Economics 101

Starting in the 1930s, Swedish politicians became infatuated with fascist-style, socialist “planning.” Fas­cism, of course, fell out of favor, but in the postwar era Sweden expanded its “planned, socialist society” with an ever-growing welfare state. Government spending as a percentage of Swedish GDP rose from what would today seem a relatively modest 20 percent in 1950 to more than 50 percent by 1975. Taxes, public debt, and the number of government employees expanded relentlessly. Swedes were, in essence, living off of the hard work, investments, and entrepreneur­ship of previous generations. The country remained relatively prosperous, but could not avoid economic reality. It is impossible to maintain a thriving economy with a regime of high taxes, a wasteful welfare state that pays people not to work, and massive government spending and borrowing. By the 1980s, Sweden’s col­lapse of economic growth and a government attempt to jumpstart the economy with a massive expansion of credit resulted in economic chaos, with stock mar­ket and real estate bubbles that burst, and interest rates that the Swedish central bank pushed up to 500 percent. By 1990, Sweden had fallen from fourth to twentieth place in international income comparisons! This precipitous economic decline led to a revolt against the socialist regime. More conservative gov­ernments sharply reduced marginal income tax rates; abolished currency controls; deregulated bank lend­ing; privatized several government enterprises; dereg­ulated the retail, telecommunications, and airline industries; and implemented deep government spend­ing cuts. But it was a long road back thanks to the incredible burden of Sweden’s welfare state. A 2009 STUDY BY THE SWEDISH ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION DISCOV­ERED THAT THE SWEDISH ECONOMY HAD FAILED TO CREATE ANY NEW JOBS ON NET FROM 1950 TO 2005. Thanks to conservative reforms, however, progress was finally being made, and Sweden’s national debt went from 80 percent of GDP in 1992 to 40 percent by 2008.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Problem with Socialism (New Jersey, NJ: Regnery, 2016), 78-79. (emphasis added)


Economically, minimum wages may not make sense. But morally, socially, and politically they make every sense…

Jerry Brown (Reason.org)


Economists aren’t certain about many things, but on the minimum wage, nearly all of them (90 percent, according to one survey) believe that the case is open and shut. All else being equal, if you raise the price of something (for instance, labor), then the demand for it (for instance, by employers) will decline. That’s not just a theory; it’s a law.

James Glassman, “Don’t Raise the Minimum Wage,” Washington Post (Feb 24, 1998).


A majority of professional economists surveyed in Britain, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, and the United States agreed that minimum wage laws increase unemployment among low-skilled workers. Economists in France and Austria did not. However, the majority among Canadian economists was 85 percent and among American economists was 90 percent. Dozens of studies of the effects of minimum wages in the United States and dozens more studies of the effects of minimum wages in various countries in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, Indonesia, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand were reviewed in 2006 by two economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research. They concluded that, despite the various approaches and methods used in these studies, this literature as a whole was one “largely solidifying the conventional view that minimum wages reduce employment among low-skilled workers.”

Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, 4th Edition (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2011), 241. [Link to 5th edition]


…percentage of economists who agree…. A minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers. (79%)

Robert M. Beren, Professor of Economics at Harvard University ~ (More: Wintery Knight)


In order to have a “favorable” view of socialism one must have either forgotten what the entire world learned about socialism from the late nineteenth century on, or have never learned anything about it in the first place. The latter is obviously true of much of the younger generation.

Socialism started out being defined as “government ownership of the means of production,” which is why the government of the Soviet Union confiscated all businesses, factories, and farms, murdering millions of dissenters and resisters in the process. It is also why socialist political parties in Europe, once in power, nationalized as many of the major industries (steel, automobiles, coal mines, electricity, telephone services) as they could. The Labour Party in post-World War II Great Britain would be an example of this. All of this was done, ostensibly, in the name of pursuing material “equality.”

In the foreword to the 1976 edition of his famous book, The Road to Serfdom, Nobel laureate economist Friedrich Hayek wrote that the definition of “socialism” evolved in the twentieth century to mean income redistribution in pursuit of “equality,” not through government ownership of the means of production but through the institutions of the welfare state and the “progressive” income tax. The means may have changed, but the ostensible end—equality—remained the same.

Hayek’s mentor, fellow Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, explained in his classic treatise Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, that the welfare state, the “progressive” income tax, and especially pervasive government regulation of business were all tools of “destructionism” in the eyes of the socialists of his day. That is, he observed that the proponents of socialism always employed a two-pronged approach: (1) the government takeover of as many industries and as much land as possible, and (2) attempts to destroy existing capitalist societies with onerous taxes, regulations, the welfare state, inflation, or whatever they thought could get the job done.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Problem with Socialism (New Jersey, NJ: Regnery, 2016), 4-5.


“The Tea Party movement was born out of a rebellion against one of President Bush’s signature policies: TARP, the bailout for Wall Street investment banks. Tea Party activists have been extremely critical of the willingness of Republicans to turn to the federal government to solve some domestic problems.”

Julian E. Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University (CNN)


…“The concept that most often eludes legislators,” he wrote, “is: ‘Can we make consumers pay the higher prices for the increased operating costs that accompany public regulations and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape.’”

As business owner, he suddenly worried over the ever-increasing cost of health insurance, excessive and outlandish litigation, and scapegoating. He came face-to-face with the reality in the private sector that “consumers do have a choice when faced with higher prices. . . Every such decision eventually results in job losses for someone.”

After his experience in the private sector, McGovern was talking about “profit margins, labor intensive vs. capital intensive businesses, and local market economics” in ways that he never did in Washington. And that’s no surprise — he was unable to talk about those things before because he had never dealt with them firsthand.

“In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business,” McGovern concluded. “I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.”…

George McGovern (via NewsMax, the Wall Street Journal, Larry Elder, and Inc.)


“A fundamental principle of information theory is that you can’t guarantee outcomes… in order for an experiment to yield knowledge, it has to be able to fail. If you have guaranteed experiments, you have zero knowledge” ~ George Gilder

Interview by Dennis Prager {Editors note: this is how the USSR ended up with warehouses FULL of “widgets” (things made that it could not use or people did not want) no one needed in the real world. This economic law enforcers George Gilder’s contention that when government supports a venture from failing, no information is gained in knowing if the program actually works. Only the free-market can do this.}


“The necessary result, then, of the unequal fiscal action of the government is, to divide the community into two great classes; one consisting of those who, in reality, pay the taxes, and, of course, bear exclusively the burden of supporting the government; and the other, of those who are the recipients of their proceeds, through disbursements, and who are, in fact, supported by the government; or, in fewer words, to divide it into tax-payers and tax-consumers.”

John C. Calhoun, Disquisition on Government, 1848


The rich in Ancient Greece would have benefited little from modern plumbing: running servants replaced running water. Television and radio— the patricians of Rome could enjoy the leading musicians and actors in their home, could have the leading artists as domestic retainers. Ready-to-wear clothing, supermarkets— all these and many other modern developments would have added little to their life. They would have welcomed the improvements in transportation and in medicine, but for the rest, the great achievements of Western capitalism have redounded primarily to the benefit of the ordinary person.

Milton and Rose Friedman, Free to Choose (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980), 148.


*In my family, as in yours, someone regularly says, “Hey, you know what would be a good idea … ?” And then proceeds to outline some scheme for making money by providing a product or service the need for which has just occurred to him. He and the family fantasize about and discuss and elaborate this scheme. Inherent in this fantasy is the unstated but ever-present truth that, given sufficient capital and expertise or the access to the same, the scheme might actually be put into operation (as, indeed, constantly, throughout our history, such schemes have), bettering the lives of the masses and bringing wealth to their creators. Do you believe such conversations take place in Syria? In France?

David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture (New York, NY: Sentinel Publishing, 2011), [FN] 120.


There is a Liberal sentiment that it should also punish those who take more than their “fair share.” But what is their fair share? (Shakespeare suggests that each should be treated not according to his deserts, but according to God’s mercy, or none of us would escape whipping.)

The concept of Fairness, for all its attractiveness to sentiment, is a dangerous one (cf. quota hiring and enrollment, and talk of “reparations”). Deviations from the Law, which is to say the Constitution, to accommodate specifically alleged identity-group injustices will all inevitably be expanded, universalized, and exploited until there remains no law, but only constant petition of Government.

We cannot live in peace without Law. And though law cannot be perfect, it may be just if it is written in ignorance of the identity of the claimants and applied equally to all. Then it is a possession not only of the claimants but of the society, which may now base its actions upon a reasonable assumption of the law’s treatment.

But “fairness” is not only a nonlegal but an antilegal process, for it deals not with universally applicable principles and strictures, but with specific cases, responding to the perceived or proclaimed needs of individual claimants, and their desire for extralegal preference. And it could be said to substitute fairness (a determination which must always be subjective) for justice (the application of the legislated will of the electorate), is to enshrine greed—the greed, in this case, not for wealth, but for preference. The socialistic spirit of the Left indicts ambition and the pursuit of wealth as Greed, and appeals, supposedly on behalf of “the people,” to the State for “fairness.”

….But such fairness can only be the non-Constitutional intervention of the State in the legal, Constitutional process—awarding, as it sees fit, money (reparations), preferment (affirmative action), or entertainment (confiscation).

David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture (New York, NY: Sentinel Publishing, 2011), 116-117, 122.


According to Adam Smith, it is when the businessman “intends only his own gain” that he contributes— via the process of competition— to promote the social good “more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.” Smith added: “I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.”

Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (New York, NY: basic Books, 2007), 57.


Christianity is closely tied to the success of capitalism,[1] as it is the only possible ethic behind such an enterprise. How can such a thing be said? The famed economist/sociologist/historian of our day, Thomas Sowell, speaks to this in his book A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. He whittles down the many economic views into just two categories, the constrained view and the unconstrained view.

The constrained vision is a tragic vision of the human condition. The unconstrained vision is a moral vision of human intentions, which are viewed as ultimately decisive. The unconstrained vision promotes pursuit of the highest ideals and the best solutions. By contrast, the constrained vision sees the best as the enemy of the good— a vain attempt to reach the unattainable being seen as not only futile but often counterproductive, while the same efforts could have produced a more viable and beneficial trade-off. Adam Smith applied this reasoning not only to economics but also to morality and politics: The prudent reformer, according to Smith, will respect “the confirmed habits and prejudices of the people,” and when he cannot establish what is right, “he will not disdain to ameliorate the wrong.” His goal is not to create the ideal but to “establish the best that the people can bear.”[2]

Dr. Sowell goes on to point out that while not “all social thinkers fit this schematic dichotomy…. the conflict of visions is no less real because everyone has not chosen sides or irrevocably committed themselves.” Continuing he points out:

Despite necessary caveats, it remains an important and remarkable phenomenon that how human nature is conceived at the outset is highly correlated with the whole conception of knowledge, morality, power, time, rationality, war, freedom, and law which defines a social vision…. The dichotomy between constrained and unconstrained visions is based on whether or not inherent limitations of man are among the key elements included in the vision.[3]

The contribution of the nature of man by the Judeo-Christian ethic is key in this respect. One can almost say, then, that the Christian worldview demands a particular position to be taken in the socio-economic realm.* You can almost liken the constrained view of man in economics and conservatism as the Calvinist position. Pulitzer prize winning political commentator, Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), makes the above point well:

At the core of every moral code there is a picture of human nature, a map of the universe, and a version of history. To human nature (of the sort conceived), in a universe (of the kind imagined), after a history (so understood), the rules of the code apply.[4]

A free market, then, is typically viewed through the lenses of the Christian worldview with its concrete view of the reality of man balanced with love for your neighbor;

Sean Giordano (AKA. Papa Giorgio), Worldviews: A Click Away from Binary Collisions (Religio-Political Apologetics), found in the introductive chapter, “Technology Junkies


[1] See for instance: R.H. Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2000 [originally 1926]); Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2003 [originally 1904]); Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (New York, NY: Random House, 2005); Thomas E. Woods, Jr., How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2005).

[2] Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (New York, NY: basic Books, 2007), 27.

[3] Ibid., 33, 34.

[4] Walter lippmann, Public Opinion (New York, NY: Freee Press, 1965), 80.


Affordability

Many of the cant words of politics are simply evasions of reality. A prime example is the notion of making housing, college, health insurance, or other things “affordable.”

Virtually anything can be made more affordable in isolation, simply by transferring resources to it from elsewhere in the economy, and having most of the costs absorbed by the U. S. Treasury.

The federal government could make a Rolls Royce affordable for every American, but we would not be a richer country as a result. We would in fact be a much poorer country, because of all the vast resources transferred from other economic activities to subsidize an extravagant luxury.

Of course it might be nice to be sitting at the wheel of a Rolls Royce, but we might be sitting there in rags and tatters, and gaunt with hunger, after having squandered enormous amounts of labor, capital, and costly materials that could have been put to better use elsewhere. That doesn’t happen in a market economy because most of us take one look at the price tag on a Rolls Royce and decide that it is time for another Toyota.

The very notion of making things affordable misses the key point of a market economy. An economy exists to make trade-offs, and a market economy makes the terms of those trade-offs plain with price tags representing the relative costs of producing different things. To have politicians arbitrarily change the price tags, so that prices no longer represent the real costs, is to defeat the whole purpose.

Reality doesn’t change when the government changes price tags. Talk about “bringing down health care costs” is not aimed at the costly legal environment in which medical science operates, or other sources of needless medical costs. It is aimed at price control, which hides costs rather than reducing them.

Hidden costs continue to take their toll— and it is often a higher toll than when these costs are freely transmitted through the marketplace. Less Supply, poorer quality, and longer waits have been the consequences of price Controls for all sorts of goods and services, in all sorts of societies, and foi thousands of years of human history.

Why would anyone think that price controls on medical care would be any different, except for being more deadly in their consequences?

One of the political excuses for making things affordable is that a particular product or service is a “right.” But this is only explaining one question-begging word with another.

Although it has been proclaimed that “health care is a right, not a privilege,” this neat dichotomy ignores the vast territory in between, where most decisions are made as trade-offs.

If health insurance is a right and not a privilege— and not even a subject of incremental trade-offs— then the same should be even more true of food. History in fact shows all too many instances of governments trying to keep food affordable, usually with disastrous consequences.

Whether in France during the 1790s, the Soviet Union after the Bolshevik revolution, or in newly independent African nations during the past generation, governments have imposed artificially low prices on food. In each case, this led to artificially low supplies of food and artificially high levels of hunger.

People who complain about the “prohibitive” cost of housing, or of going to college, for example, fail to understand that the whole point of costs is to be prohibitive.

Why do we go through this whole rigmarole of passing around dollar bills and writing each other checks, except to force everyone to economize on the country’s inherently limited resources?

What about “basic necessities”? Shouldn’t they be a “right”?

The idea certainly sounds nice. But the very fact that we can seriously entertain such a notion, as if we were God on the first day of creation, instead of mortals constrained by the universe we find in place, shows the utter unreality of failing to understand that we can only make choices among alternatives actually available.

For society as a whole, nothing comes as a “right” to which we are “entitled.” Even bare subsistence has to be produced— and produced at a cost of heavy toil for much of human history.

The only way anyone can have a right to something that has to be produced is to force someone else to produce it for him. The more things are provided as rights, the less the recipients have to work and the more others have to carry their load.

That does not mean more goods are available than under ordinary market production, but less. To believe otherwise is to commit the Rolls Royce fallacy on a more mundane level.

For the government to make some things more affordable is to make other things less affordable— and to destroy people’s freedom to make their own trade-offs as they see fit, in the light of economic realities, rather than political visions. Trade-offs remain inescapable, whether they are made through a market or through politics. The difference is that price tags present all the trade-offs simultaneously, while political “affordability” policies arbitrarily fix on whatever is hot at the moment. That is why cities have been financing all kinds of boondoggles for years, while their bridges rusted and their roadways crumbled.

Thomas Sowell, The Thomas Sowell Reader (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2011), 73-75.


In 1971, only about 32 percent of all Americans enjoyed air conditioning in their homes. By 2001, 76 percent of poor people had air conditioning. In 1971, only 43 percent of Americans owned a color television; in 2001, 97 percent of poor people owned at least one. In 1971, 1 percent of American homes had a microwave oven; in 2001, 73 percent of poor people had one. Forty-six percent of poor households own their homes. Only about 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. The average poor American has more living space than the average non-poor individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens and other European cities.

Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars. Seventy-eight percent of the poor have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception; and one-third have an automatic dishwasher

Walter Williams, Race & Economics (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2011), 6-7.


But it is the free individual who alone can provide sustenance for the group. For if there is no effort, no use (called “exploitation”), no reward for initiative (called “greed”), where will the food come from? Malthus, before the invention of the improved plow and before scientific agriculture, “proved” that the world must soon starve.

Socialist Europe is held up as a model of “just behavior”; but the Left forgets that for seventy-five years America defended Europe from the Communist threat, and bore the cost, which would have bankrupted Europe, and which, in the event, bankrupted Communism. The Left looks at the peace of Europe since World War II and forgets that it was not only ensured, but created by American military strength and determination.* And now the Left has elected a President who thinks it good to go to Europe and apologize for our “arrogance,” who proclaims the benefits of appeasement both at home and around the world.

This appeasement, called the antiwar movement, the antinuclear movement, One-Worldism, Code Pink, “the end to American Exceptionalism,” is, to the Left, another example of the Correct Thinking of the never-involved. They believe that our enemies, like the monsters in Where the Wild Things Are, will be so moved by some unnamable but real excellence on our part, that they will forswear their desire for our destruction (recognizing it, now, as an unnecessary expenditure of effort) and beat their swords into plowshares.

But the Left does not stop to consider that if we, the most prosperous country in the history of the world, choose neither to exploit nor to defend our property, someone else will take it, and if we announce, indeed, proclaim our passivity, we will only advance that bad day.

_______________________________

*And funded by the Marshall Plan, which is to say, by the surplus of American industrial wealth [I am adding here: “greed” and “exploitation”].

David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture(New York, NY: Sentinel Publishing, 2011), 44-45.


We cannot live without trade. A society can neither advance nor improve without excess of disposable income. This excess can only be amassed through the production of goods and services necessary or attractive to the mass. A financial system which allows this leads to inequality; one that does not leads to starvation.

David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture (New York, NY: Sentinel Publishing, 2011), 2.


Industrial progress, mechanical improvement, all of the great wonders of the modern era have meant little to the wealthy. The rich in ancient Greece would have benefited hardly at all from modern plumbing — running servants replaced running water. Television and radio — the patricians of Rome could enjoy the leading musicians and actors in their home, could have the leading artists as domestic retainers. Ready-to-wear clothing, supermarkets — all these and many other modern developments would have added little to their life. They would have welcomed the improvements in transportation and in medicine, but for the rest, the great achievements of western capitalism have rebounded primarily to the benefit of the ordinary person. These achievements have made available to the masses conveniences and amenities that were previously the exclusive prerogative of the rich and powerful.

Milton Friedman, Free to Choose (Orlando, FL: Harcourt Inc., 1980), 147-148.


Some quotes regarding John Maynard Keynes. John Maynard Keynes hailed the Soviet Union in a 1936 radio interview as,

“engaged in a vast administrative task of making a completely new set of social and economic institutions work smoothly and successfully.”

And in a preface he wrote to the 1936 German edition of his General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, Keynes stated that his economic theory,

“is much more easily adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state” than to “conditions of free competition and a large measure of laissez-faire.” (this quote and the above is from James Bovard’s book Freedom in Chains: The Rise of the State and the Demise of the Citizen, pp. 14,20,21)

Another Keynes quote lets the individual in on the result of his theories, which most nations use (i.e., central banking; e.g., the Federal Reserve Bank)

“By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method, they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some . . .. The process engages all of the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner that not one man in a million can diagnose.” (Partially quoted from Money Mischief: Episodes in Monetary History, by Noble Prize holder in economics, Milton Friedman.)

This quote above is what happens with Keynesian economics! An unseen taxation of citizens, on top of normal taxation.


A. PRIVATE PROPERTY

According to the teachings of the Bible, government should both document and protect the ownership of private property in a nation.

The Bible regularly assumes and reinforces a system in which property belongs to individuals, not to the government or to society as a whole.

We see this implied in the Ten Commandments, for example, because the eighth commandment, “You shall not steal” (Exod. 20:15), assumes that human beings will own property that belongs to them individually and not to other people. I should not steal my neighbor’s ox or donkey because it belongs to my neighbor, not to me and not to anyone else.

The tenth commandment makes this more explicit when it prohibits not just stealing but also desiring to steal what belongs to my neighbor:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exod. 20:17).

The reason I should not “covet” my neighbor’s house or anything else is that these things belong to my neighbor, not to me and not to the community or the nation.

This assumption of private ownership of property, found in this fundamental moral code of the Bible, puts the Bible in direct opposition to the communist system advocated by Karl Marx. Marx said:

The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: abolition of private property.

One reason why communism is so incredibly dehumanizing is that when private property is abolished, government controls all economic activity. And when government controls all economic activity, it controls what you can buy, where you will live, and what job you will have (and therefore what job you are allowed to train for, and where you go to school), and how much you will earn. It essentially controls all of life, and human liberty is destroyed. Communism enslaves people and destroys human freedom of choice. The entire nation becomes one huge prison. For this reason, it seems to me that communism is the most dehumanizing economic system ever invented by man.

Other passages of Scripture also support the idea that property should belong to individuals, not to “society” or to the government (except for certain property required for proper government purposes, such as government offices, military bases, and streets and highways). The Bible contains many laws concerning punishments for stealing and appropriate restitution for damage of another person’s farm animals or agricultural fields (for example, see Exod. 21:28-36; 22:1-15; Deut. 22:1-4; 23:24-25). Another com­mandment guaranteed that property boundaries would be protected: “You shall not move your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess” (Deut. 19:14). To move the landmark was to move the boundaries of the land and thus to steal land that belonged to one’s neighbor (compare Prov. 22:28; 23:10).

Another guarantee of the ownership of private property was the fact that, even if property was sold to someone else, in the Year of Jubilee it had to return to the family that originally owned it:

It shall be a Jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan (Lev. 25:10).

This is why the land could not be sold forever: “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me” (Lev. 25:23).

This last verse emphasizes the fact that private property is never viewed in the Bible as an absolute right, because all that people have is ultimately given to them by God, and people are viewed as God’s “stewards” to manage what he has entrusted to their care.

The earth is the LORD’S and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein (Ps. 24:1; compare Ps. 50:10-12; Hag. 2:8).

Yet the fact remains that, under the overall sovereign lordship of God himself, property is regularly said to belong to individuals, not to the government and not to “society” or the nation as a whole.

When Samuel warned the people about the evils that would be imposed upon them by a king, he emphasized the fact that the monarch, with so much government power, would “take” and “take” and “take” from the people and confiscate things for his own use:

So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day” (1 Sam. 8:10-18).

This prediction was tragically fulfilled in the story of the theft of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite by Ahab the wicked king and Jezebel, his even more wicked queen (see 1 Kings 21:1-29). The regular tendency of human governments is to seek to take control of more and more of the property of a nation that God intends to be owned and controlled by private individuals.

Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 261-263.


The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

Winston Churchill


Compassion is defined not by how many people are on the government dole but by how many people no longer need government assistance.

Rush Limbaugh


I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.

Ben Franklin


Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock, p. 292.


“There are several economic theories to explain the causes of what Christians call temptation and resulting sin. Most of these have been influenced by Marxist views of mankind as essentially economic beings. Struggle between economic classes is as near as Marxism comes to a doctrine of sin. I leave to the department of Apologetics a thorough canvass of the several Marxist, essentially anti-Christian theories. Chief among them is liberation theology. Though it was primarily a movement among post-Vatican II Roman Catholics, students in undergraduate university classes in sociology met much of the same thought many long years ago when the now generally despised Stalin was still darling of many professors and Chairman Mao was soon to appear.”

Robert Duncan Culver, Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical [Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2005], 368.


  1. On a dark street, a man draws a knife and demands my money for drugs.
  2. Instead of demanding my money for drugs, he demands it for the Church.
  3. Instead of being alone, he is with a bishop of the Church who act as bagman.
  4. Instead of drawing a knife, he produces a policeman who says I must do as he says.
  5. Instead of meeting me on the street, he mails me his demand as an official agent of the government.
  6. If the first is theft, it is difficult to see why the other four are not also theft.

J. Budziszewski, The Revenge of Conscience: Politics and the Fall of Man, 92.


The question becomes this: What percentage of the Gross Domestic Product we spend on the military inclusive (in other words, we have military bases in over sixty countries, we have wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we have the world’s largest military by far)… what percentage of every dollar that is earned in the United States goes to the military? 4.6% on our military (about a fourth of that is for the wars). We spend double that on education.

Michael Medved


Russia is one of the most atheist countries in the world, and abortions there outnumber live births by a ratio of two to one. Russia’s birth rate has fallen so low that the nation is now losing 700,000 people a year. Japan, perhaps the most secular country in Asia, is also on a kind of population diet: its 130 million people are expected to drop to around 100 million in the next few decades. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand find themselves in a similar predicament.

Then there is Europe. The most secular continent on the globe is decadent in the quite literal sense that its population is rapidly shrinking. Birth rates are abysmally low in France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Sweden. The nations of Western Europe today show some of the lowest birth rates ever recorded, and Eastern European birth rates are comparably low. Historians have noted that Europe is suffering the most sustained reduction in its population since the Black Death in the fourteenth century, when one in three Europeans succumbed to the plague. Lacking the strong religious identity that once characterized Christendom, atheist Europe seems to be a civilization on its way out. Nietzsche predicted that European decadence would produce a miserable “last man’ devoid of any purpose beyond making life comfortable and making provision for regular fornication. Well, Nietzsche’s “last man” is finally here, and his name is Sven.

Eric Kaufmann has noted that in America, where high levels of immigration have helped to compensate for falling native birth rates, birth rates among religious people are almost twice as high as those among secular people. This trend has also been noticed in Europe.” What this means is that, by a kind of natural selection, the West is likely to evolve in a more religious direction. This tendency will likely accelerate if Western societies continue to import immigrants from more religious societies, whether they are Christian or Muslim. Thus we can expect even the most secular regions of the world, through the sheer logic of demography, to become less secular over time….

My conclusion is that it is not religion but atheism that requires a Darwinian explanation. Atheism is a bit like homosexuality: one is not sure where it fits into a doctrine of natural selection. Why would nature select people who mate with others of the same sex, a process with no reproductive advantage at all?

Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity, 17, 19. See also an Economist article: Faith Equals Fertility

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