Turning Point of History

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Son of God. He came to bring order and reconciliation to a world fallen into sin. The birth of Jesus is not merely a fact of ancient history.  We can live triumphant today with the knowledge that the defeat of all of our foes commenced with the death and resurrection of Jesus in the first century. The story begins with the promise of the offspring of the woman who would come to defeat the serpent:

The Lord God said to the serpent . . .
” . . . I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)

The people who lived before Christ lived in general darkness, but Christ came to bring light to the world:

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined. (Isaiah 9:2)

. . . when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away  . . .  But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed  . . .  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another . . . (2 Corinthians 3:14-18)

Jesus was born into the world to rule the world in peace, justice, and righteousness:

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

All authority over all things was given to Jesus by the Father:

“I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Jesus will continue to reign until all enemies have finally and completely been abolished:

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death  . . .  When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:25-28)

Merry Christmas!

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The Austrians Were Right

Ron Paul before the U.S. House of Representatives, November 20, 2008

Madame Speaker, many Americans are hoping the new administration will solve the economic problems we face. That’s not likely to happen, because the economic advisors to the new President have no more understanding of how to get us out of this mess than previous administrations and Congresses understood how the crisis was brought about in the first place.

Except for a rare few, Members of Congress are unaware of Austrian Free Market economics. For the last 80 years, the legislative, judiciary and executive branches of our government have been totally influenced by Keynesian economics. If they had had any understanding of the Austrian economic explanation of the business cycle, they would have never permitted the dangerous bubbles that always lead to painful corrections.

Today, a major economic crisis is unfolding. New government programs are started daily, and future plans are being made for even more. All are based on the belief that we’re in this mess because free-market capitalism and sound money failed. The obsession is with more spending, bailouts of bad investments, more debt, and further dollar debasement. Many are saying we need an international answer to our problems with the establishment of a world central bank and a single fiat reserve currency. These suggestions are merely more of the same policies that created our mess and are doomed to fail.

At least 90% of the cause for the financial crisis can be laid at the doorstep of the Federal Reserve. It is the manipulation of credit, the money supply, and interest rates that caused the various bubbles to form. Congress added fuel to the fire by various programs and institutions like the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FDIC, and HUD mandates, which were all backed up by aggressive court rulings.

The Fed has now doled out close to $2 trillion in subsidized loans to troubled banks and other financial institutions. The Federal Reserve and Treasury constantly brag about the need for “transparency” and “oversight,” but it’s all just talk — they want none of it. They want secrecy while the privileged are rescued at the expense of the middle class.

It is unimaginable that Congress could be so derelict in its duty. It does nothing but condone the arrogance of the Fed in its refusal to tell us where the $2 trillion has gone. All Members of Congress and all Americans should be outraged that conditions could deteriorate to this degree. It’s no wonder that a large and growing number of Americans are now demanding an end to the Fed.

The Federal Reserve created our problem, yet it manages to gain even more power in the socialization of the entire financial system. The whole bailout process this past year was characterized by no oversight, no limits, no concerns, no understanding, and no common sense.

Similar mistakes were made in the 1930s and ushered in the age of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the Great Society and the supply-siders who convinced conservatives that deficits didn’t really matter after all, since they were anxious to finance a very expensive deficit-financed American empire.

All the programs since the Depression were meant to prevent recessions and depressions. Yet all that was done was to plant the seeds of the greatest financial bubble in all history. Because of this lack of understanding, the stage is now set for massive nationalization of the financial system and quite likely the means of production.

Although it is obvious that the Keynesians were all wrong and interventionism and central economic planning don’t work, whom are we listening to for advice on getting us out of this mess? Unfortunately, it’s the Keynesians, the socialists, and big-government proponents.

Who’s being ignored? The Austrian free-market economists—the very ones who predicted not only the Great Depression, but the calamity we’re dealing with today. If the crisis was predictable and is explainable, why did no one listen? It’s because too many politicians believed that a free lunch was possible and a new economic paradigm had arrived. But we’ve heard that one before–like the philosopher’s stone that could turn lead into gold. Prosperity without work is a dream of the ages.

Over and above this are those who understand that political power is controlled by those who control the money supply. Liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats came to believe, as they were taught in our universities, that deficits don’t matter and that Federal Reserve accommodation by monetizing debt is legitimate and never harmful. The truth is otherwise. Central economic planning is always harmful. Inflating the money supply and purposely devaluing the dollar is always painful and dangerous.

The policies of big-government proponents are running out of steam. Their policies have failed and will continue to fail. Merely doing more of what caused the crisis can hardly provide a solution.

The good news is that Austrian economists are gaining more acceptance every day and have a greater chance of influencing our future than they’ve had for a long time.

The basic problem is that proponents of big government require a central bank in order to surreptitiously pay bills without direct taxation. Printing needed money delays the payment. Raising taxes would reveal the true cost of big government, and the people would revolt. But the piper will be paid, and that’s what this crisis is all about.

There are limits. A country cannot forever depend on a central bank to keep the economy afloat and the currency functionable through constant acceleration of money supply growth. Eventually the laws of economics will overrule the politicians, the bureaucrats and the central bankers. The system will fail to respond unless the excess debt and mal-investment is liquidated. If it goes too far and the wild extravagance is not arrested, runaway inflation will result, and an entirely new currency will be required to restore growth and reasonable political stability.

The choice we face is ominous: We either accept world-wide authoritarian government holding together a flawed system, OR we restore the principles of the Constitution, limit government power, restore commodity money without a Federal Reserve system, reject world government, and promote the cause of peace by protecting liberty equally for all persons. Freedom is the answer.

Original at The Austrians Were Right.

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Puppets of Bad Ideas

The book Pillars of Prosperity is a collection of speeches and essays by Ron Paul that lay out his “views of the proper role of government, namely that it should serve only to protect the life and property of its citizens.”  In a 1984 speech (page 3) he shows the folly of big government and how it is perpetuated by the politicians.  The problems of big government stem from the ease in which they are duped into supporting bad policy. Ron Paul points out that:

the politician, per se, is a lot less important than he appears. He is basically a puppet of public opinion that reflects the prevailing ideas of the intellectual and thought leaders.

Bob Inglis, the Republican congressman from South Carolina, gives an excellent example of this in his votes for the bailout bill.  He rejected sound economics that predicted the crisis.  He rejected free market solutions that would have eliminated the problem.  He failed to realize that current government involvement by congress and the fed means that we have nothing more than a centrally planned “free market” (socialism). He said that doing something was better than nothing while blindly following the socialist elite who said that the bailout was the only way.

Unfortunately as Ron Paul continues to explain:

Political success is the single goal that drives participants in our political system. No invitations to participants are sent to men of principle, upholders of equal rights, and defenders of the Constitution. Determined political aspirations under today’s circumstances are key to achieving a successful political career—the career being an end in itself. We must be aware that this system of politics is not conducive to bringing about changes necessary to solve our problems. The legislative and political intrigues that control the system for the benefit of the special interests must one day come to an end if personal liberty is to be restored.

We all must realize that no President or member of Congress will ever save us from our problems.  Central planning to prevent chaos will always turn into centrally planned chaos.  This chaos makes the politican think that he just needs to do more and that is always the wrong answer.

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Governments and Morality

It is commonly accepted that there are standards of right and wrong in the world. The Declaration of Independence refers to them as the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” To obey these laws is right and to disobey them is wrong. These standards apply to every individual of every nation. The laws that are obvious to most people include commands against murder, stealing, lying and adultery. Commands that aren’t so obvious because more people choose to disobey them include love God, don’t follow other God’s, set aside one day in seven to worship God and don’t take God’s name in vain or count it worthless.

While many would agree that these laws apply to every individual, confusion begins when we ask if these laws apply to governments. If they don’t apply to governments, then we must realize that the government can do no wrong. If all government actions are amoral it might be time to figure out how to use that for your advantage. You could then work together with a bunch of your friends and their friends until enough of you controlled the government so that you could steal from those who were too rich or silence those you didn’t like.

The illustration is obviously absurd and immediately points to the alternative view. The laws that apply to individuals do apply to governments. The problem comes when we decide how to apply this fact. We have tended to come up with a second level of morality that applies to governments. You know that it would be wrong to take money from your rich neighbor to pay for college. To get around this, the majority elect “representatives” to take money from their neighbors that they use to pay for college. Just because it’s the “will of the people” doesn’t make it right.

Suppose you and your friend call a meeting and invite your rich neighbor. At the meeting the majority (you and your friend) make a decision that you will take money from your rich neighbor and distribute it among yourselves. Does that make it ok now? It doesn’t matter if we say government is different because it’s a voluntary association. How does one go about getting out of volunteering or more importantly – being volunteered?

The problem is answered by admitting that their is an authority higher than government. If government was the final standard it could do whatever it wanted. An evil government would do evil and call it good. If government created the laws it would be the final decider of right and wrong. Government did not create the laws and therefore governments are not above the law. All governments and men are responsible to obey the law of God. It is the responsibility of the follower of Christ to speak out and call to repentance immoral governments and the people in them just as much as we are called to preach repentance to the individual on the street.

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A Promise and a Command

In Matthew 28:18-19 Jesus gives his disciples a command to teach the nations. This command is preceded by a promise that not only enables his disciples to follow the command but also gives them hope that they will see results. Jesus did not send his disciples into the world to talk to the nations and hope they listen. He tells them that all authority including authority over the nations has been given to him. They do not go out into the world by themselves. All authority and control has been given to Jesus. He has chosen to exercise that authority by sending out his disciples to teach the nations to follow him.

We who follow Jesus today are the descendants of those disciples. We are the evidence that they obeyed His command and believed His promise. We have passed from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light because Jesus is the ruler of this world. The disciples were commanded to teach “all things” that Jesus had taught them. We are to continue in that same tradition. The command is much more than a command to tell about Jesus. It is a command to teach people to obey all things that the living word has given us in His written word.

We cannot focus on the command apart from the promise.  We can teach the nations because it will have an effect.  We must teach the nations because it is the way in which God has ordained to exercise his authority.  When we get discouraged about the way things are in the world we need to realize that the discouragement is a symptom of our real problem.  The problem is not that there continue to be evil men in the world.  When we are discouraged, the problem is that we have not believed that God has authority over those evil men.  We must have faith and believe the promises.  We must then proclaim all that Jesus taught – worship God, love God, love your neighbor, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t covet, and believe that Jesus died to provide forgiveness to sinners who trust Him as their only escape.

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Preparing to Vote

As our nation prepares to elect a new President on Tuesday it is important for Christians to examine their own thinking and actions in light of the Bible. It is easy to condemn ungodliness in one candidate and miss it in the other or in ourselves. It’s tradition to vote against the “bad” candidate while failing to ask ourselves who am I voting for. It is convenient to ignore our own Christian responsibilities in our nation. Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-4 exhorts how we should relate to leaders:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Our first concern should be that we pray and give thanks for those in authority – the President, Senators, Congressmen, and the local Mayor. It is easy to worry about them which we are not commanded to do while forgetting to pray for them. God does answer our prayers and maybe the mess we are in is an indication that the people of God haven’t prayed about it.

Part of the reason for the command to pray is an acknowledgement that God is sovereign. While multiple examples and verses in Scripture could be given, my favorite on the topic is Proverbs 21:1 which says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” God can change the kings heart whenever he wants to. Nebuchadnezzar provides examples of this multiple times in Daniel.

A final passage that I will mention is Proverbs 3:5-8. For many of us this is a passage we know by heart, but sometimes we forget to apply it to all of life. Solomon says:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

From previous posts I have made clear how I would apply this to the election. It is easy to get caught up in the candidates and to especially fear those that are most evil in the areas we care about. It is hard to remember that God is in control. Choose a candidate that would please the Lord and allow Him to orchestrate the outcome.

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Republicans and the Supreme Court

Many republicans will support John McCain next Tuesday because they hope he will continue to elect justices to the court who will overturn Roe v. Wade. While abortion is a very important issue in our day that must be eliminated, there is plenty of evidence that people like John McCain and most republicans in general aren’t going to cause it to happen. The New American has published a good article, Would McCain Change the Court? that examines the history of justices that have been appointed by republicans over the years. Looking at the history of Republican appointed justices shouldn’t give much hope. Combine that with the fact that McCain is a self professed maverick that likes to make a deal with the left (compromise), and I don’t see why anyone thinks McCain will help.  Palin is definitely to the right of McCain on this issue but I don’t see her fighting her boss on this one.

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John McCain on Gun Control

While Obama definitely wants to lead us down a road to when the government will take all our guns, I would like to point to an article, John McCain’s Gun Control Problem, at the Gun Owners of America that explains that McCain hasn’t practiced a good gun agenda either.  A couple of quotes that are important to consider:

“We owe it to our children to be responsible by keeping our guns locked up,” McCain told viewers.

Economist and author John Lott, Jr., noted, “No mention was ever made by McCain about using guns for self-defense or that gunlocks might make it difficult to stop intruders who break into your home. And research indicates that McCain’s push for gunlocks is far more likely to lead to more deaths than it saves.”

And then they use a new angle to fight our freedoms:

Pro-gun allies in Congress who were holding off gun show legislation — which would at best register gun owners and at worst close down the shows entirely — were angered when McCain teamed up with Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and introduced a “compromise” bill to give the issue momentum.

“There is a lot of frustration. He has got his own agenda,” one Republican Senator told Roll Call.

After September 11, 2001, McKelvey and McCain, now joined by Lieberman, had a new angle to push gun control.

“Terrorists are exploiting the gun show loophole,” AGS ads hyped. McCain and Lieberman hit the airwaves again in a series of radio and TV spots, thanks to McKelvey’s multi-million dollar investment.

And they end with:

John McCain tried running for president in 2000 as an anti-gunner. This year it appears he is seeking to “come home” to the pro-gun community, but the wounds are deep and memories long.

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Lew Rockwell on Not Voting

Lew Rockwell has written an interesting article for the latest edition of The American Conservative on not voting.  While I’m not sure that I agree at the moment (there is still a week), he does make some interesting points:

we do have the freedom not to vote. No one has yet drafted us into the voting booth. I suggest that we exercise this right not to participate. It is one of the few rights we have left. Nonparticipation sends a message that we no longer believe in the racket they have cooked up for us, and we want no part of it.

I have to agree that it is basically a racket that we participate in. Why else is it harder in most states for 3rd parties to get on the ballot than for the two main parties. Is there a two party system in the constitution (the answer is no)? He continues with:

You might say that this is ineffective. But what effect does voting have? It gives them what they need most: a mandate. Nonparticipation helps deny that to them. It makes them, just on the margin, a bit more fearful that they are ruling us without our consent. This is all to the good. The government should fear the people. Not voting is a good beginning toward instilling that fear.

This year especially there is no lesser of two evils. There is socialism or fascism. The true American spirit should guide every voter to have no part of either.

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What Has Government Done to Our Money?

Murray Rothbard’s book, What Has Government Done to Our Money?, is available as a free audiobook or a free download from the Mises Institute.  I’ve listened to most of it and want to recommend it as an easy to understand source that explains where money originated in history and how we have gotten to the point we are now with government controlled fiat currencies.  Part IV “The Monetary Breakdown of the West” goes through the history of gold standards in the United States from when there was gold backing the dollar to after Nixon took us totally off the gold standard.

Rothbard points out through multiple illustrations from history that governments have always sought to inflate the money supply to generate a new source of funding (in a democracy a 100% tax usually doesn’t work but deceptive taxes might not be noticed).  The colonies did this during the Revolutionary War and our government has continued to do it throughout its history – especially in times of war.  When the government does not have the money to pay its way, it has throughout its history printed more.  The consequence of this inflation for every government is always a devaluation of whatever the currency is at the time.  A second consequence is that the artificial booms this easy money creates in certain sectors of the economy will always eventually lead to a bust such as happened in the economic downturns of 1819, 1873, 1918, 1929, 1973, and what is happening now in 2008.

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