All Commentary
Thursday, January 26, 2017

Even Your Oppressor Is Your Brother

Let me suggest why you cannot scapegoat Trump, Obama, political factions, or the State itself.


Let me suggest why you cannot scapegoat Trump, Obama, political factions, or the State itself.

Suppose you knew someone who worked at the Treasury Department. They were in charge of the money printing presses that allow the government monopoly control over money and, with it, the power to create wars and debt-based welfare programs in perpetuity. It allows them to redistribute wealth from the middle class and those on fixed incomes to favored bureaucracies and corporate cronies. It is legalized counterfeiting in that creating money backed by nothing but decree slowly erodes the purchasing power of the dollars we must use to buy and sell and save.

The addiction to cheat and use power to get our way plagues all of us, in small and large matters every day.Suppose your friend gives you one of those printing presses. He says, “By the way, there’s some ink plates and material left in there for you. If you ever get in a bind, go ahead and print a little. No one will ever know the difference.”

You don’t because you know it would in effect be counterfeiting, since it would be diluting the purchasing power of your neighbors’ wealth, even by an infinitesimal amount.

One day, you get a call that your loved one is gravely ill. They need expensive treatments that simply cannot be covered due to their insurance limits or lack of insurance or fact that the efficacious treatment is not allowed by our government to be covered by insurance. You have the power to go down to the basement and help this person you love. Do you do it?

If you feel the pull of this dilemma, you see that, while we must change our minds about the State system, we must do it in love and humility.

Challenge the system. Speak the truth of peace and nonviolence. But do it out of profound empathy. Leaders of great monopolies of force which we call States wield enormous destructive power. But they are not wholly Other to us. The addiction to cheat and use power to get our way plagues all of us, in small and large matters every day.

If you feel the fire in your heart to set your neighbors free from State coercion, free first yourself of the resentment of being oppressed. The system gets you if you see it as an outside force that sullies your sense of inner perfection. Speak to those who rule the State system and those who love its ways as if they are your brother or sister.

For they are.


  • David Gornoski is your neighbor – as well as an entrepreneur, speaker and writer. He recently launched a project called A Neighbor’s Choice, which seeks to introduce Jesus’ culture of nonviolence to both Christians and the broader public. A Neighbor's Choice is also the name of his weekly radio show on state violence and alternative solutions to it. Email him here.