If we want justice and equity in human relationships, we have to begin by acknowledging that God owns everything. One of the reasons our culture had for adopting atheistic evolution as our foundational creed is to get around this most inconvenient reality. In a world of purposeless chance, there is stuff lying around, and those who evolve out of other stuff first and find the stuff lying around can provisionally call it “theirs,” unless and until a stronger predator comes and takes it. In modern economics, we call that stronger predator “the majority.”
But in a creationist ethic, God created man and woman, and gave them the responsibility for being stewards of the earth. So that we would know what our particular stations were in this broad task of stewardship, God established private ownership, answerable to Him. Just as the commandment not to commit adultery presupposes the institution of marriage, so also the commandment not to steal presupposes the institution of private property. This is why every form of socialism is evil.
The command is not “thou shalt not steal, unless you really need it.” It is not “thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote.” It is not “thou shalt not steal, unless it is for the common good.” It is simply this: thou shalt not steal (Ex. 20:15).
So this prohibition of stealing is foundational to any just social order. Contrariwise, the lure of thievery is foundational to every corruption of the social order. As soon as we truly understand this, we start to see violations of the principle everywhere. Theft is not an activity restricted to porch climbers and carjackers. Theft on a grand scale is usually accomplished, not with a crowbar, but rather with a congressman.
It decks itself out as “compassionate,” but this compassion consists of sending men with guns over to somebody else’s house in order to force him to give what all the nice people vaguely deem to be his “fair share.” There is a lot of math involved in determining these amounts. You probably wouldn’t understand.
Biblical compassion consists of giving your own resources away. Collectivist faux-compassion is the whitewash we put over our own larcenous hearts, justifying massive redistribution of wealth, in high defiance of God’s law. We want all the benefits of the thievery, along with all the benefits of a clean conscience, and the resultant acrobatic casuistry that follows is a sight to behold.
Frédéric Bastiat described the ludicrous rationalization quite well:
“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
Once we understand the gospel, which teaches us the extent of our own sinfulness, we start to understand the lengths to which collective rationalization can go. There is no area of life where the Christian world stands in greater need of theological sanctification that here, on the issue of property.
Wealth is a good thing. It is a good thing that presents many temptations, certainly, and one of the central temptations it brings is that of making us think that it is other people who are experiencing the temptation. In short form, we think the great problem to avoid is greed, when the real problem is that we are addled with envy.
We think that the answer to wealth’s temptations is asceticism, when it is actually gratitude and generosity. The people of Israel in Deuteronomy were certainly warned about the temptations presented by wealth.
“Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage . . . And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” (Deut. 8:12–18).
They sinfully assumed that they had made themselves wealthy. They gave way to self-sufficiency. They forgot that it was God who made them wealthy. They forgot—just as we have forgotten—that He made them wealthy in order to establish His covenant.
And what does it look like when His covenant is established? We can see it in a mirror, when we look at what Israel did not do.
“Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee” (Deut. 28:47–48).
What modern Christians in the West lack is not stuff. We have the stuff, but so did Israel before Nebuchadnezzar hauled away all their stuff. We have the stuff. What we don’t have is the worship of God with joy and gladness, for the abundance of all things.
In short, we don’t know how to be stewards, because we don’t know that God is the only ultimate owner.
Years ago, I heard a preacher on the radio say, “Praise of the LORD creates an atmosphere the enemy cannot move through.” And I have found it to be true. Oh Lord, that I would remember to spend my life in praise to you.
Gratitude is reality training.
People have good stuff happening to them all the time that they’re unaware of. Instead, they tend to focus on whatever little problem is annoying at the moment. The psychological weight we give to problems can make them seem bigger than they are.
By giving attention to thankfulness, we tend to restore a sense of perspective about the real state of affairs. So it’s reality training.
I think I understand that. I think that it is partly because,compared to hardships of the lives of the vast majority of Christians over the millennia, our live are so easy that we expect them to be pleasant and we are aggrieved when they are not. My faith teaches met that I I have no right to expect anything in this vale of tears except misery, illness, persecution, poverty, and and heartbreak. But I don’t live as if I actually believe that. I don’t wake up in the morning thanking God that the invading army or the plague or the… Read more »
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ”
Gilbert K. Chesterton
What he said! ; – )
A superb article Pastor Wilson, thank you.
Wanted to say thank you. I happen to have just been reading through the book of Deuteronomy, and meditated on Chapter 8. You’re insight was very helpful, I find the treatment of wealth by a Christian as difficult thing to understand the right way to handle it. It was encouraging that some of your conclusions were the same things I thought.
“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
That quote could be well applied to the system of farming Wilson likes to defend.
“In short, we don’t know how to be stewards, because we don’t know that God is the only ultimate owner.”
How would people respond to the claim that Jesus explicitly identifies money as something belonging to the government in Mark 12: 17 (Mat. 22)?
Money is not equal to wealth.
“Is this taxation just?” is not the same question as “whether or not it is just, should I pay it?” The response is that the passage you cited answers the second question (in the affirmative, which the majority of people here agree with) but doesn’t say anything about the first.
In addition, Wilson is not necessarily opposing taxation per se here, only wealth redistribution. Taxation for the God-ordained purposes of a government (protection of the nation from external enemies, and of us from each other) may be different than taxation simply to give it to another person.
Jesus asked who do YOU think that I am? He also asked about the image on the coin. Do you really think there’s any footnotes to “The earth is the Lords and the fullness therefore.”?
He asks, what do you see when you look at the coin? The coin that tugs at ones confidence. The coin that is truly “graven” in every sense of the term.
Jesus isn’t instructing to “pay your taxes,” He’s giving allowance for weak faith.
This is one of those passages that really bothers me in how often it’s understood. He specifically points out the God-defying image and inscription of Caesar on the coin, sets up Caesar and God as competing rivals for the things of the Earth, and people want to think that he was actually giving Caesar authority in some spheres and God in others. Though the argument is possible, I don’t think taxes were actually relevant at all. He was taking their “trying to trip him up” question, and defying an answer completely as he often did, instead turning the tables and… Read more »
Pastor Wilson or anybody else – how should money for roads and other basic infrastructure used by all in a town/city/state be supplied if not in the form of taxes?
Are you saying that the tax rate in an area should be 0 percent and funds should be provided in another way? Or that the tax rate is just currently too high?
I like a lot of what Grover Norquist has to say on this, but i’m wondering how you walk this all out through a biblical worldview.
Just pray a lot. I’m sure the goodness of well off men will lead them all to graciously and voluntarily give in abundance.
Andy, I doubt if Wilson is advocating a no-tax state. Clearly there must be taxation to build infrastructure that is used by society as a whole. What Wilson is likely getting at is the gross inequity in the tax code. I can attest to this personally. I am a teacher in a Private Christian school, making $25k a year. My wife is a stay at home mom and we have 3 children. We get by thanks to the generosity of family and friends. When I have filed taxes the last few years, we have received massive tax CREDITS (to be… Read more »
You might be right about a flat tax, but let me ask a couple questions as kindly as I can. To receive those massive credits don’t you have to claim them when you file your taxes? Why did you put beneficiary in quotes when you applied the term to yourself?
Yes I do have to claim them, primarily in the form of claiming how many children I have. I am going to anticipate your next question (why do you do it if you disagree with the system?) and just give the short answer – because I’m a greedy sinner and unwilling to let a free buck pass; but I think the long answer is more nuanced than that. I put beneficiary inquires to highlight the irony of using such a word when speaking of an unjust system. I’m not claiming to be a saint in action, nor to live in… Read more »
I don’t blame you for claiming your children. I did too, though I would not have described the credits as “massive” (substantial maybe) and I don’t think my tax rate was ever negative. However, I didn’t/don’t think I was acting unjustly either. The system we have would better be described as just foolish rather than unjust. There should be no one who doesn’t pay taxes at all, you included, but the people paying 20-30 percent of their income in taxes are doing just fine, for all their complaining, and they get something for their money just like everyone else. If… Read more »
I don’t really think it’s theft on my part, I think it’s theft on the government’s part. I am acting legally and lawfully, even if not entirely consistent with my convictions. Whether or not the people paying 20-30% are doing fine financially is irrelevant- it’s the principal.
I would still stand by my characterization of the whole system as unjust.
You are knowingly receiving stolen money then, in your estimation, and even going out of your way to ask for it when you know it is stolen. I’m not trying to make you feel guilty, I’m just pointing you to the implications of an outlook you’ve come to accept.
Whether or not we agree with the strong language of theft, our culture has unquestionably benefited from massive spending of fiat currency that was invoked (counterfeited) out of nothing. Infrastructure, crony bailouts, health care and energy subsidies, foreign aid, education, etc, etc, etc. It can be argued without much difficulty that we, as a nation and culture, are enjoying the fruits of resources, today, and simply putting it on a giant government tab. We may want to argue that we are not responsible for the system, but who can argue that they aren’t benefiting from it? We are more compromised… Read more »
I agree. The entire redistributive, fiat currency system is unjust. However, in terms of theft, there is a vanishing connection between the receipt of a negative tax rate (benefit) and the mythical “tax payer”. Tax payers don’t actually pay for the current benefits, and have not been able to afford to do so for awhile now. This is proven by trillion dollar deficits every year, now to the tune of over $20 trillion (not even counting future government promises). It could be argued that the additions to our debt are a theft against a hypothetical future tax payer (that is… Read more »
We are all deeply compromised by this system. More than we know. It is designed to make us dependents of the state. When we are all compromised, we are less likely to resist with any appeal to principle, for risk of being seen as hypocrites. There are moral hazards everywhere.
“What Wilson is likely getting at is the gross inequity in the tax code.” Yeah – I think you’re likely right. Do you know if he has posted on this issue before? Like what would a biblically aligned tax system look like, ya know? Yeah – seems like some form of flat or fair tax would be a step in the right direction. I like the fair tax over the flat tax since the flat tax seems to continue to punish good behavior or at least continue to disincentivize good behavior. But there would have to be some sort of… Read more »
Not utopian when you ask “what ought to be done” as opposed to the status quo. What’s a biblical tax system look like. I’ve often proposed this: Given that God requires a tenth be paid to the Church, there should be no justifiable reason why He would require a higher percentage than that to the State. So axiom #1 is “Total tax levied from all sources should never exceed 10%.” Given that we live in a Federation (whether we acknowledge that or not), it makes uncommon sense to structure our taxation along that basis. So axiom #2 is “Federal taxes… Read more »
A biblical tax code would tax accumulated wealth and not earned income. That would encourage people of wealth and means to invest and use their money for profit. As it stands now, someone like Donald trump can pay no taxes, by simply not earning any income, while those of us who must work for a living are taxed. One cannot blame the trumps, I would be doing the same, but our tax codes punish the earning of money and reward loss or breaking even.
Yep, the difference between taxed income and taxed wealth is almost never explored seriously.
There is no “biblical tax code” per se, but we can certainly derive some biblical principles for a moral, just, and sensible tax code. In the end, we must all render unto Caesar the things that are his, and we must pay to each what we owe. I would think whether the basis for taxation is our wealth, our income, our property, our purchases, or our very existence is not quite as much a matter of Scriptural dictates as it is for governments to decide.
It’s interesting to point out that God didn’t require a tenth of the people’s wealth, but rather a tenth of their increase. The tithe did not reward loss or decrease, but it only took a tribute from the increase.
This would correspond to an income tax.
Just as a further observation, an attempt to annually tax a farmer on the overall wealth of his land would destroy farmers even faster than the U.S. tax system did.
That’s an interesting idea. However,I’d be tempted to say that what he really asked from us wasn’t a 10% tithe at all, but rather our first fruits, the best we had to offer. That’s why the Lambs were without blemish. Or, as Wilson puts it, it all belongs to God.
God never says, “give me 10% of whatever increase you may have on paper after deductions and profit margins, and if you can show a loss no tithe is required.” That’s more like a US tax code.
God definitely never requires a 10% tithe to the church anywhere.
And I think that you hit a logically indefensible slippery slope with that logic anyway. If you give 10% to the church and 10% to the state, are you saying that church and state are equal? Maybe knock it down to 5%…then the church is only twice as good as the state? If you give 10% to the Temple and another 10% to the poor, can you now give 15% to the state and be in the clear?
I just don’t think there’s any Biblical logic in this.
It is a thought in progress. There are two millennia of Christianity that differs with your assertion that God doesn’t require 10% tithe to the Church “anywhere.” But that’s another topic for another day. If you allow the premise for the sake of mental exercise, it is still not a slippery slope to limit the State to the same percentage that the Church receives. Scripture in no wise makes a statement as to tax rates, so it seemed like at the very least a good starting point. Sure, I’d like the rate to be lower, but I’m not arguing for… Read more »
That’s simply not true. The book of Acts and the letters of the New Testament, covering the first 30-40 years of Christian history well and setting the stage for the rest, never mentions it. In fact, Acts 2-5 and many of the commands of Jesus suggest that far more is expected. There’s no evidence of 10% being any sort of Church-mandated limit in either direction in any church before 585. Rather, the early Fathers are pretty clear in giving much more according to your means and in the removal of the law in that sense. Even since then, there’s a… Read more »
A flat % of income, while keeping our same spending priorities, would be far greater “gross inequity” than the current system. What the wealthy get advantage of from the American system is far, far greater than what the poor get. There are many governments under which people who are poor here would be as good or better off, but there are very few places that cater so well to the very wealthy.
I suspect that, as these are public goods, rather than private benefits masquerading as public goods, a different argument may apply. Roads are broadly non-exclusive; welfare benefits are inherently exclusive.
I ended up posting in reply to the wrong article, so let me try again. I have a difficult time understanding why roads are a public good while hospitals and schools are not. A recent Canadian study showed that over 84% of the population supports taxpayer-funded universal health care and is willing to pay higher taxes to strengthen it. How is a healthy population less a public good than landfill? How are literate, well-fed, and immunized children less a public good than a program to fix pot holes on public roads? And, if the vast majority of a nation’s people… Read more »
Jilly, my concern on that front is that if we take one-seventh of the economy and let the government run it, the inevitable result will be a system with all the efficiency of the Post Office and all the compassion of the IRS. What was that German word I posted the other day about making a situation worse by trying to fix it?
I think that is a good argument against single-payer systems–which I don’t think would work here. But it isn’t an argument against ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable insurance run by private businesses using taxpayer subsidies. I think some of us have forgotten how seriously terrible it was when parents had to get their neighbors to hold bake sales to pay for children’s chemotherapy. I suppose the argument could be made that, with much lower taxes, parents would be able to pay for the chemo themselves. But this is simply not realistic given the high cost of medical… Read more »
Neighbors helping each other with serious needs… that sounds awful!
That is obviously not my point. Neighbors getting together to cover a sick person’s mortgage payment is wonderful. But there is no bake sale that will cover the cost of a child’s bone marrow transplant. And yet, in an extraordinarily rich nation, that was the only option some people had when their children got cancer. Because God forbid that we let them save their child at the taxpayer’s expense.
I have no objections to “let[ting] them save their child,” but if it’s at the taxpayer’s expense then “they” aren’t doing the saving.
Do you think all of life’s necessities (even to the extreme of super expensive specialized medical procedures) should be at the taxpayer’s expense?
For sick children, absolutely.
So do you believe in a free society at all? If so, what does that mean to you?
Well, I am a Canadian, despite my 30 years living in the U.S. When I lived in Canada and enjoyed good public schools (Canadian school children score in the world’s top five on standardized testing in reading and math, so they must be doing something right) and good public health care, I did not feel any less free than I do here. I believe in private enterprise and private ownership of the means of production. I think people should largely be free to make their own decisions. But I also believe there should be a strong safety net to protect… Read more »
How much good is “private ownership of the means of production” if the demand side of the equation is going to be controlled and standardized by the government? Being “quite willing to be taxed heavily” strikes me as a terribly dishonest phrasing. If you’re quite willing to pay for something, pay for it. Being willing to have other people taxed for what you want is totally different. As for Canadian schools, what are you saying they’re “doing right”? And what does that have to do with what we’re talking about here? I’d try to flee to Mugabe’s Zimbabwe before I’d… Read more »
What they are doing right is producing children who read, do math, and understand science at an extremely high level compared with the rest of the world. It is customary in the U.S. to speak as if public schools can’t successfully educate a cat, let alone a child. My point was that it is clearly possible for a publicly-funded, government-run system to produce some stellar results, speaking in academic terms. I presume that you would not object to Ottawa making sure your children receive a world class education, so it must be something else you object to. Probably all that… Read more »
I’m not going to look it up now (although I’ve seen it before), but doesn’t the Index of Economic Freedom include marks for “intellectual property” protections? How many points does is reward for the freedom to cut someone’s hair without a government license? Or the freedom to kill and skin and gut a beef steer out in the pasture and then sell the meat? And does paying for someone else’s abortion not have anything to do with economic freedom? For all those sorts of reasons, I’m going to assume the Index of Economic Freedom is an extremely biased tool serving… Read more »
Why do you believe America is a “free society” and Canada is not?
See my reply to Jilly below.
And if those children are in the womb, even if they’re completely healthy, all Canadians get to pay to murder them, too, right?
That part makes me very unhappy indeed.
While Americans just maintain the right to pay to murder kids who are unfortunate enough to be everywhere else.
Another sad consequence of abandoning our founding principles for the sake of the empty promises of centralized government. “That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people,
trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free
state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as
dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under
strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”
I think that because children with cancer tear at our heart strings so much, it is almost impossible to discuss access to health insurance without generating hard feelings. I do believe that Wendell could not look at a seriously ill child without feeling as heart broken as we do.
Where we all differ is in what should be done about it. I am not likely to change my mind on this. But I do understand a little the concerns of those who disagree with me–only a little, mind you!
Yeah – I may have mentioned this before…can’t remember…but I have some close friends who just had their son go through open-heart surgery at 6 weeks old and then received a heart TRANSPLANT at 6 months. The dad and I laughed as the bills easily exceeded 1 million before his son turned 1 year old (a year and a half old now and doing well, praise God, by the way). But it forced me to examine my conviction of the church providing for its members as opposed to state-run entities. And is medical insurance that far removed from auto-insurance? Is… Read more »
I know. It has become too much for any church to handle. Thank God the little one is healthy now.
State mandated and ordered medical insurance is entirely different than auto insurance. I don’t have to drive but I do have to pay for health insurance or pay a substantial fine to the IRS for not having insurance. That is wrong. If I am an illegal allien, I don’t have to pay for either health care or for auto insurance. Our medical system is now set up to enable huge amounts of money to be skimmed at various levels. The purpose of HMOs when they were established was to centralize the bililng which allowed easy skimming. Hillary’s proposed health care… Read more »
There is horrible user fraud as well. You are probably too young and handsome to be aware of the use of Botox for removing forehead wrinkles. It is an entirely cosmetic procedure costing around $600 per treatment. Because it is cosmetic, it is not covered under standard insurance policies. However, if someone claims to suffer from chronic migraine, they can get it for the standard co-pay (in my insurance, that would be $20). This is so clearly fraudulent, yet patients are lying to get cheap Botox and plastic surgeons are not acting as gatekeepers by demanding proof of an actual… Read more »
I actually don’t disagree with a word you said. But my questions were coming from an understanding of health care before Obamacare. I think then the comparison to auto insurance holds water. 5 years ago I didn’t have to buy medical insurance and I didn’t have to buy auto insurance. Also, Christian health care sharing is awesome, but it’s also limited. For example pre-existing conditions aren’t covered, if I remember right. What then? I just saw my cousin during Christmas who has suffered from major brain damage since birth and requires constant medical attention. As great as Samaritan Ministries is,… Read more »
Quick question: did your friends have a fundamental, God-given, Constitutional RIGHT to open-heart surgery and a new heart? Did they have the right to demand those things knowing they couldn’t possibly afford the cost? Did they have the right to demand that millions of other people across the country pay for it?
Also, medical insurance IS far-removed from car insurance. Car insurance does NOT pay for oil changes, alignments, fan belts, tire rotations, shocks, tune-ups, overhauls, transmissions, wiper blades, etc., etc. One might say car insurance only pays for the “injuries” to a car, not its “healthcare.”
I think you placed “God-given” and “Constitutional” as a bit too semi-equivalent there.
The intent was not to equate the two terms, but to indicate that both were necessary considerations to a right and proper understanding. Good health is not a fundamental right; it is not something guaranteed by the Constitution, and it is something which God either grants or removes.
1 – No they don’t have a right. And they didn’t demand anything. They knew their son would die if they didn’t use the resources available to them. They could have aborted him since he was diagnosed in utero. I’m assuming you’re not cool with that. Should they have delivered the boy and then refused treatment, watching him die? Are you cool with that? Sorry – dead baby is an extreme example. Maybe this – single mom can’t afford private school for her kid anymore. She enrolled the child in public school (used resource available to her). Does she have… Read more »
Andy wrote: Is my reliance on state medical insurance instead of the body of Christ any different than me calling my insurance agent after a fender-bender instead of calling Deacon Dan? There seems to be a potentially serious misunderstanding here. The Church is not a substitute for proper emergency planning for one’s family (whether that be savings or insurance providers). Also, the Church doesn’t automatically insert itself ahead of extended family when it comes to benevolence. The Church is not a first resort on these kinds of needs, and should not be viewed as such. Deacon Dan should not be… Read more »
jillybean wrote: And yet, in an extraordinarily rich nation, that was the only option some people had when their children got cancer. The blindness here is simply amazing. Jillybean doesn’t seem to realize that we are an extraordinarily indebted nation. Particularly our government. On a per capita basis, every man woman and child in the U.S. owes nearly twice as much in existing public debt as a Greek person ($61,000). On a per capita debt-to-income ratio basis, only nine other countries have mortgaged their futures to a greater extent. On another note, I’ve come to wonder if jillybean can make… Read more »
Hi, Katecho. I have been thinking about this, and there are parts of your argument that I think are entirely fair. On some of them, I disagree with your premises. On others, I think there are gender differences which you yourself have alluded to in the past. So let me take it step by step. You are right that I am economically illiterate. I am not quite so uninformed as to believe the government could just print more money, but I come close. I am aware of national debts and how these can’t simply be shifted to future generations. As… Read more »
Jill, remember the defense budget scandals of the 70’s and 80’s when we heard abouot $80 toilet seats and $200 hammers? The same thing has happened since health insurance has become the accepted norm. America has always had great health care, but we have put the proverbial foxes guarding the hen houses with insurance companies and government doling out the checks. Does health care costs rise every year because of actual cost increases or because of corporate greed? I suspect the latter. We need competition, not universal health care.
As long as there’s a doctor’s union in control, how are you going to have meaningful competition?
And even the $80 toilet seats and $200 hammers had a rational explanation, more so than a lot of the medical expenses.
When your contract calls for 10 specially designed and uniquely manufactured hammers for one application, they’re going to cost $200. Ditto for a toilet seat that you have to put special R & D into and then only need a small number of. Especially if the specs are special.
But with the medical expenses, it’s because someone other than those who care about costs are paying.
I respect you, Jilly, but the words “taxpayer subsidies” make me cringe. The minute anyone has access to seemingly unlimited piles of taxpayer cash, they find ways to make it cost ten times more than the projections and create “unintended consequences.”
The root cause of the problem is that health care is so ridiculously, hideously expensive. I’d advocate for: limiting campaign contributions by drug companies (in fact, let just ban them), seriously fix the cost of medical malpractice insurance by exporting large numbers of lawyers to a colony in the Marianas Trench, and put Medicare under a reform microscope.
And don’t put the sale of durable medical equipment in the hands of dishonest people who more or less force patients to stiff the government!
Goes to show how sorry Canadians are. Did you ever hear that most famous quote from Patrick Henry? Roads are a “public good” because they’re necessarily public, i.e. each person can’t have his own roads like each person (in a free country) can choose how to educate his own children, how to feed himself and his own family, and what and what not to have injected in or done to his own children. Do you think Americans should forfeit those principles? How do you figure you come out ahead by paying Jerry Brown or Obama or Trump, Pelosi and Ryan,… Read more »
Is someone forcing you to inject your child with something? Forcing you to educate your kids a certain way? You should call the police! Err… oops. Oh yeah, almost forgot… they are paid for by all of us taxpayers.
Face it. You benefit from ‘socialist’ entitlements everyday of your life: The military, highways/roads, police, fire dept., public libraries, postal service, student loans and grants (school vouchers for you christians- coming soon,) garbage collection, landfills, farm subsides, blah blah blah.
I’ll certainly grant you student loans and grants, school vouchers, garbage collection, and farm subsidies as things for which there’s no need for the government to get involved and that it would be better for the government to stay out of. I’m not as sure about public libraries, and I haven’t really thought about landfills before, but I wouldn’t hesitate to give you those if it could help us make a deal. I’d probably give you the postal service, too, although there may have been a stronger argument for the postal service back in the day. As for calling the… Read more »
Deal. You wallow in your own garbage. I’ll keep everything else inc. the police and feel free to call them when those who ‘take care of it themselves’ do just that.
I assume you know what I meant (in which case I’ll grant you a cheap shot scored), but just to clarify what I granted you: I grant you the point that those things are inconsistent with a free society.
And when you talk about calling the police when I make decisions for my own children’s well-being, what valid complaint do you suppose you have to give the police?
I wanted to ask you about something you said in an earlier post. Is it really illegal in this country to kill your steer and sell meat to the neighbors? Is it different if the meat is from a wild animal? When I lived on Latitude 60, people were always giving me moose and venison they had killed and dressed (why not undressed, I often wonder, when you consider that that you’re taking off the animal’s outer layers). And one recent Easter my neighbors over the wall killed and barbecued a baby goat. Was this illegal? (Being pretty much a… Read more »
I don’t think there’s any legal way to sell meat from wild game at all. Even giving it away might not be strictly legal or not always so — I’m not really sure — but you could probably get away with that. As for beef, one could hypothetically kill a steer and sell meat to the neighbors but regulations are so oppressive (at least in my state, and I would guess most every other state, too) that you’d probably have to invest $100K or more in licenses and special equipment and facilities that wouldn’t be necessary for practical purposes. If… Read more »
Thank you, I was interested to learn that.
Private roads are as realistic as private modern health care. Very little of what you consider having injected into your child would even exist if a government hadn’t either paid for its research or the education of the person who researched it at some point.
Thanks to runaway socialism I can’t consider having anything injected in my children without coming way too close to forfeiting medical decisions for my children to all the corruptions of DC. If you care about my children, you should back off the socialism.
Is your primary concern that the government (by which I mean any government) could use widespread immunization for a nefarious purpose, or is it that more that if the government can compel immunizations today, it can compel something like sex reassignment surgery tomorrow? Or a bit of both?
All that and also less extreme abuses, like for instance bundling good vaccines with vaccines that have marginally more costs than benefits but that pharmaceutical companies are able to manipulate the political system to get bundled together for the sake of their greater profit. Or requirements like the Obamneycare requirement that everyone, male or female, child-bearing age or long past pay for medical insurance that covers birth control (i.e. one-size-fits all requirements that might arguably be good for some or most people but are forced pretty much on everyone without exception.)
if the vast majority of a nation’s people hold these programs as high values (94% of Canadians said in 2012 that their chief source of national pride is that no one is denied health care for lack of money), should the 6% who feel differently have veto power? I think it’s pretty obvious that percentage of votes for some course of action doesn’t change the wisdom or righteousness of it, one way or the other. As for what’s “peculiarly American” here — one of the overlooked issues with these sorts of things in a multiethnic empire is that transfer payments… Read more »
I would be surprised if that happened in Canada. Universal health care has been the law since I was a child, and while waves of immigration have caused occasional resentments, support for the program has not faltered. The resentments have stemmed from the perception that some kinds of immigrants tend to overuse the system. I think there are ways of dealing with this without dismantling the program, and I think they should be enacted. Even with my very expensive and excellent medical insurance, I pay a financial penalty if I choose to go to the ER instead of using urgent… Read more »
Yes. And this is what Americans have had to deal with for quite a bit longer.
“Rigorous enforcement” will only be politically popular among people not courting the immigrant vote. (And it’s obviously racist.)
Did you know even the Declaration of Independence talks specifically about Canada as “an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies”?
240 years Canada continues to be an example and instrument for undermining American liberties.
Except the Founders’ fears about “absolute rule” were pretty much the 18th-century equivalent of black-helicopter FEMA-camp conspiracy theory. Not their greatest work.
I don’t actually understand what Jefferson’s problem was (other than wanting Quebec to join the revolution). Bringing Quebec into the British Empire worked out very well for les habitants who got to keep their French civil law and to practice their religion openly.
In what specific ways do you think that Canada has undermined American liberties? How much influence can it have on a neighbor so superior in numbers and political power? Surely you don’t think that Canadian culture has much impact on American values and freedoms?
Mainly just socialist medicine lately. You’re right that Canadians really don’t stand for much. I think of Canada as all the worst of Europe without any of the good points (which I think of mainly as remnants of pre-industrial and pre-automobile ways and buildings, etc.) Especially when I was in Europe, it was striking how the identity of every Canadian I met was I’m-not-an-American.
I think the comparison with Europe is a little harsh. Canada has a lower crime rate than many European nations and a higher quality of life. It is, by and large, a peaceful place to live–and I would attribute that to a quality you probably deplore: a high level of social conformism. Instead of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the traditional Canadian ideal was peace, order, and good governance–or, as it has been said, autocracy with decency. The decline of that as a social ideal has to some extent americanized Canadian society. In my youth, homelessness was defined… Read more »
ashv has spoken in favor of autocratic rule by a monarchy (using his best British spelling). He has also spoken directly against the principle of limited government itself.
Try again. I do not believe limited government is a “principle” at all. I believe it is a wish, and one with no obvious way to fulfil it.
Speaking of wishes, limited government is a guiding principle whether ashv wishes it to be one or not. It was a principle that our founding fathers were determined to observe. Scripture imposes many explicit limits on the powers and procedures of the civic magistrate. For example, it may not convict on the testimony of just one witness. So limited government is not only a principle, but a Scriptural one. In any case, ashv has spoken against the principle of limited government and separation of powers when pressed on it. He has argued, not that it is simply unattainable, but that… Read more »
I certainly agree that the American founders wanted it to be a principle, much as the Owenites and the Oneida colony wanted “free love” to be a principle. That doesn’t make it one.
Your insistence on conflating obedience to divine law with the liberal structure of governance is curious.
ashv wrote: I certainly agree that the American founders wanted it to be a principle, much as the Owenites and the Oneida colony wanted “free love” to be a principle. That doesn’t make it one. Ashv has drifted into linguistic relativism, repeating himself as he goes. Giving examples of inconsistent, weak, or simply difficult principles does not make any of them any less principial to their respective systems. Ashv may wish with all his might that limited government was not a recognized principle, but even wikipedia has an entry for it, which, unsurprisingly, it refers to as a “principle”. ashv… Read more »
> it is not possible for faithful Christian leaders to avoid the principle of limited government.
But it is possible for faithful Christian farmers (and consumers by proxy) to avoid any consideration of any principles whatever to the agricultural choices that differentiate different legal ways of farming?
OK if you want to play word games, fine; “limited government” may indeed be described as a “principle”, but it’s a principle at odds with nature, much as “free love” is. This is part of why I do not regard “being principled” as laudable. Our enemies are often more principled than we are, but this is not to their praise. (Furthermore just because I do not share your principles does not mean I don’t have any.) one cannot tell if he is trying to use the word liberal in a pejorative sense, or simply in the sense of liberty. Both.… Read more »
jillybean wrote: And, if the vast majority of a nation’s people hold these programs as high values (94% of Canadians said in 2012 that their chief source of national pride is that no one is denied health care for lack of money), should the 6% who feel differently have veto power? If only 6% of the people feel differently, perhaps jillybean can explain why Canadians still need the confiscatory power of the government to tax for a health care program? If such an overwhelming majority of Canadians really hold such programs as high values, like she says, what stops them… Read more »
There is such a thing as legitimate taxation and spending for things the government ought to be doing.
And then there is the government taking your earnings and giving them to me.
The latter is an abuse of the power of government.
Thanks. Simply put and well said.
Government is (or can be) competent at a few things, things God has specifically tasked it with. Only God is omni-competent and treating government as if it were is idolatry.
Andy, how in the world did America fund roads, churches, schools, dams and other infrastructure before Americans were bamboozled into the individual income tax and the property tax? There are multitudes of legitimate methods of funding public projects that are more appropriate than straight taxes. Read The Law by Bastait to understand government theft through taxation and other methods. Read Economics In One Lesson by Hazlitt to understand taxes and our economy a bit more Read Thomas Sowell or Walter Willilams to see how America has strayed from good policies You may not have noticed, but the Federal Government and… Read more »
“In short form, we think the great problem to avoid is greed, when the real problem is that we are addled with envy.” Is it envy when the company goes belly up and cheats you out of your wages? Is it envy when your grown kids park you in a state funded nursing home and run off to Europe to go skiing? Is it envy when a husband of 30 years runs off with a younger model? Is it envy when your mandatory Obamacare leaves you broke and thousands of dollars in debt? Sorry Wilson, but we live in a… Read more »
I think Wilson was thinking from an inside-out perspective here – we think the problem is other people’s greed, when really it is our own envy….which inevitably leads to our own greed. As you point out, greed is indeed the problem, but it’s not other people’s greed – it’s personal greed. I may be mistaken, but I think that’s what Wilson was getting at – at least that’s what I took away from it.
Envy is an ugly emotion and one we must constantly kill within our own souls. Envying my rich friends their luxurious homes and late model cars is wrong. But I would be very reluctant to look at parents desperate for help in paying their cancer-struck child’s medical bills and condemn them as greedy and envious.
I will try to approach this topic gingerly, jilly, because I know you’ve taken some shots here (most of which were uncalled for) and because I sense there’s a personal aspect to your comments. First, before we can discuss anything else, it must be established that it is NOT the Federal government’s responsibility to take care of our health. Period. We can argue till the cows come home about whether this plan works better than that one, whether any plan is affordable, whether the poor are treated as well as the rich, whether it hurts businesses, etc., etc., blah, blah,… Read more »
You have expressed your point very kindly,and I appreciate it. I think this is a genuine cultural divide between many native-born Americans and those of us who grew up in countries where caring for the nation’s health is seen as one of the top two or three priorities of government. I can have it explained to me forever that health care is not a right that the government should give to the poor, and I will probably go on saying “Yes, but…” Having chosen to live here (and I do love it here, so I want to be clear about… Read more »
And a Happy New Year to you as well. I always appreciate your candor, civility, and genuineness. As Christians, we must first ask what God has said about a thing (healthcare), and then we must see what He has said about the various responsibilities of the three institutions HE ordained: family, church, and state. Many times answering those two faithfully will lead us to a correct understanding of what we should do. When still in doubt, the last place we should turn is to our governing documents…to see if our current states, churches, and families are actually DOING what they’re… Read more »
Thank you, and I realized on re-reading my post that I was unfairly conflating access to health care (which nobody opposes) with government-provided access to health care, about which people of good will can differ. Just wanted to clear that up!
Your post brings up for me this question: “What is a crime?” If government’s role in God’s design is to recognize the good and lawful, and provide the “sword” to punish criminals, then we’d all better be clear on what constitutes a crime involving government intervention and what is solely sin, which involves the individual coming before God for conviction and repentance – without government involvement!!! But the discussion I see here seems to be between those who believe that government under God has a role in putting a limit on greed itself, as IT defines it, believing further that… Read more »
We may need to make the distinction between individual responsibility to our fellow man and governmental responsibility to the citizens. God specifically calls upon His people to care for the sick, hungry, widows, orphans, etc. That is why you see churches building and sponsoring hospitals, soup kitchens, dating services, and orphanages. These are natural and good responses and uses for the funds that the Church collects. But the government God ordained to bear the sword, to punish those who break His Law, and to wage war against its enemies, which, but the way, should not include its own citizens. God… Read more »
There seems to be no end to the ways people can find of sticking it to the poor.
Obamacare is by no means perfect, but we should remember that, prior to the ACA, the most conservative estimates of conservative think tanks reported that at least 25% of all U.S. bankruptcies were due to medical bills through lack of access to insurance. People who had pre-existing conditions, or whose employers did not offer insurance, were in very appalling circumstances. I have friends who are dreading any repeal of the ACA because they will return to monthly premiums of $2500+–which they simply cannot pay.
Well as long as some of your friends are happy, that’s all that matters. I’ll just ignore all the families forced to choose between 2500 for a policy that covers nothing or a fine for not being able to afford insurance. Where I live people have actually shut down their businesses. There have been divorces, suicides, bankruptcy, thousands of people who lost all access to medical care.
That is appalling, ME, and even more appalling that these thousands of people haven’t been on the news. Can you point me toward a reference for these atrocities? So you believe people in your state (Washington?) were better off when they had no health coverage at all? My sickest friend (who lives in Spokane) saw her monthly premium drop from $2000 a month to $500 under the ACA. For the first time, she has prescription coverage. “Well as long as some of your friends are happy, that’s all that’s all that matters.” Well, that was said with your customary graciousness.… Read more »
“A system under which they were denied care”? Because of pre-existing conditions?
Pre-existing conditions that pushed premiums beyond anything affordable on a lower middle class income.
Sounds like a “free rider” problem.
“Is your reading comprehension at fault, or are you simply determined to distort everything I say?” I’ve grown really short tempered with the standard liberal line which seems to show up frequently in your comments. It’s probably not fair perhaps because you just don’t understand, but there is nothing more irritating that trying to point out some policy that is literally killing people, causing great distress, and simply being being patted on the head and dismissed. I’ve spent the last decade dealing with 14% unemployment, meth, heroin, and rampant suicide, in the midst of liberal utopia where everyone in power… Read more »
I am willing to be persuaded. Do you have citations for your statement that the ACA is literally killing people? And how do you account for the high unemployment and drug epidemics in states that are the opposite of liberal utopias? I don’t think that I fail to understand. I think I am experiencing a failure of belief–in the absence of evidence.
“I think I am experiencing a failure of belief–in the absence of evidence.”
I’ve spent numerous hours providing evidence, offering links, testifying before committees, writing letters. Heck, I work in healthcare, I see it everyday.
I’m experiencing a failure of belief too, as in if you actually cared you’d simply take a good look around you and talk to the people who have suffered under these policies. I’ve learned that there is nothing I can do to make people like you care, Jilly.
You have no idea what I care about, nor do you have the first idea about how I show my caring. If you think I do nothing to help others, you are simply wrong. If you think I am not quite well connected to political people who work with the issues you care about–health care, unemployment, the drug epidemic–you are wrong again. I have taken a good look around my Los Angeles neighborhood (where, believe it or not, I volunteer with the homeless, children who can’t afford tutors to get them through their SATs, and people who need ESL education),… Read more »
I know what you care about, you care about being perceived as someone who cares, but those same Muslims and immigrants you feel so sorry for are also the Mexican meth cartels and Muslim opiate traffickers that have created a situation in America where the leading cause of death is now heroin overdose.
Opiate overdose is the leading cause of accidental death, not the leading cause of death overall. And, as of course you know, the vast majority of meth consumed in the U.S. is manufactured in the U.S. However, I am well aware that the Sinaloa and Juarez narco-cartels traffic meth (and heroin) across the southern border. This is very wicked indeed. So, to be clear here. You think that I should not be teaching immigrant children to speak and read English just on the off chance that some relative of theirs might belong to a drug cartel? There are 4.6 million… Read more »
I would like to learn more about it and why it hasn’t worked to lower premiums. I thought that most Americans previously got their insurance through their employers. Did the ACA cause employers to stop covering people, forcing them into pools? Were working class families insured through private companies that raised the rates under the ACA? I had thought the whole point was to provide insurance to the otherwise unensurable at affordable rates. If you could direct me to a link, I would certainly read it and be willing to rethink my support. The Canadian system covers everyone, with no… Read more »
I don’t see that taxes are theft, Biblically speaking. The Bible seems to recognise in principle the legitimacy of taxes by rightful authorities – e.g. Romans 13:6-7, which says “For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” Governments have God-given responsibility and authority that individuals do not. Taxes aren’t theft just as capital punishment isn’t murder… Read more »
I don’t believe that taxes are necessarily theft. But I do believe that they usually are.
Doug, I mostly agree with the post, but if you define theft as coercively taking private property for the common good, wouldn’t that apply to all taxation without distinction? Like e.g. taxes to fund the military?
Before you make an argument about taxation, see if the argument continues to make sense if the rates are 100%.
I’m not making an argument about taxation. I’m wondering how non-theft taxes that Doug mentioned fit in with his definition of theft.
Yes, Jesus and Paul make it clear that we are to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” and to “pay to all what is owed to them.” But there’s the unspoken reciprocal: do not render to Caesar the things that are NOT Caesar’s” and “do not pay to all what is NOT owed to them.” This is what we’re missing. It’s not the presence of taxes per se; it’s the level of taxation; it’s the things for which the taxes are demanded; it’s the items upon which the taxes are based. No Biblical Christian would rightly say “There… Read more »
Jesus gave his life. That’s Christian generosity. Caiphas and Pilate took it. That’s socialism at work for the common good.
“Theft on a grand scale is usually accomplished, not with a crowbar, but rather with a congressman.”
“Steal a little and they’ll throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they’ll make you a king.” – Bob Dylan (Sweetheart Like You)
I definitely agree with the basic presuppositions you make. God is the owner of all, thus we are forbidden from pretending like we deserve more than others or treating things like they are ours to abuse. We only have them by the grace of God and are absolutely responsible for their proper stewardship. I also agree that we must always be gracious and generous. However, when it comes to applying those basic comments to actions, I find your logic fails. In reality, socialist countries have laws against stealing too, capitalist countries have problems with greed too, rich people are at… Read more »
Superb, Pr. Wilson! One of the main problems I see here is that we have our own covetousness and larceny institutionalized, and it’s just like a cancer that has so metasticized into every organ, that to extricate it would be to severely harm the victim, if not actually kill him. What would be ideal is: 1) The recognition that the government and we as its stewards have been guilty of lawlessness, greed, and outright theft; 2) Repent of same; 3) Gradually and rationally scale back on the many programs that have been formed over the years (centuries?) until they no… Read more »
Is the proper response to theft to “scale back on” it? If scaling back would be “ideal”, then we must not be dealing with real theft. If a thief came to faith would you advise him to “scale back on” his stealing?
I take your point, brother, and you may be right! What concerns me here is the chaos and harm that will be produced by a sudden ending of these services.
Perhaps apples and oranges here, but, for example, while polygamy was not God’s original intent, He seems to have allowed it until the culture was saturated enough with the Gospel. To have simply ended it might well have produced widespread and needless harm to many.
Again, though, whichever way you fall on this, it does underscore the principle that sin complicates ENORMOUSLY! Lesson? NEVER go there in the first place!
Daithi, the welfare system was set up to steal from the taxpayers and enslave blacks again. Before going public with the Great Society, LBJ had his men check with all the major denominations to see what they thought about the government taking care of the poor. The selling point was that our income tax would be increased less than a percent, but that the churches would not have to have clothes closets or food pantries to take care of the poor, rather instead, there would be government offices to take care of things. No more midnight calls to the preacher,… Read more »
Sadly, I’m afraid you’re right!