There isn’t a lot written about Whig Theory. It is, however, a fundamental concept which we must understand.
The basic idea of Whig Theory is something like this.
- God gives us rights. That is, the things we should do, moral imperatives.
- We form governments, like kings and parliament, with the intent to secure those rights and protect them.
- Governments tend to usurp those rights and oppress the people. Governments rarely, if ever, protect rights and cease oppression.
- We should resist usurpations and oppressions with force if necessary, because they are wrong and against God’s commandments.
- If God favors us because we are righteous, he will bless our efforts to resist with liberty. If He doesn’t favor us because we are not righteous, then we will fail. In either case, it is God’s will and how can we oppose his will?
- Thus, it is the duty of the people to be righteous and to resist government oppression.
These ideas might sound foreign and strange, but they permeate many important episodes of our American history. In reality, the American Revolution began in England while the colonies were just being born. The political and religious movements born from the English Civil War found their way to our shores, and was the blackpowder that was lit with the American Revolution. When you look at English history, you are really looking at American history.
In fact, even in today’s society, these ideas are a part of our political discussion. IE, “We should abolish welfare and the taxes used to fund it.” “But what about the poor?” “The poor should work hard and feed themselves rather than being idle and eat other people’s food.” “But if they aren’t smart enough and good enough, what then?” “Are you arguing that the poor are somehow subhuman, incapable of feeding and clothing and sheltering themselves? If so, then they do not deserve liberty but should embrace their slavery.” “Are you comparing the poor on welfare to slaves?” “Yes, I am; the man who cannot feed himself and relies on someone else to feed them is no more than a slave to those who feed them.”
The ultimate question that Whigism asks is: “Are you good enough to be free?” If you’re not, then you deserve to be a serf, and you should pray that God lets the chains of servitude rest lightly on your wrists. If you are good enough to be free, then no one should be your master.
The ultimate struggle of Whigs is not the political struggle, it is the struggle of oneself against one’s nature. Overcome the limiting factors we each face, and you will find the wealth and prosperity God promises to those willing to keep his commandments.
I should add a note about what it is that God commands us. One of the first commandments is to be fruitful and multiply. Another commandment is to be wise and treat your neighbors like yourself. Another commandment is to be charitable and kind to those less fortunate than you, but do not make them into your servants and slaves. Still another is to be faithful to your family and teach them the principles that will make them successful in their own lives. Really, the commandments of God are the commandments of perfect reason and sincerity and natural law. Those who act according to them find themselves in control of their circumstances and those who do not find themselves subject to their circumstances.