Truth Over Tyranny: Biblical wisdom for defeating the Technocrats.
These are my insights for defeating the Transhumanist Technocracy movement, based on the teachings of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, of blessed memory, on the weekly Bible portion.
The globalists, communists, technocrats, and their cronies, have caused a lot of damage in their quest to impose totalitarian rule on free societies. Much harm in particular has been done to our confidence in our leadership. Many of us feel a profound sense of betrayal and outrage at the corruption of the people in government who are supposed to protect our interests.
How could the “First Family” of the United States continually engage in treasonous and depraved behavior, to expand their power and influence?
How could our “health” officials mandate harmful drugs, to cash in on the profits?
How could our elected “representatives” let themselves be bribed and blackmailed to pass laws that destroy our cities and erode our national sovereignty?
Very clearly, many of our officials, bureaucrats, and policy makers have made lawlessness, exploitation, and persecution the norm of governance. They routinely defy the legal, moral, and ethical basis of public service. They can no longer be considered our “leaders;” to a large extent, they have become our enemies. They are tyrants.
I personally have no doubt that the tides will turn against them, and in our favor as God-fearing, law-abiding citizens. Tyranny always falls. In the meantime, we cannot let their corruption of government taint our conception of what is normal political leadership. For true public service to be restored, we must know what it is. Our leaders cannot be tyrants – but they will not be perfect either. What are the “normal” challenges we should expect our political leadership to face, and meet in a “normal” fashion?
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks discusses these “temptations to sin” in his commentary on Parashat Vayikra called “The Sins of the Leader.”
He points out that the Torah understands that all people make mistakes:
“As we have discussed so many times already this year, leaders make mistakes. That is inevitable. So, strikingly, our parsha of Vayikra implies. The real issue is how leaders respond to their mistakes.
“The point is made by the Torah in a very subtle way. Our parsha deals with sin offerings to be brought when people have made mistakes. The technical term for this is sheggagah, meaning inadvertent wrongdoing (Lev. 4:1-35). You did something, not knowing it was forbidden, either because you forgot or did not know the law, or because you were unaware of certain facts. You may, for instance, have carried something in a public place on Shabbat, perhaps because you did not know it was forbidden to carry, or you forgot what was in your pocket, or because you forgot it was Shabbat.
“The Torah prescribes different sin offerings depending on who made the mistake. It enumerates four categories. First is the High Priest, second is “the whole community” (understood to mean the Great Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court), a third is “the leader” (Nasi), and the fourth is an ordinary individual.”
But leaders in particular are more prone to committing sins. One reason is the erosion of their moral sense when given power:
“In three of the four cases, the law is introduced by the word im, ‘if’ – if such a person commits a sin. In the case of the leader, however, the law is prefaced by the word asher, ‘when’ (Lev. 4:22). It is possible that a High Priest, the Supreme Court or an individual may err. But in the case of a leader, it is probable or even certain. Leaders make mistakes. It is unavoidable, the occupational hazard of their role. Talking about the sin of a Nasi, the Torah uses the word ‘when,’ not ‘if.’
“Nasi is the generic word for a leader: a ruler, king, judge, elder or prince. Usually it refers to the holder of political power. In Mishnaic times, the Nasi, the most famous of whom were leaders from the family of Hillel, had a quasi-governmental role as representative of the Jewish people to the Roman government…
“Why does the Torah consider this type of leadership particularly prone to error? The commentators offer three possible explanations. R. Ovadiah Sforno (to Lev. 4:21–22) cites the phrase ‘But Yeshurun waxed fat, and kicked’ (Deut. 32:15). Those who have advantages over others, whether of wealth or power, can lose their moral sense. Rabbeinu Bachya agrees, suggesting that rulers tend to become arrogant and haughty. Implicit in these comments – it is in fact a major theme of Tanach as a whole – is the idea later stated by Lord Acton in the aphorism, ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'”
Another reason is the constant need for pragmatism in the secular world in which they must function:
“Elie Munk, citing the Zohar, offers a second explanation. The High Priest and the Sanhedrin were in constant contact with that which was holy. They lived in a world of ideals. The king or political ruler, by contrast, was involved in secular affairs: war and peace, the administration of government, and international relations. They were more likely to sin because their day-to-day concerns were not religious but pragmatic.”
Yet another reason is the demand for popular support:
“Meir Simcha ha-Cohen of Dvinsk points out that a King was especially vulnerable to being led astray by popular sentiment. Neither a Priest nor a Judge in the Sanhedrin were answerable to the people. The King, however, relied on popular support. Without that he could be deposed. But this is laden with risk. Doing what the people want is not always doing what God wants. That, R. Meir Simcha argues, is what led David to order a census (2 Sam. 24), and Zedekiah to ignore the advice of Jeremiah and rebel against the King of Babylon (2 Chr. 36). Thus, for a whole series of reasons, a political leader is more exposed to temptation and error than a Priest or Judge…”
Perhaps the biggest challenge is the responsibility of making decisions on behalf of the group:
“A private individual is responsible only for their own sins. A leader is held responsible for the sins of the people they lead: at least those they might have prevented. With power comes responsibility: the greater the power, the greater the responsibility.
“There are no universal rules, there is no failsafe textbook, for leadership. Every situation is different and each age brings its own challenges. A ruler, in the best interests of their people, may sometimes have to take decisions that a conscientious individual would shrink from doing in private life. They may have to decide to wage a war, knowing that some will die. They may have to levy taxes, knowing that this will leave some impoverished. Only after the event will the leader know whether the decision was justified, and it may depend on factors beyond their control…”
How can leaders step outside of themselves and step up for the people they serve? They need influences in their life to keep them honest:
“The Jewish approach to leadership is thus an unusual combination of realism and idealism – realism in its acknowledgement that leaders inevitably make mistakes, idealism in its constant subordination of politics to ethics, power to responsibility, pragmatism to the demands of conscience. What matters is not that leaders never get it wrong – that is inevitable, given the nature of leadership – but that they are always exposed to prophetic critique and that they constantly study Torah to remind themselves of transcendent standards and ultimate aims. The most important thing from a Torah perspective is that a leader is sufficiently honest to admit their mistakes. Hence the significance of the sin offering.
“Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai summed it up with a brilliant double-entendre on the word asher, meaning ‘when’ in the phrase ‘when a leader sins.’ He relates it to the word ashrei, ‘happy,’ and says: Happy is the generation whose leader is willing to bring a sin offering for their mistakes.
“Leadership demands two kinds of courage: the strength to take a risk, and the humility to admit when a risk fails.”
I would add this: in a free society, we have every right to demand accountability from our leaders. They must own up to their mistakes, and make amends. But we must expect that from ourselves in order to expect it from others. A society that values normal moral and ethical behavior deserves moral and ethical leadership.