May 2009

31 May 2009

The infamous Wichita abortionist George Tiller, who has long been one of the most loathsome child killers in the country, was apparently murdered by someone today. Bad things tend to happen to people who spend their lives doing bad things. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Tiller has long had the tacit approval of his “church,” Reformation Lutheran (what a misuse of the word reformation; deformation would be more like it). Tiller was an usher at the church. He was killed while handing out bulletins. Imagine having your bulletin handed to you by a guy who has profited by killing tens of thousands of infants by poking scissors into the back of their skull and sucking out their brains with a vacuum. “May I show you to your pew?” Now Tiller has been ushered into judgment.

Tiller’s murderer, if guilty, will go to trial and hopefully receive his just sentence of death. While I can’t mourn Tiller’s passing, I do pray that God uses this not to harden, but to bring repentance to his family. Pray that pro-abortion evildoers are not successful at using this incident to persecute lawful opponents of Tiller’s wickedness.

Is there a greater example of men’s darkness than how they glorify men like George Tiller? You’ll probably see plenty of it in the next few days.

28 May 2009

I think it was Benny Hill who once did a skit where he slowly plays a G chord from top to bottom. When he comes to the final string where where you expect to hear that familiar high G note, he mistakenly hits G#. The disagreeable note is funny.

As a fan of the original Star Trek series (if not always its philosophies), I was hesitant about the new movie. There was little reason for this hesitance. Star Trek is a deeply satisfying action film and great reintroduction to the series. It’s arguably better than any of the preceding Star Trek movies. It may be as good as the first Star Wars film. The young stars, especially the guy who plays Kirk, were all well-cast, and that was no easy task given our long familiarity with these characters. The script is taut and the director keeps the movie rolling along. He never gets caught in the weeds of most action films (yes, you, Batman Returns), where there’s one mindless and overdone action sequence after another. Star Trek relentlessly pushes its story through the action. There is only a small amount of (totally pointless, of course) profanity.

Then, at the end, after the first five notes of the chord were struck beautifully, the G# sounded. The classic Star Trek intro was voiced over by Spock, and ended with this:

To seek out new life and new civilizations / To boldly go where no one has gone before.

Did you catch that? “No one” instead of “no man.” After a full-throated, masculine adventure, the movie ends on an effeminate G#. They changed what may be the most famous voice-over in TV history in the name of political correctness. I left the theater with a sour taste in my mouth.

I’d like to suggest that the director and producer grow a pair. If that sounds crude, it isn’t meant that way.

18 May 2009

Barack Obama implores us to find “common ground” on abortion. Lather, rinse, repeat. The liberal playbook never changes.

“Common ground” means that we all be nice and talk to each other while liberals and their abortionist friends get their way. The killings will continue and all will be as it ever was. Big loser: the hapless unborn.

The other day Obama was warning about a debt crisis as if he were a passerby instead of a powerful Senator who faithfully voted to expand federal spending at every turn, or as if was not he, but instead his evil twin who’s been insanely pushing the expansion of the national debt. Now he’s playing the nation’s pastor-in-chief.

The man’s lawbreaking shamelessness is just amazing.

15 May 2009

When Peter Schiff goes on TV and spreads his bearish message, it’s never long before he’s called “Dr. Doom” and people joke about what a downer his message is. The idea seems to be that if you see a train wreck coming, you’re either suicidal or a doom-and-gloomer who needs to lighten up. Most Christians I’ve talked to seem content to “trust God” and do nothing. Many Christians have bought this triumphalist idea that “we’re America” and economic laws don’t apply to our “shining city on a hill.” Or they believe that something will turn up. I call it Mr. Micawber Syndrome.

Of course, we do need to trust God, but that doesn’t free us from acting. If you are mowing the lawn and you see a tornado coming, you don’t keep mowing and “trust God.” You run into the basement and then trust the outcome to the Lord. God works through means. A lot of warning bells are sounding. Will you heed them?

Folks, you need to get prepared now, mentally and materially and tell others who will hear to do the same. This brief talk provides a good start on practical ways to prepare for economic disruption. It won’t tell you to build a bomb shelter out by a creek. It isn’t going to tell you to buy a shack full of emergency meal kits. It will tell you to get a few months of canned food ready and start rotating it and making it a part of your lives. My brother-in-law has started a garden and learned to can. These are good ideas. Even if nothing happens (which I doubt very much), you’ll be prepared for temporary disruptions. You’ll have new skills.

The talk will tell you to get your, er, personal security in place. I’m a believer in concealed carry. If you can do in your state, then get your license and get in the habit. As the dude from Argentina will tell you, the place you’re likely to get attacked isn’t inside your castle, it’s outside your castle. Also, you’re doing a public service by creating a more dangerous world for criminals to inhabit. You can carry a lot more places than you might think. Oddly, in Ohio they put a silly exclusion in so you can’t carry in churches unless the church expressly allows it (hint hint, elders and deacons), whereas with most establishments you CAN carry unless prohibited (unless you’re drinking there) or unless (surprise surprise) it’s a government facility.

The collapse that seems likely won’t be a post-apocalpytic world where we wander through junkyards with shotguns. It’ll be more like Argentina. Savings accounts and retirement plans will be wiped out by a monetary crisis (debts will probably go with it, which is good for debtors and bad for creditors). The government will default on its bonds via inflation. Social Security, Medicare, and other government programs will show themselves to be Ponzi schemes and empty promises (You know all that FICA money they collected from you? Well, they’ve spent it.) There will be a period of crisis where things could get ugly, but then reality will set in. A lot more businesses will close. Office parks and buildings will be abandoned. Cities will see revenue sources dry up. We’re seeing it already. Tax receipts are WAY down. Capital-intensive businesses that can create stuff to export won’t be started because savings are depleted. The personal debt spigots — credit cards and home equity loans — are drying up as people’s credit limits are reduced or eliminated altogether. The government’s deb spigots are being slowly turned off by those who are tired of lending to our spendthrift government. The government, meanwhile, is busy attacking the foundations of prosperity (savings and production). They are spending like madmen. Due to the lack of work, and to escape taxation, people will start more of a subsistence style of living. They’ll grow their own food, make their own clothes, and do odd jobs for the neighbors. This has already started happening. Crime is going to more prevalent. The standard of living will be much lower. Material things will start looking shabbier because people can’t replace them. It’s going to be a long road out of what Mr. Schiff calls “our phony economy” based on debt. Those who saved and acted wisely won’t be spared; inflation will see to that, as will (likely) a more aggressively criminal government.

You get the point by now. Maybe it won’t be all bad, though. Maybe we’ll be blessed to see government and education bureaucracies collapse. Maybe we’ll have more freedom. Maybe we’ll be forced to learn how to make things and grow things again instead of just consuming things other countries make. Maybe people will realize that we don’t have “rights” to things that burden the backs of people in other countries (i.e. our creditors who are going to be paid back in devalued dollars). Maybe the government and popular culture will become more irrelevant. Maybe people will stop believing the false prophets (and false profits) in Washington. We can hope.

It’s a good idea to get in shape, too. That doesn’t guarantee our health, but in a world where health care is going to be rationed it’s best to try to stay out of the hospital.

We got used to a boom world and thought it was normal. The bust is now upon us. Get ready and spread the word as the opportunity permits. Don’t be the proverbial person battling someone at Walmart for the last bottled water on the shelf. Plus, if a panic hits, the last thing you want to be doing is helping to increase the panic by picking that moment to start hoarding resources. There will be a million people jamming the stores. They won’t need a million and one.

And remember: you’re probably going to need extra to help those who are blindsided or who foolishly refuse to prepare. A church can be a great blessing if its members are exhorted to be prepared. It may be worth talking about with your pastor, elders, and/or deacons.

12 May 2009

Here’s a thoughtful article on McDonalds, one of my favorite dining establishments. The article makes keen points about elitist snobbery and the moral aspects of capitalism. A sample:

One of the reasons that the elites loathe places like McDonald’s, or Wal-Mart, or Target, or any of these places that cater to Everyman – and you might suppose that the champions of the workers and peasants would love these places – is precisely their capacity to rob the rich of their distinctive social markers. One day it was a sign of class and distinction to drink a latte; the next day, every construction worker is doing it.

04 May 2009

There is a group on Facebook called “Cancel Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy.” The group has just under 200,000 members (!). Its arguments are absurd, but no more so than any other arguments for bailouts.

At best, public stimulus is inefficient. At worst (which is where government decision-making normally resides), it’s downright destructive. Not only does it remove private savings that would’ve been used to create or expand real enterprises, it’s used for handouts to groups that stifle innovation, that regulate, that create bureaucracies, etc. We’d be better off as a country if the government just printed up all the stimulus money and drove it off a cliff.

I was reminded of this great old article by the late, great economist Murray Rothbard. Rothbard posited that the the answer to an unpayable public debt is outright repudiation. He distinguished between public and private debt:

If I borrow money from a mortgage bank, I have made a contract to transfer my money to a creditor at a future date; in a deep sense, he is the true owner of the money at that point, and if I don’t pay I am robbing him of his just property. But when government borrows money, it does not pledge its own money; its own resources are not liable. Government commits not its own life, fortune, and sacred honor to repay the debt, but ours. This is a horse, and a transaction, of a very different color.

What about the savers, the elderly fixed-income holders, and the foreigners hold these IOUs? Rothbard’s words were stern:

The public debt transaction… will be paid back not out of the pockets or the hides of the politicians and bureaucrats, but out of the looted wallets and purses of the hapless taxpayers, the subjects of the state. The government gets the money by tax-coercion; and the public creditors, far from being innocents, know full well that their proceeds will come out of that selfsame coercion (my exmphasis).

I for one had never really thought of it that way. Why hold ANY government debt? First, there’s no way they’ll ever pay it all back, and so, for example, the kids out there with unpayable college debts will likely make off with cheap and probably worthless educations (the government is the “creditor” for most college loans, but it borrowed that money from someone else). Second, why should I loan the government the means to extend its own power? Third, and most important, isn’t it immoral to hold debt in hopes of receiving interest that is forcibly extracted from others? I’ve concluded that yes, it is immoral. (That said, there’s no real way to get around holding some government debt since every Federal Reserve note i.e. dollar in your pocket is debt courtesy of the government’s counterfeiting operation, and legal tender laws force us to hold these false weights and measures. We have to swim to some extent in the cesspool.)

To those who argued that no one would loan to the government again if they repudiate the debt, Rothbard responded with a thumbs-up:

Apart from the moral, or sanctity-of-contract argument against repudiation that we have already discussed, the standard economic argument is that such repudiation is disastrous, because who, in his right mind, would lend again to a repudiating government? But the effective counterargument has rarely been considered: why should more private capital be poured down government rat holes? It is precisely the drying up of future public credit that constitutes one of the main arguments for repudiation, for it means beneficially drying up a major channel for the wasteful destruction of the savings of the public. What we want is abundant savings and investment in private enterprises, and a lean, austere, low-budget, minimal government. The people and the economy can only wax fat and prosperous when their government is starved and puny.

Anyway, it’s a great article on a topic that will be increasingly prominent in coming years.

01 May 2009

Years ago, I worked with a software developer from the Ukraine. We were talking about something related to Russian politicians, and he abruptly looked at me and said: “They’re all creem-een-als.” Those of you who’ve known Eastern European emigres or read their materials know that they possess a certain biting wit. But this guy wasn’t joking. He meant it. He’d seen it. At the time, I laughed it off as hopeless cynicism.

Now I think I finally understand. I’ve really come to see politicians as largely a criminal class. Here’s yet another example.

There’s really no difference between this congresswoman and a thug in an alley with a switchblade.