The citizens chafe impatiently at the least touch of authority, and at length . . . they cease to care even for the laws, written or unwritten . . . and this is the fair and glorious beginning out of which springs tyranny! The excessive increase of anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction. . . . Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme form of liberty.
— Socrates, from Plato’s The Republic (4 B.C.)
20th Century Dictatorships
During past national and international crises, the wrong kind of "strong man” has often risen to power through the misguided hopes of a desperate populace. Often no large political organization was required to catapult “the man with the answers” into power.
Hitler, for example, started with only a handful of cronies. With skillful deception he set the stage for his own rise to power: “The streets of our country are in turmoil; the universities are filled with students rioting and rebelling; Communists are seeking to destroy our country, and the Republic is in danger — yes, danger from within and without. We need law and order! Without law and order our nation cannot survive!”1
Each of history’s dictators has been a champion of some particular cause that was popular with the people at that time. Like Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, and other dictators before them, all were fanatically obsessed with ridding their countries of political corruption, lawlessness, the hoarding of wealth by a minority, and other immoral forces which work against social order. In each case the world’s past dictators commanded the highest esteem of their fellow countrymen, for a dictator rises on the crest of a wave of popularity in gaining control of the government. . . .
A dictatorship in its extreme form is total government by an absolute and uncontrolled power. It is authoritarian in nature because it assumes power rather than attains power through authorization to govern by grant or public approval. Some dictators have gone into office through the elective process, only to usurp power and authority once in office, and to remain in power through their own decree, rather than by authorization of the people.
In the United States, the 25th Amendment to the Constitution has created the current situation in top government in which we now have non-elected men in the office of President and Vice President. Through skillful manipulation, the 25th Amendment could be used by unscrupulous individuals to put their man in office. It is a simple two-step process: depose the Vice President, putting the potential dictator in his place; then depose the President, moving the conspiracy’s man from Vice President into the Presidency.
Now, let’s examine the two types of dictatorships that have existed in the twentieth century: Fascism and Communism. The two obvious examples of Fascism are Nazi Germany under Hitler from 1933-1945, and Fascist Italy under Mussolini from 1922-1944. Soviet Communism made its debut in Russia with the Bolshevik Revolutions in 1917. Lenin was the first Russian Communist dictator.
Fascists view the state as an end in itself. Hitler’s Volkstaat, or racial state, aimed to achieve a super human "Aryan” race, and in doing so sought to exterminate or subjugate to slavery the non-Aryan races. Mussolini wrote: “Everything is for the state, and nothing human or spiritual can exist without the state, nor have any value outside the state.”2
Hitler wrote that, “We, National Socialists, as supporters of a new view of life . . . must make a sharp distinction between the state as a vessel and our race as its contents. This vessel has meaning only so long as it can preserve and protect the race; otherwise it is worthless. Thus the highest purpose of the folk state is to care for the preservation of our racial elements . . . We, as Aryans, can imagine as a state only the living organism of a nationality.”3
The implied theory of Communism is to do away with private property, substituting in its place a system of collective ownership of all means of production and distribution of goods and services. Russia today is a carry over of Marxian Socialism instituted by Lenin in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution.
The Communist theory is built on three principles: (1) do away with the right to own property; (2) replace the family unit with government; (3) abolish all religion.‘
While Fascism focuses on national socialism, Communism has a broader concept — international socialism.
The following thesis of the Second Congress of the Communist International in 1920 presents a clear view of the Communist goal of world conquest.
“The aim of the Communist International is to organize the armed struggle for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and the establishment of an international Soviet republic as a transition to the complete abolition of the capitalist state. The Communist International considers the dictatorship of the proletariat an essential means for the liberation of humanity from the horrors of capitalism and regards the Soviet form of government as the historic necessity for this dictatorship.”
Communism and Fascism both are forms of Socialism. Socialism is usually defined as governmental ownership or control over the basic means of production and distribution of goods and services. Communism seeks to socialize on an international scale, while Fascism’s chief aim is to create the ideal social order within a nation.
Before you say,“It could never happen in America, let’s take a brief look at the history of the Republic.
In 1776 the founding fathers created a republic — the great American Republic! They knew about monarchy . . . that’s what they were escaping. No kings in America.
No sir! They knew about socialism none of this sacrificing the individual for the group . . . not in this new country. What about a democracy? Well, that’s great for the majority, but what about minority‘? One vote difference makes you a winner or loser.
The founding fathers heeded Plato’s warning that unchecked democracy develops into dictatorship. Democracy in its pure form is tyranny — the absolute sovereign majority ruling over the powerless minority. One vote difference makes a majority!
But our founding fathers could not form a government in which men were sovereign — not when they believed that all authority comes from God. God is sovereign! And man doesn’t need to go through a government or a group to reach God. He comes into the presence of God through Jesus Christ. And Jesus relates to individuals, not groups, not the majority.
Christians established self-government as the premise of the United States of America . . . a republic. Not a democracy.
A Constitution was drafted. It said that individual rights were to be protected . . . because God granted these rights to men; they didn’t come from government. God’s laws, not man’s became the foundation of the American government.
Protecting Individual Rights
Now the individual is protected. So is the minority. And so is the majority. And the majority is kept in line by a system of checks and balances.
The three branches of the government — the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial — were established by the Constitution to function dependent upon one another, and therefore to guard against any one becoming dominant. But above these checks and balances stood the individual and his guaranteed rights as endowed, not by man, but by the Creator!
“In the republic, the majority will represent the individual and protect the minority. Because the checks and balances work. The fences are up. Representation is observed. In a democracy, the majority can represent the group, the mob, the militant, the demagogue. The checks and balances are waived. The fences are down. Sound and fury can carry the day.”5
In the American Republic, the country is governed by elected representatives of the people. Not all officials are elected, however; some are appointed by the elected representatives. Representation within the Federal government was prescribed to consist of two Senators from each state and a number of Representatives from each state based upon population. In turn, each state would have an autonomous government within the Republic, under which would be a system of courts, county governments and city governments.
The Constitution guaranteed that there would be no Federal government control or interference in the areas of church, charity, police protection, education, labor, finance and business. Church and State
The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States reads that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” But this is not to imply that religion has no place in the concept of the Republic.
The Declaration of Independence states that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal5 that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The writers of our Declaration of Independence specifically acknowledged in that document the existence of God, the Creator, from whom the rights of individuals are granted. The Declaration of Independence did not grant these rights, it merely cited the fact that they exist, are from God, and must be protected by law. So in order to preserve individual freedom, the Constitution guarantees God-given rights to all. By protecting the rights of the individual, freedom is preserved for all.
But that Constitutional concept of the Republic has been ruptured. The militant minority which turns its back on God also denounces those God-given rights which are the foundation of our government of law. This vocal minority attempts to do away with God’s laws and replace them with man’s laws. Unfortunately, man’s laws are motivated by self-survival. A struggle for power ensues; the dominant prevail and the weak are held in subjection, at the total mercy of their suppressors.
Today in America We are witnessing a changing of the guard. The Republic is being replaced by a social democracy.
One of the first tell-tale signs is persecution of the Church. Today, very real anti-Christian sentiment is spreading across America.
The National Day of Prayer goes unobserved by our public schools, which by law cannot permit public prayer in the classroom.
Christian radio and television stations are being attacked in the courts for discrimination in hiring practices. Antagonists blame them for “failing to meet the public need” because of programming which is exclusively Christian-oriented.
The existence of many Christian camps and conference grounds is threatened by a bill to impose stringent federal regulations on their facilities and operations, when the responsibility for them is Constitutionally a local matter.
Private Christian adoption agencies are judged to be “extensions of the government” and, therefore, cannot “discriminate” by placing orphans in only Christian homes.
The tax-exempt status of thousands of churches,Christian organizations and schools is under attack because of “discrimination in hiring practices.”
Statements of faith and the widespread requirement of being a Christian in order to become a church member are being challenged as “discriminatory.” ...
[M]ost Christians either are unaware of what is happening or they just don’t care.
But God in His sovereignty has seen fit to give Christians in America more time to accomplish His work. The hour is late and much needs to be done. Christians have got to be more civic-minded. Christians must be electing Christians to public office.
Christians must be vocal in upholding their constitutional rights.
Sadly, the American Republic is becoming a social democracy. The Church is an example of one minority group whose rights are not being protected as originally intended and provided for by the Constitution. The Servant Becomes Master
Under the concept of the Republic, the government existed to serve the individual through self-government. But today, the servant is becoming master. Gradually, the government itself is becoming a powerful force in the political economy of the nation.
One in five Americans are employed by government. This compares to one in twelve before the great depression.
Government is big business. The national debt increases billions of dollars annually. The individual — you and I — pay for it in the end.
Private enterprise can’t compete with government. Instead business is coerced into subsidizing the growth of government through myriad taxes, doing Uncle Sam’s bookkeeping, and bending to wage and price controls.
What’s happening America? Where have you gone wrong? A Matter of the Will The preservation of the American Republic is a matter of the will. It hinges on the desire of Americans to protect the rights of individuals through upholding the laws of the land. It’s a spiritual problem in the final analysis.
Herbert Hoover said, “Self-government by people is based upon moral and spiritual concepts. The government of a free people must in itself express the highest ideals of the people. If it fails in its standards it injures the morals of the whole people. It destroys its own foundation of free government.”
Here’s a simple tactic for destroying the American Republic: undermine the spiritual principles upon which the concept of self-government is based. That’s why all forms of socialism attempt to control or outlaw religion.
Socialism and Religion Fascism, while it usually tolerates religion, insists that the church, like all else within the state, must fall under the authority of the state. Communism is quite different. It promotes atheism and considers religion to be an enemy of the people.
In Russia and her satellite countries there is a raging war against the Church. Religious persecution is very real behind the iron curtain.
Karl Marx succinctly expressed the Communist view of religion when he wrote that, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the feelings of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of unspiritual (sic) conditions. It is the opium of the people.”5
Socialism simply cannot co-exist with Christianity!
Climate for Dictatorship
Some people today see America no longer as a Republic, but rather a democratic socialist system in which all power is being centralized within the Executive Branch of the Federal government.
Author Gary Allen writes, “This concentration of power makes a dictatorship inevitable. Those who control the President indirectly gain control of the whole country.”7
Dictatorship from the White House
Spokesmen for both the Republicans and the Democrats have voiced concern over the possibility that the current state of conditions within our Federal government could lead to a dictatorship.
In May 1974, Senator Barry Goldwater predicted,
“We have only heard the beginning of charges that industry representatives conspired to bring about material shortages, inflation, and unemployment. I believe American businesses will be accused on every side of reaping windfall profits at the expense of helpless consumers and taxpayers. And I predict that Congress will, before long, be considering a barrage of bills to nationalize businesses or to impose greater controls and taxes on the domestic and foreign earnings of American industry.
“The current challenge to business seemed to reach crisis proportion almost overnight. This, by itself, should inform the leaders of the private enterprise system that the hour is very late and growing later every minute.”8
Organized for Take-Over
It is astonishing to realize that right now the United States government has in its possession a complete set of laws that could be misused for turning our government into a dictatorship. It could happen during a state of emergency, for emergencies spawn quick governmental action.
The Great Depression brought about a proclamation by President Franklin Roosevelt to deal with that state of national emergency. The Korean War prompted President Harry Truman to proclaim a state of national emergency. And President Nixon declared two states of national emergency — one to deal with the Postal Service employees’ strike in March 1970, and another to terminate certain trade agreements in 1971.
As a result of these and other emergencies, there are now 470 provisions of federal law which serve, among other things, to give the President of the United States numerous dictatorial powers.9
Loss of Freedom Through Crisis
The emergencies for which these proclamations were written are not presently with us, but the power to take extreme dictatorial action remains within the grasp of the President. This power enables a President to control all air, sea, and land transportation and to control all travel, whether by public or private means. A President can seize personal property — cars, homes, businesses, and other assets — in the interest of national security.
“One of these days,” remarked California’s former Governor Ronald Reagan in the Los Angeles Times, “we’re going to live in a country where everything that is not prohibited will be mandatory.”
Legislation has recently been introduced to repeal certain statutes and to safeguard against invoking certain other laws for purely dictatorial reasons. But would such legislation stop a dictatorship from developing? Legislators and members of the Judiciary tend to follow public sentiment in their respective functioning. If a would-be dictator would emerge he would have great public support at the beginning, and no doubt the elected and appointed men in political office would follow the public sentiment in their decision-making. A crisis would demand it.
Willard Cantelon writes, “The word ‘crisis’ seemed to be appearing almost weekly in the headlines of the news media — population crisis, war crisis, fuel and energy crisis. If man was willing under crisis to commit total and absolute power to an individual leader of the nation or the world, how sudden and complete could be the revolutionary new methods swept in by such a man!”10
Legislation has recently been introduced to repeal certain statutes and to safeguard against invoking certain other laws for purely dictatorial reasons. But would such legislation stop a dictatorship from developing?
Legislators and members of the Judiciary tend to follow public sentiment in their respective functioning. If a would-be dictator would emerge he would have great public support at the beginning, and no doubt the elected and appointed men in political office would follow the public sentiment in their decision-making. A crisis would demand it.
Willard Cantelon writes, “The word ‘crisis’ seemed to be appearing almost weekly in the headlines of the news media -— population crisis, war crisis, fuel and energy crisis. If man was willing under crisis to commit total and absolute power to an individual leader of the nation or the world, how sudden and complete could be the revolutionary new methods swept in by such a man!”10
Crime and its Consequences
There is growing concern that a soaring crime rate might push the nation into forming a national police force. Such a force, under control of a dictator-prone leader, would practically insure his ability to squelch any resistance from within the populace, or any coup attempt from within military ranks or government.
Then Attorney General William Saxbe declared that rampant crime could be the undoing of the American Republic. He shocked the nation with this report: “The nation is in deep trouble in its effort to reduce crime . . . Crime rose 16 percent during the final quarter of 1973, and 15 percent in the first quarter of this year (1974). . . .
“We can now perceive with shocking clarity that we have suffered a severe setback in the concerted effort to alter one of the nation’s most agonizing facts of life. It is a failure of substantial dimension — harsh, bitter, and dismaying. For the long run, it may prove to be the prelude of worse things to come unless we again find the way to gain the upper hand.
“As a society we seem to have absolutely lost our perception of a variety of things that can corrupt and distort the young . . . Alcoholism has become perhaps our major health problem . . . pornography has become as widespread as baseball . . . the average eight-year-old has seen more violence on television than the average soldier encounters during a hitch in the Army.
“We should never doubt for a moment that there are men and forces at work in this country eagerly awaiting an opportunity to devise such a program as the first step toward total control over our lives . . . National police can be used as an instrument of national repression — and they always wind up being run by somebody else. . . . Already we hear many say the answer to crime rests solely with more police, tougher police, more judges, more prosecutors, more prisons.
“If such a buildup should occur on a massive scale — beyond what may be reasonably needed - then we would see basic freedoms begin to dissipate . . . Such a trend would be progressive. And if history teaches us anything, it is that freedoms willingly surrendered for any reason are never returned.”
The pattern toward dictatorship comes at a time of growing immorality in America. Perhaps there is a correlation.
The Republic can only be preserved if people want it preserved — if they strive for unity in a system of government by law based upon God’s sovereignty, not man’s; if they truly want to have one nation under God! But if a nation turns its back on God, then dictatorship is inevitable.
Evangelist Billy Graham told a joint session of the California State Legislature: “Morals are sinking lower with every passing hour, and if they sink much lower . . . we will head straight into the arms of a dictatorship in this country because America cannot survive without strong moral values.”11
The growing immorality is not unique to America — it’s a worldwide phenomenon. To Christians, it’s no surprise, because the Bible teaches that growing immorality — lawlessness in terms of God’s laws — will be a distinguishing characteristic of the end times.
Like the Days of Noah
Jesus said the immorality of the end times will compare with the immorality of Noah’s day.
The Apostle Paul writes,
“In the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God: holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
In the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonian Church, in the Bible, we read that the Christians there were undergoing severe persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. So severe was their persecution that many of them apparently believed a rumor that the Day of the Lord was at hand; that is, the time when Jesus Christ will return to earth for His surviving followers. But the Apostle Paul reminded the Thessalonians that two unmistakable events will occur before Christ comes for His Church:
“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the Day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, and even sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 — NIV).
Rapture of the Church
The “coming of our Lord Jesus” plainly refers to the second coming of Jesus Christ at the end of the present age. “Our being gathered to Him” refers to the so-called “rapture” or transport of all living believers to meet Christ in the air at the time of His second coming (see Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Corinthians 15:51,52; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).
Notice how Paul introduces his subject as the “coming of our Lord Jesus” and “our being gathered to Him.” These are actually two events which will take place at the time when the Day of the Lord begins. The events of the second coming and the rapture are therefore synonymous with the Day of the Lord, and Paul actually uses the events interchangeably with the time as his subject. Notice throughout this chapter that Paul’s narrative is in answer to when both events will occur: he makes no mention that the two events will occur at different times.
Paul then was telling these troubled Thessalonians that, before the Day of the Lord, there will first be widespread rebellion, or lawlessness. And, he added, a more specific event will occur: the rise of the man of lawlessness, who the Bible elsewhere calls the Antichrist, because he is against Christ and His followers. According to this teaching by the Apostle, therefore, the Antichrist will appear and general lawlessness will prevail before the rapture and before the second coming.
Paul continues his explanation by stating that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). The universal spread of this secret power of lawlessness is found expressed in somewhat of a pattern: it begins with moral breakdown, which results in a hardening toward God; finally, it results in complete social disorder and anarchy.
America, How Long?
“We all need God’s sure guidance,” President Ford told a joint session of Congress on August 12, 1974. “With it, nothing can stop the United States of America.”
But if, as a people, we turn our backs on God, then what will happen?
At the White House pre-Christmas worship service in 1973 Billy Graham said, “I believe America stands on the threshold of divine judgment today. Morally, socially, economically, politically, and spiritually we are in deep trouble. We must reorder our priorities. We all admit that we need some sweeping social reforms —- and in true repentance we must determine to do something about it. But our greatest need is a change in heart. Almost everyone I talk to seems to sense that a hurricane of cataclysmic proportions is about to break on the world‘.”12
At one time the majority of Americans could hold to our nation’s motto, “in God we trust,” but not so today. As patriots it is sad for us to view America in its present deteriorating state. Immorality and a growing tendency toward lawlessness combine to chart an inevitable course of suicide for any nation. Never before in history has a country recovered from those two deadly enemies of its people. For it is the spiritual and moral fiber of a nation that dictates loyalty and obedience to law and order.
The Dictator’s Dream
The spiritual, social, political and financial crises now facing the United States and the world are creating the right environment for the rise of the world’s most powerful and frightening dictator. His dream will be the dream of history’s ambitious dictators before him: to conquer the world. He could very well rise to power in these confused times, through the government of the United States.
Many authorities see our changing world as but a natural phenomenon of the cyclical nature of nations and governments. But there are others — Christians — who see astounding similarities between today’ s events and conditions and those that are prophesied in the Bible to occur in the end times — the last years before the long-expected return of Jesus Christ.
Please pray and share.
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More of Frank's books and articles to READ FOR FREE:
1 Hal Lindsey, There’s A New World Coming, Vision House, p. 180.
2 Benito Mussolini, “The Doctrine of Fascism,” Encyclopedia Italianna,1932,
Vol. 14 p. 847.
3 Adolph Hitler, Mein Kamph, 1934, p. 434.
4 Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848.
5 Rus Walton, One Nation Under God, Third Century Publishers,
6 Marx, Introduction to a Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Rights, 1844, p. 57.
7 Gary Allen, None Dare Call It Conspiracy, p. 34.
8 The Nation’s Business, May 1974.
9 Los Angeles Times, Aug. 24, 1974.
10 Willard Cantelon, The Day The Dollar Dies, Logos Books, 1973 p.136.
11 Rus Walton, ibid, p. 104 quoted from California Assembly Daily Journal,
July 7, 1971, p. 6468.
12 Los Angeles Times, Dec. 17, 1973.
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