Is “In God We Trust” The Only Thing Standing Between Us and Anarchy?

We have previously discussed how leaders in both the United States and Europe have focused on atheists and secularists as one of the greatest threats facing the free world. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) seemed to take this to a new level in arguing this week that if the nation did not reaffirm “In God We Trust” as our national motto, we are inviting anarchy and accepting that we are nothing but “worm food.”

Of course, the motto has only been embraced since 1956 and we seemed to do pretty well through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Moreover, not having a motto based on the recognition of faith does not mean that we are a country of faithless citizens. Indeed, there are plenty deeply religious secularists.

However, Franks went to the floor to say “Is God God? Or is man God? In God do we trust, or in man do we trust?” Otherwise, he warned “we should just let anarchy prevail because, after all, we are just worm food. So indeed we have the time to reaffirm that God is God and in God do we trust.”

Of course, no one was asking to rescind the motto, but the legislative debate is part of the increasing faith-based politics that remains the rage this year.

Source: Washington Post

125 thoughts on “Is “In God We Trust” The Only Thing Standing Between Us and Anarchy?”

  1. From Erekya, “I agree with your analysis that there is a ruling class using government. Power to insulate itself from not only the laws of this country but the laws of economics.”

    Depoliticize the supreme court and maybe they will continue to give their imprimatur to corporations essentially highjackiing the elections.

    I missed to whom you directed this: ” I should not have let you continue to refer to this situation as anarchy…”.

    An OWS supporter as well as almost anyone else would say you have the right to disagree, you don;t have the right to stop someone else’s presentation of their point of view.

    (As for your walmart ? to me, the reason they cant just up and walk off thier jobs there, as per the video you posted, is because of the lack of jobs in this country. Seems you are a little shortsighted as to what has been posted here, in the media, and one of the the reasons OWS exists..

    OraLee, Right on.
    This spouting of G-d, G-d, G-d, usually by the right and the ones obstructing jobs bills (and spreading horredous anti choice laws across the country – but that is for another place and time) and using this as a time waster, as though it were a football game and you just need to spend down the clock, would not know what Jesus said on the mo0unt. I think.
    My life experience has shown me the more people mouth their Christianity (because that is usually the religion that seems to be the loudest in this type of behavior) the less they act on it or maybe even understand what it is about, in terms of how we should be treating and caring for one another.

    (Someone here also mentioned the legislator who used the j-w them down expression. I am saddened that this tends to be ignored for the most part, anti-semitism a little less important to people. I still hear people say, some very smart and worldly-wise, “all the banks are owned by the jews.)

  2. Off Topic:

    MICROSOFT FUNDS KOCH’S CLIMATE-DENYING TEA PARTY CONFERENCE | Microsoft Corporation, which argues that climate pollution requires a “comprehensive and global response,” is sponsoring the Koch brothers’ Tea Party convention taking place in Washington, DC. Microsoft is a “gold sponsor” of the Americans For Prosperity Foundation’s fifth annual Defending The American Dream Summit, cheek and jowl with top climate denial front groups like the Heartland Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Speakers at the conference include climate deniers Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Ken Cuccinelli, Ann McElhinney, Chris Horner, Myron Ebell, and Carly Fiorina. Their prominent involvement was captured in a photograph by reporter Dave Wiegel.

  3. Speaking of Bob murphy what do i see on the front page of the von mises website today? I must have precognition

    “First, we must abandon the idea of a mythical “law of the land.” There doesn’t need to be a single set of laws binding everyone. In any event, such a system never existed. The laws in each of the 50 states are different, and the difference in legal systems between countries is even more pronounced. Yet we go about our daily lives, and even visit and do business with foreign nations, without too much trouble.”.

  4. Lotta,

    Government creates anarchy, and that allows people to behave badly and escape punishment, so we need government to make sure we do not have anarchy.

    Forgive me if i remain utterly unconvinced by that argument.

  5. Gene,

    “I’d make them criminal to the point that someone accepting one for malfeasance of office would spend most of their life in prison”

    Dont you mean you would have to convince the very people that would have the most to lose if your law was passed, to pass your law? Or are we just assuming you are dictating laws as you see fit?

    Thank you for saving me the time of refuting your assertion that laws stop behavior. You dont even really bother trying to address this this glaring flaw in your logic except to say that if you set the penalties really really high then maybe they wont think it’s worth it. Im sure by doing that and crossing your fingers everything will just work out fine and noone will break your well thought out law. If they even have time left to vote on it after theyre done laughing.

    As for your ramblings about anarchy, if even one individual escapes the clutches of the state that is success. To couch it in collective terms such as culture is to give up the ghost that you dont even have a frame of reference for the entire concept. And way to pick out sid vicious as the symbol of anarcho capitalism. Should i present toby keith as the champion of democracy because he wrote that song about america putting a boot up your ass?

    Regarding the checkmate comment, forgive me a rhetorical flourish. I only meant that i had seen your argument coming from a mile away, hence my reference to campaign finance reform before you even brought it up.

  6. “They did this for the same reason they just did it a few years back–pandering!”

    They also did it to kill time. Any productive legislation, they think, would help Mr. Obama get reelected.

    They need something to talk about until November, 2012.

  7. Gene H. “I’d like for you to point to a successful anarchist state.”

    In the modern usage of the word “anarchy” as without rule, I cannot; but in its original meaning as “no ruler”. . .

    [Medieval Latin anarchia, from Greek, from anarchos having no ruler, from an- + archos ruler] . . .

    most of the native tribes of the Americas, such as the Incas, Mayas, Aztecs, the Iroquois Confederacy: the individual tribes operating very much like the democratic New England town hall meetings but with no designated leader, and the Confederacy operating very similar to the U.S.Senate.

    The idea of a single, authoritative chief was imposed on tribes by European monarchial-powers which required a single representative of a tribe with whom they could deal. Before that time, the tribal “leader” was more like a spokesperson who served at the pleasure of tribal members.

    It was this tribal form of “government” which spurred European philosophers to espouse the democratic ideals of the Enlightenment — the primitive man at peace in his natural setting. The founders’ knowledge of these writings and their own association and appreciation of native American tribes made substantial and indelible contributions in the crafting of a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

  8. Another perspective on American myths — I heard these lyrics on a internet radio of Native American music:

    Our country, ’tis of thee,
    sweet land of liberty, of thee we dream;
    land where our warriors died,
    land of the many tribes,
    from every sacred site let freedom stream.


    This whole thread has been about American Myths, starting with the biggest one of all — that this Country trusts God. Yeah? Seems like we trust in horses and chariots a hell of lot more than the name of the Lord, our God. Why the big military budget? Why the lust for war? Why the rampant consumerism? Why the destruction of a creation that evinces God’s eternal attributes, his power and goodness?

    Read the Sermon on the Mount — hell, just read the Beatitudes. Does any of that describe America? Anyone see the fruit the Spirit in any of our public discourse?

    This Country doesn’t trust God because its people don’t really believe in God.

    But they sure as hell believe in the Myth of America, the great Christian Nation! And the myth of rugged individualism, the free market, and the capitalist system. Our Manifest Destiny!

    And they use their myths for their own purposes — not to form a more perfect union, but to divide and conquer. The most unholy of all purposes.

  10. ekeyra,

    “Have all the laws penalties and oversight you want. Someone will circumvent them, they always do. The more restrictions the more costly access to power becomes. The higher the cost the less who can afford it and the more power concentrates. Checkmate.”

    As Winston Churchill noted, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” When you make the costs loss of freedom and assets, it becomes cost prohibitive and counterproductive to engage in the behavior. The solution to lawless is not going to be an absence of law. Laws don’t prevent crime. They, at best, discourage crime and provide a method of punishing criminals. A really good criminal law has penalties so high that they reap a consequential high deterrence value as well., but even laws with the ultimate penalty, the death penalty, don’t stop crimes. It’s childish to think that they do. A determined criminal does not care what the law says. So how do you address that problem? Make the penalty so severe that if they get caught they won’t – and preferably can’t – commit said crime again. Also, I’d like for you to point to a successful anarchist state. By successful, I mean long lasting and stable and capable of developing a lasting culture. You can’t, can you? Why might that be that in the entire span of human history, anarchy has never been a successful form of rule? Anarchy does not work if you want a lasting, stable society. Never has. Never will. It is the juvenile fantasy of teenaged rebellion and most people grow out of it about the time they realize that, yes, Sid Vicious wasn’t a cultural hero, but rather just another junkie drunk jackass. However, democracy has worked and does work as long as it is not allowed to be co-opted by oligarchs, plutocrats and other would be dictators. The price for the freedoms democracy allows is permanent vigilance against those who would subvert it for their personal benefit.

    If you thought you had checkmate, I suggest you never, ever play chess.

    If your poker skills are as bad as your chess skills, I also suggest avoiding Vegas and Atlantic City.

    Thanks for playing.

  11. Geez, something is acting up – I just made a reply to you Blouise and it disappeared.

    In any event, I never thought it was a problem that a situation had facets that appeared contradictory but were symptomatic of a deeper problem. You can have the same condition manifest itself in apparently contradictory ways but be different facets of the same initial condition.

    The great thing about myths is that you can start with a conclusion and work backward to construct a myth around it. You don’t need to make your conclusion actually fit the facts. You’re right though, they’re fragile things.

  12. Blouise

    Really? I thought I was a crazy anarchist who wants to tear down the government? When did I turn into staunch defender of the status quo? Also what free market exists when the federal reserve dictates interest rates and credit creation. The fact you think we are operating in a free market is plenty of evidence that myths abound in this discussion, however im not the one spinning them


    Have all the laws penalties and oversight you want. Someone will circumvent them, they always do. The more restrictions the more costly access to power becomes. The higher the cost the less who can afford it and the more power concentrates. Checkmate.


    I agree with your analysis that there is a ruling class using government. Power to insulate itself from not only the laws of this country but the laws of economics which would have long ago dismantled their hold on power however I should not have let you continue to refer to this situation as anarchy. In an anarchic society there would be no political power for them to manipulate and they would be beholden to the same laws as everyone who was not politically connected.

    I don’t have the time right now but ill be happy to post an archive of justice systems in a stateless society. I would recommend starting with chaos theory by Robert murphy

  13. lotta,

    Any argument, no matter how valid and fact based, that threatens the status quo, ie the myth misnomered “free market”, is purposely misunderstood, for how else may one continue to support the myth as something other than a fiction?

    The twists and turns applied to both your and Gene’s words are necessary if the myth is to be something other than a mere traditional story developed to permit the greed to continue unabated.

    Did George Washington ever chop down a cherry tree? Highly doubtful as back in the early to mid 1700’s, destruction of a fruit tree was a crime punishable by death. But the myth was developed to illustrate his honesty … even in the face of danger in order to support his leadership role as an adult. Anyone who tries to argue the myth of the cherry tree itself as fact has to twist and turn their words and the words of others beyond reason.

    Nuff said? Sho-nuff! 😉

  14. you would have to make it very clear on what constitutes a bribe. desperate times call for desperate measures.

  15. What Gene said. A little extreme, maybe, but we are at a crossroads where the Justice system needs to dispense a healthy dose of real justice.

  16. ekeyra,

    Both LK and I are essentially correct although we may disagree slightly on details.

    As for the “maximized tyranny” statement? First, it’s a statement with no proof, only your word that 170 million people have been murdered by governments in the 20th Century. I’ll assume arguendo for the moment that it is correct. Were all of these democratic governments? No. Were all of these deaths caused by the American government? No. Not all forms of government are created equal in their potential for creating a just society. The deaths under the fascist dictatorship of Hitler’s Germany or the Communist hegemony of Mao’s China during the Cultural Revolution were most certainly exacerbated by their fundamental “choice” (albeit a forced choice in those two circumstances) in form of government being autocratic and top down instead of the bottom up design of democracy. You, in short, even if you are correct, are making several gigantic false equivalences.

    As to this? “As for campaign finance reform all you will accomplish is raising the cost of bribes which will only concentrate political power into an even smaller pool of those who can afford the higher prices”

    Apparently you didn’t read what I wrote and were more worried about your reactionary response. I wouldn’t “raise the cost of bribes”. I’d make them criminal to the point that someone accepting one for malfeasance of office would spend most of their life in prison (and as an unmentioned addition lose the ability to hold any public office ever) and someone offering a bribe to an elected official would not only spend most of their life in prison, but loose all their personal assets and put their company at real tangible risk of losing all of their assets as well (dependent upon knowledge within the company about said bribe). No corporations would be allowed to donate to campaigns in any way shape or form – no issue ads, none of that bullshit that has corrupted the system. Not only would they not be able to contribute, they would not be able write law via lobbyists anymore. For that? I’d demand life imprisonment for all involved. The only allowable contributions would be from individual citizens and have a fairly low maximum amount threshold like we once had in this country. The only laws being written would be by elected officials for the best interests of ALL their constituents and if you were caught doing otherwise it would be enforced political suicide.

    Either your were ignoring what I said or you’re attempting to create a straw man, either way, you’re also wrong in that assertion.

    Nice try.

  17. OTOTOT:

    Second Iraq War vet hospitalized after Oakland protest

    (Serious injuries, hospitalized, surgery, witness may have come forward according to Countdown interview)

    “The Guardian reported on Friday that a second Iraq War veteran is in intensive care in an Oakland Hospital, with a lacerated spleen allegedly resulting from a beating by police during the protests on Wednesday night … ”

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