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A Marine’s Letter To Michelle Obama… This Marine Tells Her Like It Is!

Mrs. Obama

It sickens me that I have to take time to write you this letter. I am a Marine who doesn’t recognize color because every color has lived and died for you. You live in a free country to blame your life on the color of another man’s skin. All colors have given their lives for an educated woman to have the freedom to be so ignorant. I don’t blame black people for the ignorance that comes from your mouth.

I love all colors because I love all that God creates. I don’t have to like you to love you because we can’t always like the ones we love. Just because I don’t like you today doesn’t mean I can’t like you tomorrow. I don’t like you or your husband today because of what you’re doing to this country. Isn’t it funny how the truth always reveals itself in time. You and your husband never showed this side of yourselves in 2008 before he was elected.

You both live better than 99% of the people in this world because of this country. You said that you are for the first time proud to be an American. Well, I will tell you that most of us are ashamed of you. You and your husband have become millionaires off the people of this country, but demonstrate very little appreciation for all that we give. White, black, brown or indifferent millions have fought and died for you to have the freedom to say the ignorant things you say.

You are educated, but clearly have very little common sense. You blame past generations of Americans for the troubles of a few. Stop blaming white people for your misery and take a look at yourself in the mirror. We are responsible for our own happiness and misery. The KKK is ignorance wrapped in a sheet while the Black panthers are raised on ignorance and hate. No different from the teaching of Islam thinking their race is better than all other men. God is love and creates every color to include everyone’s skin. To truly love God is to love all that He loves. For that I love each of you and pray that we all start taking responsibility for our own damned sins.

Martin Luther King had a dream that we would all live in the promise land. He is not remembered for being black. He is remembered for the love, and character he had within his heart. If you don’t like this country get on that plane and never come back. I will stay here and love all Americans, regardless of skin.

I will love the beauty of what God created and stand tall with my American friends. Not because of their color but for the character and love they carry within. This country doesn’t owe you anymore than it owes me. So many have thanked me for my service and I will always be grateful. I pray that one day you and your husband might cause me to be grateful for yours. You will never be remembered as the First Lady of Color but soon forgotten after you leave the White House. You nor your husband shall ever divide us. I wish you no harm, but pray you will take your troubles to a land you no longer hate. Hate shall come and go but His love shall last forever.

If you wish to find me I am now a writer for the DC Gazette. #Marine4Truth Also on Twitter @mshep08_mike I have included the interview I gave to the wonderful people of Australia, explaining my reason for writing this letter.

God bless America,

Shep

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the DC Gazette.

VIDEOS: American Pride 2016

We need to sow some good seed into our culture if we expect to reap a crop that will restore honor and decency to America.  Here is one way to do it!

EDITORS NOTE: To learn more about the America Pride Project click here.

VIDEO: A message to the Islamic State from The People of the Cross

Slowly but in a deliberate and steady manner evidence mounts that ISIS squads are slipping into America unchallenged. This exceptional nation that once heard church bells ring in just about every community from sea to shining sea now hears foreign sounds emanating from Mosques smack dab in the middle of town squares. With these cries calling an increasing number of Muslims to pray several times a day, comes still others with Islamic backgrounds and guns meant to subdue and even kill those who will not submit to the god of Islam.

While atheists and God-less people from a variety of political and social persuasions shout “separation of church and state,” there is no shout, much less a murmur, about separation of mosque and state.

In multiple communities and big cities the push to establish Sharia Law is well underway; even aggressive and not forgiving to any who stand and object. Islamic training camps exist within the borders of the United States, but authorities stumble all over themselves defending these sites teaching various courses on domestic armed conflict. These camps are dedicated to Islamic Jihad directed at the Christian community, the Judeo-Christian governmental foundation which established America, and the very culture, values, and heritage which makes the United States of America the exceptional nation the world has known, and Americans seemingly have taken for granted all these years. Those who openly and brazenly shout to “kill Americans” and take this nation for their Islamic beliefs are convinced they can accomplish their aggressive war, and more Islamic soldiers are on their way into this country that once shined as a light for the world to see and be guided by.

The above statements of fact are sobering and disturbing on many levels. Conversely the simple reality is that Jesus Christ’s true followers can stand openly and proclaim with full knowledge and belief; while Jihadists will die for their god; our God died for us! This is absolutely, powerfully, magnificently true! Furthermore the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the true church of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18).

So where is this church of power but grace; magnificent strength in love and forgiveness; life changing and healing balm that covers and then penetrates the hardest of hearts, the meanest of souls, the most despicable of behavior?

You are about to watch and listen to such a message delivered by such a Remnant Church reserved for this day and time. The YouTube video below carries a message the Lord Himself spoke some two thousand years ago for you and for me, and even for Jihadists who would just as soon kill The People of the Cross…and have. It is difficult for a “sheep dog” like myself who stands to protect the flock from the wolf who is just waiting to devour members of the flock to recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ freely went to the Cross to shed His blood and surrendered Himself so that none should perish, but that all could have eternal life with Him and our Heavenly Father. But this message must be delivered – even to those who intend to kill and destroy Christians, and the very belief system we stand under.

A whirlwind is coming to America, and has already begun to blow and twist its’ way through the land. There will be destruction. There will be stunned silence at the tremendous force deliberately loosed on this once strong Christian Nation. But through it all there will be a separating of the wheat from the chaff; a separating of the Remnant Church that can and will deliver a message like the one you are about to see and hear from a church that is effeminate and social, filled with compromise and correctness. A whirlwind is coming, and has already begun to blow so a clear division will be available for all to see; a division of those who choose to pick-up their cross daily and walk with it as true followers of Christ, versus those who are too embarrassed, too busy, too invested in their own agenda, even within the church that has become more reflective of society than demonstrative of Christ and His teachings. Come out of the lazy and compromised groups who meet all over this country for “feel good sessions” on Sundays, but who will not get into the trench and witness for the Lord of lords and King of kings, Jesus the Messiah, next to you on Monday.

Come out and stand with the People of the Cross so all may see to whom you belong.

Does Freedom Ruin Love? by JASON KUZNICKI

Over at the WeekDamon Linker sees the “paradox of choice” at work in an unlikely place: love and romance. Our young people, he says, have too many romantic choices.

The paradox of choice works like this: Let someone pick between two kinds of jam, and they’ll pick the one they like the best, and they’ll know it. The result is a happy consumer.

But let someone pick among a hundred kinds of jam, and they’ll get… frustrated. They’ll vacillate. They’ll second-guess. And there goes all their happiness. A bigger menu has only made things worse.

Now, preferences aren’t supposed to work that way. Not if we’re being rational (at least by some accounts of rationality). But we’re not fully rational, says this theory, and so… too much choice can bother us.

The paradox of choice seems custom-tailored for memetic success: It’s contrarian. It’s fashionably anti-consumer, without demanding too much in the way of personal asceticism. It’s anti-rational, in that special, cowardly way that lets adherents sneak back to a slightly greater rationality than the rest of us schmucks. In fine, it’s reassuringly snobby.

Unfortunately, the economic research on the paradox of choice just doesn’t hold up all that well — not even in consumer goods, where the idea was first hatched. As to lab results, a meta-analysis of the paradox has found virtually zero effect. Perhaps more work needs to be done, but for now, the preponderance of the evidence says no.

Out in the field, IHOP seems to have used the paradox to inform a new menu design, but it’s only modestly boosted sales, even without controlling for all the other menu changes that IHOP made at the same time. (Does ordering more pancakes make you happier? I’d guess that more people would regret buying, rather than not buying, those extra pancakes, so you tell me.)

Which brings us, I suppose, to romance. Linker writes:

In their personal lives, Americans have never been freer — from obligations, expectations, restrictions, constraints. Most of us consider this a hard-won achievement, a sign of progress beyond the limitations with which our parents, and their parents, and their parents’ parents, had to contend. But is it really progress? Are we happier in our boundless autonomy — or more miserable?

As evidence of our collective misery, Linker cites this essay by Columbia University sophomore Jordana Narin. It’s about a relationship of hers that lived, and died, without so much as a label. Whenever the question of labels came up, she simply talked around it, and so did he. Was their relationship sexual? Yes. Was it romantic? Who knows.

Heartbreakingly, Narin never even knew when to move on. Having never been a couple, she and her Jeremy could hardly break up. And that’s a problem, as I think all parties would agree.

Narin’s essay is certainly an angsty piece of work. That’s not a dig; if you’re a college sophomore who isn’t visibly angsty, you’re probably hiding something.

Along the way, Narin raises some superlative questions about the wisdom of the unlabeled relationship, and about whether one can cross from a casual affair to something more enduring, and about how the casual can be the enemy of the sincere. Her work fully deserved the award that it won.

Her essay is a lot of things, including wise and moving. But evidence for the paradox of choice it is not: If Narin had any other romantic choices at the time, she declines to say. Her choices seem to have been few, or easily made, or both.

So what went wrong? Narin writes: “I told myself a lot of things I never told him.” Now, I’m not an advice columnist, but if I had to guess, I’d say she’s found the problem.

To repeat: she’s a college sophomore, writing about some mistakes she started making in high school. She’s not a woman of fifty looking back at a wasted youth, a lifetime of regret born of too many options. She’s hardly a lost cause.

And, with the benefit of hindsight, she even has a familiar name for her predicament: the One Who Got Away. Back in my day, when things weren’t really all that different, there was hardly a college sophomore who didn’t have One Who Got Away.

So where was Linker headed with all of this? Here:

Marriage was once close to ubiquitous, and couplings were often arranged by families. When they weren’t arranged, they nearly always took place within rigidly defined cultural, religious, and ethnic boundaries. By the age of 25, and usually long before, you were bound to another person, in most cases for life. . . .  Individuals might fight against received constraints, but in the end the constraints always won.

Or at least, they did for a long time. In more recent centuries and decades, we’ve seen a slow but dramatic shift in the direction of individual autonomy, accelerating to the present day. It began with the rise of the ideal of romantic love, which led to marriages based more and more often on free choice. Eventually the old cultural, religious, and ethnic boundaries broke down, making way for all sorts of once-unthinkable intermarriages.

And all sorts of once-unthinkable reasons to end a marriage. First there was an escape clause for abuse and abandonment, then a list of lifestyle considerations (including a couple “growing apart”). Eventually divorce could dissolve a supposedly indissoluble, ostensibly life-long bond for any reason at all, without attributing “fault” to either party. . . .

And yet, for all of these changes, the institution of marriage, plus at least some of those norms and practices, persisted as a cultural ideal.

Until now, that is. With the rise of the millennial generation, marriage itself — along with formal dating, exclusive dating (“going steady”), and engagement — has come to seem for many like an unwanted obstacle to personal autonomy. And it’s easy to understand why.

Now, if I wanted to play hardball, right here is where I would wonder aloud whether Damon Linker really meant to condemn inter-ethnic marriage. After all, he describes it as a choice, in an essay about how we have too many romantic choices. Presumably we would gain something by giving it up. Presumably we would also gain if we crossed off all those other choices, too. We might even be happiest if we just left the choice to our parents.

Of course, I don’t believe that Linker thinks any of these things. But he did bring them up, and I guess the most charitable thing I can do is to stroke my chin, and wonder why, and move on.

Linker’s real target here — the one he means us to talk about — is “hookup culture.”

The problem with worrying about hookup culture is that it’s not a new choice. It’s not even a choice that more millennials are making.

As we talk about it today, hookup culture is simply a moral panic.

As journalist Amanda Hess has ably demonstrated, the data paints a very different picture from the one we oldsters seem inclined to imagine. Teen pregnancy is downMost STIs are downHooking up isn’t common, isn’t well-regarded among college students, and isn’t on the rise.

Controlling for age, 40 years of survey data says that millennials are having less casual sex than either of the two generation s that went before them. Who had the most? The boomers. Go figure: Hookup culture is something your grandparents did — which… Ew.

Moreover, marriages rates might be going down, but not because divorce is going up. Marriages in the 2000s are less likely to end in divorce than any time since the ‘60s, and divorce rates have been in decline for decades.

None of this has stopped most journalists from writing as if something dreadful were going on, and Linker is certainly no exception.

The paradox of choice is empirically dubious even on its home turf; it’s preposterous to deploy as an explanation for a nonexistent social trend, and surely cannot illuminate the angst of our heartbroken college sophomores.

More freedom in their relationships hasn’t made younger generations more miserable, more promiscuous, or less committed — it’s just made them more free.

Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is the editor of Cato Unbound.

The Left: Love Means Never Having to Say Anything is Wrong

CHRISTIAN LOVE

Christian love!

President Obama shows great respect for Muslims and their holy days and even lectures us to do the same. And yet, a few days after another slaughter of Christians which Obama refused to acknowledge, Obama cavalierly chose the Christian high holy day of Easter to take yet another of his signature shots at Christians. Obama displays a hypersensitive respect for Islam while displaying little sensitivity or respect for Christians while claiming to be a Christian. The Bible says by their fruits ye shall know them.

At the Easter Prayer Breakfast, Obama accused Christians of not acting in love.

This Leftist trick (tactic) has worked on too many Christians for far too long.

Candidly, I found myself in church rolling my eyes listening to a sermon in which the pastor chided his congregation. His rebuke is the LGBT community does not like Christians because we are not loving enough to them. Most Christians I know are extremely tolerant and loving to homosexuals. I sat there thinking, “Brother, that’s not what this is about. Obviously, you have not yet realized the Left’s War on Christianity.” This “ain’t” about homosexuals seeking acceptance. The Left’s mission hidden in plain sight is to force their secular, liberal and anti-biblical agenda down our throats. Some say the Left has already won over a generation of our kids; hijacking their thinking starting in kindergarten with books like “Heather Has Two Mommies.”

Whenever Christians catch wind of the Left’s stealthily orchestrated war on Christians and push back, the Left employs their you’re-not-acting-in-love according to the teachings of Jesus tactic. Insidious and repulsive. These people who despise Jesus dare to reference His teachings to manipulate Christians.

The Left’s narrative is love equals accepting someone just the way they are.

My brother said, “Love does not mean we should co-sign sin.” If your child is a thief, love does not require you to support their illegal behavior. Quite the opposite. Whom the Lord loves He chastens.

As I stated, far too many Christians are manipulated by the Left’s love guilt-trip tactic. In the name of love, duped Christians are ignoring God’s Word to adopt an anything goes mindset. The Bible says hate the sin, but love the sinner. The Left are highly enraged by this biblical command to Christians.

The Left demands that Christians enthusiastically rubber stamp anti-biblical behavior or risk being made an example of; humiliated in the mainstream media, sued and forced out of business. Hello, the Catholic nuns of Little Sisters of the Poor, Hobby Lobby, Chick-fil-A, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts, Elane Photography, Mozilla’S CEO, the Benham brothers who lost their show on HGTV and Memories Pizza to name a few.

The Left’s message is alarmingly loud and clear. To all who do not embrace our mission to kill babies and paint the mark of the homosexual rainbow over the door of your business, we will figuratively bury you.

Loyal to Obama, some black pastors now embrace same sex marriage. I heard a black minister scold his congregation. He preached that Obama is correct in embracing same sex marriage because he is president, not a Christian evangelist. A supposed man of God praising the president for siding against God’s Word.

A black Christian minister friend strongly opposed same sex marriage. Desperate to make Obama good and his Christian opposition wrong, my friend changed. His excuse is you can not legislate behavior. He said his faith does not permit him to attend a homosexual wedding ceremony, but he would attend the homosexual wedding reception. I thought, “What do you say chatting with guests? Wasn’t Harry a beautiful bride?“

Praise God! A coalition of over 3,700 black Christian ministers are pushing back against Obama and the Left’s anti-biblical agenda.

Folks, please listen to this compelling interview on the Joe Miller radio show with John Zmirak. John articulates what the Left has been scheming under the radar of most Christians. Note that John once supported same sex marriage, but has come to realize that it is only the tip of the iceberg of the Left’s scary anti-Christian agenda.

Bottom line, Christian’s strategy of appeasing the Left is in essence allowing the fox to run rampant in the hen house; corrupting the minds of our kids via public schools, Hollywood and the media.

In His love, it is time for Christians to stand up and be salt and light in our culture.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why Do We Need Louisiana’s Marriage and Conscience Act? Ask Indiana Pizza Owners

The Love of Power versus the Power of Love

Today’s Love of Power Has Eroded Our Freedom by LAWRENCE W. REED.

December 29, 2014, is the 205th anniversary of the birth of William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898), quoted below. This article appeared in the May 2007 issue of The Freeman.

“We look forward to the time when the power of love will replace the love of power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.”

So declared British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone more than a century ago. His audience surely responded then the same way audiences would today—with universal, nodding approval. But the world, perhaps more so now than when Gladstone spoke, seethes with hypocrisy. Though we say we prefer love over power, the way we behave in the political corner of our lives testifies all too often to the contrary.

Gladstone was eminently qualified to say what he did, and he sincerely meant it. He was a devout man of faith and character, lauded widely for impeccable integrity in his more than six decades of public life. Four times prime minister, he still ranks as one of the few politicians who really did “grow” in office. He came to Parliament in the early 1830s as an ardent protectionist, opponent of reform, and defender of the statist status quo. As he watched government operate from its highest levels, he evolved into a passionate defender of liberty. When he died in 1898 his admirers were proud of a Britain strengthened by his legacy of cutting taxes, bureaucracy, and intrusive regulation. The Irish loved him because he fought hard to restrain London ‘s heavy hand over Irish life. Biographer Philip Magnus believed that he “achieved unparalleled success in his policy of setting the individual free from a multitude of obsolete restrictions.”

Gladstone knew that love and power are two different things, often at odds with each other. Love is about affection and respect, power about control. Someone who pursues power over others for his own personal advancement is rightly deserving of opprobrium. Gladstone ‘s friend Lord Acton warned about how absolutely corrupting this can be. If love is a factor in such instances, it’s more likely love of oneself than love of others.

When real love is the motivator, people deal with each other peacefully. We use force only in self-defense. We respect each other’s rights and differences. Tolerance and cooperation govern our interactions.

Suppose we want to influence or change the behavior of another adult, or want to give him something we think he should have. This person has done us no harm and is in full command of his faculties. Love requires that we reason with him, entice him with an attractive offer, or otherwise engage him on a totally voluntary basis. He is free to accept or reject our overtures. If we don’t get our way, we don’t hire somebody to use force against him. “Live and let live,” as Americans used to say with more frequency than they do today.

When we initiate force (that is to say, when self-defense is not an issue), it’s usually because we want something without having to ask the owner’s permission for it. The nineteenth-century American social commentator William Graham Sumner lamented the prevalence of the less-noble motivators when he wrote, “All history is only one long story to this effect: Men have struggled for power over their fellow men in order that they might win the joys of earth at the expense of others, and might shift the burdens of life from their own shoulders upon those of others.”

Adults necessarily exert great power over infants, whose very existence requires nearly constant attention tempered by a strong and instinctive affection. By adolescence, the adult role is reduced to general supervision as the child makes more of his own choices and decisions. The child eventually becomes an adult empowered to live his life as he chooses and bear all the attendant risks and responsibilities.

In normal, healthy families during this nearly 20-year maturing process, a parent’s power over a child recedes but his love only grows. Indeed, most people understand that the more you love a child, the more you will desire him to be independent, self-reliant, and in charge of himself. It’s not a sign of love to treat another adult as if he were still an infant under your control.

A mature, responsible adult neither seeks undue power over other adults nor wishes to see others subjected to anyone’s controlling schemes and fantasies: This is the traditional meaning of liberty. It’s the rationale for limiting the force of government in our lives. In a free society the power of love, not the love of power, governs our behavior.

Consider what we do in our political lives these days—and an unfortunate erosion of freedom becomes painfully evident. It’s a commentary on the ascendancy of the love of power over the power of love. We have granted command of over 40 percent of our incomes to federal, state, and local governments, compared to 6 or 7 percent a century ago. And more than a few Americans seem to think that 40 percent still isn’t enough.

We don’t trust the choices parents might make in a free educational marketplace, so we force those who prefer private options to pay twice—once in tuition for the alternatives they choose and then again in taxes for a system they seek to escape.

Millions of Americans think government should impose an endless array of programs and expenses on their fellow citizens, from nationalized health insurance to child daycare to subsidized art and recreation. We’ve already burdened our children and grandchildren, whom we claim to love, with trillions in national debt—all so that the leaders we elected and reelected could spend more than we were willing to pay.

We claim to love our fellow citizens while we hand government ever more power over their lives, hopes, and pocketbooks. We’ve erected what Margaret Thatcher derisively termed the “nanny state,” in which we as adults are pushed around, dictated to, hemmed in, and smothered with good intentions as if we’re still children.

Resolutions for Liberty

If you think that these trends can go on indefinitely, or that power is the answer to our problems, or that loving others means diminishing their liberties, you’re part of the problem. If you want to be part of the solution, then consider adopting the following resolutions for this year and beyond:

  • I resolve to keep my hands in my own pockets, to leave others alone unless they threaten me harm, to take responsibility for my own actions and decisions, and to impose no burdens on others that stem from my own poor judgments.
  • I resolve to strengthen my own character so I can be the model of integrity that friends, family, and acquaintances will want to respect and emulate.
  • If I have a “good idea,” I resolve to elicit support for it through peaceful persuasion not force. I will not ask politicians to foist it on others just because I might think it’s good for them. I will work to free my fellow citizens by trusting them with more control over their own lives.
  • I resolve to offer help to others who genuinely need it by involving myself directly or by supporting those who are providing assistance through charitable institutions. I will not complain about a problem and then insist that government fix it at twice the cost and at half the effectiveness.
  • I resolve to learn more about the principles of love and liberty so that I can convincingly defend them against the encroachments of power. I resolve to make certain that how I behave and how I vote will be consistent with what I say. And I resolve to do whatever I can to replace the love of power with the power of love.

A tall order, to be sure. Let’s get started.

larry reed new thumbABOUT LAWRENCE W. REED

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.

For the Love of Money?

Money at the margin, not everything for money by Gary M. Galles:

It’s not unusual to hear market systems criticized for relying too much on money, as if this comes at the expense of the altruistic relationships that would otherwise prevail. Ever heard the phrase “only in it for the money”? It’s as if self-interest has a stink that can corrupt transactions that generate benefits for others, turning them into offenses. So this line of thinking suggests reliance on market systems based in self-ownership would be tantamount to creating a world where people only do things for money, and lose the ability to relate to one another on any other terms.

People Don’t Do Everything for Money

One need not go far to see the falsity of the claim that everything is done for money in market systems. My situation is but one example: I have a Ph.D. in economics from a top graduate program. It is true that, as a result, I have an above-average income. But I did not do it all for the money. One of my major fields was finance, but if all I cared about was money—as my wife reminds me when budgets are particularly tight—I would have gone into finance rather than academia and made far more. But I like university students. I think what I teach is important, and I value the ability to pass on whatever wisdom I have to offer. I like the freedom and time to pursue avenues of research I find interesting. I enjoy the ability to tell and write the truth as I see it (particularly since I see things differently from most) and I prefer a “steady job” to one with far more variability.

Every one of those things I value has cost me money. Yet I chose to be a professor (and would do it again). While it’s true that the need to support my family means that I must acquire sufficient resources, many things beyond just money go into choosing what I do for a living. And the same is true for everyone.

Ask any acquaintances of yours who they know that only does things for money. What would they say? They would certainly deny it about themselves. While they might apply this characterization to people they don’t know, beyond Dickens’s Ebenezer Scrooge and his comic book namesake, Scrooge McDuck, they would be unable to provide a single convincing example. If market critics performed that same experiment, they would recognize that they are condemning a mirage, not market arrangements.

Confusing Ends and Means

Beyond the fact that all of us forego some money we could earn for other things we value, the fact that every one of us gives up money we have earned for a vast multitude of goods, services, and causes also reveals that individuals don’t just do things for the money. Each of us willingly gives up money up to further many different purposes we care about. Money is not the ultimate end sought, but a means to a vast variety of possible ends. Mistakenly treating money as the end for which “people do everything” is fundamentally flawed—both for critics of the market and for the participants in it.

To do things for money is nothing more than to advance what we care about. In markets, we do for others as an indirect way of doing for ourselves. This logic even applies to Scrooge. His nephew Fred’s assertion that he doesn’t do any good with his wealth is false; he lends to willing borrowers at terms they find worth meeting, expanding the capital stock and the options of others.

That an end of our efforts is to benefit ourselves, in and of itself, merits neither calumny nor congratulations. Money’s role is that of an amoral servant that can help us advance whatever ends we ultimately pursue, while private property rights restrict that pursuit to purely voluntary arrangements. Moral criticism cannot attach to the universal desire to be able to better pursue our ends or to the requirement that we refrain from violating others’ rights, only to the ends we pursue.

To do things for money in order to achieve world domination could justify moral condemnation. But the problem is that your intended end will harm others, not the fact that you did some things for money, benefitting those you dealt with in that way, to do so. Using money to build a leprosarium, as Mother Teresa did with her Nobel Prize award, does not justify moral condemnation. Similarly, using money to support your family, to live up to agreements you made with others, and to try not to burden others is being responsible, not reprehensible. Further, there is nothing about voluntary arrangements that worsens the ends individuals choose. But by definition, they place limits on ends that require harming others to achieve them.

It is true that money represents purchasing power that can be directed to ends others object to. Money is nothing more than a particularly powerful tool, and all tools can be used to cause harm. Just as we shouldn’t have to forego the benefits of hammers because somebody could cause harm with one, there’s no reason to think society would be better off without money or the market arrangements it makes possible just because some people can use those things for harmful ends. And if the ends aren’t actually causing harm, then the objections over them come down to nothing more than disagreements about inherently subjective valuations. Enabling a small class of people to decide which of these can be pursued and which can’t makes everyone worse off.

Those who criticize people for doing everything for money also do a great deal for money themselves. How many campaigns have religious groups and nonprofit organizations run to get more money? How much of government action is focused on getting more money? Why do the individuals involved not apply the same criticism to themselves? Because they say they will “do good” with it. But every individual doing things for money also intends to do good, as he or she sees it, with that money. And if we accept that people are owners of themselves, there is no obvious reason why another’s claims about what is “good” should trump any “good” that you hold dear, or provide for another in service through exchange.

Criticizing a Straw Man

Given that the charge that “people do everything for money” in market systems is both factually wrong and logically lame, why do some keep repeating it? It creates a straw man easier to argue against than reality, by misrepresenting alternatives at both the individual and societal level.

At the individual level, this assertion arises when people disagree about how to spend “public” resources (when we respect private property, this dispute disappears, because the owner has the right to do as he or she chooses with it, but cannot force others to go along with or allow it; “public” resources are obtained by force). The people who wish to spend other people’s confiscated resources in ways the original owners disagree with claim a laundry list of caring benefits their choice would provide, but foreclose similar consideration of the harms that would be caused to those they claim care only about money. That, in turn, is used to imply that the purportedly selfish person’s claims are unworthy of serious attention. (Something similar happens when politicians count “multiplier effects” where government money is spent, but ignore the symmetrical negative “multiplier effects” radiating from where the resources are taken.)

This general line draws support from a misquotation of the Bible. While more than one recent translation of 1 Tim 6:10 renders it “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evils,” the far less accurate King James Version rendered it, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” When one simply omits or forgets the first three words, it becomes something very different—“money is the root of all evil.” Portray those who disagree with your “caring” ends as simply loving money more than other people, and they lose every argument by default. Naturally, it’s a seductive strategy.

At the societal level, criticizing market systems as tainted by the love of money implies that an alternate system would escape that taint and therefore be morally preferable. By focusing attention only on an imaginary failing of market systems that would be avoided, it allows the implication of superiority to be made without having to demonstrate it. This is a version of the Nirvana fallacy.

By blaming monetary relationships for people’s failings, “reformers” imply that taking away markets’ monetary nexus will somehow make people better. But no system makes people angels; all systems must confront human flaws and failings. That means a far different question must be addressed: How well will a given system do with real, imperfect, mostly self-interested people? And it shouldn’t be necessary, but most political rhetoric makes a second question nearly as important: Does the given system assume that people are not imperfect and self-interested when they have power?

Given that the utopian alternatives offered always involve some sort of socialism or other form of tyranny, an affirmative case for them cannot be made. Only by holding the imaginary “sins” of market systems to impossible standards, while holding alternatives to no real standards except the imagination of self-proclaimed reformers, can that fact be dodged. But there’s nothing in history or theory that demonstrates that overwriting markets with expanded coercion makes people more likely to do things for others. As Anatole France noted, “Those who have given themselves the most concern about the happiness of peoples have made their neighbors very miserable.” And as economist Paul Heyne wrote, “Market systems do not produce heaven on earth. But attempts by governments to repress market systems have produced . . . something very close to hell on earth.”

Money at the Margin

Money is not everything. But changes in the amounts of money to be earned or foregone as a result of decisions change our incentives at the many margins of choice we face, and so change our behavior. Such changes—money at the margin—are the primary means of adjusting our behavior in the direction of social coordination in a market system.

Changes in monetary incentives are how we adapt to changing circumstances, because whatever their ultimate ends, everyone cares about commanding more resources for those purposes they care about. It is how we rebalance arrangements when people’s plans get out of synch, which is inevitable in our complex, dynamic world. In such cases, changing money prices allow each individual to provide added incentives to all who might offer him assistance in achieving his ends, even if he doesn’t know them, doesn’t know how they would do so, and doesn’t think about their wellbeing (in fact, it applies even if he dislikes those he deals with, as long as the benefits of the arrangements exceed his perceived personal cost of doing so).

For instance, consider a retail gas station faced with lengthy lines of cars. That reflects a failure of social cooperation between the buyers and the seller. Those in line are revealing by their actions that they are willing to bear extra costs beyond the current price to get gas, but their costs of waiting do not provide benefits to the gas station owner. So the owner will convert those costs of waiting in line, which are going to waste, into higher prices (unless prevented by government price ceilings or antigouging directives) that benefit him. That use of money at the margin benefits both buyers and sellers and results in increased amounts of gasoline supplied to buyers.

Further, people can change their behavior in response to price changes in far more ways than “outsiders,” unfamiliar with all the local circumstances, realize. This makes prices, in turn, far more powerful than anyone recognizes.

Consider water prices. If water prices rose, your first thought might well be that you had no choice but to pay them. You might very well not know how many different responses people have already had to spikes (ranging from putting different plants in front yards to building sophisticated desalinization plants). Similarly, when airline fuel prices rose sharply, few recognized in advance the number of changes that airlines could make in response: using more fuel-efficient planes, changing route structures, reducing carry-on allowances, lightening seats, removing paint, and more.

If people recognized how powerful altered market prices are in inducing appropriate changes in behavior, demonstrated by a vast range of examples, they would recognize that the cost of abandoning money at the margin, which enables these responses by offering appropriate incentives to everyone who could be of assistance in addressing the problem faced, would enormously exceed any benefit.

Massive Improvements in Social Cooperation

If we could just presume that individuals know everyone and all the things they care about and the entirety of their circumstances, we could imagine a society more focused on doing things directly for others. But in any extensive society, there is no way people could acquire that much information about the large number of people involved. Instead, this would extend the impossible information problem that Hayek’s “The Use of Knowledge in Society” laid out in regard to central planners. You can care all you want, but that won’t give you the information you need. Beyond that insuperable problem, we would also have to assume that people cared far more about strangers than human history has evidenced.

Those information and other-interestedness requirements would necessarily dictate a very small society. But the costs of those limitations, if people recognized them, would be greater than virtually anyone would be willing to bear.

Without a broad society, the gains from cross-pollination of ideas and different ways of doing things would be hamstrung. The gains from comparative advantage (areas and groups focusing on what they do best, and trading with others doing the same thing) would similarly be sharply curtailed. A very small society would eliminate the incentive for large-scale specialization (requiring more extensive markets) and division of labor that makes our standard of living possible. Virtually every product that involves a large number of separate arrangements—such as producing cars or the gasoline to power them—would disappear, because the arrangements would be overwhelmed by the costs of making them without money as the balance-tipper. As Paul Heyne once put it,

The impersonal transactions that constitute the market system . . . have, over the course of a few centuries, enormously expanded our ability to provide [for] one another . . . while at the same time vastly extending our freedom both by offering us a multitude of options and by freeing us from arbitrary restrictions on our choice of life goals and on the means to further those goals. To reject impersonal transactions as unethical amounts to rejecting the foundation of modern life.

Conclusion

A pastiche of false premises leads many to reject out of hand what Hayek recognized as the “marvel” of market systems, which, if they had arisen from deliberate human design, “would have been acclaimed as one of the greatest triumphs of the human mind.” This is great for those who seek power over others—they have an endless supply of bogeymen to promise to fight.

But it’s a disaster for social coordination. The record of disasters inflicted on society demonstrates what follows when voluntary arrangements are replaced by someone else’s purportedly superior vision.

But it’s often forgotten. We must continue to make the case.

ABOUT GARY M. GALLES

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. His recent books include Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014) and Apostle of Peace (2013).

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.