Category Archives: Uncategorized

Eyes on the Future. Not the Past.

From Men of Faith Build, by R. J. Rushdoony

—<Quote begins>—

Excerpted from “Humanism and Education” — Chalcedon Report No. 54, February 1, 1970*

Men of faith build. The era of humanism culminated in a time of dis­section; scholarship came to mean endless analysis of a dissecting variety. Psychology replaced faith, and self-analysis, action. Ulcers became the hallmark of a humanistic culture, man destroying himself. Then came the days of burning, when schools, state buildings, and cities became the targets of destruction.

In a time of destruction, growth is not too conspicuous. In a forest being cut down or newly burnt over, the little sprouts of fresh growth do not loom too large, but they are there.

The new growth is definitely all around us. The Christian school movement is the most conspicuous example. Since covenant children be­long in covenant schools, Christians are steadily creating a new society by means of Christian education. A highly disciplined, better trained, and truly educated youth is in the making.

The Christian school is based on the logical premise that, while the gods of humanism are dead, the Christian God is not dead. Our choice of schools indicates our faith. If our God is left out of every area of life, or virtually every area, then we subscribe to the death of our God, or at least His basic irrelevance to our world. The growth and popularity of Christian schools means that, for more and more people, the God of Scripture is alive. Even as the growing collapse of statist education signals the death of the religion of humanism, so the growing strength of the Christian-school movement heralds the fact that God is alive and strong. By faith in Him, a generation is growing strong and holds a promise of reconstruction.

But the death of humanism in the days ahead will take down with it all those institutions associated with humanism, and today that includes virtually every church. Humanism has deeply infected and captured Eastern Orthodox churches, the Roman Catholic Church, and Protestant churches, including “evangelical” churches, and they will pay the penalty for their infection and surrender.

Men of faith build: their eyes are on the future, not on a return to the past…

The future always belongs to Christ, because He is always Lord of history, the maker and sustainer of all things, and their absolute judge. Christ’s words to us in a time of burning, and of dying gods, is still this, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead” (Matt. 8:22). Nehemiah, when he began a work of reconstruction among the ruins, wasted no time in negotiations with the men of the past. He continued working on the walls, declaring, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down” (Neh. 6:3). The schools, churches, and institutions of the dead must not hold us: we have a great work to do, reconstruction under the mandate of the sovereign and living God. Certainly, there is destruction and burning all around us: the modern Baal worshippers are turning on their gods.

And their gods are destroying them. Isaiah long ago warned his gen­eration, saying, “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Isa. 2:22). But faith in man is the essence of humanism, and it is the foundation of modern politics and economics. God as sovereign Lord is able to create out of nothing. In humanism, statist man is given credit for the same power, the ability to create out of nothing, or so the humanist believes. John Law, the father of the economics of virtually every civil government in the modern world, believed that money and wealth can be created out of nothing. “I have invented a new kind of currency,” John Law wrote. “What is this coin you are holding in your hand at this moment? It is a piece of metal which bears an impression. What are you now in need of? Cash. I cannot cre­ate metal, but I am able to multiply the impression by having it put upon paper. And for my own part I maintain that it is the impression that is the cash. Just reflect! Yesterday, when the last of the cash in the Bank of Scotland was paid out, there were people who said ‘but the bills are still in circulation.’ I pledge my paper money on land, and I might pledge it upon the wealth contained in the ocean. The ideal method would be to pledge it upon nothing at all . . . But human beings have not yet reached such an advanced stage that they can accept confidence as their only guarantee. You are poor because you have no cash. I am giving you some. My paper currency can and must be always equal to the demand made for it. Thanks to it the inhabitants of this country will have employment, manufactures will be greatly improved, home and foreign trade will be extended, and power and riches will be gained.”

Law stated it honestly, this modern faith. Man the creator can create instant money and virtually instant wealth. The basis of this money is “confidence,” trust in man, trust in the state. But Isaiah warned against trusting in man, and he called attention to the debased coinage of his day as an offense against God’s order (Isa. 1:22).

Paper money is a fitting symbol for the dying world of humanism; like the temples of humanism, it too is being burned, in this case by inflation.

Wise men will keep the smoke out of their eyes and build. The whole world is ours to conquer in Christ. This is our duty and our calling, and we shall do it.

* R.J. Rushdoony, Faith and Action, Vol. 1, p. 514-516

—<Quote ends>—

The Book of Deuteronomy

Chalcedon link here.

This is the book that prepares us for living out the law of God, when we shift from being babies of God to being men of God.

From preparation and training, to conquest and victory.

The securing of our inheritance, which by definition demands the fall of the giants that despises God.

*waves to the Secularist power structure*

Especially note Deuteronomy chapter 11, where we are prepared to win, in time and on earth. And we secure our victory with obedience to God and His law, in time and on earth.

“You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess, and that you may live long in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give to them and to their offspring, a land flowing with milk and honey.

Deuteronomy 11:8-9, English Standard VErsion

Also, see Calvin’s commentary on Deuteronomy, which is better (more Biblical, less humanistic) than even his Institutes.

Note especially what happens when we enter the land, in Joshua.

While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho. And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

JOshua 5:10-12, English Standard Version

Joshua naturally follows Deuteronomy.

Be prepared to work, in accordance to the Law and guided by the Holy Spirit, in order to win.

Statist Relations, Personal Relations

Constitutional Changes

From Healer of the Nations, by Gary North

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The Structure ofAuthority

Every foreign policy official in every nation must serve solely at the pleasure of the person or agency that is constitutionally empowered with responsibility for national foreign affairs. There must be no legal restraints on hiring or firing by the head of State. In the United States, this means the President. If he wishes to retain the services of specialists, then this is his decision. National policy must be conducted by the authorized agent, with constitutionally authorized consent of the elected representatives in certain specified areas. The conduct of foreign policy, like the con- duct of military affairs, must be lodged in one person. The kings of Israel and Judah conducted foreign policy as monopoly prerogatives, and the same centralization has existed ever since.

That such military centralization is dangerous to civil liberties in wartime is obvious, but divided command is far more dangerous. This is always recognized by everyone when the shooting begins. In peacetime, there are dangers of such foreign policy centralization, but there is no escape from this centralization. The legislatures are too diverse, their concerns too fragmented, for them to operate national foreign policy. The U.S. Constitution recognizes this, and grants to the President the authority to make treaties (with a two-thirds vote of Senators present) and to nominate ambassadors, with the majority consent of the Senate (Article II, Section 2).

The great danger here is that treaties can be regarded as equal to the U.S. Constitution, although the Constitution does not say this explicitly, and the Supreme Court has not said it. Certainly, it is widely believed by American intellectuals that treaties possess this degree of authority. This authority of treaties would place in the President’s hand, if supported by two-thirds of a quorum for the Senate, the right to amend the Constitution. This would be potentially disastrous, especially when there is no requirement that the government publish all treaties in one place. It would establish rule by an elite.

A Constitutional amendment is therefore needed that will distinguish between international covenants and international alliances. A covenant treaty would have to be ratified as a Constitutional amendment, for it would become equal in force to the Constitution. An alliance treaty would be no different from any other national law: both the House and Senate would have to approve it by majority vote, and it would be subject to reversal by future legislation, and also subject to constitutional review by the highest judicial body. The President would retain the initiative in signing treaties, but always under advice and consent of both houses of Congress. The two-thirds vote of the Senate would disappear.

The inherent dangers of centralization would also be reduced by reducing the importance of national political foreign affairs. By removing restraints on trade and immigration, and by transferring authority to the private sectors – church missions, business, private charity, and private education – international relations would become the concern of the people, not the self- appointed elite. The “old boy network” that dominates Anglo-American foreign policy would have its monopolistic teeth pulled.

The legislature must be given authority to bind the President in any specific area of foreign policy. If the Congress wants the U. S. to cease a particular activity conducted by the President, it can and should do so. It can pass legislation to this effect, and then override the President’s predictable veto.

[…snip…]

This does not mean that Presidents cannot initiate moves to defend the nation. But Congress can veto these moves, simply by refusing to authorize further funding.

[…snip…]

he study goes on to say that “This early precedent with regard to appropriations has apparently been uniformly adhered to.”25 However, because Congress has found itself incapable of controlling spending in this century, it has lost control of the national government. It has therefore lost its ability to restrict Presidential power. Centralization has continued as a result. Centralization is the inevitable result of big spending by the nation-state.

What is desperately needed is a Constitutional provision to distinguish between a state of war and defensive operations against a formally undeclared war against the nation. Peace must not be defined as a condition of undeclared hostilities.

—<Quote ends>—

When Americans get serious about taking control of the budget, putting the breaks on the Empire becomes a simple matter. Cutting out the internal corruption in our hearts is the hard work, not bringing down some towering Above-the-Law pagan bureaucracy.

(We’re going to really need the Holy Spirit here!)

Regarding undeclared wars: North was thinking in the 80s vein: the USSR and Nicaragua.

I’m thinking more along the lines of the People’s Republic of China. It’s doomed – having disposed of its future – but it could still cause problems for perhaps a decade or so.

—<Quote begins>—

I am not calling for wholesale revisions of the Constitution today. These changes must be implemented only after a full-scale revival and the clear-cut political triumph of Christians as self- conscious Christian voters. Attempting to amend the Constitution before you have the votes is suicidal; this would play into the hands of the humanist left wing. Just as internationalism prior to international revival is extremely dangerous, so is attempting any Constitutional amendment nationally before national revival. This would be a top-down political transformation, something quite foreign to Christian social theory.26 It puts the cart before the horse. The religious transformation must precede the political transformation; the political transformation must precede the Constitutional transformation.

We must therefore content ourselves for the present with small steps.

—<Quote ends>—

If Christians actually committed themselves into doing these small steps — every week or every few days, in a way that’s affordable in time and money — I would be quite pleased.

More importantly, God would be pleased. When we choose to take responsibility, and take this responsibility seriously and consistently, we earn authority.

In the eyes of God, and even in the eyes of pagan men.

—<Quote begins>—

Publishing the Files

If Christians should begin to capture political power, they will have to call the State Department to full accountability. All treaties should be published in one set of documents with comprehensive documentation. They should be put on laser disk, with a computer program to search that disk. The State Department has always resisted the perfectly reasonable demand that a complete published set of international covenants be made available to Congress, let alone the general public. What Bryton Barron complained about a generation ago is still a problem: “With respect to the first category of treaty information, it is unfortunate that there is no convenient collection of United States treaty texts which is complete. The Department of State has never provided the country with such a collection. Only by piecing together the thousands of separate prints of treaties and agreements that have been brought into force through the years, many now out of print, scattered in several series, and confusingly numbered, can you hope to have anything like a complete collection. Probably not more than a dozen individuals or libraries in the country have attempted so difficult a task.”27

There should be no significant time lapse between the signing of any agreement and its publication. The Congressional Record is typeset, printed, and delivered to each Congressman’s office overnight. Yet it takes decades to get treaties and other State Department documents into print.

The State Department should have no top secret status for any document older than two years old, unless initialed by the President of the United States or the Secretary of State. This means that no top secret document older than two years would remain inside the State Department unless initialed by the President or the Secretary of State. If such clearance is sought by an official in the Department for any other document, then the document would be transferred to an appropriate military service or to the FBI. The other agency would be responsible for classifying it or not. There should be a tracer on every such document. Some general or admiral would become responsible for improper withholding of data, should it be shown to be improper. His career for improper classification of documents would be on the line. This way, he would not be tempted to classify a document as top secret just because some bureaucrat: the State Department wants to cover his own flanks. A military officer is directly under the President and other officers. If a piece of paper is vital to the nation’s security, let the military or the FBI be its protector. The crucial requirement is that no bureaucrat within the State Department should be allowed to cover up the secret deals made by the State Department.

It takes 25 years for many documents to be published. Some never are published. Some are published in edited versions. The Yalta Conference papers are the best example. This quest for secrecy is a bureaucratic religion. It is the breeding ground of con- spiracy, and international conspiracy at that. Teams of editors from outside the Department should be given access to most files immediately, with classified files to be made public or transferred to another agency within six months. Any Foreign Service Officer who balks at opening the files is demoted or fired. He can become a third-level clerk in the embassy in Chad.

—<Quote ends>—

If American Christians want a government that is responsible to its citizens, we will have to demand it.

No secularist ever will. Obviously.

I doubt if even any church, denomination, seminary, or major ministry ever will.

The Christian laymen will have to do it.

—<Quote begins—

And then the final blow. Offer a reward to any State Department employee who can offer evidence proving that a division chief or someone acting in his name has tampered with the files or has deliberately delayed publication. Offer the whistle-blower a reward of up to $100,000, with none under $10,000, plus a bonus of one percent of the transgressing division’s budget for this year. Then dock the offending division the award money and the one percent bonus payment. This way, the easiest way for some Civil Service employee to make a bundle of needed extra money will be to snoop around.

A market for whistles to blow will develop as soon as the first $100,000 reward is paid to an employee. An employee in one division will seek out opportunities to exchange evidence of tampering in his division for evidence of tampering in another department. Both employees get rewarded this way.

Where will they spend all their extra time, plus a lot of time that is not extra time? They will spend it snooping in the secret affairs of other divisions. Instead of spying for the Russians, they will spy on each other. No one will trust anyone.

This will destroy morale, destroy careers, create envy, and introduce well-deserved paranoia into everyone’s working environment. In other words, this is just what the State Department has needed since at least 1941, and probably a decade earlier.

—<Quote ends>—

The Empire must die, and the Empire will die.

Better it die due to defunding and a collapse in internal trust, than via war and/or revolution.

Counter-Attack

—<Quote begins>—

A whole series of steps is absolutely necessary. First, we must break diplomatic relations with every Communist country. This symbolically announces that we regard them as declared enemies of the West, and not fit to place their buildings on our soil. An embassy building is legally foreign territory in a nation; they should not have access to any such sanctuary.

This will serve notice to captive peoples that the United States has had enough. It will also indicate to Communist leaders that we have at last begun to take seriously their declarations of perpetual war against the West.

—<Quote ends>—

Not a bad start.

As the future goes forward, we will have to craft other responses, to other external enemies. Not every antichrist pagan state is properly dealt with by having its embassy closed… but it is a tool that is worth using more than we have been.

Other tools should be developed.

—<Quote begins>—

Creating Internal Disruptions

No more trading with the enemy, unless approved by the military high command, and unless they allow missionaries to enter the country and hand out Bibles and literature. No more taxpayer- guaranteed loans at below-market interest rates. No private loans to Communist nations. A war is in progress.

No more summit conferences between the President and Communist leaders. No more publicized meetings between high Western officials and high Soviet officials. Would Churchill have posed with Hitler for photographs in 1942? “Don’t you know there’s a war on?”

Sanctuary should be given to defectors. The Chinese government on Taiwan offers a fortune in gold to any pilot who defects by flying his jet to Taiwan. So should Korea. So should Japan.

—<Quote ends>—

The Enemy – internal and external, Communist, Progressive and otherwise – all know that there’s a war on.

We and the Professional Christians & Clergy are the last to know.

It’s time for us Christian Laymen to wake up, and leave the Professional Christians behind in their comfortable slumber. Their consistent failure in leadership, for at least a century (probably more like five centuries!) has disqualified them of their positions.

Leave the uncaring shepherds behind.1

As North mentioned earlier, a lot of the needed work can’t be done at the Federal level, until we have persuaded a sufficiently large percentage of our countrymen that God’s way is the best way. This is going to take some time, a lot of work, and more than a little money.

Before we disciple the nations, we need to disciple our own.

Before we disciple our nation, we must be disciplined ourselves, in our own lives.

Before the Law of God can be properly placed above the world, it needs to be placed above our government. And we must obey God – not necessarily perfectly, but certainly substantially and reliably – before God extends our range of responsibility and authority.

But fortunately, we don’t need to have perfect results, or perfect obedience, before we can expand the Kingdom of God to its full extent, as Jesus Christ rightfully demands of us.

Effective, genuine, and growing obedience, rooted in humility and meekness before God, and directed by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God (Old and New Testament), and demonstrated by serious commitments in time, money, and energy (spiritual, intellectual and physical) is sufficient.

—<Quote begins>—

Summary

George Washington ran the Department of State with six people. All of them were loyal to the U.S. That was a long time ago.

Modern foreign policy has become humanistic, bureaucratic, secretive, and elitist. It has also become internationalist. It seeks to accommodate the growth of the Soviet Union, and most important, to confuse Americans about why the diplomats are so accommodating.

The goal of Christian international relations should be to transfer most of these activities to realms outside the direct authority of the State. It is to substitute missions and business for diplomacy in the vast majority of cases.

—<Quote ends>—

We know what the goal is. We need to get a lot done in order to get there: loyalty to God overall, and His empowering with the Holy Spirit.

But also we need to be the Men of Integrity that a free society needs, men who govern themselves under the Law-Word of Christ.

Secularists, Progressives, Darwinians… they have no serious commitment to a free society, being far more fascinated with the idea of an obedient society.

Obedient to themselves, of course. No matter what nonsense they spout.

It’s time for them to fall, and for us, self-governing men under God, to rise.


1 And who will the new shepherds be? The people who the Holy Spirit has selected for the position. As opposed to the religious traditions of men.

As always, I will point to three books by Stephen G Perks – of the Kuyper Foundation is (Post Office Box 2, Taunton, Somerset, England, TA1 4ZD) , www.kuyper.org – for further reading here:

A quote from the blurb of The Politics of God and the Politics of Man:

—<Quote begins>—

According to Augustine of Hippo, “True justice has no existence save in that republic whose founder and ruler is Christ.” Augustine went on to spell out in no uncertain terms what this means for a proper understanding of the nature and authority of governments: “Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, ‘What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor’ ” (City of God, Bk. II.21, IV.4).

According to Christopher Dawson “The drastic realism of this definition has proved shocking to several modern writers on Augustine. Indeed, so distinguished a student of political thought as Dr. A. J. Carlyle is unwilling to admit that St. Augustine really meant what he said . . . In reality there is nothing inconsistent or morally discreditable about St. Augustine’s views. They follow necessarily from his doctrine of original sin; indeed, they are implicit in the whole Christian social tradition and they frequently find expression in later Christian literature” (Enquiries into Religion and Culture, p. 243f.). Unfortunately, this historically orthodox Christian understanding of the nature and authority of governments has largely been rejected by the Churches of the modern Western world. As a result the Church has become a mere ghetto and the Christian faith has been reduced to little more than a mystery cult. This book seeks to correct this error by setting forth a Christian political theology for the twenty-first century.

—<Quote ends>—

Christ did not sacrifice His life to build a powerless, insipid, escapist, priest-centred Roman Mystery Cult.

Christ wants us to build His Kingdom of justice, righteousness, compassion, holiness, and peace, in time and on earth.

Let’s do what He wants us to do.

(And don’t forget: Smash the Guilds!)

We Don’t Need the CIA

Chris Hedges is politically the polar opposite of a Christian Reconstructionist: but, unlike the lazy government cheerleaders of todays Progressive Ruling Class, the man’s an old school antiwar leftist.

When he talks about the corruption and failures of the CIA, I’ll listen.


From: Why You Should Pay Attention to One of My Loudest Critics on the Left by Gary North

—<Quote begins>—

It’s Saturday. You may have time for this long video. It’s an interview on C-Span of Leftist journalist Chris Hedges. It covers a number of his books. Hedges has attacked me in print. I am a public figure. I am fair game. He is not the first. In any case, I am not his main problem these days. Obama is.

Watch the first 7 minutes. In it he makes these claims.

1. The American empire is pushing the nation into bankruptcy. But listen to his examples of this bankruptcy. They are all from the domestic welfare state. What he is saying is that the military is bankrupting the welfare state.

He of course ignored Medicare, which is the real producer of red ink. But his point is legitimate. The goals of the military cannot be paid for much longer. It really is guns or butter. It wasn’t in 1965. It is now.

2. He says that the U.S. is now run by the corporate interests. It is. But he dates this with Clinton, whose political legacy he really hates. This is chronologically silly. Corporate interests have dominated the U.S. at least since 1900. They were powerful as early as the end of the Civil War.

3. He refers to Obama as a brand. He’s got that right! There is no substance there.

That should get you hooked.

—<Quote ends>—

VIDEO: “The American Empire is over and its descent is going to be horrifying.”
(2012, three hours, C-Span)

Well, it’s 10 years later and the Empire isn’t over.

Will it still be standing 10 years from now?

I think so. But, with the free healthcare services in Canada, the UK and France failing now, the US welfare-warfare state will be more than a bit wobbly in 2032.

If you want “Fall of the Empire”, you should wait to 2042.

It will be an exciting time. Be prepared locally.

1) Sin as Virtues 2) Sin, Salvation, Service

Sin as Virtues

“No study of the doctrine of sin can afford to overlook the extent to which particular sins are viewed by humanism as virtues.” – from the audio file The View of Sins as Virtues, by R. J. Rushdoony.

Sin, Salvation, and Service

Excerpted from “The Van Til I Knew: An Interview With R.J. Rushdoony” (1995)

From Sin, Salvation, and Service by R. J. Rushdoony:

—<Quote begins>—

[Van Til] held, “Man’s highest good is the Kingdom of God.” Now, the church has been made into an end rather than a means.

The church sees itself as the Kingdom of God. This was what de­stroyed the medieval church. It began to see the church as the Kingdom. But Protestants began with the Kingdom as the goal, and the church as the army to create the Kingdom, but now the church sees itself as the end, as the goal. Therefore it works to build up the church, not the Kingdom of God. And that’s why Christian Reconstruction is so offensive to them. It takes the focus away from the church and puts it on the Kingdom…

When the church is church-centered, it sees itself and bringing people into the church as the goal. It develops its version of the scholastic doctrine of the Middle Ages that man as he is, is essentially whole, he only needs something added to nature to give him the good life, and that’s the donum superadditum, the extra gifts that God gives which caps your natural powers and abilities and makes you a Christian, a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Then you have no calling except to wait for heaven, to be a part of the church, which is the Kingdom, and this has become the doctrine of Protestantism…

Its whole message to people is, “God loves you. There’s a little something He can give to you, which will make the plus you need to have a wonderful life, nothing about the fact that you are a reprobate.” Now, what was once called the three Ss, virtu­ally unknown now, constituted, it was rightly held by Protestants, the essence of God’s plan for man. You start with sin, you need salvation, and because of salvation you go into service . . . sin, salvation, service. But now it’s sin, salvation, and wait to be raptured, or wait to die and go to heaven.

{The full interview can be read in Faith and Action, volume 1, pp. 559-574}

—<Quote ends>—

You can buy a copy of Faith and Action here. Or read the PDF for free on the web page.

The Power of Love

A repost from the other blog. Very lightly edited here.

—<Quote begins>—

Our great goal was the universal triumph of Communism, and for the sake of that goal anything was permissible — to lie, to cheat, to steal, to destroy hundreds of thousands and even millions of people….

This was how I had reasoned, and everyone like me, even when…I saw what “total collectivization” meant — how they “kulakized” and “dekulakized,” how they mercilessly stripped the peasants in the winter of 1932—3. I took part in this myself, scouring the countryside, searching for hidden grain…. With the others, I emptied out the old folks’ storage chests, stopping my ears to the children’s crying and the women’s wails. For I was convinced that I was accomplishing the great and necessary transformation of the countryside; that in the days to come the people who lived there would be better off for it….

In the terrible spring of 1933 I saw people dying from hunger. I saw women and children with distended bellies, turning blue, still breathing but with vacant, lifeless eyes…. I [did not] lose my faith. As before, I believed because I wanted to believe.

In 1933 Stalin issued another procurement levy, to be carried out in a Ukraine that was now on the verge of mass starvation, which began around March of that year. I shall spare the reader graphic descriptions of what happened now. But corpses were everywhere, and the stench of death weighed heavily in the air. Cases of insanity, even cannibalism, are well documented. Different peasant families reacted in different ways as they slowly starved to death:

In one hut there would be something like a war. Everyone would keep close watch over everyone else. People would take crumbs from each other. The wife turned against her husband and the husband against his wife. The mother hated the children. And in some other hut love would be inviolable to the very last. I knew one woman with four children. She would tell them fairy stories and legends so that they would forget their hunger. Her own tongue could hardly move, but she would take them into her arms even though she had hardly the strength to lift her arms when they were empty. Love lived on within her. And people noticed that where there was hate people died off more swiftly. Yet love, for that matter, saved no one. The whole village perished, one and all. No life remained in it.

From Terror Famine by Tom Woods

In general, love is indeed a healing, constructive force of blessing.

But there are those men and ideologies that treat love and compassion — and the God that send them — with the utmost contempt.

And sometimes, the wicked, the cruel, the vicious, the liars really do win.

At least in time and on earth.

True: Temporarily on earth, and ever-less-successfully on earth.

True: Not in heaven, nor in eternity.

Even so, even with these meaningful caveats, the core truth remains: on occasion, Satan’s people win, and God’s people lose.

Remember what happened to Jesus Himself, and to eleven of the twelve apostles.

(Also see my post The Good People Died First)

And yet: the future does not belong to the God-haters, nor to the Life-haters, nor to the Oppressors.
(Note the striking resemblance among them.)

The number of Ukrainian dead in the famine of 1932—33 has generally been given as five million. According to Conquest, other peasant catastrophes from 1930 through 1937, including enormous numbers of deportations of alleged “kulaks,” bring the grand total of deaths to a mind-numbing 14.5 million. And yet if even one percent of my students in a given year have even heard of these events, it is a small miracle.

I have referred here a number of times to Robert Conquest, an excellent historian of the Soviet Union. I urge anyone with an interest in these events to read his extraordinary book The Harvest of Sorrow. It reads like a novel — but the story it tells is all too real.

After all the charges over The Passion of the Christ, Peggy Noonan asked Mel Gibson point blank: “The Holocaust happened, right?”

A bemused Gibson, expressing surprise that anyone would need him to affirm the historicity of any historical event, said that of course it did. He added that the twentieth century had been replete with atrocities, none of which should be forgotten. He made particular mention of the Ukrainian terror-famine, in which five million people were deliberately starved to death by the regime of Joseph Stalin.

Naturally, such a reply only confirmed Gibson’s perversity in the minds of those who already disliked him. Anti-Defamation League President Abe Foxman professed shock and disgust at Gibson’s remarks. “He doesn’t begin to understand the difference between dying in a famine and people being cremated solely for what they are,” Foxman said. So that’s what happened in the Ukraine — people just somehow “died in a famine.”

From Terror Famine by Tom Woods

Old-school political skeptics/realists have a deep scorn for religious moralistic posturing. “Forever saying one thing when they are powerless, and doing something else when they finally have the power and control they thirst for.”

You might want to ask them about the Power of Love sometime.

Especially compared with the wonders the Love of Power can bring.

At least – unlike Our Progressive Betters – the old-school Cold Realists didn’t insult me with repulsive, endless blather about their moral superiority. So, one point for the efficient, pragmatic rationalist.

After the war, the Left tried to cover up Soviet genocide. Jean-Paul Sartre denied the gulag even existed. For the Allies, Nazism was the only evil; they could not admit being allied to mass murders. For the Soviets, promoting the Jewish Holocaust perpetuated anti-fascism and masked their own crimes.

The Jewish people saw their Holocaust as a unique event. It was Israel’s raison d’tre. Raising other genocides would, they feared, diminish their own.

While academia, media and Hollywood rightly keep attention on the Jewish Holocaust, they ignore Ukraine. We still hunt Nazi killers but not communist killers. There are few photos of the Ukraine genocide or Stalin’s gulag, and fewer living survivors. Dead men tell no tales.

Russia never prosecuted any of its mass murderers, as Germany did.

We know all about crimes of Nazis Adolf Eichmann and Heinrich Himmler; about Babi Yar and Auschwitz.

But who remembers Soviet mass murderers Dzerzhinsky, Kaganovitch, Yagoda, Yezhov, and Beria? Were it not for Alexander Solzhenitsyn, we might never know of Soviet death camps like Magadan, Kolyma, and Vorkuta. Movie after movie appears about Nazi evil, while the evil of the Soviet era vanishes from view or dissolves into nostalgia.

The souls of Stalin’s millions of victims still cry out for justice.

Stalin and the Ukrainian Genocide
By Eric S. Margolis

Quite a lot of Russians in powerful positions would like to complete what Stalin started.

Thing is, 2022 is not 1932.

Twenty-twenty-two isn’t even 2014, when Ukraine was a lot weaker, and a lot more pro-Russian, than it is today.

Roosevelt’s and Churchill’s alliance with Stalin, whom they knew to be a mass murderer and tyrant, in my view denies the Allies any claim to have been waging a “just” or “good war.” When the lingering clouds of wartime propaganda finally dissipate, future historians will likely look back on the western Allies as not much morally superior to Germany or the USSR, though certainly less murderous.

Communists and leftists everywhere joined in covering up Stalin’s crimes. For example, to the end of his life, Jean Paul Sartre kept insisting Stalin’s gulag was a fiction created by western propaganda. The official Communist Party line was that the deaths of millions of Ukrainians was simply an unfortunate natural disaster that also affected other parts of the USSR.

In North America, intense attention to the Jewish Holocaust tended to push all other national historic tragedies into the background or completely eclipse them. The fact that during the 1930’s, many senior officers of Stalin’s Cheka, or secret police, were Jewish, including Kaganovitch, led to ferocious reprisals against Ukraine’s Jews in the following decade. As a result, Ukrainians were permanently branded “anti-Semites”; their suffering received scant sympathy.

Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky demanded a Nuremburg trial for all the Soviet crimes, but unfortunately this will never happen. Most of the criminals are dead. The Soviet Eichmann, Lazar Kaganovitch, died peacefully in Moscow in 1991; Molotov died in 1986. In fact, not a single Soviet official was ever indicted for the crime committed by the state from the 1920’s to 1953, though many Cheskisti were liquidated during Stalin’s purges.

Canada’s recognition of this historic crime is important for two reasons. First, Canada is one of the world’s most respected nations. Its acknowledgment of the Holdomor will be heard around the globe. Second, nostalgia for Stalin is on the rise in today’s Russia. His memory and politics are being rehabilitated. Russians must to be reminded of his crimes and reign of terror.

In “les abuses de la mémoire,” the Bulgarian-born French philosopher Tzvetan Todorov, who studied the Jewish Holocaust, wrote: “Life cannot withstand death, but memory is gaining in its struggle against nothingness.”

The Forgotten Genocide
by Eric Margolis 

As far as I know, Eric Margolis is not a Christian believer. Far from it.

But he has the right idea: we are witnesses to both the evil and the good that men do.

We are not to forget what we saw.

And someday, we will have to give an account of what we saw, and what we did, and what we failed to do.

Until then? I will note that the Power of Love isn’t only about feeding your people, and sacrificing for your people, but also stopping — even, if necessarily, killing — evil people who would harm, rape, rob, and kill the innocent.

Your innocent people, under your authority and your protection.

Yesterday was hard.

Today is better.

Even with the genuine and real pain and the loss of today, it’s leagues better than yesterday.

Perhaps the greatest problem with Traveller (a science-fiction game) is that it greatly under-estimates just how much better the Far Future will be compared to today. Looking to the past, rather than stretching to the future.

Hmmm….

Until then, three cheers for the increasing and strengthening Power of Love!


Extra Credit: When public justice cannot be secured, see “Covenantal Lawsuit“.

But when you publicly place a lawsuit before the King, be prepared for public findings and public consequences.

“At the heart of humanism is cosmic purposelessness.”

The meat of the argument, the power of the payoff, is at the end of the chapter.

But Christians should master the chain of logic that leads to the power of the payoff, the mastery of the lesson.

As opposed to the TikTok-style emotion-driven, knee-jerk non-thinking that is encouraged by the our explicitly Secularist media, academia, government education system, and the Chinese Communist Party.

(And the hissing, conniving, hateful snake that directs the lot.)

We are called to lead in the rapidly-approaching future.

Not them.

And we should know what we are doing, to master the knowledge God has graciously and lovingly given us.

From The Biblical Structure of History: Chapter 6, Evolution by Gary North

(Note: you can buy the book here, from Axehead Press)

—<Quote begins>—

History is a fragment of biology: the life of man is a portion of the vicissitudes of organisms on land and sea. . . . Therefore the laws of biology are the fundamental lessons of history. We are subject to the processes and trials of evolution, to the struggle for existence in the survival of the fittest to survive. If some of us seem to escape the strife or the trials is because our group protects us; but that group itself must meet the tests of survival. So the first biological lesson in of history is that life is competition. . . . The second biological lesson of history is that life is selection. In the competition for food or mates or power some organisms succeed and some fail. In the struggle for existence some individuals are better equipped than others to meet the tests of survival. – Will and Ariel Durant, 1968.

A. Covenant Model, Point 1

Point 1 of the biblical covenant model is God’s transcendence. This includes His presence with the creation.

Point 1 of the biblical covenant model for social theory is the sovereignty of God.

Point 1 of the humanist covenant model is evolution. The theory of cosmic evolution is the humanists’ explanation of coherence. They deny that a personal God created the universe. They deny that He sustains it providentially. They identify a purposeless universe as the source of its own coherence. The universe is autonomous. It is not providential. It is impersonal. They offer no theory of the origin of matter-energy. They offer only a theory of the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago (give or take). I ask: “Where did the stuff that blew up come from?” Here is the cosmologists’ answer, paraphrasing Topsy in Uncle Tom’s Cabin: “The universe just growed.” Big! Humanism announces retroactively: “Despise not the day of infinitesimal beginnings.”

Point 1 of humanist social theory is sovereignty. Humanists initially identify the universe as sovereign. This eliminates the sovereignty of God. But then they offer the doctrine of man. Life evolved out of a lifeless cosmos about 4.5 billion years ago. Man evolved out of purposeless life about 2.5 million years ago. Man has purpose. He is the only known (by man) source of purpose. Man thereby became sovereign. He can plan. He manipulates portions of the universe. He exercises dominion over nature. For now. Not forever. (See Chapter 10.)

I focus on the Durants in this chapter because they invoked the doctrine of evolution as the basis of historical development. Most historians remain silent on cosmic origins. As humanists, they assume that the cosmos is governed by laws of evolution, but they remain silent on the implications of this faith for their philosophy of history. They have no self-conscious philosophy of history.

B. Denying Fixed Morality

1. A Mass Audience

The Durants were the most successful historians in history, if book sales are the criteria of success. Will Durant wrote the first six volumes, The Story of Civilization. Together, they wrote the final five volumes. The first volume came out in 1935. The eleventh volume came out in 1975. Each volume was over 1,000 pages long. Each book was heavily footnoted. The public bought these books by the millions. At the time of the authors’ separate, unrelated deaths in late 1981, books in the series had sold at least two million copies in nine languages. The books have remained in print ever since. The series was legendary for its finely crafted prose. The Durants could tell stories as few historians ever have, and no historian has ever told more stories than they told.

By training, Will Durant was a philosopher. He received a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1917. Sales of his 1926 book, The Story of Philosophy, helped make Simon & Schuster a major publisher. The book sold so well that book royalties enabled the Durants to spend the rest of their days working on their series.

In 1968, before they completed the series, they wrote a short book, The Lessons of History. The brief chapters include these: “Biology and History,” “Race and History,” “Character and History,” “Morals and History,” “Religion and History,” “Economics and history,” and several more. In these brief chapters, the authors provided nothing resembling a theory of comprehensive cause and effect in history.

Today, the Durants would be considered politically incorrect. In their chapter, “Biology and History,” which provides the citation with which I began this chapter, they argued that inequality spreads as civilization progresses. It is a natural process. Problem: there are no natural processes for societies, according to the vast majority of historians.

Inequality is not only natural and inborn, it grows with the complexity of civilization. Hereditary inequalities breed social and artificial inequalities; every invention or discovery is made or seized by the exceptional individual, and makes the strong stronger, the weak relatively weaker, than before. Economic development specializes functions, differentiates abilities, and makes men unequally valuable to their group. If we knew our fellow men thoroughly we could select thirty percent of them whose combined ability would equal that of all the rest. Life and history do precisely that, with a sublime injustice reminiscent of Calvin’s God (p. 20).

It is clear from this paragraph who their real enemy was: Calvin’s God. They correctly identified this enemy by name. Calvin’s God is the God of providence and predestination. They did not believe in either providence or predestination. They believed wholeheartedly in this phrase: the survival of the fittest. This was not Darwin’s phrase originally. It was Herbert Spencer’s phrase, but Darwin incorporated it in later editions of The Origin of Species.

2. Philosophy of History

In the first volume, Durant made it clear that he had a philosophy of history. In this regard, he was different from professional historians in the twentieth century. He believed that historical change, and ultimately historical progress, is based on constant conflicts between supernatural religion and men’s attempt to escape from the confines of traditional religion. This was the outlook of the Enlightenment.

Hence a certain tension between religion and society marks the higher stages of every civilization. Religion begins by offering magical aid to harassed and bewildered men; it culminates by giving to a people that unity of morals and belief which seems so favorable to statesmanship and art; it ends by fighting suicidally in the lost cause of the past. For as knowledge grows or alters continually, it clashes with mythology and theology, which change with geological leisureliness. Priestly control of arts and letters is then felt as a galling shackle or hateful barrier, and intellectual history takes on the character of a “conflict between science and religion.” Institutions which were at first in the hands of the clergy, like law and punishment, education and morals, marriage and divorce, tend to escape from ecclesiastical control, and become secular, perhaps profane. The intellectual classes abandon the ancient theology and—after some hesitation—the moral code allied with it; literature and philosophy become anticlerical. The movement of liberation rises to an exuberant worship of reason, and falls to a paralyzing disillusionment with every dogma and every idea. Conduct, deprived of its religious supports, deteriorates into epicurean chaos; and life itself, shorn of consoling faith, becomes a burden alike to conscious poverty and to weary wealth. In the end a society and its religion tend to fall together, like body and soul, in a harmonious death. Meanwhile, among the oppressed another myth arises, gives new form to human hope, new courage to human effort, and after centuries of chaos builds another civilization (The Story of Civilization, Vol. 1, p. 71).

There is no resolution to this conflict, he believed. There are no permanent ethical standards that would tell anyone whether a traditional religion is right or wrong, or whether a secular development is right or wrong. Society will go on warring between traditional religion and secular libertarianism. This, it seemed to Durant, is a law of history. Its outcome is problematic.

In 1968, they perceived an increase in moral laxity. This was in the midst of the student revolution that was sweeping the United States and the West, including Japan. They wrote this: “So we cannot be sure that the moral laxity of our times is a herald of decay rather than a painful or delightful transition between a moral code that has lost its agricultural basis and another that are industrial civilization has yet to forge into social order and normality.” They remained cautiously optimistic: “Meanwhile history assures us that civilizations decay quite leisurely” (p. 41).

They were atheists. “Does history support a belief in God? If by God we mean not the creative vitality of nature but a supreme being intelligent and benevolent, the answer must be a reluctant negative. Like other departments of biology, history remains at bottom a natural selection of the fittest individuals and groups in the struggle wherein goodness receives no favors, misfortunes abound, and the final test is the ability to survive” (p. 46).

They adopted one of the favorite arguments of humanists. Man, they said, is a mere speck in the cosmos. There has always been a subversive strategy behind this argument. If humanists could reduce man to a speck, they could make God cosmically irrelevant. Man is made in the image of God, Christianity teaches. So, if man is a mere speck, then God is irrelevant: barely a pebble. The Durants were aware of this logical sequence. They wrote:

The growing awareness of man’s minuscule place in the cosmos has furthered the impairment of religious belief. In Christendom we may date the beginning of the decline from Copernicus (1543). The process was slow, but by 1611, John Donne was mourning that the earth had become a mere “suburb” in the world, and that “new philosophy calls all in doubt”; and Francis Bacon, while tipping his hat occasionally to the bishops, was proclaiming science as the religion of modern emancipated man. In that generation began the “death of God” as an external deity (pp. 46–47).

They understood that there are limits to the development of atheism. For them, there were no absolutes. But there was a pattern: “Puritanism and paganism—the repression and the expression of the senses and desires—alternate in mutual reaction in history.” When the state is weak, religion and Puritanism prevail, they said. “. . . laws are feeble, and morals must bear the burden of maintaining social order.” In contrast, skepticism and paganism advance “as the rising power of law government permits the decline of the church, the family, and morality without basically endangering the stability of the state. In our time the strength of the state is united with the several forces listed above to relax faith and morals, and to allow paganism to resume its natural sway.” They warned: “Probably our excesses will bring another reaction; moral disorder may generate a religious revival; atheists may again (as in France after the debacle of 1870) send their children to Catholic schools to give them the discipline of religious belief” (p. 50). They spoke in terms similar to those that Robert Nisbet surveyed a dozen years later in his book, History of the Idea of Progress. (See Chapter 10.)

Did they represent the outlook of professional historians generally? Their presentation of something resembling a theory of historical development in terms of the conflict between religion and secularism was not characteristic of professional historians after World War I. But their hostility to supernatural religion, and especially towards Christianity, has been characteristic of the professoriate since at least 1900. This includes historians.

They refused to pursue the implications of cosmic evolution. They did not discuss the second law of thermodynamics. They did not discuss entropy. They did not discuss the heat death of the universe in which all life will end. (See Chapter 10.) Their silence reflects the silence of historians generally. Modern man says that evolution began with the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. Life did not appear on the scene until about 4.5 billion years ago. All of it was purposeless. There was no purpose in the universe prior to the evolution of man, perhaps 2.5 million years ago. There will be no purpose after entropy has killed all life on earth. Man’s reign will come to an end. Humanists are generally silent about this. They prefer to ignore it.

The Durants reached millions of readers by means of the quality of their prose. They told wonderful stories. But they refused to carry the story of man into the distant future. Evolution will not favor mankind indefinitely. (See Chapter 10.)

The Durants’ remains are buried in Westwood Memorial Park, located in West Los Angeles. So is Marilyn Monroe. So is Hugh Hefner, who anonymously launched Playboy magazine in 1953 with a nude photograph of Monroe. It is one of those oddities of history that R. J. Rushdoony began preaching in that mortuary every Sunday morning, beginning in 1965, and did so for the next decade. He left before the Durants’ remains arrived, but Marilyn’s remains were there.

C. Denying Natural Law

In his 1967 book, The Biblical Philosophy of History, Rushdoony commented on the impact of Charles Darwin’s concept of biological evolution through impersonal natural selection. It undermined the concept of natural law, which had been dominant in Western thought for two millennia.

When, however, Nature was subjected to evolutionary theory, the concept of an infallible nature, natural law, and a divine decree within nature, was shattered. Nature represented simply, in Darwinism, chance and natural selection. Darwin tried to read a decree into this operation, but the damage was done. Another locale for the divine decree was necessary: nature was another dead God gone down the drain.

In terms of the new perspective of evolution, truth and meaning do not exist in the universe. In other words, there is no decree inherent in the universe or behind the universe. Man is alone, an accident of being, in a cold and alien universe which is the product of the fortuitous concourse of atoms. In this situation, man feels that he must do two things to survive. First, he must renounce the luxury and insanity of assuming that a God or gods exist. He must face the universe of brute factuality coldly and starkly. Second, truth and meaning are purely human categories of thought. They are man’s creations and must be imposed on the universe. Man must now control and guide evolution; he must use the universe and master himself as well. A decree is necessary, and it does not exist in or behind the universe: man must therefore promulgate his own divine decree and impose it upon human society and upon all creation (pp. 46–47).

By the early twentieth century, faith in natural law had generally departed from the academic community. Darwinism by the late 1880’s had steadily begun selecting against those scholars who still maintained the old Roman Stoic doctrine of universal natural law, which had buttressed the multi-ethnic Roman Empire. This doctrine did not exist in pre-empire Greek philosophy.

Rushdoony understood what humanists have always ignored: the concept of cosmic evolution by way of random astronomical events and random biological mutations is an extension of the chaos cult thinking of ancient paganism. It is an extension of paganism’s religion of revolution. He wrote this in a booklet, The Religion of Revolution, which was published in 1965.

A sophisticated modern development of the ancient chaos cult is the theory of evolution, which is the religion of modern scientists. All things supposedly developed out of an original chaos of being, and the process of evolution is the assumption of a continuous act of chaos against present order. The current idea of evolution by mutations is held in the face of the known fact that mutations are at the least almost all deleterious and destructive. More basic, the evolutionist sees nature and man and all being as one continuous whole; there is no supernatural and no distinction between created being, and uncreated being, God. Evolutionists speak of their universe as open, i.e., evolving, but their universe is actually closed and self-sufficient. The closed universe means that the life of man is wholly comprehended, as are all things, within the order of nature, since nothing transcends nature. As a result, ultimate authority and proximate authority are made one. There is no law beyond man and nature, and, since man and nature are both evolving, there is no fixed or eternal law, no absolute right and wrong. There is thus for the evolutionist no supreme court of appeal to God against evil, no power in law or in righteousness, no unchanging revelation on which to stand. There is simply evolution, and evolution means change. Change thus becomes man’s hope and salvation. Earlier evolutionists saw change as slow and gradual, but, gradually, it came to be “recognized” that man could himself promote change and thus he could further evolution. This guided change is, in every area, revolutionary action, a deliberate disruption of order designed to produce a superior order. It is the ancient use of chaos as the means to true order. The evolutionist looks to chaos as the Christian looks to God. Since the evolutionist, as scientific planner, does not believe in any absolute right or wong, there is nothing except old “prejudices” to prevent him from using man experimentally and without restraint as a test animal in creating or evolving his scientific social order. Man is thus his guinea pig and tool towards the “brave new world” of science. The more remote men of such science become from Christian faith and morality, the bolder they will be in their “scientific socialism.” And it is this freedom from God and morality and this evolutionary belief which constitutes the “science” of Marx’s “scientific socialism”.

I took this insight seriously. Almost immediately, I began my research for Marx’s Religion of Revolution (1968).

D. Denying Purpose

I published the following section in Chapter 2 of my book, Sovereignty and Dominion (2012) . That book was first published as The Dominion Covenant: Genesis (1982).

The heart of the Bible’s account of the creation is God and His purposeful word, while the heart of modern evolution is the denial of purpose, whichever of the secular cosmologies a man decides to accept: entropy, steady state, or oscillating universe. This fact has not been understood by those conservative Bible expositors who have chosen to rewrite Genesis 1. We must bear in mind that it was Darwin’s insistence on the unplanned, purposeless nature of geological and biological change that won him instant success in the world of secular humanism. Darwin denied all the old arguments for divine purpose as a cause of the orderliness of nature. Natural order proves no such thing, he insisted; natural selection of randomly produced biological changes, not supernatural design, accounts for nature’s orderliness. Evolutionary scientists accepted Darwin’s denial of cosmic purpose long before there was any idea that the universe might be 13 billion years old. The heart of the Darwinian intellectual revolution was not evolution. The heart of the Darwinian intellectual revolution was Darwin’s explanation of undesigned order. It was his denial of final purpose, of the universe’s ends-orientation, of teleology.

Teleology had served Christian apologists ever since the days of Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) as a major pillar of the five supposedly irrefutable proofs of God. Teleological arguments assert that the order of the universe reflects the orderly God who created it. Not only does this order reflect God, as Paul had argued (Rom. 1:18–20), it supposedly also demonstrates logically that such a God must exist. The universe can only be explained in terms of supernatural design. William Paley, writing in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, convinced the majority of his English and American audiences of the logic of the argument from design.

Consider the perspective of a book produced by faculty members of Princeton University in 1945 for students enrolled in a course on American civilization. This book was published five years later by Yale University Press. It is indicative of the outlook of the best universities in he United States, then and today. It is a description of pre-Darwin explanations of nature’s regularities, which Christian theologians and social thinkers accepted in the name of the Bible.

In the early years of the nineteenth century, orthodox Protestant Christian thinkers, both in England and in America, absorbed the Deist argument in its rationalistic aspects by harmonizing natural religion with revelation. The one was found to strengthen and confirm the other. . . . Out of this fusion of natural and revealed religion came one of the great arguments for the support of the orthodox faith. This was the doctrine of design. Just as Paley’s famous watch bore its own testimony to the activity of the watch-maker, so the universe in all of its marvelous detail sang the praises of its Creator. In an age in which theories of natural law came to permeate social thought, and in which the achievements of applied science were already lending prestige to a rationalistic and materialistic view of things, the argument from design became one of the most useful and widely used defenses for Christianity. Natural religion must of course be supplemented by revealed religion, for each plumbed distinctly incommensurable dimensions. Nevertheless, natural law, as then conceived, was, like the revealed word of God, fixed, absolute, and immutable. The one was clearly apprehended by the intelligence, and the other by the study of Holy Writ (Stow Persons, “Evolution and Theology in America,” in Persons [ed.], Evolutionary Thought in America [1956], pp. 422–23).

The concept of a mechanistic, self-sufficient system of natural law had not been recognized as a threat to Christian orthodoxy—a denial of cosmic personalism. Nineteenth-century Christians did not recognize the danger of constructing a systematic theology that rested simultaneously on a biblical pillar and a pillar of secular autonomy. The logic of design seemed so sure, so unanswerable. How else could men explain the extraordinary “fit” among all the parts of creation? Does not such an integrated, coherent environment demand men’s faith in a cosmic Designer? And is not this Designer the God of the Bible? If the universe was designed, then it has a purpose assigned to it by God. Even the ungodly must acknowledge the logic from design, Christian defenders of the faith insisted. The logic seemed inescapable: order implies design; design implies a Designer; a Designer implies purpose. What could be more logical? Christian apologists gave little or no thought to the intellectual vulnerability of this two-pillar defense. What if the secular pillar collapsed?

Modern secular science, from Darwin to the present, has as its operating presupposition this premise: all causation is autonomous in nature, and no causation is purposive—until the advent of man. The origin of order must be sought in purposeless randomness—the basis of unbreakable scientific law in the nineteenth century, and the acknowledged sovereign in the twentieth—and not in God’s purpose and design.

To overcome the logic of Paley, late-nineteenth-century scientists took the first crucial step: to ascribe the origin of perceived order to random change. This hypothesis was the major intellectual revolution of the nineteenth century. The importance of this scientific presupposition cannot be overestimated: it served to free secular science from critics, potential and actual, who might have succeeded in redirecting the work of scientists along biblical lines. But there was a more fundamental aspect of this affirmation of randomness: to shove God out of the universe, once and for all. Man wanted to escape the threat of control by a supernatural Creator.

Once that step had been taken, scientists took a second step: to assert the sovereignty of man. Since there is no cosmic purpose in the universe, secularists concluded, man is left free to make his autonomous decisions in terms of his own autonomous plans. Man becomes the source of cosmic purpose. The purposeless forces of random evolutionary change have at long last produced a new, purposeful sovereign—man—and man now asserts his sovereignty over creation. He takes control, by means of science, over the formerly purposeless laws of evolutionary development. The universe needs a god, and man is now this god. (See Chapter 7.)

E. Kant’s Defunct Grand Narrative

Immanuel Kant changed Western philosophy. Humanist philosophy since Kant has been a series of debates over the issues he raised. He replaced the Greeks in the thinking of humanists. He created a new dualism: the science-personality dualism, also known as the nature-freedom dualism. He abandoned the concept of metaphysical forms that exist separately from history (transcendence) or embedded in history (immanence).

In 1784, Kant published a short essay: “Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View.” This was three years after the publication of his Critique of Pure Reason, and four years prior to the publication of his Critique of Practical Reason. It was a product of his mature thinking. In this essay, he argued that nature has a plan for mankind: the creation of a one-world state. This is the grand narrative of mankind. This was his replacement of the Christian doctrine of God’s decree, which governed God’s creation of the cosmos out of nothing. In 1755, he had written a defense of cosmic evolution: Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens. He concluded that “the sphere of developed nature is always but an infinitely small part of that totality which has the seed of future worlds in itself, which strives to involve itself out of the crude state of chaos through longer or shorter periods. The creation is never finished or complete. It has indeed once begun, but it will never cease. It is always busy producing new scenes of nature, new objects, and new worlds” (University of Michigan edition, 1969, pp. 145–46). Kant began his essay with a statement of faith. It was a statement of faith regarding the legitimacy of human freedom, which is somehow determined by universal laws. These are not laws of God. They are laws of nature.

Whatever concept one may hold, from a metaphysical point of view, concerning the freedom of the will, certainly its appearances, which are human actions, like every other natural event are determined by universal laws. However obscure their causes, history, which is concerned with narrating these appearances, permits us to hope that if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will in the large, we may be able to discern a regular movement in it, and that what seems complex and chaotic in the single individual may be seen from the standpoint of the human race as a whole to be a steady and progressive though slow evolution of its original endowment.

We see here the perpetual tension between universal human laws and specific events, in this case actual human actions. These actions are a matter of free will, yet in the aggregate, and in the long run, they move in terms of a grand narrative. This grand narrative is unknown to the masses. “. . . each individual and people, as if following some guiding thread, go toward a natural but to each of them unknown goal; all work toward furthering it, even if they would set a little store by if they did know it.”

Kant’s theory of the grand narrative rested on a concept of nature which was teleological. Nature is future-oriented, Kant argued. It has purposes. In today’s language, this theory would be known as intelligent design. It denied the fundamental principle of Darwinism: evolution through purposeless natural selection. Kant presented nine theses in defense of his system. Every one of them is denied by today’s Darwinian cosmologists.

(1) All natural capacities of a creature are destined to evolve completely to their natural end.

(2) In man (as the only rational creature on earth) those natural capacities which are directed to the use of his reason are to be fully developed only in the race, not in the individual.

(3) Nature has willed that man should, by himself, produce everything that goes beyond the mechanical ordering of his animal existence, and that he should partake of no other happiness or perfection than that which he himself, independently of instinct, has created by his own reason.

(4) The means employed by Nature to bring about the development of all of the capacities of men is their antagonism in society, so far as this is, in the end, the cause of a lawful order among men.

(5) The greatest problem for the human race, to the solution of which Nature drives man, is the achievement of a universal civic society which administers law among men.

(6) This problem is the most difficult and the last to be solved by mankind.

(7) The problem of establishing a perfect civic constitution is dependent upon the problem of a lawful external relation among states and cannot be solved without a solution of the latter problem.

(8) The history of mankind can be seen, in the large, as the realization of Nature’s secret plan to bring forth a perfectly constituted state as the only condition in which the capacities of mankind can be fully developed, and also bring forth that external relation among states which is perfectly adequate to this end.

(9) A philosophical attempt to work out a universal history according to a natural plan directed to achieving the civic union of the human race must be regarded as possible and, indeed, as contributing to this end of Nature.

His comment on the third thesis is especially revealing. “Nature does nothing in vain, and in the use of means to her goals she is not prodigal. Her giving to man reason and the freedom of the will which depends upon it is clear indication of her purpose. Man accordingly was not to be guided by instinct, not nurtured and instructed with ready-made knowledge; rather, he should bring forth everything out of his own resources.” This is a theory of intelligent design.

In the next to the last paragraph in the essay, he invoked the language of Christianity in order to defend his evolutionary thesis of intelligent design.

Such a justification of nature—or, better, of Providence—is no unimportant reason for choosing a standpoint toward world history. For what is the good of esteeming the majesty and wisdom of Creation in the realm of brute nature and of recommending that we contemplated, if that part of the great stage of supreme wisdom which contains the purpose of all the others—the history of mankind—must remain an unceasing reproach to it? If we are forced to turn our eyes from it in disgust, doubting that we can ever find a perfectly rational purpose in it and hoping for that only in another world? (https://bit.ly/KantUniversal)

This was the historical outlook of the most important modern philosopher. His worldview rested on both the direction and the purpose of history as determined by the intelligent design of autonomous nature. This outlook was overturned by Darwin and Darwinism after 1859. Darwinism denies natural law theory. It denies intelligent design. It therefore denies the possibility of a universal history of mankind that is governed by general laws that make history predictable. Today, there are no defenders of anything resembling the grand historical narrative that Kant offered in 1784. The only grand narrative that is consistent with Darwinism and with modern cosmic evolution is the grand narrative of entropy. It is a narrative of the future, not the past. Everything will eventually wind down. Everything is dying. (See Chapter 10).

Conclusion

Every civilization has a theory of origins. This theory is the source of the civilization’s connected theory of law and sanctions. Ever since Darwin, humanists have offered the doctrine of evolution through natural selection as their substitute for the doctrine of God’s creation of the universe out of nothing. They have thereby substituted the metaphysics of cosmic impersonalism for cosmic personalism. But they do not hold to this for long.

They adopt a strategy of deception. They use vast quantities of time—13.7 billion years since the Big Bang—to proclaim the vastness of the universe. They argue that man is a speck in this vast universe. This seems to relegate man to the fringes of significance. But then they insist that man alone has purposes. Purpose is an attribute of God. Man thereby becomes humanism’s god—a god by default. (I described this strategy in detail in Appendix A of my 2012 economic commentary on the Book of Genesis, Sovereignty and Dominion: “From Cosmic Purposelessness to Humanistic Sovereignty.” It was in the original edition, The Dominion Covenant: Genesis, 1982.)

Humanists have a supreme pedagogical problem. To gain disciples, they must conceal their worldview regarding the direction of history toward a cosmic grave. Man can maintain his purposes for only as long as the species exists. Modern cosmology insists that all species will die in a process called the heat death of the universe. This final state of existence is an implication of the second law of thermodynamics. Life will end sometime in the future. Even time will end. The vast purposelessness of a dead universe will engulf everything that mankind has dreamed of and built. Humanists do not discuss this in their textbooks and monographs. They rarely talk about it at all. But those few who think about cosmology believe it. They believe that cosmic purposelessness prevailed until about 2.5 million years ago: the advent of man. It will prevail again in the death of the universe. (See Chapter 10.)

At the heart of humanism is cosmic purposelessness. There is no permanent meaning. This worldview is the result of the humanists’ alternative to the New Testament’s doctrine of the lake of fire. It is no doubt comforting in comparison with the doctrine of the lake of fire if your covenantal commitment places you in the disinherited family of man, heading toward the lake of fire. Better the heat death of the universe than the eternal heat of the lake of fire. But, by affirming the heat death of the universe, the humanist destroys the concept of purpose. Humanism places cosmic purposelessness on the throne of cosmic sovereignty. Man is merely a temporary usurper.

Because humanists rarely write about this aspect of their doctrine of cosmic evolution, they have succeeded in maintaining the illusion of man as the only purposeful sovereign agent in the cosmos. They do not discuss the inescapable moral implications of their theory of impersonal origins and their theory of impersonal entropy. But the pessimism of their worldview is inescapable. They prefer not to think about it. They prefer not to teach their students about it. But this pessimism steadily undermines their temporary optimism. This creates a recruiting problem for them. People do not want to commit to a philosophy of life that announces their inevitable defeat in history and beyond the grave.

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Science Uprising: Artificial Intelligence, Creativity, and the Human Difference

From Evolution News New from Science Uprising — Artificial Intelligence, Creativity, and the Human Difference by David Klinghoffer

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The latest Science Uprising episode is out and what it has to say is important. From the late Stephen Hawking to Elon Musk, some of the smartest people on Earth have issued warnings about the looming danger posed by artificial intelligence. Not only is AI an amazing technology, they say, with the potential for uses both good and bad, but it threatens to replace and destroy humanity. The media love this particular concept and continually seek to scare us with it. Why?

The episode calls out the idea for what it is: applied materialism. Materialism is the denial of a spiritual reality. It animates Darwinian thinking, and it drives the panic about AI. After all, if humans are no more than “meat machines,” then a superior machine, equipped with AI, could well choose to do away with us. However, as four notable scholars explain here, AI runs on algorithms, which are essentially a recipe. AI does only what it’s programmed to do. Humans transcend algorithms. We do things that computers will never be able to accomplish:

An Unexpected Gift

Interviewed for the episode, Robert J. Marks, John Lennox, Jay Richards, and Selmer Bringsjord have profound things to teach. Dr. Marks, for example, is a renowned computer engineer at Baylor University who directs Discovery Institute’s Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence. He says that by its nature, AI is locked in a silo or box where it exercises its ability to run algorithms. Creativity, not mere copying or following commands, entails thinking “outside the box.” That’s how it can surprise us with genuine novelty. It’s why new ideas often come to us from out of the blue: not summoned but given as an unexpected gift.

This, too, may be why artists notoriously live disordered lives, and why totalitarian societies are typically poor in art (as distinct from kitsch or propaganda) and in creativity generally. The regimentation is not compatible with giving free rein to the human difference. It’s something to think about as rule by authoritarian experts becomes more and more the expectation in our own culture. Young people especially need to understand this. Watch the new Science Uprising now and share it.

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Atheists fear AI, as they really, truly believe that we are only so much organized atoms… and that organized atoms can somehow, by random chance, make a Leap of Being into living things.

Christians know that this is just wishful thinking, which does not match reality. We know that algorithms are not thought, that complicated algebra and mathematical equations – which is what computer programs are – will never become into internalized self-awareness.

Assuming that we can even define and prove self-awareness in the first place.

There is no Leap of Being, no Divine Spark, no lucky chemical pond that, struck by lightning at just the right time, will create life.

Even a vastly easier, much higher probability event — a pile of airplane parts being tossed into a whirlwind, and a fully assembled plane coming out — will NEVER happen.

Random chance cannot perform the divine-yet-God-free miracles evolutionists, Darwinists and Secularists demand of it.

In contrast, there is such a thing as intelligence, and organization, and intention, and planning. And men, made in the Image of God, perform these non-random ‘ordinary miracles’ every single day, all across the inhabited world.

So Christians can afford to welcome, and not fear, AI. Including AI Art.

The future rides with us.

War, Peace, And the State

Note that Rothbard outlines the libertarian position of war and peace: not the Christian position.

As both positions are grounded in the actions of individual men, not in some responsibility-denying Above-the-Law state, they share a certain foundational outlook. Both positions value liberty over state power, both positions value the property, life, and liberty of the individual over the will of powerful men.

Even so, there are live differences between these positions: for one thing, the agnostic/atheistic Jew Rothbard takes Natural Law (paywall) — a form of “neutrality”, rooted in Roman attempts to strengthen Roman Authority over its subjects — as foundational, while Christians must take the Law-Word of God – both Old and New Testaments – as the foundation of reality. There is no such thing as an “objective, neutral” perspective: either we stand for Christ and Truth, or against Christ… and so, indirectly or directly, against truth.

(Note that Immanuel Kant successfully destroyed the concept of Natural Law. Darwinism (no paywall) simply ignores the information-rich (i.e. not random!) physical evidence to insist that there was no law over Creation, instead of recognizing the evidence that pointed to a logic and system of law in reality, God’s Law.

This is especially true in the area of the (vigorously disproven) uniformitarianism and the Deep Time Darwinism desperately needs to exist.)

I recommend that after reading Rothbard’s work, that the reader then read and digest Gary North’s Healer of the Nations, rooted as it is in the Law-Word of Jesus Christ. North’s writings can be improved on, and it’s good to do a “contrast/compare” with Rothbard to begin the process of greater growth and understanding of King Jesus’ Law-Word.

Even better, a contrast/compare with the Bible: knowing and mastering the opposition at their best is one thing, knowing and mastering the Word of God is something greater! And of course the Word of God is very deep: we can do better than we – or even North – did before, but we can never truly master God’s word.

The more we know of God’s council, though, and the more we put to work what we know of God’s Word, the more we succeed. In time and on earth, and even onto eternity.

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War, Peace, and the State by Murray N. Rothbard

(Also see: War, Peace, and the State.pdf)

The libertarian movement has been chided by William F. Buckley, Jr., for failing to use its “strategic intelligence” in facing the major problems of our time. We have, indeed, been too often prone to “pursue our busy little seminars on whether or not to demunicipalize the garbage collectors” (as Buckley has contemptuously written), while ignoring and failing to apply libertarian theory to the most vital problem of our time: war and peace. There is a sense in which libertarians have been utopian rather than strategic in their thinking, with a tendency to divorce the ideal system which we envisage from the realities of the world in which we live. In short, too many of us have divorced theory from practice, and have then been content to hold the pure libertarian society as an abstract ideal for some remotely future time, while in the concrete world of today we follow unthinkingly the orthodox “conservative” line. To live liberty, to begin the hard but essential strategic struggle of changing the unsatisfactory world of today in the direction of our ideals, we must realize and demonstrate to the world that libertarian theory can be brought sharply to bear upon all of the world’s crucial problems. By coming to grips with these problems, we can demonstrate that libertarianism is not just a beautiful ideal somewhere on Cloud Nine, but a tough-minded body of truths that enables us to take our stand and to cope with the whole host of issues of our day.

Let us then, by all means, use our strategic intelligence. Although, when he sees the result, Mr. Buckley might well wish that we had stayed in the realm of garbage collection. Let us construct a libertarian theory of war and peace.

The fundamental axiom of libertarian theory is that no one may threaten or commit violence (“aggress”) against another man’s person or property. Violence may be employed only against the man who commits such violence; that is, only defensively against the aggressive violence of another.1

In short, no violence may be employed against a non-aggressor. Here is the fundamental rule from which can be deduced the entire corpus of libertarian theory.2

Let us set aside the more complex problem of the State for awhile and consider simply relations between “private” individuals. Jones finds that he or his property is being invaded, aggressed against, by Smith. It is legitimate for Jones, as we have seen, to repel this invasion by defensive violence of his own. But now we come to a more knotty question: is it within the right of Jones to commit violence against innocent third parties as a corollary to his legitimate defense against Smith? To the libertarian, the answer must be clearly, no. Remember that the rule prohibiting violence against the persons or property of innocent men is absolute: it holds regardless of the subjective motives for the aggression. It is wrong and criminal to violate the property or person of another, even if one is a Robin Hood, or starving, or is doing it to save one’s relatives, or is defending oneself against a third man’s attack. We may understand and sympathize with the motives in many of these cases and extreme situations. We may later mitigate the guilt if the criminal comes to trial for punishment, but we cannot evade the judgment that this aggression is still a criminal act, and one which the victim has every right to repel, by violence if necessary. In short, A aggresses against B because C is threatening, or aggressing against, A. We may understand C’s “higher” culpability in this whole procedure; but we must still label this aggression as a criminal act which B has the right to repel by violence.

To be more concrete, if Jones finds that his property is being stolen by Smith, he has the right to repel him and try to catch him; but he has no right to repel him by bombing a building and murdering innocent people or to catch him by spraying machine gun fire into an innocent crowd. If he does this, he is as much (or more of) a criminal aggressor as Smith is.

The application to problems of war and peace is already becoming evident. For while war in the narrower sense is a conflict between States, in the broader sense we may define it as the outbreak of open violence between people or groups of people. If Smith and a group of his henchmen aggress against Jones and Jones and his bodyguards pursue the Smith gang to their lair, we may cheer Jones on in his endeavor; and we, and others in society interested in repelling aggression, may contribute financially or personally to Jones’s cause. But Jones has no right, any more than does Smith, to aggress against anyone else in the course of his “just war”: to steal others’ property in order to finance his pursuit, to conscript others into his posse by use of violence, or to kill others in the course of his struggle to capture the Smith forces. If Jones should do any of these things, he becomes a criminal as fully as Smith, and he too becomes subject to whatever sanctions are meted out against criminality. In fact, if Smith’s crime was theft, and Jones should use conscription to catch him, or should kill others in the pursuit, Jones becomes more of a criminal than Smith, for such crimes against another person as enslavement and murder are surely far worse than theft. (For while theft injures the extension of another’s personality, enslavement injures, and murder obliterates, that personality itself.)

Suppose that Jones, in the course of his “just war” against the ravages of Smith, should kill a few innocent people, and suppose that he should declaim, in defense of this murder, that he was simply acting on the slogan, “Give me liberty or give me death.” The absurdity of this “defense” should be evident at once, for the issue is not whether Jones was willing to risk death personally in his defensive struggle against Smith; the issue is whether he was willing to kill other people in pursuit of his legitimate end. For Jones was in truth acting on the completely indefensible slogan: “Give me liberty or give them death” surely a far less noble battle cry.3

The libertarian’s basic attitude toward war must then be: it is legitimate to use violence against criminals in defense of one’s rights of person and property; it is completely impermissible to violate the rights of other innocent people. War, then, is only proper when the exercise of violence is rigorously limited to the individual criminals. We may judge for ourselves how many wars or conflicts in history have met this criterion.

It has often been maintained, and especially by conservatives, that the development of the horrendous modern weapons of mass murder (nuclear weapons, rockets, germ warfare, etc.) is only a difference of degree rather than kind from the simpler weapons of an earlier era. Of course, one answer to this is that when the degree is the number of human lives, the difference is a very big one.4 But another answer that the libertarian is particularly equipped to give is that while the bow and arrow and even the rifle can be pinpointed, if the will be there, against actual criminals, modern nuclear weapons cannot. Here is a crucial difference in kind. Of course, the bow and arrow could be used for aggressive purposes, but it could also be pinpointed to use only against aggressors. Nuclear weapons, even “conventional” aerial bombs, cannot be. These weapons are ipso facto engines of indiscriminate mass destruction. (The only exception would be the extremely rare case where a mass of people who were all criminals inhabited a vast geographical area.) We must, therefore, conclude that the use of nuclear or similar weapons, or the threat thereof, is a sin and a crime against humanity for which there can be no justification.

This is why the old cliché no longer holds that it is not the arms but the will to use them that is significant in judging matters of war and peace. For it is precisely the characteristic of modern weapons that they cannot be used selectively, cannot be used in a libertarian manner. Therefore, their very existence must be condemned, and nuclear disarmament becomes a good to be pursued for its own sake. And if we will indeed use our strategic intelligence, we will see that such disarmament is not only a good, but the highest political good that we can pursue in the modern world. For just as murder is a more heinous crime against another man than larceny, so mass murder—indeed murder so widespread as to threaten human civilization and human survival itself—is the worst crime that any man could possibly commit. And that crime is now imminent. And the forestalling of massive annihilation is far more important, in truth, than the demunicipalization of garbage disposal, as worthwhile as that may be. Or are libertarians going to wax properly indignant about price control or the income tax, and yet shrug their shoulders at or even positively advocate the ultimate crime of mass murder?

If nuclear warfare is totally illegitimate even for individuals defending themselves against criminal assault, how much more so is nuclear or even “conventional” warfare between States!

It is time now to bring the State into our discussion. The State is a group of people who have managed to acquire a virtual monopoly of the use of violence throughout a given territorial area. In particular, it has acquired a monopoly of aggressive violence, for States generally recognize the right of individuals to use violence (though not against States, of course) in self-defense.5 The State then uses this monopoly to wield power over the inhabitants of the area and to enjoy the material fruits of that power. The State, then, is the only organization in society that regularly and openly obtains its monetary revenues by the use of aggressive violence; all other individuals and organizations (except if delegated that right by the State) can obtain wealth only by peaceful production and by voluntary exchange of their respective products. This use of violence to obtain its revenue (called “taxation”) is the keystone of State power. Upon this base the State erects a further structure of power over the individuals in its territory, regulating them, penalizing critics, subsidizing favorites, etc. The State also takes care to arrogate to itself the compulsory monopoly of various critical services needed by society, thus keeping the people in dependence upon the State for key services, keeping control of the vital command posts in society and also fostering among the public the myth that only the State can supply these goods and services. Thus the State is careful to monopolize police and judicial service, the ownership of roads and streets, the supply of money, and the postal service, and effectively to monopolize or control education, public utilities, transportation, and radio and television.

Now, since the State arrogates to itself the monopoly of violence over a territorial area, so long as its depredations and extortions go unresisted, there is said to be “peace” in the area, since the only violence is one-way, directed by the State downward against the people. Open conflict within the area only breaks out in the case of “revolutions” in which people resist the use of State power against them. Both the quiet case of the State unresisted and the case of open revolution may be termed “vertical violence”: violence of the State against its public or vice versa.

In the modern world, each land area is ruled over by a State organization, but there are a number of States scattered over the earth, each with a monopoly of violence over its own territory. No super-State exists with a monopoly of violence over the entire world; and so a state of “anarchy” exists between the several States. (It has always been a source of wonder, incidentally, to this writer how the same conservatives who denounce as lunatic any proposal for eliminating a monopoly of violence over a given territory and thus leaving private individuals without an overlord, should be equally insistent upon leaving States without an overlord to settle disputes between them. The former is always denounced as “crackpot anarchism”; the latter is hailed as preserving independence and “national sovereignty” from “world government.”) And so, except for revolutions, which occur only sporadically, the open violence and two-sided conflict in the world takes place between two or more States, that is, in what is called “international war” (or “horizontal violence”).

Now there are crucial and vital differences between inter-State warfare on the one hand and revolutions against the State or conflicts between private individuals on the other. One vital difference is the shift in geography. In a revolution, the conflict takes place within the same geographical area: both the minions of the State and the revolutionaries inhabit the same territory. Inter-State warfare, on the other hand, takes place between two groups, each having a monopoly over its own geographical area; that is, it takes place between inhabitants of different territories. From this difference flow several important consequences: (1) in inter-State war the scope for the use of modern weapons of destruction is far greater. For if the “escalation” of weaponry in an intra-territorial conflict becomes too great, each side will blow itself up with the weapons directed against the other. Neither a revolutionary group nor a State combating revolution, for example, can use nuclear weapons against the other. But, on the other hand, when the warring parties inhabit different territorial areas, the scope for modern weaponry becomes enormous, and the entire arsenal of mass devastation can come into play. A second consequence (2) is that while it is possible for revolutionaries to pinpoint their targets and confine them to their State enemies, and thus avoid aggressing against innocent people, pinpointing is far less possible in an inter-State war.6 This is true even with older weapons; and, of course, with modern weapons there can be no pinpointing whatever. Furthermore, (3) since each State can mobilize all the people and resources in its territory, the other State comes to regard all the citizens of the opposing country as at least temporarily its enemies and to treat them accordingly by extending the war to them. Thus, all of the consequences of inter-territorial war make it almost inevitable that inter-State war will involve aggression by each side against the innocent civilians—the private individuals—of the other. This inevitability becomes absolute with modern weapons of mass destruction.

If one distinct attribute of inter-State war is inter-territoriality, another unique attribute stems from the fact that each State lives by taxation over its subjects. Any war against another State, therefore, involves the increase and extension of taxation-aggression over its own people.7 Conflicts between private individuals can be, and usually are, voluntarily waged and financed by the parties concerned. Revolutions can be, and often are, financed and fought by voluntary contributions of the public. But State wars can only be waged through aggression against the taxpayer.

All State wars, therefore, involve increased aggression against the State’s own taxpayers, and almost all State wars (all, in modern warfare) involve the maximum aggression (murder) against the innocent civilians ruled by the enemy State. On the other hand, revolutions are generally financed voluntarily and may pinpoint their violence to the State rulers, and private conflicts may confine their violence to the actual criminals. The libertarian must, therefore, conclude that, while some revolutions and some private conflicts may be legitimate, State wars are always to be condemned.

Many libertarians object as follows: “While we too deplore the use of taxation for warfare, and the State’s monopoly of defense service, we have to recognize that these conditions exist, and while they do, we must support the State in just wars of defense.” The reply to this would go as follows: “Yes, as you say, unfortunately States exist, each having a monopoly of violence over its territorial area.” What then should be the attitude of the libertarian toward conflicts between these States? The libertarian should say, in effect, to the State: “All right, you exist, but as long as you exist at least confine your activities to the area which you monopolize.” In short, the libertarian is interested in reducing as much as possible the area of State aggression against all private individuals. The only way to do this, in international affairs, is for the people of each country to pressure their own State to confine its activities to the area which it monopolizes and not to aggress against other State-monopolists. In short, the objective of the libertarian is to confine any existing State to as small a degree of invasion of person and property as possible. And this means the total avoidance of war. The people under each State should pressure “their” respective States not to attack one another, and, if a conflict should break out, to negotiate a peace or declare a cease-fire as quickly as physically possible.

Suppose further that we have that rarity—an unusually clear-cut case in which the State is actually trying to defend the property of one of its citizens. A citizen of country A travels or invests in country B, and then State B aggresses against his person or confiscates his property. Surely, our libertarian critic would argue, here is a clear-cut case where State A should threaten or commit war against State B in order to defend the property of “its” citizen. Since, the argument runs, the State has taken upon itself the monopoly of defense of its citizens, it then has the obligation to go to war on behalf of any citizen, and libertarians have an obligation to support this war as a just one.

But the point again is that each State has a monopoly of violence and, therefore, of defense only over its territorial area. It has no such monopoly; in fact, it has no power at all, over any other geographical area. Therefore, if an inhabitant of country A should move to or invest in country B, the libertarian must argue that he thereby takes his chances with the State-monopolist of country B, and it would be immoral and criminal for State A to tax people in country A and kill numerous innocents in country B in order to defend the property of the traveler or investor.8

It should also be pointed out that there is no defense against nuclear weapons (the only current “defense” is the threat of mutual annihilation) and, therefore, that the State cannot fulfill any sort of defense function so long as these weapons exist.

The libertarian objective, then, should be, regardless of the specific causes of any conflict, to pressure States not to launch wars against other States and, should a war break out, to pressure them to sue for peace and negotiate a cease-fire and peace treaty as quickly as physically possible. This objective, incidentally, is enshrined in the international law of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that is, the ideal that no State could aggress against the territory of another—in short, the “peaceful coexistence” of States.9

Suppose, however, that despite libertarian opposition, war has begun and the warring States are not negotiating a peace. What, then, should be the libertarian position? Clearly, to reduce the scope of assault of innocent civilians as much as possible. Old-fashioned international law had two excellent devices for this: the “laws of war,” and the “laws of neutrality” or “neutrals’ rights.” The laws of neutrality are designed to keep any war that breaks out confined to the warring States themselves, without aggression against the States or particularly the peoples of the other nations. Hence the importance of such ancient and now forgotten American principles as “freedom of the seas” or severe limitations upon the rights of warring States to blockade neutral trade with the enemy country. In short, the libertarian tries to induce neutral States to remain neutral in any inter-State conflict and to induce the warring States to observe fully the rights of neutral citizens. The “laws of war” were designed to limit as much as possible the invasion by warring States of the rights of the civilians of the respective warring countries. As the British jurist F.J.P. Veale put it:

The fundamental principle of this code was that hostilities between civilized peoples must be limited to the armed forces actually engaged…. It drew a distinction between combatants and noncombatants by laying down that the sole business of the combatants is to fight each other and, consequently, that noncombatants must be excluded from the scope of military operations.10

In the modified form of prohibiting the bombardment of all cities not in the front line, this rule held in Western European wars in recent centuries until Britain launched the strategic bombing of civilians in World War II. Now, of course, the entire concept is scarcely remembered, the very nature of nuclear war resting on the annihilation of civilians.

In condemning all wars, regardless of motive, the libertarian knows that there may well be varying degrees of guilt among States for any specific war. But the overriding consideration for the libertarian is the condemnation of any State participation in war. Hence his policy is that of exerting pressure on all States not to start a war, to stop one that has begun and to reduce the scope of any persisting war in injuring civilians of either side or no side.

A neglected corollary to the libertarian policy of peaceful coexistence of States is the rigorous abstention from any foreign aid; that is, a policy of nonintervention between States (= “isolationism” = “neutralism”). For any aid given by State A to State B (1) increases tax aggression against the people of country A and (2) aggravates the suppression by State B of its own people. If there are any revolutionary groups in country B, then foreign aid intensifies this suppression all the more. Even foreign aid to a revolutionary group in B—more defensible because directed to a voluntary group opposing a State rather than a State oppressing the people—must be condemned as (at the very least) aggravating tax aggression at home.

Let us see how libertarian theory applies to the problem of imperialism, which may be defined as the aggression by State A over the people of country B, and the subsequent maintenance of this foreign rule. Revolution by the B people against the imperial rule of A is certainly legitimate, provided again that revolutionary fire be directed only against the rulers. It has often been maintained—even by libertarians—that Western imperialism over undeveloped countries should be supported as more watchful of property rights than any successor native government would be. The first reply is that judging what might follow the status quo is purely speculative, whereas existing imperialist rule is all too real and culpable. Moreover, the libertarian here begins his focus at the wrong end—at the alleged benefit of imperialism to the native. He should, on the contrary, concentrate first on the Western taxpayer, who is mulcted and burdened to pay for the wars of conquest, and then for the maintenance of the imperial bureaucracy. On this ground alone, the libertarian must condemn imperialism.11

Does opposition to all war mean that the libertarian can never countenance change—that he is consigning the world to a permanent freezing of unjust regimes? Certainly not. Suppose, for example, that the hypothetical state of “Waldavia” has attacked “Ruritania” and annexed the western part of the country. The Western Ruritanians now long to be reunited with their Ruritanian brethren. How is this to be achieved? There is, of course, the route of peaceful negotiation between the two powers, but suppose that the Waldavian imperialists prove adamant. Or, libertarian Waldavians can put pressure on their government to abandon its conquest in the name of justice. But suppose that this, too, does not work. What then? We must still maintain the illegitimacy of Ruritania’s mounting a war against Waldavia. The legitimate routes are (1) revolutionary uprisings by the oppressed Western Ruritanian people, and (2) aid by private Ruritanian groups (or, for that matter, by friends of the Ruritanian cause in other countries) to the Western rebels—either in the form of equipment or of volunteer personnel.12

We have seen throughout our discussion the crucial importance, in any present-day libertarian peace program, of the elimination of modern methods of mass annihilation. These weapons, against which there can be no defense, assure maximum aggression against civilians in any conflict with the clear prospect of the destruction of civilization and even of the human race itself. Highest priority on any libertarian agenda, therefore, must be pressure on all States to agree to general and complete disarmament down to police levels, with particular stress on nuclear disarmament. In short, if we are to use our strategic intelligence, we must conclude that the dismantling of the greatest menace that has ever confronted the life and liberty of the human race is indeed far more important than demunicipalizing the garbage service.

We cannot leave our topic without saying at least a word about the domestic tyranny that is the inevitable accompaniment of war. The great Randolph Bourne realized that “war is the health of the State.”13 It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy and the society. Society becomes a herd, seeking to kill its alleged enemies, rooting out and suppressing all dissent from the official war effort, happily betraying truth for the supposed public interest. Society becomes an armed camp, with the values and the morale—as Albert Jay Nock once phrased it—of an “army on the march.”

The root myth that enables the State to wax fat off war is the canard that war is a defense by the State of its subjects. The facts, of course, are precisely the reverse. For if war is the health of the State, it is also its greatest danger. A State can only “die” by defeat in war or by revolution. In war, therefore, the State frantically mobilizes the people to fight for it against another State, under the pretext that it is fighting for them. But all this should occasion no surprise; we see it in other walks of life. For which categories of crime does the State pursue and punish most intensely—those against private citizens or those against itself? The gravest crimes in the State’s lexicon are almost invariably not invasions of person and property, but dangers to its own contentment: for example, treason, desertion of a soldier to the enemy, failure to register for the draft, conspiracy to overthrow the government. Murder is pursued haphazardly unless the victim be a policeman, or Gott soll hüten, an assassinated Chief of State; failure to pay a private debt is, if anything, almost encouraged, but income tax evasion is punished with utmost severity; counterfeiting the State’s money is pursued far more relentlessly than forging private checks, etc. All this evidence demonstrates that the State is far more interested in preserving its own power than in defending the rights of private citizens.

A final word about conscription: of all the ways in which war aggrandizes the State, this is perhaps the most flagrant and most despotic. But the most striking fact about conscription is the absurdity of the arguments put forward on its behalf. A man must be conscripted to defend his (or someone else’s?) liberty against an evil State beyond the borders. Defend his liberty? How? By being coerced into an army whose very raison d’être is the expunging of liberty, the trampling on all the liberties of the person, the calculated and brutal dehumanization of the soldier and his transformation into an efficient engine of murder at the whim of his “commanding officer”?14 Can any conceivable foreign State do anything worse to him than what “his” army is now doing for his alleged benefit? Who is there, O Lord, to defend him against his “defenders”?

  • 1.There are some libertarians who would go even further and say that no one should employ violence even in defending himself against violence. However, even such Tolstoyans, or “absolute pacifists,” would concede the defender’s right to employ defensive violence and would merely urge him not to exercise that right. They, therefore, do not disagree with our proposition. In the same way, a libertarian temperance advocate would not challenge a man’s right to drink liquor, only his wisdom in exercising that right.
  • 2.We shall not attempt to justify this axiom here. Most libertarians and even conservatives are familiar with the rule and even defend it; the problem is not so much in arriving at the rule as in fearlessly and consistently pursuing its numerous and often astounding implications.
  • 3.Or, to bring up another famous antipacifist slogan, the question is not whether “we would be willing to use force to prevent the rape of our sister,” but whether, to prevent that rape, we are willing to kill innocent people and perhaps even the sister herself.
  • 4.William Buckley and other conservatives have propounded the curious moral doctrine that it is no worse to kill millions than it is to kill one man. The man who does either is, to be sure, a murderer; but surely it makes a huge difference how many people he kills. We may see this by phrasing the problem thus: after a man has already killed one person, does it make any difference whether he stops killing now or goes on a further rampage and kills many dozen more people? Obviously, it does.
  • 5.Professor Robert L. Cunningham has defined the State as the institution with “a monopoly on initiating open physical coercion.” Or, as Albert Jay Nock put it similarly if more caustically, “The State claims and exercises the monopoly of crime…. It forbids private murder, but itself organizes murder on a colossal scale. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unscrupulous hands on anything it wants.”
  • 6.An outstanding example of pinpointing by revolutionaries was the invariable practice of the Irish Republican Army, in its later years, of making sure that only British troops and British government property were attacked and that no innocent Irish civilians were injured. A guerrilla revolution not supported by the bulk of the people, of course, is far more likely to aggress against civilians.
  • 7.If it be objected that a war could theoretically be financed solely by a State’s lowering of nonwar expenditures, then the reply still holds that taxation remains greater than it could be without the war effect. Moreover, the purport of this article is that libertarians should be opposed to government expenditures whatever the field, war or nonwar.
  • 8.There is another consideration which applies rather to “domestic” defense within a State’s territory: the less the State can successfully defend the inhabitants of its area against attack by criminals, the more these inhabitants may come to learn the inefficiency of state operations, and the more they will turn to non-State methods of defense. Failure by the State to defend, therefore, has educative value for the public.
  • 9.The international law mentioned in this paper is the old-fashioned libertarian law as had voluntarily emerged in previous centuries and has nothing to do with the modern statist accretion of “collective security.” Collective security forces a maximum escalation of every local war into a worldwide war—the precise reversal of the libertarian objective of reducing the scope of any war as much as possible.
  • 10.F.J.P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism (Appleton, Wis.: C.C. Nelson, 1953), p. 58.
  • 11.Two other points about Western imperialism: first, its rule is not nearly so liberal or benevolent as many libertarians like to believe. The only property rights respected are those of the Europeans; the natives find their best lands stolen from them by the imperialists and their labor coerced by violence into working the vast landed estates acquired by this theft. Second, another myth holds that the “gunboat diplomacy” of the turn of the century was a heroic libertarian action in defense of the property rights of Western investors in backward countries. Aside from our above strictures against going beyond any State’s monopolized land area, it is overlooked that the bulk of gunboat moves were in defense, not of private investments, but of Western holders of government bonds. The Western powers coerced the smaller governments into increasing tax aggression on their own people, in order to pay off foreign bondholders. By no stretch of the imagination was this an action on behalf of private property—quite the contrary.
  • 12.The Tolstoyan wing of the libertarian movement could urge the Western Ruritaniansto engage in nonviolent revolution, for example, tax strikes, boycotts, mass refusal to obey government orders or a general strike—especially in arms factories. Cf. the work of the revolutionary Tolstoyan, Bartelemy De Ligt, The Conquest of Violence: An Essay On War and Revolution (New York: Dutton, 1938).
  • 13.See Randolph Bourne, “Unfinished Fragment on the State,” in Untimely Papers (New York: B.W: Huebsch, 1919).
  • 14.To the old militarist taunt hurled against the pacifist: “Would you use force to prevent the rape of your sister?” the proper retort is: “Would you rape your sister if ordered to do so by your commanding officer?”

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As the incompetence and failures of the reality-denying Secularists mount, Christians must begin the long-delayed work of mastering the application of the Law of God in the real world, including in international relations.

It’s time to get serious about discipling the nations in the Name of Christ.

COVID-19: True Words Shielding Unjust Power-Grabs

From The Pandemic Is “Over,” but the Feds Aren’t Giving Up Their Emergency Powers by Ryan McMaken

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Listen to the Audio Mises Wire version of this article.

On 60 Minutes last Sunday, President Joe Biden declared “the pandemic is over,” but quickly added that “we still have a problem with COVID, we’re still doing a lot of work on it.”

Biden then reiterated: “But the pandemic is over” and his evidence was the fact “no one’s wearing masks. Everyone seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing, and I think this is a perfect example of it.”

Biden’s prevaricating position that “it’s over” but “we still have a problem” is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the regime when it comes to covid. After all, the Biden administration still enthusiastically supports the Pentagon’s vaccine mandates, and in the federal courts, the administration continues to push for a variety of federal mandates, including air-travel mask mandates and various federal education programs such as Head Start. The feds still want forced vaccines for federal contractors. Travel to the United States still requires proof of vaccination. The federal government is even expected to announce “at least one additional extension to the current emergency.”

In other words, the administration certainly isn’t acting like “the pandemic is over” in terms of actual policy.

Nevertheless, Biden in his public comments is contradicting the experts on which the administration relied so heavily to fan the flames of the regime’s beloved covid panic. As Fortune’s Erin Prater showed this week, the usual guardians of covid “science” are hardly in agreement with Biden that the pandemic is over. Michael Osterholm at the Center for Infectious Disease Research says it’s too soon to tell if the pandemic is over. Biden’s comments were “not well thought through,” Osterholm says. Meanwhile, Georges Benjamin of the American Public Health Association says that the president “clearly misspoke” and “we need to be really clear that the pandemic is not over.”

At least these people are being consistent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) own statistics, more than three hundred people have died of covid per day in recent weeks, and “community transmission” is still listed as high in most of the US. Daily new cases are still where they were through much of 2020 and 2021.

It’s not hard to see why the administration has suddenly forgotten about all the alleged science that policy makers repeatedly flogged to demand support for countless state and federal mandates for forced vaccines, lockdowns, and business closures. The regime’s current ruling coalition, the Democratic Party, is afraid of losing big time in the November elections, so it also wants to tell people about how wonderful everything is. If there were not an election two months from now, it’s safe bet we’d instead be hearing all about how terrible the pandemic is.

But, there is an election, and that means Biden has to be out there talking about how the pandemic is no big deal, that everyone should stop complaining about inflation, and that things are fine.

Most Ordinary Americans Declared the Pandemic Over Many Months Ago

Winning elections, after all, requires at least somewhat aligning the party’s positions with existing public opinion in the lead-up to election day.

And that’s exactly what Biden is doing. There aren’t enough committed freak-out-about-covid ideologues left to assure the party of victory. Only in certain left-leaning strongholds does a sizable portion of the voting public actually regard “the pandemic” as a priority. Yes, one will continue to encounter many true believers in the Bay Area, in New York City, or in Martha’s Vineyard. And, naturally, this attitude prevails in countless university towns across the nation, where, amazingly, university pencil pushers are still enforcing vaccine mandates. Pandemic panic also remains popular among corporate elites, whose primary concern in 2022 is apparently to be loyal soldiers for the regime.

In most of the real world, however, which includes at least half the American voting public, people have long since moved beyond this. Virtually no one is wearing masks anymore, isolating in case of “possible exposure,” or lining up to get the next booster. That sort of thing may seem normal in California or at city hall in Chicago, but few ordinary people are listening to the usual harangues offered up by health bureaucrats anymore.

More importantly, it’s extremely unlikely that were Biden to go on television and announce that “the pandemic is really bad now, guys!” many people would listen.

Pandemics End When the Public Says They Do

So, we’re now seeing the pandemic end exactly the way we expected it to. According to the government-funded hive of health researchers, the pandemic is still not over, and they’re still saying “not so fast!” But in, practice, the pandemic is over because people believe it is over.

Back in 2020, we here at mises.org published a column called “Pandemics Are Over When the Public Decides They’re Over,” exploring this phenomenon of the disconnect between the “official” pandemic and the pandemic in practice. The conclusion was exactly what the title suggests. If the public is finished going along with the regime’s “pandemic measures,” the pandemic is functionally over. As the New York Times explained in May 2020:

Pandemics typically have two types of endings: the medical, which occurs when the incidence and death rates plummet, and the social, when the epidemic of fear about the disease wanes.

“When people ask, ‘When will this end?,’ they are asking about the social ending,” said Dr[.] Jeremy Greene, a historian of medicine at Johns Hopkins. In other words, an end can occur not because a disease has been vanquished but because people grow tired of panic mode and learn to live with a disease.

Or as Scientific American put it in March of this year:

“Every time people walk into stores without masks or even just walk into stores for pleasure, they’re indicating they think the pandemic is winding down, if not over,” [historian of pandemics Marion] Dorsey says. Whether or not there is an official declaration of some kind, “I don’t think anything really has a meaning until, as a society … , we act as if it is.”

Author and historian John M. Barry, who wrote one of the most definitive chronicles of the 1918 pandemic—The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History—has come to a similar conclusion. A pandemic ends “when people stop paying attention to it,” he says.

Not even the “medical” end of a pandemic is as simple as it seems, however. Given that covid is unlikely to disappear, the question remains whether infections and deaths are at “stable” rates, and whether herd immunity has been reached. Either would suggest an end to a pandemic, but it’s not straightforward. As noted at mises.org by Dr. Michel Accad:

While herd immunity may indeed be a real phenomenon that can take place under certain circumstances when populations are subjected to a contagious disease, it is important to recognize that herd immunity is not a concept that has any practical value for setting public health policy.

For one thing, there is no objective way to establish that herd immunity has been achieved, since a “stable” rate of new infection is a subjective notion. What is a stable or tolerable rate of infection for me may not be so for you.

So, short of a disease fully disappearing, there’s no clear definition of when a pandemic is gone.

They’ll Still Cling to Their Pandemic Powers

True believers in lockdowns and forced vaccines, however, will likely continue to debate under what conditions people can be “permitted” to live their lives without intervention from health experts. Moreover, as we’ve seen, the regime isn’t relinquishing its newfound powers.

Yes, people are bored with the current emergency, and they’re not listening anymore. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be hoodwinked by the next “emergency,” whether the crisis is one of racism, a lack of abortions, or the climate. This is why the administration will keep suing in federal court to keep alive its prerogatives to impose vaccine mandates, border closures, mask mandates, and more. The regime may have admitted that people aren’t listening about covid at the moment, but that doesn’t mean the regime will willingly give up one ounce of power.

That is, expect the current president—and all future presidents, too—to insist he can still rule by decree with impunity whenever there is an “emergency.” When exactly is there an emergency? Whenever federal politicians decide there is one. Our job is to assume they are lying.

[Read More: “Why They Want to Keep the ‘Health Emergency’ Going Forever” by Ryan McMaken]

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Unlawful powers are unlawful.

(Especially when they were either poorly justified, or completely unjustified, in the first place!)

Note that the secularist media has no interest in attacking the unsound basis of power these politicians have gathered for themselves.

We Christians must do that.

The days of “forget the world, let’s just navel-gaze in spiritual mysticism and retreats from reality” are over.

God is Truth and demands Liberty for His people: we must walk on His road.

In time and on earth.

Today.