Archive for December, 2011

Newt Gingrich went and did it. After several months of bluster, boasting and nonsense – he’s a historian, by golly, and don’t you forget it – he finally managed to say something interesting. In an interview with Wolf Blitzer, the former speaker admitted that if he had to choose between Ron Paul and Barak Obama in the general election, he’d go with Obama. For what it’s worth, Gingrich later hedged his language, but the cat’s out of the bag.

This should surprise no one given the fact that when it comes right down to it, Gingrich and Obama have far more in common with each other than either one does with Ron Paul. Both love welfare at home, warfare abroad and neither cares a whit about the Constitution.

Now that one hypocritical, statist Republican has shown his true colors, perhaps more will have the courage to follow. Rush Limbaugh. Paging Rush Limbaugh. Has anyone seen Rush Limbaugh…

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Financial Outlook 2012

Jim Rogers is one of my financial heroes. Not only is he one of the most successful investors in the world, he’s also that ever so rare highly placed individual who 1) knows what he is talking about, and 2) is honest and brave enough to publically speak the truth. I had heard of him years before the 2008 financial crisis, but only as the events of that fall unfolded did I really pay attention to him. What impressed me so much was that as the whole financial system was coming unglued, Jim Rogers was one of the few calm, sane voices on Wall Street. Unlike the entire financial and political establishment, he denounced at every opportunity and to anyone who would listen the morally indefensible bailouts of Wall Street, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac in clear language a normal person could understand. Imagine that! A financial guy who speaks clear English.

Another nice thing about Jim Rogers is that he does a lot of interviews. He is a regular guest on American and foreign financial television shows, and he recently did an interview for an Australian TV network in which he discussed his financial forecast for 2012. I don’t know whether Rogers is a Christian, but his views on monetary policy, taxes and government are certainly consistent with the Bible.

Consider what Rogers says to a question posed by interviewer Lelde Smits regarding his outlook for global economic growth in 2012 ,

“Well Lelde, I’m not too optimistic about what’s going to be happening in the world in the next two or three years, and maybe even longer. We have serious problems in the United States. you know, in 2002 we had an economic slowdown, 2008 was even worse because the debt was so much higher. The next time around the debt is going to be staggeringly higher. So, the problems are going to continue to get worse until somebody solves the basic underlying problem of too much spending and too much debt.”     

This is exactly right. The 2008 financial crisis was brought on as a result of too much spending and debt. To cure this debt and spending problem, our dysfunctional political leaders – with intellectual cover provided by quack academic economists – decided to send the nation further into debt by a combination of money printing and deficit spending. It was Keynesianism on steroids.

The book of 1 Kings records a confrontation between the prophets of Baal and Elijah. When Baal did not heed the cries of the false prophets to consume the sacrifice on the altar, the Baal worshippers doubled down on their foolish leaping, shouting and gashing themselves, somehow desperately believing that Baal would hear them if only they could shout loudly enough. In the end, they just looked ridiculous.

And as is was with the prophets of Baal, so it is with our contemporary high priests of Keynesianism. They demand ever more money printing, government boondoggle spending and debt, hoping against hope that somehow the absurd act of piling more debt on top of an economy already being crushed by too much debt will fix things. But in the end, just like the prophets of Baal, the Keynesian quacks in charge of our monetary and fiscal policies will just end up looking ridiculous. Of course, they may bring the whole economy crashing down around us too, a feat well beyond the power of any mere prophet of Baal.

To read more of Jim Rogers’ cogent economic and investing forecast for the coming year, please click here.

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Q. How did Christ humble himself in his conception and birth?

A. Christ humbled himself in his conception and birth, in that, being from all eternity the Son of God, in the bosom of the Father, he was pleased in the fullness of time to become the son of man, made of a woman of low estate, and to be born of her; with diverse circumstances of more than ordinary abasement.


How different is the mind of Christ from that of fleshly man! From all eternity, the second person of the Trinity had agreed to humble himself. He freely chose to be born of a woman, to be born under the law, to suffer and to die. And that, not for those who loved him, but for his enemies.

Who would do such a thing? Certainly not I. In my flesh, I would react with anger at the merely slight to my personal dignity, forget about humbling myself for someone else. But Christ willingly laid aside his glory and died to save me, a child of wrath by nature.

Glory to God in the highest! For he who has the preeminence willingly emptied himself that he might redeem us, who were dead in our trespasses and sins.

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The Cult of Complexity

In a recent piece, I commented on an article in Time by Joe Klein. For a mainstream media writer, I thought Klein was reasonably fair to Ron Paul, and was in fact more open to Paul’s free market ideas than many leading conservatives. I also mentioned that the article had a number of errors in it as well. I dealt with one of those already: Klein’s conflation of popularity and constitutionality. For Klein, it seems, if legislation is passed by Congress and is popular with the people, it must be constitutional. It was on this basis that he defended Social Security. This, of course, is fallacious. A law is constitutional if it is in agreement with the Constitution; it is unconstitutional if it is not. This has nothing to do with popularity.

There is another common, mistaken idea in Klein’s article based on the unstated assumption that complexity is good and simplicity is bad. Klein wrote, “This is a complicated society, undergoing an ever more rapid transformation in the midst of a potentially long economic slump…It’s these sorts of times that raise up people with simple answers: ideologues and demagogues. Paul is an ideologue and – we’re lucky – an entirely honorable one.” Klein, like many people, assumes complexity is good and normal, simplicity is not.

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In a article in Time, political writer Joe Klein spotlights Ron Paul in a not too negative fashion. In all honesty, I Klein’s piece was much better than I would have expected out of the MSM. It’s funny, but in some ways the MSM is less hostile to Paul’s ideas than many prominent voices in the conservative media. Limbaugh regularly bashes Paul as do the fine folks in the flagship conservative political magazines. Not that Klein quite gets it. I doubt he’d ever count himself as a Paul supporter, but stranger things have happened.

One area where Klein could improve is in his view of Social Security. Klein writes, “On an even more basic level, it would be nice to believe that people could take care of themselves without government help, but it just hasn’t proved true: programs like Social Security and Medicare – with run directly against the Jeffersonian-libertarian tradition – were necessary because people couldn’t take care of themselves. The elderly, especially, had trouble paying medical bills after their working days ended. The American people, through their government, decided to make a rudimentary deal, to make sure their parents didn’t starve or sleep in the streets and were able to get medical care.”

Of course, this raises the question, how did people take care of themselves before Social Security? They or their families did. If that wasn’t adequate, there were many charities that assisted people. When the Republicans won the House in 1994, Newt Gingrich put out a list of books supporting limited government. On that list was a publication titled The Tragedy of America Compassion. In it, author Marvin Olasky effectively refuted the notion that before the modern welfare state – including the advent of sacred programs like Social Security – people were starving in the streets. Socialists would have you believe that were it not for government “charity,” there would be none. That idea is simply false.

Klein continues, “There was nothing unconstitutional about that – just as there’s nothing unconstitutional about requiring people to have medical insurance now. The deal was made with the consent of the governed. In the real world, these are the most popular programs the government offers – about 80% of the American people are happy with them.”

Here, Klein shows he himself to be well off base. He seems to confuse popularity with constitutionality. And while I won’t deny that many government programs have popular support, this is very different from saying they are constitutional. The logical rule is that if it is not granted in the Constitution, the federal government is prohibited from that activity. The Constitution does not authorize Social Security, therefore it is unconstitutional for the federal government to provide Social Security benefits. The logic is simple to understand, but hard to face.

The Apostle Paul stated the Christian position on charity when he wrote, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim.5:8). Christians are to provide for their own households – including aged parents – out of their own resources, not use the government gun to do so. Charity starts at home. Ron Paul’s voting test – he will not vote for a bill unless it is authorized in the Constitution – is logical, constitutional, and in accord with Christian ethics. Would that there were many more like him in Congress.     

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This morning I was driving to work on the interstate, minding my own business, and sipping a nice, hot, oversize mug of coffee. It was a pretty typical morning commute. Nothing particularly noteworthy or interesting. At least not until a Volkswagen Jetta passed me on the left. The Jetta itself wasn’t remarkable. It was like hundreds of others I’d seen before. But something about it caught my eye and caused me to do a double take. Much to my surprise, the car had a gas pump nozzle still inserted in the gas tank sticking out the side of the car. Even better, the six feet of hose still attached to the nozzle was dragging on the road surface well behind the rear tire. I couldn’t help but laugh. “Clueless!,” I thought to myself, “How could anyone be that oblivious to what’s going on around him?”

Of course, we can all be clueless at times. When I was in grade school, I used to fill up the lost and found with gloves and hats and coats. I could have outfitted half the third grade with all the stuff I misplaced.

And to tell you the truth, I’m still that way. Those who know me are well aware of my bad habit of putting things in odd places and completely forgetting about them. I recently lost my eyeglasses for a week and had no idea what I might have done with them. I finally figured out they were in the pocket of my new hoodie, but not after overturning the house and making special trips to two restaurants, thinking that I had left my glasses at the table.

Some people think that my writing is clueless too. I hope that’s not the case, but maybe they have a point. No doubt I have several cords worth of wood in my eye. A man should never judge his own case. Whatever.

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Atheist Bullies

Christopher Hitchens now believes in God. I can say this with certainty, because the noted journalist and outspoken atheist died this week. News of his passing prompted me to skim through an anthology he put together a few years ago called The
Portable Atheist. And even though I haven’t made it very far, I have a few thoughts on what he wrote.

Hitchens isn’t the first writer of the “new atheist” school whom I have read. A number of years ago I read a book by Richard Dawkins called The Blind Watchmaker, in which Dawkins claimed to have overthrown the Biblical doctrine of creation, or at least intelligent design (they’re not the same thing, but that’s another article). As a Christian, I approached the book with a bit of fear and trembling, concerned that the Oxford scholar would offer some brilliant, irrefutable argument in favor of evolution that would utterly devastate my faith the Bible.

I read and read. I waited and waited.


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Droning On

Why were we flying a drone over Iran? – Rep. Ron Paul


Much has been made of the lost American surveillance drone recently captured by the Iranians. The Pentagon has lied about it, John Stewart has made fun of it, and Obama has asked for it. But what is important in all this is the question, what was it doing there in the first place? As usual it took the temerity of Ron Paul to ask this important and – as far as our masters of the universe in the government and media are concerned – impertinent question.

Many Americans take it for granted that the US has the right and the duty to bomb, occupy and spy on the rest of the world. They take it as a matter of course that the US ought to engage in these activities and become angry should anyone suggest otherwise.

But God never commanded Israel to spy on its neighbors as a regular practice. Yes, spies were sued on occasion, but this occurred only during times of war. John Robbins made this point quite well in his essay The Sine Qua Non of Enduring Freedom. He wrote,

A related foreign policy question is the matter of spies, for perhaps the predominant function of embassies today (and perhaps whenever they have been used) is espionage. Ancient Israel used spies, but only during war and for short periods of time. Just as there was no standing army, so there were no standing armies of spies and diplomats. God commanded Moses to ‘Send men to spy out the land of Canaan,’ one from each tribe…

Some of this spying was commended by God, and perhaps all of it was, but we are not told that all of it was done at God’s express command. But spying was used exclusively during wartime. Spying on other nations was not a normal, peacetime practice of either the Hebrew republic or the monarchy. It seems clear that spying on one’s neighboring governments during peacetime, even more than maintaining embassies that harbor spies, is a form of prohibited foreign intervention. It can hardly be argued that God’s command to Moses justifies the regular use of spies, for the command was very specific: Spy out the land of Canaan. Espionage, except during wartime, is not a proper function of government..

The absence of both resident ambassadors and spies is the norm.”

The Bible commands individuals and governments to mind their own business (1 Thess. 4:11), but peacetime spying is anything but that. If anyone objects that droning Iran is not an example of peacetime espionage because we are at war with Iran, I would ask him to show me where the Congress has declared it.

And if anyone supposes that regular espionage is fine because it is done only to bad men from bad nations who deserve it but has no implications for the civil rights of American citizens, I would point out that the airport porno scanners, warrantless wiretaps and vanishing financial privacy we have come to enjoy in the post 911 world all suggest that what the feds do over there doesn’t stay over there, but rather that both the foreign and domestic surveillance apparatuses are in reality two sides of the same lawless federal coin.


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The Coming Debt Disaster

Assuredly I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. (Matt. 5:26)

Debt. The entire western world is drowning in it. The current US is about $15 trillion, and that’s not counting the unfunded liabilities such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc. Depending on whom you talk to, when those programs future liabilities are added in, the national debt balloons to many tens of trillions of dollars. Europe is a mess. Greece is bankrupt, as are Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland, the so-called PIIGS. Japan has a debt to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio of over 200%.

So what do western governments do when they’ve maxed out their credit cards? Not what you and I would do. We’d be forced to cut back on our spending and payoff our debts. But not the folks in Washington, Brussels and Tokyo. No sir. When governments are facing bankruptcy, they simply create a new line a credit for themselves through the magic – fraud would be a better term – of quantitative easing. For the uninitiated, this is central banker speak for inflation, or to put it another way, money printing.

There once was a time when this country was on the gold standard. A dollar was defined as a certain weight of gold or silver. Today, no one knows what a dollar is. The term is meaningless. It’s definition, whatever. This is bad for you and me, but good for the parasite class in Washington and the phony, crony capitalists on Wall Street.

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Clark on Colossians

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. (Col.3:19)

The Biblical doctrine of marriage is among the most hated teachings of Scripture. It is under constant assault both within and without the walls of the visible church. One of the reasons for this overt hostility, perhaps the main reason, is what the Bible has to say about the relationship between husband and wife. For the Bible does not support the sexual egalitarianism demanded in marriage by feminist theory, but rather Scripture teaches the marital relationship is one of headship and submission.

Of course, some feminists are more radical than others. Emma Goldman, a prominent anarchist from the early 20th century, thought of marriage as a bad insurance policy and longed to see the institution ended altogether. She wrote,

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