"An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation." ~ John Marshall
Prophet for Hire, Cheap
"Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor." ~ Matthew 13:57
I consider myself a part-time prophet. It's more of a hobby than anything else. I'm pretty good at it, because it's not hard. I certainly don't get any honor from it, though. But as far as I'm concerned, the government should hire me, the way ancient Hebrew kings had their prophets. The kings didn't always follow the advice, but at least they listened. The public back in those days didn't follow the prophet's advice, either.
Here's an example from 1 Samuel 8:
"Samuel had two sons. The older one was Joel, and the younger one was Abijah. When Samuel was getting old, he let them be leaders at Beersheba .
"But they were not like their father. They were dishonest and accepted bribes to give unfair decisions. One day the nation's leaders came to Samuel at Ramah and said, 'You are an old man. You set a good example for your sons, but they haven't followed it. Now we want a king to be our leader, just like all the other nations. Choose one for us!'
"Samuel was upset to hear the leaders say they wanted a king, so he prayed about it. The Lord answered: 'Samuel, do everything they want you to do. I am really the one they have rejected as their king. Ever since the day I rescued my people from Egypt , they have turned from me to worship idols. Now they are turning away from you. Do everything they ask, but warn them and tell them how a king will treat them.'
"Samuel told the people who were asking for a king what the Lord had said: 'If you have a king, this is how he will treat you. He will force your sons to join his army. Some of them will ride in his chariots, some will serve in the cavalry, and others will run ahead of his own chariot. Some of them will be officers in charge of a thousand soldiers, and others will be in charge of fifty. Still others will have to farm the king's land and harvest his crops, or make weapons and parts for his chariots. Your daughters will have to make perfume or do his cooking and baking. The king will take your best fields, as well as your vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his own officials. He will also take a tenth of your grain and grapes and give it to his officers and officials. The king will take your slaves and your best young men and your donkeys and make them do his work. He will also take a tenth of your sheep and goats. You will become the king's slaves, and you will finally cry out for the Lord to save you from the king you wanted. But the Lord won't answer your prayers.'
"The people would not listen to Samuel. 'No!' they said. 'We want to be like other nations. We want a king to rule us and lead us in battle.' Samuel listened to them and then told the Lord exactly what they had said. 'Do what they want,' the Lord answered. 'Give them a king.' Samuel told the people to go back to their homes."
The word "leaders" in the first paragraph is best translated as "an army commander, a judge, and a religious leader." The obvious lesson is that when the military, the judiciary and religion becomes perverted, people will seek a tyrant. Then the tyrant starts wars, drafts the young, and imposes crushing taxes on the public (Ten percent? Try 50 percent, today). And when people finally wise up and start complaining . . . ain't nobody listening.
Also implied in the story is that citizens shouldn't listen to their leaders, since what always happens is war. Which the citizens fight, not the leaders. I suppose the masses of people don't listen because Mass Man is a Mass Moron.
How does Samuel's admonition apply to today? The same as it applied then, and will apply always. We've got a military blindly following orders even if they're utterly wrong, beyond all argument (think the bombing of Serbia ), we've got a justice system that often dispenses anything but, and we've got crackpots like Jerry Falwell writing articles claiming "God is Pro-war."
As I said, being a prophet isn't that hard. Mostly, all you have to do is stay with the few rules that all societies must follow: Don't murder, don't steal, don't envy, and don't tell lies against your neighbor.
And . . . those rules apply to everyone, not just the public, but to the rulers. Especially to them. Those in the State are not exempt from the Law, not matter how much they think they are.
Let's consider the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq . There are several reasons for them.
One: establishing a permanent American military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan to secure our control of the vast oil reserves beneath the first and oil pipelines in the second. How it's done: war based (as it always is) on lies against neighbors (Hussein had WMDs and was panting to use them against the US ), murder and theft. The desire for the oil is based on envy, or probably more correctly, covetousness.
Two: ridding Israel of its most powerful enemy in the Middle East . How? Again, lies, murder and theft.
Christian Zionists support Israel because they believe Jesus is going to come back soon and end the world. How this belief suddenly suspends prohibitions against murder, theft, envy and lying is something I can't answer. One should probably ask Jerry Falwell about that one. Not that he'd have a coherent answer.
Three: showing the countries in the world they'd better not mess with us. As the Borg say, "Resistance is futile. You will be absorbed." On what is this show of force based? Again, lies, murder and theft.
I know that those behind these wars think they are for a good reason. They're "pre-emptive," to get rid of the Bad Guys, even though evil cannot be eradicated. Unfortunately, that "pre-emption" involves murdering a lot of innocent people, lying to just about everyone, and stealing the wealth and liberty of Americans, and the land, oil and liberty of foreigners.
What's that old saying? "The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions"? Years ago, I never understood that quote. I do now.
I can't specifically predict the future. But I can generally. Anyone can.
These wars are not going to work out the way those running the State think. They are based on lies, on murder, on theft, and on envy. Nothing good will come from them. Can good come from evil?
I opened this article with a quote from a guy whom a friend of mine suggested "would be a bear to deal with in life." I don't disagree. I'll close with some other quotes from him.
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
"Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
"A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
"Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."