Our Threatened Freedom

What Makes A Quack? (05:01)

R.J. Rushdoony


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:01 What makes a quack? This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedom.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:09 Some time ago, I saw some old-time medicine show ads. The medicines advertised each claimed remarkable healing powers. One in particular had a long list of ailments which it declared it could heal. They included Tuberculosis, female complaints, Rheumatism, impotence and about ten things more. This and other like ads were fun to read. What made people believe in such quackery? Before we say that people were more gullible in those days, let us consider what quackery is.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:49 Perhaps we were even more gullible than people were a century ago. There is some reason to believe that ours is the great age of quackery. The difference between a quack doctor and a good one begins with a sense of limitation. A quack medicine, a quack doctor promise too much. This is why some of our wonder drugs, including perhaps the Pill, border at times on quackery. They promise too much. A sound medicine offers limited help for a limited and specific problem. It works no miracles. It cannot replace good hygiene and sound nutrition. Similarly the doctor who promises the least is the wiser doctor because he recognizes how limited his role is. The more we demand of a medicine or a doctor, the more likely we are to fall prey to quackery. It is sound medical practice which offers the most modest and specific goals.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:01 Today we demand quacks in one area of life after another because we make exorbitant and unreasonable demands. One such area is politics. If we expect the politician to be a combination of a savior, a perfect ruler, a promoter of prosperity and a perfect law and order, we are asking for a quack. What a state legislator or congressman could do is actually very limited and the more limited the better. Once elected, he is assigned to some committees to become a specialist in very limited areas such as some aspect of agriculture, foreign trade, law enforcement or the like. At his best, he can work to clear obstructions and free some area of activity from the controls of the omnipotent state. If he becomes a quack he will pass laws to try to cure every imaginable problem. Laws to end poverty, unemployment, social conflicts and the like. He will try to create agencies to take care of all the problems of education, health, labor and management conflicts, welfare and the like. The more the law promises to give us, the more popular it is.

R.J. Rushdoony: 03:24 What we laugh at in the old patent medicines we demand from our politicians and laws. The old medicine show is with us still, it has simply changed locations. It’s new locale is the political circuit whereby popular demand the new medicine men promise all kinds of cures. If we will only give them our votes and money. What makes a quack? Why we do. Every time and everywhere, when we demand more medicine or our politics or of anything else that can sensibly be expected. We have quackery in politics because we demand it. We have created a market for political quackery.

R.J. Rushdoony: 04:28 Copies of this broadcast are available from R.J. Rushdoony. P.O. Box 188. Vallecito, V as in Victor, A L L E C I T O. California, 95251. Please send one dollar to cover the cost of reproduction, postage and office expense. Ask for the broadcast on what makes a quack.

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