Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Law of God in the Life of a Christian

In most ethical debates among Christians, the question causing debate is often not what the law means or how it should be applied, but rather what is the law that should be applied. Even among Christians, who all recognize Jesus Christ as the King of Kings, there is significant disagreement about which of the many words that he has spoken are applicable in any given situation and which are not. One doesn’t have to listen to this debate very long before hearing the assertions like, “Old Testament laws only applied to Israelites”, “The 10 Commandments were only for Israel”, or “We are not under law, but under grace.” In fact, the last statement is itself a part of the law of God. (“…for you are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14b) What does it mean? To answer that question, let’s begin by defining the terms, particularly the terms "under" and "law".

In the Bible, Law is used in several different ways. It can refer to:

  1. A doctrine, system, or principle
  2. Romans 3:27 - Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

    Romans 8:2 - For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

    Romans 7:23 - But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

  3. The commands and ceremonies associated with the OT Temple and Tabernacle Worship.
  4. Hebrews 8:4 - For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:, or

    Hebrews 10:1 - For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

    Hebrews 10:8 - Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you would not, neither had pleasure therein; which are offered according to the law;

    Ephesians 2:15 - Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

  5. The Moral Law (or that which is summarized in the 10 commandments)
  6. Matthew 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

    Matthew 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

  7. The Pentateuch
  8. Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

    John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael, and said unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

  9. The Scriptures as a whole
  10. John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? (Jesus quotes from Psalm 82:6 referring to the Psalms as the “law.”

    Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

    Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law: judgment, mercy, and faith. These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

    Psalms 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
There are many passages in the NT where law is used to explicitly refer to OT commandments and there are places where law is used without explicit reference to OT commandments. But nowhere does the NT ever limit “law” to just NT commands. The word under is fairly straightforward meaning “obligated to obey” or in the case of a principle, that it is applicable to our situation. So with these definitions, I think most would agree that scripture teaches:
  1. The law of faith and the law of the Spirit of life are doctrines that are applicable to us. But we are not under the law as a means of justification. We can’t be saved by keeping the law. Grace is the principle undergirding our salvation. It is the means by which we are saved from the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:9). Neither are we under the curse of the law. Christ has borne the curse of the law, satisfying the wrath of God and paying the penalty for our breaking of God’s law.
  2. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree: Galatians 3:13.

  3. Neither are we under the law in the second sense of its use. Christ has offered of himself a sacrifice that is far superior to the blood of the bulls and goats. In fact any attempt to obey these laws using animal sacrifices is to deny Christ’s great work on the cross.
But what about the law as defined in senses 3 through 5?

The NT View of Transgressions of God’s Law

First, the Bible defines sin as a transgression of God’s law.
  • Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:4

  • What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. Romans 7:7
Note that in these passages law is being used in sense 3, 4, or 5.

Secondly, the Bible says that we still sin.
  • If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)

  • Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. (James 5:16a)

  • Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)
If sin is a transgression of the law and we still sin, even after conversion, then we must still have a duty to obey the law of God. If there was no obligation for us to obey the law of God, then it would be impossible for us to sin. Sin is only possible where there is a law. “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” (Romans 5:13)

Paul tells us that sin is not to have dominion over us and that we are not to use our members for sinful purposes. If we are not to use our members for sin then we are not to use our members to transgress the law of God. That is the same as saying that we have a moral duty to obey the law of God.
  • Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Romans 6:12-13
John is quite explicit that we if we abide in Christ we are not to sin any more.
  • You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 1 John 3:5-6
If we are not to sin any more, that means we are not to transgress the law of God anymore. If we are not to transgress the law of God, then we are under obligation to obey the law of God. This is consistent with what Jesus said in Matthew 5 about not coming to abolish the law.

Jesus taught that the Old Testament law was still something we should obey and called those who broke even the least commandment, least in the kingdom of heaven.
  • Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-19

  • And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. Luke 16:17
Jesus also cited OT applications of the moral law as obligatory. For instance, when Jesus was tempted by Satan to cast himself off the temple, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16 (Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God,) as the reason it would be wrong for him to cast himself off the temple. In Mark 10:19 he added the OT command "Do not defraud" to a partial recitation of the 10 commandments.

This understanding of our relationship to the law is implicitly assumed or explicitly stated many places in scripture. Jesus said the golden rule is based upon the OT law (Deuteronomy 6:5).
  • Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, you shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, and with all thy soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40

  • Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12
Jesus appealed to the OT law regarding the necessity of a plurality of witnesses to establish facts in order to show that his testimony about himself was true. Jesus claimed his testimony was true because it was established by two witnesses – the Father and the Son – exactly as required in the law.
  • And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bears witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bears witness of me. John 8:16-18
Jesus recognized the Pharisee’s tithing the increase of their spices was proper and good. But he also rebuked them for not obeying the weightier matters of the law. If the Pharisees were rebuked for forgetting the weightier matters of the law – judgment, mercy, and faith, how much more are we, who have the greater light of the NT, responsible to obey the weightier matters of the law of God?
  • Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Matthew 23:23
Paul acknowledged that the law in Exodus 22:28 was something he should obey.
  • Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for you sit to judge me after the law, and command me to be smitten contrary to the law? And they that stood by said, Do you revile God's high priest? Then said Paul, I knew not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people. Acts 23:3-5
Consistent with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5, Paul applies obligations in the OT law to NT situations.
  • Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. For the scripture says, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn. And, the laborer is worthy of his reward. (1Timothy 5:17-18)
  • For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treads out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or says he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that plows should plow in hope; and that he that threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. 1 Corinthians 9:9-10
Paul appeals to Deuteronomy 25:4 (Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treads out the corn.) as the basis for paying elders in the NT church. It should also be remembered that Paul goes so far as to say that he proclaimed nothing except what was written in Moses and the prophets. Far from being abolished, the law of God (i.e OT scripture) is the foundation on which the NT is built.
  • Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come. (Acts 26:22)
Paul also said that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) He doesn’t say, “NT scripture is profitable.” If we are going to be thoroughly furnished unto all good works, then we must pay attention to all scripture. We have to be instructed in both the OT and NT law.

The Significance of Obeying God’s Law

Jesus taught that keeping the law would bring eternal life, if anyone could do it. The problem, as Paul makes clear in Romans 2 is that absolutely no one, either Jew or Gentile, can keep the law.
  • And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, ‘What is written in the law? How do you read it?’ And he answering said, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.’ And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. Luke 10:25-28
Paul repeats same principle in Romans – those who (actually and in fact) keep the law are justified.
  • For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. Romans 2:11-13
Paul goes on to leave no doubt that even though perfect obedience of the law of God would result in eternal life, no one can be saved that way because no one is able to keep the law. No one can even come close.
  • As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understand, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. … Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight… (Romans 3:10-18, 20a)

The Spiritual Nature and Inward Inscription of God’s Law

But as Paul makes clear a little later, the fact that we are justified by grace does not make void the law of God.
  • Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. … Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. Romans 3:28, 31
Far from being made void, the law is not only established, but it is good and it is spiritual.
  • Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. … For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Romans 7:12, 14, 16

  • I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: Romans 7:21-22
< The NT teaches that God writes the law on our heart. Far from teaching that we are no longer obliged to obey the law of God, Hebrews says that God puts his law into our minds.
  • For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Hebrews 8:10
The Apostle John describes Christians as those who keep the commandments of God.
  • Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. Revelation 14:12

  • Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. Revelation 12:17

Love Defined by Obedience to God’s Law

The NT everywhere emphatically affirms the OT. But the obligation for NT Christians to follow the law of God can be shown from a completely different approach. We are commanded in numerous places to love one another. What does it mean to love? Jesus said that to love him means that we keep his commandments. (If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15) Paul says the same thing in Romans: “love is fulfilling the law.”
  • Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loves another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)

Note that the law to which he refers is the portion of the ten commandments dealing with our relationship to our neighbors. The Apostle John says the same thing.
  • By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 1 John 5:2-3

  • And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 2 John 1:6

John also said that keeping the commandments of Christ was necessary to abiding in his love. His commandment is that we love one another. As shown earlier, to love our neighbor means that we obey the law of God with respect to our neighbor – we promote his life, property, chastity, and reputation.
  • If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. John 15:10

This command to love is not a new command. It is an old command that goes all the way back to creation when God created the heavens and the earth. From the beginning God’s saints have been obligated to love him and keep his commandments. Our love for one another and the fact that we are children of God are both evidenced by our obedience of God’s law.
  • And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 1 John 2:3-7

Since love is defined as obedience to the law of God, we do not love unless we are obeying God’s law as revealed in the Old and New Testament. Since we are commanded to love, we are therefore obligated to keep the law of God. Thus we are under the law, not as a way of salvation, but as a pattern for our sanctification.

The New Testament Requires Obedience to Old Testament Law

The NT seamlessly applies the law of God to Christians in the NT. From Christ’s requiring the rich young man to keep God’s commandments and equating them with the commandments given at Sinai to Paul commanding the Ephesians to obey the fifth of the ten commandments given at Mt. Sinai, calling it the first commandment with a promise , to John saying that his command to love one another was not a new command but an old one, the NT commands obedience to the law of God given in the OT.

The burden is on those who deny the applicability of the ten commandments or any other portion of the law of God to show from scripture that those laws have been abrogated for the NT Christian. This is not accomplished by merely pointing to the fact that we no longer kill Passover lambs and put their blood on our doors because Scripture teaches that Christ is our Passover Lamb and that he has already been sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7) and that his sacrifice is not to be repeated (Hebrews 7:27, 9:26). Nevertheless, we are to still keep the passover, albeit in a very different manner. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (I Corinthians 5:7b-8) If one wants to consider the passover abrogated, I won’t disagree as long as two points are acknowledged:

1. That the OT Passover (or OT other ceremonies) pointed forward to Christ who is the anti-type of the OT Passover (or other OT ceremony) and that what was celebrated in the OT ceremony is still celebrated in Christ.

2. That the abrogation of specific passover laws cannot be generalized to all other laws without a specific scriptural warrant for doing so.

Showing that the OT laws have been abrogated is also not accomplished by merely pointing to laws requiring a fence around one’s roof or forbidding the muzzling of a donkey threshing grain and noting that we no longer do these things. Twice Paul uses the law against muzzling donkeys to argue that NT pastors should be paid. In making that argument Paul also teaches us that the point of the law was more about teaching us that a laborer is worthy of wages than it was about the care and feeding of donkeys. Paul’s example teaches us that even if the specific context of the law no longer directly applies to us, the principle being taught in the law still very much applies to us. If we were to find ourselves in the exact same situation today, then the same action specified in the OT law would be the obligatory for us.

Friday, July 04, 2014

The Free Offer Defended

The “free offer” of the gospel has been the subject of intense debate for many years. On one hand some have argued that if God has foreordained some men to eternal damnation from before the foundation of the world, then how could God sincerely offer his saving mercy to them? Others argue that if he truly desired to gather the rebellious children of Israel under his wing as a hen gathers her chicks, but the Scribes and Pharisees were not willing , isn’t God expressing a desire of some sort to save those who are not elect? All too often one side latches on to the passages that affirm their favored view and then with the club of logic, beat all other passages into conformity to that doctrine.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Why Not A Constitutional Convention?

I received an email today from a local representative of the Convention of States asking for support for an Article V Constitutional Convention, similar to the one in 1787 that gave us the constitution we now have. After acknowledging our agreement on many things and thanking her for reaching out to us, I told her that her email only reinforced my already firm persuasion that another Constitutional Convention posed a great danger to our country.

An article V convention will have power to revise the constitution. Whether they use that power lawfully or unlawfully, they will change the constitution. That is the problem. Changing the constitution does nothing to restore lawful government. Consider the two possible extreme outcomes: 1. Only "good" changes are made and the constitution is made a better document, or 2) Only bad changes are made and constitution is gutted. If option 1 happens and we get more restrictive statements about what government can and can't do, how will that restore lawful government? If good statements could restrain an out of control government, then the good statements already in the constitution would be doing so. The right to keep and bear arms would not be egregiously violated every time one steps on federal property or buildings. Mass collection of private data would not occur because that violates the 4th amendment. Civil forfeiture would not occur because that violates the 5th amendment. The FDA's egregious predawn raids on family farms would not exist because they have no constitutional authority to regulate what farmers grow or how they sell their milk. The problem is the government is violating the good statements in the constitution. More good statements on a piece of paper won't stop them. On the other hand, the convention poses a huge risk to the constitution if good statements are removed or edited into meaninglessness. Why do something that has huge risk and no benefit?

The one constitutional convention in our history is not a promising precedent. I don’t consider it to have been good or successful for the cause of liberty. It posed a grave threat that was only partially neutralized by a minority of astute delegates who doggedly fought to preserve a federal government and knew enough zoology to identify a rat when they chanced to encounter one.

Why do I say the first convention was dangerous to liberty?

The very thing that advocates say could not happen (i.e. a run-away convention) is what actually happened at the first convention.

The constituting resolution was:

“Resolved, That, in the opinion of Congress, it is expedient that, on the second Monday in May next, a convention of delegates, who shall have been appointed by the several states, be held at Philadelphia, for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of confederation, and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall, when agreed to in Congress, and confirmed by the states, render the federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union."

The stated and agreed purpose was to revise the Articles of Confederation. However from the opening volley, it became apparent that the real intention of some was to eradicate a federal government and replace it with a centralized, national government like the European states had.

In rebuting the charge that the convention was illegal, Mr. Farris's article completely misses the point. Whether the convention was legal or not is a straw man argument. The problem is not that the convention acted illegally, the problem is that the convention, legally or illegally, altered the very principle on which our federal government was based.

Consider the following evidence:

In his opening remarks, Governor Randolf proposed 15 resolutions to the delegates as principles on which to base the new government. According to Mr. Yates, “He candidly confessed that they were not intended for a federal government—he meant a strong, consolidated union, in which the idea of states should be nearly annihilated.” (Chief Justice Yate’s minutes, from Tuesday May 29, 1787).

Gouverneur Morris then proposed 3 resolutions:

  1. Resolved, That a union of the states, merely federal, will not accomplish the objects proposed by the Articles of Confederation, namely, common defense, security of liberty, and general welfare.
  2. Resolved, That no treaty or treaties among any of the states, as sovereign, will accomplish or secure their common defense, liberty, or welfare.
  3. Resolved, That a national government ought to be established, consisting of a supreme judicial, legislative, and executive."
Pinckney pointed out that if the first resolution passed, the convention’s business was finished as their task was to revise, not change the articles of confederation (Chief Justice Yate’s minutes, from Wednesday May 30, 1787). (I wonder if anyone noted the irony in claiming that treaties among sovereign states were inadequate to provide for the common defense when they, as sovereign states bound by informal treaties, had just defeated the greatest empire on the face of the earth.) Thankfully, enough alert members agreed with his point and turned down the first two resolutions. But they didn't change the goals of the delegates seeking a national government nor could they match the nationalist's marketing ability and organizational muscle. As a result the very people arguing for a federal government are known to history as the Anti-federalists and the people pushing for a national government are known as Federalists.

And thus the convention proceeded and the coup d'état succeeded. The fundamental principle of rule was shifted from a federal to a national government. The one bright spot is that the nationalists were forced to add significant protections in the bill of rights in order to secure passage of the final document. While this preserved a large degree of federalism in our government for a time, the final document retained some significant Trojan horses, such as the commerce and general welfare clause, through which the federal principles in the Bill of Rights have been eviscerated, nullified, and largely ignored. In seeking to prove that the two constitutions are really the same document, Farris notes that the retention of un-delegated powers by the states stayed in the Constitution. While this is true, he fails to note the equally important point that this principle, contained in the bill of rights, was only added after the fact in order to keep the whole document from being rejected. In modern times this federal principle has been so completely subordinated to the national principles of the general welfare and commerce clause so as to be practically meaningless.

Some of the best men of the day were against it, fearing and predicting the very thing that has happened – men like Patrick Henry.

Why is Patrick Henry's opinion to be believed over the opinion of other founders who supported the new constitution? He recognized the British intentions for what they were, long before most of his peers in the Virginia House. More than anyone else, he can be credited with moving Virginia to prepare for war. Had other courses of action been followed by Virginia, the effort for independence would have certainly been set back and likely never reached maturity.

Many other people were also against the constitution because it lacked strong guarantees against national tyranny. In reading the Anti-Federalist papers, one can’t help but be struck by how many of their concerns have been realized today.

If this happened to a nation that had just emerged from tyranny, what about today? The general population now is no match for the population of that day, not even close. The government schools have worked their poison deep into our culture. I would fear a constitutional convention if it was comprised of just the republican party of Texas. But in any national convention the republican party of Texas would be on the “radical right,” relatively speaking. The response of Convention of States that “It only takes 13 states to vote “no” to defeat any proposed amendment, and the chances of 38 state legislatures approving a rogue amendment are effectively zero” is wishful thinking at best. The fact is that on many occasions more than 38 states have all approved the same or similarly bad legislation.

For example, abortion is legal in Texas because a pro-life republican legislature amended the homicide section of the penal code (Section 19.06) to allow mothers and doctors to kill their babies (SB319 passed in 2002). In fact this bill exempting doctors and mothers from homicide and assault if they intentionally killed her baby was even billed as a pro-life bill and supported by numerous pro-life agencies! If Roe v. Wade were overturned today, abortion would still be quite legal in Texas and in 43 other states. If 44 states are willing to legalize killing unborn children,how can anyone say with a straight face that the chance of 38 states passing a rogue amendment is effectively zero? Maybe they don't consider legalized murder to be a rogue law. One could multiply examples by the 100’s where most, if not all, states have enacted bad laws. In fact, in one case when the legislature did outlaw the murder of unborn children, the people rescinded the law on a state wide referendum. Our problem is not the Constitution or the Supreme Court’s bad decision. It’s not even the federal Congress. It’s us.

If the problem was Congress, it would have been fixed years ago. It takes only 6 years at most to totally clean Congress. But conservative republicans in Texas continue to vote for people like John Cornyn, who sabotaged Senator’s Cruz’s efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act and voted for cloture, allowing it to come to the Senate floor where it was passed by the Democratic majority. It’s not President Obama that’s the problem, it’s the republicans in Texas who vote for people that support ObamaCare. As many flaws as the constitution has, our problem is not the Constitution, it’s not a run-away federal government or congress, it is the people themselves.

The constitution is only as good as the people who hold it. That’s why Ben Franklin is reputed to have answered Mrs. Powel’s question regarding what type of government the convention had given us with, “A republic, if you can keep it.” The constitution could be perfect and we would still be facing the same problems we face today. Fixing the flaws in the constitution, and there are a number of them, won’t fix our problems. Our freedom is only as strong as the people themselves.

Think of it this way, we have the Bible. It is a perfect document, without error with respect to everything it says. It gives infallible instruction regarding the duties and powers of the civil magistrate. The scriptures were considered the foundation of our founding documents. The Original Constitution of the Colony of New Haven, June 4, 1639 affirmed unanimously that “the scriptures do hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of all men in all duties which they are to perform to GOD and men, in families and commonwealth, as well as in matters of the church.” The Massachusetts Body of Liberties (1641) incorporated scripture texts right into the civil law (e.g. Section 94. Capital Laws). Yet even with a perfect document, we’re in a mess today because we don’t follow it. The lesson of history is that even a perfect document can’t preserve liberty.

The reason is simple. Liberty is based on the principle of obedience or duty and exists only as the result of obedience to the law of God. This is why the law of God is called the perfect law of liberty.

  • And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. (Psalm 119:45).
  • Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2Co 3:17)
  • But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (Jas 1:25)
  • So speak, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. (Jas 2:12)
But we simply cannot keep the law of God. Ultimately, it is the obedience of Christ through which any and all liberty comes. The result of his perfect obedience to the law of God, which includes his death on the cross, is that we are redeemed from bondage to sin and Satan, his righteousness is imputed to us, and his Spirit, dwelling in us, enables us to walk in his precepts. Political liberty is based on and flows from this liberty we have through Christ’s work. That’s why Leviticus 25:10, a Messianic passage pointing toward Christ’s work of redemption, was put on our Liberty bell. Liberty comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Political liberty requires self-government. Self government requires a heart regenerated by the Holy Spirit. It is the result of a man being led by Christ’s Spirit and enabled by his grace to bring his own actions into conformity with God’s law. 
Without this work which makes self government possible, there can be no liberty. This concept of freedom only through obedience to the law can be seen in many other applications. A train, for example, enjoys freedom to operate as designed only when it is constrained to run on tracks. It is nearly useless and can go nowhere if it seeks to be “free” of the constraint of the tracks.

Freedom is the ability to obey the law of God. Tyranny is inability to obey the law of God. That which helps us to obey the law of God brings freedom, that which hinders our ability to obey the law of God brings tyranny and bondage.

To govern is to direct or control the actions of men. Good government is to do so according to the law of God, bringing freedom. Bad government is to do so arbitrarily, according to the whims of man, bringing tyranny.

The single biggest threat to our liberty is the government school. The most effective means of restoring liberty to his nation would be to eradicate government schools and the massive taxes they consume, not to convene a constitutional convention. If our tyrannical government won't follow the good law that we do have now, why would they respect a new law any more?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

President Jefferson's Wax Nose

Pseudo Christians who profess to believe the Bible, but deny that it is true (aka Liberals) have always confused themselves and Christians. David Barton is no exception – to being a confused Christian, that is. His recent work, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson attempts to refute those who claim that Jefferson hated the Bible by pointing to Jefferson’s frequent financial support of efforts to print and distribute Bibles, his lifelong efforts to compile and read various extracts and summaries of the Bible in multiple languages, and his assessment and promotion of Jesus as the greatest moral teacher that ever lived.
Compared to the leading atheists of our day who openly denigrate Christ and his Word, Jefferson does appear to be “a horse of a different color.” But is he?

In assessing the religious convictions of President Jefferson and determining whether he was a friend or foe of Christ and his Word, one needs to remember that theological heresy is more frequently defined by what it won’t say than by what it will say. The long apostate Presbyterian church, that once was the home of faithful men like Archibald Alexander and Samuel Miller, was recently assembling a new hymnal. One hymn the committee really loved had a beautiful verse which read,

For on the cross as Jesus died
The love of God was magnified.

However, when they sought permission to use the hymn from the copyright holders, they learned that the correct words were:

For on the cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied.

When the copyright holders, to their credit, refused to grant permission to use the modified words, the committee reluctantly dropped the hymn. Now both of those statements are true, having strong Biblical support. Had they included the altered version in the hymnal, few could have found any theological errors with their work. But in this case their unwillingness to affirm another foundational truth of scripture exposed their heresy. Heretics and infidels are not what they are because they don’t say anything right. They are heretics because of the wrong things they do affirm or the right things they won’t affirm that are foundational to the gospel.

Thomas Jefferson’s views on Scripture and Jesus Christ need to be seen for what they really are – an indirect, but nonetheless deadly attack on Christ. Jefferson was a liberal in the same mold of the liberals of early 20th century. You can identify liberals (I use this word in its technical theological sense. It is not meant to be a pejorative or complimentary descriptor of someone's character.) by their answer to a question couplet. It goes like this:

Ask a liberal, “Do you believe the Jonah account is true?" They will typically say yes. Then ask if they believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a fish? A liberal will say no. Other couplets will also work.

Do you believe the gospel account of Jesus birth? Many liberals will say yes. Do you believe Jesus was born of a woman who had never known a man? A liberal will say no. Do you believe the Genesis 1-11 account of creation is true? Most will say yes. Do you believe the earth is about 6000 years old? They will say no. (Granted, many liberals today would answer no to both questions of these couplets, but these types of honest liberals don’t confuse others and are not my focus.)

A liberal uses the same words as Christians, but he doesn't mean the same thing by those words. This was the case with Jefferson. In defending Jefferson, Barton summarizes his views by saying,

“Jefferson owned many Bibles, belonged to a Bible society and contributed to it, gave out copies of the full, unedited text of the traditional Bible, and assisted in publishing and distributing Bibles. In each of these situations, Jefferson had the opportunity to indicate his personal displeasure with the Bible or at least refrain from participating, but he did not do so.” [Emphasis in original] p69.

But in his short chapter defending Jefferson’s view of the Bible, he never tells us about the fundamental statements that Jefferson won’t affirm or of his blatant denial of Christ’s deity. Let’s take a look at a few of these statements from his own letters.

“That Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God, physically speaking, I have been convinced by the writings of men more learned than myself in that lore. But that he might conscientiously believe himself inspired from above, is very possible. Letter to William Short Monticello, August 4, 1820, Vol 19, p14

Elsewhere in the same letter Jefferson heaps mountains of scorn on God’s word and the holy men who were moved by the Holy Spirit to write it:

I say, that this free exercise of reason is all I ask for the vindication of the character of Jesus. We find in the writings of his biographers matter of two distinct descriptions. First, a groundwork [i.e. the gospels] of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstitions, fanaticisms and fabrications. Intermixed with these, again, are sublime ideas of the Supreme Being, aphorisms and precepts of the purest morality and benevolence, sanctioned by a life of humility, innocence and simplicity of manners, neglect of riches, absence of worldly ambition and honors, with an eloquence and persuasiveness which have not been surpassed. These could not be inventions of the groveling authors who relate them. They are far beyond the powers of their feeble minds. The parts fall asunder of themselves, as would those of an image of metal and clay.[emphasis added]

There are, I acknowledge, passages not free from objection, which we may, with probability, ascribe to Jesus himself; [In other words, denying that the whole Bible is the word of Christ, Jefferson even finds some of Christ’s own words objectionable. -PA] but claiming indulgence from the circumstances under which he acted. His object was the reformation of some articles in the religion of the Jews, as taught by Moses. That sect had presented for the object of their worship, a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust. [This is pure blasphemy on Jefferson’s part calling the just and righteous God cruel, vindictive, unjust. -PA] Jesus, taking for his type the best qualities of the human head and heart, wisdom, justice, goodness, and adding to them power, ascribed all of these, but in infinite perfection, to the Supreme Being, and formed him really worthy of their adoration. Letter to William Short, Monticello, August 4, 1820, Vol 19 p13.

But the greatest of all the reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dunghill, we have the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man; outlines which it is lamentable he did not live to fill up. Epictetus and Epicurus give laws for governing ourselves, Jesus a supplement of the duties and charities we owe to others. The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent moralist, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems, (*) invented by ultra-Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word ever uttered by him, is a most desirable object, and one to which Priestley has successfully devoted his labors and learning. It would in time, it is to be hoped, effect a quiet euthanasia of the heresies of bigotry and fanaticism which have so long triumphed over human reason, and so generally and deeply afflicted mankind; but this work is to be begun by winnowing the grain from the chaff of the historians of his life. [Who are the historians of his life – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to begin with. - PA] I have sometimes thought of translating Epictetus (for he has never been tolerable translated into English) by adding the genuine doctrines of Epicurus from the Syntagma of Gassendi, and an abstract from the Evangelists of whatever has the stamp of the eloquence and fine imagination of Jesus. Letter to William Short, with a Syllabus, Monticello, October 31, 1819, Vol 19, p11.

What are the artificial systems invented by ultra- Christian sects from which the historical Jesus needs to be rescued? We don’t have to guess. He lists them himself at the end of the paragraph. They include (*) the deity of Christ, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, the Trinity, original sin, atonement, regeneration, and election to name a few.

In Biblical terms Jefferson was an antichrist in that he denied that Jesus was the Christ and that he was God in the flesh.

  • 1 John_2:22 Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denies the Father and the Son.
  • 1 John_4:3 And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
  • 2 John_1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
In the terms of church history, Jefferson is an Arian who denies that Jesus is God in the flesh or that he had anything to do with creation or our atonement. Arians have been anathematized by the Christian church as infidels since the 4th century. That means the catholic church (i.e. worldwide, not Roman) has long held that people who do not believe Jesus is God are not Christians. He denies the resurrection. Paul said that if the resurrection was not true, then our faith was in vain. Paul even says that those who taught that the resurrection was past have shipwrecked the faith. (1 Timothy 1:19-20, 2 Timothy 2:17-18) What would he say about someone who denies it altogether? Jefferson denies the Bible is the word of God, calling much in the gospels chaff from which the word of God needs to be separated. He denigrates Christ’s power over creation and the grave. Paul’s assessment of such statements is: “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 12:3

Paul said that if Christ be not raised our faith is in vain. If Christ is not God, he died in vain. Those who don’t believe the Trinity are to be anathematized according to the Council of Nicea (325AD). To deny all these truths about Christ makes one an infidel.

Jefferson was an infidel like many liberals who filled the pulpits of the 20thcentury churches and signed documents like the AuburnAffirmation of 1924. They studied the Bible, but rejected it message and its Savior. These are dangerous people in that they might appear to many to be sheep, they are, in fact, wolves seeking to destroy the church of Jesus Christ.

Yet despite all these clear statements, Mr. Barton inexplicably states that "there was never a time when he was anti-Jesus or when he rejected Christianity." p167. If the denial of the resurrection, the Trinity, the Incarnation, and Christ's eternal pre-incarnate existence isn't a denial of Christianity, I don't know what is! Mr. Barton, what do you think Christianity does believe?

It is true that Thomas Jefferson faced many trials, including losing his wife at a relatively young age. But that is not an excuse for denying God. A Christian will ultimately persevere through the trial by the grace of God. It is also true that Jefferson said many good things, even things that might appear to indicate that was a Christian. But one must remember, heresy is often more defined by what people will not affirm than by what they do affirm. Also it is not uncommon even today for politicians to "speak like a Christian" in order to appeal to the masses. But even some of the "better" thing he said indicate he believed a false gospel. For example, in a letter to Salma Hale on July 26, 1818, he wrote, "[I]t is only by ... getting back to the plain and unsophisticated precepts of Christ that we become real Christians." This, or a variation of it, is common liberal notion. But it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a false gospel that has deceived many, sending them to eternal judgment under the wrath of God. We are not saved by getting back to the simple precepts of Christ. Precepts are laws. Laws don't save anyone. We are saved by faith in Christ. Keeping the golden rule may make many think they are good people, but God's word says otherwise.

Jefferson may have thought of himself as a Christian because he was a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. But as we have seen, he denied all the important, foundational doctrines of the gospel. He was a disciple of a god of his own making, not of the historical Jesus who was made flesh and dwelt among us. He may have believed in god, but it wasn't the Triune God of the Bible.

Jefferson may have been a very moral man. But morals don't save anyone. As Jesus said, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:22-23

The evidence in Jefferson's own words is clear. Contrary to what Barton writes, "...but what cannot be questioned is the fact that throughout his life, Jefferson was pro-Christian and pro-Jesus in his beliefs, demeanor, and public endeavors" (p192), Jefferson was an infidel. This fact is not altered one bit by the fact that there were many churches teaching similar false doctrine to what Jefferson believed. Even if everyone in the entire world is teaching a lie, God word is still True.

Mr. Barton, please stop promoting an infidel heretic as "pro' Christ and "pro" Christian. You are spitting in the face of your Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Update: A parallel article by World raises similar concerns. (11/30/2014)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Price of Liberty

This man says it well. Defending yourself takes a lot of practice and a willingness to die doing so. It is worth listening all the way to the end!
See this earlier post for a fuller discussion

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Missing Money Almost Totals Entire National Debt

Why are we not seeing these headlines?

Here's a great graphical overview of the accounting fraud being perpetrated by the United States. Apparently Eron's only crime was that its fraud was not grand enough - or a case of professional jealousy over their inept and puny attempt at imitation.

This presentation is brought to you courtesy of

Missing Money
Image compliments of Masters in Accounting Degrees

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Government Medicine Increases Costs

Government medicine plagued us long before Mr. Obama became president. Just as socialized education and socialized medicine began with accepting the government's money, so undoing those evils begins with rejecting their money, as homeschoolers have been doing with socialized education.

This hospital is now following the same path with socialized medicine by rejecting government subsidies and they are getting the same results that homeschoolers are getting. Look at those healthcare prices fall! Parents can educate their own children for a fraction of what it costs socialized education to babysit children. So it's no surprise to learn that hospitals that reject government subsidies can treat patients for a fraction of what it costs socialized medicine to treat those same patients.

Here are a few examples:

  • Mercy Hospital charged $16, 244 for a breast biopsy; the procedure will cost $3,500 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

  • Medical Center billed $20,456 for the open repair of a fracture; the procedure will cost $4,855 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

  • Medical Center billed $21,556 for a gall bladder removal surgery; the procedure will cost $5,865 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

  • Medical Center billed $23,934 for an ankle arthroscopy; the procedure will cost $3,740 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

  • Integris Baptist billed $37,174 for a hysterectomy; the surgery costs $8,000 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Family Affair

When was the last time you read an article like this in your local newspaper?

A joyful gathering of a large and happy family at the old homestead.

One of those days that seldom come in the life of a large family, but which is so full of the joy and happiness, was successfully celebrated at the home of Mr. & Mrs. William Shade of Wayne Township, Mifflin county, on last Saturday, August 10, 1901. It was the day set apart for the reunion of their family.

With the children come the grandchildren, and with the grandchildren come the great-grandchildren, and with such kindly favor surely the giver of the ever good and perfect gift looked down upon this family. So strong and mighty has it become that the old house could no longer shelter the family as in the years gone by, so that it was necessary to hold the gathering in the beautiful grove which forms a part of the homestead. Had an all wise Providence allowed man to dictate the conditions that should prevail upon that day, they could not have been better suited to the occasion.

Very early in the morning the dear ones began to arrive, coming from all points of the compass, and as the venerable couple greeted the last arrival their feelings were well expressed in the words of the Psalmist; "Surely goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our lives, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

At 11 o' clock the exercises of the day were opened with singing by the young people, after which the assemblage was led in prayer by the Rev. Vondersmith, followed by addresses by Rev. H. W. Koehler, Rev. Vondersmith, and Jacob Stine, each dwelling on the happiness of the occasion and rejoicing with Mr. and Mrs. Shade.

The article goes on to list 30 recitations, skits (called dialogues), and songs, and instrumental pieces performed by family members. In closing,

Ten of the eleven children, sixty two grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren, together with their wives and husbands, made a gathering that numbered over one hundred, and excellent testimonial to the love and esteem in which Mr. and Mrs. Shade are held by those whom they love and have nurtured and raised.

- Democrat Sentinel Paper of Lewistown, Penna. Saturday August 17, 1901.

The couple mentioned in this article are my wife's maternal grandmother's paternal grandparents.

For good or bad, the press controls the tempo and topic of the national conversation. There is no such thing as a neutral or impartial press. It is  always promoting or denigrating something. The question is, What? Skillful press is able to do so without the typical reader even realizing what is being promoted or denigrated. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Absurd Ridiculous

The budget deficit isn’t our biggest problem, by a long shot.

Furthermore, it’s a problem that is already, to a large degree, solved. The medium-term budget outlook isn’t great, but it’s not terrible either — and the long-term outlook gets much more attention than it should. It’s true that right now we have a large federal budget deficit. But that deficit is mainly the result of a depressed economy — and you’re actually supposed to run deficits in a depressed economy to help support overall demand. The deficit will come down as the economy recovers:
So opined the Fool as Economist, Dr. Paul Krugman, in a recent op-ed piece in the New York Times.

How could a Nobel prize winning economist say something so absurdly ridiculous? Just what are they teaching in the schools these days?

In contemplating this, I first assumed that the Fool was a man of great intelligence whose thinking was logical given some set of presuppositions and premises. But what could they be?

Ah yes, silly me! It's the Federal Reserve. As the Fool is well aware, the Federal Reserve has the legal ability to create money out of debt. They are authorized to buy debt with money they have created out of nothing. Of course no one can create money out of nothing. But they pretend to do so and as long as everyone believes the con, they appear to do so. In a pinch they could buy the entire US debt tomorrow at 2:33 PM or, if you please, at midnight tonight.

Since the 1940's the Fed has been returning the interest on the notes they create to the US Treasury. If they were holding the entire US debt, the interest would be a wash in terms of the federal budget. All the interest the US paid on the debt would be returned to the US Treasury, minus operating expenses, which are an insignificant fraction of the total interest. At that point, the Federal Reserve could simply cancel the debt with no one appearing to lose any money - including the Fed themselves.

Such a move would be hyper-inflationary and it would tend to destroy confidence in the faith and credit of the United States, stealing trillions in the process. But it would remove the debt, or any portion of it that the Federal Reserve desired. If one ignores or denies this devastating effect of fiat money (and John Maynard Keynes was probably right when he said that inflation was a tax that only one man in a million could diagnose), then our Fool appears to be right.

But God is not mocked. He has the last word which is that those who borrow and do not pay back are wicked. (Psalm 37:21) All men, including the respected Federal Reserve, will reap the wickedness they sow.

Friday, January 18, 2013

An Honest Liberal

I was eating lunch the other day with a colleague and the conversation turned to guns. Like most Brits, he considered Texans' paranoid clinging to their guns and the 2nd Amendment both outdated and just plain stupid - although he was too kind to use the latter word. Of course a wide ranging conversation quickly ensured covering all the usual arguments at least once.

There were a few misconceptions of the constitutional position, such as the idea that gun ownership does not prevent tyranny because many European nations did not have guns and their governments had not become tyrannical. (Debate of that assertion was reserved for another lunch. But that’s analogous to saying that sprinkler systems don’t keep buildings form burning down because one knows of several buildings without sprinkler systems that haven’t burned down.  It should be obvious that if the buildings haven’t burned down it’s because no one started them burning, not proof that sprinkler systems are unnecessary. Sprinkler systems do impede or stop a fire once it’s started just like guns impede or stop the advance of tyranny when such sins break out from rulers.)

But the most interesting and revealing comment came following a comparison of the gun death numbers in both countries.

Honest Liberal: Gun deaths in the UK are only 35 compared to 35,000 in the US.

Me: Yes, but violent crime is far higher in the UK than in the US. I pointed him to a UK site with some figures. 

I thought this data from a British source showing a violent crime rate over 4x the rate in the United States (466 compared to 2034) would surely be convincing. While that was not the case, his response did turn out to be highly revealing.

Honest Liberal: OK ... I'll give you that ... statistically more people in Britain may say they have been victims of crime ... but they are alive to talk about it. Getting your purse snatched versus being mowed down with a fire arm ... that's the choice.

Therein lies the heart of the difference. Liberals would rather have their life than their freedom. They would rather live in a world of petty robbery, home burglary, muggings, government directed health care, government mandated education, government monopoly money, government supervised sanitation, government provided water, government approved food, with confiscatory taxation to implement it all and be alive to talk about it than risk death in the cause of liberty.

Of course, liberals want freedom too- freedom to watch the movie of their choice and vacation in the country of their choice, freedom to choose which company will send 3/4 of their pay to the government and which government approved doctor will oversee their health, freedom to vote for which politician will drop the tax on them 10% and raise it 20% on the other guy, freedom to either walk or drive their 1.1 children to the government mandated school, freedom to go to bed at the time of their choosing, freedom from being fired by their employer or injured in their wood shop, and freedom to be robbed and live to talk about it.

Nothing illustrates the contrast between liberals and patriots better than to compare this actual conversation about how liberals view life with this actual flag about how patriots view liberty.

This is the Troutman flag hanging in the Texas State Bar building in Austin, TX. It is blue pigment on a plain white sheet. In 1835 the Texan's fight for independence from the Mexican confederation attracted attention throughout the United States. Although the US rightfully did not entangle itself in this foreign issue, hundreds of individuals properly responded to the call for help. This flag was made by 18 year old Joanna Troutman for one such group from Macon, GA.

The flag was raised when the Georgians arrived at Velasco and became an inspirational symbol in the dark months leading up to the victory at San Jacinto. Virtually the entire GA command along with the Red Rovers from Alabama and the Texans under Col Fannin were taken prisoner and massacred following losses at Refugio and Colete.

Those who are unwilling to risk their life in the cause of liberty usually have neither. Those who are willing to risk their life for the sake of honor and liberty usually have both. But yes, the tree of liberty does need watered with the blood of patriots from time to time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Christian View of Tragic & Senseless Shootings

In the wake of tragic and senseless loss of life, it is common to hear questions such as,
·         Where was God?
·         Could he not have prevented this?
·         Why do bad things happen to good people?
While scripture doesn't tell us everything, it does provide much that can help us understand why these types of things happen.

1.   Scripture tells us that all people have sinned.

As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way; they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:10-23)

2.   Scripture tells us that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23). Those wages must be paid. That's why there can be no remission of sin without the shedding of blood, which is saying there can be no forgiveness of sin without death. (Heb 9:22). To overlook sin and allow it to go unpunished would be unjust. But God is a just God and therefore He cannot overlook sin. If God were unjust, he would be denying himself, something the Bible says he cannot do (2 Tim 2:13).

3.   Given that all have sinned and that the wages of sin is death, the real wonder is why any of us are still alive! We all deserve to die. The fact that some people have died and we did not is only the mere grace of God in extending the life of those who deserve to die. The fact that God allows some to live into their 80’s, or 90’s or even their 100’s while others only live to 1 or 2 years of age does not make God unjust. If it is pure justice we want, no one would be alive. Praise God for his grace and mercy! He is patient and slow to anger.

The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation." Exodus 34:5-7

4.   In times of affliction, God is present just as much as at other times. When Jesus suffered, it was the hand of God that bruised him. God did not merely "stand by" or "look away" while Jesus suffered on the cross. At the cross God himself poured out his own wrath on his one and only Son. Jesus bore the wrath of God on the cross, not the wrath of Satan or the Jews. 

Surely he hath borne our grief, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:4-10
Isaiah says that Jesus is smitten of God and that the Lord laid on Jesus our iniquity and the punishment for it.
But also note that it pleased God to bruise Christ.

5.   To rightly understand the depth of the love of God, it is important to understand that Christ's crucifixion was not an accident that God never intended or hoped would not happen.  Neither was it merely permitted by God. It was ordained by God. God decreed the death of his Son because He so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son that whosoever believes on him should not perish. The fact that God ordained the cross does nothing to relieve the responsibility of the wicked people who crucified an innocent man.

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  Acts 2:22-23
This is the counsel of God which determines all things. As Paul described it to the Ephesians (Eph 1:11)  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will:
for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, Acts 4:27-28

6.   The great wonder of it all is that this death was what we deserved.  For those who are Christ's, He bore the wrath of God in our place. At the cross, Christ's blood was poured out as a vicarious substitute for our blood to appease (or propitiate as Rom 3:25 says) the wrath of God.  At the cross we see the justice of God in demanding an atoning sacrifice for our sin and the grace of God in providing the spotless Lamb for the sacrifice.   The only person that has a right to complain about God's justice for taking a life is his Son, Jesus Christ. But Christ willingly went to the cross. He voluntarily offered himself as a sacrifice.

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor. Ephesians 5:2
Who needs not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. Hebrews 7:27
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:26
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
John 10:17-18

7.   But even though Christ has satisfied the wrath of God for our sin so that we are no longer under condemnation for it, we are still not yet yet perfectly holy. We still have sin dwelling in us. Trials and tribulations are one means through which the Holy Spirit works patience so that we become more and more conformed to his image. But our trials and tribulations are chastening done in his love. They are not the wrath of God which was fully satisfied on the cross.

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, my son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives. Hebrews 12:5-6

8.   For those in Christ, even the sting of death is gone. Those who die in Christ are said to be blessed.

Paul said for me to live is Christ and die is gain. ... I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
In Revelation 14 John tells us, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on."
Those who experience persecution for Christ's sake are to rejoice for exceedingly great is their reward.
The real tragedy is those who die outside of Christ. Their trials are a foretaste of God's wrath; their death the end of his grace and patience. But even in this, God is just. Abraham expressed this faith in God's character as God was about to destroy Sodom saying, "Shall not the Judge of the entire word do what is just?" Great tragedies may lead some to ask, like Habakkuk did (Hab 1:13), how God can use a more wicked person to execute his wrath on less wicked people. God's answer to him was that the just shall live by faith (Hab 2:4).
Death is a solemn reminder of the reality of our sin and the reality of God's wrath that is upon it. When God takes the life of an unborn baby, it is a reminder that no one is innocent. As Jesus reminded a questioner, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Mar 10:18 
For a nation that has mocked God’s law, scorned his kindness, banned his name from their schools except if used in vain, and his remembrance from the public square, and used his gifts to persecute his bride and kill children, it is the height of arrogance to ask why God has forsaken them. What right do they have to be insulted or surprised when God replies in his fury and destroys their children in his indignation?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ron Paul's Farewell Address

Congressman Ron Paul's
Farewell to Congress
(Delivered November 14, 2012)
This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor.  At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period.  My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today:  promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.
It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security.
To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.
The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start.

How Much Did I Accomplish?
In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little.  No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways—thank goodness.  In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues.  Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.
All this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer.  A grand, but never mentioned, bipartisan agreement allows for the well-kept secret that keeps the spending going.  One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and  corporate elite.  And the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues.   As the government continues fiddling around, our liberties and our wealth burn in the flames of a foreign policy that makes us less safe.
The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. This has made compromising, just to agree to increase spending, inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending.
The country and the Congress will remain divisive since there’s no “loot left to divvy up.”
Without this recognition the spenders in Washington will continue the march toward a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming January.
I have thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty, as a solution, have done so poorly in convincing others of its benefits.  If liberty is what we claim it is- the principle that protects all personal, social and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace- it should be an easy sell.  Yet, history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled.

Authoritarianism vs. Liberty
If authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals and is controlled by rich special interests, the people should be begging for liberty.  There certainly was a strong enough sentiment for more freedom at the time of our founding that motivated those who were willing to fight in the revolution against the powerful British government.
During my time in Congress the appetite for liberty has been quite weak; the understanding of its significance negligible.  Yet the good news is that compared to 1976 when I first came to Congress, the desire for more freedom and less government in 2012 is much greater and growing, especially in grassroots America. Tens of thousands of teenagers and college age students are, with great enthusiasm, welcoming the message of liberty.
I have a few thoughts as to why the people of a country like ours, once the freest and most prosperous, allowed the conditions to deteriorate to the degree that they have.
Freedom, private property, and enforceable voluntary contracts, generate wealth.  In our early history we were very much aware of this.  But in the early part of the 20th century our politicians promoted the notion that the tax and monetary systems had to change if we were to involve ourselves in excessive domestic and military spending. That is why Congress gave us the Federal Reserve and the income tax.  The majority of Americans and many government officials agreed that sacrificing some liberty was necessary to carry out what some claimed to be “progressive” ideas. Pure democracy became acceptable.
They failed to recognized that what they were doing was exactly opposite of what the colonists were seeking when they broke away from the British.
Some complain that my arguments makes no sense, since great wealth and the standard of living improved  for many Americans over the last 100 years, even with these new policies.
But the damage to the market economy, and the currency, has been insidious and steady.  It took a long time to consume our wealth, destroy the currency and undermine productivity and get our financial obligations to a point of no return. Confidence sometimes lasts longer than deserved. Most of our wealth today depends on debt.
The wealth that we enjoyed and seemed to be endless, allowed concern for the principle of a free society to be neglected.  As long as most people believed the material abundance would last forever, worrying about protecting a competitive productive economy and individual liberty seemed unnecessary.

The Age of Redistribution
This neglect ushered in an age of redistribution of wealth by government kowtowing to any and all special interests, except for those who just wanted to left alone.  That is why today money in politics far surpasses money currently going into research and development and productive entrepreneurial efforts.
The material benefits became more important than the understanding and promoting the principles of liberty and a free market.  It is good that material abundance is a result of liberty but if materialism is all that we care about, problems are guaranteed.
The crisis arrived because the illusion that wealth and prosperity would last forever has ended. Since it was based on debt and a pretense that debt can be papered over by an out-of-control fiat monetary system, it was doomed to fail.  We have ended up with a system that doesn’t produce enough even to finance the debt and no fundamental understanding of why a free society is crucial to reversing these trends.
If this is not recognized, the recovery will linger for a long time.  Bigger government, more spending, more debt, more poverty for the middle class, and a more intense scramble by the elite special interests will continue.

We Need an Intellectual Awakening
Without an intellectual awakening, the turning point will be driven by economic law.  A dollar crisis will bring the current out-of-control system to its knees.
If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties.  Prosperity for a large middle class though will become an abstract dream.
This continuous move is no different than what we have seen in how our financial crisis of 2008 was handled.  Congress first directed, with bipartisan support, bailouts for the wealthy.  Then it was the Federal Reserve with its endless quantitative easing. If at first it doesn’t succeed try again; QE1, QE2, and QE3 and with no results we try QE indefinitely—that is until it too fails.  There’s a cost to all of this and let me assure you delaying the payment is no longer an option.  The rules of the market will extract its pound of flesh and it won’t be pretty.
The current crisis elicits a lot of pessimism.  And the pessimism adds to less confidence in the future.  The two feed on themselves, making our situation worse.
If the underlying cause of the crisis is not understood we cannot solve our problems. The issues of warfare, welfare, deficits, inflationism, corporatism, bailouts and authoritarianism cannot be ignored.  By only expanding these policies we cannot expect good results.
Everyone claims support for freedom.  But too often it’s for one’s own freedom and not for others.  Too many believe that there must be limits on freedom. They argue that freedom must be directed and managed to achieve fairness and equality thus making it acceptable to curtail, through force, certain liberties.
Some decide what and whose freedoms are to be limited.  These are the politicians whose goal in life is power. Their success depends on gaining support from special interests.

No More ‘isms’
The great news is the answer is not to be found in more “isms.”  The answers are to be found in more liberty which cost so much less.  Under these circumstances spending goes down, wealth production goes up, and the quality of life improves.
Just this recognition—especially if we move in this direction—increases optimism which in itself is beneficial.  The follow through with sound policies are required which must be understood and supported by the people.
But there is good evidence that the generation coming of age at the present time is supportive of moving in the direction of more liberty and self-reliance. The more this change in direction and the solutions become known, the quicker will be the return of optimism.
Our job, for those of us who believe that a different system than the  one that we have  had for the  last 100 years, has driven us to this unsustainable crisis, is to be more convincing that there is a wonderful, uncomplicated, and moral system that provides the answers.  We had a taste of it in our early history. We need not give up on the notion of advancing this cause.
It worked, but we allowed our leaders to concentrate on the material abundance that freedom generates, while ignoring freedom itself.  Now we have neither, but the door is open, out of necessity, for an answer.  The answer available is based on the Constitution, individual liberty and prohibiting the use of government force to provide privileges and benefits to all special interests.
After over 100 years we face a society quite different from the one that was intended by the Founders.  In many ways their efforts to protect future generations with the Constitution from this danger has failed.  Skeptics, at the time the Constitution was written in 1787, warned us of today’s possible outcome.  The insidious nature of the erosion of our liberties and the reassurance our great abundance gave us, allowed the process to evolve into the dangerous period in which we now live.

Dependency on Government Largesse
Today we face a dependency on government largesse for almost every need.  Our liberties are restricted and government operates outside the rule of law, protecting and rewarding those who buy or coerce government into satisfying their demands. Here are a few examples:
  • Undeclared wars are commonplace.
  • Welfare for the rich and poor is considered an entitlement.
  • The economy is overregulated, overtaxed and grossly distorted by a deeply flawed monetary system.
  • Debt is growing exponentially.
  • The Patriot Act and FISA legislation passed without much debate have resulted in a steady erosion of our 4th Amendment rights.
  • Tragically our government engages in preemptive war, otherwise known as aggression, with no complaints from the American people.
  • The drone warfare we are pursuing worldwide is destined to end badly for us as the hatred builds for innocent lives lost and the international laws flaunted. Once we are financially weakened and militarily challenged, there will be a lot resentment thrown our way.
  • It’s now the law of the land that the military can arrest American citizens, hold them indefinitely, without charges or a trial.
  • Rampant hostility toward free trade is supported by a large number in Washington.
  • Supporters of sanctions, currency manipulation and WTO trade retaliation, call the true free traders “isolationists.”
  • Sanctions are used to punish countries that don’t follow our orders.
  • Bailouts and guarantees for all kinds of misbehavior are routine.
  • Central economic planning through monetary policy, regulations and legislative mandates has been an acceptable policy.

Excessive government has created such a mess it prompts many questions:
  • Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?
  • Why does the federal government restrict the drinking of raw milk?
  • Why can’t Americans manufacturer rope and other products from hemp?
  • Why are Americans not allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender as mandated by the Constitution?
  • Why is Germany concerned enough to consider repatriating their gold held by the FED for her in New York?  Is it that the trust in the U.S. and dollar supremacy beginning to wane?
  • Why do our political leaders believe it’s unnecessary to thoroughly audit our own gold?
  • Why can’t Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy?
  • Why is the TSA permitted to abuse the rights of any American traveling by air?
  • Why should there be mandatory sentences—even up to life for crimes without victims—as our drug laws require?
  • Why have we allowed the federal government to regulate commodes in our homes?
  • Why is it political suicide for anyone to criticize AIPAC ?
  • Why haven’t we given up on the drug war since it’s an obvious failure and violates the people’s rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can’t even keep drugs out of the prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?
  • Why do we sacrifice so much getting needlessly involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most deadly border in the world-the one between Mexico and the US?
  • Why does Congress willingly give up its prerogatives to the Executive Branch?
  • Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?
  • Why did the big banks, the large corporations, and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?
  • Why do so many in the government and the federal officials believe that creating money out of thin air creates wealth?
  • Why do so many accept the deeply flawed principle that government bureaucrats and politicians can protect us from ourselves without totally destroying the principle of liberty?
  • Why can’t people understand that war always destroys wealth and liberty?
  • Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a “kill list,” including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?
  • Why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it, rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people? Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong.
  • Why is it is claimed that if people won’t  or can’t take care of their own needs, that people in government can do it for them?
  • Why did we ever give the government a safe haven for initiating violence against the people?
  • Why do some members defend free markets, but not civil liberties?
  • Why do some members defend civil liberties but not free markets? Aren’t they the same?
  • Why don’t more defend both economic liberty and personal liberty?
  • Why are there not more individuals who seek to intellectually influence others to bring about positive changes than those who seek power to force others to obey their commands?
  • Why does the use of religion to support a social gospel and preemptive wars, both of which requires authoritarians to use violence, or the threat of violence, go unchallenged? Aggression and forced redistribution of wealth has nothing to do with the teachings of the world great religions.
  • Why do we allow the government and the Federal Reserve to disseminate false information dealing with both economic and  foreign policy?
  • Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority?
  • Why should anyone be surprised that Congress has no credibility, since there’s such a disconnect between what politicians say and what they do?
  • Is there any explanation for all the deception, the unhappiness, the fear of the future, the loss of confidence in our leaders, the distrust, the anger and frustration?   Yes there is, and there’s a way to reverse these attitudes.  The negative perceptions are logical and a consequence of bad policies bringing about our problems.  Identification of the problems and recognizing the cause allow the proper changes to come easy.

Trust Yourself, Not the Government
Too many people have for too long placed too much confidence and trust in government and not enough in themselves.  Fortunately, many are now becoming aware of the seriousness of the gross mistakes of the past several decades.  The blame is shared by both political parties.  Many Americans now are demanding to hear the plain truth of things and want the demagoguing to stop.  Without this first step, solutions are impossible.
Seeking the truth and finding the answers in liberty and self-reliance promotes the optimism necessary for restoring prosperity.  The task is not that difficult if politics doesn’t get in the way.
We have allowed ourselves to get into such a mess for various reasons.
Politicians deceive themselves as to how wealth is produced.  Excessive confidence is placed in the judgment of politicians and bureaucrats.  This replaces the confidence in a free society.  Too many in high places of authority became convinced that only they,   armed with arbitrary government power, can bring about fairness, while facilitating wealth production.  This always proves to be a utopian dream and destroys wealth and liberty.  It impoverishes the people and rewards the special interests who end up controlling both political parties.
It’s no surprise then that much of what goes on in Washington is driven by aggressive partisanship and power seeking, with philosophic differences being minor.

Economic Ignorance
Economic ignorance is commonplace.  Keynesianism continues to thrive, although today it is facing healthy and enthusiastic rebuttals.  Believers in military Keynesianism and domestic Keynesianism continue to desperately promote their failed policies, as the economy languishes in a deep slumber.
Supporters of all government edicts use humanitarian arguments to justify them.
Humanitarian arguments are always used to justify government mandates related to the economy, monetary policy, foreign policy, and personal liberty.  This is on purpose to make it more difficult to challenge.  But, initiating violence for humanitarian reasons is still violence.  Good intentions are no excuse and are just as harmful as when people use force with bad intentions.  The results are always negative.
The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems.  Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government initiated force to change the world.  Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned—or especially when well-intentioned—the results are dismal.  The good results sought never materialize.  The new problems created require even more government force as a solution.  The net result is institutionalizing government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian grounds.
This is the same fundamental reason our government  uses force  for invading other countries at will, central economic planning at home, and the regulation of personal liberty and habits of our citizens.
It is rather strange, that unless one has a criminal mind and no respect for other people and their property, no one claims it’s permissible to go into one’s neighbor’s house and tell them how to behave, what they can eat, smoke and drink or how to spend their money.
Yet, rarely is it asked why it is morally acceptable that a stranger with a badge and a gun can do the same thing in the name of law and order.  Any resistance is met with brute force, fines, taxes, arrests, and even imprisonment. This is done more frequently every day without a proper search warrant.

No Government Monopoly over Initiating Violence
Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society.  Permitting such authority and expecting saintly behavior from the bureaucrats and the politicians is a pipe dream.  We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc. numbering over 100,000.  Citizens are guilty until proven innocent in the unconstitutional administrative courts.
Government in a free society should have no authority to meddle in social activities or the economic transactions of individuals. Nor should government meddle in the affairs of other nations. All things peaceful, even when controversial, should be permitted.
We must reject the notion of prior restraint in economic activity just we do in the area of free speech and religious liberty. But even in these areas government is starting to use a backdoor approach of political correctness to regulate speech-a dangerous trend. Since 9/11 monitoring speech on the internet is now a problem since warrants are no longer required.

The Proliferation of Federal Crimes
The Constitution established four federal crimes.  Today the experts can’t even agree on how many federal crimes are now on the books—they number into the thousands.  No one person can comprehend the enormity of the legal system—especially the tax code.  Due to the ill-advised drug war and the endless federal expansion of the criminal code we have over 6 million people under correctional suspension, more than the Soviets ever had, and more than any other nation today, including China.  I don’t understand the complacency of the Congress and the willingness to continue their obsession with passing more Federal laws.  Mandatory sentencing laws associated with drug laws have compounded our prison problems.
The federal register is now 75,000 pages long and the tax code has 72,000 pages, and expands every year.  When will the people start shouting, “enough is enough,” and demand Congress cease and desist.

Achieving Liberty
Liberty can only be achieved when government is denied the aggressive use of force.  If one seeks liberty, a precise type of government is needed.  To achieve it, more than lip service is required.
Two choices are available.
  1. A government designed to protect liberty—a natural right—as its sole objective.  The people are expected to care for themselves and reject the use of any force for interfering with another person’s liberty.  Government is given a strictly limited authority to enforce contracts, property ownership, settle disputes, and defend against foreign aggression.
  2. A government that pretends to protect liberty but is granted power to arbitrarily use force over the people and foreign nations.  Though the grant of power many times is meant to be small and limited, it inevitably metastasizes into an omnipotent political cancer.  This is the problem for which the world has suffered throughout the ages.  Though meant to be limited it nevertheless is a 100% sacrifice of a principle that would-be-tyrants find irresistible.  It is used vigorously—though incrementally and insidiously.  Granting power to government officials always proves the adage that:  “power corrupts.”
Once government gets a limited concession for the use of force to mold people habits and plan the economy, it causes a steady move toward tyrannical government.  Only a revolutionary spirit can reverse the process and deny to the government this arbitrary use of aggression.  There’s no in-between.  Sacrificing a little liberty for imaginary safety always ends badly.
Today’s mess is a result of Americans accepting option #2, even though the Founders attempted to give us Option #1.
The results are not good.  As our liberties have been eroded our wealth has been consumed.  The wealth we see today is based on debt and a foolish willingness on the part of foreigners to take our dollars for goods and services. They then loan them back to us to perpetuate our debt system.  It’s amazing that it has worked for this long but the impasse in Washington, in solving our problems indicate that many are starting to understand the seriousness of the world -wide debt crisis and the dangers we face. The longer this process continues the harsher the outcome will be.

The Financial Crisis Is a Moral Crisis
Many are now acknowledging that a financial crisis looms but few understand it’s, in reality, a moral crisis.  It’s the moral crisis that has allowed our liberties to be undermined and permits the exponential growth of illegal government power.  Without a clear understanding of the nature of the crisis it will be difficult to prevent a steady march toward tyranny and the poverty that will accompany it.
Ultimately, the people have to decide which form of government they want; option #1 or option #2.  There is no other choice.  Claiming there is a choice of a “little” tyranny is like describing pregnancy as a “touch of pregnancy.”  It is a myth to believe that a mixture of free markets and government central economic planning is a worthy compromise.  What we see today is a result of that type of thinking.  And the results speak for themselves.

A Culture of Violence
American now suffers from a culture of violence.  It’s easy to reject the initiation of violence against one’s neighbor but it’s ironic that the people arbitrarily and freely anoint government officials with monopoly power to initiate violence against the American people—practically at will.
Because it’s the government that initiates force, most people accept it as being legitimate.  Those who exert the force have no sense of guilt.  It is believed by too many that governments are morally justified in initiating force supposedly to “do good.”  They incorrectly believe that this authority has come from the “consent of the people.”  The minority, or victims of government violence never consented to suffer the abuse of government mandates, even when dictated by the majority.  Victims of TSA excesses never consented to this abuse.
This attitude has given us a policy of initiating war to “do good,” as well. It is claimed that war, to prevent war for noble purposes, is justified.  This is similar to what we were once told that:  “destroying a village to save a village” was justified.  It was said by a US Secretary of State that the loss of 500,000 Iraqis, mostly children, in the 1990s, as a result of American bombs and sanctions, was “worth it” to achieve the “good” we brought to the Iraqi people.  And look at the mess that Iraq is in today.
Government use of force to mold social and economic behavior at home and abroad has justified individuals using force on their own terms.  The fact that violence by government is seen as morally justified, is the reason why violence will increase when the big financial crisis hits and becomes a political crisis as well.
First, we recognize that individuals shouldn’t initiate violence, then we give the authority to government.   Eventually, the immoral use of government violence, when things goes badly, will be used to justify an individual’s “right” to do the same thing. Neither the government nor individuals have the moral right to initiate violence against another yet we are moving toward the day when both will claim this authority.  If this cycle is not reversed society will break down.
When needs are pressing, conditions deteriorate and rights become relative to the demands and the whims of the majority.  It’s then not a great leap for individuals to take it upon themselves to use violence to get what they claim is theirs.  As the economy deteriorates and the wealth discrepancies increase—as are already occurring— violence increases as those in need take it in their own hands to get what they believe is theirs.  They will not wait for a government rescue program.
When government officials wield power over others to bail out the special interests, even with disastrous results to the average citizen, they feel no guilt for the harm they do. Those who take us into undeclared wars with many casualties resulting, never lose sleep over the death and destruction their bad decisions caused. They are convinced that what they do is morally justified, and the fact that many suffer   just can’t be helped.
When the street criminals do the same thing, they too have no remorse, believing they are only taking what is rightfully theirs.  All moral standards become relative.  Whether it’s bailouts, privileges, government subsidies or benefits for some from inflating a currency, it’s all part of a process justified by a philosophy of forced redistribution of wealth.  Violence, or a threat of such, is the instrument required and unfortunately is of little concern of most members of Congress.
Some argue it’s only a matter of “fairness” that those in need are cared for. There are two problems with this. First, the principle is used to provide a greater amount of benefits to the rich than the poor. Second, no one seems to be concerned about whether or not it’s fair to those who end up paying for the benefits. The costs are usually placed on the backs of the middle class and are hidden from the public eye. Too many people believe government handouts are free, like printing money out of thin air, and there is no cost. That deception is coming to an end. The bills are coming due and that’s what the economic slowdown is all about.
Sadly, we have become accustomed to living with the illegitimate use of force by government.  It is the tool for telling the people how to live, what to eat and drink, what to read and how to spend their money.
To develop a truly free society, the issue of initiating force must be understood and rejected.  Granting to government even a small amount of force is a dangerous concession.

Limiting Government Excesses vs. a Virtuous Moral People
Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed.  The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people.  The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.
Most politicians and pundits are aware of the problems we face but spend all their time in trying to reform government.  The sad part is that the suggested reforms almost always lead to less freedom and the importance of a virtuous and moral people is either ignored, or not understood. The new reforms serve only to further undermine liberty.  The compounding effect has given us this steady erosion of liberty and the massive expansion of debt.  The real question is: if it is liberty we seek, should most of the emphasis be placed on government reform or trying to understand what “a virtuous and moral people” means and how to promote it. The Constitution has not prevented the people from demanding handouts for both rich and poor in their efforts to reform the government, while ignoring the principles of a free society. All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power.
If the people are unhappy with the government performance it must be recognized that government is merely a reflection of an immoral society that rejected a moral government of constitutional limitations of power and love of freedom.
If this is the problem all the tinkering with thousands of pages of new laws and regulations will do nothing to solve the problem.
It is self-evident that our freedoms have been severely limited and the apparent prosperity we still have, is nothing more than leftover wealth from a previous time.  This fictitious wealth based on debt and benefits from a false trust in our currency and credit, will play havoc with our society when the bills come due.  This means that the full consequence of our lost liberties is yet to be felt.
But that illusion is now ending.  Reversing a downward spiral depends on accepting a new approach.
Expect the rapidly expanding homeschooling movement to play a significant role in the revolutionary reforms needed to build a free society with Constitutional protections. We cannot expect a Federal government controlled school system to provide the intellectual ammunition to combat the dangerous growth of government that threatens our liberties.
The internet will provide the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda. This is why it’s essential that the internet remains free of government regulation.
Many of our religious institutions and secular organizations support greater dependency on the state by supporting war, welfare and corporatism and ignore the need for a virtuous people.
I never believed that the world or our country could be made more free by politicians, if the people had no desire for freedom.
Under the current circumstances the most we can hope to achieve in the political process is to use it as a podium to reach the people to alert them of the nature of the crisis and the importance of their need to assume responsibility for themselves, if it is liberty that they truly seek.  Without this, a constitutionally protected free society is impossible.
If this is true, our individual goal in life ought to be for us to seek virtue and excellence and recognize that self-esteem and happiness only comes from using one’s natural ability, in the most productive manner possible, according to one’s own talents.
Productivity and creativity are the true source of personal satisfaction. Freedom, and not dependency, provides the environment needed to achieve these goals. Government cannot do this for us; it only gets in the way. When the government gets involved, the goal becomes a bailout or a subsidy and these cannot provide a sense of  personal achievement.
Achieving legislative power and political influence should not be our goal. Most of the change, if it is to come, will not come from the politicians, but rather from individuals, family, friends, intellectual leaders and our religious institutions.  The solution can only come from rejecting the use of coercion, compulsion, government commands, and aggressive force, to mold social and economic behavior.  Without accepting these restraints, inevitably the consensus will be to allow the government to mandate economic equality and obedience to the politicians who gain power and promote an environment that smothers the freedoms of everyone. It is then that the responsible individuals who seek excellence and self-esteem by being self-reliance and productive, become the true victims.

What are the greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society? There are five.
1. The continuous attack on our civil liberties which threatens the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.               
2. Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of “blow-back” is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.                                                         
3. The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.                                        
4. A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.                                               
 5. World government taking over  local and US sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking,  a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns.
Happily, there is an answer for these very dangerous trends.                                                     
What a wonderful world it would be if everyone accepted the simple moral premise of rejecting all acts of aggression.  The retort to such a suggestion is always:  it’s too simplistic, too idealistic, impractical, naïve, utopian, dangerous, and unrealistic to strive for such an ideal.
The answer to that is that for thousands of years the acceptance of government force, to rule over the people, at the sacrifice of liberty, was considered moral and the only available option for achieving peace and prosperity.
What could be more utopian than that myth—considering the results especially looking at the state sponsored killing, by nearly every government during the 20th Century, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions.  It’s time to reconsider this grant of authority to the state.
No good has ever come from granting monopoly power to the state to use aggression against the people to arbitrarily mold human behavior.  Such power, when left unchecked, becomes the seed of an ugly tyranny.  This method of governance has been adequately tested, and the results are in: reality dictates we try liberty.
The idealism of non-aggression and rejecting all offensive use of force should be tried.  The idealism of government sanctioned violence has been abused throughout history and is the primary source of poverty and war.  The theory of a society being based on individual freedom has been around for a long time.  It’s time to take a bold step and actually permit it by advancing this cause, rather than taking a step backwards as some would like us to do.
Today the principle of habeas corpus, established when King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, is under attack. There’s every reason to believe that a renewed effort with the use of the internet that we can instead advance the cause of liberty by spreading an uncensored message that will serve to rein in government authority and challenge the obsession with war and welfare.
What I’m talking about is a system of government guided by the moral principles of peace and tolerance.
The Founders were convinced that a free society could not exist without a moral people.  Just writing rules won’t work if the people choose to ignore them.  Today the rule of law written in the Constitution has little meaning for most Americans, especially those who work in Washington DC.
Benjamin Franklin claimed “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”  John Adams concurred:  “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
A moral people must reject all violence in an effort to mold people’s beliefs or habits.
A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society.  All great religions endorse the Golden Rule.  The same moral standards that individuals are required to follow should apply to all government officials.  They cannot be exempt.
The ultimate solution is not in the hands of the government.
The solution falls on each and every individual, with guidance from family, friends and community.
The #1 responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow.  This is of greater importance than working on changing the government; that is secondary to promoting a virtuous society.  If we can achieve this, then the government will change.
It doesn’t mean that political action or holding office has no value. At times it does nudge policy in the right direction. But what is true is that when seeking office is done for personal aggrandizement, money or power, it becomes useless if not harmful. When political action is taken for the right reasons it’s easy to understand why compromise should be avoided. It also becomes clear why progress is best achieved by working with coalitions, which bring people together, without anyone sacrificing his principles.
Political action, to be truly beneficial, must be directed toward changing the hearts and minds of the people, recognizing that it’s the virtue and morality of the people that allow liberty to flourish.
The Constitution or more laws per se, have no value if the people’s attitudes aren’t changed.
To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome.  Number one is “envy” which leads to hate and class warfare.  Number two is “intolerance” which leads to bigoted and judgmental policies.  These emotions must be replaced with a much better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance and free market economics. Freedom, when understood, brings people together. When tried, freedom is popular.
The problem we have faced over the years has been that economic interventionists are swayed by envy, whereas social interventionists are swayed by intolerance of habits and lifestyles. The misunderstanding that tolerance is an endorsement of certain activities, motivates many to legislate moral standards which should only be set by individuals making their own choices. Both sides use force to deal with these misplaced emotions. Both are authoritarians. Neither endorses voluntarism.  Both views ought to be rejected.
I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out “the plain truth of things.”  The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of LIBERTY.
If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.
Thank you, Dr. Paul.

Dr. Paul has so eloquently and accurately described our perishing. The reason why is given so eloquently by Moses, that other lawgiver, conveying The Lawgiver's covenant sanctions:
If you by any means forget the Lord your God and follow other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. (Deuteronomy 8)

The cure is in seeking liberty, as long a one recognizes that Liberty can only come through the obedience of One Man to the whole law of God.
If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land. (I Chronicles 7)