Dr. Scott Lively is running as an Independent for Governor of Massachusetts. A devout pastor, Dr. Lively has traveled the world preaching his sentiments. For more information on his campaign, you can check out his website here.
The views expressed here purely those of the candidate and not necessarily BostInno’s.
As in all things, my approach to economics is based on Biblical principles as I understand them. The first principle is that everything we own and all of the natural resources within our reach were created for our use by God to bless us, and He expects us to be good stewards of them as we fully enjoy them. Secondly, we are expected by God to love our neighbors as ourselves in the way we live, and to manage our individual and community finances to provide the greatest amount of blessing to the greatest number of people. Thirdly, as much as is possible we are to do these things voluntarily, not under compulsion, by encouraging individual philanthropy and a shared social ethic of “people before profit.”
If these ideas sound appealing, they should. This is the way a “Commonwealth” is intended to work, and every Bay-Stater shares the honor of living in America’s first and best one. Although it’s been a very long time since Massachusetts has actually functioned as a commonwealth, it is our heritage to reclaim whenever we so choose, along with the security and bounty that it produces.
Etymologically, “commonwealth” means “common well-being,” and defines a form of government rooted in a social contract of independent citizen stake-holders, inspired by Acts 2:44-47, in which the early Christian church “held all things in common” for their mutual benefit.
The commonwealth concept is reflected in America’s first constitution, the Mayflower Compact, created by the first colonists of Massachusetts who landed in Plymouth in 1620.
Having come to shore far from the territory which they had covenanted to settle, they found themselves with no legal contract to govern their Plymouth settlement, so they created their own constitution, which said in pertinent part:
Haveing undertaken, for the glorie of God, and advancemente of the Christian faith, and honour of our king and countrie, a voyage to plant the first colonie in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine our selves togeather into a civill body politick, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by vertue hereof to enacte, constitute and frame shuch just and equall lawes, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the generall good of the Colonie, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
On that legal bedrock was eventually laid the foundation-stone of the Declaration of Independence, which in turn under-girds the U.S. Constitution. Likewise, that Plymouth settlement eventually birthed the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” and generation after generation of our forebears inherited that common wealth and re-invested it wisely.
Somewhere along the way, however, our “common wealth” got hijacked by Marxism-inspired “statists” who believe that human rights are derived from the state and not from God. Thanks to them we now have a massive centralized government with near-dictatorial power, steered from behind the scenes (ironically for a Marxist system) by lobbyists of super-rich predatory corporations.
The old Massachusetts of self-sufficient local communities surrounded by healthy family farms, and vibrant cities with job-rich home-grown industries is gone. It has been replaced by a form of police-state-enforced neo-feudalism in which the average citizen serves as a paycheck-to-paycheck serf in one of countless multi-national chain-store operations (which ship local money out-of-state) and much of the remainder of the population are semi-permanent government dependents, corralled in “catfish farms“ like Springfield which serve as conduits to siphon federal entitlement program dollars into the state treasury. The more dependents, the more dollars, with dependents who quality for multiple entitlement programs providing the real “gravy train.” (And, of course, part of the dependency-culture strategy is to convince the dependents that they cannot survive without their big-government Democrat patrons.)
The “lucky” few who still own their own local businesses are taxed and regulated into a different form of slavery. This is, incidentally, a key component of the fascist economic model. In contrast to its Marxist cousin Communism, which prohibits all private property, Fascism allows citizens to retain nominal ownership of business entities, but only under strict de-facto government control through regulations and taxation. This is definitely not the system we inherited from our freedom-loving Founders.
The only people doing truly well in Massachusetts (other than the elites) seem to be unionized government employees locked in a dysfunctional co-dependent relationship with the controlling Democrat machine, trading their massive voting power for ever-higher pension benefits and other perqs at the public expense (which any third grader with a calculator can see will eventually bankrupt Massachusetts in the same way it bankrupted Detroit).
It’s a seriously broken system. How do we fix it?
Most importantly, we need to get our thinking straight. If we really want to solve the crisis we need to stop following the model that doesn’t work and go back to the one that did! We need to return to the Biblical commonwealth model that served our ancestors so very well. I will address specific policies in future articles but for now I will paint my solution to the current crisis in broad strokes.
First, our economic policies should emphasize and maximize personal control and personal responsibility in our work and finances. We should encourage entrepreneurialism, innovation, and the right to contract, with minimal government interference. We should prefer local individual and family-owned businesses over large corporations, and local control over centralized government. We should shrink and streamline government, and unambiguously redefine its role as a servant of the people, not our master, with limited, delegated powers.
Second, we should treat all citizens as stakeholders, not serfs and dependents. The more that people have a genuine stake in the system the more they care about making it work right. Every citizen should be a taxpayer, and every taxpayer should know exactly how much of their money is going into the government coffers, with transparency and simplicity in the budget and a clear, observable relationship between the taxes being raised and the expenditures based upon them. (No hidden slush funds!!) We should reorganize every agency that is related to the entitlement system and devote a portion of their resources to maximizing self-sufficiency and independence from government among the people it now enslaves under the guise of service.
Third and finally, we should abolish public-employee unions and return to the earlier model in which public service was a civic duty and privilege shared by the citizens. While I am a strong supporter of voluntary private-sector unions, I view public employee unions as unconstitutional and implicitly corrupt because both negotiating parties are employees of the government and thus sit on the same side of the bargaining table, while the tax-paying public is forced to pay the tab. (It’s just another form of taxation without representation.) I say keep the workers and pay them well, but get rid of the unions. As an interim step, I would create a citizen oversight committee with the power to refer any questionable union contract line-items to the voters in the form of a referendum.
While I place the larger share of blame for the current mess on the Democrats, the Republican Party establishment is culpable as well. By “establishment” I mean primarily the amoral fat cat corporatists who dominate the Chamber of Commerce, and therefore the GOP. These, represented by the lobbyists mentioned above, serve as the dance partners of the Democrat political machine. Indeed, if you’ve ever wondered why the Massachusetts GOP doesn’t seem to try very hard to win elections or to cultivate its conservative base, it may be because the corporate interests of the establishment “elite” are served nearly as well by lobbying Democrat administrations as Republican ones.
Both parties put on a good show during the election season, but in this neo-feudal system, the “consumers” are to the Republicrat corporatist elite what the “dependents” are to the Demublican socialist elite: just a source of steady income. In the end the Donkey and the Elephant are content to graze side-by-side from the same “commons,” the grass-roots of both parties under their feet, along with the poor, the middle-class, small businesses, and the politically un-enrolled majority.
My goal as an independent candidate for governor is to revive public awareness of what we have lost in allowing our commonwealth to be transformed into a two-party oligarchy of the super-rich, and to lead a peaceful revolution to take it back.