Tuesday, July 31, 2007

IHS Seminars are good for something, another song

I went to an IHS seminar earlier this summer, where Tom Bell wrote a nifty little ditty, and I played along on guitar.

But Sasha Volok has outdone us a bit:

(To the tune of Surfing USA)

We're doing battle with statists
Across the USA,
'Cause everybody's reading Hayek,
The man from Austri-ay --
In spontaneous order
We let the market play,
With the writer Fred Hayek,

We use the signals of prices
And then we'll be O.K.,
'Cause no one knows what's efficient
Unless they have to pay;
If we replace that with planning
Like once in Russ-i-ay, [pronounced "Rush-Eye-Ay"]
We'll take the road to serfdom --
Serfdom USA.

[Backup singers should at this point start singing, "Serfdom, serfdom USA, Friedrich H-A-Y-E-K."]

We still have government bureaus,
Just like the FDA, [replace with three-letter agency of your choice ending in A]
But the welfare state mindset
Will soon become passe.
Ayn Rand said he was evil,
Which makes him A-O.K. --
Friedrich August von Hayek, H-A-Y-E-K.

Quick, someone get this over to Bruce Caldwell ASAP!

(Hat tip to Mungowitz)

Sam's Show

Are you going to be in West Virginia this weekend? If so, go see Sam's Show in Morgantown. Here's a preview.

A response to a christian zionist

  1. Dr. Hocking,
    I have been receiving your newsletter for some time, and was happy to get your latest in the mail today.

    I believe God has a special place for the people of Israel, as He always had. I believe He will fulfill all of His promises to that people, and even is doing so now.

    But I must contend with your support of the state of Israel. God never gives support to this centralized government in scripture. Indeed He laments Israel’s desire for the establishment of centralized government from the start, rightly identifying this form of tyranny as pagan in origin.

    God established his higher law and Judges over Israel, not an arbitrary human law-giver. Jesus demonstrated the proper ethic in regards to the state, admonishing His disciples to care for the least of these. The role of the state in Romans 13 is strictly Judicial, and has nothing to do with foreign diplomacy, or social welfare.

    Israel was to be a loose federation of tribes, where each man was free to do “what was right in his own eyes,” rather than having to serve a king. His own conscience was to rule him, and he was to bear full responsibility and sovereignty over himself and his family before God. So each man was also responsible to defend his land with his tribe. Only with the advent of kings do we observe illegitimate aggressive warfare. Once the Israelites had a king to fight for them, the Lord no longer did their fighting for them, as he had through Joshua and Judges. Exceptions were made, but only when the King emptied himself of his position and submitted to God.

    The present nation state of Israel was founded by illegitimate means, with the use of force not specifically decreed by God. Innocents, even believers, were murdered, and continue to die in vain.

    It is wrong for the church to support the nation-state of Israel, or any other nation state. Centralized government is a pagan institution. If there is any good to be done in this world it is the full and exclusive responsibility of the church to do it. Indeed, lest a man be regenerate, all his good works are as filthy rags.

    Please reconsider your position. I recognize it will be a difficult thing for you to do, because it will affect much of your eschatology. But we ought to allow scripture to interpret scripture. And the message we receive from the Torah, from the historical books, from I Samuel, that is both the law, and the prophets, and from the gospels is that manipulation of the political mechanism and the unprovoked use of force are illegitimate means for achieving the gospel.
    The only other acknowledged office in the law was that of the priest, whom was supported by the voluntary sacrifices of the people. In this, the church and the state were kept separate.

  2. Sincerely,

  3. Nathanael Snow

Monday, July 30, 2007

Say there is no God. Would you...?

The list of questions alerted to me by The Friendly Atheist, who lifts them in preparation for the first Great American God-Out.

My responses:

1. Say there is no god, would you no longer love your family, friends, children, pets or significant others? Why or why not?

I would love them much more selfishly. Right now I love my wife and am committed to her unconditionally. If she were hurt so that I had to care for her the rest of her life with no return, or if she cheated on me, I would stay with her and continue to love her. If there were no God, I would only be capable of loving her for what she does for me.

2. Say there is no god, would you stop hoping for a cure for cancer? Why or why not?

No, I would not, but I wouldn't contribute to cancer research charities (my current favorites are AFLAC's Children's cancer and the Jimmy V foundation) unless I thought I would benefit from them. Since I have no history of cancer in 3 generations of my family, I don't smoke and drink only in moderation I am not at risk. I'd probably contribute more to heart disease charities.

3. Say there is no god, would you stop caring about the health of the environment? Why or why not?

I don't care much about the health of the environment now. At least not religiously like many others do. I don't recycle, other than cans sometimes, because most recycling processes are more expensive, wasteful,, and sometimes harmful to human existence than just trashing them.

I do take care of my own property, because I have an interest in it, and if people really cared about the environment they would buy up endangered properties and restore them on their own.

4. Say there is no god, would you want orphaned children to find loving homes? Why or why not?

I would want orphans to do the best that they could. But would I have an interest in adopting a child if I did not believe in God? Only if they would take care of me in my old age, and work for me while they lived with me. Right now I support two children in Africa, and I spent 8 years working with at-risk kids in the inner city because I believe in Christ's mandate for Christians to care for the least of these.

5. Say there is no god, would you want auto-engineers to design a safe car that gets great gas mileage? Why or why not?

I would want them to design a car that is of excellent quality and pleases me. If it has great safety features, I would place a premium on those features based on how much it would cost me.

6. Say there is no god, would you want Osama Bin Laden to be captured? Why or why not?

(I'm not sure what this one is getting at, so I'll have to come back to it.)

7. Say there is no god, would you want child-abusers to be punished by law? Why or why not?

8. Say there is no god, would you teach children to be selfish? Why or why not?

9. Say there is no god, would you steal money from an unattended purse? Why or why not?

10. Say there is no god, would you steal an item from a large department store? Why or why not?

FINALLY: Say there is no god, identify at least one reason you would still have to keep on living, be happy and that would bring meaning to your life. (Think hard–you can do this!)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

United Statesians?

Some people apparently take offense at the way citizens of the(se) United States call themselves Americans as opposed to United Statesians.

My response to the Latin Americans among these would be to say, "You had your chance, but decided to act French, instead."

Also, Americans had a strong tradition in identifying themselves with the particular State they lived in, often calling themselves Carolinian, or Virginian, or New Mexican, or Texan. This attachment was nostalgic, and focused on smaller communities with more peculiar cultures. Only now, some 4 or 5 generation after the Civil War, are these notions beginning to subside, along with ease and frequency of emigration.

I, personally, prefer to identify myself as a New Mexican, though I was born in New England and have lived in North Carolina for 10 years now.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

No wonder Men Hate Church pt. 2

Gareth at God's Politics gave a bad review of Die Hard. What was he thinking?

Geez, somebody buy Gareth a copy of Wild at Heart, please!
Look, I'm anti-statist, and a strong advocate of the non-aggression principle, but I LOVE Die Hard! I went to see Hostage a few years ago hoping it would be Die Hard 4 and was sore disappointed. But Live Free or Die Hard was exactly what I wanted to see. I almost stood up in my seat cheering when that fire hydrant blew.

A couple of points on principal though:
1. This was an attack on individuals, and private property, on American soil. If you can't defend that we are in trouble.
2. The attack was unprovoked, and completely malicious.
3. The US Government did everything wrong they possibly could have. Perfectly in line with the truth, eh, Katrina?
4. McClaine is attacked first. He is actively defending not just an innocent, but a criminal, trying to bring him to justice. Guantanamo?
5. Wall Street. This was the scariest scene in the film to me. And I don't have any money invested anywhere. I'm a broke student. But the thought of a major sell on Wall Street, of any kind of damage to our financial institutions, is outright horrifying. Buy Garreth a copy of Economics In One Lesson to go along with Wild At Heart. That's a great pairing any day.
6. Violence. God uses it. He encourages strength. We must think more deeply about these things. No wonder men hate church!

Yippie ki yay!

Nathanael Snow

What to do about Iraq

This issue simply does not work out unless the innocents are considered. I have proposed volunteers evacuating them to the United States and assuming responsibility for helping them get started here. Most people dismiss this solution outright. They say it isn’t practical. It’s too expensive.

I say nonsense. Today the cost of the war stands at $442 billion according to costofwar.com. There are 27 million Iraqis. That’s $16,370 per Iraqi. Easily enough to move them here and provide some high density housing. And that’s if ALL of them move. I doubt it would take more than half of the population emigrating to communicate to powerseekers that the current mode was not working.

Fearmongers will gripe that the Muslims will murder us all if we do this. That the terrorists will come, too, and start blowing us up. Especially if volunteers demonstrate the love of Christ so compassionately as to welcome strangers into our homes…

Especially if we leave their homeland and stop trying to dictate their politics…

Especially if we stop financing their natural enemies…

Especially if we bring 200,000 well trained military personnel home to live among them…

We certainly ought to be afraid. We also ought to allow our fear to dictate what is feasible and even more so what is right.

I’m snarking now, so you’ll have to excuse me, but the fact is that Christians must assume the responsibility or else quit griping. We have to be risky. We have to be courageous. And we must not put our hope in the state. No wonder men hate church.

My baby’s daddy (or mama) & Other terms that didn't get burried

The NAACP had a funeral for the word "Nigger." Which is fine. But, as my friend Anthony Bradley has it, they should have made a bigger hole.

My favorites from the list:
(1) “Bitch”
(2) “Ho” and “pimp”
(3) “My baby’s daddy (or mama)” or “I take care of all my kids, I buy them what they need”
***(10) “The government will save us”
(11) “All blacks must think like white, liberal elitist democrats”
(13) “I don’t need a man, I can take care of myself”
(14) “Sports (and Entertainment) is my only way out”
(17) “My car needs rims now”
(20) “Open up ya mouth, ya grill gleamin”

And, for those of us from Durham: (21) “What’s wrong with strippin’?”

Monday, July 09, 2007

Radical Islam vs. Statism

We are all evil people. Even Western culture, despite our Constantinian heritage. What makes Radical Islam a threat is its marriage of religion to the state. It sanctions the use of force as a means for achieving religious solidarity. The Western tradition finally rid itself of this same fault in the adoption of constitutional limited governments with reliable sensible laws. The pinnacle was reached in Blackstone’s Commentary on the English Common Law which was read by enough Americans that de Toqueville would say later, “The Americans are all lawyers.” The Anabaptist and Leveller traditions brought over from Europe separated Church from State in such a way that liberty reigned.

Radical Islam is not capable of conquering the world. It imposes economic structures which limit the capacity for growth and sustenance. There is a reason many societies governed by Sharia law have low productivity and concentrated wealth.

The rest of the world also lives according to a pagan concept of time and law. Many see their lives as static and fatalistic. They don’t think there is anything they can do to improve their lot, indeed the law frequently prohibits it. They look to those who hold power over them in fear but also for their sustenance. This is worship.

We should not be surprised then, that there are frequent wars among these peoples who do not believe in expansion of wealth, but only in its redistribution by power. The varying packs of wolves will always fight for a greater portion of the sheep.

A mistake is made when we ally ourselves to one pack of wolves or another. We often do so in the name of the sheep, but it is really to the detriment of another flock. When we fought Hitler we doomed Stalin’s sheep. When we fought Japan we left many more to the whims of Chaiman Mao. Better to let the wolves fight each other, and if possible to rescue some of the sheep away from the dogfight.

But we must keep our own dogs leashed lest they go wild. When we encourage warmongering we pit our Labradors against Mastiffs. We ought not to be surprised when they become more violent and occasionally bite our children’s hands. When we let them tug too hard at the leash and pull us around by regulating our industries we should not be surprised when we fall down for trying to hold on to them. When they eat too much of our taxes in the name of social welfare we ought not to be surprised when the make messes and vomit on the rug, leaving the poor with little dignity and the taxpayer in regret.

We ought to work to limit the role of the state in every way. But first we must take up the responsibility for the least of these ourselves. It is the unique and exclusive role of the church. If we fail in it we ought not be surprised when the state assumes our responsibilities.

Again, Islamic power is no worse than the potential of pluralistic secular power. We must work to keep our own dogs tame.

Nathanael Snow

What Is Israel?

Israel” can mean many different things. It can mean the Jewish people, wherever they might live. It can mean Jewish Christians and gentile Christians, in an allegorical sense. It can mean the political Nation-State currently exercising jurisdiction over Palestine, or Caanan, or whatever you want to call it. It might also refer to the Jewish people living in said land, not necessarily its government.

Of these the only one I can’t support is the political entity. God never intended for Israel to have a centralized government, let alone a secular one with the power to write arbitrary laws. God intended for Israel to be a loose federation of cooperating tribes, welcoming to strangers, and united under a single rule of law interpreted and enforced by judges.

If your eschatology is dependent upon a political entity utilizing force to harm innocents I have to question whether you can mesh it neatly with the non – aggression principle implicit in the Christian ethic. I don’t like to get into eschatology too much, but adoption of non – aggression led me away from statism and simultaneously away from dispensationalism, premillenialism, and Zionism. It was frustrating to me because I had to discover the common bond among these outside the Church, and many churches teach a statism alongside non – aggression and amillenialism. Indeed, Sojourner’s seems to adopt such a position.

Again, I support the right of Jews to voluntarily purchase property anywhere in the world they choose to do so. I believe it is a good idea for them to do so in Palestine. I believe there is a mystical purpose in Jews, but only believing Jews, occupying that land. But I oppose the use of force first and foremost. This is the single most important ethic, to love one’s neighbor as one self in order to demonstrate one’s love of God. Justification for breaking this code results in myriad convoluted theologies and political philosophies. It is just so difficult to give up the pagan worship of the state. The cry always goes out, “Give us a king.” Or, as Derek Webb has put it, “I want a new law!”

Nathanael Snow