to appeal to Girard here, but I need to say that the outset that Girard tries to throw all his valuable insights away by refusing to embrace the propitiatory nature of Christ’s sacrifice. But even though he tries to throw those insights away, I will not do so.
One of the things that Girard noticed about the Scriptures, not to mention human history, is that oppression is always respectable, and that the victim who protests that oppression is not respectable. He is told to shut up. Persecutors always feel persecuted. The oppressor feels oppressed, and is highly indignant when the victim won’t shut up. When the victim writes a psalm of lament, he is not playing the dutiful role that he was assigned. The victim is therefore the troublemaker, and must be dealt with.
One time Jesus told His interlocutors that they were trying to kill Him. They said He was nuts.
“Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?” (John 7:19-20).
Jesus knew the play that was being run on Him, and the people running the play did not know.
It is the same kind of thing here. Liberals want to stay respectable. This is why their threats are couched in the interrogative. Let’s “ask” everybody to do this, and haul them off if they don’t. They want to draw a veil over their bloody and violent ways. If anyone pulls the veil back, then he is the troublemaker. Such a man is — to borrow the words of Ahab — a troubler of Israel (1 Kings 18:17).
Wanting to leave people to their lawful pursuits is not coercive. And neither is it coercive to identify those who will not — for love or money — leave them alone.