All Commentary
Tuesday, August 1, 1995

A Twentieth-Century Noah?

Stifling Regulations and Special Interests Would Preclude Ark-Building

If Noah had lived in the twentieth century, the ark would never have been built.

We read in the biblical account that Noah was commanded to “make thee an ark of gopher wood.” And although he lacked the modern technology, skilled craftsmen, and abundant choice of materials that we possess in this century, Noah was able to build his. But there are too many things that Noah would have to contend with in the twentieth century that would prohibit him from building an ark.

First, Noah would have a problem with his employees. If Noah sought to hire some workers to help him in the ark’s construction, he would have to exercise affirmative action policies in hiring to maintain “diversity” in the workplace. Once a crew was selected, Noah would have to pay at least the minimum wage and be careful not to work his employees over 40 hours a week, lest he be required to pay overtime. He would probably like to pay his craftsmen well above the minimum wage, but since he would be forced to pay workers’ compensation insurance, Social Security taxes, and unemployment insurance on each employee, the actual cost would be too prohibitive. An accountant would then have to be hired to make sure the proper taxes were withheld from each paycheck and timely deposits made. In spite of the high cost, additional employees would have to be hired to cover for those who were temporarily off due to the Family Leave Act.

The next obstacle to overcome in building the ark would be the mass of government regulations that Noah would have to comply with. First he would need an OSHA inspection of his workplace. If his place of business were approved, an inspection by the local fire department would then be in order. When Noah actually got around to building the ark, he would first have to obtain a building permit. But before this could be done, he would have to check zoning laws to ascertain that having an ark on one’s property is not illegal.

Inspections of the ark during all phases of construction would have to be carried out to ensure that everything was according to local building codes. The EPA would have to check the construction site to make sure it was “friendly” to the earth. Once the ark was completed, it would have to be licensed just like a boat or mobile home. This would present a problem to government bureaucrats, who would not be able to find a reference to an ark in any of their policy and procedures manuals.

During the construction of the ark, numerous special interest groups would be on hand to harass Noah.

The environmental extremists would demand that Noah stop cutting down so many trees. They would complain about the low percentage of recycled material that went into the construction of the ark.

Organized labor groups would hinder production of the ark by picketing the job site, heckling the non-union workers, and boycotting Noah’s suppliers.

Since Noah was a “preacher of righteousness,” he certainly would seek to relay God’s message that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth.” This might get him charged with “hate speech.”

As the ark was nearing completion, the animals would have to be rounded up “two of every sort.” At the first sight of an animal being taken aboard the ark, animal rights groups would be out in full force. They would demand that all the animals be spayed or neutered and have their shots. What these groups consider to be adequate food and water would have to be provided. The animal rights crowd would further complain that the ark could not possibly hold all those animals, even though they never bothered to measure how big the ark was.

Should Noah have lived in the twentieth century, the obstacles he would face in attempting to construct an ark would prove insurmountable. His problem? The same problem that plagues all of mankind: government, the omnipotent State. If Noah had had to contend with the government back in the twenty-fourth century B.C., he would have drowned with the rest of the world.


—Laurence M. Vance

Mr. Vance is a freelance writer and instructor at Pensacola Bible Institute in Pensacola, Florida.

Properly Limited Government Encourages Maximum Freedom

Real freedom means the least government—government conspicuous by its absence—with sufficient power only to protect life, liberty, and property from frauds, thieves, and murderers. Real freedom means the full right of ownership and to make decisions for one’s self and one’s family. The right to vote–while an important mechanism if properly used–should be employed sparingly by the people and by lawmaking bodies. Lawmaking activities ought to be directed, for a change, toward the removal of government interferences and restrictions already on the law books.

When government is confined to its proper, limited scope, there will be no necessity for opinion poll-takers to find out what Mr. and Mrs. America think. Each one then will decide for himself–privately, separately, individually–and the matter will concern no one else when real freedom once again exists behind its facade.

—John C. Sparks
“Behind the Façade” (1964)