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Small Citizens Make Big Government

“It doesn’t take a great deal of strength to snap a single twig with your bare hands. Those who wish to dominate us understand this truth.”


The Western world is a fractured world. It’s been divided into fragments along almost every social line.

Society is continually being carved up into ever-narrowing segments based on nothing more than one’s skin color, sexual preference, age, education, ethnicity, sex, religion, economic status, political affiliation, weight, and more.

Groups war against groups, while groups within groups war against each other, until the groups themselves dissolve into their smallest form: the individual.

This is the atomization of society. And it is the goal of all those who seek to dominate and control the masses.

In his must-read book The Covenant Household, Douglas Wilson writes:

“We live in a time when the state is trying to amass as much authority as possible. And so, consequently, any authority that might be able to stand up to it is challenged. Edmund Burke called these subordinate authorities ‘little platoons,’ because they are entities that are resistant to the encroachments of the state. If individuals are of primary social importance instead of families, then we’ve become detached from each other. The state wants an atomistic society so that we can be easier to manage or manipulate. However, if these atoms joined together as molecules as families, or complex molecules like neighborhoods, townships, and congregations, then they become formidable in the eyes of the state. Their bonds to each other are stronger than their bonds to a government agency that is thousands of miles away.”

Douglas Wilson, The Covenant Household, Canon Press

It doesn’t take a great deal of strength to snap a single twig with your bare hands. Those who wish to dominate us understand this truth. But if you were to gather together a handful and attempt to break them all at once it’s going to prove to be a more difficult task. A threefold cord is not quickly broken, as the preacher put it (Ecc. 4:12).

It’s been said that big government makes small citizens, and while that is true, it is also too often the case that small citizens make big government. This is because the smaller the citizen, the easier they are to control. Is it any wonder they’ve gone to such lengths to dismantle community and family bonds?

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