Alan Keyes
Is the issue of 'religious liberty' liberty itself?
Alan Keyes puts into context Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent demand
By Alan Keyes
March 26, 2018

According to the headline, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks that "rich donors should 'starve' the GOP into becoming liberal." This statement may seem to be about controlling the so-called Republican Party. But, logically speaking, it means erasing the putative difference between the GOP and the Democratic Party. In the context of choices monopolized by one or the other of these parties, it means leaving grassroots American voters who reject the God-hating, morally dissolute, and politically tyrannical "liberal" (actually socialist and communist) agenda, with no choice that represents their good will.

This has, in effect, been the reality of their situation since the end of the Reagan era. Mr. Schwarzenegger will doubtless chafe at the comparison, but rule by starvation is a reliable characteristic of socialist and communist regimes. The plight of the people of North Korea is presently the most widely known example of this fact. But from Ethiopia to East Germany, from Burma to Venezuela, and even from Houston to Detroit, the pattern of desolation wrought by what people like Mr. Schwarzenegger these days disingenuously mislabel "liberalism" has been the same.

People usually portray this result as proof of the failure of socialist/communist economic policy. But they miss the point. Maintaining scarcity to force people into submission is the purpose of the socialist ideology. It has been the mainstay of elitist, oligarchic tyrannies. Though these days scarcity mainly evokes the lack of money and material things, in the statecraft of elitist despotism, peace is the chief commodity it keeps in short supply. In this respect, such things as superstition, as well as ethnic enmity and prideful emulation, are tools used to stoke warlike passion.

If all the fields and storehouses, laid waste in all the wars such passion feeds, could somehow be restored to the timeline of human events, scarcely what hint of dearth and famine would remain? And even apart from the infectious contrivances of siege warfare, marching armies proved to be potent biological weapons, contracting and spreading diseases as fatal to themselves as to the populations they fought or merely encountered along the way.

When kings go forth, they often take with them the very people whose strength and courage might challenge their rule if left to themselves at home. And, as even the biblical King David's idleness portrays, when kings stay behind, the more defenseless people with whom they stay can be much more easily seduced, exploited, and controlled. So war, as the mainstay of scarcity, becomes the mainstay of elitist rule, producing conditions in which a few can keep many in check, regardless of their superior numbers. Thus perpetual war helped craftily contentious elitists maintain their monopoly of power. Seeming to fight among themselves, they effectively co-opted and subdued the will and spirit of the peoples they ruled.

However, by the 17th century A.D., the Gospel of liberty, rooted in the example and precepts of Jesus Christ, came into its own, after achieving apparent predominance among certain nations in America and Western Europe. At the same time, the strategy of purposely induced scarcity began to fail. People at large began to assert their self-government, against the elitist monopoly of power. With Christ as the head of the church, people striving to live more fully according to the Spirit of his good will began to see their vocation in this earthly domain in light of their place in God's domain, much as Christ saw his.

But Christ is priest, prophet, and king. So, they could not readily divorce the responsibility for the government of their community from their responsibility for themselves as individuals; or from the natural obligations of care and authority, in respect of their families and neighbors, which God's commandments of love bound them to fulfill – people who, by the Grace of God, thus received and accepted the mind of Christ. In joining with Christ, they were also joined to one another. Informed by his mind, guided by his will, and sharing his heart for the glorification of God in their doings, they found themselves coming together (covenant) in the path of righteousness (right doing, justice) according to God's will.

This common ground of right and justice, expressed in documents like the Mayflower Compact (and, in time, the Declaration of Independence) was the basis for their self-government. As individuals within their families, and as citizens within the community, what constitutes this capacity for self-government is shared faith in (reliance on, trust in) Jesus Christ. Unlike communities uninformed by the presence of Christ, this self-governed community is not just a material fact or result. It exists on account of the superabundance of God's grace, released into their lives by Christ's presence, which unlocks the self- ordering power of God within them.

Connecting the existence of law with the abundance of sin, the Apostle Paul points to the even greater abundance of grace made possible by Christlike obedience to God's will. Therefore, where self- government derives its existence from faith in Christ, the scarcity induced by warlike passion cannot erase the abundance of understanding, spirit, and courage engendered by faith. It makes sense that faith produces what appears, in material terms, to be greater self-reliance. People who build their sense of worth on their adherence to the standard of God and Christ are less likely to feel inwardly diminished by material setbacks. People who look forward to life with God may endure the prospect of physical death with less profound trepidation.

This train of thought suggests a connection between the faith in Christ and the self-confident morale required for republican self-government. It sheds new light on the adamant effort now underway to banish that faith from politics and government in America, by force of law and cultural opprobrium. Could the success of that effort explain why a politician like Arnold Schwarzenegger now openly demands that elitists return to their age-old strategy of induced scarcity? Are careless welfare, trade, and immigration policies, so severely destructive to America's middle class, also in aid of that return?

The more reliant we become on government money and protection, the more our governance degenerates into the pattern of elitist tyranny characteristic of previous ages. And the less Christian we become, the more our practice of citizenship becomes indistinguishable from the obsequious beggary characteristic of subject populations who did not deserve the name of citizens. In the fight to repel the anti-Christian persecution now underway, is "religious liberty" the target, or liberty itself?

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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