Balancing State Sovereignty and Human Liberty

There are three areas of focus for a successful government:

  • • Eternal pressures of other powers.
  • • Internal pressures of corruption.
  • • Internal pressures of time.

Every generation must test the experiment of self-government to see if it promotes human happiness.  Part of the solution is a “check and balance” system, the other is having moral people govern themselves.

Liberty & Government

Our founders were committed to a “Liberty Triangle” so America could survive.  This included:

  • Liberty:  No republic without liberty.
  • Virtue:  No liberty without virtue.
  • Religion:  No virtue without religion.

When citizens abandon God, private virtue fails; when private virtue fails, public virtue fails; and with the lessening of public virtue, more laws are required to govern a people no longer capable of governing themselves.

The primary purpose of government is to promote, protect and preserve the people’s liberty.  Government should:

  • Provide social order.
  • Preserve human dignity.
  • Punish evil and praise goodness.
  • Promote justice.
  • Protect peace.

Some provocative questions to think about:

  1. In what realms do we govern ourselves so we might be free?  And, in what realms does the state govern to protect and preserve our freedom?
  2. Where does my sovereignty end and the state’s sovereignty begin?
  3. Is the state’s sovereignty limited?  Should it be?  If so, how do we determine what limits are appropriate?

Views on Government’s Role

One view of government’s role is an Unlimited State Government. FDR in his 2nd Inaugural address said this about government:  we are “fashioning an instrument of unimagined power…” More recently, Pete Stark (Democratic US Rep for California) said, “The Federal government can do almost anything in this country.”

Another view is that government is a Tyrant State.   Good intentions are no guarantee for good consequences.  Think about the role our government has in these areas:

  • The family and questions of marriage, birth, children, death. (Romans 13:4)
  • The church and questions of free speech and tax exemption.
  • Our labor and issues about hours worked, paid leave, regulations, business practices.
  • Personal property and questions about money investments, real estate, inheritance.
  • Education and questions about curriculum, free speech, diet, exercise.

Whether you realize it or not, the fingers of government affect almost every area of your life.

A Timeless Truth

The state is divinely ordained and appointed, with a divine purpose, but the state isn’t divine.  Only God has the authority, power and right to do as he pleases.

A Difficult Dilemma

How does a government exercise enough power and authority to prevent the twin evils of liberty and tyranny?

Think about these three things that we need to understand and we’ll discuss them next week:

  • What is the law?
  • What is justice?
  • Where do our rights come from?

Material is Copyright © 2010 by Derrick G. Jeter. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.