In articles I’ve written over the past several years I’ve pointed to the fact that the natural family is the paradigm of government based on the consent of the governed. I did so most recently, for example, in the post on Newt Gingrich’s flight from the battle being waged in its defense. But it was most thoroughly articulated in the third part of the series “The Strategy of Right” , and in the section on Natural Right and the Family in the essay In Good Conscience. In the latter I wrote:
Because human beings are born in a state of the utmost helplessness, the survival of the species itself depends on the possibility that those who are stronger and more capable than an infant will feel and respond to the obligation to care for its needs. The tie that binds the caring parent to her child is both the proof and the paradigm of the relation of natural justice that arises from the obligation of one human being toward another. That all are created equal is clear in the equally helpless condition in which all enter the world. That by nature government is based on consent is proved by the simple fact that parents, acting upon nothing more authoritative than the promptings of their own hearts, offer to helpless babes servitude more prompt, more assiduous and sacrificial than could be commanded by the most absolute monarch of the world.
Thus the sovereign Master of the universe works His will by way of a law enforced with no more show of power that the little cries and murmurings of a helpless babe. People accustomed to see the force of arms, or the impressive panoply of money and fame as the essential attributes of power will quickly doubt and soon despise the notion that the weak and helpless may nonetheless claim with authority the divine right of kings. But every year at Christmastime people of goodwill and faith throughout the world focus their hearts upon a helpless babe who nonetheless is “God with us” (Immanuel), the Word through whom all things were made, possessing therefore the power to save the world and all within it.
As we allow our understanding of the true nature and foundation of human liberty to be extinguished, many Americans, even those still emotionally attached to liberty and rights, are increasingly blind to the profound relationship between the Christmas spirit and the spirit of liberty. But as represented in the infant Jesus, the power of God works by the law of love, calling upon hearts unconstrained by fear freely to offer to the Lord and, by his example, to one another, the care, respect and service that we owe to God and God alone.
Freed by the love of Christ from the constraints of law we become, by the Grace of God, in Christ true agents of the right which it commands; not by power, conforming others to our will, but by freely conforming our will to the power of God, though it appears in the weakest human form imaginable.
So, by love, the still, small voice of conscience comes to speak for the sovereign power of the Creator, God. So, by God, the infant Jesus Christ comes to speak for all of us. And for as long as we hear and heed His call to act as His love of God in us makes possible, we will have hope of recovering the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.