Thursday, March 19, 2009

Are the American People Powerless?

Speaking of a character in her book, Maisie Dobbs, author Jacqueline Winspear writes the following:

I do believe that people such as Jenkins [the character in the book], Hitler – or any such leader – gain power amid fear and uncertainty. At the heart of every cult is a compelling personality, one who exudes a certain charisma…. The trouble is that such individuals come to power on a tide of support from people desperate for leadership – people who are suffering emotionally, economically – and then such leaders create a mood of fear to maintain control when the people begin to doubt. Thus the people – whether a group or a nation – are powerless. And that fear can be of the leader himself and the consequence of crossing him, or of an external threat to one’s safety.
(A Penguin Reader Guide to Maisie Dobbs, p. 12. Appended to Maisie Dobbs, published by Penguin Books in 2004).
This could have been written yesterday. It could certainly describe our most recent presidential election. The desperation was there. We had looming financial crises, and an ineffective lame duck president (among other things, I don’t think I will ever forget the fact that George Bush did not pardon the border guards who were imprisoned), a continuing war on several fronts, and large problems growing on our southern border.

The charisma factor is certainly there, as well. Remember when women were actually swooning at Obama political rallies?

Are the people beginning to doubt? You betcha. Folks have begun to sprinkle the label "amateur" into their discussions of the administration in Washington. Calls for resignations have begun in the halls of Congress. Has the administration contributed to a mood of fear? Yup. Of course, the sky is always falling with liberals.

Are the people powerless? Increasingly so. Despite massive campaigns to stop them, only the most heinous of individuals is being appointed to high office. It seems that very few of the appointees to high office pay their taxes. You know what would happen to you or to me if we didn’t pay. The #2 man in the justice department is a porn lawyer who wants to take away parental rights. The Secretary of Education wants to take away our guns – and will be in a position to further indoctrinate our children. The Secretary of State... Well, you know.

Abortion is legal, homosexuality is normalized, and children (and maybe animals) may soon have the right to sue anybody. Ammunition is hard to find. And federal troops were sent to a small town in Alabama!!!! Read the story here. After reading that story, do you not wonder if this was a dry run for martial law?

Discuss among yourselves.

I know that we have the leadership we deserve. Read Romans 13:1 if you doubt that. But that does not mean we lay down and accept the dismantling of the constitution of the land in which we live. In fact, we are told in Jeremiah 29:7 to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” This means, friends, that we are to work to make this country the best it can be in a fallen world. Destroying the constitution upon which it was built is not in the best interest of our country, its citizens, or the international community.

Work, in whatever manner you are able, to secure the rights of the people. Pray for the nation, for its leaders and especially for Barack Obama. Prepare for hard times, especially if you are a Christian who believes in family values and the sanctity of human life.

What think you, citizens?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The End of the Evangelical Church?

This is a topic I have thought about for some time. Yesterday, I read a commentary titled “The Coming Evangelical Collapse.” While I don’t necessarily agree with everything in the article, there is a lot to chew on. The author points out several factors that will lead to the demise of a number of different types of congregations and denominations. I hope you’ll take just a few minutes to read and reflect upon what he has written.

It’s a good time, perhaps, to think about what Jesus, Himself, has to say on the matter. In John 12:32, the Lord is quoted as saying, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."

I’m not one to put a lot of stock in arguments from silence. In this case, however, it is instructive to note that Jesus did not say men would be drawn to him by church programs; by slick preaching; by wonderful outreach literature; by funky music; by “facilitators” in sharp Hawaiian shirts (or shark-skin suits); by technology; by good (fair trade) coffee in the church cafe; or by any other man-made device. Jesus said that He would draw men to Himself.

What churches will survive, albeit through much struggle? Those that preach the Gospel and attempt to live as instructed in God’s Word. It’s that simple.

I know that people are resistant and they want the glitz and glamor and the music. Maybe we have reached the time in American history when they’ll start listening again.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Self-Interest i$ Good for the Nation

Much can be learned by reading history. This appears to be something that is totally lacking among the “elite” ruling class of the nation. Instead they seem to all have read law, which they proceed to ignore and or manipulate for their own greedy purposes. Below, just a few quotes pertinent to our current problems in this nation.

Most of these quotes are from Adam Smith, who published his magnum opus, Wealth of Nations, in the very important year of 1776.

It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense... They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will. -The Wealth of Nations, Book II, Chapter III

Great nations are never impoverished by private, though they sometimes are by public prodigality and misconduct. The whole, or almost the whole public revenue, is in most countries employed in maintaining unproductive hands... Such people, as they them-selves produce nothing, are all maintained by the produce of other men's labour... Those unproductive hands, who should be maintained by a part only of the spare revenue of the people, may consume so great a share of their whole revenue, and thereby oblige so great a number to encroach upon their capitals, upon the funds destined for the maintenance of productive labour, that all the frugality and good conduct of individuals may not be able to compensate the waste and degradation of produce occasioned by this violent and forced encroachment.
-The Wealth of Nations, Book II, Chapter III

The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition ... is so powerful, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations.
-The Wealth of Nations Book IV Chapter V Section IV

I. The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities...
II. The tax which each individual is bound to pay ought to be certain, and not arbitrary. The time of payment, the manner of payment, the quantity to be paid, ought all to be clear and plain to the contributor, and to every other person...
III. Every tax ought to be levied at the time, or in the manner, in which it is most likely to be convenient for the contributor to pay...
IV. Every tax ought to be so contrived as both to take out and to keep out of the pockets of the people as little as possible, over and above what it brings into the treasury of the state.
First, the levying of it may require a great number of officers... Secondly, it may obstruct the industry of the people, and discourage them Thirdly, by the forfeitures and other penalties which those unfortunate individuals incur who attempt unsuccessfully to evade the tax, it may frequently ruin them, and thereby put an end to the benefit which the community might have received from the employment of their capitals... Fourthly, by subjecting the people to the frequent visits and the odious examination of the tax-gatherers, it may expose them to much unnecessary trouble...
-The Wealth of Nations, Book V Chapter II Pt II

In every great monarchy of Europe the sale of the crown lands would produce a very large sum of money, which, if applied to the payment of the public debts, would deliver from mortgage a much greater revenue than any which those lands have ever afforded to the crown...When the crown lands had become private property, they would, in the course of a few years, become well-improved and well-cultivated...the revenue which the crown derives from the duties of customs and excise, would necessarily increase with the revenue and consumption of the people.
-The Wealth of Nations, I Book V Chapter II Part II

The proprietor of stock is necessarily a citizen of the world, and is not necessarily attached to any particular country. He would be apt to abandon the country in which he was exposed to a vexatious inquisition, in order to be assessed to a burdensome tax, and would remove his stock to some other country where he could either carry on his business, or enjoy his fortune more at his ease. By removing his stock he would put an end to all the industry which it had maintained in the country which he left. Stock cultivates land; stock employs labour. A tax which tended to drive away stock from any particular country, would so far tend to dry up every source of revenue, both to the sovereign and to the society. Not only the profits of stock, but the rent of land and the wages of labour, would necessarily be more or less diminished by its removal.
-The Wealth of Nations, Book V, Chapter II
And from Thomas Jefferson, these gems:

I think all the world would gain by setting commerce at perfect liberty.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, 7 July 1785

Never spend your money before you have earned it.
-Thomas Jefferson

Just a couple more:
The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.
-Ernest Hemingway

The government s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
- Ronald Reagan

Bottom line: Capitalists create wealth, generally out of self-interest. It is in the interest of the people that they be unfettered by regulation, taxation, and general meddling. Dumping unbacked currency onto a problem has done nothing to help the government education systems or any other industry with no incentive to be frugal and efficient.