The Universal Destination of Goods – A Summary
In last week’s installment of Immigration, Citizenship and the Bible (ICB) we looked at the foundational doctrine of Roman Church-State’s teaching on immigration: The Universal Destination of Goods (UDG).
The UDG posits an original communism at the time of creation. That is to say, it asserts that in the beginning God gave the world to all me in common. Private property, on the other hand, is not original with creation, it is not part of natural law, but rather is a human artifice.
Private property is useful up to a point. But because the institution of private property is a man-made idea tacked on to the God’s original communists system, the fact that one lawfully purchased or produced a good or service does not give him exclusive title to it. As was noted in last week’s installment, this point was made very clearly by San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy who asserted,
In that battle [the battle between personal liberty and governmental control, what McElroy called the “fundamental political question of our age”] the tradition of Catholic social teaching is unequivocally on the side of strong governmental and societal protections for the powerless, the worker, the homeless, the hungry, those without decent medical care, the unemployed.
This stance of the church’s teaching flows from teaching of the Book of Genesis, that creation is the gift of God to all of humanity. Thus in the most fundamental way, there is a universal destination for all the material goods that exist in this world.
Wealth is a common heritage, not at its core a right of lineage or of acquisition (emphasis added).
The application of the UDG to immigration is not original with McElroy. For example, Strangers No Longer Together on the Journey of Hope, a “pastoral letter” dealing with immigration and issued jointly by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Conference of Mexican Bishops based its pro- mass taxpayer funded immigration argument on the UDG:
The Church recognizes that all the goods of the earth belong to all people. When persons cannot find employment in their country of origin to support themselves and their families, they have a right to find work elsewhere in order to survive. Sovereign nations should provide ways to accommodate this right.
One of the implications of the UDG is that need is the ultimate determinate of title. If one person has more than he needs, while another person has less, it is right to take from the one who has a superabundance and give it to the one who is lacking.
This communistic notion which underlies all of Rome’s teaching on economics and politics was famously expressed by Karl Marx in his aphorism, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Despite its many protestations to the contrary, Rome’s politics and economics are substantially Marxist.
The Biblical Doctrine of Property
In contrast to Rome’s claims of communism, the Bible teaches original capitalism. That is to say, that God, who is the ultimate owner of all things, gave the world to man, not collectively, but severally (individually).
John Robbins made this point in his essay Ronald Sider Contra Deum. In that essay, Robbins stated “The argument for this [original capitalism] may be found in the works of the seventeenth-century Christian thinker, Robert Filmer.
Robbins was especially qualified to make this statement, for his 1973 Johns Hopkins University doctoral dissertation is titled The Political Thought of Sir Robert Filmer. What follows is taken from Robbins’ work.
On the matter of property, the Discourse is virtually silent. In his Works, however, Filmer consistently maintains that Adam was given dominion over his wife, their children, and the entire earth, i.e., itwas his private property. The doctrine of property is of fundamental importance in Filmer’s thought, “for it is not possible for the wit of man to search out the first grounds or principles of government (which necessarily depend upon the original of property…In opposition to the Church Fathers, who generally held that property, government, and slavery were all postlapsarian (after the fall) phenomena, Filmer held that all were prelapsarian:
This lordship which Adam by creation had over the whole world, and by right descending from him the Patriarchs did enjoy, was as large and ample as the absolutest dominion of any monarch which hath been since the creation.
Noah, who was more or less a second Adam, divided the whole world among his three sons, and from this division “Most of the civilest nations of the world labour to fetch their original” (273-274).
The main points to take from the above passage are 1) that God gave Adam dominion over the whole earth, and 2) that this dominion was divided and passed to his sons, as was also the case with Noah, who divided the earth among his sons.
Not all Protestant scholars at the time agreed with Filmer that property rights descended from Adam. As Robbins puts it, “It is Filmer’s prime though certainly not explicit contention against his opponents that they agree with the doctrine of the Church Fathers” (275-276). Filmer attacked Grotius because he held that,
God immediately after the Creation, did bestow upon mankind in general a right over things of inferior nature…From whence it came to pass that presently every man might snatch what he would for his own use, and spend what he could: and such an universal right was then instead of property, for what every one so catched another could not take from him but by injury (275).
The idea that property became one’s own by an individual “snatch[ing] what he would for his own use” out of the common property of mankind is called The Labor Theory of Property. And Grotius was not the only thinker to hold this position.
John Locke, often cited as a proponent of private property and limited government, also believe in original communism. According to Locke, ” ’tis very clear, that God, as King..[has] given it [the world] to Mankind in common (Locke, Two Treatises On Civil Government, ed. Laslett, 286).
Locke goes on to argue that goods are transferred from the common ownership of mankind to individuals when they mix their labor with the commons. But this raises the question, What gives someone the right to mix his labor with what is held in common? Locke does not argue this point, but merely asserts it. It would seem that firmer foundation for private property is needed than what Locke provides to us.
In his reply to Grotius’ criticism of his work, Filmer quoted noted contemporary scholar and member of the Westminster Assembly John Seldon:
[Adam] by donation from God…was made the general lord of all things, not without such a private dominion to himself, as (without his grant) did exclude his children. And by donation and assignation, or some kind of cession (before he was dead or left any heir to succeed him)his children had their distinct territories by right of private dominion. Abel had his flocks, and pastures for them. Cain had his fields for corn, and the land of Nod where he built himself a city (Robbins, 276).
In other words, Cain and Abel each received his property, his fields and his flocks, not by taking them out of the common property of mankind as many of the church fathers, Grotius and Locke claimed, but by inheritance from Adam.
One of the biggest problems facing those who assert an original communism is that it makes the moral law changeable. Robbins points this out:
In a sense, Filmer is much more loyal to the Scriptural account than the Fathers, who posit a “natural” community of goods before the Fall, despite the fact that, as Filmer points out, this would make the law changeable. All other Commandments are acknowledged to be valid both before and after the Fall; indeed, the Patristic doctrine was that the Ten Commandments were given because of the perverting effect sin had had on the law written in the hearts of men, and were not an addition to the effaced innate law. It is the divine law as revealed in the Ten Commandments which Filmer substitutes for the natural law regarding community of Goods which the Fathers had evidently adopted from the Stoics (277, emphasis added).
Both Filmer and Robbins based their doctrine of private property on the Ten Commandments rather than natural philosophy. Wrote Filmer,
The prime duties of the second table [of the law] are conversant about the right of propriety [property]. But if propriety be brought in by a human law…then the moral law depends upon the will of man. There could be no law against adultery or theft, if women and all things were common (Robbins, 276, n.199).
The sum of Filmer’s and Robbin’s argument is that the Ten Commandments establish private property (thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet) and that these commandments were valid both before and after the fall. If we accept the arguments of Grotius, Locke and Rome, then the moral law both depends upon the will of man and is changeable. As this is clearly not a Biblical doctrine, we are left to conclude that the Scriptures posit original capitalism, not original communism, as the economic system established by God.
Original Capitalism Applied to Immigration
If it is true that the Bible teaches original capitalism and not original communism, and it is, then the intellectual foundation of the UDG together with all Rome’s dogmatic statements on immigration built upon it, are destroyed, much in the same way a skyscraper collapses on its footprint as the result of a controlled demolition.
Put another way, the felt needs of immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylees – whether they came to the US legally or illegally matters not – contrary to the dogmatic assertion of Bishop McElroy, in no way entitles them to the property of the American people. In like fashion, there is no moral obligation upon American citizens to give their property to these individuals.
The UDG is a fiction by which the Antichrist Roman Church-State extorts property from its rightful owners by means of the state and gives it to those to whom it does not belong. Rome’s immigration policy is based upon theft, a violation of both eighth commandment.
And Rome’s advocacy of theft extends to citizenship as well. The Bible teaches that citizenship is legitimately acquired in one of two ways: 1) by children who are born to parents, at least one of which is a citizen, and 2) by naturalized adults who have taken an oath of citizenship.
But Rome opposes any repeal of birthright citizenship, arguing that refusing birthright citizenship will render children born in the US to foreign nationals “stateless.” This is largely false. For example, the Mexican constitution allows that a Mexican citizen by birth includes, “persons born abroad of a Mexican Citizen born in Mexico.”
The entirety of Rome’s teaching on immigration is based upon the antichristian doctrine of the UDG. This doctrine has been shown to be false, thus destroying Rome’s dogmatic, destructive, and socialist immigration program.
The Roman Church-State is no friend of the United States or any other nation that seeks to govern its own affairs free from outside political interference. For Rome, immigration has been one of the most effective weapons for weakening and, it hopes, ultimately destroying the ability of nation states to govern themselves.
If Rome is successful in this goal, it will bring to an end to the modern world, the era of independent nation states ushered in by the Protestant victory in the Thirty Years’ War and the treaty of Westphalia, in place of which it will substitute the globalist tyranny prophesied in Revelation.