Rats in our Soul

I was reminded yesterday of just how much I hate communism—not to mention all the forms of communism masquerading under other auspices. And in speaking of those who seek to provide those other auspices, I am thinking of that sort of person who just a few years ago was saying something like “let’s try it all again in Venezuela.” I commented to my friends Bubu and San that perhaps we need to put hatred of communism into the Apostles’ Creed.

Nancy and I are visiting Ukraine, and yesterday we got an eyeful in Kiev. Among other sad things, we walked through the park built by the Soviets seeking to honor the defeat of the Nazis in WW2. The motherland statue, seen to the right here, is over twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, sheathed in titanium, and up close it is one of the creepiest things you will see in barrel full of Mondays. In the (very nice) walkway up to the base of the statue we saw clustered statues of HEROIC workers, and VALIANT farmers, and DEFIANT soldiers, and just imagine dozens of them all as the epitome of Soviet statuary—twelve foot metal statues of Marvel comic heroes, stalwart and sturdy and steely resistance radiating from each one of them like heat from an over-stoked wood stove.

But before we came to that place, we had visited the Holodomer museum, a place where we found out what the communists really thought of actual heroic peasants. This was a museum that documents and memorializes the deaths of somewhere between 7 and 10 million Ukrainians, in the famine engineered by Stalin in 1932 and 1933, and which fellow-traveling liberals in the West conspired to cover up. In those days, being in possession of more than two stalks of wheat carried the death penalty. Being Ukrainian and attempting to feed yourself was clearly a crime against the people.

In between those two museums, we drove through Kiev and saw many square miles of Soviet-era apartment blocks, mud-fence ugly, and a transparent architectural attempt to provide people with a place that would keep the rain off, and that would simultaneously spit at God in Heaven.

The historian Charles Beard once said, apropos of American imperial achievements, that empires are not built in “fits of absent-mindedness.” Whatever his point about our imperialism was, the observation most certainly applies to the devastations that communism has wrought. Such things are not accomplished in fits of absent-mindedness. There is a plain intention that suffuses the whole enterprise. This level of evil is done on purpose. It is not some unfortunate by-product.

And so, that being the case, let us discuss why it is that socialist thinking is now once again gaining ground, growing and flourishing in the West. How is it that something that has proven to be so disastrous, so many times, can successfully gain a hearing with anybody? Why is collectivism attractive—why isn’t the allure of socialists something akin to the allure of those who want to bring back the bubonic plague?

Well, the reason is that the bubonic plague is a plague visited on our bodies via rats, but it didn’t get there through the spiritual rats in our souls. The plague is not directly related to our sinful hearts, and collectivism is. The engine that drives every form of collectivism is envy, and envy flourishes in a most powerful way whenever it is surrounded by that which excites the envy. And since what excites envy in this way is blessing that befalls others, it follows that societies that are the most blessed will contain a class that is most vulnerable to the lies and temptations of envy. Free and prosperous societies are a breeding ground for envy. What swamps are to malaria, abundant blessings are to envy.

The tenth commandment rejects envy in its prohibition of covetousness. But suppose there is a man who struggles with this sin—his neighbor to the north has a nicer car, greener lawn, bigger house, cuter wife, and all the rest of that list from the Decalogue. Now suppose, while he is still struggling with it, his neighbor to the south is similarly blessed. And then the neighbor to the east, across the street. This is followed by the neighbor to the west, across the back alley. What is this doing, this blessing that is falling on the neighborhood? It is exasperating our poor sinner beyond endurance—it is raining porridge and he forgot this bowl. Whenever we sin over the blessings that come to others, increasing those blessings for others will not make any of that sin go away.

Societies that are prosperous and materially blessed are societies that have had abundant fertilizer dumped into their garden. But fertilizer helps the weeds to grow, and not just the lettuce. In 1950, Detroit was the most prosperous city in North America, and Cuba was the most prosperous country in Latin America. And what has made all the difference since that time? The answer is envy. If you wish to celebrate the achievements of that envy, may I suggest May Day and a Che! T-shirt?

The envious always like to think in comparative terms, not in objective terms. When the hue and cry went up among the American commie-minded that we needed to do something about the “1%”, it never occurred to them to take the population of the world into account, and not just the population of their upper middle class neighborhood and then one or two filthy rich guys. Compared to income levels around the world, every mother’s son of us belongs to the 1%. But somehow the solutions they demand when it comes to their own comparative disadvantages are irrelevant and unrealistic when it comes to their advantages. And that is because envy is all about self.

All envy needs is operate is a comparative disadvantage while looking up. Gratitude is that spiritual demeanor that receives advantages while looking around. Gratitude is delighted that others have been more greatly blessed, and is grateful for the blessings that it has received. Of course envy is fully capable of thinking up all sorts of wicked names to attach to any displays of such gratitude.

And of course, a society that is as wicked as ours is—given over the lusts of promiscuity and sodomy, abandoned to the bloodlust of abortion, and entirely debauched by the pride of Mammon—and one which is simultaneously wealthy beyond the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, is a society that will necessarily be envy-ridden. And the more prosperity there is, the more envy there will be. The way out is repentance, not GDP growth.

So the only defense of free markets has to be more than the economic success of free markets. Given the reality of envy as a spiritual cancer, the success of free markets is the reason they are first hated, then pillaged, then abandoned. The success of free markets is not their shield and buckler—only Christ can be their shield and buckler. And that is because only the death of Christ can be the death of envy.

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Jonathan
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Jonathan

“The engine that drives every form of collectivism is envy” You need to have a narrow definition of collectivism to make that claim, and not step on the toes of “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” Along with a hundred other related verses about our collective debt to each other. Perhaps you meant government-mandated collectivism. But again, you have to have a narrow definition of that as well to keep from stepping on the toes of the quite collective-minded… Read more »

adad0
Member

I don’t know J’. Sounds like you are a bit jealous of our host’s ability to stick to the simple essentials of an issue!
????????
(Have a smile, annnnd, some bacon!)
4 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

James 4 sounds like communism to me!????

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You could just as well say that it sounds like individualism. It has literally nothing whatsoever to do with the collectivism/individualism debate.

adad0
Member

J’, back to essentials,
Have you ever had any “rats” (sin) in your soul?
Right or wrong, our sins and good works all have individual impact, and collective impact.
Didn’t the serpent manipulate Eve to be envious of God’s knowledge?
Communist fomented class envy is a similar manipulation to the serpent’s previously manipulations. Envy is one of many rats in our soul. Envy of God is what made Satan fall.
Envy has everything to do with the fallen state of the earth.
Dude!????

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yes, a great deal.

Yes, envy is bad.

No, in my experience envy is neither especially present in Communists nor in the poor. The Bible is quite clear that for those who want more, no amount of “more” satisfies, and gives many cases of the envious rich.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Here is C.S. Lewis on how neither Collectivism nor Individualism capture the fullness of Christian society, and why to pretend that one is “worse” than the other and harp on that end is a temptation of the satan. “The idea that the whole human race is, in a sense, one thing —one huge organism, like a tree—must not be confused with the idea that individual differences do not matter or that real people, Tom and Nobby and Kate, are somehow less important than collective things like classes, races, and so forth. Indeed the two ideas are opposites. Things which are… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Wow, Katecho’s auto-downvote of my comments is getting so reflexive that he just downvoted C.S. Lewis!

Katecho
Member

I down-voted a misappropriation of C.S. Lewis in the context of Wilson’s argument. Wilson addresses the many ditches of individualism elsewhere.

But if my down-votes were automatic, I wouldn’t have up-voted Jonathan elsewhere today.

lndighost
Member

Katecho Genuine question: why did you begin downvoting things when this new comment system arrived?

Jonathan
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Jonathan

I am overly self-satisfied with myself on correctly guessing that it was Katecho who had downvoted that comment with absolutely zero evidence other than the fact that Katecho is Katecho. :P

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote:

I try to always target the argument, not the person, though I do fail from time to time.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

That comment you quoted was, and still remains, entirely accurate. As you have demonstrated. ;)

Katecho
Member

But will Jonathan finally apologize to Wilson for misrepresenting him? Or do we just get another emoji smirk?

Katecho
Member

Indighost asked: Katecho Genuine question: why did you begin downvoting things when this new comment system arrived? There’s no great mystery. I find certain comments to be a net positive and helpful, some to be ambiguous or unrelated to the topic, and I find some to be deceptive, unscriptural, evasive, or false information, etc. The old comment system had no means to differentiate the bad comments, but this one does, so I take advantage of the feature. I often comment under posts that I down-vote, but don’t always have time. I’m only one vote, and folks are free to disregard… Read more »

Jane
Member

It seems to me that the Hebrew Laws were a form of highly regulated capitalism with mutual responsibilities, not a form of collectivism. Collectivism fails to recognize the individual ownership of property. The Hebrew Law made the individual ownership of property, with its attendant rights and responsibilities, central to the system. It just required more responsibilities than a purely rights-based version of private ownership would, and put unique conditions on that ownership. Only if you assume the libertarian principle that “property isn’t actually yours if you don’t have absolute control over its use and disposal” does Hebrew Law not recognize… Read more »

Jonathan
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Jonathan

Collectivism doesn’t require the abolition of private property – that position belongs to strawpeople who aren’t a serious player in any of our religious or political discussions. Collectivism suggests that the interests of society (or the community, or the family, or the church) are more important than the interests of the individual. Individualism, on the other hand, of course suggests that the individual’s interests are paramount. Historically the church has been of the position that both collectivism and individualism can be taken too far, and both need to be considered. Of course, the general modern trend is to overemphasize individualism,… Read more »

Jane
Member

Okay, I guess I was basing it on the name — I thought collectivism assumed that things would be held collectively, as a base assumption, whatever other variants it may have on practice.

But is communism as forced upon large portions for the world for three quarters of a century — and promoted intellectually and by activism for at least a half century before that — really a strawman that is not a serious player in any of our discussions? That sounds like can’t-happen-here-ism.

john k
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john k

“Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” The sin was not in failing to give all the proceeds, but in falsely claiming to give all the proceeds. How was the “collectivism” an example for… Read more »

Jonathan
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Jonathan

It’s simply a suggestion that true love in Christ will often prioritize the good of the community over one’s own individual financial desires.

Eric B.
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Eric B.

And the voluntary nature of the collectivism is essential, right?

Katecho
Member

Eric B. wrote:

And the voluntary nature of the collectivism is essential, right?

Great question. Unfortunately, the whole point of a minimum wage is that it isn’t voluntary.

Eric B.
Guest
Eric B.

I don’t think anyone in this discussion directly advocated a minimum wage, so I suspect you’re making a straw man argument, katecho.

Katecho
Member

Eric B. wrote:

I don’t think anyone in this discussion directly advocated a minimum wage, so I suspect you’re making a straw man argument, katecho.

Eric B. may not have the benefit of history here. Jonathan, the one Eric’s question was directed toward, has been an aggressive proponent of government imposed minimum wages. I used it as an example of a form of collectivism that isn’t voluntary.

Eric
Guest
Eric

If Jonathan indeed would call himself a proponent of government imposed minimum wages, then fair point.

Kira
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Kira

Thanks Jonathan! I get so confused as to why some concepts are all equated with each other as if they are exactly the same – collectivism=socialism=communism=Marxism=Leninism=Maoism=Bolshevism, etc. Maybe they are all the same, but why doesn’t someone prove that to me first, instead of just assuming I’ll go along with it? I just always need more explanation for these things!

Kira
Guest
Kira

And more than that, political coercion of any sort is now being called ‘Marxism’ – I get that communism involved copious amounts of coercion, but I think coercion existed before communism, so it might be coercion itself that is the original concept. However, more explanation on this equivalency would be helpful.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

“The engine that drives every form of capitalism is greed”

This feels like an equally true statement, and one which actually is affirmed by some of capitalism’s most ardent proponents.

Perhaps Communism and poorly regulated free-market capitalism aren’t the only two choices, as you have implied here?

hhtuck
Member
hhtuck

“So the only defense of free markets has to be more than the economic success of free markets.”

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Whenever anything about collectivism gets criticized, it’s always the system that’s wrong. But whenever anything about greed and capitalism gets criticized, the system is always just fine, it’s just our hearts that need to change (and then, strangely, with changed hearts we’ll still apparently look pretty much like everyone else in the system). Greed is a sin where modern conservative Christians can actually pretend that its all in the heart and actions are almost irrelevant. It’s the only one where Jesus’s constant calls to action can be completely ignored, because all we really need is a heart change, and actions… Read more »

Matt
Guest
Matt

Ideologues in action. The ideology can never fail, it can only be failed, whether through sabotage from without or lack of will from within.

adad0
Member

So………., how is your ideology working out? ????

Nathan James
Member

Free markets are necessary but not sufficient to establish a virtuous society. The less virtuous individuals and societies become, the harder it is to argue for their continued freedom. On the other hand, we must accept that no earthly system can reform the heart. Thus there will always be those who operate out of greed. The beauty of a properly functioning justice system (which we have not achieved in America) is that it curtails the ability to prosper by doing evil to one’s neighbor. It requires that selfish individuals behave as if they had a reasonable level of concern for… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Nathan, even in a “properly functioning justice system” where contracts are honored and fraud is avoided, it is quite easy to prosper off of evil to one’s neighbor. For example, in most circumstances there is nothing illegal about charging interest to the poor, price-gouging, profiting off of the desperate circumstances of others, profiting off of the ignorance of others, profiting off of the emotional manipulation of others, profiting off of financial advantages over others, using said advantages above to drive one’s competitors out of business, profiting off of many forms of abuse of one’s own workers, or profiting off of… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

“Nathan, even in a “properly functioning justice system” … it is quite easy to prosper off of evil to one’s neighbor.” Some of the examples you mention are failures of the justice system, specifically tax evasion and political corruption. Other things you mention relate specifically to setting prices. It is impossible to determine an objectively correct price for anything. Freedom in setting, accepting and refusing prices allows each of us to weigh not only hard economic factors but also preferences, and convenience. There is nothing wrong in this. In fact there is something wrong in forbidding it. In absence of… Read more »

Jonathan
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Jonathan

How is political corruption a failure of the justice system? What law would you propose that would keep people from making political decisions that best favor those who support them financially?

And all you say about the voluntary setting of prices just proves my point – there is no law inherent in the system that can keep people from abusing the poor. And in fact, when profits are placed as the ultimate goal of the system, abuse of the poor is inevitable.

Nathan James
Member

I did my best to describe why you keep hearing “it’s a heart issue” when you bring these things up with other Christians. It really is a heart issue. Not only is there no law in the system that prevents all abuse, there never could be any such law in any human system.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You seem to miss the point I’m making. The “it’s a heart issue” claim only gets brought up when it pertains to those sins that people here especially want to maintain the freedom to do. Greed, Pride, Power lust, Hated of the “other”, Maintenance of Injustice – none of those can be effectively judged from the outside, they’re all “heart issues” and how dare you judge me. But start talking about feminism, homosexuality, supporting democrats, supporting Black Lives Matter, tattoos, pink hair, smoking marijuana – all the sudden THEN we can draw hard, exterior lines and realize that some heart… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

I have answered your point, though not exhaustively, and perhaps not well. You have not engaged with my answer.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

What particular answer do you feel hasn’t been engaged with? If you just mean the part where you’re saying that systems aren’t enough if the heart isn’t reformed, well of course that’s true. But Pastor Wilson wouldn’t so frequently condemn the particular systems he disliked if he didn’t think systems were important. My issue is that I see a major hypocrisy in how systems are addressed, where it is always seen as a systems issue AND a heart issue if the question involves a system that the “others” like, but when it’s a system that “we” like, we declare that… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

“What particular answer do you feel hasn’t been engaged with? If you just mean the part where you’re saying that systems aren’t enough if the heart isn’t reformed, well of course that’s true. ” You’ve failed to comprehend my answer, although you seem to know where it is located in my replies. Perhaps if you would give my argument (brief as it is) some serious consideration, the conversation could advance. Although in your most recent replies you’ve retreated from making detailed criticism, you had previously offered a substantial list of the evils you seen in the free-market system. These included… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Those were good reads Nathan! I read the liberalism one first. Here are my thoughts: #1: propitiationism. As he defines it, I agree that this is an error and I agree that it is pervasive in modern “left wing” American politics. My only addition to make is to emphasize that this is a spectrum with an equal error if the pendulum swings too far over. While it is important to look to the true needs of others rather than their wants, we are unlikely to fully understand their true needs, much less meet them well, unless we spend meaningful time… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

I appreciate reading your reaction to the article on liberalism. Because I don’t relate to/identify with American liberalism, it’s hard for me judge how effective the article is for those who do. The article on conservatism I feel I can judge pretty well. There are big problems with American conservatism and the article lays out a number of them very clearly. Keep in mind that not all the errors he lists are found in equal measure, some are even mutually contradictory. The point is that they all are recognizable as liberalism / conservatism in modern America. Since that’s true, Christians… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Thoughtful responses from Nathan James. I would caution that we need to maintain some kind of distinction between the big-government right-wing party and small-government conservatism. Several criticisms that have been offered against conservatism are actually criticisms of right-wing neocon big-government agendas run amok. As we are seeing, the right and left of the political spectrum often embrace as two sides of the same coin when it comes to a shared ideology of unlimited government. I don’t see a compelling reason to discard the label of conservative. I’m still content to use and defend the label to describe a strictly limited… Read more »

Jane
Member

“How is political corruption a failure of the justice system?”

???

Because it’s illegal and if it isn’t stopped, the justice system is failing to prevent it. And if it isn’t illegal, someone has failed to properly design the justice system.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The justice system can only deal with things that are illegal and enforceable. If it is not illegal and enforceable, it is a failure of legislation or of the executive office, or our own failure as a society. There is a great deal of political corruption that is not illegal and cannot be illegal or enforceable unless we profoundly change our entire political system. How do you completely prevent politicians from passing laws that financially benefit people who donate to their campaigns? How do you completely prevent politicians from passing laws that financially benefit friends and family members? How do… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

I also hate communism, but I don’t think history bears out the idea that more general prosperity makes societies more susceptible to communism. It seems to me that the more backward and repressive societies have been the most likely to be persuaded by communist rhetoric. The rhetoric is that free-market prosperity is a result of injustice and oppression. That makes little sense when few feel oppressed. I’d point at two things that seem to make western civ increasingly susceptible to communism rhetoric. First is the growth of systemic injustice, e.g., crony capitalism. Second is an attempt at self-justification through vicarious… Read more »

Jane
Member

I think the prosperous societies might be the ones where communism sounds like a good intellectual idea to be imposed on other people. The ones where it takes root are the ones where there is repression and a high rate of inequality — and the people there don’t care as much about the intellectual justification, as about trying to even the score, or, higher up in the pyramid, protecting their position with a veneer of collectivism.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The examples of Communism we always put up are those where things were already going terribly, typically in the midst of bloody, tragic wars (WWI-era Russia, WWII-era China and Korea, Vietnam-era Cambodia) or under the rule of corrupt and widely disliked leaders (Cuba, Venezuela, various African nations). Off the top of my head, the only place I know of where Communism was brought in among the “prosperous” is in Kerala, India. And Kerala became one of the most prosperous, educated, literate, peaceful states in all of South Asia. That’s not a recommendation for communism, which I reject at multiple levels,… Read more »

Jane
Member

Well, this is my point. Early 20th century American intellectuals, 19th century German academics, etc., thought Communism sounded great from their armchairs. But the places where it happened were otherwise. But I don’t believe the outcomes in the places where it took root where wholly unconnected from the intellectual, diplomatic, and material support of the fellow travelers.

Texmeck
Guest
Texmeck

Enjoy Ukraine. If you can, head over to Lviv. It is a beautiful city.

Matt
Guest
Matt

“And so, that being the case, let us discuss why it is that socialist thinking is now once again gaining ground, growing and flourishing in the West.” It’s not. That was easy. Socialism is dead. The worker’s paradise we call Sweden is every bit as capitalist as America. China threw socialism out the window a while ago. What’s left? Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea? Some real thought leaders there. And if the rejoinder is that anything short of 100% true, pure, laissez faire capitalism is socialism, well that explains quite succinctly why you are seeing socialism everywhere.

adad0
Member

Matt, socialism has always been the pseudo-intellectual widow dressing for the political mafia state du-jour.

The Clinton foundation, for instance, would be a good organizational example of a mafia style outfit!
Lack of honesty and all!????

Matt
Guest
Matt

“When the hue and cry went up among the American commie-minded that we needed to do something about the “1%”, it never occurred to them to take the population of the world into account, and not just the population of their upper middle class neighborhood and then one or two filthy rich guys.” A: Did we institute one world government while I was asleep? B: This is effectively like saying “no problem you have is significant because someone else has it worse” I hope we can all see why this is bollocks. C: Liberals often note the benefits to non-Americans… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I think the point is that envy goes upward. If the 1% are evil then Americans complaining about the 1% in the US are actually part of the evil 1% in the world.

Barnie
Guest
Barnie

Hey, what do you call the guys who were fighting the Reds in the streets of Petrograd? “White” supremacists.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I thought you were referring to the fighting in Leningrad for a moment. Then again, you might as well have been.

insanitybytes22
Member

I also hate communism. One of the fastest ways to bring it about is to have profound economic injustice, unemployment, breakdown of the family, drugs introduced to your community,and then while the working man is already down, have the Left come along and accuse him of oppression and racism. Have the Right come along and accuse him of being lazy and full of envy. Then get half your pastors preaching social justice and the other half bellowing about personal responsibility. Meanwhile, Joe Blow is just trapped in a rigged system, feeling totally demonized because “he didn’t build that” and he’s… Read more »

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

Envy: what if you struggle with envy because people who have less talent than you (and you have a sober view of your own talents) are awarded better opportunities due to factors having nothing to do with their skill level? And this happens again and again and again? What’s a godly way forward in such a frustrating life, and where is the sin that needs to be repented of?

Jane
Member

The sin is envy. The way forward is humility — remembering that nothing is owed you and everything good comes by the grace of God, regardless of your skill level or diligence.

insanitybytes22
Member

Rubbish. The sin is often injustice and greed being heaped upon others with false accusations of conceit and envy.

Jane
Member

Two sins can exist side by side. I can respond obediently or sinfully, to being sinned against.

I know you think everything I say is rubbish. Next time, you might spare yourself the time of saying so.

insanitybytes22
Member

Sorry Jane. I do not think EVERYTHING you say is rubbish, nor do I think YOU are rubbish. I think that accusing people of envy when their real challenge is actually coping
with injustice and greed, is rubbish.

Jane
Member

And I think the premise that real people dealing with real troubles who are really sinned against can’t receive the mercy of forgiveness for the sins they do have because we’re not allowed to remind them they need it as we do, is something a bit worse than rubbish.

insanitybytes22
Member

Well,as long as we are arguing about rubbish, I don’t think it’s our place to be constantly reminding the” least of these” of their alleged sins. In fact, one of the worst things we can do is to just heap rebuke and criticism upon people who are already down. There’s this churchian thing that some people do, where someone’s unforgiveness begins to be viewed as a bigger sin than the sin of the injustice being done to them in the first place.And so envy, unforgiveness, a lack of humility, soon become the only sins that matter,sins so powerful the injustice… Read more »

C Herrera
Member

Great point, and so true for many of us. Of course the social justice whiners don’t wan to recognize this.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

” Individualism can be defined as putting the interests of the individual above those of the group. The idea of collectivism is that the needs of the group take precedence over each individual in it. There are entire cultures that have a bent toward one of these two philosophies; for example, the United States has historically encouraged individualism, while the culture in South Korea leans more toward collectivism. Is one better or worse than the other, from a biblical standpoint? The answer is not a simple “Thus saith the Lord.” The truth is, the Bible gives examples of both individualism… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

CS Lewis was awesome, wasn’t he? Just the same, when people are hungry,watching all the good Christians take their vacations and eat their fancy meals, resentment builds, anger at the hypocrisy. Today we often have Christians pointing down at the hungry guy and reminding him not to be envious or conceited, and to just humble himself some more. In the West we’ve developed this mindset where poverty is sin and the righteous will be blessed. We often fail to see our own greed,our selfishness, the outright criminality inflicted on those trapped on the bottom of society. I’d love to see… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yup…I’m surprised that certain posters haven’t noticed the silliness of someone who has previously bragged about buying a house 10 times bigger than the one he started with constantly preaching a message of “don’t be envious, don’t be envious, anyone who disagrees with me about justice or greed is just too envious.” I think envy has been mentioned in half-a-dozen posts in the last month alone. Even in the post where “the greed of the wealthy” was mentioned as one of the world’s great sins, it was immediately followed by”the envy of the poor.” Can someone really read the Bible… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Some of us oppose the minimum wage because we care for the poor. I know of many situations where minimum wage and tax laws inhibit us helping the poor.

I also know of many people claiming to love the poor but advocating policies that make it harder for the poor. Many of us like the free market because it decreases the abject poverty of the poor.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

My issue wasn’t so much with the minimum wage (I agree that some representative minority of those who wish to abolish it actually support the poor), but the ridiculousness of it pretty pretty much the only anti-poverty measure that ever gets its own posts on this blog. I have met many thousands of people in my life who care deeply enough about poverty to make the concerns of the poor a significant part of their life mission. I have worked closely with hundreds of such people. Conservatives, liberals, libertarians, Christians, non-Christians, Americans, Kiwis, Australians, Canadians, Europeans, Asians, Africans, men, women,… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

The devil is in the details,right? I really object to the minimum wage on account of the fact that it has been proven to be bad for poor people in a myriad of ways. But I do believe many conservatives are clueless at best about the issues poor people face. Not as breath takingly stupid and cruel as many liberals, but lacking awareness just the same. A lot of lies with our western culture, we’ve created a narrative that relates poverty with sin and success with the Lord’s favor. The left tends to perceive the poor as victims, the right… Read more »

Oscar
Guest
Oscar

There are so many straw men marching through the comments section that it’s a fire hazard.

C Herrera
Member

+1. Yep, that and excessive triggering.

Gervase Markham
Guest

With around 7 billion people in the world, the world 1% can be 70 million at most. With the population of the USA touching 300 million, they can’t all be in the world 1%.

Of course, I suspect many of the people who march about all the “unfairness” _are_.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Beyond the elementary math error, I have trouble seeing how, “But our critics of hypocrites!” therefore leads to the assumption that they are wrong.

Pastor Wilson has done this before, where he stated that he first dismissed all the verses about giving up all your possessions because the guy who was preaching to him about them wanted Pastor Wilson to give him a leather-bound Bible. It was a decidedly odd story, sure, but I didn’t see how the guy being weird therefore got rid of the verses.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

7,000,000,000 (seven billion) x .01 = 70,000,000 (seventy million).

300,000,000 > 70,000,000; ergo, 300 million is greater than 1% of 7 billion.

Not seeing the math error here, Jonathan.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

300 million is greater than 70 million, therefore Pastor Wilson has made a clear math error in claiming that we’re all part of the 1%. Obviously over 75% of Americans are not part of the 1% (though the vast majority of them are part of the top 10%, still).

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

Jonathan, this is what Doug said: “When the hue and cry went up among the American commie-minded that we needed to do something about the ‘1%’, it never occurred to them to take the population of the world into account, and not just the population of their upper middle class neighborhood and then one or two filthy rich guys. Compared to income levels around the world, every mother’s son of us belongs to the 1%.” Notice the quotes around “1%” the first time? It would seem that Doug doesn’t subscribe to the notion in the first place, but by using… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Maybe you just need to keep re-reading until you understand. Gervase’s comment was clear from the beginning, and I can’t tell where you are confused.

The fact that he puts quotes around “1%” the first time, and not the second, is because he’s trying to claim that “every mother’s son of us” belong to the actual 1%. But they don’t, as Gervase already pointed out.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

Jonathan, you said:

The fact that he puts quotes around “1%” the first time, and not the second, is because he’s trying to claim that “every mother’s son of us” belong to the actual 1%.

How can Doug claim that “every mother’s son of us” belongs to the actual 1% when he doesn’t subscribe to the notion of the “1%” to begin with?

Who’s confused now?

Speaking of “1%”, 1% of what, exactly?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You mean that he disputes that one out of every hundred people constitute 1%?

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

Jonathan, you said: You mean that he disputes that one out of every hundred people constitute 1%? Don’t be obtuse. Neither Doug nor anyone else disputes that 1% constitutes one out of a hundred in the general sense. What we’re talking about here is an amorphous political term used mainly by the left to refer to “the rich” — another term of derision used by the left to play identity politics with a group of people they hate. However, the left doesn’t hate all rich people; they’re perfectly copascetic with rich people such as the Clintons, the Obamas, and most… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: Maybe you just need to keep re-reading until you understand. Didn’t Jonathan just lecture us about not critiquing persons, but arguments? I would say that Jonathan is straining at gnats here (and missing the point which Gervase freely granted to Wilson), but to do so would be to apply a statement Jesus used when He accused the Pharisees of straining gnats and swallowing camels. If Jonathan had been around then, I’m sure he would have pointed out Jesus’s physiological error to Him too. Or does Jonathan permit Jesus to use hyperbole to drive home a point? Jonathan wrote:… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I think Pastor Wilson’s position is probably closer to the one that you apply to me without any doubt whatsoever.

That while there may be poverty or starvation in America, it probably ain’t represented among his intended audience here.

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote:

I think Pastor Wilson’s position is probably closer to the one that you apply to me without any doubt whatsoever.

Does that mean Jonathan will finally be apologizing for misrepresenting Wilson?

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote:

The fact that he puts quotes around “1%” the first time, and not the second, is because he’s trying to claim that “every mother’s son of us” belong to the actual 1%.

What about the daughters? Does Jonathan suppose that Wilson meant to exclude all women from the 1%? Or is it possible that Wilson deliberately used a figure of speech as a hint against closet literalists like Jonathan who merely have an axe to grind?

Jonathan isn’t even interacting with the greater point about American privilege and lack of perspective, i.e. misplaced envy.

Katecho
Member

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp wrote:

Your gratuitous swipe is unwarranted.

Indeed. Jonathan’s apparent need to take potshots at Wilson is renown, but he could be so much more effective and persuasive if he wasn’t always out for a pound of Wilson’s flesh.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The irony is incredible.

Gervase is the one who posted about the math error, I spent all of 5 words simply noting I agreed. And yet FP and Katecho zero in on me immediately, as usual. Hmmm…

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote:

Gervase is the one who posted about the math error, I spent all of 5 words simply noting I agreed.

Five words? And Jonathan wants to criticize Wilson’s math skills?

Jonathan wrote:

And yet FP and Katecho zero in on me immediately, as usual.

Apparently Jonathan can only detect patterns in others, but not in his own behavior.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The first 5 words noted that I agreed with Gervase’s comment, everything else in the comment was about another issue entirely.

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: The first 5 words noted that I agreed with Gervase’s comment, everything else in the comment was about another issue entirely. Does Jonathan suppose that we can’t see the timestamps on the other two posts that he made right after that? It’s telling that Jonathan holds Wilson to a mathematical literalness that he refuses to hold himself to. Wilson wrote “every mother’s son of us”, which is a figure of speech, and should have been a signal to the reader not to force literalism as if Wilson meant to exclude American daughters among the 1%. If Jonathan’s exegesis… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Not sure I understand your point correctly at all here. Are you referring to comments other than the ones in direct response to FP’s challenge? If not, then I don’t know what your complaint is or where you think my statement has proven to be in error.

And it is already quite well-demonstrated that you would never personally “trust me with Scripture.” But do you really think that arguments such as the one you’re making here are going to be the logical “aha!” that gets anyone else to discount my voice who hasn’t already?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

It might help you to notice, Katecho, that I posted a clear issue that I saw in Pastor Wilson’s argument, as I always do. When I see something I have an issue with in his arguments I call it out, when I see something I agree with I affirm it. I can give you 3-4 examples of me affirming Pastor Wilson in an extremely positive sense in the last week or so, if you doubt me. I try to always target the argument, not the person, though I do fail from time to time. You keep attacking me as a… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: It might help you to notice, Katecho, that I posted a clear issue that I saw in Pastor Wilson’s argument, as I always do. Uh huh. Jonathan wrote: Pastor Wilson has done this before, where he stated that he first dismissed all the verses about giving up all your possessions because the guy who was preaching to him about them wanted Pastor Wilson to give him a leather-bound Bible. Where is the clear citation for this alleged dismissal of verses by Wilson? Is Jonathan misrepresenting Wilson? Does he allow anyone the possibility of correcting or defending against this… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

Jonathan, you said: I try to always target the argument, not the person, though I do fail from time to time. I have trouble seeing how, “But our critics of hypocrites!” therefore leads to the assumption that they are wrong. Pastor Wilson has done this before, where he stated that he first dismissed all the verses about giving up all your possessions because the guy who was preaching to him about them wanted Pastor Wilson to give him a leather-bound Bible. It was a decidedly odd story, sure, but I didn’t see how the guy being weird therefore got rid… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I’m sorry, I do fail on that quite from time to time. The counter to you playing up “three times in one thread” as if it were especially egregious is quite obvious, but in order to play that counter I’d have to fail on the measure yet again, so I’ll refrain for now.

I assume, in general though, that you don’t actually have an issue with me targeting the person rather than the argument, you’re only pointing it out because it is an issue from my personal viewpoint, right?

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

Jonathan, since when is simply quoting you “playing it up”? You are responsible for what you say; when you violate your own principles, don’t be surprised when someone points it out.

I’m merely going by what you say. When you state that targeting the person is an issue from your personal viewpoint, then proceed to do exactly that, you’re not being consistent with your own stated values, now are you?

Would you let anyone else get away with that?

Jane
Member

It didn’t get rid of the verses. It called into question his ability to apply them properly, however, and therefore his credibility in preaching them. Those verses need to be interpreted and properly applied. Everyone agrees with this, even you, as evidenced by your explanations (which I accept) of how your minimal style of living fulfills those verses to the best of your ability, even though you haven’t actually given up all ownership of all possible possessions. Therefore, the interpretations and applications of an evident charlatan can be freely dismissed. The same applications from those living in accordance with them,… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yes, it called into mind THAT man’s credibility. It was a logical fallacy for Pastor Wilson to then claim that it was a strike against all people who ever cited the verse. And then he proceeds to do nothing to exposit the meaning of the verse on its own merits. He doesn’t look at the verse, its context, its application in the life of the disciples, anything. He just tells a 40-year-old story and uses it to taint all others who take the verse seriously. Back away and think about it for a second. Pastor Wilson is using an anonymous,… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote:

It was a logical fallacy for Pastor Wilson to then claim that it was a strike against all people who ever cited the verse.

Where did Wilson do such a thing? In his haste for a kilogram of Wilson’s flesh, Jonathan neglected to provide a quote or citation so we can confirm any of Jonathan’s accusations. As such, Jonathan isn’t in a position to lecture others on intellectual honesty.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

My dear Katecho, you should know me well enough by now to know that I don’t make such statements without being able to back them up. I was only waiting for you to ask.

Pastor Wilson’s final line in telling the story:

“And I don’t think I have trusted people who glibly cite Luke 14:33 ever since.”

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: I was only waiting for you to ask. Uh huh. I asked for a reference of Wilson saying such a thing, so we could check source and context. I didn’t just ask for the final line, with no reference or source whatsoever. However, notice that this final line that Jonathan quotes here contains an important qualifier that Jonathan somehow left out. Wilson says he distrusts those who “glibly cite Luke 14:33”, but Jonathan asserted that Wilson distrusts “all people who ever cited the verse”. Notice the critical difference. I think Jonathan owes Wilson an apology. Also Jonathan accused… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Katecho, time to stop being ridiculous again, I can’t believe that you honestly think that the class of people who Pastor Wilson is accusing of citing the verse “glibly” and the class of people who take it seriously in the manner that I do are not the same circle on the Venn diagram. I had to legit chuckle that your links shows Pastor Wilson using the deluded cult member to try to poison the well against other interpretations of Luke 14:33 yet again. As far as interpreting Luke 14:33 correctly, I believe that Mark 10/Luke 18/Matthew 19, Acts 2, and… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: I can’t believe that you honestly think that the class of people who Pastor Wilson is accusing of citing the verse “glibly” and the class of people who take it seriously in the manner that I do are not the same circle on the Venn diagram. Jonathan can’t talk his way out of this one. Venn diagrams are completely irrelevant because Jonathan’s accusation was universal. He said: It was a logical fallacy for Pastor Wilson to then claim that it was a strike against all people who ever cited the verse. So it is shown to be a… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jane wrote:

Those verses need to be interpreted and properly applied. Everyone agrees with this, even you, as evidenced by your explanations (which I accept) of how your minimal style of living fulfills those verses to the best of your ability, even though you haven’t actually given up all ownership of all possible possessions.

Jonathan’s credibility to interpret such passages was severely crippled by his apparent inability to acknowledge that Scripture also contemplates wealth as a blessing from God.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

All things that come from God are a blessing. They are a blessing with which we are to bless, not hoard.

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: All things that come from God are a blessing. They are a blessing with which we are to bless, not hoard. No, sometimes a curse comes from God, because of disobedience. Curses aren’t blessings. Even wealth can be a blessing or a curse. Even children can be a blessing or a curse. Even the cup of blessing can cause the unworthy to expire. For what it’s worth, I don’t recall anyone here defending the hoarding of wealth, but Jonathan had set himself against the mere possession of it. However, if God rewards obedience with wealth, and if Jonathan… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Chastisement for error that comes from God is meant lead us to repentance. Even if one is not able to realize it, it is possible that from their curse will come my blessing, and I will in turn be able to bless them back. I believe that is what God is always acting for. I realize there is a strain of Calvinism that suggests that God would curse our lives here just to curse them, because He is Sovereign and free to curse without benefit or hope for repentance being in the picture at all, but I disagree with that… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

From the outside, how do you distinguish “possession” from “hoarding”, Katecho?

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote:

From the outside, how do you distinguish “possession” from “hoarding”, Katecho?

The wealthy honors God with a tithe of firstfruits, and opens his hand to the truly needy in his sphere. The hoarder of wealth does not honor God with a tithe, and closes his hand to the truly needy.

Given his prior repudiation of wealth, and his prior stance on Luke 14:33, how does Jonathan distinguish possession from hoarding such that he now suddenly permits possession of wealth? If he isn’t careful, Jonathan will end up unable to distinguish himself from Wilson’s exegesis of Luke 14:33.

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: Pastor Wilson has done this before, where he stated that he first dismissed all the verses about giving up all your possessions because the guy who was preaching to him about them wanted Pastor Wilson to give him a leather-bound Bible. In his eagerness for a pound of Wilson’s flesh, Jonathan seems to have neglected to offer a quote of Wilson saying that he has “dismissed all the verses about giving up all your possessions”. But on that subject, I see that Jonathan has yet to give up his laptop, or internet access, or electricity. Given this, are… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Actually Katecho, I became convicted and gave up everything yesterday, and now only use public computers* to type my replies.

There, now that that’s settled, has my interpretation of the verse become more correct?

* (In Berkeley, of course, because that’s the only place I’ve found so far that allows me to use the public library naked.)

Katecho
Member

Notice that Jonathan still didn’t provide any citation to support his accusation against Wilson.

Jonathan’s hypocrisy is not a joking matter, especially given his accusations about Wilson, but even if Jonathan did use only public computers, he would still be relying on, and making use of, wealth, even if someone else’s. In other words, it wouldn’t resolve the hypocrisy, even if Jonathan could be taken seriously in the practice.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

If you think that a few public computers jointly paid for and shared by hundreds of thousands of citizens are “wealth” in the same sense as the hoarded wealth that Jesus condemns, then perhaps you have a very different definition of wealth than me. Perhaps this is all a misunderstanding. What about the fact that someone incorporates technology leads you to believe that it therefore can be defined as wealth? Those computers aren’t even close to being worth as much the land they sit on, but if we start claiming that any community that sits on any land whatsoever therefore… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Notice that Jonathan has yet to provide a source that can support his misrepresentations of Wilson. What he has provided only hurt his case because of his gross omission of Wilson’s qualifiers. Jonathan wrote: If you think that a few public computers jointly paid for and shared by hundreds of thousands of citizens are “wealth” in the same sense as the hoarded wealth that Jesus condemns, then perhaps you have a very different definition of wealth than me. Or perhaps Jonathan has a very poor grasp of historic perspective. He seems to measure wealth only relative to his own place… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The position, “the existence of technology immediately defines everyone as wealthy” is both untenable and useless. You are actually trying to argue that the mere use of a computer is possession of wealth in the sense that I believe the Bible speaks about wealth. It’s like saying that Lazarus was wealthy because his begging dealt in coins that would have been priceless in the Stone Age. I’d estimate that you’ve spent 20-30 comments over the last year focusing on the fact that I use a laptop to write comments, correct? And all of it is based on this strange idea… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Apparently Jonathan was incapable of addressing his exegetical flip-flop. He has now suddenly begun to permit the possession of wealth (so long as it is not hoarded, as if anyone here was advocating hoarding). Jonathan also seems incapable of understanding how the computational power of even a laptop is far more than just a “technological toy” from any sort of historical perspective. He seems to have transitioned into willful myopia at this stage. Jonathan wrote: If 20 years in the future pretty much everyone has access to a cell phone via themselves or a neighbor, but are still living in… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I just realized that the perfect example is Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand is the extreme of individualism that C.S. Lewis is referring to, the absolute distillation of worship of self and greed, to individualistic capitalism what Marx was to collectivist communism. And yet she is a HERO to the right wing of our national politics, a guide to our President and much of his cabinet, not to mention the House, Senate, and our conservative media. Even John Piper speaks of her glowingly. Not even the opposition is willing to say they like Marx except at the extremist fringe. But our… Read more »

Jane
Member

Could you cite the glowing remarks of Piper concerning Rand? I am not disputing them but I’m unfamiliar with them and would like to see them for myself. Beyond that, I think you are discrediting Wilson by citing other people’s fondness for Rand. I don’t recall him ever having spoken positively of her, and everything I know about him would speak against that being likely. Certainly if he had favorable thoughts toward Rand, it would have to pertain to only a very narrow slice of her thinking, as the millions of words he has written diametrically opposed to most of… Read more »

bethyada
Member

He has made favourable remarks about Paglia. Possibly Doug is going to advocate leftism, feminism and lesbianism shortly!

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

“I aim for this treatment to be both Christian and primarily positive, even though Ayn Rand was an atheist and outspokenly anti-Christian. I trust I will be forgiven the presumption of stepping outside my own specialty: My field is neither literary criticism nor philosophy but biblical, theological and pastoral. I write this because I take pleasure in extending to others the delight I have had in learning from Ayn Rand.” The crux of the remarks is that Ayn Rand is perfectly right and logical about everything, she just fails to bring God into the mix, and if she did then… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

Piper’s critique obviously subverts Rand’s worldview and ethics. The crux of his critique is that she reasoned soundly from false premises and so arrived at an incorrect and immoral version of ethics.

It shouldn’t be off-limits to appreciate non-Christian thinkers like Rand, Aristotle, or Ghandi. Such appreciation always holds an element of danger, which Piper’s introduction acknowledges as to Rand.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I didn’t say that it was “off-limits” to appreciate non-Christian thinkers. But Rand is one of the most fundamentally ANTI-Christian thinkers in history, someone far more anti-Christian than Gandhi (who actually appreciated Jesus and tried to practice much of his teachings) or even Marx (who at least acknowledged a positive role for religion). Rand wished to destroy Christianity, believed that faith brought harm in all its forms, and rooted her entire message in worldview assumptions that are fundamentally opposed to the God of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Her entire philosophy is wrapped around the ideas that greed and selfishness… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

You’re asking why Wilson doesn’t articulate a full-throated repudiation of Randian philosophy, right? I’m sure it is a good question to be asked of some individuals. I haven’t been reading Wilson long enough to know whether that’s a good question or not.

After searching this blog for Ayn Rand, I think this might be Wilson’s most pertinent post: https://dougwils.com/books/no-tar-no-feathers-no-nothing.html

This one is to the point of why he believes that free-markets are the proper cure for greedy industrialists: https://dougwils.com/books/mammon-and-managed-markets.html

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

No, I’m asking why Pastor Wilson doesn’t appear to view the encroachment of Randian ideas into Christian political thought as being dangerous enough to call out that encroachment in the Christian and Political leaders who have adopted and promote such views. As far as the justification in the first link, I think that’s ridiculous in context. First because the supposed “free market” system that is being defended is only maintained via massive coercion. Dozens of countries are invaded, bases are built, and standing armies are maintained so we can ensure that everyone adheres to our version of what a “free… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

“the false suggestion that the power we need to worry about is held solely or mostly in governments” I don’t know any could argue against this suggestion, except by arguing that government power is inherently benevolent, which I doubt you would do. Consider, businesses are organized to conduct business, which in our system, primarily means engaging in voluntary transactions. However much time a business spends being Machiavellian, they spend much, much more time and resources making voluntary transactions. Meanwhile, government is designed to be a coercive force and to exert itself over all everyone in the whole society. It has… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Here’s another blog post refuting Jonathan’s lame assertion that Wilson somehow gives Rand a pass: https://dougwils.com/books/the-economics-of-sin.html Wilson critiques both Rand and the Austrian school. Here’s a money quote: The gospel is not defined by the Austrian School, or irrational haters like Ayn Rand. So Jonathan should apologize to Wilson for misrepresenting him. Regarding Rand and individualism, Wilson confronts those head on in this blog post: https://dougwils.com/books/look-at-all-those-alabaster-cities.html Here is a great quote: Bringing it home to our point, we reject John Stuart Mill, not liberty. We reject Ayn Rand, not liberty. Indeed, if we understand what the Spirit of God is… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You seem to have missed the previous clarifying comment.

Katecho
Member

Jonathan seems to have missed his chance to apologize to Wilson for having misrepresented him.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

As far as Pastor Wilson, I’m not trying to say that he is in favor of Rand because Cruz and Piper and other figures he aligns with are. I’m saying that it has been a dereliction of duty for him to completely ignore Rand and the extremes of individualism, even though she has had massive influence on this country’s current situation and keeps being spoken of positively by many people he knows. And Rand certainly has had an indirect influence on Pastor Wilson’s thinking – it is widely acknowledged that current thinking about free market capitalism on the right was… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: I’m saying that it has been a dereliction of duty for him to completely ignore Rand and the extremes of individualism, even though she has had massive influence on this country’s current situation and keeps being spoken of positively by many people he knows. Right, because Wilson never addresses the problem of individualism. Please. Jonathan seems to think that any rock is a good rock if it can be thrown at Wilson. What a tiresome and wasteful agenda. Jonathan wrote: And Rand certainly has had an indirect influence on Pastor Wilson’s thinking – it is widely acknowledged that… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I’m down to 2 possibilities:

Either:

1. You view me as someone incredibly dangerous, someone who has been successfully casting doubts on some of Pastor Wilson’s positions and even leading people astray to aspects of my way of thinking.

Or:

2. Your multi-year campaign against my comments and frequent attacks on my person are a complete waste of time.

Either option is an acknowledgement on your part that I’m winning. ;)

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote:

Either option is an acknowledgement on your part that I’m winning. ;)

I don’t consider Jonathan’s misrepresentations of Wilson to be much of a victory. Jonathan’s unimaginative speculation about my motives aside, there are other explanations for my actions that have always been on the table.

I simply don’t like to see Wilson repeatedly misrepresented. I don’t expect Wilson to be the only one to speak in his own defense, and it’s simple enough for me to refute Jonathan’s misrepresentations with the facts.

Dave
Guest
Dave

“Either option is an acknowledgement on your part that I’m winning.” Jonathan Jonathan, what you are winning is the Internet Dumber Than Dirt Commenter award. You stand in the gates, spout nonsense, and get upset when others point out that you do not divide scripture correctly, that you misinterpreted what was written or that you have bad information. You lack wisdom. Proverbs tells us to get wisdom and to hold on to it. You should take that to heart before you start typing on your computer. Your danger is that you are incredibly incorrect in reading and applying scripture and… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Unfortunately, I don’t want to win that way. (Unfortunate because making you upset and wasting your time is way easier than any of the actual winning I want to accomplish.) In a recent post, you had three different people call you out for unfair attacks on my position, saying that your hatred of my positions had become so intense that you had lashed out in an illogical and unfair way. One of those three people even AGREED with you that I was wrong on the point in question, just felt that you had gone completely astray in your attempt to… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan’s aspersions toward my personal motives aside, I simply dislike seeing a faithful Christian brother being continually misrepresented. I don’t expect Wilson to have to speak up in his own defense, and it’s simple enough to contradict Jonathan’s gross misrepresentations with facts.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I think this is where the White Knight nickname came from. If misrepresentation and facts were really the basis of your motive, then many of your crusades would be inexplicable. Remember when you teamed up with Timothy to demand that I retract my claim that Pastor Wilson had quoted false statistics on concealed carry, even when I was able to show you the exact source of his claims and point out exactly where he had misread them? https://dougwils.com/s7-engaging-the-culture/who-you-gonna-call.html https://dougwils.com/s7-engaging-the-culture/ring-up-the-devil.html Remember when you repeatedly insisted that Pastor Wilson didn’t believe unicorns were in the Bible and was really talking about a… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan’s memory of events isn’t as objective as he portrays. The only statistic I thought Jonathan should retract was his claim that, “Texas rape rate started going back UP just 4 years after the [concealed carry] law was passed”. Timothy had pointed out that Jonathan made that statement based on raw number of rapes without correcting for Texas population growth in that same period. In other words, Jonathan wasn’t actually describing rates at all, but an increase in the raw number of rapes. Rather than acknowledge that mistake, Jonathan simply included Timothy in his grandstanding against Wilson. I also looked… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: I’m saying that it has been a dereliction of duty for him to completely ignore Rand and the extremes of individualism, even though she has had massive influence on this country’s current situation and keeps being spoken of positively by many people he knows. Dereliction of duty? What about Jonathan’s dereliction of his duty to accurately represent Wilson? See https://dougwils.com/books/look-at-all-those-alabaster-cities.html where Wilson writes: Bringing it home to our point, we reject John Stuart Mill, not liberty. We reject Ayn Rand, not liberty. Indeed, if we understand what the Spirit of God is doing in the world (2 Cor.… Read more »

Eric B.
Guest
Eric B.

Get real, Doug! Your lifestyle is anything but a free market lifestyle. Your lifestyle is the nanny state industrialized lifestyle. Your arguments against the whole organic food movement are leading proofs.

If you really believed in a free market, why don’t you say something about government monopoly grants, limited liability laws, and all the other anti-free market inventions that practically define our economy?

Katecho
Member

Eric B. wrote:

Your arguments against the whole organic food movement are leading proofs.

Arguments against whole organic food? Wilson isn’t against the food, just against the food righteousness movement. Wilson wrote an entire book called Confessions of a Food Catholic, wherein he is very ecumenical about food. One might even say, free market. Eric B. may want to check it out.

Eric B.
Guest
Eric B.

By “ecumenical” do you mean not questioning anything that the nanny state approves?

Katecho
Member

Eric B. wrote:

By “ecumenical” do you mean not questioning anything that the nanny state approves?

Wilson has directly addressed nanny state overreach in regard to food regulation. He has even proposed a principle to improve government regulation that Eric B. might find interesting. It has to do with requiring simple truth in advertising, disclosure on the food label, and therefore increased consumer accountability. This principle would apply to GMOs and organic raw milk alike.

However, by “ecumenical” I was referring to a generous spirit with regard to other people’s food preferences. I.e. a free market.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Does it matter at all if someone has ideas for how to improve the nanny state, especially if that person is unwilling to personally question anything that the unimproved (i.e. current) nanny state approves? To speak meaningfully of a free market, you’d have to accept something contrary to what you call “ecumenicalism,” you’d have to accept people expressing important values in the marketplace. What you call “ecumenicalism” is the nanny state industrialized lifestyle. The alternative (what you deride as food righteousness) is a free market at work. And it’s a false straw man to claim it’s about “other people’s food… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Eric wrote:

Doug’s defense isn’t (nor has your defense of his defense been) about “a generous spirit” toward those whose agricultural values he disagrees with; Doug even derides quietly expressing one’s own values in the marketplace as self-righteousness. Doug’s defense is just generally of the nanny state.

Three false statements in two sentences. I guess Eric has already made up his mind in spite of the facts.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Suppose I have falsely assessed your and Doug’s positions. Rejecting my assessment, suppose you and/or Doug do believe in expressing agricultural values in the marketplace, i.e. suppose ya/oD (you and/or Doug) do think what the nanny state allows encompasses lots of good and bad ways of growing food and that ya/oD think it’s a good thing to express one’s agricultural values in the marketplace (as well as in the “marketplace” of ideas), even to express those values strongly and particularly, rejecting and speaking out against bad agricultural practices, and supporting and advocating for better ways of growing food, so long… Read more »

Eric
Guest
Eric

There was one typo in my last comment. I meant to say “…and so long as the pursuit of righteousness doesn’t become a pursuit of SELF-righteousness.”

Eric
Guest
Eric

“In those days, being in possession of more than two stalks of wheat carried the death penalty. Being Ukrainian and attempting to feed yourself was clearly a crime against the people.”

Different in degree but very similar in substance and in terms of principles to Wickard v. Filburn (which established a precedent for the individual mandate under Obamneycare), lest we imagine that we’re more different from the 1930s USSR than we really are.