Mar 14 2009

Does Christian Love call for taxes to fund social programs?

Category: economy,government,politicsharmonicminer @ 9:10 am

John Mark Reynolds thinks not, in Love Your Neighbor and Don’t Tax Him

Key graphs, more at the link.

Moral men have a duty to help their neighbors, but nobody has the right to force other people to help.

Jesus told a story of a Good Samaritan who crossed difficult social and cultural barriers to provide relief to an injured man. This is a good model for our own behavior. We should help the hurting neighbor even if he is a pariah in our community. The mortgage broker who has lost his job is also my neighbor and, when he is hurting and repentant, should receive pity, charity, and care—not just sermons about his errors.

Moral behavior is most valuable when it is not easy to do. The temptation is to avoid doing our moral duty by ignoring it or passing off the dirty work to somebody else.

The Scroogish Samaritan ignores his moral duty to help his neighbor. He assumes everybody should care only for self and destroys common culture by his selfishness. The Statist Samaritan forces everybody else to help the injured man and so gains a cheap feeling of virtue, but undermines any real virtue.

Sadly, it is so much more blessed to give than to receive that the Statist Samaritan tries to give all the blessings to the state. He loves the state and so wishes to turn everyone’s appreciation for charity to it.

Not surprisingly charity that is coerced does harm to everyone. The injured party may be helped at first, but only at the cost of doing injustice to others. Taxing Peter forces Peter to help Paul, often does little for Paul, and almost certainly will make Peter resent Paul. Peter should help Paul, but making him do it will teach both men bad lessons. The taxed feels resentment as the object of his charity lacks a human face—he gives his coerced taxes to faceless bureaucracy—and the recipient becomes the ward of government.

When we pass our moral duties over to the state, we lose the power to do charity ourselves, turn an act of charity into coercion, and give the state too much power. People are habituated to look to the state to meet their needs and not their communities, churches, and family. This weakens every non-state institution and risks tyranny.

Forced charity is inefficient because it rarely distinguishes between worthy and unworthy attempts at charity. ….

Forced charity is bad for us because in removing our liberty to choose between goods it makes us perpetual dependents. No good person wants to be perpetually dependent on his neighbor, because his neighbor has a face and knows him. It is much easier to become a perpetual dependent on the government, because the government is faceless.

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Feb 06 2009

Another really, really inconvenient truth

Category: Congress,economy,politicsharmonicminer @ 10:25 am

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Feb 04 2009

Musically celebrating the Inauguration

Category: humor,music,politicsharmonicminer @ 4:30 pm

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Jan 31 2009

Lotsa British students of communism

Category: politics,societyharmonicminer @ 10:20 am

Satisfying his natural curiosity about how his excellent book, Liberal Fascism, is doing in Britain, Jonah Goldberg discovered that his book is only number TWO in the “political science and ideology” category.

Number ONE is  The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx.


This would be the crypto-commies re-invigorating themselves before taking on the Islamic invasion of Britain?

Or maybe it’s the Islamic invaders buying the book, so they can know their enemy.  Their former enemy, anyway.

Or it’s the usual dutiful American foreign exchange students taking a political science class from some aging former denizen of Yorkshire at some once-great institution like Oxford or Cambridge (now living on their reputations, mostly), who thinks what Marx thought actually matters anymore, and whose American students are too stupid not to just look up the short version on Wikipedia.

Or it’s all the Russian expats, yearning for the good old days when you could torture someone in the Lubyanka (makes Abu Ghraib look like a meeting of the Women’s Missionary Society…  and you probably don’t even know what it is/was…..  and didn’t when the Soviets were still around, either) without having to look over your shoulder for a western reporter.  (Those days are coming back, though…  good ideas always do, right?  Like plutonium seasoning in your food.)

I think the most likely explanation is far more prosaic.   Britain has taken on the EU’s ridiculous global warming fear-fantasy, and, demonstrating that intemperate public policy is usually invented in the north temperate zone, British bureaucratic wanna-be-apparatchiks are making firewood harder and harder to get.  All that nasty CO2, you know.

And really, really bad ideas burn very brightly, for a short period of time.

I wonder what the carbon offset is for an idea that killed at least 100 million people, conservatively estimated.

I also wonder when my copy of “The Audacity of Hope” is going to get here from  It’s cold around here.

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Jan 23 2009

The Promises

Category: Obama,politicsharmonicminer @ 10:36 am

This is interesting:

PolitiFact | The Obameter: Tracking Barack Obama’s Campaign Promises

PolitiFact has compiled about 500 promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign and is tracking their progress on our Obameter. We rate their status as No Action, In the Works or Stalled. Once we find action is completed, we rate them Promise Kept, Compromise or Promise Broken.

Just click the link and you can keep track as time goes on. And, of course, you can always pray that he won’t keep some of his promises.

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Jan 21 2009

The Scandal of New Evangelicalism?

Category: politics,theologyharmonicminer @ 10:48 am

The New Evangelical Scandal, Civitate

Even though the sociology has not yet caught up, the narrative of a new breed of evangelicalism has taken hold among the media and political elites. The narrative is doubtlessly popular in part due to wishful thinking by Democrats and their media-savvy friends; yet as a young evangelical myself, it is impossible to discount entirely. Even if the outline of our theology is broadly the same as our parents, as it is for an increasing number of conservative evangelicals, our ethos is different. And the differences are not strictly political—the political trends among young evangelicals that have received so much attention are grounded in different concerns and emphases that undergird younger evangelicals’ approach to culture and spirituality as well. This new ethos is largely a reaction to the abuses, failures, and excesses of our parents’ generation and contains significant clues as to the future of evangelicalism in America.

It’s a long article, but worth the read, by a 26 yr old evangelical who’s been thinking deeply about it all. You aren’t likely to agree with all of it, but it will stimulate your thinking, at least.

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Jan 08 2009

John Ziegler’s interview with Sarah Palin for his new film

Category: election 2008,media,Obama,Palin,politicsharmonicminer @ 10:11 am

I’ve mentioned John Ziegler’s efforts before to correct the record about How Obama Got Elected. As part of making his new movie, “Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Smeared” he has interviewed Sarah Palin. Some of his comments on that interview are here. (you may need to scroll down)

the most important part of my visit to the Palin house is that there is a big difference between thinking that something is true and knowing for sure that it is. I now know that Sarah Palin is who I thought she was.

I also know now, with moral certitude, that the media assassination of her, her character and her family was one of the greatest public injustices of our time and I am totally justified in devoting my life to correcting the historical record in my forthcoming film “Media Malpractice…How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Smeared”

I’ll keep linking to developments on this, but I think this is going to be a gangbuster’s film, with so much content in making its case that no one, no matter how avid a media consumer, has seen it all, and many people are going to be surprised at the strength of the case Ziegler makes.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE:  Early rumblings in the main-stream media about the Palin interview are here, including Palin pointing out the obvious disparity in the treatment of Caroline Kennedy’s candidacy for the Senate as opposed to Palin’s for the veep slot, even though Kennedy is angling for an appointment and won’t even be vetted by the voters til 2010, while Palin would at least have to have been elected to start with.

UPDATE:  Of course, in the coverage linked here, John Ziegler is a “conservative film maker,” not merely a “documentary film maker.”  I wonder if the makers of anti-Bush films in the last 8 years are usually referred to as “liberal film makers”?   How about all the anti-war stinkeroos that have died in the box office in the last few years?  In the reviews, are their writers, producers and directors referred to as “liberal filmmakers”?  The double standards here are so obvious that pointing them out is like shooting fish in a barrel with a howitzer…  but I suspect Ziegler is going to be the target of a great deal of ad hominem attack and attempts to label him out of relevance.

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Dec 17 2008

Vote buying in Venezuela

Category: Obama,politicsharmonicminer @ 10:54 am

Chávez government handed out millions in exchange for votes

Venezuela’s government distributed electronic appliances, food and cash totaling tens of millions of dollars in an effort to secure the loyalty of voters in poor sections in advance of recent elections, according to evidence and testimony obtained by El Nuevo Herald.

Pro-government officials in the municipality of Sucre alone handed out $10 million in cash on Nov. 22 and the day of the balloting, Nov. 24, offering each person between $140 and $480, according to campaign workers who spoke to El Nuevo Herald.

So how different is this, really, from encouraging people on the government dole and payroll to vote for the candidate who will give them more? Is buying the vote after the election so different from buying it before the election?  Very few people voted for McCain because of what he might give them, while enormous numbers voted for Obama expecting him to honor campaign promises to give them benefits of various kinds.  “Spread the wealth” indeed.

With his war chest, he made a down payment on his election with the media blitz.  Now that he’s elected, is he going to pay for the rest on the public dime?

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Dec 11 2008

Christian Derangement Syndrome

Category: politicsharmonicminer @ 9:32 am

Not a disease of Christians, but of those who criticize them, Christian Derangement Syndrome is a malady to which both the Left and some on the Right may fall prey. On the Left, it is recognized as bigotry towards anyone who, for religious reasons, supports the continuation of 4000 years of tradition in keeping marriage a heterosexual thing, is pro-life, etc.  On the Right, the symptoms are similar, but also involve a curious symbiosis with the Christians, because the secular Right NEEDS the Christians to have any power, but simply wants them to shut up and vote their way.  Here are some observations about Christian Derangement Syndrome on the Right:

Continue reading “Christian Derangement Syndrome”


Nov 27 2008

Ignorantly decrying ignorance

Category: education,politicsharmonicminer @ 10:22 am

Kathleen Parker has not been my favorite person of late, due to her support for Obama, for what I consider to be trivial reasons, but she quotes an interesting study on voter ignorance. The report from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) on the nation’s civic literacy finds that most Americans are too ignorant to vote. After quoting all the various bits of ignorance on the part of the public about basic historical and constitutional principles and facts, which I’ve discussed before, we are treated to this:
Continue reading “Ignorantly decrying ignorance”

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