The Problem with Standing Armies

There’s a new podcast on The Problem with Standing Armies on Mises.com, that Christian people interested in international politics should consider.

(In addition to reading Healer of the Nations, of course! Hint on the recommended policies: fewer spies, armies, and navies: more missionaries, businessmen, traders, and teachers.)

Note that todays rulers much prefer Kant’s “eternal war for eternal peace” idea, as it lets Our Betters continue to extract wealth and resources from the population, while stripping liberty, justice, and hope “for the good of (democracy/the race/the revolution) and the might of the nation.”

And the enrichment of the Leader and his friends. Can’t forget that!

Note that John Calvin and the Reformers of old were no fan of standing armies, no more than the Biblical government instituted by Moses was.1 Indeed, a standing army was one of the curses that would afflict Israel as they sought to have “a king, like all the nations” — as described in First Samuel 8.

The “Standing army” part is in bold:

So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

I Samuel 8:10-18, ESV

And what did the imperialists, the nationalists, the blood’n’soil people of the day — right-wing and left-wing humanists both — respond?

But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

I Samuel 10:19-22, ESV

Note that big “our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

Our king is supposed to do that. Not us.

And not God, either.

“God is not the king WE chose! We want a Mighty Man as king, just like all the other nations who despise God have to rule over them.”

Humanists are humanists, 3000 years ago, and today. Regardless if they were careful to visit the Temple at Jerusalem at the proper times, or are careful to attend only the best universities.

You’d think that Christians would have picked up a few hard truths since that grim day, so long ago, when the Christians of the era rejected the rule of God over them in favour of pleasing strongmen.

But as the lessons have not been learned, the beatings will continue.

All creation awaits, for our repentance and our obedience to King Jesus, over and above all Mighty Men of swords and tanks and operators.

It’s been a long wait.


1 For one thing: while Our Benefactors are occasionally at war with each other, they are always at war with their citizens, forever looking for new ways to restrict and punish and train and control and extract wealth from the commoner trash.

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