Thursday, January 19, 2006

If men were angels, no government would be necessary

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary"

"Those who expect to reap the blessing of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."-THOMAS PAINE

A vile thought from Rabbi Avi Shafran is prominently displayed on Cross Currents this morning. He says, in part, that Geroge W. Bush must be fully supported by Jews because 800 yars ago Maimonides ruled that the power of a Jewish King to wage war was absolute.

Shafran fails to remember two things (aside from the rather obvious details about George being neither Jewish nor a king.)

First, a Jewish King was given this great power, because he was imagined to be the Pure and Humble Servant of God. His presumed goodness, and loyalty to the Torah was meant to function as a check on his power. An American president is entitled to no such presumption of Goodness, which is why the Founders imposed serious checks on his power. Second, as the Book of Kings dramitically demonstrates the king who is also a Pure and Humble Servant of God is a chimera. He never existed, not even when the Temple stood.

Shafran fails not because Bush is bad, or because the Rambam was wrong, but because the King who was worthy of the power Shafran wishes Bush to have, has never in human history existed.