Our Threatened Freedom

Freedom or Controls? (04:29)

R.J. Rushdoony


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:00 This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedoms. The issue, freedom or controls. Freedom of speech and of press are set forth in the First Amendment. In recent years, we have seen serious limitations placed on those freedoms by the courts. The courts have, in some decisions, seriously limited the press and its freedom. Radio and television are extensively controlled by the federal government. In some states, securities commissions require all economic newsletters published in those states to be licensed.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:35 Now we can argue with more than a little evidence that the press is often irresponsible and gives one sided reporting. Most of us can recall very telling examples of this. We should remember, however, that the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were well aware of this. Some of the newspapers of their day were worse than anything we can imagine. When George Washington was president, for example, some newspapers went far beyond all decency in attacking him. One especially vicious editor was Benjamin Franklin Bache, the grandson of Franklin. Bache claimed that the humble Washington behaved with all the insolence of an Emperor of Rome.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:18 Bache published, among other things, a long attack by Thomas Paine on George Washington. Paine attacked Washington on everything from fraud to murder. Accused him of hypocrisy and worse. Paine was an unbeliever. Washington fasted every Sunday and was a devout man. But Paine accused him of apostacy and Bache published this and more.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:42 Now, the important fact is that neither Washington nor his administration moved to limit the freedom of the press. Why? The reason is simple. Any law passed is easily circumvented by the laws. The end result of every restrictive law, whether it be the control of the press or gun control, is that it ends up controlling the law abiding, not the laws. The law abiding are always the most easily controlled because all their activities are open and above board.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:17 This is not all. Every law passed ends up meaning far more than the framers intend. Because the courts place interpretations on every word that stretched the boundaries of the law and increased the powers of the state. There is still more to this. A controlled communications media and a controlled press mean that it is the responsible agencies whose freedom is limited. The irresponsible agencies are rarely effected. They never invest too much capital in any operation and can easily shut down one operation to begin another.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:57 We may, with good reason, dislike much that exists in the press and all the communications media. However, if we limit their freedom, we also limit ours. Laws created to control do not stop controlling. They simple increase their sway to unrecognizable lengths. Some years ago, a small Indian tribe on an isolated western reservation had its ancient treaty rites to hunt at will revoked. The reason for it was that the wild ducks they hunted traveled both interstate and internationally.

R.J. Rushdoony: 03:36 Controls are a poor substitute for responsibility. The whole point of our Christian faith is to foster the new man in Christ a responsible man. George Washington preferred responsibility to controls and he therefore did not consider controls over a lying and libelous press. Our biblical emphasis on responsibility has gone a long way towards making the United States a great nation.

R.J. Rushdoony: 04:06 Today, the world generally is choosing controls rather than freedom as the way to a good society. All over the world, the solution to all problems is seen as another set of laws or controls. Instead of bettering things, the controls only worsen them. The choice is before us, freedom or control.

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

Learn more about R.J. Rushdoony by visiting: https://chalcedon.edu/founder