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Christian Economics In One Lesson

Discussion in 'Library and Editorials' started by searcher, Apr 11, 2015.



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  1. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Chapter 1: The Lesson


    Gary North - April 04, 2015


    Thou shalt not steal (Exodus 20:15).

    The Ten Commandments have ten points. The nice thing about each of them is this: it gets right to the point.

    Christians disagree about which point this one is. Catholics and Lutherans believe that this is the seventh commandment. Most Protestants believe it is the eighth commandment. I am in this camp.

    I am in the Eighth Commandment camp, but not because this is what most Protestants have always taught. I am in this camp for a very specific reason: I believe that the five points in the biblical covenant model are sequential. I believe that the third point has to do with boundaries, which include moral and legal boundaries. I wrote a four-volume commentary on the economics of the Book of Leviticus. Leviticus is the third book in the Pentateuch. I titled it, Boundaries and Dominion.

    I realize this sequence was not understood prior to about 1954, with the publication of George Mendenhall's essay on Hittite suzerainty treaties. But once I understood this, after I read Sutton's book, That You May Prosper (1987), I recognized the five-point structure with respect to the second set of five Commandments. The third commandment, "thou shalt not steal," has to do with boundary violations.

    You do not have to accept my interpretation of the biblical covenant model in order for you to understand this book. What I do want to consider is this: this commandment is short and sweet.

    The Ten Commandments are aimed at all people. They are not aimed primarily at people with advanced degrees in the social sciences. The whole point of the Ten Commandments is this: everyone is liable. Nobody will be able to answer on judgment day with this response: "I just did not understand what this meant." Yes, he did. Not only did he understand it; he violated it.

    It is significant that the first prohibition in the Bible is the prohibition on theft. God set up a tree in the midst of the garden, and He put a judicial boundary around it. Here was the declaration: "No trespassing." This was simple. This was not sophisticated. This was easily understood. And this is why, when temptation came, it was very specific. It was twofold. First, it promised knowledge that would elevate mankind in the understanding of good and evil. Second, it was a promise that nothing bad was going to happen if they stole the fruit.

    So, they stole fruit.

    It did not take a Ph.D. in economics to understand what was at stake here.

    With this as background, I want to consider Chapter 1 of Hazlitt's book. I want to contrast it with what I am doing in this book.


    1. Hazlitt's Definition of Economics

    Hazlitt was a first-rate economist. He taught himself the basics of economics, and then he spent decades writing about economics. By 1946, he was prepared to write his book. I cannot think of anybody in the United States, or even the world, who could have written a better introductory book on economics in 1946.

    Hazlitt offered a definition of good economics. He contrasted it with bad economics. He wanted to get these definitions clear in the minds of his readers.


    The bad economist sees only what immediately strikes the eye; the good economist also looks beyond. The bad economist sees only the direct consequences of a proposed course; the good economist looks also at the longer and indirect consequences. The bad economist sees only what the effect of a given policy has been or will be on one particular group; the good economist inquires also what the effect of the policy will be on all groups.

    If we are talking about the logic of conventional economics, this is a good description of the two kinds of economics. I suspect that most economists would accept it. Each of them would, of course, assume that he is a representative of good economics. His critics, naturally, represent the bad economics faction. But the definition itself would probably be acceptable by most economists.

    There is an enormous problem with this definition of good economics. It is this: most people cannot follow long chains of reasoning. Let me assure you, this includes most economists.

    Hazlitt wrote the book to show that bad economics is based on inattention to a fairly simple concept. That concept is this: the things not seen. He used Bastiat's analogy of the broken window to drive home this point. His goal is simple to understand: shorten the chains of reasoning. He thought there are only two chains: the chain associated with the things seen, and the chain associated with the things not seen.

    There is no question that his approach to explaining economics is excellent. This is why the book is still in print. This is why it still influences people who read it. They can better understand the second chain of reasoning: the things not seen.

    Nevertheless, this does not overcome his definition's main problem: long chains of reasoning. Economists are highly sophisticated in denying the economic relevance of things not seen. They insist that their opponents have not seen the things which ought to be seen. They also insist that the things they have seen are the truly relevant things in understanding economics. Economists are masters at trying to persuade people -- especially other economists -- that what other economists see is not relevant.

    The sophistication of these arguments can become remarkably complex. I am reminded of an old criticism of professional academics: "They use intellectual tools so sharp that the tools are useful only for splitting hairs."

    Then there is this one: "Where there are five economists, there will be six opinions."

    Hazlitt's approach always brings us back to this problem: the difficulty of following long chains of reasoning. I can think of no field in which this is a greater problem than it is in the field of economics. I do not mean economics among the masses. I mean economics among professional economists.

    Hazlitt made a second point. He said that much of what is regarded as economic theory is in fact special pleading by special interest groups. Let us take this observation one step further. Special interest groups hire professional economists to do their special pleading. So, bad economists sign up. They are paid well to do this.

    We are back to this problem: the average person is not in a position to assess which economist is the good economist. The average person is not in a position to follow the long chains of reasoning.

    Hazlitt was accurate in saying the bad economists are the ones who ignore indirect consequences. But the trouble is, almost everybody who is trained in economics is skilled at guiding people down primrose paths. Long chains of reasoning are really more like primrose paths.

    How is the average person expected to figure out which economist is a good economist, and which economist is a bad economist? How is he supposed to evaluate the special pleading of one group versus the special pleading of another group? This calls for a level of sophistication that the average man does not have.

    This is the fundamental problem with Hazlitt's book. It is not that he was not a cogent economist. It is not that he was not a superb writer. It is simply this: readers are far less sophisticated than Hazlitt, let alone a small army of Ph.D.'s who promote Keynesianism.

    Voters have to make decisions as to which special interest group is the right one to listen to. But voters really are not equipped to do this well. They get confused by long chains of reasoning.

    They respond to slogans. The trick of the special interest group is to come up with a vote-getting slogan. Then it hires someone with a Ph.D. in economics to justify it.

    We need better slogans. We can't beat something with nothing.

    We also can't beat an eye-catching slogan with a long chain of reasoning.

    I suggest this bumper sticker: Thou shalt not steal. This goes on the left-hand side of the bumper. This one goes on the right-hand side: Even by majority vote.

    This leads me to my main point.


    2. I Start With Ownership

    This is why I do not start this book with Hazlitt's definition of a good economist. I start the book with this definition: the good economist understands the implications of ownership, and therefore he can identify theft.

    The average voter is in a position to understand what theft is. He may not be able to follow long chains of reasoning, but he can understand this short chain of reasoning: "Thou shalt not steal." This is really all he needs to understand when it comes to understanding economics. If he gets this right, it will protect him from all of the primrose paths and all of the long chains of reasoning -- incorrect reasoning.

    Some economist may come up with a sophisticated formula that justifies state interference in the economy. He may come up with a graph. He may come up with just about anything that a creative mind can come up with. Those of us who are reading his presentation should ask ourselves this question: "Who wins, and who loses?" We should then ask ourselves this question: "If there were not somebody with a badge and a gun, with the gun pointing at one of the participant's belly, who would win, and who would lose?"

    This book is about theft. It is also a book about badges and guns. This is the question of civil government.

    The central economic question that every citizen should ask regarding civil government is this one: "Is the official who wears a badge and a gun truly acting in the name of the entire society, or is he acting on behalf of a special interest group?" If this book helps you answer this question accurately, then it is a successful book.

    This is a book about badges and guns. This is also a book about ethics. This is a book about limiting the authority of people with badges and guns. This is the issue of state coercion. This book deals with the issue of state coercion and a social order based on the possibility of increased productivity. Above all, this is the issue of injustice.

    We are back to the two issues raised by Bastiat.


    "How God could have willed that men should attain prosperity only through Injustice and War? How He could have willed that they should be unable to avoid Injustice and War except by renouncing the possibility of attaining prosperity?"

    God did not will this. Justice produces prosperity. Bastiat made this case. So does Deuteronomy 28:1-14.

    Next installment: April 11

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  2. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Chapter 2: The Broken Window


    Gary North - April 11, 2015


    Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him. For all the wells which his father's servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth (Genesis 26:12-15).

    I begin with a little-known passage in the Bible. The enemies of Abraham and his family resented the fact that Abraham had dug wells. Water wells are a major form of wealth in a low-rain society. Abraham had wealth; his son Isaac had wealth.

    The Philistines resented this. So, when they had an opportunity to do so, they filled in the wells with dirt. This did not make them any wealthier. They did not steal the wells from Isaac. They also did not rent the wells from Isaac. They did not take advantage of the water. They simply made certain that Isaac could not take advantage of the water. This is the motivation we call envy. The translators of the Kings James Version recognized this. Envy is the motivation to destroy, to tear down. It targets an individual who has an advantage. The envious person does not seek to share in the advantage. He wants only to eliminate the other person's advantage.

    Most of us find it difficult to believe that people are motivated in this way, but some people are, and they have been throughout history. They are filled with resentment.

    This brings me to the topic at hand: the supreme lesson of Henry Hazlitt's book. When Hazlitt chose the title, Economics in One Lesson, he had to provide one lesson. The book has 24 chapters. But the title is an indication of what the book is about. Hazlitt only allowed himself one lesson.

    Here is the lesson: Bastiat's broken window fallacy. Hazlitt chose that as his guide, which was an act of near genius. He discovered an idea that had been buried for over a century. Bastiat's analogy was rather like Isaac's wells: filled in with dirt by Philistines. Hazlitt dug deep and got the water flowing again. Then he applied that principle in every chapter in the book. So, the title of the book is correct: he really does teach economics in one lesson. But it took 24 chapters to get this lesson across.

    I take the broken window fallacy very seriously. Specifically, it is about envy. It is not about jealousy. This is why it is limited in dealing with those aspects of modern politics which we think of as the welfare state or wealth redistribution. Here is why. Envy is defined as the impulse of an individual who seeks to destroy somebody else's advantage, even though he is not benefited directly by the other person's loss.

    Jealousy is different from envy. Jealousy is based on the recognition that somebody else has an advantage, but if you can apply some degree of coercion, maybe you can force the other person to share some of his advantage with you. This is the impulse of wealth redistribution by legislation. But envy is far more perverse. You cannot buy off the envious person by offering him something. You cannot make a deal with him. The very fact that you can offer him a benefit enrages him. It reminds them that you have what he does not have. He knows he is never going to have it, but he is determined to make certain that you do not have it either.

    When societies adopt policies of wealth redistribution by the state, which do not increase wealth, but which make things more difficult for people who are wealthy, these policies are based on envy, not jealousy.

    Bastiat's analogy begins with somebody who throws a stone through another person's window. This is an act of envy, not jealousy. Bastiat and Hazlitt did not spell this out, but we need to understand it from the beginning. It takes a self-conscious act of destruction to break a window. The window is not broken by a hurricane or other natural disaster. It is broken by somebody who resents the fact that somebody else owns a building with a window. In other words, this person has a deep-seated resentment against the owner.

    Bastiat's goal for the analogy was simple: to help people understand that the money spent to repair a broken window has to come from somewhere. The cost of repairing the window is whatever the individual with the broken window must give up in order to repair the window. Whatever he spends to repair the window comes at the expense of whatever he would otherwise have done with the money.

    This seems like a simple principle. But Hazlitt shows in 24 chapters that most voters do not perceive this fact: state intervention of all kinds inaugurates the broken window process. In other words, there are no free windows. This illustrates the fundamental principle of scarcity: there are no free lunches. Put differently, we cannot get something for nothing. This is a very important principle to understand. If it is true, then we had better look carefully at every political promise that a majority of voters can get something for nothing. Somewhere in the picture, there will be somebody's broken window.

    I begin the discussion of the broken window with a discussion of who this somebody is. This somebody is the window's owner.


    1. Owner

    Someone owns the window. He may have purchased the building, and the building came with a window. Maybe he inherited the building. Legally, he is the owner. He therefore is entitled to rights of ownership. These rights are defended by the society at large. They are honored by the society at large. They are defended by the civil government.

    He has a right to this property. What does this mean? He has legal immunity from other people's theft or destruction of his property. He has legal sovereignty. The owner also has a legal right to defend his own property. Society grants him this right. More important for my discussion, God grants him this right. The owner is not alone (autonomous). He is not a lone wolf attempting to defend territory. Ownership is a social function. Therefore, he has a moral right to the property, and this moral right is established by law: God's laws, society's customary law, civil law, and the individual's law.

    I must make myself clear. The owner possesses legal sovereignty. This is a matter of legal responsibility. Put differently, it is a matter of legal representation. He represents God. This legal sovereignty conveys economic authority. This means that he represents society economically. He is the recipient of constant bids for the use of his property. These bids come in the form of prices. There is no escape from this economic burden, other than selling the property.

    The owner of the window enjoys the window. The window provides him with a stream of income. This income is psychological. He enjoys light inside the building. The window lets in the light. The light is an economic asset. The window enables him to access this light during the day. It keeps the weather from getting inside the building. It also keeps out bugs and other critters. A window is a wonderful invention. We would hate to give up our windows, and this was especially true in 1850, before there was electrical light.

    The owner has a legal immunity from violence. Nobody is allowed to steal his window. Nobody is allowed to throw a stone through his window. In other words, nobody is supposed to use violence against him by means of violence against the window.

    The owner of the window makes several assumptions. He assumes that nobody is going to throw a stone through his window. He assumes that there be continuity in his life. The light will continue to shine in. The cold will continue to stay out. He trusts society in general to defend his interests. He makes decisions in terms of the assumption of continuity. This assumption of security rests on trust. If this trust is violated by an act of violence against him, although directed against his window, then his life will become less secure. He will not be able to make decisions in confidence. His future is more uncertain in a society in which the rights of ownership are not defended: by moral law, by custom, and by civil law.


    2. Window

    The window is not merely the capital asset. It is a representative asset. It points to ownership as such. It points to a social order that defends the rights of ownership. It points to a stable social order. Every piece of property is representative in this sense.

    The owner is also a representative. He owns the building. He owns the window. He holds this in trust. He holds it in legal> trust for God. He holds it in economic trust for society in general. The window represents a stable social order that is based on what we call property rights, but which are in fact rights of owners to enjoy whatever benefits a piece of property conveys to him.

    The window has a price. This is why the person who throws the stone throws the stone. He wants to destroy the value of the property. The property has value, and this is reflected by its price. It has a price because there are other people who would like to own it. There are buyers out there who would like to buy the building and the window. The existence of a price testifies to demand for ownership. The competing bids of all those who would like to own the building and the window are what produce an objective price.

    The free market has an economic rule: "high bid wins." This is the rule of every auction. The free market is a gigantic auction.

    The highest bidder is the existing owner. He has to maintain this bid at all times. By not taking the highest bid among all the competing would-be owners, he forfeits the use of the money that the highest bidder would have given to him in exchange for the building and the window. So, as an owner, he must allocate the use of the building and the window. There is no escape from this economic responsibility.

    The owner allocates a scarce resource. He allocates it to himself, but he does not do this at zero cost. He must forfeit whatever would have been offered in exchange for the building and the window. This decision costs him money. It costs him whatever the money would buy. This reminds him, day after day, that he must forfeit something for the ownership he enjoys.

    I hope this is clear. This aspect of the free market is central to the social order. Somebody has to be held responsible for the administration of property. I argue that the owner is responsible to God. He is surely responsible to others in society. The social order that we know as free market capitalism legally links ownership and responsibility. It also links it economically. This is fundamental to the ability of the free market social order to produce both peace and wealth: ownership and responsibility are linked.

    The two factors are linked economically by the free market because the person who owns the property must constantly pay to retain it. He pays specifically in forfeiting whatever would have been given to him in exchange for the property by the highest bidder in the marketplace. The owner may choose not to acknowledge this, but he bears this burden anyway. He must pay for his ownership. This is a social function. This is an economic function.

    By linking ownership and responsibility, the free market forces owners to take responsibility. They must pay to retain their ownership. Other people in the society have a legal right to make bids for ownership. They are owners of whatever they own. They can offer to exchange it.

    In making a higher bid than previously manifested in the marketplace, the new bidder increases the degree of responsibility in the life of the owner. The owner must now pay even more than he did before to retain ownership. This is an efficient way for any society to make sure that every piece of private property is administered in terms of the highest bids in the society. A man retains ownership of whatever he owns, but never at zero price.

    The window is a physical manifestation of this responsibility. This is why it is a great analogy. It lets in the light. The light makes it easier for us to see what is going on around us.

    3. Stone

    Along comes an envy-driven person. He resents the fact that someone owns the building and the window. He is determined to get even with that person. He cannot get even by buying the building. He does not have the money to buy the building. But he can still get even. He can break the window. He can undermine the value of the building by destroying the window. This suits him just fine.

    So, he picks up a stone, which is readily available. In the dark of night, he throws the stone through the window, and then he runs. No one sees him do it. He does not get caught, although he risks getting caught.

    The man who owns the building now faces a problem. Much of the value of the building is dependent upon a functioning window. He is now going to have to replace the window. He wants the light to stream back in, but now he must pay for it.

    How is going to pay for it? He is going to have to get access to money, which he may have in a savings account. Or he may have to sell something else that he owns in order to get money. But he is going to have to get money because he has to pay somebody to replace the window. There are no free windows.

    Someone has violated his right of ownership. This also must be paid for. He now knows he is vulnerable. Somebody in the community resents him. Somebody in the community is willing to violate his rights of ownership. It is not just that the broken window is going to let the cold come in, or the flies and mosquitoes come in. He has lost more than this. He has lost the security that he thought he enjoyed because someone in the community is driven by envy. Someone in the community figured out that he could impose a loss on the owner at zero cost to himself. He threw the stone, and he escaped into the darkness.

    The owner had enjoyed the continuity of light streaming in, and no bugs streaming in. He enjoyed the continuity of security. He had thought that his ownership was secure, and now it is not.

    The person who threw the stone did not just break a window. He broke trust that was associated with the window. If this continues, or if it is imitated, this can disrupt society. This is not mere academic speculation. One of the major breakthroughs in law enforcement in the 20th century was the recognition of the existence of a broken window phenomenon in the community. If a building is abandoned, and vandals begin throwing rocks through the windows, the crime rate goes up. One of the best indicators of a declining part of town is the existence of broken windows in abandoned buildings. This breakdown in social order can become a downward spiral: more broken windows leading to greater crime.

    To reverse this, it takes more than a police force. There has to be individual commitment within the neighborhood to put a stop to it. The broken windows reflect a decline in community commitment. When a community will not defend private property, the community is going to experience greater crime and economic setbacks. This is most clearly manifested in broken windows. Bastiat's analogy is not just an analogy. It is a representative case.

    4. Costs

    The owner must pay to replace the window. This sets off a chain of economic events.

    The general public recognizes that the owner must spend money to repair the window. Some people, who may regard themselves as budding economists, will argue that this spending increases employment locally. The person who repairs the window has to buy the glass. He has to pay employees. So, this is good for the community, the budding economists conclude.

    The analogy of the broken window informs us that this is not good for the community. It is good for the repairman and those employed by him, but it is not good for the community. There are costs associated with the repairs.

    The owner has to pay for the repairs. Any money that he was going to spend on something else must now be spent on replacing the broken window. We do not get something for nothing. There are no free lunches, and there are no free windows. The cost to the owner of the broken window is the cost of the most valued use he had for the money, which he must now pay to the window repairman.

    By making this insight clear, Bastiat performed a wonderful service for people in search of economic understanding. But he did not go far enough. The cost extends beyond the window owner. There is a cost for the community. There has been a disruption in one owner's life. He had hoped for a safe enjoyment of light coming through the window, and cold and mosquitoes not coming through the window. That confidence has now been broken. There is now an element of society that does not honor the rights of ownership. Everybody is put at risk. There is a decline in trust. People do not trust each other as much as they did before. They may decide to hire somebody else on the payroll of the police department. Everybody's costs of operation go up.

    The person who threw the stone targeted a window, but his real target was the owner of the window. We should also recognize that he had more than this target. He was targeting anybody in the community who owns a window. This is a classic example of the phrase, "two birds with one stone." There were far more than two birds. There were more victims than the owner of the broken wibdow. He was targeting the social order. He was targeting the confidence that people have in their rights as property owners. That stone did not just break the window; it broke people's trust in the stability of the social order. If the stone thrower is imitated, trust will be reduced even more.

    The analogy of the broken window is excellent in pointing out that there are costs to the owner. But if we pursue this analogy, we will see that there are costs far beyond those born by the owner of the window.

    5. Consequences

    The stone thrower sent a message to the community. The community now knows that the rights of property are now at risk. A new attitude is now loose in the community. It is an attitude that is hostile to economic inequality. It is hostile to individual wealth. It is hostile to the idea that somebody should enjoy the fruits of his labor, including the fruits of his knowledge. Everybody's property is now at risk, which is another way of saying that everybody's legal rights are at risk.

    At this point, people have to make decisions. Is this a trend? Will there be more stones thrown through other windows? Is it time to start allocating money to a larger police force? Is it time to start spending money on private security services? Is it time to buy lights that go on automatically when somebody is in the yard? Is it time to buy security cameras?

    It is now more expensive to defend the rights of ownership. It is not just that one person has suffered a loss associated with replacing a broken window. It is at the entire community is now going to have to consider a new threat to individual wealth. People are going to have to think about their budgets. If they want to avoid the cost of replacing a broken window, they may have to expend more money in crime prevention in the community. The costs of living in that community will go up. Money which would have been allocated for consumer spending or for investing will now have to be spent on the protection of property.

    What we saw in the case of the individual who was the victim of the stone, namely, that he must now spend money to repair the window, is repeated throughout the community. People who would rather have spent the money on something else now decide that it is time to spend the money on self-defense. This increases the cost of living. This reduces people's wealth. More important, it reduces their sense of security. Uncertainty rises. Dealing with uncertainty costs money. That is to say, people must forfeit the use of whatever they would have rather done with their money because they now have to spend money to defend their property.

    This reduces the value of property. If owners must spend more money to defend it, the net return from owning it falls. This reduces the value and the price of property.

    This decline will reduce thrift. If the present value of consumer goods declines, then their future value will be lower if people think attacks on property will continue. People will not save money to invest today if the value of future property is expected to be lower.

    If you thought a stone thrower might visit your house, would you save up for double-pane windows, or would you buy a chain-link fence and a large guard dog?



    Conclusion

    The logic of the broken window does not simply apply to the broken window. It is not simply apply to the owner of the now broken window. It applies to the whole community.

    Let me give another example. Somebody tosses a stone into a quiet lake. He can watch the ripples spread from the stone across the lake. The tranquility of the lake is disrupted. The predictability of the lake is reduced. This does not hurt anybody's ownership. This is not a threat to the community. It is even aesthetically appealing. It is not directed against a piece of capital equipment that produces predictable benefits for the owner. It is not a threat to the community at large. But there are ripple effects.

    There are also ripple effects when somebody throws a stone through a window. The tranquility of the community has been disrupted. The predictability of ownership has been reduced. We must look not simply at the cost borne by the owner of the original window. We must also look at the cost borne by other individuals -- society in general. Other individuals have been the victims of the stone thrower.

    The remaining chapters in this book will consider the comprehensive costs of violence against property owners.

    Next installment: April 18.


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  3. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Chapter 3: The Blessings of Destruction



    Gary North - April 18, 2015


    If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the stacks of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed therewith; he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution (Exodus 22:6).

    This passage has to do with legal liability. If somebody sets a fire on his own property, and this fire spreads to his neighbor's property, the man who set the fire is legally responsible. He has to make restitution to his victim. This is a case of accidental damage. How much greater the liability when the damage is deliberate?

    The Bible makes it clear that ownership involves legal responsibility. An owner is responsible for his property-based actions. He is not entitled to pass on his costs of ownership to his neighbor, unless his neighbor has given permission. His neighbor has been granted legal immunity for his property. This is a legal boundary. No one is allowed to invade his property. This is not just geographical property; this is any form of property.

    Here, we see that the Bible teaches a concept of profit and loss. The owner of the initial field hopes to benefit in some way from lighting a fire on his property. This is a cost of operation. This is a risk. He is not allowed to transfer this risk to his neighbor. It is clear that in the case of a fire, his neighbor has suffered damages. The man who started the fire is legally responsible for the damages inflicted on the neighbor. This is a concept of strict liability.

    There is not a hint in this text that neighborhoods are benefited by fires that get out of control. There is not a sense of the idea that invading another person's property can take place at zero cost to either society or the victim. If this is true of an accidental fire, how much greater is the liability in the case of an arsonist?

    With this as background, let us study the example of a perverse idea: the idea that inflicting destruction creates wealth. Hazlitt began with the issue of war. In 1946, this was in everybody's mind. The world had just come through a devastating conflagration in which something in the range of 60 million people had died. He began with popular opinion, including the great captains of industry, chambers of commerce, labor union leaders, and editorial writers.


    Though some of them would disdain to say that there are net benefits in small acts of destruction, they see almost endless benefits in enormous acts of destruction. They tell us how much better off economically we all are in war than in peace. They see "miracles of production" which it requires a war to achieve. And they see a postwar world made certainly prosperous by an enormous "accumulated" or "backed-up" demand.

    He then reminded the reader: "It is merely our old friend, the broken-window fallacy, in new clothing, and grown fat beyond recognition."

    The assumption underlying the fallacy is that backed-up demand is a positive force in society. This demand has come about as a result of the prior destruction. Hazlitt went on to explain that just because people would like to own something that had been destroyed does not produce demand. Only their productivity produces demand. As in the case of the man with the broken window, this productivity will be used to purchase goods and services that the owner of the recently destroyed goods would not otherwise have purchased, had his goods not been destroyed.


    1. Owner

    The owner of the broken goods was a victim of violence. The war had invaded his property. He is now poorer than he had been before the war began. He had owned property that was in good working order. He now owns a pile of rubble. He has suffered a major loss.

    Had his next-door neighbor started a fire on his own property, and the fire had spread to his neighbor's property, the fire-starter would owe restitution. The victim would be compensated for his loss. Because he had been made poorer by the fire, he is legally entitled to restitution from the person who started the fire. There is no sense in which the owner of the burned-over property is better off than he was before the fire. Similarly, there is no sense in which the owner of rubble is better off because the war invaded his property.

    An owner has responsibilities in life. These responsibilities led him to accumulate property before the war. Now this property is destroyed. This reduction of personal responsibility has taken place through no fault of his own. But, to the extent that his property had enabled him better to fulfill his responsibilities, whether to God, his family, his community, or himself, he is now less able to fulfill those responsibilities than he had been prior to the war.

    As an owner, he had been the beneficiary of multiple streams of income from his capital goods. He no longer has these streams of income because he no longer has functioning capital goods. He is poorer in terms of income than he had been before the war. He is less able to fulfill his responsibilities in life.

    He also has a new concern. Will there be another war? Will his property be invaded again? Should he accumulate property that is easily destroyed in wartime? Should he allocate his property, such as labor, into forms of capital which, if he were confident of continuing peace, he would not consider? His life has been disrupted by the war, and not simply in the past. The war has reminded him of his own vulnerability. He must now consider allocations of his capital that will reduce his consumption or reduce his productivity, but which are necessary to protect him against another outbreak of violence.


    2. Window

    As an owner of capital, he had served the community. Scarce economic resources have economic value. We know this because they command prices in the market. Somebody is willing to bid for either ownership or the use of the resources. Somebody must make the decision regarding who should have access to these resources. Who should have access to the income streams or the streams of production that are generated by this property? Such decisions are not made at zero cost. Somebody has to be economically responsible for them. Somebody has to make decisions in terms of the highest bids of consumers or their economic agents, entrepreneurs.

    Before the war, the owner had decided that he would make the highest bids to retain ownership. He therefore forfeited the use of whatever money or wealth that the highest bidder for everything he owned would have paid him. That was his cost of operation. In terms of his own hierarchy of values, both moral and economic, he allocated wealth to retain ownership of his property.

    If this property provided income for him, then he was able to make voluntary exchanges with other people. But now his tools of production are broken. Now he cannot afford to make these exchanges. The productivity that his tools of production had previously provided him is missing in action.

    To say that he is better off now than he was before the war is ludicrous. Hazlitt's argument shows that he is not better off. Now he must spend money or time to replenish his stock of capital. He may make these expenditures, but the cost of these expenditures ought to be clear: whatever he would otherwise have purchased, had the war not invaded his property. The broken tools of production, analytically speaking, are exactly like the broken window. He is the victim of violence.

    There is no pent-up demand. There may be post-war demand, because the victim needs to replace his broken property. But this demand would have been manifested even if there had been no war. It simply would have been manifested in other areas of the economy. Total demand is less than it would otherwise have been, because the wealth of the person going into markets and attempting to buy goods and services is less than it was prior to the war.



    3. Stone

    The implements that were used to destroy his property were weapons. They were deliberately designed to break things. He has been the victim of concentrated violence. He has been the victim of violence imposed on a systematic basis. In this case, the destroyer's motivation was not envy. His motivation was destruction for the sake of the official causes of the war.

    There is no doubt that war is destructive. It is certainly more destructive than a stone thrown at midnight by an envy-driven vandal. The war's victim has suffered greater loss than the stone would have inflicted on him.

    It may be that he was not the direct victim. But he was forced to pay taxes to support the war effort. He is therefore poorer than he would have been if he had not had to pay those taxes. There is no pent-up demand.


    4. Costs

    The costs of replacing the rubble with new capital equipment must be borne by somebody. There are no free lunches. There is no free capital. Somebody must pay.

    The net wealth of the victims of the war is lower than it was before the war. So, demand registered by the victims in those markets associated with the removal of rubble and the building of new structures may be higher than it was prior to the war. But this means that demand registered by the victims in those many markets that are not associated with removing the rubble and building new structures will be reduced.

    Meanwhile, the victims will live in terrible conditions. They will suffer greatly. They are no doubt highly motivated to remove the rubble and rebuild living quarters. But unless they find resources in terms of their own labor, meaning opportunities to serve the general community within the framework of a free market, they will not be able to register this demand in a way that promotes economic growth.

    There is no escape from the cost of destruction. Destruction imposes unexpected costs on victims. To imagine that these victims will be better off because they will live in new buildings is to imagine that they are now better off than they would have been, had their homes not been destroyed. But the very fact that they did not tear down the old buildings and replace them before the war began indicates that they are in a less desirable situation today, after the war, than they had been before the war. They are now forced to buy what they did not want to buy. They have had to re-budget, not because they are better off, but because they are worse off.


    5. Consequences

    Before the war, there had been considerable productivity because of the existing capital base of society. After the war, this capital base is smaller than it was before the war. So, the productivity of the population is less after the war than before the war. The consequences for society should be obvious: reduced wealth per capita. Society has less capital than it did before, and therefore the only way that per capita income would be higher, would be as a result of deaths inflicted during the war. To argue that the society is better off under such conditions, since it has higher per capita wealth, would be recognized as ludicrous. Members of families that had lost loved ones in the war do not regard themselves as better off than they were before the war, simply because in particular instances, a family's per capita capital is higher.

    A family that lived in a rural area in Germany during World War II may not have suffered greatly. No bombs fell on it. No troops invaded. The family may have had a small farm, and therefore had access to meat, butter, and other consumer goods that were regarded as delicacies by the end of the war. But if that family lost a husband or a son during the war, as a result of conscription, the widows did not regard themselves as better off because of a higher ratio of per capita investment.

    The division of labor shrinks during a bombing raid. Specialization shrinks as a result of the reduced division of labor. The capital that it will require to recover from war will have to be allocated as a result of much greater thrift. Prior to the war, this degree of thrift was not mandatory, for the society had an inherited legacy: capital that had been built up for decades or even longer. After the war, that capital is gone. So, whatever capital is replenished through much greater thrift, could have been invested before the war, meaning that it could have been added to a far larger capital base.

    A society that has experienced bombing raids, invasions by millions of troops, and losses of life as a result of battlefield deaths and civilian disease is not richer than it was before the war.

    Hazlitt understood this in 1946. Those American businessmen who imagined that there would be pent-up European economic demand because of the war, which in turn would benefit them, did not count the costs of the war. They did not count the costs to individuals. They also did not count the costs to the social order due to a shrinking division of labor.


    Conclusion

    A variant of this argument applies to natural disasters. After a tornado or earthquake levels a community, there will be an article about the stimulative economic effects of the disaster. Former homeowners will have to rebuild. This, we are assured, is positive economically. The victims will own newer buildings. The local economy will boom.

    The inability of people to recognize the existence of the things unseen is at the heart of their economic ignorance. Hazlitt was wise to resurrect Bastiat's analogy of the broken window. He made the correct point with respect to pent-up demand. "But need is not demand. Effective economic demand requires not merely need but corresponding purchasing power."

    If Christians took seriously the biblical law of fire-starting, they would be less likely to make such a conceptual error. The Bible does not mandate economic restitution for acts that increase the wealth of third parties. It mandates restitution for acts that decrease the wealth of third parties.

    War decreases the wealth of third parties.

    Next installment: April 25.


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    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Chapter 4: Public Works Mean Taxes


    Gary North - April 25, 2015


    For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword (Proverbs 5:3-4).

    The author of Proverbs in the first nine chapters contrasts the faithful wife with the strange woman. He uses the metaphor of the strange woman for alluring lies that ultimately betray the person who accepts them. Here is the passage's underlying message: something can look very appealing on the surface, but the end thereof is bitter as wormwood. Why? Because there is a system of moral cause and effect in history. When someone violates fundamental ethical principles, he will eventually experience negative sanctions. This is also true of entire social orders.

    This passage has economic implications. The specific ethical context of the passage is this commandment: "Thou shalt not commit adultery." But the general ethical context of the passage also applies to this commandment: "Thou shalt not steal." This in turn applies to government spending. The passage in Proverbs warns us against all versions of the economic error that Bastiat called "the thing not seen" -- the true economic cost of our actions.

    This chapter deals with public works projects. These are projects that are funded by the state. They are highly visible. They look very productive. It is relatively easy to gain public support for the construction of these projects. On the surface, they look appealing, but the end thereof is bitter as wormwood: higher taxes. But the wormwood goes far deeper than higher taxes, as we shall see. There are several layers of things not seen.

    The appeal of public works is the appeal of something for nothing. It is the appeal of the devil's temptation of Jesus: stones into bread (Matthew 4:3). The voters are told that a public works project will do two things. First, it will create employment. Second, it will create wealth. Whenever we hear such an appeal, we should remember the principle: "There are no free lunches." This is the underlying reality of the things not seen -- plural.

    With this in mind, let us return to the familiar five-point model of the fallacy of the broken window.


    1. Ownership

    I begin with the biblical principle of private ownership. This principle is manifested twice in the Ten Commandments: the prohibition on objective theft and the prohibition on subjective coveting. We are to respect the judicial boundaries of ownership. This has to do with ethics: moral and legal boundaries.

    Throughout this book, I am trying to make clear that there are two issues here: judicial sovereignty and economic authority. These are separate concepts. They are also inescapably related concepts. Judicial sovereignty is primary.

    The fundamental principle of ownership in the biblical context is this: there is a tight judicial connection between ownership and personal responsibility. This is a matter of judicial sovereignty: the legal rights of ownership. These legal rights establish immunity. They establish legal boundaries.

    Economic theory informs us that there is also a tight economic connection between ownership and personal responsibility. This has to do with economic costs. When an asset owner uses it for one purpose, he cannot use it for another. The highest value forfeited use is his cost of ownership. This cost cannot be avoided. This is a matter of economic authority. It is an inescapable implication of judicial sovereignty: the legal right to use the resources we own, which therefore is the legal right to exclude others. There are inevitable personal costs associated with ownership; there are also personal benefits. Jesus said that we must count the costs (Luke 14:28-30).

    An individual owns an asset. Civil law upholds this claim. He is convinced that he is responsible before God and other people for the use of this asset. It is part of his wealth. He may see that he is responsible for the increase of his wealth. Maybe he has read the 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, which presents the parable of the talents.

    Ownership is always tied economically to allocation. It has to do with budgeting. Any scarce economic resource that is used for one thing cannot be used for another thing. The owner must choose. There is no escape from this judicial responsibility. There is also no escape from this economic responsibility.

    Under biblical law, and also under free market institutions, an owner has a sense of ownership. He believes that he owns the legal right to use an asset. Ownership is a bundle of legal rights. By rights, I mean legal immunities from coercion. This means legal immunities from private coercion, and it also means legal immunities from state coercion.

    This assumption of ownership rights permeates every aspect of the free market economy. It permeates every aspect of individual economic decision-making. This is the foundation of the free market social order. This legal foundation is taught in the Bible, and Christian economic analysis must take this into consideration.

    We know the phrase posted in retail shops: "If you break it, you own it." This means that if you break it, you must pay for it. But there is another side of ownership: "If you own it, you may legally break it." Both must be affirmed: purchase and use. When you buy it, you also buy the bundle of rights that legally comes with it.


    2. Window

    The window in this case is each individual's net wealth. Individuals believe that they lawfully possess wealth. This wealth is not simply the money that an owner could generate by selling all of his assets. This wealth is also very much a matter of his legal immunity from coercion. It is the wealth associated with property rights.

    The Bible teaches that men are legal agents of God. It also teaches that one of the ways that this legal responsibility is manifested is through ownership. This makes owners stewards of God. This is hierarchical. But this economic stewardship also has what we call horizontal aspects. Owners are stewards for third parties. Third parties bid for ownership. The results of these bids is an array of prices. Would-be owners shout to owners: "Sell it to me!" or "Let me rent it!" Wherever there is a price, there we find economic stewardship. This is inescapable. The owner is an economic agent of society. He decides who gets to use whatever he owns, and also on what terms. This is an inescapable economic implication of judicial sovereignty.

    People make decisions in terms of what they perceive to be immunity from taxation. They believe that they have the legal obligations and also the economic opportunities associated with ownership. To increase their wealth, they must participate in the social division of labor. This leads them to cooperate with others. They make decisions in terms of whatever they want to buy. Whatever they want to buy is closely related to whatever they have to offer in exchange. There are no free lunches.

    The exchange system in a free market economy extends the division of labor. People make decisions regarding the allocation of their wealth, and they do so in terms of their perceptions of opportunities for service: their opportunities to serve others, but also others' opportunities to serve them. This focus on service comes from an inevitable aspect of stewardship in a world of scarce resources: asset allocation.

    To achieve their goals at a low cost, they have to gain cooperation from other people, especially strangers. The main way that they do this is to offer opportunities to these people. We are back to Adam Smith's famous dictum: we should not expect to gain what we want from the butcher or the baker based on an appeal to their charitable instincts. We should expect to gain cooperation on the basis of this offer: "I will provide what you want, if you will provide me with what I want."

    In other words, the value of the window is not simply the benefits that the window will provide in terms of letting light in and keeping cold and bugs out. It is also the right of ownership that someone has with respect to his window. Specifically, it is his window. It is not somebody else's window. This fact of ownership, he believes, entitles him to the use of his window. This legal right of use, which inescapably means the right to exclude others, may be of much greater value to him than the benefits expected from the window itself.

    Wealth gives owners greater freedom of action. Wealth, when combined with legal immunities from coercion, leads asset owners to make specific allocation decisions. They count the costs and benefits of their decisions. They seek cooperation. They want to participate in the social division of labor. All of this is threatened by a deliberately tossed stone.



    3. Stone

    The analogy of the stone represents an illegal invasion of a boundary. The boundary is a property right. One more time: by property right, I mean the legal immunity from coercion with respect to personal wealth.

    In the case of public works, the stone has the characteristic features of the strange woman. It has great allure. This is not simply a stone picked up at random, and then tossed through a window out of spite or out of envy. This particular stone is based on a conceptual model. It may be based on a physical working model, but the conceptual model is the key. It is a model of great beauty. It is something to be desired. It offers specific benefits to the person who takes advantage of it. The benefits are obvious; the costs are deliberately concealed.

    There are always hidden costs of this stone. Always, the benefits must be paid for. Specifically, the benefits must be paid for by specific people. Somebody is going to benefit from a particular public works project. But somebody else is going to have to pay for it. In some cases, this may be the same person, but in all likelihood, the person making the decision to toss the stone sees that he will gain more from the outcome of the stone tossing then he will pay.

    This is not a matter of envy: the destruction of what someone else owns. Rather, this is a matter of jealousy: the desire to get part of what someone else owns. The underlying assumption of the stone-thrower is this: "Somebody else is going to have to pay more to get the benefits than I will have to pay." There is no question regarding the underlying economics of this relationship: it is theft.



    4. Costs

    The most important cost of state intervention into the economy, rarely discussed, is this one: the state's violation of property rights. The taxpayer has been subjected to a loss. His immunity from coercion has been reduced. His wealth is more uncertain than it was before. The arbitrariness of the state now threatens the future predictability of his personal plans.

    With a public works project, the state has tossed the stone through the windows of taxpayers. The state has therefore forced existing taxpayers to adopt new budgets. These budgets are not what each of these taxpayers would have chosen, had the state not started some public works project, and had the state not been forced to tax certain individuals in the general public. Each taxpayer would have made individual allocation decisions in terms of his original budget. Now he must re-think his decisions in terms of a different, smaller budget. Taxpayers would have made their plans in terms of personal balance sheets; now they are forced by state coercion to make their decisions in terms of reduced balance sheets. The ability of individuals to achieve their personal goals is reduced when the tax bills come due.

    Politicians promote a pubic works project in terms of benefits that will be seen. The exact details of who is going to pay for these benefits are always kept in the background. Politicians do not want voters to make a careful analysis of the real costs of the project. They persuade the voters that the costs will be born by somebody else, or at least most of the costs will be born by somebody else.

    Another major loss is the reduction of voluntary cooperation. People would have made different plans, and they would have coordinated these plans with different people. The new public works project will no doubt foster new kinds of exchange relationships. Some people will be benefitted. But the question is this: Will a social order based on voluntary cooperation be extended by state compulsion into the economy? Unfortunately, hardly anybody ever asks this question.

    There will be new employment in those areas associated with the public works project. But there will also be reductions in employment in all of those areas where the taxpayers' money would otherwise have been spent, but which now is spent by the state. We see the benefits; we do not see the losses. We see people employed on the public works projects; we do not see the people who are not employed because there are no private works projects as a result of the taxes.

    Another major aspect of this that is rarely discussed is this: What is it going to cost to keep the public work in repair? Maintenance costs are inevitable. Who is going to bear the burden of these costs? Even when a fee is attached to a public work, such as a toll bridge or a toll road, we find that there is political maneuvering by other groups to get their hands on the flow of income generated by the fees. This has been basic to modern politics for a century or more.

    5. Consequences

    The first and most important consequence is this: the reduced security of property. Put in terms of legal terms, it means a reduced area of responsibility for individuals. They now must allocate more resources than before to protecting their property. These resources could have been used for other purposes -- purposes that were higher on taxpayers' individual lists of priorities. But because of the violation of their property rights, these priorities must now be placed lower on their lists. In other words, there is diluted ownership, and therefore there is diluted responsibility.

    The biblical principle of personal ethics is this: increased personal responsibility. The message of the Bible is clear: there will be no plea-bargaining at the final judgment. This is the message of the parable of the talents. The concept of public works projects undermines personal responsibility. "Blame the committee!" There are no committees at the final judgment.

    After the tax bills arrive, productive people will begin to allocate more resources to tax avoidance and away from economic production. Resources will go to lawyers and accountants rather than engineers and marketers. This is good news for lawyers and accountants, but bad news for the general public. Productivity will decline.

    There will be a reduction in the division of labor. The division of labor is extended by voluntary cooperation. People learn to trust other individuals and companies over extended periods of time. They establish personal networks. People trust each other with respect to all kinds of projects. But this zone of personal interdependence is thwarted by increased taxation.

    This is all the consequence of ignoring the reality of the things not seen. Voters are mesmerized by the vision of the benefits generated by the public works. They see benefits flowing for decades or longer. But they do not see the costs.

    The popularity of the things seen is likely to lead to the construction of more public works. There will be more government stones tossed through more privately owned windows. Property rights will be violated again and again. The negative consequences of this are inevitable. Sometimes, we are wise enough to call them what they are: unintended consequences.

    Sometimes they are called side effects. We forget what should be obvious: there are no side effects. There are only effects. The effects we do not like are the ones we call side effects.

    One of these effects, which we like to call side effects, is this: taxes discourage production. I will cover this in the next chapter.



    Conclusion

    The strange woman in economics today is seen by most Christians as a biblically faithful social order. They have accepted as biblical the ancient error of government-funded public works projects as economically productive in the aggregate.

    Public works projects are state subsidies to one group of citizens. These subsidies are paid for by taxpayers. The benefits are visible. The taxes are paid in private. There will be an organized constituency behind a public works project. There will be no such organized constituency behind the taxpayers.

    Just as with a strange woman, a public works project starts wearing out as soon as it is introduced to respectable society. Many of the voters who once enjoyed its benefits will inevitably grow bored. There are always newer, more alluring projects. Eventually, it will need the equivalent of a facelift. But even a facelift dies not help. It still sags. The wrinkles get worse. Hardly anyone comes to visit any more. Someday, it will have to be replaced. The key question is this: Will the replacement be another strange woman?

    Men should have better taste. They should adopt a more long-run view. They should count all of the costs of their actions: the things not seen. But they don't. That is why there are authoritative commandments to remind them in times of great temptation. They all boil down to this: "Don't."


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    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Chapter 5: Taxes Discourage Production


    Gary North - May 02, 2015


    And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day. (I Samuel 8:15-18).

    Te people of Israel wanted a king. They heard of the nations around them, and they were told that these nations had strong central governments. Each was led by a king, who embodied the power, prestige, and glory of his nation-state. The system of civil rule in Israel at this time was based on decentralized tribes. Each tribe had a system of judges. There was no legislature. There was no central civil government.

    Samuel was both a priest and a civil judge. Representatives of the people of Israel came to him and asked him to anoint someone to serve as a king. He warned them against this. His warning came in the form of a threat: increased taxation. Not only would they have to pay taxes to the local tribal civil governments, they would now have to pay taxes to the central government, as embodied by the king.


    Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles (vv. 19-20).

    We might think that the threat of increased taxation would have scared them off. Not so. They wanted to be represented by someone with power, and they were willing to pay the price. The price was an additional tax of 10% of their income.

    This 10% figure was the same as the tithe that was owed to the Levites, the tribe of the priesthood. Samuel warned them that the king would extract as much wealth from them as the entire priestly tribe was entitled to. This centralization of wealth and power would be enormous. But they did not care. They wanted a powerful central state, so they got one. It lasted through four kings. During the early years of the fourth king, Rehoboam, a tax revolt took place. The nation of Israel separated into the northern and southern kingdoms (I Kings 12). It was never brought together again under the rule of a Hebrew king.

    The threatened system of taxation was proportional. It followed the same rule as the principle of the tithe. Everybody paid the same percentage. No group within the society would be able to extract a greater percentage of wealth from a richer group. The economic burden that afflicted the rich would also afflict the poor. The king of Israel would be an equal opportunity exploiter. Nevertheless, the people demanded a king.

    It was clear that the productivity of the people of Israel would decline under the rule of the centralized government as manifested by a single king. A tenth of their wealth would be extracted every year. In addition, he would take menservants and maidservants away from them. These servants would no longer be part of the household production system. The wealth that they would otherwise have produced would be transferred to the king and his household. The households would no longer be as productive, because the resource inputs available to them would be siphoned off by the king. Nevertheless, the people demanded a king.

    We take away two lessons from this. First, people who are in ethical rebellion prefer tyranny to liberty. This came as no surprise to Samuel, for God had told him that this would be the case.


    And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them (v. 7).

    Second, they are not swayed by the argument that higher taxes will reduce their wealth. They prefer to live under the embodiment of power rather than enjoy greater personal productivity. They did not listen to the economic logic of Samuel. He was correct in his assessment, but they paid no attention.

    This is always the problem with voters who criticize the existing tax code. They do not object to taxation as such. They are happy to extend power to the central government. They just want a different tax code, so that someone else will have to bear a greater burden of taxation. They reject the principle of the tithe: proportional taxation. They think they can use their influence so that the central government will extract greater wealth from those who have more income than they do. Their call for tax reform is this: "Don't tax you. Don't tax me. Tax the guy behind the tree."


    1. Owner

    Private ownership is based on a legal connection between ownership rights -- legal immunities from theft -- and personal responsibility. In the biblical worldview, God grants ownership to an individual. He thereby increases the individual's personal responsibility.

    Ownership provides a test of performance: ethical and economic. The owner has a responsibility to increase his wealth on behalf of God, the original owner This was taught by Jesus in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). The original owner delegates the responsibilities of asset management to three men. Later, he returns for an accounting. He sees if each of them has increased the owner's wealth. Two did; one did not. The two who did are then given greater wealth -- redistributed by the owner from the steward who had buried his coin: a zero rate of return.

    Jesus used a parable about money as a way to get the main point across: increasing your productivity is an ethical requirement. It is also a judicial requirement. The best way to increase someone's productivity is to make him an owner. God then holds him responsible. In the parable, God did not hand over ownership to a committee. He handed it over to individuals.



    2. Window

    Wealth serves as a tool of production. In the case of Samuel's warning, the focus was on the output of the land and the household: seeds, domesticated animals, and servants. Some of these assets served as consumption goods. But they could also be converted into production goods: capital. It is clear from the parable of the talents that God expects a positive rate of return on His investments. This means that owners must set aside a portion of their wealth for investment purposes.

    The free market allows owners to increase their wealth by serving customers. Asset owners -- customers -- bid against each other for the output of capital. They are the strongest bidders for assets. They own money. Money is the most marketable commodity. The capital owner then decides whose bid to accept, including his own if he decides not to sell. He can select from a wide range of bidders. If he is successful in producing goods and services desirable in the eyes of customers, he then allocates his output by the rule of every auction among strangers: high bid wins.

    This allows resource owners to bid for ownership or temporary control over each other's assets. Owners of money (buyers) compete against each other. Owners of goods (sellers) compete against each other. Out of this competition comes an array of prices. The highest bidder wins, product by product, auction by auction. This judicial system of voluntary resource allocation allows people with any amount of wealth to seek to exchange whatever they own for whatever they would like to own. This is a judicial system of liberty. It produces an economic system of exchange. What is being exchanged? Ownership: legal immunities and economic stewardship.

    In the free market system, the most efficient -- least wasteful -- producers gain an increasing share of the society's wealth. As long as they continue meet the demands of competing customers, they will continue to accumulate wealth if they are more efficient than their competitors. Meanwhile, those producers who are not efficient in meeting the demands of customers will be losers. They will steadily experience a depletion of their capital. Capital is transferred, through voluntary competition, from inefficient producers to efficient producers. The arbitrators of this transfer are customers, who reward the most efficient producers. This system of ownership encourages capital owners to continue to produce. It leads to capital accumulation: better tools. It leads to richer customers: higher output/income and more choices. This ownership system hands control over the scarce means of production to customers by way of their economic agents: efficient producers. Customers retain authority in this auction process because they own money: the most marketable commodity.


    3. Stone

    In this case, the stone is a tax increase. There is no easy way to disguise a new tax as a benefit to the nation or the taxpayer. It is usually seen for what it is: a liability. People are rarely persuaded when a Keynesian economist says: "A tax hike will create jobs." This is job-creation for tax collectors. This does not impress voters. In this case, "the thing not seen" is clearly seen. A spoonful of Keynesian sugar does not make the medicine go down.

    The way for politicians to sell a tax increase to a majority of voters is to persuade middle-class voters that only the rich will pay the new tax. Middle-class voters keep buying this obvious lie. They are told that there is too much economic inequality today. They think the rich can afford to pay. The following question never seems to occur to American voters: "If the rich have not been paying their fair share of taxes ever since 1914, maybe the latest tax hike proposal will not be paid by them, either." Jealousy prevails. They accept the new tax. But even if they do not pay it out of their bank accounts, they will still pay, as we shall see.

    The state collects a portion of the money of existing property owners. The ownership of money is transferred from owners who are responsible before God, and who are inescapably the economic agents of money-bidding customers, into the hands of bureaucrats, who are agents of the state. The bureaucrats, who are under the general rule of the central government, then use the newly confiscated money as a way to satisfy the various competitors for the state's wealth. The politicians have already authorized the tax code. The bureaucrats now collect the money and hand it out.

    In a democratic system, there are many bidders for the state's newly confiscated assets. They bid in political currency: votes. They also bid in the form of contributions to political campaigners. They may even bid in the form of under-the-table payoffs to specific legislators. Exchanges take place. Politicians decide how much they have to pay to politically adept special-interest groups.

    In every division-of-labor economy, there is specialization. Politics is no exception. Special-interest groups specialize in obtaining special favors for their members. Potential recipients of government largesse specialize in how to get their hands on the state's confiscated wealth. In contrast, the voters, not having enough time or interest to study exactly what is done with the money confiscated from them individually, pay far less attention to the details of the state's voluminous wealth transfers. The public tries to compete with these specialists by voting every few years, but they are not as skilled in retaining their wealth as the special-interest groups are skilled in obtaining the voters' wealth. The only way voters can compete is by refusing to vote for politicians who vote to raise taxes. This is the specialty of voting no. Few politicians ever develop this skill. They are too busy buying votes with confiscated money. So, the field of available candidates is severely limited.

    The primary difference between the competitive free market and the state is this: there is no legalized coercion in the competitive free market. Owners have a legal right to reject bids. In contrast, when an agent of the civil government comes calling, taxpayers do not have the right to reject what is now the highest bid. This bid is enforced by a gun. Someone with a badge has a gun, and he is in a position to collect the government's declared share of the asset owner's wealth.

    The asset owner has a direct incentive not to waste his wealth. The bureaucratic agencies that redistribute wealth do not take the same degree of interest in allocating wealth in a way that will increase future production. The stone breaks the window of wealth creation.


    4. Costs

    Because of the transfer of asset ownership from individual owners to bureaucratic agencies operating under the general jurisdiction of politicians, the economy's emphasis steadily shifts from increasing the capital base by means of satisfying customer demand to decreasing the capital base by satisfying special-interest demand for "free" money.

    Special-interest groups do not pay a market price in direct competition with the general public. They pay a non-market price to politicians in order to receive a net increase by means of the state's confiscated wealth. If they are successful in their political bidding, they will have more wealth at the end of the redistribution process than they had before it began. The taxpayers will have less wealth.

    The focus of the individual owner who wishes to increase his wealth is on saving, accurate forecasting, efficient production, and the reinvestment of profits. The corporate focus of a bureaucracy is to get a larger budget in the following fiscal year. This money is supplied by the legislature. The bureaucracy's other major goal is to increase its overall jurisdiction. When bureaucracies are successful in this two-fold quest, the result is an increase in the amount of wealth transferred to bureaucracies and therefore a decrease in the rate of economic growth. The money is transferred from people who have an incentive to invest their personal wealth to another group of people who have an incentive to spend the state's wealth. The bureaucrats cannot lay personal claim to a share of this confiscated wealth as individuals, but they receive lifetime career salaries for distributing it.

    Owners specialize in increasing production. Bureaucrats specialize in decreasing production. So, the cost of the modern tax system is a decrease of production. Specialists in distributing wealth by means of coercion gain greater control over the capital base of the society. This is the division of labor in action, as established through state coercion.

    Producers have a long-term view of capital growth because they or their families will be the beneficiaries of this growth. Politicians have a short-term view of taxation and spending -- a view which does not extend beyond the next election. So, the tax system transfers decision-making from people who have a long-term commitment to capital formation and increasing productivity to people who have a short-term commitment to winning the next election.

    A tax on the guy behind the tree will reduce the wealth of other citizens. He had more productive uses for his money than paying taxes, but now he will not be spending money his way. He will at some point lose interest in working for the state. He will stop taking so many risks with his money. He knows the rule: "Win, and the state wins with me. Lose, and I lose alone."


    5. Consequences

    The consequences of raising taxes should be obvious. Production slows because capital is transferred from specialists in production to specialists in political distribution. The salaried, job-protected specialists in transferring confiscated wealth do not conserve scarce resources, let alone increase them. They have this attitude: "There is always more where that came from." This is because they possess the legal authority to extract wealth from productive members of the society. Voters grant them this authority.

    The social order pays a price. First, it loses liberty because wealth is transferred to an agency of coercion. Second, there is reduced productivity because capital is transferred to those who do not invest their own money, but who transfer this money to special-interest groups that are successful in political bidding.

    People who are successful in building wealth then devote less of their wealth to capital formation than they would otherwise have done. Why? Because the results of their efforts and their investments in a market ruled by uncertainty, if successful, will be taxed. The political oligarchs who are skilled in gaining money through political pressuring increase their authority in the social order.

    Customers then will have reduced choices available to them because economic output has been reduced by the tax system. For as long as most of them vote for politicians who vote to raise taxes, or merely to keep taxes where they are, they will continue to disinherit themselves.

    Conclusions

    When taxes increase, the rate of growth of personal wealth decreases. The rate of wealth creation decreases because customers have a reduced range of choices available to them. They might have increased their savings as a result of the greater range of choices, but there is no greater range of choices. The state confiscated their money.

    It is difficult to persuade voters that taxation is reducing the rate of economic growth. Why? Because there has been incomparable economic growth in the world as a whole. From approximately 1800 until the present, the only decade in which there was not steady economic growth in the West was the decade of the Great Depression: the 1930's. People do not understand economic cause-and-effect. They also do not understand this moral principle: "Thou shalt not steal, even by majority vote." So, they continue to vote for programs of state wealth redistribution, always in the hope that the rich will at long last pay a greater percentage of their income than the common taxpayer pays. But the state is never content to tax only the rich. The state wants every productive citizen to pay his fair share, which always means more.

    People's voting behavior will not change until such time as they are trapped by national government debt that has been incurred in the name of predictable tax receipts. But tax receipts will not be sufficient to meet the state's legal obligations. The state will not be able to borrow at low interest rates any longer. Hyperinflation will not work, because the state has made long-term promises, and hyperinflation can last only a few years before the currency is destroyed. But the political promises still remain in the law books.

    Voters are very much like the people of Israel in the days of Samuel. They do not listen to the argument that the state will confiscate a large portion of their wealth. They always think that they will be winners in the political wealth redistribution process. They become the losers, for they do not specialize in between elections. The winners are specialists in tax avoidance and wealth redistribution: large corporations and industries that hire highly skilled lawyers, accountants, and lobbyists. A voter cannot affect the outcome of an election. A lobbyist can affect the wording of one paragraph in a 1,000-page tax bill. Who benefits most from political specialization?

    There are three ways by which voters may someday come to their senses. The first is a moral transformation. They may finally decide not to steal by means of the voting booth. Second, they may finally figure out the economic argument that they are made poorer by the tax system. Third, and far more likely, they will learn their lesson, just as the Hebrews learned their lesson under King Rehoboam, when tax increases bring widespread pain to all of those who have become dependent upon the state's wealth-transfer process. When the non-market auction for votes at last undermines the economy, voters may finally decide to rely on the free market's auction process: gaining ownership of other people's assets by means of voluntary exchange, not coercion. They may at last abandon this commandment: "Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote."

    Next installment: May 9


    http://www.garynorth.com/public/13744.cfm
     
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  6. Usury

    Usury Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    EXCEPT Old Testament commandments are JEWISH law--not Christian.
     
  7. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    You can contact the author here:

    [h=1]To Contact Me. . . .[/h]Gary North
    I am always interested in hearing your comments or questions about my site.​
    Send me a note at garynorth@garynorth.com.

    If you write North hopefully you'll post your message and his reply. Would enjoy reading them.
     
  8. soupbone

    soupbone Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Christianity started out as an exclusively Jewish religion and that is what it was intended for. The early Christian church was entirely Jewish and the earliest (Jewish) Christians would have all been Torah observant jews. Only after Paul bullied his way in did this version of Judaism go to the gentiles. Real Christianity is Judaism. The retarded version that gentiles practice today is Paulianity and would have made no sense to the early Jewish members of this religion.
     
  9. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    lol...............Do you still think I owe you an an apology? lol You owe me one slick. And I want it.
     
  10. soupbone

    soupbone Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    You owe Europe an apology for championing the Communist butchers who left Germany in ruins. You own an apology for celebrating the systematic destruction of one of the greatest subraces of Western man to ever live on this planet. But mostly you owe an apology for being a lemming who tows the party line and believes any old washed up lie that you are told, too lazy to bother to check for evidence and too lazy to use your own critical faculties and think for yourself. (That goes not only for the wack-a-doo tinfoil head utter nonsense that you believe about the events surrounding WWII, but also your preposterous "illuminati" conspiracy non-sense).

    Communism won WWII and since the triumph of communism and the defeat of wholesome European values, we have seen the decay and corruption of the West more and more every year since then until now we are living in an absolute cesspool of immorality, corruption, dysgenics and squalor. The state that the US and Europe has found itself in is the result of Communism defeating the last champion of Europe. Smarten up.
     
  11. 917601

    917601 Mother Lode Found Mother Lode

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    You need to go back and study history, when you " smarten up", get back with us.

    "The IMF’s Christine Lagarde has led the battle to impose French socialism/communism upon the entire world. I have warned that she is the most dangerous woman on the planet. Do not forget that it was the French elite who sold the idea of communism to Marx – not the other way around."

    http://armstrongeconomics.com/armstrong_economics_blog/

    " In the 1840s, a German philosopher and sociologist named Karl Marx (1818–1883), who was living in England after fleeing the authorities in the German states, where he was considered a political threat, began publishing books in which he outlined his theories for a variety of communism now known as Marxism. Marx was financially aided and supported by another German émigré, Friedrich Engels (1820–1895), who, like Marx, had fled from the German authorities in 1849.[8] Marx and Engels took on many influences from earlier philosophers; politically, they were influenced by Maximilien Robespierre and several other radical figures of the French Revolution,..."
     
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  12. soupbone

    soupbone Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Dont ever confuse a jew with a European again. A jew living in Russia is a jew first and has total allegiance to the jew cause first and foremost and no real allegiance to Russia. Same goes for a jew living in France. He's a jew first and a Frenchman second (if at all) even though he knows how to walk and talk and dress like a genuine Frenchman.

    The French elitists you spoke of were the Jacobins. A Jewish "Democratic" group that was directly responsible for bringing the Democracy craze to Europe and pan-European territories like San Domingo (Haiti) that resulted in the wholesale slaughter of whites by non-whites who'd recently given them equal rights. Karl Marx was a jew who lived on German soil but was in no way shape or form "German".. Unfortunately Germany, during most the last 200 years has had a disproportionate number of jews living among her population. This is one reason why elite jews had such a hard on for Germany. Germany kept catching on to their shenanigans and kicking them out and passing laws that forbade them from wreaking havoc.

    Back on topic. Do you think the historical Jesus ever wanted this religion to go to gentiles?
     
  13. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Screw you - you dirty little nazi scum piece of shit garbage. You owe me an apology and I want it you dirty little hate filled white nigger trash.
     
  14. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Here ya go you little filthy piece of nazi scum.....................

    BOMBING OF DRESDEN 1945-Very Graphic



    https://youtu.be/yGcO6zZ4MRM

    It a vid of your dirty, murdering trash heros getting their just deserts. How do you like watching it, you sick, twisted piece of human garbage? Crawl back into your snake hole you slime ball.
     
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  15. woodman

    woodman Seeker

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    An all out assault. No discussion of soupbone's contention, simply a naked attack. I guess that this could be expected from someone who could glorify the bombing of Dresden.
     
  16. woodman

    woodman Seeker

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    Dresden was a city full of women, children and wounded. It posed no threat and certainly was not strategic in any way. The bombing of Dresden was a barbaric act that showed the true color of those who have ruled behind the scene.
     
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  17. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    You have shown your true colors you filthy nazi worshipping piece of garbage. How about all the cities containing innocent men, women and children the nazi scum trash bombed?

    Edit: I guess they didn't matter especially if it was your heros doing the murdering? Buzz off troll.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2015
  18. Mujahideen

    Mujahideen Black Member Midas Member

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    CommentPhotos.com_1406559161.jpg
     
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  19. soupbone

    soupbone Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Dresden was one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe, not just Germany. Not only was Dresden not a military target but technically, the Germans had for all intents and purposes already surrendered by this time. The war was over and lost. The firebombing of Dresden was simply a cold and cruel calculated act by the allies.

    They firebombed her once killing tens of thousands of innocent civillians and then the following morning when medical personnel were trying to help screaming people in misery, when fathers were trying to comfort their badly burned little girls the allies fire bombed the city again.
     
  20. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Can the same thing be said about the countless cities & towns the nazis bombed for no reason what so ever? All the poor, innocent men, women and children that were butchered by nazi trash for no reason what so ever? You seem to enjoy posting rediculous hate filled nonsense about how wonderful the murdering nazis were and then take offense when some one throws it bact at you. What's up with that? Are you some how or other superior to the other members on the forum? It's ok for you to dish it out but not ok when someone lets you know what kind of a mentally deranged, hate filled lunatic you are.

    Dresden (and other cities in nazi germany) got exactly what hitler and his henchmen gave to cities through out Europe. Did they really think they were a master race? I think in the bitter end they were shown they weren't. And they were exposed for the filty nut jobs they were.

    You really should quit hijacking threads and posting nonsense.
     
  21. soupbone

    soupbone Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    I replied to Usury's post with a comment that was on topic. It was at this point that you, not me hijacked your own thread and got your blood pressure all jacked up..


    Any questions, stupid or otherwise?
     
  22. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    No questions goofball. And one thing is certain...........you and anyone who reads the thread know exactly what I think of you (and your delusional hate filled ilk) in no uncertain terms.
     
  23. 917601

    917601 Mother Lode Found Mother Lode

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    Not true, my mother and her family were there. They were refugees, her parents were " taken in" and put to work in the factories. They left Lithuania fleeing the Russians, why did they go to Dresden? Because it was a huge railroad hub, them, like other refugees thought they could get on a train to escape all the mayhem, instead of traveling by foot. They survived the bombing, then were put on work crews clearing rubble. Much discussion amongst those that actually witnessed the event. many refugees believed it shortened the war by further demoralizing the Nazi war machine ( much like Nagaski and Hiroshima) and insuring the advancing Soviets would not be able to use the factories ( which were in ruins) for their own uses. In any case, " justice" prevailed, the war was won- not once , but twice ( WW1).....
    So much for the " master race".
     
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  24. soupbone

    soupbone Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    It was over. The bombing of Dresden was a war crime and a grotesquely cruel and inhumane one. It doesnt surprise me that it makes your pee pee hard though. After all, you are a jew wanna be.

    Stop ducking my question. Jesus never intended for the gospel to go to gentiles did he? That was all Saul's idea. Yes its true, Jesus did make Jewish supremacist statements like " I came only for the lost sheep of the house of Israel" and "Go not unto the way of the samaritans and the gentiles" and my personal favorite "You gentiles dont know what you worship. We jews know what we worship for salvation is of the jews" (aint that the god damned truth). But thats not the real problem.

    I know you will quote some passage like Matt 28:19 but it was added much much later and isnt found in the earliest manuscripts of Matt. We dont have to simply rely on New Testament scholars to tell us that these kinds of universalist passages were added later. We know that Judaism is a racist religion and we have all the evidence we need right there in the New Testament itself.

    The real problem is that Peter had no clue until the book of Acts, long after Jesus' death, that this version of Judaism was supposed to be preached to gentiles. Only when he had a so called vision from god did he realize that jews and gentiles can commingle and the gospel was for gentiles as well as jews. Peter spent over 3 years with Jesus. Walking with him, having private conversations with him and Jesus never told him that this religion should go to gentiles and not just jews? Only after Paul publicly humiliated him and he had a so called "vision" did he realize that the gospel was for gentiles and not just jews. Jesus never told him. Ahahahaha.

    Those heebs are having a tremendous laugh at you. I would recommend that you redirect the hostility that you have toward the Germans at the real people who have wrecked Western civilization. This is an important article written about 100 years ago by a jew openly mocking Christian dupes like you that have fallen for Paulianity.

    http://members.tripod.com/alabasters_archive/real_case.html
     
  25. 917601

    917601 Mother Lode Found Mother Lode

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    Colossians 3:11 - Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all.

    Acts 28:28 - Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and [that] they will hear it.

    Galatians 3:14 - That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

    Ephesians 3:8 - 3:10

    8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

    9 And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

    10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,


    Acts 18:4 - 18:6

    4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

    5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews [that] Jesus [was] Christ.

    6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook [his] raiment, and said unto them, Your blood [be] upon your own heads; I [am] clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.


    Isaiah 56:6 - 56:8

    6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

    7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

    Need more? Try reading the Old and New Testament, instead of posting some else's gibberish.
     
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  26. soupbone

    soupbone Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Jesus never intended for his version of Judaism to go to gentiles. None of those passages disprove my claim. You were quoting Paul which is the point I made. "Paul" never walked and talked with Jesus. Not unlike Joseph Smith he faked having a vision to start a religion for his own nefarious reasons. You also didn't address my point about Peter not knowing that the gospel was not for gentiles despite spending 3 years under Jesus' tutelage. Jesus never taught Peter that gentiles were A-Okay. Just the opposite. He made many many jewish supremacist statements. This is perfectly in line with what we know about Judaism and jews living in this time period.

    As for the passage you quoted from Isaiah, the bible both old and new testaments are a mess and full of contradictions and errors and other assorted slop. The few scant passages that you can find in the Tanakh that seem universalist are a moot point because the majority of passages in the OT say that this religion is not for gentiles in any way shape or form. Deuteronomy in particular is very clear on this idea. But even later on in the same book of Isaiah in chapters 60 and 61 the prophet raves about how gentiles will be the "vinedressers" and "plowmen" of the jews and jews will suck the milk of the gentiles. Biblical scholars are fairly sure that Isaiah has more than one author. It should not be surprising that the bible has all of these different opinions and contradicting passages. Its not a divine book that was "inspired by god". Its a human book written by superstitious and racist Middle Easterners.

    The historical Jesus would have been an ultra fanatic Jewish supremacist just like any Torah observant jew living in first century Palestine. Remember when some jewish representatives came and saw Peter eating with gentiles? What was their reaction. Why Peter! Why are you eating with those inferioir gentiles. Why, you DEFILE yourself with those filthy goyim. We know for a fact from historical records that jews refused to eat with gentiles in this period. We have multitudes of records of this. Of course they didn't commingle with gentiles. That is what Judaism taught and the historical Jesus would have only known one religion and that is Judaism. He never intended the gospel to go to gentiles. Absolutely not.
     
  27. woodman

    woodman Seeker

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    True color's indeed. PUT DOWN THE BOTTLE AND RETURN TO SANITY.
     
  28. woodman

    woodman Seeker

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    I feel that you owe me a sincere apology for this outburst. You owe one to soup one also. I don't come around and post alot. I do not have that much to say that I have not already said. I must wonder why you have the leeway on this forum to so demean other members. Your words aren't nice, they are downright vitriolic. You seem to be the one filled with hate and coming off in a completely rabid manner.

    Show me one instance where I have every backed the nazi or their war machine, or one instance that I have spread hate in any manner. I do believe that many innocents died and are dieing right now at the hands of those who are in c ok ntrol of the world's banking system. Follow the money. All roads lead to Rome. I guess that speaking the truth makes one a hate filed piece of garbage (this according to you).

    It says under your user name GIM statesman. If you are a statesman then you are are on the order of Hillary Clinton.

    Personally, I think you are on a bender a n d will come to your senses. I will await for your apology.
     
  29. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Buzz off troll.
     
  30. pre-64'

    pre-64' Slaying Debt for Gold Gold Chaser

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    This is laughable.



    Who actually knows what Jesus intended? Oh I know, Messiah's Soupbone and woodman.


    And frankly who cares what Christian Economics really is? You ask 1000 Christians and get 970 different answers.


    It has got to ultimately come down to 'reason'.


    Yes Ayn Rand was right. Not that you have to be as anti-religion as she was.
     
    searcher likes this.
  31. woodman

    woodman Seeker

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    OK Hillary.
     
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