Decline the Benefits FirstPosted on Saturday, September 27, 2014 by Douglas Wilson - 80 comments Sharing Options Using Government Subsidies For Our Own Gain from Canon Wired on Vimeo.
It’s great to see the Ask Doug segment back and running! I always find it very helpful.
This is just good pastoral stuff. Thank you Doug, for all you are doing.
“Just good pastoral stuff” — I second that
Excellent! Further, while I enjoy the writing, it is good to actually hear and see you articulate your thoughts with all the subtleties of tone of voice, facial expression, etc. This is indeed the direction we all need to move in, I believe. But it is sort of like asking a fish whether or not he’s wet; we’ve become so used to the myriad un-Constitutional subsidies we’re “entitled” to, that we no longer see that our hands are ultimately in each others’ pockets! Another Great Awakening is due, with all of us repenting of the corrupt culture that’s found purchase… Read more »
Your statements reveal not necessarily a biblical view, but a political view, possibly a conservative libertarian one at that. Your statements show an ignorance of democracy, social and economic interdependencies, and collectivism. They also assume an apartheid between government and its people. Certainly some, if not most, work that way. But in democracies, gov’ts are not to be alien to the people by design, it only occurs because of implementation failures.
Given the direction every democracy in known history has taken, that “gov’ts are…alien to the people” is indeed built into the design.
Democracy, taken as some ideal or panacea, is, indeed, the god that has failed. But today, its still a god that demands blood.
Hi Curt Day,
In America we live in a republic (that is sliding into tyranny) , not a democracy.
Doug, being a typical left-of-center individual does a pretty good job of conveying a christian citizens’ responsibilities in a republic as it destroys itself from within.
I do look forward to his progressing towards a more assertive, confident , masculine conservativism, but hey! he is a preacher.
Doug, a sincere question springing out of my ignorance.
Could you please provide some practical examples of benefits you think the Christian-who-ought-to-know-better should be declining? Maybe it’s because I’m relatively young and in good health, or because someone else does my taxes, or just out of sheer ignorance, but I don’t have a practical framework for what exactly you’re suggesting I should decline.
thanks, in advance.
I’m not trying to answer for Doug, but I think he might suggest that the public school system is a good place to begin.
Moor…I have a real world practical example. My wife and I are parents of 5 children. Our 16 year old has cerebral palsy and has been disabled since birth. She will never leave our care or the care of her siblings. There are various and sundry state and federal benefits that we have refused (she was eligible for social security disability at aged 12 I believe, or so various relatives that are disapproving of our stance have told us). We know that any funds for such benefits would be extracted from our neighbors at the point of a gun. We… Read more »
You mentioned two types of people, basically those who need emergency assistance/special cases, and those who should know better. I’m wondering if there’s a third option: those who get government assistance, but have their eyes open to what they are doing? With things like Obamacare it’s getting harder and harder to not take government assistance, and a head of household may have to choose between government health care or no health care. Would there be a category for those who don’t like what they have to do, but may have to do it in order to provide for their family?… Read more »
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I second the last comment by B. Martin. These matters are not simple ones of fidelity to biblical truth or not. I have 5 kids and one on the way, and as a teacher I work for the beans that teachers usually get paid. I fill out my tax forms the way the instructions tell me to, and not only does that result in me paying very little taxes, but also in large checks from the government at tax time because THEIR regulations consider me below the poverty line. I don’t ask for “benefits,” and in fact, though my family… Read more »
Timothy, If you were careful with your definitions, you would find that the kind of republic we have is a kind of democracy. Sometimes these words are synonymous. Matt, Give a list of the democracies you are talking about. Look at the design of our Constitution for example. As originally written, it was alien to the people because of the lack of democracy however it was friendly to the writers of the Constitution. After all, the Constitution was written in response to Shays Rebellion, not the American Revolution. Our democracy goes back and forth. The more people take to the… Read more »
Thank you David and Jacob for those responses. Assuming they are the kind of thing Doug has in mind, and they certainly seem to be in keeping with his examples, I must simply admit that I have never been trained to think the way that’s being suggested. Oh, I mean, I’ve carried a conviction about bankruptcy, for instance, and believed that Christians ought not employ it as a means of getting out from under debt (except perhaps in extreme circumstances, the kind of which Doug makes room for in his “extreme cases make bad law” principle), but I’ve not thought… Read more »
A couple of notes: The taxes we pay does a poor job of paying for the supposed ‘benefits’. Most of the tax goes to making interest payments, and much goes to hiring non-productive bureaucrats that regulate what productive people do. Only a small portion gets returned to the ‘beneficiaries’ of this system. Their is no need for the personal income tax. The amount collected roughly equals the interest on the debt, so if they would stop borrowing, we could stop paying this tax!
B Martin asks: Would there be a category for those who don’t like what they have to do, but may have to do it in order to provide for their family? I understand that something like 33% of Americans participate in government food aid. The programs cost over $120 billion a year. Think about that. How many of those actually need that food assistance, and how many are simply using it to offset their budget so they can afford more iTunes and cable TV? We need to be brutally honest with ourselves. We have become a nation of dependents, and… Read more »
katecho, Well, now I know firsthand how Matt Petersen feels: reduced to an object by your use of the formalized third person (referring to me as “Enloe”) and reduced to a fool by your rhetorical posture of possessing authoritative insight into the *real* meaning of my words. My general policy online is not to interact with anonymous posters (especially when they are obnoxious, as you are) so after this, unless you give me your real name and cease rudely speaking about me in the third person while I am present, you can expect silence from me on anything elsethat you… Read more »
Curt, the devolution of democracy into tyranny (what we are experiencing right now, btw) is why my Founders created a Republic–to limit the power of the state to specific defined tasks and to prevent it from accumulating to itself ever increasing power–as is happening as I write this. Not everybody has drunk the Zinn koolaide–as it appears you have. Millions of us see the spiritual state of our nation, its slide into tyranny and are fighting to return to what we where given. Our motivation is spiritual–the state (already in grave error) is attempting to supplant God as our ruler;… Read more »
Psychological Projection I asked once wrote Vox Day asking, “What do we call the habit of people like Barak Hussien Obama, of accusing others of that which they are in fact doing?” His one word answer: ‘projection’. I think that is what I am seeing with Mathew Peterson. I see Mathew Peterson repeatedly accusing Pastor Wilson of ‘bending’ scripture to suit his political ends. His tender spot is always that poke in his cherished little precious pride of intellectual superiority the political left is famous for. For months, I have been thinking and praying what really is the issue that… Read more »
Regarding Katecho’s 3’rd person technique, I too found it rude at first, but decided to treat it like I would a relative who ate with her mouth open at the dinner table.
I am glad I did; Katecho’s contributions to the body of Christ are a gift.
In your response to Katecho, you raised many points that hearten me; our country and church needs more men like you.
Grace and Peace (and please pass the salt (: )
Is filing jointly as a married couple and being taxed at a lower rate than a single person the same or different than taking the Earned Income Credit and being taxed lower for having children?
IRS.gov defines the EIC as:
So, is it a “benefit” in the same way that the food stamp program is?
Curt, I’m not talking about the ideals that people tried to build into it. I’m referring to the reality of the situation that always happens. The human heart is such that these flaws might as well be referred to as designed, built-in features of democracy. I don’t see the back and forth you are talking about. I just see the slow, inexorable march toward gradual ruin. Someone might tap the breaks a bit here and there, but the trajectory is always the same. And it always happens in the order of Romans 1. First, we didn’t give thanks as we… Read more »
I’m reminded of Tim Russert’s ‘gotcha’ moment when he interviewed Ron Paul back in ’07. In answer to the supposed horns of a dilemma upon which he had been hoisted, RP, in essence, said: “I oppose earmarks and vote against them, but if we are going to have them anyway, i.e., if I can’t stop a pork-barrel bill, then at least, in fairness to those I represent, I need to get some of the tax money back for my district, rather than have their taxes going to other districts.” I’m having trouble seeing how this answer is fundamentally different from… Read more »
And another question (feel free to shout me down if anything I say reflects a lack of knowledge or sense): Is being a tax-exempt organization receiving a benefit from the government?
From my perspective, I find katecho’s method of response to be a useful technique, similar in nature to addressing the positions of an opponent in a debate, speaking to the audience about the ideas of the person to his right or left, but without addressing the opponent personally. One attribute of this form is to be able speak of the ideas (and their speaker) while avoiding an “in your face” encounter. I continue to find it interesting that there are a number of posters who eschew using the Word of God to support their positions, suggesting that to do so… Read more »
I also wanted to address the premise of anonymity. I think that it is mis-stated. Just because a guest in Pastor Wilson’s house does not know the name of another guest does not mean that the host does not. We are all invited into his house; it is his party. If someone chooses to use a nom de plume with the gracious consent of the host, why does it matter to another guest. Either the host is to be trusted, or not. If I trust the host, I trust his integrity with his guest list. In any case, I can… Read more »
I concur with RFB.
BTW, Katecho, when I used the example of a relative who chews with their mouth open, I was not implying that your technique is ‘gross’ and improper, I should have chosen a better example.
Do you care nothing that katecho’s post contained numerous false charges?
(This was the substance of Tim’s point: Not that “katecho uses the third person”, but that he uses the third person as a tool to make particularly egregious false charges against his neighbor.)
Do you not care that katecho makes these posts consisting of numerous false charges and the other commentators here laud him for it?
I agree with you. Making sacrifices and doing all you can to stay off the government teat is wonderful. Do it. However, I am seeing more godly families backed into a corner on this. Having a baby costs money and private insurance is extremely expensive. Your wife has a history of hard pregnancies. Do you go on Obamacare or forego having another child?
“Do you go on Obamacare or forego having another child?” could be a false dilemma.
There are organizations such as http://www.samaritanministries.org and https://mychristiancare.org/Medi-Share
@Mathew, I have seen katecho do nothing of the sort. I have seen him make mistakes, and he invites honest critiques–he has asked publicly on this board for people to point it out to him if he steps out of line; that is a mark of a decent man. What I have seen is your propensity to accuse others manifest on just about every blog post Pastor Wilson puts up that you start commenting on. I (and others) have called you out on it. This “he said that, she didn’t do this, he’s a poopy head” stuff is tiresome coming… Read more »
That’s what Tim Enloe charged him with. I’d recommend you actually pay attention to what Tim said before you go responding to it. Tim notes specific instances where katecho said false things about him. I could do the same (indeed, I have). Does honesty mean nothing to you, so that objecting to being slandered is worse than slandering?
@Mathew, I saw nothing dishonest in Katecho’s reply to Tim Enloe. I did observe Tim Enloe reacting heatedly to a mis-reading of what Katecho said. Tim wrote this: I fill out my tax forms the way the instructions tell me to, and not only does that result in me paying very little taxes, but also in large checks from the government at tax time because THEIR regulations consider me below the poverty line. Katecho wrote this: Just so I understand correctly, Tim has five children, and depends on a government check in order to support them, but somehow we are… Read more »
You are wearing yourself out. It reminds me of an old science fiction theme whereby the creature feeds off of the energy of the opponent.
Are the checks that you receive from the government during tax time returns on taxes that you paid, meaning you are essentially being taxed at a lower rate, or are you receiving money beyond what you’ve paid in?
Receiving back what you paid in is different from receiving what others paid in, no?
@RFB, heh. thanks (: Its a useful exercise that I approach prayerfully. I am a very slow learner, but persistent and the clues to Mr. Petersons behavior are coming along. I have named two: ‘Disqualify’ and ‘Projection’. Both are typical techniques of leftists. I am hoping that Mattew will learn to by-pass both and get right to his argument. His arguments on private property where very interesting once he got past the ‘disqualify’ stage and stated them clearly. RFB, I heartily recommend you follow John C. Wright’s blog as well as Pastor Wilsons–his precision with language and in-depth philosophical knowledge… Read more »
And it’s clear to me that you want an empty peace based on the absence of tension (if only Matt wouldn’t speak up), rather than the presence of justice. Do you want me to show where I made arguments, only to have Pr. Wilson attack me personally?
And it’s clear to me that you want an empty peace based on the absence of tension (if only Matt wouldn’t speak up), rather than the presence of justice. Do you want me to show where I made gentle arguments, only to have Pr. Wilson attack me personally?
That is, these accusation fests against Matt are useless–as are they against anyone.
Knock it off, and address my arguments. You’re trying to exclude views that think Pr. Wilson isn’t just incorrect, but is violating the freedom of the Christian.
How many of those actually need that food assistance, and how many are simply using it to offset their budget so they can afford more iTunes and cable TV? If you’re referring to SNAP, then all of them, as it is means tested. Does it foster an attitude of dependency? Probably, at least some of the time. But then the point of policies like SNAP is not to induce the correct version of Christian gratitude in recipients, but rather just to ensure they don’t starve. I’d say that a country where no one fears starving to death is worth a… Read more »
I think it’s funny that you don’t think Katecho is a real name. Did it occur to you that it is Kate Cho? I was shocked at the idea that this brilliant mind could belong to a woman when it first occurred to me. It really made me think since I am opposed to feminism, but it helps me imagine what it must have been like for folks like Ms Sayers who wanted to study at Oxford. … Public Education is by far the biggest expense for Ca state budget. It is a welfare program which has become so expected… Read more »
Mathew, You have made no arguments on this thread; you have only made claims and accusations. Since you have made no arguments, I cannot address them. I will remind you that I have addressed you arguments in the past. As an example I quote my reply to you (in full) from this previous thread where I do, patiently, engage your arguments: That catechism agrees with me, and disagrees with Pr. Wilson. He claims that private property is primordial, I, that common ownership is primordial, but that private property is instituted by a society for the common good. That is, that:… Read more »
That is a beautiful insight.
Hi, Carole, I liked your insight as well. It is good to see you again. I think Katecho is Greek for “to hold fast”.
timothy, And it’s clear to me that you want an empty peace based on the absence of tension (if only Matt wouldn’t speak up), rather than the presence of justice. Do you want me to show where I made gentle arguments, only to have Pr. Wilson attack me personally? That is, these accusation fests against Matt are useless–as are they against anyone. Knock it off, and address my arguments. You’re trying to exclude views that think Pr. Wilson isn’t just incorrect, but is violating the freedom of the Christian. Ok, Mathew; a couple of questions. 1. Have you adopted Katecho’s… Read more »
To my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I prayed hard, shaking, before posting question 3 above; I don’t know, I just sense confusion and something off.
I ask your rebuke and correction on something I just ‘sense’.
Mathew, especially yours if I am wrong.
Grace and Peace.
Your brother in Christ.
‘Katecho’ literally or more broadly/encompassingly means ‘I hold hold down’, a form within the set of Greek words indexed under Strong’s # 2722. Paul uses its word-set when he mentions God’s wrath against those who ‘suppress’/’katechonton’ the truth in unrighteousness (Ro 1:18). Yet, its set is also used favorably (and relevantly in light of katecho’s typical commenting) in verses like 1 Co 11:2; 15:2 in the sense of maintaining or holding down authoritative apostolic tradition & teaching, which is the hopeful intent of catechism.
Thanks timothy and Jill,
I have missed you guys…
How cool is it that Kate Cho’s parents knew so much Greek! :)
timothy You’re very wrong. For some reason you can’t see what happened here. Pr. Wilson posted a rather obnoxious argument that called his peers sinners. People objected on facebook, and I defended him there. Pr. Wilson wrote another article, purporting to interact with an article (from the Calvinist International) which, though written before Pr. Wilson’s articles, disagreed with almost all his conclusions. The author of that article said both on this blog, and on facebook, that Pr. Wilson’s article simply did not interact with his. Additionally, Pr. Wilson’s post was dismissive of the original article. I decided that I could… Read more »
Dear Mathew, my brother in Christ.
I will read your reply carefully when I have time this week.
I know that in a spirit of openness and humility before our God these disputes are trivial. God gives us these challenges for a reason and, as is His character, in ways that are sure to put everybody off their game. Its not pleasant, but it is what it is.
Grace and Peace.