The Letters Continue to Come Forth

Emeth and All

I once listened to a liberal preacher from a liberal denomination expound on John 14:6 and point to the “conclusion” that we cannot say Jesus meant belief involving conscious awareness is required to come to the Father through Him. He would not quite say that is not, he just questioned it in the “Jesus never said” way that liberals like to do; a way that made clear what he himself disbelieved. In other words, he was preaching inclusivism. The answer to that treatment of John 14:6 is that it contradicts the entire thrust of the Gospel of John, which is explicitly summed up in John 20:31.

John

John, thanks.


Emeth: I like that you addressed this, as the story of Emeth has given me much consternation upon first reading it (as a young boy) and later as various loved ones began tossing the Chronicles aside as so much heresy. I chose principally to ignore the text as pertaining to anything “true” since it’s all just a story anyway, and as a loose allegory it couldn’t possibly get everything spot on accurate with real life . . . Now I think I shall need to go reread the Chronicles another time—which is never a bad idea—and see how The Last Battle reads in light of this essay. I’m reminded that Scripture is filled with little anecdotes that bake our noodles, frustrating our ability to figure it all out. Rahab was a believer, too, as was King Darius, the Ethiopian eunuch, and the Eastern magicians—er, mystics—er, magi. God does make my head hurt at times. Who’s to say there’s not some dude with a bone through his nose whose great-ancestor once met a missionary and passed down some stories of the All-Father and now worships the One who made everything via this vanishing shred of inherited knowledge . . . and then a lion eats him and he ends up in Heaven where everything is made perfectly clear. Or maybe there never was a missionary. . . It is quite interesting that we mostly all agree that God elects infants and the mentally deficient as He sees fit, even if those people are children of pagans living in wretched conditions, but we choke on the notion that He might elect others by His good pleasure who, through no fault of their own, still have no idea who Christ is. I don’t know if God is “winking” at their ignorance so much as trumping it with His Grace. No one deserved to be elected, so He gets the glory whichever way He wants to do it.

Malachi

Malachi, yes. He gets the glory. And regardless of what happens in the salvation of anyone, it is not a function of justice, but rather of grace.


Protectionism?

“There are things that Trump does and says that just don’t fit into any coherent conservative framework, like his views on tariffs. So what happens when a movement conservative continues to believe what he does about free trade, but moves it from his #3 priority to his #13 priority?” Just a slight criticism (and I know it misses the point of the post): tariffs and trade restrictions have a deep heritage in conservative governments. It’s probably more correct to say it doesn’t fit into a “contemporary” rather than coherent conservative framework as most conservatives have now backed away from protectionist policies (while still benefitting from a variety of different trade protections/supports and keeping quiet about it). The United States has a wide range of tariffs and market access restrictions designed to favour domestic producers. I can’t say definitively whether R or D governments that enforced them but I would be surprised if I didn’t find a single Republican government that didn’t opt for some type of protectionism.

Jordan

Jordan, yes, I believe there is much in what you say as a historical matter. But modern conservatism, like it or not, is an amalgam of classical liberalism and social traditionalism. And, on the economics of the thing, I find the free trade arguments compelling. But they aren’t the only compelling factor, because I am not a follower of Mammon.


Climate and Such

Sir, appreciated your recent article on global warming, and the apt comparison to “Christian” End-of-the-World hysteria. I’m similarly incredulous about current climate alarmism (I share your support of carbon dioxide about which you wrote elsewhere; I hear it is good for plants.). However, there is one objective environmental “prediction” (which oddly doesn’t seem to get much attention) that seems both inescapable and worthy of at least some level of “alarm.” At some point (if the Lord tarries)—whether in 50 years, 500, or 5,000—given our current usage, this planet will undoubtedly deplete its supply of fossil fuels. For that reason (alone) I am sympathetic to the push for electric cars, improved mass transit, biofuels, developing renewable energy, increased energy efficiency, and the like. Granted, I imagine that this will largely work itself out at the time with basic economics: supply, demand, incentive, and necessity. But in godly concern about our future generations, it does seem prudent to support at least some incentives shared by the radical environmentalists (e.g., research on energy efficient transportation & infrastructure, renewable sources, etc.)—not because we care about our “carbon footprint,” but rather to help our posterity prepare to make the significant transition that will be required when those resources do become truly scarce. (Granted, this feels to me like making the alliance of necessity with the Soviet Union in WWII simply because we shared one limited, but critical, strategic goal). Would be interested in your thoughts concerning.

Daniel

Daniel, I agree that it is likely that at some point we will run out of fossil fuels. I suspect that will be at least a millennium away, but centuries at any rate. But in a free economy, and with various superstitions about efficient energy sources overcome (e.g. nuclear), I think we’ll be fine. Rather than cut back on energy usage, I would rather urge people to try to increase their energy usage, while doing so intelligently.


A question was posed to me some years ago which I have pondered for some time. It has somewhat satisfied my desire to make sense of this global warming moral panic. (My previous iteration as a university science and mathematics graduate enabled me to recognise a scientist when I saw one. (BTW, if my inaccurate observations in the physics and chemistry lab were as acceptable to the lecturers as global warming predictions today, I would have graduated dux, rather than somewhere in the middle of my class). The question went something like this; if I were an (the) enemy of God, what optimal strategy would I utilise to destroy His people? The suggested response was worthy of consideration; it was to simply “remove the father.” This became, to me, more than an obvious reference to The Father God referred to by Jesus. At first, it was an interesting postulate, but on closer examination become more significant. In short, my thinking on this claim led me to recall recent history, identifying what I strongly suspect were a series of strategic community changes over time, seemingly innocuous in isolation, but in aggregate, more sinister. Some examples of the scope of my thinking follow. The transition from culture icons such as Andy Williams show (just one example) to the Simpsons, where fathers graduated from a trusted authority to buffoon. The ease which the law of the land enabled (I suggest tacitly encouraged) the easy removal of fathers through no-fault divorce and a strong legal default to maintaining a predominant mother-children family unit. The entertainment industry’s penchant to glamourise family and marriage dysfunction helped here. An important objective to liberating women to participate in a professional meritocracy (equality of opportunity) evolved into a resentment driven educational sector and media industry, third-wave feminist cartel, now pursuing equality of outcome, a more sinister declaration of war against the “patriarchy.” Many more examples, but here is my point re: global warming/climate change. This is, I believe, a significant reinforcement of the atheistic-evolution revolution; the replacement of Father God with Mother Nature as the ultimate idol of our generations: the strategic use of Hegelian dialect (creating an unprovable crisis to which idolaters can readily attach and parade their moral virtue) ) and then also convince governments to part with very large sums of taxpayer funds, no doubt to build more idolatrous structures and further propagate this myth through media, education and a fearful political class. My sense is that this really upgraded the dictionary wars to a new level, (“deniers”). There is obviously more to this and frankly, I realise it can become an academic pursuit rather than life-giving revelation, but this postulate has now become the default lens through which I now assess these macro trends, (that is, a strategy that creates the fertile soil to propagate societal degradation). It is idolatry on steroids, but is it a master strategy? If so, what might be the implications about how to fight this culture and dictionary war? Your insights are keenly sought.

Edmund

Edmund, yes. The war on the father (as biblically defined) is a master strategy. And the state becomes a milch cow with thousands of teats. The fundamental answer is for us to preach the gospel in season and out of season, to preach it when they want to hear it, and to preach it when they don’t. The secondary strategic response, under the first, is to find a cute girl, marry her, and have a passel of kids, providing them all with a Christian education, doing so if possible in a like-minded community.


An Off-Grid Church

We know by now all fifty states are fine with same sex unions, and the national Union is not going to come apart over it. It might come apart over something else, but apparently not that. If you are correct, that leaves us with an off grid, underground faithful church. I’m sure you have thought about the various ways. What would you expect it to look like?

John

John, I expect the first wave to be the establishment of a distinction between registered and unregistered churches.


Hat Tip

My heart was warmed by your reference of Dr Sproul. God put him in my life when I desperately needed someone to carry me along. I enjoy and benefit much from your writing and ministry. Thanks to God for all that He is doing with and through you.

Laurence

Laurence, thank you for the kind words.


Great Question

I’m a fairly new reader of the blog, though I’ve read some of your books. Thank you for your though-provoking posts. A seeming inconsistency occurred to me in today’s roundup email. One of the letters you post is from Roger, who laments the profane nature of the movies recommended by TGC, and you agree with him. But earlier in the email, you recommend a book by Kurt Schlichter, whom you describe as profane. So my question: How do you determine what kind of/how much profanity is allowable? Thank you!

Laura

Laura, thanks, and good question. The gent who wrote about the movie reviews was talking about entertainment, and how it appeared that the gunk involved was just being ingested without any awareness. They didn’t appear to care how many slugs are in the salad. Schlichter’s book was one of non-fiction analysis, not entertainment, and I thought that analysis was really worthwhile. But I did want to put a warning label on it so I mentioned that he can get profane. But I do think his writing would be stronger and better without it. So for me the issue is not whether Christians can come across that kind of thing in their reading and viewing habits, but rather how they react to it when they do. And whether they even notice it.


Consentery

-The lane markings are being erased overnight, but the handwriting has been scribbled on the wall in big, black magic-marker letters for quite a while. The trendy objective of “consent” as the new amoral standard of “no marks at all” is to make criminal anything godly, conservative or commonsense in order to allow children to make decisions that are “right” to him/her in absence of parental authority. And while we’re on the subject, parent as authority is crossed out as outmoded, old-fashioned and cruel, replaced with being the “trusted friend” of your child, setting no boundaries whatsoever to his/her “pursuit of passion.” When yet another of these social experiments fail to work out, yet another victim category is created, replete with excuses, demands for reparations and an ever-expanding list of accommodations to be made by the rest of us to be “accepting” of this ugly and perverted diversity we have created. No one in this ungodly world expects there would be consequences to all of this, but Christians know better and need to stand up for and defend the truth no matter what. Christ never promised us a life free of persecution. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine (2 Tim. 4:2).

SHB

SHB, preach it.


Re: The Idolatry of Consent I mentioned to my wife at one point about 18 months ago that I thought pedophilia was the next logical “thing” in the moral slide that is afflicting our culture. She said she found that tough to swallow, that anyone could think this would be acceptable. I said once we’ve reached the point where we give children the right to consent to body mutilation and chemical sterilization/hormone therapy, how dare we tell them they can’t love some 60-year old guy? This progression is actually entirely logical and inevitable. In fact, in some ways it might actually be backing up slightly, depending on which bit of weirdness you believe is more egregious.

David

David, you are absolutely right. When you get on a particular train, when it arrives you have to get off.


Re: Idolatry of Consent—“Consent” is nothing less than the creative word that brings into existence the sexual reality. And it is not even a mutual act of creation because each party’s consenting word creates only their own interiorized version of the sexual experience. The sadness, for me, lies in the fact that this just underscores that the sexual act itself has been evacuated of all intrinsic meaning. Its meaning now is no more than as an act that has or has not been consented to.

Stephen

Stephen, correct. And this interiorized version of sex means that there is no longer sexual communion, but rather just masturbation with others close by. And everything means what you want it to mean inside your head. Which makes it all meaningless.


Thank you for writing about this. The wolves do not want there to be a difference between wolves and sheep. Predators thrive when predator and prey are ill-defined. If definitions are fluid, then creation is fluid. If creation is fluid, then gender is fluid. If gender is fluid, then age is fluid. It is satanic.

Joshua

Joshua, amen.


This is very true. Having just spent the past eight years in Boston, I wish I could communicate to someone who has not just how very concrete all of this is in the present day. Obviously, among those who seek to defraud society by means of the introduction of such verbal disease, none of these issues pertain in fact to values or law at all. What is at issue is the establishment of social and political control by individuals who, if they succeed in these things, will themselves be above all laws they have established. In some cases, these individuals have already proven themselves to be beyond the reach of all prosecution. Provided the financial means and proper social connections, an individual can live two very different public and private lives, especially in a city. Regardless, in a city where genuine Christian influence is minimal, and probably has been for decades at least, those who know are well-acquainted with the fact that this phenomenon you are referring to is just a matter of playing with words. This awareness, and the willingness to join in the game, is part of what constitutes their notion of being cosmopolitan and sophisticated, and what great gay pride they take in that.

Iain

Iain, yes. And as I read your letter I thought again of C.S. Lewis’s prophetic work on this very issue—The Abolition of Man.


Would it be fair to say that consent is necessary but not sufficient for moral sexual activity? The standard of consent strikes me as an absurdly low bar. So low that our president in his infamous comments about how and where to “grab ‘em” actually clears it: ‘You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful . . . I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything . . . Grab ‘em by the p____. You can do anything.”

Josh

Josh, exactly right. Consent is one part of the standard, but is not the standard.


Vegan Stuff

Pastor Wilson, This doesn’t respond to anything in particular but I haven’t read a good treatment of whether Christians should be vegans, and I thought you might have thoughts on it.

Nathan

Nathan, I have written a book on various food and foodie issues, which can be found here.


Do We Really Want Liberty?

Regarding the comments on theonomy and liberty under President Doug: I’ve discovered that a huge proportion of Americans are out and out opponents of liberty. If they ever see something free, their reflex is to put a bunch of rules on it. How else can you explain a home owners association? Our family started home schooling way back in the 1980’s, and the most frequently heard comment (exclaimed with mouth agape and eyebrows aloft) was, “Can you do that?” So when you crank up your campaign for POTUS, don’t get the idea that freedom is something that everyone automatically wants, like ice cream or donuts. On the other hand, when people raise objections to your book about slavery, you could always say, “What’s your problem with slavery? You vote yourself into more bondage every chance you get!”

Steve

Steve, right. As Dylan put it, “You gotta serve somebody.”  As the old guard reconstructionists would put it, slavery is inescapable. If you are a slave to sin, then you are eventually going to be enslaved to other men. And if you are a slave to Christ, you will find yourself walking in liberty. There will be no appeal in genuine liberty unless there is a massive reformation and revival.


Anniversary Notes

Heavy Horses, Heavy Blessings: Having gotten married a little over five months ago, I find myself more than a little convicted that my marriage would not, as yet, be rightly described as of the Word and in the Word. Not consistently at any rate. Do you have any practical tips to help me build that foundation? What did it look like for you? Could you point me to any good resources on where to start with family devotions?

Jonathan

Jonathan, the thing I would do is keep it simple. Establish a beachhead for the Word in your home. Make it a point to read the New Testament aloud to your wife, a chapter a day, and also pray for your day. Don’t over-engineer it. Let your devotional time grow organically, but start simple.


You sketched such a good picture of Nancy in her denim skirt listening to Jethro Tull that I remembered it from when you first shared it thirteen years ago: https://dougwils.com/resources/personal/thirty-years-of-no-other-way-to-go.html. Grateful for you both, and for all the fruit that God has grown in the soil of your forty-three years.

Kyriosity

Kyriosity, thank you.


RE: Heavy Horses Richly blessed indeed. Or to quote The Scarlet Pimpernel: dem fine woman!

Eric

Eric, not only the Scarlet Pimpernel, but also Uncle Andrew. But Uncle Andrew knew not whereof he spoke, while we do.


Thank you for sharing this insight into your life and for the album recommendation. Congratulations to you and Nancy! May the Lord keep your marriage and ministry fat and flourishing for years to come. “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; to shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him (Ps. 92:12-15).

Todd

Todd, thank you very much.

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Jonathan
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Jonathan

I don’t think I’d agree perfectly with every jot and tittle, but overall Pastor Wilson’s article on Emeth and those two responses to it here are probably the most complete and insightful thing I’ve read on this site in the last year. Really well done from beginning to end, moving from the story to the Bible to our lived experience.

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan (continuing the discussion from the previous Letters Comment 221511),

Just how does one know that “avoiding diversity is bringing harm to members of the body”? Or its corollary, diversity in the Church prevents harm to members of the body?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

A good example is Acts 6, where the apparent separation between the Hebrew and Hellenist communities was causing the Hellenist widows to be neglected in the distribution. The Hebrews knew that harm was brought because the Hellenists brought a complaint. So obviously there has to be a meaningful line of communication for a segregated body to even know what the negative effects of their segregation may be. As a very different example, note how Paul appears frequently aware of how the Jews and the Gentiles needed each other’s perspectives and could see problems brewing where one or the other was… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan,

“As a very different example, note how Paul appears frequently aware of how the Jews and the Gentiles needed each other’s perspectives and could see problems brewing where one or the other was missing the witness of their counterparts.”

I’m drawing a blank on this. Please provide two Scripture references (no quotation needed) that support this.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Galatians, Romans, and 1 Corinthians, the entire argument of all three letters. ;) Reading “Paul and the Faithfulness of God” is the best advice, or one of his shorter books on the subject. Wright develops the case based on looking at directions and themes of Paul’s letters and missionary journeys and how they fit together rather than relying on out-of-context lines of text, so it’s hard to replicate his case without just pointing you to one of his books. I don’t think he believes it was something Paul was often directly commanding the Jews/Gentiles to do so much as something… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan, If the question of how Gentiles and Jews could be together as Christians was “one of the most pressing issues in the church of that day”, I find it virtually impossible to believe that Paul would not have addressed it directly on at least one occasion and, likely, multiple occasions. After all, Paul is the one who rebuked (Gal. 2:11) the Apostle Peter to his face, and who wrote (1 Cor. 5:5) to “deliver such a one [the unrepentant adulterer] to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, ….” That does not sound like a man who would avoid… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

But that was literally the exact issue that he directly rebuked Peter on, as well as an issue he brought up repeatedly in the examples that I gave. If you see its focus in Acts 10-15 and repeat reminders throughout the rest of Acts,see how astoundingly important this was to the church, I believe this was very much a “fish in the water” issue. The only reason it was not directly said more often was because it was already the clear subtext when they are speaking of their divisions. Every time Paul mentions “Jew and Greek”, he is not just… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan, “But that was literally the exact issue that he directly rebuked Peter on, as well as an issue he brought up repeatedly in the examples that I gave.” You’re right that I somehow missed that the rebuke of Peter was directly related to this issue. However, I still do not that it is the “focus in Acts 10-15 ….”, “the clear subtext”, or the “central presenting issue”. I think Paul would have addressed it far more often and more directly rather than presuming it would be understood indirectly. For what it’s worth, the implication that infant baptism is a… Read more »

Jonathan
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Jonathan

For what it’s worth, the implication that infant baptism is a “peripheral theological debate” leads me to question your theological perspective even further. As I weigh the Biblical witness much much heavier than the later denominational battlefields, the issues that are most important to me are often at odds with those that certain American churches seem to fight and split over. Does Pastor Wilson not allow pastors on both sides of the issue within his fold? Personally, I have not been able to look at a person’s Christian walk and witness and been able to discern which stage of life… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan,

“Does Pastor Wilson not allow pastors on both sides of the issue within his fold?”

I don’t know. I am a follower of Christ, not Doug Wilson who I consider to be mistaken in some regards. I know that many, likely most, Christians consider baptism to be of little consequence and thus have no concern as to when it occurs. Does our salvation hang on the issue? I would base my answer on Scripture, not my perception of the Spirit’s influence in others’ lives.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

It is my understanding that Pastor Wilson helped create a new denomination specifically so they could include both paedobaptist pastors and credobaptist pastors within the fold. It’s not a debate that receives much attention in Scripture (or for the first 150 years of church history). I am not trying to imply that you have to follow Pastor Wilson’s conclusions on this issue. But if you’re going to claim that placing infant baptism on the periphery as “things which the body can agree to disagree about” should be quite grounds for questioning my theological perspective, I can point out that the… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan, ” grounds for questioning my theological perspective, I can point out that the host you come here to read ….” I don’t think there is any kind of Christian baptism that I would accept that Christians should disagree about, but I recognize this is often the case. I seldom bother to argue the topic as it would be almost certainly fruitless. When I know of such disagreement with another, it does, however, impact my perception of their understanding of the Bible. That concept extends to several other topics I consider of great importance to Christianity, and certainly impacts my… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan, N.T. Wright is an Anglican and a scholar. Neither category do I highly regard. In learning about him, it seems that he is an advocate of the New Perspective on Paul. As I understand it, the NPP (as it is called) is primarily about justification and Wright’s multiple books on Paul focus on that. None of the reviews I saw seem to mention the Jewish-Gentile interaction as an area of importance to him. I have no plan to get any of his books to learn more for myself (I’m not that interested). I am surprised that you think “about… Read more »

Jonathan
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Jonathan

N.T. Wright is an Anglican and a scholar. Neither category do I highly regard. I guess that’s your prerogative, I’ll just note that Wright’s thought was quite influential to the Federal Vision that deeply permeates this blog community, and while there is not complete alignment between Federal Vision and New Perspective on Paul they certainly have a lot in common. Pastor Wilson disagrees with N.T. Wright on several important points but also believes he has a great deal to contribute to the church. I am surprised that you think “about everyone agrees” with your statements about the Black community. Certainly… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote:

… I’ll just note that Wright’s thought was quite influential to the Federal Vision that deeply permeates this blog community …

Actually, that was a charge made by opponents of the Federal Vision. I don’t believe any of the original Auburn Avenue speakers credited N. T. Wright as an influence. After the association was made by opponents of the Federal Vision, it created an opportunity to compare and contrast with N.T. Wright, which I think was fruitful.

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan, ” I obviously don’t believe that everyone agrees with all my points, that’s pretty obvious, so I can’t even tell if you have a legit issue with what I said here or are misreading me.” It is clear to me that you believe Black Christians have far more “suffering” than I think they do. Continuing that line of thought would likely lead to you saying I have the malady of White privilege while I think you have drank the Kool-Aid. I am, however, interested to know if your church is heavily involved in this area. I also wonder if… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

It is clear to me that you believe Black Christians have far more “suffering” than I think they do. Continuing that line of thought would likely lead to you saying I have the malady of White privilege while I think you have drank the Kool-Aid. It may be that you’ve missed earlier discussions where I speak of having spent a large part of my adulthood living and serving in the inner-city Black community. If what I’ve seen is due to Kool-Aid then it’s profoundly hallucinogenic. What leads you to your position? I am, however, interested to know if your church… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan,

My experience with Black people is limited, so perhaps ignorance. However, it seems to me that Black culture encourages them to remain and complain, rather than struggle to get out of their position. (I would also make the same general statement for many other groups including poor “white trash”.)

What is “our work”?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I would disagree with what you say about culture (getting out of the hood is a dream for a lot of people, though with the circumstances they face a lot of them just lose hope at a fairly early age, for good reason). But let’s pretend it was true for a second. Let’s pretend that everything I’ve been saying on this subject for the last month is false and they could get out if they just tried, but it’s just a culture issue. Would that not still be a crappy situation to be in? Can you not still feel compassion… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan, I think I have a little compassion, but it is tempered with the notion that God expects individuals to do their part in improving their situation. You seem to think this is unrealistic. Even when you “pretend .. they could get out if they just tried”, you still refer to them being “stuck in such a culture”. If they can get out, then they are not stuck there but are there by choice, whether they know it or not. I do not expect culture to change for the better. The entirety of the US culture is going downhill. ”… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The discussion about ability to change the situation doesn’t really work in the abstract without the specific evidence. That was already given in great detail in the previous two weeks – while an extraordinary individual can potentially rise up in the economy, if you have two communities largely segregated from each other, and one of those communities has no ownership, no wealth, poor schools, and lacks social connections to wealth, then the simple fact is that our economic system makes it more likely that they will lose ground than gain it. They are on the wrong end of loans, the… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan, I understand why you would suppose that I meant the “Black community is leading the rest of the church into hell”. But I am disappointed. You may think that my disagreement with much of what you believe about Blacks, both Christian and otherwise, is full-blown bigotry. I don’t think that is accurate. Note that you had already equated the Black Christians with being sick and the rest of the Church as healthy. I did not propose such a thing (and I have strong suspicion that many Black Christians would be disturbed by your description). I think I have already… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Note that you had already equated the Black Christians with being sick and the rest of the Church as healthy. I did not propose such a thing (and I have strong suspicion that many Black Christians would be disturbed by your description). OKR, that wasn’t my description, I had said, “pretend it was true for a second” in referring explicitly to your statement: My experience with Black people is limited, so perhaps ignorance. However, it seems to me that Black culture encourages them to remain and complain, rather than struggle to get out of their position. (I would also make… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

OKR, I believe you’re in New Zealand, right? You’re correct. And besides blatant reverse racism in the workplace and academia, the victim mindset is largely behind stuff like this–which happens all over the U.S.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6571967/Shocking-footage-shows-teenage-girls-starting-violent-brawl-McDonalds.html#comments

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Interesting observation, what information did you use to determine the “mindset” of the girls involved?

JP Stewart
Member

Living in a part of the country where I’ve seen and read (in the back pages) about such things dozens of times…and hearing the rationale and excuses.

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan, Based on my own personal experience with Blacks, accounts by others, and the specifics in the article, I would say the girls’ mindset was that they have the right to do whatever they want and it’s no one else’s business. I believe that perspective is partially due to a belief that they have been and still are victimized, so they are entitled (as in the McDonalds ads where “You Deserve …”) to disobey the rules, including physical violence, as a form of reparations. I will say that their perceived entitlement is not limited to Blacks, but includes most of… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yes, I suspected that was probably the triggering information. Oddly, I’ve lived and worked in Black communities for about half my adult life and have never witnessed such a trend. Entitlement and obnoxious behavior are pretty well-distributed across society no matter what the race or “victim” status. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2798744/new-hampshire-pumpkin-festival-turns-riot-police-tear-gas-unruly-crowd.html Pretty easy to remember entitled, aggressive or violent behavior coming from a lot of other quarters recently. The Montana congressman who beat a reporter merely for asking a question. The Manhattan lawyer who goes around ranting and threatening people he doesn’t like, The frequent violence at Trump rallies before the election. George… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

“frequent violence at Trump rallies before the election”

Dozens if not hundreds of assaults and vandalism episodes by Antifa yet Jonathan focuses on a few isolated incidents at Trump rallies. Just a few that made major headlines:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/08/28/black-clad-antifa-attack-right-wing-demonstrators-in-berkeley/?utm_term=.d47f75faeef4
https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/8/12/17681986/antifa-leftist-violence-clashes-protests-charlottesville-dc-unite-the-right
https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/8/12/17681986/antifa-leftist-violence-clashes-protests-charlottesville-dc-unite-the-right
https://www.newsweek.com/antifa-violence-portland-bernie-sanders-video-1082072

Their victims have included women and elderly Trump supporters, but maybe we can assume they’re all violent and deserve beatings.

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan, ‘Oddly, I’ve lived and worked in Black communities for about half my adult life and have never witnessed such a trend. Entitlement and obnoxious behavior are pretty well-distributed across society no matter what the race or “victim” status.’ Yes, it is odd if you have never witnessed this behavior in Blacks. Perhaps you have interpreted it differently than others do. We all live according to our presumptions. If someone’s every interaction with Blacks has fit a pattern of entitled behavior and, as a result, they consider this to be true of all Blacks, is that bigotry or is it… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

If someone’s every interaction with Blacks has fit a pattern of entitled behavior and, as a result, they consider this to be true of all Blacks,

Is that a hypothetical, or are you stating that your every interaction with Black persons has actually “fit a pattern of entitled behavior”?

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan,

Hypothetical, but presumably you understand that if you accept that, then you might recognize that one’s perception is impacted far more by personal experience than by the average behavior.

For what it’s worth, I have had numerous personal experiences, both directly and indirectly, where I have seen Blacks behave poorly. It definitely influences my perception.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

And I’ve had numerous personal experiences where I’ve seen White people behave poorly. I’m pretty sure we all have. Watch the news and the televangelist programs and listen to some gossip and you’ll get lots of examples of pastors and other religious leaders behaving poorly. And probably the biggest group is men, you wouldn’t imagine how many times I’ve seen men behaving poorly. But can you imagine it being fruitful I began making assumptions about all White people, or Christian leaders, or men, based on some collected group of my own subjective experiences? Rather than giving them the benefit of… Read more »

Armin
Guest
Armin

Jonathan, The problem with racial egalitarianism (aside from it being objectively false) is that it breeds resentment. So often, when white conservatives complain about black dysfunction, they attribute it to something like a lack of will or refusal to take responsibility. At the heart of such statements is the assumption that blacks are just as capable of functioning and flourishing in Western Civilization as whites. Thus, white conservatives find themselves perpetually frustrated by the bad behavior of blacks, which can very easily morph into bitterness and “racism.” If instead, whites would just accept the fact that blacks are less intelligent,… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

I would rather learn to accept the fact that white supremacists are going to do their thing regardless of how often anyone points out the fallacies in their arguments and the defects in their characters. At that point I could lower my expectations and not be frustrated by moral failure.

JP Stewart
Member

” would rather learn to accept the fact that white supremacists are going to do their thing regardless of how often anyone points out the fallacies in their arguments and the defects in their characters.”

The same goes for SJW trolls. Let’s be fair here…

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I don’t think that Arwin is trolling, nor anyone else in this thread at least.

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan,

I agree that it happens with many groups. So, why do you complain that I point it out in the Black “community”, the area of specific discussion here? If you want this discussion to be non-racial then quit talking about Blacks. Focusing on Blacks is favoritism, another behavior Christians are taught to avoid.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Paul and others in Acts focused on ethnic groups as necessary (Hebrews, Hellenists, Jews, Greeks, etc.). It’s not sinful to note a difficulty faced by a marginalized group and work to address it. Probably the reason it seems off-base for you to point out these particular character defects you claim are pervasive in the Black community is because it seems sketchy to claim to know the internal mind states of people you don’t even know due to their racial affiliation. Especially when you suggest that you don’t even know other people of their racial affiliation particularly well either. On top… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

“it seems sketchy to claim to know the internal mind states of people you don’t even know due to their racial affiliation.”

So you’re going to repent of mindless attacks on DW’s father and assumptions about his motives, odd rants against “White Southern Christians” during the Roy Moore election, etc.? That would be a nice start.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

When did I claim to know any of their internal mind states or make assumptions about DW’s father’s motives?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

And, I need to emphasize again, you started that thread of the conversation by attacking Coates’s father for no apparent reason and calling him a “Black Supremacist” with giving the slightest evidence. I showed you how misguided an attack that was, and your response is to try to tar me as having done the very thing you were already explicitly doing?

Not only did I not do what you accuse me of, but you had openly already done it yourself, so the hypocrisy was profound.

JP Stewart
Member

1) SJWs always lie
2) SJWs always project
3) SJWs always double down

The hypocrisy is all yours. Coates father was a Black Panther who founded Black Classic Press. I mentioned that he published radical books. Among the authors he published was Yosef Ben-Jochannan, who wrote gems like “The Myth of Exodus and Genesis and the Exclusion of Their African Origins” and “We the Black Jews.” He donated his library to the Nation of Islam. You’ve associated people with white supremacy with MUCH less evidence.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

So which is it? Can you make accusations about people’s internal mind states based on their associations or not? You’re simultaneously making an accusation about his internal mind state, and then getting mad at me who DIDN’T do such a thing. Not only did you falsely accuse me but then you proved to be guilty of the same thing! Was Coates’s father “associated” with Black Supremacists, or was he a Black Supremacist? A publisher is responsible for every book they publish, but claiming they agree with every book they publish would obviously be ridiculous. If Coates’s father isn’t himself a… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan, I rather think it’s impossible to know the internal mind state of anyone. However, we can look at their behavior and learn about them. If you remember my anecdote about my visit to a Black church, their behavior was telling and I can think of no good reason for it to be considered acceptable for Christians. (By the way, I had a very similar experience with a White church I visited one time, too. I think their behavior was even more inexcusable, because there was not a skin color issue.) “it’s a tired old trope that gets invariably tossed… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You see there were two interactions where the same thing happened, and in the Black case you assumed it was a skin color issue, while in the White case you did not? That’s the sort of selectivity bias we can play with and end up running with almost any conclusion. For all you know it was an urban issue in both cases (churches in densely populated areas are much more likely to have strangers come and go and so become less proactive in welcoming every one that walks in) or any number of other reasons. You didn’t have to assume… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan, “…in the Black case you assumed it was a skin color issue, while in the White case you did not?” I am going to lecture you here. You make too many assumptions. I am sick and tired of you doing that. As far as I am concerned, you commonly exhibit reverse discrimination of sorts – the sort where you are biased against caucasians, your own “selectivity bias”. You know, the kind where we can “end up running with almost any conclusion”. You also seem to think your own experience is much more significant than that of others. I am… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan,

No denial or counter? I’m surprised. But that’s okay. I certainly did not expect acknowledgement, much less an apology.

JP Stewart
Member

OKR: it’s simple. One side is allowed to make generous assumptions and “make accusations about people’s internal mind states.” The other isn’t. It’s the “Vision of the Annointed” as Thomas Sowell would say. Ironically, Sowell is a black man with a much better grip on reality and race than Jonathan.

JP Stewart
Member

This ridiculous witch hunt (caused by a slip of the tongue) is a product of the Orwellian race machine:
https://www.facebook.com/JeremyKappellWX/videos/vb.182761101767247/2130436600348698/?type=2&theater

Sadly, quite a few Christians are cheerleaders, as they put down their Bibles to learn about “systemic racism,” “unconscious bias” and other drivel. I wouldn’t be surprised if this stuff is taught at the MLK/LGBTQ conference mentioned in DW’s latest post (“Yellow Vest Presbyterians”).

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You claimed someone was a racist with no evidence of it, then attacked me for supposedly having done the exact thing you did, except that I had never called anyone a racist at all.

I don’t even believe that you think you have an argument here. It was the most obvious hypocrisy.

OKRickety
Member

JP,

Many, in spite of the best of intentions, are confused and mistaken for various reasons.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I’m sorry, I didn’t know what you wish me to say to that. You’ve already poisoned the well towards any meaningful discussion – it’s clear that you think that your isolated experiences and anecdotal articles hold more weight, and that nothing I can say will impact that. I believe you said you lived in New Zealand for 10 years. Some of my closest friends are from New Zealand, and a number of colleagues that I’ve worked with. I’ve read a little bit about it, watched one documentary set there. Despite those experiences, I would never dream of imagining that I… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan,

I agree that the well is already poisoned and thus meaningful discussion is unlikely. I wish you success in your efforts to help the poor, oppressed, etc.

Jill Smith
Member

Hi OKR, I think it’s lousy when Christians of any kind are unwelcoming to strangers in church. But it is standard among large branches of Christendom. You could go to the same large urban Catholic church for years without anyone ever speaking to you except at the exchange of the peace. I spent months at an Anglican church before somebody noticed me and asked my name. If you visited my parish church which is at least 80% Hispanic, you would think the people were being unfriendly–even the fluent English speakers. And, yes, they are unfriendly. Not because they’re Hispanic but… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Haha – When I’d only been a Christian for a year or so a friend of mine asked if I would help him teach a 6th-grade Sunday School in his Catholic Church. So I did that for an entire summer, and attended the church as well. I legit went there at least 7-8 times and never once spoke to anyone the entire time, and I’m pretty sure not a single adult in the church knew that I was teaching their Sunday School. It was a very large, suburban church, perhaps slightly majority White but extremely diverse. I think they were… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

Jonathan, in huge parish churches, it can’t be helped. My parish church has 15,000 registered members and runs Sunday masses on the hour between 7 AM and 1 PM. Even then, it would be a nightmare for the priest if most of us regularly showed up. Clearly, it would be impossible for the church to encourage anyone to visit in the vestibule or hand around chatting on the front lawn. And coffee and doughnuts are out of the question! But getting in and out quickly still tends to rule the day. My friend’s priest in an affluent parish got reported… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yeah, similar to my home church of many years. In my experience it’s a big negative of large congregations.

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan said: “But when I’ve attended “mainstream” Catholic churches in the same countries, I see the same lack of engagement in the church body. There’s a lesson there somewhere.”

Yes, there is a lesson there. And it’s also true in many other scenarios.

OKRickety
Member

Jill,

Yes, it is lousy when Christians are unwelcoming to strangers in church. Regardless of skin color or anything else.

OKRickety
Member

JP,

I’m not in New Zealand but I did live there for ten years (until 1985).

Edit: But that video reminds of this crime by teenage girls in New Zealand. Quite heinous in my opinion.

JP Stewart
Member

“I also wonder if your time and energy would be far better used in your local environment rather than here on this blog.”

As the kids say, “Boom!!!”

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

RE: Protectionism

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFMcq0Vzsb4

This discussion is the principle point of disagreement between the global free trade marketeers and the populist leaning nationalistic rust belt voters (my people). It is Carlson’s position that makes so many of my church-going Jesus-loving brothers support Trump and oppose the Repubs.

Pastor Wilson, I would suggest you watch the whole broadcast to see the thinking of the rust belt folk more clearly.

Nathan James
Member

My first thought was “do you know how much truck drivers hate driving trucks?” A lot, by the way.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

They hate driving trucks far less than they hate being unemployed, taking government handouts, and not providing for their quick destructing family.

Nathan James
Member

Sure, but it is a detested job. If you’re going to divorce jobs from actual productivity, why not invent a nicer job? It’s interesting how Carlson mentions he might lie about the reason for prohibiting automated trucks. But even if you admit what you are doing, it is still mostly a lie. Preserving truck driving jobs by the arbitrary exercise of government power makes it a hidden government handout. It would allow the truly unneeded truck driver to pretend he is earning money for his family, when what he actually doing is wasting his time and living off of the… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Nathan James wrote: Sure, but it is a detested job. If you’re going to divorce jobs from actual productivity, why not invent a nicer job? It’s interesting how Carlson mentions he might lie about the reason for prohibiting automated trucks. But even if you admit what you are doing, it is still mostly a lie. Preserving truck driving jobs by the arbitrary exercise of government power makes it a hidden government handout. It would allow the truly unneeded truck driver to pretend he is earning money for his family, when what he actually doing is wasting his time and living… Read more »

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Nathan James, “Maybe the economics are really as critical as many fear, that is, people will be brought to objective, rather than relative poverty, as they try to maintain their families under changing circumstances. That would be a real crisis, but it looks to me like we are a long way from that.” Long way? How many families have to be broken apart and how many communities have to die before you admit there is a real problem. Like Tucker said, a healthy country doesn’t elect Donald Trump. It isn’t even that they will be brought to abject poverty as… Read more »

Jill Smith
Guest
Jill Smith

BJ, have you read David French’s rebuttal at National Review? https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/the-right-should-reject-tucker-carlsons-victimhood-populism/. French writes, “The problem with populism — and indeed with much of American politics — is that it focuses on the political at the expense of the personal. As I’ve argued many times, there are wounds that public policy can’t heal. But populism too often pretends otherwise. It tells a fundamentally false story about Americans as victims of a heartless elite and their “worship” of market economics rather than the true story of America as a flawed society that still grants its citizens access to tremendous opportunity.” And he… Read more »

Katecho
Member

If my hometown was dominated by one big widget factory, I should not have to be a genius to consider that a day may come when the market for those widgets will be disrupted, potentially collapsing the entire community. Such towns may be accustomed to protectionist lawmaking to preserve them, but that is simply the way of folly. Why is protectionist lawmaking a substitute for better long term planning and diversification? It’s not a failure of free markets that they don’t protect people from putting all of their eggs in one basket. A basic advantage of a free market is… Read more »

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Katecho, “If my hometown was dominated by one big widget factory, I should not have to be a genius to consider that a day may come when the market for those widgets will be disrupted, potentially collapsing the entire community.” The people I am worried have have precisely zero control over whether there is diversification of industry. This is why I joined the military and left. It was my only way out. Neither are most of these people even aware of the fact that this is a problem. They simply need to pay the bills and feed the kids. We… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Though I disagree with some of your means to address it, I certainly agree with your diagnosis of reality in this comment.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Jonathan, This is why I was saying in our previous discussion about race that you and I would likely agree more if we addressed class issues and ceased looking at it through a racial lens. I taught high school in Norfolk, VA for six years and the similarities in attitude between certain poor, uneducated, urban blacks and poor, uneducated rural whites is pretty close. I think the solutions are cultural and emerge from the local community, not political, but I do think the politics and laws we have make it very difficult for the cultural to overcome, if indeed they… Read more »

Katecho
Member

BJ wrote: Neither are most of these people even aware of the fact that this is a problem. They simply need to pay the bills and feed the kids. We can either care about them, or we can throw them to the Darwinian dogs and say the weak need not survive. Actually, I had said: This accountability-producing freedom doesn’t mean there will never be any economic shocks or disasters, but when those shocks and disasters come, God has given other institutions to deliver relief. Institutions which are not driven by market competition. One doesn’t have to be Darwinian to recognize… Read more »

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Katecho, Thanks for the thoughtful reply. “So taking BJ’s concerns into account, I believe that a free market promotes the greatest economic maturity and accountability and justice in the people, considered as individuals, or in their various organic and federal relationships.” I, too, believe this. Here is where I would differ: “Should the consequences of a father’s or employer’s folly be artificially directed, as a matter of political and economic justice, onto another family, or another company, or another community that was acting wisely?” Actually, I do, to a certain degree. This is where I diverge from libertarian economics. I… Read more »

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Jill, Short on time til tomorrow, but here is the short list: 1) Trade agreements that explicitly favor American production and workers. We are the big dog in town so that should be easy. 2) Tax capital at the same rate as labor. 3) Strengthen unions (private sector only, public sector unions twist the incentive balance), so that the cooperation between labor and management, because a team affair and not a David versus Goliath situation. 4) Stop illegal immigration and implement a five year moratorium on legal immigration with a six month notice to finalize the current applicants. This allows… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

But do you really think it is as simple as the elites vs “the rest of the country”?

Most of the country is neither elite nor rust belt labor. Why should the interests, actual or perceived, of the latter be privileged over everyone else’s?

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

The elites should care about the rest of the country, because they are in a position of privilege. To whom much is given, much is required.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

BJ, that doesn’t come close to answering my question. I wasn’t asking whether or why the elites should care about the rest of the country. Do *you* care about the rest of the country, or just the wage labor folk in declining industrial towns?

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

JohnM, Of course I care about everyone, not just Rust Belt labor. I use them as the example now, because they are the ones being crushed. I think as a country we should think about what is best for the whole health of the nation. Right now, I don’t see our elites (specifically political elites, business elites, and cultural elites) caring one bit about the plight of the rural white poor. Incidentally, I don’t think they largely care about the plight of the urban black and hispanic poor, either, even if they do talk about it all the time. It… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

yep

Jill Smith
Member

BJ, I think that the apparent callousness of the coastal elites results from a couple of factors. One is the difficulty people have in recognizing and sympathizing with suffering they don’t see for themselves. Urban elites are much more attuned to the plight of urban Hispanics and blacks because even rich Angelenos occasionally go downtown. The second is a weird sort of racial/ethnic bias. No well-meaning coastal elite would ever say of struggling blacks and Hispanics: “Well, if the chicken processing plant closed down, why can’t they learn to code instead? Why can’t they ask their parents to float them… Read more »

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

I don’t remember the Bobby Kennedy thing at all, but JFK was a mini god among my parents and their siblings. Among my grandparents and their siblings it was FDR. It seemed to me that, alongside three initialed Presidents, they loved themselves some Democrats.

What is so weird is that they hate most Democrats now. They love Trump and the only Democrat they would even consider now is Biden. He speaks their language.

Politics is a strange animal, for sure.

demosthenes1d
Member

We are of similar Appalachian/borderlander stock. My grandparents on both sides were complete yellow-dog democrats. They couldn’t imagine voting against FDRs party. My generation, on both sides, has largely had good mobility and have diverse politics (some nose holders, but 0 Trump faithful).

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

When I traced my family history I found the oddest thing – all of my confederate ancestors (Texas via Mexico, Missouri and Kentucky, originally from England/Scotland/Ireland) eventually migrated to California and are now the relatively “liberal” side of the family, all of my Union ancestors (Indiana via Pennsylvania, originally from Germany/Sweden) migrated to West Virginia and Missouri and are now the “conservative” side of the family.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

I’m not sure exactly who you define as “the elites”, but I don’t think all the virtue signalers care about the plight of urban black and hispanic poor either. You know who else doesn’t care? White rust belt labor doesn’t care. Actually it would be an improvement if they were merely indifferent toward blacks and hispanics. Anyway, does not the possibility occur to you that what is good for most ordinary not-elite Americans might not line up with the specific policies you think would benefit rust belt labor?

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

I just said the elites ( by which I mean the politically connected, the wealthy business and land owners, and the cultural icons) don’t actually care about the black and Hispanic poor despite their virtue signalling.

I don’t really understand your point. Are you suggesting that it is an either/or with ordinary Americans and the Rust Belt labor? I don’t agree that is the case.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Not entirely either/or, as some of the policies you expect would help Rust Belt labor might as easily take away from them along with other Americans, even as it gives something to them…but not to other Americans. But yes, some of the things you believe have done more harm than good for the old industrial working class have done good for a lot of other people who are by no stretch elite. Some of what you would implement to the benefit of what you consider “my people” goes against the best interests of other ordinary Americans outside of that circle.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

JohnM,

I am not sure I agree. Would you care to be specific? If that were the case, it would be my criticism in reverse.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

BJ, Let’s look at your short list. I thought you might get around to a long list. 1) Trade agreements that explicitly favor American production and workers. We are the big dog in town so that should be easy. 2) Tax capital at the same rate as labor. 3) Strengthen unions (private sector only, public sector unions twist the incentive balance), so that the cooperation between labor and management, because a team affair and not a David versus Goliath situation. 4) Stop illegal immigration and implement a five year moratorium on legal immigration with a six month notice to finalize… Read more »

Katecho
Member

BJ wrote:

I remember reading in high school about Englishmen lecturing the Irish about their laziness and lack of understanding of capitalism and the need to diversify while the potato famine nearly wiped out an entire population.

I would just point out that artificially propping up the potato industry in Ireland would not have helped anyone to learn the dangers of dependency on a single crop. The famine would still have happened in spite of any government protectionism of the potato industry.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Katecho,

“I would just point out that artificially propping up the potato industry in Ireland would not have helped anyone to learn the dangers of dependency on a single crop.”

And what better way to them lazy Irish their lesson than to let half the population starve. That’ll teach them to diversify.

Jill Smith
Member

Especially since English landowners owned the Irish fields and demanded potatoes crops as rent. The English knew to diversify their own crops; they didn’t give a toss what the peasants they seldom visited did as long as the rents were paid. Everything was left in the hands of rapacious and venal middlemen.

As so famously noted at the time, “The Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the Famine.”

Katecho
Member

BJ wrote:

And what better way to them lazy Irish their lesson than to let half the population starve. That’ll teach them to diversify.

I said nothing about the Irish being lazy, or about letting anyone starve. Nor did I suggest that starvation is the only, or best, way to learn an economic lesson, but it certainly can be one way to learn it.

The observation remains though. Government protectionism of the potato industry simply would not have spared Ireland from their potato famine.

demosthenes1d
Member

BJ, Indeed, the potato famine is far more instructive than Katecho seems to realize. His response shows not only a lack of compassion, but a complete lack of historical knowledge. During the potato famine Ireland prodced many crops and raised livestock, potatos were the cheapest staple crop so they were generally the only thing the laboring class could afford. The land holding oligarchs were simply allowing efficent free markets determine the value of their production so they sold millions of bushels of grain, thousands of cattle and horses, million gallons of beer and spirits (made from grain) etc. To England… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I’ve been made aware of a similar situation in Guatemala, where large numbers of people are severely malnourished in a country with very strong agricultural exports. However, an enormous proportion of the land has been accumulated by the rich in order to put towards beef production for the sake of the wealthy and fruit and biofuel production for export. The majority of Guatemalans who practiced sustenance agriculture for generations no longer have enough land to support themselves, nor can they afford the elevated prices for staples on the market. Sister Dorothy Stang was the friend of a close friend of… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Pull that 1500 number – I had conflated multiple numbers together. Over 1500 people total have been documented as killed for trying to protect Brazilian rainforest and tribal peoples from loggers and ranchers. The actual tally is likely much higher but not 1500/year.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Demo/Katecho, Thanks for the replies. The English commonly labeled the Irish as lazy (though I have to confess Katecho did not, despite my insinuation, otherwise. Apologies!). That stuck with me as a teenager, because one of the psychological reactions folk in my part of the world have is that we work and are poor and they are lazy yet rich. Neither are exactly accurate, but given that to be the case, my sympathies were with the Irish. I was close to enough to farm work to know it had nothing to do with laziness and it was height of arrogance… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I have a lot of sympathy with both sides of the argument here. Some of my positions: 1) I see no issue in hoping for a world in which people no longer have to do hateful drudgery in order to support their families. The industrial age vastly increased the number of jobs that were mentally and physically degrading with little redeeming value, humans stuck in factories or sweatshops or vehicles for 8-15 hours at a time behaving as little more than cogs in a machine. Now the technological age is beginning to eliminate such jobs. It makes perfect sense to… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

Jonathan said, “How do you direct the fruit of all this labor-saving technology which produces enormous amounts of money flowing through society into those fulfilling jobs that we actually need people to do?” The fruit is directed by the people. That is, the combined economic productivity of the community is directed towards the ends thought best by the people that make up that community. If we are directing our efforts to what does not ultimately profit, if we have heaped plastic toys and flat screen TVs to our own hurt, if we find that we have ignored what matters most,… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

Nathan, I don’t completely disagree with you, but there are some facets to consider here: 1) What economists call revealed preferences are very often no what lead to the human flourishing. There are a number of things that cause poorly chosen preferences: lack of information, biological processes, poor moral formation, low intelligence, cultural processes that havent adapted to a changing economic and technological marketplace, etc. More individual autonomy is not going to fix these things. There are also a number of situations where everyone ia behaving perfectly rationally and yet the outcome is substandard. The bad Nash equillibria can be… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

demo,

Thank you for providing my word for the day: anomie or anomy – lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group.

I don’t recall usage of that word ever.

demosthenes1d
Member

Hey OKR, Anomie is from Emile Durkheim. I think the late 19th century (and some early 20th) sociologists, philosophers and theologians were able to see some of the effect of the modern industrial corporate economic model and the societies that it supports better than we can, because they saw the status quo ante. They werent so far into the transition. For instance I think Nietzsche gets the effects of killing the sacred better than anyone. https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/mod/nietzsche-madman.asp That is part of why Chesterton is so good on this stuff, he knew what it was like before.”Ten thousand women marched through the… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

demo,

“There is much more to be said, but this is long already.”

Thank you. Can you teach others here to accept that philosophy? :)

JP Stewart
Member

OKR: Amen and amen!

Nathan James
Member

Demo, your first point is virtually the same as what I said. You said revealed preferences may be no good, I said they are no good. We agree. In your second point you indicated that trade with distant lands short circuits the fact that the combined preferences of the productive community create the market. Nothing of the sort. Each productive person\household still directs the fruit of their own economic activity. If the Chinese sell us flip flops, it’s because we buy them. What should we labor for? To meet the needs of our families and have some extra to give… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

There’s two issues conflated there (not your fault, I’m the one who did it), so I’ll try to separate them. First off, you’re right. Consumers have a lot of power, and they’re failing to use it well. That is absolutely, 100% correct. So when I point out the culpability of the profiteers, I’m only pointing out additional culpability, not replacement culpability. But there is certainly additional culpability by the profiteers that goes far beyond what people demand. No one was demanding engagement diamonds before DeBeers artificially created the diamond market. No one was demanding that they drink their water out… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan,

I rather suspect that comments like this one and the one about corporations, advertising, and consumers are significant factors in other commenters here questioning or disbelieving that your primary reason for commenting on other topics, for example discrimination against Blacks, is your Christian beliefs and not some other viewpoint such as socialism, progressivism, Marxism, social justice, etc.

demosthenes1d
Member

OKR,

I don’t see what link being anti-advertising and suspicious of corporations has with socialism. progressivism, marxism, or social justice. Some of the best critiques of the economizing of everything are from people like GK Chesterton, Russell Kirk, the Southern Agrarians, etc. Mainstream “conservatives” in America are liberals (in the fundamental sense – this isn’t a playground taunt) but there is a long and rich Christian conservative tradition of skepticism about the power of markets and the way they boil human relations down to fungible, commensurate ledger records and transactions.

OKRickety
Member

demo,

My initial response (and I suspect I am not alone) to those ideas is that they are a product of popular thought today, especially the degreed younger population. I am unaware of the “rich Christian conservative tradition” you mention, and I doubt it has significantly influenced leaders like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

demosthenes1d
Member

OKR, Frankly I see very little opposition to corporations, advertising, and commodification from the left today. Sure they have their boogeymen like Exxon, coal majors, Monsanto (RIP), etc. But very little real opposition to the system as a whole, just a desire to capture more of it for their interests. You may be underselling Jonathan’s formation in this area, but I won’t speak for him. If you are interested in tapping into this “rich tradition” I can suggest some reading. For a 10,000 foot look from an American-centric perspective this review of Peter Kolozi’s recent book is useful: https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2018/08/conservative-critiques-of-capitalism/ For… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

OKR, I was esposing these views (sometimes even on here!) long before I knew who Bernie Sanders or AOC were. Demosthenes has dropped some good names, I am a reader of Chesterton and the Southern Agrarians, as well as other Christian thinkers speaking out against materialism such as Tom Sine, Richard Foster, Christine Pohl, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Richard B. Hays and Kent Annan. I especially put a lot of stock into the early Church fathers, especially Basil the Great and John Chrysostom, both of whom I’ve been reading for 15+ years. Hernando de Soto is famous for his study on the… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

Jonathan, have you done anything with Catholic Worker?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

No. I’ve never been in any position to be close to a Catholic Worker community so I’ve never seen one firsthand. I do however have a friend who leads a Catholic Worker community in a country I’ve never been too. My impression of them is that they are a diverse and eclectic group, probably can’t be pigeonholed into one category except to say that I’d probably find a lot of theological disagreements with many of them but find their heart, soul, and lives in exactly the right place. I was had a reader that had within it some Dorothy Day… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

Agreed, that there is much un-neighborly manipulation going on. And worse than that there is outright corruption in the tax code, economic regulations, and monetary manipulation that goes on as a matter of course.

None of that justifies forbidding automation. There is lots to bed upset about, but that emotion needs a righteous outlet. Banning tools used for honest work is not a righteous outlet.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

there is outright corruption in the tax code, economic regulations, and monetary manipulation that goes on as a matter of course.

Yes, yes, and yes.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The other half of the issue is jobs that actually will satisfy. We all agree that taking care of elderly parents is noble. But who will pay us to take care of our own parents? Depending on their needs, some people can afford to have a spouse drop their job and do that as a full-time job. And some can’t. So what do they do? And then there are the elderly who have no children to take care of them, or children who have abandoned their responsibilities. There are probably people who would step in as surrogate children, who would… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

We should be careful not to paint a picture of the world that would force us to say that 90% of humanity has lived meaningless lives because they engaged in menial labor. Nor is labor meaningless because it’s industrialized or specialized. All honorable work done well should be understood to be meaningful. It is certainly not the case that driving a tractor is less meaningful than guiding a plow horse or hoeing a garden. I can’t fathom why you would ask who will pay us to care for our families. That’s the work set before us, that is our work.… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Nathan James said: “I can’t fathom why you would ask who will pay us to care for our families.”

Jonathan asked the question “Who will pay …” repeatedly in his comment. I presume it reflects his view on many such issues, one where it seems it is not the individual’s responsibility but that of others, whoever they may be.

Jane
Member

Sticking up for Jonathan here, perhaps unusually, I think his point is that if caring parents becomes a full time job, we will still need some sort of income to survive. If someone is not “paying” us to do that, how will we live?

I think there are answers for that other than expecting someone to “pay” you, but I think that, not a sense that we have a duty to care for our families only if we are “paid,” is what is behind that question.

demosthenes1d
Member

Jane, I think the construction of “who pays” is unfortunate, but the point stands that economic/social systems can be structured such that all of the incentives are in the direction of performing wage labor and paying others for normal historic familial tasks. That doesnt excuse parents who dont take responsibility for their children’s upbringing or children who don’t care for their parents in their old age, but we can certainly recognize that there are flaws in the system. I am enormously privledged that I am a member of the managerial class (to use Burnham’s term – another non-neoliberal conservative) and… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jane,

Perhaps a tax credit similar to the child care credit.

However, Jonathan also asked the question regarding children having a stay-at-home parent, and smaller class sizes and better teachers (as if more money results in better teachers). In other words, it seems to be a general theme which I presume to reflect his worldview.

Jill Smith
Guest
Jill Smith

I don’t believe that more money results in better teachers in the sense that I would have worked even harder for an extra ten thousand a year. But when teachers’ salaries are set too low, capable and intelligent people will be deterred from becoming teachers. My state like quite a few others requires a master’s degree in the your academic subject (i.e. math, not math for teachers) if you plan to teach at the high school level. Getting credentialed for most people means accumulating a significant amount of student debt. While some states offer excellent teacher salaries, it would make… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

A tax credit would be a meaningful suggestion – Reagan once called the Earned Income Tax Credit the greatest anti-poverty tool he had, and I can see arguments for the expansion of tax credits in multiple directions like the situation Jane named. I’m not sure if that’s the ideal solution (because I don’t have one) but it certainly deserves to be in the mix. So far as better teachers go, I was one of only two people in my graduating class who chose to become a teacher, and I have to believe that was in part because doing so resulted… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: A tax credit would be a meaningful suggestion – Reagan once called the Earned Income Tax Credit the greatest anti-poverty tool he had, and I can see arguments for the expansion of tax credits in multiple directions like the situation Jane named. I suppose very few people (even most Republicans) would turn down a tax credit, under the interpretation that the government is effectively reducing its own tax burden, and curtailing its overweight influence (the principle that smaller government is better). However, a tax credit is not the same as not having been taxed in the first place.… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Nathan, I have not said that 90% of humanity lives meaningless lives because of their work. But I do believe that the corportization of humanity has stolen meaning, just like the secularization and the sexualization of humanity. And when I speak about care for families, I am not speaking from my own situation (it is relatively easy for someone in my position to care for children now and our parents are well accounted for), but out of my awareness of many other situations. I know numerous single parents of the young and single children of the elderly. I know numerous… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

Labor saving devices help single mothers every day. Why slander an economy that has enough legitimate complaints against it? To say only the rich profit is to totally mischaracterize the modern economy. You know what I’m saying is true.

I guess I’d say the first rule for an economic system is do not violate private property. Single mothers don’t get to help themselves to other people’s money, and neither do do-gooders. It is Christian to do good with your own money. It’s a crime to do good with someone else’s money, even if they have lots and lots.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

As was discussed in an earlier post, I’m much more in favor of a Jubilee-like view of property than the current power-dominant and pro-accumulation view. This is a greater elevation of property as well as a qualification on it. We must always remember who the land truly belongs to.

As Demothesnes pointed out a few weeks ago, conservative critiques of the status quo on land rights are numerous.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Also, you seem to be conflating household labor-saving devices with the whole topic of this thread, which is industrial advances which are changing the very nature of work. My point is that when something gets invented that can make it possible to eliminate jobs, it is frequently only benefiting the wealthy person who buys the technology while putting out-of-work the laborer. The housewife probably doesn’t care if she has a vacuum cleaner if her husband doesn’t have a job. To this point in history, that process of the financial fruits of technology being purchased and controlled by the wealthy has… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

Also, you seem to be conflating household labor-saving devices with the whole topic of this thread, which is industrial advances which are changing the very nature of work.”

Not at all! If you think single mothers aren’t benefiting from assembly lines and Mass agriculture you’re economically illiterate.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I think that you should be aware of a much fuller discussion before you make such a rash accusation. There are quite economically literate people who will disagree with that claim you just made, and others who will agree. Think about it this way. The modern computer age could be said to have begun in 1980, when Microsoft bought 86-DOS off of someone else and shipped it to IBM as MS-DOS. In that nearly 40-year stretch, computers have changed the fabric of society in incredible ways. Enormous amounts of labor have been saved. Enormous profits have been made. Patent wars… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

“In that nearly 40-year stretch, computers have changed the fabric of society in incredible ways.”

No, only for the rich. Out here is middle America we haven’t noticed any changes. But there are some good Youtube videos on the differences between 1980 and now.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

That’s a pretty good example of how the rich bought up a technology that would allow them to further commodify everyone’s life. When I was growing up, the vast majority of every day was immune from the reach of profiteers. Now, nearly every waking second of our children’s lives is falling into their grasp. Everyone gets commodified, a select few get wealthy, the rest of us get severe social issues. I remember when they introduced “Channel 1” into our schools during our youth. It was a free 12-minute news broadcast for schoolchildren (I remember it showing me who the six… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan,

Please understand that the phrase should be “make do”, not “make due”. In this case, “make do” is a short way of saying that one will “make” an available option “do” (accomplish) a task.

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: A system in which there is no shortage of money, no shortage of resources, no shortage of land or food or people with time, and yet children of the poor and elderly parents are forced into substandard situations solely because we’ve decided that corporate profiteering should determine how the resources are divided seems to be to be a terribly unoptimal situation. Can Jonathan provide a name for this “system” that “determined how the resources are divided”? Is he referring to our current redistributive, socialist system, or something else? Can Jonathan provide a name for one or two alternate… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

“It isn’t even that they will be brought to abject poverty as much as it destroys the fabric of a community that brings meaning to life.”

What are we talking about here? What destroys the fabric of a community?

Katecho
Member

BJ wrote:

Cheap cars and cheap tvs are a poor substitute for family and meaningful connections to work and community.

While I can empathize with the decline of Portsmouth, banning cheap cars and cheap tvs is also a poor substitute for family and meaningful connections to work and community.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Katecho,

“While I can empathize with the decline of Portsmouth, banning cheap cars and cheap tvs is also a poor substitute for family and meaningful connections to work and community.”

I never suggested banning. I listed my policies in my reply to Jill. I did suggest that holding to economic policies that give us cheap cars and tvs which cost us community and work connections is a very bad trade-off.

Katecho
Member

BJ wrote:

I never suggested banning. I listed my policies in my reply to Jill. I did suggest that holding to economic policies that give us cheap cars and tvs which cost us community and work connections is a very bad trade-off.

The context was what Tucker Carlson had said in his replies to Shapiro, which was a policy of banning disruptive technologies outright. I appreciate BJ’s clarification of his position because it came across that he was endorsing Carlson’s view.

Katecho
Member

BJ wrote: At some point, you have to admit that cheaper plastic toys from China is not worth the trade-off for this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmJEY1CTgKg As Christians, we cannot say that an economic system is our savior, and we cannot rightly say that global free trade and cheaper goods is key to a better life when it costs us some many of our people’s lives. There is no blanket moral prohibition against cheaper plastic toys from China. So why should there be a law banning the market for them? If the argument is that people do not see the long term consequences,… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

Hey BJ,

I have a lot of concerns about the particulars of Carlson’s message, but i am glad these issues are getting more mainstream attention.

You may enjoy this review of Oren Cass’s recent book (which is underlying much of this conversation) by noted reactionary Charles- https://theworthyhouse.com/2018/12/24/book-review-the-once-and-future-worker-a-vision-for-the-renewal-of-work-in-america-oren-cass/

if it piques your interest Cass had a decently long explication of his thesis in The Atlantic recently.

Disclaimer: linking does not imply agreement.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

haha – I might use that disclaimer more often. Last week I was instructed that if I ever produced a link, even if it was merely to provide the cite for a statistic, then it should be assumed that I not only support every word of the link but also anything that author has ever said or that publication has ever published. Also, if I ever use a person’s name to describe a specific policy they favor, it means I also favor every other policy that person has ever advocated. I think there were about 50 extra messages in that… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: I think there were about 50 extra messages in that conversation simply with me trying to say, “No, I didn’t say that”, to no avail. Jonathan casts himself as a beacon of clarity, and a victim of a smear campaign, but he neglects one or two little details. There was that little episode where Jonathan accused Doug and his father of white flight, and of being racist for not integrating when they lived in Maryland. Jonathan was shown Doug Wilson’s statements describing the unfolding of desegregation and integration, and their response to it, but Jonathan flatly ignored all… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Thankfully, the entire conversation is public, and anyone can look back and see it here to see how well Katecho’s retelling of events matches up with reality. In particular, follow the train of who discussing the topic at hand, and who spent all their time on diversions for the sake of personal attack that literally did nothing to advance the subject. Also, follow the downvotes to see where Katecho clearly read the corrections to his statements, but chose not to respond in favor of another diversion:

https://dougwils.com/books-and-culture/s7-engaging-the-culture/the-letters-feature-will-continue-in-2019.html#comments

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

“and of being racist for not integrating when they lived in Maryland. ” That is again false, not only did I never say that but I have already SPECIFICALLY challenged Katecho on the fact that I had never said such a thing, and yet here he repeats again. In fact, when he accused me of saying something similar in the previous instance he even deleted parts of my sentences out of his quote to make it appear that I supported the exact opposite argument of the one I was making. Katecho literally attributed my summary of my opponent’s position to… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan had originally written (emphasis mine): “Wilson’s father was sending his children to Whites-only schools … obviously Wilson’s father can be labeled a “White Supremacist” for being actively involved in segregation, right? … never giving proper credit to his father’s own actions of willingly participating in a White Supremacist movement, right? Jonathan tries to dismiss his own accusations against the Wilsons by claiming they were only an analogy employed by him against the logic of another commenter. However, it’s abundantly clear that Jonathan actually believes everything he wrote against the Wilsons. He calls his accusations “facts”. Independent of his argument… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

For the second time, Katecho has quoted me while purposely deleting the parts of the quote which make it clear that I argued the opposite of what Katecho claims. That has already been covered. I also have already made clear that I don’t believe that being a Black Panther makes one a Black Supremacist or a racist, just like willingly going along with Southern Segregation doesn’t make one a White Supremacist or a racist. Katecho is once again purposely ignoring that I reject both parallels of the OTHER poster’s argument, that my argument was always against guilt by association as… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote:

According to Pastor Wilson’s own words in the other statement you quoted, his father continued sending his kids to the “school for White kids” for at least another decade AFTER the Supreme Court had ruled such unconstitutional. According to Pastor Wilson’s own words, they needed not just the ruling of the Supreme Court but also an additional law forcing the South to accept the ruling before they would stop going along with White Supremacy.

Jonathan is clearly desperate to insist that this comment of his is not an imputation of racism and even “going along with White Supremacy”.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

This is the kind of spear throwing wet noodle we are dealing with.” What place does that statement have in this conversation at all? Jonathan offered multiple citations to an article titled The Case for Reparations, and when confronted about his pattern of sympathies in that general direction, he curiously announced that the author of that article wasn’t trying to make any case for reparations.” That is another falsehood of Katecho. I never said he wasn’t making a case for reparations, I said that he didn’t advocate for any particular method. Several have noticed that Jonathan has a habit of… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

This is my last conversation with you. If you ever which to ask a question or get a conversation going with me, you’re going to have to ask someone else to do it until that point where you can demonstrate that you have the slightest desire to engage with me as a person at all, and not simply as an object of animosity. I believe the solution is to hold Jonathan to commit himself to his rhetoric, get him clearly on record, and remove his avenues for duplicity. The solution to what? Do you even know what you’re proposing a… Read more »

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Demo, “I have a lot of concerns about the particulars of Carlson’s message, but i am glad these issues are getting more mainstream attention.” Same here. I have noticed that I like Tucker Carlson much better when he is speaking in venues other than his show. I know his job requires him to use the rhetorical tactics that field has, but it concerns me sometimes that he goes too far and states things too strongly and without nuance. But when he speaks in other places, I have a hard disagreeing with the substance of his message. And thanks for the… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

BJ, One of tbe big problems i have with Carlson’s monologue and much of the rest of his new populist persona is that he is taking sides in a false dicotomy between the elites causing our problems and personal failures causing them, and he is doing so in a somewhat paranoid/conspiratorial manner. Shapiro, and to some degree French (though less egregiously) take the opposite side of the false dicotomy and say these are purely cultural / individual issues and public policy can’t or shouldn’t be involved. The truth is that the elites have set up a system that very much… Read more »

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Demo, Very astute comment. I would add to that there is a real disconnect between what the cultural elites advocate for and promote through music, movies, and entertainment, and what they practice. The types of family crushing ideas they promote and the decadence they spew for the masses are absolutely soul and family destroying. Yet, they don’t largely live that way. They don’t live in poor communities who feel the brunt of mass immigration. They don’t import labor that they have to compete with. They live relatively traditional lives themselves, and even where they don’t, they have the means to… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

BJ, I completely agree, this has sometimes been called the “traditional values for mine not thine” approach. I would make a distiction, however, between the artists and entertainers (the so called “talent”) and the managerial elite. The talent seem to display the pathologies of lower class americans at high rates, they definitely keep the tabloids busy. Part of that is because entertainment talent is far more meritocratic than most other economic activities, many of the people in the upper echelons grew up far from McMansions, golf courses, or gated communities. Also, there are selection effects for the kind of people… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

Demo, I think that sequence is stated accurately but it shouldn’t be assumed that the gap between Get a Job and Get Married reflects traditional sexual morality. As I’ve noted before, young people–at least in my pretty secular environment–are not told that it’s wise to wait for marriage. They are told by their parents that it’s criminally irresponsible for anyone who can’t afford a child to have sex without reliable birth control. They are taught that it’s wise to use condoms if you can’t verify someone’s HIV status, and that anyone with multiple sex partners should be getting screened for… Read more »

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

Demo, you said: The managerial elite almost all follow what is called the sequence of success 1. Graduate (at least) highschool 2. Get a job 3. Get married 4. Have kids. We see a regular push by people like French and George Will to just follow these steps and poverty will vanish. I don’t think your paraphrase is quite accurate. You left out a few key details. Here’s how Walter E. Williams expressed it: Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

Hey FP, As far as i know the phrase comes from a 2006 sociology paper “what might be called the ‘success’ sequence: Finish high school, or better still, get a college degree; wait until your twenties to marry; and have children after you marry.” It isn’t a well defined thing so different proponents add or modify steps as they wish. The version I used is in a 2017 AEI report and has been used by Will and the NRO crowd. As i said, i am a fan of the sequence, it is utterly banal comon sense wisdom. However, it is… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

As an interesting aside on the sequence, about 80% of women with bachelors make it to 20 years with their first spouse (they are also more likely to get married in the first place) vs. less than 40% of those without a degree. Is that because the education they receive makes them far better wives? Or is it because the kind of people who make it through college are more likely to be the kind of people who can make marriage work – higher conscientiousness, more social capital, came from more stable families, etc.? We have to look at the… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Demo,

A problem I have with populism is is the false dichotomy between elites and everybody else. The category of Everybody Else is much more varied and complex than populism finds convenient.

demosthenes1d
Member

Hey John, This thread is dying. But I thought I would chip in and say that I agree there are several dimensions along which populists fail to take into account the complexity of public policy and the demographics of America. There is a tendency to boil a bunch of associated social, cultural, and economic problems down to a conflict between poorly defined “common man” and an even more poorly defined “elite.” However, populist demagogues and movements tend to arise due to very real problems that are often not being well address by status quo public policy and institutions. I do… Read more »

Lori
Guest
Lori

As a former feminist, I have been following the “consent” issue for a number of years now. Honestly, I do not think it is moving in the direction of legalizing pedophilia. Thus far, “consent” has not been used to make previously illicit sex (and by previously I mean “illicit 15 years ago,” not illicit by biblical standards or even traditional standards) licit. It’s instead been used to make previously licit sex “problematic” or “predatory” if not literally criminal. Now, two drunk college students have sex are not engaged in either a fun, liberating hook-up (as it might have been seen… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

“The end game here is not the legalization of pedophilia. In fact, these “consent” feminists are zealous for locking up 19 year old guys who might sleep with a completely willing 16 year old girlfriend. It is the criminalization (or at least stigmatization) of heterosexuality.”

Lori, is it really that, or is it more specifically the criminalization of men? Either way, perhaps the end result is the same. What becomes of the feminists once they succeed neutering all the civilized toms?

Jill Smith
Guest
Jill Smith

John, some of these laws have actually been around for eons, and it’s only now that we are daily confronted with them. Almost every western jurisdiction has traditionally held that a woman who is drunk or under the influence of drugs can’t consent to sexual intercourse. In my long-ago youth in Canada, I remember occasional cases of a woman’s drunkenness or similar incapacity supporting a rape conviction. Weirdly, back in the 1800s a Canadian was convicted of rape on grounds that no one would believe today. He had told his virginal voice student that a minor technical procedure would increase… Read more »

Lori
Guest
Lori

One important change, I think, is that women used to also be held to standards. Yes, there were laws to protect women’s virtue, but that meant that women were expected to be virtuous. I like to call what’s going on “Victorianism for thee but not for me.” Many feminists seem to want men to have to abide by very narrow sexual standards, while women are not held to any standards at all. And that’s where I think it becomes dangerous. They want to repackage old laws and old standards that were predicated on the idea that both men and women… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Lori,

I don’t know if you’ve been here before, but I am pleased to read these well-written and insightful comments. How in the world did you make such complete turnaround from being a feminist? Can others make the same change?

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

You may well be right about California stat rape laws at the time. Age of majority for females has been 18 longer than it has been for males, and it makes sense enough to me that it would be the age of consent. Yet men and women (or boys and girls) marrying under the age of 21 was not uncommon in the 19th century. I suspect there were more shotgun weddings back then. There should be more now. The law may have been around for eons, but there has certainly been a gap in enforcement, if indeed it was ever… Read more »

Jill Smith
Guest
Jill Smith

I find both those statements pretty bizarre and I wonder if that kind of “offense” ever surfaces until a relationship is on the rocks and someone wants blood. I am reasonably knowledgeable about CA’s stat rape laws and there are quite a few prosecutions every year. It used to be that charges were laid only at the insistence of an outraged parent; this was fairly uncommon because most parents saw the harm in forcing their minor daughter to participate in a criminal prosecution. What we’re seeing today are charges resulting from mandatory reporting laws. Even a shot-gun marriage doesn’t get… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

I’m ambivalent on the point of statutory rape law as you’ve described it. On the one hand, the current application is ill motivated toward men and sometimes unreasonable, all circumstances considered. On the other hand, anything that causes a young man to hesitate at fornication, anything that might prevent one more pregnant high school student, can’t be all bad. Parents generally ought to exercise relentless supervision over young lovebirds.

Lori
Guest
Lori

I have seen the conservative argument that, for example, the campus rape situation is maybe a good thing because it will make young men think twice about fornicating, but I’m not convinced. I think it’s one thing to have legal consequences for seduction/statutory rape be a kind of last resort that is simply a help to young women who are trying their best to be virtuous. But right now it’s more that women have not only abandoned by literally scoffed at their role as sexual gatekeepers, rejecting it as oppressive and sexist, and instead want campus administrators and/or police to… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Lori, I completely agree with you the consent stuff is weird. It is utter nonsense, it is unjust to men, and it imperils women by allowing them to lie to themselves and others. How does a woman ever repent if she is ever only a victim? I think campus rape is a different issue than statutory rape. The former involves legally adult women, the latter involves minors. Campus “rape” of the kind you are talking about involves false accusations as to what a man really did. Statutory rape deals with what the man actually did, the only question being how… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

“Lori, I completely agree with you the consent stuff is weird. It is utter nonsense, it is unjust to men, and it imperils women by allowing them to lie to themselves and others. How does a woman ever repent if she is ever only a victim?”

Hey, don’t trigger any more MeMe flashbacks!

OKRickety
Member

JP,

Strangely enough, MeMe actually suggested, rather than blaming men, that women are responsible for their own behavior in a recent post Scandals A Brewing:

“Where is our strong, independent, and empowered womanhood? What has made women so foolish? Why were you so vulnerable? Weak? Dumb? Self absorbed? Greedy? Needy? What is missing within your own soul??!”

It almost made me wonder if she had a guest author.

JP Stewart
Member

I haven’t read her blog in a while, but she always sounded more reasonable there than on here. That said, the last time I saw it, she took predictable positions on hot button issues of the time. She hated Lori Alexander’s viral blog, and thought “Why Can’t We Just Be Friends” was wonderful–denying the very biology she claims to embrace. She made a ridiculous comment about how men have almost no risk if such friendships go wrong (only ruined careers and reputations…no big deal, right?).

OKRickety
Member

JP,

“she always sounded more reasonable there than on here”

Well, more is a relative term. :) I have wondered if her followers would still think she is so Christian, knowledgeable, even wise if they were to read her comments in other places. Unfortunately, I think they would rather avoid that truth and instead remain blissfully unaware (remain blue pill?).

OKRickety
Member

Lori said: ” So, if in the middle of sex they may have even initiated, they decide they don’t want it, their feelings turn that act into rape, even if they do not say anything.” I have read the suggestion that this change of status from consensual sex to rape seems to not be limited to being “in the middle of sex” but extended to any future time should they then decide they no longer want to have had sex with that person. In other words, my current consent to sex can be retroactively rescinded at any time in the… Read more »

Jill Smith
Guest
Jill Smith

Lori, I wondered if you have ever come across the affirmative consent model used on California’s tax-payer funded college campuses. It addresses the situation in which the young woman changes her mind as it requires verbal consent as each threshold of intimacy is crossed. The state legislation (the Yes Means Yes bill, which passed) is far too long to post here but this is the essential clause: “An affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by both parties to sexual activity. “Affirmative consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is… Read more »

Jane
Member

Why not both?

And certainly, consent has been used to make sex illegal 50 years ago licit. Go back even a little farther, and adultery was itself a crime.

Joel
Guest
Joel

Good point. The logical conclusion is not the necessary conclusion here. I would like to imagine that the virtue signalers of today would continue to try to prove themselves righteous in their own eyes by continually condemning pedophilia. It even makes perfect sense in that this is a horrific abuse of power by an adult on a child, and destroying inequitable power relationships is key in pretty much every feminist argument. But as I thought of writing that down, I realized, this post is in response to an actual story about actual parents who are grooming an actual pre-pubescent boy… Read more »

Lori
Guest
Lori

I have thought the same thing about the “Desmond is Amazing” story. Yes, if it were a girl child, people would want everybody involved arrested. I think even the use of the word “pedophilia” has been co-opted by many feminists in order to further their own agenda of stigmatizing heterosexuality. In reality, it is not pathological to find a post-pubescent person in their teens attractive. Now, of course it’s not to be acted on. But, there is nothing gross or weird or disgusting about a man finding a 16 or 17 year old attractive. These women, though, do not want… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I had no idea what you were talking about in that first sentence and had to look it up. How terribly sad. I think that’s likely going to be a talking point for me going forward in speaking to some people regarding the clear overreach of their agenda.

JP Stewart
Member

“But, there is nothing gross or weird or disgusting about a man finding a 16 or 17 year old attractive.”

Paige Patterson was violently maligned for doing exactly that– not that he actually hit on a young woman. He just used a line about a 16-year old girl to make a point. There were all kinds of articles and comments about how “creepy” it was. However, I’m sure 99% of the men saying this have lusted after a 16-17 year old girl at some point…or a 16-year old boy for the same-sex-attracted-but-oh-so celibate Revoice types.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

There are many things that have crossed my mind which I’m quite certain would be inappropriate to voice out loud, much less from the pulpit. I would have been creeped out if my pastor had said that too, and I doubt it was particularly edifying to either the girls or the boys in the congregation.

JP Stewart
Member

I’m much more creeped out by Jonathan Merrit, a man who helped break the Patterson story. He’s a popular Evangelical writer and son of another former SBC president. He was also outed years ago by a homosexual with whom he hooked up for a one-night stand.

But again, we’re talking Biblical standards vs. intersectionality and woke churchianity. I consider Merrit’s fling abominaton. You’ve simply called it “not part of God’s ideal plan,” then quickly go back to denouncing your favorite PC sins.
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/protestprotest/2018/05/jonathan-merritt-has-some-splaining-to-do/

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

JP, this is a strange comment and I’m not sure what the positive intentions would be. 1. In that original comment you’re referring to, you came out of nowhere to falsely attack me in a manner that made no sense at the time. To refer to it now again doesn’t make sense either. What you claimed about me in that conversation was absolutely false and had nothing to do with the topic of discussion. 2. Your original attack referred to “the sin god thinks of as abomination” out of context, which is strange as there are literally dozens of sins… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

Six paragraphs and you don’t even address the fact that Merrit’s father is also a former SBC president (i.e., conflict of interest much)? “but I have not seen allegations of actual sex” “By the end of the night my lips were raw and chapped from his unshaven face. I felt a little dirty and used….He gave me a kiss goodbye and got out of the car….The sexting and Skype sessions continued for a few more months. Turns out, he did want to see me again. We made plans for another meeting in October 2010 in Atlanta. But that meeting never… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I have no idea what Merritt’s father being an SBC president would have to do with this. Heck, I don’t even understand yet what Merritt has to do with this. It looks like a complete red herring. I mentioned the lack of sex allegations because you were so focused on the word “abomination”. He knows what he did was wrong, he said so, has repented, past that you want….? And as the entire “exposal” of Merritt was supposedly done because of how harsh he is on LGBTQ issues, it’s amusing to see you call him soft. I don’t actually know… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

First, stop with the red herring mess. A serial poster, known for long, rambling, whiny rants, is the last one who should make that charge. You’re the one who brings up slavery, Wilson’s father’s school choices and Nelson Mandela in completely unrelated discussions. Merritt is relevant because he (1) helped break the Patterson “expose” (perhaps he was the primary one) (2) is intimately connected with the SBC and (3) was outed for a sin more egregious than anything Patterson did. Do you see Jesus as having a sympathetic, soft stance with such hypocritical stone casters? As for Merritt’s repentance, again… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

JP First, stop with the red herring mess. A serial poster, known for long, rambling, whiny rants, is the last one who should make that charge. You’re the one who brings up slavery, Wilson’s father’s school choices and Nelson Mandela in completely unrelated discussions. You don’t know the distinction between a diversion and an analogy? An analogy is used to shine light on the topic in question. A diversion is used to distract from and ignore the topic in question. In every one of those topics you listed, I was talking ABOUT the subject while bringing in another example to… Read more »

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Thought experiment: Let’s say a father has four children. Three of them are superb athletes with the chance at good scholarships for college. His other child is not. He or she struggles physically and has deep insecurities because of it. This child feels like he or she is an embarrassment to the family and is riddled with anxiety because of it. The father is given a job offer to move to a major metropolitan area where he would make better money, greatly improve access to better trainers for his three athletics children, and the three athletes would have better prospects… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

BJ, my mind and heart are, as usual, pulling in different directions. Oddly, I have known a family which faced this decision in reverse–if no economic hardship would result, should a father move his intensely urban family (including his deeply resentful children) to Dry Bone, Middle of Nowhere, Canada, so that his 16-year-old son can accept an offer from a junior hockey team with a strong record of sending its alumni to the NHL? (The usual solution is to board the young man with a local family, but this kid had issues that made the father reluctant to do that.)… Read more »

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Obviously, the best solution to this problem is to help the kid get over his anxiety and feel secure in the family. Then, they make the move and everyone is better off. So, in that sense, I think culturally speaking, the best thing we can do is work to educate and grow economies for the future. I am a capitalist. But until we reach that time, we have to deal with reality as it is. Would those three children really be happy to know that their success was predicated on the destruction of their young siblings well-being? In a loving… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

You have defined the problem to which the father needs to give loving attention; it is that his child feels like he or she is an embarrassment to the family and is riddled with anxiety because of it. I know, it’s your hypothetical, but if the child has developed this problem where he or she is there is no reason to think there is anything about staying put that will solve it. It is a question of what needs to change in the child’s life, not what needs to remain the same.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

JohnM,

Fair enough. But we can’t simply say, the problem is theirs and we have no responsibility. We have to deal with reality as it is, not as we wish it to be. If the steps taken that lead to our success will lead to the demise of others, can we rightly say it is moral?

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

“We have to deal with reality as it is, not as we wish it to be.”
Actually, that sounds like something we might say to the very people for whom you are concerned. Perhaps part of their problem is that their sympathizers give them no credit.

It is worth mentioning again, I have first hand familiarity.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I think an important part of the question you pose is in what we consider to be objective goods. Often when making these decisions, a family believes that helping their child to become more famous, or attend a particular level of elite school, or helping an already family to become even wealthier, are objective goods that other goods can legitimately be sacrificed for. I don’t believe that is defensible from Scripture. On the other hand, I would say that the spiritual welfare of the family, enough time meaningfully spent together as a family, the building of positive relationships within one’s… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

Jonathan, would your view change if the objective was the development of a child’s apparently extraordinary talent? If fame and money might accrue from that talent, but neither is the primary goal? I’m not thinking of parents who drag the entire family to Los Angeles during audition season because a drama teacher tells them Cindy acts at least as well as Angelina Jolie. (I have encountered these caravans of parents who pull Cindy and her siblings out of school for weeks on end, and they are a depressing spectacle.) But where there is genuine reason to believe that the child… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

At this point you’re arguing a very narrow case as only a small percentage of people are in such a situation. And what % of the time does perceived “extraordinary talent” actually pan out? Personally, I’m of the pedagogical bent that truly meaningful talent that can be used in new and creative ways is often formed best through a diversity of well-rounded experience rather than ultra-intense outside training. For the child to develop their talent into something special, become the kind of person who can do something new and exciting with it, and then have the opportunity to choose what… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Either great coincidence or the internet tracking me, this interesting article just showed up on my newsfeed. Lots of food for thought here:

https://www.theringer.com/sports/2017/12/20/16796672/chess-prodigy-misha-osipov-bobby-fischer

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Jonathan,

Good point. This is why I highlight that much of our economic success is cheap toys from China and bigger cheaper tvs. Our lives are not better by having these things.

But, to be fair, our economic success and the capitalistic system we have has also greatly improved lives, not just in us having more money to buy actually important things like health care and safety devices, but also in us inventing life saving technologies and medicines, etc. which we can then sell and export to the rest of the world.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

BJ,

You say that as if those with whom your sympathies lie are not among the primary consumers of cheap toys from China and bigger cheaper tvs. Of course they are also consumers of cheap necessities too.

Jill Smith
Member

Where I live, the economically disadvantaged are much more likely than the affluent to buy cheap plastic toys for their children. Quality toys are expensive. Affluent liberals in particular want their kids to play with the kinds of toys they imagine their great-grandparents enjoyed: hand-carved wooden rocking horses, and beautifully sewn home made dolls with hand knitted wardrobes (luckily for me, who knows how to make the dolls though not the rocking horses). At the extreme we get the parents who send their kids to Waldorf schools where affluence meets the Amish. Nary a scrap of plastic in sight, and… Read more »

lndighost
Member

Hi Jill. That phenomenon is observable here too. Have you seen those ‘made-under’ dolls? Very simple, very expensive, and much more appealing to affluent parents than a barbie doll. Here also, poorer people tend to have more stuff. When I was poorer, I had more stuff too. If someone gave me a cast-off or I managed to get something for free, I hung on to it; not necessarily because I needed or liked it but ‘just in case’: because if I got rid of it I couldn’t get another. It’s only when you have more disposable income that you have… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Hey, I grew up playing with hand-carved wooden and knitted toys!

The combination of being working-class, rural, and having relatively thrifty and old-school parents I believe gave me a childhood unlike what many young people today can even imagine.

Everything else you say is extremely true. CEOs of tech companies are simultaneously trying to force their products into poor schools while they ban the same products from their own kids’ schools.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/digital-divide-screens-schools.html?ref=oembed

lndighost
Member

Yes, when I said ‘here’ I should have clarified an urban centre. In rural NZ most children have the wholesome privilege of playing with sticks, mud, and old tractor parts!

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Jill,

This same phenomenon exists with food, too. This is partly why obesity is outrageous in poor rural communities. It happens when you can get two big macs for two dollars or a head of broccoli for 3.99.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yup – and where you can run into five liquor stores (all of which are selling government-subsidized red-hot cheetoes and twinkies for pennies) before you reach the nearest grocery store.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

JohnM,

I don’t dispute this, but it seems to be beside the point. They can have all the cheap toys and even the cheap necessities, but what good does it do you if the neighborhood is drug-addled and the number of bastards is higher than the employment rate? It is a terrible trade-off.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

BJ, Now *I* don’t understand what *you* are getting at. The drug-addled neighborhood and the number of bastards is not a result of cheap merchandise, and would hardly be helped by it’s non-availability. Where do you want poor people to shop? Frankly, I’m not sure it’s a result of loss of employment opportunities either. I think the druggies and bastard makers were going to be that anyway. I don’t know of a study to demonstrate it, but what I believe is that in declining communities the kind of people you are talking about were always there. They aren’t hard working,… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Please, tell me you have personal experience living there, long conversations with residents, a good oral history, stories that you’ve read, anything to back up all those wild accusations you just made. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt if you can possibly explain to me where all those slanderous claims came from. Do you believe that Clyde Love was one of “the kind of people” you are talking about? I’ve posted his story before, and he didn’t leave the neighborhood, he pretty much couldn’t leave the neighborhood. His story is quite public, you can watch him tell it… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Sorry, I meant to refer to Clyde Ross.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

I think I just told you I do not have personal experience living there. I have observed some of it though.

To my knowledge, no the opioid “epidemic” wasn’t always there. Before, there that there were other things, some of them relatively milder in effect, some as bad. Something has always been there. Alcohol has been there almost throughout history.

Nothing we are talking about is really new.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I mean, it was just utterly striking to me that you would claim “they aren’t hard working, honest, hopeful people who went bad” when you didn’t know them at all and don’t seem to have any meaningful experiences, observations, or studies to make that claim on. So where does it come from? What led to the idea you have that these people were just “bad people” and they were always that way, as opposed to the idea that really bad conditions, especially when people are hurt or abandoned in childhood, can sometimes have a negative effect. Proverbs 30:8 – “Give… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

I did not say that I had no meaningful experiences or observations. I first thought BJ was talking about a somewhat different socio-economic demographic than seemed to be the case in his later comment. I did say I partly have to take back what I said about first hand familiarity. When I qualify, I do so consciously. Pay attention. I have known those kind of people. I’ve known met the ones who started out at a disadvantage such that it’s little wonder, and those who chose a path. I’ve known struggling hardworking, honest, hopeful people too. I’ve seen them have… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

JohnM just hit a point that we’ve been dancing around for some time in this thread. We’ll never make heads or tails out of society unless we acknowledge that success correlates with virtue and failure with the lack of virtue. Please allow me to explain which definition of virtue I mean. Virtue, in this case, is excellence broadly conceived. It is excellence of morals, sentiments, habits, predilections, ideas, intellect, health, etc. Strength is a virtue. So is courage, diligence, honesty. Having all your limbs, or a strong heart, or a healthy immune system is a virtue. Virtues, by definition are… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

“All else being equal” is a big “if” to your statement.

Also, you defined virtue, but you didn’t define success. Do you mean financial success, such as being able to get a job? Would that mean that the blue counties on this map correlate with the most virtue?
comment image

Nathan James
Member

Yes, I meant financial success. And yes, I’m sure those counties correlate with virtue as defined above. And it doesn’t matter how I feel about it.

Jill Smith
Member

Nathan, if we grant that the qualities which enable people to succeed financially–prudence, diligence, intelligent risk taking, forethought, thrift, and so on–are virtues, can the individual be considered virtuous in any meaningful sense if the product or service he creates/sells is moral poison? When I looked at the map,showing share of national economic growth, I found Los Angeles (entertainment) and Las Vegas (gambling). I have no doubt that the owners/executives of LA’s vast and lucrative “adult” film industry demonstrate outstanding acumen and prudence as they profit from America’s addiction to pornography. An addiction, by the way, that they played a… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Exactly. Coming out of college when I moved to Inglewood, my roommate who moved in with me was an unemployed computer programmer. His first job offer was for a website with definite sexual elements – not “porn” strictly, but still bad enough to be quite perverse. I think it had already been 3 months without a job when he got that offer, this was during the early 2000s recession when the tech bubble had just burst and it was another 6 months before he finally got a job he could take. People without such standards can make money faster. And… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

“…I fear it is almost a feature rather than a bug in the modern economy.” Pretty much, and well said. I critiqued consumer capitalism awhile back, to the displeasure of several commenters on this blog. That said, I do appreciate Walmart. I used to be disdainful, bordering on snobby. However, I do believe Walmart is a benefit to lower income people – or they wouldn’t shop there. For that matter, it is a benefit to anyone (including me) who simply wants to practice thrift. Walmart doesn’t only sell unnecessary junk. There are some small communities wouldn’t have much of anything… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

When you support WalMart, you’re basically mailing the community’s money out to Walmart’s executives, shareholders and the Waltons. You save a few pennies, but most of the money you spend leaves your community and you will never see it back. Walmart DOES drive smaller operations out of business. That’s been proven time and time again. And since they’re larger and more efficient, for every 3 jobs they create, they’ve displaced 5 other jobs. You can’t tell me that a community that supports a huge operation like WalMart wouldn’t be supporting plenty of smaller businesses if WalMart hadn’t pushed them out.… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

I support my church. I support my wife. I support missions. I support charities. I do not “support” Walmart, I make an exchange with Walmart. I do not send the communities money to Walmart, I send my money to Walmart. I expect a large portion goes to wealthy people. A large portion is also divvied up amongst not so wealthy people who need it. Some of it of course stays local, and about as much as would be the case if I were supporting local stores – maybe more, Walmart employs more people. I *can* tell you smaller businesses providing… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

“No, I’m not going to google the attention grabbing headlines for scandal mongering articles that are not proof of anything.”

I guess Jonathan is telling you to Google article titles since he’s been challenged so many times for posting far left sources. ProPublica? Alternet? Give me a break!
https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/alternet/

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Why are you linking to alternet’s bias? None of my articles were from alternet. You appear to once again be making false guilt by association claims rather than actually arguing the facts.

The articles were from the New York Times, Washington Post, ProPublica, a French NGO, and the New York Times again.

Four of those are legitimate journalism (including ProPublica), and the fifth is certainly biased as they are anti-Walmart but they link to plenty of legitimate information.

My guess is that alternet reprinted someone else’s article, and you used that to falsely claim that I had printed an alternet article?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Some of it of course stays local, and about as much as would be the case if I were supporting local stores – maybe more, Walmart employs more people. I don’t know how you can argue that. Studies have explicitly shown that five jobs are lost for every three that Walmart creates, because their efficiency of scale causes them to employ LESS people, not more. In addition their jobs are lower-paying than average, and their supply lines, executives, and stockholders are all invariably outside of the community. They don’t just keep less money local, they keep FAR less money local.… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Your Inglewood story is evading my question.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I thought it was by far the best answer, as it was the most I’ve ever spoken about WalMart and may also suggest to you several other things about the issue. As a side point, it should also point out that there was no WalMart in my community to tell people not to go to. In general, I suggest avoiding WalMart when the question arises with anyone. If the situation you suggest is true, where WalMart has achieved such a monopoly that there is no longer any other place for people to shop, that is frightening indeed. I’m old enough… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Here’s what I said: “I *can* tell you smaller businesses providing the range of products Walmart does would not exist in many small communities, because sometimes they don’t.” Here’s what you falsely imply I said: “If the situation you suggest is true, where WalMart has achieved such a monopoly that there is no longer any other place for people to shop, that is frightening indeed.” Of course, in some small communities there is no other place to shop, and it has nothing to do with Walmart. Walmart is actually not in most communities now. Some that do not have a… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Locally owned stores.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

“Locally owned stores”. Okay. That is an answer to my question. It is a straight-forward answer. Now a couple things I want you to consider. First, I am thinking of things like food, clothing, household goods, hardware items, things that people need, not luxuries. Not every community does have locally owned stores to provide those things. It is not always because of Walmart. It is just as often other corporate owned chain stores. Possibly in some small rural communities, without the chain stores there would be nothing at all, and not because the chains drove anyone out, or if they… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yes, I agree, other corporate chain stores are creating some of the similar problems that Walmart does, even if Walmart is the worst of them. That is why emphasizing “buy local” is essential, it is the only way local stores survive against the unfair pressures (crony capitalism leading to favorable tax deals, predatory pricing in order to eliminate competition, exploitation of foreign workers, etc) without government intervention. I never like phrasing these kinds of things in terms of sin, I think it is unhelpful as it implies that God has some direct cutoff line for “good behavior” or “bad behavior”… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

It seems odd to see an apparent conservative (TM) argue that the biggest concentration of virtue in America is centered on Washington D.C.

Talk about instrumentalized ethics!

Nathan James
Member

…instumentalized ethics!

Of course it won’t make any sense if you read “virtue” as “benevolence”, or if you read “correlates” as “is the the same as.”

demosthenes1d
Member

Nathan, maybe you are using an eccentric definition of virtue? I see virtue as “moral excellence” or high moral standards. There is also a whole categorization of various “virtues” like thise found in Nicomachean Ethics or in MacIntyre’s work. Virtue share a root with virility – but generalized strength or manliness isnt the typical definition. There are certainly a number of virtues that correlate with financial success in our culture. But there are also a number that do not. And, as the studies quoted by Jonathan below indicate, some of our intuitions about moral behavior of groups is inaccurate. People… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

demo,

An “eccentric definition”? That is precisely what I intended when I questioned the use of usury to describe any amount of interest on a loan. Regardless of its historical usage as an equivalent to interest (which I did not know), the legal definition today pertains to rates greater than allowed by law, and the common usage today is unreasonably high rates of interest.

demosthenes1d
Member

OKR,

I can see how it can cause confusion. It’s hard to have a productive conversation of everyone is using their own vocabulary.

However, usury as charging interest simpliciter is a common historical use of the word. The historical uses of virtue that I’m aware of all connote moral excellence – which is also the modern usage.

Nathan James
Member

Demo, I find this very quickly:

virtue…a good or useful quality of a thing.
“Mike was extolling the virtues of the car”

If there was another word in common use that would convey the idea of human excellence of every type, I would gladly use it. But I’m afraid modern people just don’t think that way.

Nathan James
Member

Jill, you must keep in mind the definition of virtue being used. The virtue I’m discussing is not confined to morality or godliness. You could use the word “strength” instead of virtue, but you will need just as much explanation of why “getting out of bed in the morning” is a type of strength, or why the pencil-necked geek may be “stronger” than Arnold Schwarzenegger. You also must not forget that correlation does not mean perfect correlation. So, picking two people at random, it is likely that the more financially successful person demonstrates more virtue, but it’s not guaranteed. If… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

Thanks, Nathan. Rendering it as strength makes it much clearer to me. My Catholic training leads me to define virtue as excellence of moral character.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

I don’t know about virtue (I wasn’t the one who defined it) but anyway more information might be needed here. What kind of jobs? If the focus is on growth, what was employment in each county before 2010? We are talking about employment rate rate? Share of jobs in the U.S.?

The answers might add up to being the same as what you mean. I like maps like this too, I find them helpful, but they never tell the whole story by themselves.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I definitely agree that the map is inadequate for this question, but it is through-provoking enough to give a lot of people pause. I only posted that particular map because I had come across it the day before when thinking about how many places economic growth is stagnating in, and how difficult that is for people living in a loans-at-interest-based economy where you constantly have to keep getting further ahead or you will fail.

Jill Smith
Member

My map skills (?) led me to immediately conclude that Hollywood and Vegas drive a ton of economic growth. I don’t think I like the implications of this!

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

“But if we flatter the foolish as wise, or the slothful as diligent we do them no good by it whatsoever.”

That is another issue I have with populism.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Or, on a different note, some actual studies measuring the “virtues” of successful people: Lower class people are more generous, trusting, and helpful than upper class people (“Having less, giving more: the influence of social class on prosocial behavior”) Poor people give a higher % of their income to charity than rich people, and in economic crises poor people increase their giving while rich people decrease it (“Wealthy Americans Are Giving Less Of Their Incomes To Charity, While Poor Are Donating More”) Rich people cheat on their taxes more than poor people (“The Distribution of Income Tax Noncompliance”) Upper class… Read more »

Jane
Member

I think the problem with this thought experiment is the assumption that moving hurts the kid, but *staying would help him.*

In reality, moving while attending to the kid’s social and emotional needs would help him more than staying while treating his insecurities and difficulties as a fixed condition.

Nathan James
Member

So me if you’ve heard this one…

A man runs into a modern Western economy and says,
“Life is about more than money!” A crowd gathers and the man continues, “There’s puppies and cancer and true love and art and self actualization!”
“Exactly right,” the crowd responds. “What do we do now?”
“Well first things first, I’m going to need some money.”

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

It’s quite the odd situation when you think about it though, isn’t it? Money is just paper, it doesn’t birth puppies or cure cancer or stimulate true love. What a strange situation we’ve created where we say, effectively, “if you can build a large enough pile of fiat paper then I will allow you the resources to cure cancer, but if not….” I read an article yesterday about a store of old socialist parables that someone dug up from 100 years ago or so. In one of them, some wealthy man dies, and it’s discovered that he had a counterfeiting… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

Yes, that is how the economically illiterate tend to think of things.

“…employed lots of people [with wealth stolen from his neighbors], given a lot [of his neighbors’ money] to charity, stimulated the local economy [can’t fix this one with brackets!]…”

Fiat money is a disgrace. But outside of counterfeiting, money is not just a charade, it is the fruit of man’s labor on this earth.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Can you be more specific regarding which of his neighbors had wealth stolen from them?

Nathan James
Member

Everyone that had earned or held non-counterfeit money.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

But what was stolen from them? They still got to earn/hold their non-counterfeit money. What did the counterfeit money, which was used to create jobs and give charity, steal from them?

Nathan James
Member

So you really are economically illiterate.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

No, but until you actually say what you mean out loud instead of just sitting on insults, I can’t explain what I’m fairly certain you missed about the parable. Absolutely no one is edified by the insults, neither you, nor I, nor any observer has learned anything. Now if you explain yourself, then either you will teach me (and others) something, or you will give me the opportunity to teach you something. Either would be preferable to the insults. And see, now you have the chance to rethink what you said, figure out what I’ve noticed that you missed, and… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan, It would have been nicer if Nathan had said “It appears that you really are economically illiterate.” but I think the gist of his statement is fairly accurate in this case, because infusion of counterfeit money into the economy devalues currency in general. You do yourself no favors when you respond so vehemently against insults, nor is your complaint enhanced by your teaching  on how others should behave. I would think by now you would realize that your response is likely to spawn further insults rather than improve the conversation. And, no, I’m not going to respond to all… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I didn’t assume because I’ve often been berated for assuming what others meant. There is one poster specifically who will quickly attack me if I make any assumption whatsoever. So I thought it was more polite to ask for clarification. If he had simply clarified in response, instead of insulting for no apparent reason, we’d have progressed the conversation already. I’m surprised you consider my response “vehement”. It was direct and to the point, but there was nothing “vehement” in there, certainly not approaching what was directed towards me. It’s interesting that you (and pretty much everyone else) feel no… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan, It certainly seemed vehement (showing strong feeling; forceful, passionate, or intense) to me. There is a human tendency for like to beget like. When people respond poorly, it seems to become the norm. Neither you nor I can force a change in others’ behavior, but, presumably, you can change your own. It is possible that an improvement in your response might lead to an improvement in others. Although you don’t seem to recognize it, I really am trying to help you in regards to your interactions here. Perhaps it is only wishful thinking on my part but, yes, I… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

However, if the reader perceives that he is being lectured, and that is very much true of how I read your comments, then it’s quite often annoying.

Very true, and something I certainly do need to work on. Thank you.

Although, also, incredibly ironic in this instance. ;)

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan,

My suggestions as to your conduct here are not intended as lectures but as brotherly advice.

However, your comments about Blacks here strike me as lectures, pronouncements of truth, not advice or thoughts for consideration or discussion.

Jane
Member

What was stolen from them (and everyone else who interacted with that community economically) was the previous value of money before the counterfeiting devalued it.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Is that what you were saying too, Nathan?

Nathan James
Member

Yes, counterfeiting steals from others by devaluing the money they hold and use. If you feel that you are economically educated, and yet feel this point needs explanation, I suggest that your education is severely lacking on this point. It is like someone claiming to understand internal combustion engines but not understanding why water in the fuel tank is a bad thing. I am sorry if you took my previous comment about your economic illiteracy as insult for insult’s sake. If you are willing to take it any other way, take it as a warning, that you do not know… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yes, everyone knows that when someone adds money to the supply, it devalues the overall supply. Of course it would be to a very small degree when just one individual does it, but if everyone did it there would be an effect. But that criticism implies that the parable is a pro-counterfeiting parable, which is not the case. I’m unaware of any particular ideological fondness that socialists would have for counterfeiting. The parable is pointing in the other direction. It’s asking why, if we have an issue with this form of money creation, we take it as a matter of… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

Ah, I see. There is no difference between a rich person spending money and a poor person spending money. Both “inject money into the system.” Both have earned the right to do so. (barring theft, fraud, etc.) or been gifted the right to do so by someone who earned it. Large scale spending can change the economic environment. But large scale earning has already changed it. By producing and selling a man has benefited his community. For as long as he saves his money, they are enjoying the benefits of his productivity, while he is not. Then when he spends… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

So to make it clear, the counterfeiter hasn’t hurt the system any more or benefited the system any less than the others who injected money into it, right? He just didn’t “earn” the right. So that creates the question of whether the money that the wealthy have was originally truly “earned” or not. Which doesn’t always have an easy answer or a good one, right? Also, while the effect of injecting money into the system is largely the same no matter who does it, if it’s not counterfeited then the money was originated from a bank first at one point.… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

(quote) So to make it clear, the counterfeiter hasn’t hurt the system any more or benefited the system any less than the others who injected money into it, right? He just didn’t “earn” the right. (end quote) No, this isn’t right. When a man makes a pair of shoes, and sells them, and saves the money, he has made a pair of shoes. This is a real benefit and one the counterfeiter never provides. (quote) “So that creates the question of whether the money that the wealthy have was originally truly “earned” or not. (end quote) No, you may wish… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Nathan,

It appears you don’t know how to use html tags in your comments. Here are three you might find useful:

<blockquote>Text being quoted</blockquote> results in

Text being quoted

Similarly, replace “blockquote” with “i” to get italics, and with “b” to get bold. These can be combined as in this example:

<blockquote><b><i>Text being quoted</i></b></blockquote> results in

Text being quoted

Nathan James
Member

It appears you don’t know how to use html tags in your comments. Here are three you might find useful:

Thanks, OKRickety. I’ll use that.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

No, this isn’t right. When a man makes a pair of shoes, and sells them, and saves the money, he has made a pair of shoes. This is a real benefit and one the counterfeiter never provides. That’s the wrong half of the equation. You just described what happens when someone earns money, I’m talking about what happens when someone injects money. Perhaps other rich people “earned” their money (open question), but when they spend the money it doesn’t hurt or benefit the system any differently than when the counterfeiter spent his money. They just had state approval and he… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

That’s the wrong half of the equation. You just described what happens when someone earns money, I’m talking about what happens when someone injects money. Perhaps other rich people “earned” their money (open question), but when they spend the money it doesn’t hurt or benefit the system any differently than when the counterfeiter spent his money. This is very much the same as saying that a man taking his own bicycle from a bike rack has the same effect as a thief taking it, namely, one less bike in the rack. I know you’re an intelligent person, so what gives?… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

No, we’re not talking about how they got the bicycle. We’re talking about what effect the money has when they use it. Those are two different things. I have critiques on both sides of the equation, but just now I was only focusing on the second side. I believe there are a LOT of destructive ways in which the rich earn money. But I’m also critiquing the claims that the rich are somehow benefactors that benefit everyone by the manner in which they spend their money. In the parable, by the way, the employees of the counterfeiter had become wealthy… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

No, we’re not talking about how they got the bicycle. We’re talking about what effect the money has when they use it. Well, I am talking about how they got the bicycle. And I am pointing out that your analysis will be worse than useless if you ignore that factor. You are framing an argument designed to make us feel the same way about a thief as about a man who uses his own bicycle. If you have blundered, then recognize it and change! If your goal is to condemn the innocent, then leave me alone. In either case, I… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The point of the parable isn’t to condemn some random group of people – that does no good. The point is to lead us to question certain assumptions about the money system.

Nathan James
Member

Corruption and crony capitalism are theft, fraud or, at the very least, “etc.”

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Agreed.

So if our Walmarts and Boeings and DuPonts and so on are proven to engage in corruption or crony capitalism, what does that say about the way money is distributed in our system?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

By producing and selling a man has benefited his community. For as long as he saves his money, they are enjoying the benefits of his productivity, while he is not. Then when he spends it, he is collecting his due. Of course, that depends on a lot, as we are discussing somewhere up above with “good” economic productivity versus bad. The damning issue of a system where all money is based on usury (you don’t think those fed banks just give their money out for free, do you?), is that there are constant pressures to always increase the monetization of… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

I think rather that our society monetizes everything because we don’t acknowledge intrinsic value. As a rule, we deny that anything has a created purpose. So we see ourselves as free to (re)purpose everything in any way that seems good to us moment by moment. One of the only things that puts any limit on it is our devotion to individual autonomy. And so the petty gods of financial gain and individual autonomy are duking it out in a socio-capitalist free-for-all.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

That is also true. But a money creation system based on loans at interest helps to ensure that people will move further and further into that line of thinking. If people recognized the intrinsic value of family time, of healthy food, of quiet space, of trees, of physical work well done, of clean air and clean water, of interacting with people who care about you, of unmined mountains or undammed rivers, then they would have to stop monetizing lots of things. And if they stopped monetizing things, where would the money to pay off the loans come from?

Nathan James
Member

It’s true that debt exacerbates things.

OKRickety
Member

Jonathan,

An interesting comment, but “based on usury” is rather an unusual claim in the context.

Usury: the illegal action or practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest.

Note “illegal” and “unreasonably”.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

That’s a modern change in the definition meant to justify what used to be clearly illegal.

In the Bible, with the early Church, and all the way up to the 1500s (among Catholics, even up until the 1800s), all evidence points to the fact that interest was considered usury. Full stop. I can give you extensive textual evidence and many many quotes from church edicts across the centuries to support that.

Jill Smith
Member

Jonathan, I’m not sure it was clear cut across the entire Catholic church. My favorite canon lawyer writes that over the centuries theologians went back and forth on the application to Christians of Deuteronomy 23: 19-20. Some argued that it meant Christians could not lend money at interest to fellow Christians, nor Jews to Jews. The presence of Jews (i.e. “foreigners”) in medieval Europe meant that, theoretically, each group of people could lend money at interest to the other group. But it almost invariably worked out as Jews lending money to Christians. (This has me wondering where Christians got loans… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I agree that there was some back and forth and people were constantly trying to exploit loopholes, but as you note the church once defined usury as merely interest, not excessive interest. Pope Benedict XIV was explicit about this in his 1745 encyclical, which was affirmed as recently as the late 1800s One cannot condone the sin of usury by arguing that the gain is not great or excessive, but rather moderate or small; neither can it be condoned by arguing that the borrower is rich; nor even by arguing that the money borrowed is not left idle, but is… Read more »

Katecho
Member

“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. — Matthew 25:26-28

demosthenes1d
Member

OKR,

I’ll just leave this here –
https://www.openbible.info/topics/usury

The church has a long history of opposing lending, leaving the practice in Europe largely to the Jews (see Shylock for instance).

See also Lewis’s section on lending and joint stockholder corporations in Mere Christianity.

Nathan James
Member

Demo, I’d be curious to know what your opinion is of charging interest on loans. I’m open to being taught why it ought to be condemned, but can’t see a reason not charge (and pay) interest on a business loan.

demosthenes1d
Member

Nathan, I don’t have a position on loans-at-interest worked out. I think it is perfectly appropriate for Christians to be skeptical of debt based instruments, and I think the scriptures show that we should be leery of debt in general, and if we work in areas that are issuing debt (beyond simply functioning in a modern monetary economy) we should look closely at our practices and see that they are just and they aren’t destructive to the poor or the widow. John Medaille and other distributists make a distinction between consumptive debt and productive debt (which you seem to be… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Providing money to the people to finance consumption (including large ticket items such as cars and homes) is a different category from providing money in order to begin or continue a business venture and a wise regulatory structure would take the distinction into account. I’ve heard that in systems that ban loans-with-interest, one of the ways around it for “productive debt” is to enter an investment partnership instead. You bring a business plan to the bank, you and the bank negotiate how much the bank will invest and how you will split the profits. That to me feels like a… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

Jonathan,

Yes, it is very easy to reconceptualize most business financing as investment or partnering rather that a simple loan. There is an expection that the proprietor will receive a return on investment and the capital provider negotiates for a share of that return in addition to the return of their capital. The capital provider and the proprietor both share the risk of the enterprise failing.

This is fundamentally different from a loan to buy a new personal item.

Jill Smith
Member

Demo, my response to Jonathan above led me to dig around in my Catholic sources. I hadn’t realized that quite a few Catholic moral theologians believed that while Christians must not lend money at interest to other Christians, Jews were equally forbidden to charge interest on loans made to fellow Jews! The teaching was an attempt to be faithful to Deuteronomy 23: 19-20 which forbids brothers charging interest on loans made to brothers. It was okay as long as you went outside your brother group and found a foreigner!

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yep – it was so widely regarded that interest was wrong, it was therefore only okay to do it against someone you were happy to hurt!

The allowance of interest against non-Jews parallels the allowance of different forms of slavery and warfare against non-Jews. My belief is that that distinction was removed in the New Covenant when love of neighbor was extended to all.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Thank you Demosthenes, the Biblical witness against usury is quite strong, and many of the early Church fathers were equally strong in their condemnation.

I’ve seen the argument that Jesus casually mentioning interest in a parable about faith therefore means he supports interest on loans, but that makes as much sense as claiming that Jesus supports self-mutilation (Matthew 5:29-30) or thievery (Luke 12:39-40) or thinks of God as an unjust judge (Luke 18:1-1). You can’t build theology on spurious mentions in parables, especially when there’s a clear Biblical witness in the opposite direction.