Monday, April 6, 2009

Babylon, Agrarianism, and the Military-Industrial Complex

This article was first published by Chris Ortiz - Faith for all of life April 8 2006, it was a turning point in my journey towards a more agrarian way of thinking and living.
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Isaiah 2:4
Warfare proceeds from the heart of man according to James 4:1. It is sin, and the sinful pursuits of men, that spurs the national conflicts in world history. Whereas God intended an agrarian-based society, tyrants converted that productivity into the tools of war. Although 2,700 years have passed since Isaiah penned his prophecy, this manipulation by the oligarchy remains the central strategy of elitist dominion. Orwell's 1984 suggests this very thing:
The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living...

The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they must not be distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare...

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed...

In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population.
Modern warfare is reliant upon technology, and technology is consumed by the incessant war project; and the war project is central to maintaining the dominion of sinful man. This is why modern man relishes in his technological achievements -- they are the primary evidence of man's developing omniscience. In this sense, there are many similarities to the nature of God and the divine attributes that oligarchs seek for themselves:

God is omnipotent (all-powerful), and man seeks this power through imperialism.
God is omniscient (all-knowing), and man seeks this through technology.
God is benevolent, and man seeks this through socialistic control of the economy.
God is sovereign, and man seeks predestinarian control through central planning.

In addition, the growing surveillance society of Big Brother is also a feeble attempt at matching a god-like ability to monitor every man:
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. Proverbs 15:3
Restraining Technology
God surveys what man has done and is doing (Gen. 11:5). The people are one in this new world order; their language is one and now they are creating a world government to play god over mankind (v.6). With such a power over mankind, "nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do" (v.6). Total power will mean total government and control. When men play god, they primarily seek to dominate other men. They then turn science and knowledge into strategies of control in every sphere of life and thought. (R.J. Rushdoony, Commentaries on the Pentateuch: Genesis, p.110)
The Tower of Babel was the original manifestation of a unified statist system. The sin of their hearts became the "sin made flesh" when they said, "let us build." They would use the technology given by God to replace the throne of God in history. Yet, babylonian man was viciously humbled in a surprising counter move by Almighty God. He assaulted their highest technology--the one technology they could not manipulate: He confounded their language.

The result, according to Gen. 11:8, was the scattering abroad of man and "the leaving off to build the city." God frustrated the project of man by restraining his technology. While man had the physical means (tools and materials) to build the city, he could not succeed without the God-controlled element of speech. This basic technology trumped all other technologies.

Agrarianism and Technology

Technology is inescapable. It's apparent in the simplest and most complex of systems. Technology is not a cell phone or a television. Technology is an invisible attribute hidden in the mind of God that He transfers to man in history:
When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually?
Does he keep on breaking up and harrowing the soil?
When he has leveled the surface,
does he not sow caraway and scatter cummin?
Does he not plant wheat in its place,
barley in its plot,
and spelt in its field?
His God instructs him
and teaches him the right way.
Caraway is not threshed with a sledge,
nor is a cartwheel rolled over cummin;
caraway is beaten out with a rod,
and cummin with a stick.
Grain must be ground to make bread;
so one does not go on threshing it forever.
Though he drives the wheels of his threshing cart over it,
his horses do not grind it.
All this also comes from the LORD Almighty,
wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom.
(Isaiah 28:24-29)
God instructs man by His sovereign illumination. The error is when man assumes that he has "discovered" a technology. He hasn't. "God instructs him and teaches him the right way" (v.26). This idea presupposes an ethical restraint upon man and his technological pursuits. There is only so far God will allow man to go. However, we must also restrain ourselves so as to avoid aimless inventions that merely facilitate slothfulness, indulgence, and war.

I find it interesting that when Isaiah prophesied (chapter 2) of the glorious kingdom he described it in terms of a repentance in technology: swords are made into plowshares, and spears are converted into pruninghooks. Converted hearts lead to converted technology. This is ably demonstrated by the present emphasis upon agrarianism. The movement is emblematic of a righteous "restraint" upon the abuses of technology and the sin it inspires. All to say, the fulfilled kingdom may appear more Amish than the steel and stone of Huxley's Brave New World.

The same has often been said about hunting -- old-school rocker Ted Nugent is one of the most outspoken advocates of this idea. Christians are rediscovering a lost world, by discarding much of the plastic society and the cultural control grid of corporate advertising. By removing their children from public schools, and by disengaging from certain social tentacles, today's Christian can better taste the potency of God's creation.

The issue here is not isolationism -- far from it. It is a counter-revolution to an exclusively institutional and industrial existence. It is a self-imposed restraint upon the use of certain technology, and the adoption of older technology that is pure and God-sanctioned.

The new Tower of Babel is a vast system contrived and built by humanistic man, and is intended to have dominion over every area of life. We, as modern Christians, are plugged into this system. We should always be looking for ways to "unplug" so as to circumvent its control in our lives. Educating our children is the first step. Removing ourselves from the neo-babylonian churches is next. These mega-wonders of institutional worship are drenched in technology, and serve as faithful ambassadors of the state.

I find other movements, such as agrarianism, as helpful to the cause of Christ. I also see a helpful trend within the family-based churches, despite the shrills of patriarchy. My goodness, so long as sinful people are involved any system can be abused! But centering on the family helps to de-tox Christians from their slavish adherence to institutions. We can only rejoice then as faithful Christians work to decentralize a one-world order. Bureaucracy is a great opponent to the expedient application of Biblical law.


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