Readers may answer and debate in Comments under this posting, and/or answer the poll within this posting. Most of this posting is excerpted from lengthy comments I made at the excellent posting of Theocracies? at Insanitybytes.
CAN TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF GOVERNMENT COEXIST? IF SO, WHICH KINDS?
CAN A THEOCRACY COEXIST WITH ANOTHER KIND OF GOVERNMENT? IF SO, WHICH KIND/KINDS?
MORE SPECIFICALLY, CAN A THEOCRACY COEXIST WITH A DEMOCRACY?
FURTHER, CAN CAPITALISM COEXIST WITH SOCIALISM, APART FROM OR WITH A DEMOCRACY COEXISTING WITH A THEOCRACY?
Keeping in mind that the United States is not a true straight democracy, but instead is described as a Federal Republic, a Federal Presidential Constitutional Republic. The United States is the world’s oldest surviving federation. It is a representative democracy, “in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law”. The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the U.S. Constitution, which serves as the country’s supreme legal document.
There is what I call the “functional government” or “working government” likely to exist at the core under any form of government and apart from politics – the average citizen with a long term full time government job to handle the business of government. It’s the same job if you get your orders from a president or a king or an emperor or a religious leader or a military leader, etc.
The kind of government may determine how much impact the government has on the day-to-day living of an average citizen, as well as how much a citizen has on the government and other citizens.
One kind of government might function at a high level with little or no concern to the average citizen, while another kind of government might involve citizens. A representative government should represent the will of the people, but we often end up electing individuals who do what they want rather than what we the people want. Allowing citizens to engage in more voting on issues, rather than voting for someone to represent them to vote on issues, gives citizens greater control and freedom. Then there is the argument that most citizens are not qualified to make such decisions by voting, and therefore only qualified elected people should have that power, giving the appearance of representing citizens who elected them.
THEOCRACY – REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT – DEMOCRACY + SOCIALISM – CAPITALISM:
Knowing I’m a Centrist, you can probably guess my answer. It comes down to levels of government and divisions of power. A limited form of a theocracy might exist at the highest level – concerning itself only with religious and spiritual issues, perhaps expanding into moral and social issues . . . while allowing citizens to decide for themselves all other nonreligious issues impacting their day-to-day living with freedom of choice via voting or electing qualified representatives to make those decisions that impact our lives. For example, a theocracy need not concern itself with the construction of a new highway from one city to another. Then it comes down to that part of the government taking your money and doing it whether you like it or not, as well as engaging in eminent domain . . . or you get to vote for if it is to be done or not . . . and a yes then puts it in the hands of qualified representatives elected or appointed or hired to act in the best interest of the majority while protecting the rights of minorities along the path of impact. By such division a democracy at the lowest level of individuals and representative government just above that can exist under or within a limited theocracy. An absolute theocracy would make those decisions for you, not allowing you to vote or have any say about it. Going sideways from the vertical theocracy down to democracy level with representatives between the two, the highway or road or street may be associated with socialism for everyone to use it, while the businesses and their customers and other individuals making use of the highway or road or street are associated with capitalism. Nonprofit government gets you there. Then you are free to benefit to profit from it.
In a so-called kingdom, the king need not concern himself with the day-to-day basic living of individuals who still maintain basic freedom of choice. Kingdom of Heaven? Perhaps Realm of Heaven would be more accurate. Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus? Christ is not a surname, it is a title like king. After all, we do not refer to King James as James King. Jesus, returning to this world to rule it might not establish an absolute theocracy as a form of government in which a deity is the source from which all authority derives. Without some freedom, a theocracy would be a dictatorship. God made us to be Will Creatures, giving us freedom of choice, but with certain guidelines. There may be consequences if you make the wrong choices – God does not put you in jeopardy – you put yourself in danger. Build that highway, but let its path do no harm.
The science fiction and biblical crossover. Logical to conclude in history at one time there was only one Son of God. Always be limited to one? Why? Only one inhabited planet at one time, but always only one? A line in Jurassic Park impressed me, approximately: “Life finds a way . . . breaks free, expands to new territories and crashes through barriers,..” Freedom. Spiritual and physical. One Son becomes many. One inhabited world becomes many. Always a first, then many from progress and passing of time. As there is a Father, a Mother. As there is a Son, a Daughter. Other Sons and Daughters of God sent to other worlds like Jesus was sent to Earth. Now the Kingdom of Heaven in the physical universe may span millions of inhabited worlds, and when Christ Jesus returns Earth could become an accepted member for interstellar travel and peaceful trade – means of instantly crossing such vast distances made possible by God with guidance and navigation by angelic beings.
IF THIS GOES ON—
Excerpts from Wikipedia article…
“If This Goes On—” is a science fiction short novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first serialized in 1940 in Astounding Science-Fiction and revised and expanded for inclusion in the 1953 collection Revolt in 2100. The novel shows what might happen to Christianity in the United States given mass communications, applied psychology, and a hysterical populace. The novel is part of Heinlein’s Future History series.
The story is set in a future theocratic American society, ruled by the latest in a series of fundamentalist Christian “Prophets.” The First Prophet was Nehemiah Scudder, a backwoods preacher turned President (elected in 2012), then dictator (no elections were held in 2016 or later).
The following paragraphs have been excerpted from the 1986 Baen Book printing of Robert A. Heinlein’s novel titled “Revolt in 2100” –from the story titled “If This Goes On—”:
Successful revolution is big business – make no mistake about that. In a modern, complex, and highly industrialized state, revolution is not accomplished by a handful of conspirators whispering around a guttering candle in a deserted ruin. It requires countless personnel, supplies, modern machinery and modern weapons. And to handle these factors successfully there must be loyalty, secrecy, and superlative organization.
I was kept busy but my work was fill-in work, since I was awaiting assignment. I had time to dig into the library and I looked up Tom Paine, which led me to Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson and others – a whole new world was opened up to me. I had trouble at first in admitting the possibility of what I read; I think perhaps of all things a police state can do to its citizens, distorting history is possibly the most pernicious. For example, I learned for the first time that the United States had not been ruled by a bloodthirsty emissary of Satan before the First Prophet arose in his wrath and cast him out – but had been a community of free men deciding their own affairs by peaceful consent. I don’t mean that the first republic had been a scriptural paradise, but it hadn’t been anything like what I had learned in school.
For the first time in my life I was reading things which had not been approved by the Prophet’s censors, and the impact on my mind was devastating. Sometimes I would glance over my shoulder to see who was watching me, frightened in spit of myself. I began to sense faintly that secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy . . . censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything—you can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.
My thoughts did not then fall into syllogisms; my head was filled with an inchoate spate of new ideas, each more exciting than the last. I discovered that travel between the planets, almost a myth in my world, had not stopped because the First Prophet had forbidden it as a sin against the omnipotence of God; it had ceased because it had gone into the red financially and the Prophet’s government would not subsidize it. There was even an implied statement that the “infidels” (I still used that word in my mind) still sent out an occasional research ship and that there were human beings even now on Mars and Venus.
Maybe someday the United States would have space ships again.
“In a time of universal deceit — telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” ~ George Orwell.
“It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.” ~ Mark Twain.
Politics of Anakin Skywalker:
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Scene 5…
Anakin Skywalker: I don’t think the system works.
Padmé: How would you have it work?
Anakin Skywalker: We need a system where the politicians sit down
and discuss the problem… agree what’s in the best interest of all people… and then do it.
Padmé: That’s exactly what we do. The trouble is that people don’t always agree.
Anakin Skywalker: Well, then they should be made to.
Padmé: By whom? Who’s going to make them?
Anakin Skywalker: I don’t know. Someone.
Anakin Skywalker: Of course not me.
Padmé: But someone.
Anakin Skywalker: Someone wise.
Padmé: Sounds an awful lot like a dictatorship to me.
Anakin Skywalker: Well, if it works.
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith…
Padmé: What if the democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists, and the Republic has become the very evil we have been fighting to destroy?
~ Presented by Jim Lantern
Saturday 13 January 2018