Archive for December, 2013

Judge Not

Tonight in one of his show’s segments, Bill O’Reilly commented on some recent remarks made by Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame. Robertson stands accused of making judgmental statements about homosexuality, commenting that it is sinful. Now I don’t have O’Reilly’s exact words, but his argument ran something like this: Phil Robertson passed judgment on homosexuality, saying it was a sin; The Bible forbids men from judging others, only God can do this; Therefore, Phil Robertson was wrong to make critical remarks about homosexuality.

This left me a bit puzzled. Think about it. Bill O’Reilly argued that Phil Robertson was wrong to say homosexuality is a sin. In other words, Bill O’Reilly judged Phil Robertson, doing the very thing he said we, as mere mortals, have no right to do. For arguments sake, if were we to adopt O’Reilly’s position, we would be forced to conclude one of two things: 1) Bill O’Reilly is God and was right to take Phil Robertson to task, or 2) he contradicted himself in his editorial and owes Mr. Robertson an apology both for his poor logic – his failure to see that his argument applied to his own words, for in criticizing Robertson he engaged in the very activity, judgment, he denied is permitted to men – and for making what are therefore, by his own standards, baseless, unwarranted, and impermissible comments about Robertson’s beliefs.

The truth is, O’Reilly’s argument is absurd. That is to say, it is self-refuting. Neither Bill O’Reilly nor anyone else can avoid making judgments. To criticize another for making judgments is not only unfair, for it asks the impossible, but also of necessity involves the critic in self-contradiction – in condemning another for passing judgment, the he condemns himself as well.

So the issue is not whether we ought to judge the words and actions of others, we all of necessity make judgments every day all the time. The issue is by what standard we make our judgments. Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” That is to say, we are to judge based on the Bible, the Word of God. And by this standard, it is right and proper to condemn homosexuality. Further, to remain silent in the face of sodomy and say nothing, is itself sinful. To actively defend it is to call good evil and evil good, and demonstrates a more perverse conscience.

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Since the financial crisis began in 2008 – talk of recovery notwithstanding, we are still in the midst of this crisis; the debt situation, which spawned the crisis, is worse today than it was at the time of the original collapse – there has been no shortage articles and websites devoted to the current problems. What this author finds interesting is that despite the intense scrutiny given by many observers to organizations such as the Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, almost no one in either the mainstream or alternate media seems to be interested in the activities of the what is probably the largest, the wealthiest, and certainly the most secretive organization in international finance today. I’m speaking on none other than the Roman Catholic Church- State (RCCS).

In a remarkable piece posted on the Berean Beacon website, The Financial Crisis and the Papal Economic Offensive, authors Richard Bennett and Ronald Cooper break the silence. They make the case that not only is the Western financial crisis ongoing, but that the policies of the Vatican, far from making things better, actually make the situation worse. The authors center their attack on the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Universal Destination of Goods (UDG). Although many people don’t seem to realize it, Rome has a very different view of private property than the Bible. In Scripture, private property is just that, it is private, the state has no part in regulating its use and certainly has no business in taking it to give to another. In Romanist economics, your property is yours until, well, someone else needs it. At that point, the needy individual has the right to take what is yours and use it for himself, or get the government to do the taking for him. In other words, Roman Catholic economics is socialist to the core.


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Evangelii Gaudium, the recent papal exhortation by Francis I, has been seen correctly by many as an attack on capitalism. Headlines and stories on the internet speak of the pope denouncing “unfettered capitalism” (see here and here), prompting no less a personage than Rush Limbaugh to weigh in on the matter. In his comments on the pope’s exhortation, Limbaugh stated,

“You know, the pope, Pope Francis — this is astounding — has issued an offical papal proclamation, and it’s sad. It’s actually unbelievable. The pope has written, in part, about the utter evils of capitalism. And I have to tell you, I’ve got parts of it here I can share with you. It’s sad because this pope makes it very clear he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to capitalism and socialism and so forth.”

Limbaugh’s full statement shows an admirable appreciation for capitalism and its role in producing prosperity. At the same time, he also betrays a profound naivety regarding the nature of the Roman Catholic Church-State. Limbaugh, who states in the article that he is not catholic – according to one source I found, he is a non-practicing Methodist – appears genuinely shocked that the Vatican would issue such a statement, and suggests that the harsh, anti-capitalist tone of the exhortation may be due to a mistranslation by leftists. I was unable to find the original language document for Evangelii Gaudium – I assume it is in Latin – to check it against the English version. But given the papacy’s long standing hatred of laissez-faire economics, there is no good reason to assume the pope’s translators got it wrong, and every reason to think they got it right.


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These days, all is not well at the home of the Happy Meal. Against the walkout rumblings among the ranks of fast food workers, President Obama played the populist, announcing his intent to raise the minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $10.10. To my knowledge, Obama’s push for a higher minimum wage hasn’t yet been given a cleaver name. So let me suggest a few. How about the Unaffordable Wage Act of 2013? Or perhaps the Mandatory Unemployment Initiative. The Effective Elimination of Entry Level Employment Effort sports a nice alliterative ring, does it not?

I’m a bit hesitant to opine against hikes in the minimum wage. For in some ways, it’s the more boring things an arm chair economist could do. I mean, who’s going to argue that minimum wage laws don’t result in higher unemployment? I doubt even a good Keynesian like Paul Krugman would take that stand. But while it is widely known that minimum wage laws result in unemployment, what is less well known is origin of such laws. And this makes writing on the subject worthwhile. For while most people are aware of such laws, few realize that this concept was introduced to the US largely through the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church-State.


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This section breaks down into four main headings.

    I. The origins of the debate over progress (37).

    II. A historical sketch of the development of the idea of progress (37-39).

    III. A discussion of the main elements of the philosophy of progress (39-40).

    IV. A review of the main arguments used to establish progress as a law of history (40-41).

Years ago during a freshman level history class in college, a professor of mine made the point that the ancient Greeks had a cyclical view of history. For them, history was just a repetition of the same cycles over and over, much like the seasons. At the time, I thought it was among the most foolish things I’d ever heard. I was thoroughly steeped in the idea of history as progress. These many years later, I still don’t agree with the cyclical view, though I can at least understand why an intelligent person might take that position.

Of course, the Bible teaches that history will have an end, and that end was declared by God before the creation of the world. History, far from being a random series of events, has a purpose, which will culminate when Christ returns to judge the world in righteousness. In that sense the idea of progress in history is perfectly consonant with Christianity. But this is not the type of progress Clark has in view in this section. The philosophy of progress discussed here is of the purely secular sort.

The progress discussed here is the secular view. Clark argues that the Middle Ages, focused as they were on contemplation, showed little interest in worldly progress. This changed with the coming of such thinkers as Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes and Baruch Spinoza.


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