30 Oct 2009
The bad steward
But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business… 1 Thess 4:10-11
Those who are busy-bodies, meddling in other men’s matters, generally have but little quiet in their own minds and cause great disturbances among their neighbours. -Matthew Henry
A thought has been occurring to me lately: Why do people think they can steward my money better than I can?
Imagine if I were granted the right to steward your money for you. Perhaps I’d make you buy cloth diapers. You can forget about that SUV; a used Cavalier will do. Don’t give me that nonsense about an easier way to ferry the kids home from school! You can cram three in the back of that Cavalier if you try. Your kids should be riding the school bus anyway (oh, I forgot, they will be going to public school because the private one costs too much). You can plan to start eating soy instead of steak, chubby. Also, your clothing will be furnished off the Old Navy clearance rack, and Old Shep will be dining on the cheapest 50lb bag of dog food that I can find.
Can you imagine being such an arrogant busybody, nannying the lives of other adults? Well, when we vote for a bond issue, or we support a new tax or a new government entitlement, that’s what we are doing. We are putting a claim on other people’s money. We’re reducing the money that they have available to steward for themselves. In effect, we are telling the government to spend other people’s money for them in accordance with our wishes.
How about we let people steward their own money instead, and let them be answerable to God for it?
I often do not steward my money wisely, but I can guarantee you one thing: I steward it more wisely than the government stewards its money. I’m not $100 trillion in debt, for example.
Granted, it’s not a very high bar to jump over.
19 Oct 2009
Animal rights and the binding of weak consciences
Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. -1 Cor 10:25
In The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis talked of us peopling the earth with nymphs and elves to express a desire to be united with the beauty we see. Today, we people our animals. My generation watched Bambi and Bugs Bunny as kids, but really, animals were seen as animals.
How things have changed in 20 years.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is unaffiliated with local humane societies. Their agenda is to veganize America. They are supported by many of the usual celebrity suspects. Flush with success in other states like California and Michigan, HSUS began targeting Ohio for farming regulations. Farming groups responded by putting Issue 2 on the Ohio ballot.
Issue 2 is ugly: it seeks to amend the state constitution and it gets the politicians’ noses further under the tent when it comes to regulating farm policy. However, the alternative is very likely an HSUS-supported issue on a future ballot that’ll enshrine activist idiocy in the constitution. Thus you see “Yes on 2” signs galore along rural roads. And it’s why you have groups like the Sierra Club — normally lovers of regulation and government control — opposing issue 2.
The animal rights argument really is theological. Almost everyone believes that animals should be stewarded humanely. However, animal rights activists deny the creation mandate, especially Genesis 1:30. They deny that farm animals are on earth to bless mankind with food. They deny that a man is more important than many sparrows. They seek, in the usual authoritarian fashion, to force others to abide by their bad morality (for now, this will come in the form of higher prices, which is exactly what isn’t needed during a severe recession).
Sadly, animal rights groups have bound the weak consciences of many young people, deceiving them into believing that meat and dairy are evil. There’s no Scriptural basis for this. This is why young Christians who become vegans or announce sympathy with veganism should be challenged.
15 Oct 2009
The meaning of “collapse” and “tsunami”
As my wife will tell you, one of my favorite statements now is: “Nothing will change until the collapse.” In other words, the irresponsible spending will continue until the government cannot do it any more. The voters are deluded and/or economically ignorant, and won’t believe that the merry-go-round is going to stop until it actually stops. Politicians aren’t going to risk losing re-election by doing the right thing.
Perhaps I should define “collapse” (or “tsunami,” as I sometimes call it). I do not mean Mad Max or Omega Man. I do not necessarily mean that the economy will disappear and we’ll be back to barter, or that we’ll be pointing rifles at dudes throwing Molotov cocktails. What I do mean is a watershed time of huge economic downturn. The Argentine Fernando “Ferfal” Aquirre put it this way about his country’s 2001 economic crisis (allow for the fact that English is Ferfal’s second language):
Most man kind divides the world’s history according to the birth of Christ. So do we, but Argentineans also refer to “before and after 2001” or “before and after the crisis or 1:1″ (when 1 peso = 1 dollar). I kid you not, this kind of reference is used several times a day on ordinary conversations.
“Nice car! How did you afford it?”
“No, I bought it before the 2001 crisis”
“Have you ever been to Paris?”
“Yes, beautiful place”
“Really, man I wish I could go there”
”Yea, but I went before 1:1”
This is just an example, of how such an event transformed everything for us, in such a terrific scale.
When I say collapse or tsunami, that’s what I mean. I believe that a currency crisis and severe inflation will be involved, because (and you’ve heard this all before) the U.S. government has massive debts it cannot possibly pay back. It has made promises to entitlement recipients that it cannot keep. It has creditors who have been moving away from the dollar to cut their losses. The government is doing all the wrong things.
The end result of the collapse will be a more hardscrabble existence for all of us. Historically, people may look back and say that the collapse began in earnest last year, but I think it’s going to get much worse.
The U.S. Debt Clock has updated its figures and now lists unfunded liabilities of over $100 trillion. Note that the unfunded liabilities of the infamous Bush “prescription drug program,” which was rammed through by the Republican party leadership (whose hacks are often in the media complaining about irresponsible spending), now exceeds that of Social Security. Both programs are pikers, though, compared to Medicare.
14 Oct 2009
The church will never perish
Two stories hit recently: the coming end of don’t ask, don’t tell and the extension of “hate crimes” protection to homosexuals. Expect the latter to be used eventually against a recalcitrant (i.e. faithful) church.
This came to mind again while reading a recent Baylyblog post on Derek Webb. I’ve never cared for Webb. He’s always supported the earnest and trendy leftist causes of the sort championed by Bono (Bono’s support for a cause should always ring alarm bells). I had my fill long ago of “mold-breaking” artists who are too self-consciously cool and precious. They’re the incarnations of an Ipod commercial.
Now Webb is angered about intolerance. Not surprisingly, this anger is accompanied by cussing. You know, the intentional cussing that is seen a mark of liberation and righteous anger, despite Ephesians 4:29. This is cool stuff in a certain subset of “evangelical” culture.
I used to blog occasionally about old-school legalism (don’t drink, smoke, or chew), but came to realize there aren’t many of these legalists left. Similarly, the “intolerant” (i.e. those who take Scripture seriously) are dwindling. The homosexual train rolls on, unimpeded. Remember the conservative firestorm when “don’t ask, don’t tell” was implemented just 15 short years ago? The new move will occur with nary a peep. The “climate of fear” that the other side tells us about is there, it’s just that the careers at stake are those who dare question sodomy.
And yet people like Derek Webb remain offended.
Too bad. The consciences of a remnant will always be pricked, and the seeds will grow. There’s no stopping it because there is no stopping the kingdom of God. People can be publicly silenced, but unnatural is unnatural, sin is sin, and God is the maker and changer of hearts.
One day the only opinion that will matter is the Lord’s opinion. Who is on the Lord’s side? That’s the question that really matters.
06 Oct 2009
Obama’s prefabricated henhouse
I’m not a fan of George Will, but he has hit on what seems to be Barack Obama’s defining trait: arrogance.
Will also hits on the tiresome political-speak, a feature of every presidency of my lifetime. It’s a reminder of what Orwell said in Politics and the English Language:
[Political p]rose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.
01 Oct 2009
Capitalism means freedom
Michael Moore has been on various shows flogging his new movie. He criticizes capitalism as “evil.” However, when he describes “capitalism,” it turns out that he’s really criticizing fascism.
The health care and banking systems are examples of economic fascism, which is the whorish entanglement of government and big business (with government playing the role of Daddy). Let’s take the banks for example. U.S. banks are a cartel under the thumb of the price-fixing Federal Reserve. The banks are “private,” but they operate under heavy regulation (which they embrace). Government agencies like the FDIC “guarantee” bank deposits with money they do not have, which means instead of one bank being at risk, the entire system is at risk of broad collapse. The big banks benefit from government guarantees that ensure privatized gains and socialized losses. Politicians benefit by getting large campaign contributions from financial interests, and they get their big government programs funded by the Fed’s counterfeiting. There is also a swell revolving door between lobbying and banking interests and government agencies. Look at the fantastic wealth accumulated by the Rubins and Hank Paulsons of the world.
The current banking system wouldn’t exist in a free market. To call the banking system “capitalist” is a horrid misuse of the word. Capitalism is simply private ownership of the means of production. It involves the voluntary interaction of buyers and sellers. I grow corn on my property and offer it for sale. You (or a middleman) decide whether to buy it. We must agree on a price. The capitalist system is simply millions upon millions of these transactions.
In other words, the capitalist system means freedom. That’s why I prefer the term “free market” to “capitalism” because it speaks to peaceful, voluntary exchange. The alternative is that Michael Moore and others decide how to spend much of our money for us (since they arrogantly assume that they know how to allocate resources more efficiently and “fairly” than us uncaring dolts).
Michael Moore is an authoritarian socialist dressed in populist garb, so he has an interest in confusing his terms. He is another reminder of this observation by Paul Elmer More:
There is something at once comical and vicious in the spectacle of those men of property who take advantage of their leisure to dream out vast benevolent schemes which would render their own self-satisfied career impossible.