Is today’s definition of “liberty” the same definition that our Founding Fathers used? Are we even speaking the same language as the Founding Fathers? According to our radio show guest this week on Off the Grid Radio, Daniel Ford, author of The Legacy of Liberty and Property, no, it is not. Today’s citizen looks at liberty defined as the autonomy from authority. However, the essence of liberty in the 1770s was defined as the individual accountability to God that naturally limited the authority that government or kings could place upon the citizenry.
Off The Grid Radio
Released: April 22, 2011
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so very much for joining us at Off the Grid News – the radio version of offthegridnews.com. As always, I’m Brian Brawdy along with Mr. Bill Heid. Bill, I thought I was a voracious reader. I know you read all the time so you and I are always bantering back and forth “oh, there’s a new book … there’s a new book … did you go and get it? Did you download it for you iPad or your Kindle?” But I know that you also have a love of old books. With today’s guest in mind – he’s another guy that has a passion for old books – you go into one of those used bookstores and it’s just an old book, it’s been around forever. It gives you – does it not give you a sense of being a little closer to the original knowledge, when you’ve got an old book in your hand?
Bill: Like you’re a part of history. You’re feeling it and touching it and you can connect some dots, I guess, as it were.
Brian: Our guest today has definitely connected the dots. Dan Ford has been an avid collector of antique – how would you pronounce it?
Bill: I would say antiquarian.
Brian: Antiquarian books and historical documents for the past two decades. As a researcher and historian, he has compiled an archive of original source material by which to verify contemporary accounts of the central ideas of our forbears. Today, Bill, we’re going to have a chance to talk with him about his new book, “The Legacy of Liberty and Property in the Story of American Colonization,” and it’s the foundation of our nation that he covers. Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Daniel Ford. Daniel, how are you sir?
Daniel: My pleasure to be here. I’m doing well.
Brian: Bill and I were talking right before we came on air of how much we not only enjoyed the content of your book, which I want to spend 99 percent of our time with today, but also how great it looks, Daniel. I know that you have in a past life, or maybe even in this life, are a graphic artist. I love how you got all kinds of facts but then, for example, on page 11 “the medieval view of the world as a globe with three continents” – and you’ve got pictures to show the three continents. I think it’s a beautiful book the way you did it, the way it’s – all of it. Congratulations, again, I love it. Of course we’re talking about “The Legacy of Liberty and Property.”
Daniel: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to do. It’s a wonderful topic. It’s a topic worth digging into and presenting it in a way that conveys the idea more than just one author’s ideas but actually digging in from original source documents and see what did our founders say? What are founders’ forefathers say? That was the aim of this book.
Bill: I think, Daniel, one of the problems that the Tea Party has today – and of course we’re big fans of folks that think that way, we have a lot of Libertarian friends, a lot of Tea Party friends – but I think one of the issues that I see in both the Libertarian movement as well as the Tea Party movement, is every great movement seems to have some foundational principles. Then from those foundational principles, comes liberty. Do you see what I’m saying? We don’t just want liberty for liberty’s sake – liberty for liberty’s sake never really existed in society. It always comes from something. Brian and I are always trying to dig down below and see what’s beneath it. What’s the foundation? Today, we also know that Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was fond of saying “if you control the present, you can control the past. And if you can control the past, you can control the history.” He meant by that if you seize power and you rewrite the history books, you can get people to believe something about the legacy – about their legacy – or cut their legacy off, whatever it is to manipulate them. Certainly it’s true in our public schools today what our children are being exposed to has very little to do with the truth. If you want to … I’m not sure where you want to dig in here and start, but I think we need to start in. What, as we look into the past – maybe we should start out with definitional issues, how about defining liberty and defining tyranny before we go?
Daniel: You’ve laid the table beautifully. The idea of liberty is quite different – 200 years ago, 300 years ago, than it was now. That was the kind of liberty that bore fruit. Today, we tend to have a libertarian view of liberty, which is autonomy from authority. Back then, the essence of liberty was to hold to your first accountability each individual’s first accountability directly to God. If each individual has a direct accountability to God and himself, then there’s limits upon the authority that other people can place upon him. So liberty is all about responsibility to the highest source of authority and power, and that’s God himself. Each person has, if you will, a liberty in themselves because the essential piece of property they own is their body and their mind. Then what the Lord blesses them with is what they are stewards to him in, which is in essence your property – what you have. Liberty is in fact enjoying that freedom to be accountable to God first in all things.
Bill: Would you say also that with liberty there’s also a responsibility, as you said a stewardship – that’s lacking today too. When people talk about liberty or “I want to pay less taxes,” the responsibility component seems to be absent today in any political exchange, it doesn’t matter what radio station, TV station you watch, listen to. There’s never – it’s this argument on the periphery constantly, without ever creating a principle by which liberty is understood. I think you really – one of the reasons I was really enamored with the book is that you touch on it so profoundly, that liberty doesn’t exist in and of itself as an abstraction, it has to be laid on top of some foundational issue. I couldn’t agree more with the direction that you’re heading. Daniel, by contrast then, what’s tyranny?
Daniel: Tyranny is when one person claims a dominion over other people that is not authorized by God, i.e., not authorized by God and his word. Tyrants – there’s many tyrants in the Bible as examples – there’s Nimrod is one, he’s the first primary tyrant. The commentators during the reformation who really deciphered these principles and then passed them along to people such as our Founding Fathers and defined these ideas for them. Nimrod, for instance, raised himself as having dominion over other people as if they were animals, as if they were his property. Tyranny is both the ungodly usurpation of other people’s liberty and other people’s property. It’s claiming a dominion not authorized by God. The flip side of that, and you nailed it correctly, that liberty is a responsibility to each individual to hold it to God. The question for us as free people under God is how much do we yield that liberty to a tyrant? That puts the responsibility upon us not to yield it, and that is a heavy thing. That weighed heavily on many generations up to the time of the founding of this nation. The Puritans in the 1600s, for instance, would not yield their liberty to the tyrant kings – the divine right kings of that era that tried to wrest away their property rights and their liberty, that they thought they owed directly to God. The same principle was enacted in the founding of our nation. That’s what gave them the strength to resist tyranny. The fact that they had tyranny and liberty well defined and they understood the restraint and the purpose of government.
Bill: So you’re not going to beat – and I want to keep pounding this drum – you’re not going to beat what we’re fighting today, essentially, with this idea of this pencil-necked approach of “we don’t want to pay taxes.” There has to be some undergirding belief below that. Tell us about what that belief was early on. Tell us about the flier that was printed for the – in Massachusetts, for the army, by the state of Massachusetts. I was so profoundly touched by that. What were they encouraging the soldiers to do? How were they encouraging the soldiers to understand their responsibility to their nation, to their God, to their children?
Daniel: Those documents of that era, the one you’re speaking of particularly, the November 1776 – we’re talking just months after they declared independence. Now they are indeed in a war for independence. Again, you have to have the definition in front of the people – what are you fighting for? You are not just fighting for autonomy of America from Britain. You’re fighting for the responsibilities you owe to God.
Brian: Daniel, if I could, we have to run to a quick commercial break but I want our listeners to think about that during the break – of that sense that you owe allegiance to your liberty, maybe not necessarily as a right but as a responsibility to the divinity. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to run to a quick commercial break. Come on back. Daniel J. Ford with us for the hour. You’re going to love his book “The Legacy of Liberty and Property.”[0:09:52 – 0:14:05 break]
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, we’re back with Daniel J. Ford, the author of “The Legacy of Liberty and Property.” Daniel, I’m sorry I had to interrupt you to run to the break, but Bill and I spoke about it in between – this concept of rights versus responsibility – that when you’re given that liberty – and as you were saying it, it almost made think of “looking a gift horse in the mouth.” You’re not grateful for the liberty that you were given which is why you slowly let tyranny encroach on that liberty in your life. Could you go ahead and pick back up on your answer?
Daniel: Sure. Going back to the 1776 document, which is very informative as to the principles that our founders stood for, which were principles they saw as greater than themselves. These are things you stand for because they’re greater than you and put responsibilities upon you. The particular document showed these men – no longer colonists but free citizens of a new nation – that Britain had claimed them as well as the land as well as America in general as well as what they owned privately as its property. Of course that violated every principle of liberty that we’ve already discussed in this interview so far and we thoroughly cover in the book. The idea – again, it’s not improper if we understand the word “rights” as they meant it. Just like liberty had a different meaning then, rights had a different meaning. Rights were well defined as responsibilities. You can see the moral implication there if you understand even the William Blackstone, the great jurist common law teacher in England, defined it himself. There’s rights and there’s wrongs. The idea of rights is a moral responsibility you have. When you give up your right, you are doing wrong. Or the way he put it “you have no right to do a wrong.” See how it all comes back, whether you’re talking rights, it’s in a different context that we understand it today. Whether you’re talking about liberty, it’s in a different context. It’s all responsibility that you owe to God. Why do you owe it to God? Because God has put that upon you. That’s the terms of your existence on this earth that He created. It all goes back to authority. The idea of authority back then was whether you were a husband and a family, whether you’re a magistrate, whether you’re an elder in a church, you have no authority that you can’t trace back to its delegation to you from the highest authority. They had a very systematic understanding of how authority’s delegated out. When tyranny shows its face, it’s obvious on the first principles of you understanding everyone’s relationship to God and man, where that’s a breach. It’s very important and this is what gave them the strength, and this is what gave us the fruits of what they stood for.
Bill: Let’s talk about … let’s get underneath this a little bit, Daniel, and go back. I know that when Richard Henry Lee was writing the Declaration of Independence and then his wife got sick – if you remember the account of that, he handed a couple of books off to Tommy J. and said “issue a covenantal divorce” – basically – “against the King.” I guess my point is, what’s amazing – this idea of – it’s almost a feudal idea in that you’re always reporting to someone above you. I want to work it backwards. But even Thomas Jefferson, even Franklin, probably even Thomas Paine, understood on some level these ideas. They probably would be considered right-wing fundamentalists in today’s stands because they had principles that most church folks couldn’t even begin to understand. Not that they were always the most morally clean people but with respect to this idea of the principles for our freedom, it seemed like they really understood it. But he was supposed to – Richard Henry Lee and then later Thomas Jefferson – was supposed to write this covenantal divorce against the King. Let’s go back into what created the mentality. Obviously it was the Crown that created the charters for the colonies so they didn’t see themselves as being responsible for Parliament. They saw themselves as having a covenantal relationship to the Crown. We weren’t talking about James or Charles or anyone at that point, it was George III, but let’s go back – what did they learn from the Reformation? And if you want to go back even further, that created that idea in their heads, because that idea came from someplace – this covenantal divorce. That’s crazy language by today’s standards. Why were they thinking that way?
Daniel: And I love that you’re picking up on their choice of terminology. The covenantal understanding of life, the basics of life, incorporates the legal but also the moral. Those two have to blend together, because that’s where you define the right and wrong of every individual. They inherit this from the Reformation because during the Reformation – that was medieval day. The medieval system was the misnomer that a single potentate represented Christ on earth and he was the Pope in Rome, et cetera, et cetera. You had this whole feudal order which involved not only religious issues – what we would define as religious issues – but land issues and everything else. The Reformation brought that authority of the Bible forefront, sola scriptura– the authority of scripture over all things. That undermines the feudal order. How it did that, again getting back to the idea of liberty, those ideas were embraced as much in England as anywhere else – the Elizabethan era and the Puritans who carried that through and fought for freedoms in the 1600s, and in the 1700s in America. That shaped – that Reformation view shaped the world view of people that we would say, by Biblical definitions, aren’t strictly a Christian. Even if they believed as Christians. But the world view was shaped by that. They didn’t have a socialistic world view to cloud their understanding. They were a first and foremost, whether you’re talking about Jefferson or Franklin or any of the founders – if you were to ask them “what is the key authority?” It’s the Bible. It’s God’s word.
Bill: So I guess what’s interesting to me is you’re making mention of the Reformation so you’re talking a little bit about Luther and Calvin and their revolt with respect to liberty of conscience, first and foremost. Then, from there, we’re talking about – once you’ve got a liberty of conscience, and someone says basically, Daniel, “wait a second. What’s the ultimate authority?” If a king or a pope says “it’s me,” and it’s whatever capricious, arbitrary gig “I” want to do that day, or it could be what Luther and Calvin were saying “wait a minute. There may be a standard that even kings have to be held accountable to.” I think, wouldn’t you say that’s the crux of liberty, right there?
Daniel: Right. Because a king is no more autonomous than the people are autonomous from authority under God. One of the things that came out of the Reformation and then was very much embraced in the 1600s in England, 1700s in America, was the idea the king or the executive branch, if you want to put it in modern terms today, can be rebellious against its authority. In the case of kings, they took coronation oaths which strictly bound them under terms by which they were responsible to God to protect the people and serve them. The idea of a public servant took shape under this whole understanding. Today, however, if I can beat up on where we’ve gone wrong today, we don’t have that understanding of an accountability of the magistrates or the executive branch or the legislative branch or the courts, to any authority higher than them. Perhaps, some people say the Constitution, but the Constitution is just one document. Their oaths of office bind them to the highest authority. That’s why those oaths are in there. Oaths are in the Constitution. Oaths were enacted into laws. Those things bind people to both the Constitution and the God who is the highest law. If I can just add one more thing. Law back then, meaning 200 years ago, 300 years ago, 400 years ago, was recognized as a hierarchy. The highest law is God’s law, his revealed law. Therefore, no laws that were passed under that were considered just or righteous or even enforceable in some cases unless they did not violate the higher law. When laws come down to practical laws – you know, what you can do on roads and whatever – they could not violate what the highest law dictated. IT was a very clean understanding and it gave people a lot of security in their understanding of law. We are very confused people today about what law is and what authority is.
Brian: Daniel, we’re going to go ahead and run to a quick commercial break here in just a second. When you come back I want to talk about where you think that confusion stems from. Also, in “about the book,” the little bio that you have, you talk about “it covers the historic wall of separation between the family and the state and shows how that nation, which was conceived in independence, was never intended to make dependence of its citizens.” I want to go back to that confusion – how’ve we become so confused today, and if you go with that sentence in your book, what does that make our current government as it’s situated today. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to run to a quick commercial break. Come on back. Daniel J. Ford, the book “The Legacy of Liberty and Property,” here at offthegridnews.com.[0:23:53 – 0:28:05 break]
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you again for coming back. We’re here with Daniel J. Ford, the author of the great book “The Legacy of Liberty and Property.” Bill, I know you said during the break you had a question you wanted to get right to Daniel.
Bill: It’s a version of, I think, what you’re saying, Brian. Basically, Daniel, I think what we’re doing in a way – Lutheran/Calvin, perhaps, would have this issue and during the medieval period before them – a great period of time in history – has been tyrannical and absolutist. If the king claims the divine right or a pope claims to speak ex cathedra or divine right in some fashion. I think it’s cheesy of people today to look back and say “well, I’m glad that’s gone,” or “we don’t have that,” when – haven’t we just transferred this absolutist perspective from kings to bureaucracies? Go ahead and try to fight the IRS if you think that there’s no absolutism going on today. Tax day was earlier in the week. Go ahead and try to fight the Executive Branch. Is Barack Obama or George Bush – who do you think that they’re accountable to? If you ask them who’ they’re accountable to, if you went to Congress, if you went to Ryan or any of these guys – guys we might consider to be good guys – and say “who are you accountable to?” Or Supreme Court. I’d love to hear what they were saying. Haven’t we just transferred this concept? Doesn’t it still exist?
Daniel: Right. And it’s a foundational idea that we have, or a misnomer if you will, of what civil government is. It particularly comes to fore in the topic of this book – property – we consider it a self-evident truth that the government owns everything. Then it allots to us our squatters’ rights – whether it’s rights to our income, rights to our home property, rights to our family, rights to taking care of our own health. We assume, and it’s a complete flip-flop into divine right in the name of secular humanism, by the way, but now it’s the same thing. We look to the government as owning everything in our conscious basis of how we think. Then, we go from that premise to thinking “aren’t we blessed by the government to be able to do this and this and this.” But in the back of our mind, the government can take that away any time we want. That’s the same thinking of someone 200, 300, 400 years ago that believed in divine right, whether it’s kings, popes, et cetera. Back to Brian’s question, that goes to the idea of the separation of family and state. There’s a government … first of all, let me say this. There’s a difference in the government of a family and the government of the state. God recognizes both. He authorized both. If he authorized both, one cannot be tyrannical over the other. You cannot say there’s only the state. When it comes to the health care issues today, we assume – and it’s such a misnomer and a mistake on our part as a populace, as a nation – to assume the government has a right to govern the affairs within our home. A man’s house is his castle, as James Otis said in the 1760s, meaning – today, if we embrace that principle, upon which this nation is founded, you are to govern your home under God. The government has a job to protect that dominion that you have in your own family. Therefore, there has to be a wall of separation. That is between the authority that’s in the home and the authority in the state which is there to protect the home.
Brian: But Daniel, today when a school district – not far from where we broadcast our show – where a school district says “parents should no longer send your kids to school with lunches, they have to buy the lunches that we provide for them.” Or a government tells you what light bulbs to use, how much water your toilet is allowed to flush, what you can listen to, what websites you can go to, where you can congregate. That wall that you talk about, that we’re all almost unconscious to know, define that wall for us. You have what’s right, you have the divine law, then by mathematics, almost, the opposite of that divine law would be – please fill in the blank.
Daniel: The divine law – the opposite of divine law is placing authority with man in any capacity. When you place any absolute authority with a man, which you are not given the right to the founders said, you are losing a battle without ever fighting a fight. You are giving ground, and the families in America have given ground, have given ground almost since day one since we were given this blessed nation. The government has been more than willing to take that ground. It’s because we have lost the principles of responsibility in our home. What is the responsibilities? We have – you addressed the idea of children and their lunches – what about the parents’ responsibilities? That is the very thing this nation was founded upon to protect. Therefore, the parents should not yield those responsibilities. They should guard the responsibilities. They have to care for and raise their children against anyone, as John Witherspoon said in 1776 and I mention in the book – “we cannot yield the authority we have in our own homes, of our own property, to even the wisest and best masters.” That’s a very perceptive quote because what Witherspoon says, it doesn’t matter how pretentious or what a good sales job our magistrates, our governors, say they do – or they do and convincing us they are going to treat us very well. The basic problem is we are giving up our responsibility to them. We do not have the right, under God, to do that.
Brian: Daniel, if I could ask real quick – and then for all the hate mail that we’ll get that’s Jeremy at offthegridnews.com – [email protected] – here’s the thing, and this is why it irks me so much with large groups of us and people that I think possibly even read your book. I’m not a biblical scholar but I’m pretty sure that I remember, from the time I was three or four years old and my grandfather had me reading it, when it says the first commandment: “thou shall have no other god before me.” And I loved you book and I’m listening to what you’re saying now. Aren’t some of us guilty then of saying “we’ve got God god, but we can have a minimal in-between god – we’ll just call it government.” You say “look, it violates the Constitution.” I think it violates the first commandment in the 10 commandments. And again, that’s [email protected] … or [email protected]
Daniel: Right. But the caveat in what you’re saying is, it’s not that we don’t respect legitimate civil government. We respect, as our founders did – they were not rebels, they respected civil government. They set up civil government. They loved it. But they set them up, they honored them in as far as they are authorized to have authority. But there’s areas that they weren’t delegated authority – that is either by the Constitution, which is the legal side, or the moral side, by God. What we do, as responsible Christians or citizens – with citizens means responsibility too. We yield that up when we assume that someone over us has the authority to dictate things that we are accountable to God in. That goes to our property. That’s why this book focuses mostly on property. There’s a lot of books written on liberty but when you understand property is the foundation upon which you enjoy the blessings of liberty, now you see all of that coming together and people can only be free if they understand those two concepts as linked together inseparably by our responsibilities to God.
Bill: Daniel, I think you’re talking about a concept that exists whether people want it to or not. The idea of responsibility – Kuyper talked about sphere sovereignty and so forth. Brian and I talk a lot, sometimes we do a little back and forth about – what’s a popular message amongst Tea Party folks and Libertarians is it’s always the government’s fault. It’s always someone else’s fault. But I think, certainly the vacuum got filled by government when a weak family and a weak church and a weak state – whatever it is if you want to go up that feudal line and talk about all the weaknesses. Unlike Witherspoon, unlike Jefferson, unlike Washington, or Luther even, who were willing to lay their lives down and draw a line and say “this is principal. I’ll die on this line.” All the heroes in your book that you described. I was thinking this morning as I was looking through it again, they all have one thing in common, the people that you talk about – whether it’s Cromwell, Hampton – all those guys – they all said “I’m willing to die.” Now that’s tough! When you’re fighting somebody that’s willing to die – you know what? Even if you’re only 2 or 3 percent of the population, that scares people. It scared Europe and it scared – certainly it scared the English as they perceived the American colonies – “these people are crazy!” What’d they say? “They ran off with a Presbyterian parson.” They were crazy! They’ll fight you. They’ll kill you. That’s certainly very different from the slave state, the squatter state that we’ve been talking about.
Brian: And Daniel, believe me, I hate to do this because I want to hear your answer, but we’re going to run to a quick commercial break. Come on back, you’re not going to want to miss our final segment with the author of a fantastic book “The Legacy of Liberty and Property,” Daniel J. Ford, the final segment, here at offthegridnews.com.[0:37:59 – 0:42:09 break]
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Off the Grid Radio. Brian Brawdy, here as always with Mr. Bill Heid. And today, a very special guest – the author of “The Legacy of Liberty and Property,” Daniel J. Ford. Daniel, goodness, I said I hated to interrupt you for our break because we wanted to get right into it. But, in the end, you either give up that power to the divinity or you don’t. If you find someone else to replicate God here on earth, if you will – if you look for someone for all those other things, doesn’t that violate the first commandment of having no other authority “before me,” notwithstanding your civil government, which you mentioned. Could you expand on the latter part of that a little more?
Daniel: I love what you equated with God – authority. If you understand God as authority, it’ll all come together for you if you’re a student of the Bible and student of history. That’s what it comes down to. Yes, in fact, if you delegate anyone authority, other than God – that is delegate anyone that’s not been authorized by God with certain authorities with those authorities, you are in fact in breach of the first commandment. They understood this 200 years ago, 300 years ago, 400 years ago. MY answer to your question immediately prior to the break would be, why wouldn’t we want to live greater than we are? Why wouldn’t we want to be part of principles? You mentioned the fear of these things – the fear of this knowledge – no! This is elevating knowledge to embrace these things. This is what makes people a great people. To the point of, they were willing to stand for things, to call a spade a spade, and risk their lives on it. The declaration of the causes of necessity of taking up arms in 1775 said, in its conclusion – if you find that document, it’s a wonderful document – “we’d rather live free – die as free men than live as slaves.” What a compact principle. This is because to live in slavery is not to live at all in any dignified way under God, and I don’t mean the institution of slavery and the Civil War, but to be a slave is to be dependent of a civil government as if that was your God, is a very feudal, vassal, limiting, degrading thing when you consider the dignity that God put in mankind at creation.
Brian: I couldn’t agree more.
Daniel: I’ve got one document here – one quick document. I’m looking at it – I’m in my study as we’re doing this interview – but I’m looking at a document that was published in January 1776. It says “the great Creator, having never given men a right to vest others with authority over them, unlimited in either duration or degree.” Very complicated way of saying that you don’t have a right as a free person under God to delegate other people with that kind of unlimited authority under you. See the difference? It’s one thing to wag our finger at Washington and say “aren’t they bad?” It’s another thing to point the finger back at yourself and say “what are you allowing them to do? What are you yielding to them?” That’s the responsibility of a free citizen.
Brian: Daniel, I want to comment, if I could real quick, Bill – do you have the name of that document? Then I promise I’ll be quiet the rest of the show. What’s the name of that document, Daniel, that you just quoted from? I love that line.
Daniel: This is – I’m not sure it’s in the book – but it’s the “Proclamation of the Colony Massachusetts,” dated January 23, 1776. Just a little tidbit of history on this. It’s assumed today that all the colonies went out and became independent on July 4, 1776. There were many that had declared their independence prior to that and were willing, as an individual colony, to become a nation. Thus, the genius of Virginia was “let’s go out united,” and they did that on July 4. This was actually a proclamation by the Colony Massachusetts that “we are going to become from henceforth a self-governed colony.” And they built it upon – therefore a state, not a colony any more – in January 1776, “we’re going to govern ourselves under God.” The document concludes “God save the people.” That’s very indicative of the American sentiments – versus God save the king, it’s God save the people.
Bill: That’s very good. That’s very good. Daniel, let’s move on a little bit. I want to talk about the covenantal nature of government and I want to get that back in people’s minds. A few years ago my daughter Tracy bought me the book “In the Name of God, Amen,” which is another fabulous piece and another beautiful book with all of the illustrations backed to the source documents so I really appreciate that. As the Plymouth colony was being developed, there was this covenantal perspective that they had as Puritans – can you tell me what books they were reading? What books they were carrying with them on the trip? What shaped their perspective so that by the time they landed – they didn’t want to land, they didn’t want to get on shore until they had a covenantal agreement that bound each other. Tell us about what books they were reading, what they were thinking about and what pre-conditions exist there. That’s where I’d love to dig back into and find out – what shaped this?
Daniel: That’s right. That’s so key because they were shaped by the ideas. We think of the Mayflower as packed with people but also packed with books. That’s important because the books had the ideas and the history of ideas is what laid the foundations of that colony. Of course, the two that come to fore, that happen to be mentioned in this book and my other book as well, “In the Name of God, Amen” – aboard was the Geneva Bible, which is the Bible itself with the Calvinistic footnotes in it, or the footnotes that came out of the Reformation time which laid out tyranny, responsibility, civil government, et cetera, et cetera. All these things are in the footnotes of that. That was the common Bible of the time.
Bill: That was the Geneva Bible, Daniel?
Daniel: That’s correct.
Bill: That’s the one the kings hated because – most of the kings in Europe hated that Bible because it called them out on precisely the principles that we’ve been discussing, is that right?
Daniel: That’s exactly right. That’s why King James – the same King James that was there that authorized the King James’ Bible that finally allowed what we call the Pilgrims to settle then later in Plymouth, New England – was the guy that outlawed the Geneva Bible in 1616. Of course, it went on to be printed with the title page 1599 for decades.
Bill: That’s amazing. So they had some tools. They had that book, which was an “in your face” to tyrants Bible, subtitled. Then they also had what other commentaries or books do you think they were reading?
Daniel: Brewster, and the one that’s central in this book because it shaped the colonization – the Christian colonies so much – was the Commentary on the Book of Isaiah by John Calvin. Calvin dedicated that book when he published it in Latin in 1558 on – not coincidentally, but providentially – on the day of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. Isaiah is the book that talks primarily about the authority of God and how the authority of God and the gospel of Christ is going to go to the ends of the earth. This was the mantle for colonization – this idea that the kingdom of Christ must go to the ends of the earth. That was part and parcel of what the Pilgrims were doing, certainly what the Puritans were doing when they established Massachusetts and the other New England colonies. That idea spread along the Atlantic coast from north New England all the way down to, eventually, to Georgia, in the early 1700s. That idea of expanding on the kingdom of Christ, but not with tyranny, with liberty. The idea is bring liberty to these, then, the Native Americans. That’s the gospel and liberty go hand-in-hand. The bells of the churches rung from north to south with that idea by the 1700s. That is the very concept that the founders were not willing to yield to a tyrant.
Bill: So that differed quite a bit from – and I’m not going to link Columbus and Cortez with some of the other Spanish – but that perspective – you’ve got an idea of dominion here. It’s a poor word for use because the idea of dominion in today’s culture means “I’m stepping on your throat for a thousand years” in Orwell’s … I think what you’re talking about is Godly dominion is being stewardship. Basic stewardship. Not forcing your hand in an autonomous way against civilization, against the Indians or somebody like we were talking about. Exercising Godly stewardship.
Daniel: Yes. Absolutely. Dominion was primarily over the land and the things that God delegates in the dominion mandate in Genesis 1 that we do have dominion over. We have dominion over our property and our responsibilities. Dominion is always responsibility and it really is nothing more than that. It’s accountability – like you said, it’s stewardship – it’s the kind of thing that Adam and Eve had in the Garden. They weren’t autonomous from God there and when they tried to be you saw what happened.
Bill: When you get up in the morning, Daniel, and you drive your car to work – it’s important for people to understand – you’re exercising dominion over your environment. If you clean your room up, you’re exercising dominion – you’re being a steward of something and it’s not this ravaging of something. WE have to make that division. We’re running out of time, Brian. Can I make a comment before we start closing it out? Here’s what people should do. Listen. We’re going to sell this book in our store. We’re going to give 25 percent off. But here’s what you do. There’ll be a coupon code “Liberty25” for this, in order to get 25 percent off, you can go to our store. But here’s what you should do. It’s not about the money. We give you 25 percent off just because we want you to have it. We want people to have the book. Here’s what you should do. This book is about legacies – fathers, mothers. Go get this book. What Brian and I are trying to do is give people a way back. Give our kids and our grandkids a way back. This book is principal in that you can’t get to Point B if you don’t know where in the heck Point A is or how people even got to Point A to begin with. With this book and what Daniel’s done is yeoman’s service teaching the history. Go write – on the inner cover – go write “from Dad to Johnny … God’s richest blessings,” because we’ve got to lay these, Brian, we’ve got to lay these foundational principles. That’s all I wanted to say. I’m so impressed with Daniel – not only his book but with the interview – I’m almost, rarely, but I’m speechless today.
Brian: Well, then I’m going to do what I promised and said that I wasn’t going to say another word if you let my question. Daniel, I’ve already researched the Proclamation of the Colony of Massachusetts. Found it on the website. Thank you sir, very much, and thank you for giving us the full hour. Ladies and gentlemen, a book that you’re really going to enjoy and, as Bill said, you’ll want to pass on to your children and then to their children as well – “The Legacy of Liberty and Property” by Daniel J. Ford. Ladies and gentlemen, as always, thank you for listening to Off the Grid Radio. Be sure to email us with your questions, comments, critiques – [email protected] You can find us on Facebook – Facebook.com/offthegridnews. Also, of course, follow us on Twitter @offgridnews. I want to mention one more time, the coupon code. Go to www.solutionsfromscience.com, enter the coupon code “Liberty25.” Liberty and the number 25 and we’re going to hook you up with a great book. Thank you. We know an hour is precious to you and we’ve really enjoyed you sharing that hour with us.[0:54:18]