McAtee Contra Bahnsen

www.davidbahnsen.com/index.php/2013/01/01/i-can-not-believe-how-badly-some-people-miss-the-point/

First, understand that Bahnsen writes like a neo-con. This means he is a progressive though he interprets everything from the right side of the left. He is not a conservative in any legitimate sense of the word.

Bahnsen

There is nothing to celebrate or bemoan in what happened over the last 24 hours. A little rule-of-thumb of mine may be appropriate to share here: When BOTH parties say they want a certain thing, you can bet that after a whole lot of posturing or politicking and time-wasting, that thing is going to happen. It is not that easy when only one party says they want something. BOTH parties said they wanted the bottom four tax rates to stay where they were. BOTH parties said they did not want the estate tax exclusion amount to revert to the preposterous $1 million level. BOTH parties said they wanted a dividend tax rate at 20% or lower. It is no surprise that all these things are happening.

Bret

There is plenty to bemoan with this legislation.

1.) progressive income tax is a plank in the Marxist manifesto. The fact that any group of wage earner’s tax is going up is plenty to bemoan. Bahnsen has embraced the premise that progressive income tax is something that we just have to live with. I bemoan that we have a progressive income tax instead of a flat tax or something like a flat tax.

2.) The fact that we are getting more spending then tax cuts is outrageous. Not only does the McConnell Tax Hike stick it to the middle class, it raises taxes $41 for every $1 in spending cuts. Those spending cuts are ephemeral as there is $330 billion in new spending and a $4 trillion price tag over the next ten years. This plan is not fiscally responsible for a people who own their souls to the Chinese and are borrowing against future generations wealth.

3.) Keep in mind that with this deal more than 80 percent of households with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would pay higher taxes.

Both Hollywood and NASCAR get carve outs. So too do wind energy companies.

Bahnsen

Now, do I want my income tax rate going up? No, and I think it is immorally high even at 35%, let alone 39.6%. However, anyone telling you that the Senate or House voted for a tax increase is lying, and they know it. The law of the land was for a dramatically higher increase in rates across the board to kick in, and there have been huge reductions passed in the last 24 hours from all of those legally set levels. In other words, a tax cut was passed, not a tax increase. Did the Republicans hold their ground about not agreeing to see the top rate go from 35% to 39%? No. Did the always-pompous Obama keep his sworn campaign pledge for rates to go up on all incomes above $250,000? No, with all the leverage in the world he folded like a bad poker hand and agreed to a $450,000 income level for that increase. There are things to like and things not to like, but there is simply no debating that it is better than what we were going to get – by a mile.

Bret

This is typical compromise political speak. Bahnsesn doesn’t know what we were “going to get” so how can he proclaim that this is “better then we were going to get?” This is like a virgin being told that she has to choose between becoming pregnant or contracting a STD and then upon becoming compromise her chastity saying, “Well, I may have gotten pregnant but I didn’t get a STD and so being pregnant is better than I was going to get by a mile.”

What if she had just said “no.” What if the Republicans had just said “no?” Who knows what we would have got?

Bahnsen

So why are people like Erick Ericson so mad? Because this plan does not cut spending the way we want. Well, no kidding Sherlock (I like the real expression better). It does not tackle deficits and debts because THE WRONG PARTY WON THE ELECTION.

Bret

More compromise from Bahnsen. He is cut from the same cloth as Boehner and McConnell.

We are so mad because even though the Republicans won the house they cave at every turn. We are so mad because the Republican moderates (Boehner & Cantor’s people) are forging a ruling coalition with the Democrats against Republican conservatives. Has Bahnsen forgotten how divided Government works? Given the 2012 vote that gave the House to the Republicans and the Presidency to Democrats the people obviously wanted gridlock. All because a Democrat wins the Presidency doesn’t mean that he gets what he wants when there is a decidedly Republican Congress. Bahnsen reasoning is curious.

Bahnsen

The so-called resolution to fiscal cliff is a joke, but that is not because it is a bad piece of legislation. The bad piece of legislation was the initial bill that failed to build in tax reductions on a permanent basis back in 2001 and 2003. Elections matter. Do not ever set policy on the presupposition that your party will never lose again. And when you do lose, do not act like you didn’t. The time to flex our muscle and block spending where we legally can is coming. But there was no possible way to do that yesterday.

Bret

There was a way to do that before this deal. Boehner could have held the debt limit increase that Obama wants in a very short time hostage. He could have used that as a leveraging chip but he didn’t and when the time comes around to debate the debt ceiling limit the Republican will cave AGAIN. Why elect Republicans when they are not going to be fiscally responsible?

Bahnsen

For Republicans mad about this deal, I suggest you do what always has to precede real political improvement in a Republic: Win your elections. The Libertarians and Paul-bots have been sitting around crying in their beer for over thirty years while they capture 1% of the voting public’s attention. Do not stoop to their loser level. Win an election, then demand a harder line on spending. For now, we were facing something far, far worse, and we got an improvement. Keep your eye on the ball, friends. This is a long war.

Bret L. McAtee

This is a untempered statement by someone not thinking through the implications of what he says.

Republicans won MASSIVELY in 2010. Did they do anything? Did they stop the debt ceiling limit? Did they do anything to investigate this President? No .. instead what we got with a Tea Party propelled victory is a Neo Con Speaker. Clearly winning elections do not matter as Rockefeller Republicans dance cheek to jowl with Socialist Democrats. Boehner is not a conservative and neither is McConnel or Bahnsen.

And why is he moaning about the Libertarians if they are so insignificant? Me thinketh Bahnsen doth protest too much.

We are being turned into a slave people and the best Bahnsen can do is lash out at Libertarians?

Liberals Continue To Give Back-Handed Support To The Belhar

Over here

What about the Belhar Confession?

There is a backhanded appeal to the support of the Belhar Confession. I normally wouldn’t comment on this but the blogger linked to my analysis of the Belhar and opinionated that I dismissed it “derisively.” Personally, I was hoping to have dismissed it “scornfully,” but I’ll take derisive.

Mr. Tuininga offered,

That said, is the problem really with the document itself? If DeYoung, Mouw, and others can agree with virtually everything the document says, is it possible that the misuses to which it is being put are the result of factors not pertaining to the confession itself? To be sure, in a liberal context the Belhar Confession is easily put to disastrous use. But if it is adopted in the context of strong confessional allegiances to the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dordt, or the Westminster Confession, is it really so dangerous or is it more of a corrective?

Yes, the problem is with the document itself. The document, as I exhaustively exposed in my previous posts on the Belhar is a document that grows out of the soil of Marxist liberation theology. Second, anybody (and I do mean anybody) who can agree with virtually everything that document says is either a Marxist, a proto-Marxist, or a useful idiot. Thirdly, the reason that the Belhar, in a liberal context could be used to disastrous use is because the Belhar is a liberal document. If a Liberal context can put the Bible, which is a historically non progressive document, to a disastrous use how much more a progressive document such as the Belhar? Fourthly, just exactly what is it in the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dordt, the Heidelberg catechism, or the Westminster Confession that needs to have a corrective as young liberal Mr. Tuininga offers the Belhar as a solution? I’d really like to know what Mr. Tuininga believes the Belhar can do that these confessions don’t already do. Finally, yes, in point of fact it really is so dangerous Mr. Tuininga. To add the Belhar to the Westminster or the Three Forms of Unity is like adding the Communist Manifesto to the US Constitution as a “corrective.” The fact that Mr. Tuininga can’t see that says more about Mr. Tuininga then it does about the relative safety of the Belhar.

Second, I’m not sure Young and Mouw are really representative of “conservative voices,” on this issue. They might be “more conservative,” but that would only mean that they represent, perhaps, the right side of the left as opposed to representing the right.

Tuininga goes on,

DeYoung argues that the Belhar Confession’s statement that God is “in a special way the God of the poor, the destitute, and the wronged” cannot be supported from Scripture. He believes that this statement contradicts the Scriptural teaching regarding God’s covenant with his people. But I would argue that DeYoung is reading too much into that statement, and that he is underselling what Scripture says about God’s concern for the poor. It is Luke, after all, who records Jesus’ proclamation Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God, and woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation (Luke 6:20, 24). It was Jesus who described his calling as requiring him to proclaim good news to the poor (Luke 4:18). DeYoung has argued in his What is the Mission of the Church? that the material significance of these statements is exaggerated, but I find his insistence on downplaying the implications of the gospel regarding poverty quite troubling. It does not go beyond Scripture to say that God is in a special way the God of the poor and the oppressed.

Yes indeed it does go beyond Scripture to say that God is in a special way the God of the poor and oppressed. Was God more God to David when he was a shepherd boy then he was God to David when David was King? Was God more God to the oppressed Israelites in Egypt than he was to Rich Abraham? Was God more God outcast Moses than He was God to Moses the leader of the Israelite Nation? Was God more God to the woman with the blood issue who had spent all her money on many Doctors than He was God to rich Zacchaeus? Was God more God to the woman caught in adultery than he was to Joseph of Arimathea? The Luke passage must be read in light of the Matthew passage which adds to “poor,” the idea of “in spirit,” in order to understand what Jesus was saying. When Scripture portrays God as hearing the cry of the poor and needy no one really believes that means that God hears the cry of the poor and needy who are wicked as well. It is past ridiculous for someone to suggest that God prioritizes the poor simply because they are poor, absent of any consideration of their relation to Christ. If Mr. Tuininga really believes that the poor qua poor are special to God I would look for him to impoverish himself instantly, take a vow of poverty, and become a mendicant monk. Now of course, God is not the God, in a special way, to the rich either. God is the God of those, rich or poor, who are united to Jesus Christ. Mr. Tuininga’s words belie his liberal leanings.

Mr. Tuininga offers,

In fact, if the Belhar Confession (or something like it) is worth adopting in our churches, I would argue that it is precisely for the reason that it challenges conservatives in their reactionary stance on matters of justice. Conservative Christians love to downplay (or ignore) the teachings of Scripture regarding the gospel’s implications for race or poverty. But they are in severe danger of allowing liberal extremes on these issues to curb their own fidelity to the biblical witness. For those who read older theologians like Calvin on these issues, the contrast is quite stark.

I wonder if Mr. Tuininga would terribly mind to much giving some examples of “conservative reactionary stances on matters of justice.” It would be good if he could provide names as well as examples. Secondly, just exactly what are the Scripture’s teaching on race and poverty that conservative Christians love to downplay? Names and examples please.

You see, I believe that it is liberal reactionary stances on matters of justice that create more poverty then what already exist. Liberals are full of good intentions that when implemented make matters worse then they were prior to their implementation. Perhaps Mr. Tuininga and I agree on the Churches and Christians role in relieving poverty.

Socialism Bromide #5 — So Since You’re Against Government Spending, What Would You Cut?

The response which those who believe in limited government often get from people who think that the Government should be redistributing wealth is, “What would you cut.” Sometimes such a question is better and more quickly answered by making a list of things one wouldn’t cut. The best and easiest answer though to such a question is to say, “I would cut all those programs not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution.”

People must keep in mind that whenever Government involves itself in wealth redistribution Government is involved in theft as they steal from Peter to give to Paul. As theft is sin, no Biblical Christian can support a Government that involves itself in confiscatory taxation to the end of massive wealth redistribution schemes.

In the words of Leornard Read, Government’s function,

should defend the lives and property of all citizens equally. This means protecting willing exchange and restraining unwilling exchange; suppressing and penalizing fraud, misrepresentation, predatory practice; invoking a common justice under written law; and keeping the records incidental to these functions. Governments legitimate purpose is to codify and then inhibit all destructive actions while leaving all creative and productive actions — including welfare, charity, security, and prosperity — to citizens acting voluntarily, privately, cooperatively, or competitively as they freely choose.”

When the government is in the business of seizing the assets of the citizenry government loses it’s status as legitimate because such a government at that point has gone from that institution which is responsible to insure proper boundaries for a vibrant market to being a institution that exists for its own end and to be enriched in that end with the private property of others. When Government tilts the balances of free exchange by putting its Leviathan thumb on the scales of exchange, Government thieves from some people (those they take from) not only their wealth but also thieves from other people (those they redistribute to) their sense of personal individual responsibility and so their dignity.

So, in embracing the philosophy of limited government I would cut all of those funds that work to keep the citizenry dependent upon the Federal Government as opposed to being dependent upon themselves as they look to God for His provision as they ply the trades, professions, and crafts to which God calls them.

Socialism Bromides #4 — Strikes Are Only For Bowling & Baseball

It is taken as a given that there is a right to strike without losing one’s job, but does that make sense?

Certainly people have a moral privilege to quit but is quitting, while using force to make sure “scabs” don’t take your job moral? Is it ethical to be able to coerce by force a employer, who without use of force would be unwilling to meet the demands of increased pecuniary and benefit recompense? I would say that no person, nor any league of persons who have banded together in order to negotiate by the force of the mob has an ethical place to stand when it comes to going on strike.

Imagine if we tried to take the reasoning attached to going on strike and marry it to the Doctor – patient relationship. The patient comes to the Physician with a malady and comes to contract with the Physician to treat and heal his disease. Both patient and Doctor are pleased with the arrangement. If either Doctor or patient pulls out of the agreement without breech of contract there is no problem. But, assume instead that the Physician (employee to the employer patient) in the middle of the corrective surgery or treatment goes on strike against the patient and says,

“I demand three times the wage that we agreed on or I quit and furthermore upon quitting I will, by use of force, prevent any other available qualified Doctor from treating your disease. If you do not meet my demands you will live without medical care forever.”

Stripped of all the emotional baggage the above parallel Doctor, Patient scenario is exactly what striking in the workplace is. Without the emotional baggage of “worker’s rights” and “being ‘fairly’ treated,” suddenly the right to strike is seen as morally ugly and unseemly as it really is.

To insist that one has the right to strike is to embrace that “might makes right,” since the right to strike embraces the right to use force to exclude competitors who might be pleased to take the wage and work that the striker is refusing to take or do. To insist that one has the right to strike is to embrace the idea that thug control normally associated with the acts of government are to be preferred over the voluntary exchange that occurs in a free market between buyers and sellers where mutually agreed on price (price of labor, and price of wage) are arrived at peacefully.

Leonard Read could write on this subject wisely offering,

“Lying deep at the root of the strike is the persistent notion that an employee has a right to continue an engagement once he has begun it, as if the engagement was his own piece of property. The notion is readily exposed as false when examined in the patient – physician relationship. A job is but an exchange affair, It ceases to exist the moment either party quits or the contract ends. The right to a job that has been quit is no more valid than the right to a job that has never been held.”

There is no moral right to strike, and as striking leads to a forced expropriation of funds from the one who is the Employer of the Strikers, one could easily make the case that striking is a form of violation of the 8th commandment since as the Heidelberg Catechism teaches, a strike would come under Lord’s Day 42, Answer 110

Answer: God forbids not only outright theft and robbery[1] but also such wicked schemes and devices as false weights and measures, deceptive merchandising, counterfeit money, and usury;[2] we must not defraud our neighbor in any way, whether by force or by show of right.[3] In addition God forbids all greed[4] and all abuse or squandering of His gifts.[5]

[1] Ex. 22:1; I Cor. 5:9, 10; 6:9, 10. [2] Deut. 25:13-16; Ps. 15:5; Prov. 11:1; 12:22; Ezek. 45:9-12; Luke 6:35. [3] Mic. 6:9-11; Luke 3:14; James 5:1-6. [4] Luke 12:15; Eph. 5:5. [5] Prov. 21:20; 23:20, 21; Luke 16:10-13.

Certainly no one could argue that Striking is not a wicked scheme and device that is tantamount to outright theft and robbery.

Socialist Bromides #1

Recently, one of the members of my congregation introduced me to a small book published by the Foundation for Economic education. This book, edited by Leonard E. Read, comes in the way of 32 small chapters written by ten different economist. It’s purpose is to explode the simple myths that surround and support Socialism that are often parroted by rank and file Americans who have been exposed to just enough Marxist economic theory to not realize the absolute lunacy that is socialism.

What I will offer on IronInk will be inspired by these chapters but I will be trying to put the gist of the chapter in my own words. If you want to purchase the book I am tracking with the title of that book is, “Cliches of Socialism.”

One reason I am doing this is because of a recent conversation I had with a community acquaintance who professes Christ. In the course of that conversation it became evident that he believed that collectivism could be perfectly consistent with Biblical Christianity. It is my hope that in writing these bromides of Socialism one effect will be to educate Christians on the contradiction that exists between Marxist economics and Biblical Christianity. It would seem, in my estimation, to be enough that the Scripture teaches us “Thou Shalt Not Steal.” This commandment implies private property for it certainly is not possible to steal if private property doesn’t exist to steal. So the Scripture teaches private ownership, faults plundering (Isaiah 33:1) and thieving (I Cor. 5:10, 6:10) and Socialism is a economic / political theory that is based upon the theft of private ownership by the State, legal plundering by the State, and sanctioned theft by the State. Given this reality I continue to be befuddled that my conversation partner mentioned earlier would insist that the Bible does not teach against Socialism. But … this is America where the Christianity is shallow and the thought processes are shallower still. Now combine shallow Christianity with a dumbed down citizenry with the reality that Christianity has often been reinterpreted through a Marxist grid and one has the perfect recipe for the making of Christians who look more like Karl Marx than they do Jesus Christ.

Now on top of this cake of “Christian Socialism,” frost it with liberal amounts of R2K “Christianity” which teaches that the Scriptures do not speak to the economic realm (or family realm, or education realm, or art realm, or history realm, etc.) and we should only be surprised when we meet a fellow believer who actually does understand that Christianity and Marxist economic theories are in perpetual and unresolvable conflict.

Keep in mind here that even though Scripture is foursquare against theft (whether by individuals who comprise official government agencies or by individuals who do not comprise official government agencies) Scripture is just as adamantly for the necessity to care for the poor and the disadvantaged. All because I insist, along with Scripture, that thievery by the State with the putative purpose of “providing for the poor,” is wicked theft doesn’t mean that I, following Scripture, am against charity. I am for the poor being relieved. I am simply opposed to relief for the poor being done at the point of a gun being held by some of the most well intentioned yet malevolent people who walk the planet who insist that they are doing what they are doing only because they love the poor, when in point of fact their policies testify to the great lack of compassion they have for the poor.

So our first Socialist Bromide for the day is,

THE MORE COMPLEX THE SOCIETY, THE MORE GOVERNMENT CONTROL WE NEED

This argument for legalizing government theft to the end of redistribution of wealth insists that free markets were acceptable once upon a time for our hayseed hick Fathers and Mothers who lived in simpler times but now that we have a more complex and vigorous society certainly one can understand the necessity of accepting more government control in our lives — government control that includes individuals in the government taking from powerful Peter to give to poor penniless Paul.

The first way to dismiss this bromide is to ask what complexity of society has to do with the proper functioning of free individuals exercising freedom to choose from a bouquet of goods that can be found in a free market. In point of fact one could easily argue that if the simplest society of two people could not be controlled by a centralized mind that would be charged with making all the decisions as what each of the two people in our simple society will invent, discover, or create then how could we expect a centralized government to plan a economy of 300 million Americans who are all simultaneously inventing, discovering, and creating? If a socialist Government headed by the wisest man who ever lived could not determine with efficiency how two people would trade with one another, how much time each invested in labor for whatever commodity they wished to sell or exchange, or what price each would set for the goods they wished to market, then how could a socialist Government headed and staffed by the wisest people who ever lived efficiently centrally plan the actions of 300 million people? In point of fact it would seem to be the case that the simplest of observations demands us to conclude that the more complex society the less Statist intervention we can tolerate.

A second way to dismiss this bromide would be to ask the person uttering the bromide (and here we will assume that the bromide spokesmen is a Christian) whether or not a government in the kind of control he is suggesting is necessary for complex societies would not effectively serve as God in that society. If a government has control, through central planning, of a people’s lives and decision making process, if that government is delegated with the authority to make everything “fair,” and to insure that everyone is “equal” (two central pillars in Socialist pleadings) it would seem that such a government would effectively be serving as God walking on the Earth. For Christians to support such a government like this would not only be a case where they would be supporting legalized theft but they would also be supporting the violation of the first commandment.

No, complexity of society is not a self-evident defeater of the notion of free markets or of free individuals. In point of fact, I might argue that it is only free markets that can account for the complexity of society. Without free markets which include the free flow of goods and services society would quickly devolve into a constrained and ugly simplicity. If anything complexity of society demands even more free markets in order to maintain the complexity of society.

Tomorrow, Bromide #2 — “If We Had No Social Security Many People Would Go Hungry”