Modern Science: A Rigorously Consistent Mythology?

The One, the Many, and the Mythology of Science

By John B. King, Jr., Ph.D.

The objective of the present article is to compare the worldviews of ancient mythology and modern science in order to show the deep mythological structure of the latter.1 Such a comparison is both interesting from an academic point of view and has great apologetic value. In particular, since opponents of Christian theism have tended to dismiss Christianity as mythological and unscientific, establishing the linkage between mythology and modern science returns the charge upon these naturalistic detractors, thus providing both defensive and offensive value. To this end, therefore, it will be shown that, unlike Christianity, ancient mythology and modern science share deep philosophical structures and that Christianity, by contrast, presents a distinct and demythologized view of the cosmos. To begin this discussion, it will be necessary to consider some implications of God’s triune nature.

Formal Considerations (Philosophical Structure)

Because God is a triune being, God is eternally one and eternally three. Accordingly, within God’s being the one (unity) and the many (particularity) are coeternal, equally ultimate, and mutually conditioning. Moreover, since God’s image is necessarily impressed upon His creation, the one and the many are equally derivative within the created order and thus equally basic to a Christian epistemology. However, when God’s triune nature is denied, one loses the metaphysical basis upon which unity and particularity harmoniously relate and is, therefore, driven to one of three basic philosophical frameworks: radical particularity, radical unity, or a dialectical tension between unity and particularity. Consequently, since these limited options are quickly exhausted in human thought, mythology, and science necessarily utilize the same basic paradigms and, therefore, share common philosophical structures.

If the first option (radical particularity) is chosen, the universe is conceived as an aggregate of disconnected parts (or events) subject to no unifying law and, therefore, driven entirely by chance. As a result, the universe reduces to a sea of brute particulars, involving a radical conflict at each and every point. On the mythological plane, this is the worldview of ancient polytheism (such as Babylonian mythology) in which the various gods battle one another for supremacy. On the scientific plane, this outlook becomes manifest in Darwinian evolution and the survival of the fittest. Thus, due to a common rooting in chance, Darwinism and ancient polytheism share a common mythological structure with both views positing an upward evolution from the waters of chaos. Needless to say, for such a viewpoint, the lack of an objective order destroys any basis for human knowledge.

If the second option (radical unity) is chosen, the universe is conceived as a seamless whole devoid of concrete particulars and thus devoid of any real tension or mechanism. Accordingly, in this perspective, the universe reduces to a blank and amorphous unity, which erases all distinctions and thereby eliminates the uniqueness of each and every event. On the mythological plane, this is the view of Vedantic Hinduism in which the various particulars be they gods or daily events are reduced to phenomenal manifestations of the Brahman, the all-pervading, universal spirit. On the scientific plane, this is the view of Einstein’s unified field theory which attempted to collapse all events into phenomenal manifestations of a single deterministic field. Thus, due to a common monism, Einstein’s field theory and Vedantic Hinduism share a common mythological structure with both views reducing events to surface phenomena of underlying deterministic (and cyclic) fields. Needless to say, for such a viewpoint, the lack of objective differences destroys any basis for the observation and correlation of discrete particulars (i.e., data). This lack of distinctions also produces a confusion between the subject and object of knowledge. Thus, scientific data becomes both illusory and subjective due to a lack of discreet objects and subjects. Since scientific theories are thereby stripped of their substance and reduced to a mind game, the basis for a meaningful science again vanishes.

Finally, if the third option (dialectical tension between unity and particularity) is chosen, the universe becomes the product of an eternal struggle between order and chaos which operates through a dialectical tension. Thus, such a theory posits a fractured universe which derives from the interplay of antagonistic forces. After all, in such a universe there is a basic tension at each and every point as order seeks to mold the chaos, and chaos seeks to burst the forms of order. On the mythological plane, this is the worldview of Taoism in which the events of life arise from a dynamic struggle between yin and yang. On the scientific plane, this view is encapsulated in the Copenhagen interpretation (i.e., complementarity) of the wave-particle duality in quantum mechanics. Thus, due to a common dualism, both Taoism and the Copenhagen School of quantum mechanics share a common mythological structure in which events reduce to a dynamic struggle between order and chaos. For such a viewpoint, of course, the presence of two equally basic, independent, and antagonistic principles destroys any unity of conception. Moreover, since this position is simply a schizophrenic composite of the two positions outlined above, neither of these principles (order or chaos) could provide an adequate basis for knowledge even when taken by themselves. To the extent that chaos dominates, concrete reality opposes all order, and to the extent that order dominates, such order dissolves all concrete reality. Thus, even if one could escape the tension of these opposing principles, he would still be faced with the alternative of knowing nothing about anything (chaos) or else knowing everything about nothing (order). Needless to say, the basis for a meaningful science vanishes completely on such premises.

As should be evident from the preceding discussion, ancient mythology and modern science share common philosophical structures. Thus, despite its pride in rationality and objectivity, modern science is simply a repackaging of ancient myth. The reason for this identity is simple. When the Trinity is denied, one’s thinking is driven toward one of three basic philosophical frameworks, and since these limited options are quickly exhausted in human thought, science and mythology necessarily utilize similar paradigms.

Material Considerations (Cosmic Impersonalism)

However, the connections between science and mythology run deeper than the formal considerations of philosophical structure and extend to a material identity as well. In particular, when science and mythology are substantively considered, both are seen to posit an ultimate impersonalism (cosmic impersonalism). After all, in its attempt to personify nature, mythology necessarily confuses God with creation. Accordingly, since God is thereby made dependent upon a finite and impersonal world, what mythology actually achieves is not the personification of nature but rather the ‘impersonification’ of deity. Since mythology is therefore fundamentally impersonal and naturalistic, modern science is simply a more consistently impersonal species of myth. When the reason for this common impersonalism is traced to its root, it is seen to derive, once again, from a rejection of the Triune God. Thus, in addition to the formal similarities of philosophical structure, the material identity of cosmic impersonalism also springs from a denial of the Trinity. To demonstrate this point, it will be necessary to examine some deeper implications of God’s triune nature.

In this regard, the primary consideration is the recognition that God’s triune nature establishes His infinite personality and thus a philosophy of cosmic personalism. Because God is both one and many, He has community within His own being and is both personal and rational. Since the Triune God can compare (oneness) and contrast (many-ness) within His being, He is internally benchmarked and thus internally self-defined. Accordingly, since God defines Himself in terms of Himself alone and not in relation to a finite, impersonal world, He does not become dependent upon such a world and is not thereby reduced to a finite, impersonal level. On the contrary, since God emerges as an infinite person, He possess infinite knowledge and power and is capable of affecting a rationally ordered creation. Thus, by preventing a mythological confusion between God and creation, God’s triune nature guards His infinite personality and simultaneously establishes a demythologized and well-ordered cosmos. So understood, God’s triune nature establishes the necessary and sufficient basis for an objective science grounded in an ultimate cosmic personalism. Given this fact, the denial of the Trinity not only accounts for the common philosophical framework (formal identity) between mythology and science, but also accounts for their common impersonalism (material identity). Thus, modern science is mythology due to its identical combination of formal (philosophical structure) and material (cosmic impersonalism) characteristics.

That impersonalism is the hallmark of mythology can be seen from the fact that in every case considered above, concrete personal existence derives from abstract impersonal principles. After all, despite the surface differences between the various mythologies, they are merely different variations upon the impersonal themes of being (spiritual unity and order) and nonbeing (material plurality and chaos). Thus, in Babylonian cosmology there is an upward evolution from nonbeing to being as the feminine waters of chaos give birth to a masculine spiritual order. In Hindu mythology, by contrast, there is a downward fall from being to nonbeing in which a masculine spirit produces a feminine material world through a process of differentiation. Finally, in Taoist cosmology, there is a continuous struggle between being and nonbeing with a masculine heaven and a feminine earth locked into an eternal, procreative tension. In all cases, however, the underlying principles are abstract and impersonal with the adjectives “masculine” and “feminine” providing no more than a poetic overlay. In short, regardless of which theory is chosen, personality has no rooting in such a universe and, therefore, reduces to an epiphenomenon. Consequently, since modern science moves in terms of these same philosophical structures and imbibes the same cosmic impersonalism, modern science is mythology.

Historical Considerations (Theological Degradation)

Moreover, beyond this thematic and topical analysis, the common impersonalism of mythology and science can be seen by considering the historical development of mythology and thus its gradual transformation into the latter. To begin this discussion, it will be helpful to consider the work of the world-renowned historian of religions, Mircea Eliade. According to Eliade, archaic cultures evidence a devolution from monotheism to polytheism in which the new gods are identified with immanent forces in the universe (Eliade, 118-128). Initially, these primitive peoples worship a personal god who is a celestially structured supreme being, in other words a god of the sky or the heavens. However, over time the supreme being becomes more remote and less important as a result of man’s increasing preoccupation with the immanent “natural” forces of his daily life. As these forces become progressively more important, man divinizes them with the result that his religion degrades into a crude and impersonal polytheism:

We may add that the same situation is found in the religions of more civilized peoples, that is, of peoples who have played an important role in history. The Mongol name for the supreme God is Tengri, which means sky. This Chinese T’ien means at once the sky and the god of the sky. The Sumerian term for divinity, dingir, originally meant a celestial epiphany clear, brilliant. The Babylonian Anu also expresses the idea of sky. The Indo-European supreme god, Dieus, denotes both the celestial epiphany and the sacred (cf. Sanskrit div, to shine, day; dyaus, sky, day; Dyaus, Indian god of heaven). Zeus and Jupiter still preserve in their names the memory of the sacredness of the sky. The Celtic Taranis (from taran, to thunder), the Baltic Perkunas (lightning), and the proto-Slavic Perun (cf. Polish piorun, lightning) are especially revealing for the later transformations of the sky gods into storm gods.

There is no question of naturalism here. The celestial god is not identified with the sky, for he is the same god who, creating the entire cosmos, created the sky too. This is why he is called Creator, All-powerful, Lord, Chief, Father, and the like. The celestial god is a person, not a uranian epiphany. But he lives in the sky and is manifested in meteorological phenomena thunder, lightning, storm, meteors, and so on. This means that certain privileged structures of the cosmos the sky, the atmosphere constitute favorite epiphanies of the supreme being; he reveals his presence by what is specifically and peculiarly his majesty (majestas) of the celestial immensity, the terror (tremendum) of the storm.

The history of supreme beings whose structure is celestial is of the utmost importance for an understanding of the religious history of humanity as a whole. We cannot even consider writing that history here, in a few pages. But we must at least refer to a fact that to us seems primary. Celestially structured supreme beings tend to disappear from the practice of religion, from cult; they depart from among men, withdraw to the sky, and become remote, inactive gods (dei otiosi). In short, it may be said of these gods that, after creating the cosmos, life, and man, they feel a sort of fatigue, as if the immense enterprise of the Creation had exhausted their resources. So, they withdraw to the sky, leaving a son or a demiurge on earth to finish or perfect the Creation. Gradually their place is taken by other divine figures the mythical ancestors, the mother-goddesses, the fecundating gods, and the like. The god of the storm still preserves a celestial structure, but he is no longer a creating supreme being; he is only the fecundator of the earth, sometimes he is only a helper to his companion (paredros), the earth-mother. The celestially structured supreme being preserves his preponderant place only among pastoral peoples, and he attains a unique situation in religions that tend to monotheism (Ahura-Mazda) or that are fully monotheistic (Yahweh, Allah). (Eliade, 120-122)

It is useless to multiply examples. Everywhere in these primitive religions the celestial supreme being appears to have lost religious currency; he has no place in the cult, and in the myths he draws farther and farther away from man until he becomes a deus otiosus. Yet he is remembered and entreated as the last resort, when all ways of appealing to other gods and goddesses, the ancestors, and the demons, have failed. As the Oraons express it: “Now we have tried everything, but we still have you to help us.” And they sacrifice a white cock to him, crying, “God, thou art our creator, have mercy on us.”

The divine remoteness actually expresses man’s increasing interest in his own religious, cultural, and economic discoveries. Through his concern with hierophanies of life, through discovering the sacral fertility of the earth, and through finding himself exposed to religious experiences that are more concrete (more carnal, even orgiastic), primitive man draws away from the celestial and transcendent god. The discovery of agriculture basically transforms not only primitive man’s economy but also and especially his economy of the sacred. Other religious forces come into play sexuality, fertility, the mythology of woman and of the earth, and so on. Religious experience becomes more concrete, that is, more intimately connected with life. The great mother-goddesses and the strong gods of the spirits of fertility are markedly more dynamic and more accessible to men than was the Creator God.

And yet their worshippers’ primitives and Hebrews alike had the feeling that all these great goddesses and all these vegetation gods were unable to save them, that is, to ensure them existence in really critical moments. These gods and goddesses could only reproduce and augment life; and they could perform that function only during normal times; in short, they were divinities who governed the cosmic rhythms admirably, but who proved incapable of saving the cosmos or human society in moments of crisis (historical crisis among the Hebrews).

The various divinities who took the place of the supreme beings were the repository of the most concrete and striking powers, the powers of life. But by that very fact they had become “specialists” in procreation and lost the subtler, nobler, more spiritual powers of the Creator Gods. In discovering the sacredness of life, man let himself be increasingly carried away by his own discovery; he gave himself up to vital hierophanies and turned away from the sacrality that transcended his immediate and daily needs. (Eliade, 125-128)

As can be seen from Eliade’s discussion, pagan religions degenerate into polytheism in an attempt to fill a void left by an overly transcendent god. In particular, since such a god is thought to lack immanence and hence relevance, this transcendent god is pushed into the background and replaced through an attempted divinization of the more immanent and concrete forces in the world. Moreover, since these immanent forces remain natural and impersonal, they lack the “subtler, nobler, more spiritual powers of the Creator Gods” and therefore become subject to human manipulation through magic, the pseudo-science of the ancient world.

However, as the philosophical development tends toward a greater and more conscious impersonalism, these so called “divinities” are later collapsed into phenomenal manifestations of impersonal fields. Thus, in India the crude polytheism of the Vedic period (2000 – 1500 B.C.) gave way to a more philosophical monism of the Upanishads (800 BC 500 A.D.) and of such later writers such as Sankara (eighth century AD) and Ramanuja (eleventh century AD).

P.T. Raju writes:

Taking both geography and history into account, it is now the practice of writers to trace Hinduism to the Mohenjo-daro civilization (4000-3000 BC), an adequate picture of which is still not easy to give. All that is assertable in a general way is that the civilization very likely knew some form of yogic meditation, that it had some form of Shakti (Mother Goddess) worship, and that it had the cult of animal worship also. The Aryan tribes began invading India sometime between 2000 and 1500 BC, conquered the early settlers, driving them toward the South, and then conquered the South also. At the same time, they began to superimpose their own religion on the religions of the conquered, which were many, as the different tribes followed their different religions and worshipped different gods and goddesses. In this process of superimposition, the religion of the Aryans themselves began to be transformed. The gods of the non-Aryans, like Shiva, became identified with the gods of the Aryans, like Rudra, through similarity of forms and functions. But the original Vedic gods continued to occupy a higher place than those of the non-Aryans. When the Aryans finally established their monotheism of the Brahman, this pure demythologized religion was given the place of the highest prestige, and ritualistic, were interpreted as subsidiary to the worship and realization of the Brahman.

The evolution of the worship of the Brahman reveals an interesting development of the religious life and thought of the Indo-Aryans. They were first polytheists, worshipping through sacrifices (not necessarily animal sacrifices) to gods such as the Fire-god, Wind-god, the god of death, the Dawn, Varuna the god of the Waters enveloping the world and ruling in the highest heaven, the god of clouds called Indra, and so on. They Aryans were what are philosophically called hylozoists, consubstantiatists who made no distinction between spirit and matter, or animatists who worshipped the natural forces as living, thinking beings like themselves without distinguishing between the animating and thinking spirit and the body. This religion may be called animatism as distinct from animism, in which man distinguishes between spirit and body and worships the former. Both animatism and animism are forms of polytheism. But the latter, when the spiritual conception is enlarged, elaborated, and developed into that of the Brahman, can become monotheism or even monism. The idea of the anima in a body is found in the concept of presiding deity or simply deity of the earth, sound, eye, and so on of the Upanishads.

Next, as logical development of religious thought and practice, we find what Max Muller called henotheism or the worship of each one of some of the gods as the highest and supreme. This tendency shows the Indo-Ayran mind was wavering between one god and another in the attempt finally to fix one as the Supreme. Such gods are Varuna, Prajapati, and so on. From this henotheistic conception of the Brahman, which was taken by some religious thinkers like Guadapada (c. sixth century), and Sankara (eighth century), as nonpersonal and monistic. (Raju 2,3)

On the basis of the preceding discussion, the historical development and philosophical trajectory of mythology can be readily assessed. As shown by the respective works of Mircea Eliade and P.T. Raju, mythology is seen to degenerate from a personal monotheism through a crude polytheism to a more abstract monism (or dualism) and thus toward an increasing impersonalism. In terms of this orderly progression, therefore, there is only one development consistent with the internal logic of mythology, namely the impersonal world of modern science. Consequently, when considered from the perspectives of philosophical structure, impersonal content, and historical development, ancient mythology and modern science are seen to be identical in all vital and crucial respects. Thus, modern science is mythology since it partakes of the same philosophical structure, is animated by the same impersonalism, and forms the logical telos of mythology’s historical development.


Consequently, it is both hypocritical and short sighted for modern scientists to dismiss Christianity as myth. After all, since modern science is the most rigorously consistent form of mythology, such a change reveals a profound lack of awareness. Moreover, such a dismissal is also short sighted since it is precisely Christianity which sets forth the demythologized world upon which true science depends. However, in setting forth the cosmos as ultimate, modern science implicitly divinizes the universe (i.e., produces a mythological confusion between God and creation) and therefore sets forth an ultimate impersonalism. In so doing, it destroys the personal basis for a rational cosmic order and a receptive human mind, both of which are essential to the scientific enterprise.

In Christianity, by contrast, God’s triune nature ensures that God is self-dependent and therefore independent of the created order. God’s infinite personality is not reduced, nor is the creation divinize by a mythological confusion between God and creation. God remains God, and the cosmos remains the demythologized product of His handiwork. It is rationally ordered as a result of God’s fully conscious (omniscient) and all powerful (omnipotent) personality. Moreover, since man is created in God’s image, it is precisely God’s infinite personality which establishes man’s finite personality, and thus a receptive, scientific mind. Accordingly, science works precisely because Christianity is both true and personal. Given this fact, the long-term health of modern scientists to renounce their current mythology and embrace the Triune God.

May God be pleased to grant such repentance for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.



  1. Frutjof Capra, The Tao of Physics (Boston: Shambhala, 2000).
  2. Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane (New York: Harvest, 1957).
  3. P.T. Raju, The Green Asian Religions: An Anthology (New York: Macmillan, 1969).

Additional Comment

In the years since R.J. Rushdoony wrote The Mythology of Science, the apologetic target has shifted somewhat. Previously, apologetic encounters with scientists centered around the philosophy of Western materialism. Today, however, Eastern spiritualism is gaining an increasing foothold in the scientific community. Indeed, while a strong current of Western materialism still remains (as evidenced by the never-ending search for “fundamental particles”), there is an ever-growing tendency to interpret the results of cosmology and quantum mechanics in terms of various fields. Moreover, since these fields are thought to be nonmaterial, and all embracing, the attempt is often made to harmonize these field interpretations with Eastern spiritual concepts. Thus, due to the fact that the apologetic target has broadened somewhat, a broader approach will be needed in future discussions of faith and science. It is the problem in order to highlight some of the necessary considerations involved in a broadened apologetic. For the reader wishing to learn more about this new trend in science, Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics is strongly recommended since it is masterfully written and constitutes perhaps the first popularly written synthesis of physics as Eastern mysticism.


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Social Justice, Equity, and Revelation

The Law, the Gospel, and Social Justice

By John B. King, Jr., Ph.D.

Within a Biblical framework, the term “social justice” refers to a situation in which the equity of God’s law prevails, leveling society. As understood by liberals, however, “social justice” becomes a mere buzzword with racist and Marxist overtones. “No justice; no peace,” they cry as they fuel the flames of racial hatred and class envy to solidify their grip on power. As seen by this emphasis on class antagonism, the liberal view of social justice has definite economic implications. In particular, “social justice” is thought to include “economic justice” and thus a so-called “equitable distribution of wealth.” In other words, the liberal view is thoroughly socialist and therefore unbiblical to the core. Since God’s Word alone forms the necessary and sufficient basis for a just society, the liberal program produces a result that is neither social nor just.

That socialism is unbiblical follows from the fact that the forced redistribution of wealth violates both the law of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. With respect to the law, socialism violates the Eighth Commandment by allowing a person to claim another’s property. With respect to the gospel, socialism undercuts the concept of grace by holding that benevolence may be constrained by considerations of need. In other words, socialism entails a mindset in which salvation (in this case economic salvation) is a needs-based right rather than a gracious gift. Thus, in seeking to constrain salvation within a man made legal system, the liberal notion of social justice attacks both the law of God and the gospel of Christ. It is simultaneously antinomian and legalistic.


 The liberal view is antinomian because its program of wealth redistribution violates the equity of God’s property laws. For instance, according to the Eighth Commandment, a man may not steal his neighbor’s property (Ex. 20:15; Dt. 5:19). Since one may not steal even to sustain his life (Pr. 6:30, 31), it follows that even extreme need does not constitute a claim upon another person’s property. Biblical law bases property claims on ownership rather than need. Since one cannot use his need to claim another’s goods, it follows that the liberal view of social justice violates the equity of God’s law. Of course, some will argue that socialism is not stealing since the government has the power to tax. However, the legitimate taxing power of government pertains to functions like civil justice and common defense, from which everyone benefits and so must pay their fair share (Rom. 13:1-7). Programs like socialized medicine and public education involve an attempt to appropriate another’s property for one’s own personal use, and any such attempt is covetous and larcenous, even if the government acts as the middleman. Christians must oppose welfare, public education, and related socialist schemes in principle, and not just because of their high cost and ineffectiveness.

In levying property taxes, the government claims ultimate ownership of the land within its domain. In theory and in fact, home ownership is nullified by state ownership, and the supposed homeowners in fact rent from the state. A failure to pay property taxes results in a government lien against one’s property that has priority over all private claims. Continued failure to pay these liens eventually results in government foreclosure and sale of the home, thereby revealing the true locus of ownership. Thus, in assessing a property tax, the government implicitly claims ownership over the property itself thereby robbing the homeowner of his rightful claim. Since such a claim is implicit in every property tax (no matter how small), it is the principle of such a tax and not its amount that is so dangerous. Christians must oppose property taxes in principle, and not just quibble over the amount. The legitimate taxing authority of the government must operate through other means.

If the property tax implies state ownership of land, the income tax implies state ownership of people. After all, in working for a wage, a person is simply trading his knowledge, skill, and/or strength for money. Implicit in such an exchange is the assumption that the person owns himself first of all, and, therefore, the talents he possesses. Owning himself and his talents, he is free to exchange a specified use of them for a specified wage. However, when the government steps into this transaction and demands a share of the wages, it asserts its ownership over the person and his talents. Since the amount of the tax is determined strictly by the whim of the government and could therefore rise to 100%, the claim to state ownership is total in principle. Of course, since God is the ultimate owner of everyone, He is entitled to charge the income tax that He requires in the tithe. The state, however, is not God and therefore has no business imposing an income tax. In doing so, it asserts state ownership of people as units of production, thereby reduces its citizens to the status of slaves. Since such an assertion is implicit in every income tax (no matter how small), it is the principle of such a tax and not its amount that is so dangerous. Christians must oppose government income taxes in principle, and not just quibble over the amount. The legitimate taxing authority of the government must operate through other means.

The Social Gospel

In addition to violating the law of God, the liberal socialist program also violates the gospel. In particular, by seeking to constrain economic salvation by considerations of need, it turns such salvation into a needs-based right, rather than a gracious gift. Since charity and the gospel both rely on the principle of unconstrained benevolence, they are alike manifestations of a common principle of grace. In seeking to constrain benevolence, the liberal program directly attacks the very principle of grace upon which both charity and the gospel rest. Of course, the salvation to which the gospel refers is eternal, regenerative and, therefore, deeper and broader in its effect than a merely economic salvation (although in its regenerating power the gospel has economic implications as well). In advancing the principle that physical salvation is a needs-based right, socialism attacks the very character of grace and, therefore, lends itself to a parallel notion that eternal salvation is also a needs-based right. Thus, on the basis of socialist logic, one should shake his fist in the face of the Almighty, demanding eternal salvation apart from grace and apart from Christ simply because he needs it! As horrid as such a thought is, it is a direct consequence of the socialist idea. Christians must oppose socialism in principle since its core idea is antithetical to the gospel and, thus, to the central reality of the Christian Faith.

In opposing socialism, however, one must remember the legitimate and pressing needs of the poor. After all, God commands His people to remember the poor and give generously to them through tithes and offerings (Dt. 14:2-29; 16:10-14). Because the needs of the poor must be met, the state will naturally step in to fill the gap whenever Christians fail to meet legitimate social needs. In fact, it is precisely because Christians have largely abandoned their social responsibilities that the welfare state has arisen in the first place and then assumed such great authority.

To fight socialism it is necessary not only to oppose various welfare schemes, but even more basically to encourage tithing among all Christians so that the church has sufficient resources to meet various social needs. After all, when the church implements such a program, she, unlike the state, will be in a position to minister to the whole person and to provide loving guidance in addition to financial assistance. Because of this more personal approach, she will be able to give people a hand up and not just a handout. The social need, which is used to justify the welfare state, will wither away so that government programs implode from the lack of clients. At such a point, the electorate will be more receptive to political arguments calling for the elimination of such programs that will have become superfluous. Thus, the welfare state will be supplanted by a godly social program that will truly minister to the poor out of love and compassion.

Of course, such a program will be a far cry from current policies that imply that the poor can demand the property of others on the basis of physical need. After all, since Biblical charity is based on giving rather than taking, it is rooted in the concept of grace rather than coercion. And while it is true that God commands charity, it is at the same time free and voluntary since it is not enforced by the state. In contrast to the liberal view, the Biblical notion of social justice produces a result that is both social and just. It is social because people of varying economic means are drawn together through godly concern rather than wrenched apart by class warfare. It is also just, because a system based on giving rather than taking honors the property rights of the giver. Within the framework of Biblical law, true social justice prevails because mercy and justice come together to form a just society. May God give us clergy with the insight and integrity to declare these simple truths.


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Christian Individualism Vs Pagan ‘Common Good,’ (1)

Christian Individualism Vs. Pagan ‘Common Good’

Part 1

By Roger McKinney

“Marx Understood Benefits of Capitalism More Than Modern Socialists”

People in the West are confused about capitalism because they don’t know enough about socialism. Karl Marx had a greater respect for capitalism than do modern socialists or conservatives.

Karl Marx fabricated the term “capitalism” and defined it as the private ownership of the means of production. He did not conflate capitalism with commerce, as do most historians today who see shoots of capitalism sprouting throughout human history. Neither did the monasteries of medieval Europe birth capitalism as some historians claim. Is it really necessary to remind historians that monks owned no property and took vows of poverty? Monasteries were closer to the many small socialist experiments, like the kibbutzim of Israel. Marx saw the origins of capitalism in the 17th century.

Marx pretended to have discovered the secret forces of history that had led mankind from tribal economies through feudalism to capitalism and ultimately will usher in socialism. And he insisted that society must follow that sequence. They could not jump from feudalism to socialism because only capitalism could produce the wealth necessary for its socialist heirs to live in abundance. Trying to shorten the path would perpetuate poverty and misery. That’s why Marx was skeptical about the possibility of backward nations such as Russia succeeding with socialism.

Marx got everything else wrong, but he wasn’t so stupid that he couldn’t see the explosion of wealth created by capitalism since the 17th century and the poverty of backward nations that had not enjoyed the capitalist revolution. Deirdre McCloskey calls it the hockey stick of per capita income in his trilogy on the bourgeois virtues because according to economic historians, income had remained stagnant from the beginning of history until the rise of capitalism. World GDP didn’t begin to rise until the industrial revolution, but it began centuries earlier in the Dutch Republic, which was too small to impact world figures.

Reverse engineering Marx’s definition of capitalism it’s clear that he had in mind the economic system that caused the explosion of wealth in the UK and Western Europe since the 17th century and drove the rapidly rising wages of English workers of his day. If capitalism is just commerce, as historians write, then we don’t have a word for the system that caused the hockey stick wealth effect. What was that system and how did it come about?

The economic system in the UK that Marx wrote about resulted from the attempt to instantiate Adam Smith’s notion of a “system of natural liberty.” Marx relied on Smith for much of his knowledge of capitalism and derived his labor theory of value from Smith. But Smith didn’t invent capitalism. He was the last in a long line of scholastics dating back to Thomas Aquinas who studied “economics” as a sub-discipline of ethics. Smith’s first book was A Theory of Moral Sentiments. Smith inherited his economics from the Catholic theologians at the University of Salamanca, Spain of the 16th and 17th centuries. Possibly inspired by the Reformation, the Salamancan theologians ruptured 1,500 years of Church teaching on wealth and business. But the Church had not derived its economics from the Bible or the Judaism from which Christianity sprung, but from pagan philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and the Cynics, all of whom held commerce in contempt. Plato’s Republic deploys the Spartan system and Sparta was the first socialist state.

The Salamancan scholars abandoned the pagan philosophers and distilled their market principles from the Bible and natural law. Beginning with the Biblical sanctification of private property, they reasoned that property can exist only in a free market because property requires control by the owner and only free markets allow that control. Property and free markets also require limiting the state to only the protection of the life, liberty and property of the citizens.

The ideas of the Salamancan scholars were radical for their day, so radical that no country adopted them except the Protestant Dutch Republic. The Dutch had such a limited state that many observers claimed they didn’t have one. The great economic historian Angus Maddison said that the Dutch were the first people in European history to enjoy real protection for private property. As a result, the Dutch quickly became the richest nation in the world with the most powerful military. The French and British regularly attacked the Dutch for two hundred years but the Dutch successfully defended their tiny nation in every war. The Dutch were still a major power when Adam Smith wrote his Wealth of Nations and he cites the Dutch as having most fully implemented that system of natural liberty.

A first attempt at a definition of capitalism would say it is the system that makes property rights real through free markets and limitations on state intervention into the economy. But that is only a necessary condition, not a sufficient one. A system could protect property and still not be capitalist or enjoy rising wealth. Several other institutions are needed to make a system capitalist and create the explosive growth the West has enjoyed. Respect for business by most people, mass production and individualism are also necessary. Those will be discussed in Part 2 of Christian Individualism vs Pagan ‘Common Good.’


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Christian Individualism Vs Pagan ‘Common Good’ (2)

Christian Individualism Vs. Pagan ‘Common Good’

Part 2

By Roger McKinney

 “Freedom Is Not Enough: Prosperity Requires A Pro-Commerce Culture”

[The previous installment] in the series defining free market capitalism, we reverse-engineered Karl Marx’s definition of capitalism and found that it referred to the economic system that produced the hockey stick effect in per capita GDP beginning in the Dutch Republic of the 17th century, picking up England and Anglo nations, then the rest of Western Europe. The first principle of that system was protection of private property. That was a necessary, but by itself insufficient cause of the hockey stick. The remaining necessary traits are 1) respect for commerce, 2) mass production, and 3) individualism.

Deirdre McCloskey has expressed well the importance of respect for commerce in his trilogy about bourgeois virtues. If a country protects property but has contempt for commerce, the people won’t go into business but will do what most people in the world have always done: get into government or the military where the “respectable” means to wealth attainment reside. This was one of the main reasons most of Europe remained as poor in 1700 AD as it was in 2000 BC.

People in government extracted wealth from the masses through heavy taxation and enriched themselves. Generals grew rich through looting in war. Until the advent of capitalism, looting in war, kidnapping for ransom, and taking bribes as a government official were the respectable means to wealth. Commerce held as much appeal as prostitution.

In spite of the fact that much of Europe was predominantly Christian after, say, the year 500, the Church taught people to hold commerce in contempt. And they did. Businessmen were told that the sins inherent in their profession were so great that it would be impossible for them to go to heaven. So businessmen who grew wealthy in trade would give half of their wealth to the Church in hopes of buying their way into heaven, and spend the other half buying land and titles to nobility so they could rob their fellow citizens.

But the Church fathers didn’t get their views of commerce from the Bible or the Judaism from which Christianity sprang. Many of the Church fathers were recruited from among the nobility because of their education, political influence, and wealth, according to Peter Brown in Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD. Many were new to the faith and filled in the holes in their Biblical knowledge with the writings of pagan philosophers from Plato to Cicero, all of whom held commerce in low regard.

Pagan philosophy dominated the theology of wealth from the 2nd through the 15th century. In fact, pagan intellectuals have always dominated Church teaching on social issues with few exceptions. E. R. Norman drives home that point in Church and Society in England 1770 – 1970. The only exceptions took place when the leading intellectuals were also Christians, such as the Salamancan theologians, the founders of the Dutch Republic and the “clerical” economists in the UK and US during the 19th century. In the late 19th century most intellectuals were atheists and socialists, so Protestant and Catholic theologians became socialists as well.

The theologians of the University of Salamanca had the courage to break with the pagans and distill their economics from the Bible and natural law. McCloskey described the radical change in European values from the pagan contempt for commerce to the bourgeois virtues but fails to offer a convincing reason for the change. But the teaching of the Salamancan scholars explains it well. Their theology gave people permission to be pro-business and godly at the same time.

All of the poor countries today have failed to make the change in values that would give them respect for business as a means to wealth. The great economist Thomas Sowell details the trials and tribulations of “middleman minorities” in his Black Rednecks and White Liberals. Jews in Europe are the prototypical middleman minorities. Christians persecuted them relentlessly because Christians restricted them to business as their only means of support, barring them from government or the military. As business people, they became wealthy, and inflamed the envy of Christians.

Christians in Muslim nations, Chinese in Southeast Asia, Lebanese in West Africa, and Koreans in Los Angeles recently have all been middleman minorities engaged in commerce that made them wealthier than their neighbors. That wealth and their hated professions ignited envy, which boiled over into frequent riots and murder.

The issue of mass production is simpler. Many historians locate the origins of capitalism in the commercial cities of Northern Italy, such as Venice. Those cities did enjoy a healthy respect for commerce, but they lacked mass production. All production except for ship building in Venice, which was state-owned, was craft production in guilds. Craft production has always existed and so cannot explain an explosion in wealth like the ‘hockey stick’ because it never produced large increases in productivity. Such wealth creation can only take place when business people invest their wealth in new and better machines to aid workers and boost productivity. Ludwig von Mises wrote in Planned Chaos, “There is no means by which the height of wage rates can be raised for all those eager to earn wages other than through the increase of the per capita quota of capital invested.”

Craft production was always small production for the wealthy. Capitalism is mass production for the masses and that requires investment in capital goods. Hence the appropriate name, capitalism. That began to happen first in the Dutch Republic.

Capitalism requires 1) protection of property and free markets, 2) respect for commerce, 3) mass, capital-intensive production, and 4) individualism. I saved individualism for last because it is the most difficult, and we’ll discuss it next time.


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Christian Individualism Vs Pagan ‘Common Good,’ (3)

Christian Individualism Vs. Pagan ‘Common Good’

Part 3

By Roger McKinney

“Freedom from State Coercion”

Individualism is the root of all evil if you believe many theologians and sociologists today. For example, Philip bond wrote in First Things,

Liberalism finds its quintessential form in a market state that enforces individualism. The market state must abolish anything that stands in the way of unconstrained freedom; it must eliminate solidarity or shared associations with other people, places, or things. This gives liberalism a curious Maoist cast, as it seeks to dispel our settled notions, be they sexual, biological, or even of who counts as human. 

The current Pope has been a leading critic of individualism, according to a Catholic writer:

The Pontiff acknowledged that our Western culture, ”has exalted the individual to the point of making him an island, almost as if one could be happy on one’s own.” Stemming from it are ideological visions and political powers that “have squeezed the person, have standardized him, thus making room for economic powers that wish to exploit globalization, instead of fostering greater sharing among men, simply to impose a global market of which they themselves dictate the rules and draw the profits… the concept of person, born and matured in Christianity, helps in fact to pursue a fully human development.” Moreover, the word “person” always means relation, not individualism; it affirms inclusion, not exclusion, a unique and inviolable dignity and not exploitation, freedom and not constriction.

This is the last (3rd) article in a series defining free market capitalism. Part one contributed the first of four criteria, calling it the system that makes property rights real through free markets and government. Part two showed the need for respect for commerce and mass production. This article shows the importance of Christian individualism.

The hatred of individualism comes as a result of the withering of the concept of the “common good” in the West. The religious left continually thrusts the common good in our faces. Free marketeers rarely talk about it. As I explained here, the concept of the common good has a pagan genesis. In classical Greece and Rome, patricians beat the people to death, sometimes literally, with the common good. It meant nothing more than doing what the city or state leaders told you to do without complaining. After all, someone has to decide what the common good for the moment is and that someone is always those with the most power. In classical civilization it was the dictators; today it’s the tyrannical majority. Regular citizens, or slaves who made up most of the population, had no choices or rights against the dictates of the common good.

Then along came Christianity. According to Larry Siedentop in Inventing the Individual, Christianity broke the enslavement of the people to the common good. It gave to individuals rights that the state and powerful patricians could not take away. But Church fathers didn’t understand what they had in Christian individualism. They grasped that it made all races, nationalities, genders, freemen and slaves equal before God, but how would that work out in society? Blinded by the pagan philosophers who promoted submission to the common good, it took theologians 1,500 years to figure out how Christian individualism should reconstruct society.

Again, the theologians of the University of Salamanca, Spain, put it all together for us. Boiled down, Christian individualism limits the state to protecting the life, liberty and property of its citizens. It is freedom from state coercion. At the same time, Christian individualism encourages communities such as the family, church, school and voluntary organizations to carry out the work that it prevents the state from engaging in because of mankind’s inalienable rights.

That was how the West understood individualism up to the French Revolution. Then atheists and deists emptied the word and filled it with their own concoction of fake individualism. The left has championed that version since. Enlightenment individualism is that evil version that the religious left rants against even though the left created it. Hayek wrote in “Individualism: True and False” that the false individualism of the Enlightenment divorced people from all tradition, morality and solidarity with family, church or other communities. Each person became the measure of all things. If one could not grasp the long-term consequences of a principal, he was free to jettison it. Nothing he could not personally understand, and see the long-term consequences of it, was valid.

But humanity can’t bear so much freedom, so socialists rode to rescue people from the monster socialists had created: scientists would lead us ignorant masses to salvation through the power of the state. People owed no allegiance to any other person or group, but the state demanded absolute submission to the common good as determined by the scientists. The Enlightenment brought Europe full circle from the tyranny of the common good in Greece and Rome to the tyranny of the modern state in the name of the common good. Frederic Bastiat blamed the regression on the intense study of the classics in French schools.

On the other hand, capitalists praise individualism, especially the rugged American version. But they have a different definition in mind. Capitalists keep dredging up Christian individualism while leftists condemn their own child. Untangling the confusion over individualism is difficult because socialists have done a superb job of confusing everyone.

How does Christian individualism tie in with the hockey stick in per capita income? It seems like we have strayed a long distance from the topic, but we haven’t. Christian individualism was essential to the hockey stick as Helmut Schoeck pointed out in his great book, Envy: A Theory of Social Behavior. Envy is the enemy of innovation, commerce, and property. Envy demands that all of the people in the same class be alike in every way possible. It punishes those who excel, thus destroying innovation. It legislates equality of wealth, taking the property of those who have produced it honestly and giving it to others who have wasted theirs. Since innovation and earning wealth take place in commerce, envy condemns commerce as well. Finally, envy prevents mass production for the masses because it forbids the accumulation of wealth necessary for investment in capital goods that boost human productivity.

Adam Smith demonstrated that competition in free markets can control greed better than the state can. But Smith had little to say about envy. The only force equal to the power of envy has been traditional Christianity.

Capitalism requires property, free markets, respect for commerce, capital-intensive production for the masses and Christian individualism. But Christian individualism is the unifying force. It makes the other features of capitalism possible, while the socialist false individualism destroys all and leads to the tyranny of the common good.


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How ‘Christian Liberals’ Narratives Distort Jesus Words

Calling Good, Evil and Evil, Good: How ‘Christian Liberals’ Twist the Words of Jesus to Wage War on the Second Amendment

by Scott Morefield

When it comes to the gun control debate, there is little sunlight between the most ardent Marxist and politically liberal “Christians,” especially those of the so-called “Red-Letter” stripe.

So when a homicidal maniac shoots up a mall, a movie theater, a concert, or a school, as was tragically the case last week in Parkland Florida, both liberal Christians and run-of-the-mill Leftists bleated for the same unworkable solution – more gun control.

Run-of-the-mill Leftists, of course, are expected to trot out the disarmament song-and-dance. After all, how else do they expect to impose a totalitarian state on the populace? But how is it possible for even liberal-leaning followers of Christ to use the words attributed to him as justification to align themselves with the most godless, totalitarian regimes and belief systems? If self-defense is one of the most foundational, unalienable, God-given human rights, why are so many of His creatures hell-bent on taking it away from the rest of us?

The first installment of my series “Calling Good, Evil and Evil, Good: How ‘Christian Liberals’ Twist the Words of Jesus” dealt with Red Letter Christians (RLC) co-founder Shane Claiborne’s coming protest in Lynchburg, VA, the home of Jerry Falwell Jr.-led Liberty University, and the brutally-flawed “logic” these groups use to twist the words of Jesus to justify their Leftism.

The “logic” comes from the usual misinterpretation of Jesus’ words absent any context or attempt to line up with the rest of the Bible. For example, Clairborne’s “response” to the Parkland massacre? Why, beating “swords into plowshares,” of course, because that’s what Jesus would do. “If you want a concrete way to respond to the mass shooting in Florida,” Clairborne tweeted, “join us on March 21 as we beat an assault rifle into garden tools and #DemandTheBan.”

By #DemandTheBan, the gun controllers mean a ban on assault weapons, for now. It’s low-hanging fruit, naturally, because we all know it will never stop there. The ultimate goal has always been to brutally disarm the populace, so that only criminals, the super-rich, and the government have guns.

And they’re trying to co-opt the words of Christ to do the work of Satan.

In a post entitled, “What would Jesus say to the NRA,” Clairborne states his case for Christian pacifism based on the fact that Jesus came to earth to be a peaceful sacrifice, not a “butt-kicking” conqueror.

“Everything in Jesus’s world, just as in ours, contends that we must use violence to protect the innocent from violence,” writes the Red Letter Christians co-founder, “which is the very thing Jesus came to help us un-learn through his nonviolent life and death on the cross … The fact that Jesus carried a cross rather than a sword has something relevant and redemptive to offer our violent-possessed world. After all, the Bible has a lot to say about loving enemies, and ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ but doesn’t even mention the right to bear arms.”

Perhaps Clairborne doesn’t consider Exodus a part of the Bible, but most Christians still do. Exodus 22:2 says, “If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him.” Sure, they didn’t have guns then (he knows that, right?), but what is the homeowner striking the thief with, feathers?

Or how about Esther, when the Jews were allowed to “gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force” of attackers? Or the entire rest of the Bible, where weapons and self (and country) defense are never condemned and are a natural part of things except in context of the final, Christ-ruled Kingdom of God, where nobody will need them.

After all, in a land with no wolves, a plowshare will be much more useful than a sword.

But let’s go a bit deeper. There are many different nuances and beliefs on this issue within the Christian community, of course, but in general the key Biblical passages used to defend the concept of Christian pacifism and by extension, for some, Christian disarmament, are Romans 12:17-21, Matthew 5:38-39, and the famous “all who take the sword will perish by the sword” taken from Matthew 26:51-52, when Peter draws his sword in defense of Jesus and cuts off an assailant’s ear.

“Put your sword back into its place,” Jesus told Peter. “For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”

“Repay no one evil for evil,” writes Paul in his letter to the Romans, “but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’”

“But I say to you,” Jesus says in Matthew, “do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

Granted, if you strip all these passages from any context or understanding of the rest of the Bible, a Bible that both Jesus and Paul strongly affirmed, you might get the idea that Jesus wants Christians to submit themselves and those under their care to thieves, rapists, and even murderers. You might even get the idea that Christians have no business carrying a weapon for personal defense.

Except, “turn the other cheek” is merely a call to not return an insult for another insult (an insult was a ‘slap in the face,’ hence the cheek reference), not a commandment to allow an invader to burn your house down.

Regarding the Gethsemane incident, that Peter actually HAD a sword in the first place and had in fact been instructed to purchase one by Jesus is another problem passage for Christian pacifists. Granted, Peter was never meant to defend Jesus against those who were predestined to take him, but in dangerous times a weapon would have been a typical tool to defend against thieves and even wild animals. It is also worth noting that Jesus told him to put the sword “back into its place,” not to throw it away and never use it again.

As for the teachings of Paul, clearly there is a difference between personal vengeance and self-defense. The government is supposed to be our protection against evil (Romans 13), but what happens if the police are minutes away from a life-threatening attack that’s about to happen in seconds? And what happens if a government, as we’ve seen throughout history, turns evil and starts indiscriminately killing its citizens?

In truth, while Scripture clearly calls Christians to not engage in vengeance or vigilantism, the right to self-defense is as ingrained in the history of God’s people as it is in that of humanity.

From the Magna Carta to the American Revolution, from Nazi resistance to the revolts against Communism, if it weren’t for good people using arms (and other means) to defend themselves against evil people and especially evil governments, no freedom would exist on earth today.

Christian liberal pietists can argue that establishing freedom and peace is the responsibility of Christ alone, but here on earth, for now, Christ uses his people, and he gives them tools to do it.

If I Timothy 5:8 says a man who “does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household” has “denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever,” how much worse would that man be if he allowed his wife to be raped and his children to be slaughtered in front of him?

Finally, if the second commandment proscribed by Jesus is to love our neighbor as ourselves, is failing to do what we can to protect the innocent truly seeking to obey THOSE Red Letter words?


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The Future of the West: Restoration of American Liberty?


By Dr. Gary North

The greatest single threat to liberty in the West is what it has been for at least a century: the expansion of administrative law. This system is extending the power of central governments into every nook and cranny of the West. Bureaucracies have created administrative law courts that have been substituted for civil courts all over the West. Bureaucratic agencies provide their own judges. They serve as their own juries. Then they execute the laws that they have interpreted autonomously. This process is well developed, and it appears to be irresistible. It is the overturning of the Western legal tradition, as described by Harold Berman in his Introduction to Law and Revolution (1983).

This process is relentless. It is not affected by politics. It is protected in the United States by Civil Service rules. All over the West, comparable protections exist. These people are tenured. They cannot be fired. Their word is the law. This system is manifested in the United States by the Federal Register, which publishes over 80,000 pages of fine-print regulations every year.

There is only one way to stop the growth of administrative law: budget cuts. Nothing else offers any hope whatsoever.

I do not think there is any possibility over the next two decades to de-fund the federal government. Yet I do think there is hope. There is going to be a Great Default. Washington at some point is not going to be able to pay its bills. The unfunded liabilities of Medicare and, to a lesser extent, Social Security will eventually force the bankruptcy of the federal government. The magnitude of these liabilities has been discussed by Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff in his testimony to the Senate Budget Committee in 2015. The only way to stop it will be to cut off granny. But granny is part of the best organized voting bloc in the United States: oldsters.

From a political point of view, the oldsters are unstoppable. From a governmental point of view, administrative law is unstoppable. Sometime no later than 2030, there is going to be a collision between these two unstoppable forces. One of them is going to prove to be unstoppable. The other one is not only going to be stopped, it is going to be reversed.

I think the oldsters are unstoppable.

Eventually, there will be a Great Default that will make it impossible for Washington to control state and local governments. This is a positive development. It will lead to political decentralization. It is going to lead to a new birth of liberty. But between now and then, there is going to be guerilla war inside the federal government.

Here, I am focused on the transition period in between the arrival of the Great Default and the permanent de-funding of Washington.


The central political question that will begin sometime around 2025 will be this one: “Who gets the loot when 100% of the federal budget is nondiscretionary?”

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will continue to absorb the lion’s share of the federal budget. This is statistically inevitable. The Great Default will not begin with a cutback of checks going to old people. It will begin with cutbacks of checks going to the Pentagon and the administrative state. That is because the Pentagon and the administrative state do not have organized voting blocs comparable to AARP and the Gray Panthers. Granny is going to get an increasing share of the federal pie.

The Great Default is going to begin inside the federal budget. As the administrative state is cut back, regulatory power over state and local governments is going to shrink. That is going to be the beginning of the restoration of American liberty. But along with the reduction in regulation will come a reduction of transfer payments to local governments. That also is crucial for the restoration of American liberty.

My timetable may be off. It may not take until 2030 for the entire budget to become nondiscretionary. Whenever it does, the political battles over who gets the loot will escalate into a bureaucratic war over funding. The gloves will come off the iron fists.

It’s going to be a question of guns or granny.

Subsidize granny.

Here is the number-one fact of this confrontation. Granny is going to get her money. The politicians will respond to the electorate. They are going to have to cut the funding to the regulatory agencies if they are going to expand the funding of Medicare and Medicaid. Politically, they will have to expand the funding of Medicare and Medicaid.

Money talks. When money gets re-directed to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, it will have to be redirected from something. It is going to have to be redirected from the existing executive bureaucracies. In other words, it will come at the expense of administrative law and the administrative state.


Here is my position. The expansion of the federal welfare state offers the greatest mid-term hope for American liberty today. The expansion of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security is politically unstoppable. It is actuarially unstoppable. This means that the politicians are going to have to put everything else in the budget on the chopping block. This will include the Pentagon. This will also include the administrative state.

The federal welfare state is limited by the ability of the federal government to collect revenues. As I have said repeatedly, this limit is about 20% of GDP.

There is nothing that the government can do to increase this. It will have to borrow to increase spending. Who will lend? Government agencies, the general public, and the Federal Reserve. They will never be repaid. The Great Default will come at their expense.

Politics in the next two decades will be about divvying up the loot. It always is about that, but when all of the federal government’s nondiscretionary budgets can no longer be funded, some of them are going to be cut. The question is this: “Which budgets will be cut?” I am confident that these will not be the budgets of Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. Yet these are the fiscal monsters.

Here is what I have never put in print before, but I’m finally ready to do it: The federal welfare state is our mid-term friend.

Where would I rather see the money go? Do I want see it to go to the Pentagon? No. Do I want to see it go to the administrative state? No. Do I believe that there is any politically conceivable way to shut down the federal government? No. Would I like to see the federal government default on the debt? Yes, but I don’t think it’s politically conceivable over the next two decades.

Then where is the money going to come from? Nobody is willing to ask this question in public, least of all national politicians.

A lot of sacred cows are going to get slaughtered before 2030 arrives. They will continue to get slaughtered all through the 30’s.

The administrative state is the great enemy of Western civilization. All over the West, it is going to be cut back as a result of the unstoppable expansion of welfare spending on the old age voting bloc.

I am self-interested. Most people are. I would rather see my generation suck the money out of 95% of the federal government rather than let the rest of the government continue to grow. I say this: hooray for the baby boomers. They are going to get their grasping hands on a growing percentage of the federal budget. Yes, this is looting. But somebody is going to loot the Treasury. It is a lot better to let old people loot it rather than let the administrative state and the Pentagon loot it.

Nondiscretionary spending will be the political battlefield by 2025. I am not sure how the forces on the battlefield will line up. I know this much: it will be a three-way battle. The Pentagon, the administrative state, and the oldsters are going to appeal to the public for a greater share of the pie.

The general public does not understand the administrative state. It will be difficult for the various bureaucracies to make an effective appeal to voting blocs. Their voting blocs are too small. There is no voting bloc for administrative law as such. There are only supporters of particular kinds of regulations. It is easy to make fun of bureaucrats in general.

The voters are generally gung-ho for the Pentagon. Certainly, the conservative movement is.

My guess is that the cuts are going to begin in these cabinet-level departments: Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Transportation, Energy, Education, Environmental Protection, Small Business, and the United Nations.

I am sure of this: the oldsters are going to get a growing percentage of the pie. The battle between the Pentagon and the administrative state can go either way. The conservatives will back the Pentagon. The Democrats will probably back the administrative state. One or the other is going to surrender a portion of its budget to the other. But both of them will surrender to the oldsters.

When push comes to shove, the voters would rather see the money go to their parents than to the Pentagon. If it does, there is at least an outside possibility that their parents will not move in with them.

I will escalate this statement. In a crisis, the voters would rather see their parents move in with them while still receiving federal checks rather than not receiving them.

For 40 years, I have argued that there will be a political clash between the generations: retirees vs. workers. That day will come. But before it does, there will be a grand political alliance: working-age adults who don’t want their parents to move in, plus retirees who don’t want to move in. This will be an unstoppable alliance.

The voters are going to be willing to cut back the money that goes to the American Empire by way of the Pentagon if that is what it takes to keep the money flowing to oldsters. There will be political agreement among the generations on this issue. The generals are going to have their budgets cut. So are the admirals. So are the bureaucrats who regulate the American economy.

Lyndon Johnson tried to fund guns and butter. Whoever is President in 2021 is going to have a decision to make: guns or granny?


I believe that ideas have consequences. I also believe that money talks. I think ideas have consequences after it is clear who has the money. At that point, somebody had better do the persuasive talking.

I think the fundamental political questions that lie ahead of us are fiscal. In other words, I think they really do have to do with money. They will lead to political battles.

At some point, the federal government will not be able to support granny. It will already have decimated the Pentagon and the administrative state. At this point, ideas really will begin to have consequences. The administrative state will be a shadow of what it is today. The federal welfare state will also have imploded. But this will happen in stages. The oldsters’ budget will be the last large slice of the pie.

I am hoping that in the transition period, which could last well over a decade, the conservative movement and the Christian activist movement will begin to sort out the issues of centralism versus decentralization. In other words, I hope that the conservatives and Christians will go back to an outlook that prevailed before 1787. We can never go back entirely. History moves forward. But there are principles that do survive over time. The anti-Federalists had it right in 1787. The battle over dividing up the loot in Washington is going to expose the Constitutional settlement as a deeply flawed experiment. Americans are going to have to re-think the relationship between Washington and local governments. It has been a one-way train to centralization ever since 1788. This is exactly what the anti-Federalists predicted.

That train is going to derail no later than 2050. I won’t be around to see it. I hope you will.

Will the conservatives and the Christians have some kind of philosophically grounded, morally grounded worldview to justify the re-establishment of decentralized political power in 2050? Jeffersonianism did not prove successful in resisting Hamiltonianism. Madisonianism could not balance the scales. No one is writing a rap musical titled Henry.

Ideas have consequences, but it is not clear who will have the ideas. I think we are going to have at least a decade in which the issue of decentralization will be one of the crucial political issues in America. When Washington’s checks bounce, because the money is going to granny, America’s academics, intellectuals, social theorists, website editors, and even a handful of pastors will have to deal with the fiscal and political reality that nobody is talking about today.

Money talks. People listen. People think. They come up with new ideas. Then ideas have consequences.

Today’s dominant ideas will not shape what happens over the next 35 years. Money will shape it. More to the point, the absence of money will shape it. The battle over the nondiscretionary budgets will shape it.

This is the grand opportunity today. It is time for serious thinkers to begin thinking seriously about a world in which the nondiscretionary budgets of all national governments in the West must be re-allocated to meet the growing demands of the retired oldsters.

The outcome of this budgeting process and the re-thinking of this process will re-shape society around the world between 2050 and 2100.


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