FOREIGN POLICY: PART TWO
Before beginning, I’d like to thank my few but faithful readers for hanging in there during my bloglessness of the past few weeks. I was focusing on my first Easter as a senior pastor, and also working through a final critical edit of my book prior to publishing. Thanks for your patience!
In my previous article I outlined those stern and basic things that constitute a sound and Biblical approach to the idea of foreign policy. Such thinking is bound to irk those governmentalists who are now in charge of these matters, for they believe that there is nothing that government could not or should not be doing. And when such people are put in charge of foreign policy, they tend to take their grievous domestic policy mistakes and turn them loose upon the world.
As I have outlined in both The Biblist Papers and in The Redistribution of Poverty, true and good government is always stern in nature. Furthermore, true and good government is not allowed to redistribute wealth in any manner, for it is just theft by another name. When government turns compassionate and redistributive, it therefore crosses the line from good government to bad, and this is as equally true with foreign policy as with anything else.
When a government taxes its citizens in order to give money to other nations or their citizens, the government has broken the Eighth Commandment, which essentially states that government is tasked with ensuring that individuals keep what is theirs. Under the banner of good government then, foreign aid simply should not exist. There will be no foreign financial gifts from a good government, no foreign financial loans from a good government, no foreign medical assistance from a good government, and no foreign disaster relief from a good government.
Compassion and giving belong in the realm of the individual, the family, the community, the house of worship and the corporation, and must be freely given by those who do so. It is a trap of horrible thinking to assume that foreign aid will stop if our governments end such redistributive giving, for good people have always proven themselves more genuinely generous than government.
If people want to see a foreign government helped, they should give willingly and directly to that government. If people want to see medical assistance given to those in foreign lands, they should give willingly and directly to that effort. If people want to see disaster relief go to those in foreign lands, they should give willingly and directly to that effort. Such efforts are the crown jewels of humanity, and are what is meant by being our brother’s keeper (Genesis 4:9) and those who love our neighbor (Luke 11:25-37). Government has no rightful place at this table, for there is no cause noble enough to legitimize governmental theft.
Humanity corrupts everything with which it comes into contact, eventually corrupting it completely. This is why I often speak of the need to hit the reset button on every institution we have, and we certainly need to hit the reset button on foreign aid. It long ago left the path of Biblical wisdom, and now finds itself facing a Gordian Knot of political complexity. We must follow Alexander’s example and slice the knot. Foreign aid rightly belongs in the hands of the people. Leave it there.