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Reformed Libertarian Blog Posts

Let the Chips Fall

One of the biggest criticisms that people like Dave Smith of Part of the Problem Podcast, and Tom Woods (who needs no introduction) had of the Libertarian Party (LP) during the recent election cycle was the cozying up to the Left that the LP inexplicably decided was a good tactic.

Bill Weld and Gary Johnson were always nice about Hillary, a murderous and bloodthirsty animal, but oh boy, Trump was the worst thing in the entire world because he said mean things.

Their policy decisions also pandered to the Left. The LP seemed to think that people weren’t allowed freedom of association and need I bring up baking cakes here?

Where did all of this get the LP? Not much of anywhere. They can claim that they had growth, and that’s all fine and dandy, but nothing of substance really happened. Tom Woods specifically kept making the point that the Left has no respect for libertarians and thus cozying up to them will bring nothing but ridicule (what’s up half-naked dancing guy?). It’s not like we are going to make any converts this way because we are providing a bastardized version of (l)ibertarianism.

Why do I bring this up now?

Unfortunately, many pop evangelical Christians seem to have the same strategy as the LP. The past couple of days, every well known pastor and their mother has come out against white nationalism and Nazism. Making declarations that it’s evil, and we cannot stand for the sin of racism!

It’s hard not believe this is to try to stay relevant in a world that is ever becoming more hostile towards Christianity. If we can just get mainstream approval on this, then maybe we won’t be hated for believing homosexuality and abortion are sins just as heinous as racism!

But will this pandering actually doing anything? Count me skeptical. Why? Because it’s not honest. The world isn’t going to suddenly be open to the Gospel because we take their side on a basic belief of 2017 when on everything else we disagree.

Much like Tom Woods pointed this out in his wonderful speech to libertarians at LP Convention last year. We should be unashamed in our libertarian beliefs. Be bold, don’t back down, and let the chips fall where they may.

May we be even more so for the Gospel.

And boldness? Boldness in belief doesn’t require you to take self-described “brave” stands that literally everyone else is taking. I feel no need to sign a petition against racism. It’s just that simple.

And racism is bad, but coming out against it is not going to get Christianity mainstream acceptance to agree with something we’ve already believed for years. And the left doesn’t really care about us because the Gospel is offensive either way.

@AndrewIsker pointed this out beautifully on Twitter in a thread:

Compare and contrast how evangelical leaders talk about white nationalism and homosexuality. For one they will use every ounce of fire and brimstone they can possibly summon. For the other, they will say “we have to be gentle, patient, kind, gracious, and careful not to give offense, they are broken & hurting.” If you aren’t willing to use the same terms for the sin the zeitgeist adores, I don’t want to hear your condemnation of the sin they hate.

As the kids say, that’s straight fire.

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Why is it the Mises Institute and not the Hayek Institute?

UnknownHans-Hermann Hoppe very clearly explains in this article.  Below is an excerpt:

My thesis is that Hayek’s greater prominence has little if anything to do with his economics. There is little difference in Mises’s and Hayek’s economics. Indeed, most economic ideas associated with Hayek were originated by Mises, and this fact alone would make Mises rank far above Hayek as an economist. But most of today’s professed Hayekians are not trained economists. Few have actually read the books that are responsible for Hayek’s initial fame as an economist, i.e., his Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle and his Prices and Production. And I venture the guess that there exist no more than 10 people alive today who have studied, from cover to cover, his Pure Theory of Capital.

Rather, what explains Hayeks greater prominence is Hayek’s work, mostly in the second half of his professional life, in the field of political philosophy — and here, in this field, the difference between Hayek and Mises is striking indeed.

My thesis is essentially the same one also advanced by my friend Ralph Raico: Hayek is not a classical liberal at all, or a “Radikalliberaler” as the NZZ, as usual clueless, has just recently referred to him. Hayek is actually a moderate social democrat, and since we live in the age of social democracy, this makes him a “respectable” and “responsible” scholar. Hayek, as you may recall, dedicated his Road to Serfdom to “the socialists in all parties.” And the socialists in all parties now pay him back in using Hayek to present themselves as “liberals.”

Now to the proof, and I rely for this mostly on the Constitution of Liberty, and his three volumeLaw, Legislation, and Liberty which are generally regarded as Hayek’s most important contributions to the field of political theory.

According to Hayek, government is “necessary” to fulfill the following tasks: not merely for “law enforcement” and “defense against external enemies” but “in an advanced society government ought to use its power of raising funds by taxation to provide a number of services which for various reasons cannot be provided, or cannot be provided adequately, by the market.” (Because at all times an infinite number of goods and services exist that the market does not provide, Hayek hands government a blank check.)

Among these goods and services are: ‘protection against violence, epidemics, or such natural forces as floods and avalanches, but also many of the amenities which make life in modern cities tolerable, most roads … the provision of standards of measure, and of many kinds of information ranging from land registers, maps and statistics to the certification of the quality of some goods or services offered in the market.’

Additional government functions include “the assurance of a certain minimum income for everyone”; government should “distribute its expenditure over time in such a manner that it will step in when private investment flags”; it should finance schools and research as well as enforce “building regulations, pure food laws, the certification of certain professions, the restrictions on the sale of certain dangerous goods (such as arms, explosives, poisons and drugs), as well as some safety and health regulations for the processes of production; and the provision of such public institutions as theaters, sports grounds, etc.”; and it should make use of the power of “eminent domain” to enhance the “public good.”

Moreover, it generally holds that “there is some reason to believe that with the increase in general wealth and of the density of population, the share of all needs that can be satisfied only by collective action will continue to grow.”

Further, government should implement an extensive system of compulsory insurance (“coercion intended to forestall greater coercion”), public, subsidized housing is a possible government task, and likewise “city planning” and “zoning” are considered appropriate government functions — provided that “the sum of the gains exceed the sum of the losses.” And lastly, “the provision of amenities of or opportunities for recreation, or the preservation of natural beauty or of historical sites or scientific interest … Natural parks, nature-reservations, etc.” are legitimate government tasks.

In short, Hayek is respectable because he’s largely just a run of the mill social democrat type. Of course, he made vital contributions to Austrian Economic theory, especially relating to the Austrian Business Cycle Theory. But economics is not political theory. In fact, in some ways, his name can do libertarians harm. After all, once we explain the true libertarian position on issues like Universal Basic Income (a common issue these days) both non-libertarians and left-libertarians will say: “well but even Hayek was for it!” Of course he was; he wasn’t a pure private-property libertarian. Thus, it is for this reason that he is a respectable Austrian, not an extremist like Mises!

And besides this, I think, another reason for mainstream approval of Hayek (at least 10 years ago) was the fact that his epistemology was different than Mises’. Hayek adhered to the modern “logical positivism” epistemology, which, being an empirical school is acceptable where Mises’ “radical apriorism” is not. Rationalism is definitely out of favor today, as the philosophical establishment decries logic and instead embraces “science” and “observation.” This was part of the very “revolt against reason” against which Mises stood firm. Mises is considered here again as an extremist, not beholden to the modern god of “Science.” That is, he accepted apriori statements as discoverable and true and even as the foundation for all economic laws.

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Riddlebarger on the Old Covenant Context of Romans 13

I am quite convinced that understanding the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant is foundational to properly exegeting Romans 13:1-7. I call this the “legitimacy interpretation.” I believe Paul is applying Jesus’ words in John 18:36 to the situation in Rome. I touched on this a bit in a previous post and I will do so more in the future. Here are some worthwhile comments from Kim Riddlebarger.

Another reason debate arises about this section of Romans is due to the Old Testament background as to how the people of Israel were to relate to the pagan kings around them. Jews viewed all Gentile nations in light of Israel’s divinely appointed mission–Israel was God’s chosen nation and the object of God’s care and affection…

as God’s chosen covenant community, the nation of Israel was not to submit to any pagan king. In Deuteronomy 17:15, we read “be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite.” Israel’s king must be a Jew. Thus it would be very difficult for Jewish converts to Christianity to adopt a Christian view of state…

As the covenant community, Israel was not to take for itself a Gentile king (much like its people were forbidden from inter-marrying with Gentiles), even though pagan kings were raised up by God according to his providential purposes. Jews could not but help think of their history and the Egyptian Pharaoh, from whose hand God had rescued Israel. It is because of Israel’s unfaithfulness that the nation came under the covenant sanctions, was conquered by the Babylonians and hauled off into captivity, and forced to submit to a Gentile king…

At the time Paul writes his letter to the church in Rome in the mid-fifties of the first century, the Roman empire was largely indifferent to Christianity. Throughout the Book of Acts, we read that Paul, a Roman citizen, is able to appeal to Roman authorities to protect him from those Jews who threatened to kill him. But there is also some indication that things were beginning to change. In Acts 18:2, we read that Paul “met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.” This is a reference to the famous “edict of Claudius” which was promulgated in AD 50. According to the Roman historian Suetonius, rioting broke out in Rome among the Jews, instigated by a certain “Chrestus.” Most scholars believe this to be a reference to Christian preaching about Jesus Christ in the synagogues. This produced a violent reaction from the Jews, which, in turn, lead to rioting. To keep the peace, emperor Claudius ordered all Jews expelled from the city of Rome. But his edict was eased when the rioting ceased and there were many Jews and Christians back in Rome soon thereafter. The Jews in the Roman church would have likely considered Rome to be an evil Gentile nation and if, whenever the emperor felt like it, a persecutor of the Jewish people. Jews would have been very leery of being told to submit to such a government…

Now, as for the reason as to why Paul addresses this subject in the way in which he does in Romans, the issue is primarily a pastoral one. There are Jews in this church who have converted to Christianity. How can they now be expected to submit to a Gentile king? And a pagan king whom they feared and who has already ordered them out of the city. Gentile Christians faced an entirely different situation. If Rome viewed Christianity as a branch of Judaism, Christians would be offered the same toleration the Roman government gave to Jews. But if Christianity was regarded as a different religion entirely, then what legal protections would Christians now have? And how should Christians view a state which did not grant them official standing? This means that the issue here is not theoretical–“what is the ideal state?”–but practical, “how should Christians in Rome view this pagan empire?”…

We must also keep in mind the specific situation Paul is addressing with this congregation. Paul is not dealing with the question of what a Christian should do if/when the state (or its ruler) becomes a tyrant. The apostle is not writing a systematic treatise on civil government. Rather, Paul is affirming to Jewish and Gentile believers in the city of Rome that the Roman state is a servant of God [insofar as it legitimately exercises its legitimate authority]…

In context, then, Paul is telling Jewish and Gentile Christians in the Roman church that the Roman government is a legitimate civil authority [under the New Covenant – unlike under the Old Covenant], because such authority come from God. Christians should, therefore, submit to the government. But the question about what to do if and when the Roman government exceeds this God-given authority is not addressed here…

In verse 2, Paul goes on to say that there is no basis upon which to rebel against legitimate civil authority… Again, the question as to whether and when the state forfeits such authority is not answered here. As one writer puts it, what Paul does say is “resistance to legitimate authority legitimately exercised is wrong.”

Thus Rome has legitimately authority over Christians (insofar as it exercises a very narrow task), unlike pagan kings ruling over Israel.

Riddlebarger has other good things to say, but his treatment suffers one significant flaw. He believes “established by God” refers to God’s providence. I believe he is wrong and contradicts himself. If our submission stems from providence, then it is not limited. God establishes tyrants, just as he did against Israel in the Old Covenant. But Riddlebarger rightly notes that we are not required to submit to them. Thus, the simple fact that a ruler rules, according to God’s providence, is no reason that we must submit to them. Israel was not required to submit to foreign rulers who exercised dominion over Israelites at various times. Rather, God blessed their rebellion against foreign rulers to the extent that they obeyed Mosaic law (2 Kings 18:7, etc).

“Established” here, in my opinion, refers to the authority of sword given to all image bearers to defend and exercise vengeance according to lex talionis, as articulated in Genesis 9:6. Anyone who exercises that God-given authority, whether pagan or Christian, is exercising God-given authority and must be submitted to.

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The Alt-Right and Conservatism

In immediately distancing themselves from the so-called “alt-right,” many of its Republican critics are distinguishing between the Respectable Right and this “alt-right.” The respectable right, apparently, includes those who have committed mass war crimes and national level extortion rackets (IRS). That is, it is just fine and acceptable for a conservative to be on the side of the anti-liberty and anti-constitutional drug war, to be on the side of imperial militarism, to be on the side of government intervention in money and banking, to be on the side of the evil income tax, the monopolization of educating the children, and so on. But, apparently, the line is to be drawn at racism. This is the bane of selective outrage.

Furthermore, it casts aside traditional conservatives without a place in the right side of the political spectrum! Whatever you think of the traditionalists, to put them in the same camp as Richard Spencer and others of his ilk is a serious mistake. Spencer and the KKK and actual neo-Nazis (the dozen or so that exist–despite the media’s fear mongering that they are taking over) are leftists. Both economically and politically.

The traditionalist conservatives have been mistreated and pushed aside by the mainstream right since the Reagan years. They were eventually forced to distinguish between themselves and the Respectables by referring to themselves as the paleoconservatives (Gottfried’s phrase). But now, since we are only given two options (respectable and alternative), the traditionalists are equated with the so called neo-Nazis. Thus, anyone who is concerned about the border (for economic reasons– fallacies these reasons might be), the culture, the weakening of local governments, the nationalization of education, and the politicalization of life itself, is awkwardly and ahistorically being placed into the alt-right camp. But that’s part of the trap against the paleos. After all, the alt-right is by the media’s definition Literally Fascist. Therefore, we know what we Ought to Think about the paleos, the traditionalists, the limited government/anti-GOP conservatives.

See how it works?

As my article last week showed, this is cultural revolution via language manipulation.

And it’s not just the left falling for it. Evangelicals like Russell Moore and the Gospel Coalition seem to be leading the way. They piously reject the alt-right, but no one is questioning what the phrase might actually apply to. I have no special need to defend the alt-right, whatever it is. But I sure as snow want to oppose the herding of the conservative movement into a GOP-approved alliance. Nothing could be more destructive for the longevity of traditional social norms.

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When You Make Bees Angry, They Sting

The internet is ablaze with posts and reports on the so-called Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. The emphasis in the news, of course, is the presence of Nazis, White Nationalists, and KKKers, though to the extent to which these are actually dominating the rally is unknown– never trust the media and their vague phraseology.

The rally was concocted by Jason Kessler, a blogger. It was in response to a recent decision by Charlottesville to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park. Fascinatingly, the blogger who organized the rally is being represented by the libertarian Rutherford Institute (headed by John Whitehead, a friend of Ron Paul who publishes at FEE, Lew Rockwell, etc.) and the left-leaning ACLU! The rally has broken out in violence and even a death.

Let’s say, for the sake of the argument, that this rally is 100% filled with actual white nationalists and white supremacists and so on. For the record, this is not the actual case. But let’s just say.

Does this small uprising surprise anyone? The last 5 years especially we’ve seen a doubling down on the “American history is racist” narrative. We’ve seen increased spotlight on the idea that certain aspects of history are just too offensive to tolerate, that certain ideas associated with the past (such as secession, nullification, private property) are therefore also offensive.

Robert E. Lee, who for a hundred years after the Civil War was revered as a man by both the North and the South, is now being re-characterized as a symbol of racism. This rally isn’t about Lee himself, it’s merely a single stimulus in a great set of government and media-driven attempts to undermine certain cultures that are deemed unacceptable. This set included the removal of Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill.

Eventually, people are going to react. Baiting members of a certain culture tends to bring out the extreme in them. Isn’t that what we have learned with the American interventionism in the Muslim Middle East? We poke and prod and —bam!– Islamic extremist reactionaries. Why would this be any different in the American South?

The lesson here is not that racists are bad (sure they are– but this is hardly the lesson here) or that, see! white nationalism is violent and unconfined! No, the lesson is that when you throw rocks at hornet nests, you get stung. Of course, I am not going to assume that every attender of the rally is a white nationalist (that is, not everyone is a hornet), but the analogy should be understood.

Maybe people don’t like when governments and PC-professionals piously and arrogantly preach at them. When some individuals overreact, we are supposed to take this as proof of the culture’s degeneracy. The cycle goes on. This is part and parcel of the Progressive’s poke-and-prod method of cultural revolution (since neoconservatives are Progressives, the method is entirely consistent with Middle East foreign relations analysis).

I’m not one for rallies, preferring instead the comfort of the couch, but the motivation behind this rally is generally understandable. Of course, we ought to always oppose the wrongdoers who decide to show up and cause a mess at these things, even if we have the insight to explain why they are acting this way.

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Podcast Site Updated!

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In the last week, I’ve pushed hard to get the podcast revamped. The new site for the podcast is podcast.reformedlibertarian.com.

There, you will find all the feeds, links, subscription information, etc. I’ve handled requests to get the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, SoundCloud; as well as a prominent download option. I’ve got some fresh logos up and my new mic came today as well.

I tried the best I could to make sure all the files and links were working and updated. If anyone sees anything wrong or missing or has more requests about features, feel free to let me know.

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Thank You, Google

Google engineer James Damore wrote a ten-page memo (PDF), titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.”  Google fired him.

You know all about the contents already.  To make a long story short, he suggests…

…that biological differences could help explain the gender gap in tech employment in Silicon Valley, and criticized Google’s policy of silencing discussion on the issue.

And wouldn’t you know it, Google attempted to silence discussion on the issue.

The ten-page memo is well written and well documented; based on my quick (and likely not perfect) count, he has thirty-four hyperlinks and eleven footnotes.

The reaction from the left is exactly what you would expect.  A typical example is offered by The Guardian.  They found an expert on the topic:

One former Harvard student, who was in the systems biology program at the same time as Damore, told the Guardian that it was not surprising to find out he was the author of the controversial manifesto, which was widely criticized for relying on shoddy science.

“His comments do not reflect the ability to read literature critically that a typical Harvard student develops over the course of actually completing a PhD,” the former classmate said.

A systems biology student.  What is systems biology?

Systems biology is based on the understanding that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It has been responsible for some of the most important developments in the science of human health and environmental sustainability.

This doesn’t sound like someone qualified to pass judgement on the science in Mr. Damore’s memo.  Let’s find someone who is.  How about Jordan Peterson?  Who is Jordan Peterson?

With his students and colleagues, Dr. Peterson has published more than a hundred scientific papers, transforming the modern understanding of personality, and revolutionized the psychology of religion with his now-classic book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. As a Harvard professor, he was nominated for the prestigious Levinson Teaching Prize, and is regarded by his current University of Toronto students as one of three truly life-changing teachers.

He sounds qualified.  What does he have to say?  Interestingly, he has just done an interview with Mr. Damore; it can be seen here.  To summarize, the science cited by Mr. Damore is consistent with the current academic research.

Not enough for you?  The Google Memo: Four Scientists Respond:

Lee Jussim is a professor of social psychology at Rutgers University and was a Fellow and Consulting Scholar at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (2013-15).

The author of the Google essay on issues related to diversity gets nearly all of the science and its implications exactly right.

Since earning his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in personality psychology from the University of Michigan David P. Schmitt has authored or co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

Alongside other evidence, the employee argued, in part, that this research indicates affirmative action policies based on biological sex are misguided. Maybe, maybe not.

Geoffrey Miller is an evolutionary psychology professor at University of New Mexico.

Among commentators who claim the memo’s empirical facts are wrong, I haven’t read a single one who understand sexual selection theory, animal behavior, and sex differences research.

For what it’s worth, I think that almost all of the Google memo’s empirical claims are scientifically accurate. Moreover, they are stated quite carefully and dispassionately. Its key claims about sex differences are especially well-supported by large volumes of research across species, cultures, and history.

Debra W Soh is a Toronto based science writer who has a PhD in sexual neuroscience from the University of York.

As a woman who’s worked in academia and within STEM, I didn’t find the memo offensive or sexist in the least. I found it to be a well thought out document, asking for greater tolerance for differences in opinion, and treating people as individuals instead of based on group membership.

Within the field of neuroscience, sex differences between women and men—when it comes to brain structure and function and associated differences in personality and occupational preferences—are understood to be true, because the evidence for them (thousands of studies) is strong. This is not information that’s considered controversial or up for debate; if you tried to argue otherwise, or for purely social influences, you’d be laughed at.

Conclusion

Why do I thank Google?  Google, by firing Mr. Damore, might have done more to smash political correctness on this topic than anyone who came before him.  We will have to see how all of this progresses; let’s just say I have the same feeling I had during Trump’s campaign.

We have seen, with the Trump election, that there are things under the surface – taboo topics – that are only looking for an opportunity to break wide open.  Trump offered that opportunity to those who were previously not allowed to voice rejection of the progressive agenda.  Mr. Damore might have done the same thing here.  And he has the scientists of academia on his side – an advantage that the Trump supporters didn’t (and still don’t) enjoy.

Google has brought to the fore this discussion, out in the open.  The science is on the side of Mr. Damore and on the side of reason:  men and women are different.

Why is this controversial?

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The Intolerant Scam of Diversity

I stopped by my local library today to see that they have a table devoted to “diversity.”  I decided to browse the books they had on display, but I noticed nothing that suggested “diversity.”  To the contrary I noticed a theme of “unity” around various left-wing, liberal crusade-type issues.  For example, the “diversity” table had 6 or 8 books praising homosexuality.  There were 4 or 5 books bemoaning racism, and 3 or 4 books on Islam.  And maybe a book or two sprinkled in on “climate change” for good measure. My, how diverse!

Let me be frank.  I have no problem with these authors writing these books to express their viewpoint.  My problem is with the library, the political system, the governmental bureaucracies, indeed much of the country that uses the word “diversity” when their support for ACTUAL diversity is non-existent.  It is the height of hypocrisy to gather a cabal of books from one ideological camp and one camp ONLY and then braggadocios and smugly announce to the world that you are showcasing “diversity.”

If they REALLY wanted to highlight diversity, then there would be one book praising homosexuality and another book pointing out the dangers of such a lifestyle.  Maybe there would be one book by a gay person talking about why they like being gay.  Right next to a book by a straight person explaining why they enjoy being straight.  Instead of numerous books on white supremacy and how racist America is, maybe they could have one book on that topic and a more “diverse” book explaining how America managed to elect a black president in 2008, while rejecting his white opponent.  And then in 2012 re-electing the same black president (regardless of his many shortcomings), once again defeating a white opponent.  That doesn’t sound like a very racist country to me.  But I’m just trying to be “diverse.”

Perhaps instead of books devoted solely to “climate change.”  They could mix in a couple of books proving that this topic is one of the biggest political scams of our time.  Remember when “climate change” used to called “global warming”?  What happened?  The hucksters pushing this crusade found out that other people were finding out that the world was actually getting COLDER in some places.  So much for global warming.  So now they call it “climate change.”  And suckers by the truckloads still fall for the “sky is falling” environmental ruse coming from the self-proclaimed experts.  Don’t get me wrong, the climate change hucksters can write their books all they want.  It’s a free country.  But if we are truly going to be “diverse” then maybe the library should promote some different views.  Because there are many of them out there.

One final thought on our library’s glorious “diversity” table.  Why is it that Islam is the only religion represented under the umbrella of “diversity”?  Obviously, as a Christian, I have a “horse in the race” (so to speak).  But wouldn’t diversity…. REAL diversity mean you would have a book on Islam, and one on Christianity, and one on Judaism, and one on Hinduism, etc?  Let’s hear the “diverse” viewpoints, rather than having only one shoved down our throat.  And of course the irony here is to use the terms “diverse” and “Isalm” in the same sentence.  Muslims aren’t too big on diversity you know.  Except for maybe liberal Muslims, who once again, are the only ones who count for the diversity zealots.

The obvious conclusion is this.  The library considers diversity to only include gays, blacks, Muslims, and environmental extremists.  That’s not diversity, that is narrow-mindedness.  That’s not diversity.  That is liberalism.  And the whole “diversity” mantra that so many in this nation have fallen for is not diversity at all.  It’s liberal indoctrination that pushes one viewpoint; and if you offer a differing opinion you will be labeled, ridiculed, black-balled, and skewered for not being “diverse” enough.  What a joke.

I think my visit to the library made some people nervous.  Perhaps it was the amount of time I stood at the “diversity” table rolling my eyes and growling.  Perhaps it was my intimidating appearance.  After all, a nicely-dressed, bearded, white man is public enemy number one in a world of “diversity.”  Maybe I scared the staff when I took my cell phone out to take a few pics.  Whatever the cause, I noticed the security guard quickly made his way over to me and stood close by.  Maybe he expected trouble.  But I wasn’t there to make trouble.  I was there to learn about diversity, but all I learned is that diversity is a sham.  True diversity would be a mixture of viewpoints.  But the liberal gestapo won’t stand for that.  To them, diversity is whatever THEY SAY diversity is.  And if you have a view that “diverses” from their definition, then you are a bigot.

It’s a free country.  Believe what you want.  Read what you want.  Write what you want.  And do what you want.  But don’t hijack a word like “diversity.”  Then re-define in the most close-minded way possible; and then browbeat the world for not being “diverse” enough.  Many people fall for this “diversity” non-sense.  But it’s not a game I’m willing to play.  It’s a scam.  It’s a sham.  And it’s a shame.  And this concludes my rant for the day.  Thank you for your time.

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Libertarianism and Christian Strategy

Here is a quote from my most recent article:

Libertarianism exists in the world of ideas, it confronts man at the intellectual level– what the world needs is intellectual confrontation. To achieve a free society, the libertarian must primarily preach liberty, not put better people in power. The government will always be a reflection of the opinions held by society’s members and to cater to popularity is to protect, not overcome, modern man’s awe of the state.

Following this, a member of the Reformed Libertarian Facebook group asked:

How is this functionally different from dominionism? Let me demonstrate:

“Christianity exists in the world of ideas, it confronts man at the intellectual level– what the world needs is intellectual confrontation. To achieve a free society, the Christian must primarily preach repentance and the gospel, not put better people in power. The government will always be a reflection of the opinions held by society’s members and to cater to popularity is to protect, not overcome, modern man’s awe of the state.”

I guess what I’m asking is, what is the fundamental difference between a libertarian society and a Christian one? Or, perhaps more to the point, how could you possibly hope to sustain a libertarian society apart from the work of the gospel in the hearts of men?

Here is the response:

Your question is a little confused, I think. Firstly, I certainly agree, and have stated often, that Christianity, being an ideology, has the same strategy as libertarianism: persuasion and argumentation. It too confronts man at the intellectual level. This isn’t per se dominionism.

Second, the aim of the gospel is to save men eternally, not to create a free society. Preaching repentance has as its primary goal the eternal salvation of man, not the freedom from tyrants.

Libertarian societies are sustained when men adhere to property rights and free markets, regardless of whether many people are saved. As the history of Christianity shows, many men can be saved whilst contradicting the libertarian doctrine of political freedom. Adherence to the gospel does not promise a free society, unfortunately. Christian men still sin via statism.

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New Podcast Site– Link Herein

I’m publishing new podcasts over at the new podcast subdomain– just posted one now.

I’m going to make sure the feed worked to iTunes and other podcast platforms as well.

The URL for the new feed is this (it’s also linked at the top of the new podcast site): http://feeds.feedburner.com/ReformedLibertarianPodcast. Hoping that works, but I’ll be watching to make sure it does.

Once the new logo competition is over, I’ll update all the graphics.

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Need Help: New RL Logo Competition

I want a newer, more modern logo/icon for the site (I especially have the podcast in mind– for which I just recorded a new episode for release this week). So at the suggestion of a member of the Reformed Libertarian group, I’m having a little competition. I am looking for something sleek and simple, modern and flat. I like dark blues, I think, though other colors are welcome if you desire. It should have the words Reformed Libertarian featured prominently. You can include the subtitle if you desire: “Austrian Economics and Paleo-libertarianism.” The icon itself can be RL or it can be an image/artwork, whatever you think looks good. I want to convey liberty (so flames/torches can be included, though not necessary if you have better ideas), and studiousness (so books can be included too, if you think you can pull it off). If you have any further questions let me know. Submit them to me on Facebook or email them to cjay.engel90 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Deadline: I think this Saturday evening is reasonable. Sunday will be the vote.

I was playing with this one to the right earlier but it’s not quite there. Haven’t really decided whether I like the crest or not.Reformed (4)

You can submit as many as you’d like.

I will pick my top 5 or so and have the Reformed Libertarian Group vote on them.

Winner gets a copy of the yet-to-be released Murray Rothbard book of essays and articles on the Progressive Era, which the Mises Inst. is releasing in October.

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The Utility of Non-Christian Libertarians

In the Reformed Libertarian Facebook group, there was a commenter some time ago who indicated that he was trying to learn most of his libertarian theory from Christian sources, rather than from “secular” libertarians. The first mistake made here was the assumption that Reformed Libertarianism is somehow libertarianism of a different flavor than Rothbardian libertarianism. This one drives me crazy, though I suppose our phrase can be misleading. Our libertarianism is Rothbardianism, it’s just that we’re setting it within a broader philosophical context, as would a “Natural Law libertarian” or a “utilitarian libertarian.”

Besides this, I also want emphasize something I said a few months ago: as Christians, one of the kingdoms to which we belong is the secular kingdom, the earthly and temporary kingdom which allows us to share goals in common with non-Christians. We long for a better world for our children, for increased prosperity, for property-rights based justice. These things are worthy of banding together with people of all worldviews (so long as we don’t confuse this earthly kingdom work with the heavenly kingdom work, which should be exclusive and discriminatory in who we team up with).

Thus, if property rights define the ideal social order, and there are libertarians who share this vision with us, they are allies with us. If they contribute to the logic of property rights and laissez faire market economics, they are to be promoted and praised. Equally, Christians, even those of the Reformed persuasion, who oppose the property rights order are not part of the liberty movement and we needn’t pretend that they are.

In my experience, most Christians are awful on political/economic concerns. They are not individualistic enough, they don’t think for themselves and, most importantly, they refuse to learn from so-called secularists. 

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Paul Gottfried on Insufferable Steve vs. Ron Paul

Paul Gottfried:

I’m also not surprised that CATO and Horwitz have been raging against Ron Paul as well as Jeff Deist. Why wouldn’t they? Unlike his left-libertarian critics, the former Texas Congressman harks back philosophically to the American Right before its Buckleyite reformulation in the 1950s. Paul not only favors free markets and the gold standard. He has no interest in waging crusades worldwide on behalf of the latest version of “American democratic values.” And unlike such current left libertarian heroes as Jamie Kirchik, Dr. Paul feels no yearning to export gay rights to Putin’s Russia or to impose gay marriage through federal courts on the entire country. It’s also been rumored that Dr. Paul attends a conservative Protestant church and still hasn’t conferred with Bibi.

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Steve the Insufferable

Impugning motives and ascribing sinister meaning to words is what Nancy MacLean does in her recent book. –Jeff Deist

The left-libertarian beltway “liberaltarian” vs. Mises Institute Rothbardian libertarian battle continues. It’s reflective not only in the definition of libertarianism employed by each, the former being far more vague and wishy-washy, but also in the cultural habits and tendencies as well. The leftists, being proponents of the disgraceful crusade on western cultural traditions and having a fixation on cultural diversity and internationalism for their own sake, lunge at the opportunity to smear their Rothbardian opponents with the tired cries of racism and bigotry. 2b78f2e25f06ed43f7dfe89c0ae9b1bf

Everything that offends them is “proof” of Nazism and fascism. Because the left has a difficult time engaging in rational discourse, they often dismiss everything they don’t like– anything with a remote characteristic of tradition and opposition to the god of diversity– as fascistic. It is the same disease that has infected everyone from the Southern Poverty Law Center to the Soros-funded protest movements to the rhetoric of Maxine Waters, Hillary Clinton, and Rachel Maddow. If someone’s opinion isn’t in line with their “melting pot” vision of Utopia, why, they must be Literally Hitler! It’s what the media says of Trump, it’s what leftist outlets like Salon and Slate say of conservatives in general, and sadly its what self-described libertarians like Roderick Long, David Boaz, Steve Horowitz, Jeffrey Tucker, and even key people at Students for Liberty, Reason Magazine, the Cato Institute, and Libertarianism.org say of the Rothbardians at the Mises Institute.

The greatest theorists of libertarianism and practitioners of libertarian strategies in our time are under constant attack for not towing the Progressive line on a litany of issues. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul, Tom Woods, Walter Block, Justin Raimondo, Stephan Kinsella. See my Progressive Libertarians Against the Old Guard essay for more on this phenomenon and backdrop. The Mises Institute’s newer President, Jeff Deist, has now officially made the list with his recent speech at Mises University.

In the speech, which was a call to take libertarianism to the heart and soul of the American people, Deist pointed out that the despite the left’s conspiracy to eradicate traditions, social institutions, cultural habits, historical tendencies, religions from western civilization, there is still a strong grasp on these things among the population at large. Of course, they have been weakened by the impact of the State propaganda and media apparatus which includes the education cartel, Hollywood, and the despicable nature of democratic appeal. And yet, there is a growing tiredness of “taking it on the chin” amongst conservatives. They are tired of their skin-tone, their communities, their religion, being mocked by the pompous leftist “intellectuals.” Thus, there is a still a strain of commitment to these things they hold dear. As a Progressive and internationalist Washington DC stamps down on their throats, we must help them realize that family and culture is more important than the established state. In this sense then, Deist employed the historical phrase “blood and soil” to his own rhetorical use.

But for the insufferable Steve Horowitz, this was all he needed to place the pin of Fascism square on Deist’s chest. Of course, Horowitz has long been obnoxious– stating he’d rather libertarians read Marx than Hoppe, calling everyone who is too conservative for him a Nazi-sympathizer. Upon reading Deist’s final sentence in the speech, which included the Offensive Phrase, Horowitz tripped over himself to call out the Mises Institute’s fascism on Facebook. Yes, the Mises Institute and Murray Rothbard, critics of all central planning and totalitarian rule, are to be regarded as in the same camp as Mussolini himself! It was the Nazi troops which invaded Mises’ apartment in Vienna, burned his library and caused him to escape, barely, to the west. The idea that the Mises Institute employs fascist and nazi sympathizers is a ludicrous proposition, of course, but for Steve the Insufferable there is a certain addiction to being as pompously absurd as possible. He has taken a line of fantasy right out of the Salon notebook of laughable strategies against the right.

Now, a normal person would interpret Jeff Deist’s words as follows: “we need to realize that people in this country still care about their traditions and their kinfolk, their culture. And we need to appeal to that, rather than join the leftist brigade of tearing it down.”

How a leftist interpreted his words: “he’s appealing to Nazi phrases and signaling his support of Hitler.”

You can’t make this stuff up. Leftists are insane and left-libertarians are a cancer on the movement. And as Jeff Deist pointed out on his own Facebook page, this action of “impugning motives and ascribing sinister meaning to words is what Nancy MacLean does in her recent book,” which for those of you who don’t know, was a sloppy and sorry attempt to discredit small-government conservatism by echoing the typical leftist battlecry: conservatives all hate children, want poor people to starve, and long for the rise of the slave-holding south!

And yet, here is Steve the Insufferable doing exactly what MacLean does. Down with Horowitz!

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Ecclesiastes 8:2

I heard a sermon yesterday on Ecclesiastes 8:1-9. Verse 2 says

I say, “Keep the command of the king because of the oath before God. (NASB)

The sermon observed that this passage was about seeing wisdom in the world and that one primary effect of having wisdom is submission to authority.

If you go to the New Testament, to Romans 13, the authorities that exist are appointed by… man? No, they’re appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God and those who resist bring judgment on themselves… Honor the king. The kings back in the New Testament, they were dirt bags. I don’t know how else to put it. They were killing Christians. They had no ethics whatsoever… Remember, those authorities placed over us are for our good… Wisdom respects authorities. It’s also a test of faith. Do you have faith or not?

The verse is not immediately clear. What is the “oath” referring to? Translations vary quite a bit. The ESV says “I say: Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him.” This translation would seem to fit with the above exhortation and with the view of most Christians today. But the NASB seems to refer not to God’s oath to the ruler, but to some kind of oath of man before God. The sermon recognized this, but wasn’t entirely clear about its meaning.

What makes this verse so serious in regards to keeping the king’s commandment is that he says for the sake of your oath to God. He brings God into the mixture. If we were simply to obey those in authority over us because we were afraid we were to be guillotined, or electrocuted, well, that’s restraint, that’s good, but if there’s resentment in the heart, if there’s hatred towards those leaders that are over us, that could be a dangerous thing.

Now, granted, during the time that this sermon was preached, it was a theocracy. God was on the throne, so to speak. God spoke to the king. Kings were inspired at times and we had the Word of God given through kings. Hopefully they were not corrupt. A lot of them were. But it was a theocracy so the Jews there had a commitment to God. They made an oath to serve the king and therefore they were serving God. So Solomon is saying, “Just remember, you are to obey me, but not for the sake of me, but because of the fact that you made an oath. You made an oath that you would obey the king and therefore you would obey God.

Now, those of us that are born again – those of us that are Christians – we desire not to go the way of the broad path. We desire not to go the way that everyone else is going. Everyone else loves to slam the president… We are Christians now, we joined ourselves to the church. We joined ourselves to saints. And if you join this church, we make an oath, a vow to live a life worthy of a follower of Christ. It means we’re not going to be insurrectionists. We’re not going to be rebelling against the authorities…

Obey the king for the right reason, is what Solomon is saying here. It is because of your oath to God.

So the “oath” in question is interpreted as an oath to obey God. In the Old Covenant, this oath to obey God meant an oath to obey the king because the king spoke for God and it refers to a specific oath the Israelites took. In the New Covenant, this oath refers to the commitment of every Christian to obey God. Our obedience to God means we obey the commands of the president.

Again, this is a difficult verse, so I don’t mean to single out this sermon. I comment only to try to bring out some clarity. The above explanation does not seem to be consistent or clear. If the Israelite’s duty to obey the king was because the king was a prophet, then how can that apply to us today? Our oath to obey God would not translate into any requirement to obey our rulers, who are not prophets. The root of the confusion is a misunderstanding of what the “oath” in question refers to. It does not refer to an oath or vow to obey God. It does not refer to an oath to God, but an oath taken before God.

What, then, was the oath? First, note that for several generations God was the king of Israel. God was their earthly king who sat on his throne in the tabernacle making judgments and leading the Israelites in battle. But the Israelites lusted after the other nations and wanted a king like theirs (1 Sam 8:1-9; 19-22; 10:19). God knew this would happen, despite his warning not to (1 Sam 8:10-18), so in the Mosaic law, he provided direction for the establishment of a king.

When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. (Deut 17:14-5)

Note that it is the people who will be setting the king over themselves. God is said to choose the king, but the people set the king over themselves. God chose Saul by anointing him by the prophet Samuel (1 Sam. 10:1). God’s choice was revealed to the people through the drawing of lots (1 Sam. 10:20-24). Once this occurred, the people accepted Saul as their king (1 Sam. 10:24). Saul disobeyed God, so God rejected him as king an chose David instead (1 Sam 16:12). But Saul remained king over Israel until the people anointed David king (which was many years after God anointed David).

And Abner conferred with the elders of Israel, saying, “For some time past you have been seeking David as king over you. Now then bring it about, for the Lord has promised David, saying, ‘By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines, and from the hand of all their enemies.’”

And Abner said to David, “I will arise and go and will gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may reign over all that your heart desires.”(2 Sam 3:17-18, 21)

So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.” (2 Sam. 5:3)

Solomon was made king in the same manner.

And they made Solomon the son of David king a second time, and they anointed him as ruler for the Lord and Zadok as priest. Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father; and he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him. All the officials, the mighty men, and also all the sons of King David pledged allegiance to King Solomon. (1 Chron 29:23-24)

Commenting on these passages, as well as Ecclesiastes 8:2, Samuel Rutherford said “There is an oath betwixt the king and his people, laying on, by reciprocation of bands, mutual civil obligation upon the king to the people, and the people to the king (2 Sam 5:3; 1 Chron 11:3; 2 Chron 23:2, 3; 2 Kings 11:17; Eccl. 8:2)” (Lex, Rex). The NET translates the verse “Obey the king’s command, because you took an oath before God to be loyal to him.” Matthew Henry notes

We must be subject because of the oath of God, the oath of allegiance which we have taken to be faithful to the government, the covenant between the king and the people, 2 Chron. 23:16. David made a covenant, or contract, with the elders of Israel, though he was king by divine designation, 1 Chron. 11:3. “Keep the king’s commandments, for he has sworn to rule thee in the fear of God, and thou hast sworn, in that fear, to be faithful to him.” It is called the oath of God because he is a witness to it and will avenge the violation of it.

The oath is a contract. It neither implies divine authority for the ruler, nor obligates the people beyond the terms of the contract. Solomon says you should obey the king for the same reason you should obey your boss: because you agreed to. Unlike your boss, the king might kill you if you don’t. The rest of the passage is Solomon’s wise reflection on how to act before an almighty king who can kill any who disagree (note v9). Henry says “In short, it is dangerous contending with sovereignty.”

Thus this passage does not obligate us to obey every command of a ruler from the heart as part of our obedience to God.

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Senate Passes Russia, Iran, North Korea Sanctions Bill, 98-2!

Writes Daniel McAdams at the LRC blog:

Minutes ago the US Senate passed HR 3364, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act by a massive 98 yeas to two nays. Opposing the bill were Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rand Paul (R-KY). The bill passed in the House by 419-3 on Tuesday, with Reps Massie (R-KY), Amash (R-MI), and Duncan (R-TN) opposing.

The new sanctions bill ties President Trump’s hands on foreign policy, as he will be forced to ask Congress for permission to ease the measures.

Speaking in favor of the legislation, Sen. Bob Menendez (R-NJ) cited the need to send Russia a message that it cannot meddle in US elections, that it cannot annex Crimea, that it cannot invade Ukraine, and that it cannot indiscriminately kill women and children in Syria.

Those of us living in the actual real world recognize that the first count remains unproven and the remaining counts are simply fatuous, fact-free bluster by Washington’s uninformed, group-thinking, foreign policy elites. Fueled by the millions coming in to the military-industrial complex.

The House and Senate passed “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” now goes to President Trump’s desk, where he faces a damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t scenario. A veto would certainly be over-ridden, handing the president a bitter bi-partisan blow that would likely end whatever aspirations he may retain to keep his campaign promises to get along better with Russia. Similarly, signing the bill signs a death warrant for any foreign policy different than the one served up by the neocons for decades: create enemies; push war propaganda; collect massive checks from military industrial complex; demonize any American refusing to go along; repeat, adding bombs as necessary.

Checkmate, President Trump.

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Trump vs. the Transexuals

Since everyone’s talking about Trump and transexuals in the military (a topic which exposes the sheer degradation of classical western civilization), here is Rothbard commenting on Clinton’s decision regarding gays in the military back in ’93:
“This brings us to the first controversial move of the Clinton-elect pre-administration: eliminating the ban on gays in the military. The military should be considered like any other business, organization, or service; its decisions should be based on what’s best for the military, and “rights” have nothing to do with such decisions. The military’s long-standing ban on gays in the military has nothing to do with “rights” or even “homophobia”; rather it is the result of long experience as well as common sense.
Finally, [left]-libertarians will fall back on their standard argument that while all these strictures do apply to private organizations, and that “rights” do not apply to such organizations, egalitarian rights do apply to such governmental outfits as the military. But, as I have written in the case of whether someone has “the right” to stink up a public library just because it is public, this sort of nihilism has to be abandoned. I’m in favor of privatizing everything, but short of that glorious day, existing government services should be operated as efficiently as possible. Surely, the postal service should be privatized, but, pending that happy day, should we advocate allowing postal workers to toss all the mail into the dumpster, in the name of making that service as terrible as possible? Apart from the horrors such a position would impose upon the poor consumers (that’s us), there is another grave error to this standard libertarian position (which I confess I once held), that it besmirches and confuses the fair concept of “rights,” and transmutes it from a strict defense of an individual’s person and property, to a confused, egalitarian mishmash. Hence, “anti-discrimination” or even affirmative action “rights” in public services sets the conditions for their admittedly monstrous expansion into the private realm.”
Besides the fact that there is no libertarian reason to embrace affirmative action (there’s no inherent “right” to a job in the military) in government agencies, there’s also the hilarious irony of Progressives everywhere dismayed that their precious victim class will not be allowed to join the Slaughtering Class
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The Five Best Books I’ve Ever Read

This summer has been one of book buying. During my move, I took the opportunity to purify my bookshelves, opening up tons of space for better quality. In getting my office setup, it was fun to look back over everything I own. Here are the five best (defined in terms of their impact on my thought) books I’ve ever read:

Five: Power and Market by Murray Rothbard

Four: Betrayal of the American Right by Murray Rothbard

Three: Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray Rothbard by Justin Raimondo

Two: Democracy: The God that Failed by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

One: Religion, Reason, and Revelation by Gordon H. Clark

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Romans 13 – Where is the Exception?

The following is from Douglas Moo’s NIV Application Commentary on Romans.

Where is the exception?

As we noted above, the key question most of us ask when we come to Romans 13 is not “What does it mean?” but “Where is the exception?” Since it is taught so consistently in Scripture, we do not have much difficulty coming to grips with the idea that God has ordained all governing authorities and that we must recognize that we stand under them. But we do have difficulty with the apparent demand of Romans 13 that we always do whatever any governmental authority tells us to do. We know there are exceptions in Scripture itself, and we believe deeply that it was contrary to God’s will for Germans to obey their rulers and help the Nazis kill millions of Jews, Poles, Russians, and so on. But how can we justify any exceptions in Romans 13? On what basis can we allow exceptions without doing violence to these verses? Seven possibilities deserve to be mentioned – listed here in order of least probable to most probable.

[…]

(6) In our interpretation of verses 3-4, we suggested Paul admits only of the possibility that states will reward good and punish evil because he is implicitly thinking of the ideal state – the state when it operates as God intends it to. Paul may, therefore, be calling on Christians to submit to governing authorities only as long as they are fulfilling their mission, under God, to restrain evil and encourage good. When a state ceases to do so, Christian are free to disobey its mandates.

The problem with this view is that Paul does not explicitly qualify his command with any such restriction. Yet this idea has merit, for it is difficult otherwise to explain why Paul ignores the possibility that the state may punish good and reward evil. He is describing how the state is supposed to function under God and is calling believers to submit to states that function in that way. Perhaps there is room in what he says to allow believers to turn against the state when it turns against God – as it does, for example, in Revelation.

[Compare with Hodge “It was his object to lay down the simple principle, that magistrates are to be obeyed. The extent of this obedience is to be determined from the nature of the case. They are to be obeyed as magistrates, in the exercise of their lawful authority. When Paul commands wives to obey their husbands, they are required to obey them as husbands, not as masters, nor as kings; children are to obey their parents as parents, not as sovereigns; and so in every other case.”]

(7) In demanding “submission” to the state, Paul is not necessarily demanding obedience to every mandate of the state. Key to this restriction is the recognition that the word “submit” (hypotasso) in Paul is not a simple equivalent to “obey” (hypakouo). To be sure, they overlap, and in some contexts, perhaps, they cannot be distinguished (cf. 1 Peter 3:1, 6). Moreover, submission is usually expressed through obedience.

Nevertheless, submission is broader and more basic than obedience. To submit is to recognize one’s subordinate place in a hierarchy established by God. It is acknowledged that certain institutions or people have been placed over us and have the right to our respect and deference. In addition to rulers (see also Titus 3:1), Paul also calls on believers to submit to their spiritual leaders (1 Cor. 16:16) and even to one another (Eph. 5:21; i.e., in the ways Paul outlines in 5:22-6:9). Christian slaves are to submit to their masters (Titus 2:9), Christian prophets to other prophets (1 Cor. 14:32), and Christian wives to their husbands (1 Cor. 14:45 [?]; Eph. 5:24; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5). In each case, one person is to recognize the rightful leadership role that another human being has in his or her life.

But implicit always in the idea of submission is the need to recognize that God is at the pinnacle of any hierarchy. While not always explicit, Paul assumes that one’s ultimate submission must be to God and that no human being can ever stand as the ultimate authority for a believer.

The parallel between a Christian’s submitting to government and a wife’s submitting to her husband is particularly helpful. The wife is to recognize that God has ordained her husband to be her “head,” that is, her leader and guide. Thus, she must follow his leadership. But Paul would never think that a wife must always do whatever her husband demanded.

I once counseled a Christian woman who took her need to submit to her husband so seriously that she felt obliged to obey him by engaging in sex with him and another woman at the same time. I urged her to recognize that her ultimate allegiance was to God, the authority standing over her husband. She needed to follow the higher authority in this case and disobey her husband. But this did not mean that she was simply to dismiss her husband or to renounce his general authority over her.

In a similar way, it seems to me, we can also, as believers, continue to submit to governing authorities even as, in certain specific instances, we find that we cannot obey them.

[In other words, Paul tells us not to overthrow the rulers, but to be subject to them. He does not tell us they have divine authority that must be obeyed in whatever they command.]

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Mises on Immigration and Nation

Joe Salerno has written an excellent essay, describing the perspective of Ludwig von Mises on the inter-related subjects of political borders, immigration, and nation.  Further, Salerno offers clarity on Mises’s view of liberalism – and it isn’t classical liberalism as generally described.  The entire piece is worth at least two reads; I will here offer only an overview.

Salerno offers:

My purpose in this short essay is to set forth Mises’s views on immigration as he developed them as an integral part of the classical liberal program he elaborated. I shall not attempt to criticize or evaluate his views.

Salerno is the consummate professional; courteous, scholarly, respectful. As I am, on the other hand, a mosquito…I will handle this topic a little differently; not regarding Mises’s views but the views of some in the audience.

Beginning his piece, Salerno offers that many advocates of free immigration point to Mises as a fellow traveler.  But…not so fast:

However, Mises’s views on the free migration of labor across existing political borders were carefully nuanced and informed by political considerations based on his first-hand knowledge of the deep and abiding conflicts between nationalities in the polyglot states of Central and Eastern Europe leading up to World War One and during the subsequent interwar period.

Conflicts between nationalities within the same political boundaries; Mises certainly would know, having lived it.  This leads directly to Mises’s view of “liberalism”:

[Liberalism’s] two fundamental principles were freedom or, more concretely, “the right of self-determination of peoples” and national unity or the “nationality principle.” The two principles were indissolubly linked.

For Mises, self-determination was an individual right; for Mises, the freedom offered by liberalism could not be separated from (or perhaps could not survive without) “national unity.”  There is no “liberalism” without “national unity” (as Salerno describes it: “national unity based on a common language, culture, and modes of thinking and acting”).  If you can remain patient for about 160 words, this seeming contradiction will be explained.

I know some in the audience choke whenever they see me (and now Mises) using the word “nation,” conflating this idea with “state.”  Mises is not confused (but it would be silly to think he was):

…the nation has a fundamental and relatively permanent being independent of the transient state (or states) which may govern it at any given time.

Read again what Salerno offers for clarification of “national unity” and how this differs from the concept of “state.”  Consider that national unity offers the possibility of a significantly less coercive state.  For Mises, political borders that do not evolve with the nation offered a certainty of internal conflict; political borders that do not respect the nation within it offer conflict as well.

Consider also that this came about naturally – inherent in man’s nature.  Citing Mises:

The formation of [liberal democratic] states comprising all the members of a national group was the result of the exercise of the right of self determination, not its purpose.

Human beings are not atomistic beings; human beings hold emotional and spiritual bonds with other select human beings.  Call these select human beings family, kin, and nation.  In other words, humans are…human.  Salerno offers Rothbard on this point as well:

Contemporary libertarians often assume, mistakenly, that individuals are bound to each other only by the nexus of market exchange. They forget that everyone is necessarily born into a family, a language, and a culture.

Salerno goes on to describe Mises view of similarities of colonialism and minorities within a political boundary.  In many ways, the treatment by the overlords / majorities of these two groups is similar.

Mises maintains that two or more “nations” cannot peacefully coexist under a unitary democratic government.

And with this, a clue is offered as to why national movements sprung forth at the same time that the state moved toward liberalism and democracy.  Mises, I think, would have expected nothing else.

Conclusion

Thus, concludes Mises, even if the member of the minority nation, “according to the letter of the law, be a citizen with full rights . . . in truth he is politically without rights, a second class citizen, a pariah.”

It is easy to be for open borders, unchecked immigration, and the dismissal of culture when one is a part of the political majority.  Try being the minority for a while; see how thatfeels.

Don’t yell at me, take it up with Mises.

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