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Statism is the belief that the civil government (or man via civil government) is the ultimate authority in the earth and as such is the source of law, morality, and righteousness (that which is right and wrong).<ref>McDowell, S. ''Rendering to Caesar the Things that are God's in Statism: the Golden Calf of the Modern World; Providence Foundation Biblical Worldview University; Charlottesville. p. 15, (2009)</ref> Statism has manifested itself in different ways throughout history, and can be expressed through democratic and non-democratic governments alike.

Philosophical foundations

A statist government treats its political sovereignty as a platform for moral sovereignty. In other words, as ultimate sovereign, the state is therefore not subject to God, the Bible, natural law, or any other religion or ethical system. A statist government need not be accountable to its own citizens.

The philosopher Georg Hegel described the state as “God walking on earth”.<ref>House, H.W. (ed). The Christian and American law: Christianity's impact on America's founding documents and future direction. Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids; p. 143 (1998)</ref> In other words, as the state is the ultimate power in life, it assumes the status of God and can do as it pleases. This line of thinking influenced the political thought of Karl Marx. From the perspective of society at large, this attitude was summed up by William Marina as:

<blockquote> The significant question is: Why do a large number of people come to believe that only through increased state intervention can justice be achieved? To a great extent this belief is due to the overwhelming acceptance of the state as the source of value and law. Society not only looks for solutions within the paradigm defined by the state, but also find it difficult to consider the view that statism is a the heart of the problem.<ref>Marina, W. “Egalitarianism and Empire” in The Politicization of Society; LibertyPress, Indianapolis. p. 141 (1979)</ref> </blockquote>

Examples of statism

Most often, statism is manifested by governments that create laws which overrule the moral precepts of the Bible. These laws can be manifested in any given field, with three examples being politics, economics, and education. Election rigging and restrictions on free speech against the state are two examples in the political arena. Statism in the economy is realised through a range of measures, including state-controlled enterprises and monopolies, the setting of unjust taxation rates, and central planning of the economy. Since the 19th century, statism has also made its presence felt in the field of education. This has occurred through government schooling, state accreditation of universities, and laws that control or outlaw homeschooling.

While statism is usually entrenched in the civil realm (to greater or lesser degrees), its more extreme forms expand into other realms, such as the spiritual. A statist country can make religions illegal, on the basis that the state has the right to rule over religion, and not vice versa. The extent of statism in a given nation is enshrined in its Constitution, which can either establish it, protect it, or limit it. Where a Constitution places few limits on the scope of the civil government, it can give rise to totalitarianism or fascism.

Pushed to its logical conclusion, statism implicitly entails worship of the state in place of God (or as a god). This practice was common to pagan cultures such as the Roman Empire, which demanded worship of the emperor as sovereign. As Christians worshiped God instead of the emperor, this meant that God was sovereign over the state (and not vice versa). Since this position was antithetical to pagan statism, Christianity was illegal for some time during the Roman Empire, with many Christians put to death during the rule of the emperor Diocletian.

Support for statism

Support for statism exists more commonly among liberals than conservatives. Non-partisan lobby groups can also reveal their statism by campaigning for more “government leadership”<ref>Invasive Species Council. ISC WELCOMES LAUNCH OF NATIONAL INVASIVE SPECIES ALLIANCE 22 May 2009.</ref> on a given matter. This style of language assumes that the civil government has the best means of addressing the issue. It also gives an invitation to the state to increase its role in the everyday affairs of society.

Opposition to statism

In the BIble, Acts 5:29 states “…we must obey God rather than men”. This puts limits on the ultimacy and sovereignty of the state. A statist approach to government has also been opposed by a range of groups, including laissez-faire capitalists, libertarians, anarchists, and objectivists.

Objectivists have stated:

R.J. Rushdoony noted:


  • Ronald Reagan famously said, “The ten most dangerous words in the English language are “Hi, I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.”
  • Among conservatives, libertarians and anarchists, “The State” referred to in “Statism” is big government that derives its power through coercion via the threat of violence. According to conservative libertarian pundit Stefan Molyneux, “The idea that The State is capable of solving social problems is now viewed with great skepticism - which foretells a coming change. As soon as skepticism is applied to the State, the State falls, since it fails at everything except increasing its power, and so can only survive on propaganda, which relies on unquestioning faith.”<ref>Quotes from Stefan on Accessed January 25, 2016</ref>

Examples of statist nations and regimes

See Also


statism.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/12 18:38 (external edit)