R. J. Rushdoony served as a missionary to American Indians from 1944 to 1953. Rushdoony’s observations and experiences are unique. As I’m reading his recently published book, The American Indian: A Standing Indictment Against Christianity and Statism in America, I’m coming away with a picture of where we could be headed as a nation. In fact, for tens of millions of Americans, we are already there.
The establishment of the reservation system and its oversight by the Bureau of Indian Affairs is a microcosm of today’s welfare State.
Rushdoony recalls the Christmas of 1945 and his conversation with a young Indian named Roy. The Indians confided in Rushdoony. He listened to them. He did not view them as wards of the State as the government did. The Indians despised the anthropologists who treated them like artifacts to be studied.
As a result of the trust that Rushdoony gained from living among the Indians, binding up their wounds, helping their children, burying their dead, listening to them with genuine interest, they would be truthful with him about themselves and what has happened to their people.
“As we looked out of the window and saw the kerosene lamps being let in one cabin after another across the valley, he pointed to them and said, ‘Look at those people of mine. They’re no good. They’re like me, just no account. All they’re fit for is a reservation where someone puts a fence around them and takes care of them. That’s it. They’re not fit for anything else.’
“But, he went on, ‘I’ve been around the country two or three times now in the last few years, and I’ve learned something: the white man isn’t much better. He has reservation fever now. He wants someone to put a fence around the whole North American continent and take care of him. He wants the government to give him a handout and to look after him just like Uncle Sam looks after us. And he’s going to get it. If some outfit doesn’t come in and do it for him, some foreign country, and turn the whole of the United States into a reservation, he’ll do it to himself. You wait and see. ‘Cause he’s got reservation fever.’”
Reservation fever. That pretty much says it. Americans suffers from it. Millions of Americans long for it and vote for it. And it’s not just people who are on what we call welfare. If someone is getting any type of welfare transfer payment, then that person his a form of reservation fever. Government control of education is the biggest form of reservation fever.
“Long before state health care or food stamps, before the creation of welfare ghettos in our major cities, America’s first experiment with socialism and government dependency practically destroyed the American Indian.
“Government experts created the Indian reservations. America’s churches whole-heartedly supported it, convinced the reservation would be the key to winning souls for Christianity.”
* * * *
“Today, as America’s leaders expand the welfare state and radically transform the entire nation, we’d do well to reconsider this first experiment in government dependency and a Christianity stripped of God’s law—before all of the United States is transformed into a massive reservation on a continental scale. Rushdoony’s description of our past is also an indictment of our statist future.”