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Cupcake Kasich is a (Rather Dull) Tyrant Enabler

When Governor John Kasich said recently that he probably should be running in the Democrat Party, he wasn’t kidding. Although seeking office in Cuba might be even more fitting.

Taking a break from lecturing us on how we must accept amnesty, the presidential contender recently weighed in on the case of the Oregon bakers fined $135,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a faux wedding. Mentioned briefly in Thursday’s GOP presidential debate, here are his comments, made on Monday at the University of Virginia:

I think, frankly, our churches should not be forced to do anything that’s not consistent with them. But if you’re a cupcake maker and somebody wants a cupcake, make them a cupcake. Let’s not have a big lawsuit or argument over all this stuff — move on. The next thing, you know, they might be saying, if you’re divorced you shouldn’t get a cupcake.

Now, Kasich is a man who just loves the idea of moving on. After the Obergefell v. Hodges decision last June, he said that recognition of faux marriage was “the law of the land and we’ll abide by it” and that now “it’s time to move on.” It’s no wonder Republicans long ago move on from the idea of him as president.

Kasich managed to squeeze a remarkable number of misconceptions into his three sentences. First, while the cupcake lines may be cute to some and possess rhetorical flair, they’re nonsense. There’s not one Christian baker persecuted by governments recently who said he wouldn’t bake “cupcakes” or anything else for a given group; in fact, these businessmen have made clear that they serve homosexuals all the time. This isn’t about serving a certain type of people.

It’s about servicing a certain type of event.

Only someone who hasn’t bothered to ponder the matter deeply or who’s intellectually dishonest could miss this simple fact. And I’ll put it to you, Governor Kasich: can you cite any other time in American history when the government compelled a businessman to service an event he found morally objectionable? This is unprecedented. And is it really a road we want to go down?

If so, can the government compel a Jewish or black businessman to cater, respectively, a Nazi or KKK affair? How about a forcing a Muslim restaurateur to serve pork at an event for the National Pork Producers Council? Or is this another situation where government gets to pick winners and losers, this time in matters of conscience?

Of course, this is already happening, which brings us to Kasich’s divorcé cupcake eater. The proper analogy here doesn’t involve serving such a person because, again, the bakers in question serve homosexuals.

The proper analogy involves servicing an event celebrating a divorce.

Government wouldn’t even consider compelling participation in the above, or in events celebrating adultery, fornication, polygamy (yet) or auto-eroticism. So why the double standard? Well, homosexuals have very effective lobbying groups and millions of enablers — such as Cupcake Kasich.

Kasich‘s “churches should not be forced to do anything that’s not consistent with them. But…” comment is also interesting. Our First Amendment reads “Congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise” of religion. For those who say this is only meant to restrain the central government’s legislature (and I’m sympathetic to this view), note that the constitution of Kasich’s own state dictates that no “interference with the rights of conscience be permitted.” And since he was commenting on a case involving Oregon residents, consider that the Beaver State’s constitution likewise reads, “No law shall in any case whatever control the free exercise, and enjoyment of religeous [sic] opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.”

Now, “exercise” is action; thus, at issue here isn’t just the freedom of religious belief, but of acting on that belief. Of course, there are limits in that we don’t allow practices such as human sacrifice. But anything considered legitimate action under these constitutions is allowed in churches. And here’s the point: none of these constitutions limit this free exercise to church property.

Thus, any type of exercise allowable in church is allowable outside of it.

So for this reason alone, the action against the Oregon bakers was unconstitutional. Since a person can refuse to be party to a faux wedding within a church, he can also refuse to be party to a faux wedding outside of it.

Interestingly, Kasich and others seem to be espousing a kind of “dual truth” philosophy, which I understand is part of Islamic theology. This basically states what what’s “religiously true” may not be true beyond the religious realm (whatever that’s supposed to be). But a moral issue doesn’t cease to be a moral issue because it moves down the block.

The action against the bakers is unconstitutional for another reason. Perhaps invariably, part of creating a wedding cake is placing a written message on it; in the case of faux weddings, this message would relate to faux marriage. Even two male figurines placed on top of the cake relate a message; note here that the courts have rule that symbolic speech is covered under the First Amendment. And where does the government have the constitutional power to compel people to be party to a message they find morally objectionable? Forced speech is not free speech.

Of course, none of this would be an issue if we accepted a principle even many conservatives today reject: freedom of association. Think about it: you have a right to include in or exclude from your home whomever you please, for any reason whatsoever, whether it’s because the person is a smoker, non-smoker, black, white, Catholic, Protestant, or because you simply don’t like his face.

Why should you lose this right merely because you erect a few more tables and sell food?

Or because you bake cakes, take pictures, plan weddings or conduct some other kind of commerce?

It’s still your property, paid for with your own money and created by the sweat of your own brow. Is a man’s home not his castle?

Of course, this all goes back to a Supreme Court ruling stating that private businesses can be viewed as “public accommodations,” which was a huge step toward the Marxist standard disallowing private property. And it has led to endless litigation, with the Boy Scouts sued by homosexuals, atheists and a girl (who wanted to be a “boy” scout); the PGA Tour sued by a handicapped golfer who wanted a dispensation from the rules; Abercrombie & Fitch sued by a Muslim woman who wanted to wear her hijab on the job; and Barnes & Noble sued by a male employee who claimed he suddenly was a female employee, just to name a few cases. It has also led, now, to some Americans being confronted with a Hobson’s choice: cast the exercise of your faith to the winds and bow before the government’s agenda, or kiss making a living goodbye.

Is all of this worth it just to stop less than one percent of the population from discriminating in unfashionable ways? And remember, freedom of association is like any other freedom: it’s only the unpopular exercise of it that needs protection. As for popular exercise, its popularity is usually protection enough.

As for Kasich’s desire for popularity, it’s pretty hard to achieve when your implied campaign slogan is “A chicken-hearted politician in every office and a coerced cupcake in every cupboard.”

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

The Islamic State vs. the Laffer Curve by Daniel J. Mitchell

Based on my writings, some people may think I’m 100 percent against higher taxes.

But that’s not exactly true. In some cases, I like punitive taxation. Or, to be more precise, I sometimes take pleasure when punitive tax policy backfires on bad people.

Here’s an example. An interesting article in Slate, authored by Adam Chodorow of Arizona State University Law School, looks at how a terrorist group’s attempt to form a government is being stymied by an inability to collect taxes.

Revolution is easy. Governing is hard. And there are few things more difficult than taxes. Operating a country requires money, and that typically requires taxes. … 

The population in this area is estimated to be between 7 million and 8 million, about the same as the population of Washington state. While ISIS currently collects about $1 billion annually, countries of similar size collect about $16 billion, suggesting that ISIS has a long way to go if it wants to operate like a real state.

But the comparatively low levels of tax revenue are not because of a Hong Kong-type commitment to limited government.

Instead, the terror group is discovering that people don’t like giving their money to politicians and bureaucrats, even ones motivated by Islamic fundamentalism.

Taxes aren’t a great way to ingratiate oneself with the governed. … More than one government has fallen because of its tax policy. ISIS must face these challenges just as any emerging polity does… ISIS may have displayed prowess on the battlefield, but it has revealed that it is as stymied and constrained by the complexities of taxation as the rest of us. …

ISIS’s taxes appear to be … no more popular in the territory it controls than they would be here in the U.S. As the Times reported, ISIS’s taxes are now so onerous that large numbers of people, who were apparently willing to tolerate ISIS’s religious authoritarianism, are fleeing Syria and Iraq to escape them. At some point people will either rise up or leave, threatening ISIS’s internal revenue source.

So taxes are becoming so onerous that taxpayers (and taxable income) are escaping.

Hmm… excessive taxation leading to less taxable economic activity. That seems like a familiar concept — something I’ve written about one or two times. Or maybe 50 or 100 times.

Ah, yes, our old friend, the Laffer Curve!

ISIS is … constrained by a lack of administrative resources and the simple reality once sketched on the back of a cocktail napkin by the economist Arthur Laffer: that tax rates can only get so high before they actually drive down government revenues.

Given current conditions, ISIS may be near or at the limits of its ability to tax, even if it can recruit jihadi tax accountants to its cause. Thus … it’s not clear how much room the group has to grow internal revenues. More important, its efforts to do so may do more to damage its prospects than outside forces can accomplish.

This sounds like the tax equivalent of War of the Worlds, the H.G. Wells’ classic in which alien invaders wreak havoc on earth until they are felled by bacteria.

Tom Cruise was the star of a 2005 movie adaptation of this story, but I’m thinking I could rekindle my acting career and star in a movie of how the Laffer Curve thwarts ISIS!

But to have a happy ending, ISIS has to be defeated. And Professor Chodorow closes his article with a very helpful suggestion.

Rather than send in ground troops … view our tax code as a weapon of mass destruction. … We could make full use of it in the war on ISIS, perhaps by translating it into Arabic in the hopes that the group adopts it.

Sounds like the advice I once gave about threatening Assad with Obamacare.

A version of this post first appeared at Dan Mitchell’s blog International Liberty.

Daniel J. MitchellDaniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.

What is your Religion?

On 26 Nov 2008 at a tourist hotel in Mumbai India, a group of Islamic terrorists murdered 266 innocent people and injured over 250 more.  Their common question to the tourist’s at the hotel was “What is Your Religion”?  Christians and Jews were murdered because of their religion.  Muslim for the most part were allowed to live. Islamic terrorist’s Murder Jews and Christians

On 1 Oct 2015, Chris Harper-Mercer entered a community college in Oregon and murdered 9 people and injured many more.  He asked students, “What is Your Religion”?  Article by Pamela Geller Oregon Shooter Islamic Ties

Have you heard any discussion on the major news outlets about Chris Harper-Mercer’s religion or his ties to Jihad support?  Have you heard any Oregon law enforcement discussing Harper-Mercer’s ties to Islam?  Anything from the FBI or our pseudo President Obama?  No and you will hear little of anything about Harper-Mercer’s ties to Islam and his support of jihad (murder) against non Muslims at the Oregon community college.  You will only get such information from great people like Pamela Geller.

America will continue to have Islamic supporters murder our children in their schools for many years to come.  I have written several articles since 2003 about Islamic terrorists who have openly stated they will target our children in America.

What can be done.  In reality very little can be done to prevent these type murders because our senior law enforcement and politicians led by America’s number one Islamic supporter (Obama) will not allow common sense security measures to be implemented.

It is common sense that if one military force has an enormous supply of weapons and the other side has virtually none, the more heavily armed will conquer their foe.  This is why we give billions of dollars to Iraq and Syrian rebels.  We want them to be on the same playing field and have an equal chance of defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

The same common sense concept needs to be applied in America.  Instead of limiting the number of people and guns that American citizens can own and legally carry/store in their homes and to be allowed to carry openly and concealed in public must increase.  Obama and the media (to include FOX News) will never advocate or encourage every lawful American over the age of 18 to carry a firearm with them at all times.  This means at schools, work, sporting events, and yes even our military on U.S. bases and recruiting centers.  Seems strange we should even have to discuss U.S. military personnel being allowed to be armed in America.  Seems common sense to me.

The vast majority of Americans are law abiding and the number of mass murderers are minimal.  If every lawful student in the Oregon college had a firearm do you think the murderer would have been able to kill nine and injure even more?  If criminals knew every American homeowner had firearms, every student in higher education schools had a firearm, every person in a bank had a firearm, every person at a sporting event had firearms, and every teacher and administrators in our elementary and high schools had firearms, do you think they would second guess themselves before planning a criminal act using a firearm.  Of course they would.

Islamic based terrorists and their supporters at all levels will continue to attack and murder innocent Christians and Jews around the world, and yes there will be more school type attacks in America.  Unfortunately there will continue to be Islamic terrorist supporters at the top level of our political chain who will continue to provide more rights for Muslims than they will for Christians and Jews.

America needs a leader who is strong such as Russia’s President Putin.  We need someone such as Donald Trump, otherwise America will fall just as Rome fell many years ago.

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The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America

CatholicGraphs_gendividePope Francis is coming to America this week and will be addressing the U.S. Congress at the invitation of Speaker of the House Representative John Boehner. Pope Francis starts his visit to America on Tuesday, September 22nd and plans to stop in Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia.

Indications are that Pope Francis will be talking about several issues including climate change and the refugee crisis in the Middle East. But there is one topic Pope Francis may not be talking about – spiritual matters important to American Catholics.

Perhaps Pope Francis should be using this opportunity to address how to stop the decline and fall of the Catholic Church in America?

In his seminal five volume work History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire published in 1782, Edward Gibbon, Esq. wrote:

After a diligent inquiry, I can discern four principal causes of the ruin of Rome, which continued to operate in a period of more than a thousand years. I. The injuries of time and nature. II. The hostile attacks of the Barbarians and Christians. III. The use and abuse of the materials. And, IV. The domestic quarrels of the Romans.

The Roman Empire has gone with the wind. Will the Catholic Church in America suffer the same fate?

Let us look at each of these four principal causes of the ruin of Rome and compare them to the Vatican and American Catholics.

I. The art of man is able to construct monuments far more permanent than the narrow span of his own existence; yet these monuments, like himself, are perishable and frail; and in the boundless annals of time, his life and his labors must equally be measured as a fleeting moment.

The Catholic Church is witnessing a reduction of its monuments in the United States.

According to the non-profit Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, in 1990 there were 19,620 parishes in the U.S. In 2014 there were 17,483 parishes or a loss of nearly 11%. As parishes closed so did other Catholic monuments: churches, schools and hospitals.  In 1965 there were 10,667 Catholic Elementary Schools, in 2014 that number was 5,368 (a 50% loss of Catholic Elementary Schools). Catholic Secondary Secondary Schools went from a high of 1,986 in 1970 to 1,200 in 2014 (a 40% loss). Even Catholic Colleges and Universities declined from 305 in 1965 to 225 in 2014 (a 26% loss).

Time and nature has taken its toll on Catholic Churches in the U.S. As the Catholic population ages, parishes close. CARA notes, “As the largest religion in the U.S., Catholicism has the largest number of former members (some later return as reverts). Catholicism has a higher retention rate than most other religions in the U.S. (including all Protestant denominations).

It is the institutions that must survive to carry on the word of the Gospel. As the institutions decline so does the Catholic Church in America.

II. The hostile attacks of the Barbarians and Christians.

Today the hostile attacks are coming from the “new Barbarians”: Collectivists, Marxists, the Communist Party USA, atheists, the pro-choice movement, the feminist movement, homosexuals and government.  Today it is the followers of Mohammed who are attacking the people of the Cross globally and in America.

There is a coalition within America that is anti-Catholic, anti-Christian and anti-Semitic. Their tactics and strategy are to diminish the role of religion by removing God from the public square. As that has happened in America we now have Collectivists, atheists, abortionists, homosexuals (some of whom are practicing witchcraft) and the U.S. government taking positions and implementing policies which are anti-Catholic, anti-Christian and anti-Semitic.

As Sandy Ikeda in his article “Progressivism Is Illiberal” writes, “Progressivism [Collectivists] today goes beyond the liberal position that, for example, same-sex marriage should have the same legal status as heterosexual marriage, to the belief that the state should threaten physical violence against anyone who refuses to associate or do business with same-sex couples.”

In the Middle East Catholic Churches are being burned to the ground, Christians slaughtered, Christian children sold into sex slavery and Christians crucified as was done in ancient Rome.

The attacks against Catholicism are real and palpable. Daily news reports tell us that a unholy war is being conducted against the Catholic church.

III. The use and abuse of the materials.

Materialism is the God of many in America. The quest for power and riches outweigh the need for God and redemption. Collectivists demand submission to the state as does Islam, which literally translated means “to submit.” Government becomes God and by doing so restricts what the individual can and cannot do.

As Ayn Rand wrote, “The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism.” In a short 19 page paper Rand wrote:

“A great many people today hold the childish notion that society can do anything it pleases; that principles are unnecessary, rights are only an illusion and expediency is the practical guide to action.

It is true that society can abandon moral principles and turn itself into a herd running amuck to destruction. Just as it is true that a man can cut his own throat any time he chooses. But a man cannot do this if he wishes to survive. And society cannot abandon moral principles if it expects to exist.”

In America corn is used to produce Ethanol, a gasoline additive. Over 50% of the corn produced in America goes toward the production of Ethanol. According to the World Food Programme, “Some 795 million people (1 in 9) in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life.”

Using food for fuel is immoral.

The use and abuse of materials and the people is the greatest threat to Catholics and the Church. For whenever the individual is diminished so to is the role of the Catholic Church. Jesus was an individualist who fought government. Many question why won’t the Catholic Church follow in Jesus’ footsteps and fight against government and defend individual rights including religious liberty.

IV. The domestic quarrels of the Romans.

The United States was founded on Judeo/Christian beliefs and values. Today the various Christian denominations are quarreling amongst themselves about social and political issues. This quarreling is occurring while all Christian and Jewish organizations are under attack from the new barbarians and the followers of Mohammed (see item II above).

CatholicGraphs_decline

Perhaps it is time for pastors, priests and rabbis to unite in one cause – to preserve their belief in God and the Judeo/Christian way of life.

The American way of life has led to great happiness and prosperity both in the homeland and throughout the Western world. A way of life that insures life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as guaranteed by United States Constitution. A way of life that celebrates life over death. A way of life that insures salvation and the return of the Kingdom of God to this earth.

There are lessons to be learned, for if we forget the history of the decline and fall of Rome, we are doomed to repeat it.

Perhaps Pope Francis would better serve the Church if he addressed Catholic persecution by the new barbarians and Muslims in America?

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On Privatizing Marriage: No, Matrimony Is Not Irreducibly Public by Max Borders

Marriage is society’s primary institutional arrangement that defines parenthood. – Jennifer Roback Morse

The idea of marriage privatization is picking up steam. And it makes strange bedfellows.

There are old-school gay activists suspicious that state marriage is a way for politicians to socially engineer the family through the tax code. There are religious conservatives who are upset that a state institution seems to violate their sacred values. Don’t forget the libertarians for whom “privatize it” is more a reflex than a product of reflection.

But they all agree: it would be a good idea to get the government out of the marriage business. Principle, it turns out, is pragmatic.

First, let’s disentangle two meanings for one word that easily get confused. When we say “marriage,” we might be referring to:

A. a commitment a couple enters into as a rite or acknowledgment within a religious institution or community group (private); or

B. a legal relationship that two people enter into, which the state currently licenses (public).

Now, the questions that follow are: Does the government need to be involved inA? The near-universal answer in the United States is no. But does the government need to be as involved as it is in B? Here’s where the debate gets going.

I think the government can and should get out of B, and everyone will be better for it. This is what I mean by marriage privatization.

Some argue that marriage is “irreducibly public.” For Jennifer Roback Morse, it has to do with the fate of children and families. For Shikha Dalmia, it has to do with the specter of increased government involvement, a reinflamed culture war, and a curious concern about religious institutions creating their own marriage laws.

First, let’s consider the issue of children. According to Unmarried.org:

  • 39.7 percent of all births are to unmarried women (Centers for Disease Control, 2007).
  • Nearly 40 percent of heterosexual, unmarried American households include children (Child Protective Services, 2007).
  • 41 percent of first births by unmarried women are to cohabiting partners (Larry Bumpass and Hsien-Hen Lu, 2000).

Does the law leave provisions for the children of the unmarried? Of course. So while state marriage might add some special sauce to your tax bill or to your benefits package, family court and family codes aren’t likely to go anywhere, whatever we do with marriage. This is not a sociological argument about whether children have statistically better life prospects when they are brought up by two married parents. Nor is it a question about gender, sexuality, and parental roles. It’s simply a response to the idea that marriage is “irreducibly public” due to having children. It is not. (I’ll pass over the problem for this argument that some married couples never have children.)

Dalmia is also concerned that “true privatization would require more than just getting the government out of the marriage licensing and registration business. It would mean giving communities the authority to write their own marriage rules and enforce them on couples.”

It’s true. Couples, as a part of free religious association, might have to accept some definition of marriage as a condition of membership in a religious community. But, writes Dalmia, “This would mean letting Mormon marriages be governed by the Church of the Latter Day Saints codebook, Muslims by Koranic sharia, Hassids by the Old Testament, and gays by their own church or non-religious equivalent.” And all of this is could be true up to a point.

But Dalmia overstates the case. Presumably, no religious organization would be able to set up codes that run counter to the civil laws in some jurisdiction. So if it were part of the Koranic sharia code to beat your wife for failure to wear the hijab at Costco, that rule would run afoul of criminal laws against spousal abuse. Mormon codes might sanction polygamy, but the state might have other ideas. So again, it’s not clear what sort of magical protection state marriage conjures.

What about Dalmia’s concern that in the absence of state marriage, “every aspect of a couple’s relationship would have to be contractually worked out from scratch in advance”? Never mind that some people would see being able to work out the details of a contract governing their lives as a good thing (for one, it might prevent ugly divorce proceedings). There is no reason to think that all the functions normal, unmarried couples with children and property have in terms of recourse to “default” law would not still be available. Not only would simple legal templates for private marriage emerge, but states could establish default civil unions in the absence of couples pursuing private alternatives.

There is no reason to think that all the functions normal, unmarried couples with children and property have in terms of recourse to “default” law would not still be available. 

Indeed, if people did not like some default option — as they might not now — there would be better incentives for couples to anticipate the eventualities of marital life. People would have to settle questions involving cohabitation, property, and children just as they do for retirement and for death. Millions of gay couples had to do this prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality. Millions of unmarried couples do it today. The difference is that there would be a set of private marriage choices in a layer atop the default, just as people may opt for private arbitration in lieu of government courts.

In the debates leading up to marriage equality, an immanently sensible proposal had been that even if you don’t like the idea of hammering out a detailed contract with your spouse-to-be, simply changing the name of the entire statutory regime to “civil unions” would have gone a long way toward putting the whole gay-marriage debate to bed. The conservatives would have been able to say that, in terms of their sacred traditions and cultural community (as in A), “marriage” is between one man and one woman. Gay couples would have to find a church or institution that would marry them under A. But everybody would have some equal legal provision under the law to get all the benefits that accrue to people under B. You’d just have to call it a “civil union.”

And that’s fine as far as it goes.

But I like full privatization because “marriage” is currently a crazy quilt of special privileges and goodies that everybody wants access to — unmarried people be damned. But marriage should confer neither special favors nor goodies from the state. We can quibble about who is to be at the bedside of a dying loved one. Beyond that, marriage (under definition B) is mostly about equal access to government-granted privileges.

Not only does the idea that marriage is irreducibly public represent a failure of imagination with respect to robust common law, it also resembles arguments made against privatization in other areas, such as currency, education, and health care. Just because we can’t always envision it doesn’t make it impossible.

Max Borders

Max Borders

Max Borders is the editor of the Freeman and director of content for FEE. He is also co-founder of the event experience Voice & Exit and author of Superwealth: Why we should stop worrying about the gap between rich and poor.

His Absurdness Pope Francis: Koran and Holy Bible are the Same!

Ayn Rand wrote, “The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow. They come to be accepted by degrees, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other – until one day when they are suddenly declared to be the country’s official ideology.”

On Monday, Pope Francis, the Bishop Of Rome, addressed Catholic followers regarding the dire importance of exhibiting religious tolerance. During his hour-long speech, a smiling Pope Francis was quoted telling the Vatican’s guests that the Koran, and the spiritual teachings contained therein, are just as valid as the Holy Bible.

As a Catholic it pains me to read words like this when daily I see the persecution of Christians and Jews by the followers of Mohammed. The Catholic Church is retreating and Islam is gaining. At some point Islam will become the official ideology of the Vatican, the Islamic State promises so.

Rather than go into a long litany of reasons why the Holy Bible is different than the Quran, not the least of which is the Koran does not recognize that Jesus was crucified, died and then rose from the dead to forgive our sins. For it is the Holy Trinity which is the foundation of Catholicism and the Holy Catholic Church.

Rather I will focus on Quran versus 2: 191-193, which read:

And kill them [the non-believers] wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.

And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah . But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.

Jews, Sikh, Christians, Hindus, Kurds, Buddhist, Ezidis, and anyone else who is not a Muslim is to be slaughtered if they do not embrace Islam.

Show me in the Holy Bible where it says that anyone who does not accept Jesus is to be slaughtered. One cannot.

When Pope Francis stated, “Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence”, Robert Spencer wrote:

No one would even be interested in this question were it not for the abundant evidence to the contrary: the daily record of jihad violence carried out by Muslims who point to Islam and the Qur’an to justify their actions, including many who are burning churches and terrorizing Christians in Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere. It is because of them that Pope Francis, David Cameron and others feel compelled to insist that, contrary to what we see happening every day, Islam is really peaceful. The question is whether they are doing the victims of jihad any real service by insisting this.

For if Pope Francis were to admit that Islam is a violent religion, that admission would imply the necessity of addressing Islamic intolerance of Christians.

The last thing that Pope Francis and certain world leaders want to do is to further enrage Fitnaphobes (i.e. the Muslim community). This is a false and dangerous position, as it ignores the social disease (existential threat) of Fitnaphobia, the known Islamic wolves at the gates of the Vatican.

Pope Francis is an Islamic apologist and Fitnaphobic.

Islam cannot be stopped unless and until Muslims, citizens, political and national security leaders at every level begin to profile and identify Fitnaphobic individuals, organizations and nation states.

When religious tolerance becomes a one way street, then the Vatican will fall to the Islamic Caliphate.

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EDITORS NOTE: To learn more about why Muslims slaughter visit www.Fitnaphobia.com.

Religious Charities, Gay Marriage, and Adoption: A Case for Pluralism by Walter Olson

At Reason, Scott Shackford has a valuable piece on where libertarians’ interests are likely to coincide with those of organized gay rights advocates and where they are likely to diverge, following the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage.

One flashpoint of controversy is likely to be the role of conservative religious agencies in areas of adoption that are commonly assisted with public funds (as with the adoption of older kids from foster care).

It is now legal all across America for gay people to adopt children, and now with same-sex marriage, they can adopt their partner’s child as well. This fight is largely over, and was actually pretty much won even before gay marriage recognition.

But there is another side, and it ties back into the treatment of religious people. Some adoption agencies are tied to religious groups who do not want to serve same-sex couples or place children in same-sex homes. They are also typically recipients of state funding for placing children, and are therefore subject to state regulation. Should they be required to serve gay couples?

Some states, such as Illinois, attempted to force them. As a result, Catholic Charities, which helped the state find adoptive and foster home services for four decades, stopped providing their services in 2011.

At the time, a gay activist declared this a victory, saying “Finding a loving home for the thousands in the foster/adoption system should be the priority, not trying to exclude people based on religious dogma.”

Some libertarians I admire have taken the view that where any public dollars are involved, private social service agencies must be held to rigorous anti-discrimination standards.

While I respect this view, I don’t share it.

Programs that are explicitly voucherized (such as G.I. Bill college tuition benefits, which can be used for seminary study) often go to institutions that I might find discriminatory, and the same logic can apply even with some less explicitly voucherized benefits.

If a state depot is dispensing gasoline to rescuers’ boats after Katrina, and Catholic Charities’s boats spare the need for government boats to reach some rescue targets, the “subsidy” might in fact save the taxpayers money.

In Olson’s experience, the more agencies out there serving the needs of the children looking for homes, the better. …

Much as with the controversies over bakers and florists, being denied service by one agency does not actually impact a gay couple’s ability to find and adopt children at all.

But eliminating Catholic Charities from the pool reduces the number of people able to help place these children. It’s the children who are punished by the politicization of adoption, not Catholic Charities.

This is especially important when dealing with older children or children with special medical needs. … Allowing both sides (and others as well) to play their role as they see fit benefits all children in the system.

As for the concern that some adoption agencies take taxpayer money and then discriminate, Olson points out that it’s much more expensive to the taxpayers to leave children to be raised by the state, not to mention terribly cruel.

“If you don’t care about the kids or the families, at least care about the taxpayers,” Olson says. But you should probably care about the kids, too.

I’ve written about the same set of issues (in the foster care context) before. The new Reason piece is here.


Walter Olson

Walter Olson is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies.

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘Cake Artist’ Fights in Court to Be Able to Refuse to Make Wedding Cakes for Gay Couples

EDITORS NOTE: This post first appeared at Cato.org.

Gays Need the Freedom to Discriminate by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Gaining the right to be married is a win for liberty because it removes a barrier to free association. But how easily a movement for more freedom turns to the cause of taking away other freedoms!

Following the Supreme Court decision mandating legal same-sex marriage nationwide, the New York Times tells us that, “gay rights leaders have turned their sights to what they see as the next big battle: obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in employment, housing, commerce and other arenas.”

In other words, the state will erect new barriers to freedom of choice in place of the old ones that just came down!

To make the case against such laws, it ought to be enough to refer to the freedom to associate and the freedom to use your property as you see fit. These are fundamental principles of liberalism. A free society permits anything peaceful, and that includes the right to disassociate. Alas, such arguments seem dead on arrival today.

So let us dig a bit deeper to understand why anti-discrimination laws are not in the best interests of gay men and women, or anyone else. Preserving the ability to discriminate permits the market system to provide crucial information feedback to a community seeking to use its buying power to reward its friends and noncoercively, nonviolently punish those who do not share its values.

Ever more, consumers are making choices based on core values. Does this institution protect the environment, treat its workers fairly, support the right political causes? In order to make those choices — which is to say, in order to discriminate — consumers need information.

In the case of gay rights, consumers need to know who supports inclusion and who supports exclusion. Shutting down that information flow through anti-discrimination law robs people of crucial data to make intelligent buying decisions. Moreover, such laws remove the competitive pressure of businesses to prove (and improve) their commitment to community values, because all businesses are ostensibly bound by them.

A market that permits discrimination, even of the invidious sort, allows money and therefore success and profits to be directed toward those who think broadly, while denying money and profitability to those who do not. In this way, a free market nudges society toward ever more tolerant and inclusive attitudes. Money speaks far more persuasively than laws.

Notice that these proposed laws only pertain to the producer and not the consumer. But discrimination is a two-edged sword. The right can be exercised by those who do not like some groups, and it can be exercised by those groups against those who do not like them.

Both are necessary and serve an important social function. They represent peaceful ways of providing social and economic rewards to those who put aside biases in favor of inclusive decision making.

If I’m Catholic and want to support pro-Catholic businesses, I also need to know what businesses don’t like Catholics. If I’m Muslim and only want my dollars supporting my faith, I need to know who won’t serve Muslims (or who will put my dollars to bad use). If a law that prohibits business from refusing to serve or hire people based on religion, how am I supposed to know which businesses deserve my support?

It’s the same with many gay people. They don’t want to trade with companies that discriminate. To act out those values requires some knowledge of business behavior and, in turn, the freedom to discriminate. There is no gain for anyone by passing a universal law mandating only one way of doing business. Mandates drain the virtue out of good behavior and permit bad motivations to hide under the cover of law.

Here is an example from a recent experience. I was using AirBnB to find a place to stay for a friend. He needed a place for a full week, so $1,000 was at stake. The first potential provider I contacted hesitated and began to ask a series of questions that revolved around my friend’s country of origin, ethnicity, and religion. The rental owner was perfectly in his rights to do this. It is his home, and he faces no obligation to open it to all comers.

On the other hand, I found the questions annoying, even offensive. I decided that I didn’t want to do business with this person. I made a few more clicks, cancelled that query, and found another place within a few minutes. The new renter was overjoyed to take in my friend.

I was delighted for two reasons. First, my friend was going to stay at a home that truly wanted him there, and that’s important. Force is never a good basis for commercial relationships. Second, I was able to deny $1K to a man who was, at best, a risk averse and narrow thinker or, at worst, an outright bigot.

Declining to do business with him was my little protest, and it felt good. I wouldn’t want my friend staying with someone who didn’t really want him there, and I was happy not to see resources going toward someone whose values I distrusted.

In this transaction, I was able to provide a reward to the inclusive and broad-minded home owner. It really worked out too: the winning rental property turned out to be perfect for my friend.

This was only possible because the right to discriminate is protected in such transactions (for now). I like to think that the man who asked too many questions felt a bit of remorse after the fact (he lost a lot of money), and even perhaps is right now undergoing a reconsideration of his exclusionary attitudes. Through my own buyer decisions I was actually able to make a contribution toward improving cultural values.

What if anti-discrimination laws had pertained? The man would not have been allowed to ask about national origin, religion, and ethnicity. Presuming he kept his room on the open market, he would have been required under law to accept my bid, regardless of his own values.

As a result, my money would have gone to someone who didn’t have a high regard for my friend, my friend would have been denied crucial information about what he was getting into, and I would not be able to reward people for values I hold dear.

This is precisely why gay rights leaders should be for, not against, the right to discriminate. If you are seeking to create a more tolerant society, you need information that only a free society can provide.

You need to know who is ready to serve and hire gay men and women, so they can be rewarded for their liberality. You also need to know who is unwilling to hire and serve so that the loss part of profit-and-loss can be directed against ill-liberality. Potential employees and customers need to know how they are likely to be treated by a business. Potential new producers need to know about business opportunities in under-served niche markets.

If everyone is forced to serve and hire gays, society is denied important knowledge about who does and does not support enlightened thinking on this topic.

Consider the prototypical case of the baker who doesn’t want to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. He is within his rights. His loss of a potential customer base is his own loss. It is also the right of the couple to refuse to give this baker business. The money he would have otherwise made can be redirected towards a baker who is willing to do this. It is equally true that some people would rather trade with a baker who is against gay marriage, and they are within their rights as well.

Every act of discrimination, provided it is open and legal, provides a business opportunity to someone else.

How does all this work itself out in the long run? Commerce tends toward rewarding inclusion, broadness, and liberality. Tribal loyalties, ethnic and religious bigotries, and irrational prejudices are bad for business. The merchant class has been conventionally distrusted by tribalist leaders — from the ancient to the modern world — precisely because merchantcraft tends to break down barriers between groups.

We can see this in American history following the end of slavery. Blacks and whites were ever more integrated through commercial exchange, especially with the advance of transportation technology and rising incomes. This is why the racists turned increasingly toward the state to forbid it. Zoning laws, minimum wage regulation, mandatory segregation, and occupational licensing were all strategies used to keep the races separate even as the market was working toward integration.

The overwhelming tendency of markets is to bring people together, break down prejudices, and persuade people of the benefits of cooperation regardless of class, race, religion, sex/gender, or other arbitrary distinctions. The same is obviously and especially true of sexual orientation. It is the market that rewards people who put aside their biases and seek gains through trade.

This is why states devoted to racialist and hateful policies always resort to violence in control of the marketplace. Ludwig von Mises, himself Jewish and very much the victim of discrimination his entire life, explained that this was the basis for Nazi economic policy. The market was the target of the Nazis because market forces know no race, religion, or nationality.

“Many decades of intensive anti-Semitic propaganda,” Mises  wrote in 1944, “did not succeed in preventing German ‘Aryans’ from buying in shops owned by Jews, from consulting Jewish doctors and lawyers, and from reading books by Jewish authors.” So the racists turned to the totalitarian state — closing and confiscating Jewish business, turning out Jewish academics, and burning Jewish books — in order to severe the social and economic ties between races in Germany.

The biggest enemy of marginal and discriminated-against populations is and has always been the state. The best hope for promoting universal rights and a culture of tolerance is the market economy. The market is the greatest weapon ever devised against bigotry — but, in order to work properly, the market needs to signaling systems rooted in individuals’ freedom of choice to act on their values.

And, to be sure, the market can also provide an outlet for people who desire to push back for a different set of values, perhaps rooted in traditional religious concerns. Hobby Lobby, Chick-Fil-A, In-and-Out Burger, among many others, openly push their religious mission alongside their business, and their customer base is drawn to them for this reason. This is also a good thing. It is far better for these struggles to take place in the market (where choice rules) rather than through politics (where force does).

Trying to game that market by taking away consumer and producer choice harms everyone. Anti-discrimination laws will provide more choices at the expense of more informed choices. Such laws force bigotry underground, shut down opportunities to provide special rewards for tolerance, and disable the social learning process that leads to an ever more inclusive society.

New laws do not fast-track fairness and justice; they take away opportunities to make the world a better place one step at a time.


Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Digital Development at FEE, CLO of the startup Liberty.me, and editor at Laissez Faire Books. Author of five books, he speaks at FEE summer seminars and other events. His latest book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World.

The New Paganism? The Case against Pope Francis’s Green Encyclical by Max Borders

Paganism as a distinct and separate religion may perhaps be said to have died, although, driven out of the cities, it found refuge in the countryside, where it lingered long — and whence, indeed, its very name is derived. In a very real sense, however, it never died at all. It was only transformed and absorbed into Christianity. – James Westfall Thompson, An Introduction to Medieval Europe

In 2003, science-fiction writer Michael Crichton warned a San Francisco audience about the sacralization of the environment. Drawing an analogy between religion and environmentalism, Crichton said:

There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all.

We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

This analogy between religion and environmentalism is no longer a mere analogy.

Pope Francis, the highest authority in the Catholic Church — to whom many faithful look for spiritual guidance — has now fused church doctrine with environmental doctrine.

Let’s consider pieces of his recently released Encyclical Letter. One is reminded of a history in which the ideas of paganism (including the worship of nature) were incorporated into the growing medieval Church.

Excerpts from Pope Francis are shown in italics.


 

This sister protests the evil that we provoke, because of the irresponsible use and of the abuse of the goods that God has placed in her. We grew up thinking that we were its owners and rulers, allowed to plunder it.

Notice how Pope Francis turns the earth into a person. Sister. Mother. This kind of anthropomorphic trope is designed to make you think that, by virtue of driving your car, you’re also smacking your sibling. We’ve gone from “dominion over the animals and crawling things” to “plundering” our sister.

The violence that exists in the human heart wounded by sin is also manifested in the symptoms of the disease we feel in soil, water, air and in the living things. Therefore, among the most abandoned and ill treated poor we find our oppressed and devastated Earth, which “moans and suffers the pains of childbirth” [Romans 8:22].

First, if the state of the soil, water and air and living things is indeed symptomatic of our violent, sinful hearts, then the good news is that sin is on the decline. On every dimension the Pope names, the symptoms of environmental harm are getting better all the time — at least in our decadent capitalist country.

Do not take it on faith: here are data.

There are forms of pollution which affect people every day. The exposure to air pollutants produces a large spectrum of health effects, in particular on the most poor, and causes millions of premature deaths.

This will always be true to some degree, of course, but it’s less true than any time in human history. Pope Francis fails to acknowledge the tremendous gains humanity has made. For example, human life expectancy in the Paleolithic period (call this “Eden”) was 33 years. Life expectancy in the neolithic period was 20 years. Globally, life expectancy is now more than 68 years, and in the West, it is passing 79 years.

Yes, there is pollution, and, yes, the poor are affected by it. But the reason why the poor are affected most by air pollution is because they’re poor — and because they don’t have access to fossil fuel energy. Pope Francis never bothers to draw the connection between wealth and health because he thinks of both production and consumption as sinful. Brad Plumer writes at Vox,

About 3 billion people around the world — mostly in Africa and Asia, and mostly very poor — still cook and heat their homes by burning coal, charcoal, dung, wood, or plant residue in their homes. These homes often have poor ventilation, and the smoke can cause all sorts of respiratory diseases.

The wealthy people of the West, including Pope Francis, don’t suffer from this problem. That’s because liberal capitalist countries — i.e., those countries who “plunder” their sister earth — do not suffer from energy poverty. They do not suffer from inhaling fumes and particulate matter from burning dung becausethey are “sinful,” because they are capitalist.

See the problem? The Pope wants to have it both ways. He has confused the disease (unhealthy indoor air pollution) with the cure (cheap, clean, abundant and mass-produced energy from fossil fuels).

Add to that the pollution that affects all, caused by transportation, by industrial fumes, by the discharge of substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, by fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and toxic pesticides in general. The technology, which, connected to finance, claims to be the only solution to these problems, in fact is not capable of seeing the mystery of the multiple relationships which exist between things, and because of this, sometimes solves a problem by creating another.

It is strange to read admonitions from someone about the “multiple relationships that exist between things,” only to see him ignore those relationships in the same paragraph. Yes, humans often create problems by solving others, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t solve the problems. It just means we should solve the big problems and then work on the smaller ones.

Solving problems even as we discover different problems is an inherent part of the human condition. Our creativity and innovation and struggle to overcome the hand nature has dealt us is what makes us unique as a species.

Perhaps this is, for Pope Francis, some sort of Green Original Sin: “Thou shalt just deal with it.” But to the rest of us, it is the means by which we live happier, more comfortable lives here under the firmament.

The Earth, our home, seems to turn more and more into a huge garbage dump. In many places on the planet, the elderly remember with nostalgia the landscapes of the past, which now appear to be submerged in junk.

If you get your understanding of waste management and the environment from the movie Wall-E, then you might have the impression that we’re burying our sister in garbage. But as the guys over at EconPop have pointed out, land used for waste management is also governed by laws of supply and demand — which means entrepreneurs and innovators are finding better and less expensive ways to reuse, reduce, recycle, and manage our waste.

The industrial waste as well as the chemicals used in cities and fields can produce an effect of bio-accumulation in the bodies of the inhabitants of neighboring areas, which occurs even when the amount of a toxic element in a given place is low. Many times one takes action only when these produced irreversible effects on people’s health.

People, on net, are living longer and healthier than they ever have in the history of our species. What evidence does the Holy Father have that irreversible effects on people’s health rises to the level of an emergency that demands drafting in a papal encyclical? And why focus on the costs of “chemicals” without a single mention of overwhelming their human benefit? Indeed, which chemicals? This kind of sloppy thinking is rather unbecoming of someone who is (we are constantly reminded) a trained chemist.

Certain substances can have health effects, but so can failing to produce the life-enhancing goods in the first place. The answer is not to beg forgiveness for using soaps and plastics (or whatever), but to develop the institutions that prevent people and companies from imposing harmful costs onto others without taking responsibility for it.

The key is to consider the trade-offs that we will face no matter what, not to condemn and banish “impure” and unnatural substances from our lives.

These issues are intimately linked to the culture of waste, affecting so much the human beings left behind when the things turn quickly into trash.

Now we’re getting somewhere. This is where Pope Francis would like to add consumerism to production on the list of environmentally deadly sins.

Let us realize, for example, that most of the paper that is produced is thrown away and not recycled.

Heaven forfend! So would Pope Francis have us burn fossil fuels to go around and collect processed pulp? Is he unaware that demand for paper is what drivesthe supply of new trees? We aren’t running out of trees because we throw away paper. The Pope’s plan sounds like it could have been hatched in Berkeley, California, instead of Vatican City. And yet worlds have collided.

Michael Munger puts matters a little differently:

Mandatory recycling, by definition, takes material that would not be recycled voluntarily, diverts it from the waste stream, and handles it several times before using it again in a way that wastes resources.

The only explanation for this behavior that I can think of is a religious ceremony, a sacrifice of resources as a form of worship. I have no problem if people want to do that. As religions go, it is fairly benign. Butrequiring that religious sacrifice of resources is a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.

Well, Professor Munger, this is the Pope we’re talking about.

We find it hard to admit that the operation of natural ecosystems is exemplary: plants synthesize nutrients that feed the herbivores; these in turn feed the carnivores, which provide a lot of organic waste, which give rise to a new generation of plants. In contrast, the industrial system, at the end of its cycle of production and consumption, has not developed the ability to absorb and reuse waste and slag.

Where is the evidence for this? These are matters of faith, indeed. All this time I thought the industrial system did have the ability to absorb and reuse waste: It’s called the system of prices, property, and profit/loss. The problem is not that such a “recycling” system doesn’t exist, it’s that corruption and government distorts the system of property, prices and profit/loss so that our economic ecosystem doesn’t operate as it should.

Indeed, when you have the Pope suggesting we burn gas to save glass, you have to wonder why the industrial system is so messed up. A system that “requires us to limit the use of non-renewable resources, to moderate consumption, to maximize the efficiency of the exploitation, to reuse and to recycle,” is called the market. And where it doesn’t exist is where you’ll find the worst instances of corruption and environmental degradation.

Then, of course, there’s climate change. In the interests of brevity I won’t quote the whole thing. But here’s the punchline, which might have been plucked straight from the IPCC Summary for Policymakers:

Climate change is a global problem with serious environmental, social, economic, distribution and policy implications, and make up one of the main current challenges for humanity. The heaviest impacts will probably fall in the coming decades upon developing countries.

This might be true. What the Holy Father fails to appreciate is that the heaviest impacts of policies designed to mitigate climate change will definitely fall upon developing countries. (That is, if the developing countries swear off cheap energy and embrace any sort of global climate treaty. If history is a guide, they most certainly will not.)

Meanwhile, the biggest benefits of burning more carbon-based fossil fuels will accrue the poorest billions on earth. The Pope should mention that if he really has their interests at heart or in mind.

But many symptoms indicate that these effects could get worse if we continue the current patterns of production and consumption.

“Patterns of production and consumption”? This is a euphemism for wealth creation. What is wealth except production and consumption of resources to further human need and desire?

His suggested cure for our dangerous patterns of wealth creation, of course, is good ole demand-side management. Wiser, more enlightened minds (like his, he hopes) will let you know which light bulbs to buy, what sort of car to drive, and which insolvent solar company they’ll “invest” your money in. You can even buy papal indulgences in the form of carbon credits. As the late Alexander Cockburn wrote,

The modern trade is as fantastical as the medieval one. … Devoid of any sustaining scientific basis, carbon trafficking is powered by guilt, credulity, cynicism and greed, just like the old indulgences, though at least the latter produced beautiful monuments.

But the most important thing to realize here is that the “current” patterns of production and consumption are never current. The earthquakes of innovation and gales of creative destruction blow through any such observed patterns. The price system, with its lightning-quick information distribution mechanism is far, far superior to any elites or energy cronies. And technological innovation, though we can’t predict just how, will likely someday take us as far away from today’s energy status quo, just as we have moved away from tallow, whale oil, and horse-drawn carriages.

The Pope disagrees with our rose-tinted techno-optimism, saying “some maintain at all costs the myth of progress and say that the ecological problems will be solved simply by new technical applications.”

The Pope sits on his golden throne and looks over the vast expanse of time and space — from hunter-gatherers running mammoths off cliffs to Americans running Teslas off electric power, from the USA in 1776 and 2015, from England before and after the Industrial Revolution, from Hong Kong and Hiroshima in 1945 to their glorious present — and sneers: progress is a myth, environmental problems can’t be fixed through innovation, production is destroying the earth, consumption is original sin.

Innovation is the wellspring of all progress. Policies to stop or undo innovation in energy, chemistry, industry, farming, and genetics are a way to put humanity in a bell jar, at best. At worst they will put some of us in the dark and others in early graves. They are truly fatal conceits.

And yet, the Pope has faith in policymakers to know just which year we should have gotten off the train of innovation. William F. Buckley famously said conservatives “stand athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!’” Greens are similar, except they’re yelling “Go back!”

Therefore it has become urgent and compelling to develop policies so that in the coming years the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases is reduced drastically, for instance by replacing fossil fuels and by developing renewable energy sources.

I reflect again on the notion that this effort might be just another way of the Church embracing and extending a competitor religion. Then again, Pope Francis so often shows that he is a true and faithful green planner. In an unholy alliance with those who see the strategic benefit in absorbing environmentalism, the Holy Father has found the perfect way to restore the power of the Church over politics, economics, culture, and the state to its former glory.


Max Borders

Max Borders is the editor of the Freeman and director of content for FEE. He is also cofounder of the event experience Voice & Exit and author of Superwealth: Why we should stop worrying about the gap between rich and poor.


Daniel Bier

Daniel Bier is the editor of Anything Peaceful. He writes on issues relating to science, civil liberties, and economic freedom.

Too much Jesus? Or not enough Jesus?

When I was a boy growing up in Lancaster Country, PA, I had several crucial experiences with Christian pastors that contributed to my loss of faith. Mind you I don’t blame anyone but myself for becoming an atheist. But back then it seemed as though there was really no longer anything to hold onto. The truth is, it was there all the time. I just didn’t see it.

The first such experience was when a pastor that my family looked up to said unequivocally that my two sisters and I would never grow up to adulthood because Jesus was coming back before that. He pointed to Bible prophecies to support that. My older sister was the first to outlive this prediction, followed by the other two of us.

The second such experience was a series of visits to a church in Maryland whose pastor’s sermons were broadcast from a Pennsylvania radio station. The pastor sounded so humble, so kind and so dedicated to the Lord.

But there was a rumor that some of the congregation were or had been KKK members.

Then one Sunday the pastor preached a sermon on negroes. He said that the black race was the “sons of Ham,” a swarthy Hebrew tribe whose patriarch had sinned and which was therefore condemned to serve others forever.

I knew that African blacks were not related biologically to the Hebrews, so this raised questions.

Near the end of his sermon, Pastor Don spoke of intermarriage between whites and blacks and at one point, he shouted “any black man who introduces black blood into a white woman ought to be hung!”

Normally, whenever Pastor Don raised his voice and made a point, the stalwarts in the congregation would reflexively say “amen.”

But this was the early 60s and there was a general sentiment in favor of civil rights. A subtle change had come over the congregation. Not one of the stalwarts said “amen.”

Already inclined to reject religion, instead of focusing on this sign of a positive trend in the church, I indignantly swore to myself never to darken a church door again. My sin lay precisely in this failure to focus on the Lord’s hand in changing hearts in the congregation and my choice to reject Christ based on the pastor’s thoughtless words.

I went wild for 2 decades, carousing and womanizing, and speaking against religion. And then I felt empty and began to seek God again. I scoured the globe, including Taiwan, where I spent 3 years looking for truth among the Buddhists. A few times I thought I had had a spiritual breakthrough, but nothing stuck.

A decade later, through a series of circumstances, God came for me and I was led back to Jesus in an emotional epiphany. I found my faith, but I didn’t find the church of Jesus. It seemed to have disappeared – or gone underground. I found the same shallowness and hypocrisy that had contributed to my falling away decades earlier. But this time, having gone through the school of hard knocks, I knew that the actors involved were of Satan and swore never to be misled again.

Yesterday the world was shocked at the senseless murder of 9 black worshippers at a church in South Carolina.

I couldn’t help thinking of Pastor Don in Maryland and his racist words. But having had half a century to think over that faith shattering sermon, I have come to realize that sermons like the above-described by Pastor Don are not in any way representative of Christianity. In fact, they are tools of Satan who misguide the unbeliever into thinking, as I once had, that Christianity itself is racist and evil. Though it was a sin on my part to think that way, if we look at things from only a superficial viewpoint, it was an understandable conclusion, especially for a naïve teen.

It is quite likely that a few whites-only churches are still racist but how can that discredit Jesus when He preached love and urged Christians – even the gentiles, representing all races – to love one another? It simply can’t.

Like my former self, the U.S. government and its puppets throughout the West, including journalists – who ought to be called propagandists – the public schools and the institutions of higher “learning,” have focused only on the dark side of “Christianity,” or rather on a religion that is nothing but a perversion of that faith. They forget that it was a Christian leader, William Wilberforce, who spearheaded the movement to end slavery in England, and that the civil rights movement in the US sprang up in northern churches. The slaves who fought for emancipation and the blacks who led the civil rights movement in Selma sang Christian hymns even as they were beaten and persecuted, meek and Christ-like, by the police. Meanwhile, there is only one religion in the world today that lends “moral” authority to slavery and that is Muslims, whose ancestors were among the first slave traders in Africa, and whose religion is being subtly thrust upon us by the Washington anti-Christs.

These same anti-Christs also spread the lie that Hitler was a Christian. Yet the fact is, there were German pastors in the 19th century who had perverted the gospel to promote folkish nationalism, declaring, with no supporting evidence whatsoever, that Jesus was actually the illegitimate son of a Germanic mercenary. It was not Christianity that gave us Adolph Hitler but a cynically perverted “gospel” that persuaded mindless Germans to accept the lie that Jesus had come to avenge himself of the Jews.

Likewise, “Christians” are blamed for supporting G.W. Bush’s war in Iraq. But in fact it was atheists who devised the diabolical ideology of Neoconservatism and it was foolish “Christians” who followed these wolves in sheep’s clothing.

While Irving Kristol wrote the book on Neoconservatism and is generally regarded as the “godfather” of the ideology, Leo Strauss has been identified as an early precursor, and today’s Neocons pursue his ideas.

Alternet writes, in an article titled “Leo Strauss’ Philosophy of Deception“:

Among other neoconservatives, Irving Kristol has long argued for a much greater role for religion in the public sphere.

At the same time, he stressed that religion was for the masses alone; the rulers need not be bound by it. Indeed, it would be absurd if they were, since the truths proclaimed by religion were “a pious fraud.” 

Obviously, while Neocons want Christians to support them in their policies, notably their wars, they despise us, and we owe it to ourselves and our God to study their history and their writings so as to avoid being deceived by them. How is it possible that genuine Christians who take Jesus’ words to heart, could follow these utter Satanists, who denied the existence of morality itself? Yet in the early 2000s I attended services at megachurches in Lancaster County that wholeheartedly supported G.W. Bush in his wars, mostly because Bush had insisted that he was a born-again Christian. Some pastors even mentioned reports that the US Marines who first arrived in Baghdad had found themselves impermeable to bullets, protected by God. Yet the upshot of this war was that indigenous Assyrian Christians who had survived for millennia among the Iraqi Muslims, found themselves persecuted and banished from their homeland within days of our “victory.” It was Neocon deception at its best. To my shame, I was one of those who were initially deceived by these pastors.

Further, Alternet writes:

“According to Shadia Drury, who teaches politics at the University of Calgary, Strauss believed that “those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and that there is only one natural right – the right of the superior to rule over the inferior.”
This dichotomy requires “perpetual deception” between the rulers and the ruled.”

How is this different from Nazism? How does it square with what Christ taught? It has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity and is in fact a cynical perversion of the faith.

Thus, although it would seem on the surface that Christianity goes hand in hand with unjustified wars, just as it seemed on the surface that Christianity supported racism and slavery, the fact is, none of these phenomena emerging in the Christian church has a thing to do with Christ’s teachings. Indeed, these perversions prove that Jesus was right when He said in Matthew 24:

9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.

10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.

11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many..

You know, Folks, we really ought to thank God in a way for all the adversity, even the perversion of the Gospel by men like the Neocons, because for genuine believers, these perversions – even though they have led to horrible wars and other consequences – are the most solid evidence we have of the power of God and the supernatural prophetic power of Jesus Christ.

True Christians understand that the world’s crises and tragedies, far from being the product of too much Jesus, are in fact caused by too little Jesus.

Thank God, following the murders, the members of the black church gave witness of what it is to be a true follower of Christ. According to the Washington Post,

“Larry Grooms, a state senator, wrote on Facebook:

‘My heart breaks for the loss of Sen. Pinckney, the other victims and for their families. Now is the time for prayer. Let us all unite our hearts in prayer and ask God for His Grace, Love and Mercy’.”

Special Interest Groups Moving the Goalposts on Religion

There is an enormous chasm between policy-centered political fights on issues such as tax rates, education policy and healthcare policy, and the growing fight to preserve religious liberty in our beloved country.

The effort to divide and silence Christians by a small, but vocal and powerful, collection of interest groups, is gaining strength. I fear that we are rapidly approaching a tomorrow where generations-old beliefs in the teachings of Christ will be used as a reason to stigmatize, punish, and divide his followers tragically, in a country founded by brave men and women escaping faith-based persecution.

I am increasingly worried about this small, but powerful, group of organized interest groups and their intimidation tactics. These groups are attacking anyone they unilaterally declare to be an enemy of their cause, despite any evidence of intention to cause harm. I am also concerned about the desired ends that these groups seek to achieve. It seems as if they have moved their goalpost closer—from dangerous ideological suppression, to the extremely dangerous realm of forced ideological conformity.

Being personally attacked and smeared by these organized groups for being a Christian or a conservative is a sad state of affairs, but it has become the price of doing business and it’s already baked into the cake for Christians and conservatives in the political arena. Apparently this attack and smear strategy is no longer satisfactory for the division warriors on the Left as they have now resorted to the use of government force. As we saw with the recent Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act debate, and the subsequent calls for violence against an Indiana pizza place that didn’t toe the ideological line, along with the recent bombshell report that Oregon state officials colluded with interest group activists against private business owners, the rules of engagement for the organized Left’s activist front have devolved.

I am not a preacher, and I am not trying to frighten anyone. But, I am sounding the alarm because we are not doing enough to fight back. We have allowed these interest groups to use isolated examples of sinful behavior by many Christians as a weapon in their war against any standards AT ALL. It is telling that Christ chose as messengers Paul, who hunted down and persecuted Christians, and Peter, who in a moment of weakness would deny Christ three times. Although I dare not pretend to understand the motivations of The Lord, I cannot help but believe that he came here not to speak against sin, but to forgive, and to save the sinner.

I am a sinner. I have failed many times as a friend, a brother, a son, a father, and a husband. I have never forgiven myself for those failures and I never will. But I will never allow my failures to separate me from The Lord, nor will I use them as an excuse to disavow the high standards The Lord asks of us, despite my many failures to meet them.

Speaking out to spread The Word, and to share the immeasurable value of benevolent sacrifice is not our attempt to judge the soul of another. This simple fact is often confused within the activist community wishing to condemn Christians. Spreading The Word, even by the sinner trying to reclaim his own soul, is an attempt to spread The Word of Christ, not of man. This isn’t an act of judgment, because that is exclusively the domain of The Lord. But it is an act of faith.

We also have to do a better job of weeding out the false prophets of our movement. Although we are all sinners, it is not our duty to follow those motivated by self-aggrandizement or riches and wealth, rather than those with a genuine desire for a better tomorrow through The Lord’s guidance. We should seek out those who fall short but consistently get back up and learn from those failures, using those experiences to guide their future efforts and sacrifices, as the people we can get behind.

To conclude, this devolution from a civil debate about religion and spirituality, to personal smear attacks, to the co-opting of government force and the acceptance of violence as a legitimate means of forced coercion to your ideological goals, is truly frightening. Conservatives and Christians are not the only people frightened by these developments. As reported this past week by the left-leaning online outlet Vox, even liberal professors on college campuses are under assault and risk their livelihoods for presenting material that challenges far-left dogma. Sadly, many of the pre-existing biases against Christians and conservatives have blinded liberals to the incremental damage being done to their freedoms during this slow march towards attempted ideological conformity. Now that many of them are under attack I’m hoping that they will join forces with conservatives and Christians, hardened from this ongoing fight, and stand up for the right to speak out, and the right to follow their own spiritual path.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review. The featured image is by Bill Clark | AP Photo.

God and Evil: My Answer for Michael Savage

Torture, pain, beheadings, the murder of children…. If God exists and is all good, how could He allow such suffering and evil? This is a common question, and a lament often an impediment to faith. It also was addressed recently on the Savage Nation radio show, where host Michael Savage — exhibiting his versatility and talk virility — will sometimes broach that certain thing we’re supposed to discuss even less than politics. His answer to the question was contained in his newsletter and is:

I actually believe that God has no effect on a moment-by-moment basis or a person-by-person basis.

If I did, then I’d have to stop believing in God.

If I were to believe that God controlled everything on earth, then I’d have to believe that God is evil.

I believe God is not omnipotent. He is omnipresent.

That’s what saved me from atheism.

It certainly is good to have an answer that saves one from atheism, but is the above the answer?

God undoubtedly doesn’t micromanage our lives, controlling matters on a moment-by-moment basis; this reality is called His “permitting will” in theological circles, as opposed to His “ordaining will.” But why is God, as some might say, so “permissive” (He isn’t, really)? There is an answer, but before addressing it let’s examine the matter of God’s omnipotence.

God is known as the “Creator” because the belief is that He created the whole Universe, the heavens and the Earth and all living creatures — out of nothing. He is the first cause. In this case, however, it would seem fanciful to suppose that He could create life but not control that life. After forging the wonders called the Universe and its denizens, controlling man would seem small potatoes.

To suggest otherwise is to say that God is not really “God” — by definition all-powerful and perfect — but a different kind of being entirely. For He then either created something He couldn’t control (which certainly can be a fault of man) or didn’t create it at all. If the latter, though, where does that leave us? We can’t say something else created the Universe, for that entity would then be above what would merely be but a cosmic middleman, and it would be God (the “Immovable Mover,” as Aristotle said). The only other possibility is that we believe in something and call it “God” even though it would just be some spirit being formed as a cosmic accident via some evolutionary process wholly unknown to us. But this would just bring us back to atheism and its inherent relativism and meaninglessness — with the twist that, for sure, we’re not the most powerful cosmic accidents in the Universe.

This is why philosophers have long explained God’s tolerance of evil by way of “free will.” Yes, I know it sounds clichéd now to some, but my explanation won’t be. So why is free will so important that God would allow profound evil in its name?

Imagine you could have a computer chip implanted in your child’s brain that would control his behavior (something perhaps possible in the foreseeable future). No more terrible twos or toddler tantrums, no disobedience, no crying, no frowns, no shirking of responsibility — just a perfectly agreeable Stepford Child. Would you implant away?

This would defeat the purpose of having a child. Sure, we want our kids to mature into moral beings, but that is impossible if you’re merely a controlled being. For being moral involves making moral choices, and this cannot happen if you have no choice. The chipped child would have been dehumanized, reduced to automaton status via the negation of his free will. You might as well just purchase a cute robot and be done with it.

Think about what is being said here, however: You’re willing to tolerate sinful acts in your child — and the possibility of truly horrible behavior — in the name of his being fully human.

God is no different with respect to us, His children. He could completely control us with the snap of divine fingers, but we are then reduced to mere organic robots; we are not then His children, but His things. Note, when it’s said we’re created in God’s image, this does not refer to our physical being but that, like God, we have intellect and free will. Remove either quality and we’re mere animals.

(Speaking of which, it’s hard to imagine even a pet owner chipping his dog; we’d likely feel that this would eliminate his “dogness” and wouldn’t want to use perverted science to accomplish what training should.)

Then there is the matter of love, which is represented in action: Loving attitudes beget loving acts. When someone serves us — whether it’s a spouse bringing home the bacon or serving it, or a child doing chores — we’re by far most pleased if it’s done in a spirit of love because the person wants to make us happy (yes, much to expect in a child!). It doesn’t touch us in the same way if the work is performed out of a mere sense of obligation; worse still is if the person is acting as a slave, compelled to labor against his will. Most of us wouldn’t even want to be served under those circumstances.

God is no different. He wants us to serve Him as a representation of our love (not because He needs our love and service, but because we need to love and serve Him), and trumping our free will would defeat that purpose. It would reduce us to not just slaves, but those organic robots.

Some may now say that this is all well and good, but aren’t there limits to free will’s abuse? When people are being burned alive and children massacred, don’t you draw a line? The answer is that God is far more logical and consistent than we are.

We talk about “freedom of speech” but then set limits on what can be said; we trumpet “freedom of religion” but then draw lines at certain practices (e.g., human sacrifice). I’m not implying that such lines aren’t sometimes necessary, mind you, only pointing out that once they’re drawn, it follows that we aren’t actually allowing true “freedom of religion.” But God means what He says and says what He means. Free will is just that: free will. It’s absolute. Besides, He makes the rules, but their application and enforcement are our business — in this world.

This brings us to the last point: worldliness. Too often we analyze faith-based propositions while coupling them with atheistic corollaries. We may wonder, for example, how a just and loving God could allow the deaths of large numbers of children in free will’s name. But He doesn’t.

He gave the children life, and upon leaving this fold they pass on to eternal life.

I know, this sounds like a handy rationalization to modernistic ears. But we are discussing matters within the context of the Judeo-Christian world view, no? In other words, people could question the data — that God and the afterlife are real, etc. — but that is a different question. The logic when operating within this data set, however, is unassailable. To wit: What is this temporal life as compared to eternity? It’s as a grain of sand in a desert or a drop of water in an ocean. It’s eternity that matters. And if slaughtered children pass on to a far, far better place, God has done them no disservice.

I don’t want to seem unfeeling; I react to worldly horrors much as does everyone else. And it’s understandable: This world is all we know firsthand. The hell we so often create on it we see and hear, as it accosts our senses; we feel it. Heaven is generally just something we try to apprehend intellectually. And the heart has seductions the mind cannot match.

There is something we can do, however. Even if we don’t feel certain truths on an emotional level, we can choose to believe them. That is a proper exercise of free will — one that lends much happiness and meaning to the life God gave us.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

A Tale of Two Cities Babylon and Jerusalem: Is Our  Religion Symbolical or Spiritual?

In the days of Nimrod whose kingdom was Babel, men built a tower, saying, “Let us make a name lest we be scattered abroad,” but God said, “let us go down and confound their language…so the LORD scattered them abroad.” Genesis 10:9,10; 11:4,7,8.

It seems significant that even now the Tower of Babel is used as a symbol of the  European Union with its poster, “Many Tongues, One Voice” (Google), a symbol of defiance to God and with 5-pointed stars pointing down—the official insignia for the Church of Satan. (Google).

From the beginning, God was trying to spare man an external focus that engenders pride. Babel became Babylon and its king later said, “Is this not great Babylon that I have built?” Daniel 4:30. That meant time out for another lesson as the king lost his mind and ate grass for a 7-year humbling of Babylon.

The impending end-times will test our grasp of Bible truth as Babylon will again be humbled for 7 years. The issues are more subtle now, for we are dealing with spiritual Babylon that has permeated society’s systems of medicine, education, welfare, government, correction and religion. Our focus now is religion.

When God liberated Israel from Egypt, He gave them a system of types that foreshadowed spiritual truth. The lamb that they sacrificed represented the lamb in Isaiah 53:5-7, “wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities,” and announced as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” by a Jewish prophet, John. John 1:29.

They loved Him for the loaves and fishes, but when He made the internal and spiritual nature of His kingdom clear, they rejected Him, saying “Crucify him!”–He thus fulfilled His sacrificial role as a lamb.

The question is, do we learn from those lessons, or are we as Christians trying to make Jerusalem and its external symbols right so we can feel ok, instead of “the kingdom of God is within you”? Luke 17:21.

In the “Tale of Two Cities,” Christians want Jerusalem, not Babylon, but it’s looking like Jerusalem will become permeated by spiritual Babylon depicted as a harlot involved with kings, wealthy (gold) and wearing scarlet (color of cardinals), a “mother of harlots” (other false churches) and abominations… drunken with the blood of saints (persecuting church in medieval history) on 7 hills, Revelation 17:2-9.

The Vatican plans a millennial reign in Jerusalem (Google it)  and Bible prophecy unmasks the pope’s role to introduce “Jesus” to the world after moving his headquarters there for the end-time, Daniel 11:45; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10.

To answer the question in our title, we must not conclude that we need to see Christian or Jewish symbols or temples in Jerusalem, because in the end, Babylon will use them as it forces everyone to bow as in Daniel 3.

Abraham, the father of the faithful, let Lot have his choice of geography, and Lot picked Sodom. The Bible shows Sodom and Jerusalem as equivalent in Revelation 11:8. So let’s not fight over it–it will end as the last chapters show, with Christ coming on the white horse* to deliver His people in Armageddon, represented also in Daniel as the fiery furnace deliverance.

In the end, only the religion that comes from God can lead to God. We must not insist on our own terms, but seek Him on His terms. Now is our opportunity to study the Bible as it reveals a significant part of what modern religions believe as false and no single denomination as having all the truth, Revelation 3:17.

*The white horse in Revelation 19:11 is pre-figured by the white horse in Rev 6:2, a message of truth that helps us decode the enemy’s counterfeits so we are not deceived.

This article should not be construed as against any sincere Christians, including Catholics who seek a better understanding of Bible truth to explain the incongruities they see in their church and leadership.

RELATED ARTICLE: Politics and Pope Francis: The Role of the Catholic Church and the State

EDITORS NOTE: Dr. Ruhling believes the white horse of Revelation 6:2 also represents information linked to the  7 seals in that chapter—information that is the basis of a covenant enabling us to marry Christ as Israel did and that whether Jew or Gentile, God will bless a covenant-keeping people as His bride in and through end-times, ( http://TheBridegroomComes.com ) not raptured out of it.

Is Mad Max the End of Freedom? by Jeffrey A. Tucker

What a ride is the new Mad Max!

The desert scenes — filmed in Namibia and Australia — remind me of Lawrence of Arabia. So peaceful. At first. Then, in the first scene, Mad Max, who is forced to live off the land, eats a two-headed lizard whole and raw. Blech. But actually this sets up the whole atmosphere of extreme privation that dominates the film. The absence of material provision leads everyone to act in egregious ways.

Then the action starts. Huge and crazy looking cars, motorcycles, and trucks guzzling massive quantities of gas (who makes it all?), racing around the desert blowing each other up.

There are punks, zombied-eyed workers, disgustingly dirty workers and peasants, haggard women warriors, a gross-me-out dictator, a strange economy that seems to live off blood transfusions and mother’s milk, a tireless heavy-metal band with a flame-throwing guitar player riding around on a war truck, and many more wacky things.

The whole film is loud, eye-popping, jaw-dropping, crazy, insane, high-anxiety fun from first to last. It leaves you breathless. Then it turns out to be substantive in a philosophical sense, and even inspires with a message of triumph over despotism.

And yet, I was also reminded of my first experience watching the old Mad Maxin my youth. I had recently become convinced of the case for the free society. I had daringly embraced the conviction that it is not the state that holds society together and builds civilization.

Society itself — Bastiat and others convinced me — contains within it the capacity for its own ordering. Markets, property rights, and even law are emergent institutions that allow the creation of the good society. Accepting that meant departing from both right and left.

Somehow, and I’m not entirely sure why, the first viewing of the original film shook my convictions. Is this what freedom looks like? Yikes. I walked away from the film somehow fearing that I had embraced a political vision that would lead straight to the grim, chaotic — let’s use the word anarchic — world of Mad Max. There are no rules, only a vague semblance of morality, and social norms are made up on the spot.

Truly, is this what libertarianism is all about? It’s just an impulse, and one that actually makes no sense, though I can imagine many viewers would come away with that same fear. If this is the way the world looks without powerful central control, no thanks.

But think about it. The setting is usually described as “post-apocalyptic.”

Who destroyed the world (a question one character in the new version asks)? We don’t know for sure, but it’s a good bet that it is the same crew that, in the 20th century, blew up whole cities, dropped bombs on millions of innocents, slaughtered whole peoples in famines, gulags, work camps, death marches, and gas chambers.

I’m speaking of the state. That’s the only institution with means and the will to destroy civilization. So if I had to guess the answer to the question, I would guess: politicians and bureaucrats destroyed the world.

Plus, there is in fact a state, or at least a ruling class with power, in Mad Max.

His name is Immortan Joe. He wears a weird mask and has some strange breathing contraption on the back of his neck. He both controls all resources (including the most precious resource of all, water) and heads a religious cult in which all his followers think that perfect obedience will lead to eternal salvation. He commands them completely and totally.

He is also utterly lawless — any means to the end of keeping his power. That’s his one and only concern. He also happens to inhabit the only green spot in the whole region, monopolizing and devouring the earth’s most valuable resources.

Sounds like a state to me.

As for the rest of society, true, there is no law and nothing like stable property rights. Morality is pretty much out of the question. Even if you believe in right and wrong, the material privation is so intense that acting on moral postulates is out of the question. This is not society. This is society destroyed, a society reset, all norms and institutions for human cooperation erased.

The viewer can’t help asking the question: What would I do if I were in the situation?

Well, I would have to learn not to be squeamish about eating two-headed lizards raw. I would have to learn to be a good driver. I would have to learn how to stab and shoot to kill. I would have to get used to the sight of blood.

But most of all, if I wanted to play some part in improving this ghastly world, I would have to contribute my efforts to unseating the grotesque and loathsome Immortan Joe.

There are plenty of challenges in the Mad Max world. Extreme conditions of scarcity is just the most conspicuous. To solve that problem requires property rights, markets, capital accumulation, and long-term investment. These are great ideas. But they can’t be realized so long as there are thugs extant that will rob you of property the instant it starts to create wealth.

In other words, the problem in the Mad Max world is not too much freedom. It is that freedom is never given a chance to work due to the presence of tyranny. This is the source of the disorder, chaos, non-stop violence, and overall poverty and insecurity.

Until the tyranny is overthrown — until the head of the ruling class is dislodged from perch of power — there can be no hope whatever. In the end, the effort to unseat this jerk is led by women who escaped his clutches to live far outside the capital. They long for the freedom to put together something like a life.

To see that requires you look a bit below the surface.

The film does, in fact, reveal something important about sex/gender and politics: namely, that a consciousness of universal human rights and dignity is the product of civilization. A might-makes-right society of poverty and power will be highly exploitative of women. This much we know from history, and the film gets this right.

Finally, for an economist, there is a clever insight here concerning the ancient problem of the diamond/water paradox: Why is water, which is more necessary for life, cheaper than diamonds? Mad Max reveals the answer: It all comes down to marginal value and relative scarcities. In this society, people will do anything for a drop to drink. Or eat.

Thank you, thank you, freedom and trade, for rescuing us all from the world of Mad Max and Immortan Joe.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Digital Development at FEE, CLO of the startup Liberty.me, and editor at Laissez Faire Books. Author of five books, he speaks at FEE summer seminars and other events. His latest book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World.

Is Liberalism a Cult? ABSOLUTELY!!!

The other day, I was watching a program about the Church of Scientology. The program was not particularly flattering to Scientology. In fact, the documentary was downright disparaging. In the conclusion of the documentary, although the producers did not come out and actually say it, was that Scientology was nothing more than a flashy, well-funded cult. That got me to thinking about religion in general. You see, all of the worlds’ major religions have one thing in common. That commonality is the fact that there is a greater being outside of yourself and humanity. Some call that factor God, The Great Spirit, Gaia etc.

Cults have one thing in common. Their commonality is that the leader or leaders of the order believe themselves to be the great being that has come to live in human form. Indeed, they often call themselves God. For the most part, true religions have an uplifting message. Even if you don’t agree with that message, it is still there. Cults would have you believe that there is nothing positive to look forward to outside of the cult leader.

This is where politics comes in. You see Liberalism is nothing more than a cult. It is probably not the worlds largest cult but it is a cult non the less. Liberalism doesn’t believe in a greater being outside of themselves. Often Liberals are atheists or agnostic and thus they only believe in themselves and those who lead the cult. Liberals believe that there is no hope outside of the cult, or government. That the cult has to be grown to ever bigger levels in order to achieve the utopia that is, in reality, impossible to achieve.

We are told, that if we do not believe in this cult, that we have no soul, no heart. We are told we do not care about our fellow citizen our fellow human being. We are told that only the cult leaders, the political leaders, have the ability to help those who are in most need of help.

Liberalism is born out of the idea that man is helpless without those deemed to be smarter than the masses. In fact those so-called smart leaders are only smarter than the masses because those leaders tell us they are smarter. There is no real evidence that those leaders of the Liberal Cult are actually smarter than a 5th grader.

Liberals tell us that in their cult, and only within their cult, will man get the best health care, the highest wages, the best housing, the cleanest planet and the safest non-violent and completely united world of nations  under one government. Liberals tell us that basic human rights, such as the right to defend thy self against bodily harm is wrong and should be left solely to those whom the Liberal Cult deems as its guardians. The Liberal Cult tells us time and time again that the right to freely speak your mind should be limited to ideas in which the Liberal Cult agrees with. Forget having a deviating opinion. That is frowned upon by the Liberal Cult.

The Liberal Cult believes that the right to massive assembly should not be infringed upon unless you are assembling to oppose what the Liberal Cult believes to be in your best interest. So Occupy Wall Street and the Baltimore Riots, according to the Liberal Cult is fine. But a small gathering of TEA Party members assembling quietly in a local park is very bad. The Liberal Cult demeans and debases the rich yet the leaders of the Liberal Cult are often rich themselves. Many of them have more wealth than the people they are decrying as the “evil rich”.

The Liberal Cult demands that we stop the war on drugs and make most drugs currently illegal, legal. While at the same time they call for ever increasing amounts of money and trained professionals to deal with those who have become hopelessly addicted to the drugs that the Cult wants to now make legal. The Liberal Cult continues to blame everyone but the Cult for the failures of their own ideas. In no way can the Cult admit to failure. Their claim is always that there is not enough of others people’s money being spent on the program they say will cure the ill. If a child fails a math test, the Liberal Cult will tell you it is not the fault of the Cults idea but that a child should be allowed to think that 2+2=5. The Cult will say that we did not spend enough money on the administration, the school building, the teacher and text book and that because we won’t spend double what we are already spending, it is the fault of everyone not in the Cult.

In the Liberal Cult there is no room for dissenting thought or actions. In fact if you don’t believe as the cult does, they will brand you a racist, a sexist, a bigot, a homophobe. You will be labeled a greedy, money loving capitalist even though you earn less than and give more to charity than the Liberal Cultist. Your religion will be labeled stale and outdated and that newer religions that are more violent and hateful are the way to go. If you are a Liberal Cultist you don’t believe in logic, in facts, in true history. You only believe in feelings, your own feelings, and you force public and private policy upon everyone based on your feelings alone. Simply because you believe you are smarter and wiser than anyone else who is outside the Cult.

We all can look at cults and say that cults in general are a bad idea and are bad for the individual involved. So why is it we fully accept the Cult of Liberalism even though it is probably the most dangerous cult the planet has ever seen?

Something to think about.