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Viewing the Kavanaugh Game Film

Blog & Mablog - Mon, 08/10/2018 - 15:46

1

I knew that the Left had been guilty of a gross overreach late last week, prior to the final confirmation vote on Kavanaugh. I was en route to an early morning 6 am meeting, and stopped at a convenience store for some coffee. The other customer in there was a salt-of-the-earth type, the kind of blue collar worker who stops at convenience stores at 5 o’ something in the morning. He was ahead of me in line and then, apropos of nothing in particular, he went off like a geyser. The substance of his observations had to do with the raw deal Kavanaugh was getting. He then exited the store, only to stick his head back in with a general and fairly loud observation that liberals were so open-minded their brains had fallen out. Thereupon he departed. I came up to the counter, and the clerk started in on the raw deal that Kavanaugh was getting. Now I will cheerfully grant that this is an unscientific poll, and so I cite it, not as an example of the kind of thing people are thinking, but rather as the kind of thing they are now willing to say, no matter who might hear it. For all these gents knew, I was a Marxist English prof at the University of Idaho.

2

Talleyrand, or somebody like him, once made this observation about some unnecessary execution ordered by Napoleon. “It is worse than a crime; it is a blunder.”

3

“They have prepared a net for my steps; My soul is bowed down: They have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah” (Psalm 57:6). 

“So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified” (Esther 7:10).

This is the kind of story that unfolds inexorably. At this point nobody can reach in and twiddle any knobs to make it go differently. The whole thing is screamingly obvious. Haman’s wife could read it (Est. 6:13).

4

Nancy Pelosi has been speaking about the prospect of impeaching Kavanaugh if the Democrats take the House in the mid-terms. You keep talking that way, hon. Make sure the cameras are rolling. I am willing to bet that extended footage of such comments will show up in hundreds of Republican campaign commercials. If this is the unhinged way it is going to be, then perhaps we ought to see to it that the Democrats don’t get anywhere close to taking the House.

5

The reason the Democrats can’t reel it in is that they have moved left past the tipping point. The commies are in complete control of the party now, and even if they wanted to move back to the center, for the sake of winning elections, the center is not there anymore.

6

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the political script that God is writing for us is about as subtle in naming the characters as Bunyan was. You know, with names like Talkative, and Faithful, and Giant Despair. In recent years God has given us Rep. Weiner, and now Sen. Flake. So when will the country come to the conclusion that there is some kind of celestial funny business going on with a President Trump?

7

What Flake thought he was doing with his flake, and what actually happened as a result of his flake, were two entirely different things. That extra week was a windfall for the pro-Kavanaugh forces. It was just enough extra to ensure that everybody in the country got a full dose of what the Left has in mind for us all.

8

The list of Supreme nominees that President Trump is choosing from is a good list. Kavanaugh wasn’t the best one on there, but he was a solid-enough pick. I am glad he is on the Court now. So here is the question. I can see a nominee that good having been put forward by any one of the other Republican contenders for the presidency in the primaries. What I cannot envision is the prospect of them standing by their nominee when he started to get this (inevitable) treatment. The fact that the Republicans hung together in this brawl (except for one Alaskan stray) is in my mind a near miracle. This in no small measure was due to the fact that the president stayed strong behind Kavanaugh. For whatever reason, our current president is one upon whom all the old tricks don’t work. This may be the result of some deep character deficiency on his part, but the political fact remains that the old tricks don’t work. Can you imagine a Republican without those character deficiencies upon whom all the old tricks would work? Yeah, I can imagine a boatload of them.

9

At the same time, I think Michael Avenatti really needs to dial it back a few ticks. He is starting to seem like some kind of super-genius false flag operation. He has been just too good to be true. Forget whether the president paid off Stormy Daniels. Maybe somebody should check whether the president is paying off Stormy’s attorney;

10

I am currently reading a couple of books that might help you all, oh readers of Mablog, to understand our current climate. The first is Militant Normals by Kurt Schlichter, and will help explain the peculiar nature of the populist pushback we are seeing. The second is The Demon in Democracy by Ryszard Legutko, and it addresses the totalitarian tendencies that can be displayed by liberal democracies, which have been very much front and center in the antics of the Left during the course of this nomination and confirmation. These protesters are not protesters—they are agitators, disrupters, revolutionaries, totalitarians, and thugs, and in an item of more than passing interest, they were on the Astroturf Inc. Payroll.

11

If you are genuinely concerned about foreign interference in our political processes, and the thought of collusion makes you distressed, then I propose you follow the money on this one.

12

You may have noticed a pattern in all of this. The Left wants to delegitimize anything that crosses them. We are about to move from “not my president” to “not my Supreme Court.” They oppose Kavanaugh because, they say, he poses a threat to our established institutions and way of life, and then because they were defeated in the Kavanaugh battle, they are prepared to jettison the states being represented by the Senate, the Electoral College, the authority of the Court, etc. What they actually want is power, and the only instruments they care about are the instruments that look like they might bring them power. And the last thing on earth that any of these people should have is power.

13

If the Left had been willing to behave like civilized human beings throughout the course of this process, I believe they would have defeated Kavanaugh. But they just couldn’t restrain themselves—largely because contemporary leftism is the political manifestation of a host of personal problems.

14

Not a day goes by but that the realization that Hillary is not the president brings a spring into the step, a gleam to the eye, and an ebullience of spirit that cannot be dampened by anything the president might tweet.

15

The vitriol was scalding hot, and all of Middle America saw it on full display. The conclusion that has been drawn by Middle America is running along these lines: “Those people hate me. They hate everything about me. They hate my suburban lawn, and they hate my minivan, and my barbecue pit. Why on earth should I want to be governed by people who hate me?”

16

The conventional wisdom says that the party in control of the White House loses seats in the midterms. This is the conventional wisdom that has the Republicans possibly losing control of the House. But here is a small grab-bag of reasons why, in this case, the conventional wisdom might not be all that. First, nothing about this current political season is conventional. Why would the normal thing happen in these, our abnormal times? Second, the reason this usually happens is that the incumbent appears to the public be in too strong a position, the opposition is highly motivated, and the party in power has rapidly become too complacent. But while Trump is the incumbent president, he has not been accepted by official Washington at all, and so still seems like an outsider to the country at large. He is getting things done as though he were an incumbent, but is not getting any of the perks of being seen as an incumbent, which means that he is getting one large perk—that of not really seeming like someone who needs to be “balanced out” with a House controlled by the opposition. The fact that the official opposition went barking mad on this confirmation battle has helped with this perception considerably. Then third, Trump has been campaigning with large rallies the entire time he has been president—the end-run strategy he employed earlier, and successfully. Fourth, we should take special note of the fact that it would be hard to imagine any spectacle that could motivate Republican voters to get to the polls more than the spectacle we have just witnessed. If this was a massive effort by the Left to get every last registered Republican to the polls, I think it worked. And last, it’s the economy, stupid. Going into the midterms, after eight years of the Most Impressive Lethargic Economy on Earth, look at the current jobless numbers, the economic growth, the regulatory cuts, the tax cuts, etc. All of this is to say that the highly touted and much predicted blue wave may not happen at all. And if it doesn’t happen, does anyone want to lay any bets about whether the Democrats will respond to yet another loss like responsible adults? No, we are talking about full meltdown.

17

Compared to the coming battle over the Ginsberg replacement, this Kavanaugh thing was a minor scuffle. This was a little pushing and shoving outside your local Target on Black Friday. But if the Ginsberg seat opens, it will be a do-over of the battle of Stalingrad, if that battle had been augmented with giant alien beetles with lasers.

18

This may seem like I just take any opportunity to hawk a book, like I was the son of a colporteur or something, which I am, but the spectacle we have just witnessed in Washington means that we absolutely must turn back to the Scriptures for our definition of justice. To the law and the testimony. The Left hates justice in one way, and we are now seeing signs of a backlash against that. But backlashes have a way of veering into injustice also. We have heard a lot about due process lately, and the book below will help provide you (and your kids) with a foundational understanding of the biblical basis for due process, and all her cousins.

The post Viewing the Kavanaugh Game Film appeared first on Blog & Mablog.

Categories: People I don't know

Beta: Alt-PHP updated

CloudLinux - Mon, 08/10/2018 - 15:38

A new updated Alt-PHP73 package is now available for download from our updates-testing repository.

Changelog:

alt-php73-7.3.0RC2-1

  • updated to version 7.3.0RC2.

Update command:

yum update alt-php73 --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing
Categories: Technology

The blessings and curses of evening meetings

Ministry Nuts and Bolts - Mon, 08/10/2018 - 13:18
If you want people to focus and contribute, you need to help them keep in the game.  And that gets harder as the clock keeps moving.
Categories: Friends

If Imports Were Truly Bad for an Economy, Military Blockades Would Not Exist

Mises Institute - Mon, 08/10/2018 - 12:25

In discussions of international trade, the pervasive mind-set is that exports are a positive entry in a country’s “economic well-being” ledger, while imports are a negative entry in the ledger. In other words, exports are intrinsically “good” and imports intrinsically “bad.”

Who hasn’t heard that imports “destroy” jobs while exports “create” jobs? Likewise for imports being “dumped” on Americans. Ditto for imports being likened to “invading foreign armies.” In international trade negotiations, countries grant import “concessions” only if their trading partners reciprocate with “concessions” of their own. That is, countries grudgingly import in order to export, not the other way around.

In my many years of teaching the essentials of international economics to university sophomores, I found that virtually all of them were afflicted with this mind-set. Against this backdrop, I enjoyed asking students about what Abraham Lincoln’s (who was a lifelong protectionist) northern states did to Confederate seaports during the War Between the States. Despite students’ general historical illiteracy, some were able to correctly respond that the North blockaded these seaports to keep Confederates from importing goods and services. Next question was: did this help or hinder the Confederacy’s war effort? To which the students responded:, “It hurt their war effort.”

At this point the students had fallen into a glaring contradiction. To wit, if imports are harmful to a nation’s economic health, then the northern states’ blockade of Confederate seaports, by reducing Confederate imports, strengthened the Confederacy. Yes, that what it means. Which, in turn, suggests that Lincoln was an unwitting agent for the Confederacy! This is absurd.

Some students, probably attempting to save face, pointed out that the North’s blockade also deterred Confederate exports (primarily cotton). Did this harm the Confederacy? Yes, but not because exports are intrinsically good and less of them would be harmful. Exports, by themselves, represent goods and services leaving the Confederacy. What’s intrinsically beneficial about having fewer goods and services available, particularly when you’re trying to fight a war?

The problem here is that the popular mind-set regarding exports and imports is bogus! Rather than imports being intrinsically bad and exports intrinsically good, the truth is just the opposite. Lincoln escaped this popular mind-set only once in his political career when he undermined the Confederacy by blockading its harbors. In doing so, he anticipated the late 19th century economist Henry George’s observation that nations do to their citizens when peace prevails what they do to their adversaries during wartime.

None of the politicians/ commentators, together with their business/labor allies, who peddle this economic nonsense about exports and imports behaves in their personal lives as they suggest the nation posture itself with respect to the rest of the world. Indeed, their income earning activities (their exports) enable them to buy things produced by others (their imports). Hopefully, lots of imports. The more the better, in fact. Their exports—that is—their incomes, are what enable them to do this. The bottom line is that people in their private lives export in order to import.

If actions speak louder than words, we should look at what our politicians/commentators and their business/labor cohorts do when managing their own affairs, not the affairs of the nation. It demonstrates Adam Smith’s insight in his 1776 classic, The Wealth of Nations: “What is prudence in the conduct of every private family can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom.”

Categories: Current Affairs

Doing God’s Word, for Change

Children Desiring God - Mon, 08/10/2018 - 12:11

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing (James 1:22-25).

How easy it is for us to read the Bible, close the pages of this life-changing book, and walk away unchanged. Our response to God’s Word is much like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and forgets what he looks like.

When a man forgets his reflection in the mirror, is it because there something wrong with the image reflected in the mirror? Is the mirror faulty? No, and neither is God’s Word faulty, though we walk away unchanged. The problem is with us. We read but we do not apply; we do not consider what God’s words mean for our everyday lives.

One morning I opened my Bible and read this verse:

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere (James 3:17).

These are nice words, wise words, good teaching, I thought, as I closed my Bible. But then I stopped. What did I read? What did it mean? I went back and looked at each word and tried to imagine what wisdom from above looks like in various situations of my life. What does wisdom that is gentle look like when I am sitting in a staff meeting and I disagree with what someone is saying? What is wisdom that is pure look like when I am advising my daughter about a decision she has to make? As I thought about each word and its application in various situations, I realized that often I do not display wisdom from above. I committed the verse to memory, and in the weeks that followed, I thought about this verse in various situations in which I found myself. And slowly, day by day, the Word changed me.

This is what we must teach our children to do when they come to the Word. For every lesson we teach and every small group discussion we lead, we should keep in mind that the Bible is not merely information to be learned, but truths to be lived. Without application, we will not grow, and the Word will not change us.

A simple way to teach children to apply Scripture is to ask the “So What” questions:

  • So what does this say about God?
  • So what does this say about me?
  • So what does this say I should do? Be? Think?

If you can lead a child to ask and answer these questions, that child may gain an understanding of what it means to be a doer of the Word. But application does not stop at understanding. Application begins with belief, which then results in being and doing.

It is true that we must be transformed in our minds, enlightened by the truth of Scripture. But the next step is testing; putting the Word into practice. When we do that, we are putting our confidence in the truth of God’s Word, we are affirming His ways, we are trusting God—and the Word changes us.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).

 

 

Categories: Christian Resources

End of Judah

Peter Leithart - Mon, 08/10/2018 - 12:00
Some observations on the final chapter of Chronicles (2 Chronicles 36). In the previous chapter, the Chronicler records the death of Josiah, which is effectively the end of the Davidic monarchy. Chapter 36 records the rapid disintegration of the kingdom, the brief reigns of his sons, the subjection of Judah first to Egypt and then […]
Categories: People I don't know

Don't worry - easy?!

Sussex Parson - Mon, 08/10/2018 - 11:21

 Don't worry (Matthew 6 / Luke 12)


(1) "That’s easy for you to say!"


Well, yes, it is. Relatively. Maybe. We’re not exactly living the high life at the Rectory but we are relatively comfortable and secure compared to many, in some ways, I suppose.


But remember that these are the words of Jesus. He was born in relative poverty and had lived in exile as a wanted baby. He had no where to lay his head. He would die as the worst sort of common criminal, seemingly with only the clothes on his back to his name. He was buried in a borrowed grave. He knew whereof he spoke.


(2) "That’s easy to say!"


Well, yes, it is.


But Jesus gives us good reasons not to worry. Worry is pointless and unnecessary. We cannot add to our lives by worry. And we need not worry because our loving heavenly Father will take care of us and bring us at last to the promised land of the New Creation.


We might have money worries, but we do not have to cultivate them. Jesus is not saying that we are never to think of money or plan for the future. But we need not be consumed by worry about these things. We can cast our anxieties on him, knowing that he cares for us. 
Rather than just saying "do not think of a pink elephant" / "do not worry", Jesus gives us a positive focus: seek first the kingdom of God. Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

10 years of sharing good news

Christian Concern - Mon, 08/10/2018 - 10:16
The wonderful good news of Jesus lies at the heart of our ministry. It’s Christ's love that compels us to keep going, knowing that the gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom 1:16).

The wonderful good news of Jesus lies at the heart of our ministry. It’s Christ's love that compels us to keep going, knowing that the gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom 1:16).

read more

What excellent news, climate change is easier and cheaper to fix than we thought

Adam Smith Institute - Mon, 08/10/2018 - 07:01

Some might recall the Stern Review, that report to the British government that said we’ve really got to do something about climate change you know. That something being to impose a carbon tax. Longer memories might remember Willam Nordaus who has been saying much the same for three decades now. And the general consensus among economists is that, assuming the cause and problem are correctly identified then yes, changing the price of emissions by the addition of a Pigou Tax is the correct method.

The question becomes, of course, what should the rate be? James Hansen as argued for up to $1,000 a tonne CO2-e. The Stern Review said $80 per such tonne. Today we’re told something different:

Charge €30 a tonne for CO2 to avoid catastrophic 4C warming

This is, apparently, all we need to do:

The climate summit in Katowice, Poland, in December will conclude that the voluntary contributions of the governments are currently insufficient to put the world on a 2C, let alone 1.5C, trajectory. Policies to intensify efforts are necessary. All nations need to revise their mitigation targets to accommodate the more rapid emission reductions required to truly stay well below 2C.

New global policies are needed. One such policy would be a carbon price starting around €30 per tonne of CO2, which would very likely render investments in coal-fired plants unprofitable.

Isn’t that good news? Our required price change is less than half what Stern thought it was. Climate change is easier and cheaper to fix than we thought. Oh, and that also means that we’re already paying too much tax in the UK to fix it. That Stern $80 a tonne is about 11 p on a litre of petrol, a sum the fuel duty escalator has already more than added. And yes, the 23 p or so added by that escalator was to “meet our Rio commitments.”

To meet the climate change challenge means lowering UK taxation - can we all at least get behind that idea?

Categories: Current Affairs

Venezuela Campaign: bad governance to blame

Adam Smith Institute - Sun, 07/10/2018 - 10:14

Venezuela’s collapse can be largely attributed to a failure of governance. While foolish economic policies garner much attention, at root they are the product of a corrupt and anti-democratic approach to governance.

Hugo Chavez’s central political principle was to seize as much power for himself as possible. He eliminated or emasculated all institutions that could possibly restrain him. Congress was replaced with a new National Assembly, which he controlled. Chavez used this Assembly to remove Presidential term limits. His intention was to rule for life, which he duly did for 14 years until his death from cancer in 2013.  He switched to rule by Presidential decree and made up the law as he went along.

Chavez used the National Assembly to end judicial independence and pack the Supreme Court with cronies. The Supreme Court was then used to purge lower levels of the judiciary, with the firing of hundreds of lower court judges and replacement with Chavista loyalists.

Chavez also attacked independent trade unions, banning legitimate strikes, leading reprisals against strikers, and denying collective bargaining rights to unions whose election results were not state approved.

Chavez removed Presidential term limits because he was confident he would never lose another election. He ended the independence of the elections watchdog, the CNE, by packing it with loyalists. The CNE then abused its powers to ensure that Chavez would win every election he contested. Chavez’s United Socialist Party spent vast state funds on its election campaigns, the secret ballot was compromised and those who voted against Chavez faced losing state benefits and dismissal from state jobs. In a country where an ever-larger number of businesses were taken into public ownership, this made voting against Chavez extremely unwise. Electoral fraud is now so serious that in 2017 even the company that had supplied the technology for Venezuelan elections since 2004 stated that the latest election was clearly rigged.

PDVSA, the state oil company, used to enjoy considerable autonomy in corporate governance. It was run by professional managers under a professional board which reported to several different ministries. Chavez scrapped the governance structure and brought PDVSA directly under the control of the President’s office. This facilitated his total control over spending without any accountability or transparency. PDVSA had become Chavez’s personal oil company, and Chavez pillaged it at will.

Corruption was a double-edged sword that Chavez regularly wielded. Officials were encouraged to be corrupt. However, a step out of line and that corruption would be exposed to serious consequences. State contracts were regularly awarded as prizes to loyal allies, almost always without competitive bidding. Allies and relatives were given access to preferential exchange rates facilitated by control of the central bank, also now under direct Chavista control. This allowed them to make millions. Indeed, Chavez’s daughter María Gabriela Chávez, is now the richest woman in Venezuela with an estimated fortune of $4.2 billion. Foreign companies seeking to export to Venezuela were required to pay unofficial commissions to Venezuelan officials in the range of 15% to 20%. Imports from Argentina alone were estimated to total over $650m between 2004 and 2008. The military was also co-opted through the encouragement of rampant corruption. For example, state funds were provided to the armed forces to construct a large sugar plant in the state of Barinas in 2008. The plant was never built, and the funds disappeared.

Unsurprisingly, in 2008 Venezuela ranked 158 out of 159 countries on the Transparency International Corruption Index.

Chavez also ensured that the media was not able to hold him to account. He enacted vaguely defined “incitement” provisions, allowing for arbitrary suspension and license revocation of TV and radio stations such as RCTV. He arrested media executives when they published or broadcast material unfavourable to the Government. Between August 2009 and August 2010 the central government closed 34 radio stations, 2 regional TV stations, 6 cable TV stations and 2 newspapers. Chavez would instead require all TV stations to air his own lengthy TV shows, during which he would smear opponents and give away flat screen televisions to pre-selected voters.

This whole tragedy underlines the fundamental importance of core governance values and standards.  These essential principles include the separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary; an independent judiciary upholding the rule of law; a free press; respect for human rights, independent investigative institutions reporting to the legislature; transparency of government actions and accountability to the people. These are essential protections against an incompetent, venal and self-serving government. All these core standards were abandoned by Hugo Chavez, and the results are plain to see.

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

Categories: Current Affairs

Christians Against Poverty are Christian Shock!

Sussex Parson - Sun, 07/10/2018 - 08:01
The BBC2 documentary Debt Saviours available on iPlayer is well worth an hour of your time.

The crew did lots and lots of filming and they have, of course, chosen the most engaging, striking material. Naturally they had an eye to any issues or angles. A bit of controversy is good for ratings.

And though the BBC is not a bastion of evangelicalism (!) I would say CAP comes out excellently. Even if you are not a God-botherer of exactly their brand, there is so much to admire.

One issue is that perhaps CAP are doing what some think the government or maybe the financial services industry should do. Well, I don't buy that. But the government aren't doing it, are they?

As someone has on Twitter, in fact, it is the Christians who are working with the most vulnerable most effectively and this could be multiplied in many other areas. When Richard Dawkins and the National Secular Society run food banks and schools and drug rehabilitation, maybe we should listen to their arguments a bit more carefully. Until then, as someone else said, by their fruits you shall know them.

And, surprise surprise, Christians, like, believe in God and the Bible and Jesus and prayer. And they invite people to church. And give them free literature. Of course! They think the gospel is good news worth sharing which actually works. Trusting Jesus and church membership would actually help people in debt if they gave it a go.

But this is done with gentleness and respect and the highest possible ethical standards. Say, "thanks, I'm not interested in all the God stuff, but can you help with my debt?" and bob is your father's brother.

If I knew anyone with debt issues, I know what I would Google, even if I were a militant atheist.Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

England's amazing disappearing Green Belt

Adam Smith Institute - Sun, 07/10/2018 - 07:01

Entirely bloodcurdling stories of how we’re entirely destroying England:

New statistics show the nation’s Green Belt has shrunk by more than 10,000 hectares in a decade with campaigners warning land which is supposed to be off limits is increasingly being targeted for development.

Ten thousand’s a big number, horrifying. Over a decade too!

The extent of the designated Green Belt in England as at 31 March 2017 was estimated at 1,634,700 hectares, around 13% of the land area of England.  Overall there was a decrease of 790 hectares (less than 0.05%) in the area of Green Belt between 31 March 2016 and 31 March 2017. In 2016/17, eight local planning authorities adopted new plans which resulted in a decrease in the overall area of Green Belt compared to 31 March 2016.

Ah, so we can do this for the next century then and we’ll not even have eaten 5% of that Green Belt. And who really did have a feel for these numbers, this idea that an entire 13% of the country should be walled off, no one allowed to do anything with it, to prevent that sprawl so hated by those who would tell us how and where to live? Note that 13% is more than the entire built environment, some 3 to 4 times the amount used for housing.

Sounds to us like there’s plenty of that which can be used. There is also this:

The decision by councils to remove protections on large swathes of land has been blamed on a “perfect storm” of hard-to-hit housing targets and developers failing to build the homes they have permission for as they instead eye development on lucrative “shovel ready” Green Belt.

If a particular, or type of, development is more lucrative then that’s the same statement as developing it adds more value. More value added is, by definition, us all getting richer. Developing the Green Belt is more lucrative, adds more value, let’s do more of it, all get richer.

After all, building houses people would like to live in, where they’d like to live, sounds like a useful description of a reasonable housing policy, doesn’t it?


Categories: Current Affairs

The Equations of Mathematical Economics and the Problem of Economic Calculation in a Socialist State

Mises Institute - Sat, 06/10/2018 - 22:35
Volume 3, No. 1 (Spring 2000)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Ludwig von Mises published a French language version of this paper, translated from German by Gaston Leduc, in Revue d’économie politique in 1938 (97, no. 6:899–906). Mises himself wrote this English language version which was previously unpublished. In this article, he discusses the different elements of the case against using mathematical equations to solve the problem of economic calculation in socialism that were advanced by himself and F.A. Hayek. The editor would like to thank Grove City College for access to this manuscript and permission to publish it.]

I

It has been contended that it would be possible for a socialist economy to solve the problem of economic calculation by applying the equations by the aid of which mathematical economics describes the conditions of economic equilibrium. This view made its first appearance in an article by Barone published in 19081; since then it has been advanced time and again and enjoys marked popularity at the present time.

Hayek has shown the practical difficulties which stand in the way of this attempt at solving the problem. The calculation would have to include all conceivable uses, and ways of combining all available goods. Moreover it is not sufficient here to bring together under a common denominator all the quantities of goods which appear to form a single class from a technological standpoint. Since the economic profitability of transporting goods from place to place must be reflected in the equations, and since the latter must also solve all problems of location, goods which are similar from a technological point of view, but which are not available for use at the same place must appear in the calculation as independent items. If Hayek (1935, pp. 207–14) estimates the order of magnitude of the number of necessary equations and calculations as hundreds of thousands, this is certainly far below the number which we are justified in assuming on the basis of this factor.2

It is at once clear that the collection of these data, and the setting up of the corresponding equations, is a task far beyond the powers of a socialist central administration composed of mere human beings. The practical impossibility of carrying out the proposals connected with this or any similar solution is certainly not disputed. In consequence, we might, if we were concerned solely with the problem of economic calculation in the socialist state and with the practicability of socialism, leave the matter here. The proposals are however of special interest from the point of view of economic theory. Their closer consideration leads to important propositions concerning the character of the equations of mathematical economics.

II

The only way we can analyze exchange transactions is by assuming that they are directed toward producing a state of affairs in which no further exchange takes place, either because a state of complete satisfaction has been reached, or because a situation has been reached which, though not completely satisfactory, could not in the given conditions be made more satisfactory by further transactions. In its use of the static equilibrium concept, economic analysis does not go so far as to construct a state of complete standstill in which no more trading takes place. It confines itself to the construction of a situation in which the process of exchange follows a uniform course. In the future the same transactions are supposed to be continually repeated, because the conditions which give rise to exchange, and the conditions under which it has to be effected, remain unchanged. In this equilibrium situation there is no inducement for the economic subjects to change the allocation of means of production, because there is no conceivable and possible way of using them which appears better suited to satisfy their wants.

The equations which describe the economic equilibrium give expression to this method of approach in mathematical language. They say no more and no less. They say: If an equilibrium situation is to be reached, it can only be a position such that it will no longer be possible to improve the satisfaction of wants: by making changes.

It is particularly characteristic of these equations in economics that they are necessarily inapplicable to all practical purposes and computations. The equations of mechanics may help us to foresee future events, because the physicist is able to find out approximately the empirically constant relationships between physical quantities. If we insert these constants in the equations we can work with them. We cannot with exactitude of course but nevertheless with sufficient accuracy for ]practical purposes solve given problems. With the equations of economics it is a different matter. For within the sphere of human trading activities we do not know any constant quantitative relationships. All quantities that we are able to ascertain have therefore no general significance but only an historical one (Mises 1933, pp. 113–15, 150ff).

Thus even if we know the present conditions, we are unable to say anything of a quantitative nature, on the basis of this knowledge, about the pattern of future values. This is the big mistake that has been made by all those who have wanted to substitute “quantitative” economics for “qualitative” economics. A quantitative treatment of economic problems can only be economic history: it can never be economic theory. And there is no economic history of the future. The equations which describe the state of economic equilibrium include consumers’ preferences. These are the preferences which will prevail at the moment when the equilibrium is established on the market. They are different from today’s preferences as we know them from the way in which they are expressed on today’s market. Today we know nothing about these future preferences and cannot predict what they will be. Thus, though we may know the present-day condition of the market and all the data determining the configuration of today’s market position, including consumers’ preferences as they are expressed in that market position, we still do not know the future preferences of consumers.

We may be justified in assuming that they change. This assumption does not help however. For the economic system is not in equilibrium today, and we want to know the consumers’ preferences for the point of time when it will be in equilibrium and when, in consequence, other conditions will prevail. The progressive approach of things towards an equilibrium situation which we have in mind, and which forms the subject of our inquiry, means the progressive transformation of the conditions determining the preferences and therefore also of the preferences themselves. The problem is not only that, in order to make use of the equations, we need to know the scale of preferences that will prevail at a future point of time and which are not known to us today. Even today’s preferences are only known to us in so far as they are reflected in the system of prices ruling on today’s market. That is to say we know roughly how great is the demand for a certain article by the price prevailing for it on the market today. But we know nothing of what the demand would be if another price prevailed. We do not even know the shape of the supply and demand curves; we only know the position of one point at which the two curves cut or, more precisely, have cut today. Experience tells us so much and no more. It can provide us with no information about the data which we require for solving our equations.

Finally there is still a third point which needs mention: The state of equilibrium which our equations describe is a purely imaginary state of equilibrium. It is merely a hypothetical, though indispensable, tool of analysis which has no counterpart in reality. Thus it is not only a future state which differs from the state of the moment that has just passed and with which we are acquainted: It is merely an imaginary theoretical construction which will never become reality. Hayek (1935, p. 211) has also pointed out that the possibility of using the equations describing the state of equilibrium for purposes of economic calculation presupposes a knowledge of the future scales of preferences of consumers. But here he has in mind only a complication of the practical task of applying the equations, and not a fundamental and insuperable obstacle to their use for any such process of calculation.

It makes no difference whether we conceive of the socialist state as a dictatorship of the central administration in which only the valuations of the dictator carry weight, or whether we conceive of it as a state which tries to imitate a democratic system in which the preferences of individual consumers of groups of consumers are supposed to determine the direction of economic activity. Even the dictator cannot know today what his relative preferences will be at a later date under changed circumstances: he is no more capable of knowing this than is an individual consumer.

III

The equations describe the hypothetical equilibrium position which the economic system would ultimately and finally reach if all causes liable to give rise to changes in preferences were to disappear from that system.

Economic calculation, which is essential to the economic system, does not, however, require that we should know this hypothetical situation which can certainly never be reached in the actual economic system. What is necessary for the direction of the economy is only the knowledge of the next step which is required to be taken in the economic system. It is necessary to find out which of all the conceivable changes can, in the given conditions, secure the fullest satisfaction of wants from the standpoint of the preferences of the consumers or of the dictator. For this purpose the equations which describe the final equilibrium position are quite inappropriate. They say absolutely nothing about the path which the economic system has to follow in order finally to reach the equilibrium. Some recognition of this fact is distinguishable in the criticism which is constantly brought against these equations that they are only “static” and not “dynamic.”

IV

Socialists who are not amenable to reason have the habit of parrying the argumentation which sets forth the impossibility of economic calculation in the socialist state by pointing to an alleged deficiency in the economic calculation, in money terms, of the capitalist society. They will therefore not hesitate to bring the following objection against the foregoing exposition: All that the entrepreneurs in the capitalist exchange economy know are the relative valuations and prices of today. This does not however prevent them from taking their calculations and producing on the basis of these calculations. Why should it be any different for the economic dictator of the socialist state?

This kind of question merely reveals an entire lack of understanding of the problem under discussion.

The future is always uncertain for human beings. Consequently every transaction which is carried out for a future date is speculation. In this respect there is no difference between socialism and capitalism.

It will always be happening that new facts appear, which people have not foreseen, and which cause them to say after the event that they would have acted differently if they had known beforehand what was going to ensue. People cannot take account in their economic activities of things that are unknown to them. We cannot therefore blame the method of economic calculation of the capitalist system, operating on the basis of the money prices of the market, for the fact that the expectations of the economic subjects are occasionally disappointed subsequently by the occurrence of unforeseen events. In economic calculation regard is taken of the future configuration of conditions of supply and demand only insofar as people foresee them, or think they can foresee them, in the present. It is merely the expectations of the entrepreneur about the future which influence the market situation of today and contribute towards the formation of today’s prices: this applies particularly to the prices of means of production and of consumption goods which do not perish rapidly.

If we proceed to argue that, for the solution of his equations, the general manager of the socialist economic system would have to have data which are not and cannot be known to him, this does not mean to say that he will know less about the future and about future needs than does the entrepreneur in the capitalist economic system. The analysis of this problem belongs to another chapter of the treatment of the problems of the socialist economy, and has nothing to do with the question of economic calculation. We may assume for purposes of the argument that the dictator of the socialist economy knows just as much, or just as little, about the future as the capitalist entrepreneur. In any case even this dictator will desire a variety of things, and he will have to discover in which way the objects he aims at can be most effectively reached. Here “most effectively” means, of course, merely: as effectively as is possible from the standpoint of present-day knowledge. In making considerations of this kind the capitalist economy uses calculations in terms of money: it calculates on the basis of market prices, which also take account of the future insofar as it can be taken account of in the present. Now in order to solve his equations, the dictator would have to know the relative valuations which will correspond to the future equilibrium situation, i.e., to a situation which is different from the situation in the present and which can never be reached in the real world.

The monetary form of calculation operates by way of market prices in which the future also is reflected as it appears today to the parties on the market. The socialist director-general, however, needs, if he is to solve the equations, the knowledge of a hypothetical situation which is different from the reality with which he is acquainted and is a construction of our thinking which we know, without any doubt, will never become reality. It is no help to him in setting up his equations to know the conditions that are given today and the opinions that prevail today about the shape of things in the future. He would need to know how things would look if a hypothetical state were reached in which all data had become rigid, and no further change would be set in motion, because no change could afford any further increase in welfare.

Our conclusions are thus as follows: In the capitalistic economy it is possible to make calculations on the basis of our present-day knowledge. It may be that mistakes will occasionally be made because unexpected events interfere with our plans and expectations. In the socialist state however it would not even be possible to calculate on the basis of our present knowledge. Those who think that it would be possible to apply the equations of mathematical economics for making the calculations fail to see that included among the items of which these equations are composed are unknown preference scales belonging to a situation which is unreal and can never be realized in practice. The circumstance that they are unknown frustrates all attempts to use the equations for purposes of economic calculation.

REFERENCES

Barone, Enrico. 1908. “The Ministry of Production in the Collectivist State.” Reprinted in Hayek (1935).

Hayek, F.A. 1935. Collectivist Economic Planning. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Mises, Ludwig von. 1933. Grundprobleme der Nationalökonomie. Jena. Translated as Epistemological Problems of Economics.

George Reisman, trans. New York: New York University Press [1976]. Pareto, Vilfredo. 1927. Manuel d’économie politique. 2nd Ed. Paris

  • 1. An English translation is found in Hayek (1935)
  • 2. certainly far below the number which we are justified in assuming on the basis of this factor.
Categories: Current Affairs

USCIRF Calls for Release of Prisoner of Conscience as White House Takes Harder Line on Religious Freedom Violations in China

Anglican Ink - Sat, 06/10/2018 - 21:11

Underground church leader Hu Shigen imprisoned as part of Chinese “Sinicization” efforts

Can Seasonal Adjustments Help Us Understand the Economy?

Mises Institute - Sat, 06/10/2018 - 19:25

According to mainstream thinking, economic slumps are caused by various shocks. This means that these slumps are caused by unexpected events, which by implication are not known beforehand.

Obviously if reasons behind various shocks cannot be established beforehand it makes sense to look at various symptoms of the emerging economic slump. Based on these symptoms the economic doctors could decide on the medicine required either to fix the economy or to prevent it from collapsing into an economic slump.

To be able to ascertain the health of an economy, what is required is to have the necessary information i.e. the data. It is held that by analyzing the data, experts could identify the state of an economy. However, they argue that as it is not always easy to identify the health of the economy just by looking at the data — what is required is to break the data into its key components. This, it is held will enable the economist to identify the key sources of the disease.

Four Components that Drive the Data — According to Mainstream Economics

According to popular thinking the data that is observed over time —labeled as time series — is determined by four components, these are:

1. The trend component

2. The cyclical component

3. The seasonal component

4. The irregular component

It is accepted that the trend determines the general direction of the data over time, while the cyclical component causes movements that are related to the business cycle. The influence of seasons like winter, spring, summer, and autumn and various holidays is conveyed by the seasonal component. The irregular component depicts the various irregular events. It is held that the interplay of these four components generates the final data.

Popular thinking regards the cyclical component as the most important part of the data. It is held that the isolation of this component would enable the analysts to unravel the mystery of the business cycle. Moreover, to pre-empt the negative effect of the business cycle on people's wellbeing it is important to observe the magnitude of the cyclical component on as short a duration basis as possible. Like any disease, the earlier it is detected the better are the chances of combating the disease. Thus once the central bank has identified the magnitude of the cyclical component it could offset its influence by means of a suitable monetary policy.

According to various statistical studies, monthly fluctuations of the data are dominated by the influence of the seasonal factor.1 As the time span increases, the importance of the cyclical factor rises while the influence of the seasonal factor diminishes. The cyclical influence is more powerful in the quarterly data than in the monthly data. The trend, it is assumed, exerts a strong influence on a yearly basis while having minor effect on the monthly variations of the data. While the irregular factor can be very "wild," the effect it produces is of a short duration. Thus, the effect of positive shocks is offset by negative shocks.

It follows that in order to be able to observe the influence of the business cycle on a short-term basis all that is required is to remove the influence of the seasonal factor. The method of the removal however, must make sure that the cyclical component of the data is not affected in the process.

Removal of the Seasonal Component — Seasonal Adjustment

Most economists consider the seasonal component of the data as constant and hence known in advance. For example, every year people buy warm clothes before the arrival of the winter not before the arrival of the summer.

In addition, people follow a similar pattern of behavior year-after year before major holidays. Also, people tend to spend a larger fraction of their incomes before Christmas.

The assumption that the seasonal component is the same year after year means that its removal will not distort the cyclical component. This in turn will permit an accurate assessment of the magnitude of the cyclical component of the data. By means of statistical methods, economists generate monthly estimates of the seasonal components of a data. Once these components are removed from the raw data, the data becomes seasonally adjusted.

If one were to accept that the data is the result of the interaction of the trend, cyclical, seasonal and irregular components, then one would imply that these components are inserted into the data irrespective of human volition. Regardless of human behavior it is these components that determine what human beings are going to do, implying a robotic behavior.

However, human action is not robotic but rather conscious and purposeful. The data is the result of people’s assessments of reality in accordance with each individual's particular end, at a given point in time.

An individual's action is set in motion by his valuing mind and not by external factors. This in turn means that individuals are not expected to follow the exact pattern of behavior year after year. Changes in individual’s goals will produce different responses towards holidays or seasons of the year.

Currently most government statistical bureaus worldwide utilize the US government computer programs X-11, X-12 and X-13 Arima Seats to estimate the seasonal components of a data. (By means of sophisticated moving averages, these programs generate estimates of the seasonal components).

The computer program then uses the obtained estimates to de-seasonalize the data (i.e. adjust for seasonality). Designers of these seasonal adjustment computer programs, have also attempted to address the issue of the constancy of the seasonal component by allowing this component to vary over time.

For example the seasonal component for retail sales in December will not be of the same magnitude year after year but will rather vary. Furthermore, these programs are instructed to employ only stable seasonal components in the seasonal adjustment procedure.

When a program discovers that the seasonal components over time are not stable, the raw data is left unadjusted.

It would appear that by means of sophisticated statistical and mathematical methods these programs could generate realistic estimates of the seasonal components of the data, which in turn will permit to ascertain the cyclical component.

Note again that economic experts are interested to establish the state of the cyclical component of the data, such as the Gross domestic product or employment in order to form a judgment regarding the state of the so-called economy.

The strength of the seasonal components and in turn the cyclical components could determine the direction of the central bank policy i.e. whether the central bank will tighten or loosen its interest rate stance.

The extraction of the cyclical component of the data, however, is of little help as far as understanding of the phenomenon of the business cycle is concerned. Without understanding the key causes that drive this phenomenon it is impossible to establish what remedies should be implemented to heal the economy. Without a coherent theory, which is based on identifying the primary key causes of boom-bust cycles, no amount of data torturing by means of the most advanced mathematical methods will do the trick. Consequently, the central bank tampering with the economy in response to seasonally adjusted data rather than mitigating the boom-bust cycles only strengthens this menace.

Conclusion

To ascertain the state of an economy, economists are of the view that information regarding the cyclical component of economic data, such as GDP, could be of great help. Experts have concluded that to prevent a possible economic slump it is important to have the information about the magnitude of the cyclical component of the data on a short-term basis. The sooner the problem can be identified the easier it will be to fix it – so it is held. Economists are of the view that by removing the seasonal component of the data it will be possible to isolate the cyclical component. However, notwithstanding all the sophisticated methods that are utilized, without the employment of the “cause and effect” principle it is not possible by means of statistical methods to ascertain what the boom-bust cycle phenomenon is all about. Consequently, it is not possible to establish what suitable methods should be implemented to counter the boom-bust cycle phenomenon. Various central bank policies that are acting upon information obtained from seasonally adjusted data only generating more economic instability. If mainstream economists were to implement the cause and effect framework they would discover that the key cause of boom-bust cycles is the policies of the central bank. Note that to reach this conclusion we do not require sophisticated seasonally adjusted methods but the implementation of the cause and effect framework that views individuals as humans and not as machines.

  • 1. See the Census Bureau's X-11 program (https://www.census.gov/srd/www/sapaper/historicpapers.html).
Categories: Current Affairs

Psalm 95/Let Us Kneel and Bow Down

Blog & Mablog - Sat, 06/10/2018 - 15:39
Introduction:

Throughout the New Testament, we are given cautions and warnings. We are told repeatedly that we are to take our covenant lessons from what happened to our older brothers, the Jews. The things written down in Scripture were written for our edification, as examples to us, which means that we need to learn to read the narrative right. We are never told that the Jews could fall away, but that Christians cannot. So we should know that these warnings apply to us—not as though the decree of God’s election could be altered—but that the warnings about our place in the visible covenant apply to us because our position there is exactly that of the Jews. This will become plainer as we go on. We take this psalm as from David—although the psalm itself does not attribute it to David, that connection is made later in the book of Hebrews (4:7).

To repeat, the truly regenerate, the elect of God, can never fall away. But members of the visible church can and do fall away.

The Text:

“O come, let us sing unto the Lord: Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: The strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: And his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: Let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest” (Psalm 95).

Summary of the Text:

Biblical faith is a corporate affair. The godly looks around himself, and says to others, “Come” (v. 1). We need many more to gather in order to make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. We come before His presence with thanksgiving, and the fact of a joyful noise is mentioned again (v. 2). We make that joyful noise with psalms. Why do we do this? Because the Lord is a great God, a king above all the other gods (v. 3). The deeps are in His hand. The wealth of the deepest mines are His (v. 4). He fashioned the oceans, and His were the hands that formed the dry land (v. 5). So the great invitation is issued again. Come. Let us kneel. Worship is corporate. Let us worship. Let us bow down. Let us kneel before our Maker (v. 6). He is our God. We are the people of His pasture. We are the sheep in His flock (v. 7).

Now up through the first half of v. 7, the voice is that of one of the Lord’s people, inviting others of the Lord’s people to gather together in worship. It is a psalm of sheep exhorting sheep. In the turn from v. 7 to v. 8, we see that the voice is now becomes the voice of the Shepherd. Do not harden your heart as you did before (v. 8), as your fathers did before you (v. 9). There is ambiguity in v. 10. Did they grieve the Lord for forty years, or did they wander for forty years because they had grieved Him? I take it as the latter, for reasons to be explained in a moment. These people err in their hearts (v. 10), and as a consequence God swore in His wrath that they would not enter His rest (v. 11).

These Ten Times:

As Israel was fresh out of Egypt, they tempted the Lord because of a lack of water, and the place where they did this had two different names given to it—Massah and Meribah. “And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?” (Ex. 17:7). “Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah” (Deut. 6:16; cf. 33:8). Despite their provocation of Him in this, the Lord did not relegate them to a generation spent in the wilderness yet. That came about a year later, after the episode of the return of the unbelieving spies.

“Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it” (Num. 14:22–23).

Because of “these ten times” when they tested the Lord, all within the first year of their time in the wilderness, the Lord sealed them up in that wilderness for forty years.

Entering His Rest:

As this psalm is interpreted and applied by Paul in Hebrews, there are multiple layers to the meaning of rest. In the psalm itself, the Lord was angry with that generation, and swore that they would not enter Canaan-rest (Ps. 95:11). There is the antitype of this, in the wilderness generation of Christians preparing to invade the world with the gospel, in what might be called the Great Commission rest (Heb. 3:14). Then there is personal salvation rest (Heb. 4:1-3). Then we have what can be called our corporate weekly-foretaste rest (Heb. 4:9-10). And last, we have what I take as a final heavenly rest (Heb. 4:11).

For the one who believes, all of these should be considered our promised possession. God gave Canaan to Israel. God gave the world to the church. God gives forgiveness of sin to the repentant sinner. God gives us a regular reminder, every seven days, that everything is accomplished through His work. And finally God gives us resurrection rest, in the new day, in the final day, in the eighth day. And all of it is the grace of God, which means that all of it is rest—not works, lest any man should boast.

Covenant Continuity:

So as we consider these things, remember that God’ elect cannot be taken from His hand. Your regeneration is not reversible. No one can successfully thwart the work of salvation that God has once begun in a sinner’s heart. When it comes to the final salvation of those He has chosen before the foundation of the world, God is not interruptible.

But at the same time, something can be thwarted. Apostasy is a real sin, committed by real people. It is not a sin that can be committed by any of God’s decretally elect, but it can be committed by individuals who are covenantally connected to Christ. And these people are addressed in the pages of the New Testament. It is not as though they are non-Christians in every sense of the word. Remember that there are Jews, and also that there are true Jews, those who are such inwardly, by the Spirit, in the heart (Rom. 2:28-29). This distinction does not disappear in the new covenant. There are baptized Christians who are going to fall away. Are they true Christians, regenerate Christians, chosen-to-holiness-before-the-foundation-of-the-world Christians? Of course not, and let’s not be silly.

The New Testament Scriptures never say anything like this: In the Old Testament it was possible to fall away from the covenant, but now in the new covenant this is impossible. Not at all.

“Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:29).

Jesus is the vine, and branches can be cut out of Him (John 15:1-8). Christ is the root of the Abrahamic tree, and Paul tells Christians at Rome that they can be cut out of it just as the unbelieving Jews had been (Rom. 11: 18-24), and for the same reasons. And what kind of things were written down for our example (1 Cor. 10:6)?

So the Christ in whom we must believe has always been a present Christ. The Christ in whom we do believe is a Christ who is near to His people, and has always been near to His people. And when this is proclaimed, and the vicarious blood sacrifice that He offered to His Father is preached, there is only one reasonable response to it all. Come, let kneel before the Lord our Maker.

The post Psalm 95/Let Us Kneel and Bow Down appeared first on Blog & Mablog.

Categories: People I don't know

George Carey asks 'why the silence' from the House of Bishops on George Bell

Anglican Ink - Sat, 06/10/2018 - 14:45

Justin Welby's handling of the George Bell affair "has been so far unsatisfactory" says Lord Carey

Justice for Bishop George Bell

Anglican Ink - Sat, 06/10/2018 - 14:35

Paper presented to the George Bell Conference, "Rebuilding Bridges" on 5 Oct 2018 by Gavin Ashenden

The Damage Done by the Kavanaugh Hearings

Mises Institute - Sat, 06/10/2018 - 13:05

As Gallup reports that more Americans expressed support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during the week he denied being guilty of sexual assault, it’s clear that whether accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is speaking the truth, the public might not be ready to accept the allegations without evidence. But if you were to rely solely on most news outlets , you would think Kavanaugh had been charged and convicted.

While the outspread concern over a Supreme Court nominee is warranted , mainly due to the power justices have over our lives, the conversation was never about how Kavanaugh saw the PATRIOT Act as “measured, careful, responsible, and constitutional,” despite the law’s mockery of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Democrats also never bothered to mention Kavanaugh once ruled that “the Government’s metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment” while sitting in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Before the allegations of sexual assault, all they seemed to worry about was how Kavanaugh would rule on an abortion case, apparently frightened that states would have to pick up where they left off before Roe v. Wade. But ever since Ford entered the picture, offering a compelling story of assault but also one with gaps and no evidence , the focus is back on one thing and one thing only: We must believe all women, no matter what.

The #MeToo movement has long been co-opted by politicians and Americans who identify as Democrats in the President Donald Trump era. Perhaps because accusations of sexual assault boost ratings . If news outlets can link anything back to Trump, then they’re sitting on a goldmine.

But there’s also another unintended consequence to the movement, one that seemed clear from the get-go as the #MeToo hashtag went viral in Oct. 2017.

Then, America’s left-leaning influencers , politicians , and celebrities made it clear that believing all women was always the right thing to do, automatically abandoning due process and trashing any presumption of innocence in the name of fairness.

In this very public court of opinion, accusers were seen as infallible while the accused, when formerly charged, had already been convicted long before appearing before a court. But as libertarian writer and feminist Wendy McElroy wrote recently, the damage of #MeToo-style public “prosecution” lies in how it’s made us all ignore nature.

“‘Believe the accuser’ runs up against human nature,” McElroy wrote. “People are not only fallible, but they [are] also capable of bad behavior, such as lying.”

Imagine that! As if women could ever lie .

But perhaps, what’s even more damaging to the left’s own cause, if you consider they are genuinely concerned about women’s welfare, is how the “believe all women” theme in the Kavanaugh hearings could damage an entire generation of young women.

Coming of age in a world that teaches you ought to expect being protected and treated with respect no matter where you go might sound like the ideal scenario, but it doesn’t reflect real life.

While we live in a much safer world than our grandparents did, the reality is that the world remains a big place, filled with people of different backgrounds and sometimes, ulterior motives. Ignoring this reality is to ignore truth itself.

For poor and low-income women in urban areas, for instance, dealing with harassment and abuse is all too common . Knowing how to deal with these situations ends up being part of who they are .

But for middle- and upper middle-class girls, harassment is also a possibility. Understanding that there are risks and knowing how to avoid them will better prepare these girls so they may grow into stronger, more capable, and yes, more self-resilient women .

Needless to say, it’s heartbreaking that in the United States young women (and men) are in constant danger of being victims of sexual assault. Nevertheless, it is our duty — and right — to defend ourselves when necessary, and to act accordingly if the risk outweighs the benefits.

As professor and famed feminist author Camille Paglia once explained, feminism to her generation meant having the freedom “to risk rape.” Those women were not saying they wanted to be shielded and treated like precious porcelain dolls, quite the contrary — they were stating they were ready to fight back.

Not too long ago, after punk rocker Mia Zapata was violently raped and murdered in a dark Seattle alley, Grunge musicians of the time such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Heart came together to raise funds for a campaign called “ Home Alive ,” which organized self-defense classes for local women. Singer Joan Jett joined the movement, writing the song “ Go Home” and releasing a video depicting a woman successfully fighting her attacker.

But the spirit doesn’t live on with the younger generation, at least it doesn’t seem like it does as many today will often say that no, women should not have to defend themselves from attackers. This is particularly true among those who defend restrictions on firearm ownership, claiming that guns don’t deter sexual assault while real life cases prove otherwise .

Regardless, the reality is that as Kavanaugh is accused of having attacked Ford, the accuser is seldom pressed to provide more evidence while the Supreme Court nominee feels compelled to continuously prove his innocence. But while Ford’s account might as well be true, the reality is that we’re turning this charade into the main story, and we’re judging Kavanaugh on the basis of an unproven claim, not real policies he’s supported and that continue to impact all men and women in America.

To young girls witnessing the spectacle on TV, girls whose parents may say they have no doubt they know what happened in that room in 1982 and who are, perhaps, pro-gun control activists and even Hillary Clinton supporters — as strange as it may seem — the message couldn’t be clearer: The world owes you your safety.

As Paglia wrote in 1991 about then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and his accuser, Anita Hill, Hill made uncorroborated allegations that served Democrats with a very clear agenda: abortion rights.

While Ford’s and Hill’s stories are different in nature, it is as true today as it was then that Democrats are using allegations to push an agenda, choosing to talk about uncorroborated claims instead of the Supreme Court’s power over our lives. And that’s not a bug in the system, as both Democrats and Republicans will take any opportunity to have more control over the narrative. Still, this showdown has real-world consequences, as young people are largely influenced by what they see on social media. And you can’t go through one day online without seeing celebrities , politicians , and news personalities discussing the Kavanaugh allegations as facts.

Categories: Current Affairs

How not to deal with the aftermath of a financial crisis

Adam Smith Institute - Sat, 06/10/2018 - 07:01

We have a report and column telling us how to deal with the aftermath of a financial crisis. The problem being that they’ve not correctly identified what was done right after the last one, therefore they’re not picking up the correct lessons.

It is true that their exemplar, Iceland, sorted itself out rather well, certainly doing very much better than Greece which faced similar pressures even if a different policy environment.

Our comparative research, carried out with Kieran McEvoy Neophytos Loizides, reveals that Iceland stands out from the rest. Iceland, a tiny European nation of 330,000 inhabitants, offers valuable lessons on the importance of accountability and suggests how to deal with such issues if or when the world suffers another financial crisis.

Days after the collapse of 97% of its banking industry, Icelandic authorities designed a comprehensive policy of accountability, based on two overlapping objectives: establishing the truth and punishing those responsible. An independent truth commission was mandated to document the causes of the meltdown, and the newly established Office of the Special Prosecutor was tasked to thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible for any crimes committed in the run up to the crisis. Both mechanisms have been remarkably successful.

That is to concentrate upon the trivia. What actually mattered was that Iceland allowed all the banks to go bust, the currency to collapse and repudiated whatever debts it possible could. That extreme free market - very close to an Austrian view of what to do - led to an horrendous collapse, most certainly it did. And now Iceland is back at full employment, again on#e of the richest nations in the world even if a rather icy social democracy.

The committee which looks into things afterwards is rather less important than the things done in the heat of the crisis. And liquidationism has now been tried in the real world and it works, works rather well in fact. Better than non-liquidationism in Greece for example.

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