All posts by Alvin Plummer

About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!

Once Upon a Time…

…in Democratic America.

Reddit, r/starterpacks

An era dead and gone now.

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Theonomy Never Worked!

An interesting allegation, that.

Especially the assumptions behind the word ‘worked’ and the actual goals behind the laws handed down from Moses.

From What “It Never Works!” Means for Our Understanding of God’s Law by Joseph Foreman

(Keep an especially close eye on the Holy Spirit in the article.)

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When something is a central idea to your world, it should work.

My oldest son Jeremy (a true son of his maternal grandfather) said some time back, “How is theonomy not utopian? Isn’t theonomy a whole-orbed way of life, a social order, something that will never work because though human beings are designed to work that way, our sin will always prevent it?  Isn’t that why you want to stone people? to force them into sanctified self-government so they can be free?  You want the law to do what the Holy Spirit cannot do, or will only do when Jesus comes, or in our next life. That is everything that is evil about utopianism which you taught me.”

Then in a Facebook argument where I was lurking, someone I never heard of said something to the effect of: “Theonomy didn’t work before the Reformation. It is impossibly utopian. I don’t mean to be harsh, but give it up.”

And John Andrew Reasnor responded, “That’s because it was before the Reformation.”

So, let’s take a minute (or ten) and see if John hasn’t uncovered something here.

Has Theonomy Ever Worked?

One of the glaringly obvious facts of history is that theonomy doesn’t work … if by “work” you mean, has never produced a full-orbed social law order that was, as they say these days, self-sustaining—one sufficiently stable that it lasted more than a generation or two. 

Why try to explain this away?  Syncretism is only half the story. Why not, as John suggested cryptically, see what the historical “failure” of theonomy tells us about God’s law and God’s plans?

It didn’t work before the Reformation? Well, it didn’t work in the Reformation either. John’s comments were meant to push us to see that theonomy is not a static world order we establish by passing a few laws. Rather, it involves the whole thrust of history. God’s law is taking us somewhere.

So, don’t stop at the Reformation. Go to Scripture. It didn’t work there either!

Theonomy “didn’t work” with Ezra or Nehemiah, or with David, or really for the Judges either. The social order based on God’s law-order that Ezra started “didn’t work” as far as Jesus was concerned. Our Lord was incredibly dissatisfied with the Pharisees and Scribes, Ezra’s heirs, who made their congregations twice as fit for hell as they were before. So they killed Him.

The Disciples & Co. for the next two thousand years couldn’t make theonomy work for them.  But wait: why should they make it work when we can’t even find where it works in Scripture?

Now, if it doesn’t work even in Scripture, then why can’t we just jettison God’s law as a formative foundation and structure of history and human existence? And many today reach precisely that conclusion, and as Paul would say, “their condemnation is just.” Aye, there’s the rub: Scripture itself never rejects God’s law but embraces it—jots, tittles, and all. What is God’s law such that we can affirm its “every jot and tittle” with Jesus, confirm it is “holy, just, and good” with Paul, but at the same time concede that it doesn’t even seem to work for Moses, or Jesus, or Paul?

God Subverts Our Carnal Expectations

Well, let’s see. The first theonomic attempt at Mosaic social order was a legal failure in respect to the law, but it was a failure that enabled fourteen centuries of Hebrew Prophets to give the world an exposition of theonomic law, justice, and ethics which, while it didn’t do Israel much good, has nonetheless been transforming the planet ever since. It is odd how social activists (like Sojourners) who hate God’s law still love God’s prophets’ exposition of it. Hmmm?

To get a drift of where this is going, notice that almost every agitator for any modern social cause, whether righteous or evil, quotes the prophets favorably. God is the God of social justice, and those struggling for such justice recognize that much, even when they reject the foundation of justice itself.  Now, that is a burning bush worth stepping aside to examine.  Which is what we will do, to see that the light that is shining from it is ultimately God’s own.

While Israel by no means transformed into a theonomic social order that pleased God, God’s law did transform Israel into a nation so distinctive in its day that even Rome gave them special privileges. Those temporal freedoms were the umbrella under which the first-generation church grew in relative protection. But Israel had greater impact than even that. Hebrew wanderers 1000–400 B.C. are recorded in the mythology of the founders of both Greece and Rome, profoundly influencing the normal earth-magic paganism of that era, enabling rational philosophies, religions, empires, government and law-orders to appear for the first time in pagan history. The rational gods replaced the irrational forces of nature those peoples used to worship, and the time was made full in preparation.

When Jesus fulfilled the time, He raised a whole dimension of God’s law to the first and greatest two commandments, opening a new window on God’s law and our relationship to God. You might say His ministry of grace was a tenth commandment ministry transforming the heart (something only the Holy Spirit can do).  In both the summary of the law and in the final word of the law we see God putting the law into the hands of the Holy Spirit to do what statutes and summaries, however wise, cannot do.  Statutes can define, they can influence, but they cannot execute on their own. They require someone in God’s image who is shaped by His Spirit.  While rationality is essential, and law is essential, neither are sufficient.  Only “my grace is sufficient for thee.”  This is the basis of the optimism in Scripture. We have not come as far as we can go. We have come thus far as the Lord has brought us. This is the theonomic vision inspired by the Holy Spirit.

The Law as Leaven Working in History

With the conversion of Rome, Justinian rewrote pagan law in light of what he learned from Moses and Christ. No, it was not a perfect job, but do you see where God is going?

The Christendom of the Medieval Period wasn’t sorted out well. God’s law, theonomy, was oddly applied hit and miss, piecemeal. As a result, it certainly didn’t “work.” But what it did do is make everyone in the West unthinkingly, intuitively Trinitarian Christian, infused with a profound sense of their need for God’s grace and law. From that platform the Reformation, a popular movement, sprang up with yet another effort to apply God’s law based on Reason, often mathematical reason.  In England they tried to apply it as God’s law in full-orbed personal and corporate relationship to God.  At the same time France and Germany secularized God’s law into merely rational principles pulled out of what they felt was the sticky goo of personal religion, worship, and dogmatics. But in the end it was theonomy that they were working with. And it didn’t work for England or Europe, ending instead in wars and rumors of war.

The British Empire spread abroad the novel idea that nations should judge themselves by an objective law, one that is true for everyone. That is a major tenet of theonomy, and suddenly, all around the globe, the Brits are schooling the world in it. If you examine British law you will find many fundamental tenets of theonomic liberty embedded in it (serving as a hidden backbone or autopilot). It is worth noting that British colonies have tended to do better than the other colonies after their independence from the crown for precisely this theonomic reason.

But in the end, theonomy didn’t work really well for the Brits. Those colonized said, “Wait, if there is one law, and it rules all mankind, then what are the British doing here as if they are better than us?” So the colonies kicked the Brits and the rest of Europe out.

God’s law has changed society over the millennia. Even now, the structure of government itself is transformed in America where a theonomic country emerged against all odds embodying an odd mix of secular and sacred. Yet its legal and political structure is both self-consciously theonomic and self-consciously secularized … Secularized what?  It’s God’s law that was secularized and “improved on.” See? It is theonomy that the secularists are working with.

The Bill of Rights and the limited government these rights demand are fundamentally Mosaic ideas. The first three commandments require that government must be structured so that it cannot deceive the governors into thinking they are God. Government for Moses is always a gift of God. It is not of ourselves, lest any men should boast as if they give and create rights. Rights and protection from both government and the evildoers alike are fundamental Mosaic ideas from God.  The structure of the Constitution is one way to create a first commandment-compliant political order.

Scaling the Psychological Wall

Today, we can see better where we have been and where we are going. Our mission is not to foist an authoritarian utopia on society, but to take the steps we need to take in our lives using our enhanced influence in this era to bring God’s plan a step closer to where He has been headed all along. Theonomy is not merely a network of laws and punishments, it is a way of transformed hearts and the structure of their association in life. Government structure can only apply as much of God’s law corporately as has been applied in our own sanctification. Sanctification is not merely personal morality, it is seeing all of creation as God’s and taking dominion.

Our brief synthesis of God’s law with certain secular “improvements” in the United States, like all the other such attempts throughout history, is falling apart. It’s that Holy Spirit thing. Theonomy will not work until people are transformed from the inside and are therefore capable of changing the very structure of government itself. Only the Holy Spirit will do this. No amount of reasonable thinking on the matter, no amount of law on God’s part and wishful application of it on our part, can change what only the Holy Spirit can do.

We are up against a terrible psychological wall. It is almost impossible to scale it. But try. You have seen how children growing up are at each point in their early years through about age twenty at the peak of a rapidly developing understanding of themselves and the world. It is almost impossible for them to understand that there is more to learn about every part of life—especially the important parts—because from their perspective they are at the pinnacle of human growth and development. Whatever level they have attained experientially enables them to look back and see how much wiser, smarter, and together they are than they were, especially compared to the younger kids.  Their whole world just feels like they have gone as far as they can go. 

Regrettably, that is where we are as a civilization and as Christians. What more is there to learn? How much further can our sanctification as individuals and as society go? This must be it, because I can’t imagine anything further. We have the early church, the medieval church, the modern church. Look at all we have done. And it’s falling apart. The only thing left is the last battle and the return of Jesus (if you are an average evangelical).  And if you are among the cognoscenti, the Reformed, the postmillennial, why nobody has said it better than us and the Puritans did! Here, let me write another book to prove it! Nobody can say it half as good as we can, which makes me feel sad for everybody else. Nobody will say it better because, baby, we’re the best. So don’t go talking about God having something more!

Two modern songs come to mind. One is from Oklahoma: “Everything’s up to date in Kansas City. It’s better than a magic lantern show. You can turn the radiator on whenever you want some heat. Every house is completely furnished, every house is all complete.  Oh everything’s up to date in Kansas City.”  The other is Carly Simon crooning, “Nobody does it better, makes me feel sad for the rest. Nobody does it half as good as you, baby, you’re the best!” 

But this glance at the failure of theonomy has shown us the exact opposite.  There are many things of old that they did say and did do better than us. And it was theonomy that clearly was applied to achieve that. But theonomy is not the magic stone that enabled them to put it all together, and it is not our philosopher’s stone either. And yet, our situation today is far ahead of theirs.  Stop and look at one small example.

Right now, whatever the errors in its formulation, and however many books we write about the Great 1776 heist in Philadelphia, and however much intellectuals pick and pull at the Constitution, no one offers a credible alternative. That is to say, an alternative constitution, government structure, church structure, which the average person can read, grasp and say, “Great idea, let’s put this blueprint into effect.”

With all its defects, our form of constitutional self-government has been for 200 years a utopian dream to Wycliffe. In 1384 John Wycliffe writes in the introduction to his first-ever Bible translation into English, “This Bible is for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People.” He envisioned people able to personally govern themselves sufficiently to make a free form of government work—a form that at the time he never specifically described.  But he knew that the civil/ecclesiastical order of the day would not work with a free people.

But wait. Had you been alive with him you would not have said, “I’m joining you! There must be something more. There must be greater freedom we can aspire to.” You would have said then what you say today when a theonomist says, “Current church structure and social political structure do not measure up to Scripture.”

Today, is your gut response to call him an anarchist? Then that’s what you would call Wycliffe. Had you been with him, you—the postmillennial—would remonstrate, “Look, 98 percent of Europe is serf! Life span forty years! Living with scarcely any social structure! Needing the firm hand of an autocratic government to control them for their own good! Illiterate, brutish, unrefined, insect-infested, disease-ridden! Filthy! These people govern themselves? You are a utopian anarchist … and an atheist too if you challenge the church.” 

Yes! If you echo such thinking today concerning the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, you would have joined the Pharisees in a like condemnation of Christ’s work when He walked the earth. “Thus, you testify against yourselves that you are the sons of those who murdered the prophets.”

The Long Arm of God

When you look at how God actually worked with people and governments you see that He did not lay down a theory of political science or even a rational elaboration of either His law or how best to structure society so as to enforce it.  I contend that through history you see God’s profound aversion to the nickel-in-slot rationalism we rational elitists so vigorously promote, even though His creation, and His law-word, are quite rational. God gives perhaps the most rational summary of law at a time rational law did not even exist—not at the end of a millennium of speculative attempts to understand human behavior, but at the beginning of it. Then He refuses a rationalistic development of this most rational revelation and offers brief concrete applications and reflections on it quite alien to modern rational law which moves from principle to statute to applied case law. (Such rationalism is a child of Moses however much pagans and secularists try to claim it as their own. The most they do is turn rational development into Rationalism, another false god of the mind.  This is also something the Reformed have done on more than one occasion, by the way.)

What God does is work with the patriarchal government of Seth through Abraham and family. His law influenced the tribal/clan warlord government of the judges. Theonomy worked with monarchical and aristocratic government from David until the nineteenth century. In all of these forms of government there are pictures of God’s relationship with us. There are positive things these governments expound about God. And there are good social results. But they were never sufficient in themselves. God’s law keeps pushing them further. And most people want to cling to what they have as if that is all there is. Wherever they were in the development of God’s plan for the ages, they could not help but believe that this—where we are today—is as much as the Holy Spirit can do speaking through the Word.

But notwithstanding our reluctance then or now, in time God’s law transformed autocratic government as the ideal earthly representative of God both in church structure and in state structure into representative constitutional government. Yes, yes, we read of its critics. But the fact is, we can read of its critics without fear of being hanged or burned. Yes, unfortunately constitutional government deified the people but even so, it was a huge structural theonomic shift to actually involve people according to Moses’ command, “Choose for yourselves wise men” (Deut. 1:13). Theonomy has restructured the whole world!

Follow me here: The idea that government should be limited to certain tasks and kept strictly out of others? The idea that the government is not the highest authority? The idea that your house and possessions should be safe from search and seizure? The idea that you have a part in selecting your rulers? The idea that judgment is the job of the people who make up the jury? The idea that you own your property, its damages, its debts, and its profits? The idea that men’s minds are not the property of the state? The idea that there is private property? Who you associate with is not the business of government enforcement? … I could go on.

That’s straight-up theonomy, baby, and you are right! It doesn’t work … for long! But it sure feels good during the brief periods when it is tried. And maybe, just maybe, though it doesn’t “work” right now, it is the result of God’s law working with us to create at every level a freedom undreamt of by those who came before.

Now here is the irony of it all.  The same people who read and write the books about how compromised and non-theonomic our government ideals today are, are the very people who, when told that “perhaps there is more, perhaps our church organization and state organization is not what God wanted,” these paragons of the Reformation will call you an anarchist, anti-church, and so forth. I would expect this from premillennial dispensationalists, as they have no hope. The Holy Spirit has finished His work of sanctification with them. There is nothing more for God to do than rapture them out of here around some sort of last battle, before, during, after, who knows, but this they do “know”: the Holy Spirit has done all He can do.

So if you are still reading, where am I going with this?

No, the historic application of God’s law by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of mankind will not create utopia. What it will create is people who structure freer and freer forms of government church and state which reflect the freedom our personal self-government is fit for. They will become more and more theonomic. It just takes longer than you thought it would because you can’t get over that psychological wall: surely this is where Jesus wants us to build the three booths, surely our transfiguration where we now stand is the best it can be. Surely anyone who challenges us on this lofty mountain height is an anarchist, anti-government, anti-church, and probably antinomian to boot. Surely this wine skin was good enough for Calvin!

Still God commands those who have reached the top and want to drink His wine, “This is my beloved son, hear him.” Still Jesus says to top-down church and state organizations, “It is not to be so among you.” Still the Holy Spirit will awaken our complacent confidence in 2000 years of authoritarian church and state government to what Jesus actually said, and how thoroughly we have ripped up His words to make them fit into our authoritarian—albeit constitutionally authoritarian—structures of church and state government.

The Next Step Is to Take the Next Step

What the Holy Spirit does is transform the people who apply God’s law to take another step. Truth be told, it’s often an ugly process requiring God’s judgments on even the good things we thought were “the best it could be.” But upon the foundation those earlier believers laid, theonomy transforms each subsequent era a bit more radically until you have a people capable of actually making a go of a constitutional republic for two hundred years now, and an entire planet that thinks even this syncretistic manifestation of theonomy is a pretty good idea. However, they are people who have not been transformed by the Holy Spirit and discipled by God’s law in their heart so they can’t do it and can only flee to those lands who can, in hope of embracing this transformation for themselves and their posterity.

This is tenth commandment territory. “Thou shalt not covet” is a heart issue, not an external action. For the other commandments to work it is the heart that must cease its idolatry and self-worship and/or its state worship. The heart must cease its futile labors and rest. The heart must learn to honor authority, to refrain from and abhor murder, lust, theft, and lies. We can through self-discipline control many of the ethical ravages of sin—but as Jesus said, even the pagans can do this much. 

What we can’t do is transform the heart. Transforming the heart is the utopian dream of modern, authoritarian, collectivist utopias birthed by Marx-Engels and executed by Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.  Lacking the Holy Spirit, their goal is to transform the heart by brute force and education. The only real difference between them and the average modern theologian is that they think they can do more than we have accomplished today, and turn to physical force, whereas the average Christian thinks that the Holy Spirit has done all He can do so the Christian turns to holy though idle introspection. Christians are either checking out of the world (if they’re waiting to be bailed out by the rapture) or, if you are Reformed, are busy building monuments to those who have gone before us while despising those who bring good news of Scripture. How can Scripture say more? We have said it all!

But the heart is the territory of Holy Spirit transformation which Jesus opened the law up to. In fact, it was there all along, ever since Moses, curled up in the tenth commandment and in the two summaries: Love of God and neighbor.

No, theonomy didn’t work.  Theonomy is how God works with us ethically and judicially to structure our life and world. It is only the Holy Spirit who can work with God’s law upon converted hearts and minds. He brings them a step closer to objective maturity; a step closer to self-discipline and self-government; a step closer to even more freedom than former ages could experience.

It was an old trucker, Bill Evans, who pointed out to me that the relationship between corporate and personal sanctification is another one and many mystery.  It is, like so many things, a Trinitarian mystery.  But corporate sanctification is inextricably grounded in personal sanctification grounded in the “Spirit of love, power and self-government.” The structure of government, whether of church or state, is the direct reflection of the extent of personal self-control, or sanctification, found in the individual and the body politic. That personal sanctification is the extent of the freedom we can experience in our personal life and in the organizations we create to govern and extend life.

Raising the Foundations of Many Generations

As the body politic of self-governing people grows they become capable of higher and higher levels of self-government. The Biblical image for this is that they grow into the fullness of the maturity of Christ. When this happens, they start restricting the ways other governments force them into an authoritarian mold. For example, children need authoritarian parents. The purpose of authoritarian parents is to grow children up into free adults who do not need authoritarian parents. Real adults do not need the top-down state either. That civil organization or free state of self-governing people is the theonomic, Mosaic, Jesus-endorsed Holy Spirit-effected, Pauline ideal. All theonomic laws and punishments were designed for that political environment. Without acting as if we live in the benefits of that end times political environment, and with the insight of those who went before, we do the best we can in our various forms of syncretism while praying for the Holy Spirit to carry us to the next step of His work to transform and fill the earth.

This is no utopian dream.

The United States would have been considered a utopian dream by the serfs and peasants of 1384, precisely like the unimaginable dream of theonomy reflected in the opening comments. The idea that there is more freedom than a bureaucratic church or state can muster is condemned by everyone today, especially traditional postmillennial theonomists. But Wycliffe put in the preface of his Bible translation that his vision for translating Scripture was of a people discipled in their hearts by God’s Word so that a “government of the People, By the People and For the People” could be established. His utopian dream was partially realized by the Parliaments of Europe and later by the US of A and still (by comparison to the fourteenth century) it is realized by most of Europe—there are no more serfs: they have been transformed. It is idealized by much of the planet simply by looking where they all want to migrate to.

Perhaps theonomy’s greatest endorsement is the deadly enmity toward it exhibited by all collectivist and authoritarian governments: their secret police, their armies, and their theoreticians. They can see what we, its beneficiaries, have a hard time seeing: the theonomic social structures of freedom from God we utterly take for granted while we’re busy scoffing at the hijacking in Philadelphia.

But theonomy has only just begun to have its transformative impact.

We are only 4,500 years into the project.

We are getting there. We may not articulate well what it will be, but we do know that we will be like Him. And this is not where He intends to stop. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a hopelessly optimistic vision. Don’t make an idol out of where we are right now and scoff at the Wycliffes of today. You will find yourself despising the Holy Spirit.

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Progressives’ Automaticity Kills

Do you see Our Betters?

They are not your friends.

From Mises.com, Progressives’ Automaticity Kills (and Kills and Kills) by James Anthony

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Proto-Progressives didn’t stand back and let a porous border emancipate slaves into rising prosperity. Instead, proto-Progressives used the new industrialization, railroads, and telegraphs to power industrial-scale conscription, killing, maiming, and destruction.

Progressives didn’t stand back and let European governments wage a first total war against Europe’s people. Instead, Progressives used their new income tax and new chemical technology to also send our own men into trenches to their deaths, and to also kill other men using poison gas.

Progressives didn’t stand back and let customers and businesses work together in the 1920s and 1930s. Instead, Progressives used their new Fed to print money, creating an artificial bubble and crash, and then kept prices high for both labor and products, stopping customers and businesses from adjusting prices themselves and working out the optimum path to recovery on their own. This greatly weakened the nation, incentivizing the Axis governments to attack and drag the nation’s people into WWII.

Progressives introduced inadequate studies and a media storm to ban the pesticide DDT. The resulting resurge of malaria killed millions.

Progressives introduced new procedures for abortion and used these to kill millions.

Progressives engineered a virus to be more transmissible by humans and deadly to humans. They locked down workplaces. They blocked and greatly-delayed fast home tests, punished doctors who used generic antivirals, and threatened businesspeople who sold the clot-reducing supplement NAC.

They mandated vaccines that cause new variants to evolve, lessen natural immunity, and produce clots potentially across the lifespan. If nonlethal strokes increase, dramatically decreasing the quality of life for many people, Progressives will be there to bury this problem they created by assisting their victims in committing suicide.

Once you know what you’re looking for, the extent of the misery that has been blamed on businesspeople or on acts of God but that has actually been caused by Progressives will take your breath away.

Progressives have limited awareness of their roles in all these harms, thanks to certain tricks that people’s minds play on them.

One particularly-powerful trick gets played by a Progressives’ mind on itself: denial.

Denial is greatly facilitated by focusing away from horrific consequences and focusing instead on other people’s supposed evil motives, on being the first in history to prevent a depression, on alleged weakening of eggshells, on temporary liberty for women, on being first in history to save people from a deadly scourge, and on and on.

Another powerful trick works almost the same way: urgency.

To a Progressive, a crisis screams deafeningly for his most-powerful savior to take action, immediately.

The more stressful the perceived urgency, the harder it is for anyone to think clearly. Stress produces “cognitive rigidity.”

The result is that only a very-few limited possibilities even surface in Progressives’ awareness. To not take some centralized action, any centralized action, is completely out of the question. Lives would most definitely be lost. (And the people to blame would be the people who knew better—the Progressives, of course.)

Tragic, isn’t it? A mere belief that government people are moral and capable, while customers and businesspeople are naïve or immoral (so their capabilities don’t matter), is enough, in a crisis, to seemingly compel action that’s disastrous.

So then, interestingly, Progressives don’t even have to think that they must not let a crisis go to waste.

And yet, conveniently, the actions they would take without thinking just happen to be exactly the same actions they would take if they consciously determined to not let a crisis go to waste. Which in fact is what Progressives determine to do.

Progressives act, and people die. Doesn’t rhyme, but is actually true.

As Ronald Reagan said, “The nine most-terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” True that.

Remember that in every crisis.

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Wealth Taxes, Envy, and the Free market in Poor Nations

A: Wealth Tax

From Who Pays Wealth Tax: The Rich or the Poor? by Jesús Huerta de Soto

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The Spanish government’s announcement that it plans to introduce a new “solidarity tax” on the wealth of those who possess over €3 million has again brought to the fore the debate about taxes levied on wealth and capital. The issue is not merely that the announcement is highly politicized in what is already, de facto, a preelection period, nor that it could disrupt the fiscal autonomy of Madrid, Andalusia, and Galicia. (Let us recall that these regions comprise eighteen million Spanish people; that is, almost 38 percent of Spain’s total population.)

Neither must we focus on the possible illegality or even unconstitutionality of the tax due to its potentially confiscatory nature. Nor is the main question the fact that people have already paid taxes (for instance, personal income tax) on their accumulated wealth during the process of its formation, and, at the time, in many cases, these taxes absorbed practically half the income of the current owners—the vast majority of whom are today older people and widows who, after a lifetime of effort, saving, and sacrifice, are now “rich” because they have over €3 million.

Nor, in short, is the issue that our politicians have employed a certain demagogy rooted in the moral disease of envy and in antisocial and divisive class warfare and have then attempted to sweeten and legitimize this demagogy semantically with the term “solidarity tax.” (Who could dare to not promote solidarity?)

No. The main argument against any tax on the stock of accumulated wealth or capital is none of those mentioned above, but the harm such a tax does to workers and, especially, the poorest, most vulnerable, and most disadvantaged among them. Employment, job quality, and wage levels depend directly on the volume of wealth and of capital wisely invested by its owners and provided to workers in the form of ever more sophisticated machinery, manufacturing plants, natural resources, computer equipment, etc.

In a market economy, wages tend to be determined by the productivity of each worker, and a continuous, sustainable rise in productivity can take place only if there is an increasingly large and sophisticated set of capital goods available to each worker.

If an Indian farmer earns only three euros a day, and an American farmer earns a hundred times that amount, the cause is not that the American worker is smarter or works more hours. It is simply that, on average, he or she enjoys the use of one hundred times as much capital equipment (for instance, a powerful, state-of-the-art tractor with the most modern accessories) as the Indian counterpart (who lacks this sophisticated equipment and is often obliged to go on plowing with animals and harvesting virtually by hand). And the huge difference in their wages derives from the fact that, with a cutting-edge tractor, the American farmer can plow an area one hundred times larger than the one the Indian farmer can plow with his or her rudimentary tools. But the cutting-edge tractor has been made possible only because several capitalists have accumulated wealth and capital and made them available to the American farmer in the form of tractors, which are simply sophisticated capital goods that dramatically increase productivity and, thus, the wages of the fortunate worker.

This reasoning sums up one of the most important teachings of economic science and illustrates the perennial piece of great popular wisdom that poor people do not so much need to be given a fish, which would satisfy their immediate hunger, but a fishing rod (that is, a capital good), which would solve their hunger problem once and for all. Here, again, science proves the best antidote to partisan demagogy.

If, for example, the owner of Zara, Amancio Ortega has a fortune of €60 billion, it would do no good to expropriate the entire amount and distribute it, say, among the two billion people who are, relatively speaking, the poorest in the world. Each person would receive a mere thirty euros, but the cost of this poverty-generating act would be heavy, since it would require the disappearance, liquidation, and closing of this distinguished capitalist’s countless factories, facilities, and buildings, which, quite fortunately for his tens of thousands of employees and millions of customers, continue daily to generate wealth and well-being far and wide, and thus to boost the productivity and wages of many.

Therefore, if we wish to fight poverty and promote prosperity—particularly the prosperity of those with lower wages—we must treat all taxpayers with great care, especially the “rich” ones, by supporting them in their accumulation of wealth and avoiding any persecution or social condemnation.

In short, any tax levied on the accumulation of wealth or capital, such as the existing wealth tax or the announced “solidarity” tax, always ends up exerting a harmful impact on workers, particularly the most vulnerable in relative terms, who would benefit the most from an increase in their productivity if they had more and better capital equipment.

Moreover, it makes no difference whether capital or wealth is comprised, as is most common, of securities, investment funds, bank deposits, or real estate, since all of these represent an entire constellation of specific capital equipment that invariably requires the collaboration of labor, increases employment and the quality of labor, and, above all, makes possible rises in workers’ productivity and, as a result, in their wages.

And in contrast, a tax like the one announced—a 3.5 percent tax on “large fortunes”—would, in under ten years, and by simple arithmetic, result in a reduction of more than one-third of the capital that could have been accumulated in the absence of such a wealth tax. And in turn, this reduction would generate the accompanying decrease in productivity and in real wages with respect to their potential level. Hence, we must conclude that wealth taxes are always ultimately paid—and handsomely—by workers, and therefore are harmful and, above all, they are the antithesis of solidarity toward the poorest and most vulnerable.

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Money quote:

The main argument against any tax on the stock of accumulated wealth or capital is none of those mentioned above, but the harm such a tax does to workers and, especially, the poorest, most vulnerable, and most disadvantaged among them. Employment, job quality, and wage levels depend directly on the volume of wealth and of capital wisely invested by its owners and provided to workers in the form of ever more sophisticated machinery, manufacturing plants, natural resources, computer equipment, etc.

I love charity. But charity does not turn a poor country into a rich – or even middle class – nation. Only the free market can do that.

A Christian society must be a free market, capitalist society. It’s the best way for the poor to improve their lives, while increasing wealth for all. It’s also mandated biblically.

(See Gary North’s work:

The key focus for the believer is not to transfer the wealth of the rich to the poor politicians and their vote banks, but to insure that the property, lives, and rights of both rich and poor are equally protected under the law. In general, it’s the poor who are most vulnerable, so their interests must be carefully protected.

On occasion, though, it’s the rich who are vulnerable: but if they broke no law, they should keep all they have – and transfer it to whosoever they please, even 100% to their own children if they desire.

But also note that we need modern versions of the gleaning law, the voluntary — not state-controlled! — poor tax of 3.5%, and possibly the debt-reputation Jubilee Law as well. Note that all of these laws, commanded by God, tilt the field somewhat to the benefit of the poor.

B: Envy

From Wealth and Heirship by R. J. Rushdoony

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One of the most powerful, corrosive, and destructive forces in all of history is very much at work today in all the world: envy. Envy is, in terms of Biblical faith, very clearly a sin, but, in the modern age, it comes disguised as a virtue. The motive force in much of the equalitarianism of our day is not a sense of brotherhood but an envy which seeks to level all things. Envy also masks itself as a concern, very commonly, for social justice, and it lays claims to saintly character while promoting hatred, revolution and murder.

Envy wars against status, but every revolution in the modern age has promoted a new elitism and established a social order more static, fixed, and class-conscious than those orders it displaces. Envy claims to promote equality, justice, and democracy, while in practice working to destroy all three of these things. Envy capitalizes on issues, not on principles. The world being a sinful and fallen order, the best of societies have glaring defects in need of correction, but envy capitalizes on these defects while avoiding principles. Envy does not correct: it destroys.

Because envy is sin, it wars against virtue and character. While capitalizing on the weaknesses of, let us say, the middle class, the doctors, technicians, press, clergy, and so on, it seeks in reality to suppress and destroy their character and strength. It says in effect, let none be better than myself. (Some years ago, as a young man, I saw in a particular church an evil family champion a pastor of bad character. In one incident, I learned that they liked him for his sins, because it “justified” them, whereas every godly man was slandered and resented by them.) The unwritten law in the hearts of envious men is, Let no man be better than myself.

Because envy is evil, it resents the good and is hence very destructive socially. It reduces church, state, and society to the lowest common denominator. Aristides the Just (C. 468 B.C.), an Athenian statesman and general was ostracized from the city in part because many people were resentful of hearing him called “the Just.” Then and now, many people prefer a corrupt politician to a good and honest man: They resent excellence and superiority.

The role of envy in many spheres and with respect to many things could be cited at length, but our concern now is with a key area for envy: wealth and heirship. It is commonly said that we live in a very materialistic age; Pitrim Sorokin called it also a sensate culture. The lust for wealth, or at least the appearance of wealth, is commonplace. A variety of things, such as furniture, automobiles, and clothing, sell less for their durability and more for their utility in creating the proper image, the image of careless and assumed wealth.

Together with this lust for material and monetary wealth goes a resentment for the wealthy. The tacit premise is that, Let no man be wealthy if we cannot all be wealthy. Hence, the revolutionary urge is to destroy wealth and then try to recreate it for all, an illusory hope. The result instead is a wealthy group of social planners who will not allow any man to transcend their control or status.

At the same time, there is an intense envy and resentment of heirs. How dare anyone inherit wealth! Over the years, from professors, students, and a wide range of peoples, I have heard expressed a radical hostility to heirship. Our estate and inheritance taxes witness to this hatred, and today this uncontrolled envy of heirs has made the robbing of widows and orphans a matter of state policy. The estate of the father may be a limited one and of consequence only because of inflation, but envy strikes increasingly lower and lower, from the upper class to the middle class, and now increasingly lower on the economic scale. The income tax is similarly a consequence of envy.

Many churchmen are very much a part of this world of envy, and they promote it as gospel. The word “rich” (by which they mean richer than I) is for many the ultimate insult. Our Chalcedon mailing list friends report some examples of this. One clergyman said that it was immoral for any man to have an income in excess of $20,000 a year; another, several hundred miles away, said that an annual income of over $40,000 was unchristian and a sin. (It takes little imagination to guess what their own salaries were!)

If a goodly income is a sin, how much more so an inheritance in the eyes of these men! An heir receives money he has not earned, we are told, and therefore does not deserve. Such money should be taken from heirs and given to “the needy.” In practice, taking money from the rich means giving it to an even richer state, not to the needy. Moreover, if failure to earn the money is the heir’s problem, then why is it proper to give this money either to the state or to the needy, neither of whom have earned it? We have, in all envy and its social programs, a double standard.

There is one point, and a necessary point, which we must grant, and, in fact, we must insist on granting: the heir’s money is unearned. This is a crucial point theologically, as we shall see. However, before proceeding to that fact, let us stop briefly to stress an important distinction. There is a very great difference between unearned wealth and unjustly gained wealth. My father left me no money, being a poor pastor, but he left me some books, (a very important form of wealth for me). I have a personal library of 25-30,000 books, many of which I inherited from my father, and from two other pastors, (and many of which I bought). I did not earn many of those books, (although many I did). Am I unjustly the owner of the unearned books? They were given to me as acts of love and grace, and I am happily and gratefully their present possessor. My books are a form of wealth for me, and they have been so also for friends and associates who have used them in their research. Only if I were to have some stolen books in my library would these be an illegitimate form of wealth. The distinction between legitimate and illegitimate wealth must not be obscured.

Now we are ready to deal with the key question, the unearned nature of wealth which is inherited. The modern world, being anti-Christian, is very hostile to heirship, whereas the Christian must regard it as central to his faith. There are far-reaching theological implications here. Very centrally, the doctrine of grace is involved.

The language of “rights” is basic to our humanistic age, which at the same time is the most murderous era in all history, very often in the name of the rights of man. Modern man assumes that he has a right to many things, and, with each decade, the catalogue of rights is increased, as is the scale of oppression and totalitarianism in the name of rights.

Theologically, however, man has no rights as he stands before God. All that he has is of grace, sovereign grace. Both man and his world are the creation of the triune God. No man is born into an empty world; we are all born heirs of our history, and we inherit the riches and the devastations of our forbears. We are what we are by the grace and the providence of God. St. Paul, in a key verse, struck at the pretensions of man, saying, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (I Cor. 4:7).

St. Peter says that life itself is a grace, a gift of God (I Peter 3:7). We are not the authors of life, nor the determiners of the conditions thereof. Life is a grace, a gift from God, and, for better or worse, we are all heirs. Our inheritance is often a marred one because of sin, but, all the same, we are heirs, redeemed or unredeemed. If we fail to recognize God’s grace and purpose, or bow before His sovereignty, we are judged and disinherited.

But, if we are the redeemed, we are heirs of the Kingdom of God, confirmed heirs, heirs together with Christ, we are repeatedly told (Rom. 8:17; Gal. 3:29,4:7; Eph. 3:6; Heb. 6:7; James 2:5, etc.).

The Bible requires that we recognize the fact of grace and heirship. They are essential to the doctrine of salvation, and also to the Biblical way of life. What we are, we have received, and we are not our own (I Cor. 6:19). “Therefore let no man glory in men” (I Cor. 3:21) for any reason, neither in other men nor especially in ourselves. We are not only created by the Lord but also bought back and redeemed at the price of Christ’s blood (I Cor. 6:20).

The envious man of today refuses to see all this. The world is a product of chance, and, in that realm of chance, man has struggled, fought, survived, and advanced himself. He has come so far that he can now self-consciously control and direct his future evolution. We have here the most radical doctrine of works in all history. The works involved are “red in tooth and claw.” And man evolves by destroying lesser forms, including the abortion of unwanted and also potentially defective unborn babies, he believes.

This envious humanistic man feels justified also in striking at the born, heirs especially, in order to further his concept of social advance and justice. Because he is at war with God, this humanistic man rejects radically the idea of grace and heirship in any and every realm, from the theological to the societal. He does more than reject it: he wars against it, and it is a total war.

Some scholars write as though Social Darwinism were a thing of the past. Their works are simply a fraud. What has passed away is the Social Darwinism of the men of Carnegie’s day and class, i.e., the Social Darwinism of the powerful and largely non-Christian or anti-Christian industrialists who believed in the manipulation of the state for their purposes. In their place, we have the Social Darwinism of socialism and modern democracies, a disguised form thereof but real all the same. Behind the facade of benevolence, the modern state applies a legal guillotine to all whom it deems unfit to serve.

In such a situation, more than ever, it is imperative for Christians to revive the Biblical doctrines of grace and heirship. In a world of grace, we are all heirs: we have received unearned wealth without any work or worts on our part. Heirship imposes upon us a major task of stewardship. The whole of the law gives us the pattern of stewardship for the heirs of grace. Our Lord sums it all up in six words: “freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8).

This commandment was given to the disciples, and to us. It applies to all, whether rich or poor according to man’s reckoning. We are all too prone today to assume that the duty to give freely or generously belongs to the rich, and the rest of us have the duty of receiving! It is, in fact, basic 10 envy that it demands that the envied give and the envier either receive or determine the disposition of that which is given. We have seen a great variety of peoples see themselves as the necessary recipients. The various minority groups believe that they have a right to gifts. So too do the elderly, and, along with the state school personnel, they constitute our most powerful lobby. Of course, industry, agriculture, and labor all seek subsidies or gifts. Envy leads to the world of coercion.

The Bible, however, says that all men begin with the grace of life. The redeemed are doubly the recipients of grace, and they are the heirs-designate of all things in Christ. They have received freely, and they must give freely.

The Christian position is thus founded on heirship and grace. We must recognize that we have received freely and that the Lord requires us to work for the reconstruction of all things in terms of God’s law-word. This reconstruction requires that we give our lives, time, thought, effort, and money to that end. When James speaks of us as heirs (James 2:5), and as joint heirs with Christ the King, princes of grace, he summons us to fulfill or keep the royal law, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (James 2:8).

We are told, “thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth” (Deut. 8:18). We are told, “Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land” (Deut. 15:11).

Envy is divisive and destructive. It creates a world of conflict and hatred. Hatred of the rich is as much a sin as hatred of the poor. When we are commanded by God to love our neighbor, no qualifications are made exempting us from loving him if he is rich or poor, black or white. We are to fulfill, i.e., keep the law in relation to him by respecting the sanctity of his marriage, life, property, and reputation, in word, thought, and deed (Rom. 13:8-L0), and to see him as our God-given neighbor.

Some neighbors will indeed be problems, of that there is no question! However, we must remember that in this world of grace and heirship, among the things we often inherit are problems. We have them because God intended them, not for us to complain about but to meet in His grace and by His law-word. We must face them in the confidence of Romans 8:28, that indeed all things do work together for good to them who love God and are the called according to His purpose. But to be called of God means that we are fulfilling His calling.

If all is of grace, there is no place for envy. We are heirs by the adoption of grace in order that we might give of that which we have received in order to be faithful citizens and members of the Kingdom of God.

Let us leave the world of envy for the wealth of grace and heirship.

(Taken from Roots of Reconstruction, p. 129; Chalcedon Position Paper No. 27)

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The fall of the welfare state will impoverish many, but few will reflect on why it was doomed to die: it was based on “theft by majority vote”.

Most of society will be rapidly aging, unable to recall how they built up their wealth in the first place. Most will be trained to dutifully obey the Leader and look for instructions, unable to combine aggressive entrepreneurship, disciplined logic, patience, self-sacrifice, and a demanding law-based ethical system like the Jews do — and how we could live, grow, and flourish as well.

Once we become visibly, materially obedient to God – and so begin to receive His blessings of spiritual, then material success – then the envy of our enemies will rise. I doubt that the atheists will ever rise to the scale of the Communist systems, but it will be there, and it will be willing to kill and rob.

Their success will depend on how much we and our children choose to give to Satan.

After all, todays Progressives are the lineal descendants of the Puritans, and most of the thinkers of the French Revolution were trained by the Jesuits. It was the liberal Christian missionaries from the Northern US who taught their students Marxism in China and North Korea.

It will help God’s Kingdom a lot, once we dump the traitor centres of the intellectually fourth-rate Christian schools – academically far behind the best secular universities – and the seminaries.

(And don’t forget, all the top-tier – and deeply secular – universities of the US were once top-tier Christian universities, with Cornell being the only exception. God simply does not like the guild system: we should ditch it. Now. Along with the Traditions-of-men priestly system we have going on.

Obedience to God brings more blessings, and more real authority, than we can imagine.)

I await the day when we decide to give Satan… nothing. Nothing at all.

Not our children. Not our leadership. Not our culture. Not our wealth.

Not our government. Not our laws.

Nothing.

C. Free Markets in Developing Countries

From Free Markets DO Work in Developing Countries by Lipton Matthews

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The assumption that free market reforms have failed to resurrect the economies of developing countries has become orthodoxy in some circles. Critics contend that market approaches are incompatible with the realities in developing countries. Yet despite the assault on market reforms in developing regions, there is insufficient evidence to justify the discontent of critics.

Successful markets are not contingent on geography and race, but culture can determine the effectiveness of economic reforms. In an analysis of economic freedom reforms, researchers from Winthrop University aver that individualism bolstered the efficacy of democracy in cultivating economic freedom in eighty countries between 1950 and 2015. Correspondingly, similar research shows that there is a link between support for markets and a country’s economic freedom.

Economic reforms are often imposed on developing countries by Western agencies and are perceived as illegitimate by citizens and politicians. Usually, countries invest in reform programs because they were coerced to do so rather than because they believe in the efficacy of markets. Economic reforms compete with long-held cultural beliefs, elite privileges, and the short-termism of politics.

The failure of market-reform programs to scale in the developing world results from institutional and political deficits rather than an innate defect in markets. Improved institutions, especially in economics, promote long-term growth. Policy makers ought to focus on assisting developing countries in designing the right institutional conditions for markets to thrive instead of downplaying their significance in stimulating economic growth.

Notwithstanding critiques, economic studies assert that free markets are the best option for boosting growth in developing countries. Axel Kaiser in an article critiquing Chile’s leftward lurch presents an impressive array of data attributing Chile’s development to right-leaning economic policies:

Chronic inflation, which had peaked at over 500 percent in 1973, fell below 10 percent by the 1990s and under 5 percent by the 2000s. Between 1975 and 2015 per capita income in Chile quadrupled to $23,000, the highest rate in Latin America…. This is consistent with the growth of income in the different socioeconomic groups. While between 1990 and 2015 the income of the richest 10 percent grew a total of 30 percent, the income of the poorest 10 percent saw an increase of 145 percent.

For Africa, economic freedom likewise has a positive impact on the quality of life and responsiveness to foreign direct investment. Moreover, Rwanda is quickly becoming the poster child for economic growth in the developing world, and it has taken aggressive steps to enable a freer economy. Agreeing with the literature on the benefits of economic reforms, A recent paper concluded that free market reforms led to a stronger macroeconomic environment, lower inflation, debt reduction, and higher levels of private investment in telecommunications and retail.

In fact, Kevin Grier and Robin Grier in defending the Washington Consensus observe a positive link between economic freedom and growth between 1970 and 2015. They explain:

The Washington Consensus has fallen out of favor in the last few decades, but we believe that the ideas behind it have been prematurely discarded…. We identify 49 cases of generalized reform in a sample of 141 countries from 1970 to 2015. The average treatment effect associated with these reforms is positive, sizeable, and significant over 5- and 10- year windows.

Intriguingly, a study by Kerianne N. Lawson and Robert A. Lawson shatters the myth that implementing reforms at an accelerated pace is detrimental for countries by showing that the nations “reformed more quickly grew more rapidly relative to slower reforming nations during and just after the period of their reform.”

Based on the literature surveyed, it is evident that developing countries need more rather than less economic reforms. However, reforms must be buttressed by institutions that allow markets to thrive. In contrast to orthodox thinking, the success of economic reforms is inhibited by institutional deficits. Markets are clearly not the problem.

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Economic Reforms in the direction of liberty are good. But, they mean nothing unless the population is ready to take responsibility for their own lives, rather than blame “them“. Whoever the Enemy of the Day happens to be.

It took several centuries of preaching against envy before Northern Europe was ready to go capitalist. We must continue on that road – and on upholding all of the multitude of Biblical teachings – if we are to enrich all believers (and indirectly, unbelievers too, a la Japan) everywhere.

COVID-19: The End of Twitter Censorship

From Tom Woods: The misinformation policy was just lifted

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Well, how about this:

“Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy.”

A policy that was used to silence good people, and ideas that should have been debated, is no more.

And of course the policy was bound to be enforced selectively: no matter how much “misleading information” came from official sources, Twitter wasn’t about to flag it.

Now we just need to get all those courageous doctors reinstated.

Rumors have been circulating that without more censorship on Twitter, Apple could drop it from its app store. Asked for comment, Elon Musk said that if that happened, he would start his own phone company.

You can imagine the hysteria among the censors. Our friend Jenin Younes, the Tom Woods Show guest I mentioned yesterday, just wrote this response to them that I thought you might enjoy:

Covid authoritarians are decrying Twitter (mostly) abandoning censorship policies, on the grounds the platform will be flooded with misinformation, leading to all sorts of bad things. To assuage their concerns, here’s a guide to functioning in these uncertain and difficult times: 

1) RECOGNIZE that “misinformation” is nothing new. Humans have told lies from time immemorial. That’s why not lying is one of the 10 Commandments. “Misinformation” is just a scary word used by politicians and bureaucrats to convince you that we are dealing with a new phenomenon.

2) USE common sense. Just because someone says something on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. Believe it or not, you can exercise your own judgment instead of relying on the geniuses who work at the CDC and Twitter! Here are a few tips to help you assess claims on the Internet: 

a) ASK whether it comports with observable reality. Do you know people who got the fourth booster and still got covid? If the answer is yes, then when Kamala Harris says you won’t contract covid if you get a booster, that’s probably misinformation. 

b) READ studies themselves instead of accepting the conclusions reported by the authors, who may be interested parties, and CNN or the New York Times. If the “study” is actually anecdotal evidence from two hairdressers wearing masks in St. Louis in March 2020, it’s probably misinformation.
 
c) ASK yourself what ulterior motives the person making the claim might have. For example, if someone is director of NIAD and clearly loves being in the spotlight, consider the possibility he is prolonging covid restrictions out of self-interest, rather than your well-being. 

3) RECOGNIZE that when you cede authority to government and large corporations to determine who’s heard and who’s silenced, when power changes hands, you might not be able to tweet those cute photos of yourself getting a booster with the caption “#savinglives.”

4) I know this is all a lot of work as it can be difficult to read studies and think critically, and emotionally taxing to encounter views with which you disagree. Unfortunately, it can take effort to live in a free society. I hope I’ve convinced you it’s worth it.


I’m happy to say that for the most part the Tom Woods Show managed to evade the censors throughout this ordeal, though I can’t say I was too thrilled when a video of mine that got 1.5 million views in a matter of days was removed on a bogus misinformation charge, or that one of my conversations with Rep. Thomas Massie — a United States congressman — was likewise removed. But I realize it could have been a lot worse.

I’ve talked to Peter McCullough, Pierre Kory, Martin Kulldorff, Scott Atlas, Jay Bhattacharya, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and other heroes of the resistance.

The point of releasing thousands of podcast episodes is to give people a place where they can be sure they’re hearing the truth, in a world of lies.

Remember when people were being told that if they wanted to go to work and earn a living they were vile grandma killers? We fought against that on the Tom Woods Show.

There we heard from Isaac Morehouse and Joel Bein of Career Hackers, whose Daily Job Hunt newsletter helps you learn new skills, change careers, pitch new companies, and build the creative mindset no government school gave you.

It’s great for both active job-seekers or anyone looking for a bright, insightful start to their day, and it’s a special advantage I want my readers and listeners to have.

Join for free here, and in a single day you’ll get more value than the political class has produced in its entire existence:

http://www.tomwoods.com/dailyjobhunt

Tom Woods

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COVID-19: Masks and Dead Horses

From Tom Woods, Does looking like a duck protect you from Covid?

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The dead-enders have been calling for a return of masking, though they don’t seem to be making much headway among normal people.

The uselessness of masks is nevertheless important to emphasize, so that (1) perhaps fewer people will be taken in should the public health establishment ever seriously try to impose them again, and (2) people will begin to perceive how unreliable (to put it kindly) our public health officials are.

By now you’ve probably heard people say: of course the masking didn’t work, because we should have been wearing N95 masks.

(That isn’t what Dr. Fauci said, by the way. He said all masks were protective to some degree.)

Well, we now have a randomized trial, just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, studying what difference in results, if any, can be perceived from the use of one over the other: “Medical Masks Versus N95 Respirators for Preventing COVID-19 Among Health Care Workers: A Randomized Trial.”

What did they find?

Fifty-two out of 497 (10.46%) people wearing medical masks wound up getting Covid, and 47 out of 507 (9.27%) wearing N95s got it — a difference too trivial to amount to anything.

Germany, for that matter, broke all its records for the spread of Covid at a time when it had among the highest N95 usage in the world.

I might add that Todd Zywicki, a professor I’ve interviewed from the law school at George Mason University, says a doctor told him: “If you can wear an N95 for more than about 30 minutes you are wearing it wrong.”

I remind you, dear reader, that I had one of my Tom Woods Show interviews with Congressman Thomas Massie removed from YouTube presumably because we questioned the utility of masks. (I can’t be certain that that was the reason, because our betters at YouTube do not deign to disclose the reasoning behind their various bans and deletions, but it’s the only thing I can think of.)

With what I’ve seen and experienced during Covid, I’ve found myself becoming more concerned about things I hadn’t properly prioritized before, and that was entirely my fault.

At this point I don’t trust any of these institutions, and I certainly don’t trust a federal government that colludes with them to silence independent voices.

I want to make it as difficult as possible for these people to gather information on me, or see what I’m saying or writing.

As it happens, I have an Internet privacy expert in my School of Life program, and he’s going to do a live session open to the public (my newsletter subscribers specifically, so that means you, dear reader) in which he’ll lay out five things you can do to protect your privacy against creepy individuals and institutions, public or private, that you don’t have to be a techie to implement.

Protecting ourselves and our information against snoopers is something we all know we should do at some point but most of us (and I plead guilty myself) never get around to it. I hope this gives everyone, myself included, the determination to take action.

All you have to do is register; it costs nothing to attend:

http://www.tomwoods.com/privacy

Tom Woods

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Multigenerational Consequences

Multigenerational sins are not easy, and never cheap, to root out. Be they sins of rebellion, or sins of conformism.

Whether you are naturally rebellious, or naturally follow the commands of Powerful Men, you have a problem today.

It is to the Law and the Testimony of God we are to turn to. Nothing else.

There are reasons why Adam’s decision, Cain’s choice, Abraham’s selection of concubine, echoes down today.

From Mercator: Parents of trans youth: the silence is killing us

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I was born into an activist family. I am not afraid of standing up for my views and being in the minority. For many years, I have fought for LGBTQIA rights and been dismissed or attacked for it but I have always openly fought for what I believe in.

Until now…

I find myself in an insidious position. I want to toyi-toyi in the streets and scream from the rooftops about the dangers of gender ideology, the affirmative approach and men in women’s spaces but, if I do, I will push my adult daughter further into her trans identity and more medicalisation.

Headlong rush

Out of the blue, my daughter decided she was trans after years and years of severe mental health issues, social awkwardness and terrible loneliness. She was immediately affirmed and within months had started testosterone and was booked for a double mastectomy.

The advice I gave her to slow down and explore her identity more carefully before medicalising made me, in her eyes, a transphobic bigot with whom she was unsafe. 

At first, I tried to fight it. I showed her all the literature cautioning medicalisation and the YouTube stories of detransitioners. I made my views very clear on Facebook, and in articles I wrote to any media outlets who would publish them. 

I continually told my daughter that I would always love her, but I could never agree with rushed medicalisation. I tried to hide my tears and devastation when her voice became deeper, when she grew hairy and started growing a beard, and when she had a double mastectomy. I still have to mentally prepare myself before I see her. 

I was told by therapists and most other people that it was important to keep our relationship going at all costs. I still sometimes wonder if that is the best advice. Is it not more loving to fight for the best for your child, even if they hate you?

Underlying frustration

Our relationship has improved over time and a huge effort on my part, although the hurt I feel because of her rejection of me, and the pain and fear for her future, makes it very hard.

For a while, I thought I could still fight the ideology by writing articles where I could, and posting on social media.

But I changed my mind. I know that so much of my daughter’s identity and rush into medicalisation is a reaction against me. Because of her mental health difficulties and our very close relationship, she has had great difficulty separating from me. The trans identity seems the only way she can do it. The harder I fight, the harder she pushes.

It leaves me in a helpless position, but I know I have to stop fighting publicly for a while. I am still trying to talk to people individually (especially influential people) if they will listen.

I am keeping up with news about gender issues, but I don’t share any more articles on Facebook. I don’t write any more articles for newspapers and magazines. It is killing me.  Our children will only be safe when this ideology and its dangers are exposed, and yet if I try to expose it, my daughter will go more deeply into it.

Blind

Many of my friends and family are activists on the left. I thought, when they saw what was happening to my daughter, they would be enraged and fight against it. I was so wrong. Most of them are too terrified to go against the woke ideology. They still believe or pretend to believe that by supporting the ideology, they are supporting human rights. I was once like them, blithely supporting something I knew little about. It took personal experience and a little research to find the shocking truth

When people are going through difficulties, they say they would not wish their trauma on their worst enemies. Forgive me for my terrible thoughts, but in my lowest moments, I wish this upon everyone around me, because only then will people wake up and understand — and only then they will start doing something about it. 

I am angry, I am hurting, I am lonely and I am feeling helpless. I know there are many other parents in my position. How will we fight this, if fighting pushes our children in the opposite direction, and when so many of those who could fight it, won’t?

This article first appeared on the blog of Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT) and has been republished with permission.

—<Quote ends>–

Cosmonaut Horror and True Friendship

(Copy/paste from the sci-fi blog.)

From Cosmonaut Crashed Into Earth ‘Crying In Rage’ by Robert Krulwich

—<Quote begins>—

So there’s a cosmonaut up in space, circling the globe, convinced he will never make it back to Earth; he’s on the phone with Alexei Kosygin — then a high official of the Soviet Union — who is crying because he, too, thinks the cosmonaut will die.

Vladimir Komarov’s remains in an open casket
RIA Novosti/Photo Researchers Inc.

The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on fuel; its parachutes — though no one knows this — won’t work and the cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed into Earth, his body turning molten on impact. As he heads to his doom, U.S. listening posts in Turkey hear him crying in rage, “cursing the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship.”

This extraordinarily intimate account of the 1967 death of a Russian cosmonaut appears in a new book, Starman, by Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony, to be published next month. The authors base their narrative principally on revelations from a KGB officer, Venyamin Ivanovich Russayev, and previous reporting by Yaroslav Golovanov in Pravda. This version — if it’s true — is beyond shocking.

Gagarin (left) and Komarov out hunting
RIA Novosti /Photo Researchers, Inc

Starman tells the story of a friendship between two cosmonauts, Vladimir Kamarov and Soviet hero Yuri Gagarin, the first human to reach outer space. The two men were close; they socialized, hunted and drank together.

In 1967, both men were assigned to the same Earth-orbiting mission, and both knew the space capsule was not safe to fly. Komarov told friends he knew he would probably die. But he wouldn’t back out because he didn’t want Gagarin to die. Gagarin would have been his replacement.

The story begins around 1967, when Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the Soviet Union, decided to stage a spectacular midspace rendezvous between two Soviet spaceships.

The plan was to launch a capsule, the Soyuz 1, with Komarov inside. The next day, a second vehicle would take off, with two additional cosmonauts; the two vehicles would meet, dock, Komarov would crawl from one vehicle to the other, exchanging places with a colleague, and come home in the second ship. It would be, Brezhnev hoped, a Soviet triumph on the 50th anniversary of the Communist revolution. Brezhnev made it very clear he wanted this to happen.

The problem was Gagarin. Already a Soviet hero, the first man ever in space, he and some senior technicians had inspected the Soyuz 1 and had found 203 structural problems — serious problems that would make this machine dangerous to navigate in space. The mission, Gagarin suggested, should be postponed.

The question was: Who would tell Brezhnev? Gagarin wrote a 10-page memo and gave it to his best friend in the KGB, Venyamin Russayev, but nobody dared send it up the chain of command. Everyone who saw that memo, including Russayev, was demoted, fired or sent to diplomatic Siberia. With less than a month to go before the launch, Komarov realized postponement was not an option. He met with Russayev, the now-demoted KGB agent, and said, “I’m not going to make it back from this flight.”

Russayev asked, Why not refuse? According to the authors, Komarov answered: “If I don’t make this flight, they’ll send the backup pilot instead.” That was Yuri Gagarin. Vladimir Komarov couldn’t do that to his friend. “That’s Yura,” the book quotes him saying, “and he’ll die instead of me. We’ve got to take care of him.” Komarov then burst into tears.

On launch day, April 23, 1967, a Russian journalist, Yaroslav Golovanov, reported that Gagarin showed up at the launch site and demanded to be put into a spacesuit, though no one was expecting him to fly. Golovanov called this behavior “a sudden caprice,” though afterward some observers thought Gagarin was trying to muscle onto the flight to save his friend. The Soyuz left Earth with Komarov on board.

Once the Soyuz began to orbit the Earth, the failures began. Antennas didn’t open properly. Power was compromised. Navigation proved difficult. The next day’s launch had to be canceled. And worse, Komarov’s chances for a safe return to Earth were dwindling fast.

All the while, U.S. intelligence was listening in. The National Security Agency had a facility at an Air Force base near Istanbul. Previous reports said that U.S. listeners knew something was wrong but couldn’t make out the words. In this account, an NSA analyst, identified in the book as Perry Fellwock, described overhearing Komarov tell ground control officials he knew he was about to die. Fellwock described how Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin called on a video phone to tell him he was a hero. Komarov’s wife was also on the call to talk about what to say to their children. Kosygin was crying.

When the capsule began its descent and the parachutes failed to open, the book describes how American intelligence “picked up [Komarov’s] cries of rage as he plunged to his death.”

<missing audio: Listen to Komarov as the Soyuz capsule began to fail>

On the Internet (89 cents at Amazon.com) I found what may have been Komarov’s last words:

Some translators hear him say, “Heat is rising in the capsule.” He also uses the word “killed” — presumably to describe what the engineers had done to him.

Americans Died, Too

Both sides in the 1960s race to space knew these missions were dangerous. We sometimes forget how dangerous. In January of that same year, 1967, Americans Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee died in a fire inside an Apollo capsule.

The Nixon White House prepared this letter in the event
that American astronauts did not survive the Apollo 11 mission.
NARA

Two years later, when Americans landed on the moon, the Nixon White House had a just-in-case statement, prepared by speechwriter William Safire, announcing the death of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, had they been marooned or killed. Death was not unexpected.

Valentina Komarov, the widow of Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov,
kisses a photograph of her dead husband during his official funeral, held in Moscow’s Red Square on April 26, 1967.
AFP/Getty Images

But Vladimir Komarov’s death seems to have been almost scripted. Yuri Gagarin said as much in an interview he gave to Pravda weeks after the crash. He sharply criticized the officials who had let his friend fly.

Komarov was honored with a state funeral. Only a chipped heel bone survived the crash. Three weeks later, Yuri Gagarin went to see his KGB friend. He wanted to talk about what happened. As the book describes it:

Gagarin met Russayev at his family apartment but refused to speak in any of the rooms because he was worried about bugs. The lifts and lobby areas were not safe, either, so the two men trudged up and down the apartment block’s echoing stairwells.

The Gagarin of 1967 was very different from the carefree young man of 1961. Komarov’s death had placed an enormous burden of guilt on his shoulders. At one point Gagarin said, “I must go to see the main man [Brezhnev] personally.” He was profoundly depressed that he hadn’t been able to persuade Brezhnev to cancel Komarov’s launch.

Shortly before Gagarin left, the intensity of his anger became obvious. “I’ll get through to him [Brezhnev] somehow, and if I ever find out he knew about the situation and still let everything happen, then I know exactly what I’m going to do.” Russayev goes on, “I don’t know exactly what Yuri had in mind. Maybe a good punch in the face.” Russayev warned Gagarin to be cautious as far as Brezhnev was concerned. “I told him, ‘Talk to me first before you do anything. I warn you, be very careful.’ “

The authors then mention a rumor, never proven (and to my mind, most unlikely), that one day Gagarin did have a moment with Brezhnev and he threw a drink in Brezhnev’s face.

I hope so.

Yuri Gagarin died in a plane accident in 1968, a year before the Americans reached the moon.


Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony’s book is Starman: The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin (Walker Publishing 2011); Yaroslav Golovanov’s interview with Yuri Gagarin was published in Komsomolskaya, Pravda, June 11, 1989. Venyamin Russayev’s stories about Gagarin and Komarov appeared in 2006 in Literaturnaya Gazeta and were republished on several websites.

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Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. -- John 15:11-19, English Standard Version

If Brezhnev deserved having a drink tossed into his face, I wonder what Archduke Dulinor deserved for killing billions – possibly trillions – as well as betraying his close friend.

Fortunately for Dulinor, he’s a fictional character, so no flames of hell or lake of fire for him. However much he deserves it.

As for non-fictional leaders, we’ll have to wait until a decision is made.

I don’t mind the wait.

But first, I need to focus on insuring that I don’t enter the flames myself!

There’s plenty of room in hell for small men, as well as the great and the not-so-good.

Fear the Lord.

“For the Safety of Old People”

Counter Knowledge.
by SquidCannonArmed

There must be consequences, for the shedding of innocent blood.

Certainly if the lives and livelihoods of innocent people were destroyed by Our Betters for the sake of oldsters like themselves.

Even more, if it was merely a power-play by a Ruling Class fearful of Brexit and Trump.

(And, most disgustingly, a billion-dollar profit grab by various pharmaceutical companies.)


There must be consequences, and there will be consequences.

If Christians do not pursue justice, then God will most certainly carve His justice out of both the Power Elite who committed this massive crime, and we believers who did nothing as, or even after, the crime was committed.