The Freedom Society philosophy as explained by Kook Jin Moon pits private ownership and free enterprise against big government. He argues that:
- Government has undermined the role of the family and community by using tax money, expropriated by coercion, to provide welfare benefits to undeserving people promoting a cycle of dependency;
- The free market system is self-governing and government oversight is unnecessary;
- Government is in an “archangel position,” an instrument of the devil that usurped the positions of God, parents and individuals as free agents.
- The role of government should be limited to lawmaking, a justice system and defense. Every other function should be managed by the private sector.
These positions, minus the theological jargon, are those of the far right on the political spectrum, advocated by Tea Party proponents like senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, and governor Sarah Palin, among others. However, these are not the views of our founder, Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
One way to understanding Rev. Moon’s perspective on global politics and economics is to examine his vision for a restored United Nations. He cultivated relationships with representatives of the world’s religions which led to the creation of the Interreligious Federation for World Peace (IRFWP). He fostered relationships with political and civic leaders, from both sides of the aisle, with the common values of faith, family and freedom, under the banner of the Federation for World Peace (FWP). In 1999, this process led to the creation of the combined Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP). In 2005, to further the effort to renew the United Nations, IIFWP became the Universal Peace Federation (UPF).
A key purpose of UPF is to transform the UN. Rev. Moon proposed that an interreligious council comprised of representatives of the world’s religions be added to the UN. He observed that religions transcend national boundaries. They share common values, and the nature of conflict in the world today is less about geographical boundaries and more about historical, irreconcilable cultural/ethnic hostilities. If representatives of the world’s religions can work together to resolve ethnic conflict and cultivate higher spiritual, moral and ethical standards, nations will cooperate more easily for the greater good instead of fighting for their own national interests.
Among the goals of a transformed UN are: 1) to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict; 2) to re-unite the Korean Peninsula, and; 3) to promote an international highway including establishing an international free zone and a connection between North America and Eurasia across the Bering Strait.
Rev. Moon’s UN interreligious council proposal is a model that reveals how he envisioned the vertical relationship between spiritual leadership and political leadership (the relationship between the upper and lower deliberative bodies). Additionally, his vision includes a cooperative, horizontal relationship between the public and private sectors to accomplish purposes that serve God and humanity.
A 2010 UPF video for an interfaith council at the United Nations.
In a restored UN, the interreligious council would occupy a deliberative position as part of the United Nations organs. The conversations of religious leaders would be driven by the motivation to seek out the desires of the Creator and best interests of humanity beyond race, nationality and religion. The vision of that council would naturally be very broad in scope and far reaching.
This model suggests there ought to be a spiritual entity operating as a global “mind,” and a nuts and bolts system operating as a responsive “body.” There would exist a vertical relationship of an “Abel” spiritual/visionary body and a “Cain” international political/industrial/nonprofit body. Just as the body should be a “second mind,” there should be no disharmony between the upper and lower assemblies. In a restored world the relationships would be that of subject and object.
Two examples Kook Jin Moon uses in his argument to support the position that government should keep its hands off economic development are the Transcontinental Railroad and the creation of the Internet. He claims they are creations of the private sector “with little government involvement.” In fact, the U.S. government provided financial support and real estate for the Transcontinental Railroad to the tune of $30,000 per mile (in 1886 dollars). Land grants in the Midwest were made possible as a result of the Louisiana Purchase during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency (despite objections the land grab was unconstitutional).
The progenitor of the Internet, ARPANET, was funded and developed by the Department of Defense in the early 1960s as a safeguard in the event of nuclear attack. The DOD brought in other government agencies including the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation in the 1970s. The Internet was not commercially available until the late 1980s. Then-senator Al Gore was the first U.S. legislator to recognize the potential value of the Internet to the private sector and introduced legislation that led to the creation of Mosaic, the first web browser, and the Dot-Com revolution.
NASA launched space exploration which put satellites into space, making developments possible in the fields of telecommunication, satellite imagery, global navigation, and deep space research. NASA also spins off technology that quickly makes its way into the private sector. One of the largest American construction projects ever completed was the U.S. Interstate Highway System, a government enterprise initiated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Social services comprise a large portion of the national budget. I work in the field of human services, having retired from the insurance industry. Government has assumed the role of providing support for the elderly, people with disabilities and the disenfranchised (the health and welfare aspect of government is the most contentious, which I will address in a subsequent article). No corporation or non-profit (including churches) has the capital or incentive to take on projects of this scale. However, myriad private companies and agencies are contracted to provide services for government programs.
Viewed from the perspective of the purpose of the whole and purpose of the individual, there exists a horizontal Abel/Cain relationship between government (Abel) and private enterprise (Cain). Government exists to protect and provide for the public interest. Private enterprise exists to make a profit for shareholders. Government acts to provide benefits equitably. Private enterprise competes to gain market share in its sector of the economy. Both are necessary. Of the two, government, as moderator, has a parental role. However, the government is not made up of only a handful of people, but representatives of all walks of life, as illustrated in the UN model mentioned above. Besides elected officials, it draws on the expertise of every field to stay current with best practices and professional ethics.
It’s not the system that spoils everything, it is selfishness – and that permeates every aspect of human endeavor.
Consider if the world did undertake the creation of an international highway and free zone. How would it be possible to do so without cooperation between governmental, non-profit and corporate entities? Before construction, consider the research and planning involved. That alone is beyond the resources and scope of private companies. The purpose of a private company is to increase value for its shareholders. Only governments can make large investments with no foreseeable return. Corporations compete for market share. Government entities, motivated by the best interests of the public, are necessary to negotiate contracts and public use of territory. Leadership within the government must stay inspired and focused over the long-term to accomplish projects on this scale or larger.
Public-private partnerships (PPP) abound in the fields of education, social services, municipal and state infrastructure, international health issues, disaster recovery, drug interdiction, public safety, research and development, international relations, management of public lands, managing the national and global economies, and military intervention in dangerous parts of the world.
Many believe the public and private sectors have an adversarial relationship. Certainly it often seems that way. However, looking at the big picture, they should, and most often do, work cooperatively. Government has grown beyond the vision of the Founding Fathers, but so has the infrastructure of large municipalities, our means of transportation, telecommunications with both its positive and negative effects, and the advance of science and technology which has enriched and prolonged our lives. All of these created opportunities for businesses large and small to profit in new and expanding markets.
It is painful to look at our paystubs and see that as much as 30% of our income goes to withholding for state and federal taxes. However, consider what the country would be like without the services mentioned above, which result from public-private cooperation. Again, the common enemy is selfishness.
As Unificationists, we ought to think in terms of moving forward with promoting interreligious cooperation to the point where adding a UN interreligious council comprised of men and women of profound depth and faith inform and inspire our national and international leaders. Cheon Il Guk is a world where the public and private sectors are interdependent for mutual prosperity among all people based on universal values.♦
Scott Simonds is an employment specialist with Creative Work Systems, a comprehensive non-profit rehabilitation agency, serving the needs of persons with disabilities. He and his wife, Jaclyn, are part of the 2,074 couple marriage blessing (1982), have three adult children, and live in Maine.
I would like to compliment Scott for recognizing that some of the “Freedom Society” arguments and slogans have been lacking in compassion and have often oversimplified the relationship of economics and government along libertarian lines. It has often been difficult for members of the Unification Church to challenge statements by members of the Moon family with constructive dialogue.
However, many of Scott’s statements also tend to be stereotypical slogans that aren’t helpful in getting to the bottom of issues, and thus you end up with an either/or debate that breaks down along partisan lines, rather than getting a state of the art analysis.
Regarding the four arguments attributed to Kook Jin Moon, one can see how partisan politics easily causes people to take sides.
Kook Jin Moon’s first statement is objectively true, e.g., government has undermined the role of the family and expropriated money through coercion for undeserving recipients. However, what is not said is that it has also expropriated money for deserving recipients. Hence, one can see the partisan divide revealed through the rhetoric. Kook Jin Moon’s concern is that money is wasted and harms the economy by causing dependency. Scott is alarmed that people in genuine need will be forced to suffer if Kook Jin Moon’s policy were fully implemented. Each is concerned to promote a valid principle to the exclusion of others.
The second statement that a free market system is self-governing is largely false, although it is theoretically true if a condition of pure competition existed. However, a condition of pure competition is only a theoretical ideal and cannot exist in any type of known society in practice. In pure competition a “One percent” could not exist. Therefore it is ironic that ideological opponents of a “free market” are also responsible for much government legislation that is the cause of the existence of the “one percent,” by creating incentives to centralize wealth that is managed by a few people. For example, government IRA plans incentivize investment in Wall Street firms, causing maximum centralization of capital and creating an environment for “the wolves of Wall Street” to thrive. The best form of government financial regulation would be that which encourages wealth distribution and economic democracy without any cash from individuals going through government coffers, Wall Street, or central banks. The largest problem is not capital itself, but the concentration of capital. It doesn’t really matter if this concentration is in the hands of Wall Street, large banks, or government bureaucrats. Temptations to skim off cash for selfish purposes, or for utopian schemes, at the expense of the average citizen are about the same.
The third statement, that the “government is in the archangel position” seems true by Scott’s own argument about Reverend Moon’s desire to see an interreligious body at the UN. The basic argument by Reverend Moon is that laws should reflect God’s True Love, which is best promoted by the religious and cultural sphere. Thus, a religious body at the UN could enable God’s Will to influence political decisions. This is an example of culture being in the position of master, and government legislation being in the position of servant, e.g., the archangel.
The fourth statement “that government should be limited to lawmaking” is also highly politicized by partisan politics. Actually, laws can create health and welfare systems that, in effect, after they are created, function as “businesses” for those employed in them. And, such businesses have all the temptations of persons in corporations with monopoly power. Hence they are equally susceptible to corruption and abuse as are monopoly corporations in the “private” sector. Genuine competition for government contracts, and the absence of lobbying can make government enterprises more moral and just. But, as a rule, large corporations and government agencies both hire people of the same moral character and economic motives, and you can expect the same behavior from people in both spheres.
In the end, the economic sphere and the political sphere have independent functions in a society, but there must be some areas of overlap. This overlap should not be determined by either the economic or political sector. Hence, it is absurd to think that it is moral for Pfizer to lobby to get a law passed in its interest, or that the government knows more about medicine than doctors. Both of these sectors should be objects to “God” — and those impulses come from the cultural sphere (the sphere of religious and scientific knowledge.)
You will seldom hear true knowledge being transmitted by either political and economic concerns, but you will inevitably hear partisan rhetoric in the attempt by one group of people to use the force of government to impose their will on other groups.
It was an attempt to put an end to a government based on rhetorical arguments in ancient Athens that got Socrates killed 2,500 years ago. In many ways, this Freedom Society debate has been functioning at the level of rhetoric, as are other debates in American society generally. In my view, such rhetoric reflects a “growth stage consciousness” activity, and we should seek to raise our discussions of political and economic topics to a “completion stage consciousness” that sees society from a viewpoint of the whole that transcends individual and group interests.
First all, I’m no great supporter of what Kook Jin Moon represents today. That said, one has to respect much of his analysis, and I don’t see it at all in conflict with what True Parents did in America. That is, if you can honestly debate the idea of “free enterprise” without the liberal classification of it as “far right-wing,” parroting the media line, I’d love to hear what the “far left” agenda is. Suffice it to say, that is pretty much just political media spin.
Does far-left or left mean being a defender of the moral degradation which we suffer daily as represented by the policies of liberals today? (we must distinguish it from classical liberalism, as TF did.) One might assume as much, since the only visible political effort to defend the family-values agenda lies within the “far-right” Tea Party. Else, where is it, Barack Obama’s politics? Surely not. Would that our church had political clout, but it doesn’t. Anyone who believes and supports the true family values agenda I would consider Head Wing, but no others. Otherwise, we might as well join the present day characterization of family values as “bigoted, homophobic, far-right hate-mongering,” when one believes merely in the nuclear family (God’s foundation on the earth, BTW).
As someone who worked on virtually all the organizations you mentioned when they were established, including the first UN effort to establish the “Assembly of the Worlds Religions” (AWR), I know a little of which I speak. Political issues, among others, I realize are hardly settled, even in the Family Federation. Abortion, evolution, and so on, among others, remain contentious. But as far as free enterprise goes, I think we can conclude that the central-market model does not work. We should encourage it, but also realize that selfishness is the enemy, not the Tea Party.
You’ll also find that Kook Jin Moon does not say that the government safety net should be removed or that it is not important, at times. If one needs it, one should use it, just not as a way of life. Further, as for the condition to establish the AWR, it did not succeed. You forgot to mention that fact or you don’t know. We did not get even to the vote to establish the AWR at the UN, which was the spiritual condition set by TF. None of which means our work with the FFWPU and other organizations does not contribute to the overall goal of TPs’ work, not by any means. Just not quite in the way you imply. Also, the UN as it functions today is a long way from that ideal. It will be half a century before our Abel UN work bears fruit.
One of the deepest and most destructive false beliefs I held onto for much of my life is that we must have government. Frankly, I have yet to find where Rev. Moon stated that government is required for the ideal of God. I can find many times he stated that in the ideal world there would be no government as we know and experience it today. I find it in his public speeches going back more than 40 years, but also I personally was present several times in the last decade where I heard him say that governments and institutions we have today will not exist in the ideal world, including the current Unification movement/church.
At this point, many would label me an anarchist and jump to conclusions about me and they would be wrong. I am not advocating a lack of origination or structure. I still remember when I realized back in 1983 that government should be in the role of servant, not master. This clarified for me a bit more what an ideal world would be like and deepened my understanding of many of the things Rev. Moon had spoken over the years prior and since. This was long before Kook Jin Moon came along with the “Freedom Society.” What I am attempting to point out is that the current structures and institutions we have are based on history and none of them have brought about an ideal world and never will.
What are we holding on to? Is it the practices and entities of the past that have failed us to this point? What are we afraid to give up (let go of)? When I am honest with myself and ask God directly without any preconception what is closer to his ideal for me, my family and the world, the answer is the Freedom Society, not the one we have now. So now the question becomes, do I hold onto the old ways or am I humble enough and have faith to step forward into a new Canaan and new age?
I believe that Kook Jin Moon was speaking from the point of view of idealism, or, where we should be headed. I don’t believe he was taking a view different from or opposing that of his Father. I am not concerned about what he is advocating in regards to government or economy. He has not brought out social issues, rather a concern for market forces and governmental interference. In the evolution of the Cheon Il Guk nation we will be heading toward the ideals that Kook Jin Moon espouses, but it will be a process to get there.
Thank you for reading and commenting on my article. I would like to respond to a few points.
Gordon, I am aware of the misuse of public funds in human services and throughout government for that matter. Regarding “welfare,” Kook Jin Moon advocated for churches to take care of the needs of the poor. In a forthcoming article, I will address human services. In the meantime, professionals who are delivering services are against abusing the system because there are many people on waiting lists who need help. Public resources should go to them. We service providers also pay taxes and don’t want to pay more than we have to. In his presentation, KJN does not recognize the magnitude of taking care of the elderly, the disabled and children from abusive homes.
The archangel metaphor is problematic. Let’s use the Cain/Abel relationship instead. I prefer it because the “Archangel” assumed the position of enemy to God. That’s what I object to in KJN’s presentation. He goes so far as to compare government with the Archangel at the time of the fall, the enemy that wooed humanity away from God by making false promises and usurped God’s position. The Cain/Abel model is more accurate because an entity can stand in the position of Cain in one instance and Abel in another. An upper house comprised of religious leaders is in an Abel position to a lower house of politicians. But the upper house is in a Cain position to God and True Parents. Taken together, the two deliberative bodies would comprise “government” which would be in an Abel position to “the people.” On the other hand, Father often talked about how beings switch positions. One could argue that “government of the people, for the people, by the people” could support either position: that is, government as subject (of the people) and government as object (for the people). What matters to me is not to demonize government, and that’s the thrust of KJN’s arguments.
Gordon, you said that lawmaking and economics are separate functions, that lawmakers don’t know about medicine and doctors don’t know about lawmaking. That’s not true. First, legislators come from the general population and have backgrounds in various enterprises. They generally sit on committees where they have expertise. Beyond that, government has two other branches besides the legislative branch, the administrative (executive) branch and judicial branch. You used the example of drug companies. Drug companies are governed by law, but also regulated by a branch of the administration, the FDA. Conversations go on constantly between regulators and industries. The regulators come out of the industries they regulate. Also, there are partnerships between government entities, like the National Institute for Health (NIH) and drug companies. A recent coalition was formed among drug companies brokered by the NIH. Historically, drug companies didn’t share discoveries while researching other drugs. They hung on to their findings for future use. Consequently, a lot of valuable information never became public. Under the new agreement, companies file their information with a central clearinghouse. If a new drug gets developed using someone else’s research, the owner of the intellectual property gets a piece of the action. But, beyond being simply a copyright program, the collaborative created rules so companies could work together on joint projects and get funding from the NIH.
Al, you brought the moral agenda into the conversation. There are social liberals and conservatives, and there are economic liberals and conservatives. The conservatism KJN promotes in his presentation is mainly free enterprise vs. big government: Milton Friedman vs John Maynard Keynes. (For an excellent overview of the rise of the global economy and the pendulum affect of these two economic theories, see PBS’s “Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy”) Laissez faire conservatives are often neutral on the social issues. Just as they want government to keep its hands off business, they want government out of the bedroom. But that’s another issue worth discussing: what role should government play regarding faith, family and morality in a pluralistic society? Does free enterprise play a role in the demoralization of the country? Is the downward spiral more government’s fault or profit-driven industry?
The fact that the AWR did not succeed does not mean that the concept is not a good model. I think we would agree on that. I was involved with AFC and the Ambassadors for Peace initiative. I had my own bitter disillusionment when I witnessed a huge opportunity evaporate in DC (that’s another topic worthy of discussion).
Robert, thanks for your passionate comments. Subsection 3.2, “The Significance of the Separation of Powers,” in Section 3, “The Period of Maturation of Politics, Economy and Ideology,” in Chapter 5, “The Preparation for the Second Coming” of Exposition of the Divine Principle, talks about the ideal society as being like one human body. The functions of government operate like organs, but we’re missing the brain and central nervous system. That would be the “Upper House” in the UN, connected to the True Parents, I would think.
Thanks, Randy for your comments.
Although we try to be objective in the pursuit of truth, we cannot help but project our own character and biases in what we say and do. I know I do in my words and deeds. I think KJN’s arguments are consistent with his own life experience. I wish I had his ability to be financially successful.
Generally speaking, there are many successful people who are frustrated by government getting in the way. They are over-regulated and pay heavy taxes. Then there are people who were in prison camps and the military of a foreign nation came and liberated them. Or people with disabilities rescued from abusive homes, or substandard institutions who were provided support to reach the point where they could live independently. Different experiences lead to different perspectives on government.
Thank you for your reply. I want to point out that your desire to use Cain/Abel instead of the “archangel metaphor” is flawed even by your own logic. The Cain/Abel relationship is a restoration dynamic that comes about due to the failure of a proper relationships between the Archangel and Adam. If the fall had never occurred then there would be no need for a Cain/Abel restoration course. Your use of the Cain/Abel dynamic actually gives more credence to Kook Jin Moon’s understanding, since the failure between the Archangel/Adam predates Cain/Abel and is the originating reason for that relationship.
Kook Jin Moon is speaking about what is the proper relationship between servant/child (Archangel/Adam). As long as you speak in the sense of Cain/Abel you are premising on the foundation of failure. Also in restoration, unity of Cain/Abel is only the foundation of substance to receive the messiah, so it is not the final expression of God’s effort of restoration. You still need the messiah post-Cain/Abel to lead mankind out of the world of sin and Satan’s lineage into the Ideal of God. The messiah will not be coming to have us hang onto restoration processes, but rather to teach us how to live as God’s children in the “new heaven and new earth.”
Your article is about what is a more accurate understanding of God’s ideal from a political aspect. You criticize the Freedom Society message. I strongly differ with you that churches are not capable of providing for the social needs.
You raise some good points. The Archangel and Cain/Abel metaphors can be used to argue different points of view. I’ll get back to that.
First, let’s cut to the chase. Do you feel dependent on government? Are you supported by government handouts? Or does government actually make it possible for us to be more independent?
I like roads and drive on them a lot. The Department of Transportation takes care of those roads. That costs money. I like the Internet, which makes our dialogue possible. As I said in my article, it grew out of ARPANET, a project of the Department of Defense and National Science Foundation. KJN commented that “government never created anything,” and poked fun at Al Gore. But Gore was the first legislator to see the potential of ARPANET for other government agencies. His legislation created a public platform which led to the development of the first web browser, Mosaic, the basis for the Internet and Dot-Com revolution.
I also like knowing my food is safe to eat. The FDA sees to that. I like living in a country where industries can’t dump toxic waste in my backyard or in the river our town sits on, thanks to the EPA. I like being safe. It’s nice to know, in a world where there are rogue nations like North Korea and bullies like Russia, that we have aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines out there. I have a sailboat. I like knowing I can call up the Coast Guard on Channel 16 on the VHF if I get in trouble. I used to run a Sunrise shrimp boat off the Mississippi River Delta. I’m happy for the people of New Orleans that the Army Corps of Engineers is keeping the river on its present course. I’m glad my kids got an education and one of them is now getting her master’s degree. We wouldn’t have been able to afford to send our kids to a private school, not a good one anyway.
As a job developer for people with disabilities, I work with a lot of different businesses. Restaurants can only keep unfrozen, or opened food for three days. They either have to sell it or throw it away. They get inspected from time to time and findings get published. I like knowing that if I walk into a restaurant in the U.S., I can be reasonably sure my chicken isn’t spoiled. That’s government protecting me. But it’s a burden for the restaurant.
Businesses have to post workers’ rights. They have to pay minimum wage. Workers are protected against sexual harassment and can’t be fired for whistle-blowing. That’s a burden for the business, but it’s protection for the worker.
That brings me to why I object to the Archangel analogy. The Archangel is one being. Government is made up of thousands of people serving a multitude of functions. Lincoln used the phrase, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
First, government is us. You and I participate at any level we choose. Of course we vote, we can run for office or support a candidate, we can join a professional association that lobbies for different causes, we can join the military, the Peace Corps, work for the State Department, FBI, Health and Human Services, the school system.
Second, government of the people means we voluntarily submit to its authority. I can’t break laws that we, as a people, agreed to or I’ll suffer the consequences. If we don’t like the laws, we can “throw the bastards out” and make different ones.
And government for the people means government provides services including safety, roads, education, support for technological advancement and more.
Government provides a structure for deliberation, cooperation and action. The structure itself is neutral. What people do within the structure, whether it be on the floor of Congress or negotiating contracts to build bridges, is up to us. We need a collective conscience to create an environment where God can dwell and participate in all of these functions, where conflicting interests — that of the restaurant and that of the diner — can be resolved and harmonized. The section of the DP that I referenced states clearly that the democratic system with its three branches is God’s Ideal. All it’s missing is that conscience which will appear with the Messiah and the saints.
I’m glad you brought up the issue of the church providing services instead of government. Of course they both do. In fact, they cooperate or work side-by-side in many instances. I’m going to submit another article on social services and how public policy has evolved. But let me ask: how could our church have handled situations like these that have occurred in very small church communities?
— A brother died of cancer. He couldn’t work, needed food, shelter and medicine. The cancer gradually got worse over a period of about 1.5 years until he died. He was a veteran. The VA took care of him to the tune of well over $100,000 in medical bills. He was eligible for disability. If the VA and Social Security didn’t help him, how could the church have taken care of him?
— A couple had a child who has a mental illness. They don’t have health insurance. They have a pastor, but no one in the church community who has professional experience dealing with the illness. The child qualified for Medicaid and was able to get treatment from the doctor and hospital of their choice. Medicaid paid for the child’s prescriptions, too. A two-week stay in a hospital to get doses regulated ran over $40,000. The full retail cost of the medications are at least $200/month. How could our church have helped this family?
— I work with people with cognitive disabilities. One is a 27-year-old woman who was born into an abusive family. Both of her parents were alcoholics. At the age of two, her mother disciplined her by dipping her legs in boiling water. She had third degree burns and had to have skin grafts on her feet and lower legs. Her father disciplined her by starving her. She would go for days without food, and she was sexually abused. She was removed from her home. According to her records, she was “feral” at the time, like an animal. She would try to bury herself along the side of the road. Currently, she’s in a residential program. She lives with another young woman her age in a house that is fully staffed. She is being taught life skills and has a job. She’s very smart, but lacks social skills. She suffers from mild retardation. Let’s say she lived in your town. How would our church in your town take care of her?
If these incidents were isolated, and everyone else was very healthy and prosperous, then maybe a church community could take care of one incident. But they aren’t rare and isolated. I live in a community of about 18,000. There are 400 kids in special ed in our town. These are the ones who are in special programs in the regular school system who have disorders ranging from learning disabilities to mild retardation. That doesn’t include kids with severe behavioral and mental health issues, who are in residential programs outside of the school. Many come from homes that are either broken, dysfunctional or abusive. How would churches take care of these kids?
I really want to know how people who think the church can take of social problems see how it would play out.
You seem to assume that I believe government should not exist. I am not sure where you get that from. What I have said is government will not exist as it does now in God’s ideal.
Your response appears to be biased against an anarchist viewpoint. But I clearly stated that is not my view and understanding. What I have said is I find the “Freedom Society” closer to the ideal that God intends than the government that we have. Notice I said “closer to.” From my first response, I said, “Frankly, I have yet to find where Rev. Moon stated that government is required for the ideal of God,” and “At this point, many would label me an anarchist and jump to conclusions about me and they would be wrong.”
What I attempted to point out is there seems a strong desire to hang onto the current government and ignore how it blocks God’s ideal. This comes through your article and responses. The fundamental point that Freedom Society is addressing is the proper position of government, one of servant, not master. It is clear that current governments do not humble themselves and voluntarily take the servant’s position. This is exactly the case of the fallen (corrupted) archangel placing himself over Adam and Eve as the ruler (false god).
Your examples of things that have been of value with government involvement I have never denied or dismissed. Yet I also see and experience how government is used to block God’s ideal. I could give a response to every example you placed in your response, but I feel that is missing the point.
As our world is robotized and computerized, removing the need to work and the availability of jobs, what will happen with economic wealth and/or the means for all humans to live in the coming “recreational society” that TF predicted and was the original plan for humanity before the fall? If most humans do not need to work long hours but find themselves with endless “free time,” just how will our culture and society not fall into a mass chaos of decadence, given the history of drunkenness, gambling, immorality, and drugs resulting with the increase of free time replacing the need to work long hours?
Mussolini defined fascism as the merger of state and corporate power. Public private partnerships would fall into the parameters of that definition. Nearly every function of government you claim is essential was once done better by private or charitable organizations. Government regulations supposedly intended to protect consumers are usually written by lobbyists hired by the industries being regulated. The regulations function to make it hard for new competition to enter the industry, depriving consumers of access to better and cheaper products. The costs of compliance can only be afforded by large established firms and consumers bear those costs with higher prices, lower quality and less quantity. The regulators will go easy on the corporations because that’s where the high paying jobs are.
A recent study concluded that the US is now an oligarchy, with a government that exists to serve special interests.
The study states that “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
Another study concluded that the average annual household income would be $330,000 if federal regulations had remained at 1948 levels. Today’s average annual household income is $53,000. The actual suppression of family wealth is much more grievous, since researchers did not have enough budget to study the impact of the many state and local regulations, and also did not factor in the 50 years of progressive policies already in place by 1948,
The free market is essential for us to learn how to live for others. Competition is the greatest regulator, which is why corporations spend so much money trying to avoid it. Serving others with goods and services is how we can learn to become responsible true love people, and family businesses will create strong families that work hard together to serve others. The family is where true love is created, so stronger families means great progress for building an ideal world. Suppressing economic freedom makes families poorer and weaker, with mom and dad required to work outside the home and the kids going off to government schools to be raised by the nanny state. It is taking us on the path to the New World Order of global oligarchy.
Kook Jin NIm applied economic theory to accomplish the ideal society Father described, one with no judges or prosecutors. That means a self-regulating society, not one of big government. He is not an anarchist, saying there is a role for the archangel to serve man. I seem to recall he put the ideal government budget at less than 5% of GDP.
John, I want to thank you for that report that was linked, which contains a lot of analysis that supports what I have been saying for years about control of the government by factions.
However, it is not just corporations, but other groups with financial and political leverage that determine government policy. These include labor unions, environmental lobbies and, perhaps more importantly, government bureaucracies themselves. All of these groups are factions, in the way Madison was concerned about them in Federalist 10. Not only do they control legislation and policy, but they have significant control over the courts as well. Because of this, some scholars refer to the current system as a “plutocracy,” rather than an “oligarchy,” even though oligarchic interests have more influence than citizens.
It is important for Unificationists to note that none of these factions that control government live for the sake of others. Each group struggles to gain its own survival through government at the expense of all who are not part of that group.
The extent government is controlled by factions determines how public government policies and programs actually are. If indeed the study is accurate in claiming that citizens and interest groups have little or no influence, then there is close to no real public activity in government programs. They are in fact enabling favored businesses to make lots of money at the public’s expense.
The famous revolving doors between regulatory agencies and the corporations they are supposedly monitoring has led to regulatory capture. Various business groups own parts of the government.
A family-centered movement must necessarily be offended by policies like these.
John, In my book, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0, I explained how the Constitution was amended and laws and procedures established to give factions power. The two largest factions are the Republican and Democratic parties, and their funders largely control the legislation. There are certainly favored businesses, but they aren’t the only selfish groups feeding at the trough. Labor unions and government bureaucracies display the same behavior. If you put self-centered people in any bureaucracy, whether it is a corporation, an NGO, or a government agency, you get essentially the same behavior: trying to manipulate whatever is in their sphere of possibility to make things better for themselves.
You are right that the change must begin in families, because that is where unselfish behavior gets taught.
There are two ways to significantly reduce the government budget. One is to end military conflicts around the world. The other is to restore families. The first would eliminate the military budget, which makes up 22% of the 2014 budget. The other would impact welfare which makes up 11%.
I don’t think we can predict how these changes would affect health care and social services. Social Security makes up about 23% of the budget, Medicare 14% and health 12%. (These statistics aren’t from a very reliable source, but close enough for illustration. I pulled them off the Net on the fly).
Is Social Security going to go away? You can argue that companies will take care of people like they did in the past. That was an era when people worked for one company for most of their lives. They don’t do that anymore. Today people set up their own retirement, but private investment is riskier than pension funds. Mine was doing well until I lost 40% in the recession and spent what I had when I was unemployed for 1-1/2 years. I used to be in favor of investing Social Security money where I chose. Now I’m glad it grew at 1-3% and wasn’t affected by the recession.
Whether or not it does 100 years from now when the economy is ideal and every investment is a good one, I don’t see it going away anytime soon.
How about Medicare? Even if families are ideal and loving, will they be able to afford long-term care for their elderly parents if they need care 24/7?
In both cases, Social Security and Medicare, we have to consider whether there is a social responsibility to the elderly, or if they should be left to their own devices. Is it right that some people happen to have the support of wealthy relatives who have no financial limitations, where others may suffer from being in a family where their kids were lost in a natural disaster and aren’t around to care for them? Perhaps the local community or church can help them? Some communities are rural farming communities and don’t have the resources that Silicon Valley has. Is it right that poorer communities don’t have access to expensive health care?
I think the constitutional role to “Provide for the General Welfare” will continue to provide healthcare to the public.
John, the last person I would look to as an expert on government policies and systems is Mussolini. The notion that the definition of fascism is the merger of state and corporate power suggests that the state and corporations would have a single purpose. The only instance where that might be true would be in a military dictatorship, which is what he had. Otherwise, governments are comprised of competing interests, and so is the corporate world. Nevertheless, public/private interests abound. I gave several examples in earlier posts.
I hate to disagree about competition being the greatest regulator. Successful companies focus on their core competencies. They may be great manufacturers of automobiles, but unaware of the safety hazards of materials they are using. Chemical companies and researchers can’t build cars, but they know what materials are safe and which ones are not. Often, people come out of companies and blow the whistle on unsafe practices. Without a neutral party to hold them accountable, a company can crush an individual whistleblower.
The government will never reduce its budget because the corporatism, or public private partnerships, is too profitable for the people involved. Jeffersonian principles have been entirely abandoned in deciding government policy. These founding ethics are relevant now mostly as a repertoire of stump speech lies during election season, primarily for the Republican candidates doing the conservative shuck and jive for the folks back home.
The military budget is unaudited, and much of it is off the books. CIA drug sales, for instance, have probably never been itemized on the budget. There is a huge public private partnership supplying arms and equipment to the military, the police, various government agencies, and foreign governments. These companies make a lot of money through their government contracts and have lots of special relationships with the politicians who award them the business. Politicians and their staff members typically have a golden career with their private partners waiting for them after they are out of office.
An example of this would be former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, who after his 2004 election loss went to work for a K Street law firm for two million dollars a year. He couldn’t be a lobbyist immediately after leaving office, so he was called a consultant. This is the kind of quid pro quo that is waiting for politicians the moment they leave office, providing of course, that their voting record solidly supported the private side of the partnership. He joined forces with his old buddy, Bob Dole, the 1996 Republican presidential nominee, who was already working there. They pretended to hate each other for years as Senate leaders, but now it is clear their bipartisan rancor was about as real as professional wrestling. Together with Howard Baker, they twisted arms on their respective sides of the aisle for Obamacare. We have all been sold downriver to a nasty plantation of socialized medicine. They, of course, are exempt from Obamacare and can keep their wonderful congressional health care plans. They get paid for life, too, but that is just pocket change compared to the fees they can get as lobbyists.
The Constitution is about 4,400 words in a half dozen pages. Obamacare is thousands of pages no one ever read before voting for it.
Public private partnerships suppress the freedom of families and individuals. These partnerships are the antithesis of a society based on true love families.
I’d like to point out that advocacy for particular groups is not totally selfish. There are advocates for agriculture, small business, education, for curing diseases, for the disabled, for veterans, pharmaceutical companies, for the public sector and private sector, etc. Farming is good, small business and big business are good, curing diseases is good, education and public services are good. People gain expertise in specific areas and offer their knowledge to inform decision-makers. That’s a large part of what advocacy groups do.
By way of illustration, I was a member of a nine-person delegation to the White House Conference on Small Business in 1995. At the time, I was an independent agent for the National Association for the Self Employed (NASE). Our organization provided benefits and was an advocate for businesses with fewer than five employees. Most of the 250,000 members had no employees. A colleague went representing the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Our top issues were 1) reducing regulations, 2) updating the definition of “independent contractor” and 3) allowing the self-employed to deduct 100% of their health insurance premiums.
The NFIB opposed our positions. They favored licensing regulations, because businesses who had employees claimed that unlicensed people in construction (in particular) did lower quality work for lower prices and they couldn’t compete. They opposed a broader definition of independent contractor because people laid off from construction companies became general contractors and hired subcontractors, avoiding payroll overhead and worker’s comp premiums. Even though large companies were laying off workers, they didn’t want those workers to become independent. Large companies cover their workers and managers under company policies for health insurance. The company can write off the employer contribution. The employee contribution is pre-tax. But the self-employed could not deduct their premiums. The NFIB didn’t support that goal because it didn’t benefit them and only made the independent contractor more competitive.
The culture of large businesses and independent contractors is very different. Their turf overlaps and encroaches on each other. Decision-makers have to develop policies that support each constituency fairly.
Often, good causes conflict. This is natural. In Divine Principle terms, objects revolve around subjects, but two subjects repel each other. The NFIB argued that they provide better quality work, are for paying higher wages, giving better benefits, and are better insured for injuries on customers’ property. The independent contractor argues that there aren’t many opportunities to work for an employer, he can handle several small jobs that a big company isn’t interested in, and he’s being treated unfairly because he’s in the only sector that not only has to pay the entire premium for his health insurance, but he can’t deduct it. A large employer could counter that they have to pay workers’ comp, but a self-employed person doesn’t. So a self-employed persons’ health insurance is the accident health coverage portion of his workers’ comp.
There will also always be tension between advocates for public interests seeking support and businesses seeking to lower taxes. That’s the major difference between the two parties. People will advocate for great causes, but contributors have limitations as to how much and to whom they can contribute. Advocates fight for awareness and bring results on a small scale to prove their cause. They compete with other causes for resources. That’s not selfishness. It’s competition among good causes, subject/subject relationships.
Selfishness creeps in when people lose perspective of the good of the whole. That can happen when advocates are narrow-minded and see the world through the limited lens of their own causes and refuse to compromise. It can also happen when individuals misuse the clout of their positions, their advocacy groups or its funds for their private gain.
Ironically, advocates on different sides of issues frequently label the opposition as selfish. Big business won’t pay and social services want to live off government largess. Incorporated small business provides better services and takes better care of its workers than independent contractors. A self-employed person with a good reputation can provide the same quality without the overhead costs you pay for with a bigger company.
Often, differences are irreconcilable via contracts, treaties or law. Only the force of love for God and humanity can digest compromise and sacrifice.
Many UC members say, “Oh, we just need heavenly unselfish people to take office and everything will be OK.” Once a brother told me, “We need our members to run the Federal Reserve to clean up the system.” I replied, “You want heavenly counterfeiting?”
The system is corrupt by design, and can only be abolished. Any talk of reforming, cleaning up or fixing the system is just semantic gymnastics to continue the criminal activity.
Public private partnerships bless specially connected businesses with government contracts. Because they are seen as doing good, and there should be no limit on creating goodness, all limits on the size and scope of government disappear. This is the progressive view of government, a force for good.
The founders’ view, except perhaps for Hamilton, was that centralized unlimited government was a highway to tyranny.
Before government intervention into health care, doctors commonly made house calls at very reasonable prices. How many Americans have had a doctor visit them at home recently? Like everything government touches, healthcare today is expensive, the quality is getting worse, and is in increasingly short supply. Our medical records are also digitized and sent to the nice socialists running the federal government to enter our personal files with our tax records, GPS locations of our phones 24/7, and all our electronic communications. They say the NSA is the part of government that really listens to what the people have to say. Time will tell whether American socialism will bear rotten fruit similar to that of the Soviets and Nazis.
Does anyone believe the Clintons made over 100 million dollars in speaking fees since leaving office because they are so wise and knowledgeable? Is it possible that it is political payback from the private side? Those Wall Street firms seem so grateful. To do otherwise would make it harder to influence current office holders who are busy building their own golden parachutes.
Al Gore, who apparently won the popular vote for US president in 2000, is on his way to becoming a billionaire from his carbon tax scam. His fabulous wealth is developing without providing the public with any goods or services.
The burden of regulatory compliance creates a market where only corporations enjoy economic freedom. Individuals and families cannot afford to freely exchange goods and services. Retail prices are artificially high because they include the cost of regulatory compliance.
This essay by a former congressional staffer on “The Deep State” may be of interest to readers. He defines the Deep State as “a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process.”
As Managing Editor of the AU Blog, I would also welcome comments on Scott’s article from those who have served in elective office, whether on a state or local level, or those who have served in the executive or judicial branch of any level of government.
Mark, thank you for pointing out that article. What the author calls “the deep state” is largely the machinery of government that has grown through the creations of agencies that are headed by appointed officials. These agencies make laws and policies without regard to citizen needs or desires, but generally based on their own vision of reality. Here in Minnesota, we have created a regional government called the Met Council with a board of seven appointed officials that has decided what kind of public transportation we will have and where dams and bridges will go that voters have absolutely no control over. This government covers seven counties that include Minneapolis and St. Paul and largely supplants the Minneapolis and St. Paul governments on these issues.
In an above comment, Scott wrote about the “goodness” of the FDA and other federal agencies. The concepts of regulating food and the purposes of other agencies are concepts that were often established for a good purpose, and even the first heads of these agencies tend to set them up to meet that purpose. However, over time these agencies become largely beholden to the political parties that appoint their heads, as a reward for service to the party. And, the “experts” on their staffs tend to migrate from the corporations they are supposed to regulate, creating an industry bias that leaves the “fox in the hen house.”
Thus in our “deep state” today, Monsanto gets the FDA to approve pesticides that are eliminating bees and the FDA puts its stamp of approval on hormone enhanced cattle and milk that other countries ban as unsafe. Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies with deep pockets to oil the machine routinely get drugs fast-tracked onto the market whose side effects are dangerous and require other drugs to counter. This deep government allows companies like Monsanto to sue organic farmers when their crops have been polluted by genetically altered crops, yet a government with a moral compass would fine those companies that genetically engineer crops for polluting the air with pollen from these crops. Such was the reason China forbade two shiploads of U.S. corn from being unloaded.
In the final analysis, voters are partly responsible for these agencies because legislators they elected created them for a good purpose. But, then they are left to morph into something entirely different, because appointed heads have political agendas, big business often ends up providing funding for jobs in these agencies, etc. But the citizens are not regulating the agencies. This is why, during the Wall Street meltdown in 2008, the SEC was purposely looking the other way.