By Rev. R.J. Rushdoony
Supposing we want to create a social order for the welfare of thieves and for their security, how shall we do it? The world must be made safe for stealing and for thieves, of course. We must therefore create a social order in which the thieves can steal but where no one can rob a thief. Next, we must make stealing respectable. Simple, obvious, and direct theft involves robbing a victim personally. Indirect theft means hiring someone else to do it. Legalized theft is getting civil government to do it for us, and this has the most respectability and prestige, so our thieves’ paradise must have it.
To make matters all the better, our legalized theft must have the prestige of approval from economists and experts, and what can better qualify than a managed money which is debased and inflated? Inflation is a simple process: it is what happens when a dishonest farmer adds water to the milk. Past a certain point, it ceases to be even watered milk; it is simply milky water. But, fortunately, the inflation of money is respectable and legal in our thieves’ paradise, because the thieves are in charge, not the farmers.
Another highly respectable device in our thieves’ paradise is taxation. God, of course, is content with only a tithe, but any self-respecting thief knows that a sucker must be taken all the way. Is taxation past forty percent? Well, the chicken is far from plucked!
In our thieves’ paradise, respectability is important, and so the churches, schools, and colleges are important. These institutions can tell the people how moral stealing is, and how welfare must precede property, and human rights are more important than property rights. Is there anything more wonderful for a thief than a world in which the good people are persuaded that it is their duty to be plucked? Moreover, why not add to this new morality of a thieves’ paradise the idea of a world union of thieves to avoid wasteful competition? After all, it is the duty of all good thieves to concentrate on plundering the people. This is a common faith all thieves can unite on. Why not unite then into one grand world order dedicated to the promotion of plunder on a world scale?
Of course, one big roadblock remains. God, somehow, has not caught up with the times and is hopelessly out of date. He still insists, “Thou shalt not steal.” Such an obsolete and antiquated morality, and this very dated God, must be gently done away with. If we say, “Thou shalt not steal,” it applies only to the citizens, who must not steal from the thieves. The thieves’ state is beyond this law, and, as for God, we can declare Him dead. All problems are now taken care of except one. As Pilate and the Sanhedrin found out once before, God is very uncooperative: He won’t stay dead! And He does make trouble for all self-respecting thieves. Times have changed, but God hasn’t. It makes for quite a problem (but not for God!).
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916-2001) was the founder of Chalcedon and a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical Law to society.
(Reprinted from Bread Upon the Waters: Columns From The California Farmer [Fairfax, VA: Thoburn Press, 1974], 1–2.)