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This Month's Scripture Verse:

Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless -- Ecclesiastes 5:10

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For October 12, 2016

Oct 7

To Joseph Mussomeli and his blogpost that requested a revised definition for American Exceptionalism due to the abuses that have come from interventions based on the term. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.


This article on American Exceptionalism has some good points especially on the failures of American interventionism. And the suggestions on how to avoid the pitfalls of both isoloationism and interventionism show progress over the foreign policy principles that both Republican and Democratic Presidents have been following. But in the end, shouldn't we dismantle the term altogether? For the form of American Exceptionalism promoted by Washington and Adams allowed for the 'infant empire,' Washington's term to describe America, to expand and mature while flying under the radar of the saltwater test used to define an empire. For how was our conquest of our part of North America different from the Nazi attempt to conquer Europe or North Korea's attempt to take South Korea? And wasn't our conquest based on the doctrine of Manifest Destiny and thus a form of American Exceptionalism?

The only way to escape the American Exceptionalism trap is to not only submit to international law as all other nations should, but to change the structure of the UN so that there is no Security Council so that all resolutions are determined democratically. That includes the resolving of our grievances against others subject to the UN and/or the ICC. Such an approach becomes the only true alternative between isolationism and interventionism.

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To Joe Carter and his blogpost that contradicts the notion that having great wealth is evil. His blogpost cites an article written by Dylan Pahman. This appeared in the Acton blog.

In trying to explain why wealth in and of itself is not evil, It's odd that, with all of his Biblical expertise, Dylan Pahman did not reference I Timotthy 6:10 in his article cited by Carter. Paul wrote the following to Timothy:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Along with the Scriptures referred to by Pahman in his article cited by Carter, the above Scripture verse should move us to seek a middle ground between the belilef that wealth is evil and the belief that being wealthy can be good. It's the 'love of money' is what is labeled as being evil. With that being the case, where does that put the Christian who is seeking wealth? Is the Christian seeking a treasure that could undo his/her faith? The quote from I Timothy seems to indicate that could be the case.

We should note that the love of money can be implemented by both how we set out to make money as well as what we refrain from sharing with others. The presence of rich believers to whom Pahman refers in his article shows that having wealth is not necessarily evil. And that is a Biblical answer. However, what we need to explore is not whether the mere possession of wealth is wrong, but whether seeking great wealth is wrong. Is there a kind of seeking that is honored by the Scriptures? What kind of seeking for wealth shipwrecks our faith? These are the questions that should have been asked and answered in the first place. 

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Oct 10

To Tim Keller and his blogpost on what Christians can do to help restore civility in the public square. This appeared in the Gospel Coalitiioon website.

There is a missing ingredient here regarding creating a tolerant and civil culture and society. And that ingredient comes from the Scriptures. It comes from the parable of the two men praying. Part of the lesson from that parable is somewhat covered when Keller states that we Christians should admit to having failed in building such a culture and society by our attempts to marginalize groups. 

But there is more to the parable of the two men praying than just admiting past failures. If we still believe that we are superior to others, then no amount of confessing past failures removes us from playing the role of the pharisee from the parable. For while we might admit to some past failures, our eyes will still be focused on how we compare with others and our minds will continue to entertain delusions of righteousness about ourselves which gives us permission to lord our principles over others. 

A model of thought that Keller developed in his book Center Church could be adapted for society to promote civility. That model thought showed a 2-D grid where Keller identified a Christian group in each of the 4 quadrants of the grid according to what each group believed in how the Church should interact with society. And what was great about that model is that Keller listed the strengths and weaknesses of each group of Christians including the strengths of groups other than his own and the weaknesses of the group he most identified with. Perhaps we should do the same here and list the strengths and weaknesses of each group in society so that we could better notice the contributions that are made by others and the problems caused by us. Such a listing puts checks on any group's desire to rule over and marginalize others.

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Oct 11

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on why the free market should be called the 'initiative-centered economy.' This appeared in the Acton blog.

Here is what the free market should be called: 'Privilege-oriented economy.'  Why? Because what free market apologists say is that the government should take a hands off approach to the market. That message is universal regardless of the kind of government that is in place. Thus, to those governments that act as working democracies, free market apologists say to the people in society: 'take your hands off the economy.' Thus, a free market economy says that the people in given society cannot make rules that would govern how owners in the free market relate to the rest of society. Thus, some of the owners become a privileged group in any society where a substantially free market exists. 

And, according to how the free market works, it is the dollar that determines the value of both the free market and its participants. How people treat each other is not an issue for the free market provided that  "rights" are not violated. How the environment is impacted is not an issue for the free market. And so workers and other stakeholders can be exploited and the environment can be harmed in any economy that employs a free market system. And why is that the case? Because the free market exists when government, even democracies, take their hands off the market. 

The free market not only allows for the consolidation of wealth, but it also allows for the consolidation of what follows wealth which is power forthe  elite owners in the free mearket. And what follows that consolidation of power is government interference in the free market for the purpose of keeping the status quo for the sake of the elite owners. And once we understand that, we understand why The Constituion was written. For The Constitution was written in response to dissent and Shays Rebellion so that our federal government could more effectively respond to future insurrections. One only needs to see all of the Constitutional references to the Militia to see evidence pointing to that interpretation of The Constitution.

Some evidence that supports the above statements can be found in the recent treatment of the TPP by the Obama administration. President Obama has attempted to fast track the legislation that would move the US to join the TPP. Here we should note that one of the provisions of the TPP is that if a government passes a law or laws that could or actually do interfere with corporate profits, that corporation, regardless of the national origin of that corporation, can sue the government passing those laws.  And that lawsuit would be heard in a tribunal constructed by the TPP rather than the courts of the given nation that passed such laws.  In addition, we should note that governments are not allowed to sue corproations under the TPP structure. Such shows what was said above about how power follows wealth so that those who have power can maintain a privileged status over the people of a society even if it isn't their own society. 

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