Orwell, the Fabians and Dr. Mengele

RePost — The Fabian Entrepreneurial State as a Moderncone of silence7 Dr. Mengele

By Bojidar Marinov

Like I said before, you know when the Left is in trouble: They start praying to (or invoking) Jesus. And you know when the Fabian socialists are in trouble: They admit that, no matter what Fabians themselves have said in the past, entrepreneurial spirit and markets are good and necessary. We’ve always been at war with Eurasia, we’ve always been at war with East-Asia, markets and entrepreneurship are bad, markets and entrepreneurship are good. Doublethink, you know, and black-white. Orwell knew very well the true mentality of his own fellow socialists.

cone of silence6Well, all doublethink always has an agenda, and the Fabian agenda in admitting markets and entrepreneurship back on the positive side of the political values scale can be seen in a past article by Mariana Mazzucato in The New Statesman; the same New Statesman that is the flagship of modern Fabian socialism in Britain. In the article titled “The state doesn’t need the private sector to be entrepreneurial,” she tries to defend the position that the private sector’s monopoly on dome of silence2entrepreneurship is a myth, that in fact the state, “especially in the most uncertain phases of technological development and/or in the most risky sectors,” is much more risk-taking and innovative than the “inertial private sector which only enters and invests once the state has absorbed most of the uncertainty, before walking off with all the gains.” She claims there are “countless” such examples in history, and she mentions just a few of them: Internet, of course, the favorite example for all socialists, and some more obscure like funding drugs research or the algorithm that led to the initial success of Google.

FDR ObamaIn other words, if there was no private sector in the economy to “walk off with the gains,” and the state was the only economic agent, innovation, growth, and entrepreneurship would flourish and the economy would prosper. Just like it was in the Soviet Union, one might add.

Mazzucato’s factual arguments, of course, are easy to refute. Come on, seriously, does she expect us to believe that the few “countless” examples – if they are real – of successful government investment can be compared to the vast ocean of the private sector’s innovations, discoveries, and entrepreneurial endeavors? To make another comparison, of all the countless trillions of dollars wasted on useless and even harmful government projects, should we look to the couple of billions of dollars that somehow contributed to some positive development, and decide that the “state is entrepreneurial”? Every once in a while a blind squirrel will find a good nut; should we expect then Mariana Mazzucato to write an article or even a book on Blind Squirrels: The Cutting Edge of Discovery? Let alone the fact that some of her own examples are not very convincing: “the algorithm that led to Google’s success was funded by a public sector National Science Foundation grant.” Such an example doesn’t reveal the state’s “entrepreneurial spirit,” it only tells us that private entrepreneurs occasionally can be persuasive enough to successfully lobby government bureaucrats. Nothing more than that.

But I am not going to talk about Mazzucato’s factual and logical fallacies; I want to look at the moral side of the issue of the “entrepreneurial state.” Even if for the sake of the argument we ignore all the evidence and accept that somehow the state is entrepreneurial where the private sector is inertial and fearful, can we still accept the moral validity of a state that invests in innovations, research and development? Is it morally acceptable to let the state take risks, to be an investor and entrepreneur? Is the economy really developing in result of these government-sponsored innovations?

To answer these questions, we need first to understand the nature of entrepreneurship and of the entrepreneur himself as a market agent. True enough, the entrepreneur is someone who sees opportunities to satisfy new needs and demands – like developing computers and cell phones in our days. Or satisfy old needs and demands in a new way that is more efficient than the old – Ford’s conveyor belt, for example, which decreased the cost for the production of automobiles. Or an entrepreneur is one who finds a niche on the market where no one else has tried to enter before – for example start a good old-fashioned grocery store in a remote rural area. An entrepreneur is indeed an innovator – sometimes in technology and science, sometimes in the organization of labor, sometimes in just seeing new opportunities in an area no one has seen them before.

But the innovation is not the only characteristic of an entrepreneur. He must be driven by a motive in order to abandon the comfort zone of the secure old world and venture into the world of the new and the unknown. There has to be personal gain for the entrepreneur that beats the alternatives of being paid for doing the old things the old way. While a few innovators will innovate for the sheer psychological satisfaction of making something new, most entrepreneurs will do it for financial gain – which in our modern economic language is called profit. That profit must be much higher than the regular pay for the regular daily working routine of a paid worker – otherwise an entrepreneur won’t spend the effort to build a new business and innovation. An entrepreneur, if he is to be successful, is expected to do more than just the regular daily working routine – and therefore he expects to be rewarded better than the regular worker.

But this is not all. Not every entrepreneur is successful. There is risk involved; if there wasn’t, everyone would want to be an entrepreneur because the costs involved would be low, and the possible benefits high. That risk is called loss, and it is the first level that sifts out those that won’t be good entrepreneurs and would only waste resources in futile undertakings. And then, of those that still decide to start something new, not all really have good ideas; some ideas might turn out to be unprofitable and very often outright useless. The mechanism of loss and profit sifts out those that would only waste resources, and keeps on the market only those that are successful in utilizing resources to meet the needs and the demands of the consumers.

Now, a very important part of the market system of entrepreneurship is that the same person who will possibly reap the benefits of the new enterprise also bears the risk of its possible failure. More than obvious, if an entrepreneur doesn’t bear the possible risks of his own venture, he is only spending someone else’s money on his own whims; such activity is not entrepreneurship in the real sense of this word. Common sense wisdom tells us that if a person is spending his own money for his own goals, he’ll be very careful in both how much money he spends and what he purchases with them; he will try to be efficient to the maximum with the resources he has. And that’s part of the very definition of entrepreneur: One who is more efficient with the same resources than anyone else in the same field and therefore can make a profit. If a person is not bearing the risks, he won’t care how much money is spent; and therefore the innovation won’t be an innovation, just the same old way of spending resources.

Of course, very often an innovation requires more initial capital than the entrepreneur personally has. Then he will try to involve other people with money who would be willing to trust his skills in forecasting the market. The investors, though, will be under the same profit-loss limitation – they will bear the risk proportionally to the expectations of profit they have from the venture. Both the entrepreneur and the investors must self-consciously and willingly accept the risk of losing their resources for the opportunity of gaining profit from the possible success.

In short, entrepreneurship requires a person who has a vision for the future but also requires the profit-loss mechanism to tell him whether his vision is successful or not, and whether it really serves the consumers or only serves his own narrow desires and goals. The cost for the new enterprise compared to the revenues from it show him what resources he has used up, and how much value for the society he has produced to match that lost value in resources. Therefore, for the equation to be complete, the profit-loss mechanism is there to prevent the waste of resources and to encourage the responsible use of it.

Well, what about the “entrepreneurial state” of Ms. Mazzucato? Who is making the decisions there, and how does the profit-loss mechanism apply? Let’s see.

First, the decisions are made by government bureaucrats. They are paid salaries, just like any other wage worker. The life of a bureaucrat doesn’t change whether he has made a decision for innovation or not; the pay remains the same. A bureaucrat may get a different, non-economic and political reward if he makes a popular decision; and usually the “popularity” is determined by the standards of the main stream media who seldom have an objective way of making economic evaluations. There is no mechanism to reward a successful economic decision by a bureaucrat; in fact, there is no way for the government to decide if a decision leads to successful result or not, only if the decision is popular among the politically active and powerful groups in the society. Without the profit statement, who knows if the consumers want the innovation or not, and whether it makes anyone’s life better or not?

Second, as a matter of fact, we know that bureaucratic entrepreneurship makes the life of most people worse. Why? Because of who bears the risks: The taxpayers. The few examples of successful state entrepreneurship Mazzucato came up with – like pharmaceuticals and nano-technologies – may have produced small markets for highly specialized professionals and companies. But the trillions of dollars wasted on useless and risky government projects came out of the pockets of the taxpayers. It is the taxpayers, not the state, who are the investors in all the experiments of government “entrepreneurship”; and unlike investing in the private sector, the taxpayers are forced to invest and risk their money on the decisions of government bureaucrats. While in private investments the investors must balance the risk of losses with the promise of gains, the unwilling investors in state projects have no gains to hope for, only losses. They are forced by the power of the state to “invest” in ventures they wouldn’t have invested if they were free to decide. At the end of the day, the taxpayers are worse off, the bureaucrats make the same salaries, and a small group of lobbyists who have invested in a field undesirable for most investors, have used the state to force entire nations to create a profitable market for their enterprises.

The moral basis for the entrepreneurial state thus is no different from the moral basis for the scientific research of Dr. Josef Mengele, the cruel Nazi doctor who performed genetic and medical experiments on concentration camp inmates in the 1940s. Following Mariana Mazzucato’s own logic, we can show that Dr. Mengele was far ahead in terms of his research compared to his colleagues in America who were “inertial” and averse to risk, being bound by their old-fashioned superstitions that experiments could not be conducted on people without their consent. Dr. Mengele, being an agent of the state, showed that the state can lead the innovations in medical research by taking risks no private doctor or researcher would take. Of course, the risks taken were on the bodies of his inmates, against their will, but who cares, if the final result was scientific research? Mariana Mazzucato certainly wouldn’t care – if she praises government confiscation of private funds for the goals of state “entrepreneurship” and “innovation,” then there shouldn’t be any problem for her with the government confiscation of private bodies and body parts and human lives for the purposes of state-sponsored genetic and medical research. In both cases the benefits flow to the state or to its agents and lobbyists, and the tab is picked up by the politically weak.

Morally, Mariana Mazzucato’s “entrepreneurial state” is no different from the Nazi concentration camps. After all, the concentration camps were set up as government enterprises.

The question remains, even if the state “entrepreneurship” is morally wrong because it imposes losses on the reluctant public, isn’t it better to develop those areas where the private sector is “inertial”?

What must be understood is that the private sector is never “inertial”; it is reluctant to buy into specific projects at a specific time. When a person is shopping at the grocery store, and when they have doubts about the quality of the tomatoes because they look rotten, that doesn’t make them “inertial,” but reluctant to buy those specific tomatoes at that specific time. The shopper assesses the true value of the tomatoes to be lower than the price on the tag, and therefore refuses to buy. Different tomatoes at a different time may look better and have better consumer value, and therefore a shopper will buy them. In the very same way, if the private sector refuses to invest into nanotechnologies and drugs, it is not because it is “inertial” but because for the specific time and the specific markets these field of possible innovation and entrepreneurship are “rotten,” i.e. their real value is much lower than the value of the resources required to invest in them. Using the analogy with Dr. Mengele, the American physicians and medical scientists of the 1940s were not “inertial” compared to the “entrepreneurial” Dr. Mengele, they just judged his methods to be “rotten,” believing that no medical advancement can be worth the brutal torture and horrible death of thousands unwilling victims.

So when Mazzucato praises her “entrepreneur state,” she in fact asks the state to force the taxpayers to buy the rotten tomatoes of our modern science that no one really wants; and she declares that the dubious advances of some technological fields justify any government compulsion and theft, in the name of some “advancement” that no one is willing to voluntarily pay for.

Being a Fabian socialist, Mazzucato can’t help but have a very simplistic, primitive view of our social reality. She believes that if there is a scientific possibility for a certain technological advancement, it must be invested in right away. And if the private sector is reluctant to do it, the government must push it down everyone’s throat, no matter what the economic or the social reality is. But in the real world, you can’t change one thing only; the change in one thing will require changes in the whole fabric of society. The ancient Greeks had some knowledge of electricity and its properties; should they have forced its technological development right away? If they had, it would have created economic chaos. Electricity, in order to be efficient and working in the economy, requires the gradual development of many more other things: steam, combustion engines, magnets, plastics, and many more. Not to mention that agriculture must be developed well beyond the subsistence level for the society to feed enough workers and engineers and scientists who will build the infrastructure. An undue forced focus on electricity would have created dis-balance in the ancient economy and would have destroyed it. You can’t change one thing only; it is only socialists who believe that individual fields can be changed without other fields being affected. Similarly, the modern reluctance of investors to invest in nanotechnologies stems from their understanding that it is a little too early to develop these technologies, and investments in that field will only draw resources from other, more important areas of our economy, thus distorting our economic reality and in fact impeding its development.

So when the state intervenes and forces the whole society to invest in a field that can not produce benefits for everyone at the present state of our social organization and technology, it only makes things worse, not better.

Ms. Mazzucato and her Fabian friends understand very well that the decades of Fabian policies in Britain and Europe have exposed the poverty of their socialist philosophy. The European populations are beginning to return back to the good old conservative Christian values of work ethics, entrepreneurship, free markets, thrift, and family-based economy. The Fabians are in panic, searching for ways to keep their statist religion afloat in a world that is gradually waking up to their agenda. They are now trying to adopt the old conservative values and make them serve the religion of the totalitarian state. But it is not going to work. Socialism is on its death bed, and no effort by bureaucrats like Mazzucato and her Fabian friends can save it.

*****

Article from Americanvision.org

 

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Concerning Christian Economics…

EmilyCarr-Indian-Church-1929The Economics of Jesus

By Robert D. Love

 Concerning Christian Economics…I doubt that there are very many people who will associate Christianity and economics in the same breath. However, I must hasten to point out that the two are simply as one, and cannot be separated. We have “moral laws” and “man-made laws.” Many times the two are entirely different, but, the man-made laws will have no wisdom or validity except to the extent they coincide with our moral laws as contained, for instance, in the Ten Commandments.

In my years as an American citizen, there has been a tremendous amount of talk concerning freedom. I think our generation has done a lot of talking about freedom, but it also seems to me that we have shown a great readiness to abandon it. This is especially true in the field of economics. Economic freedom is the nature of wealth and man’s right to it.sunset church

But, first things first. It is important to consider what Jesus thought about wealth, before we consider our economic freedom. Since Jesus was concerned with life, and since economics are involved in the whole of life, we should expect to find some economic guidelines in the teachings of Jesus. These expectations will not be disappointing.

First, we should talk about our motivations within this society of ours. I mean the motivations that cause you and me to want to serve our neighbors and other people voluntarily and regularly. The first reason for motivation in our moral code is found in the teachings of our Judeo-Christian religion. We believe it to be a moral duty to help our fellowman in need, regardless of whether or not he can pay for it. The other motivation that causes us to serve our fellow man, is the desire to get something in return from him. Some people say service motivated by charity and love is good, but motivation that is materialistic is bad. I do not believe that motivation for materialistic ends is bad in itself. The idea of serving others with no expectation of return is true charity, and a wonderful practice. I certainly wish there was more of it.

olivet discourseBut, let’s face the facts. Only a few can devote their lives to service to others with no possibility of material return. If all of us tried it, the production of material goods and services would completely cease. There would not be anything to share with others. Ponder for a moment, if you will, the question a little boy asked his Sunday school teacher. “If the reason for our being on earth is to help others, what reason do the others have for being here?” It is true, we are here to help others, but it is also true that others are here to help us. We are here, also, to understand and love our Creator. This is a two-sided coin.

If you will consider Matthew 20:1–16, you will find the story of the laborer in the vineyard. This is the story of an employer who hired a series of laborers at different hours of the day, and at the end of the day paid them all alike. When those who had worked the longest complained that they had not been paid more than those who worked for only an hour, the employer answered, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own?” This parable has a meaning, but it clearly assumes that a man has a right to his property. It is not surprising for Jesus to have made this assumption, for it was the central idea in the Ten Commandments. Much of our so-called legislation today is in conflict with the teachings of Jesus on the question of property, for the simple reason that this kind of legislation is usually founded upon the assumption that a man’s property belongs to the community, and that the community has a right to determine how it should be used. Jesus had a far different idea, namely that all property belongs to God.

Karl Marx, over a hundred years ago, laid down a principle, “from each according to his ability—to each according to his need.” There is a principle of service in this idea; however, Karl Marx was an atheist, as you are all well aware. This idea runs contrary to human nature. It just will not persuade people voluntarily to provide many goods and services for each other. The high producers soon get tired of producing for other people who offer them little or nothing in return for their services. The low producers are promised a standard of living based on their needs instead of their efforts, and they tend to produce even less than they did before. Then, of course, the police force must be called in to whip up production all along the line. This is a modern form of slavery. Although it may produce an abundance for a few at the top, it does so at the expense of the great mass of people. Socialist and Communist critics say they do not condemn the profit motive as such, but merely the fact that the profit motive permits a few people to become wealthy.

It is strange to me that these same people oppose discrimination on a basis of race and creed, but turn right around and consider it right and desirable to discriminate on a basis of economic wealth. This is a double standard. It is also true that wealthy people do not carry their assets around with them in the form of cash in a shoe box, nor do they hide it under a mattress. Instead, their wealth is in the form of factories, research laboratories, and machines and other equipment that provide jobs and are used to produce and distribute the goods and services we have in such abundance. It might readily be said that profits are the rent paid by the consumer for the use of the tools in producing what he wants. It has always been amusing to me to ask these advocates of sharing the wealth how they would divide up a blast furnace, for instance. Or, who will become the boss?

Jesus had a more constructive thought about the nature of wealth, than the simple and overworked phrases of Communists, Socialists, and others, such as, “share the wealth”—“tax the rich.” This kind of legislation assumes that there is a fixed amount of wealth which must be more evenly distributed throughout the economy, if we are to have a just social order. Marx, the atheist, operates upon this principle and also suggests, of course, the steeply graduated income tax, which is responsible for much of our lack of growth to provide new jobs in this country today. Jesus’ theory on the nature of wealth corresponds to classical economists. They are expounding about the nature of things, and therefore, things that are unchangeable. The classical economist taught that there are four ways to get property or wealth:

  1. It may be created by the sweat of one’s brow—or use of one’s talent.
  2. It may be traded for.
  3. Received as a gift.
  4. Taken by force.

In the simple days, when people were so naive as to believe the Ten Commandments, taking property by force was called stealing. In more recent times, however, we have been led to think that what may be wrong for the individual is right for the government. According to this philosophy, by majority rule the government can take property by force. The fact that the majority voted for it makes it not an act of theft, but an expression of social consciousness.

I am aware that some wealthy people have proven to be poor stewards of their resources. Even so, I imagine that laws against these people will not do a great deal of harm and absolutely no good. The old tried and true economic law as contained in the sentence, “a fool and his money are soon parted,” is true. If we attempt to hurry up the process of parting a fool from his money, we will just grease the slide for many of those in the general public who are on their way up.

Contained in one of our great Commandments left to us by Moses, is a simple statement, “Thou shalt not steal.” Let’s examine this in the light of our Christian philosophy of government today: You and I think of stealing as being done by an unsavory character for an unmistakably selfish end. But if you will think with me for a minute, I believe we can eliminate the unsavory character and selfish end and still have stealing. Stealing means taking something of somebody else’s ownership. Therefore, if you will examine our tax picture as it is today in the roll of subsidies, tariffs, and other legalized government robbing, I think we can make quite a case against the legalized robbing of people by government.

First, let me ask the question, do you own what you earn? Do you own the fruits of your own labor? This is a big question, but it can simply be summed up in the struggle between freedom and slavery, which has now engulfed the world. The Socialist, Communist, and Totalitarian says, “No man owns the fruits of his own labor; society owns them, and it is the business of government to distribute them.” In the middle of this problem is the modern collectivist, or the middle-of- the-road man. “A middle-of-the-roader is one who gets in the way of the traffic going in both directions.” This middle of the roader says a man should be allowed to keep part of what he earns, the rest belongs to society to be collected and distributed by government. This is merely an evasion of the point. All through our Christian philosophy and our Bible, which are inseparable, man under divine or natural laws owns his own labor. This ownership is hinged simply on the fact that man has a God-given right to life, and the right to life is meaningless unless there is a right to sustain and protect that life. If a man is denied the right to keep what he earns and to retain the fruits of his labor, he loses control of the only means whereby he can sustain life.

No one who is serious about the teachings of Jesus, can be happy with this kind of socialistic teaching. Jesus did not believe in stealing. He also did not believe that wealth was static, or that it would always stay in the same place. If you study the parable of the ten pounds, you will see what I mean. Here, as you well know, Jesus told the story of a nobleman who gave his ten servants one pound each before he left for a far country. On his return, he called them to account, and all but one had invested and increased his pound. The servant who did not, had hoarded his in fear he might lose even that one pound, and his lack of enterprise was condemned. You will find this in Luke 19: 11–28.

Thus, from Jesus’ point of view, if a man has less wealth than another, he may get more—not by robbing the man who has more, but by creating more for himself. Why is it that in this country we do not recognize that each of us fits into this division-of-labor society, and the overall picture as to our share does not change by gang-pressure. Have you ever thought, instead of trying to get a bigger piece of the pie, why not help to make the whole pie bigger and, in turn, make your piece bigger?

The principle under which some of the pressure groups within our country operate today, is simply to take a bigger slice of the existing pie. They do not propose to do anything constructive which will increase the size of the pie. Increased investments in plants, machinery, and equipment — because of profits — come back to create more jobs. This is the way we will increase the size of the pie. The only limitation on wealth (in existence) is our lack of ingenuity to create it. In the parable I mentioned before, concerning the nobleman and his servants, the more the servants made on their investments, the more they were applauded.

There is no suggestion that there was anything immoral in their creation of wealth. Only fear, hoarding, and laziness were condemned. It is strange to me how these so-called social thinkers and enemies of the “individual” profess to love people and be concerned for their welfare, and in the same breath, say that the common man is too dumb to look out for himself. Therefore, the government must take the money that he earns and redistribute it however the government thinks is best, not the individual.

We all wonder why, at times, our children seem to have strange ideas concerning economic matters. We teach them the “golden rule,” and also that two and two are four—and that C-A-T spells cat. But why teach a child to earn a bicycle through service if he must live with adults who get their share by the ballot box appropriation of the property of others. Why teach a young man to be thrifty, if later he is to be taxed and punished for his savings. Also, if there are those who are swift and strong and can run ahead of some of us, why handicap them in adulthood by government regulation and graduated taxes—which are a penalty on their extra efforts. Do we really believe we can print money fast enough to spend ourselves rich?

Would you ever think of paying your child $1 an hour for shoveling the snow off the sidewalk, and $.50 an hour if it didn’t snow? Do you think he could understand how shoveling no snow can be worth half as much as shoveling the snow? Or maybe you have tried to explain to the youthful operator of a lemonade stand the profitability of dumping every second glass of lemonade down the drain instead of selling it, and then trying to collect the difference from those people who don’t want lemonade anyhow.

The point of this is that “Thou shalt not steal” applies to the government as well as to you and me as individuals. The government is you and me. We are allowing our government, through man-made laws, to steal from some and give to others, regardless of the purpose.

Man, of course, is a steward over his wealth, and he is obligated to use it to the glory of God. Each of us will have an account to render unto God when our time comes. Do not forget, we must render our account unto God—man is not first responsible to society as suggested by some of our left-wing organizations, because society can also become a despot. Our founding fathers were aware of the danger of a despotic majority, and they constructed a government of checks and balances, which would restrain majorities by a concept of justice.

You will remember the story of a man who came to Jesus and said, “Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus, you will remember, rebuked the man, and refused to be an equalizer of wealth. He continued by warning the man and others against covetousness. Of course, Jesus had not heard about the “social gospel” as we are hearing it today, so His response to the challenge did not reveal an “enlightened social consciousness.” It certainly is odd that the covetousness that Jesus warned against so frequently has been turned into a virtue and is now called “enlightened social consciousness.”

Jesus followed His warning against covetousness with the parable of the rich fool, who built ever larger barns—only to die suddenly unprepared for eternity (Luke 12:13–21). To Jesus, wealth was a threat to the soul of the possessor, not a problem to be solved by social engineering. His focal point all through His short life on this earth was upon the individual, not the group. Jesus always started with the individual in His discussions. What He said had wide social consequences, but the individual was the beginning in all cases. The use of wealth by the individual was a problem for him to solve with his sense of stewardship to God.

Along with this, of course, we come upon the story of the rich young ruler who asked Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life. After affirming he had lived according to the Ten Commandments, Jesus asked the man, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast and give it to the poor and follow me.” Note here, that the point of emphasis in this instance was not upon the welfare of the poor, but on the rich young ruler’s soul. He made a god of wealth, instead of worshiping the true God. Matthew 19:16–26.

I think we will all concede that Jesus was not, for the rich, nor, for the poor. He was for men as individuals. Most of all, He was for their spiritual development, and He commanded charity (not coercion) as a means to that development. This is why He said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33. He wanted us to have a warm personal faith in God. Seeking the fulfillment of our economic needs is not evil, but it must be secondary. When God is kept first, Jesus has promised that man’s economic needs will be met.

Historians have observed that the roots of our amazing economic development in Western civilization have been our deep seated religious convictions about God and especially the conviction that we are morally responsible individually to God! We should be free to make choices and to suffer the consequences. Consider for a moment, if you will, the Constitution of this great country. Men have struggled through the ages to relate the individual to his deity. Ours is the first constitution in the world not with the word “democracy,” but referral is made to the Creator. We talk of the Creator in our Constitution. Nowhere in our Constitution will you find the word “democracy.” We have based our Constitution on a belief in God. Contrast this, if you will, with any other constitution in the world, including the great Magna Carta, which said that all rights, including property rights, were derived from a divine King. Our freedoms and our rights are derived from a belief in God. Ours is the only truly Christian constitution in the history of the world. We have woven deep into our country, a religious conviction, and it is the reason for our amazing development and growth.

We are trying to transplant economic know-how in lands all over the world. But these lands have not accepted our Christian know-why. When these countries, we are trying to help, can master the know-why of our country — which is our deep-seated religious conviction — then these countries can have some order without chaos. But when these countries master our know-how without the religion and belief in God attached to it, they are invariably becoming a Frankenstein of political despotism. All forms of socialism, communism, and social engineering put economic considerations first and spiritual considerations last. This invites disaster. Man is obligated, not by justice, but by compassion to give to those who are in need out of what is entirely his property. And those in need have no right, as such, to it.

The best known example of Jesus’ insistence upon charity and compassion is the parable of the good Samaritan. Luke 10:25–37. The emphasis on giving should be not to the recipient, but to the doer of the deed. Jesus emphasized that the motivation of those who gave was important. The spirit of compassion was more important to Jesus than the act of getting a wounded man taken care of on the Jericho Road. We have made the mistake of thinking that Christian acts are concerned only with the objective deed. Jesus was concerned with motivation of those who did good deeds.

If you have raised any money in the last several years, you have found people who laugh and sneer when you talk of big gifts made by wealthy men. They say simply to you, “Oh, it means nothing to them—it is tax deductible and they do not really care; it is to their advantage to give money away because of taxes.” I know some of these people, and the joy of giving for them is a real inspiration to me. We raise entirely too much money on a basis that it is tax deductible, and therefore, it is good to give. Nor can the money be raised on a basis of a formula. In other words, my share is so much. It must be done on a basis of the problem to be solved and the compassion involved. We have responsibilities to God. All that we have belongs to Him. We are only the stewards of it while on earth. The greatest treason in the world is to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. However, I am afraid that much of our social welfare legislation today provides us with examples of both the wrong thing and the wrong reasons.

Many people used to say that the Church ignored social implications in the teachings of Jesus. Then, for several years, they proceeded to demonstrate that Jesus was a Socialist. Now, I believe you will find many are taking a (deeper) second look at these teachings. They are finding that they do not imply socialism, but that the message is one of individual responsibility, freedom, and the right to private properties. Socialism makes a man responsible to his government and not to his God. The teachings of Jesus are relevant to the problems of life. If they are not, then Christianity is bankrupt. Christianity is not bankrupt, but socialism, communism, and all other social engineering schemes are bankrupt for new ideas. The teachings of Jesus are relevant and contain the truth that makes men free. Man is responsible to God beyond all other authorities. Why is it that our social engineers, Socialists and Communists, are ready to tax and spend something that never belonged to them in the first place?

To assume that any of us know more than God, is a sin, and disobedience cannot be forgiven by God by bargaining with Him through the liberal sacrifice of someone else’s goods. We operate entirely with the wrong kind of reasoning on some of these social engineering schemes. We see how unjust life is to the child who must eat peanut butter sandwiches instead of a hot lunch; something must be done about that. Then we notice the terrible inequity of the man who has to drive a Plymouth while another rides in a Cadillac. Obviously, life is unjust to these poor creatures, and we have injustice—we long to share somebody else’s wealth with them. This is the covetousness that Jesus talked about. We have measured our society in such mixed-up terms, that today every farmer, laborer, businessman, and child who needs anything, is looked upon as a victim of injustice if he doesn’t get it. We used to say a dollar’s reward for a dollar’s work but, of course, that’s old fashioned now. We have adopted the Karl Marx communist-atheist manifesto, which says, “from each as he is able—to each as he has need.”

Share-the-wealth plans are so popular that benefits go up every year. And, of course, followed to its logical conclusion, this means we will all be wards of the state one day. You do not believe this (?); yet, it has been the history of the world. If we in America reverse this trend, we will be the first nation ever to do so. We have been first with many other things, such as our Constitution and its design with God in the center. Why can we not be first, by accepting the rights of the individual and his responsibility to God?

Communism will not come over us as communism, but it will fasten itself upon us in the name of justice, because we have stopped thinking. Freedom demands thinking and deciding, not compromising and adjusting. Justice cannot be determined by the desires of people or the political expedience of political parties. The majority vote of a group does not mean justice, because justice is something inherent in God’s universe as He has created it. You cannot repeal the Ten Commandments by majority vote, any more than you can repeal the law of gravity—and making a thing legal does not make it right. We can misname justice with all kinds of terms, but unless it corresponds with God’s will, it means nothing. For every sin, someone must pay a penalty. For every miscarriage of justice, the innocent suffer with the guilty. And for every dollar you and I receive without earning, someone must earn a dollar without receiving it.

Justice, then, is obedience to God’s will. Do not forget that the force of God’s retribution will be exactly equal to man’s sin, and that we will not escape this retribution by hiding behind the fact that it was a social offense instead of a personal one. If liberty—which is religious and economic freedom—is to be saved, it will not be by doubters, men of science, or the materialists; it will be by religious convictions; by the faith of the individuals who believe that God wills men to be free.

*****

Article from Chalcedon.edu, Journal of Christian Reconstruction, Vol. 10 No. 2.

This article by Robert D. Love was written March 22, 1959.

***

An additional Note by Dr. Gary North

Capitalism, Socialism, and the Bible

The essence of democratic socialism is this re-written version of God’s commandment: “Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote.”

“Economic democracy” is the system whereby two wolves and a sheep vote on what to have for dinner. Christian socialists and defenders of economic planning by state bureaucrats deeply resent this interpretation of their ethical position. They resent it because it’s accurate.

When Christianity adheres to the judicial specifics of the Bible, it produces free market capitalism. On the other hand, when Christianity rejects the judicial specifics of the Bible, it produces socialism or some politically run hybrid “middle way” (mixed economy) between capitalism and socialism, where politicians and bureaucrats make the big decisions about how people’s wealth will be allocated. Economic growth then slows or is reversed. Always.

Free market capitalism produces long-term economic growth. Socialism and middle-way economic interventionism by the state produce poverty and bureaucracy. If your goal is to keep poor people poor, generation after generation, you should promote socialism. But be sure to call it economic democracy (or, equality, social justice, etc.) in order to fool the voters.

The Bible is an anti-socialist document. Socialist propagandists for over four centuries have claimed that the Bible teaches socialism, but we have yet to see a single Bible commentary written by a socialist. If the Bible teaches socialism, where is the expository evidence?

When I say that the Bible mandates a moral and legal “social order” that inevitably produces free market capitalism, I have the evidence to back up my position. My critics — critics of capitalism — do not. The next time you hear someone say that the Bible teaches anything but free market capitalism, ask him or her which Bible commentary demonstrates this. You will get a blank stare followed by a lot of verbal tap-dancing about “the ultimate ethic of the Bible” or “the upholding of the poor in the Bible.” You will be given a lot of blah, blah, blah. [But], Blah, blah, blah is not a valid substitute for biblical exposition.

Fact: There has never been an expository Bible commentary that shows that the Bible teaches anything other than free market capitalism.

By Dr. Gary North

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Value and Morality

AEconomics: Value and Morality

When the ‘Light of Scripture’ is Ignored

By Tom Rose

 The Scriptures tell us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7), and that it is the Person of Christ “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3).cloud

Therefore, if we believe the Bible, we should not be surprised to find that the Bible indeed is a useful source of information and guidance, even when it comes to the study of economic science. The Bible is especially useful for gaining insights about:

1. the nature of man, and

2. the moral rightness or wrongness of man’s social relationships.

When it comes to establishing economic policy, where questions of morals and ethics are always close at hand, it is easy to see how the Bible can be of invaluable service. Most Christians see such directives as, “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not covet,” “… if any would not work, neither should he eat,” and “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?,” as quite clear in their meaning, though they might disagree somewhat on how to apply them in specific social instances. So, applying the Bible to the normative area of economics can more easily be understood than applying it to the positive aspect of economics.

But, what about the positive aspect of economics? Can the Bible really be of practical use here? We are convinced that it can. Take, for instance, the “value problem” that economists failed for so long to solve. A study of economic history shows that the answer to the dilemma of what caused things to have value eluded the early economists for centuries. Yet, the correct solution was in the Bible all along! This may be a somewhat audacious claim in the opinion of secular economists, but it is clear to me from my study of the Bible that the missing key for solving the persistent “value dilemma” was all-along available in the Scriptures if only the early economic investigators had sought wisdom and enlightenment from God’s objective revelation of scriptural truth.

In short, the Classical economists erred in solving the problem of value (they thought value was instilled into objects as the result of applying man’s labor energies to them), when the correct answer was readily available in the Bible. And the undesirable effects of their failure have persisted up to the present time. Classical economists claimed that value was invested in a good by expending labor in its production. In general, those articles that had more labor expended in their production were said to be more valuable; those on which less labor was expended were said to be less valuable. This is the Classical “Labor Theory of Value.”

Karl Marx followed in the footsteps of the Classical economists. Though he is regarded as the “father of communism,” and even though he was mainly what today might be regarded as a sociologist, when it comes to economics Marx is regarded as the last in the line of Classical economists. Though he attacked the system of capitalism with vehemence, he thought and reasoned as a Classical economist, and he accepted their theories. He was not an original thinker.

Marx accepted the Classical “Labor Theory of Value” even though it was false. This now-discredited theory was the key building block that Marx used to develop his antagonistic theory of labor exploitation. And he used this, in turn, to support his ideology of a deeply rooted class struggle between workers and employers (the laboring class versus the capitalist class). The ideology of class warfare is a sociological concept rather than an economic concept. Out of Marx’s unstable structure—unstable because it is built on the shifting sands of error—evolved two phenomena that have had great impact on our modern world:

First, was the Cold War. The free nations—which more or less accept the biblical view of man, or which did at one time—are aligned on one side; and the communist nations—which take an atheistic view of man—are aligned on the other. Two opposing worlds stand bristling against each other; and the divisive economic factor is the different belief, or ideology, that the protagonists hold about the morality of the free-enterprise capitalistic system. The capitalist nations claim the system is fair to all, while the communist nations are wedded to the belief that capitalism unfairly exploits the working class. (Let us not forget that the economic argument is just a surface issue, the real crux of the matter hinges on theology and the different world-life views that result from opposing theological concepts.) And the extent to which once-free nations have moved to centrally controlled economies serves as a measure of the inroads that their citizens have succumbed to the indoctrination of Marx’s ideology of class warfare and his false labor theory of value.

Second, is the worldwide industrial conflict that continues to fester like a running sore between management and labor unions. The managements of corporations throughout the world are lined up against militant labor unions that are led by men who have accepted the Marxian theory of labor exploitation. Even if the communist threat of worldwide military and political domination should ever abate, the effect of the Classical economists’ erroneous solution to the “value problem” promises—through Marx’s theory of labor exploitation—to be a continuing divisive force between the users of capital (workers) and the owners of capital (stockholders, and their representatives, management).

If the early economists had properly related the biblical teaching about man to their reasoning about the “value problem” (that man was created in the image and likeness of God and could, therefore, like God, impute value into things; i.e., that value exists only in the mind or in the eye of the beholder), then the Classical economists would not have fallen into the error that they succumbed to. And Marx and his class-warfare ideology and the whole Marxian system of economics which resulted, and which now splits the world into two disputing camps, would have been denied their key foundational building block.

Examples of where the Bible shows an imputation of value onto or into another person or object are so numerous that it is a wonder that such a clear biblical teaching escaped notice by the early economists. The New Testament Greek word agapao (John 3:16; Rom. 9:13; 1 John 4:10) and others shows an imputation of value into or upon the object loved.

The same can be said for words like ahab (Mal. 1:23; Jer. 31:3) and chasahq (Ps. 91:14; Deut. 7:7) in the Old Testament. The New Testament Greek word agapao means a searching, personal

love, as a man’s love for his wife. Why does a man value the woman he asks to be his wife more than any other, even though to others the object of his affection may appear plain, homely, fat, ugly, frivolous, deformed, or even to have bad breath? The only logical explanation is that love, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Love is felt toward the object of affection because the one who actively loves, for some inexplicable reason, imputes a value into the person or object esteemed.

Thus with God toward man. The Old Testament Hebrew words connote the same kind of love:

ahab means to have affection for and chashaq means to cling to, to love, to delight in. The root meaning of chashaq is “setting love or value upon.” Clearly this is an imputation of value, a valuing process that occurs only in the mind of the one doing the beholding. Could the meaning be more obvious? But even more obvious are the use of words such as arak (Lev. 27:12, 14) and mikcah (Lev. 27:27) and timao (Matt. 27:9). Arak means to set in a row, to arrange in order, to compare, to esteem, to estimate, or to value. Mikcah means to make an enumeration or a valuation. And timao means to prize, to fix a valuation upon, to revere, or to honor. Again, the clear meaning is that of a subjective estimation or valuation that is imputed.

The careful use of these words in both the Old and the New Testament should have served as useful clues to anyone who made a serious attempt to relate biblical truth to the solving of the “value problem” which evaded solution by the Classical economists. The fact that Classical economists settled on an erroneous “labor theory of value” serves to indicate that none seriously used the Bible as a benchmark against which to evaluate his study of economic science.

I point these things out, not to second guess eminent economists who are long dead and who made great strides in helping develop the science called economics, but rather to show that the light found in God’s revealed Word really and truly has something worthwhile to say to economic practitioners both in the area of positive economics and in normative economics. It only makes good sense for the searcher of truth to make use of every tool provided by God; and the economist who overlooks any source of light, especially that of the Bible, does so at his own risk.

*****

Tom Rose, M.A., is the director of the Institute for Free Enterprise Education in Dallas,

Texas. He also teaches economics at John F. Kennedy College in Nebraska.

Article from Chalcedon.edu. The Journal of Christian Reconstruction, Vol. 2 No. 1.

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The CA University Faculty — Racism and Bias Problems?

University1Microaggression, Macro-Crazy

By Heather MacDonald

The University of California keeps upping the ante in its search for imaginary bias.

Summer 2015

Early this year, the University of California’s president, Janet Napolitano, asked all deans and department chairs in the university’s ten campuses to undergo training in overcoming their “implicit biases” toward women and minorities. The department heads also needed training, according to the UC president, in how to avoid committing microaggressions, those acts of alleged racism that are invisible to the naked eye. A more insulting and mindless exercise would be hard to imagine. But Napolitano’s seminar possesses a larger significance: it demolishes any remaining hope that college administrators possess a firmer grip on reality than the narcissistic students over whom they preside.University5

The “Fostering Inclusive Excellence: Strategies and Tools for Department Chairs and Deans” seminar presumes that University of California faculty are so bigoted that they will refuse to hire the most qualified candidate for a professorship if that candidate happens to be female or an “underrepresented minority”—i.e., black or Hispanic. Attendees at the seminar were subjected to an “interactive theater scenario” called “Recognizing Microaggressions Tool,” is that “people of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.” Now where would anyone get that idea? Well, you might ask any high school senior, steeped in his class’s SAT rankings, if it’s true that “people of color” are given “extra benefits” in college admissions. He will laugh at your naïveté. A 2004 study of three top-tier universities, published in Social Science Quarterly, University4found that blacks were favored over whites by a factor of 5.5 and that being black got students an extra 230 SAT points on a 1,600-point scale. Such massive preferences for URMs are found at every selective college and graduate school. Every student knows this, and yet diversity protocol requires pretending that preferences don’t exist. The race (and gender) advantage continues into the academic workplace, as everyone who has sat on a hiring committee also knows. But President Napolitano is determined to brand anyone who violates that collective fiction as a closet racist, someone who targets “persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership,” in the words of the “Microaggressions Tool.”University2

Other alleged microaggressions include uttering such hurtful words as “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” or “America is the land of opportunity” on a UC campus. Someone who has been through the “Fostering Inclusive Excellence” seminar may call you out for giving voice to such ideas. Why exactly saying that the most qualified person should get the job is a microaggression is a puzzle. Either such a statement is regarded simply as code for alleged anti-black sentiment, or the diversocrats are secretly aware that meritocracy is incompatible with “diversity.”

Equally “hostile” and “derogatory,” according to the “Tool,” is the phrase “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.” Such a statement is obviously an insult to all those career victims whose primary occupation is proclaiming their own helplessness and inability to accomplish anything without government assistance.

Many purported microaggressions arise from the contradictions in diversity ideology. Authorities in a diversity regime are supposed to categorize people by race and ethnicity—until that unpredictable moment when they are not supposed to. Assigning a black graduate student to escort a black visiting professor, for example, is a microaggression, per the “Tool.” But wasn’t the alleged need for role models and a critical mass of “persons of color” a key justification for “diversity”? Describing a colleague as a “good Black scientist” is another microaggression. But such a categorization merely reflects the race-consciousness and bean-counting that the campus diversity enforcers insist upon.

Color-blindness constitutes an entire microaggression “Theme” in the “Tool,” pace Martin Luther King, Jr. Beware of saying, “When I look at you, I don’t see color” or “There is only one race, the human race.” Doing so, according to the “Tool,” denies “the individual as a racial/cultural being.” Never mind that diversity ideologues reject the genetic basis of racial categories and proclaim that race is merely a “social construct.” The non-diverse world is under orders both to deny that race exists and to “acknowledge race,” in Tool-parlance, regarding Persons of Color.

Other microaggressions provide a glimpse into the future. It may seem like a stretch today to label as a microaggression “being forced to choose Male or Female when completing basic forms,” but it won’t remain a stretch for long. The movement to discredit binary, biological sex distinctions is accelerating weekly; expect more institutions to accede to the demand to allow their members to choose from an array of “gender” possibilities and combinations or face protest.

Though participation in “Fostering Inclusive Excellence” was, in theory, voluntary, Napolitano had informed the deans and chairs that she would be briefed on attendance and the “tenor of the conversations.” Her office would not disclose the turnout for the seminars. It would be a good barometer for whether the faculty possesses any remaining spine.

The ultimate question raised by the seminar is: Are there any adults left on campus, at least in administrative offices? And the answer is: no. An adult administrator would realize that he is presiding over the most tolerant, well-meaning, and opportunity-filled community in human history. He would understand that the claim that females and minorities are the victims of discrimination on campuses is sheer fiction. He would know that teaching students to go around ferreting out imaginary slights does them a disservice.

Maybe that administrator is so cowardly that, while he knows these things, he is not willing to assert them in the face of student agitation for more victim infrastructure. Such cowardice is deeply unfortunate. But at least it holds out the possibility for some return to sanity at a later date. The most disturbing aspect of “Fostering Inclusive Excellence” is that it was initiated by the president’s office without outside provocation. Had Napolitano not come up with these anti-bias trainings, no one would have noticed their absence. Instead, she has sua sponte promulgated an initiative deeply ignorant about how seriously most professors—at least in the sciences—take their responsibilities to build up a faculty of accomplishment and research prowess. We have come to expect such ignorance from coddled, self-engrossed students. Now it turns out that those students may be the least of the university’s problems.

*****

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a City Journal contributing editor.

Article from city-journal.org

 

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Protestantism and Progress

AProtestantism and Progress

by Theodore Plantinga

Post-Enlightenment Christianity

 What would you say if someone called you a “post-Enlightenment” Christian? Would you be upset? It happened to me once, but no insult was intended. A colleague of mine declared that a whole group of us gathered in a room with him were “post-Enlightenment” Christians.

Words that begin with “post-” are difficult to assess. It is sometimes said that we live in a A“post-Christian” era, and in a certain sense this is true. Yet this does not mean that people today cannot be genuine Christians. The phrase “post-Enlightenment,” however, has a slightly different meaning. It suggests that the Enlightenment is a “fait accompli,” a set of historical changes that cannot be reversed. Just as the Republicans did not try to undo Roosevelt’s New Deal when they came to power in 1952, Christians seem to have given up fighting the influence of the Enlightenment. An Enlightenment-oriented conception of man and freedom simply seems to be presupposed in our social and political discussions.

If we are “post-Enlightenment” Christians, it is because we have made our peace with the Enlightenment. Perhaps one reason why many Christians in North America and Europe feel such antipathy to the Afrikaner Calvinists in South Africa is that the latter are not “post Enlightenment” Christians. In a real historical sense, the Afrikaners settled in their current homeland before the Enlightenment and missed out on it. As a result they have trouble understanding the preoccupation with freedom and equality among many North American and European Calvinists who fit into the category of “post-Enlightenment” Christians.

 What is Enlightenment?

MWhat do we mean by the “Enlightenment”? Some historians are suspicious of such labels, but as a philosopher I would have a hard time getting along without them. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), who may well be the most important philosopher of them all, also believed in labels. In an influential little essay entitled “What Is Enlightenment?” he tells us that the motto of the Enlightenment is “Have the courage to use your own intelligence!” This is precisely what a great many people are apparently unwilling to do. Kant observes: “Through laziness and cowardice a large part of mankind, even after nature has freed them from alien guidance, remain immature. It is because of laziness and cowardice that it is so easy for others to usurp the role of guardians. It is so comfortable to be minor! If I have a book which provides meaning for me, a pastor who has conscience for me, a doctor who will judge my diet for me and so on, then I do not need to exert myself. I do not have any need to think; if I can pay, others will take over the tedious job for me.”

Especially significant here is the new view of authority that emerges. The individual isAAB called to be his own authority, for all men possess reason and intelligence. What we must do is to encourage people to think for themselves instead of basing their decisions and beliefs on what others tell them. Anything and everything can now be brought before the bar of reason for critical examination. This is the spirit of Kant’s own philosophy, and it is also the spirit of the Enlightenment as a whole. No longer can the traditional authorities be viewed with a superstitious reverence. Hans Kung observes that the Enlightenment “demythologized authority.” On the modern understanding of authority, he writes, “… no truth is accepted without being submitted to the judgment of reason, merely on the authority of the Bible or tradition or the Church, but only after a critical scrutiny.”

What is meant by such talk is not all that remote from daily experience. Should a small child obey his mother’s command simply because she is his mother? Or should he “have the courage to use his own intelligence”? A “post-Enlightenment” child who was given a command would demand an explanation — in short, the reason why. If his mother could convince him that what she wanted him to do (or refrain from doing) was indeed sensible and wise, he would comply.

 Progress in History

distant sun We now tend to think along Enlightenment lines when we talk about progress in history. Societies are “modern” if they have absorbed the Enlightenment legacy of freedom, rationality and equality. A primitive society or a society in need of “modernization” is simply one in which such ideals have not been realized to any great extent. If Protestants are to be proponents of progress, it appears that they must then identify themselves with Enlightenment ideals. Not all Protestant thinkers have done so, however. The Dutch Calvinist historian Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer (1801-76) looked at the Enlightenment spirit, which culminated in the chilling events of the French Revolution and its reign of terror, as an unsettling force that was bringing disorder into society. He laid out his conception of the religious spirit driving European history in his most important book, entitled Ongeloof en revolutie (Unbelief and Revolution). Groen was certainly in favor of progress in history, but he did not believe genuine progress would be achieved by adopting the ideals of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. The freedom offered in the name of those ideals would turn out to be tyranny, he was convinced. Therefore, when he established a Christian political movement in the Netherlands, he called it the ” Anti-Revolutionary Party.” Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), his successor as head of this group, was of the same conviction and argued that genuine progress in history and genuine freedom can best be secured on the basis of a Calvinistic conception of life.

It should be noted here that one can speak of the Enlightenment in a narrow sense and a broad sense. In the narrow sense it is no more than a period within European history — a period that had its day and then was gone. In the broader sense the Enlightenment represents the crystallization of Humanistic social and political ideals that had been building for a long, long time. In other words, it is a major restatement of modern man’s secular alternative to Christianity as a way of life. The Enlightenment in the broad sense was not overcome or repudiated in such nineteenth-century thinkers as Hegel and Marx but was carried along in a transformed version. Today we see Enlightenment ideals shining through in the thinking of the neo-Marxists, such as Juergen Habermas (born 1929). The contemporary preoccupation with liberation of every sort, which manifests itself in part as opposition to discrimination (both real and imagined), cannot be understood apart from the Enlightenment and its characteristic emphases.

 Reformation and Enlightenment

Protestantism likes to think of itself as having contributed substantially to the progress that has been made in the modern world. But what, exactly, is its contribution? The German theologian and historian Ernst Troeltsch (1865-1923) reflected on this question in his thought-provoking book Protestantism and Progress.

Protestants who love the Enlightenment and look to its ideals as the source and guarantee of progress like to depict the Reformation as a step toward the Enlightenment. In the Enlightenment we find a disdain for institutions and a glorification of the individual. Now then, wasn’t Luther the one who got all of this started? Didn’t Luther rebel against the establishment? Wasn’t he therefore the first modern man? And isn’t Protestantism the ultimate root of the ideals of freedom and equality in the modern world?

Troeltsch sees no support for such an interpretation of Protestantism. What we call modernity does not begin with the Reformation: “… Protestantism cannot be supposed to have directly paved the way for the modern world.” Because of Protestantism, “… Europe had to experience two centuries more of the medieval spirit.” Troeltsch informs us that “… it was only the great struggle for freedom at the end of the seventeenth and in the eighteenth century which really brought the Middle Ages to an end” (pp. 85, 86).

Who, then, was Martin Luther? Wasn’t he an early battler for liberation? Not according to Troeltsch, for he argues: “Protestantism was at first concerned only with the answer to the old question about assurance of salvation …” (p.60). Protestantism has a great deal in common with Catholicism and the outlook of the Middle Ages. In fact, it can almost be viewed as an extension of the medieval outlook: “The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are no longer the Middle Ages, but neither are they `Modern Times.’ They are the `Confessional’ Age of European history …” (p. 89). “The point of primary importance,” Troeltsch informs us, “is that, historically and theologically regarded, Protestantism — especially at the outset in Luther’s reform of the Church — was, in the first place, simply a modification of Catholicism, in which the Catholic formulation of the problems was retained, while a different answer was given to them” (p. 59).

What does Protestantism as described by Troeltsch have in common with today’s Protestantism, which comes in so many forms and varieties? Not a great deal. Troeltsch makes a distinction between early Protestantism, which is the vision and outlook of Luther and Calvin, and modern Protestantism, which absorbs much of the thinking of the modern world into itself. “The genuine early Protestantism of Lutheranism and Calvinism is, as an organic whole, in spite of its anti-Catholic doctrine of salvation, entirely a Church civilization like that of the Middle Ages. It claims to regulate State and society, science and education, law, commerce and industry, according to the supernatural standpoint of revelation ….” Modern Protestantism, on the other hand has recognized in principle “… the possibility of a plurality of different religious convictions and religious societies existing alongside one another. It has further, in principle, recognized alongside itself a completely untrammeled secular life, which it no longer attempts to control, either directly or indirectly, through the agency of the State” (pp. 44-6).

The deep difference between early and modern Protestantism can be clearly seen in how they relate to other movements and currents of thought. Troeltsch writes: “… early Protestantism differentiates itself clearly from those historical movements which were proceeding alongside of it — which modern Protestantism has more or less completely taken up into itself, but which were inwardly deeply distinguished from it and had an independent influence of their own in history. Such are the humanistic, historical, philological, and philosophical theology, the sectarian Anabaptist movement with its assertion of the Church’s independence of the State, and the wholly individualistic, subjectivistic Spiritualism. Early Protestantism distinguished itself from all these sharply and with cruel violence; and it did so, not merely from shortsighted bitterness or theological dogmatism, nor from opportunism or from the narrow sympathies of a period of decline. In all its leaders, in a Luther, a Zwingli, a Calvin, from the beginning, it was conscious of an inherent and essential opposition to them” (pp. 48-9).

Troeltsch finally sums up the deep gulf between early and modern Protestantism by means of a telling comment that shows us how much our world has changed since the days of Luther and Calvin. He observes: “Everywhere the idea of faith has triumphed over the content of faith …” (p. 199). For a great many Protestants today it doesn’t matter what it is that you believe — as long as there is room for religion in your life.

 What Are We To Be?

 By this point you may be wondering whether Troeltsch would classify you as an early or a modern Protestant. Perhaps you don’t feel entirely at home in either camp. I know I don’t, and therefore I do not mean to suggest that we must simply choose the one or the other. What strikes me instead as significant is how fully twentieth-century Protestantism as delineated by Troeltsch has identified itself with the modern world and its vision of progress, freedom and equality. Troeltsch, it appears, was familiar with the phenomenon of the “post-Enlightenment” Christian.

The historian Crane Brinton has written: “The main theme of Western intellectual and moral history since about 1700 has been the coexistence and mutual interpenetration of two very different broad world views, the Christian and that of the Enlightenment.” If this assessment is correct — and I believe it is — a continuing choice faces us as Protestants. Are we to be “modern Protestants” in Troeltsch’s sense, absorbing into our theology and institutions ideas and patterns that Luther and Calvin would have regarded as alien? Or are we to try to disentangle Christianity from the Humanistic outlook of the Enlightenment? The latter, it seems to me.

But this is not to say that we must remain standing exactly where Luther and Calvin stood. The Reformation they inaugurated must be carried further — especially in such areas as philosophy and political theory. Luther and Calvin did not solve the problem of the relation between church and state. There was work left for later generations of Protestants — and there is still much work awaiting our generation. Let’s see to it that we undertake this work in the spirit of “early Protestantism,” that is, the spirit of the Reformation with its allegiance to the Bible as the Word of God.

Hiding the Gospel?

Now, I would not write all of this if I did not believe that we are in danger of undertaking our work in a different spirit instead. Protestants are human beings, and all human beings have a tendency to conform, to be like the others. A boy in school wants to wear the same kind of clothes as the other boys. People repeat the opinions they hear voiced around them — and thereby public opinion swells. We all tend to say, “Me too!”

What concerns me in connection with twentieth-century Protestantism – or Calvinism, to make it more specific — is that we are all to quick to say, “Me too!” We are eager to be seen as favoring progress and justice and other such worthy aims. As a result, we find ourselves enlisting in crusades and jumping onto bandwagons. What is the concern of the hour (?): A multi-national corporation that needs to be boycotted(?); Some authoritarian regime that is holding political prisoners(?); Or, some potential ecological disaster waiting for a small accident to trigger it? Since we wouldn’t want anyone to conclude that we think along sixteenth-century lines, we get right into the forefront of these battles. After all, we’re in favor of progress! (Me too!)

Sometimes such an attitude even has the effect of trivializing and hiding the gospel. Instead of calling an “unbelieving world” to repentance and conversion to Jesus Christ, the source of true life, we tell a lost world that small is beautiful, or that the native peoples of North America have been mistreated, or that many executives in the business world are male chauvinists. We jump onto the latest cultural fads of social justice or a social gospel. We want to place ourselves on the side of right-thinking men (and women) of good will, don’t we? As Protestants we want to be in the forefront of the struggle for progress.

When we take such an approach, we may win popularity and acceptance into the “certain circles,” but we are selling the gospel and the Christian faith short. Protestantism does indeed lead to progress in history — but not the “me too” Protestantism that tags along behind secular Humanism with its short-sighted analysis of the human predicament. True progress is possible only for those who side with the King whose Kingdom is being established here on earth.

Only that which is built in His name, Jesus Christ, will abide. Calvin and Luther knew this. Hence we must build further on their foundation — and not on the false foundation of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Founded upon Christ the King, true progress is being established from generation to generation as Christ Jesus reigns and works through His Bride, the Church. In so doing, Christ the King is separating the chaff from the wheat.

 *****

Article from calvin.edu.

Editing by Gospelbbq.

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Who’s to Judge…Do You not Know?

Rejoice, O Glorious Onespouring wine!

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?1…Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more then, matters pertaining to this life?2…Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality3, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the Kingdom of God4.

women And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God5…The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body6. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by His power7. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!8tulips

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.9

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into Hell10…if He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah…when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly,11 [and] if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes He condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly,12

And if He rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked13 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);14 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,15 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.16

Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones17…like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant18…they count it pleasure to revel19…forsaking the right way, they have gone astray20…these are waterless (dry) springs21…speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh22…they promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption.23

There are some things that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.24 You, therefore beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people…25

Rejoice

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.26 But REJOICE insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also Rejoice and be Glad when His glory is revealed.27 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, You are Blessed, because the Spirit of Glory and of God rests upon you.28

For you O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.29 You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs;30 you let men ride over our heads31…yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.32

Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds33, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.34

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern, what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.35

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.36

Let brotherly love continue37…let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.38

*****

  1. 1 Corinthians 6: 2
  2. “ “ 6: 3
  3. “ “ 6: 9
  4. “ “ 6: 10
  5. “ “ 6: 11
  6. “ “ 6: 13b
  7. “ “ 6: 14
  8. “ “ 6: 15
  9. “ “ 6: 18
  10. 2 Peter 2: 4
  11. “ “ 2: 5
  12. “ “ 2: 6
  13. “ “ 2: 7
  14. “ “ 2: 8
  15. “ “ 2: 9
  16. “ “ 2: 10a
  17. “ “ 2: 10b
  18. “ “ 2: 12
  19. “ “ 2: 13b
  20. “ “ 2: 15a
  21. “ “ 2: 17a
  22. “ “ 2: 18
  23. “ “ 2: 19a
  24. “ “ 3: 16b
  25. “ “ 3: 17
  26. 1 Peter 4: 12
  27. “ “ 4: 13
  28. “ “ 4: 14
  29. Psalm 66: 10
  30. “ 66: 11
  31. “ 66: 12a
  32. “ 66: 12c
  33. James 1: 2
  34. James 1: 3
  35. Romans 12: 2
  36. “ 12: 21
  37. Hebrews 13: 1
  38. “ 13: 4

*See also the Book of Jude.

[Sexual Immorality is biblically defined as including; homosexuality, bestiality, incest, and sex outside of marriage.] Ex. 20:14, Lev.20:10, Lev. 18:16-18, 22-23.

Re-posting Compiled and Edited by Pete Coker.

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Who’s Against Environmentalism?

AWho’s Against Environmentalism?

 Compiled and Edited by Peter. C. Coker

Preface

Within the Judeo-Christian worldview exists God’s decree for the proper management of His creation as a part of man’s dominionA mandate. Under God, man is commanded to care for and develop his environment. Against the Judeo/Christian worldview today exists its antithesis, the ‘environmental movement,’ or environmentalism. Environmentalism is a ‘humanist’ worldview that owes its philosophy to other humanistic philosophies, such as Darwinism and Marxism; as well as the mystery cults.

MEven prior to the time period of Jesus Christ, Plato syncretized mysticism with his own philosophical system. Later, around the time of Christ, the Alexandrian Jew, Philo, combined Plato’s mysticism and metaphysics to the Hebrew Bible. These mystical and philosophical ideas soon began to be fused into the early Gnostic sects as well as certain streams of Christian thought. For many Gnostics, this meant they were free to “do-as-they-please” because they were ‘under grace.” Many such heretical movements have come and gone since Christianity’s early days – only to perennially return in some related form or phenomenon.

Nature and Reality

FIt is one thing to say that the universe or creation exists; it is another to assert that this universe is the source of its own laws and phenomena, or that it is a self-enclosed system of causality.

For the most part, ‘Environmentalism’ sees “nature” as the ‘real world’ and the totality of that world. Nature is thus viewed as a self-sustaining order with its own power and workings. In rejecting Biblical revelation, ‘enlightenment thought’ replaced God as the determining power with nature as the new source of power; often using the word “providence” or “divine providence” to describe the power of nature, yet sound theological at the same time.

Rushdoony explained it as follows:

“The Bible, has no such term as “nature.” It does not recognize nature as the source and cause of natural phenomena; rather, it sees God directly and absolutely operative in all natural phenomena. There is thus, no law inherent in “nature;” but, there is a law over “nature.” “Nature” is a collective name for an uncollectivized reality, and by uncollectivized, it is meant that “nature” has no unity in and of itself, that makes it a unified order. To assert that such a unity exists in and as “nature,” is to assert a hierarchical principle concerning the universe and its spheres.

If “nature” is a unity in status or in process, then it represents a system of higher and lower authorities, powers, and laws. It is subject to understanding in terms of its past, present, or continuing development as a scale of being in which there is both higher and lower being. The laws of that realm of being are to be derived from within the scale of being. If the primitive and lower is held to be more vital, then it is the true source of power and determination.

If the ‘rational and higher’ is held to be more important, then it becomes the necessary source of ‘power and determination.’ In either case, ‘causality and creative power’ becomes inherently located within the universe, and it becomes necessary to posit “nature” as; the ground of being, the source of ultimacy, and “the system of all phenomena in space and time.” But, if God is the Creator, then the system is not “nature,” but in reality, God’s eternal decree.”

Because God’s word separates mankind from the rest of creation, man is, by design, God’s image-bearer and is thus called to exercise ‘dominion under God.’ Contrary to God’s revelation of man, ‘environmentalism,’ as fundamental to ‘evolution,’ separates man from nature as the destroyer who must be restrained and suppressed in his God-given calling to dominion and development of the natural world. The environmental deconstruction and separation of mankind’s ‘God-given calling’ to dominion creates a fictional, autonomous, sphere of operation for man; against God’s designated order. This autonomous alien view, inherently absolves man of his responsibility to God and means he no longer operates under God, but, apart from God.

 Responsibility and Autonomy

 The Biblical doctrine of responsibility reveals that man’s primary responsibility is to God, and secondarily to his fellow man (Matt. 22: 36-40). Without responsibility to God, man becomes his own god and his primary responsibility is one of his own making. This can also happen to some degree when believers make the second commandment, (You shall love your neighbor…) more important than the first (You shall love God…). In recent history, the Biblical doctrine of individual responsibility has been further suppressed and marginalized by the popular acceptance of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Basic to evolutionary theory is environmentalism; i.e., that man is a product of his environment and has evolved in relationship to a changing environment and its actions upon him. As a result of the evolutionary view, man is not only a product of his environment, he is also a creature of his environment; rather than a creature of God. With such an alien false paradigm, man becomes what an evolving world makes of him; and thus, man’s thoughts and actions are a product of an evolving, environmental-molding of man.

This anti-supernatural presupposition ultimately means that the guilt for man’s actions rests solely with his natural environment, and his social and personal world. Ironically, it is this ‘world of his environment’ that inadvertently ends-up bearing the blame for an individual’s sin(s)! Thus, parents or society gets blamed for the bad conduct of delinquents and criminals. And with such a twisted scheme, lawless individuals eventually become the victims; while guilt or fault then gets transferred to some aspect(s) of their social environment! With humanistic environmentalism, as with Freudian Psychology, man’s own personal sin and guilt get denied. Man then becomes, not a sinner needing salvation, but a victim of religion, or of capitalism, of his family’s discipline, of repression, of bad education, of poverty, of bigotries, etc., etc.

 The Individual and Society

 Since humanistic environmentalism declares that it is the environment or society which breeds sin-bearing men and criminals; humanists attempt to recondition all people through the influencing of: schools, clergy, the arts, the press, and a wide variety of popular media outlets. For humanism, man can be and is determined by his environment rather than by his own ‘inner being.’ As a result, for humanist ideology, man must be reconditioned to deny personal responsibility and realize that he is merely a victim of his surroundings; his physical and social environment. With such a worldview it does not take much imagination to see the acceptance of totalitarianism and humanistic social fascism.

Marxism, as an even more rigorous form of environmentalism, is dedicated to a comprehensive (anti-Christian) remaking of the ‘social environment’ in totality. Thus, Marxist’s in referring to ‘man’s fall’ as recorded in Genesis, blamed neither Adam nor Eve, nor the serpent; but instead blamed the apple, i.e., their environment, the world man lives in! Therefore, to punish the individual is seen as evil in a Marxian (and Freudian) worldview! Hence, God, and those who seek to operate under God and His inspired law-order are to be blamed and persecuted as the evil ones, in a humanist law-order.

But, as James, the brother of Jesus clearly noted: “…each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1: 14-15).

Biblically the community must also bear a certain responsibility; that is, the responsibility to see that justice is done. And if justice is not done according to the law-word of God, the community will then share in its own guilt. The community has a responsibility to God to see that justice is done; and it also has a responsibility to the victim of a crime to pursue proper justice.

For example, in Biblical terms, ‘restitution’ meant that the criminal must restore what he took from the victim, with interest; depending on the crime and the nature of the crime. The victim is thus, to be compensated by the perpetrator, for their loss, plus interest and penalties. With Biblical restitution, both, the victim was restored as well as the criminal, provided the criminal wholly “pay his debt,” making legal and monetary amends to the victim. Likewise, the criminal’s restoration was then to be recognized by the community as well.

In contrast, humanism, with its violent nature against a Biblical-law order, often determines that it is society that should make restitution to the criminal through incarceration and its supposed rehabilitation. Because of its social-environmentalism, humanism seeks to blame the individual’s environment for causing man’s crimes. This, of course means that society must then pay and atone for the individual acts of criminal behavior. Criminology (and welfarism) in America often rely on this humanistic, perverted, version of restitution and further perpetuate injustice.

As previously noted, since evil exists in one’s environment and not in the sinner (for humanism) — rehabilitation and restitution are often made to the sinning individual — and not to the victim. For environmentalism, the proof of the ‘innocence of a criminal’ is to search and find evidence of some unhappy interaction with some aspect of their social and physical environment. With such thinking comes the growing inability of society to cope correctly with crime and render true and proper justice. The more humanistic ideals are infused into law, the more mankind becomes unable to cope judiciously with evil; and the more action is sought to appease and compromise with evil; thereby, encouraging its spread in communities. (“Those who forsake the law, praise the wicked”… Prov. 28: 4)

The environmental approach of detaching sin from the person to their environment, in fact, describes the Biblical thesis of Satan in the Garden of Eden. What makes this thesis so incredible is that Adam and Eve lived and communed in a ‘perfect environment;’ the Garden of Eden! Additionally, what is even more incredible is the Biblical account of Satan (Lucifer) in Heaven. Satan, God’s most notable angel, originally dwelt in Heaven, presumably, the greatest environment in existence anywhere. Yet, remarkably, Satan (Lucifer), as an entirely ‘spiritual being,’ sinned and led a rebellion in Heaven — taking with him one-third of all the angels. Apparently, even in the most perfect environment, ‘sin happens.’

By separating the sin from the sinner, environmentalism disguises a most basic issue. In using the separating tactic, judgment and guilt eventually gets transferred to God and His people. We have seen this demonstrated periodically throughout history. But, for believers, God is ultimately our first true environment. For environmentalism, however, this ultimately means that environmentalists are (maybe unwittingly) essentially at war with God. And, as is clearly observable, they are also at war with those who chose to follow in God’s ways. In 20th and 21st century America, one can easily see the historic anti-Christian philosophies of; Comte, Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Hegel, de Sade, Dewey and many others, systematically working throughout American education, culture and politics to systematically deconstruct and suppress any and all Christian influences.

Conclusion

In Greek philosophy reality is viewed in terms of abstract ideas and forms, rather than in terms of God’s handiwork in Creation and His revealed law-word. In like manner, environmentalism views the world with an abstract idea of the natural world. In their imaginary world-order, nature holds dominion over mankind, thereby reversing God’s ordained calling to mankind. This desire to reject God’s order and replace it with autonomous alien ideas is at the heart of idolatry and mankind’s original sin as revealed in Genesis 3: 5; mankind’s desire to be his own god and lawmaker, apart from God. Adam and Eve determined to be autonomous (apart from God), deciding for themselves what constituted good and evil.

Jesus exposed this same sinful desire in the Pharisees, who pretended outwardly to be obedient to God’s ways and God’s laws. But, as Jesus pointed-out, this was not truly the case for the Pharisees. The Pharisees, as Israel’s religious leaders, were supposed to carry on the true religion of Israel, to be the bearers of the torch, passed-on from generation to generation. But, instead the Pharisees adopted not a true faith, but a corrupt and illegitimate faith that focused on ceremonies and man-made traditions. Much of Jesus teaching re-emphasized and focused on the inner-man, the heart of man, as being the true source of defilement. Therefore, it was the ‘heart of man’ that needed changing.

Contrary to true Biblical-faith, the Pharisees focused on the outer-man (his outer environment) in their religious outlook. They cared more for outward appearances, on how religious they appeared to others. Their ceremonial washings were indications that they assumed the world, (their environment), was the source of contamination and not their own fallen sin-nature. Thus, the Pharisees had inadvertently become antinomian (against God’s law) by preferring to observe ceremonies and traditions, in place of obeying and having faith in God and His law-word. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their lawlessness and ‘legalism’ (substituting man-made laws for God’s laws). Jesus declared that the basic source of sin and defilement in man comes from within, from the heart of a man.

In its natural condition, the heart of man desires autonomy, self-rule apart from God. Thus, the salvation of man can only be a super-natural conversion or regeneration by the Holy Spirit, not through a superficial environmental reconditioning.

***

I confess to God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and before all the company of Heaven, that I have sinned, in thought, word and deed, through my fault, my own fault, my own most grievous fault: Wherefore I pray Almighty God to have mercy on me, to forgive me all my sins, and to make clean my heart within me.” –Confession of the Office of Compline-

*****

This article is derived from excerpts from: “The Institutes of Biblical Law,” by Rousas John Rushdoony, 1973, and from “Systematic Theology,” Volumes I & II, by Rousas John Rushdoony, 1994; “The Myth of Nature,” by R.J. Rushdoony — and some of my own contributions. (P.C. Coker)

 

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