Blog Archive


Monday, June 28, 2010
I loved Doug Wilson's response to Jim Wallis' vitriolic vacuity. Seriously, I'm not sure if Wallis could get any more intellectually dishonest or imbecilic. Read Wilson's piece in its entirety here.
Jim Wallis recently offered the opening salvo of an invitation to discuss exactly how "Christian" the Tea Party movement is.
His five points are these:

1. The Libertarian enshrinement of individual choice is not a Christian virtue;
2. An anti-government ideology is not biblical;
3. Supreme confidence in the power of markets is not biblical;
4. Libertarian preference for the strong over the weak is not biblical;
5. The Tea Party is just too white.
Later in his discussion, Wallis cites Jeremiah 22:16 and Amos 5:15 authoritatively, which is fine by me, but the Old Testament has a lot of other verses too (Ex. 22:18). If you are going to reason this way, you are going to have to give an accounting of the political ramifications of all Scripture. You can't just treat troublesome verses like a cluster of distant trees on the bank which you float by on the river of benevolent niceness, in the rowboat of exegetical detachment.

That said, let us consider his points in turn.
"The Libertarian enshrinement of individual choice is not the pre-eminent Christian virtue. Emphasizing individual rights at the expense of others violates the common good, a central Christian teaching and tradition."
But he misstates the question. The question is not "shall we have individual rights or shall we have the common good? Which shall it be?" The debate is over which form of social organization is most conducive to the common good.
"Libertarianism is a political philosophy that holds individual rights as its supreme value and considers government the major obstacle."
For Christian libertarians, individual rights are not the supreme value, and to assert that they are is idolatry, pure and simple. The glory of God, and the gospel of His Christ, are the supreme political values. But once we have faithfully answered the first question in the Shorter Catechism, we still have to figure out our social and political arrangements. In the process of doing that, it is simply a misrepresentation to say that those who want to protect individual rights in the first instance are disinterested in the fate of the common good. Overweening government is not just the major obstacle to an enjoyment of individual rights, it is the major obstacle to the common good.

Because Wallis does not understand economics, or logic, he cites Bible verses into the air.
"Jeremiah, speaking of King Josiah, said, 'He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well' (Jeremiah 22:16). Amos instructs the courts (the government) to 'Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts' (Amos 5:15). The prophets hold kings, rulers, judges, and employers accountable to the demands of justice and mercy.
They most certainly do, and I am an unabashed theocrat on these issues. Kings are responsible to God to protect and defend justice, and He will judge them at the last day for any failure to do so. Kings are responsible to defend and protect the poor from the predatory rich. But it will not do for Wallis to cite a Bible verse with the word justice in it, and then import an alien definition of justice, and reason from there. When employers rip off their employees, the righteous prince will be right there, and will enforce the demands of justice (Jas. 5:4). But when an economic illiterate demands that we destroy an inner city with minimum wage laws and rent control, what charge shall we bring against him? For my part, I would charge him with not hating evil, with not loving good, and with not maintaining justice in the courts.

Christian liberals need to get it into their heads that the prophet Amos never said, "And thou shalt be sure to maintain your charitable niceness pure and undefiled with the pixie dust of good intentions."
"An anti-government ideology just isn’t biblical."
Sure. Great. Amen. Governments are established by God, and we should all acknowledge it. Anarchism is out. But . . . it is interesting to me that folks like Wallis haul out the Romans 13 lecture to hector attendees of Tea Party rallies, where American flags and Uncle Sam hats abound, and they go deathly quiet when actual anarchists riot in Toronto.

Anti-government ideology is unbiblical, but being anti-tyranny isn't. The problem is that advocates of hubristic governments think that any opposition to that hubris is opposition to the original point of constitutional government. Which it isn't. Wallis acknowledges this in the abstract -- "a power-hungry government is clearly an aberration and violation of the proper role of government in protecting its citizens and upholding the demands of fairness and justice." So what do we do when that happens? And will we be able to do it in a peaceful and orderly way without men like Wallis lecturing us, as though we didn't know already, that responsible government is a good thing?
"The Libertarians’ supreme confidence in the market is not consistent with a biblical view of human nature and sin."
Just one quick point here. Markets are formed when men agree to not behave coercively toward one another in their economic transactions. Governments are formed when men agree together on what the structure of their collective coercions shall be. Markets are not coercive, by definition. Governments are coercive, by definition. The person who needs to have his unbiblical views of the nature of sin adjusted is the person who thinks that government presents less of a temptation to sinners than markets do.

My political philosophy can be summed up this way -- keep coercion to a minimum. This exhibits naivete about the reality of sin? Hardly.
"The Libertarian preference for the strong over the weak is decidedly un-Christian . . . To anticipate the Libertarian response, let me just say that private charity is simply not enough to satisfy the demands of either fairness or justice, let alone compassion."
First, this objection is wrong simply as a matter of fact. The underlying premise, driven by envy and ressentiment, is simply wrong. Is it true that the rich are getting richer while the poor get poorer? Is it true on a basic factual level?
But secondly, let us translate what Wallis is actually saying on the theological level. He is arguing that compassion cannot survive apart from coercion. Compassion comes out of the barrel of a gun. The demands of compassion require that we threaten a lot of people with hard time in chokey if they don't fork it over now. Wallis is a theocrat, as am I. But his vision of theocracy has a lot more guns, jails, and fines in it than mine does. How many guns and jails do we need? I don't know -- how far did we fall short on the compassion index this year? Anybody who thinks that someone with Wallis' political philosophy is ever going to say at some point, "that's enough, we have finally fed the poor" . . . probably doesn't have a biblical understanding of sin. But I am repeating myself.
"Finally, I am just going to say it. There is something wrong with a political movement like the Tea Party which is almost all white. Does that mean every member of the Tea Party is racist? Likely not."
Ah, the race card. This objection, which is doubling as a violation of the ninth commandment to boot, is amazing. I confess myself poleaxed and flummoxed. Look at what he is actually saying here. It is not "likely," but obviously still possible, that "every member" of the Tea Party is racist. He says this on the basis of who shows up at open-invitation events? Compare this to the line-up of an invitation only operation . . . here. Heh.


Chris A said...

Wilson does a pretty good job here, better than I could have done disarming each one of these weak and inherently fallacious talking points.

Here is the real scoop on the so-called Tea Party Movement - there isn't one. Actually there are at least three, with none of them being distinct because of the intentional bleed-through and blurring of the lines of those who took political advantage of what was once a grass roots movement.

Essentially there was the original Tea Party, which was in support of Ron Paul's platform - particularly born out of frustration over taxation and the Federal Reserve. It had to be contained so as not to escape the control of mainstream Republicans (something Paul may be partially to blame for), so it was swiftly co-opted by the likes of people Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Sean Hannity. Republicans saw this as an opportunity to capitalize on frustration and direct it toward the Obama regime. And it worked swimmingly.

But here is where Wilson is wrong: There were not - I repeat - we not any real "anarchist" riots at the G20 - unless you can call police or agent provocateurs anarchists. The globalists always play the same hand during these high level New World Order conferences. This is the same thing they did in Seattle at the WTO meeting in '99, and they have repeated the same operation over and over again since.

It starts out with peaceful protests, followed by "anarchists" (cops) who start breaking windows and setting fire to things. Of course, the uniformed cops do nothing to stop the "anarchists", but rather turn on the peaceful protesters because they have an excuse to shut them down.

I have no doubt that there are legitimately violent people who attend these things, but over and over again, this has proven to be the handiwork of police. It is the False Flag Operation, the self-inflicted wound - and it goes all the way back to Nero.

But here's the psychology of it. The common American or "citizen of the world", as it were, cannot relate to "anarchists". So what do the globalists do? The paint opposition to economic terrorism as terrorists. This keeps the commoners from ever really knowing what the G20 really is. Most of them will never read what the leaders are actually saying, and few will ever seek to understand what they mean if and when they do read it. Just remember the Hegelian dialectic; first the problem (global economic crisis); then the reaction (panic, unrest, riots); then the solution (global governance through supranational banking apparatus). The world is entering something more severe than the Great Depression, which is bad enough. But pay careful attention to the solutions to fix this.

Agent Provocateur FAIL!

Unknown said...

To suggest that the inner cities of our nation are being ripped apart by minimum wage laws lacks an understanding of business economics. Many businesses will pay their employees the minimum that the law allows as long as there are people who will work for that wage. Period.

This article also suggests that the laws of the free market are not coercive. Unless you have worked directly with the big market machines such as Wall Mart, you have no idea of that which you speak. A company such as that all the power, and there are no rules other than the rule to make money.

While it's admirable to form a response to Wallis, it's obvious that the author has little experience in the real business world of corporate America.

Darius said...

Randy, I would suggest reading a little into the foolishness of minimum wages. John Stossel has done a fair amount of explaining on the subject of economics and free markets. You can also pick up Jay Richards' excellent book Money, Greed, and God. That will help you understand the laws of economics and freedom.

Our inner cities HAVE been utterly destroyed by minimum wage laws. This is due to the FACT that when a law sets a lower pay limit, businesses then have to decide how foots the bill for such absurdity. Such laws do not operate in a vacuum. So, a business has to choose; will they cut some employees to make up the difference, or raise prices on their goods, or just plain go out of business? So sure, some employees get higher wages, while others get fired (or not hired). Minimum wages are the asinine idea of economic fools.

Recent Comments


Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »