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How Power Works

Updated: May 17

If you want to win, you've gotta know how the game is played. 

In the days of old, power was held by whoever had the most men, the better weapons, the best technology, the best training, the economic ability to sustain military mobilization, or a combination of all of the above. These were the prerequisites of power. If Grugg, the barbarian, had 50 men with clubs, all it would take to stop his reign would be a few more, better-trained men with better clubs. 

However, the greatest civilizations on earth learned very quickly that leaving power in the domain of whoever could raise the most men made things very volatile, especially for trade and wealth building (the point of power for many). So, they instituted systems in which power was maintained and went about ensuring that they would retain control of those systems. 

In Rome, the Senate was one such system. Only members of certain noble families could become senators, and they would wield the collective might of all the nation's men, weapons, technology, and finance.

These systems held their power through their assumed representation of the totality of the people of Rome. If any one citizen, or group of them, decided they didn't like where things were heading, the Senate, on behalf of the people, could imprison or kill them and claim a moral high ground. If too many disliked their rule and rose against them, the Army (paid by the Senate via the appropriation of taxes from these same people) could be called out, and the full force of the state (more men, better trained and armed) would come to bear against Gruggius and his plebeian rabble.

No longer would conflict be simply one man or group against the other. Now, if one had the backing of the state, one could confront his rivals as the entirety of that state. It was no longer Lucius vs. Gruggius, but Gruggius vs. the Senate and the people of Rome.

As long as Rome had enemies without, an ever-present danger at their borders, the Senate and people of Rome had a common cause around which to unite. However, once Rome became the dominant power, those same energies turned inward, and division broke out between senators and senators, as well as between the Senate and the people.

This led to deep division and violence, as seen with the brothers Gracchi; violent attempts at change, and equally violent attempts at restoration, as seen in the wars between Marius and Sulla; and, finally, the crossing of the Rubicon by Caesar and the ensuing systemic changes (to bring about stability) instituted by his adopted son.

America's founding was very similar to early Rome. Based heavily on the Roman system, it depended on its people, armed and organized, unified around newfound patriotism and surrounded by external enemies, to enforce their collective will. However, as American power grew, those in power faced similar concerns to those of their Roman forebears.

As external enemies were vanquished and average Americans became more successful, powerful, and (important to note) regionally-minded, those in power began to push the establishment or expansion of central power structures and move the public toward greater dependence on them. The government departments (State, War, etc.) were already in place. Still, new law enforcement, regulatory bodies, and even new taxes to fund such structures (e.g., the 16th Amendment in 1913) began to crop up, each taking slightly more liberty from the people with their credibility based on their presumed representation of those same people. 

American history, like the history of all nations, is full of examples of people who didn't like the direction their nation was headed and decided to take power back. However, like so many before them, they quickly found that fighting a system built to utilize the people, weapons, technology, and finances of the entirety of the nation against any threat —  foreign or domestic — is no simple task. If one is a simple citizen of the nation as opposed to a member of a group wielding the power of the state, it's almost an impossibility.

So, what does a Johnny Gruggson do today if he doesn't like the direction in which his nation is headed? Well, one of the first things he needs to realize is that he won't be able to do much as a "rugged individual." Yes, he is a unique specimen designed by God as an individual with God-given rights but, like God said in Genesis, he is not meant to be alone. 

Secondly, he must realize that unless he has the support of the law, recognized by enough states that he has their power behind him, his guns are going to be of little use. What makes the difference between a random shooter, a terrorist group, and law enforcement or a military team doing the same thing? The sanction of law.

While power in the past was wielded by men and weapons, power today (though delivered through men with weapons) is wielded via lawfare, which is the third and final point. Lawmaking and legal procedure, dull as they may be, are the way those in power wield their power and are the only real way those who are dissatisfied can gain redress.

A great example of this is the First Amendment-challenging bill on antisemitism that passed recently in the House. If the bill becomes law, it will become a powerful tool that would enable its wielders to use state resources to clamp down on anyone whose speech could be considered "antisemitic" under its definition as determined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), an international lobby group, in conjunction with other lobby groups such as the Anti Defamation League (ADL). If you go to the ADL website, they outline precisely how their lobbying pushed through not just this one bill, but an entire bureaucratic infrastructure at the city, state, and federal levels to reach their intended result. That is what power looks like today.

The law in question is not so much the point here as is the mechanism through which this law was pushed. It is the exact mechanism by which every law was pushed, with which Christians have been concerned for decades: from taking prayer and the bible out of school, to pushing gender madness and LGBT porn in schools, to making public displays of Christian symbolism problematic, or even illegal, in a nation that was 80% (or more) Christian during the time in question. This is the power of public and private lobbies.


While many people discuss the need to go out and vote for the candidate you believe will best represent you, few discuss how lobbyists will affect your candidate after your vote. You will have his attention (somewhat) once every four years. Meanwhile, they have his attention as often as they need; because his chances of even being in the next election cycle depend on it. That is what we, as Christians, must be working toward.

In the modern age, power is wielded by how many votes you can muster; how many politicians, lawyers, justices, and activists you can bring together to push your cause; and how much media air time your particular cause is given. Those are the men, the weapons, and the technology of today. If we want to stand a chance of winning a culture war, we must get organized and get in the game.  

Arthur is a former editor and consultant. Born in India to missionary parents, he spent his early career working in development for NGOs in Asia, Central America, and Africa. Arthur has an educational background in history and psychology, with certifications from the University of Oxford and Leiden in the economics, politics, and ethics of mass migration and comparative theories in terrorism and counterterrorism. He is currently launching CivWest, a company focused on building capital to fund restorative projects and create resilient systems across the Western world.

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Actually, today Power is weilded by Money and Blackmail. It is a well known fact that many, if not most of the U.S. Congress is either paid off ( as was the case with the latest $95 Billion Dollar Bill to Foreign Countries ) or is black mailed with video of their nefarious secret life.

AIPAC, Israel's tax exempt Lobby in the United States, paid Congressmen over $100,000,000.00 to vote For this Bill to give Ukraine and Israel Our Tax Money without using Our Tax Money for Our Country.

Money and blackmail is the Source of Power today, That is the simple Truth.

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