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Reformed Libertarian Blog Posts

FINALLY! The History of Economic Thought, part 2

So much of my understanding of economics has come directly from digging into the details of its development over time. It’s amazing what a better grasp of something one can receive by learning the roots of the theory, the context from which is sprung, and the debates our intellectual forefathers had with their opponents. Studying the history of political and economic thought is just as rewarding as studying more modern and systematic works on the subjects themselves.

Gerard Casey is the master of the history of political thought, and his recent book on the matter was based on his series of lectures from Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom.

I was ecstatic to discover yesterday that Bob Murphy’s overview of the history of economic thought was just released this week. The first part of this series has been out for a while and I have profited tremendously from it. The second part I have yet to go through, but from the list of topics, it looks amazing. If you decide that you need this– and in all honesty, you do– it would be awesome if you entered the site to purchase at my link: reformedlibertarian.com/woods 

And what better time to do it?? Besides Murphy’s new course, they are also having a sale right now so you can get access at a discounted price. Excellent!

Check out the lecture list for parts 1 and 2.

 

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White Supremacy and ERLC Once Again

It never ends. Conflating the gospel with social justice issues, the ERLC is again jumping to vocalize how much they despise white supremacy. And a recent statement on the matter perfectly encapsulates my problem with all this virtue signaling (I know, this phrase is overdone, but it’s precisely what is happening here).

The key problem in the entire anti-white supremacy movement is that they define the phrases so ambiguously that everyone is guilty of the thought-crime!! Critics of the obsession with white supremacy, such as myself, do not hold that white supremacy is a good thing, but we are screaming in desperation for people to stop equating everything with white supremacy. Opposition to government subsidies in ghettos, for example, is not white supremacy. It’s beyond obnoxious.

Back to the ERLC statement. Consider:

This weekend, white nationalists will descend on Tennessee, in both Shelbyville and Murfreesboro, for a “White Lives Matter” rally. As Christian leaders in Tennessee, we declare ourselves in resolute opposition to this expression of racism and white supremacy. We denounce and repudiate white supremacy as a work of the devil, designed to dehumanize and divide.

Yeesh. How do they know that these gatherers are actually in favor of “nationalism?” What is the operating definition of this word? How do they know that the gatherers hate state rights and hate decentralization movements at the state level? Does the phrase “white lives matter” automatically make one a “nationalist?” Does the phrase “white lives matter” indicate allegiance to the theory that the white race is morally superior to blacks/latinos (which would be the definition of white supremacy)? Do they have any proof to back up the implication that these white lives matter folks are actually white supremacists? Or are they going to fall for the media’s focus on a handful of nuts in order to categorize everyone as a white supremacist?

One doesn’t have to be a fan of the White Lives Matter rally to understand why it is happening. Should we not listen to them, understand where they are coming from? When you make bees angry, they sting.

Where’s the ERLC statement against the violence and destruction perpetrated by certain individuals within the Black Lives Matter movements?

Speaking of “dividing!”

Is this really the best way to defend and promote the gospel?

Where’s the outrage against Obama’s murdering of hundreds of innocents? Oh wait, that’s not part of the media narrative. Gotta stay relevant, I guess.

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TRL Fall Fund Drive

Every fall over the last 4 years I’ve done a little fund raiser to cover costs associated with the site which of course includes the domain renewal, hosting, any outside technical help I have to use, and things like that. Additionally, some of you just like to throw a little money into the pot because that is how you show support for this site. I always appreciate all of you who do this. And even if you don’t contribute financially, all the comments, shares, likes, feedback, emails, are more than enough to tell me to keep it up.

I wasn’t planning on doing it this year. But that was before I had the idea to start my new project– AustroLibertarian.com. Since starting something from scratch requires additional money (one of the costs, as some of you in the Facebook group know, was especially huge), I decided I would do this again.  Part of the reason for that is, upon hearing that I was starting the new project, I had 4 people specifically ask me how they could support it financially. It really means a lot to see people going out of their way to express their support in this way– seriously. While I love what I do, it’s always a wonderful feeling when people tell me I have made a difference in their thinking.

For those dedicated TRL readers who want to know why I started a project in addition to TRL, read my recent article here.

Since I have a much higher readership than in years past, I wanted to offer people a chance to support my projects on a more consistent basis, if that is something they desire to do. So, I offer the following ways to contribute financially.

  1. Patreon: set up a monthly contribution on my Patreon page.
  2. PayPal: send a one time contribution my way at this link: PayPal.me/CJayEngel

More than ever, I’m stoked about the reach and future of my efforts. Essays, books, podcasts, and more. And as always, thank you all for the help, support, and community.

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Harvey Weinstein: The Back Story

You know the story:
The New York Times last week broke the story of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s long record of sexual harassment.
This had been going on for thirty years or more.  How could no one know the story?
But of course people knew about Harvey Weinstein. Like the New York Times, for instance. Sharon Waxman, a former reporter at the Times, writes in The Wrap how she had the story on Weinstein in 2004—and then he bullied the Times into dropping it. Matt Damon and Russell Crowe even called her directly to get her to back off the story.
See, Weinstein was protected.  Two things brought him down.  First, Weinstein owned significant resources in the journalist community, resources that were looking to stay on good terms with a major producer; through this, he was greatly able to control the story:
It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays.
It is because the best reporting is coming from bloggers, from the internet.  No one is paying for the privilege of reading so-called “news” put out by the gatekeepers.  So-called “fake news” is winning the day.
But this is nothing.  Second:
Rebecca Traister says the stories are coming out now because “our consciousness has been raised.” Between Bill Cosby and Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and Donald Trump, argues Traister, people are now accustomed to speaking and hearing the truth about famous, sexually abusive men.
This is wrong. It has nothing to do with “raised consciousness”—or else she wouldn’t have left off that list the one name obviously missing.
Yes, this is wrong, and it is wrong because the name left off of the list points to the primary reason that a) Weinstein has remained protected, and b) why he no longer is:
Which brings us, finally, to the other reason the Weinstein story came out now: Because the court over which Bill Clinton once presided, a court in which Weinstein was one part jester, one part exchequer, and one part executioner, no longer exists.
A thought experiment: Would the Weinstein story have been published if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency? No, and not because he is a big Democratic fundraiser. It’s because if the story was published during the course of a Hillary Clinton presidency, it wouldn’t have really been about Harvey Weinstein. Harvey would have been seen as a proxy for the president’s husband and it would have embarrassed the president, the first female president.
Bill Clinton offered get-out-of-jail-free cards to a whole army of sleazeballs, from Jeffrey Epstein to Harvey Weinstein to the foreign donors to the Clinton Global Initiative.
Conclusion
Perhaps this is one of the main reasons that Hollywood is so up in arms about Clinton losing, Trump winning, and Putin.  Sleazeballs, every single one of them; sleazeballs that would see us in a nuclear war before giving up their corrupt and empty lifestyles.
Hillary did not need to look across Middle America to find the deplorables; she needed only to look at the tool next to her…and to look in the mirror.
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Does “Abolish the Police” = “Abolish Law Enforcement”?

In my recent response to R. Scott Clark, someone replied:

Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 5.49.01 PMThis type of response just confirms my complaint that Clark and others are being too simplistic. They just beg the question. What is meant by “there should be no police”? Is it the same thing as “there should be no enforcement of the law” (i.e. “there should be no administration of justice”)? I highly, highly doubt that is what was meant (again, no source is provided to determine for sure). The error is that Clark (and Sanduleac above) are simply equating the police with law enforcement rather than seeing the modern police force as one possible type of law enforcement. The modern police force is modern. It has not always existed. Proponents of “social justice” are commenting on the modern police force in America, not Rome or ancient Israel or 16th century England (just as American colonists were commenting on King George specifically, not all civil government in general).

The idea of a professional, uniformed police force is so firmly ingrained into our concept of society that it’s easy to think of the police as one of the most ancient governmental institutions. It may be surprising, then to learn that the idea of police officers as we know them is an extremely young concept, dating back to only the 19th century. As did most governmental institutions, law enforcement agencies in society evolved slowly over time.

In ancient societies, there was no official law enforcement function and very little, if any, attempts at organization. Instead, individuals, families, and clans took it upon themselves to take revenge against those who may have injured or offended them. The idea of crime prevention was almost nonexistent in the early history of law enforcement and criminology…

After the dissolution of the Roman Empire, the responsibility for maintaining order fell once again to local authorities. In England, society reverted to the ancient notion that individuals were responsible for themselves and their own protection.

English law provided individual subjects with the authority and responsibility to use force in order to maintain control. Neighbors were expected to help each other. This form of social control was referred to as “Kin Policing” by English historian Charles Reith because it relied on the idea that families and clans were responsible for the actions of their own members.

Early History of Policing

God’s revealed law for Israel functioned in that manner (Num. 35:9-34; Deut 19:1-13; Josh 20:1-9). So did Ancient Greece. “No Greek community had a police force in a modern sense of the term.” There have been many different ways in which justice has been enforced throughout history. Law enforcement (the administration of justice) does not require a modern police force, which dates back to the Metropolitan Police Act 1829.

Early law enforcement was reactionary, rather than pre-emptive—the watch usually responded to criminal behavior only when requested by victims or witnesses… A new and improved law enforcement system [was] implemented first by England in 1829: a stronger, more centralized, preventive police force, designed to deter crime from happening, rather than to react once it had occurred.

The Early Days of American Law Enforcement

So when someone says we should get rid of this modern attempt at law enforcement because it’s not working, there is no reason to run screaming for Romans 13.

The concept of a centralized, professional police force was a tough sell initially and was met with a tremendous amount of resistance. The public feared that a police force would essentially behave as another arm of the military. As result, there was an understandable reluctance to agree to be controlled by what many assumed would be an occupying force… Over the next century and beyond, the concept of policing evolved in the U.S.

The History of Modern Policing: How the Modern Police Force Evolved

Note: “agree to be controlled.” That’s the consent basis of government. Some people today no longer consent to this modern version of law enforcement, which has evolved and become more militarized (as initially feared). For example:

For decades before the fateful Simi Valley verdict [the King riots], however, the LAPD had been the nation’s leading model of “professionalized policing.”

When the legendary Bill Parker took over the LAPD in 1950, he immediately began applying his experience as a decorated World War II veteran. Effectively, he made his police force into a kind of domestic military.

Seeing egregious problems with corruption and inefficiency, he slimmed down the force, creating an administrative structure that was meant to insulate his officers from political and public pressures. Parker wanted his department to set its own agenda, and he wanted his officers thinking of themselves as crime-fighting professionals, not on-call neighborhood boy scouts. On his watch, the sleek and imposing squad car replaced the friendly beat cop. His police academy trained recruits in tactics modeled on military peacekeeping efforts. Some credit the legendary chief with coining the term “thin blue line.”

How Expecting Police To Be All Things To All People Can Fuel Violence (The Federalist)

All arguments to “abolish the police” that I have read are arguments to abolish the modern, present day police force – not to abolish the administration of justice and enforcement of law.

We don’t consider the abolition of police a viable position to take because we believe they’re the only thing standing between upstanding citizens and the violence of the deranged… But does this mean we want police, or safety and security? Safety and security are ideas, ones that may never be fully achieved, and the police are an institution that have proved themselves capable of only providing the illusion of safety and security to a select few. The bulk of their jobs has nothing to do with violence prevention… The police are not performing the function we say they are, and there are real ways to achieve a world with less violence that don’t include the police. We simply haven’t tried.

Abolish the Police. Instead, Let’s Have Full Social, Economic, and Political Equality.

“our police is not working—we need to replace it with something new,” Jessica Disu says. “It’s more than a repair. We need something new.”…

The idea of police abolition can’t be understood separately from the wider prison abolition movement [Note Vern Poythress’ recognition that prison is unjust and unbiblical. -BA]…

“For me prison abolition is two things: It’s the complete and utter dismantling of prison and policing and surveillance as they currently exist within our culture. And it’s also the building up of new ways of intersecting and new ways of relating with each other….

That’s because Kaba, who recently moved back to New York after more than 25 years in Chicago, insists that abolition is not about destruction and anarchy—it’s about building alternatives…

“The closer you get to it, and the more you work on it, the more you realize that the system is not fixable the way it is,” says attorney Alan Mills, executive director of the Uptown People’s Law Center, which has litigated civil rights lawsuits on behalf of Illinois prisoners for years.

Abolish the police? Organizers say it’s less crazy than it sounds.

They want to get rid of this modern system because they see the problem as systemic. There’s nothing unbiblical about that (though it is certainly possible to go about it in an unrighteous manner).

You may be thinking right about now: But what do I do if someone breaks into my house? Or if someone attacks me? How could peace circles possibly solve Chicago’s rampant gun violence problem?

Kaba says these kinds of skeptical questions are normal.

“The options when harm comes to you in this country are what?” she asks. “Call the police and get somebody from the outside involved in your process, or figure it out on your own. Doing nothing is not a good option for a lot of people . . . you shouldn’t have to choose between going to the state or doing nothing.”

Gosh, that sounds almost like the ancient practice mentioned above.

In fact, read this account of the very biblical alternative they are practicing in some instances (Ex. 22:3):

Ucker and other volunteer facilitators also make themselves available to help resolve conflicts for neighbors and friends seeking alternatives to calling the cops.

“There’s another infrastructure here, there’s another system here,” Ucker says, contrasting peace circles to policing. “But it can respond just as effectively to harm.”

Some people call this approach “restorative justice,” where the desires of the people harmed are prioritized alongside accountability for those responsible.

Ucker illustrates the idea with an anecdote:

“There was a robbery at this store in the community. One of the people at the store whose stuff was taken said, ‘Look, I don’t want to call the cops. Is there anything we can do? . . . They found on Facebook that this young person was selling their stuff, and that young person happened to go to a school where we’d done some circles, so I knew a teacher at the school and could say, ‘Hey, this is where we’re at.’ ”

Eventually, he says, robber and robbed were brought back together.

“That young person ended up returning what he had that hadn’t been sold, and then working at the shop in restitution for everything else,” Ucker says. “Then it turned out he really liked working there, and after this agreement was over, he continued to go there and volunteer. There was a relationship built there.”

As Poythress explains, this approach is much more biblical than the modern prison system that punishes people for crimes against “the state” rather than requiring restitution to the actual victim.

So enough with the knee-jerk superficial responses to this issue. Let’s roll up our sleeves a bit more.

(Just to be clear, as I said in the previous post, I do not necessarily agree with “social justice” assessments of current problems, and I definitely disagree with many of their proposed alternatives. This post is specifically about demonstrating “abolish the police” is not an unbiblical proposal).

 

For Further Reading:

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Keynes as Convenient Justifier of State Power

Mises makes a great point on the role John Keynes’ works played with respect to justifying state power. Rothbard (and Hoppe) later extrapolated on this theme, and I think it is important to remember. In sum, “academics” like Keynes merely offer to the politicians exactly what they wanted to hear: that the accumulation of increased state power and subsequent interventionism into the economy is, conveniently, good for society. Politicians love power and bureaucrats think they can design a social plan to bring forth utopia. Thus, the thoughts of Keynes gave them everything they wanted on a silver platter: justification for their actions.

Mises:

There are people who believe that the two books of Keynes that became best sellers The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1920), and The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936) decisively influenced the course of British policies and of world affairs. It is said that the first of these books inaugurated the anti-French and pro-German tendencies of Great Britain’s “appeasement” policy which virtually encouraged the rise of Nazism, permitted Hitler to defy the essential clauses of the Treaty of Versailles and finally resulted in the outbreak of the Second World War. It is furthermore asserted that the second book generated the “Keynesian revolution” of economic policies. The abandonment of the gold standard and the adoption of outright inflationary or “expansionist” fiscal methods, the New Deal and the Fair Deal, the full-employment policy, the intensification of anti-importation measures and many other kindred ventures are ascribed to the “unorthodox” ideas propagated by Keynes. If these assertions are correct, Keynes appears as the most influential personality of our age, whether the effects of these policies are to be considered as beneficial or disastrous.

It is often simply thought that the governments of the west were unsure of what actions they wanted to employ, whether laissez faire or a state-controlled economy. And Keynes humbly came to the scene with scholarly and scientific solutions for the world.

In actuality, Mises explains:

Keynes was definitely not the inaugurator of a new economic policy. The governments did not have to wait for his advice in order to learn that inflation is a handy means to fill the empty vaults of the treasury. The Keynesian policies were practiced by governments and powerful political parties long before they were advocated by Keynes. Keynes’ writings were enthusiastically received by people who found in them an apparently scientific justification for what they had already done for a long time in defying the teachings of economics.

They hated the theory according to which there was but one means toward the general improvement of people’s material well-being, viz., to increase the per head quota of capital invested. They longed for short cuts to an earthly paradise; a protective tariff, a cheap money policy, the closed shop, doles, and social security. They did not want to be told by the economists that it is the policy of the unions that creates unemployment as a lasting mass phenomenon and that the periodical recurrence of crises is the inevitable outcome of the easy money policy. They knew better; all evils were caused by capitalism.

To such people the Keynesian slogans appealed strongly. Here they found what they were looking for. If demand lags, create “effective” demand by expanding credit! If there is unemployment, print more money! If you want to increase “the real national dividend of useful goods and service,” then “dig holes in the ground paid for out of savings!” And, first of all, do not save, spend!

The triumph of Lord Keynes’ last book, the General Theory, was instantaneous. Although reasonable economists refuted his doctrines, it has become the gospel of the self-styled Progressives all over the world. Today many universities simply teach Keynesianism. It is really paradoxical. Nobody can any longer fail to realize that what is needed most is more saving and capital accumulation and that the inflationary and expansionist policies are on the verge of complete breakdown. But the students are still taught the dangers of saving and the blessings of expansionism.

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Is vigilantism forbidden in the Word of God?

After my post yesterday on Rothbard’s agreement with Scripture’s teaching on “private” vengeance, I read A Romans 13 Exposition on Church and State for Such a Time as This by Michael A. Milton, Ph.D. (President and Professor of Practical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina). The exposition represents the typical gloss of the passage. One statement in particular jumped out, in light the above.

In Genesis, Noah receives a directive from God (Genesis 9.3-6), and this of course pre-dates the Mosaic Law:

Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image (Gen 9.6).

Now of course this is interpreted with other Scriptures. When we take this into account with the principles of Leviticus and with this teaching in Romans 13; one sees the justification for the use of the sword against evil-doers who plot and commit murder, which is murder in the first degree. But vigilantism is forbidden in the Word of God. For a single man does not have the moral authority from God to carry the mantle of civil government, with its various laws, punishments and penalties. This is the role alone of human government, with its derived authority and its derived power.

Really? Scripture actually teaches precisely the opposite: a single man does have the moral authority from God to carry the mantle of civil government, with its various laws, punishments and penalties. That is precisely what the avenger of blood is: a single man executing punishment according to Genesis 9:5-6. Time to go back to the drawing board in interpreting Romans 13. Milton is correct that Romans 13 refers to the authority established in Genesis 9, but he is incorrect to think this authority is not equally given by God to all image bearers, but rather to a special class of humanity. The authority of Romans 13 is the authority given to all image bearers to execute justice. Precisely because this authority is given to all image bearers is why a pagan emperor can legitimately exercise it, even over Christians.

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Rothbard on the Death Penalty

In 1978, Rothbard wrote a brief piece in the Libertarian Review titled The Plumb Line: The Capital Punishment Question. “Libertarians can no longer afford to wait to come to grips with capital punishment. It has become too pressing a problem.” He concluded that it is just. His perspective is quite interesting in that he

  1. References mankind’s instinct
  2. Argues from proportionate retributive justice as the definition of justice (what one is due) and rights
  3. Argues for private administration of retributive justice by the victim’s legal representative

I believe that the instincts of the public are correct on this issue: namely, that the punishment should fit the crime; i.e., that punishment should be proportional to the crime involved. The theoretical justification for this is that an aggressor loses his rights to the extent that he has violated the rights of another human being. If A steals $10,000 from B, he should be forced, not only to return the $10,000 (the “restitutionist” position, with which most libertarians would agree), but he also loses his rights to his own $10,000; that is, he should be forced to pay the victim $10,000 for his aggression…

It is relatively easy to allot monetary penalties in the case of theft. But what about such a crime as murder? Here, in my view, the murderer loses precisely the right of which he has deprived another human being: the right to have one’s life preserved from the violence of another person. The murderer therefore deserves to be killed in return. Or, to put it more precisely, the victim — in this case his surrogate, in the form of his heir or the executor of his estate should have the right to kill the murderer in return…

But in any case, note that I did not couch my argument in utilitarian terms of deterrence of future crime; my argument was based on basic rights and the requirements of justice. The libertarian takes his stand for individual rights not merely on the basis of social consequences, but more emphatically on the justice that is due to every individual.

This is interesting because of how closely it aligns with Scripture (particularly the Old Testament).

  1. All image bearers have an innate sense of justice (Rom 1:32)
  2. Justice is defined as lex talionis (proportionate retributive; Ex. 21:22-25)
  3. The next of kin had the authority and duty to administer justice (Num 35:9-34)

Rothbard’s comments stand in stark contrast to many of the arguments heard from libertarians who oppose the death penalty. It is not unlikely that Rothbard’s firm commitment to this stance is related to his exposure to the Old Testament. Note not only his foundation of retributive justice, but also his understanding of restorative justice (___). I think it would be a mistake to assume that special revelation played no role in the development of his thought. This short essay stems from a longer 1977 essay “Punishment and Proportionality,” in Assessing the Criminal: Restitution, Retribution, and the Legal Process.

One aspect where Rothbard could be very slightly sharpened by Scripture, however, is his articulation of the interplay between the individual victim and society in the case of murder.

So far we have gone all the way with the proponents of the death penalty, ranging ourselves with the instincts of the general public and against the sophistries of the liberal intellectual elite. But there is an important difference. For I have been stressing throughout the right of the victim, not that of “society” or the state. In all cases, it should be the victim — not “society” or “its” district attorney — who should bring charges and decide on whether or not to exact punishment. “Society” has no right and therefore no say in the matter. The state now monopolizes the provision of defense, judicial, and punishment service. So long as it continues to do so, it should act as nothing more and nothing less than an agent for guarding and enforcing the rights of each person — in this case, of the victim.

If, then, a crime is committed, it should be up to the victim to press charges or to decide whether the restitution or punishment due him should be exacted by the state. The victim should be able to order the state not to press charges or not to punish the victim to the full extent that he has the right to do so.

While I think he is right that the murder victim’s legal representative has the primary duty and authority to administer justice, he does not have the exclusive authority. Genesis 9:5-6 was a command given to all mankind. We all have a responsibility to see that justice is done and the murderer is put to death. In the case that there is no legal heir or the legal heir is negligent, the community is obligated to act. In Mosaic law governing the execution of murderers, both the individual and the community play an important role. Neither has exclusive (monopolistic) authority. (Also, Mosaic law forbids levying a fine instead of execution in the case of murder).

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DACA: Yea or Nay?

Trump has decided to let DACA expire. As far as I understand it, DACA merely protects undocumented individuals who came into the US as minors from being deported and gives them a permit to work here. Among the requirements are that you would have had to enter the US before you were 16 and lived here continuously, and also that you are either in school or else at least completed High School, and also that you have not been convicted of a felony.

Let me get a couple things out of the way before I talk more about whether Trump’s decision was good or bad.

  • First, I don’t take seriously claims of this being an example of Trump’s alleged “racism.” As I have talked about time and again, Trump holds to a sort of protectionist outlook on economic and border related issues; that is, he considers it the governments role to protect jobs, businesses, and industries from foreign competition. This does not per se make him a racist. A racist would more likely actually begin deporting those of the “inferior race” while inviting those of “superior races” to help purify the citizenry. To simply dismiss this action as a racist one doesn’t really get to the bottom of things.
  • Second, on the closed/open border debate, as I have stated many times, I do not believe in an open border policy. I also do not believe in a closed border policy. I believe in a border policy in which the localities have a stronger say about who may come than the Federal Government. In a pure private property libertarian setting, of course, everything would be privatized and therefore up to the judgement of private property owners. For the central government to declare that all immigrants are welcome over against the will of private property owners is a version of forced integration. In light of the fact that we live in a statist world, my first suggestion would be to let the states decide who is allowed over the borders. My recommendation to these states would be to let the counties make the decision. And so on and so forth to the property owners. It is important to remember: there is no God-given right to walk on property that is not your own. Therefore, there is no “right” to immigration. But by the same token, there is no “right” that the Federal Government has to prevent the entrance of an individual who has been invited on the property of its owner. That is the libertarian theory– and pragmatic insight– on the immigration issue.

Now, as for DACA. It seems to me that it makes zero sense for the Federal Government to deport people who have lived here their whole lives, pay taxes here, speak English better than Spanish (or whatever), have no home or relatives in Mexico, Honduras, etc. According to DACA itself, one is required to be studying to working. These are private arrangements, or at least arrangements between the individual and a smaller jurisdiction. As they are contributing to economic productivity and are therefore a net benefit on the economy, they don’t seem to be part of the systematic breach of the non-aggression principle. In fact, if these individuals do have residence here, if they are not breaching the property rights of others (via direct criminal action), or demanding welfare benefits or other government aid, it seems more criminal to remove them. The act of tossing these folks who have done no civil wrong is completely unproductive and wrong.

Some conservatives might argue that there are some of these that are simply living as bums on welfare. I haven’t seen any proof of this– it seems contrary to the demands of DACA itself. If there are, I would urge that they be removed from the dole. But the important point is that this is not the fault per se of DACA. This is a welfare policy that should be addressed. DACA is not inconsistent with eliminating welfare.

Of course, how many native US citizens are net leeches on the system? How many of them don’t contribute to the economy but instead receive redistributed goods?  DACA simply has nothing to do with the welfare problem in America.

Now, I would welcome correction on this for sure as I am usually quite skeptical of efforts by the Federal Government to push integration policy. But does DACA actually cost money? Is there any secret subsidization of the undocumented immigrants I am unaware of? If there is any proof of this thing subsidizing the immigrants or forcing smaller government jurisdictions to provide for their presence, I will immediately update this post. But in the interest of being objective, I seem to be seeing the DACA program as something Trump should not have let expire.

Now, three other considerations that should certainly be mentioned:

  1. Its very possible, and I have this at the forefront of my mind, that Soros’ and other forced-integration-internationalists use things like DACA to protect the immigrants from deportation after they have done the dirty work of subsidizing and purposefully bringing in millions of people. Folks like Soros understand that the way to control the future of a democracy is to upend cultures, to create strife via group conflict. In this case, of course, DACA itself is not the problem. It is merely a tool leveraged after the problem has already been implemented.
  2. This may have been a half-hearted attempt by Trump to satisfy his base. After all, just removing a protection does not mean he is going to round ’em all up and ship ’em back (of course, since most of them were born here, they have nowhere to actually return). Trump has to show the voting base that put him in to office that he hasn’t been completely swarmed by the establishment since entering office (he has).
  3. As always, the democratic state is the problem here. The more things are privatized and less under control from Washington, bureaucratically, the more local decisions can be made. By nationalizing society, everything becomes a national controversy and there is incentive to bring in people that will vote a certain way.

Privatize everything! In the meantime, DACA doesn’t seem per se evil. And I say this as a Hoppean on the immigration issue. If anyone has information otherwise, please let me know ASAP.

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On the Arrested Nurse Incident

The trending news over the weekend was the nurse who was arrested for refusing to submit to the cop’s threats and demands that she draw blood from a patient. As she stated in the video that circled the internet, the written law was on her side as medical professionals are only allowed to draw blood under the following conditions:

  1. A warrant
  2. The patient under arrest
  3. Patient consent

The majority of people rightly took the side of the nurse who was unquestionably the victim of the deranged cop’s power trip– he grabbed her, dragged her outside (to her screaming that he stop and her insistence that she had done nothing wrong), and arrested her. Uncalled for.

Since it’s easy to vocalize disapproval at the cop’s behavior in this specific case, I also have two other points to make that are more likely to have been missed by most people weighing in.

First, the nurse’s refusal to draw blood and the cop’s deranged overreaction are not right and wrong respectively on the basis that the written law was on the nurse’s side. That is to say, if the law was that cops have the authority to order medical professionals to do whatever cops tell them to, the nurse still would have been justified in refusing to draw the blood and the cop would still would be acting criminally in aggressing against her. The reason for this is that legal and criminal behavior (a subset of moral and immoral behavior), are not determined by written law but by natural law (law that transcends written laws). For example, murder is not made wrong by virtue of its being declared wrong by a legislative body or bureaucratic agency; rather, if anything, it is already unethical to murder independent of the government and it is up to the government to recognize this ethical stipulation.

Second, and related to the first point, we need to understand that cops so often aggress against people and property (as happened in this case), but there is nary a smidgeon of outrage by the same people who expressed distaste for the current event. Drug laws and their subsequent enforcement protocols are a deep-seeded implementation of criminal assault. The difference, however, is that in the current situation a) the written law was on the victim’s side and b) there has been no desensitization regarding what happened, as opposed to in the case of drug laws. Besides drug laws, of course, there are other sorts of government approved acts of violence against legally innocent (under natural law) people. All forms of eminent domain laws, anti-gun ownership laws, laws outlawing and criminalizing unapproved food production, seatbelt laws, the TSA’s daily airport assaults, and taxation itself.

In fact, every government agency consists of positive laws which control and regulate so many aspects of our lives from food/drink to insurance to education to transportation to clothing to money and banking and beyond. The police are merely the enforcement arm of the state and therefore threaten to initiate violence upon refusal of the private property owner to comply.

Thus, when the headlines say that the nurse was arrested “simply for doing her job,” we should realize that “doing one’s job” is only good if the job-duty itself is good. In this case, for the nurse, it certainly was. If her job required her to do something wrong, we would only praise her if she refused to “do her job.” On the flip side, we aren’t criticizing the cop here because he was acting outside of his job, we are criticizing him because he was acting against the strictures of ethics, of natural law. Thus, even if protocol allowed him to act as he did, he would still be in the wrong.

The news is that this cop has been placed on suspension. Such a bureaucratic response is not enough, however. He didn’t act simply against the will of his superiors– he acted in a criminal manner and should be prosecuted accordingly. Just as cops who steal drugs or give out seatbelt tickets or arrest those selling goods on the market without a business license should, if justice was actually present in our society, be prosecuted for breaching property rights.

People say that the actions of this cop give all cops a bad name. Let me clarify the matter. Any cop that initiates or threatens to initiate violence against the bodies or the external private property of individuals acts wrongly. Whether cops are good or bad adds vagueness and imprecision to the matter. We ought to keep it simple: if you breach the private property rights of individuals, natural law is not on your side. Cops do act rightly when they respond to aggressors of private property, and wrongly when they become the aggressors. This has nothing to do with the state of written law– and it is the goal of the libertarian to bring written law (also known as positive law) into compliance with natural law.

Unfortunately in our time, all cops have voluntarily agreed and sworn to uphold unethical positive laws, whether they are aware of it or not and whether they are nice and respectable people in their private lives.

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The Avenger of Blood in Modern Albania

In The Avenger of Blood I showed how Mosaic law (reflecting Genesis 9:5-6) authorized the next of kin of a murder victim to administer retributive justice – something not reserved for a special class called “rulers”. I noted that this was the common/default practice in ancient cultures. But the practice did not die out there. In fact, it has never died out. The pervasiveness of the role of the next of kin as an avenger of blood in cultures down through history is fascinating. It is found in ancient, medieval, and modern cultures everywhere that central power is weak. It’s almost as if the duty to enforce justice is an innate part of being an image bearer 🙂 (Gen 9:5-6, 4:14; Rom 1:32; Num 35:19).

It became commonplace throughout Europe in the Middle Ages following the collapse of the Roman Empire. In Albania “The norms were passed on from generation to generation by an oral tradition and were decreed by the council of elders. It is considered that the Code was rationalised by despot Lek III Dukagjin (1410 – 1481). This code was compiled throughout the centuries chiefly by adding new norms. It was studied by folklorist Shtjefën Gjecov and was published as late as 1933.” [1]  Following the collapse of communism in Albania, the customary law has been revived, largely due to the corruption and injustice of the standing government. “Blood feuds are not unique to Albania. They can be found in other isolated societies of the Mediterranean (such as Corsica) or in the Northern Caucuses. Carver tells us that this Albanian code most closely resembles the pukhtoonwali of Northwestern India.” [3]

There are several parallels between the Kanun and the relevant portions of Mosaic law (see Avenger post).

  • The next of kin is authorized to administer justice
  • Justice must be according to lex talionis (eye for an eye)
  • The manslayer (accidental killing) is innocent and is not to be killed
  • Only the murderer may be killed (not a member of his family)
  • There are sanctuaries (City of refuge vs asylum in a home)
  • Elders may become involved as a third party (originally to investigate/have a trial, now mostly to seek reconciliation) [3]

However, the text of the Kanuni is often contested and with many different interpretations which significantly evolved since 15th century. [2] At about 8:00 in the Aljazeera video an elder, acting as a mediator between two families, explains “The Kanun’s rules have been muddled with myths. You can’t trust anyone. Before, the Kanun was followed to the rule but as time changed so did its interpretation.” At around 2:00 the Journeyman Pictures video explains “The truth is that Kanun has accurate, concise, clear rules. An important rule is ‘the blood goes by the hand of the killer.’ It means only the killer could be killed. That’s how it was, so no other family member could be in danger. Later, the rule was changed and clarify that blood can be taken on family members.”

At first only other adult males in the family could be killed, instead of the killer. Then that was extended to include males of any age. More recently that has changed to include females as well (see the Aljazeera video). “The application of the ancient Kanun has been ousted by a distorted use of a modern Kanun in favour of personal revenge and settling old gangster scores. The range of vengeance killings now covers all members of Albanian society, including women and even children.” [1] The result has been disastrous. Entire families cannot leave their homes – not even to work – for fear of being killed.

Currently, we can notice a distinction between classic and modern vendetta respectively before and after the communist regime. The classic vendettas occur especially in the northern Albania and they follow the procedures of the Kanun more closely including the involvement of the elders of the village and the application of the period of liberty and security that the victim’s family grants to the murderer and his family. The modern type of vendetta reappeared after the end of the communist regime. The appearance of this new phenomenon can be
qualified as pseudo-traditionalism accomplishing a function that we can nominate semantic, since it permits to give a sense to the new political shapes. In this case, the manipulated tradition becomes the instrument to give a sense to new realities or to claim justice. The Kanun and its norms are not recognized anymore. Its application has been ousted by a distorted use of the Kanun in favour of personal revenge. The data-gathering shows how the Kanun applied in the nineties was illegitimate. [3]

Conciliators have emerged to try to help resolve modern problems resulting from this broken system. “What persons can become conciliators? D. Ch. recounted that in Krujë there was a special group consisting of men of senior age, well-familiar with the Kanun. The group’s members
should include influential figures – for example, members of Parliament, ministers, etc. Negotiators are elected among the inhabitants of the region once in 5 years. In the course of reconciliation, an agreement is signed between the two feuding sides, as well as by the warrant group, affirming that no one would break the arrangement.” [1] However, anyone may act as a mediator in individual cases.

At 20:45 in the “Prisoners of Kanun” video, a man involved in a blood feud since his grandfather was killed in the 1920’s says “If justice was applied correctly, both would work – the Kanun and government laws.”


This 2001 video from ABC Australia provides a helpful overview of the post-communist situation (16min).

This 2015 video from Journeyman Pictures provides a helpful synopsis of the role of Kanun and the current situation with blood feuds (7min).

Here is a longer, much more observational study of the people involved blood feuds (30min – same producer/footage as above, but more detailed).

Here is a 2017 Aljazeera piece (25min).

Here is a 2015 doc from VICE on the blood feuds (35min).

Finally, a 2012 Sundance Select feature film Forgiveness in the Blood tells the story of a blood feud in Albania.

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The Fed Works Against the Trend of the Free Market

Bloomberg notes:

Amazon’s plans to cut prices at Whole Foods is great news for shoppers, but not so much for Federal Reserve officials wondering whether they’ll ever hit their 2 percent inflation target.

The Fed should not be in the business of targeting price inflation. Prices adjust in accordance with consumer demand and producer’s supply. In order to increase profits, Amazon/Whole Foods anticipates that it should encourage more consumption of its goods by lowering prices. And shoppers respond to this by either buying more food at Whole Foods or buying the same amount of food and then having a surplus leftover. This surplus will allow them to consume more elsewhere or else save and invest.

There is nothing at all wrong with this, in fact, it is the natural machinations of the market at work.

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Redefining Libertarianism: Insufferable Steve Edition

Insufferable Steve Horowitz is at it again. Last time, he smeared Jeff Deist as a literal Nazi.

Now, he’s redefining libertarianism, though this is hardly the first time. He’s a thick libertarian– a libertarian who wants to add to the definition of our beloved theory, in order to add in his own preferences and passions.

This time, he claims that libertarianism rejects anti-semitism.

Part of the problem is that too many libertarians think that claiming to believe in the Non-Aggression Principle is sufficient to establish someone’s libertarian bona fides.  If this summer should teach us anything, it’s that the NAP, while a good rule of thumb and summary of an aspect of ethical teaching, is not enough. Libertarians have apologized far too often and far too long for those who claimed that their anti-Semitism or racism is compatible with their libertarianism because it’s just a “private view” and they don’t wish to enforce it with political power. That excuse making needs to end.

We’ve been over this. Many times. Libertarianism addresses the proper role of coercion, in light of our formulation of property rights, throughout society. Libertarianism seeks to answer the problem of what actions should be criminal, and which should be legal. Anything that is exterior to this specific problem is outside the realms of what the libertarian can say qua libertarianism.

But Insufferable Steve simply asserts that libertarianism ought to be more than this– it ought to, well, we aren’t sure. He offers no boundaries of what the doctrine ought to address.

Obviously, “anti-semitism,” to the extent that it does exist in the west, isn’t agreeable or endorsable. It’s intellectually flawed and without philosophical defense. But so are a lot of things. But this in and of itself require us to expand the definition of libertarianism into other fields of study. As a Christian, as a decent human being, as an individual that attempts to be as intellectually accurate as possible, I assent to the proposition that “anti-semitism” (provided it is defined properly) “is wrong.”

But this does not mean that libertarianism, a doctrine of coercion, qua libertarianism rejects it.

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I’m Not the First to Use Clark in a Dissent from Mises on the Temporariness of Logic

Recently I wrote on Mises’ odd mistake of claiming that logic and the mind were not eternal:

Thankfully, the Christian, or more precisely the Augustinian/(Gordon) Clarkian, framework does better. By saving the eternality of reason and the mind, they save the Misesian system. If Misesian economics truly proceeds in deductive fashion from its axioms, then a robust defense of deductive reason will adequately and tremendously support deductive economics even from its most able historical theorist.

Interestingly, another individual used a citation Gordon Clark in dissenting from Mises’ mistake in the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics (2005). Steven Yates writes:

There is a sixth thing Austrian scholars should know about logic, and it is this: given our results so far, there is one and only one correct logic—despite Mises’s own occasional demurrals. Occasionally he suggest the possibility of beings possessing different sets of logical categories—subhuman or superhuman—or that reason is transitory.15 It is now both possible and necessary to lay this ambiguity to rest—returning to the Mises who wrote the above paragraph about the “immutability” of reason. The propositions at the foundations of logic are immutable (although a people’s capacity to grasp them may indeed be transitory!). Can anyone seriously suppose that the principles of identity and contradiction are “true for us” but not “true for God” (for example)? Or that it is possible that for God there can both be and not be houses on Elm Street at the same time and place, or that God could will that seven and five add up to some number other than twelve? (Clark 1985, pp. 117–31)

The book he references is Clark’s textbook on Logic, which can be found here.

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Two Articles on Austro-Libertarian History

I recently wrote up an overview on the two branches of economic theory that can be found within the greater Austrian School and traced them from beginning to the present. It can be found here.

I also republished something that I had written last year on the split in libertarian circles between Rothbard and the Cato Institute. Find that here.

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Red Sea Crossing as an American Seal

Daniel Dreisbach posted an image on twitter of a Seal of the United States proposed by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

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In the Jefferson Manuscripts in the Library of Congress are two notes of suggestion on the Great Seal. One in the writing of Franklin, and the other in that of Jefferson.

Franklin’s note reads: “Moses [in the Dress of High Priest] standing on the Shore, and extending his Hand over the Sea, thereby causing the same to overwhelm Pharoah who is sitting in an open Chariot, a Crown on his Head and a Sword in his Hand. Rays from a Pillar of Fire in the Clouds reaching to Moses, [expressing] to express that he acts by [the] Command of the Deity. “Motto, Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.”

The note of Jefferson reads: “Pharoah sitting in an open chariot, a crown on his head and a sword in his hand passing thro’ the divided waters of the Red sea in pursuit of the Israelites: rays from a pillar of fire in the cloud, expressive of the divine presence, [reach] and command, reaching to Moses who stands on the shore and, extending his hand over the sea, causes it to over whelm Pharoah. “Motto. Rebellion to tyrants is obedce to god.” Words in brackets were stricken out by the pen. Jefferson merely noted a version of the Franklin suggestion. In the Writings of Jefferson (Ford), I, 420 is what purports to be a scheme of arms made in 1774, but the date assigned to it is doubtful.

In a letter from John Adams to his wife, written August 14, 1776, he said: “Doctor F. proposes a device for a seal. Moses lifting up his wand, and dividing the red sea, and Pharoah in his chariot over whelmed with the waters. This motto. ‘Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.’ “Mr. Jefferson proposed, The children of Israel in the wilderness, led by a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night–and on the other side, Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon chiefs, from whom we claim the honor of being descended, and whose political principles and form of government we have assumed.

I don’t necessarily agree with the motto, without further nuance (see the paragraph here). However, the suggested seal (or one part of the suggested seal – which was intended to be more than just this) demonstrates the common understanding that the American Revolution stood on biblical grounds.

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Ugh, Doolittle.

Curt Doolittle is the worst. Primarily because he owns Propertarianism.com, but is the worst propertarian I’ve ever come across (for the record, I love the word propertarian, and wish it hadn’t taken the domain– humph!). If it wasn’t for that, I would ignore him completely. He has profoundly and impressively misunderstood nearly everyone in the Austro-libertarian movement and holds himself out to be the Great Corrector of their mistakes, the crusader who has learned somewhat from them, but purified them of their own irrationalities.

Besides this, his writing is unclear and vague. He uses big words in a cringeworthy manner and I’ve rarely been able to truly understand what he is trying to get across. Unfortunately, when I do, I realize just how awful his “contributions” are. If you want to gouge your eyes out, read his “basic concepts” page. If you want to simply pound your head into the desk, read his pieces on the mistakes of Rothbard, Hoppe, and Mises. Apparently, he’s got tips and strategies for a full-fledged revolution. Spare me.

He writes recently:

“Praxeology is a method of testing rational choice and moral reciprocity in economic propositions when people are possessed of information heavily weighted by prices, and when they are rational actors, working from simple stacks of priorities.

Then he counters Mises (or at least the straw man of Mises), with this:

“People act irrationally because of a set of cognitive biases and fragmentary information.”

What. The. Heck.

Praxeology:

1). has nothing to do with testing, much less testing choices and whatever moral reciprocity means;

2) has nothing to do with morals, much less morals that are allegedly “in” economic propositions;

3) is actually a science in which economics is a subset, that is, it doesn’t test economic propositions;

4) is not bound by situations where people are “possessed of information weighted by prices” (whatever that means), but rather observes that men make choices and face tradeoffs in a world of scarce resources;

5) teaches that humans are always rational in the sense that they employ certain means to achieve chosen ends (he is assuming that Mises is saying that men always act logically— which means he never read Mises).

In short, one rarely comes across someone who so obviously and magnificently misunderstands such a simple concept as praxeology. In one sentence, we have the understanding of a third grader who criticizes Mises’ deficient understanding of things without himself understanding Mises 101.

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Danger of Narrative Chasing in Charlottesville

I recently wrote a reflection on Pastors and their reaction to the Charlottesville incident– I warned that jumping to support the narrative wasn’t healthy. It was the most well-read post on this site.

Now, as we learn more about what happened beyond the media’s reporting, we see crystal clear the trap that results from refusing to be skeptical about media-driven narrative.

Jack Kerwick writes:

First, while there were indeed some self-styled neo-Nazis that were present among the rally’s attendees, they were, by all appearances, a tiny minority.  And they constituted a far smaller fraction of the totality of the group than, say, that which on multiple occasions comprised the totality of Black Lives Matter demonstrators that marched through busy city streets shouting such murderous slogans as, “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!” and “Pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon!”

And again:

Second, the Charlottesville demonstrators organized their rally months in advance of its occurrence. Their application for a permit to march was initially denied. To its eternal credit, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a left-leaning organization, came to the organizers’ defense and helped them to appeal this decision. A federal judge eventually ruled that it was illegal for the city of Charlottesville and the state of Virginia to prevent people from exercising their Constitutional right to peacefully assemble.

And this is a crucial point: Those in attendance at the “United the Right” rally did peacefully assemble. They had speakers lined up to speak at Emancipation Park (formerly known as Lee Park).

Hordes of “Anti-fascist” (Antifa) and “Black Lives Matter” agitators assembled to “bash the fash.” As always, it is they who initiated the violence. Even the Washington Post admits that it was the fear of leftist violence that provoked Governor Terry McCauliffe’s State of Emergency. Yet it was this move legitimizing the “Heckler’s Veto” that rendered a lawful event unlawful.

That’s when all hell broke loose.

Finally:

Fourth, a life was indeed lost on Saturday. A counter-demonstrator was killed when someone who was allegedly one of the demonstrators plowed his car into a mob that had filled the street. The suspect has since been identified as James Alex Fields, a 20 year-old white man from Ohio. About 19 or so others were also injured.

This is the one event of the day on which the media have fixated. No doubt, it was the most serious of events, given that a person was killed. But insofar as it is abstracted and isolated from the context of violence that, to repeat, the Antifa and BLMers had been unleashing long before it happened, it is Fake News in the extreme, a tactic by which the day’s violence can be dropped exclusively upon the shoulders of those who exhaustively pursued legal measures to express themselves.

In short, I commented that the Pastors rushing to disavow white supremacism would merely be used as tools in the media’s fodder. And by the looks of it, this is exactly what is happening. There is heavy and ideologically-sourced spin on current events, and there is zero reason to trust what the most-well funded and well-connected “news” outlets have to say about current events.

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George R. Knight on Romans 13

In “Exploring Romans: A Devotional Commentary,” George R. Knight mentions that Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-14 were Hitler’s favorite passages. “One of those two texts had to be preached every year in every church in the Third Reich.”

Knight clarifies that Paul’s comments only apply to “rulers [who] are not a terror to good behavior, but to evil.” “That ‘good,’ of course, must fit God’s perspective rather than that of Nebuchadnezzar, Caesar, Hitler, Stalin, or some modern ruler.”

Thus Paul in Romans 13 is not seeking to cover every situation involving every government. Rather than speaking to every possibility, he presents the case in which a legitimate authority makes an appropriate demand on its citizens. In healthy times the apostle is correct. The government rewards people for doing right and punishes those who do wrong (verse 3, 4). Thus the Christian to whom Paul is writing should obey the government in its legitimate demands. He is firm that every Christian has a definite responsibility to the government under which he or she lives. Obedience to the state for a Christian is not an option. As T. W. Manson puts it, “resistance to legitimate authority legitimately exercised is wrong” (in Morris, Romans, p. 462).

Does Paul elaborate on precisely what that legitimate authority is? No. We get that from reading all of Scripture. A rulers’ legitimate authority is to wield the sword in defense and in the execution of vengeance according to lex talionis, period. Romans 13 does not require us to obey any demand beyond that narrow scope. But within that narrow scope, a ruler (even if a pagan who claimed to be god) is a servant of God and must be obeyed (which is Paul’s point).

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On Pastors Opposing the Alt-Right

I want to be very clear about what is going on under the surface, whether these pastors and Christian leaders know it or not: in letting the media drive their commentaries and phraseology, they are becoming tools of the political narrative.

Let those words sink in. I mean it very seriously.

They have rushed to make it obvious: racism and racial supremacism are un-Christian. And they are dead right, of course.

Here is the problem: in letting the media drive their commentaries and phraseology, they are becoming tools of the political narrative.

I’ve seen dozens of conservatives (and liberals) coming out strong against the so-called alt-right on the basis that the alt-right’s racism is of the devil. But what they do not realize, indeed what they refuse to consider, is the fact that the entire phenomenon of the alt-right as a headline narrative is media driven.

Sure, a handful of misguided folks (some far more than others), aggravated as they were about the revolutionary left, teamed together to “troll” and agitate against the leftist media, the leftist political establishment, and the childish leftist rabble-rousers such as BLM. They called themselves the alternative right– the right that had been rejected by a neoconservative movement that had more in common with Progressivism than traditional conservatism.

But as I mentioned here, the media took this small group of mostly internet voices and made it into a category that every non-respectable (remember, being “respectable” in the Progressive’s eyes is no honor) conservative belongs. Thus, old-fashioned conservatives who, unlike the neoconservative Bush-era Republicans, oppose global militarism, the welfare state, public schooling, debt-financed government, bailouts, the national bureaucracy which oversees every industry known to man; these old fashioned conservatives have been rudely crammed into the alt-right category.

The media and academic left said: everyone who dissents from the Establishment Right is alt-right! But there are so many great Establishment dissenters on the right! The Establishment Right has taken the last 30 years purging the GOP of traditional conservatives, of true constitutionalists, of Kirkians, of foreign policy realists. In fact, the Establishment Right has made it a primary part of its existence in casting away all dissenting conservative voices.

And now we are here. The media and academic left said: everyone who dissents from the Establishment Right is alt-right!

Now, we know due to the progressive war on vocabulary that racism (as employed vaguely by the left) is a great social sin. And we know that the alt-right’s founders were racists (some of them actually are, no doubt). But then, since all non-respectable conservatives are categorized as alt-right, and since the alt-right is by definition racist and therefore not worthy of listening to or engaging in conversation, we reach the sad and devastating conclusion that traditional conservatives too are racist and not worth listening to.

I’ve said it again and again in recent weeks: understand how the cultural revolution is being achieved! Christians, traditional conservatives, local community-oriented libertarians– all of these are not worth listening to because they are categorically alt-right! This is how the academic left revolts. They have borrowed the Fabian playbook!

And thus, the Christian preacher who jumps into the game denouncing racism (which is worthy of being denounced, of course, provided it is properly defined [which does not include something like: “a racist is someone who opposes the civil rights act or subsidies for peoples of color”]), via denouncing the alt-right walks right into the trap.

As I have said before, I have no particular reason to defend the alt-right, partially because there is no good definition of it. Truly and surely, some self-described alt-right figures are despicable. But what I am aware of is the attempt to demean good honorable thought-leaders, thinkers, cultural commentators by the means of categorizing them improperly.

Christians, especially their leaders, ought to have a much more robust skepticism about social narratives. They ought not comment simply on the headline. They must work harder to understand the cultural movements, the sources of narratives, and the dangerous era of statist propaganda under which we live.

In unknowingly catering to the cultural narratives of our time, it is my belief that they are contributing to the downfall of the principles and foundations of western civilization.

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