Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Of Governing

"the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient," I Timothy 1:9

I was thinking about how governments differ in effecting an obedient citizenry. Civil magistrates rely on the promulgation of laws with the threat of pain for the violator. Parents do this for a time but as age and maturity (and the wisdom of earlier laws) have their effect, the children are rightly granted a different relationship to their erstwhile rulers. Wives actually begin in that different than law and order relationship when they marry their husbands. We are told from the outset to not be harsh with them. And yet there is still a governance between husband and wife. The church shares that kind of rule in that elders are told not to be domineering.
It is with the church we get a sense of this shift in governing type. The government which has the legitimate expectation of, or actual existence of a shared desire, (the virtue of the ruler's desired ends for his fief), the task before the ruler is to shape his imperium to express, not with commands and their attendant punishments, but with a pattern of example. Example is what desire needs to grow into a more obedient citizen. In this case the citizen truly wants what the ruler wants and needs but the guidance of the exemplar. Even in a political society, an advanced civilization enjoys many benefits from a citizenry which desires the same peace (say regarding traffic proprieties) and that desire lays a foundation of an example based obedience which a third world traffic situation fails to even recognize.
Where the desire of the citizen is not engaged then various other forms of adjustment into obedience are necessary. The completely resistant criminal class faces pain. The slightly more understanding citizen, while still perhaps disagreeable, adjusts behavior with the threat of said pain. Those that understand the benefits promised to the obedient, obey, not for desire of the ruling virtue, but for a reward arbitrarily connected to the act.

I speak generally and I am sure it might raise numerous questions but for these purposes, enough has been said regarding my schematic. The problem of the criminal, threatened, or promised classes is not that they exist, for they always will. God has appointed magistrates attending to this very thing. The problem is that some, which ought to be moved by desire for the shared virtues of the ruler, are not. They remain perniciously in the lower forms of governance. I speak of older children (teenager and up), wives, and Christian parishioners. Justice says that the causal agent is responsible to the degree causal. Insubordinate children, uppity wives, and unresponsive pew dwellers should certainly carry all the fault, oughtn't they? An order was given, and (horrors!) it was not obeyed. But the peace of a fiefdom is the measure of its ruler. Can or can not the ruler correctly and capably police the confines of his assigned borders and bring about peace? All too often the ruler believes that a failed obedience (acting like the lower class of citizen) on the part of one of these close type of citizen, requires the application of doggie biscuit promise, or increasingly voluble threats and punishments. He descends to the level they chose to occupy. The aroma of the home or ecclesia becomes an odor.

What the ruler should realize is that these citizens are in desperate need of his example. And the example is pointless if the ruling virtue (that which he designed his fief upon) is not desired. What "kind of peace" the father, the husband or the pastor wants obeyed in his fief is the primary villain in theis post. His designs are the culprit, the actual disobedience and crime against his attempt at peaceful rule. If the natural virtue of a child's admiration or a wife's love, or a congregation's indwelling of the Holy Spirit is turned away because the proper task to be desired is not promulgated by the ruler, that ruler will have to fall back on domineering or violent tactics to crush the rebellion he asked for.

Might the Apostles recommend a few simple things?
Fathers, do not provoke your children, husbands, honor your wives, and pastors, set an example of Christian conduct.
and with due humility, the Oracle would like it if you would perhaps check on something as well.

If your children, wives, or congregants don't desire to be just like you wish, is it because you are no example of what you ask or is it because what you ask is "world-without-end" silly?

1 comment:

Matthew N. Petersen said...

That's a good first draft.

Now your assignment is:

Write the same thing in half as many words.