The Bible, Unborn Human Life, and Modern Abortion

Are There Verses in the Bible that Support Abortion?

by Gary DeMar

Michael Brown has published a good article on abortion and the Bible: “Are There Really Verses in the Bible That Support Abortion?” It’s worthwhile reading. It’s a relatively short article and covers a lot of ground.

Brown writes the following about a critical text about abortion:

The question, then, is simple: Does the Torah consider the unborn baby to be a human life, in which case any harm done to the baby will be repaid in kind (as in eye for eye, etc.)? Or does the Torah consider the unborn baby to be more like a possession (say, like a cow or a lamb), in which case a miscarriage is not equivalent to murder?

There is serious debate among Hebrew scholars concerning this, and while I personally lean strongly towards the translation found in the ESV (compare the NET’s “and her child is born prematurely”), we can’t be absolutely dogmatic.

I also prefer the English Standard Version’s translation because it’s a literal translation: “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman so that her children come out…” Not all translations translate the passage literally.

Jacob Shelton, writing for Weird History, claims that the translation of Exodus 21:22-25 was altered to support the GOP and the Christian Right because of its anti-abortion stance. Here’s his line of argument:

In the 1975 version of the New American Standard Biblethe verse read: “And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is not further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide.”

In 1995, the verse was changed to read: “If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury…

The words were changed in the 1995 version in order to make it so the fetus doesn’t die in the verse, thus supporting the Christian Right’s pro-life message that killing a fetus is the same as killing a human, and the Bible says so.

Shelton may be “a know it all when it comes to horror movies, serial killers, government conspiracies, comic books, and movies about comic books,” as he describes himself, but he does not know much about the Bible and Bible translations.

The goal of translating the Bible into another language is to make it as accurate, readable, and as assessable as possible for people who can’t read the original languages. Every translation has gone through revisions, even the KJV. In fact, every new translation that is published is an attempt to make the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek a better translation. Some translations try to do this by smoothing out the original language to get the essence of the meaning while others try to be as literal as possible without being wooden. That’s why you will see in some translations (e.g., KJV and NASB) words in italic to indicate that they are not in the original language. They are added to make a passage more understandable.

Let’s put Mr. Shelton’s claim that the NASB editors changed its translation of Exodus 21:22 for political reasons to the test:

First, Exodus 21:22–25 deals with a judicial case where two men struggle (fight) with each other. We are not told why they are fighting. A pregnant woman is standing near enough that she is affected by the altercation. She goes into premature labor. This case law covers all the “cases,” everything from no harm to the mother and her prematurely born children (plural) to harm resulting in death to the mother and one or more of her unborn children.

Second, the woman is not deciding to have an abortion. At one level, it’s an accident that she goes into labor. At another level, however, the men should not have been fighting, so there is some liability. The woman could be the wife of one of the men.

Third, the text is clear, she is pregnant with at least one child: “And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child. . .” (Ex. 21:22). The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon defines hareh as a pregnant woman with child. It’s clear that she is not carrying around a mass of undefined tissue that becomes a human being when “it” exits the sanctuary of the womb.

Fourth, the Bible attributes self-consciousness to unborn babies, something that modern medicine has studied and acknowledged. Jacob and Esau “struggled together within” their mother’s womb (Gen. 25:22). The New Testament offers a similar glimpse into prenatal consciousness: “And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:41). “Struggling” and “leaping” are the result of consciousness. Jacob and Esau fighting inside the womb is indicative of their continued fighting outside the womb. John leaps in reaction to Mary’s pregnancy.

Fifth, some commentators claim that in Exodus 21:22 the death of a “fetus,” either accidentally or on purpose, is nothing more than a property crime rather than the killing of a human being. The Bible teaches otherwise. The original Hebrew reads: “And if men struggle with each other and strike a pregnant woman so that her children [yeled] come out….” Notice that the text uses the word “children,” not “products of conception.” The Hebrew word for “children” in this verse is used in other contexts to designate a child already born. For example, in Exodus 2:6 we read: “When Pharaoh’s daughter opened [the basket], she saw the child [yeled], and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, ‘This is one of the Hebrews’ children [yeled].’” Since in the Exodus case these are “children that come out,” they are persons, not body parts like an appendix or a kidney.

Sixth, if there is no injury to these individuals—the mother and her prematurely delivered child or children—then there is no penalty. If there is injury, then the judges must decide on an appropriate penalty based on the extent of the injury either to the mother and/or her children because both are persons in terms of biblical law.

Seventh, some translations have “so that she has a miscarriage.” As Shelton points out, the translators of 1977 edition of the New American Standard Bible used “miscarriage.” The 1995 translation is better (“she gives birth prematurely”), but it still does not capture the literal rendering of the Hebrew. In a marginal note, the NASB translators recognize that the literal meaning of the text is “her children come out.”

It’s frustrating to read translations that include marginal notes telling us what it really says literally. Translate it literally, and then use the margin to offer an explanation if needed. Other translations have a more word-for-word translation, for example, the ESV. Here’s another example:

When men get in a fight and hit a pregnant woman so that her children are born [prematurely] but there is no injury, the one who hit her must be fined as the woman’s husband demands from him, and he must pay according to judicial assessment (Holman Christian Standard Bible).

Notice that it’s “so that her children are born.” Here’s another from Young’s Literal Translation (1898):

And when men strive, and have smitten a pregnant woman, and her children have come out, and there is no mischief, he is certainly fined, as the husband of the woman doth lay upon him, and he hath given through the judges.

Note the date (1898), long before there was a Christian Right, long before abortion became a national moral tragedy when the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973.

Eighth, there are two Hebrew words that fit the circumstances of miscarriage or premature birth: “There shall be no one miscarrying [shakal] or barren in your land” (Ex. 23:26; also, Hosea 9:14). The Hebrew word for “miscarriage” was available to Moses since it appears just two chapters later.

Another example is found in Job: “Or like a miscarriage [nefel] which is discarded, I would not be” (Job 3:16). Meredith G. Kline offers a helpful summary of the passage:

This law found in Exodus 21:22–25 turns out to be perhaps the most decisive positive evidence in scripture that the fetus is to be regarded as a living person…. No matter whether one interprets the first or second penalty to have reference to a miscarriage, there is no difference in the treatments according to the fetus and the woman. Either way the fetus is regarded as a living person, so that to be criminally responsible for the destruction of the fetus is to forfeit one’s life…. The fetus, at any stage of development, is, in the eyes of this law, a living being, for life (nephesh) is attributed to it…. Consistently in the relevant data of Scripture a continuum of identity is evident between the fetus and the person subsequently born and Exodus 21:22–25 makes it clear that this prenatal human being is to be regarded as a separate and distinct human life.1

Umberto Cassuto, also known as Moshe David Cassuto (1883–1951), was a Jewish rabbi and biblical scholar born in Florence, Italy. In his commentary on Exodus, he presents an accurate translation of the passage based on the nuances of the Hebrew:

When men strive together and they hurt unintentionally a woman with child, and her children come forth but no mischief happens—that is, the woman and the children do not die—the one who hurts her shall surely be punished by a fine. But if any mischief happens, that is, if the woman dies or the children, then you shall give life for life.2

Note the date – 1967. Before Roe v. Wade and before the rise of the so-called Christian Right. Cassuto was a Jew and not a Christian.

Ninth, the King James Version takes a different translation approach, but it is consistent with the text that “children” are “coming out.” The KJV reads, “If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine” (Ex. 21:22). The use of the word “fruit” is a descriptive euphemism for a child in the Old Testament (Gen. 30:2) and the New Testament (Luke 1:42). Elizabeth responded to Mary this way when she learned of Mary’s pregnancy:

And she spake out with a loud voice, and said,
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

Mr. Shelton needs to do a bit more investigative digging before he publishes fake history as real history and fake exegesis as real exegesis.

Modern legal theory is schizophrenic. While a woman can choose to kill her unborn child, if a woman loses her child in the commission of a crime, the perpetrator can be charged with manslaughter if the unborn baby dies. This law has been changed in the very pro-abortion state of New York where cats have more rights than unborn babies.

“New York prides itself on being first,” said the bill’s sponsor in the state Assembly, Manhattan Democrat Linda Rosenthal, who said she expects other states to follow suit. “This will have a domino effect.”

Rosenthal also proposed a bill “to bar schools from conducting lessons that involve the hatching of animals.”

Here’s how the folks at Albany Update described Rosenthal’s inconsistency by protecting unhatched chickens but not unborn babies:

However, we find it bewildering that the Assembly-member is a co-sponsor of the abortion expansion bill known as the Reproductive Health Act (RHA). How can a person be so concerned about the plight of baby chicks (including chicks that have not yet hatched) and so unconcerned about the plight of baby humans?

*****

Article from: americanvision.org/19767/are-there-verses-in-the-bible-that-support-abortion

Does it not seem abnormal and barbaric for women to be granted a special-right to kill their own child when there are so many other options that do not require the taking of a human life, for one’s own convenience? (GospelBBQ)

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Posted in All-Encompassing Gospel, Law of Christ, Theology/Philosophy, Worldview/Culture, X-Americana, Z-Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Discrimination, Race, and Social Justice

Thomas Sowell on Discrimination, Race, and Social Justice

The famed economist and social theorist sat down to talk about race, discrimination, crime rates, and cultural attitude shifts.

By David Hogberg

A newly updated version of Thomas Sowell’s book, “Discrimination and Disparities,” came out this spring. The author and famed economist sat down with writer David Hogberg to talk about it and his life’s work.

David Hogberg: I want to read to you something that a currently very popular actress by the name of Brie Larson said at a recent awards show. She stated that, “USC Annenberg’s Inclusiveness Initiative released findings that 67 percent of the top critics reviewing the 100 highest grossing movies in 2017 were white males.  Less than a quarter were white women and less than 10 percent were unrepresented men. Only 2.5 percent of those top critics were women of color. Now you’re probably thinking right now that … doesn’t represent the country I live in. And that’s true. This is a huge disconnect from the U.S. population breakdown of 30 percent white men, 30 percent white women, 20 percent men of color, and 20 percent women of color. So, why does that matter? … If you make a movie that is a love letter to women of color, there is an insanely low chance a woman of color will be able to see your movie and review your movie … We need to be conscious of our bias and do our part to make sure that everyone is in the room.”

That’s an example of the main fallacy that you expose in your book, correct?

Thomas Sowell:  It’s one of the many fallacies. My God! We could play the same game with basketball and get even greater skewed representation. Blacks are the vast majority of basketball players in the NBA. That quote is downright silly.

What’s become so frustrating to me over the years is people who assume that if people or events are not evenly represented, then that’s some deviation from the norm. But you can read through reams of what scholars have written and find that nowhere is this norm to be found. You can read people like Gradell and others who have studied internationally various cultural events, and they say again and again that nowhere do they find a distribution of people who is representative of the population of the larger society.

So [people like Larson] are taking something that no one can find and making it a norm, the deviations from which should cause the government to intervene to correct this supposedly rare thing.

Hogberg: What is the “Invincible Fallacy”?

Sowell: It’s what been illustrated by the example you mentioned.  It’s the belief that people would be, in the normal course of events, proportionally represented in various endeavors in the way they are represented in the general population. And if that doesn’t happen it must be some kind of negative factor like either genetics or discrimination that is causing the deviation.

What’s frustrating is that I can come up with 100 examples to the contrary, but the people who believe in the fallacy do not have to produce even one example—not one speck of evidence  from anywhere in the world over thousands of years of human history that what they are asserting is the norm has ever, in fact, happened. 

For example, there is a book called “Why Nations Fail” that asks, why are there such economic disparities among nations? It compared the U.S. to Egypt and asked, why has Egypt failed?  The authors wrote as though what happens in the U.S. is the norm. When, if anything, what happens in Egypt is closer to a norm. In any case, they are assuming that there is this natural tendency among nations that has somehow been thwarted in Egypt and therefore we must do something about that.

Hogberg: If you were to make a list of the causes of disparities with the most important causes being at the top of the list and the least important toward the bottom, where would discrimination be?

Sowell:  I wouldn’t even attempt to rank them since there are so many causes. Just one that I mention in the first chapter of the book is being the first-born child in a family. First-born children tend to have higher IQs than their siblings. They are generally more successful in all sorts of endeavors, they tend to have higher incomes—you can run through the list. There are so many reasons for disparities that to single out one reason a priori is almost madness.

Hogberg: So what impact does discrimination have?

Sowell:  It can have some negative effect. But that is the whole point. When you say A has a certain effect on B, it does not mean that every time you see B you can infer A. One example wholly away from economics or politics is that some children are years late, later than most children, in beginning to talk. Some of them have very severe mental retardation. Because there are many reasons that some children begin talking late does not mean that we can say that mental retardation has nothing to do with it.  But there are other children who talked late and grew up to be intelligent and in some cases geniuses like Albert Einstein.

I didn’t write a book that says discrimination has no effect. There’d be no point in my writing a whole chapter on discrimination in the book if discrimination had no effect.  I did write this book to say that disparities arise from all kinds of factors.

Hogberg: Is it possible for people to face severe discrimination and still prosper?

Sowell:  Yes. The Jews are a classic example. So are the overseas Chinese. Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. You could run through a long list of them.

Hogberg: How important is geography in affecting outcomes?

Sowell: Huge. Just one of the reasons it is important is the enormous difference in the cost of land transport versus water transport. One example I note in the book is that in the days of the Roman Empire you could ship cargo the length of the Mediterranean Sea, more than 2,000 miles, at a cost less than the cost of carting that same cargo 75 miles inland. So, if you lived 75 miles inland, you had nothing like the prosperity that you had on the coast.

And while modern transportation has eased some of that cost, it has by no means eliminated it. So even now, if you are born up in the mountains and someone else is born in the river valley, then the odds are huge against you of ever being as prosperous as that person born near the river.

Hogberg: Before I move on from our discussion the Invincible Fallacy, I want to briefly talk about genetic determinism. Today, the idea that difference between races is due solely to genetics is pretty much limited to the political fringes in the U.S. But 100 years ago it was huge among the intelligentsia, correct?

Sowell: Absolutely. For example, John Maynard Keynes set up the first eugenics society at Cambridge. And there were many others—Madison Grant, Woodrow Wilson, Harold Laski, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells. In fact, I just recently I was looking back over R.H. Tawney’s 1931 book “Equality.” He’s this great egalitarian who says in passing that there is proof of the genetic inferiority of certain peoples.

Hogberg: Now, regarding the practice of discrimination, in your book you note that even if, say, employers are racist and they want to discriminate in their hiring practices, there are often powerful forces that may prevent them from doing so. Can you explain?

Sowell:  It depends on the context. If, for example, it is an industry operating in a labor market in which there is a chronic surplus of qualified job applicants, then it costs the employer nothing to turn away qualified applicants from groups he doesn’t like and instead hire people from groups he does like that are still qualified.

But you seldom have that in a free market because wages adjust over time. You may have temporary surpluses or shortages, but those things tend to self-correct. It is when you have something like the minimum wage law, where you raise the wage rate above where it would be in a free market. Therefore, you increase the amount of workers available to the industry but you reduce the quantity of workers that employers demand because labor is now more expensive. And so you create a chronic surplus of labor.

I go into detail about the minimum wage in the book. And what is fascinating to me is to look back to 1948, when, for all practical purposes, the minimum wage law didn’t apply because inflation had made all wages above what was specified in the law. At that time not only was unemployment as a whole a fraction of what it is today, there was no difference between the unemployment rate of black teenagers and white teenagers. Today that seems almost impossible to believe.

It’s only later on, when politicians started increasing the minimum wage to keep up with inflation and so on, that’s when the total unemployment of teenagers in general became some multiple of what it was in 1948. And that’s when a gap opened up between the unemployment rate of black teenagers and white teenagers.

So, the increase in unemployment among black teenagers was not due to racism, which was at least as great in 1948 as it is today. Rather, the cost of discrimination to the discriminator had changed. You lowered the cost of discrimination. As you would expect, you lower the cost and more is demanded.

Hogberg: There were even costs to discrimination in South Africa, correct?

Sowell: Even in South Africa. That was the classic case. And I use that example in the book instead of getting bogged down in these questions about how much racism exists and so forth. I deliberately picked the country where there is no question at all about the racism of the people in control of the country. Which is to say that the whites had openly proclaimed white supremacy. And yet in South Africa, there were occupations where the black workers outnumbered the white workers even though it was illegal to hire any black workers in that occupation. And this was not due to the white employers having different social views. Rather, the cost to them of not hiring blacks was just too high.

If I may, just the other day I came across an article about how employers setting up new factories in the United States have been deliberately locating those factories away from concentrations of black populations because they find it costlier to hire blacks than to hire whites with the same qualifications. The reason is that the way civil rights laws are interpreted, it is so easy to start a discrimination lawsuit which can go on for years and cost millions of dollars regardless of the outcome.

It makes no sense from a business standpoint to hire a black worker if a white worker can be hired with the same qualifications who can’t start a lawsuit. So what this suggests is that when you give some people special rights, those special rights have special costs, not only to other people but to the people with special rights.

Hogberg: Related to discrimination, you have a section where you note that Harlem, which was predominately white in the early 20th century, was less hostile toward blacks when it came to providing housing that blacks could afford than San Francisco is today. Please explain.

 Sowell: The landlords of Harlem weren’t less hostile toward blacks, they were more hostile. The realtors and building owners were assuring the white tenants that they were not going to let any blacks move into Harlem and, thus, there was no reason for their tenants to leave. Well, as it turned out that was a bad prediction. And my point is the reason it failed was the cost to the discriminators.

Now, if every single realtor in Harlem had stood firm on not letting blacks into Harlem, then Harlem might not be black today. But even racists, who prefer one race to another by definition, tend to prefer themselves most of all. So if a landlord has a building where he is having trouble finding tenants at the prices he wants to charge, but he can find blacks willing to pay those prices, then he is not going to pass up that money. Most people would not. And once that process starts, it becomes costlier and costlier for the holdouts among landlords and realtors to continue holding out.

Now, in San Francisco, they have restricted the supply of housing by restricting the building of housing. And there is no cost—people who already own houses or apartment buildings can easily vote to restrict the building of more housing. That causes the price of existing housing to go up. So, by 2005, the number of blacks living in San Francisco was less than half of what it had been in 1970 even though the total population of the city had increased. And that’s because more and more blacks were priced out of the housing market and forced economically to leave San Francisco.

So I doubt there was anywhere near the amount of hostility toward blacks in San Francisco in the late 20th century as there was toward blacks in Harlem one hundred years earlier. But where the cost of discrimination was low, people discriminated and where it was high they had to give it up.

Hogberg: Let’s talk about crime. You write, “Statistics cited in support of claims that the police target blacks usually go no farther than showing that the proportion of black people arrested greatly exceeds the roughly 13 percent of the American population who are black.” Why is that charge misleading?

Sowell:  It’s misleading because what is relevant is not the percentage of people in a population but the percentage of people who are doing a given thing, in this case committing crimes. As long as there has been data collected, the homicide rate among blacks has been some multiple of the homicide rate among whites. Among blacks and whites, murderers tend to kill people among their own race. It’s the one area where segregation still reigns. And so, therefore, the relevant comparisons are the number of black homicide victims as compared to white victims and the number of blacks arrested for homicide as compared to whites.

The media have this thing where they do not mention the race of people who commit a crime but they do mention the race of people who are punished for committing a crime. Well, just from that one inconsistency you can generate a whole range of outrageous rhetoric about how the cops are targeting blacks.

There have been studies, for example, of people who are speeding on the highway, and they show that blacks speed more than whites. Therefore, it is not at all surprising if the cops pull over more black motorists than white motorists. So the whole argument that cops are discriminating against blacks falls apart when you put facts into the equation. Unfortunately, there are lots of people who have great incentive to avoid putting facts into the equation.

Hogberg: In other books you talk about what you call the “cracker culture” among blacks. What is that, and how much does that have to do with the higher crime rates in black areas in the U.S.?

Sowell: It’s many things. It’s a culture that is far more violent. It is far less oriented around education or entrepreneurship. It puts far less emphasis on human capital. Andrew Carnegie once went down to Birmingham and saw iron ore and coal located very close to each other. He wondered why someone hadn’t thought to build a steel mill there. The transportation costs of bringing the coal and iron ore together would be relatively cheap.

But, of course, the people in Alabama were not the same as Andrew Carnegie. And even years later when they did develop a steel industry in the South, the more complicated things that had to been done with steel were still being done Pittsburgh and Gary, Indiana and other places in the North because they did not have the same skills in the South.

Now, the white population in the American South has had a higher violent crime rate than the white population of the rest of the country. Nor is this unusual. The murder rates in Eastern Europe have for centuries been some multiple of the murder rates in Western Europe. Like so many things that should theoretically be equal, they’re not, and they never have been.

Now, of course, over 90 percent of blacks in the U.S. came out of the South at some point in history. And so it’s not surprising that they bring many of the same cultural attitudes of Southern Whites to the North, East and wherever else they settle.

There is a whole history behind these things. But whatever the history, these groups were culturally different whether they were black or white or whatever.

Hogberg: You have a section on merit versus productivity, and you discuss the difficulties in judging merit in the sense of moral worth. Can you talk about that?

Sowell: Merit is the extent to which outcomes are due to the virtues of the particular individual compared to those circumstances the individual was born into or encountered in the larger world. I find it hard to believe that anyone specifically thinks that he can separate those things out in order to tell who is meritorious. Perhaps a mass murderer would have turned out to be a humanitarian under some other conditions, but we don’t know what those other conditions would be, and we certainly don’t know how to change him from a mass murderer into a humanitarian. And so we have to deal with things as they are.

What we can judge is productivity. We do know that someone will, say, produce a certain amount of a product per hour, while someone else will produce a lot more and someone else will produce a lot less. One of the problems of the political left is that they come up with things that they want to do, but pay very little attention to the key question of can you actually do those things? For example, wealth redistribution.

Those on the political left have no question in their minds that they can determine which rich people are unworthy and thus it is justifiable to confiscate wealth from them, and which poor people are worthy and should be given that wealth. One of the key problems for such schemes is that the source of wealth is human capital—the skills and knowledge about how to generate wealth.

Human capital is inside people’s heads and it can’t be confiscated. You can confiscate money and wealth and all the tangible things that you want to, but those things wear out over time. And unless you have someone there who can generate some more, you are worse off than before.

There are countries that have gone through that process and I mention some of them in the book. Some group in a country is prospering wonderfully and then a political leader says, well they have too much, we’ll take it from them. In some cases, they expel that group and in other cases, those people flee to a different country because they are tired of people taking their wealth.

Hogberg: Let me pose a related question. In Washington, D.C., there is the Trump International Hotel, owned by Donald Trump. People who stay there are certainly lining Donald Trump’s pockets. Now, Trump is certainly not a paragon of virtue. He has not been faithful to his wives for example, and he has at one time or another associated himself with vile people like Roy Cohn. What would you say to people who say it is immoral to book a room at Trump International Hotel?

Sowell: Is it immoral to buy a Volkswagen because Hitler was one of those promoting the Volkswagen? I mean, the Trump Hotel notion is silly beyond words. Perhaps there should be a moral surcharge based on the background of Hilton or some other hotel founder before we book a room at any of them? Again, that is asking people to do something we are not equipped to do.

Hogberg: Toward the end of the book you talk about what we can learn by examining the causes of disparities among different groups, and you write, “We can learn how dangerous it is, to a whole society, to incessantly depict outcome differences as evidence or proof of malevolent actions that need to be counter-attacked or avenged.” Why is that dangerous?

Sowell:  I think we’ve seen a good illustration of why it is dangerous based on what has happened in the U.S. and Britain since the 1960s. Back then, one of the big preoccupations was with countering the fact that some people had more than other people. What the political left sets out to do is one thing; what they’ve actually done is quite another.

The left has polarized whole societies. They have set the sexes against each other, the races against each other, the classes against each other. They have delegitimized moral principles, they have delegitimized law and order, and the consequences can be seen almost daily. For example, the homicide rate among black males fell by 18 percent in the 1940s and by 22 percent in the 1950s. In the 1960s, it rose by dozens of percentage points—I don’t recall the exact number. [The homicide rate among black males per 100,000 population rose about 83 percent from 1960 to 1970—Ed.]

Steven Pinker’s book on violence internationally shows that this trend in homicide rates is something that happened across the Western world at the same time. There were declines in homicide rates until 1960, and then in the 1960s homicide rates did a U-turn. They shot up to levels that hadn’t been seen since the 19th century. It was quite a coincidence. Indeed, there were many such “coincidences” of trends that were getting better and then suddenly turned around and started getting worse in the 1960s.

Now the academics who study the history of that era aren’t likely to see it since they are often too busy celebrating the 1960s. Thus, the bad ideas and their consequence are not the sorts of things academics are going to put into their books.   

Hogberg: What changed in the 1960s that caused all of that?

Sowell:  It is what I call the “Social Justice” vision. That is, if there are disparities, it proves that somebody was wronged by somebody else. It’s one of those things that you don’t need one speck of evidence for. It sounds so good that many people will easily buy into it.

And many people around the world have paid with their lives for that vision. Especially in communist countries where communists came to power to supposedly correct such disparities. And once the communists are in power they create problems that make the problems that came before seem like nothing.

But that’s true of the left in general. They judge their actions by the wonderful things they are trying to do and are often oblivious to the actual harm they visibly doing to society.

Hogberg: Related to that, did you follow the controversy surrounding the actor Jussie Smollett? And what impact do hate-crime hoaxes have on fomenting racial evidence? 

Sowell: I’ve tried not to, but it is hard to escape. The impact certainly isn’t good. What’s amazing is how impervious some people are to evidence that the charges are hoaxes. I think back to the Duke-Lacrosse case, where people were just hell-bent on believing that this terrible crime had been committed. And counter evidence didn’t stop the prosecution or the public. Some people, activists especially, are primed to believe certain things and when they see an opportunity they run with it, facts be damned.

Hogberg: We have an epidemic of hate crime hoaxes in the nation, going back at least ten years. Do you think that has a lot to do with the social justice vision?

Sowell:  Yes. Especially given that these claims are so readily believed and rewarded.  You can turn in the grievances for benefits just like they were airline miles.

Hogberg: And what makes it even worse is that Smollett got off with a slap on the wrist, apparently because he is connected to someone close to former President Obama.

Sowell: Yes. And that’s one of the deadly costs of all this stuff. You eventually erode the faith people have in the law. And once people no longer have faith in the law, you cannot hire enough police officers to maintain law. When the lawbreakers are a small group, the cops can keep that under control. But once the idea that the law is just a racket become pervasive then society is in a very dangerous situation.

Hogberg: You write that our society has a taboo “against discussing anything that might be considered negative in the individual behavior or social culture of lagging groups” and that is “counterproductive.” Why is that taboo counter-productive?

Sowell: It is counterproductive because human beings of every conceivable background are so imperfect that to exempt anybody from criticism is not a benefit but a curse. Think of the proverbial mother who dotes on her child and makes excuses for everything he does wrong. That child is going to have some hard time in our society. The reason is that not everybody is going to be making up excuses for him. And he could even end up behind bars for a long time because he didn’t realize that people other than his mother wouldn’t make excuses for him.

Hogberg: Finally, you’ve now released a revised edition of “Discrimination and Disparities,” a book that challenges this widely held notion that most if not all disparities are due to discrimination such as racism and sexism. And yet, outside of conservative media, this book doesn’t seem to be getting any attention. Why is that?

Sowell: I think back to a time when my books were reviewed not only by The New York Times but also the New York Review of Books. These days that doesn’t happen. I can’t say definitively, but I think people find that their best strategy is to pretend my books don’t exist if they can’t answer the arguments in them. And it’s not just with my writing but also other writers who challenge the prevailing vision. Their books are not going to get reviewed because the reviewers who believe in the prevailing vision don’t have a very effective answer to that challenge.

*****

David Hogberg is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research. He is author of Medicare’s Victims: How the U.S. Government’s Largest Health Care Programs Harms Patients and Impairs Physicians.

Article from thefederalist.com;

https://thefederalist.com/2019/06/13/an-interview-with-thomas-sowell-on-discrimination-race-and-social-justice/

 

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When Clergy Embraces Evil

‘Reverend’ Rob Schenck’s Pro-Abortion Pitch Is Pathetic

by Ryan Bomberger

Conversion stories are usually beautiful and poignant where someone embraces liberating truth. Sometimes, sadly, the story of transformation is because of capitulation to a blatant lie. Unfortunately, for “Reverend” Rob Schenck, his change is the latter. The former pro-life activist penned a poorly written defense of abortion on the pages of the nation’s leader of fake news, The New York Times.

In his piece, I Was an Anti-Abortion Crusader. Now I Support Roe v. Wade,” he says that overturning Roe “should not be anybody’s idea of victory.”

Killing over 60 million innocent human beings since 1973 and harming countless mothers and fathers, via abortion, shouldn’t be anybody’s idea of victory, “Reverend” Schenck.

This is the most ignorant promotion of evil I’ve seen from someone who clearly knows what he’s peddling is poison. Imagine the equally incoherent Op-Ed title: “I Was Once an Anti-Slavery Crusader. Now I Support Dred Scott v. Sanford.”

His pro-abortion rhetoric is nothing new; it’s just rehashed “pro-choice” activism that never remedies what it decries. I noticed he put “baby killing” in quotes and fails to explain why he says “abortion is a tragedy.” I’ve actually worked in impoverished neighborhoods ravaged by violence, poverty, crime and hopelessness. I can guarantee you the solution is never more death.

Child abuse is a tragedy. Several of my siblings experienced horrific abuse at the hands of their biological parents. But they were not better off dead. They were better off loved.

In Schenck’s pro-abortion screed, he wrote: “I can no longer pretend that telling poor pregnant women they have just one option — give birth and try your luck raising a child, even though the odds are stacked against you — is ‘pro-life’ in any meaningful sense.” With these words, he completely negates the work of thousands of pregnancy centers that provide compassionate care, material resources and invaluable life-skills training for mothers, for years, after the child’s birth.

He says he worked to fight Roe for 30 years, yet adoption never made its way into his lexicon?

I was conceived in rape yet adopted and loved. I’m an adoptive father. I was not better off dead. My children were not better off dead. Did Schenck ever extend his family and his resources to a vulnerable child in foster care or to an expectant mother who wanted a better life for her child?

Churches are the biggest funders of pregnancy centers and outreaches to the poor. He ignores this and the work of the Salvation Army, Operation Blessing, Catholic Charities, and Samaritan’s Purse. Apparently, he’s never visited phenomenal anti-poverty, pro-family, pro-life ministries like People for People in Philly, Bartow Family Resources in Cartersville, Georgia, or the Jericho Partnership in Danbury, Connecticut. The incredible people in these places do the work he claims pro-lifers don’t do.

But it’s easy to pretend that hope and help don’t exist. It somehow assuages his unjustifiable conversion.

I’m sorry, too, he thinks less of his “status” of being a white man. I thank God for white male legislators (and everyone else) who fight injustice. I thank God for those “upper class white men” who abolished the “tragedy” of slavery so that I’m not on some auction block here in northern Virginia today. Many women work legislatively, like African-American Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-Louisiana), to end abortion. The majority of those leading America’s pro-life organizations are women, but they don’t fit into Schenck’s tragic and tired narrative.

Fighting for what’s right, though, knows no gender, socio-economic status, or “race.” Frederick Douglass started his own newspaper, the North Star, because mainstream media advocated for slavery, refusing to tell the truth about the dehumanizing institution. The same situation exists today, as the majority of mainstream media “journalists” have chosen advocacy over accuracy, opinion over objectivity, and feelings over facts. The motto of Douglass’ liberating paper was: “Right is of no Sex—Truth is of no Color—God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren.”

Brethren shouldn’t lie to each other or advocate for the destruction of one another.

Schenck has decided to try to snuff out Truth and millions of lives along with it.

His Op-Ed concludes: “Passing extreme anti-abortion laws and overturning Roe will leave poor women desperate and the children they bear bereft of what they need to flourish.”

I flourished because of those people he calls “fools”—prolife parents who believe that every human life has purpose. They put their faith in action like millions of other prolifers do every single day.

Roe doesn’t eliminate poverty. It doesn’t erase desperation. And you can’t flourish if you’re never born.

Roe never empowered women; it empowered men to have sex and run. Men are encouraged to abandon the situation. Fatherless families create vulnerable communities which are, in turn, devastated by the consequences of father absence: higher poverty rates, higher crime rates, higher drug usage, higher abortion rates, higher school drop-outs, higher incarceration rates.

I noticed he also never mention the hundreds of women killed, since Roe, by botched abortions and the millions physically, emotionally, and psychologically harmed by the rampant daily violence. Abortion is fake health that significantly increases risk of preterm births (one of the leading causes of infant mortality), triple-negative breast cancer and negative mental health outcomes.

Schenck claims he’s talking about “reality” while dismissing so much of it.

It’s not his former allies he needs to worry about. We’ll keep on doing the hard work of loving people (regardless of what decision they make) and sacrificially providing what those in crisis need to rise above. We’ll keep defending every human life made in the image of God, born and unborn. We’ll keep proving, in a Philippians 4:13 way, that we’re all stronger than our circumstances. It’s the God of Justice that the “Reverend” will have to explain his broken view of humanity to one day.

*****

Ryan Bomberger is the Co-Founder of The Radiance Foundation and is an adoptee and adoptive father.

Article from Townhall.com

Posted in All-Encompassing Gospel, Church and State, Law of Christ, Worldview/Culture, X-Americana, Z-Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Resistance Against Pope Francis

Catholic Leaders Urge ‘Canonical Consequences’ for Pope’s ‘Heresy’ in Scathing Letter

By Shane Trejo

The Catholic Church is growing tired of their Marxist, globalist pontiff.

The resistance against Pope Francis, who has used his powerful position atop the Catholic Church to promote Marxism, is growing among his ranks.

Many of the top clergymen and scholars have signed a letter to Pope Francis accusing him of heresy and urge Bishops to “take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation.”

“We take this measure as a last resort to respond to the accumulating harm caused by Pope Francis’s words and actions over several years, which have given rise to one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church,” the signatories wrote.

“We limit ourselves to accusing him of heresy on occasions where he has publicly denied truths of the faith, and then consistently acted in a way that demonstrates that he disbelieves these truths that he has publicly denied,” the letter continued.

The letter was signed by some of the most influential Catholic minds in the world, including Fr. Aidan Nichols, a renowned theologian. The signatories wanted to make it clear that they did not take these measures lightly.

“We limit ourselves to accusing him of heresy on occasions where he has publicly denied truths of the faith, and then consistently acted in a way that demonstrates that he disbelieves these truths that he has publicly denied,” the authors wrote.

“We assert that this would be impossible, since it would be incompatible with the guidance given to the Church by the Holy Spirit,” they continued. They pointed to the following Pope Francis quote as an egregious example of heresy:

“A Christian believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, but not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action.”

They urge the Bishops to take immediate action.

“Despite the evidence that we have put forward in this letter, we recognize that it does not belong to us to declare the pope guilty of the delict of heresy in a way that would have canonical consequences for Catholics,” the letter stated.

Nevertheless, they feel the matter is rather cut and dried.

“It is beyond a doubt that he promotes and spreads heretical views on these points. Promoting and spreading heresy provides sufficient grounds in itself for an accusation of the delict of heresy. There is, therefore, superabundant reason for the bishops to take the accusation of heresy seriously and to try to remedy the situation,” the signatories wrote.

“If – which God forbid! – Pope Francis does not bear the fruit of true repentance in response to these admonitions, we request that you carry out your duty of office to declare that he has committed the canonical delict of heresy and that he must suffer the canonical consequences of this crime,” they added.

As Pope Francis tries to remedy a pedophilia crisis in his church that he helped enable, he is encountering significant push-back from some of the most respected Catholics in the world. He may want to consider stepping down before further scandal can emerge.

*****

Article from: https://bigleaguepolitics.com/catholic-leaders-urge-canonical-consequences-for-popes-heresy-in-scathing-letter/

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Where Consumers Rule the Markets

On Equality and Inequality

By Ludwig von Mises

 

Different and Unequal

The doctrine of natural law that inspired the 18th century declarations of the rights of man did not imply the obviously fallacious proposition that all men are biologically equal. It proclaimed that all men are born equal in rights and that this equality cannot be abrogated by any man-made law, that it is inalienable or, more precisely, imprescriptible. Only the deadly foes of individual liberty and self-determination, the champions of totalitarianism, interpreted the principle of equality before the law as derived from an alleged psychical and physiological equality of all men.

The French declaration of the rights of the man and the citizen of November 3, 1789, had pronounced that all men are born and remain equal in rights. But, on the eve of the inauguration of the regime of terror, the new declaration that preceded the Constitution of June 24, 1793, proclaimed that all men are equal “par la nature.” From then on this thesis, although manifestly contradicting biological experience, remained one of the dogmas of “leftism.” Thus we read in the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences that “at birth human infants, regardless of their heredity, are as equal as Fords.”1

However, the fact that men are born unequal in regard to physical and mental capacities cannot be argued away. Some surpass their fellow men in health and vigor, in brain and aptitudes, in energy and resolution and are therefore better fitted for the pursuit of earthly affairs than the rest of mankind — a fact that has also been admitted by Marx. He spoke of “the inequality of individual endowment and therefore productive capacity (Leistungsfähigkeit)” as “natural privileges” and of “the unequal individuals (and they would not be different individuals if they were not unequal).”2

In terms of popular psychological teaching we can say that some have the ability to adjust themselves better than others to the conditions of the struggle for survival. We may therefore — without indulging in any judgment of value — distinguish from this point of view between superior men and inferior men.

History shows that from time immemorial superior men took advantage of their superiority by seizing power and subjugating the masses of inferior men. In the status society there is a hierarchy of castes. On the one hand are the lords who have appropriated to themselves all the land and on the other hand their servants, the liegemen, serfs, and slaves, landless and penniless underlings. The inferiors’ duty is to drudge for their masters. The institutions of the society aim at the sole benefit of the ruling minority, the princes, and their retinue, the aristocrats.

Such was by and large the state of affairs in all parts of the world before, as both Marxians and conservatives tell us, “the acquisitiveness of the bourgeoisie,” in a process that went on for centuries and is still going on in many parts of the world, undermined the political, social, and economic system of the “good old days.” The market economy — capitalism — radically transformed the economic and political organization of mankind.

Permit me to recapitulate some well-known facts. While under precapitalistic conditions superior men were the masters on whom the masses of the inferior had to attend, under capitalism the more gifted and more able have no means to profit from their superiority other than to serve to the best of their abilities the wishes of the majority of the less gifted.

In the market, economic power is vested in the consumers. They ultimately determine, by their buying or abstention from buying, what should be produced, by whom and how, of what quality and in what quantity. The entrepreneurs, capitalists, and landowners who fail to satisfy in the best possible and cheapest way the most urgent of the not-yet-satisfied wishes of the consumers are forced to go out of business and forfeit their preferred position.

In business offices and in laboratories, the keenest minds are busy fructifying the most complex achievements of scientific research for the production of ever-better implements and gadgets for people who have no inkling of the theories that make the fabrication of such things possible. The bigger an enterprise is, the more is it forced to adjust its production to the changing whims and fancies of the masses, its masters. The fundamental principle of capitalism is mass production to supply the masses. It is the patronage of the masses that make enterprises grow big. The common man is supreme in the market economy. He is the customer who “is always right.”

In the political sphere, representative government is the corollary of the supremacy of the consumers in the market. Office-holders depend on the voters as entrepreneurs and investors depend on the consumers. The same historical process that substituted the capitalistic mode of production for precapitalistic methods substituted popular government — democracy — for royal absolutism and other forms of government by the few. And wherever the market economy is superseded by socialism, autocracy makes a comeback. It does not matter whether the socialist or communist despotism is camouflaged by the use of aliases like “dictatorship of the proletariat” or “people’s democracy” or “Führer principle.” It always amounts to a subjection of the many to the few.

It is hardly possible to misconstrue more thoroughly the state of affairs prevailing in capitalistic society than by calling the capitalists and entrepreneurs a “ruling” class intent upon “exploiting” the masses of decent men. We will not raise the question of how the men who under capitalism are in business would have tried to take advantage of their superior talents in any other thinkable organization of production. Under capitalism they are vying with one another in serving the masses of less gifted men. All their thoughts aim at perfecting the methods of supplying the consumers. Every year, every month, every week something unheard of before appears on the market and is soon made accessible to the many.

What has multiplied the “productivity of labor” is not some degree of effort on the part of manual workers, but the accumulation of capital by the savers and its reasonable employment by the entrepreneurs. Technological inventions would have remained useless trivia if the capital required for their utilization had not been previously accumulated by thrift. Man could not survive as a human being without manual labor. However, what elevates him above the beasts is not manual labor and the performance of routine jobs, but speculation, foresight that provides for the needs of the — always uncertain — future. The characteristic mark of production is that it is behavior directed by the mind. This fact cannot be conjured away by a semantics for which the word “labor” signifies only manual labor.

Are Consumers Stupid?

To acquiesce in a philosophy stressing the inborn inequality of men runs counter to many people’s feelings. More or less reluctantly, people admit that they do not equal the celebrities of art, literature, and science, at least in their specialties, and that they are no match for athletic champions. But they are not prepared to concede their own inferiority in other human matters and concerns. As they see it, those who outstripped them in the market, the successful entrepreneurs and businessmen, owe their ascendancy exclusively to villainy. They themselves are, thank God, too honest and conscientious to resort to those dishonest methods of conduct that, as they say, alone make a man prosper in a capitalistic environment.

Yet, there is a daily growing branch of literature that blatantly depicts the common man as an inferior type: the books on the behavior of consumers and the alleged evils of advertising.3 Of course, neither the authors nor the public that acclaims their writings openly state or believe that that is the real meaning of the facts they report.

“The common man is supreme in the market economy. He is the customer who ‘is always right.'”

As these books tell us, the typical American is constitutionally unfit for the performance of the simplest tasks of a householder’s daily life. He or she does not buy what is needed for the appropriate conduct of the family’s affairs. In their inwrought stupidity they are easily induced by the tricks and wiles of business to buy useless or quite worthless things. For the main concern of business is to profit not by providing the customers with the goods they need, but by unloading on them merchandise they would never take if they could resist the psychological artifices of “Madison Avenue.” The innate incurable weakness of the average man’s will and intellect makes the shoppers behave like “babes.”4 They are easy prey to the knavery of the hucksters.

Neither the authors nor the readers of these passionate diatribes are aware that their doctrine implies that the majority of the nation are morons, unfit to take care of their own affairs and badly in need of a paternal guardian. They are preoccupied to such an extent with their envy and hatred of successful businessmen that they fail to see how their description of consumers’ behavior contradicts all that the “classical” socialist literature used to say about the eminence of the proletarians. These older socialists ascribed to the “people,” to the “working and toiling masses,” to the “manual workers” all the perfections of intellect and character. In their eyes, the people were not “babes” but the originators of what is great and good in the world, and the builders of a better future for mankind.

It is certainly true that the average common man is in many regards inferior to the average businessman. But this inferiority manifests itself first of all in his limited ability to think, to work, and thereby to contribute more to the joint productive effort of mankind.

Most people who satisfactorily operate in routine jobs would be found wanting in any performance requiring a modicum of initiative and reflection. But they are not too dull to manage their family affairs properly. The husbands who are sent by their wives to the supermarket “for a loaf of bread and depart with their arms loaded with their favorite snack items”5 are certainly not typical. Neither is the housewife who buys regardless of content, because she “likes the package.”6

It is generally admitted that the average man displays poor taste. Consequently business, entirely dependent on the patronage of the masses of such men, is forced to bring to the market inferior literature and art. (One of the great problems of capitalistic civilization is how to make high quality achievements possible in a social environment in which the “regular fellow” is supreme.)

It is furthermore well known that many people indulge in habits that result in undesired effects. As the instigators of the great anticapitalistic campaign see it, the bad taste and the unsafe consumption habits of people and the other evils of our age are simply generated by the public relations or sales activities of the various branches of “capital” — wars are made by the munitions industries, the “merchants of death”; dipsomania by alcohol capital, the fabulous “whiskey trust,” and the breweries.

“As these books tell us, the typical American is … easily induced by the tricks and wiles of business to buy useless or quite worthless things.”

This philosophy is not only based on the doctrine depicting the common people as guileless suckers who can easily be taken in by the ruses of a race of crafty hucksters. It implies in addition the nonsensical theorem that the sale of articles which the consumer really needs and would buy if not hypnotized by the wiles of the sellers is unprofitable for business and that on the other hand only the sale of articles which are of little or no use for the buyer or are even downright detrimental to him yields large profits. For if one were not to assume this, there would be no reason to conclude that in the competition of the market the sellers of bad articles outstrip those of better articles.

The same sophisticated tricks by means of which slick traders are said to convince the buying public can also be used by those offering good and valuable merchandise on the market. But then good and poor articles compete under equal conditions and there is no reason to make a pessimistic judgment on the chances of the better merchandise. While both articles — the good and the bad — would be equally aided by the alleged trickery of the sellers, only the better one enjoys the advantage of being better.

We need not consider all the problems raised by the ample literature on the alleged stupidity of the consumers and their need for protection by a paternal-government. What is important here is the fact that, notwithstanding the popular dogma of the equality of all men, the thesis that the common man is unfit to handle the ordinary affairs of his daily life is supported by a great part of popular “leftist” literature.

Lazy Pupils

The doctrine of the inborn physiological and mental equality of men logically explains differences between human beings as caused by postnatal influences. It emphasizes especially the role played by education. In the capitalistic society, it is said, higher education is a privilege accessible only to the children of the “bourgeoisie.” What is needed is to grant every child access to every school and thus educate everyone.

Guided by this principle, the United States embarked upon the noble experiment of making every boy and girl an educated person. All young men and women were to spend the years from 6 to 18 in school, and as many as possible of them were to enter college. Then the intellectual and social division between an educated minority and a majority of people whose education was insufficient was to disappear. Education would no longer be a privilege; it would be the heritage of every citizen.

Statistics show that this program has been put into practice. The number of high schools, of teachers and students multiplied. If the present trend goes on for a few years more, the goal of the reform will be fully attained; every American will graduate from high school.

But the success of this plan is merely apparent. It was made possible only by a policy that, while retaining the name “high school,” has entirely destroyed its scholarly and scientific value. The old high school conferred its diplomas only on students who had at least acquired a definite minimum knowledge in some disciplines considered as basic. It eliminated in the lower grades those who lacked the abilities and the disposition to comply with these requirements. But in the new regime of the high school, the opportunity to choose the subjects he wished to study was badly misused by stupid or lazy pupils.

Not only are fundamental subjects such as elementary arithmetic, geometry, physics, history, and foreign languages avoided by the majority of high school students, but every year boys and girls receive high school diplomas who are deficient in reading and spelling English. It is a very characteristic fact that some universities found it necessary to provide special courses to improve the reading skill of their students.

The often passionate debates concerning the high school curriculum that have now been going on for several years prove clearly that only a limited number of teenagers are intellectually and morally fit to profit from school attendance. For the rest of the high school population the years spent in classrooms are simply wasted. If one lowers the scholastic standard of high schools and colleges in order to make it possible for the majority of less gifted and less industrious youths to get diplomas, one merely hurts the minority of those who have the capacity to make use of the teaching.

The experience of the last decades in American education bears out the fact that there are inborn differences in man’s intellectual capacities that cannot be eradicated by any effort of education.

Majority Rules

The desperate, but hopeless, attempts to salvage, in spite of indisputable proofs to the contrary, the thesis of the inborn equality of all men are motivated by a faulty and untenable doctrine concerning popular government and majority rule.

This doctrine tries to justify popular government by referring to the supposed natural equality of all men. Since all men are equal, every individual participates in the genius that enlightened and stimulated the greatest heroes of mankind’s intellectual, artistic, and political history. Only adverse postnatal influences prevented the proletarians from equaling the brilliance and the exploits of the greatest men. Therefore, as Trotsky told us,7 once this abominable system of capitalism will have given way to socialism, “the average human being will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx.” The voice of the people is the voice of God, it is always right. If dissent arises among men, one must, of course, assume that some of them are mistaken.

It is difficult to avoid the inference that it is more likely that the minority errs than the majority. The majority is right, because it is the majority and as such is borne by the “wave of the future.”

“One of the great problems of capitalistic civilization is how to make high quality achievements possible in a social environment in which the ‘regular fellow’ is supreme.”

The supporters of this doctrine must consider any doubt of the intellectual and moral eminence of the masses as an attempt to substitute despotism for representative government.

However, the arguments advanced in favor of representative government by the liberals of the 19th century — the much-maligned Manchestermen and champions of laissez-faire — have nothing in common with the doctrines of the natural inborn equality of men and the superhuman inspiration of majorities. They are based upon the fact, most lucidly exposed by David Hume, that those at the helm are always a small minority as against the vast majority of those subject to their orders. In this sense every system of government is minority rule and as such can last only as long as it is supported by the belief of those ruled that it is better for themselves to be loyal to the men in office than to try to supplant them by others ready to apply different methods of administration.

If this opinion vanishes, the many will rise in rebellion and replace by force the unpopular office-holders and their systems by other men and another system. But the complicated industrial apparatus of modern society could not be preserved under a state of affairs in which the majority’s only means of enforcing its will is revolution. The objective of representative government is to avoid the reappearance of such a violent disturbance of the peace and its detrimental effects upon morale, culture, and material well-being.

Government by the people, i.e., by elected representatives, makes peaceful change possible. It warrants the agreement of public opinion and the principles according to which the affairs of state are conducted. Majority rule is for those who believe in liberty not as a metaphysical principle, derived from an untenable distortion of biological facts, but as a means of securing the uninterrupted peaceful development of mankind’s civilizing effort.

The Cult of the Common Man

The doctrine of the inborn biological equality of all men begot in the 19th century a quasi-religious mysticism of the “people” that finally converted it into the dogma of the “common man’s” superiority. All men are born equal. But the members of the upper classes have unfortunately been corrupted by the temptation of power and by indulgence in the luxuries they secured for themselves. The evils plaguing mankind are caused by the misdeeds of this foul minority. Once these mischief makers are dispossessed, the inbred nobility of the common man will control human affairs. It will be a delight to live in a world in which the infinite goodness and the congenital genius of the people will be supreme. Never-dreamt-of happiness for everyone is in store for mankind.

For the Russian Social Revolutionaries this mystique was a substitute for the devotional practices of Russian Orthodoxy. The Marxians felt uneasy about the enthusiastic vagaries of their most dangerous rivals. But Marx’s own description of the blissful conditions of the “higher phase of Communist Society”8 was even more sanguine. After the extermination of the Social-Revolutionaries the Bolsheviks themselves adopted the cult of the common man as the main ideological disguise of their unlimited despotism of a small clique of party bosses.

“It is a fact that a daily increasing number of people in the capitalistic countries — among them also most of the so-called intellectuals — long for the alleged blessings of government control.”

The characteristic difference between socialism (communism, planning, state capitalism, or whatever other synonym one may prefer) and the market economy (capitalism, private enterprise system, economic freedom) is this: in the market economy the individuals qua consumers are supreme and determine by their buying or not buying what should be produced, while in the socialist economy these matters are fixed by the government. Under capitalism the customer is the man for whose patronage the suppliers are striving and to whom after the sale they say “thank you” and “please come again.” Under socialism the “comrade” gets what “big brother” deigns to give him and he is to be thankful for whatever he got. In the capitalistic West the average standard of living is incomparably higher than in the communistic East. But it is a fact that a daily increasing number of people in the capitalistic countries — among them also most of the so-called intellectuals — long for the alleged blessings of government control.

It is vain to explain to these men what the condition of the common man both in his capacity as a producer and in that of a consumer is under a socialist system. An intellectual inferiority of the masses would manifest itself most evidently in their aiming at the abolition of the system in which they themselves are supreme and are served by the elite of the most talented men and in their yearning for the return to a system in which the elite would tread them down.

Let us not fool ourselves. It is not the progress of socialism among the backward nations, those that never surpassed the stage of primitive barbarism and those whose civilizations were arrested many centuries ago, that shows the triumphant advance of the totalitarian creed. It is in our Western circuit that socialism makes the greatest strides. Every project to narrow down what is called the “private sector” of the economic organization is considered as highly beneficial, as progress, and is, if at all, only timidly and bashfully opposed for a short time. We are marching “forward” to the realization of socialism.

“Progressive” Businessmen

The classical liberals of the 18th and 19th centuries based their optimistic appreciation of mankind’s future upon the assumption that the minority of eminent and honest men would always be able to guide by persuasion the majority of inferior people along the way leading to peace and prosperity. They were confident that the elite would always be in a position to prevent the masses from following the pied pipers and demagogues and adopting policies that must end in disaster. We may leave it undecided whether the error of these optimists consisted in overrating the elite or the masses or both.

“An intellectual inferiority of the masses would manifest itself most evidently in their aiming at the abolition of the system in which they themselves are supreme and are served by the elite of the most talented men….”

At any rate it is a fact that the immense majority of our contemporaries is fanatically committed to policies that ultimately aim at abolishing the social order in which the most ingenious citizens are impelled to serve the masses in the best possible way. The masses — including those called the intellectuals — passionately advocate a system in which they no longer will be the customers who give the orders but wards of an omnipotent authority. It does not matter that this economic system is sold to the common man under the label “to each according to his needs” and its political and constitutional corollary, unlimited autocracy of self-appointed office-holders, under the label “people’s democracy.”

In the past, the fanatical propaganda of the socialists and their abettors, the interventionists of all shades of opinion, was still opposed by a few economists, statesmen, and businessmen. But even this often lame and inept defense of the market economy has almost petered out. The strongholds of American snobbism and “patricianship,” fashionable, lavishly endowed universities and rich foundations, are today nurseries of “social” radicalism. Millionaires, not “proletarians,” were the most efficient instigators of the New Deal and the “progressive” policies it engendered. It is well known that the Russian dictator was welcomed on his first visit to the United States with more cordiality by bankers and presidents of big corporations than by other Americans.

The tenor of the arguments of such “progressive” businessmen runs this way: “I owe the eminent position I occupy in my branch of business to my own efficiency and application. My innate talents, my ardor in acquiring the knowledge needed for the conduct of a big enterprise, my diligence raised me to the top. These personal merits would have secured a leading position for me under any economic system. As the head of an important branch of production I would also have enjoyed an enviable position in a socialist commonwealth. But my daily job under socialism would be much less exhausting and irritating. I would no longer have to live under the fear that a competitor can supersede me by offering something better or cheaper on the market. I would no longer be forced to comply with the whimsical and unreasonable wishes of the consumers. I would give them what I — the expert — think they ought to get. I would exchange the hectic and nerve-wracking job of a business man for the dignified and smooth functioning of a public servant. The style of my life and work would resemble much more the seigniorial deportment of a grandee of the past than that of an ulcer-plagued executive of a modern corporation. Let philosophers bother about the true or alleged defects of socialism. I, from my personal point of view, cannot see any reason why I should oppose it. Administrators of nationalized enterprises in all parts of the world and visiting Russian officials fully agree with my point of view.”

There is of course, no more sense in the self-deception of these capitalists and entrepreneurs than in the daydreams of the socialists and communists of all varieties.

The Task of the Rising Generation

As ideological trends are today, one has to expect that in a few decades, perhaps even before the ominous year 1984, every country will have adopted the socialist system. The common man will be freed from the tedious job of directing the course of his own life. He will be told by the authorities what to do and what not to do, he will be fed, housed, clothed, educated, and entertained by them. But, first of all, they will release him from the necessity of using his own brains. Everybody will receive “according to his needs.” But what the needs of an individual are, will be determined by the authority. As was the case in earlier periods, the superior men will no longer serve the masses, but dominate and rule them.

Yet, this outcome is not inevitable. It is the goal to which the prevailing trends in our contemporary world are leading. But trends can change and hitherto they always have changed. The trend toward socialism too may be replaced by a different one. To accomplish such a change is the task of the rising generation.

*****

[This article is excerpted from chapter 14 of Money, Method, and the Market Process, edited by Richard M. Ebeling. It was originally published in Modern Age (Spring 1961).]

  • Horace Kallen, “Behaviorism,” in Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, vol. 2 (New York: Macmillan, 1930), p. 498.
  • Karl Marx, Critique of the Social Democratic Program of Gotha [Letter to Bracke, May 5, 1875] (New York: International Publishers, 1938).
  • [For example, John K. Galbraith, The Affluent Society (Boston: Houghten Mifflin, 1958) — Ed.]
  • Vance Packard, “Babes in Consumerland,” The Hidden Persuaders (New York: Cardinal Editions, 1957) pp. 90-97.
  • Ibid., p. 95
  • Ibid., p. 93.
  • Leon Trotsky, Literature and Revolution, R. Strunsky, trans. (London: Geroge Allen and Unwin, 1925), p. 256.
  • Marx, Critique of the Social Democratic Program of Gotha.

Article from Mises.org

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Voluntary Investment: Compound-Interest Charity

Capitalist Investment: The Greatest Type of Charity

C. Jay Engel

In our time of rising socialistic rhetoric and indignation against those who have great levels of wealth, we also encounter the idea that the use of wealth for charitable purposes is better for society, perhaps even more moral, than the use of wealth for business development and capital investment.

Few interpretations of social affairs are as unpopular as defenses of the existence of billionaires and wealthy capitalists. But it is the employment of capital into the production structure that reaps great benefit to the world. To elaborate on this theme, I want to summarize a certain concept that was formulated by the great F.A. Harper in the 1956 festschrift to Ludwig von Mises.

In his essay “The Greatest Economic Charity,” Harper challenges the prevailing notions regarding the relationship between wealth redistribution and charity. We can, as Harper does, refer to economic charity in a standard dictionary sense wherein the purpose of charity is to initiate material benevolence, to improve the material well-being of someone else, most often someone who has a particularly obvious set of needs to be met.

But in terms of material benevolence, we can reasonably see a difference between an effort of charity which improves the immediate conditions of a man, and an effort of charity which improves the long-term conditions of not only a specific person, but an entire society of them. It is this latter charity, which actually works to prevent men from facing constant need of charity in the future, that Harper refers to as the greatest economic charity. He writes, “The greatest charity of all… would be to assist a person toward becoming wholly self-reliant within nature’s limits, and therefore totally free.”

Here, we can turn our focus to Harper’s separation between what we might call consumptive charity and productive charity. By consumptive charity, I refer to what most naturally comes to mind when we think of the nature of charity. Harper describes this concept as follows:

“Of the various forms of economic charity in which we commonly indulge, the simplest would seem to be something such as buying a vagrant a cup of coffee or giving him a dime for the purpose.” (In the 1950s a cup of coffee was 10-cents).

Most of the colossal amount of activity which today goes by the name of charity is of this type, where the intent of the giver is to provide something for direct consumption or relief of a destitute recipient. Unfortunately, too many people focus their understanding of charity on those acts which only has the effect of consumption-based needs-resolution in the immediate term.

While there is a role for this type of charity in society, it can also be counter-productive, can actually subsidize current conditions, and can even be leveraged by politicians and other power-seekers to effectually enslave men. For example, writes Harper in 1956,

“National socialism is a common form, where the state becomes the dispenser of loot collected by force. The recipients lose their self-reliance in the process and come to feel indebted forever to the collective for their very lives. They have by then become enslaved.”

In our time, the ever-popular democratic socialism could just as easily be used as the example. Thus, we turn to productive charity; or charity that comes about as a result of “savings invested in privately owned economic tools of production.” Harper argues the investment into the “tools of production” not only has a longer and more sustainable effect on the livelihood of people, but it actually meets the conditions of charity in a much more profound way.

By economic tools of production, Harper means capital goods; goods, as Murray Rothbard, explains, “which aid in the process of production eventually to produce consumers’ goods.“ They are the factories, the equipment, the manufactured machinery that are arranged together to increase the output of goods that individuals consider as serviceable to satisfy their ultimate material ends.

Now, Harper describes three ways in which capital investment in the immediate terms satisfies the characteristics of economic charity in the longer term. First, the investment in capital goods today eventually produces new goods that otherwise would not have been created; the tools make possible extra goods which are, by definition, passed on to others who see value in them.

Second, the transfer of economic benefits is voluntary—for stolen property passed from one party to the other does not meet the conditions for true charity; charity precludes theft as a means of wealth transfer. Charity requires the benefactor to act freely and of his own will in passing on material benefits to another.

Third, and perhaps most insightfully, Harper mentions the clear anonymous nature of this economic charity. Rather than charity done with trumpets and lavishing media attention, investment into the capital structure has a benefit for thousands, perhaps millions of future people, many of whom are not born yet and certainly are unaware of the identification of this benefactor. Appealing to self-reflection, Harper writes:

“One can easily test from his own experience the anonymity of the charity that flows from savings and investment in tools. If one will list all the economic items he consumes or enjoys in a day, the test is to try in each instance to name specifically all the persons whose savings and investment made the item possible. Most of us, I dare say, could not name even one person responsible for an item we use and enjoy.”

The material well-being that was passed on to present day hundreds of millions of beneficiaries of the yesterday’s investment, Harper observed at the time, was vastly greater than the funds collected on an annual basis for consumptive charity. In fact, consumptive charity was “less than 1 percent of the amount of charity which users of tools receive” in the same length of time. This is because the capital tools bolster the quantity and quality of goods and therefore make workers more productive; it extends and expands the fruit of their labor.

The reason that the west faced greater levels of wealth than other parts of the globe over the last 300 years has little to do with things like disparities in intelligence, a spirit of innovation, and hard work. How much harder to so many people around the world work merely to survive another day? What really matters is the accumulation of savings and the investment of that savings into capital goods. At any time, mankind has within its reach the ability to pass on a greater amount of wealth to people it has never met; it does not require brilliant planners, democratically based political angst, or a soaking of the rich.

Harper therefore encourages his reader to have a wider perspective on the ramifications of the contemporary spirit of emphasizing consumptive charity over productive charity. It’s possible, he states, that the giving of the grain to a starving person… could better serve as seed for a harvest that would keep twenty persons from starving later. […]

Savings, when used wisely by private enterprise to produce capital tools of venture, serve as economic seed in a like manner. The use of it as seed becomes an act of charity with a high leverage. But its creation requires enough patience and restraint from demands for immediate consumption so that the tools will be created. One must have foresight and economic insight enough to see beyond the exceedingly conspicuous and tempting need for present consumption.

Capitalism provides a better and longer-lasting charitable effect than any other socio-economic arrangement conceivable. The savers and investors of today, those who contribute to the buildup of capital goods and factors of production, are benefactors of persons yet unborn. If economic charity is at its greatest when it enables men to overcome the conditions of poverty and hand-to-mouth existences, the social criticism of capitalists and those that invest into the capital structure must be swiftly brought to an end.

***

“Compound interest is the addition of interest to the principal sum of a loan or deposit, or in other words, interest on interest. It is the result of reinvesting interest, rather than paying it out, so that interest in the next period is then earned on the principal sum plus previously accumulated interest. Compound interest is standard in capitalist finance and economics. Compound interest has been called the eighth wonder of the world and the greatest invention in human history.” (Gospelbbq)

Investment vs Consumption

“The problem with any Communistic or Socialistic economy is that of capital consumption — they consume capital rather than create capital. Eventually the capital runs out. Those who oppose capitalism claim it is a materialistic scheme which promotes consumerism. But, it is they who are the true consumptionists; who consume capital rather than create it.” (Rousas John Rushdoony)

*****

C. Jay Engel is a business owner and entrepreneur who lives with his wife and two children in northern California. He is especially interested in wealth accumulation and preservation in our era of rogue Central Banking. He is an avid reader of the Austro-libertarian literature and a dedicated proponent of private property and sound money. He is the creator and editor of AustroLibertarian.com.

 

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Progressive ‘Christian’ Hypocrites

Progressive ‘Christian’ Hypocrites

By Erick Erickson

Mayor Pete Buttigieg, one of the many Democrats running for President, keeps trying to play a Christian on television, and it’s been going badly for him. Buttigieg recently said of Donald Trump, “It is hard to look at his actions and believe they are the actions of somebody who believes in God.” On “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd asked Buttigieg about that.

Buttigieg said he thought evangelicals backing President Trump were hypocritical because when Buttigieg goes to church, he hears about taking care of the poor and refugees. Trump, Buttigieg says, does not do that. Buttigieg went on to draw a distinction: In his professional conduct, Trump does not take care of the poor and refugees as scripture commands. Buttigieg continued that in Trump’s personal life, as well, he falls short of Christian behavior. (He is right on that part, too, by the way. But then, we are all sinners.)

Buttigieg thinks the President does not behave as one who believes in God because, as President, Trump is not following scriptural commands. Then, Todd asked Buttigieg about his position on abortion, and Buttigieg’s response was that abortion is a moral issue and we cannot legislate morality. In fact, Buttigieg tried to wave away the clear science on the issue of when life begins so he could argue about governing based on our morality.

This is why progressive Christianity is so corrupt and flawed. As much as Buttigieg makes a valid critique on the President’s behavior and some evangelicals excusing that behavior, Buttigieg wants to reject the inconvenient parts of faith he does not like. He is a gay man who got married; he does not think homosexuality is a sin despite express statements in scripture. And he thinks abortion is a moral issue. He would, he says, avoid governing using his morality.

Buttigieg is trying to have it both ways and, in reality, is showing he is no better a Christian than Trump. What is particularly bothersome here is that Buttigieg claims to be governed by some moral code and he claims he will lead as a more moral President than Trump. At the same time, he claims elected officials should not govern based on their morality.

Everyone has a moral code, and we all conduct our actions by our moral code. Buttigieg just wants a pass on his moral code, which is all about not taking inconvenient stands on parts of scripture that might make his life a bit uncomfortable. He will wield scripture against the President and abdicate when it comes to himself.

Frankly, Buttigieg makes a valid criticism of evangelicals who give the President a pass on his bad behavior. There are too many evangelicals unwilling to call the President to account for his failures to repent, his doubling down on bad behavior, etc. Buttigieg, however, is not making the point that Christians should vote for Democrats. He is making the case that they should stay home. Therein lies the rub. He does not think anyone should legislate their morality, so why should anyone vote their morality?

Ultimately, however, Christians can be Christians and Americans. They must put their faith first, something Buttigieg himself is unwilling to do except when it is convenient. Given the choices of a bunch of terribly flawed candidates, it is understandable that Christians are willing to side with the one who will protect their right to exercise their religion in their daily lives rather than the ones who offer platitudes with persecution.

Lastly, note that as Democrats make science their god, Buttigieg does his best to avoid the science of when life begins. He knows he cannot argue that point, so he refuses to even accept it as part of the debate. That is what trips him up. The science amplifies the moral case against Buttigieg’s position. Undoubtedly, however, Buttigieg will make the moral case for accepting transgenderism and demand we legislate on it. It is just the children in the womb he is OK discarding. The same God that commands we take care of the widows, the poor and the refugees commands us to take care of children, too, Pete.

*****

Article from Townhall.com

https://townhall.com/columnists/erickerickson/2019/04/12/progressive-christian-hypocrites-n2544675

 

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