Thursday, November 1, 2007

Veggie Tales and Libertarianism

an excellent posting from Bryan at The Musings of an Average Individual...

Are Veggie Tales libertarian as well as Christian? I don't think they're supposed to be, but it's got to be pretty hard to make Christian videos that teach kids how God wants us to treat each other without accidentally teaching libertarianism at the same time.

Our son, Fletcher, has an abundant Veggie Tales library. Most of them are based on Old Testament stories and a good percentage of the Old Testament was God trying to teach us to depend on Him rather than trying to do things ourselves. Man's desire to replace God with something more to his own liking is as old as Adam and Eve. There are many occasions in the Old Testament where man has wanted Earthly governments. In the book of Samuel, God spells out exactly what will result from their request.

[In the classic passage in I Samuel 8], Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."

I don't think the writers of Veggie Tales have tackled that one yet but they have made videos from the book of Daniel. One, specifically about Daniel not obeying the government's decrees and God rescuing him and another, about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, called "Rack, Shack and Benny," who also obeyed God rather than government, although sadly in the Veggie Tales version, Nebuchadnezzar is represented as the owner of a chocolate bunny factory and it's never explained how he gained the ability to exercise the use of force over his employees.

Another interesting government scheme is portrayed in the story of Joseph, or as Veggie Tales calls it, "The Ballad of Little Joe." Unfortunately, Veggie Tales skips over one of the most important aspects of the story. Joseph tells the government( Pharaoh) about the impending famine, so the government confiscates all the grain in the kingdom. When the famine hits, the government's real agenda rears its ugly head. The government doesn't just give the grain back, it sells it back, first for the people's gold, then for the people's livestock, then he takes their land and then, to avoid starvation, they trade for grain the last thing they have, their freedom. And the rest is History until Moses comes along.

My favorite Veggie Tale isn't based on an Old Testament story. It's called "Lyle, the Kindly Viking." We should all know how the political structure of the Vikings went. They had the troops, the boats, weapons and the understanding of how great life could be if they just plundered the fruits of everyone else's labor instead of earning it themselves. Our little Viking hero, Lyle, doesn't think that's the right thing to do, but being a Viking he has an entitlement to his share of the booty. He takes personal responsibility seriously and, instead of resigning himself to his situation, he gets in his little boat and gives his share of the loot back to the people from which it was taken. I'd love to see someone remake Lyle, the Kindly Viking into Ron Paul, the Kindly Politician. They wouldn't have to change much.

It seems that you can't teach Bible stories honestly to children without teaching the lessons of libertarianism at the same time. There are simply too many parallels that can't be ignored. The basic libertarian principles just sound way too much like, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Put not your faith in rulers, Love thy enemies, and Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Maybe it's time that U.S. Christians, who have put their faith in the men of government (the Kingdoms of this world), and who idolize the nation-state, started exercising some childlike faith instead. Let's live dangerously, sit too close to the TV and watch some Veggie Tales.


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