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    If They Help You, Then They Own You

    February 12, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    In these troubled times, it seems to be a new tradition to turn backs on the old methods of struggle, innovation, perseverance, and ingenuity and instead rely on the Almighty State to save. The leaders of nations have a long tradition of relying on crisis and a sense of urgency to appropriate more power unto themselves. But rarely do they give any of that power back, and often they exert that power in ways which are unexpected.

    Take, for instance, the bank bailout. Banks were given money to keep them afloat. This was necessary, we’ve been told. Apparently, it is not the American way to let anyone or anything fail. Any failure can succeed in this Brave New World, it seems. I’m sure bank executives were stunned to learn their salaries were capped at half a million bucks per annum. I don’t have an interest in whether or not such a cap is reasonable. I am much more interested in the idea that there was a perception that the banks were being helped, and yet it is becoming more and more apparent that they were being bought. More precisely, they are now owned.

    Only an owner can cap a salary, no?

    This is why I have always shunned the idea of government financing of homeschooling and private schooling, the so-called voucher program. Whatever the benefits of “school choice,” I am not willing to sacrifice my own liberty for the sake of a buck here, a buck there. Sure, it’d be nice to spend what government schools spend in our school. My, would we have a nice school. But then, that would make our school a government school, for there is no way we could rightly say that we own it when the money is coming from somewhere else.

    On the other hand, I do really resent the extra $300-$400 dollars per year we are paying directly to our school district as a “special” tax. There is nothing “special” about it, and I think that money would go a long way here at the homeschool.

    But I digress.

    I was thinking about all of this, that the government never really offers anyone charity, that it is all about slavery, about owning the citizens, and that it has always been that way, when I was reading aloud to the children the other day during Circle Time.

    We are reading Volume II of Lord’s Beacon Lights of History {those beautiful, brown leatherbound copies I keep bragging about}, which is to say that we were reading of Jewish Heroes And Prophets. More specifically, we were reading about Joseph. And I realized that truly there is nothing new under the sun:

    The wisdom of Joseph as ruler of the land destined to a seven years’ famine was marked by foresight as well as promptness in action. He personally visited the various provinces, advising the people to husband their harvests. But as all people are thoughtless and improvident, he himself gathered up and stored all the grain which could be spared, and in such vast quantities that he ceased to measure it. At last the predicted famine came, as the Nile had not risen to its usual height; but the royal granaries were full, since all the surplus wheat–about a fifth of the annual produce–had been stored away; not purchased by Joseph, but exacted as a tax. Nor was this exaction unreasonable in view of the emergency…Joseph exacted only a fifth as a sort of special tax…

    Very soon the famine pressed upon the Egyptian people, for they had no corn in reserve; the reserve was in the hands of the government. But this reserve Joseph did not deal out gratuitously…He made the people pay for their bread, and took their money and deposited it in the royal treasury. When after two years their money was all spent, it was necessary to resort to barter, and cattle were given in exchange for corn, by which means the King became possessed of all the personal property of his subjects. As famine pressed, the people next surrendered their land to avoid starvation,–all but the priests. Pharaoh thus became absolute proprietor of the whole country; of money, cattle, and land,–an unprecedented surrender, which would have produced a wide-spread disaffection and revolt, had it not been that Joseph, after the famine was past and the earth yielded its accustomed harvest, exacted only one-fifth of the produce of the land for the support of the government, which could not be regarded as oppressive. As the King thus became absolute proprietor of Egypt by consent of the people, whom he had saved from starvation through the wisdom and energy of his prime minister…

    The price exacted by Joseph for the people’s salvation made the King more absolute than before, since all were thus made dependent on the government.

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  • Reply Brandy February 13, 2009 at 5:04 pm


    Indeed the Lord is faithful. I have been reading through Psalms to anchor myself. However, the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach persists most of the time.

    In other news, if anyone asked me now if I were a bird, what bird would I be and why, I would have to say ostrich and isn’t the reason obvious? 🙂

  • Reply rebecca February 13, 2009 at 4:54 am

    I try to keep reminding myself that God placed us in this particular time for a purpose. If He cares for the birds of the air, how much more does He love us? And then I poke my head back in its hole and try not to think about the state of the union.

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