Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Bloodless Moralism – First Things Magazine

August 25, 2015

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/02/bloodless-moralism

Helen Andrews writes an interesting article about moral decisions in First Things magazine.  It essentially is a treatise on the current method of justifying moral decisions on the political and social theory level using statistics and heresy, and contrasts it with how the same decisions are made on the personal level. It implies that over-reliance on the statistical method can lead to absurdity. I agree. Here are some of my favorite quotes from it:

“We are hesitant, almost to the point of paralysis, about making moral claims on moral grounds.”

“During the Depression, the problems that government sought to address had mostly been brought to its attention by cries from below, expressed by people who could see the problem with their own eyes. From Kennedy’s presidency onward, bureaucrats armed with national statistics—then a fairly new phenomenon, not coincidentally—began searching their data for problems to solve, whether popular demand for such solutions existed or not.”

“When professionals put such zest and seriousness into persuading people that they have a problem that can be solved, several things can go wrong. It may be that the targets of their attentions have a problem that cannot be solved. It may be that they do not have a problem at all. Or it may be that they do have a problem and it can be solved, but it would be better for them in the meantime to be able to appreciate, relish, draw from, or find the richness in their problem instead of simply deprecating it. The professionals’ response to each of these three possibilities ends in false hope, false despair, or false resentment for the sufferers, yet ever greater self-satisfaction for their would-be saviors.”

“If the governor of New York were to promise to abolish stupidity within ten years, anyone hearing him would think, “Physician, heal thyself.”

“Membership in the lower class, for example, has never been a picnic, but it used to be something that a person could draw from and take pride in. Described in the terms that politics permits us to use today, as “socioeconomic disadvantage” (or worse, “lack of privilege”), it sounds like nothing more than a list of things to complain of.”

“During the Cold War, especially its early stages, the books written in defense of the Soviet model fairly bristled with statistics. Wisely, the West’s more effective defenders did not attempt to refute tractor-production figures from the Ukraine with tractor-production figures from Moline, Illinois. They made more fundamental points, like the difficulty of collecting accurate statistics in a police state, or the conclusiveness with which even accurate statistics are trumped by the brute fact of mass starvation.”

At a more Kirkian level of abstraction, there were such simple observations as: Our people are free, yours are not; we produce poetry, you produce propaganda; our cities are beautiful, yours are hideous. The equivalent arguments in the modern context might be (1) no amount of creative accounting will convince a sane person that you have made a money-saver out of a vast new entitlement like Obamacare; (2) no study could ever refute the fact that character is both a cause and a casualty of government-subsidized poverty; and (3) I will listen to econometricians as soon as you show me one that can write with more fluency than a high school sophomore.”

“…they have an idealized picture of the sciences as a self-policing community of disinterested truth-seekers with laboratories and databases and state-of-the-art modeling programs.”

Ron Paul’s Predictions

January 13, 2012

http://ahref=

It’s the ROLE of Government, Stupid

September 14, 2011

Now I dont’ mean to call anyone stupid, and it’s not my intention to offend, but who can help but play off the old saying, “It’s the economy, stupid”?  Well, we live in a day when Americans have lost sight of some basic principles, and one of them is the failure to see the direct correlation between the size of the federal government and the role of the same.

You see, Republicans and Conservatives of all stripes are howling for a smaller government, but what do they really mean when they say that?  Are they pleading for a smaller government, or just asking MegaNannyFedGov to please cut out some of her wasteful spending?  You’ll see and hear it if you pay close attention:  they don’t want to let go of MotherGov’s milk supply; they just want it to cost less.

The next time you hear a Republican speaking, pay close attention – because while they all say they want “smaller” government, they may be promoting its expansion out of the other side of their mouth.  Can you remember the last time a republican actually named the FedGov program they would like to eliminate?  Oh, they tickle the ears with complaints about social security  or “entitlements”, but they do this knowing full well that it is these programs that the people are least likely to support eliminating; thereby giving them the eventual side-door exit from responsibility they have used so skillfully time and time again.

One of the greatest expansions of the Federal Government took place under Republican President George W Bush.  And the expansion was taking place well before 9-11.  This is not easy to read for many of us, but it is time we looked truth in the face and began a conversation with it.  And in case you think I’m just a Bush-Hater, you should take a look at this earlier post which speaks to the irrational hatred of Dubbya by the liberal media. 

In any case, the conversation we must have cannot progress to truth unless we allow some of the shine to fade on many of our favorite icons.  The fact is that the Federal Government has continued to expand unabated since its inception, with a small beginning, but on an exponential curve; under both republican and democratic politicians.  Certain watermark changes have taken place to further its growth:  reconstruction, the popularity of progressivism beginning around the T. Roosevelt administration, the establishment of the Federal Reserve System in 1913, WWI (1917), the New Deal, federal takeover of public schools, LBJ’s Great Society, and so on.  Now, in 2011, it seems there’s nothing that the FedGov can be held back from, in shameful contradiction to the American Constitution – the tenth amendment in particular.

A fact we must face is that the Republican Party does not offer a way out of Leviathan’s grip.  None of the candidates for the upcoming Presidential race have shown the unwavering committment to constitutional principles that will be necessary to defeat the Federal Gargantua.  And if I am wrong about that and a candidate might become too “idealistic”, the party will quickly crush them.  Make no mistake about it – the Republican Party eats its own.  Don’t believe it?  Ever heard of Christine O’Donnell?  How about Sarah Palin?  Ron Paul?  Can anyone survive the onslaught of the liberal media and the constitution haters at Fox News?  It’s no accident that you can’t turn on FNN in prime time without hearing from establishment apologists like Charles Krauthammer or Karl Rove.  One might also want to notice how certain talk show hosts (Laura Ingraham, Bill O-Riley for two) turned against the efforts of newly elected, principled, republican/tea party congressmen, who were trying to put a stop to the mad spending spree in congress during the fight over the recently increased debt limit.  Rove, Krauthammer, Ingraham, O’Riley – they all cried out, “COMPROMISE, WE MUST COMPROMISE, IT IS THE AMERICAN WAY!”  — showing their true colors.  And then they had the gall to declare that the Tea Party had won the battle over the deficit increase.  Let’s see:  the debt limit was raised by two and a half trillion dollars, the can’t-spend-enough congress and President was handed a blank check for $2,500,000,000.00, and the Tea Party won???  Man, with victories like that, who needs defeat?

It’s time to start voting for people who really represent our views – people like Ron Paul or Chuck Baldwin.  I know these two men have been consistently delivering the same message for decades, and in the case of Ron Paul, has a spotless voting record that reflects his message. 

Let’s stop wasting our votes on people who don’t hold to our principles and will lie to get our vote.  It’s time for the Republican Party to turn or burn, repent or perish, pull up or fold up.  Once and for ever.

P.S.:  What does Joel recommend eliminating?  First, the Dept of Education – too much money spent on new buildings for kids to disrupt learning in.  Second, Homeland Security – that’s right, Homeland Security.  We already have the Dept of Defense that is constitutionally authorized to perform that task.  Third, stop the military deployments – enough already!  Just for starters…

Economics, Second Lesson: WORK, the First Foundation of Prosperity

August 27, 2010

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (II Thess 3:10)

 In case I haven’t said this before, I am not a professional economist (I make my living as a Military Education and Training Manager), nor do I have a degree in economics (but I do have a BA in Religion and Philosophy, Sterling College, 2010), nor has economics been the focus of the larger portion of my studies (that honor goes to the Bible and all things related to it).  However, a lifetime of observation, along with a couple of college courses in Economics, and a great deal of independent study has led me to certain obvious conclusions concerning economics.

 One of those obvious conclusions is that we (America) are NOT HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!  How is that, you say?

 Well, let me summarize it this way:  We are violating God’s Word every day.

 No, that’s not hyperbole.  It’s no exaggeration.  Stealing is a violation of the 8th Commandment, and the U.S. Government steals every day.  We covered that in our first installment of our economic commentary.

 Another way we violate God’s world every day is by allowing people that will not work to have food.  Yes, you read that right.  The Bible plainly says that if anyone will not work, neither should they eat.

 Now to save myself from the indignation of those that may not understand this law, let me say that I do not wish or desire in any way that non-working people will begin starving in the streets of our country.  No, I do not mean that at all; nor is the biblical passage I quoted to be taken to that extreme, absolute understanding.

 The key to the passage is the word “would”, which indicates that the violators of this law is not those who cannot work, but those who will not work.

 Unfortunately, in today’s society, work has lost its full original meaning, its vital role in imparting meaning to life, and separating the human being from the automaton world of animals.  This and other higher purposes of work will be the subject of future installments, but for now I’ll concentrate on the most basic purpose of work – sustenance.

 The scripture with which I opened the post makes it very plain – if a person will not work, that person should not eat. 

 Is the Bible the Word of God?  I say yes, but I’ll let the read abide by his or her own conscience.  But let’s be perfectly clear that the biblical rule is plain.  If a person wants to eat, that person must work.  It’s just that simple.

 Many people have a dreamy, euphoric, utopian idea of God’s economy.  We’ve watched movies where people sit quietly around the feet of Christ and everyone seems happy and well fed.  But the fact is that Christ’s first disciples had to work to eat, the Church fathers had to work to eat, I have to work to eat – EVERYONE has to work to eat.  Those that eat but won’t work are stealing from those that do work.  This is a take-home truth for all people and societies, whether Christian or not.

 But again, this rebuke has nothing to do with people that cannot work, or has left off of working for an income because they have accumulated enough savings to do so, or are receiving a pension.  People that cannot work are to be the recipients of charity (a subject for a future post), and people with savings or pensions earned their income through work.  But this rebuke DOES apply to those who see nothing wrong with living off the labor of others.  Indeed, I will drive this home to our present situation.  I am advocating the total elimination of state-sponsored welfare.  Giving people who will not work money and food is a violation of God’s word.  Stop it!

Now, let me explain that the elimination of welfare must be accompanied by the elimination of the minimum wage.  The elimination of welfare and the minimum wage together would have the effect of practially ending unemployment.  Every able-bodied man would be expected to work, and most of them would gladly work.  Many men are on welfare, or selling drugs, or just bumming around that would work if they had an expectation of finding a job.  Not only would eliminating the minimum wage make jobs abundant, it would actually drive wages UP for many workers.  Money otherwise spent on over-paying part time teenage employees could be spent on better pay for experienced and skilled workers.  So we see that doing away with two American idols – welfare and the minimum wage – would bring about a tremendous boom in the area of economy and also in the area of societal morale.

We’ll continue our little discourse on work next time.  In the mean time, the reader should exercise his mind on the following article by Jordan Ballor on the Acton Institute website, access on 25 Aug 2010 at

 http://www.acton.org/pub/commentary/2010/07/28/lutheran-world-federation-misses-mark-work-and-wea

The eleventh General Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation wrapped up yesterday, and the theme of the conference was a petition from the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us today our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). There was a good deal of reflection and self-expression from the hundreds of delegates gathered in Stuttgart, Germany, on topics related to global poverty and hunger. And while the assembly’s introduction explicitly noted the contribution of the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the LWF meeting would have been improved if there had been a more substantive integration of Bonhoeffer’s views on the ecumenical movement, poverty, and work, into its proceedings.

 The LWF is a global ecumenical body consisting of 140 member churches in 79 countries, representing over 70 million Christians. The LWF, founded in Lund, Sweden in 1947, has much to learn from the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed in the prime of his life by the Nazis two years earlier. This year’s LWF assembly opened on July 20, the sixty-sixth anniversary of the failed Stauffenberg plot to assassinate Hitler, in which Bonhoeffer was implicated. This year also represents the seventy-fifth anniversary of one of Bonhoeffer’s most significant essays, “The Confessing Church and the Ecumenical Movement.” In this essay, Bonhoeffer challenges the ecumenical movement to identify itself as either an institutional form of the Christian church, with all the attendant responsibilities and duties, or as a simple gathering of interested Christians, with no binding authority or official purview.

In the latter case, says Bonhoeffer, the actions of such a group would have “only a neutral character, not involving any confession, and this conversation might only have the informative character of a discussion, without including a judgment or even a decision on this or that doctrine, or even church.” In the intervening decades, Bonhoeffer’s challenge continues to resonate, since the LWF, for instance, continues to waver between its self-understanding as an expression of Christian communion on the one side, and its political and social activism on the other.

The problem with the social witness of the LWF and the broader ecumenical movement is not simply that it addresses problems like hunger or poverty. It is, instead, the way in which it has done so, as typified in the recent Stuttgart meeting. Here we saw statements decrying “illegitimate debt,” the privileging of “profits over people,” and in the words of LWF general secretary Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko, “the gap between those who do not have enough to eat and those who have far more than they need.” But beyond this kind of activist jingoism, or pietistic bewailing, there was precious little in terms of helpful analysis of the complex realities of a globalized world.

Rather than engage in the difficult work of providing a coherent and normative basis for responsible social proclamation, the LWF preferred instead — as is so often the case in the deliberations of mainline ecumenical groups — to point to “neoliberal globalization” as the structural injustice causing extreme poverty in the world. The missing element in the LWF’s poverty discussions, most recently at the General Assembly, has been a nuanced and comprehensive valuation of the role of creative work and entrepreneurship in the creation of material wealth. The social witness of ecumenical groups like the LWF have, for the better part of the past 50 years, consistently undermined work and labor as God’s order of blessings to provide material sustenance for humankind.

Bonhoeffer himself identified the mandate of “work” and “culture” (in the sense of human cultivation of God’s creation) as one of the four arenas (in addition to the family, church, and government) in which we fulfill our calling to serve God through our service to others. There are certainly cases in which God miraculously or specially provides material goods for our wellbeing, such as manna and quail from heaven (Exodus 16) or the seemingly bottomless baskets of bread and fish (Mark 6:30-44). But the regular means that God has graciously ordered in the world for meeting our physical needs is the realm of work.

We can see this in the Apostle’s injunction, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). Far too little of the LWF deliberations about the nature of food and hunger, work and poverty, have focused on the role of human labor in economic relationships. The difference between the productive worker in a modern economy and the subsistence labor in primitive societies is the extent to which the worker and the fruits of his or her labor are brought into relationship with neighbors: local, regional, national, and international.

As the Reformed author Lester DeKoster writes in his little classic, Work: The Meaning of Your Life—A Christian Perspective, “Our working puts us in the service of others; the civilization that work creates puts others in the service of ourselves. Thus, work restores the broken family of humankind.” This connection of work to civilization is achieved through the kind of relationships made possible in a globalized world. And the ideological opposition to globalization manifest in the ecumenical movement would relegate the labor of those in the developing world to the margins of civilization itself.

As Bonhoeffer writes of the relationship between work and our daily bread, “the bread is God’s free and gracious gift. We cannot simply take it for granted that our own work provides us with bread; rather this is God’s order of grace.” It is precisely this “order of grace” that the developing world needs most, and the social witness of the ecumenical movement offers least.

 

Future topics: 

The Three Classes of Work:  Sustaining, Productive, and Fulfilling

Charity

The Elements of Prosperity: Work, Freedom, Innovation, Creativity, Rights.

Poverty:  Where the elements of prosperity do not exist, prosperity itself does not exist.

Economics, First Lesson: What’s mine is mine.

August 22, 2010

Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? (Matthew 20:15)

The first lesson of economics is not supply vs. demand, or the calculation of the M1 money supply, or the theory of equilibrium.

The FIRST lesson of economics is this: What’s Mine is Mine.

Here’s how it works:  Let’s say you and I agree that if I cut your grass, you’ll give me a chicken as payment.  So I cut your grass, and you give me a chicken. 

Question:  Who does that chicken now belong to? 

Answer:  Me.

Another question:  How much of the chicken belongs to me?

Answer:  All of it.

Do the feathers of the chicken belong to me?  Yes.  How about the beak?  Yes,  How about…well, you get it by now.

Now let’s say that instead of a chicken you agree to give me a check worth ten dollars if I cut your grass.  Having cut your grass, and having received the check for ten dollars from you, now how much of that ten dollars is mine?  Hint:  See the chicken story above.

You guessed it right if you said “All of it.”  YES!  Every single dollar of the ten dollars is mine, all mine, and no one else can have it!  I have earned exactly one thousand pennies, and they are all mine.

Okay Joel, you’ve made your point.  But have I?

We live in a society today that doesn’t seem to understand this basic principle, because there’s a group of highly armed and dangerous people that take my money by force every time I get paid.  And that group of people takes my money and divides it up among themselves and gives some of it to their friends. 

It’s sad but true – there are people that think they have an absolute right to my money.

But the fact is, my money is mine.  It doesn’t belong to the government.  The government has no rights to it.  It doesn’t belong to the poor.  The poor have no rights to it.  It doesn’t belong to my neighbor.  My neighbor has no rights to it.  It doesn’t belong to anyone but me. 

Government does not produce wealth, but is dependent on it, and takes away from it.  Government is non-productive overhead.  It may be necessary overhead, but the necessary aspect of government is a splinter of its current girth.

Nothing is more basic to certain unalienable rights than the right to what one earns.  This is the core of sound economy.  Unless America can ever get the genie back in the bottle, and repeal the sixteenth amendment, we will never have a sound economy and experience real individual freedom.

Opposition to the Mosque in New York City: Hysteria, or History?

August 20, 2010

Lately I’ve been identifying myself with the Libertarian branch of politics.  There are many good reasons for this, not the least of which is the Libertarian idea of the relative supremacy of individual rights.  For this I applaud them and support their effort to change America back into a decentralized, freedom-loving society.

But I continue to struggle with certain libertarian viewpoints – the same opinions that have kept me at bay for years – keeping away from any real association with the movement.

Thanks to an article by Eric Margolis on lewrockwell.com, my struggle has been renewed with vigor.  Margolis’ article entitled New York Mosque: Bigotry Rears Its Head seems to disregard one of my primary axioms of truth, and an axiom that I would expect libertarians woul confirm:  Ideas have consequences.  A parallel to this concept is my own construct which is related:  Nothing happens in a vacuum.

What I mean by this is that libertarians often speak of economic and political actions as if they were inanimate phenomena unrelated to history.  For example, the reason the socialists can take advantage of poor people is because it is a fact of history that poor people have been abused and exploited not only by government officials but also by ambitious “entrepenuers” that have used up their employee’s energies and discarded them at the first sign of weakening.  This is not to be taken as an attack on free market principles;  rather, it is a statement of historical fact that defenders of the free market must account for.

And so it is with Mr. Margolis’ opinion of the controversy surrounding the proposed establishement of a Mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.  

He speaks of “hysteria”, but is the real motivation behind the opposition to the mosque hysteria, or history.

He seems to suggest that public fear of Islamism is unfounded, that it is taking place as a knee-jerk reaction to near-time events, that 9-11 was a one-time anomaly, an exceptional case of violence, the proponents of which violence will simply go away if ignored.

But such is not the case, for ideas have consequences, and nothing happens in a historical void.  The populace of the Western World may not be brilliant, but they are not stupid.  We know that Islamic violence has a historical track record dating back many centuries, and it is founded not in the whims of a splinter group of cultists that are cut off the main stream middle, but is founded largely in the prescriptions of its founding documents.  Furthermore, these violent prescriptions found in their holy words were validated by the actions of its founding fathers.

One only need to briefly review the circumstances surrounding President Thomas Jefferson, an icon of libertarians, and his battles with piracy along the Barbary Coast, and Tripoli’s declaration of war upon the United States to see the long history of conflict that this country has had with Islam.

Gary Demar notes the conflict as follows:

In vain Jefferson and Adams tried to argue that America was not at war with Tripoli. In what way had the U.S provoked the Muslims, they asked? Ambassador Abdrahaman went on to explain “the finer points of Islamic jihad” to the Koranically challenged Jefferson and Adams. In a letter to John Jay, Jefferson wrote the following:

The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise. (http://americanvision.org/3373/thomas-jefferson-and-the-ground-zero-mosque/).

We the People believe in individual freedoms, and in the right of religious groups to purchase property to practice their religion, but we are not stupid.  We are fearful of Muslem expansion. And why shouldn’t we be fearful?  I supposed a philosopher might ask, “Is that fear rational?”.  To which we I would reply, “if your neighbor’s dog has attacked you on several occasions, would it be rational to have no fear of him?”  Mr. Margolis cannot rationally explain why the people’s fear of Muslims is unfounded. 

Some have argued that radical, violent groups and individuals are but a small minority of the millions of practicing Muslims.  I am fairly certain that this is true.  However, it is not the millions of Muslims that are more interested in getting their work done and earning their daily bread that are manning the battle stations in the Jihad.  It is Islamic leaders that have either outrightly called for violence or have stood silently by while it is executed that have made Islam the leading menace against civilization that it is today.

And in the case of those Islamic leaders that are in fact peacible toward non Muslims and are willing to participate in Western society to the highest degree that their religious convictions will allow, I will offer to them my greatest critique.  I say greatest critique because it is one thing for a bloody man to have no conscience toward his deeds, but it is a greater sin for those that do have a living moral conscience to remain silent in the face of the hatred and slaughter.

But I can understand their trepidation.  I suspect that any Islamic leader that boldly denounces the violent factions of his own religion immediately becomes a target of that same violence.  Assuming this is the case, then the only way to progress is for some, many, yea, all of them, to pull up to the line and make their stand, which may cost them their own blood before peace can be found.   

We Christians had our own version of it – it was called “The Reformation”.  Christian blood flowed at the hands of fellow Christians for centuries, till we finally came to ourselves and starting to actually believe the Bible’s admonition that “Faith works by love”, and to obey God’s command to “love one another”.  Maybe the time has come, after so long, for an Islamic Reformation.  Yes, that’s the thing – a Reformation along the lines of the Christian Protestant Reformation – a complete overhaul of the system, of the way of thinking about the freedom on an individual’s conscience, a resetting of the norm.  But alas!  We have those scripts in the Koran to be dealt with, we have the legacy of the Islamic fathers to be dealt with.  Is reformation even possible given these obsticles?  The Christian Reformation was fueled by the overwhelming encouragement of the Christian text, and the superlative loving example of our Founder, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I cannot say whether changes on a grand scale are possible in the Islamic world.  I am hardly an amature, much less an expert, on the internal workings of the Muslim religion.  But am I wrong to hope for such a change?

Of course, as a Christian, I see the greatest hope for change among Muslims as the promise of forgiveness of sins offered in the blood of Christ.  But I’m a realist – I know that the idea of a substitutionary atonement is regarded as blasphemy to a Muslim.  In the Muslim view, one must atone for oneself.  For someone that did not commit the sin to pay for the sin of another is an aggregious injustice.

The thing is, IT IS AN AGGREGIOUS INJUSTICE!  That is the very wonder and glory of God!  That the sinless Christ would pay for the sins of guilty man.  How else shall man be justified before Holy God?

In any case, centuries of Islamic violence, whether justifiable or not, have tainted that religion’s reputation, and millions of people live in perpetual fear of the “religion of peace”.  It is for this reason that the opposition to the establishment of a Mosque near the site of the World Trade Center destruction is the only rational position a thinking person can take; supporting it is completely irrational, and exposes one’s anti-Western/American bias.

History tells us where are, because it shows us where we have been.  Ideas have consequences, and nothing happens in a vacuum.

The Failure of Socialism in Buffalo NY

August 19, 2010

 If you don’t want to know what’s going on in the world, then click out of this web site and find something on the internet about Snooky.  It shouldn’t be hard.  But if you want your eyes opened to the cruelty of machine politics and the failure of socialist economics, then take the time to read James Ostrowski’s essay entitled What’s Wrong With Buffalo: A Rothbardian Analysis, which can be accessed on the Lew Rockwell website at http://www.lewrockwell.com/ostrowski/ostrowski99.1.html.

 Yes, it’s longer than what you’re probably used to reading on the internet, but I cannot recommend it too highly.  It takes political and economic theory and examines a real-world, specific case in the light of libertarian economic principles.  Libertarian economic principles are represented in its best and purest form in the “Austrian” school of economics.  We will be saying more about Austrian economics as Providence allows, but for now let’s start by offering a small excerpt.  But please read the whole essay as you have opportunity.

Let’s look in more detail at why socialism, or liberalism as we call it in the United States, is so popular. The reasons are not complicated. First, socialism allows people to spend other people’s money. Let’s avoid the word “steal” other people’s money, because only libertarians see it that way. Nevertheless, however socialists justify this spending, even they realize they are taking other people’s money. Yes, I know some socialists deny the very concept of private ownership. But even they realize that socialism takes money and property that is possessed by some and transfers possession to others so they can spend or use it.

Reason No. 1: Socialism allows people to spend other people’s money without feeling guilty about it.

Second, there is a related but distinct craving that animates socialism, as noted by many commentators. Envy is a strong emotion that has a powerful impact on society and politics. Envy is “a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.”  (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary). Because no one admits to acting on the basis of envy, the term “equality” – robbed of its original and legitimate meaning, equality of liberty – is used instead. Socialism is the perfect political expression of envious people as it purports to rein in “greedy” and wealthy capitalists and usher in social and economic equality. When socialists and liberals want to steal people’s money, they call the victims “greedy.”

Reason No. 2: Socialism satisfies the deeply-felt and widely-held emotion of envy.

Third, free market capitalism emphasizes the individual’s responsibility for his own economic welfare. Socialism professes to place this responsibility outside the individual and with the state. Many people are happy to be rid of this burden and glad to be able to blame others for their problems. Unlike Reasons No. 1 and No. 2, this reason for the popularity of socialism is one trumpeted by its proponents. They do not see the obvious downside of the structural reduction of individual economic responsibility: laziness, profligacy, passivity, and worst of all: boredom!  Life in the advanced welfare state is a big bore. Check your brain at the door; pick up your check on the way out.

Reason No. 3: Socialism purports to relieve people of the burden of worrying about their economic well-being.

Finally, in a secular age, socialism acts as a substitute for religion. Traditionally, religion would offer solace to people facing the numerous traumas of life. Now, for millions of people, socialism plays that role. “For who would bear [Hamlet’s] whips and scorns of time, the oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, the pangs of despised love, the law’s delay, the insolence of office and the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes, when he” could overcome all these problems with socialism? 

Utopian socialism – all socialism is utopian – purports to offer a solution to virtually all human problems. In contrast, the claims of capitalism are seen as too modest, and hard work is required as well. There is no need to quote a Marxist on the all-encompassing promises of socialism. Lyndon Johnson will do fine. In an Orwellian speech given on May 22, 1964, President Johnson promised that his Great Society would “pursue the happiness of our people,” conquer “boredom and restlessness,” and satisfy the “desire for beauty” and the “hunger for community.”  All this and beat the Viet Cong, too. Amazing!

Reason No. 4: Socialism is a secular substitute for religion and offers people (false) solace against the traumas of this life.

These are some of the main reasons why socialism, in spite of its spectacular failure, remains so popular, even in a society such as ours whose fabulous wealth is the result of the shrinking capitalist remnants of the economy.

Good Economic Intentions

August 17, 2010

Although these videos were made quite some time ago, they could have been made yesterday, in that they speak directly to today’s problems.

Our nation is woefully lacking in economic education.  To counter this trend, I will be posting on the subject as I have opportunity.

I have been hesitant to do this, seeing that this blog was intended for theological subjects only; but we do find some economic principles in the Bible that we believe proclaim God’s voice in the matter.

It’s at this point I should remind or inform the reader that  economics is a social science, not a business science.  It affects human beings, and a nation’s economic policies are intrinsically entwined with its politics and view of individual freedom.  America has strayed WAY OFF the true course and has adopted a Godless view of humanity.  Our economic policies are reflective of this Godlessness.

We’ll have more to say as time passes, but for now, let’s break the ice with Dr. Williams:

Whatever we’re doing, it ain’t working…

March 30, 2010

…as evidenced by the random acts of violence in Philadelphia recently.  See the story here:

http://m.philly.com/phillycom/db_/contentdetail.htm;jsessionid=4D4566DBB359EC137A09460E46BFF4BD?contentguid=2aai3X72&full=true#display

If things were better before 1968 – and they were – why aren’t we looking at that bygone society and emulating it?

Politics and Basketball – More Similar Than You May Think

June 7, 2009

——-Political Commentary——- 

I took my position under the basket – an unusual position for me, being a small guard.  But my opponent, whom I was defending against, felt he could do more good near the basket than far away.  As the shooter prepared to launch a long shot, I felt myself instinctively pushing against the chest of my foe with my back.  As the ball approached ever closer to the rim, the intensity of the mutual shoving increased exponentially, until finally, as the ball hit the rim, my opponent and I exploded into a shoving, clawing, jumping, fierce and bloody battle.  For what?  For the REBOUND!  O!  How we both desire to get that rebound!

 But let me ask – just what does this scenario indicate?  It indicates an obvious fact: the fact that the reason I was fighting for a rebound is because I DID NOT HAVE THE BALL, else, rebounding would not have been an interesting activity.

And so it is in politics.  The team without the ball is always looking for a block, a steal, a rebound.

Recently, a statue of President Ronald Reagan was unveiled in the rotunda of the United States Capitol building.  This is an honor he richly deserves, seeing that he is perhaps the most historically significant and inspiring US President of the twentieth century.  One might argue that that title belongs to Franklin D. Roosevelt, but Roosevelt worked in an atmosphere of cooperation and support while Reagan worked in an atmosphere of vehement opposition from the mainstream media, Hollywood, and the collectivist one-world.  One must admit this regardless of party or political persuasion.

While Reagan stood in the bitter cold of Reykjavík, awaiting the arrival of the leader of the communist world to negotiate an end to the earth-threatening Cold War, rebounders hoped for his failure.  Later, with victory in hand and standing before the infamous Berlin Wall, with all the boldness of a lion in righteousness, and in direct defiance of frightened advisors, he openly demanded, “Mr. Gorbachev, TARE DOWN THIS WALL!”  Can anyone forget the effect of that speech:  The moistened eyes, the tightened throat, the chill bumps as we realized that we were witnessing greatness at its greatest and the overwhelming pressure that it brought forth on the Russian president, who ultimately acquiesced?  And yet for all that, rebounders were hoping for his failure.

And I believe I can say the same about our most previous president’s tenure.  As George W. Bush bravely faced a lying, sneaking, cold-hearted murderous enemy, his political opponents shamelessly hoped for his failure.  And these rebounders, void of any concern for our people, and apparently motivated only by their own ambitions to power, rather than lending an ethos of optimism to the cause, spewed venomous criticisms on the effort, hoping above all for the failure of the man they seem to hate with an unsurpassed irrationality.

And just what was it about George W. Bush that brings out the tantrumous worst in his haters?  Isn’t it just his cowboy-like mannerisms and lack of a smooth tongue that bothers them?  Not policy (it was relatively liberal), not lack of irenic spirit (he readily compromised with his opponents and even wined, dined, and hosted his bitterest foes in the White House), not even the war (both liberals and conservatives had been beating the drums for war in Iraq unceasingly since the end of the first Gulf War*).  No, I don’t believe it was any of his policies that were the real cause for the foaming loathing of the man.  Really, wasn’t it just his lack of polish that was the source of irritation for liberals, democrats, “moderate” conservatives, and such?

Are we so shallow?  Are we so vain?  That we would destroy our own President because he lacks the suave and debonair of a Frenchman, or the stiff-lipped stoicism of a Brit?  I fear this is so.

President Bush literally stood in the ashes of the buildings and bodies of the World Trade Center and promised to visit the perpetrators of the greatest evil of the twenty-first century with a wrath worthy of their deeds.  And yet for all that and more, a short five years later, the man could not even endorse a candidate for president, being so hated by the people he game himself over to protect.

He shot and missed in Iraq, and the rebounders took possession of the ball.  He shot and missed on some other issues, but politically speaking, Iraq was the big one.  The bad economy sealed his doom, but in reality he had little to do with the economy.  He simply was following the boom-bust Keynesian model like all other presidents since the early twentieth century, and was both blessed and damned by it like most of those presidents.  But no doubt, his handling of Iraq was “a shot and a miss”. 

In basketball, rebounders EARN their rebounds.  But in politics, they simply stand around criticizing and criticizing, slinging mud, slinging mud, until the opponent slips up and the mud begins to stick.

And why do we reward the rebounders?  Political rebounders do nothing to deserve our support, yet we reward them with great acclaim and access to important offices and such.  They promise us the world, and we elect them in hopes that they will deliver on their promises.

But time and time again we are disappointed.  Once in office, they don’t deliver on their campaign promises, nor CAN they deliver on them.  In fact, their policies are often strangely similar to their predecessors.  And so it is today.  Barack Obama is no different than any promise-making candidate before him.  His policy on Iraq and foreign policy in general was to be radically different that Bush’s, but the only difference has been in rhetoric.  But, alas, it seems that to shallow Americans, smooth-talking and false praise for avowed enemies IS policy. 

The reality is that Obama faces the same difficulties that Bush faced.  North Korea continues to build their nuclear powers.  Shallow Americans thought they would stop doing that if we just got a president that would talk nice to them instead of warning and threatening them like Bush did.  But what is the reality?  North Korea has nuclear weapons, they are continuing unabated in perfecting their delivery systems, and they fully intend to use them to intimidate the world into giving them the goods, services, and wealth that their communistic economy cannot provide itself.  And worst of all, they may even actually use them some day.

And how about Iran?  Have they decided to stop their march to nuclear capabilities?  Have they suddenly decided not to destroy Israel as soon as possible now that the President of the United States “talks nice”?  (By the way, George Bush effusively praised Islam as “a religion of peace”)

Yet it seems that the world of politics is the world of the rebounders.  And so the tide ebbs back and forth.  Republicans win, and then the Democrats win, Republican, Democrat, so on.  The phenomenon reminds me of the preacher’s observation in Ecclesiastes:

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.  (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

And so is the nature of basketball and politics.  Back and forth.  Shoot, miss, rebound, shoot, score.  And who wins?  Usually, whoever has the ball last.

And in politics, like in basketball, the crowds become irrational.  Hysteria sets in, and in the primal urge to win, we turn our opponents into demons that deserve our unchecked hatred. 

Just look at basketball fights, how violent they can be.  And political fights too.

Wounding opponents is typical of politics, but the demonization of George W. Bush got way out of control. 

I think some apologies are in order.  Don’t you?