Friday, July 31, 2009

The Depravity of Man

Two centuries ago, Christians in general and Americans in particular accpeted the Calvinist doctrine of "the Depravity of Man." This premise led to the conclusion that the powers of the State must be limited: that a separation of powers must be woven into constitutions, and the path to power riddled with the landmines of checks and balances.

After the Civil War, following the great American theologian Abraham Lincoln, "the Depravity of Man" became the Benedict Arnold of dogma. The doctrine became a turncoat premise in syllogisms buttressing an increase in the paternalistic powers of the State. Whereas Man's "depravity" earlier meant that man could not be trusted with power (whose corrupting influences Lord Acton saw residing in man himself), the modern doctrine indicts the fallen and untrustworthy masses ("the People") and supplicates the sinless and infallible State for social salvation. Because the masses are depraved, you see, the centralized state needs more power to control them.

• Because criminals are depraved, we need a Police State.
• Because Arabs are depraved, we need a Garrison State at home and hundreds of U.S. bases abroad.

I have elaborated on this shift in the meaning of "The Depravity of Man." Please use this blog to comment on that article.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Government Causes Poverty

In 1985 Prof. Walter E. Williams analyzed the government's 20-year old "War on Poverty." That "war" marked a systematic change in the way America viewed poverty, converting it from a personal problem to a government problem.

Many government social workers have good intentions, but they are part of a government system that destroys incentives and cripples people, then hands them crutches and expects gratitude. I'm willing to concede that even the architects of the "War on Poverty" had good intentions, though I sometimes suspect that they were too well educated to not know what they were doing, and that the "War" was really a power grab, possibly a racist one.

But good intentions combined with ignorance of economic laws is a lethal combination. What was true in 1985 is still true in 2009: We need to get government out of the poverty business. Watch and learn:

Poverty: Created in Washington D.C.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Management of State Resources

It's amazing how many self-proclaimed "libertarians" support the Roe v. Wade decision, which unconstitutionally federalized state authority to regulate the murder of pre-born human beings. William Norman Grigg notes,

Although it was swaddled in the language of individual empowerment, the Roe decision was a dramatic victory for collectivism: It enshrined, in what our rulers are pleased to call the “law,” the assumption that a human individual is a “person” only when that status is conferred by the government.

Every argument on behalf of state-imposed population control rejects the concept of individual self-ownership and assumes that human lives – individually and in the aggregate – are a resource to be managed by society’s supervisors on behalf of the “common good.” And, as Ruth Bader Ginsburg correctly intuited in 1973, the Roe vs. Wade decision was a triumph, albeit an incomplete one, for the cause of eugenicist population control.

Grigg unpacks the connection between Roe, Justice Ginsberg, and Obama's new "Science Czar":

Pro Libertate Too Many (Other) People

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Land of the Slaves, Home of the Fearful

If America's Founding Fathers could travel through time and learn about our government and how Americans relate to that government, would they think of us a true Americans, great Americans -- or as pathetic Americans who are an embarrassment to that name?

Sam Adams, "Father of the American Revolution," speaking at the State House in Philadelphia “to a very numerous audience” on August 1, 1776, said:

“If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquillity of servitude than
the animating contest of freedom —
go from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains sit lightly upon you, and
may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”

Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as saying, "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither."

The July 6 edition of TIME Magazine has Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the cover with the story, "What Barack Obama Can Learn from FDR." (Not surprisingly, TIME isn't interested in "What Barack Obama Can Learn from Thomas Jefferson," or any other libertarian-leaning anti-federalist.)

Leading the collection of essays on the "Legacy of FDR" is an article by David M. Kennedy, author of a study of the Great Depression called Freedom from Fear.

That's our first clue.

In his article, FDR's Lessons for Obama, Kennedy's conclusions are clear: The "essence" of "FDR's greatest achievements" "can be summed up in a single word: security."

The goal of FDR's reforms and stimulus packages was not really to end the Great Depression. Says Kennedy:

He could hardly ignore the compelling need to steer the economy out of the Depression, but he refused to allow that task to deflect him from his more important objective of making American life less hazardous — and more inclusive — ever after. He aimed not merely to end the crisis at hand but to forestall similar calamities in the future, and thereby to build a country, as he once said, "in which no one is left out."

That's the problem with "the animating contest of freedom": some people succeed more than others. And our achievement depends on our initiative, our work ethic, our innovation, our willingness to defer gratification for the future, and our willingness to accept personal responsibility.

When Rockefeller found new uses for that black goop that comes out of the ground, he became rich precisely because he raised the standard of living of an entire nation, lowering prices on everything he made. Because of capitalism, Americans in 1939 were better off, and could dream higher, than Americans in 1839, when John D. Rockefeller was born. A "depression" under growing liberty and capitalism is better than a "boom" in a colorless socialist collective.

But the vast difference between Civil Servants and Entrepreneurs cannot be overstated.

Kennedy notes that when FDR said "I see one-third of a nation ill housed, ill clad, ill nourished,"

F.D.R. was not referring primarily to the victims of the Great Depression, which he thought was ending. He was speaking, rather, about the accumulated social and human deficits spawned by more than a century of buccaneering, laissez-faire American capitalism....

Never mind that The Great Depression was caused by the government, not "buccaneering, laissez-faire American capitalism" -- what was really important was not assisting the poorest victims of government monetary manipulation, but making sure that those who were not competing as efficiently or as energetically as others were not "left out."

FDR's task was not relieving the temporary effects of economic depression, but of undoing the American Revolution and substituting "the tranquillity of servitude" for "the animating contest of freedom."

This was a socialist opportunity that was not easily taken advantage of. Kennedy quotes

the historian Henry Adams [who] wrote, among the founders of the Republic, the greatest fear "was power; not merely power in the hands of a president or a prince, of one assembly or several, of many citizens or few, but power in the abstract, wherever it existed and under whatever form it was known." That's why the framers of the Constitution constructed a political order based on "checks and balances." That arrangement has conspicuous virtues, but it also designs a measure of paralysis into the American political system. It impedes swift adjustment to changing economic and social realities. It sustains a chronic deadlock in which trauma and shock become the necessary preconditions for effective political action.

Kennedy claims

President Obama knows this. Asked by PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer in February if he did not feel burdened by the several crises now besetting the country, Obama noted that the moment "is full of peril but full of possibility" and that such times are "when the political system starts to move effectively."

Or as Rahm Emanuel, Obama's chief of staff, told a Wall Street Journal conference of top corporate chief executives last year, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

"Roosevelt could not have said it better," Kennedy says. "F.D.R. championed a long-deferred reform agenda that put security at its core."

If you think that FDR's Social Security program is going to make you secure in your old age, then you are a very bad American -- at least compared with those who fought a War for Independence, who championed liberty, and spurned the uniformity of government-provided "security."

In a Christian nation characterized by "Liberty Under God," "competition" means freedom to choose the products you buy. It means freedom to choose what kind of business you'll run. It means thinking not only about ourselves, but about securing "the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." Capitalism means deferring present gratification and investing in production to meet the needs of future generations.

FDR gave us an economic/political system based on "security," which is slavish and present-oriented. It rejects "the animating contest of freedom." It is the foundation of "consumerism." Injections of new money from the government reward those with the lower moral character. Government insures that everyone gets the trinkets that define our self-worth. Nobody is "left out." Kennedy says that FDR's measures "laid the foundation for unprecedented economic growth," but then says novelist Philip Roth "aptly described" this era as "the greatest moment of collective inebriation in American history."

America the inebriated consumer is now a security addict, and as the new FDR, Obama is the new pusher.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Costs of Government

How much does it cost to have a government?

Peter Namtvedt provides a monetary calculation: "The Incredible Burden of Government."

But what are the moral costs of having a government? What will it cost our nation to have a government that makes it illegal to teach students in government-run schools that God says "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not steal?" What are the moral costs of an institution that practices theft and murder to achieve its goals, and models itself as the pinnacle of compassion and public service?

The next generation will tell us.

A government that steals more than two-thirds of everything we earn is just a symptom of the moral costs.

Following the Later-Coming Minority

Here is an article by a bunch of Physicists attempting to explain/predict how the masses can be moved in a new direction. [HT] Rupert Murdoch surely could have used Fox News to orchestrate a coup in America, if we're to believe the physicists (and the liberals who fear Hannity, O'Reilly and other well-placed "leaders").

This would be an indictment of the faults of democracy, which America's Founders warned against. They rightly observed that Liberty depends on virtue and morality. The ability to pursue the moral direction is a product of regeneration and conversion, not "democratic" impulses carefully choreographed by well-funded "leaders," who manipulate easily-led (and largely immoral) masses.

But by 1776 a great deal of the Calvinism of 200 years of prior American history had waned, and the War for Independence was as much a political as a religious event.

Politics has reigned supreme since then.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Obama's Saturday Morning Radio Address

Every Saturday morning the President delivers a radio address to the nation, and moments later we analyze it on "The Ozarks Virtual Town Hall."

For the benefit of the search engines, here is a list of our Virtual Town Hall Meetings since the Bush Bailout last fall:

John Calvin's 500th Birthday
Click here to go to a replay of
the July 11th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Recession: Act of Government or Act of God?"

Independence Day July 4th, 2009
Click here to go to a replay of
the July 4th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Time for Another American Revolution?

Click here to go to a replay of
the June 27th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Does Government Generate Energy and Create Jobs?"

Click here to go to a replay of
the June 20th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Does Government Protect Consumers?"

Click here to go to a replay of
the June 13th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Health Care Reform, the Key to Our Fiscal Future"

Click here to go to a replay of
the June 6th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Would Jesus Celebrate D-Day?
Who Really Won World War II?

Click here to go to a replay of
the May 30th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Choosing a Minister of God"
Obama Nominates Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court

Click here to go to a replay of
the May 23rd, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Memorial Day"
Would Jesus Celebrate "Memorial Day?"

Click here to go to a replay of
the May 16th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Health Care and Energy"
The New Fascism

Click here to go to a replay of
the May 9th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Giving Mothers Credit"
Mother's Day Edition

Click here to go to a replay of
the May 2nd, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Dr. Obama's Swine Flu Prescription"

Click here to go to a replay of
the April 25th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "The Myth of Government Frugality"

Click here to go to a replay of
the April 18th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "The Myth of Government Responsibility"

Click here to go to a replay of
the April 11th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Passover & Easter"

Click here to go to a replay of
the April 4th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "No Taxation Without G-20 Representation"

Click here to go to a replay of
the March 28th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Service: Voluntary or Coerced?"

Click here to go to a replay of
the March 21st, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Huge Proposed Federal Budget"

Click here to go to a replay of
the March 14th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "The FDA: Making Life Safer?"

Click here to go to a replay of
the March 7th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "The Case for Bold Action"

Click here to go to a replay of
the February 28th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Obama is Bush 2.0"

Click here to go to a replay of
the February 21st, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "A Major Millstone"

Click here to go to a replay of
the February 14th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: Valentine's Day and more on Obama's Spending Plan

Click here to go to a replay of
the February 7th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Stimulus: Good News or Bad News?"

Click here to go to a replay of
the January 31st, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Moving Forward?"

Click here to go to a replay of
the January 24th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "The Old Socialism Begins Anew"

Click here to go to a replay of
the January 17th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "Inauguration of a Dictator"

Click here to go to a replay of
the January 10th, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "The War President"

Click here to go to a replay of
the January 3rd, 2009 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "The Path of Peace"

Click here to go to a replay of
the December 27th, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: "War on Earth" - Christmas in Washington, D.C.

Click here to go to a replay of
the December 20th, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: Automaker Bailout

Click here to go to a replay of
the December 13th, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: The War on Drugs and the War on Housing

Click here to go to a replay of
the December 6th, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: Terrorists on the Run

Click here to go to a replay of
the November 29th, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: Thanksgiving, Liberty, and Theocracy
Should the Government Give Thanks to God?

Click here to go to a replay of
the November 22nd, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: The U.S. vs. the Free Market

Click here to go to a replay of
the November 15th, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: International Financial Regulation?
Did you vote for our Foreign "Partners?"

Click here to go to a replay of
the November 8th, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: Was Voting a Waste of Time?
The Bush-Obama Transition

Click here to go to a replay of
the November 1st, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: Is Voting a Waste of Time?

Click here to go to a replay of
the October 25th, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: Bailout Idolatry - America's False Religion
International Bankers are our Saviors

Click here to go to a replay of
the October 18th, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: More Reassurances about the Bailout Rescue Plan

Click here to go to a replay of
the October 11th, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: Reassurances about the Bailout Rescue Plan

Click here to go to a replay of
the October 4th, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: The Bailout: Government Gift to Foolish Investors

Click here to go to a replay of
the September 27th, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: The Bailout: Rescue Plan or Enslavement Plan?

Click here to go to a replay of
the September 20th, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall
Subject: Free Enterprise or Fascist Bailouts?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Birthday John Calvin

John Calvin was born 500 years ago today. I mentioned the anniversary of his death a couple of months ago, and the rise of the "New Calvinism" here.

It might seem odd that an anarchist who opposes capital punishment would have any affection for Calvin. But I'm an anarchist because I believe in predestination and providence.

If I were to travel back in time to 16th century Geneva, I might well be executed by Calvin. But if he were to travel through time to the 21st century, and look back on the last 5 centuries, I'm confident I could convince Calvin that the State is not a "divine institution." And we would have a stimulating discussion on the subject of usury.

Many modern Calvinists seem to focus solely on Calvin's theology. Those in the Reconstructionist stream appreciate Calvin's opposition to tyranny, even if they have too much appreciation for Calvin's belief that God wants men to form governments.

The Calvin Quincentenary and American Liberty | Vision Forum Ministries

The Stream of Liberty from Calvin to the Founders | Vision Forum Ministries

Other items from the past few weeks on the Quincentenary, some of which help counter many of the myths and rumors about Calvin being a dour dictator:

Even at 500, Calvin Inspires Today's Reformers Christian History Blog

Faithful and Welcoming - FWC Sponsored luncheon at General Synod

Decline of John Calvin | The Australian

500th birthday of 'Great Reformer' John Calvin nears -

Hundreds Kick Off Calvin Quincentenary Celebration in Geneva |

Hundreds Flock to Boston to Celebrate 500th Calvin Anniversary |

Reformed Leader Urges Church to Mine Calvin's Legacy | page 2

Calvin and the Scots-Irish in America | Vision Forum Ministries

The Calvin Quincentenary and the Transformation of Christendom | Dr. Roger Schultz | The Chalcedon Foundation - Faith for All of Life

Man of His Time for All Times | Christianity Today

RNS Feature: "Even at 500, Calvin isn’t slowing down"

John Calvin: Man of Contradictions, Shaper of Modernity. Age? 500 This Week - BCNN1

A toast to this most maligned of theologians | Times Online

American exceptionalism predestined by John Calvin's birth 500 years ago

Calvin's writings also had an implicit anti-statism. Since fundamental law comes from God, obeying the law means obeying God, not necessarily the state. Rebellion against an unlawful state act, led by "lesser magistrates" such as local leaders, is really a justifiable maintenance of true law. One Calvin disciple in 1579 wrote Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos ("Vindication Against Tyrants"), which emphasized the limits of power.

AFP: Divided Geneva marks 500 years of Calvinist rigour

Calvin and American Exceptionalism - Damon Linker, New Republic.

Perpetuates the myth of Calvin and Puritans "formulating a sternly ascetic version of Christian piety." Calvin and the Puritans were against asceticism. Oxford Scholar C.S. Lewis writes:

Puritanism, as I have defined it, splits off from general Pro-
testantism in the second half of the sixteenth century. Stow
traces the word puritan to about the year 1567.* Originally
coined by certain Anabaptists to describe themselves, it came
to be used as a hostile term (though they sometimes accepted
it) for those Protestants who believed that the Elizabethan
Church was insufficiently reformed and wished to make her
more like the Protestant churches on the continent; especially
like that of Geneva. The puritans were so called because they
claimed to be purists or purifiers in ecclesiastical polity: not
because they laid more emphasis than other Christians on
'purity 5 in the sense of chastity. Their quarrel with the Church
of England was at first rather ecclesiastical than theological.
In Hooker Anglicanism is, indeed, already beginning to be
marked off from other species of Protestantism by its greater
respect for human reason and for tradition. But the specifically
Anglican faith defined itself less rapidly and neatly than the
puritan and chiefly under the pressure of puritan attacks.
Neither can be understood apart from the original Protestant
experience in which both were rooted, though puritanism more
exclusively. To that experience I must now turn. The very word
experience perhaps makes clear the angle at which I approach
it. Some social or economic historians treat the Reformation
solely from the point of view of their own disciplines, regarding
its spiritual and even its intellectual side as mere epipheno-
mena; perhaps as 'rationalizations' by which men explained
to themselves behaviour whose real causes were of quite a
different kind. Fortunately there is no need to discuss the cor-
rectness of this view: for even if it were wholly correct it would
not much concern the historian of literature. His business is
with the past not as it 'really' was (whatever 'really' may mean
in such a context) but with the past as it seemed to be to those
who lived in it: for of course men felt and thought and wrote
about what seemed to be happening to them. The economic or
social historian's 'appearances' may be the literary historian's
Tacts'. We want, above all, to know what it felt like to be an
early Protestant

One thing is certain. It felt very unlike being a 'puritan' such
as we meet in nineteenth-century fiction. Dickens's Mrs. Clen-
nam, trying to expiate her early sin by a long life of voluntary
gloom, was doing exactly what the first Protestants would have
forbidden her to do. They would have thought her whole con-
ception of expiation papistical. On the Protestant view one
could not, and by God's mercy need not, expiate one's sins.
Theologically, Protestantism was either a recovery, or a develop-
ment, or an exaggeration (it is not for the literary historian to
say which) of Pauline theology. Hence in Buchanan's Fran-
ciscanus ad Fratres the Friars' prophylactic against it is to keep
clear of the 'old man from Tarsus' (Tarsensis fuge scripta senis).
In the mind of a Tyndale or Luther, as in the mind of St. Paul
himself, this theology was by no means an intellectual construc-
tion made in the interests of speculative thought. It springs
directly out of a highly specialized religious experience; and
all its affirmations, when separated from that context, become
meaningless or else mean the opposite of what was intended.
Propositions originally framed with the sole purpose of praising
the Divine compassion as boundless, hardly credible, and utterly
gratuitous, build up, when extrapolated and systematized, into
something that sounds not unlike devil-worship. The experience
is that of catastrophic conversion. The man who has passed
through it feels like one who has waked from nightmare into
ecstasy. Like an accepted lover, he feels that he has done
nothing, and never could have done anything, to deserve such
astonishing happiness. Never again can he 'crow from the dung-
hill of desert*. All the initiative has been on God's side; all has
been free, unbounded grace. And all will continue to be free,
unbounded grace. His own puny and ridiculous efforts would
be as helpless to retain the joy as they would have been to
achieve it in the first place. Fortunately they need not. Bliss is
not for sale, cannot be earned. 'Works' have no 'merit', though
of course faith, inevitably, even unconsciously, flows out into
works of love at once. He is not saved because he does works of
love: he does works of love because he is saved. It is faith alone
that has saved him: faith bestowed by sheer gift. From this
buoyant humility, this farewell to the self with all its good
resolutions, anxiety, scruples, and motive-scratchings, all the
Protestant doctrines originally sprang.

For it must be clearly understood that they were at first
doctrines not of terror but of joy and hope: indeed, more than
hope, fruition, for as Tyndale says, the converted man is already
tasting eternal life. The doctrine of predestination, says the
XVIIth Article, is 'full of sweet, pleasant and unspeakable
comfort to godly persons'. But what of ungodly persons? Inside
the original experience no such question arises. There are no
generalizations. We are not building a system. When we begin
to do so, very troublesome problems and very dark solutions
will appear. But these horrors, so familiar to the modern reader
(and especially to the modern reader of fiction), are only by-
products of the new theology. They are astonishingly absent
from the thought of the first Protestants. 1 Relief and buoyancy
are the characteristic notes. In a single sentence of the Tischreden
Luther tosses the question aside for ever. Do you doubt whether
you are elected to salvation? Then say your prayers, man, and
you may conclude that you are. It is as easy as that.

It follows that nearly every association which now clings to
the word puritan has to be eliminated when we are thinking of
the early Protestants. Whatever they were, they were not sour,
gloomy, or severe ; nor did their enemies bring any such charge
against them. On the contrary, Harpsfield (in his Life of More)
describes their doctrines as 'easie, short, pleasant lessons' which
lulled their unwary victim in 'so sweete a sleepe as he was euer
after loth to wake from it'. For More, a Protestant was one
'dronke of the new must of lewd lightnes of minde and vayne
gladnesse of harte' (Dialogue, in. ii). Luther, he said, had made
converts precisely because 'he spiced al the poison' with 'liber-
tee' (ibid. m. vii). Protestantism was not too grim, but too glad,
to be true; 'I could for my part be verie wel content that sin
and pain all were as shortlye gone as Tyndale telleth us' (Con-
futation). Protestants are not ascetics but sensualists. They will
not fast (Dialogue , iv. i). They teach and use 'more sensual and
licentious liuing then euer did Makomet' (ibid. rv. ix). And it is
certainly true that in their own writings we find a strong bias
against asceticism. Even when we pass on from the first Pro-
testants to Calvin himself we shall find an explicit rejection of
'that vnciuile and froward philosophy' which 'alloweth vs in
no vse of the creatures saue that which is needful, and going
about (as it were in enuie) to take from vs the lawful enioyment
of God's blessings, yet can neuer speede vnless it should stoppe
vp all a man's senses and make him a verie block'. When God
created food, 'He intended not only the supplying of our neces-
sities but delight and merriment' (hilaritas). Clothes serve not
only for need but also for 'comelinesse and honesty'; herbs,
trees, and fruits, 'beside their manifold commodity', for 'good-
linesse, brauery, and sweete smelling sauour'. A comparison of
the whole passage (Institutio, m. x. 2) with, say, the sermons of
Fisher, will correct many misapprehensions. When Newman in
his Letter to X T professed an 'abstract belief in the latent sensu-
ality of Protestantism', he was, in my opinion, dreadfully mis-
taken; but at least, like More and Harpsfield, he was making
the right mistake, the mistake that is worth discussing. The
popular modern view of the matter does not reach that level.
To be sure, there are standards by which the early Protestants
could be called 'puritanical'; they held adultery, fornication,
and perversion for deadly sins. But then so did the Pope. If that
is puritanism, all Christendom was then puritanical together.
So far as there was any difference about sexual morality, the
Old Religion was the more austere. The exaltation of virginity
is a Roman, that of marriage, a Protestant, trait.

Video: How Calvin has influenced WORLD Magazine | WORLD Magazine | Community | Blog Archive

Sticking by the Bible | Marvin Olasky | WORLD Magazine | Jul 04, 09

Liberty’s champion | Marvin Olasky | WORLD Magazine | Jul 04, 09

Video: Calvin and politics | WORLD Magazine | Community | Blog Archive

Monday, July 06, 2009

Homeless Living in Cars

Here's a Google search for "homeless+live+in+car." 4,460,000 results.

Here's an interview with Kathleen Bellefeuille-Rice, who is able to help the homeless by not being one of hundreds of millions of Americans who live in their cars.

That's right: hundreds of millions of Americans -- Americans who are afraid of being homeless and having to live in their car, and who make choices which ironically result in their living in their cars.

Agitator: People traditionally eat together, but now, to insist that your family come together and have dinner most nights of the week is a kind of radical action. What caused such a change?

Kathleen: I think the busyness of life. Soccer, that’s a big culprit. Meetings...we are an overly busy society…. When you have a meeting every night of the week or a soccer practice or basketball or baseball ... I view this as an attempt to control our lives, and I do not want to participate in anything that’s going to control our lives. I don’t want to be that busy, that preoccupied. I want to be in charge of my life, as much as possible, given the nature of life. I wanted to say, this togetherness is important, this is what I value. My children are important! I am only given the gift of their presence for 18 years and then they will leave me. I want them to have known family life, and central to that is the family dinner and quality time together.

Agitator: That is a basic human value that was lost in my family. The family dinner just didn’t get practiced too often. How else does busyness keep us from being human?

Kathleen: If you do not work as much and have more free time, are you going to fill that valuable free time with busyness or are you just going to “be”? I spend eight hours a day, five days a week, in my garden working. I don’t want to do anything else after my long days. Oh, I do toenail care, and during the off season I do some volunteer work with preschoolers, teaching them to be peacemakers, but beyond that I say no. Where is your prayer life? Where is your centeredness? Where is time with your spouse? Where is time with your children, if you are constantly on the go? You live in your car. I did not want to live in a car.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Independence Day Reading

Here's a nice sentimental, patriotic piece:

Celebrate Independence Day the John Adams Way - Associated Content

OK, when the parades are over, the BBQ has cooled off, and the smoke from the fireworks has cleared away, let's get a litle more serious.

Flag Waving Is Not My Kind of Patriotism by Robert Higgs

Happy We-Should-Restore-The-Monarchy-And-Rejoin-Britain Day! - Mises Economics Blog

The Myths of Independence Day | John Chuckman

Would YOU sign the Declaration of Independence? « Blog

Independence and Liberty by Anthony Gregory

Goodbye 1776, 1789, Tom « Blog

Unqualified Reservations: A gentle introduction to Unqualified Reservations (part 2)

Constitution Worship Undermines the Cause for Freedom Manuel Lora

When Did the Trouble Start? Stephan Kinsella

Richman on the 4th of July and American Independence

Declare YOUR Independence

Big Government and the 4th of July Mises Economics Blog

Preface of the pocket edition of the Constitution of the United States of America Roger Pilon

Love Our Country; Hate "Our" Government Will Grigg's Liberty Minutes

Independence now and forever Chuck Baldwin promises to be an "outlaw." Is this a Christian strategy?

Those Who “Serve” Us Celebrate Cato @ Liberty

A Declaration of Independence from Big Government

Celebrating Independence Day's Principles Roger Pilon Cato Institute: Daily Commentary

The Economics of Sin BLOG and MABLOG

The Declaration of Independence in American Mises Institute The Free Market

Online Library of Liberty - 1776: Hutchinson, Strictures upon the Declaration of Independence

America the Beautiful

From the Future of Freedom Foundation (subscribe)

The Real Meaningof the Fourth of July by Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation
What Do We Celebrate on the Fourth of July (2007) by Tibor R. Machan, Future of Freedom Foundation
Recapturing the Spirit of Independence (2007) by Ron Paul, U.S. House of Representatives
The Essence ofAmericanism (1961) by Leonard E. Read, Foundation for Economic Education
Adam Smith: 1776-1976 (1979) by Benjamin A. Rogge, Liberty Fund

The Founders' Rights Stuff by Rosa Brooks, Common Dreams
July 4th in Bizarro World by Manuel Lora,
History Shouldn't Forget Our "Founding Printers" by Antonio Perez, USA Today
Three Cheers for July 2 by Andrew Trees, Washington Post
Reclaiming America's Promise Editorial, USA Today

Friday, July 03, 2009

To Save America, We Must Abolish the United States

"America" is not a government or a group of people in a particular geographical area. "America" is an ideal. It is a vision.

America is "Liberty Under God."

America -- in the eyes of her Founders -- is everyone dwelling safely under his own Vine & Fig Tree.

"America" existed 200 years ago.

It might even have existed 100 years ago, as immigrants could come to a certain geographical location where a group of people lived that believed in the vision of "America," and the immigrant could work and save and eventually live under his own vine & fig tree.

But this America no longer exists. Or if it does, it appears to be mortally wounded.

The assassin, or attempted assassin -- the mortal enemy of America -- is the United States. To save the ideal of "America," we must abolish the United States.

The Declaration of Independence declares that any government that becomes a "tyranny" should be abolished. It should be obvious that the men who signed that document in 1776 and began the work of abolishing their government would begin the work of abolishing the United States were they here in 2009.

Imagine that you're a teacher who loves to plant seeds in the minds of students. If you were paid by the government to teach in a government-run school, which government would not allow you to teach students that the Declaration of Independence is really true:

a. China

b. North Korea

c. Iran

d. The United States

e. All of the above.

Tragically, d is not incorrect.

The United States makes it illegal for an American school teacher in a government-run school in America to teach students that the Declaration of Independence really is true. True regardless of whether anyone believes it.

• that the existence of God is a "self-evident truth"
• that our rights are the product of intelligent design (not the government)
• that all Americans are obligated to conform their lives to the unchanging moral absolutes known as "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"
• that our actions must one day pass judgment with "the Supreme Judge of the world"
• that all Americans should have "a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence."

The Federal Government says that teachers in government-operated schools paid for by your property taxes cannot "endorse" or "promote" these ideas. Students can be taught that a long time ago some people believed the Declaration of Independence was true, but teachers cannot say it really is objectively true, and that students should stand up and risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in defense of those unchanging true principles.

Those who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 would say that American students are illiterate, anti-social, peer-dependent, easily-misled, and amoral. America's Founding Fathers would see schools controlled by the United States as perhaps the greatest threat to the Republic they created. The United States is certainly the greatest threat to the idea of "Liberty Under God."

If you celebrate "Independence Day," you should begin working to abolish the United States.

If you don't agree that the signers of the Declaration of Independence would begin working to abolish the United States, you're invited to defend that atheistic dictatorship on Independence Day at 10:30 Central Time:

Call in and defend a government that -- more than the government indicted in the Declaration of Independence -- "evinces a design to reduce Americans under absolute Despotism."

If you do agree that America's Founders would seek to abolish the atheistic dictatorship over America, the question is how. As I have said many times, Christians cannot abolish tyranny with muskets and cannons. We need to learn how to use our more powerful weapons. Let's talk about it this morning.

Free Bernie Madoff

In his massive study of Hebrew law, The Institutes of Biblical Law, R. J. Rushdoony, the theocratic patriarch of the "Christian Reconstruction" movement, says prisons are unBiblical:

In Biblical law the goal is not punishment but restoration, not the infliction of certain penalties on criminals but the restoration of godly order.

In line with this thinking, Jeffrey A. Tucker of the Mises Institute says we should Free Bernie Madoff.

Concerning Biblical Law, Rushdoony notes,

restitution was the law; where an order of law had been violated, restoration was the basic function of the courts. Where criminals were unable to make restitution, bond-service was mandatory in order to work out the required restitution.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishes slavery "except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted."

The "bond-service" Rushdoony describes is not a "punishment." It is the requirement to make the victims whole; to put them in the position they would have been in had the crime not been committed.

Bernie Madoff's victims were stolen from. From now on they will be stolen from continuously, to pay for the senseless warehousing of Bernie Madoff.

Madoff should spend as much of the rest of his life as is necessary to use his financial skills to make restitution to his victims.

Tucker paints a bigger social picture:

Just how unusually evil were Madoff's actions? Not that unusual. In fact, the whole notion of paying off past investors with the funds of present investors is at the very core of the Social Security system. At least Madoff sought the consent of his investors who let him care for their money based on their own volition. And at least he didn't attempt to defend himself with the claim that he was conducting wise ["compassionate"] public policy.