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Jordan Peterson and Human Action

Mises Institute - Wed, 14/02/2018 - 12:00
By: Jonathan Newman
jordanpeterson2.jpg

When a psychology professor at the University of Toronto publicly rejected the forced use of a set of pronouns, it catapulted him into the news feeds and conversations of millions of people. Jordan Peterson’s enduring renown, however, has been sustained by the immense interest in what he has to say about the deepest questions.

His lectures on YouTube cover archetypal interpretations of the Bible, the meaning of life, human personality, and even five hours’ worth of dissecting Disney’s Pinocchio. Many of his lectures have hundreds of thousands of views, despite them being two and half hours of covering dense material quickly.

In his “Maps of Meaning” course, based on his book with the same title, he presents a framework for human action with many similarities to that of Mises and Rothbard. Peterson is not an economist, however, and so his framework includes some of the particulars of action that are outside the purely praxeological framework.

Peterson’s Framework for Human Action

Peterson’s framework applies to small, quick actions like grabbing your car keys as you walk out the door but it is scalable to much bigger applications like making big life choices and the archetypal hero’s journey. No matter the scale, the way we go about interpreting and acting upon the world can be described like a map or a story: “I was in some undesired state or location and then I moved toward a desired state by making use of certain tools and overcoming certain obstacles on my way.”

What motivates our action is a “chronic dissatisfaction with the way things are.” This is not necessarily a bad thing, because if we did not have this, we would cease to act. Dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs is the only thing that motivates us to move forward toward a more desired state of affairs.

This desired state of affairs completely shapes the way we perceive the world on a neurological level. We train our attention on the things in our environment that would either help or hinder us on our way to attaining some end. The things that help are tools and the things that hinder are obstacles. Anything else is irrelevant, and we won’t focus our attention on it unless we have not yet decided that it is irrelevant.

Undesired Outcomes and the Emotions that Follow

He stresses that the most important aspect of decision-making is rendering things irrelevant. We become distracted and inefficient and frustrated when we struggle to ascertain what is a tool, what is an obstacle, and what is neither. An unpredicted and undesired outcome means that something that we had categorized as irrelevant has manifested itself as relevant. Peterson says we get anxious, angry, depressed, and frustrated when these events occur.

Sometimes the appearance of an unanticipated obstacle makes us question our whole perceptual and planning framework (or “map” or “story”). Peterson gives two examples:

(1) You are using your car (tool) to get from A to B, but on the way, somebody wrecks into you with their car causing yours to cease functioning. Your A-to-B plan has now exploded into a multi-stage ordeal that you may not even be able to deal with on your own.

(2) You are a university student who receives a lower-than-expected grade on a test. You might question whether you should be a student at all as a result.

Regarding the second scenario, Peterson recommends limiting the domain of affected “maps” to the smallest, most directly relevant level to avoid spiraling into depression after every negative outcome.

Nested Ends

Peterson teaches that our value systems are nested, meaning that we pursue multiple ends with our actions simultaneously. And this is partially due to the fact that we exist and have relationships in nested environments. I have my own thoughts and values, but I exist in a household with my family, I participate in a network of friends, and these all take place in a broader culture. 

Peterson uses an example of setting the table for dinner. A micro-level end is physically placing a fork on the table in the correct spot. One level up is creating a nice environment to have dinner. I might want to do this because I want to be a helpful member of my family, and I want to be that because that’s a part of being a good person. So, placing the fork on the table simultaneously satisfies multiple hierarchically-nested ends.

Here, then, is a short summary of Peterson’s action framework: We are all in a frame/map/story. It has a goal and a current position. Our perceptions are guided by our goal, which involves us categorizing items in the world as either a tool, an obstacle, or irrelevant to our purpose. Emotions come from these items or events that either move us along our way to our goal or keep us from progressing. Some undesirable outcomes can be fixed quickly, but others can be disastrous.

Comparison to the Praxeological Framework

There are many similarities between the action framework presented by Peterson and that of Mises and Rothbard. Things like emotions and other particulars don’t appear because they are irrelevant to the development of economic theory, which must be based on rock-solid, universal cause-and-effect. This is the source of their main differences, explored below along with the similarities.

Mises sets the boundaries between praxeology and psychology early in his treatise, Human Action: “The theme of psychology is the internal events that result or can result in a definite action. The theme of praxeology is action as such.”1 Peterson, a fan of the great psychoanalytic thinkers Freud and Jung, would be very interested in Mises’s subsequent discussion of psychoanalysis and the line between it and Mises’s praxeology.

Difference #1, Perception. For Mises and Rothbard, action is purposeful behavior. Humans use scarce means to attain their chosen ends. One requirement for action, therefore, is that we perceive a causal connection between the use of a means and the attainment of the end, but how perception happens is beyond the scope of economics.

Similarity #1, Dissatisfaction motivates action. Mises and Peterson would find agreement in what fundamentally motivates man to act: dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. According to Mises, “the incentive that impels man to act is always some uneasiness. A man perfectly content with the state of his affairs ... would not act.”2 This is in perfect alignment with Peterson’s claim that action is motivated by “a chronic dissatisfaction with the way things are.”

Difference #2, Tools and Obstacles vs. Means and the Environment. There is not really a fundamental distinction between tools and obstacles in the praxeological framework. There are tools and obstacles, but these are both included in the broader categories of the actor’s available means and the conditions of his environment. As Rothbard explains:

With reference to any given act, the environment external to the individual may be divided into two parts: those elements which he believes he cannot control and must leave unchanged, and those which he can alter (or rather, thinks he can alter) to arrive at his ends. The former may be termed the general conditions of the action; the latter, the means used. Thus, the individual actor is faced with an environment that he would like to change in order to attain his ends.3

Thus if some aspect of the environment can be used or changed in such a way to bring about one’s goal, it is in the means category. Peterson’s tools and overcomable obstacles would be included in the means category. Obstacles that the actor believes cannot be overcome would fall into the environmental “general conditions” category.

Similarity #2, The Uncertainty of the Future. Both frameworks emphasize the uncertainty of the future. Peterson would say that the hero approaches and does battle with the uncertainty and chaos of the future to bring about order. Mises would say that Peterson’s hero is the entrepreneur, and that everybody is an entrepreneur to the extent that they bear the uncertainty of the future. According to Mises, “Everybody uses understanding in dealing with the uncertainty of future events to which he must adjust his own actions” and “action necessarily always aims at future and therefore uncertain conditions.”4

Difference #3, The Nature of Ends. According to Mises, “Praxeology is indifferent to the ultimate goals of action. Its findings are valid for all kinds of action irrespective of the ends aimed at.”5 Peterson, however, emphasizes the nested nature of ends, like the example above involving setting the dinner table. 

Since the nature of ends is not a concern for economists, we see a variety of ways to articulate ends from Mises and Rothbard. Consider this example from Rothbard:

When we must use a means so that some ends remain unsatisfied, the necessity for a choice among ends arises. For example, Jones is engaged in watching a baseball game on television. He is faced with the choice of spending the next hour in: (a) continuing to watch the baseball game, (b) playing bridge, or (c) going for a drive.6

These ends are pretty specific. It’s clear that Rothbard is referring to the satisfaction Jones would have in each of these activities. Mises and Rothbard also use the terms “definite end” and “certain end” frequently. 

But what about cases where pursuing one course of action comes with a complex variety of desirable and undesirable consequences and not some simple, easily articulated, and fleeting feeling of happiness? What if by continuing to watch the baseball game, Jones is trying to have something to talk about with his coworkers the next day, but his wife also wants him to complete a household chore instead so he risks her anger?

Here we must realize that what Mises and Rothbard really mean by “end” is the entire state of affairs chosen by the actor. Action involves swapping whole universes — a less preferred one for a preferred one.

Therefore, all action involves exchange — an exchange of one state of affairs, X, for Y, which the actor anticipates will be a more satisfactory one (and therefore higher on his value scale).7

“Acting man is eager to substitute a more satisfactory state of affairs for a less satisfactory.”8

Similarity #3, Demonstrated Preference. Perhaps the most interesting similarity between Peterson’s and Rothbard’s action frameworks is the idea that the actor’s values are made manifest in action. Rothbard called it demonstrated preference:

The concept of demonstrated preference is simply this: that actual choice reveals, or demonstrates, a man's preferences; that is, that his preferences are deducible from what he has chosen in action. Thus, if a man chooses to spend an hour at a concert rather than a movie, we deduce that the former was preferred, or ranked higher on his value scale. ... This concept of preference, rooted in real choices, forms the keystone of the logical structure of economic analysis.9

Compare Rothbard’s explanation of demonstrated preference to Peterson’s discussions of the relationship between action and value:

Action presupposes valuation, or its implicit or “unconscious” equivalent. To act is literally to manifest preference about one set of possibilities, contrasted with an infinite set of alternatives. If we wish to live, we must act. Acting, we value.10

Standards of better or worse are not illusory or unnecessary. If you 11

Conclusion

Jordan Peterson is not famous for his action framework, but it is central to his Maps of Meaning book and university course. He uses it on his way to demonstrating the basis for belief systems and the superiority of a morality based on the inherent value of the individual.

The differences between his action framework and that of Mises and Rothbard may be attributed to the difference between psychology and economics. But the similarities are striking, even though, to my knowledge, Peterson has not read Mises or Rothbard.

Perhaps these similarities on such a fundamental level as human action reveal why Peterson, Mises, and Rothbard all fall into the classical-liberal category. Understanding that individuals (and only individuals) have the capacity to act to change the world in their favor and in mutually beneficial ways will lead to a dramatically different worldview than the belief that individuals are primarily intersections of group identities, locked in a class struggle, and victims of their circumstances.



  • 1. Ludwig von Mises, Human Action (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, 1998), p. 12.

  • 2. Ibid., p. 13.

  • 3. Murray N. Rothbard, Man, Economy, and State (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, 2004), p. 4.

  • 4. Mises, Human Action, p. 58.

  • 5. Ibid., p. 15.

  • 6. Rothbard, Man, Economy, and State, p. 5.

  • 7. Ibid., p. 20.

  • 8. Mises, Human Action, p. 13.

  • 9. Murray N. Rothbard, Toward a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics.

  • 10. Jordan Peterson, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (New York: Routledge, 1999), p. 21.

  • 11. Jordan Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Toronto: Random House Canada, 2018), p. 87.

Categories: Current Affairs

Should We Use Probability in Economics?

Mises Institute - Wed, 14/02/2018 - 11:30
By: Frank Shostak
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Modern economics in addition to sophisticated mathematics also employs probability distributions. What is probability? The probability of an event is the proportion of times the event happens out of a large number of trials.

For instance, the probability of obtaining heads when a coin is tossed is 0.5. This does not mean that when a coin is tossed 10 times, five heads are always obtained.

However, if the experiment is repeated a large number of times then it is likely that 50% will be obtained. The greater the number of throws, the nearer the approximation is likely to be.

Alternatively, say it has been established that in a particular area, the probability of wooden houses catching fire is 0.01. This means that on the basis of experience, on average, 1% of wooden houses will catch fire.

This does not mean that this year or the following year the percentage of houses catching fire will be exactly 1%. The percentage might be 1% or not each year. However, over time, the average of these percentages will be 1%.

This information, in turn, can be converted into the cost of fire damage, thereby establishing the case for insuring against the risk of fire. Owners of wooden houses might decide to spread the risk by setting up a fund.

Every owner of a wooden house will contribute a certain proportion to the total amount of money that is required in order to cover the damages of those owners whose houses are going to be damaged by the fire.

Note that insurance against fire risk can only take place because we know its probability distribution and because there are enough owners of wooden houses to spread the cost of fire damage among them so that the premium is not going to be excessive.

In his writings, Ludwig Von Mises labelled this type of probability as a class probability. According to Mises,

Class probability means: we know or assume to know, with regard to the problem concerned, everything about the behavior of a whole class of events or phenomena; but about the actual singular events or phenomena we know nothing but that they are elements of this class.

Thus, the owners of wooden houses are all members of a particular group or class that is going to be affected in a similar way by a fire.

We know that, on average, 1% of the members of this group is going to be affected by fire. However, we do not know exactly who it will be.

The important thing for insurance is that the members of a group must be homogeneous as far as a particular event is concerned.

Why is probability distribution not relevant in economics?

In economics, we do not deal with homogeneous cases. Each observation is a unique, non-repeatable event, which is not a member of any class – it is a class on its own.

Consequently, no probability distribution can be established. (Again, probability distribution rests on the assumption that we are dealing with homogeneous cases).

Let us take for instance entrepreneurial activities. If these activities were homogeneous with known probability distributions, then we would not need entrepreneurs.

After all, an entrepreneur is an individual who arranges his activities toward finding out consumers’ future requirements. People’s requirements however, are never constant with respect to a particular good.

Since entrepreneurial activities are not homogeneous this means that probability distribution for entrepreneurial returns cannot be formed.

For instance, in year one, an entrepreneurial activity yielded 10% return on investment. In year two another entrepreneurial activity produced a return of 15%. In year three a third entrepreneurial activity secured a return of 1%, and in year four a fourth entrepreneurial activity generated a return of 2%. The average of these returns is 7%.

By no means, however, does it imply that we can establish a probability distribution of returns on the basis as one can establish for the risk of fire, or for obtaining heads in tossing a coin.

The returns in various years are the result of specific entrepreneurial activities. These activities are not homogeneous and cannot be regarded as members of the same class.

Profit emerges once an entrepreneur discovers that the prices of certain factors are undervalued relative to the potential value of the products that these factors, once employed, could pro­duce.

By recognizing the discrepancy and doing something about it, an entrepreneur removes the discrepancy, i.e., eliminates the poten­tial for a further profit.

The recognition of the existence of potential profits means that an entrepreneur had particular knowledge that other people did not have. Having this unique knowledge means that profits are not the outcome of random events.1

Mises labelled this as a case probability which he defined as,

Case probability means: We know, with regard to a particular event, some of the factors which determine its outcome; but there are other determining factors about which we know nothing.2

Mises held that case probability is not open to any kind of numerical valuation. Human action, cannot be analyzed in the same way that one would analyze objects where the class probability is relevant.

To make sense of the data in economics one must scrutinize it not by means of statistical methods but by means of trying to grasp and understand how it emerged.

The assumption that mainstream economics makes that probability distribution is valid in economics leads to absurd results.

For it describes not a world of human beings who exercise their minds in making choices, but machines. 

The employment of probabilities in economic analyses implies that the various pieces of economic data was generated by a random process in similarity of tossing a coin. (We have already seen that this is not so with respect to entrepreneurial profits).

Note that random means arbitrary i.e. without method or conscious decision. However, if this had been the case human beings would not be able to survive for too long.

In order to maintain their life and wellbeing, human beings must act consciously and purposefully. They must plan their actions and employ suitable means.

Now if numerical probability cannot be established in economics objectively what about subjective probability? The moment one moves into the subjective assignments of numbers, one could say anything.

One could say that based on personal feelings there is a high likelihood of a recession in a few months’ time. Alternatively, one could say that he feels that the stock market must correct very soon.

This way of stating things derived from personal experience or some knowledge that an individual has.

We suggest that this is part of the case probability i.e. we know, with regard to a particular event certain things but there are other determining factors about which we know nothing.

For instance, we know that an increase in money supply is likely to exert in the future an upward pressure on the prices of goods.

We however, cannot be certain that prices are going to increase since there could be other offsetting factors about which we know nothing. It will not be of great benefit to arbitrary assign numerical probabilities here.

Summary and Conclusions

Contrary to popular thinking, numerical probability is not applicable in economics. The numerical probability is relevant in the sphere of non- economics where homogenous cases are observed. In economics, we do not deal with homogeneous cases.

Each observation is a unique, non-repeatable event caused by a particular action by individuals. Consequently, no probability distribution can be established. Human action cannot be analyzed in the same way that one would analyze objects. To make sense of an historical data one must scrutinize it not by means of statistical methods but by means of trying to grasp and understand how it emerged. 

The assumption that mainstream economics makes that probability distribution exists and can be quantified leads to absurd results. For it describes not a world of human beings who exercise their minds in making choices, but machines. 



  • 1. Murray N. Rothbard, Man, Economy, and State (Los Angeles: Nash), Vol 2, p 466.

  • 2. Human Action, p 110.

Categories: Current Affairs

Things women wish you wouldn't say in church

The Good Book Company - Wed, 14/02/2018 - 11:09

To coincide with the release of Kathleen Nielson’s new book, Women and God, we conducted a survey. It invited Christian women to share their opinions, thoughts and feelings on the place and experience of women in church and family life—the responses were very insightful!

Yesterday we looked at real examples of when women feel valued and honored in their church. Today we’re sharing moments or things that are said in church life that have made women cringe.

Encouragingly, many women were glad to tell us that they could not think of an example of “something that is done in church life that makes you cringe.” However, lots of other women shared the things that they sometimes find frustrating. Our hope is that church leaders get a small insight into the minds of some of the women sitting in the pews in front of them and are encouraged to open up discussion about it.

It makes me cringe when responsibilities are stereotyped...

“When women are expected to be the ones making the coffee!”

“When women are asked to provide baked goods and serve in the kitchen, whilst the men are asked to serve by moving chairs.”

“When all women's events are based around afternoon tea and crafts—it’s a bit twee.”

“When women make up the majority of the creche/sunday school rota.”

It frustrates me when discussion of sin is gendered…

“When pastors address application about lust to men and eating disorders, gossip and shopping to women.”

“When speakers assume that pornography is just a struggle for men.”

It’s irritating when women are patronised...

“When men take a patronising tone about women!”

“When older male preachers make old-fashioned jokes about a woman's place.”

“When preachers make occasional sexist remarks which come from cultural baggage rather than theological conviction.”

I find it hard when generalisations are made about being a woman...

“When womanhood is only talked about in the context of marriage and motherhood... What does femininity mean for single women?”

“When homeschooling, stay-at-home mums are idolised as the pinnacle of womanhood that we should all aspire to and it’s assumed that women who work outside the home aren’t fulfilled as a mother.”

It’s not helpful when complementarianism becomes a women’s issue...

“When men expect complementarity to be a women-only issue. If they lead well, we will find it easier (and more joyful) to follow!”

“When someone preaches a sermon all about a wife's submission and little on a husband's sacrificial love or how it is really a picture of Christ and the church.”

“When the emphasis is too much on what roles women can’t perform as opposed to the high calling on men or the wonderful things God has in store for women.”

 

None of us gets it right every time. But being aware of what the women in your congregation are thinking and feeling is so important! Why not read Kathleen’s Nielson’s new book, Women and God to see what scripture says about women. You could also read our blog on 4 ways to celebrate women and chat to the women in your church about it.

 

Categories: Christian Resources

Time for Hunger

Peter Leithart - Wed, 14/02/2018 - 11:00
After His baptism, Jesus went into the wilderness to fast and to be tempted by the devil for forty days and nights. The first temptation concerned food. Jesus was the new Adam, facing a food test not in a garden but in the wilderness. Jesus was the new Israel, hungering in the desert but refusing […]
Categories: People I don't know

Introducing John Vidal to the environmental Kuznets curve

Adam Smith Institute - Wed, 14/02/2018 - 09:08

It's not that people disagree with us, we've been known to disagree with ourselves. And not just among ourselves, but within each. Nor is it that people don't know things - we're ignorant on many a subject. It's that all too often the people who would tell us all what to do believe things which just ain't true. As with John Vidal:

A eureka moment for the planet: we’re finally planting trees again

John Vidal

That the forests are coming back is just fine of course. It's this idea that there's anything new, or even anything that's just happened, which is wrong. Simon Kuznets pointed to an observation, that environmental curve. When the task of life is to do anything to make today's dinner the environment gets the short end of the stick. Once food, clothing, shelter and so on are roughly enough dealt with we devote some portion of our rising incomes to doing things in slightly more expensive ways - ways that don't harm that environment, moving on with yet greater incomes to things which restore its near pristine nature. The Thames has salmon in it again after a several hundred year gap of it containing not much more than sewage.

As to forests - the low point of US tree cover was in the 1920s. Note that the environmental curve is an observation, not a theoretical construct. So when the peak (or trough) occurs is not something to be calculated but seen. We can also always find specific reasons other than just general wealth. That US reversal largely coming from abandoning the hard scrabble farms of New England and their gradual reversion to forest over the intervening century. Yet we do have a good guide from this and other episodes to give us an idea of the level of economic development at which it happens. A rough sketch being a little before where China is now, a little after where India is today.

Note that nothing was actually done other than not doing anything to the land. Those sweeping vistas of colour so enjoyed in the Fall as the leaves change and fall are modern, the result of simply not farming that land for 100 years. 

That is, the environment is a luxury good. No, this is a technical definition, it's something we spend more of our income upon as incomes rise.

Now, we don't expect everyone to know this although it would be nice if they did. But John Vidal was environmental correspondent of The Guardian for many years. He doesn't think this is all true. And surely he should know and understand it?

Categories: Current Affairs

A Homily on Love and Duty

Sussex Parson - Wed, 14/02/2018 - 08:25
for Ash Wednesday on St Valentine's Day.

Look away now if you are coming to tonight's service.

In which I channel The Revd John Piper.


 Ash Wednesday 2018 notes


1 Corinthians 13 (page 1153)
Luke 17:1-10 (page 1051)


The boffins amongst you will know that Ash Wednesday is 46 days before Easter Sunday and that the date of Easter is determined by the lunar calendar, so of course, rather inconveniently, Easter moves around each year.
Ash Wednesday can be as early as 4th February or as late as 10th March.


This year, of course, Ash Wednesday is also St Valentine’s Day.
I hope you’ve remembered that if you needed to!
Well done for being here, especially if you’ve passed up a hot date!
Or even better if you’ve brought your Valentine with you!


This is the first year Ash Wednesday has coincided with Valentine’s day since 1945.
The two dates also overlapped in 1923 and 1934 and will coincide again in 2024 and 2029.
So it seems a good opportunity to ask what Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day might say to one another.


I imagine if we did word-association with Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day we would get wildly different answers.


Ash Wednesday, that’s austerity, discipline, the mortification of the flesh, self-denial, dust, humility, death.


Valentine’s Day that’s: love, romance, flowers, chocolates, and a much-needed boost to the restaurant industry.


Perhaps we could sum up the two days in two words:
Ash Wednesday: duty
And Valentine’s day: love.


At least, let’s go with that and think about those two for a few moments today:
Duty and love.
What is the relationship between them?
And what is their place in the Christian life?


To some people “duty” is a dirty word.
Perhaps to you it’s not the most attractive idea in the world – I could see that.
Doing your duty almost implies you didn’t want to do it – but you screwed up your self-denial muscles and you forced yourself to get to the Ash Wednesday service, or to visit that elderly relative, or do the ironing, or whatever it is.
Maybe you hated it, but you did your duty.
I’m told that when one hands over the Valentine’s Day flowers and chocolates, it is much better to say, “I love you” than, “see, I have done my duty!”.


But duty is undoubtedly a good thing.
God is king.
He is your maker.
He owns you.
He is your rightful Lord.
It is your duty to do his will, whether you want to or not.


Love, of course, is a much nicer idea!
We all want to love and be loved.
What could ever be wrong with love?
But our human condition might be described as a love sickness.
We love the wrong things.
Or we love them for the wrong reasons.
Or we love them in the wrong ways.
Or we love them in the wrong order.
We do not love as we ought.


Ideally, of course, love and duty go together.


Love is in fact a duty.
One problem with our notions of love is that we’ve forgotten that.


But God, Jesus and the Bible think love can be commanded.
The first commandment, our prime duty, is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
And the second commandment is to love our neighbour as ourselves.


In the wedding service we don’t say to the happy couple “Do you love one another?”, though we hope they do.
Rather, the minister asks, “Will you love her?” / “Will you love him?”
Love is not just to do with the emotions or feelings.
It isn’t just something that spontaneously comes over us and which is entirely beyond our control.
Wonderful to be in love, but far more important to love.
We promise to love.
We resolve to do so.
To seek to love.
And indeed, we commit ourselves to love in action even when we don’t feel like it.


Love is a duty.


But we should also love our duty.
God is beautiful and lovely.
He commands what is good and life-giving.
The way of God’s commands is delight.
All around is death.
The attractive confections of sin will kill you in the end.
Wander from God’s will and you risk ruin and loss.


Love and duty go together.


In our Communion liturgy we often say:
“It is right to give [God] thanks and praise”
It’s our duty.
It’s the right thing to do.
We say, “it is indeed right,
It is our duty and our joy”.
Our duty and our joy.
The two go together.
Yes, we ought to do this.
But we also ought to want to do it.
We should love to praise God, to delight to do so.
It is our joyful duty.


Delight is a duty.
Rejoicing is a command.


A perfect person would never act from duty alone, because he or she would always want to do what it right – he or she would love righteousness and hate evil.
Certainly we should do good even when we don’t feel like it.
Sometimes we have to act from duty alone but such duty is always a crutch because our love legs are not working as they should.
And we shouldn’t settle for permanent spiritual disability.
We long to love aright.


We should pray for God to close the gap between ought to and want to.
Lord, help me always to do my duty.
But may doing your will be a joy to me.
May I delight to do what is good and right and pleasing to you.
Help me to see sin as the stinking, rotten trap that it is and to flee from it.
Holy Spirit, re-wire my loves.


So this Lent, let us pray for goodness that is heart-deep:
Goodness that is not merely a matter of our words and actions but also of our loves.


How can we cultivate delight in our duties?
We should meditate on Jesus Christ.
Look at him in his Word.
Behold him in the Scriptures.
Linger on him in prayer and song and reflection.
Significant looking at Jesus is the key to loving Jesus.
Do not neglect or forget him or take him for granted.
Remember your first love of Jesus.
And ask yourself what the maturing of that love would look like.


Jesus is lovely.
He is delightful.
Delight yourself in him.
That is your duty, and it is a delightful one.
May it be a joy to you this Lent, and may this love motivate and empower your service, for Jesus’ name sake. Amen.Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

Or, More Recently, Presidential Portrait Painters

Blog & Mablog - Wed, 14/02/2018 - 02:00

“I do not believe that the builders of the Salisbury Cathedral, the composer of the Brandenburg Concertos, the painter of The Night Watch, or the writer of Paradise Lost, have anything to apologize for in the thin shade of Kanye West, John Cage, Jackson Pollock, Walter Gropius, or Barry Manilow” (Empires of Dirt, p. 165).

The post Or, More Recently, Presidential Portrait Painters appeared first on Blog & Mablog.

Categories: People I don't know

Why I’m helping Cloudflare grow in Asia

CloudFlare - Wed, 14/02/2018 - 01:00
Why I’m helping Cloudflare grow in Asia

I’m excited to announce that I’ve joined Cloudflare as Head of Asia. This is an important time for the company as we continue to grow our presence in the region and build on the successes we’ve already had in our Singapore office. In this new role, I’m eager to grow our brand recognition in Asia and optimize our reach to clients by building up teams and channel partners.

A little about me

I’m a Californian with more than 20 years of experience growing businesses across Asia. I initially came to Asia with the Boston Consulting Group and since then I’ve helped Google and Twitter start and grow their businesses in Singapore and Asia. In many cases throughout my career, I’ve been one of the very first employees (sometimes the first) on the ground in this part of the world. To me, the Asian market presents an often untapped opportunity for companies looking to expand, and it’s a challenge that has appealed to me throughout my career.

Why I’m helping Cloudflare grow in AsiaThis year's Chinese New Year celebration

Why Cloudflare?

I’m driven by opportunities to work with global businesses that drive change and are full of ambitious and passionate people. Cloudflare’s mission is to help build a better Internet and the company is focused on democratizing Internet tools that were once only available to large companies. Making security and speed, which are necessary for any strong business, available to anyone with an Internet property, is truly a noble goal. That’s one of the reasons I’m most excited to work with Cloudflare.

Cloudflare is also serious about culture and diversity, an area that’s very important to me. When I was considering joining Cloudflare, I watched videos from the Internet Summit, an annual event that Cloudflare hosts in its San Francisco office (we will be hosting a London version as well this year). One thing that really stood out for me is that nearly half of the speakers were women and all of the speakers came from different backgrounds. The topics could have been covered by a much more homogeneous group of men, but Cloudflare went the extra mile to make sure more diverse perspectives were represented. I’m extremely passionate about encouraging women to pursue opportunities in business and tech so watching so many women give insightful talks made me realize that this was a company I wanted to work for.

Cloudflare Singapore

Now for a little about our work in the region. Cloudflare’s Singapore office opened more than two years ago and has more than 40 employees. Employees here hail from 16 countries and I’m proud to say that the Singapore office has the highest percentage of women.

Functions in Asia include, Solutions Engineering, Site Reliability Engineering, Network Operations, Recruiting, Product Development, Operations, Customer Success, and Technical Support. Our team here has made significant contributions in building Cloudflare’s performance and security products, features, and capabilities.

Why I’m helping Cloudflare grow in AsiaCelebrating Cloudflare's 7th birthday in Singapore

The Singapore team has also had great success serving Cloudflare’s regional customers. We have enterprise customers across all of Asia and across all verticals.

Much of the success in the Singapore office can be attributed to so much effort from all of our pioneering team, especially our first three employees in Singapore: Jimmy, Frankie, and Mark. I’d also like to call out Colin, head of our Sales team in Asia, James, our Solutions Engineering lead in Asia, and Grace Lin, who founded and led our Singapore office for the past two years, commuting back and forth from San Francisco to manage the office. I thank them for all of their hard work in growing Cloudflare’s presence in Asia and I’m excited to work alongside them in this next stage of growth.

Our opportunities in Singapore and beyond

I’m truly looking forward to helping Cloudflare grow its reach over the next five years.

If you’re interested in exploring careers at Cloudflare, we are hiring globally! Our team in Singapore is looking to expand across the region for roles in Systems Reliability Engineering, Network Engineering, Technical Support Engineering, Solutions Engineering, Customer Success Engineering, Recruiting, Account Executives, Business Development Representatives, Sales Operations, Business Operations, and more. Check out our careers page to learn more!

Categories: Technology

Failure to communicate - Cardinal Marx and gay blessings

Anglican Ink - Wed, 14/02/2018 - 00:03

Claims German cardinal gave his blessing to gay blessings were erroneous

Islamic conquest of prison chaplaincy gives pastoral care the death sentence

Anglican Ink - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 21:31

Jules Gomes reports on the failure of "multi-faith" chaplaincy

Archbishop condemns child “witchcraft” murders as “child abuse in its worst form”

Anglican Ink - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 21:16

Archbishop Allan Migi has spoken out against the increasing number of alleged witches and sorcerers being killed.

Cantab gives his blessings for CoE members to attend GAFCON

Anglican Ink - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 21:12

Through gritted teeth Justin Welby tells synod he is "keen to increase attendance at any event that encourages the flourishing of the whole of the Anglican Communion".

Gender-neutral God story: Have we hit the point where wins on Episcopal left are not news?

Anglican Ink - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 21:03

Has the Episcopal Church passed the tipping point for mainstream news?

Episcopal Relief & Development Responds to Cholera Outbreak in Zambia

Anglican Ink - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 20:55

Episcopal Relief & Development is working with the Zambia Anglican Council Outreach Programmes (ZACOP) to provide critical emergency support following a cholera outbreak in the Lusaka Province.

Freedom and the Minimum Wage

Mises Institute - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 18:15
By: Richard M. Ebeling
cashier.PNG

Most of us both value and take for granted the ability to make decisions about our own lives. When busybodies put their noses and their mouths into our personal affairs, we often say or at least think, “Mind your own business.” Unfortunately, we live in a world in which too frequently government won’t leave us alone, and instead, very actively tries to mind our business for us.

Let us briefly look at one such instance in which Uncle Sam puts his nose in other people’s business, that being the legal hourly minimum wage. The federal government began dictating the minimum lawful amount an employer must pay someone working for them in 1933, as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation. It was declared unconstitutional in 1935 by the U.S. Supreme Court, but was reinstituted in 1938 as part of the Fair Labor Standard Act, and the Supreme Court (with other judges now on the bench) upheld it in a 1941 decision.

The Minimum Wage vs. Personal Choice

When first implemented the federal hourly minimum wage was set at 25 cents an hour (prices and wages in general were much lower 80 years ago than today, so that represented not a high but a noticeable sum of money at the time). It is currently $7.25 an hour. But in recent years, there has been a call for significantly increasing it to as much as $15 per hour. A variety of cities around the country have, in fact, instituted such legislation within their jurisdictions, with a number of state governments having proposed increases in that direction within their respective boundaries.

The assertion is made that anything less than an hourly wage in that general amount (or more!) is denying a person the chance to earn a “living wage.” It is offered as paternalistic intervention in the labor market meant to improve the working and living conditions of those who may be unskilled or poorly experienced to have a chance to earn enough to get ahead in life.

Who, after all, can be against someone having some minimal amount to live decently? Only the cold, callus, and uncaring, surely; or those who are apologists and accomplices of the greedy, selfish, and profit-hungry businessmen who have no sense of humanity for those who are in their employ. That’s why there needs to be a law.

Left rarely asked and less often answered is, who is the government or those behind such legislation to tell people at what hourly pay they may work in the marketplace and how much an employer is required to pay them? Essential to human freedom is the liberty for each individual to say “yes” or “no” to an offer made by another concerning some potential association, interaction, or exchange among two or more persons.

Forcing or Prohibiting Exchange

Suppose I go into a shoe store and after looking around and trying on a few pairs, I decide to leave the store empty handed because the store does not have the styles or the fit I’m interested in, or because the shoes are not offered at prices that seem worth paying. But suppose, now, that a large gruff fellow stands in the doorway, and declares, “Da boss says you ain’t leavin’ till ya buy a pair of shoes at da price he says you gotta pay.”

I think most of us would consider this to be outrageous and unethical. Most of us would no doubt say to ourselves, who is this guy or his boss to tell me what shoes I have to buy and at a price that I consider to be more than those shoes are worth to me, or which is beyond what my budget can afford?

Further suppose that the bouncer replies to any such remark you might make, by saying, “Unless ya buy a pair of shoes at dis minimum price, the da boss says he can’t afford to pay me and de uda employees a “livin’ wage.’ Cough up da dough — or else.” Many of us might try to pull out our cell phones and dial 911 for police assistance.

We take it for granted that no one, regardless of the rationale, should be able to force us into an exchange or a relationship not of our own choosing and voluntary consent. Otherwise, we are a victim, a slave, to the other person’s wants and wishes, at our coerced expense.

We would also be much aggrieved if there was a mutually agreeable association or exchange opportunity into which we did want to enter, but someone comes along and tells us that we cannot, even if that association or exchange did not physically harm or defraud anyone else in the process.

Yet, this is precisely what the government mandated minimum wage laws demand of market participants in American society. Government coercively imposes the terms under which one group of people may accept employment and another group may hire them for jobs to be done. What are some of the consequences from this government-legislated minimum wage intervention into the marketplace?

The Minimum Wage and Low Skilled Unemployment

First, it results in some who might have found acceptable and gainful employment from doing so. This is especially true of the unskilled and workplace inexperienced in the labor force. The only source of revenues from which an employer can pay salaries to all those he may employ is from producing, marketing and selling a product to willing consumers at a price they are willing to pay for what he is offering for sale.

The employer, therefore, must ask himself, does an existing or would a prospective employee contribute a value-added to his production process that is less than or more than the value of the finished product that employee may be able to assist in manufacturing? All of us would like to get a bargain (paying less for something than we think it is worth to ourselves), but we never intentionally pay more for something that what we prospectively consider it to be worth.

Any worker whose value-added is viewed by the employer to be greater than the competitive market wage that has to be paid for his hire is offered work by the employer in question. When the government imposes a legal minimum hourly wage above the wage currently prevailing for various types of labor services, the law necessarily threatens the employment of any and all workers who’s estimated value-added is now less than the mandated legal minimum wage.

Suppose that a worker helps to produce an addition to marketable output that has a competitive value of, say, $5 an hour. But the government now imposes a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Those workers whose value-added is only $5 an hour will find themselves priced out of the market, because from the employer’s perspective, they cost more to employ than they are worth in terms of value-adding revenue to be earned from their hire at a minimum wage of $7.25. A private enterpriser cannot successfully maintain or establish a profitable competitive edge in the long run, if (at the margin) he has to pay $7.25 for what has a market worth of $5.

The Minimum Wage vs. Earned Labor Skills

But the harm runs deeper for the employee who either loses his job due to the legal minimum wage or who, to begin with, never gets a job due to the law. The lowest earners in the labor market are usually those with the least skills and work experience. That is why their productive worth is at the lower end of the wage scale.

But how can they ever acquire the on-the-job training, experience and workplace skills if the minimum wage so prices them out of the market that they may never have the opportunity to get their foot on the bottom or lower rungs of ‘the ladder of success”? By being priced out of the market in this way due to minimum wage legislation, some of them may be condemned to permanent unemployment.

In our day-and-age of the modern redistributive state, such persistent unemployment due to the minimum wage means that those who are gainfully employed find themselves taxed even more than would otherwise have been the case. Their salaries must provide the needed government tax revenues to cover the income transfer costs that the welfare system is expected to incur to meet the “needs” of those the government’s own minimum wage policy has forced into and left in the rolls of the unemployed.

Minimum Wage Laws and the Black Market

An additional unintended consequence is that those thus left in the limbo land of unemployment who wish to have more money than the welfare state redistributes to them turn to alternative lines of work: the underground and black market economies. Both are market economies, only the underground economy is often the arena in which income may be earned outside of the prying eyes of the tax-collectors, even though the type of product or service offered for cash is completely legal but with less of a paper trail for the taxing authorities to follow.

The black market usually connotes goods or services that are legally prohibited by the government from being openly produced, sold and used: narcotics and other drugs, prostitution, and various forms of gambling, for instance.  While both underground and black markets have their seamier sides, especially the trade in prohibited or heavily restricted or controlled products tend to attract market participants of a violent, cruel and deadly type. Thus, some thrown into unemployment due to the minimum wage are drawn into arenas of crime, corruption and thuggish coercion to earn a living. This is an outcome, surely, that few who campaigned for minimum wage laws originally had in mind when doing so.

Who Decides Wages: People or Politicians?

But behind all of these negative and usually unintended consequences arising from the imposing of a government-enforced hourly minimum wage remains the fundamental ethical issue: who shall have the right to decide under what terms and conditions people enter into gainful employment? Shall it be the individuals, themselves, who decide what is an acceptable wage, given their own skill set and the market opportunities they find in the neighborhoods in which they look for work? Shall it be the prospective employers who offer work to others based on their market-based estimate of the worth of a possible employee in relation to the value of the good or service he might assist in producing, in the context of the employer’s hope of profitable success in offering goods to the consumer public

Or shall it be politicians and bureaucrats pressured by various interest groups with their own motives for asserting a right to dictate and determine the wage at which individuals who they personally know nothing about will be allowed to find a job? There is an inescapable arrogance, a hubris, on the part of those who claim to know what a person is worth in the marketplace and the wage at which he may or may not be hired, separate from the potential trading partners, themselves, respectively interested in finding useful employees to hire and those looking for income-earning employment.

In this the political paternalists who insist upon setting minimum wages through government command and control closely resemble the socialist central planners of the twentieth century. They suffer from that same “pretense of knowledge” that F. A. Hayek criticized nearly 45 years ago in his Nobel lecture. They suffer from dangerous delusion that they possess enough wisdom to know better than people, themselves, how they should live and work, and the terms under which they may contract and exchange for mutual gain.

Freedom requires that every individual have the liberty to peacefully decide how best to direct and plan his own life, and in voluntary association with others in the various corners of society. They are not free when the government can interpose itself and dictate the wage at which a human being may offer his labor services and another may choose to employ him. Anything less makes everyone an economic victim and tool of the coercing control of those commanding the halls of government.

Reprinted with permission.



Categories: Current Affairs

Get Ready for the War on Meat

Mises Institute - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 17:00
By: José Niño
meat.PNG

Plant-based diets, especially vegan diets, seem to be all the rage these days.

Based on the practice of eschewing animal products, veganism has attracted a broad coalition of interest groups — ranging from animal rights to environmental activists — who believe that veganism is the most ethical and sustainable way of promoting human health and animal welfare.

At first, these appear to be reasonable premises for an alternative lifestyle that challenges the dietary status quo.

But when placed under the microscope, the modern vegan movement has shown signs of increased politicization and a tendency to mesh with socialist causes. 

Veganism as a Vessel for Interventionism

Recent developments have demonstrated that veganism is making headway not only in the cultural realm, but also in the political sphere.

It is no secret that many elites at international organizations have an aversion toward meat. In fact, institutions like the United Nations have called for the reduction of meat consumption on the grounds of environmental sustainability and health concerns.

And like any good globalist institution, they believe in using government force, in this case, taxation, to curb meat consumption.

But bureaucrats and their vegan foot soldiers are not alone. Groups like the Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (FAIRR), an investment initiative network that monitors factory farms, has thrown its hat into the ring by pushing for meat taxation. This group is no roughshod, grassroots operation; it’s backed by investors that preside over roughly $4 trillion in assets.

The recent meat tax discussions show a paradigm shift in the issue where politicians, bureaucrats, nutritionists, and even powerful financial interests are actively flirting with the idea of using state power to discourage meat consumption.

It’s only a matter of time before governments around the world start implementing meat taxes, adding to the ever-growing list of taxes that citizens must endure.

But is meat taxation a viable way to reduce consumption?

The Problems with Sin Taxes

Sin taxes are nothing new in US history. Busybody politicians have targeted all sorts of activities — alcohol consumption and smoking — that they deem to be destructive and try to use the heavy-hand of the state to curtail these so-called vices.

In the majority of the aforementioned cases, sin taxes failed to reduce consumption of said activities. And in the few instances that sin taxes did succeed in curbing consumption, the problems of prohibition and black markets would come into the equation.

Mark Thornton accurately depicts the results of prohibitive taxation or outright bans of certain goods or substances:

The scourge of crystal meth is another example of the "potency effect" or what has been called the "iron law of prohibition." When government enacts a prohibition, increases enforcement, or increases penalties on a good such as alcohol or drugs, it inevitably results in substitution to more adulterated, more potent, and more dangerous drugs.

The major takeaway from Thornton’s analysis is that when the government puts the clamps on goods and services, it creates incentives for black market actors to offer more dangerous, lower quality alternatives.

If the anti-meat crowd had their way, proposed meat taxes would have a similar effect, as shady suppliers will look to profit off lower-quality meat products that turn out to be harmful for consumers.

As these alternatives start to bring about negative effects, politicians will naturally respond with even more intervention. Unless cooler heads prevail, more destructive interventions and unintended consequences will follow.

Moreover, just as meat providers are being driven by consumer demand toward more organic, cage-free and "certified humane" meats, additional government interventions will only work in the opposite direction, placing these products out of reach of more consumers. 

It's about Control

Health arguments aside, the real issue at hand in these discussions is control. Taking a page from their environmentalist ilk, vegans constantly rely on alarmist tactics to advance their cause. And this agenda consists of more than just educational campaigns — it involves using a strong centralized state to carry out their dietary vision.

To achieve this zealous plant-based vision, these actors will ultimately have to control and regulate the means of production of meat. The US government already wields tremendous power over food through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). These agencies, with pressure from anti-meat activists, can be used as vehicles to implement one-size-fits-all policies.

Central planning of this sort forms the bedrock of socialism and the latest anti-meat crusades represent another ambit that socialists will exploit in order to gain more traction. At its core, political veganism is the same fundamental philosophy but with different cosmetic features.

It Boils down to Freedom

Individuals should be free to choose whatever diet they desire. The best diet is the one an individual can consistently stick to long enough to achieve their body composition and health goals.

Unfortunately, veganism has taken a page out of the global warming playbook by lending itself as a vehicle for increased state centralization and control over the private affairs of peaceful citizens. The recent meat tax propositions serve as a firm reminder of why there must be a complete separation of Food and State.

Just like the state should stay out of our wallets, the state should stay out of our grocery stores and kitchens. 



Categories: Current Affairs

EasyApache 4 updated

CloudLinux - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 16:07

New updated packages are now available for download from our production repository.

Changelog:

ea-php54-php 5.4.45-50.cloudlinux

  • HB-3287: increased open file limit for php-fpm by default.

ea-php54 5.4.45-19.cloudlinux

  • EA-6958: ensured ownership of _licensedir if it is set;
  • ZC-3247: added support for the allowed-php list to WHM’s Feature Lists.

ea-php56-php 5.6.33-5.cloudlinux

  • HB-3287: increased open file limit for php-fpm by default.

ea-php55 5.5.38-5.cloudlinux

  • EA-6958: ensured ownership of _licensedir if it is set;
  • ZC-3247: added support for the allowed-php list to WHM’s Feature Lists.

ea-php56-php 5.6.33-5.cloudlinux

  • HB-3287: increased open file limit for php-fpm by default.

ea-php56 5.6.33-4.cloudlinux

  • EA-6958: ensured ownership of _licensedir if it is set;
  • ZC-3247: added support for the allowed-php list to WHM’s Feature Lists.

ea-php70-php 7.0.27-5.cloudlinux

  • HB-3287: increased open file limit for php-fpm by default.

ea-php70 7.0.27-4.cloudlinux

  • EA-6958: ensured ownership of _licensedir if it is set;
  • ZC-3247: added support for the allowed-php list to WHM’s Feature Lists.

ea-php71-php 7.1.14-1.cloudlinux

  • HB-3287: increased open file limit for php-fpm by default;
  • EA-7204: updated to version 7.1.14.

ea-php71 7.1.14-1.cloudlinux

  • EA-6958: ensured ownership of _licensedir if it is set;
  • ZC-3247: added support for the allowed-php list to WHM’s Feature Lists;
  • EA-7204: updated to version 7.1.14.

ea-php72-php 7.2.2-1.cloudlinux

  • HB-3287: increased open file limit for php-fpm by default;
  • EA-7208: updated to version 7.2.2.

ea-php72 7.2.2-1.cloudlinux

  • EA-6958: ensured ownership of _licensedir if it is set;
  • ZC-3247: added support for the allowed-php list to WHM’s Feature Lists;
  • EA-7208: updated to version 7.2.2.

ea-php*-libc-client 2007f-11.cloudlinux

  • EA-7182: build against ea-openssl to ensure that any IMAP ssl calls made via PHP are functional.

ea-apache2 2.4.29-7.cloudlinux

  • EA-7159: use 'elinks' instead of 'links' as a dependency to ensure that EasyApache4 does not pull any packages from the EPEL repositories.

Update command:

yum update ea-*
Categories: Technology

E-Verify Threatens Us All

Mises Institute - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 15:45
By: Ron Paul
verify.PNG

In addition to funding for a border wall and other border security measures, immigration hardliners are sure to push to include mandatory E-Verify in any immigration legislation considered by Congress. E-Verify is a (currently) voluntary program where businesses check job applicants’ Social Security numbers and other Information — potentially including “biometric” identifiers like fingerprints — against information stored in a federal database to determine if the job applicants are legally in the United States.

Imagine how much time would be diverted from serving consumers and growing the economy if every US business had to comply with E-Verify. Also, collecting the relevant information and operating the mandatory E-Verify system will prove costly to taxpayers.

Millions of Americans could be denied jobs because E-Verify mistakenly identifies them as illegal immigrants. These Americans would be forced to go through a costly and time-consuming process to force the government to correct its mistake. It is doubtful employers could afford to keep jobs open while potential hires went through this process.

A federal database with Social Security numbers and other identifying information is an identify thief’s dream. Given the federal government’s poor track record for protecting personal information, is there any doubt mandatory E-Verify would put millions of Americans at risk for identity theft?

Some supporters of E-Verify deny the program poses any threat to civil liberties, as it will only be used to verify citizenship or legal residency. They even claim a system forcing individuals to have their identities certified by the government is not a national ID system. These individuals are ignoring the history of government programs sold as only affecting a particular group or being used for a limited purpose being expanded beyond initial targets. For example, Americans were promised that only the wealthiest Americans would ever pay income taxes. And some of the PATRIOT Act’s worst provisions that we were told would only be used against terrorists are routinely used to investigate drug crimes.

E-Verify almost certainly will be used for purposes unrelated to immigration. One potential use of E-Verify is to limit the job prospects of anyone whose lifestyle displeases the government. This could include those accused of failing to pay their fair share in taxes, those who homeschool or do not vaccinate their children, or those who own firearms.

Unscrupulous government officials could use E-Verify against those who practice antiwar, anti-tax, anti-surveillance, and anti-Federal Reserve activism. Those who consider this unlikely should remember the long history of the IRS targeting the political enemies of those in power and the use of anti-terrorism laws to harass antiwar activists. They should also consider the current moves to outlaw certain types of “politically incorrect” speech, such as disputing the alleged “consensus” regarding climate change.

Claiming that mandatory E-Verify is necessary to stop illegal immigration does not make it constitutional. Furthermore, having to ask the federal government for permission before obtaining a job is a characteristic of authoritarian societies, not free ones. History shows that mandatory E-Verify’s use will expand beyond immigration enforcement and could be used as a tool of political repression. All those who value liberty should oppose mandatory E-Verify.

Reprinted with permission. 



Categories: Current Affairs

E-Verify Threatens Us All

Mises Institute - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 15:45
By: Ron Paul
verify.PNG

In addition to funding for a border wall and other border security measures, immigration hardliners are sure to push to include mandatory E-Verify in any immigration legislation considered by Congress. E-Verify is a (currently) voluntary program where businesses check job applicants’ Social Security numbers and other Information — potentially including “biometric” identifiers like fingerprints — against information stored in a federal database to determine if the job applicants are legally in the United States.

Imagine how much time would be diverted from serving consumers and growing the economy if every US business had to comply with E-Verify. Also, collecting the relevant information and operating the mandatory E-Verify system will prove costly to taxpayers.

Millions of Americans could be denied jobs because E-Verify mistakenly identifies them as illegal immigrants. These Americans would be forced to go through a costly and time-consuming process to force the government to correct its mistake. It is doubtful employers could afford to keep jobs open while potential hires went through this process.

A federal database with Social Security numbers and other identifying information is an identify thief’s dream. Given the federal government’s poor track record for protecting personal information, is there any doubt mandatory E-Verify would put millions of Americans at risk for identity theft?

Some supporters of E-Verify deny the program poses any threat to civil liberties, as it will only be used to verify citizenship or legal residency. They even claim a system forcing individuals to have their identities certified by the government is not a national ID system. These individuals are ignoring the history of government programs sold as only affecting a particular group or being used for a limited purpose being expanded beyond initial targets. For example, Americans were promised that only the wealthiest Americans would ever pay income taxes. And some of the PATRIOT Act’s worst provisions that we were told would only be used against terrorists are routinely used to investigate drug crimes.

E-Verify almost certainly will be used for purposes unrelated to immigration. One potential use of E-Verify is to limit the job prospects of anyone whose lifestyle displeases the government. This could include those accused of failing to pay their fair share in taxes, those who homeschool or do not vaccinate their children, or those who own firearms.

Unscrupulous government officials could use E-Verify against those who practice antiwar, anti-tax, anti-surveillance, and anti-Federal Reserve activism. Those who consider this unlikely should remember the long history of the IRS targeting the political enemies of those in power and the use of anti-terrorism laws to harass antiwar activists. They should also consider the current moves to outlaw certain types of “politically incorrect” speech, such as disputing the alleged “consensus” regarding climate change.

Claiming that mandatory E-Verify is necessary to stop illegal immigration does not make it constitutional. Furthermore, having to ask the federal government for permission before obtaining a job is a characteristic of authoritarian societies, not free ones. History shows that mandatory E-Verify’s use will expand beyond immigration enforcement and could be used as a tool of political repression. All those who value liberty should oppose mandatory E-Verify.

Reprinted with permission. 



Categories: Current Affairs

From the Mailbag . . .

Blog & Mablog - Tue, 13/02/2018 - 15:43
Lock Her Up?

There were a cluster of letters on this same theme, which I will try to answer at the end.

Thank you so much for the gift of your writing. One question in regards to your post on “the fragility of order.” I am a conservative first and foremost. I tend to vote republican. Seeing what is going on with the deep state right now and how far they have gone to set up, discredit Trump (not a huge fan) and HRC seems to be heavily involved. Would you prosecute her for things she did before becoming the DNC candidate—i.e. Uranium one, pay for play while SoS? I would I think. If there are not consequences for her actions and other people involved would not that make them try that much harder to destroy people in their path to power? Thanks again for your gift of writing and furthering the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jeff

“My concern is that I do not believe we should allow the ritual of our election cycle to culminate with the losing candidate being hauled off to jail. This would be an incentive for far more corruption, not less. It would encourage the elections to get dirtier, not fairer.” Doug, I think this is a rare instance where you are off on your logic. One of your big first principles is: “Reward what you want more of, punish what you want less of.” If and when Hillary Clinton is prosecuted for any of her many crimes, security negligence in particular, she would be prosecuted because she showed probable cause. She would not be prosecuted because she was an awful, dishonest, sanctimonious candidate. She should be prosecuted and punished because she broke the law. Hillary should be punished because we want less kooky liberalism! As proof of the rightness of prosecuting Hillary Clinton for her criminality alone, I predict that perennial presidential candidates, like your good friend “Vermin Supreme” will never be prosecuted, just because they were more honest political candidates! They would only be prosecuted if they were suspected of a criminal act. Vermin Supreme should be rewarded! We want more kooky liberals like him! ; – ) Especially the part where he wears a big rubber boot on his head!

Jason

Pastor Wilson, please clarify. Prior to this paragraph you advocated for no prosecution/indictment/conviction of Hillary as she was the DNC POTUS candidate and we don’t want to conclude elections with jail time for the loser. In the basketball sans refs analogy, aren’t you making the case that we need rules/laws to be enforced lest we descend into chaos? You’re simultaneously saying that the game needs to have boundaries, enforced by NEUTRAL third parties, but we agree that NEUTRALITY is a myth (see recent theocracy posts). In lieu of neutral refs, should there be no rules to the game, no boundaries of the engagement? If so, what non-neutral actors shall enforce them? Agreeing that tribalism isn’t Godly or positive to society, shall we fear it so greatly that we invite chaos by removing the refs? Is this where we land, that unless there’s a GODLY theocracy, (agreeing that theocracy is inescapable, but the object is variable) we are destined to a sinful corrupt government that is lawless? That the current madness in untenable, and therefore cannot continue indefinitely. Without a well-educated and morally upright citizenry, what stops corrupt governments in other parts of the world throughout history? Are you for the legal ramifications on FBI personnel, Judges and other bad actors who are not candidates in this scheme? I agree that making a routine practice of jailing failed candidates isn’t healthy. If they pass all the proper due process methods to have their liberty removed from them, I would advocate for incarceration, as is the proper function of civil government. How do we advocate for civil government, however partisan, to abdicate their role in bearing the sword, simply because this person was a candidate, or worked on the campaign? . . . I’m not advocating tribalism as an answer. There need to be checks on government power. There need to be safeguards benefiting the citizens. Advocating for the silence of refs, as you desire prior to the basketball analogy, will only increase the tendency toward the tribalism we reject. Lost faith in the system can happen on either side of the (mythical) aisle. If the ethical behavior by one party begets unethical responses by the counter-party, shall we advocate the ethical actors stand down?

“Does anyone actually believe that in our postmodern times, when truth is defined as whatever has that truthy feel, the reverse would not happen the next time around? The dishonest candidate, seeing what happened to the last dishonest candidate, pulls out all the stops, and wins the election by hook and by crook and by lots of dead people voting. When the election is over, and it comes time for the honest candidate to be hauled off to jail, the partisans of the dishonest candidate jeer at all the protests. ‘Sauce for the goose! Don’t like it now, do you? Ya!’ Matters like guilt and innocence, and trials, and evidence, seem like bizarre concepts to them. When people lose faith in the system, they do not lose their faith. Their faith simply transfers to their faction, to their tribe. And when one faction is bound in the same civil order to another faction, with both factions inflamed to the same degree, then that civil order is fragile. It is hard for me to evade the fact that this is what has happened, and is happening, to us.”

Ron

“My concern is that I do not believe we should allow the ritual of our election cycle to culminate with the losing candidate being hauled off to jail.” The problem facing Trump is that the losing candidate (and party) have not accepted their loss. They are actively engaging, through the bogus Russian collusion narrative, in an attempt to take him out—the “secret society,” “insurance policy” and “OUR task” referred to by Page and Strzok. He can’t let Hillary fade quietly into the sunset because she has no interest in going. He can’t allow Obama the usual ex-Presidential privilege because Obama’s bishops are still on the chess board, coming after him. What would you do if you were the Donald?

Ginny

Good post, Doug, but I can’t see how prosecuting Hillary for crimes committed outside of the election process could ever be a wrong move. “Whoever says to the wicked, ‘You are in the right,’ will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations,” after all. Civil order is indeed fragile, but the fact that the Right holds back when it might have gone for the gusto will cut no ice with the Left when their turn in power comes. We are not dealing with individuals, who might be reasoned with, but with a mob.

Tom

There are many federal judges who should be in jail. The judicial system and judges are not above the law.

Melody

All, I do agree that no one is above the law, and that you get more of what you subsidize and less of what you penalize. And I agree that no one is “too big to jail.” The difficulty lies in what will necessarily happen if our judicial processes are thrown into the middle of a high-order political scrum. I want our elected officials to not be corrupt, and that means accountability when they break the law. Agreed. But I care more about our entire process not being corrupted, and the politicalizataion of the judiciary would be one such corruption that I don’t want to see. What I had in mind was something that would forever disgrace a corrupt official like Hillary (removing her as a threat), but which would not threaten her with jail (protecting the system from the banana republic stuff). Combine a special counsel with a promise of a pardon if indicted so that she can retire in disgrace. But with all that said, Ginny makes a strong point when she notes that Hillary and her allies are not playing the “retire quietly” game. Under such circumstances, I do believe it is the responsibility of the refs to call fouls as long as someone is on the court.

Embedded Worldliness

Pastor Wilson, Good evening to you. As a father trying to shepherd my family faithfully under the authority of our great Shepherd, I have found your writings to be very helpful and encouraging (Future Men has been the most helpful to date). With that in mind, I have lately been considering how much thought I should be putting into where my food, clothes, and technology come from. From what I understand, we have freedom to exercise our God-given conscience in these matters—but if we are told explicitly that this food, shirt, or phone is made in honor of an idol then we are to reject it. With that in mind, I found myself wondering if my owning an iPhone is one of those gross inconsistencies in my own life. Apple is a company that has not shied away from its support of gay marriage-yet almost every believer I know owns an iPhone along with several other Apple products (myself included). A few days after thinking through this, I came across the following paragraphs in your post titled “On Taunting the Cows”:

“Full disclosure: I do own an iPhone myself, but I have managed to do this without being one of the cool kids. The issue is not the thing, but rather our approach to the thing. Same as with food. Our temptation is to objectify the problem, trying to locate sin in the stuff—in the tobacco, in the alcohol, in the gun, in the donut— instead of where sin is actually located, which is right under the breastbone. On matters of gross injustice in the production of my dinner, I quite agree with the principle. In other words, if I knew a restaurant in town with the best-tasting steak got those fantastic results by flogging its cooks out back, cheating its wholesalers, double-crossing the waitresses on the tips, and sending representatives out to the stockyards every month to taunt the cows, I would not patronize that restaurant. I don’t want to bless known scoundrels with my business. So the principle is fine.”

I understand the first paragraph—the phone in itself is part of the earth which is the Lord’s “and the fullness thereof.” My question comes from the illustration given in the next paragraph—how are we not “patronizing scoundrels with our business” when we gladly (and too often in my case) make use of our iPhones? Thank you for your time.

Robert

Robert, I believe we are to reject the meat if we are told that it was offered to idols by someone who was recently delivered from idol-worship, and who is in live danger of being sucked back into that worship because he sees “strong Christians” partaking. Under those circumstances, I abandon my steak rather than cause a brother to stumble. But I have no obligation to forswear something simply because sin was involved in its production somewhere upstream. If that were the case, then Paul’s observation on another subject holds good—we would have to leave the world to do that.

If I give up some manufactured good because of how I read that its production was unrighteous, I am running a greater risk of participating in unrighteous anti-capitalist propaganda than I am likely to free myself through giving it up. Possible complicity lies in every direction.

Church and Kingdom

Re: “The church is therefore at the center of the kingdom, but the church and the kingdom are still very different.” [from State of the Church #7.] This goes way off in the weeds, but I’ll give it a try: Adam is designated God’s regent (not king) on earth, which is the kingdom of God, with the task of preparing the kingdom for its habitation of God with man. He rebels and loses his job. In the process, Satan establishes his kingdom on earth. The angels, including Satan, become intermediaries between God and man, since man (now a little lower than the angels—Psalm 8:5) can no longer stand before God. God uses good and fallen angels in some ways to replace the lost functionality of man as regent, not really reigning (Satan?) but somehow directing. Christ comes. In the process of living obediently, dying, and being resurrected, He defeats and deposes Satan, destroys his kingdom, and establishes His kingdom, the kingdom of heaven (or God), which was at hand (Matt 4:17) and which covers the earth (Matt 13:38). After a period of transition, lasting until A.D. 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the new order of Christ’s kingdom (of heaven) is fully in place, with Christ reigning from the right hand of God and governing through the Holy Spirit (not so much the angels anymore). In this kingdom reside two types of subject, the loyal sons of the kingdom (sowed by the Son of Man) and the disloyal sons of the evil one (sowed by the devil) (Matt: 13:38-9). Satan may still be sowing, but is no longer (faux) reigning. The Son of Man’s servants (believers in the church), anxious to eliminate the troublesome weeds (the sons of the evil one), want to pull them up now. But though we are now (in Christ) higher than the angels, that is not our job. Instead, we are to wait patiently continuing our preparatory kingdom work until the full harvest is gathered in, at which time the angels will gather out the lawbreakers (weeping, gnashing of teeth, etc.). Thus, the kingdom parables aren’t saying the kingdom of heaven is the church with the sons of the evil one being members of the visible church but not the invisible church. Instead, the kingdom of heaven is the entire earth and both the sons of the kingdom and the sons of the evil one are its subjects and either might be inside or outside the visible church at any particular moment, notwithstanding their eventual destination. Is this even close?

Bill

Bill, way to go.

Pray for a Hudson River Landing

The Fragility of Civil Order. Doug, I concur that this is going to stop, though I believe our wings are already falling off and we wondering aimlessly at 30, 000 feet. Justice was long ago cast off in the streets of humanist America, but thank God our Sovereign Lord is the Chief Justice over all. May He be merciful and bring us in for a survivable crash landing from which we can rebuild a Christian culture.

Thomas

Thomas, amen.

“Say you have a bunch of people in a pick-up basketball game, the kind with no refs. If one team takes the continued existence of the game for granted, and then prioritizes winning over everything else, and consequently throw all the elbows they want, the thing they are not taking into account is the prospect of the basketball game turning into something else entirely—a melee or a fistfight.”

RE: The Fragility of Civil Order. While agreeing with your main point, isn’t it also prudent to lay up guns and ammo in addition to praying?

Dave

Dave, well, I have some. As Oliver Cromwell once told his troops during his campaign in Ireland, as they were about to cross a river: “trust in God; but mind to keep your powder dry.”

Your article dovetails quite well with this essay I recently read: This way of thinking is critically important in our time. I applaud it wherever I see it and try to spread it around as much as possible. Thanks for doing the same.

Ben

Ben, thanks.

The Fragility of Civil Order This is a great reminder. And a prayer for this type of peace should be coupled to a prayer for a wide repentance and revival across the country. I think the two go hand-in-hand. I doubt we can have the peace without the repentance, and it’s only our flesh that would want it. So throw in personal repentance as well. Hand-in-hand-in-hand?

Nathan

Nathan, yes, all of it together. I do not believe that any political solution is to be had apart from a massive reformation and revival within the church.

Nuts and Bolts Theonomy

A further clarification on my question about the practical working-out of a case law theonomic system . . . You answered my question, though, I guess what I really meant to ask is how punishment for crime works in a case law system? I’ll use Deut. 22:23-24 for an example. So in a case law system, a man has sex with an engaged virgin in New York City. Do the proper authorities take them out to the country and stone them? I am curious because this is a specific form of capital punishment. It’s not just “put them to death” it’s specifically “take them out and stone them.” How does a case law system work in this instance? I apologize if I’m being annoying or if it seems like I’m attacking your position. I’m genuinely curious. Because, while I actually agree with the theonomic position in theory, I’m not that clear on how it practically works out. Thank you. In Christ,

Avery

Avery, this is obviously a huge subject, and so I will try to do justice to it within these space limitations. While I take issue with some his reasoning, I do agree with Joel McDurmon’s general take on cherem penalties like stoning, which were connected to protecting and preserving the holy land and the holy seed prior to the coming of the Messiah. For more on this, see his book The Bounds of Love.

Ironically, when the Messiah did come, His arrival was under just this very cloud—had the seed been polluted? But because they were under Roman law, not the Mosaic law, Joseph had to make do with what he had. “And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly” (Matt. 1:19, ESV). Thus we see that under changed circumstances, it was legitimate to honor the principle while adapting the method—in this case with divorce as a substitute for execution. Notice also that Joseph’s unwillingness to shame her, his mercy, is described as an aspect of his justice.

With regard to your specific question, I don’t believe that a betrothed woman in ancient Israel and an engaged woman are in strictly comparable circumstances. That is a situation where (in an ideal biblical republic) you would have to do some case law reasoning, mutatis mutandis.

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