Saturday, June 30, 2007

Call of the Entrepreneur

This promises to be worthwhile:

Thursday, June 28, 2007

P and I continue

I’d rather the church were stuck in the issues of theology, practice, and practice than out and out paganism and Gnosticism, which is where we are today.

Salvation is a union between God and man, the church is a covenant relationship among believers under the blood of Christ. It gives every believer a claim on his brother via their personal relationships with Christ.

I believe you know a great deal about the Scriptures, I , too, am a student of the Book, and a seeker of truth.

I also believe in faith and practice, lave and trust, but I ‘m not sure what you mean by these terms, or what your point is.

It is about the end result: that Christ be glorified, not that we love and are loved. The love is mercy, and adds to His glory. I could go all-out Piper here, but I’ll stop.

It’s not so much that I “trust” the private sphere. I recognize the self-interestedness of man, and that the market system best takes advantage of this quality and turns it to the most efficient allocation of goods. However, in such a system, the truly poor and helpless are neglected. Thus, the church is necessary to care for the least of these. I don’t understand why anyone outside of the church would give a damn about the least of these, although I know that many of them do. If they choose to help the poor it is a reflection of the common grace upon them, but not an imitation of Christ. God alone knows in each case, but the question is about whether it is right to FORCE anyone to do good by caring for the poor. I do not see how this can be justified. The need does not justify the means.

Serfdoms were forms of statism, on a micro level. The private sphere ought to be brutal and competitive. In this manner it engages in creative destruction and finds new sources for expanded wealth which is shared by all. Of course the wealthy enjoy more of the expanded wealth, but inequality is not important to me at all except in terms of equality under the law.

I believe that God’s love is effectual for changing my behavior. I believe that my life has a different quality now that I have accepted His love. I am a different person. If I were not, what would that say about the saving power of Christ’s death and resurrection? Do I continue to sin, of course. The difference is now I have the ability through the power of the Holy Spirit to choose to do good. I can do as Christ did, seeing the things that the Father is doing, and participate in doing them.

Your examples are of foreign states, not of the people God intended Israel to be. Does God manipulate states? Indeed. These foreign powers were based on pagan laws. Israel was unique in that it had been given the natural law upon which to live. It did not need an arbitrary law giver. Israel also had courts and appeals courts for refining the law. The case law which grew out of this process is the book of Deuteronomy. All necessary law can be discovered and refined through the judicial process. There is no need for a legislature if the law is confined to its sphere.

You call me naïve, but perhaps I am just young and optimistic. I really believe this message, and the potential of the church to accomplish it. What is required is assumption by the church of full responsibility for the least of these. This message is consistent with the scriptures and the Christian ethic. Engrandizement of the state is not.

I don’t trust people to be the hands which feed, either. I trust the power and decree of God. He has given this responsibility to the Church. He trusted us. He did not give this responsibility to the state. Christ did not trust the state.

I would rather be free and starving than enslaved and fed. I hope you can agree with me here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More on Church and State

P and I go back and forth on the God's Politics blog:

Him: (In this P is "Me" and I am "You", a little hard to follow, but you get it.

Nathan(a)el said:
I have no quarrel with this form of government. I don't believe it requires central organization, but it is clearly Biblical. It does not, however, assign to the state the responsibility of caring for the least of these. Rather than calling this a "good" which the state performs, I prefer to look at it as a "harm" which it prevents.

Me:
You can call it whatever you like because you are still ignoring other aspects of the old testament law where the state was assigned the duty to feed the people. Take for instance the laying aside of parts of land, they were untilled so that strangers could pick their share and eat. That came from God to a centralized unified Israelite government where each tribe was called to set aside land for food usage. That's still governmental welfare for a semi pagan state. (Israel could only stay committed to God for small amounts of time.)

Not to mention each tribe was called by God and their respective leadership (government for lack of a better term) to set aside food for the priests (levites) so that they could focus on the spiritual aspects of the nation of Israel. That's welfare too. So if you have a problem w/ that I don't know what to tell you.

There are other examples where the Israelite kings showed mercy and protected an enemies camp and a host of other interesting and complex things.

You said:
True, except the state does its harm in the name of the law, whereas individuals do their harm in contradiction to the law.

Me:
This is simply not true. Not be rude but do you live in a dream world. Individuals and the state work together thru law to cause harm just easily as one or the other does alone. I can site many historic examples of this.

You:
2. Feeding a family is not diluted work. True, but it ought to be done by the Church. To be clear, I don't advocate removal of welfare programs until the Church has risen up to meet the need on its own. If it never does, then the Church is to blame for the further loss of liberty and dignity we all will endure.

Me:
I don't care who does it as long as it gets done. What is your definition of liberty? Having the church not feed people does not take liberty from me. If you talk about taxes being used to help the less fortunate I have no problem w/ my money being used for the betterment of the country. I see feeding people in the same vein as building highways. They are both equally important.

YOU:
4. Am I being arrogant about the church?

Me:
Yes you are. The church has a special mandate but if you think it's somehow better or more equipped to carry it out than any other institution then you are deluding yourself.

YOU:
Is Christ arrogant or is He God?

Me:
Arrogant and God so both.

YOU:
Did He establish the Church or did He not?

Me:
Ofcourse he established it.

YOU:
If He did establish the Church and assign it a peculiar ethic and a social mandate, then it is a special institution, not to be compared to other human institutions, just as Christians are peculiar people since we believe we have God living inside of us in the person of the Holy Spirit enabling us to do good works which our flesh cannot perform. I suppose this is an exclusive, and perhaps an arrogant position if it is not borne with much humility by acknowledging that it is Christ which lives in me, not I myself who deserves the glory for the good which I am now able to perform. To be able to do good IS the blessing.

Me:
I agree that from a spiritual perspective it is a very special institution but when humans get involved it becomes a very human institution. You can see this clearly in every church, in every denomination and in the larger history of the Catholic, Protestant, Coptic, Orthodox and other Christian churches. These holy set apart pieces of the body committed genocide, encouraged it, created forced labor, slavery and any number of social ills. Sorry but that's a human problem. It's a human thing and God had nothing to do w/ that. If anything it was those things that led him to judge it for all the evil it did and continues to do.

For all this talk about the beauty and union of the Holy spirit w/n us we have not erradicated any of the major social issues of the day and the church is far more affluent then it was 2000 years ago. So my point is that we as a church are indeed a very unique spiritual blessing to this world but when we have flesh and use it we are just like everyone else, no better or worse just united w/ God. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can actually work on changing this world for the better.

YOU:
5. I don't hate law. I do hate pagan centralized government. Whenever it feeds someone it does so with strings attached. If the state were restricted to protecting rights and enforcing contracts it would do well. God rebuked the Israelites for desiring a king. Arbitrary centralized leadership is pagan in its root. It demonstrates a rejection of God and His law in favor of a law giver who can be manipulated by various special interests.

ME:
You can't be this naive. You really think the church is immune to that type of coercion and manipulation? You really believe the church doesn't engage in this now? Cmon now. We are just as broken as the world but we just like to pretend we are not. Even though Israel was rebuked for desiring a king God still gave it to them. He gave it to them and redeemed it thru Christ. So in the end your point is a mute one. If Christ is King and he is then this whole thing looks a lot different.

You:
6. I believe that the church can feed the hungry, and those it cannot are covered by God's sovereignty. I believe it is a sin to coerce others into doing what we think is good. It is patronizing and legalistic. It places a perceived good above the command of God.

Me:
I don't. God doesn't all the time and he calls the state, individuals and the church to force people to do the right thing all the time and he will continue to. If I waited for people to do the right thing I would still be a slave. We may not be able to change a person's heart and cause them to care about another but we can make sure their belly is fed. That's more important then whether or not the feelings get hurt because you are doing something you disagree w/.

p

Me:

P,
“Ignoring aspects of the OT Law where the state was assigned the duty to feed the people.”
But, there WAS no state. There were courts, and there were individuals. The people were to feed the people. Voluntarily. Show me the law where the state was to punish the stingy.
Welfare was written into their moral code and their institutions, I will grant you. I remain optimistic that the church can be that institution which performs social good.

Again, the food brought to the priests was brought voluntarily. It is the element of force which I am so adamantly opposed to.

“Individuals and the state work together thru law to cause harm” if the law were limited to its two primary laws, protection of rights and enforcement of contracts, then ther would not be opportunity to manipulate it.

“I don't care who does it as long as it gets done.”
Then you are just as deluded as I am. For the poor will always be with you. Pursuit of an ends by any means is a dangerous way to live. All kinds of behavior becomes justifiable. I say, behave justly in your use of means, and leave the ends to God.

My definition of liberty is to do whatever I want to do, and for everyone else to do the same, with the one condition of not encroaching on other’s person or property.

You might have no problem with tax money being used to help the less fortunate. I agree that feeding people has parallels with building highways. I would have those built privately as well. I remain consistent here. Both are important enough that they ought to be performed privately.

It’s not that I trust individuals, but that I trust God, and recognize the spontaneous order which emerges when individuals are left alone.

Your separation of the spiritual significance from the physical relevance of the church is a form of Gnosticism. Most of the history of the church is tainted by its marriage to the state. I submit to you that absent the influence of the state the chuch performs its mandate, and does so quite well.

Maybe the point isn’t to eradicate any major social issues. Maybe it’s to live righteously, and to leave the results up to God.

If you don’t believe you are a better person since coming to know Jesus, then why do you bother to believe in Him? If the Holy Spirit is not effectual, then why bother? I for one know that I am infinitely better now than I was before. I know that the good which I do I do through the spirit in the same power and authority as Christ. This is exciting, and worthwhile.

God never calls the church to force individuals to do anything. He calls the state to punish evildoers. If you waited for people to do the right thing you would be free now, perhaps a generation later than you were, and without a civil war which ruined the economy and helped perpetuate Jim Crow in the South longer than necessary.

I disagree that full bellies is an end justifiable in itself for which any means necessary are legitimate.

Nathanael Snow

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On the Public Service Academy

There's a bitty discussion between Payshun and I over at God's Politics.

Chris Meyers Asch advocates the liberal Christan support of a new Service Academy.

I think its a bad idea:

I also doubt the usefulness of a PSA.

1. Many public universities already offer similar programs.
2. It is unclear to me what the specific set of skills necessary for effective public administration and service are. If I were to take a guess, they would include: Follow orders. Follow regulations. Cover yourself. Blackmail. Evade feedback.

Courtesianship and confucianism are not modes of behavior we want to encourage in our institutions.

3. The Christian element here is fuzzy. Why should Christians support the creation of an institution which absolves individuals of more responsibility by creating a new "priestly" class of bureaucrats to handle the "least of these" for us? I should think that Christians would further strengthen their support for Christian universities which have strong track records in developing servant-minded individuals.

4. Why should Christians be interested in emulating institutions which were designed to train for war? The service academies are excellent at preparing men and women to serve the United States Government (certainly NOT our country) by breaking things and blowing them up.

"Chris Myers Asch is an incumbant of the unionized unaccountable Teach for America/AmeriCorps programs established by the United States Government to make good statist pagans of all of us, and the co-founder of the U.S. Public Service Academy which will teach us all the right regulations and political behaviors which will insulate young bureaucrats from the feedback inherent in the market. It will further instruct them to make decisions based on what will advance their career, expand their program's budget, and undermine liberty."

Nathanael Snow is a student of Bonhoeffer, Hauerwas, Hayek and Mises. He believes that all social good is to be done by Christians and that responsibility for the least of these must be assumed by individuals. He blogs at http://jurisnaturalist.blogspot.com

Later:

What Biblical justification do you offer as evidence that the state can make things better? I observe several instances where the scriptures warn us about the influence of the state. I also observe the scriptures admonishing the Church to be the effective force for good in the world despite any actions of the state.

What, specifically, can the state do to make the world better that the church couldn't do more efficiently and without invoking force? Nothing.

Good done by compulsion or utilizing means extorted involuntarily is devoid of virtue. Any reward for such action is temporal and diminished. As believers we seek eternal rewards and to the fullest, not only for ourselves but also for those we serve. To strip the "good" which is to be done of the conditions which generate its virtue is also to strip the administrators and recipients of such aid of their dignity, making them wards of the state - so much less than image-bearers of Christ.

To be sure, while they remain unserved they are much worse off. Which is why well - intentioned strong efforts such as Chris' disturb me so greatly as they are misdirected. If all that energy were expended on and through the Church, so much greater the work, as all glory would be given to Christ, instead of being diluted on the state!

Dare to think outside the box which ascribes divinity and ultimate responsibility to a human institution, and to seek for solutions which do not begin with, "There ought to be a law."

Nathanael Snow



Then Payshun:

Umm Nowhere is his post saying that his ideas are the solution. They are place where solutions can be created and grown. You all on the right and folks like juris believe that the government can do no real good. I know that's not true. There are plenty of examples in the old testament that speak to that. Anyone remember sanctuary cities...? The government like individual efforts can be used for good or ill. It really does depend.

Nathaniel,

Please do not be naive enough to think that individuals will always make things better if anything they can make it worse just as much as the state. I am sorry but feeding a family is not diluted work. Christ gets the glory regardless if people convert and the overt level of arrogance about the majesty of the church is disturbing. The church is flawed just like every human institution. Yes I called it a human institution as it was made for man and not man for it. It's about community and for some really odd reason you seem to deify it as a cureall. Just to bring this discussion down to earth a little we really need to examine the church and actually let it do what it can do and let the state do what it can. Instead of hating government which is what folks on right and you do please try to use it as a tool to feed people because when it's all said and done the church can't do it alone. That's a fact.

p



Most recently me:

P,
I will address your example of the sanctuary cities.
These were cities appointed for anyone accused of wrongful death. The accused could run there for sanctuary until the case was brought to a judge. Once the case was heard the judge's verdict, according to the law, was followed.

I have no quarrel with this form of government. I don't believe it requires central organization, but it is clearly Biblical. It does not, however, assign to the state the responsibility of caring for the least of these. Rather than calling this a "good" which the state performs, I prefer to look at it as a "harm" which it prevents.

In regards to the rest of your comments:

1. Individuals and the state have equivalent potential for doing harm.

True, except the state does its harm in the name of the law, whereas individuals do their harm in contradiction to the law.

2. Feeding a family is not diluted work. True, but it ought to be done by the Church. To be clear, I don't advocate removal of welfare programs until the Church has risen up to meet the need on its own. If it never does, then the Church is to blame for the further loss of liberty and dignity we all will endure.

3. I don't advocate the use of social programs by the church to cloak evangelistic agendas. We are to feed the hungry regardless of whether they convert.

4. Am I being arrogant about the church? Is Christ arrogant or is He God? Did He establish the Church or did He not? If He did establish the Church and assign it a peculiar ethic and a social mandate, then it is a special institution, not to be compared to other human institutions, just as Christians are peculiar people since we believe we have God living inside of us in the person of the Holy Spirit enabling us to do good works which our flesh cannot perform. I suppose this is an exclusive, and perhaps an arrogant position if it is not borne with much humility by acknowledging that it is Christ which lives in me, not I myself who deserves the glory for the good which I am now able to perform. To be able to do good IS the blessing.

5. I don't hate law. I do hate pagan centralized government. Whenever it feeds someone it does so with strings attached. If the state were restricted to protecting rights and enforcing contracts it would do well. God rebuked the Israelites for desiring a king. Arbitrary centralized leadership is pagan in its root. It demonstrates a rejection of God and His law in favor of a law giver who can be manipulated by various special interests.

6. I believe that the church can feed the hungry, and those it cannot are covered by God's sovereignty. I believe it is a sin to coerce others into doing what we think is good. It is patronizing and legalistic. It places a perceived good above the command of God.

Nathanael Snow

Sunday, June 24, 2007

thoughts on immigrration

Why has immigration become more of a problem in the last few decades?

I would argue that some of it, at least, has to do with increased wealth among those who would emigrate. It is not easy to drop the few possessions and relationships you have to embark on a journey to an unknown land far away in hopes of a better life. The least mobile are always the most poor. We see this to be the case at all levels. Within our cities, the middle class are infinitely better placed for upward mobility than anyone on welfare. In accord with my thesis, they are also more likely to take a new job in another locale. Often new employers help to pay for such a move. A potential employee has to promise a marginal productivity equivalent to the combined compensation of wages and moving costs. The more productive the individual the more sought after they become in the jobs market, and the more likely they will move.

Mexican immigrants promise a high level of marginal productivity to those that employ them, especially since they do not enjoy the protections of citizen enfranchisement.

Which leads me to another tangent. I’ve often noted that open immigration is a preferred policy, but that it would require an end to welfare. The same is true about other state protections. Citizens enjoy unemployment insurance. This, too ought to be done away with. OSHA protections must be eliminated. Social Security is a hindrance.

Free labor is what is really is being debated. Unfortunately for many citizen-workers, they will be more defensive of their privileges, their inherited “Labor-friendly” laws because they intuitively see the world as a zero-sum game. This is the case for most non-economists. If the creation of wealth could be demonstrated, if we could show that each new immigrant adds more productive wealth to the economy than they could ever possibly consume, if we could convince people that it is in their own best interests to take ownership and responsibility for their own labor, life, and livelihood, if we could do these things, and finally, miraculously, change the mentalities of so many who prefer security to liberty, then we might be able to get the laws which are best for us. This is unlikely.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Howard Rourke?



Check out this dude. He's CEO of his own company at 19, and very successful. Tell me kids shouldn't be working...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fun with numbers

I was looking at this map, when I decided to play with some numbers. If you placed 40 people per acre (an acre is a little smaller than an American football field) then you could fit the entire population of the world inside of Texas. Malthus was wrong.

Myth of The Rational Voter

Russ Roberts, author of The Choice, a story which helps readers to understand Comparative Advantage has an online radio show, EconTalk. Today he interviews Bryan Caplan, author of Myth of The Rational Voter, and recent speaker at an IHS conference I attended. Bryan, having a great exposure to and understanding of the Austrian School of Economics I have great sympathies towards, persuaded me to reconsider buying into the Austrian story wholesale.
Here's Robert's blog plug with link to the interview due to broadcast June 25.

Pigouvian Externalities, aka Grey Car Silver Car...

Greg Mankiw discusses The Limits of Pigou.
What consists of a nuisance which can be considered encroachment, and what is merely bad taste to be ignored?
or as he put it:
"When does correcting externalities start to offend principles of liberty?"
My response:
A line seems clearly to be drawn at whether the externality is ignorable or not. But how to deal with the nuisance is a more interesting question. Why employ the state and empower it when individuals can assume responsibility themselves? If your neighbor presents a nuisance, they should be confronted, personally, and tactfully. Allow the Coase proposition to work. Make a deal. Initiate a transaction whereby gains from trade might be captured, and contracts might be established so that property rights are reinforced.
By introducing coercion and employing the state we make the assumption that the state ultimately owns all the property and we forfeit our sovereignty. Bad idea.
Apply the golden rule.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Love, Rudi,

I got a letter today from Rudi Gulianni. Came through the Jerusalem Post. He wants me to send him money since he's such a good friend of Israel.
I like the J-Post. They have some good columnists, and I'm interested in Rabbinical teaching, which they link to. But I gave up Zionism a few years ago.

It was a gradual process, but it is inextricable tied to my beliefs about the state.
You see, I ardently believe the Scripture where God tells Abraham, "I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you," regarding the Jews. I believe the Holocaust was a heinous crime, and that it did occur. But I don't believe God ever intended for there to be a strong centralized state called "Israel." I don't believe Jews were justified in taking land from Palestinians by force in the war which created the nation-State. I think Christians are wrong to support the state of Israel, just as they are wrong to support the United States Government. We have a different allegiance, and belong to a different nation.

Centralized governments employ force, and Jesus' taught an ethic where force is rejected except for the protection of innocents, and the purification of the church (re:Jesus cleansing the temple.)

Airline woes

I have heard many recent stories about poor service on airlines lately. I was just at the IHS conference and there was a whole list of horror stories resulting from participant's travel problems. If 10% of travelers are having nightmarish experiences there must be some explanation.
Here's the one I offered to my fellow IHS friends:

The airlines have appealed more and more to the Federal Government for assistance over the last few years, and this is the kind of service we get. They are insulated from customers because they have artificially low prices due to subsidies. So they poo-poo on us, and we take it, along with the cheap rates. Question: do we prefer the cheap rates, or would we rather have higher quality service? In other words: How much more would you pay to insure a seat on the flight you planned to take with a guarantee that your luggage and belongings will be there waiting for you when you get to your destination unharmed?
Does the state have a responsibility to insure cheap airfare to all at the cost of quality to those who are willing to pay for it?

IHS Seminar, Tom's Song

Hello, Jonah

Well, hello, Jonah! And - whaddya' know? -
I see Geppetto and Pinnochio!
It's gettin' crowded, from head to tail.
Guess we're all livin' in the belly of the whale.

At least it's cozy, and nice and warm.
And it gives us shelter from the ragin' storm,
N' though I smell trouble, I can say at least,
I'm not deeper in the belly of the beast.

Refrain:
We stumble through this world of darkness, pain and doubt
We suffer in this prison, we struggle to get out.
With strivin' strength, and study, we might finally find a way.
To flee this night and reach the light of day.

Verse 2:
Hey, now, Gepetto, what's that you've got?
As ideas go - hah! - I'd say that's hot.
Count me in! I like you're plan,
To burn the belly of leviathan

Thank you, Jonah, I liked your prayer.
But will you now please get over here.
You've got to labor, and not just wish.
To get out of the belly of the fish.

Verse 3:
Hurray, brothers! We're finally out!
Hallelujah sisters! Raise a joyful shout!
From hell bellow we've gotten hurled,
But we're still livin' in the belly of the world.


Anyone care to disseminate this for us?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Imitate Christ

"if we all accept that, then we have to allow that a competent pragmatism might look very different from National Socialism."
Exactly, but Mises proved long ago that central planning is always inept. It can never be practical to everyone, it can only be practical to the one making the decision, who is operating without the necessary information. No one can have all the necessary information because it is always changing and it is tied up in all of the various individuals in the society. This is Hayek's argument in The Use of Knowledge in Society. (I'm actually NOT that big a fan of Hayek's, I've just been reading him lately for a conference...)

"It has always been understood that applying natural law leads toward a harmonious and prosperous society. That is to say, natural law is pragmatic."
Agreed, but the argument presented to me had the direction of causality reversed. It does not flow both ways in the short run. It might in the long run, if change to the law is slow and difficult.

The law in Romans 2 I will also acknowledge. But this law DOES NOT include the Christian Ethic. The Christian Ethic of caring for the least of these is peculiar and belongs only to the believer.
Indeed, the various permutations of Natural Law systems by the academy often reject caring for the least of these as absurd.
Objectivism in particular rejects concern for the poor. Since I move in those circles a great deal, I must constantly be reminded of the peculiarity of the calling, and how absurd it appears to worldly wisdom.

I believe that a natural spontaneous order can evolve which reflects human nature and relies on natural rights. This is a slow and gradual process, which conservatives often claim as their own through tradition. While there is an element of truth to this, I deny tradition for tradition sake. I recognize the scientific process which has handed us our tradition, and the direction in which it ultimately points. It does not include concern for the poor.

Meanwhile I recognize the sovereignty of God, and a peculiar eschatology which calls for the ultimate end to this earth, and the recognition of the One True Lawgiver. He called me, I responded. He gave me an example and an ethic to follow, regardless what other people might do. He demonstrated a rejection of political mechanisms for achieving His ends. I believe I am to imitate Him in this, too.

Fascism = Pragmatism

Pragmatism, aka fascism, has as its philosophy "Do whatever seems necessary." Hitler did this, and kept doing it, and kept doing it, until he was a totalitarian dictator, democratically elected.

If we do not step outside of what seems necessary and focus on natural rights and incentives, theory, we will make the same mistakes. This was Hayek's argument in The Road To Serfdom, and he was right.

As believers we do not practice our ethic because it is practical. We do not abstain from fornication or adultery because it is practical. It is anything but. We do so because we have adopted a peculiar ethic in imitation of Christ. No other reason. Sometimes there are fair consequences for following Christ, sometimes there are dire consequences, according to His decree. We do not look at the consequences, we look at the command to follow Him.

The world has no rational ethical imperative for caring for the poor. Some people are altruistic, but this is merely a residual of the imago dei in them. They are under no compulsion of duty to care for the least of these. Christ does not impose such an ethic upon them, because apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, to do so with pure motives is inconsistent with fallen human nature.

By calling for statist programs compelling individuals to care for the poor we impose an irrational law on top of the natural law which is part of the common grace. This natural law is able to be deduced logically and scientifically via case law, or common law. Inconsistencies are rooted out and expelled.

We ought to stand up for the common law, and limited government under common grace, and assume for ourselves all the responsibilities inherent to the peculiar ethic we adopt under specific grace.

Any attempt by Christians to impose responsibility for care for the least of these onto those under only common grace is to insist that they reject their minds and reason as a tool for making decisions, and instead to adopt an irrational, unrewarding form of servitude to an arbitrary law.

It is also an attempt by Christians to shirk the responsibility Christ laid upon them as a condition of discipleship, and thus to reject their Lord.

To think about these issues in terms of the neediness of the least of these is to say that Christ is not sovereign, or that He is uncaring in His admonition to the Church to assume full responsibility, or to lack faith that Christ can achieve His decrees through the Church.