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Celebrations planned, tension lingers a month after marriage equality resolution takes effect

Anglican Ink - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 22:10
[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church’s five-week-old plan to give same-sex couples unfettered access to marriage in all of its domestic dioceses is still clouded by requirements not envisioned by the enabling resolution and has broken the relationships of some congregations with their bishops.

Yet, in the midst of what more than one person has called “heartbreak,” there soon will be celebrations in some of those places. A parish in the Diocese of Central Florida is planning in February to witness the marriage of two men who have been partners for 30 years.

And two of the three congregations in the Diocese of Dallas whose pastoral relationships with their bishop have changed because of their support of same-sex marriage are planning services the weekend of Jan. 19-20 to bless couples who had to leave the diocese to get married in the last three years.

Eight bishops in the church’s 101 domestic dioceses previously had blocked access to the rites.  Then in July, the 79th General Convention passed the often-rewritten and often-amendedResolution B012. Reactions among the eight bishops have run the gamut, from one outright refusing to comply to one making an about-face on the issue. The six other bishops are at various points in between.

Bishop William Love of the Diocese of Albany has said he will not allow same-sex couples to be married by priests in that diocese. He acknowledged that he could face disciplinary proceedings by the church for refusing to obey the resolution’s requirements.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has affirmed General Convention’s authority, saying that “those of us who have taken vows to obey the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church must act in ways that reflect and uphold the discernment and decisions of the General Convention of the church.” He and other church leaders, he said in mid-November, were “assessing the implications of [Love’s] statement and will make determinations about appropriate actions soon.”

Of the eight bishops, only Diocese of the Virgin Islands Bishop Ambrose Gumbs has told his clergy to offer the rites without further obstacles. Gumbs previously had blocked use of the rites, which General Convention approved in 2015 (via Resolution A054).

“The clergy are aware that if a same-sex couple presents themselves for pastoral care leading to marriage they are obligated to accommodate the request,” Gumbs said in an email to Episcopal News Service just after B012 took effect on the first Sunday of Advent, Dec. 2. If a priest refuses to officiate at such a wedding, the priest must “provide another priest to facilitate the process.”

How the church got to this point

The 2015 resolution said that the bishops of the church’s domestic dioceses needed to give their permission for the rites to be used. They were also told to “make provision for all couples asking to be married in this church to have access to these liturgies” even if they opposed same-sex marriage. (The Episcopal Church includes a small number of dioceses outside the United States in civil jurisdictions that do not allow marriage for same-sex couples.)

The eight bishops did not authorize use of the rites in their dioceses and required couples wanting to use them to be married outside their diocese and away from their home churches. Some refused to allow their priest to use the rites anywhere. This year, Resolution B012 moved the authority for deciding to use the rites from the diocesan bishop to parish priests. It said that diocesan bishops who do not agree with same-sex marriage “shall to invite, as necessary,” another Episcopal Church bishop to provide “pastoral support” to the couple, the clergy member involved and the congregation. Some of the bishops have interpreted B012 as requiring – or allowing them to require – the involvement of another bishop.

Christopher Hayes, who as a deputy from California proposed the amended version that convention passed, told ENS the key phrase is “as necessary.” Hayes thinks some bishops are misinterpreting that to mean necessary by mere fact of the bishops’ disagreement, whereas he understands it to mean pastorally necessary. Such pastoral necessity, he said, would be rare.

“Most of the time, the bishop isn’t involved in giving pastoral support to a couple getting married,” Hayes said, adding that pastoral oversight is a different matter not addressed by the resolution.

However, some of the eight bishops have argued that being involved in the use of the rites is part of their role as the diocese’s chief pastor. Tennessee Bishop John Bauerschmidt put it this way an October essay:

“It is because the bishop is concerned with every marriage as chief pastor of the diocese that his or her explicit permission must be sought in the extraordinary instance of the remarriage of a person with a previous spouse still living.

“Additionally, the little-noticed requirement (Canon I.18.2) that clergy who waive the 30-day notification period before officiating at any marriage must report this waiver to the bishop is a similar reminder of the bishop’s role in the everyday pastoral ministries of clergy.”

B012 specifically notes that the canonical provision about remarriage after divorce that Bauerschmidt cites applies to same-sex couples. Canon I.19.3 (page 60 here) requires priests to show their bishops (or the bishop in the diocese in which the service is planned) that they have verified the annulment or dissolution of a divorced person’s previous marriage, and that they discussed with the couple the need to show “continuing concern” for the well-being of the former spouse, and of any children. The resolution requires a bishop who opposes same-sex marriage to invite another bishop to provide the needed consent to remarry.

Responses across the spectrum

Bauerschmidt said in a July letter to the diocese that B012 sets up “a particular structure that upholds the bishop’s unique role as chief pastor and teacher and presider at the liturgy,” even when the bishop cannot support same-sex marriage.

Bauerschmidt said in July that he “holds the traditional teaching on marriage” so he intended to ask another bishop to provide the “pastoral care” that he said would be necessary to ensure that the trial liturgies will be available in his diocese. He told ENS in an email this week that he would wait until “sometime in January” to announce a specific implementation plan.

Meanwhile, he has issued two “pastoral teaching” essays, one on the bishop’s role and one on the “church’s traditional teaching on marriage.”

Florida Bishop John Howard, despite objecting to B012 at General Convention, told his diocese in August that he intended to implement the resolution.  A subsequent meeting with clergy on the issue left some confusion about what that process would look like.

In a Dec. 4 email to ENS, Emily Stimler, the diocese’s director of communications, said the diocese has established “a process of collaboration and transparency” for implementing the resolution as outlined here. Rectors or priests-in-charge who want to perform same-sex marriages, and their wardens, must first meet with Howard and he will “find a bishop willing to undertake pastoral oversight in accordance with the provisions of B012,” Stimler said. “The oversight would only cover marriage, and the other bishop would not take over all pastoral oversight of the congregation.”

Stimler said one congregation has begun that process, though she didn’t identify the congregation or elaborate on where that process stands.

Hayes told ENS he doesn’t see a need for bishop-to-clergy meetings like the ones Howard is requesting before letting the marriages proceed.

“If the bishop’s theological position is ‘I can’t give support to the couple,’ what’s the purpose of the meeting?” he said.

Breaking relationships over B012

At least three bishops, Greg Brewer in Central Florida, Dan Martins in Springfield and George Sumner in Dallas, appear to be severing their pastoral relationships with clergy and parishes wishing to use the rites by requiring arrangements that resemble Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight, or DEPO, with other Episcopal bishops, even though Resolution B012 specifically eschewed a DEPO mandate in such situations.

The House of Bishops devised DEPO in 2004 for congregations that so severely disagree with their diocesan bishops on human sexuality and other theological matters that their relationships are completely broken. Not all congregations wishing to use the same-sex marriage rites are in that level of conflict with their bishop, some bishops and deputies said during the convention debate.

Sumner announced in November that three congregations intended to perform same-sex marriages: Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration and Episcopal Church of St. Thomas the Apostle. Missouri Bishop Wayne Smith has agreed to be “the visiting bishop” to those congregations.

Sumner said he and Smith “share the hope that the three parishes will continue to invite me annually to come to preach, teach, and share in worship.”

On Jan. 19 Transfiguration plans a service to renew the marriage vows of 14 same-sex couples who had to leave the diocese to get married. Retired New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in The Episcopal Church, will preach. The next day, St. Thomas plans what it calls a “celebration and blessing” of such marriages.

The Rev. Paul Klitzke, rector at Ascension, told ENS that he was pleased to have a path toward offering the rites, though the change in the relationship with Sumner gave the congregation pause.

“There’s some heartbreak, in that this is not normative,” Klitzke said. “It’s not how the Episcopal Church has operated historically.”

Martins invoked the “heartbreak” of such an arrangement in his own message to the Diocese of Springfield in July. He outlined a process in which a congregation’s priest and other leaders will meet with him to discuss their desire to offer the trial rites, and Martins will find another bishop to assume “all the routine components of spiritual, pastoral, and sacramental oversight” for the congregation.

“Because all liturgical and sacramental ministry is an extension of the ministry of the bishop, and implicates the entire diocese in whatever is done, there must be a robust firewall between a community that receives same-sex marriage into its life, along with its clergy, and the rest of the diocese, including and especially the bishop,” Martins said.

Martins offered an update of sorts in December for Living Church, saying one parish in the diocese had asked to use the same-sex marriage rites, “and we are trying to hammer out the details.” The diocese did not return an ENS email seeking more information, including the name of the parish.

In Central Florida, ENS reported in August there was little expectation that congregations would face a DEPO arrangement or disruption of their pastoral relationships with Brewer other than inviting another bishop to provide oversight of same-sex marriage.

However, in December, the Rev. Alison Harrity, rector at St. Richard’s Episcopal Church in Winter Park, told ENS that when she informed Brewer that two men of the parish had asked her to perform their marriage, the bishop told her, “St. Richard’s needs a broader oversight.” Brewer delegated episcopal pastoral oversight to Kentucky Bishop Terry Allen White, Harrity said.

Brewer “didn’t even say ‘let’s have a conversation; he just gave us away,’” Harrity said. However, she added that the DEPO arrangement feels freeing to her and the congregation.

St. Richard’s first same-sex wedding will take place Feb. 16 between Bob Cochrane Felix Rodriguez. Cochrane proposed to his partner of 30 years during Eucharist on All Saints Sunday, after Harrity had blessed some other couples who were celebrating anniversaries.

North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith said just after convention that DEPO will serve as “a roadmap for these matters” in his diocese and he required any rector or priest-in-charge who wanted to use the rites to first contact him for “supplemental episcopal pastoral care.” St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Fargo has had a DEPO arrangement since December 2015 and has been solemnizing same-sex marriages since then. Smith told ENS this week that the church in the eastern part of the diocese is the only one to request such permission.

Meanwhile, uncertainty remains in Albany

Love has refused to allow such marriages even in the three Diocese of Albany parishes that have been in DEPO relationships with neighboring dioceses since 2012.

The Rev. Mary White, rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Albany, one of those three, told ENS that the members of her parish and others in the diocese who favor B012 are biding their time waiting to see what Episcopal Church leaders can negotiate with Love. “I think people are trying not to get their hopes up” about whether same-sex marriages will take place in the diocese, she said.

Coincidentally, Love visited St. Andrew’s the Sunday that B012 went into effect for his previously planned routine visit. Love and DEPO bishops all provide such pastoral rites as confirmation, according to White.

Love brought the controversy into his Christmas message, likening his journey to the unanswered questions that Mary and Joseph faced when they responded to God’s call. “Are we, like Mary and Joseph, willing to risk our reputations, our relationships, our jobs and livelihood?” he asked in part.

White said St. Andrew’s has always supported the stances of the wider Episcopal Church and “we look forward to the day when we can do that openly.” To have diocesan support in that effort “would be a phenomenal thing, but I don’t know if that would ever happen.” And, she said, it would “be such a gift” if the diocese stood in line with the wider church.

Asked how she would wish the controversy to conclude, White said, “the perfect ending would be if Bishop Love would acquiesce to convention and allow us allow us to marry same-sex couples, but that’s not going to happen, so I don’t know if there’s a perfect ending.

“No matter what happens, it’s going to cause a fair amount turmoil in the diocese.”

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is the Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter. David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

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Young Murray Rothbard: An Autobiography

Mises Institute - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 21:55

[Editors note: Recently the Mises Institute received a box of documents belonging to Murray Rothbard from our friend Justin Raimondo. We will make new material available online as we work through the collection. The following is an autobiographical essay written while Murray was still a high school student. Fans of Rothbard will not only appreciate some of the personal details about his parents and upbringing, but also how his formative years clearly influenced his later work, including his critiques of public education. He also offers some of his political views he held during World War II, long before he became "Mr. Libertarian."]

My Parents and Their Influence 

In order to understand the magnitude of the influence exerted on me by my parents, it is necessary to learn something of their character and background.

My father has a very interesting and complex character, combined with a vivid background. Born near Warsaw, in Poland, he was brought up in an environment of orthodox and often fanatical Jews who isolated themselves from the Poles around them, and steeped themselves and their children in Hebrew lore. As is common with lower middle class families, there were some people who were eager to better their lot and acquire culture and western civilization. One example was my grandmother, whose ambition was confined primarily to her children, whom she imbued with her own unfulfilled cravings.

When my father immigrated to the United States, at the age of seventeen, he had only this spirit to urged him forward. He had a great handicap in that he did not know any established language, since he had spoken only Jewish in Poland. The isolation of the Jews precluded any possibility of their learning the Polish tongue. In addition, my father has little talent for languages, Despite these obstacles, he broke away from old nationalistic ties, and through sheer will and force of character, he has obtained an extensive knowledge of the English language, has no trace of an accent, and displays a vocabulary that would shame many native Americans. Furthermore, he has by dint of ability and perseverance, risen from an impoverished immigrant to a citizen of merit and responsibility. From the very moment he set foot in America he has been imbued with an intense love of this country, and feels a lasting gratitude for the opportunities and privileges accorded to him. This intense reverence for America and all it stands for sometimes tends toward an extreme nationalistic spirit.

My mother's background, though different, is just as colorful. Her family abounded in the traditions and characteristics of the old Russian aristocracy. My grandmother's family, especially, had reached the highest pinnacle that the Jews in Czarist Russia could have achieved, One ancestor founded the railroads in Russia, one was a brilliant lawyer, another was a prominent international banker; in short, my mother's family was raised in luxury and wealth, My grandfather, even though lower in the Russian social ladder, was still respected and beloved as a, member of the upper middle class. Unfortunately, the kindness of his heart was his undoing, and he lost nearly everything due to his lack of business sense, and to the fact that he persistently gave away large sums of money, sometimes neglecting his family's interest. Finally, my mother's family was forced to immigrate to America.

For my mother it was a climactic change. She had been brought up without any necessity of facing the realities of life, and consequently she shut herself up in a dream world of books and literature, much as Keats had escaped to a dream world of beauty. Both my parents have always had a profound admiration and great powers of analysis of literature, and my intense interest in books very likely is an inherited trait; although my parents encouraged it in my childhood.

Unfortunately, the literature which influenced my mother to the greatest extent was Russian literature. To this day she has an extensive knowledge of Russian writings. This literature is morbid and depressing, and preaches a type of negative idealism, which encouraged my mother's dream world.

As I said, the new situation was drastic for my mother. She suddenly came face to face with reality. Here was a test for the adaptability which is very necessary for an immigrant. My mother met this test well, but she did not conquer it completely, as in my father's case. She managed to find occupation and to become accustomed to American life, but she has never fully understood or known American customs and beliefs. She is still bound to Russia and its mode of life by strong ties.

The reason for this lack of complete adaptability was largely emotional and physical. She loved teaching and its ideals dearly.  Her great thirst for knowledge, however, over-taxed her limited stamina, and she was forced to give up her lofty aims, and even to lose literature, in a sense, since her resulting poor memory caused her to lose the enjoyment of books.

Consequently, she came to the United States in a despairing mood, her ambition crushed, and adopted an attitude of bitter resignation. Thus, the spark of ambition which is primary for the adaptability of an immigrant was missing.

It is truly remarkable, and immensely fortunate from my stand­point, that my parents possess intelligence and profundity of character to a great extent. One of the traits and interests which I have learned directly from my parents is an ability and intellectual pleasure in analyzing people, including myself. Very often my parents and I have long talks, where I present my analyses of different people, after which both my parents add their own comments. They have taken great care, however, although encouraging me to analyze character, not to present their opinions before mine, and so to unduly influence my judgment, Many times I frankly analyze both myself and my parents, and these efforts are always met with interest and understanding.

The moments of my life that afford me the greatest enjoyment and instruction are the long discussions which I frequently have with my parents, The mutual understanding is so strong as to be ever silently present, a mute god seen appreciatively by us all. The relationship between my parents and myself has been a constant source of wonder and admiration for me, They are a brother and sister to whom I can always come for guidance and sympathy, which are backed by tender devotion, a keen insight, and intelligence. A statement made by a waiter in the hotel where I was staying this summer all-1ays comes forcibly back to me. "Gee!" he said. "You and your father are like brothers aren't you?" I could only nod my head in silent approval.

The discussions include every valuable topic, philosophy, literature, politics, and character analyses and self-analysis, which are a source of inspiration to all of us. Our tastes in books vary widely, and offer interesting topics for debates. I prefer American and English writers almost exclusively, but I am resolved to concentrate more on Continental literature in order to widen my scope. My mother is mainly interested in Russian writers; whereas my father has universal taste, with stress laid on English and Continental authors. To show an example of my parents' liberalism and open­mindedness, in recent years I have influenced them more than they have influenced me, opening new vistas of modern American and English writings, Specifically, my father and I have become extremely interested in John Buchan, and we have both decided to read as many of his works as possible.

My father's mind is precise, analytical, and scientific; though he is emotional, he shuns an excess of emotionalism, Because of this paradox, he has been unwilling to read poetry, despite my persistent efforts.

When the family discussion turn to politics, my father and I take the lead, since my mother is not sufficiently interested in the subject to discuss it eagerly, and, I must confess, sometimes heatedly. My father went through all political stages in his life. According to Clemanceau’s definition, my father has both a head and a heart. Said the Old Tiger, “A man who is not a radical at twenty has no heart; he who is one at thirty has no head." My father was a radical at twenty, but he was quick to profit by his folly, strange as it appears, I always attempt to gauge my beliefs and actions by his experience, I think it is one of the cardinal faults of youth that it never profits by the experience of others. At any rate, my father taught me the intricacies of politics without prejudice, at least as without prejudice as politics could ever hope to be. However, when I became mature enough to form my own conclusions, I was not too much surprised to find that I agreed with my father on basic political principles.

Sometimes, in my opinion, my father becomes a little imperialistic. However, my father would scorn that statement since he dislikes political labels. “Labels," he has often said to me, "mean nothing. They are only an inept means of classification, used by unintelligent people.” Radicals use them almost exclusively, classifying people as "liberals; conservatives, reactionaries, Communists; or Fascists." They conveniently leave no room for plain Americans, or people who believe in democracy. My father, contrary to the bigoted opinion of many unintelligent people with whom we come in contact, believes in progress and change. Change must be slow, however, or else our delicate system of free enterprise will be hurt. "There are no people who do not believe in change," said my father once," the only difference between them is the rate of change in which they believe," Given a due amount of reflection, that statement appears clearly and surprisingly true.

Our attitude toward socialism is a common one. A belief in free enterprise is a basic one with my father, and has remained with me ever since I have formed ·a political philosophy. There can be no progress under a socialistic system. Under it, all incentive is lost, and initiative is: destroyed, as a result of the loss or competition. The "oh, I can always work for the government" theory will be all-pervading, and the United States which depends on growth will become stagnant. In addition, socialism inevitably leads to a great concentration of power in the government, which leads irretrievably to totalitarianism, Probably the man in America who has come nearest to representing my political beliefs is Wendell Willkie.

My parents' disbelief in religious customs and traditions stems partly from reaction to the religious fanaticism of Old World Jews, and partly from an intelligent outlook, which if it does not deny the existence of a Deity, repudiates out-worn traditions. Antique customs are acceptable only to fanatics or people who never stop to think and examine their beliefs. Thus, I was brought up with only rare entrances to temples or synagogues and with no adherence to orthodox customs. My: mother's parents, who are steeped in European traditions, are orthodox, but my frequent first-hand observations of their adherence to religious traditions does not cause me to change my non-religious views. Consequently, in my religious beliefs, I am a mixture of an agnostic and a reform Jew. I do not think that the human race can determine whether or not there is a Deity; certainly, if there is one, our prayers will not be more successful if we are governed by out-moded customs.

My father is the type of person who sets a goal for himself and never ceases until he reaches that goal. When he has reached, it he always sets his energies on another objective. Thus, he can never be emotionally satisfied or content, as long as there are more fields to traverse, or more possible goals. People such as my father make progress possible. However, my father is unhappy because he has never been able to climb to the top in his field, or to make any lasting contribution to science or scientific progress. His greatest hope, and my mother's too, is to see me reach the heights in any field which I choose. The hope that their child achieves more than themselves, is, I think, typical of parents. My parents, however, have confirmed their desires by action. They have spared no expense or sacrifice to give me all the advantages that I could require. I only hope that I will be capable of fulfilling their fondest dreams, and prove that all their sacrifices were not in vain.

Early Childhood

My parents are firm believers in a liberal home education, and have always encouraged my persistent search for knowledge. I was a very inquisitive and inquiring child; if I saw anything which puzzled me, I didn't rest until I had received a satisfactory answer. I pestered my parents unmercifully, but they were always on hand to answer my questions.  While still in my infancy, I made my first acquaintance with literature. Well, it could hardly be called literature, but it opened undreamed-of horizons for me. I was looking at an oatmeal box and saw the letters H-O. My parents explained to me what they meant, and at the age of seventeen months I mastered the alphabet. From then on, I amazed my parents by composing endless lists of poems. I was so filled with the splendor of words that verses flew from lips. When horizons of books were opened to me, I formed an intense love of reading. I read avidly and continually, gradually acquiring a grasp of literature which was advanced for my years. For example, when I was five years old, I was using the dictionary and Encyclopedia Britannica intelligently. My incessant reading finally resulted in impairing my eyesight.

At the age of five, I formed my first acquaintance with the beauties of nature. My father brought home one of his business associates, Mr. Larry LeJeune. Mr. Le Jeune had a wide knowledge of nature, but he was especially versed in the characteristics of every variety of tree. We took a walk through a park, and I listened in open-eyed awe and wonder to his enchanting description of the trees around us. These commonplace objects, which had appeared to be drab and uninteresting, took on a new aspect of greatness. It is true that I never developed as great an interest in nature, as in literature, but I always think of that walk, whenever I come upon a tree.

A series of accidents has bred in me a strong fear of high places. When yet an infant, I fell out of a second-story window, miraculously unhurt. A few years later I fell off a high chair, hitting my head against the wheel. In addition, I fell from a swing and a doctor's table. All these events has resulted in a fear of heights, which is still great today. A “keep my feet on the ground” policy is literal in my case.

In my childhood, I was not much of a social success. I was always cowed and bullied by my playmates, until I finally took recourse in books. Each succeeding year this situation became more acute. At first it was a result of my natural shyness and timidity. At the delicate age of five, we moved to Staten Island, abounding in race prejudice, which added to my troubles. I was indifferent to kindergarten since I learned nothing new there, except the noble art of rope jumping, which seemed silly and ridiculous, although the other children took great delight in it. My social maladjustment persisted through public school.


A deep honesty and conscientiousness has always marked my school work. This trait is a manifestation of the inherent honesty of my character. My mother had a strong influence in its development. From my earliest days, my mother impressed me with the value of honesty. I remember how I was greatly shocked when I found that my mother had told a lie. Although I now realize that lies are sometimes necessary to spare someone's feelings, I still cannot reconcile myself to this fact. Honesty, in its broader sense, involves conscientiousness to a large extent, I cannot recall a time, except in the case of absence, that I have handed in an assignment late, or failed to do extra work if I thought it necessary. When I am absent, I try to make up my work as quickly as possible. My parents were like that in school, also. They always strived for accomplishment in the best way that they knew.

The unhappiest period in my life was the time when I labored under the evils of a public school system. Since I was superior to the rest of the class, I was "skipped" with disconcerting rapidity. Skipping is basically unsound because the pupil misses the valuable intellectual and social foundations acquired in the lower grades. In addition, the result of skipping is to place the pupil in a class of children much older than himself, with the consequences that the student can never adjust himself properly with the other members of the class. In my case the result was disastrous. Instead of overcoming my pre-school shyness, I was more bullied and beaten; this time by boys much older than I was. Consequently, the unhappiness which I felt in early childhood was nothing compared with the misery which I bore in public school.

Another great evil of the public school system is that it wreaks havoc on a child of superior ability. The entire method of teaching, the poor quality of the courses, the prevalent regimentation, and narrow-mindedness, all contrived to hamper me greatly. I felt myself imprisoned in a steel cage. My mind, which wanted to soar onwards, was chained to the earth, by an endless repetition of things that I knew, as well as by trifling but amazing public school restrictions. I have never been able to figure out why I had to sit with my hands folded, or why, if there was one malefactor in the group, the whole class was punished. The individual was completely forgotten in this system. No attention was given to individual needs and problems. He was swallowed up in a mass of fifty other souls. How well I remember how I chafed at the multiplication cards which the teacher held up before the class. Two times two equals four, three times two equals six; to me it all seemed a futile waste of time.

I was in the fourth grade when all the aforementioned evils developed at a great speed. Then, I was striving to break my bonds; but in a few years I might resign myself to the system, and become mentally lazy, actually no better than the others around me. The need for immediate action was apparent.

I remember with amusement my parents' first attempt to solve my social problem. They engaged a boxing instructor for me. My parents, with characteristic thoroughness, obtained the best one they could find. I believe he was a trainer of some lightweight champion. However, it was soon apparent to all concerned that my career was not along pugilistic lines. I'm afraid that my attempt to become a boxer was a dismal failure. However, my parents soon perceived that my difficulty was more emotional than physical. They made every possible attempt to adjust my problems through the help of the school authorities. By reading their replies, it is only now that can fully understand the incompetency of the Public school faculty. In their attitude concerning me they displayed a total ignorance of any fundamental psychology. The reason I was unhappy, they said, was that I persisted in thinking and playing differently from the rest of the group. If I would only conform to the rest of the class, my adjustment would naturally follow. They concluded that the fault was all mine, and that I exaggerated my troubles, anyway. The individual teachers, in addition, were highly eccentric and used their pupils as outlets for their emotions and idiosyncrasies. One teacher, who suffered from high blood pressure, delighted in pinching and cuffing the students on general principles. Another engaged in biting sarcastic ridicule of individual students before the class. In recent years, the public school authorities have endeavored to segregate the bright children from the average. However, a pre-requisite for the success of such a plan is a large amount of ability and sympathy on the part of the teachers.

After the failure of my parents' efforts, they determined to seek outside information. Even today, I marvel at the exhaustive research conducted by my parents, in order to decide upon the best course to follow. They have kept a file of correspondence and other data relating to that period, and it is a tribute to their tireless perseverance and thoroughness. Every conceivable source was tapped. Every means of advice was used. They sought the guidance of psychologists, friends, journalists acquainted with the subject, and student and parent associations. I distinctly remember visiting the office of Dr. John Levy, eminent psychologist in the field of child guidance, I clearly recall the actual contour of the room where I sat alone, and the unintelligible murmur of adult voices emanating from the next room. The most momentous decision that has yet affected my life was being reached. Dr. Levy recommended unequivocally that I be transferred to a private school. He advised that I go to as small a school as possible in order to satisfy my pressing needs for individual attention and emotional adjustment.

Acting on Dr. Levy's advice, my parents decided, in the second term of the fourth grade, to place me in Riverside School. My entrance into this school opened vast new horizons before my eyes. The importance of my transfer from public to private school cannot be overemphasized. My mind at last was free from all worthless intellectual and physical restrictions. I was free to think! I finally received a great amount of individual attention, since there were only seven students in the class. The teachers always endeavored to guide and advise me in any problems that I faced. I could express my ideas in class freely, without the psychological intimidation, which oppressed me in public school. The courses, moreover, were superior, and the teachers seemed omniscient before my inexperienced eyes. Above all, in the two years that I stayed in Riverside, I became completely adjusted to the group. In them I found equals in intelligence, and consequently, similar interests. Thus, it was easy for me to cooperate and become 

an indissoluble unit of the class, without, however, losing my individual identity. I discovered, with gratified wonder, that the other children liked me. I had never before sensed a friendly feeling toward me by other children. The fact that many of them were my own age also made social adjustment easy.

Toward the end of the sixth grade my fervent enthusiasm for Riverside began to wane. It had served well as a reaction to public school, but its scope was becoming too narrow. I saw that the courses and the teachers were not as excellent as I had first thought. Furthermore, I suffered from a lack of competition. A certain amount of competition is necessary to any progress, material or spiritual. With only six others in the class, competition, or any exchange of intelligent ideas, was limited.

A specific reason for leaving Riverside was that the 7th and 8th grades were combined in one class. The full value of the junior high would be lost in such an unsound combination. For these reasons, my parents and I began looking for another private school, with a higher scholastic standing and a greater number of students. My parents thoroughly investigated many private schools. I remember my mother's account of her first visit to Birch-Wathen. She was deeply impressed and enchanted by the teachers and courses in that school. Her judgment is valuable because she has a teacher's ability to decide on the merits of teaching methods. The class that impressed her most was an English class conducted by a Miss Pendleton, which wrote compositions on the subject of fences. My mother greatly admired the challenge to the imagination in the problem, "what do you see in a fence?" It was a source of chagrin to my mother in the next two years that I did not have Miss Pendleton as an English teacher.

I entered Birch-Wathen in the 7th grade. I remember my first day there vividly. At the foot of the stairs in the hall, I was introduced to Russell Bliss, also a new student. Instinctively, we clung to each, with the natural impulse of two children facing a new world. We walked up the stairs solemnly, led by a sympathizing teacher. The "ice was broken" by the friendly, cheerful greeting of the 8th grade teacher, Mr. Hubbard. From that day on, I have esteemed and appreciated Birch-Wathen highly.

I was completely happy in this school. I made friends quickly and found myself an integral part of the class. The class was large enough to be a strong social unit, and its superior intelligence supplied friendly competition and opportunity for political and economic debates. Probably the greatest debate ever witnessed in the eighth grade was the famous argument over the undistributed profits tax. The discussion lasted two history periods with Mr. Hubbard as referee. Both sides compiled facts and figures, plus weighty arguments to support their claim. Dave Zabel, Alan Marks, and myself denounced the tax, while Jim Denzer, Jim Heilbrun, and David Cohen supported it. Our side won convincingly, and received an overwhelming majority vote of the class. Later, when the heat of battle had died away, Jim Denzer admitted that he didn't believe in the tax, anyway. However, I prefer to take that as an excuse for our victory.

I found Birch-Wathen in the quality of its courses and teachers far superior to Riverside. I was grateful to the method which allowed me to delve into research problems, exploring many streams of thought, all blending into the sea of the actual subject. I found that many assignments covered a large period, so that the student could compile and organize his material. I especially admired Mr. Hubbard. In my opinion, Mr. Hubbard is an example of a perfect junior high teacher. Every student graduating from the eighth grade glows with inspiration and enthusiasm due to his friendly, challenging teaching method. His favorite question was" Why?" He forced students to find out knowledge for themselves. This was manna to my inquiring mind. Another endearing part of his teaching was his irrepressible humor. With a genial twinkle of his eye, he would point to one student and suddenly shout out the name of another poor soul dozing in some other part of the room. He kept us constantly in an uproar, and we all looked forward to his classes as a source of entertainment as well as instruction. He instituted the delightful and unorthodox practice of urging a chocolate bar for everyone during lunch hour. Several times, during his history periods, we brought radios into school to listen to news reports. In addition, Mr. Hubbard has a remarkable collection of humorous incidents, throughout the country’s schools, and read some selections at the end of each year.

Suffice to say that we thought of Mr. Hubbard as the optimum in teaching. I have found that feeling true of every junior high student. However, his unique method is not as good for high school, since his failure to explain his subject is a burden to those who are not exceptional. His method, which was excellent for junior high, becomes extreme and impractical in high school.

An advantage of Birch-Wathen is that the transition from elementary school to high school is small. Naturally, more work is required in high school, and the courses are entirely changed. However, the basic system of teaching, namely, the encouragement of research and intellectual freedom and development, is still there. In addition, my graduation did not cause a departure from my happy social adjustment, but an increase in scope and interests with the same friends. I believe that the character of this class, with which I have worked for the past six years, is worthy of a brief analysis:

Our class has always been the victim of self-scorn. The tragedy of the situation is that we fail to realize our own potential value. It cannot be denied that the class, as a whole, is brilliant. The fact that we have not always shouldered enough responsibility is due in part to our innate sense of humor, which makes us laugh at everything, including ourselves. We scoff at ourselves, call ourselves stupid, and let it go at that. We close our eyes to our own value, because it is easy to do so. But the “stuff from which kings are made" is undoubtedly there. I have every reason to hope that our latent gifts will soon blossom, and become acknowledged by all.

I have not developed an outstanding preference for one subject in high school. In general, however, history and English have given me the greatest enjoyment. I remember the amazement and consternation which I caused the class when I stated my confirmed beliefs in the type of world that should emerge after the war. I was the only one in the class who believed that Germany should be kept in a perpetual state of subjection, and I was alone in my pronouncement that the Versailles treaty failed because it was too weak. I delighted in the ensuing debate with the other members of the class. I also liked to place myself in difficult historical situations, and see how I would have met those problems. In American history, for example, I decided I would have tried to settle slavery by popular sovereignty.

My interest in English is explained by my interest in literature and its analysis. In addition, I enjoy creative writing, and I believe I have improved, in recent years, in the ability to express my ideas.

Although I have been bred in a scientific tradition, and I am favorable to theoretical science, I have a dislike for laboratory work, which excludes me from that line of endeavor.

I am grateful to Birch-Wathen for the knowledge it has given me, and for the complete social adjustment which it has made possible. I didn't know true emotional or intellectual happiness before I came to Birch-Wathen. I echo the stirring words of its Alma Mater “You have shown us the portals to rich knowledge and truth. And have given us mortals, friendships so dear to youth!”


Until the age of eleven, I spent my summers with my parents in mountain or seashore hotels, My recollection of these early summers is hazy, since we usually spent three weeks at best away from the city. In general, however, my social activities were broader and happier than they were in school. The reason probably was that any difference in intelligence was not conspicuous in summer recreation. Thus, the attitude between other children and myself was usually good. When I reached the age of eleven, my parents and I decided that, I should go to camp. My enthusiasm for this project was great, and my parents felt that I would learn to live and get along with, other people. My father, however, was rather skeptical, "I'll try anything once," he remarked drily.

The director of the camp asserted that he was an idealist, motivated solely by a humanitarian interest in children. He was a forceful-looking man, with a shining goatee and an imposing stature, and he managed to convince us of the, superior qualities of his camp. To be sure, this camp was not an ordinary one. It was one of the best in New York, and was recommended highly by Parents' Magazine. My parents, who made sure of its high rating, never rush blindly into any venture. Indeed, the food was excellent, and could not be excelled anywhere. However, after the first novelty wore off, I saw that the camp's qualities ended there. The heralded activities were almost, nil; the campers could only sit and mope all day. Mr. Robbins, the idealistic director, turned out to be an ineffectual materialist, with a blustering temper. I found that most campers lost weight solely because the bunks had the effect of a Turkish bath. However, I do owe my passion for chess to the camp. It was the only possible activity during many long hours of stagnation. The fact that no camper was sunburned offered conclusive proof that he hardly ever saw the light of day.

My father, in addition to his other qualities, is a brilliant wit. The main centers of camp life were the rec (recreation hall), the mess (dining room), and the bunks (sleeping quarters). Commenting on the camp as a whole, he said “It's a wreck, it’s a mess, it’s the bunk!" I am convinced that camps are mainly excuses for parents who wish to rid themselves of their children during the summer. If they had their children's interests at heart, they would not blind themselves to the glaring disadvantages of camp. “A racket,” my father termed it, and I heartily agree with him. If the best camp in New York was in such a deplorable condition, what are the conditions in camps of lower quality? I shudder to think of them. I believe that camps are only excusable when they assist poor families. In all other cases I condemn them whole-heartedly.

This disappointing summer in camp was my last, and ever since, I have had an uninterrupted succession of immensely happy summers. I gained invaluable friends during the summer, just as I developed what I hope to be lasting friendships in Birch-Wathen. My transformation from a lonely, maladjusted child to a happy, sociable one was complete. Some of my school friends decry my summer activities, which consist of an enjoyable vacation at a seaside hotel. They claim that I do nothing useful there. However, I consider it useful when I can further my own happiness, and at the same time increase the pleasure of others by social companionship. It is always useful to establish a firm relationship with society.


I have already dealt with my home, school, and summer environment. My relatives come under a special category. Many of them are definitely Communist sympathizers, or pinkish radicals. Consequently, my father frequently becomes involved in heated political debates. When they cannot help but see the logic of his arguments, they just call him a reactionary, a Republican (an abhorred word, for some reason) and hide behind the shield of those generously distribute labels. I usually take part in these discussions with vehemence and a certain amount of relish. Once, in the days of the Spanish Civil War, my parents and I visited the house of an uncle, a Communist party member. Naturally, his guests were all Communists, and were vigorous in their denunciation of Franco. I startled the assembly by asserting that the republican government of Spain was elected by a minority of the people, and quoted a letter in the Times to that effect. I was immediately bombarded on all sides, but I managed to hold my own against overwhelming odds. A favorite trick of the people, when someone quotes a respectable and reliable paper such as the Times, is to cry vehemently "Do you believe everything you read in the papers?" Then they proceed to counter with grandiose statements from tabloids such as In Fact, whose editor has been listed by Max Eastman as a front for Communist organizations.

My father's family in general are shrewd individualists, and as such, have little thought of family loyalty. They are endowed with common sense but are unintelligent. My mother's family, in contrast, has a strong sense of family devotion and loyalty. However, they do not have the common sense of my father's relations, with a few exceptions, there is little intelligence among them.  Indeed my mother and father represent the pinnacle of intelligence in their respective families. I know my mother's family very well, and I usually look on with quiet amusement at their futile worries and panics. However, this feeling is mingled with a reverent admiration for their gentle nobility of character, which reminds me strongly of the weakness and courage of Louis XVI.

In my dealings with my relatives, I have learned not to get angry or indulge in heated personal arguments. From them I have learned the important value of tolerance. Tolerance also involves open-mindedness and a willingness to listen to other people's ideas whatever they may be.


I have many varied interests and hobbies. Although I can trace the development of most of them, others evolved without my conscious knowledge, and with no definite or marked beginning. My interest in music has passed through several definite stages. At: first, at the age of ten, I enthusiastically adopted piano lessons. My reason was not any great love for music, since I was barely interested in it. I started piano lessons merely because of my intense curiosity and my desire to enter new fields of endeavor. Once I had learned the rudiments of music, and some of its characteristics, I lost interest in my musical career. My finger manipulation was poor, and I saw a new horizon of music listening open before me. Whatever I had learned in piano practice helped me to understand and evaluate music. I have been a fair judge of rhythm ever since it was drilled into me by my piano teacher. Therefore, since it was clear that I was not cut out to be a musician, I gave up piano lessons after two years, and devoted my musical activities to becoming an enthusiastic spectator.

At first I did not have much discrimination, and I accepted all types of music without attempting to formulate any special favorites. However, I was soon able to judge works of music and listen with a more critical outlook. I soon came to the conclusion that I liked swing music as well as, if not better than, classical music. The reason for my extensive interest in swing music is purely that. I obtain pleasure from hearing it. If I were able to derive inspiration from any form of music, I would be interested primarily in classical music. However, it is impossible for music to hold any inspiration for me. As a source of enjoyment, therefore, I think that swing is at least equal to classical music.

Likewise, painting has never interested me to any great extent because I can receive no inspiration from looking at a great work of art. If I tried, I could probably become expert in criticizing the technical qualities of a painting, but I could never become uplifted by it. In fact, of all the creative arts, literature is the only one that can inspire or elevate me forcibly.

In contrast to the development of my interest in music, I cannot account definitely for my devotion to sports. It did not result from any single event or start in any given period. I only know that I have become a voracious follower of sports, in all its phases and forms. Consequently, my knowledge of both major and minor sports is widespread. The public should realize the full importance of athletics in American life. Not only does it provide an interesting diversion for care-worn people, but it also serves to build up a nation's stamina.

However, my interest for violent athletics stops with the newspaper and the sidelines; when I seek personal athletic recreation, I prefer quieter games such as table tennis and chess. I have a definite reason for my attraction to chess. Chess, aside from its entertaining features, teaches farsightedness, circumspection, ability to think and act fast, and analysis of problems. I think that the main fascination that chess holds is that the player is a general directing his forces. There are all the difficulties, strategies, and tactics of modern warfare. Chess embodies all the challenging intellectual problems of war, without its horrible bloodshed and slaughter.

My character consists of many, strange, contrasts. Although, I am devoted to reading and quiet pursuits, I have a keen enjoyment of dramatics. I have always excelled in acting, and I revel in a dramatic portrayal of moods and, ideas. In addition, when I find, any article which I particularly like, I enjoy reading it for my parents, with all the drama that I can put into my voice, although I realize that my parents probably would much prefer to read it themselves. If I were in their position, I certainly could concentrate better by reading the article myself. However, my relish is so great that I continue in my unwelcome course. I also like to sing for my parents, who bear this great torture with good grace.

I have always had a keen interest in political and economic problems, and in current events, as a source of knowledge and of discussion. I think that it is the duty of every American citizen to acquaint himself with these problems, in order to contribute intelligently to any national effort, in time of war or peace.

A Look Into the Future

As I turn my eyes from the past and present to the future, I am unappalled by the fact that my course is undecided at present. I have many fields of interest, and it is difficult to choose one for specialization. However, I know that I will do my best in any field I choose. Society can only benefit if each individual makes his greatest effort. This fact is apparent in wartime, but it applies also to peace conditions.

I do not believe that the advent of war has changed my outlook. War has only brought it into sharper focus and crystallization. I am even more determined mow to do my utmost to serve this nation.

I face college with keen interest and anticipation. I welcome the greater freedom and the necessity for self-discipline which are the characteristics of college. Some people believe that the only way to be free of parental restriction is to go to an out-of-town school. In my case, however, any misunderstandings can always be solved by, intelligent and reasonable discussion. Therefore, I am not hampered by unnecessary parental restriction, and I feel free to choose a college solely on its own merits. College becomes increasingly important in wartime, for the need for a comprehensive education of youth becomes greater.  A college training enables anyone to cope, to a greater degree, with any national problems he or she is called on to face.

With all men and women striving for the common welfare, I see, in the future an America, perhaps a world, in war or in peace, sounding the call of progress, of civilization, of humanity, and taking care that "government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth!"

Categories: Current Affairs

We Don't Need Neoliberalism — We Already Have Liberalism

Mises Institute - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 18:35

In recent years, an entire literature has sprung up over the various uses of the word "neoliberalism." As many have already pointed out, it is largely used as a term of derision by doctrinaire leftists against both moderate leftists and advocates for free markets.

Those who use the term in a pejorative way (which is nearly everyone) blame neoliberalism for all the world's poverty and inequality. Most of the time, neoliberal simply means "capitalist," although to varying degrees, depending on the pundit. For example, in a new interview with economics writer Steven Pearlstein, neoliberalism is apparently a type of hard-core libertarianism, and nothing less than "a radical free market ideology."

But neoliberalism isn't just held by a mere few eccentrics. Neoliberals include nearly everyone to the right of Bernie Sanders, including Donald Trump , Bill Clinton , Tony Blair , Theresa May, Rand Paul, and Emmanuel Macron .

We're Neoliberal, and Proud?

Given its sinister undertones, few actually use the term to describe themselves.Nevertheless, there has a been an unfortunate trend in recent months in which organizations and writers claiming to support freedom and free-markets have begun self-identifying as "neoliberal."

This likely is borne out of the fact that many who use the term neoliberal are harsh critics of markets. They don't like capitalism, and they'd like to see less of it. They want to see more socialism and more social democracy. And soon.

Given this, some conclude that, if those people hate neoliberalism it can't be a bad thing.

Thus, we see articles like this one, titled "Actually, 'Neoliberalism' Is Awesome" written by a staff member of the free-market Mercatus Center. More famously, there was an article titled "Coming Out as Neoliberals" published by the Adam Smith Institute in which the author, Sam Bowman, encouraged everyone who's more or less in favor of property rights to self-identify as "neoliberal."

Other copycat articles followed, such as one written by Jordan Williams of the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union.

The gist of all of these is this: "Are you a decent human being who supports freedom and opposes taxes rates that are too high? Well, my friend, you're a neoliberal!"

This attitude is a mistake for three reasons.

One: "Neoliberalism" Is Too Vague a Term

Both Hillary Clinton and Ron Paul have been described as neoliberals by critics of neoliberalism — as have both Tony Blair and Donald Trump. But if your ideological terminology includes all of these people in the same category, your terminology isn't very useful.

Yes, it's true that in the mind of a die-hard Leninist, both Clinton and Paul would be considered members of a decadent bourgeoisie, devoted to capitalist imperialism.

Similarly, since neither Bill Clinton nor Ron Paul support Venezuela-like economic policies, they are both denounced as neoliberals by the hard-left advocates for "equality."

In reality, of course, many so-called neoliberals differ so completely on the particulars of policy, that to put them together in the same category is next to useless. If the definition of neoliberal is little more than "not a communist" then we need to look elsewhere for a better term.

Two: "Liberalism" (Without the "Neo") Is Better

While Americans — and too a lesser extent, Canadians — are often confused about the meaning of the term "liberal," many of the world's educated people are still acquainted with both the term and the ideological movement it describes.

Historically, liberalism was the ideology of the American Revolutionaries, of the free-trade, anti-war Manchester School, and of the French liberals like Frederic Bastiat. It was also, of course, the ideology of the Austrian free-market economists like Ludwig von Mises and Carl Menger.

Historian Ralph Raico has defined this movement:

"Classical liberalism" is the term used to designate the ideology advocating private property, an unhampered market economy, the rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press, and international peace based on free trade. Up until around 1900, this ideology was generally known simply as liberalism.

The movement, in a recognizable form we might call "libertarianism" goes back at least as far as the Levellers of 17th century England. That movement was instrumental in introducing many of the political rights that were then outlined in the US Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

This same ideological tradition also influenced liberals in France, Switzerland, England, and even Poland. The free-market, free-trade, free-migration reforms that swept across Europe in the 19th-century were a product of a rapidly liberalizing Europe.

As with some many other ideological, movements, of course, liberalism has waxed and waned in influence. But it has never totally disappeared, in part because it is so successful at bringing economic prosperity wherever it is tried.

[RELATED: "Why Do Half-Measures Work for Markets, But Not for Socialism?" by Ryan McMaken]

Although many today confuse liberalism with various types of conservatism, liberalism has always been distinct in that it has viewed individuals and civil society as capable of thriving without requiring a class of government-created and government-sustained elites.

Liberals oppose societies that are shaped, planned, guided, or coerced from above. They believe, in other words, in spontaneous order that grows out of countless, decentralized groups of households, individuals, businesses, and communities. While conservatism (like most authoritarian ideologies) takes the view that people are naturally lacking in the ability to govern themselves — and thus require "leadership" from above — liberals believe that people can be left alone to live their lives in peace. In this view, the only people who require coercion are violent criminals.

Three: Neoliberalism Is Often the Opposite of Liberalism

And yet, bizarrely, modern-day liberals are being saddled with the epithet of "neoliberal" although neoliberalism embraces so much of what liberalism rejects.

After all, we are told that organizations like the European Union, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization all are part and parcel of the "radical free market ideology" — to use Pearlstein's term — that is neoliberalism.

In truth, these institutions most closely associated with neoliberalism — which also includes central banks like the Federal Reserve — stand in stark contrast to the laissez-faire world envisioned by the free-market liberals.

All of these global "neoliberal" organization depend either on tax revenues, or on government-granted monopolies. They rely on various types of government meddling, manipulation, and coercion to accomplish their missions.

This, of course, stands in stark contrast to everything that liberals have stood for.

[RELATED: "Mises Against the Neoliberals" by Ryan McMaken]

Indeed, Ludwig von Mises opposed organizations like these in his day, precisely because they were illiberal. as David Gordon notes:

For Mises, schemes for international organization were intended only as means to promote the free market. When Mises realized that in the statist climate of the day, these plans could not work, he for the most part abandoned them. In Omnipotent Government, e.g., he says: “Under present conditions an international body for foreign trade planning would be an assembly of the delegates of governments attached to the ideas of hyper-protectionism. It is an illusion to assume that such an authority would be in a position to contribute anything genuine or lasting to the promotion of foreign trade.”

Mises also devoted a sizable portion of his career to opposing central banks and central banking.

For critics of neoliberalism to now claim that neoliberalism is the ideology of radical laissez-faire, and that Mises was himself a neoliberal — as has been specifically claimed — illustrates how neoliberalism is not at all the modern version of liberalism. It's really just a throwback to the mercantilism of old, in which government-controlled monopolies push state-sponsored agendas one everyone else. In other words, neoliberalism is exactly the thing liberalism has always attempted to destroy. 

Categories: Current Affairs

The Salvation of Emeth

Blog & Mablog - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 17:07

One episode in the Narnia stories has caused no little consternation for evangelical parents as they have read to their children, and that element of the story concerns the salvation of Emeth. On another occasion, I discussed the curious fact of Susan’s absence from the heavenly regions in The Last Battle. A second curious fact has to do with Emeth’s presence there, and with Lewis’s reasons for including him.

As we discuss this, it is important to get one particular distinction out of the way at the outset. In the minds of many evangelical believers, a “broad inclusion” of non-Christians in the heavenly kingdom is indistinguishable from theological liberalism. And with regard to an ecumenical “comparative religions” approach, this instinct is quite correct. “We are all seeking after God, each in our own way” is a central aspect of the theological left, and as such must be rejected by all faithful Christians. The problem with that approach is—as the apostle Paul might put it—that religion of God-seekers is an empty set. No one seeks after God (Rom. 3:11).

If this broad and inclusive approach were true, then Christ died for nothing. With a sorrow deeper than any man has ever experienced, Christ asked His Father to have the cup pass from Him if there were any other way (Matt. 26:39). If the Father could have said something like, “Well, the Rig Veda has some promising developments,” then why did Jesus have to die? Jesus had to die because there was no other way to save us.

The purpose of this essay is take the salvation of Emeth as a starting point for a discussion of “who then can be saved?” with that discussion occurring among conservative believers who accept the authority of Scripture, and the uniqueness and sufficiency of Christ.

While it is quite true that Lewis shows more latitude on this question than the average conservative believer does, that difference of opinion we have with him is not in the same category as the difference we would have with a theological liberal. More is going on with Lewis, as I hope to show. Lewis says this:

“But the truth is God has not told us what His arrangement about the other people are. We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him” (Mere Christianity, p. 64).

There is something to differ with here, surely. But it should be plain that this is not a position that says “we are all saying the same thing really.”

In other words, it is liberalism to say that faithful Muslims, or Buddhists, or Hindus, each following the tenets of their own religion sincerely, can be saved for being good people. This is pernicious and false. It is quite a separate question to ask whether God in His sovereignty can reach down into a filthy religion, like the worship of Tash, and do an extraordinary thing by saving someone from all of that. In such a case, that person is not saved by means of his religion, whatever he conceives it to be, but rather is saved from that religion, by grace through faith.

The Case of Emeth:

I won’t do a great deal of explaining the context of the following citations, assuming as I am that the reader of a piece like this one is also a close reader of things Narnian. I am assuming you know the story, and will only place a few reminders here and there. The Calormenes are running a scam at the Stable, with Shift the ape as their tool. Narnians are being invited by Rishda Tarkaan to go into the Stable to view “Aslan,” and to everyone’s surprise, Emeth volunteers to go in.

“Nay, my Father,” answered Emeth. “Thou hast said that their Aslan and our Tash are all one. And if that is the truth, then Tash himself is in yonder. And how then sayest thou that I have nothing to do with him? For gladly would I die a thousand deaths if I might look once on the face of Tash.” “Thou art a fool and understandest nothing,” said Rishda Tarkaan. “These be high matters.” Emeth’s face grew sterner. “Is it then not true that Tash and Aslan are all one?” he asked. “Has the Ape lied to us?” “Of course they’re all one,” said the Ape. “Swear it, Ape,” said Emeth. “Oh dear!” whimpered Shift, “I wish you’d all stop bothering me. My head does ache. Yes, yes, I swear it.” “Then, my Father,” said Emeth, “I am utterly determined to go in.”

Emeth despises the lies and hypocrisy that he sees as characteristic of the Calormene venture into Narnia. He is a devotee of his god, entirely sold out to Tash, but in a way that places him entirely at odds with the wickedness of that religion, and with the behavior of all his compatriots.

“Emeth came walking forward into the open strip of grass between the bonfire and the stable. His eyes were shining, his face very solemn, his hand was on his sword-hilt, and he carried his head high. Jill felt like crying when she looked at his face. And Jewel whispered in the King’s ear, ‘By the Lion’s Mane, I almost love this young warrior, Calormene though he be. He is worthy of a better god than Tash.’”

The Narnians, watching him approach the Stable, feel an immediate affinity with him. And the thing they see—which Emeth does not yet see—is how he is utterly at odds with his own religion. He is worthy of a better god than that.

After the fighting is all over, and the old world has ended, and the saved are sorting things out in the new Narnia, the party of Narnians comes across Emeth who, when he entered the Stable, had found himself in Aslan’s country.

“The others followed where the Dogs led them and found a young Calormene sitting under a chestnut tree beside a clear stream of water. It was Emeth. He rose at once and bowed gravely. ‘Sir,’ he said to Peter, ‘I know not whether you are my friend or my foe, but I should count it my honor to have you for either. Has not one of the poets said that a noble friend is the best gift and a noble enemy the next best?’ ‘Sir,’ said Peter, ‘I do not know that there need be any war between you and us.’”

When they ask him to tell his story, they find out just how remarkable it was. Emeth had yearned to go to war with Narnia, in honest, open battle, but when the actual plan was revealed, he was distraught.

“And most of all when I found we must wait upon a Monkey, and when it began to be said that Tash and Aslan were one, then the world became dark in my eyes. For always since I was a boy I have served Tash and my great desire was to know more of him, if it might be, to look upon his face. But the name of Aslan was hateful to me.”

After Emeth found himself in the heavenly country, he had an encounter with Aslan. And the astonishing thing is that Aslan welcomed him.

“Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honor) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him. But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome.”

In the subsequent interaction, they get into the theology of the thing, which is where things get interesting.

“But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false.”

So whatever else Lewis is saying, he is not saying that Aslan and Tash are one, or that all religions teach the same thing, or that we all ascend by different paths up the same mountain.

“Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him.”

This is not the comparative religion, Coexist bumper sticker approach. Tash is a foul god, like Molech in the Old Testament. God saves sinners, and He saves them out of brothels, taverns, casinos, and temples of Tash.

Now half of what Lewis says here is a commonplace among evangelical believers. It is self-evidently true that hypocrites who offer vile behavior to the true God are actually worshiping a false god, and rendering what they are actually offering in another direction entirely. This is preeminently a biblical concept.

On one occasion, Jesus was speaking to pious Jews who had believed in Him (John 8:31), and He wound up saying this:

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (John 8:44a).

“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service” (John 16:2).

So it is true that someone who claims to be serving Aslan, but who is doing vile things, is actually serving Tash. That’s the easy one. But can it go the other way? Can someone claim to be serving Tash, like Emeth, and actually be serving Aslan? Something of a reverse hypocrite? Someone in a foul religion being fair, living in a way contrary to what that the religion requires? Emeth had been going in the “wrong” direction, as far as Tash was concerned, since he was a boy. As far as Tash was concerned, Emeth had been a heretic for a long time.

Lewis puts it this way.

“Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child? I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand.”

So taking all this at face value, this was salvation from the religion of Tash—by extraordinary means—not salvation by means of the religion of Tash. Emeth was not the fulfillment of that religion, he was delivered out of it, just as Aravis was delivered out of it. And incidentally, I should mention in passing that the entire culture of the Calormenes is obviously a stand-in for Islam. This is most explicit at the beginning of chapter 4 of The Horse and His Boy when Lewis describes Tashbaan has having numerous minarets—and a minaret is a tower attached to a mosque.

“But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek. Then he breathed upon me and took away the trembling from my limbs and caused me to stand upon my feet. And after that, he said not much but that we should meet again, and I must go further up and further in. Then he turned him about in a storm and flurry of gold and was gone suddenly.”

Emeth sought for what he did both “long” and “truly,” but this was Aslan’s doing in him, and for him. It was not the doing of Tash. It was Emeth being led, by extraordinary means, away from Tash.

So that leads naturally to the question whether such extraordinary interventions actually occur. Does God ever bypass the ordinary means of preaching the gospel in order to save people from their bondage in pagan religions?

So What Is Paganism?

We have several difficulties to sort out simultaneously. The first one is that Narnia doesn’t really have a new covenant era and an old covenant era. Aslan dies and rises in the midst of Narnian history, but there is nothing corresponding to the Old Testament history of the Jews being supplanted by the New Testament structure of the church. The second difficulty is that Gentiles in the Old Testament were not synonymous with unbelievers in the New. Most of them were unbelievers, but it was possible to be a Gentile and a devout believer.

This matters because in the Old Testament the relationship between the Jews and the Gentiles was NOT comparable to the relationship between Christians and non-Christians today.

In the fourth chapter of Acts, the apostles did a great miracle and were challenged on it. By what power or name have you done this (Acts 4:7)? They responded that this man stands before you whole by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Acts 4:10). And this led to the great confession . . .

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

The necessity of preaching the gospel to every creature today can be seen in this. Nonbelievers are not brought to salvation through the power of an anonymous Christ, working behind the scenes. They are saved through the preaching of the name. And if they want to be saved, they must themselves call upon the name. The priesthood of believers has been expanded to all the nations of men, which is why all men are summoned to believe and be baptized.

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).

In short, nonbelievers who want to be saved today have an obligation today to repent and believe, calling upon the name of Jesus. Non-Christians have a moral obligation to become Christians.

In the course of his Mars Hill address, about which more in a little bit, Paul says this:

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).

We see here that the command to repent, given to all men, is not negotiable. The Christian faith is one of world conquest. Everyone must repent, and everyone must believe (Matt. 28:18-20). It is an authoritative summons. But in the same verse, we are also told that the previous ignorance of pagan nations, prior to the coming of Christ, was something that God “winked at.” The word there literally means overlooked. God disregarded it.


So in the Old Testament, Gentiles were under no obligation whatever to become Jews. They could be saved without becoming Jews, and many of them were saved without becoming Jews. The Jews were not the believers of the Old Testament, but were rather the priestly people of the Old Testament. They served in this function for the sake of the Gentiles nations.

Melchizedek was not a Jew, but he was a priest of the Most High God, and the father of all the Jews paid the tithe to him (Gen. 14:18). Jethro, priest of Midian (Ex. 3:1), the father-in-law of Moses, was not a Jew, and yet was a worshiper of the true God. Balaam was an ungodly man, but was apparently a genuine prophet, with the genuine prophetic gift (Num. 22:9). Naaman the Syrian became a worshiper of the true God, and the prophet gave him standing permission to continue to push his master’s wheelchair into the House of Rimmon (2 Kings 5:18). And let us not forget the massive revival in Nineveh that was brought about through the preaching of Jonah (Matt. 12:41).

When Solomon built the Temple, the structure included a way for Gentiles, pagans, to pray to the true and living God—while remaining Gentiles. The language is quite striking.

“Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name’s sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house; Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name” (2 Chron. 6:32–33).

When Jesus cleanses the Temple, He drives out the merchants and money changers from the Court of the Gentiles. The Gentiles had a court at the Temple, designated for them to worship the true God, and without becoming Jews first. The clean sacrificial animals represented the Jews, and they had filled up the place that had been reserved for the Gentiles. This is why Jesus’ rebuke was a two-edged rebuke. They had filled the Temple with their thievery, and they had excluded the Gentiles by means of it.

“And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Mark 11:17).

The Temple in Jerusalem was for all the Gentiles. Were there any Emeths among them? And keep in mind that even though we don’t have an old covenant/new covenant distinction, a great deal of the Narnian context does have a B.C. feel to it. For example, centaurs prophesying is not something that frequently happened in the post-apostolic period.

The apostle Paul calls the Cretan Epimenides a prophet—a “prophet, one of their own” (Tit. 1:12-13). And when he is preaching at Mars Hill, he takes as his starting point the altar to the unknown god. Whose idea was that kind of altar? Well, it turns out that the idea came from this same Epimenides, who had been summoned from Crete centuries before by the leaders of Athens in order to deal with a plague that was afflicting the city at that time. Epimenides dealt with it, in part, by having them establish altars to the unknown god, which they did, stopping the plague. Later Paul starts with one of those altars as his text, and in the course of his preaching, he quotes Epimenides directly.

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28).

Live, move and have our being is from Epimenides. The second citation, for we are also his offspring is from a gent named Aratus. The thing that is interesting about that quotation is that it is from a hymn to Zeus. Not Tash, Zeus. And the thing we must understand is that there was the celebrity Zeus, the Zeus of legend, the Zeus who was entirely unaffected by the #MeToo movement, the Zeus who was an embarrassment to thoughtful pagans. And then there was the Zeus as Emeth and Aratus conceived him to be. This does not make their conceptions orthodox—remember that Paul is about to say that God overlooked much ignorance. He did not overlook overt evil, as the destruction of Sodom showed, but He overlooked a great deal.

Reformed Caution:

Just a few more comments in closing. The father of the modern evangelical hesitancy to allow for any true salvation outside of a plain proclamation of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ may well have been Martin Luther. He was a theologian of the cross, and if the cross was not preached to you, well, then, too bad for you. This contrasts sharply with the attitude of Zwingli, who was happy to kick open the gates of Paradise to the likes of Socrates and Hercules.

The ancient phrase captures our question in a nutshell. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus—outside the church there is no salvation. Is that true, and how strict should we be with it? But oddities and quirks can occur to our minds almost right away. What about the guy who is hit by a car on the way to his baptism?

The Westminster Confession, to which I subscribe, has in my view a balanced and nicely nuanced approach to the problem.

“The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation” (WCF 25.2).

“Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who works when, and where, and how he pleases: so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word” (WCF 10.3).

“The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word, by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened” (WCF 14.1)

Must someone be called by the explicit preaching of the Word, and be baptized and brought into the visible church in order to be saved? Their answer is “usually.” The named exceptions that they point to are elect infants dying in infancy, and other incapacitated individuals (e.g. the severely retarded) who cannot respond to the preaching of the Word in the ordinary way. God’s elective decree can touch them there.

And we also know that in the old covenant, God’s elective decree could touch the elect among the Hittites and Assyrians also. Does this change in the new covenant? I would argue that it does gradually and inexorably change as the gospel makes its progress through the world. The more the gospel spreads, the less possible it is for any kind of ignorance to be overlooked, and such “winking” was rare to begin with.

But if a centurion just like Cornelius were living in the westernmost part of the empire a century later, what would his status be? The question is not easy for us to answer, which is fortunate, because the disposal of all such situations is not in our hands, but rather in God’s.

So then, back to Emeth. If you visualize him as the devout Muslim who refuses to respond to the gospel, and who insists on attending his mosque instead, the scenario in The Last Battle really is problematic. But if you visualize him as someone in the position of Naaman the Syrian, the problem becomes much less acute.

The post The Salvation of Emeth appeared first on Blog & Mablog.

Categories: People I don't know

New resource to help deal with bullying in schools

Christian Concern - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 16:20
In the return to school after the Christmas holidays, 1 in every 10 children across the UK will fall victim to bullying on a daily basis. In light of this, Christian Concern has launched a new booklet: Dealing with bullying in schools, which addresses some practical questions whilst also providing a basic biblical framework for dealing with bullying.

In the return to school after the Christmas holidays, 1 in every 10 children across the UK will fall victim to bullying on a daily basis. That’s nearly 150,000 children and young people who dread going to school every single day of their lives, for fear of what awaits them.

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Venezuela Campaign: Workers betrayed

Adam Smith Institute - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 15:28

“I stake my future with the working class,” boasted Hugo Chavez, as he set out his plans to transform the Venezuelan economy.

The reality has turned out to be very different. An astonishing story recently came to light: hundreds of laid-off Venezuelan workers are still turning up to work in order to protect their workplace from looters. The factory where they worked, owned by the Irish company Smurfit, had been seized on spurious grounds by the Maduro regime. The workers are desperate, for anyone – other than the regime – to restart operations.

“Help, we need a boss here. We’re desperate,” said Ramón Mendoza, who has been a forestry division worker for 17 years. “We’re so scared because we now know that all the government does is destroy everything, every business.”

The closure of Smurfit’s packaging plant not only made 1,600 workers unemployed but also damaged other companies, who now lack vital materials. According to Carlos Rodriguez a union leader at Colgate Palmolive, production at one its plants has been halted because of an absence of boxes to package soaps and detergents.

The 1,600 former employees of Smurfit have lost more than their jobs.  Smurfit had been providing interest-free loans for their houses and free education for their children. Smurfit used to finance the Agricultural Technical School in nearby Acarigua, where 200 children in extreme poverty could receive an education, accommodation and hot meals. That school has now closed, and the teachers are unemployed.  According to Maria Vielma, the school’s psychologist, “This used to be a family. I just don’t have words right now. We have a government that is dedicated to destroying, not constructing.”

That feeling of betrayal has spread throughout all sectors of the economy. After the destruction of the Venezuelan cement industry under state ownership, the general secretary of the cement workers’ union said this to a rally of protesting cement workers:

“[W]hen the government took control of the facilities, it did so under the premise that it would improve the quality of life of the workers; that the companies would be self-sustaining; that they would guarantee the product at fair prices to the people; and that they would use the least harmful mechanisms possible for the environment, neighbours & workers. However, the opposite has happened….they owe labour liabilities and have a collective contract that does not guarantee benefits for the working masses…the cement is only available at speculative prices, and pollution levels are increasing.”

Public sector workers feel particularly betrayed by the regime.  While Chavez had focussed on increasing public sector employment, the regime can now no longer afford to pay its workers.  Collective bargaining agreements have been torn up and a flat payment for all public sector workers imposed, all without consulting the workers or their union leaders.

Iván Freites, head of the United Federation of Oil Workers of Venezuela (Futpv), denounced the government’s action as one that “violates the National Constitution and the Framework Law on Labour which is the basis for collective bargaining agreements.”

One worker at the nationalised CANTV telecommunications company said: “It makes no sense that someone who’s just starting at the company gets the same as someone with 15 years here. Now the janitor, the manager, the secretary, everyone earns the same. Nonsense. I can’t complain to my bosses, because they’re screwed too.”

Moreover the regime frequently interferes in union elections and undermines workers’ representatives. For workers, the Chavista regime has truly been a disaster.  Not only is the Government rolling back rights acquired by the unions over many decades, but many employees are losing their jobs. No wonder that over 3 million Venezuelans have already fled the country. As one worker at the state oil company said recently, "Now what we ask each other is: 'When are you leaving and for where?”

More information on the Venezuela Campaign can be found on their website

Categories: Current Affairs

Murray Rothbard RIP

Mises Institute - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 14:35

Today is the 24th anniversary of Murray’s Rothbard’s death.What did he stand for? In an outstanding recent article, Lew Rockwell, one of Murray’s closest friends and the founder of the Mises Institute and, offers the best answer.

Lew says: “If you want to understand Murray Rothbard, you need to keep one principle in mind. If you remember this, you will have the key to grasping his thought. And you should want to understand Murray Rothbard, because he was the greatest American defender of liberty in the twentieth century.

The principle in question is that Murray Rothbard had a consistent vision of the good society that he upheld throughout his long career. He described this vision in a vast number of books and articles, including Man, Economy, and StatePower and MarketThe Ethics of Liberty, and Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature. That vision was always the same.

What was this vision? As everybody knows, Murray believed in a complete free market. The State, which Nietzsche called ‘that coldest of all cold monsters’ was the enemy.

In order to maintain a free society, people needed to hold certain values. Murray was a traditionalist who believed in natural law and the family. He deplored assaults on tradition such as the modern feminist movement. In cultural matters, Murray started out on the Right, and he always remained there.

If you want to know what Rothbard’s vision applied to contemporary America would be like in practice, you should look to Ron Paul. Dr. Paul’s career in Congress, marked by his opposition to war and the Fed, is the best example of the anti-elitist free market values that Murray supported.”

I am grateful to Murray Rothbard for everything that I have learned from him. If only Murray and his wife JoAnn, his “indispensable framework” were still here to guide usI

Categories: Current Affairs

Will the Justice Department Crack Down (Again) on Gambling?

Mises Institute - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 14:35

When Attorney General Robert Kennedy was defending his Wire Act before the Senate, he scarcely would have imagined that this bill which he sold as a federal supplement to the enforcement of state laws would be used half a century later to trample upon them, but rumors emanating from the Department of Justice suggest that is their intention. One of the first victories in Kennedy’s crusade against organized crime, the Wire Act was intended to damn up the river of money which was flowing into the mob’s hands from sports gambling by prohibiting the transfer of information which made the practice possible. The bill did precisely that task, and only that task, for decades.

In 2002, despite legal precedent, the Bush administration began to use the Wire Act as a bludgeon against all forms of online gambling, not simply those related to sports. These actions wrought uncertainty for state governments who would compel the DOJ to clarify their interpretation of the law in 2011. In a 13-page memo, they refuted the new expansive interpretation and restored the law’s original, narrower meaning. This decision again freed the states to make their own decisions about online gambling. Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware ended their prohibitions against the online gambling industry in response.

However, rumors are circulating that the DOJ is considering reversing this federalist position. At the least, a reversal would create significant legal uncertainty. At worst, it is an ominous step toward a federal ban on online gambling. A return to the Bush administration’s misinterpretation of the Wire Act would be a legally untenable, unconstitutional assault on state sovereignty with damaging economic consequences.

Ironically, the DOJ has provided the most compelling textual justification for a narrow understanding of the Wire Act.

Through a convincing analysis of the circumstances surrounding the bill’s enactment, their 2011 memo concludes that “sporting games and events” modifies the “bets or wagers” of each clause and was omitted as a form of shorthand, similar to the federal and interstate language present in the first clause. In fact, if the Wire Act were meant to pertain to all forms of gambling, Congress would not have specified sporting events at all. This interpretation also gives the law consistency by having the entire subsection “serve the same end in the same scope.” Furthermore, the narrow interpretation reconciles the Wire Act with sections of the UIGEA which suggests other forms of online gambling are legal.

All federal laws must be in pursuance of the Constitution, but the 2002 interpretation is a blatant attack on the 10th Amendment. The federal government has only those powers which are expressly granted to it by the Constitution, with the states retaining all others. Any honest look through Article I, Section 8 will show that justification for a federal ban of online gambling is conspicuously absent. Since the General Welfare clause is not substantive, as Mike Maharrey explains, the only straw left for proponents of big government to grasp is the Commerce clause.

Yet the Commerce clause is also insufficient, as then-Congressman Mick Mulvaney explained in 2015. Before the Constitution, states had created significant trade barriers between each other which stifled economic growth, and this clause was intended to eliminate them by keeping commerce “regular.” Using the commerce clause to justify the precise anti-market policies which it was intended to vanquish would be a perverse Constitutional sin.

The Framers were wise to leave such power to the states, for few things are as economically malicious as a potential ban on an entire industry. The task of an entrepreneur is to satisfy consumers’ demands as efficiently as possible, improving the lives of themselves and their customers. Their job is made more strenuous by the fact that the risk of loss is always hanging overhead.

A reversal from the DOJ would only add to a gambling entrepreneur’s uncertainty by signaling a potential federal ban that would steal the fruits of their labor. This risk of government confiscation is named by economist Robert Higgs as “regime uncertainty.” Dr. Higgs’s exceptional research into regime uncertainty shows that it incentivizes risk averse entrepreneurs to preserve rather than invest their wealth. The results would be fewer jobs, millions in lost tax revenues as New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada can attest, and a shrunken GDP. Indeed, legalization breathed new life into a dying Atlantic City. Furthermore, a ban on online gambling helps monopolize established casinos, which is undoubtedly the motive behind billionaire political donor Sheldon Adelson’s support for it.

Reverting to the Bush administration’s flawed understanding of the Wire Act would violate the states’ right to craft their own online gambling policy by tossing aside the essential protections of the 10th Amendment. As a consequence, entrepreneurs and their potential consumers, the American public, lose out, so that the established casinos can rig the game in their favor. The cards are in William Barr’s hands. One can only hope that the enlightened Mulvaney is whispering in his ear.

Categories: Current Affairs

Flourish – Lydia Brownback

The Proclaimer - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 12:27

Subtitle: How the Love of Christ Frees Us from Self-Focus 

In the age of “self-help” and “self-care”, Lydia Brownback’s latest book is definitely not one of them.  Although, it kind of is, in that the aim of the book is ultimately to help you find happiness and live a more fulfilling life… to “flourish”. 

The main difference is that you’re not going to accomplish that by trying to look within to unleash your inner strength. In fact, Brownback would advise that you choose the better option. Forget about yourself entirely and look to Christ instead!

She sets the tone at the beginning of her book by reminding the reader of what Paul tells Timothy in II Timothy, chapter 3:

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 

For people will be lovers of self…” (verses 1-2)

And how does Paul go on to warn Timothy?

“Avoid such people.” (verse 5)

Brownback tells the reader that we too are now living in these last days before Jesus’ return. 

Rather than trying to hammer in her reader’s head that they ought to think more about Christ and less about themselves, the author is a bit more ambitious. She wants to use this book to train the reader to think and come to this conclusion for themselves. 

Not only that, she wants the reader to learn the necessary tools to be able to make discerning decisions going forward based on biblical understanding to differentiate between these two mentalities. 

The way she goes about doing this is by using a 3-part structure in each of the 6 chapters. 

Each chapter focuses on a common area where people may be tempted to focus too much on the self:

  1. 1. Self-Consciousness
  2. 2. Self-Improvement
  3. 3. Self-Analysis
  4. 4. Self-Indulgence
  5. 5. Self-Condemnation
  6. 6. Self-Victimisation

Within each chapter, Brownback then goes on to divide the content into 3 smaller sub-sections:

  1. i. Dig (going deeper into the heart of the issue)
  2. ii. Discern (gaining clarity on the biblical mindset required to tackle the issue)
  3. iii. Flourish (conclusion of the matter and what it looks like to embrace Christ over self)

With this simple formula, she proceeds to walk the reader through various examples of what each mentality might look like in everyday life. What the author does extremely well is show the reader how the solution to each of these problems is to think more of Christ rather than self, through specific biblical passages. That’s where true freedom from the bondage of self is found — in Christ.

This is a short book, quite light, and a relatively easy read. That said, it has real substance and is structured in a very helpful way to equip the reader to think for themselves going forward. 

Even in the title (using trendy buzzwords/phrases like “flourish” and “free us from…”), I think this book effectively draws in people who need to read this most — those who may find themselves drawn to the self-help trend. 

I also really enjoyed how she didn’t limit herself to providing obviously silly examples of first world problems so that she can easily debunk them. In the chapter on self-victimisation, Brownback shares the story of a woman who was forced into marrying a Taliban fighter when she was a child and suffered much abuse as a result. The author doesn’t shy away from addressing tough things and deep pain. 

Brownback does an excellent job of listing countless everyday examples throughout the book to illustrate her points. She also embeds various passages from the Bible throughout to support her argument. I think at times the book is a bit example-heavy and Bible light. That said, I think the balance she strikes is still adequate in encouraging her reader to think more biblically when it comes to the struggle of finding freedom from self in Christ. 

I’d recommend this book for Christians who have gone down (or have been tempted to go down) the self-help book route. 

by Michelle Cheng

Categories: Christian Resources

Don’t Do, Don’t Desire

Peter Leithart - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 11:00
The Ten Words include twelve negative commands. Most of the verbs that are negated are unique: 1) Thou shalt not have (lo’ yihyeh-leka; literally, “there shalt not be to thee”) other gods. 2) Thou shalt not prostrate (lo’-tishtachweh) to them (i.e., images). 3) Thou shalt not serve them (lo’ ta’avdem; again, images). 4) Thou shalt […]
Categories: People I don't know

Imunify360 reduces hacking attempts by 90%

CloudLinux - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 10:52

"If you're using a well-known website antivirus and anti-malware solution, you wouldn't expect to be hacked on average 12 or so times per month, would you? Well, yes, you would, but only if that well-known name isn't Imunify360. This was the case at, a Dutch hosting provider offering cost-efficient WordPress and Joomla hosting for SMBs and individuals."

Anna Bofill Bert, Sales Account Executive for CloudLinux EMEA, writes more in this customer testimonial and case study.

Categories: Technology

Who should we blame for the British level of illiteracy?

Adam Smith Institute - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 07:01

That large numbers of we British are functionally illiterate is not a good look nor a decent outcome. The point being that we’ve got to work out what is going wrong, wherever it is in the system, so that we can fix it. If it can be fixed of course, there is always going to be some irreducible minimum number of people who simply cannot grasp such complicated concepts. That’s a sadness of the human condition to be sure but something we’ve got to accept.

However, the claim is that we’re well above that level:

Millions of British adults are functionally illiterate but the subject is ignored because it is not a “fashionable” cause, according to the most powerful woman in publishing.

Dame Gail Rebuck founded the Quick Reads scheme, which distributes specially-written books designed to encourage adults to discover the joy of reading.

The scheme began in 2005 and attracted some of the country’s best-selling authors, including Joanna Trollope, Adele Parks and Andy McNab. But this year it faced closure after failing to find a corporate sponsor and was only saved after Jojo Moyes, the writer, stepped in with £120,000 of her own money.

“It’s a huge sum of money but not to a corporate sponsor,” Dame Gail told the Telegraph. “But the point is, it’s not fashionable, is it? You can talk about little kids reading - we can all relate to that, we all want children to read books, it’s lovely.

“But adults not reading? Or adults in the workplace not having enough literacy to fill in a form, to work on a computer, to be promoted? That’s not something that people like to talk about. But it exists.”

We think that talking about it should become very much more fashionable, we agree there. But then that’s because we do so like to play the boy’s part in the Emperor’s clothes story.

Currently the State insists that each and every child be placed into its care for some 30, 35 hours a week for some 13 years - it does now at least with the rise in the school leaving age. That’s many thousands of hours of instruction time and the claim is being made that this doesn’t result in general literacy.

We tend to think that thousands of hours of instruction time is enough to ensure general literacy. That it doesn’t might just be the State not being able to do things. Could be that the mechanism has been taken over by ideologues insisting upon teaching something else - how to be an ecowarrior perhaps, or be nice to people. Might even be political fashion as with whole words and teaching kiddies their letters.

But we will insist that this is where the failure is. The State has spent the last century insisting upon many years of exclusive access to children and the end result is that millions of the system’s graduates are functionally illiterate. That system’s not doing what we pay for it to be doing - that’s where the solution will be found, where the reform needs to be.

Categories: Current Affairs

A mass grave of 34 Ethiopian Christians executed by Islamic State militants has been discovered in Libya

Anglican Ink - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 00:03

(Agenzia Fides) – The government authorities of the Libyan national agreement have announced the discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of 34 Ethiopian Christians killed in 2015 by jihadists affiliated to the Islamic State (Daesh).

The mass grave, reported in recent days by the Department of Criminal Investigation of the Libyan interior ministry, has been identified in a land not far from the coastal town of Sirte, in an area that in 2015 was under the control of the jihadist armed groups. The Libyan authorities – according to official national sources – have said that the mortal remains of Christians slaughtered by Daesh will be repatriated to Ethiopia, once the due national and international legal procedures have been carried out.

In April 2015, a video released by Furqan Media – accredited at that time as the media reference network of the Islamic State – had shown two different groups of prisoners presented as Ethiopian Christians who were beheaded and gunshot to the neck in a desert and on a Libyan beach. The video, accompanied by the usual slogans against the “nation of the cross” included images of the destruction of churches, icons and Christian tombs, addressed to Christians, and repeated that there would be no salvation for them if they did not convert to Islam or did not agree to pay the “protection fee”.

In the video – particularly eloquent – the victims were presented as belonging to the “hostile Ethiopian Church”. 

The massacred Christians were poor Ethiopian immigrants belonging to the multitudes of men and women trying to reach Europe through Libya and then embark on the boats managed by the criminal network of smugglers.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was jurisdictionally bound to the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria until 1959, when it was recognized as autocephalous Church from the Coptic Patriarch Cyril VI. Even in recent years the Coptic Church has been the target of the massacres and attacks by the jihadists of Daesh, also because they identify it as an ecclesial entity close to the political institutions of Egypt led by President Abdel Fattah al Sisi. Between January and February 2015, just a few months before the massacre of Ethiopian Christians, even 20 Coptic Egyptians and one of their Ghanaian work mates had been slaughtered by jihadists on a Libyan beach not far from Sirte. “What was striking”, declared Anba Antonios Aziz Mina, Coptic Catholic Bishop – now emeritus – of Guizeh “is that the Ethiopian Church is called ‘hostile Church’ … obviously these strange jihadists also follow the political implications of the meetings between the Churches. “But in the great pain”, said the Coptic Catholic Bishop on that occasion to Agenzia Fides(see Fides 20/4/2015) “we continue to look at these events with the eyes of faith. The chain of martyrs has not finished, and will accompany the whole history until the end. Christians do not seek martyrdom, they want to live in peace and joy. But if martyrdom comes, it is comforting to see that it can be accepted with the same peace which was accepted by the Copts who pronounced the name of Christ and they relied on Him as they were being slaughtered. The Church has never complained of martyrdom, but has always celebrated martyrs as those in whom, while they are being killed, the great and consoling victory of Christ shines”.

Even the remains of the Coptic Egyptians in Libya together with their Ghanaian workmate had been identified at the end of September 2017 in a mass grave on the Libyan coast, beheaded not far from the town of Sirte. Their bodies had been found with their hands tied behind their back, wearing the same orange-colored tracksuits they wore in the macabre video filmed by the executioners at the time of their decapitation. Today a shrine-museum at the cathedral dedicated to the “Martyrs of Libya” and erected in the Egyptian village of Our, in the region of Samalut, also safe guards the coins found in the pockets of Egyptian bodies martyred and their shoes, along with some ID documents and work records on which two of them wrote the daily work activities

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Stephen Noll explains Archbishop Okoh’s Epiphany Pastoral Letter

Anglican Ink - Sun, 06/01/2019 - 23:44

Several days ago I was listening to some friendly bloggers who were commenting on the Epiphany Letter from Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the Chairman of Gafcon Primates Council. They interpreted the letter as a sign of weakness in the current struggle for Anglican orthodoxy. My first reaction was: “Are we reading the same Letter?” I honestly think they are mistaken and thought it would be worthwhile to examine the Letter carefully, section by section.


To the Faithful of the Gafcon movement and friends from Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman, the Gafcon Primates Council.

‘His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Ephesians 3:10,11)

This “Letter to the Faithful of the Gafcon movement” from its chief Primate speaks with the same tone of authority as found in addresses by other bishops and Primates to their respective churches at the turn of the year. From its beginning in 2008, Gafcon has claimed to be “not just a moment in time but a movement in the Spirit.” It is also a movement with an ecclesial form, with a Primates Council representing its member Provinces and other Anglicans who have been disenfranchised from their home churches. Many of these Anglicans have now formed Branches that are recognized by and represented in the Primates Council. Archbishop Okoh speaks as a “focus of unity” for them.

The Letter commemorates the Feast of Epiphany, celebrating the Advent and Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ as a Light to the nations. It expounds on one of the Epiphany texts taken from the great Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians.


My dear people of God,

Receive New Year Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

As I learned from my years in Africa, it is important to exchange New Year’s greetings as one looks ahead to the future, in this case the Anglican future. This is not merely a bubbly “Happy New Year” but a reminder that we walk by faith, not sight, in the One who holds the future, the Alpha and Omega.


At our great assembly in Jerusalem last year, we gathered around the theme of ‘Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations’ so it is very appropriate that we begin a new year with the celebration of the Epiphany, the revealing of Jesus as God’s Son to the nations…

…This was the profound spiritual context of our great assembly in Jerusalem last year and will be equally true as those who were unable to join us in Jerusalem due to travel restrictions gather in Dubai at the end of February.

The “faithful” in particular are those who attended the Global Anglican Future Conference last June in Jerusalem, and by extension those refused entry to Israel, reminding them of the Conference commitment to proclaim the Good News of Christ to all nations.


In the gospel God’s amazing grace continues to shine forth and brings about a new humanity from the four corners of the earth as we join the Magi and bow before the Son of God in joyful worship. According to St Paul, the church’s wonderful unity in Christ reveals the ‘manifold wisdom’ of God, not only on earth, but also in the heavenly realms. So as we play our part by drawing together faithful Anglicans from around the globe, from all their different cultures, we not only witness to the world, but we are also the theatre in which the wisdom of God is demonstrated to angelic powers.

Such a wonderful privilege and responsibility should surely drive us to our knees in reverent dependence upon the Spirit of God. It should also make us passionate upholders of biblical truth, because it is through the Scriptures that God’s wisdom is taught to the Church.

Archbishop Okoh begins the body of his Letter by highlighting the great Good News of the season, which is the “amazing grace” in which God has sent His Son to redeem our sinful, mortal state and make us adopted sons and partakers of the divine nature (Ephesians 1:5; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Peter 1:4). This Good News is the revelation of a mystery hidden until the right time and given to the apostles and prophets through Christ’s Resurrection from the dead, a surprise even to the powers of heaven (Ephesians 1:3- 6; 3:3-9; 1 Peter 1:12).

Like the Magi, believers are awestruck by the manifold wisdom of God in Christ, who “saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). This is the mystery and miracle of the Christmas season, which calls forth our grateful worship:

O loving wisdom of our God,
When all was sin and shame,
He, the last Adam, to the fight
And to the rescue came.

In his text, Archbishop Okoh calls attention to the fact that contending for the faith is conducted not just on an earthly plane, whether secular or ecclesiastical. We have been called to spiritual warfare, putting on the whole armor of God.

Indeed, it is hard not to read the signs of our times in apocalyptic terms:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

With the oppressive power of secularism, the dumbing down of education and stifling of speech by political correctness, the rise of militant Islam and the persecution of Christians worldwide, what is there not to be pessimistic about? And yet the Gospel is a message of light: “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). Even in dark times, the Church is called to bear testimony to the principalities and powers in heaven and on earth that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).


The choice before us as a global communion is between this revealed wisdom of God and the wisdom claimed by secular ideologies. For a while the reality of this fork in the road can be obscured by an insistence on dialogue in its various guises such as ‘indaba’, ‘good disagreement’ and ‘walking together’, but in the absence of godly discipline, false teaching will continue to spread.

As is clear from the Letters to the Seven Churches in Revelation 2-3, the Church is ever in danger of spiritual darkness from within and without. The Gafcon Letter to the Churches drew attention to this danger, quoting St. Paul himself:

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-30)

Several months ago, at a Conference on “What is Anglicanism?” Archbishop Foley Beach depicted the current battle in terms of “Neo-Pagan Anglicanism.” Two items just this last month are illustrative.

The first item is the announcement (with photo) from the Anglican Church of Canada: “The Diocese of Toronto congratulates Bishop Kevin Robertson and Mr. Mohan Sharma, who were married today at St. James Cathedral in the presence of their two children, their families and many friends, including Archbishop Colin Johnson and Bishop Andrew Asbil.” So here we have one bishop officiating the same-sex wedding of another bishop, with the Primate present and blessing the event. Bishop Robertson is a credentialed Anglican in the eyes of Canterbury, and no doubt he and his spouse will be welcomed to the 2020 Lambeth Conference. The Conference will be considering the Church of England’s “Living in Love and Faith” report on sexuality, whose chairman has stated in advance that it will not deal with the rights and wrongs of same-sex marriage. Archbishop Beach (the Primate-elect of the Gafcon Primates Council) will not be invited to this Conference and Archbishop Okoh’s successor (he steps down as Primate this year) and many other bishops may be invited but will not be present.

The second illustration, which is taken up by Archbishop Okoh, comes from the Church of England itself.


In the Church of England, just before Christmas, this process reached the point where its bishops took the unprecedented step of giving official guidance for what they described as ‘services to help transgender people mark their transition’ and it will be incorporated into ‘Common Worship’ (a range of services authorised by General Synod).

The guidance states that ‘the House of Bishops commends the rite of Affirmation of Baptismal Faith as the central feature of any service to recognize liturgically a person’s gender transition’. A form of service which is intended to mark a renewed commitment to Christ and the new life we receive through him is instead used to celebrate an identity which contradicts our God-given identity as male and female (as affirmed by Jesus himself in Matthew 19:4) and is still controversial even in secular society.

Although Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998 did not directly address gender transition, by taking this step, the Church of England is rejecting biblical authority in a similar way to TEC and other revisionist Provinces which have permitted same sex marriage.

Let’s be clear: this Pastoral Guidance is on the order of the abomination of desolation. It fundamentally denies God’s good creation of male and female in His image; it is utterly contrary to Scripture and tradition; it perverts the sacrament of baptism; it is willfully blind to genetic science; and it is pastorally dangerous, if not abusive, to children. For wider analysis, see Ryan Anderson, When Harry Became Sally (2018). Get it quick before it is banned.

Archbishop Okoh notes that the Lambeth bishops did not address transgenderism in 1998. Of course they didn’t. It was not even a tiny cloud on the horizon at the time. It has become a fad, a dangerous fad, in the past five to ten years and is now being strong-armed through Western institutions by the neo-pagan elites. For the bishops to rush blindly after this fad like Gadarene swine is a perfect, if horrible, case of “neo-pagan Anglicanism.” I predict there will be an “Emperor’s New Clothes” moment sometime in the not-too-distant future where even secularists will look and say: “How did we ever go down this road?” The bishops may be the last ones to wake up, I suspect.


So, much as we thank God for the rich history represented by the See of Canterbury, we cannot avoid the sad truth that insistence on full communion with Canterbury as an essential mark of belonging to the Anglican Communion now risks jeopardising the apostolic faith itself. Let us pray that there will be repentance and that God will give courage and boldness to those who remain faithful.

This is the paragraph where my fellow bloggers think Archbishop Okoh has failed to be forceful enough. I think they are missing the key point: he is saying that Gafcon cannot be in communion with Canterbury because Canterbury has compromised the apostolic faith. This goes beyond the Gafcon Statements of 2008, 2013, and even 2018, which were directed primarily to the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada. This statement is, in effect, saying that an idol has been set up in the Temple of God, in the Mother Church herself.

The bloggers fear that the call to repent weakens the statement. Not at all. The Jerusalem Declaration (clause 13) states: “We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.” Is repentance possible? Always, under the mercy of God. Read Jonah, chapter 3.  Is it likely? Read Isaiah 6:10; Matthew 13:14.

If Nicholas Okoh’s wording is less fiery than some would wish, I would attribute it in part to the fact that the events happening in neo-pagan West are so beyond the “primitive” (ha,ha!) imagination of those living in the Global South that they have a hard time taking these as more than a chimera.


Finally, I commend to your prayers this month our new General Secretary, Archbishop Ben Kwashi. He is a great evangelist, teacher and a leader of outstanding courage and we pray that the wonder and glory of the gospel of Christ which has so captured his heart will capture all our hearts also in the year ahead.

The Most Rev’d Nicholas D. Okoh

Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman, the Gafcon Primates Council

Rest assured, friends, Nicholas Okoh, like Peter Akinola before him and Ben Kwashi and Foley Beach after him, are girded with the whole armor of God. I am not sure how many other bishops in the Anglican Communion will follow them, but they have placed their standard on the high ground and will not back down.

The post Stephen Noll explains Archbishop Okoh’s Epiphany Pastoral Letter appeared first on New Anglican Ink.

Some star Bible verses for your Epiphany edification

Sussex Parson - Sun, 06/01/2019 - 07:51

Numbers 24:17

Revelation 22:16

2 Peter 1:19

Philippians 2:15 Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

We will be able to test how much people like the environment

Adam Smith Institute - Sun, 06/01/2019 - 07:01

Or perhaps slightly more accurately, soon enough we will be able to test how much those who insist they are environmentalists actually do like the environment. The test will come in the form of a reaction to this latest news about the possibilities of genetic manipulation:

For photosynthesis itself is inefficient and it looks like it is possible to make it more efficient with one of those GM tweaks:

In some of our most useful crops (such as rice and wheat), photosynthesis produces toxic by-products that reduce its efficiency. Photorespiration deals with these by-products, converting them into metabolically useful components, but at the cost of energy lost. South et al.constructed a metabolic pathway in transgenic tobacco plants that more efficiently recaptures the unproductive by-products of photosynthesis with less energy lost (see the Perspective by Eisenhut and Weber). In field trials, these transgenic tobacco plants were ∼40% more productive than wild-type tobacco plants.

Making rice, wheat and so on 40% more productive would, if consumption levels stayed the same, mean we need something like 40% less land to feed ourselves. Which then means rather more land for nature to go be wild nature in.

We’d be greatly reducing our footprint on this Earth that is. The interesting part here being that the most vociferous opposition is going to come from those who supposedly support all matters environmental.

It’s going to be a useful sorting mechanism between those who really do care about the environment and those who only say they do, isn’t it? Support a method of freeing up 40% of cropland for nature, or continue to oppose GM?

Categories: Current Affairs

The Cure for Poverty

Mises Institute - Sun, 06/01/2019 - 00:05

[Chapter 20 of The Conquest of Poverty, 1996.]

The theme of this book is the conquest of poverty, not its "abolition." Poverty can be alleviated or reduced, and in the Western world in the last two centuries it has been almost miraculously alleviated and reduced; but poverty is ultimately individual, and individual poverty can no more be "abolished" than disease or death can be abolished.

Individual or family poverty results when the "breadwinner" cannot in fact win bread; when he cannot or does not produce enough to support his family or even himself. And there will always be some human beings who will temporarily or permanently lack the ability to provide even for their own self-support. Such is the condition of all of us as young children, of many of us when we fall ill, and of most of us in extreme old age. And such is the permanent condition of some who have been struck by misfortune — the blind, the crippled, the feeble-minded. Where there are so many causes there can be no all-embracing cure.

It is fashionable to say today that "society" must solve the problem of poverty. But basically each individual — or at least each family — must solve its own problem of poverty. The overwhelming majority of families must produce more than enough for their own support if there is to be any surplus available for the remaining families that cannot or do not provide enough for their own support. Where the majority of families do not provide enough for their own support — where society as a whole does not provide enough for its own support — no "adequate relief system" is even temporarily possible. Hence "society" cannot solve the problem of poverty until the overwhelming majority of families have already solved (and in fact slightly more than solved) the problem of their own poverty.

All this is merely stating in another form the Paradox of Relief referred to in Chapter 18: The richer the community, the less the need for relief, but the more it is able to provide; the poorer the community, the greater the need for relief, but the less it is able to provide.

And this in turn is merely another way of pointing out that relief, or redistribution of income, voluntary or coerced, is never the true solution of poverty, but at best a makeshift, which may mask the disease and mitigate the pain, but provides no basic cure.

Moreover, government relief tends to prolong and intensify the very disease it seeks to cure. Such relief tends constantly to get out of hand. And even when it is kept within reasonable bounds it tends to reduce the incentives to work and to save both of those who receive it and of those who are forced to pay it. It may be said, in fact, that practically every measure that governments take with the ostensible object of "helping the poor" has the long-run effect of doing the opposite. Economists have again and again been forced to point out that nearly every popular remedy for poverty merely aggravates the problem. I have analyzed in these pages such false remedies as the guaranteed income, the negative income tax, minimum-wage laws, laws to increase the power of the labor unions, opposition to labor-saving machinery, promotion of "spread-the-work" schemes, special subsidies, increased government spending, increased taxation, steeply graduated income taxes, punitive taxes on capital gains, inheritances, and corporations, and outright socialism.

But the possible number of false remedies for poverty is infinite. Two central fallacies are common to practically all of them. One is that of looking only at the immediate effect of any proposed reform on a selected group of intended beneficiaries and of overlooking the longer and secondary effect of the reform not only on the intended beneficiaries but on everybody. The other fallacy, akin to this, is to assume that production consists of a fixed amount of goods and services, produced by a fixed amount and quality of capital providing a fixed number of "jobs." This fixed production, it is assumed, goes on more or less automatically, influenced negligibly if at all by the incentives or lack of incentives of specific producers, workers, or consumers. "The problem of production has been solved," we keep hearing, and all that is needed is a fairer "distribution."

What is disheartening about all this is that the popular ideology on all these matters shows no advance — and if anything even a retrogression — compared with what it was more than a hundred years ago. In the middle of the nineteenth century the English economist Nassau Senior was writing in his journal:

It requires a long train of reasoning to show that the capital on which the miracles of civilization depend is the slow and painful creation of the economy and enterprise of the few, and of the industry of the many, and is destroyed, or driven away, or prevented from arising, by any causes which diminish or render insecure the profits of the capitalist, or deaden the activity of the laborer; and that the State, by relieving idleness, improvidence, or misconduct from the punishment, and depriving abstinence and foresight of the reward, which have been provided for them by nature, may indeed destroy wealth, but most certainly will aggravate poverty.1

Man throughout history has been searching for the cure for poverty, and all that time the cure has been before his eyes. Fortunately, as far at least as it applied to their actions as individuals, the majority of men instinctively recognized it — which was why they survived. That individual cure was Work and Saving. In terms of social organization, there evolved spontaneously from this, as a result of no one's conscious planning, a system of division of labor, freedom of exchange, and economic cooperation, the outlines of which hardly became apparent to our forebears until two centuries ago. That system is now known either as Free Enterprise or as Capitalism, according as men wish to honor or disparage it.

It is this system that has lifted mankind out of mass poverty. It is this system that in the last century, in the last generation, even in the last decade, has acceleratively been changing the face of the world, and has provided the masses of mankind with amenities that even kings did not possess or imagine a few generations ago.

Because of individual misfortune and individual weaknesses, there will always be some individual poverty and even "pockets" of poverty. But in the more prosperous Western countries today, capitalism has already reduced these to a merely residual problem, which will become increasingly easy to manage, and of constantly diminishing importance, if society continues to abide in the main by capitalist principles. Capitalism in the advanced countries has already, it bears repeating, conquered mass poverty, as that was known throughout human history and almost everywhere, until a change began to be noticeable sometime about the middle of the eighteenth century. Capitalism will continue to eliminate mass poverty in more and more places and to an increasingly marked extent if it is merely permitted to do so.

In the chapter "Why Socialism Doesn't Work," I explained by contrast how capitalism performs its miracles. It turns out the tens of thousands of diverse commodities and services in the proportions in which they are socially most wanted, and it solves this incredibly complex problem through the institutions of private property, the free market, and the existence of money — through the interrelations of supply and demand, costs and prices, profits and losses. And, of course, through the force of competition. Competition will tend constantly to bring about the most economical and efficient method of production possible with existing technology — and then it will start devising a still more efficient technology. It will reduce the cost of existing production, it will improve products, it will invent or discover wholly new products, as individual producers try to think what product consumers would buy if it existed.

Those who are least successful in this competition will lose their original capital and be forced out of the field; those who are most successful will acquire through profits more capital to increase their production still further. So capitalist production tends constantly to be drawn into the hands of those who have shown that they can best meet the wants of the consumers.

Perhaps the most frequent complaint about capitalism is that it distributes its rewards "unequally." But this really describes one of the system's chief virtues. Though mere luck always plays a role with each of us, the increasing tendency under capitalism is that penalties are imposed roughly in proportion to error and neglect and rewards granted roughly in proportion to effort, ability, and foresight. It is precisely this system of graduated rewards and penalties, in which each tends to receive in proportion to the market value he helps to produce, that incites each of us constantly to put forth his greatest effort to maximize the value of his own production and thus (whether intentionally or not) help to maximize that of the whole community. If capitalism worked as the socialists think an economic system ought to work, and provided a constant equality of living conditions for all, regardless of whether a man was able or not, resourceful or not, diligent or not, thrifty or not, if capitalism put no premium on resourcefulness and effort and no penalty on idleness or vice, it would produce only an equality of destitution.

Another incidental effect of the inequality of incomes inseparable from a market economy has been to increase the funds devoted to saving and investment much beyond what they would have been if the same total social income had been spread evenly. The enormous and accelerative economic progress in the last century and a half was made possible by the investment of the rich — first in the railroads, and then in scores of heavy industries requiring large amounts of capital. The inequality of incomes, however much some of us may deplore it on other grounds, has led to a much faster increase in the total output and wealth of all than would otherwise have taken place.

Those who truly want to help the poor will not spend their days in organizing protest marches or relief riots, or even in repeated protestations of sympathy. Nor will their charity consist merely in giving money to the poor to be spent for immediate consumption needs. Rather will they themselves live modestly in relation to their income, save, and constantly invest their savings in sound existing or new enterprises, so creating abundance for all, and incidentally creating not only more jobs but better-paying ones.

The irony is that the very miracles brought about in our age by the capitalist system have given rise to expectations that keep running ahead even of the accelerating progress, and so have led to an incredibly shortsighted impatience that threatens to destroy the very system that has made the expectations possible.

If that destruction is to be prevented, education in the true causes of economic improvement must be intensified beyond anything yet attempted.

  • 1. Nassau Senior, journal Kept in France and Italy from 1848–52, London: Henry S. King, 2nd ed. 1871, Vol. I, pp. 4–5.
Categories: Current Affairs

Posture and Reverence

The Hadley Rectory - Sat, 05/01/2019 - 22:02

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him.” (Matthew 2:11)

They fell down. They did not sit up, as if nothing great was before them; or on the foolish supposition that the body has no relation to the soul, and that while the soul is cleaving unto the dust before the Majesty of God, there is no reason why the body should not lounge and loll on a chair in a posture of easy, if not of studied, indifference. They fell down and worshipped; the outward act corresponding to, and being dictated by, the inward self-protestation, just as the Hebrew word for adoration implies the prostration of the adoring soul. Say you that this prostration was only oriental? Was it not rather profoundly human, and should we not do well to note it? Ah! brethren, methinks we have much to learn of these Eastern sages; we who, like them, come into the presence of the King of kings, but who, unlike them, think it perhaps proof of a high spirituality to behave before Him as we should not think of behaving in the presence of our earthly superiors. Do we murmur that “God looks not at the bowed head or at the bent knee, but at the heart”? No doubt he does look at the heart; but the question is whether it is possible for the heart to be engaged in worship while the posture of the body suggests irreverent sloth. Burke has shown, what must be apparent to every man of reflection and sense, between the postures of the body and the emotions of the soul there is an intimate correspondence. You cannot, as a matter of physical fact, feel a sinner’s self-abasement before the Sanctity of God, while you stretch yourself out in a chair with your arms crossed, and your eyes gazing listlessly at any object that may meet them. Doubtless the old and the weak may worship without prostrations, to which their bodies are no longer equal. For the young and strong to attempt this is to trifle not merely with the language of Scripture but with the laws of our composite nature. Be sure, brethren, that irreverence is not a note of spirituality. Reverence is the true language of faith, which sees God and adores Him. Irreverence is the symptom of unbelief or indifference. When the soul’s eye is closed to the Magnificence of God, the outward actions of worship are barely endured or contemptuously rejected as though they were lifeless forms.Revd Dr. H. P. Liddon, "The guidance of the Star," sermon preached at St Paul's Cathedral on the First Sunday after the Epiphany, January 8, 1871.
Categories: Friends

North Korea offers Christmas greetings to the Christians of the ROK

Anglican Ink - Sat, 05/01/2019 - 20:15

North Korea has sent an official Christmas greetings to the churches of South Korea. The unprecedented video from the state-controlled North Korea Council of Religionists was broadcast at Seoul’s Anglican Cathedral on the Friday before Christmas at a service of lessons and carols.

The 98-second video has come under scrutiny from Korean security analysts, with some arguing it reflects the ease of tensions on the peninsula as a result of the talks between US President Donald Trump and NK leader Kim , while others suggest it is a ploy by the North Korean government to soften its image as a ruthless persecutor of Christians.

Joongang Ilbo reported the video was prepared for the Faith and Order Commission of the South Korean Council of Churches and was approved for broadcast by South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which received the message via diplomatic channels.

The film opens with images from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and photos of April’s North-South Korean summit. Kang Ji-young, who is identified as the head of the NK Council of Religionists, then offers “congratulatory and peaceful greetings for Christmas to South Korean brothers and sisters.”

The video then cuts to scenes of Christian worship at Jangchung Cathedral and Bongsu Church, the state controlled Catholic and Protestant churches in Pyongyang. A printed message states: “The implementation of joint North-South declarations is a common mission and responsibility of religionists in the North and the South” followed by: “We hope North and South Korean religionists, who go hand in hand towards peace and unification, filled with blessings by Christ the Lord.”

Ryu Dong-ryeol of the Korea Institute of Liberal Democracy told Chosun Dol the film was “part of the North’s propaganda activities to dilute its bad reputation as a country that persecutes religious beliefs and to coax South Korean churches into supporting the joint declaration” adopted at the inter-Korean summit in April.

A November 2018 briefing from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom observed that in North Korea, “the United States has seldom faced a major adversary that respected its people’s inherent right to freedom of religion or belief.”

“In North Korea, the regime’s approach toward religion and belief is among the most repressive in the world. Put simply, freedom of religion or belief does not exist in North Korea. Although the North Korean constitution protects its people’s freedom of religion in principle, in practice the regime exerts absolute influence over a handful of state controlled houses of worship permitted to exist. This creates a facade of religious life maintained chiefly for propaganda purposes.”

“All religious activities occurring outside this heavily-regulated domain are severely restricted, and independent believers often face arrest, torture, beatings, and execution. The North Korean regime interprets all religion or belief, Christianity in particular, as a threat to its very existence. The North Korean government continues to perpetuate its longstanding record of systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief.”

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State Secrets and the National Security State

Mises Institute - Sat, 05/01/2019 - 17:45

Inadvertently released federal documents reveal that U.S. officials have apparently secured a secret indictment against Julian Assange, the head of WikiLeaks who released secret information about the internal workings of the U.S. national-security establishment. In any nation whose government is founded on the concept of a national-security state, that is a cardinal sin, one akin to treason and meriting severe punishment.

Mind you, Assange isn’t being charged with lying or releasing false or fraudulent information about the U.S. national-security state. Everyone concedes that the WikiLeaks information was authentic. His “crime” was in disclosing to people the wrongdoing of the national-security establishment. No one is supposed to do that, even if the information is true and correct.

It’s the same with Edward Snowden, the American contractor with the CIA and the NSA who is now relegated to living in Russia. If Snowden returns home, he faces federal criminal prosecution, conviction, and incarceration for disclosing secrets of the U.S. national-security establishment. Again, his “crime” is disclosing the truth about the internal workings of the national-security establishment, not disseminating false information.

Such secrecy and the severe punishment for people who disclose the secrets to the public were among the things that came with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state.

Recall that when the U.S. government was called into existence by the Constitution, it was a type of governmental structure known as a limited-government republic. Under that type of governmental structure, the federal government’s powers were extremely limited. The only powers that federal officials could lawfully exercise were those few that were enumerated in the Constitution itself.

Under the republic form of government, there was no enormous permanent military establishment, no CIA, and no NSA, which are the three components of America’s national-security state. That last thing Americans wanted was that type of government. In fact, if Americans had been told that the Constitution was going to bring into existence a national-security state, they never would have approved the deal and would have continued operating under the Articles of Confederation, a type of governmental system where the federal government’s powers were so few that it didn’t even have the power to tax.

Under the republic, governmental operations were transparent. There was no such thing as “state secrets” or “national security.” Except for the periodic backroom deals in which politicians would make deals, things generally were open and above-board for people to see and make judgments on.

That all changed when the federal government was converted from a limited-government republic to a national-security state after World War II. Suddenly, the federal government was vested with omnipotent powers, so long as they were being exercised by the Pentagon, the CIA, or the NSA in the name of “national security.”

Interestingly enough, the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state was not done through constitutional amendment. Nonetheless, the federal judiciary has long upheld or simply deferred to the exercise of omnipotent powers by the national-security establishment.

An implicit part of the conversion was that the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA would be free to exercise their omnipotent powers in secret. Secrecy has always been a core element in any government that is structured as a national-security state, especially when it involves dark, immoral, and nefarious powers that are being exercised for the sake of “national security.”

One action that oftentimes requires the utmost in secrecy involves assassination, which is really nothing more than legalized murder. Not surprisingly, many national-security officials want to keep their role in state-sponsored murder secret. Another example is coups initiated in foreign countries. U.S. officials bend over backwards to hide their role in such regime-change operations. And then there are the surveillance schemes whereby citizens are foreigners are spied up and monitored. Kidnapping, indefinite detention, and torture are still more examples.

Of course, these are the types of things that we ordinarily identify with totalitarian regimes. The reason for that is that a national-security state governmental system is inherent to totalitarian regimes. For example, the Nazi government, which was a national-security state too, had an enormous permanent military establishment and a Gestapo, which wielded the powers of assassination, indefinite detention, torture, and secret surveillance. And not surprisingly, to disclose the secrets of German’s national-security state involved severe punishment.

But it’s not just Nazi Germany. There are many other examples of totalitarian regimes that are based on the concept of national security and structured as a national-security state. Chile under Pinochet. The Soviet Union. Communist China. North Korea. Vietnam. Egypt. Pakistan. Iraq. Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia. Turkey, Myanmar. And the United States. The list goes on and on.

And every one of those totalitarian regimes has a state-secrets doctrine, the same doctrine that the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA have.

A newspaper in Vietnam, which of course is ruled by a communist regime, reported that a Vietnamese citizen named Phan Van Anh Vu was sentenced to 9 years in prison for “deliberately disclosing state secrets.”

A website for the Committee to Protect Journalists reported that the Chinese communist regime charged a Chinese journalist named Yang Xiuqiong with “illegally providing state secrets overseas.” The Chinese Reds have also charged a prominent environmental activist named Liu Shu with “revealing state secrets related to China’s counterespionage work.”

The military dictatorship in Myanmar convicted two Reuters reporters for violating the country’s law that prohibits the gathering of secret documents to help an enemy.

RT reports that the Russian military will “launch obligatory courses on the protection of state secrets starting next year.

US News reports that the regime in Turkey is seeking the extradition from Germany of Turkish journalist Can Dunbar, who was convicted of revealing state secrets.

Defenders of Assange and Snowden and other revealers of secrets of the U.S. national security state point to the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of the press to justify their disclosures.

I’ve got a better idea: Let’s just dismantle America’s decades-long, nightmarish Cold War-era experiment with the totalitarian structure known as a national-security state and restore a limited-government republic to our land.

Originally published by the Future of Freedom Foundation.

Categories: Current Affairs


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