Pre-Modern Politics

I’m sitting in on classes of the new faculty members here at Patrick Henry College to see how they are doing. Here are some things I picked up from Dr. Stephen Baskerville’s class “Freedom’s Foundations I,” a core “Great Books” course. The class was reading Edmund Burke, hailed as the father of modern conservatism. I learned that there really was no “conservative/liberal” distinction before the modern era, specifically, before the French Revolution. Also that in the modern era, political writings have to do with the exercise of power. Before that, political writings were always about the exercise of justice.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

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  • jayfromcleveland

    That’s probably because before the modern era, specifically the French revolution, all Europe was ruled by monarchs. Since medieval power resided with the kings, justice remained to be exercised. In a modern democracy, justice is more of a given but changes power are frequently exercised, e.g. our “Demopublican Two Step.” N’est pas?

  • jayfromcleveland

    That’s probably because before the modern era, specifically the French revolution, all Europe was ruled by monarchs. Since medieval power resided with the kings, justice remained to be exercised. In a modern democracy, justice is more of a given but changes power are frequently exercised, e.g. our “Demopublican Two Step.” N’est pas?

  • http://maplemountain.blogspot.com/ Samuel

    Doctor Veith, would you consider making sidebar links available to a comprehensive list of your books and their availability. Especially with gift-giving season here, it would help some of us out. Just a thought. Keep up the great work!

  • http://maplemountain.blogspot.com/ Samuel

    Doctor Veith, would you consider making sidebar links available to a comprehensive list of your books and their availability. Especially with gift-giving season here, it would help some of us out. Just a thought. Keep up the great work!

  • fwsonnek

    #3 Jayfromcleveland.

    I would argue that it is neither justice nor power that was the main thread.

    I believe it was the “Rule of Law” that dominated.

    Before and after the age of monarchy, the frame for this discussion of the “Rule of Law” changed JUST as you described, yet it was still the same discussion.

    The french and then the bolshevics , their soulmates, dismissing rule of law in favor of organic democracy. They were a diversion. We are coming back to their way of thinking, by the way, both conservatives AND liberals.

    John Locke and our nation´s founders continued the main debate and therefore could be seen as conservative AND liberal at the same time (!) in the most profound sense of both of those words.

    This discussion encompasses justice, power AND who has the LAWFUL right to determine and exercise those things.

    It encompasses the philosophical ideas behind virtue and morality. Best it addresses how society should be “Ordered”. THIS argument goes way back to even before the Greeks. The jews wanted a king for example.

    Aland in his article NAILS how all this is connected to our christian faith.

  • fwsonnek

    #3 Jayfromcleveland.

    I would argue that it is neither justice nor power that was the main thread.

    I believe it was the “Rule of Law” that dominated.

    Before and after the age of monarchy, the frame for this discussion of the “Rule of Law” changed JUST as you described, yet it was still the same discussion.

    The french and then the bolshevics , their soulmates, dismissing rule of law in favor of organic democracy. They were a diversion. We are coming back to their way of thinking, by the way, both conservatives AND liberals.

    John Locke and our nation´s founders continued the main debate and therefore could be seen as conservative AND liberal at the same time (!) in the most profound sense of both of those words.

    This discussion encompasses justice, power AND who has the LAWFUL right to determine and exercise those things.

    It encompasses the philosophical ideas behind virtue and morality. Best it addresses how society should be “Ordered”. THIS argument goes way back to even before the Greeks. The jews wanted a king for example.

    Aland in his article NAILS how all this is connected to our christian faith.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    There were actually quite a few republics in the ancient world, including of course Athens and early Rome but also the Italian cities of the Renaissance. Frank is right about the rule of law being key.

    Samuel, thanks for your generous sentiment! A book page is next on my list to do on this blog!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    There were actually quite a few republics in the ancient world, including of course Athens and early Rome but also the Italian cities of the Renaissance. Frank is right about the rule of law being key.

    Samuel, thanks for your generous sentiment! A book page is next on my list to do on this blog!

  • Another Kerner

    Relative to this discussion, may I suggest that we review again Frederic Bastiat’s (1801-1850) “The Law”.

    It first appeared in pamphlet form in 1850.
    France was rapidly turning to “socialism”. Bastiat, a Deputy to the Legislative Assembly, advances a valid
    explanation and argument against Socialism as a system of “legal plunder”.

  • Another Kerner

    Relative to this discussion, may I suggest that we review again Frederic Bastiat’s (1801-1850) “The Law”.

    It first appeared in pamphlet form in 1850.
    France was rapidly turning to “socialism”. Bastiat, a Deputy to the Legislative Assembly, advances a valid
    explanation and argument against Socialism as a system of “legal plunder”.

  • Paul S

    Frank what influence did Francis Schaeffer have on your world view?

    I would like to add that property rights of one kind or another has always been the substance of politics. Whether it be slavery, land ownership or the monstrous women’s right to privacy politics most often comes down to one set of people trying to dislodge something tangible from another. The rule of law just happens to be the proper and moral way of deciding those ownership issues

  • Paul S

    Frank what influence did Francis Schaeffer have on your world view?

    I would like to add that property rights of one kind or another has always been the substance of politics. Whether it be slavery, land ownership or the monstrous women’s right to privacy politics most often comes down to one set of people trying to dislodge something tangible from another. The rule of law just happens to be the proper and moral way of deciding those ownership issues

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    And if you’ll pardon a plug for my school, Patrick Henry College, don’t you find it impressive that college Freshmen and Sophomores are reading Burke and wrestling with these kinds of issues?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    And if you’ll pardon a plug for my school, Patrick Henry College, don’t you find it impressive that college Freshmen and Sophomores are reading Burke and wrestling with these kinds of issues?

  • fwsonnek

    #9 Vieth

    I find it impressive that YOU are wrestling with these kinds of issues. and yes, I find your passion put into action very cool. PHC sounds great!

    You are, in the classical tradition, teaching them to think critically rather than feeding them talking points or a particular ideology.

    This is always good fun and rather unpredictable as to result.

    It will be interesting to see the results 20 years down the line if I am still alive that is…

  • fwsonnek

    #9 Vieth

    I find it impressive that YOU are wrestling with these kinds of issues. and yes, I find your passion put into action very cool. PHC sounds great!

    You are, in the classical tradition, teaching them to think critically rather than feeding them talking points or a particular ideology.

    This is always good fun and rather unpredictable as to result.

    It will be interesting to see the results 20 years down the line if I am still alive that is…

  • fwsonnek

    #8

    Indeed paul. I am told that the original declaration read “life, liberty and property rights.” I like the way it ended up. more poetic, and i DO believe that the Rule of Law is to serve our happiness. It is not something God needs outside of it serving the creation he was passionate enough to die for.

    Schaeffer was good. Influenced me alot, as did Milton Freedman and Frederick Hayak. But Schaeffer was not Lutheran and that showed up in critical places. He felt that christians had a place in redeeming the world. We Lutherans consider the world redeemed and reconciled fully. so we are free to about the serious business of mirth and play in all our vocations. We use those things as redeemed things are supposed to be viewed and used. Most notably our wiccan-gay-polygamous-don´t-floss-properly-or-like-the-boyscouts neighbor next door.

    I think, if you read Aland´s article, our Lutheran view goes way beyond desired outcomes such as property rights or even abortion and death penalty life and death issues.

    We seek to be guided by rule of law really out of blind faith that it is the right thing to do.

    we seek MEANS look right and consider if it is “given to us” to take up an issue or be involved in whatever. We seek to “know our place” and have God “put us in our place.”

    We pay more attention to right means then desired outcomes.

    We leave those outcomes to God in prayer.

  • fwsonnek

    #8

    Indeed paul. I am told that the original declaration read “life, liberty and property rights.” I like the way it ended up. more poetic, and i DO believe that the Rule of Law is to serve our happiness. It is not something God needs outside of it serving the creation he was passionate enough to die for.

    Schaeffer was good. Influenced me alot, as did Milton Freedman and Frederick Hayak. But Schaeffer was not Lutheran and that showed up in critical places. He felt that christians had a place in redeeming the world. We Lutherans consider the world redeemed and reconciled fully. so we are free to about the serious business of mirth and play in all our vocations. We use those things as redeemed things are supposed to be viewed and used. Most notably our wiccan-gay-polygamous-don´t-floss-properly-or-like-the-boyscouts neighbor next door.

    I think, if you read Aland´s article, our Lutheran view goes way beyond desired outcomes such as property rights or even abortion and death penalty life and death issues.

    We seek to be guided by rule of law really out of blind faith that it is the right thing to do.

    we seek MEANS look right and consider if it is “given to us” to take up an issue or be involved in whatever. We seek to “know our place” and have God “put us in our place.”

    We pay more attention to right means then desired outcomes.

    We leave those outcomes to God in prayer.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’m not quite convinced that people generally didn’t speak of power prior to 1789; what is “The Prince,” after all, and what about Cicero’s commentaries on Julius Caesar, and what about the clamor for a king in Israel? Those are all arguments not about justice, but power, no?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’m not quite convinced that people generally didn’t speak of power prior to 1789; what is “The Prince,” after all, and what about Cicero’s commentaries on Julius Caesar, and what about the clamor for a king in Israel? Those are all arguments not about justice, but power, no?

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    In the legal section of the local bookstore, I found a book (whose title I have unfortunately forgotten) that had an interesting story that shows how our idea of what justice entails may be very different from what other societies believed in.

    In one tribe, when someone did something wrong, they were sentenced to stand by a certain tree for a whole day. During the day, every member of the tribe would show up at some point or another and remind the person of something nice that person had done. It is said that repeat offenses were rare.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    In the legal section of the local bookstore, I found a book (whose title I have unfortunately forgotten) that had an interesting story that shows how our idea of what justice entails may be very different from what other societies believed in.

    In one tribe, when someone did something wrong, they were sentenced to stand by a certain tree for a whole day. During the day, every member of the tribe would show up at some point or another and remind the person of something nice that person had done. It is said that repeat offenses were rare.

  • fwsonnek

    #13 rick ritchie

    it would be interesting to see this replace “time out” in the disciplining of children. I would be interested to hear from parents on this one!

    leave it to you rick to bring something “out of my box” into the discussion. but i have to tell you dear brother that sometime you are a pain because you always make me think, and we Norwegians often have trouble doing that as well as the Joiymans on here.

    keep on keeping on Rick. This ties nicely into Alands article that Vieth mentions.

  • fwsonnek

    #13 rick ritchie

    it would be interesting to see this replace “time out” in the disciplining of children. I would be interested to hear from parents on this one!

    leave it to you rick to bring something “out of my box” into the discussion. but i have to tell you dear brother that sometime you are a pain because you always make me think, and we Norwegians often have trouble doing that as well as the Joiymans on here.

    keep on keeping on Rick. This ties nicely into Alands article that Vieth mentions.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Bike, I believe “The Prince” is considered the first “modern” work of political science, for exactly that reason, that it emphasizes power apart from morality. Some people in some fields consider the Renaissance to be the beginning of modernity. The French Revolution reference was to the conservative/liberal dichotomy. I mean, would you classify Macchiavelli as liberal or conservative? The categories don’t really apply to him or Queen Elizabeth or Henry VIII or Frederick the Wise. . . .The metaphors “right” and “left,” for example, for political position came from the seating chart in the French parliament after the revolution.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Bike, I believe “The Prince” is considered the first “modern” work of political science, for exactly that reason, that it emphasizes power apart from morality. Some people in some fields consider the Renaissance to be the beginning of modernity. The French Revolution reference was to the conservative/liberal dichotomy. I mean, would you classify Macchiavelli as liberal or conservative? The categories don’t really apply to him or Queen Elizabeth or Henry VIII or Frederick the Wise. . . .The metaphors “right” and “left,” for example, for political position came from the seating chart in the French parliament after the revolution.

  • jayfromcleveland

    #6 – Dr. Veith, sure, and even the Magna Carta placed limits on the absolute power of the monarch, leading in a straight line to the Founding Fathers. Sorry, I havent read all that historical political stuff (other than Plato) and shouldnt have commented, history of science is more my bag.

  • jayfromcleveland

    #6 – Dr. Veith, sure, and even the Magna Carta placed limits on the absolute power of the monarch, leading in a straight line to the Founding Fathers. Sorry, I havent read all that historical political stuff (other than Plato) and shouldnt have commented, history of science is more my bag.

  • fwsonnek

    #7 AnotherKerner:

    Thanks AK! Bastiat was a good read. Here is the Frank-Cliffnote-Summary for those who care to know him. How does this line up to the Lutheran Apology of the Augsburg confession in the Aland article? I would be interested to hear this.

    Here is my summary. You can google for the complete text, it is found in many different translations online.

    LAW is the collective organization of the individual right to defend his person, LIBERTY, and property.

    LIBERTY is the freedom of faculties, in morals, and all other human affairs, so long as he does not harm other persons.

    LIBERTY is the restricting of the law to collective self-defense; of punishing INJUSTICE.

    The LAW IS use of FORCE. Therefore it should only be used to protect person, liberty and property. This is the only lawful use of force. This excludes using law (force) to organize labor, charity, agriculture, commerce, industry, education, art, or religion.

    LAW is only proper to keep a person harming others, preventing injustice.

    JUSTICE is merely the absence of INJUSTICE. JUSTICE has no existence of it´s own.

    The LAW is JUSTICE . Justice is not moral, fraternal, equalizing, philanthropic, industrial, literary, or artistic because these do not have precise limits. Once started, where will you stop? And where will the law stop itself? It is violent and futile to use the law (force) in the matters of morality.

    The function of LAW is NOT to regulate our morals, ideas, wills, education, opinions, work, trade, talents, or pleasures. JUSTICE is to protect the free exercise of these rights, to prevent any interference of these rights.

    Socialism confuses the distinction between government and society: when we object to a thing being done by government, socialists conclude that the objection is to it’s being done at all. They falsely assert that mankind tends toward degeneration, and is stopped from this downward course only by the mysterious hand of the legislator.

    Political struggle is the instinctive struggle toward liberty, thwarted by the teachings of antiquity of government having authority over mankind in order to arrange, organize, and regulate. Persons and property preceded the existence of the legislator, and his function is only to guarantee their safety.

    Only under this system will mankind have God’s design for progress. Everyone would then understand his privileges and responsibilities. social progress would be ceaseless, uninterrupted, and unfailing.

    In questions of morality, equality, right, justice, progress, responsibility, cooperation, property, labor, trade, capital, wages, taxes, population, or finance, The solution to the problems of human relationships is to be found in LIBERTY.

  • fwsonnek

    #7 AnotherKerner:

    Thanks AK! Bastiat was a good read. Here is the Frank-Cliffnote-Summary for those who care to know him. How does this line up to the Lutheran Apology of the Augsburg confession in the Aland article? I would be interested to hear this.

    Here is my summary. You can google for the complete text, it is found in many different translations online.

    LAW is the collective organization of the individual right to defend his person, LIBERTY, and property.

    LIBERTY is the freedom of faculties, in morals, and all other human affairs, so long as he does not harm other persons.

    LIBERTY is the restricting of the law to collective self-defense; of punishing INJUSTICE.

    The LAW IS use of FORCE. Therefore it should only be used to protect person, liberty and property. This is the only lawful use of force. This excludes using law (force) to organize labor, charity, agriculture, commerce, industry, education, art, or religion.

    LAW is only proper to keep a person harming others, preventing injustice.

    JUSTICE is merely the absence of INJUSTICE. JUSTICE has no existence of it´s own.

    The LAW is JUSTICE . Justice is not moral, fraternal, equalizing, philanthropic, industrial, literary, or artistic because these do not have precise limits. Once started, where will you stop? And where will the law stop itself? It is violent and futile to use the law (force) in the matters of morality.

    The function of LAW is NOT to regulate our morals, ideas, wills, education, opinions, work, trade, talents, or pleasures. JUSTICE is to protect the free exercise of these rights, to prevent any interference of these rights.

    Socialism confuses the distinction between government and society: when we object to a thing being done by government, socialists conclude that the objection is to it’s being done at all. They falsely assert that mankind tends toward degeneration, and is stopped from this downward course only by the mysterious hand of the legislator.

    Political struggle is the instinctive struggle toward liberty, thwarted by the teachings of antiquity of government having authority over mankind in order to arrange, organize, and regulate. Persons and property preceded the existence of the legislator, and his function is only to guarantee their safety.

    Only under this system will mankind have God’s design for progress. Everyone would then understand his privileges and responsibilities. social progress would be ceaseless, uninterrupted, and unfailing.

    In questions of morality, equality, right, justice, progress, responsibility, cooperation, property, labor, trade, capital, wages, taxes, population, or finance, The solution to the problems of human relationships is to be found in LIBERTY.

  • fwsonnek

    #7 Another Kerner

    Here is an important part I left out in my summary. Sorry!:

    Legal plunder is where the LAW (force) is used to take from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime to identify legal plunder..

    legal plunder is accomplised by tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, etc etc.

    Law cannot regulate labor or industry labor and industry without organizing injustice.

  • fwsonnek

    #7 Another Kerner

    Here is an important part I left out in my summary. Sorry!:

    Legal plunder is where the LAW (force) is used to take from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime to identify legal plunder..

    legal plunder is accomplised by tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, etc etc.

    Law cannot regulate labor or industry labor and industry without organizing injustice.

  • fwsonnek

    #7 Another Kerner.

    I am not arguing for or against your post here:

    Imagine a world where there are laws only for physical protection and to protect property rights.

    taxes to support police and military only. Probably no standing army except state militias. never a draft, always voluntary.

    PERHAPS things that individuals could not do for themselves would be done with tax dollars: roads and sewer systems and fire departments. This more radical version of libertarianism would not permit even that I don´t think.

    There would be no laws at all to regulate labor, charity, agriculture, commerce, industry, education, art, or morals.

    There is no doubt that this, in fact is closer to the original vision of the founding fathers than what we have today. This does not mean I would personally agree that this is the way to go today.

    The erie canal required a supreme court decision to be built because it benefited a part of the country more than other parts. federal highways originally needed to be justified legally by using military defense justifications.

    There would be no laws for marriages and so gay marriage would not be an issue. Not sure where this would put abortion, under physical protection or liberty. It would depend on whom you would ask I guess. drugs, guns, prostitution and gambling would for sure be completely legal. No laws against porn houses or strip joints. No zoning laws whatsoever. There would probably be NO or very few environmental protections or regulations. Public parks would not exist.

    In the beginning 90% of taxes in the USA was from us customs tarriffs, I guess that looked like a value added tax? Income taxes really started in earnest around 1900 even though there was some movement towards that during the civil war. I suppose taxes would look more like vat?

    It would be cool to have a political climate where ideas such as this could be debated. but then would anyone care to show up for the debate…..

  • fwsonnek

    #7 Another Kerner.

    I am not arguing for or against your post here:

    Imagine a world where there are laws only for physical protection and to protect property rights.

    taxes to support police and military only. Probably no standing army except state militias. never a draft, always voluntary.

    PERHAPS things that individuals could not do for themselves would be done with tax dollars: roads and sewer systems and fire departments. This more radical version of libertarianism would not permit even that I don´t think.

    There would be no laws at all to regulate labor, charity, agriculture, commerce, industry, education, art, or morals.

    There is no doubt that this, in fact is closer to the original vision of the founding fathers than what we have today. This does not mean I would personally agree that this is the way to go today.

    The erie canal required a supreme court decision to be built because it benefited a part of the country more than other parts. federal highways originally needed to be justified legally by using military defense justifications.

    There would be no laws for marriages and so gay marriage would not be an issue. Not sure where this would put abortion, under physical protection or liberty. It would depend on whom you would ask I guess. drugs, guns, prostitution and gambling would for sure be completely legal. No laws against porn houses or strip joints. No zoning laws whatsoever. There would probably be NO or very few environmental protections or regulations. Public parks would not exist.

    In the beginning 90% of taxes in the USA was from us customs tarriffs, I guess that looked like a value added tax? Income taxes really started in earnest around 1900 even though there was some movement towards that during the civil war. I suppose taxes would look more like vat?

    It would be cool to have a political climate where ideas such as this could be debated. but then would anyone care to show up for the debate…..

  • fwsonnek

    #7. another kerner

    also under this system, no public transportation systems, public libraries, museums or concert halls supported with tax dollars. no public schools or universities. no public athletic fields or swimming pools. no regulation or licensing of doctors attorneys or other professions, only voluntary associations with no force of law. no food and drug administration, no public health departments, no inspection of food processors or restaurants….

  • fwsonnek

    #7. another kerner

    also under this system, no public transportation systems, public libraries, museums or concert halls supported with tax dollars. no public schools or universities. no public athletic fields or swimming pools. no regulation or licensing of doctors attorneys or other professions, only voluntary associations with no force of law. no food and drug administration, no public health departments, no inspection of food processors or restaurants….

  • fwsonnek

    #7 another kerner

    are you saying this all would be a perfect way to run a country?

  • fwsonnek

    #7 another kerner

    are you saying this all would be a perfect way to run a country?

  • fwsonnek

    #7 another kerner and everyone here:

    On what consistent basis would logical conservatives disagree with what Another Kerner´s Basiat suggests is the limit of government in any part?

  • fwsonnek

    #7 another kerner and everyone here:

    On what consistent basis would logical conservatives disagree with what Another Kerner´s Basiat suggests is the limit of government in any part?

  • Another Kerner

    No, Frank.

    Bastiat is not neccessarily “my Bastiat”.

    I *did* mean to suggest that Bastiat could contribute some ideas to this discourse which we might like to consider as we take a free market economic stance within the frame work of our belief in the Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.

    Perhaps now a re-read of Luther’s *Large* catechism on the 7th and 9th Commandments might be in order.

    Luther says: “This, too, (temporal property) God wants to be protected. He has forbidden us to get our neighbor’s property away from him or to diminish it. For stealing is nothing other than aquiring some one else’s property by unjust means.”

    Free enterprise thieves have certainly been afoot since sin came into the world.

    But unjust governments made up, in part, of sometimes thieving men, can sometimes bring organization to plans of theft, pass unjust laws, thus legalizing their “plunder”.

    May I suggest the possibilities that a people so heavily taxed by a government for “social programs” by social planners may begin to think that the “charitable work” now being accomplished by government in their stead, relieves them of the responsibility to personally help their neighbor with acts of Charity.

    The mindset could quickly become:

    “Let the government do it.”

    Another suggestion:
    Read Marvin Olasky’s book “The Tragedy of American Compassion”.

    Remember, what a government or an individual subsidizes, they get “more of”.

  • Another Kerner

    No, Frank.

    Bastiat is not neccessarily “my Bastiat”.

    I *did* mean to suggest that Bastiat could contribute some ideas to this discourse which we might like to consider as we take a free market economic stance within the frame work of our belief in the Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.

    Perhaps now a re-read of Luther’s *Large* catechism on the 7th and 9th Commandments might be in order.

    Luther says: “This, too, (temporal property) God wants to be protected. He has forbidden us to get our neighbor’s property away from him or to diminish it. For stealing is nothing other than aquiring some one else’s property by unjust means.”

    Free enterprise thieves have certainly been afoot since sin came into the world.

    But unjust governments made up, in part, of sometimes thieving men, can sometimes bring organization to plans of theft, pass unjust laws, thus legalizing their “plunder”.

    May I suggest the possibilities that a people so heavily taxed by a government for “social programs” by social planners may begin to think that the “charitable work” now being accomplished by government in their stead, relieves them of the responsibility to personally help their neighbor with acts of Charity.

    The mindset could quickly become:

    “Let the government do it.”

    Another suggestion:
    Read Marvin Olasky’s book “The Tragedy of American Compassion”.

    Remember, what a government or an individual subsidizes, they get “more of”.

  • fwsonnek

    #23 Another Kerner

    Yeah I get you AK. For me to take the time to parse Bastiat meant that I read him very carefully yes?

    He made the points you are making and a few more. More interesting to me is where you feel that you disagree with his thinking. Would you be willing to share dear brother?

    He seems like a classic and pure libertarian. Is he considered one of the founders of that way of thinking?

    It DOES seem like he presents an argument that is sort of take it all or leave it based on how he chains his logic. Would you agree with him that the primary premise is Liberty as he defines what that is, or is it something else. You seemed to home in on the legalized theft aspect and left the rest….

    what do you think of ayn rand?

  • fwsonnek

    #23 Another Kerner

    Yeah I get you AK. For me to take the time to parse Bastiat meant that I read him very carefully yes?

    He made the points you are making and a few more. More interesting to me is where you feel that you disagree with his thinking. Would you be willing to share dear brother?

    He seems like a classic and pure libertarian. Is he considered one of the founders of that way of thinking?

    It DOES seem like he presents an argument that is sort of take it all or leave it based on how he chains his logic. Would you agree with him that the primary premise is Liberty as he defines what that is, or is it something else. You seemed to home in on the legalized theft aspect and left the rest….

    what do you think of ayn rand?

  • fwsonnek

    #23 A-Kerner

    Apologies by the way. I didnt mean anything at all by referring to him as Kerner´s Bastiat…

    you seem to feel that redistribution of wealth by government is sinful. How do you work through paying taxes? should you not be a conscientious objector there? this is not entended to be argumentative, it is merely to understand your logic better.

  • fwsonnek

    #23 A-Kerner

    Apologies by the way. I didnt mean anything at all by referring to him as Kerner´s Bastiat…

    you seem to feel that redistribution of wealth by government is sinful. How do you work through paying taxes? should you not be a conscientious objector there? this is not entended to be argumentative, it is merely to understand your logic better.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Macchiavelli? Well, certainly the level of control and terror he proposes as expedient remind one of the socialist governments of the 20th century, no? Liberal, though Nat Hentoff might not be too happy about me saying it. :^)

    Probably the big dividing line between liberal/conservative, if you want to propose that definition, is not the French Revolution as much as it is the publication of “The Wealth of Nations,” which more or less set the ground rules for capitalism (classic liberal/conservative) vs. mercantilism (liberal/statist).

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Macchiavelli? Well, certainly the level of control and terror he proposes as expedient remind one of the socialist governments of the 20th century, no? Liberal, though Nat Hentoff might not be too happy about me saying it. :^)

    Probably the big dividing line between liberal/conservative, if you want to propose that definition, is not the French Revolution as much as it is the publication of “The Wealth of Nations,” which more or less set the ground rules for capitalism (classic liberal/conservative) vs. mercantilism (liberal/statist).

  • fwsonnek

    #23 A-Kerner

    are we duty bound to refuse tax credits, tax deductions, farm subsidies and not use tax supported facilities like transportation , museums, parks, schools and the like since that would constitute receipt of stolen goods. again I am not trying to trap you or bang on you. I just want to understand where you think all this should be taken. thanks for your patience and understanding.

  • fwsonnek

    #23 A-Kerner

    are we duty bound to refuse tax credits, tax deductions, farm subsidies and not use tax supported facilities like transportation , museums, parks, schools and the like since that would constitute receipt of stolen goods. again I am not trying to trap you or bang on you. I just want to understand where you think all this should be taken. thanks for your patience and understanding.

  • Another Kerner

    Luther has said:

    “…….if only one could get at the great powerful super thieves who associate with the influential and great and who daily plunder not merely a city or two, but the entire country………”

    Perhaps this forum does not lend itself well to an indepth and/or a lengthy, sweeping discussion of the merits of various social schemes proposed by some current legislatures.

    I would simply suggest that National Socialism, International Socialism and some attempts at establishing Utopian societies have been proven failures, judged by many to be destructive to the social fabric of a nation or community.

    It should not be government’s function to “equalize” the wealth.

    It simply appears that the limited republican form of government which the founding fathers bequeathed to us in the United States Constitition is likely to vanish if the citizens of this country keep insisting on “cradle to grave”
    security provided by the federal power.

  • Another Kerner

    Luther has said:

    “…….if only one could get at the great powerful super thieves who associate with the influential and great and who daily plunder not merely a city or two, but the entire country………”

    Perhaps this forum does not lend itself well to an indepth and/or a lengthy, sweeping discussion of the merits of various social schemes proposed by some current legislatures.

    I would simply suggest that National Socialism, International Socialism and some attempts at establishing Utopian societies have been proven failures, judged by many to be destructive to the social fabric of a nation or community.

    It should not be government’s function to “equalize” the wealth.

    It simply appears that the limited republican form of government which the founding fathers bequeathed to us in the United States Constitition is likely to vanish if the citizens of this country keep insisting on “cradle to grave”
    security provided by the federal power.

  • fwsonnek

    #28 Another Kerner:

    In theory I think we probably agree completely .

    Socialism is in fact a march backwards to feudalism. I agree with frederick hayeks book “road to serfdom ” on this for the most part.

    I also think that our time is unprecidented. how?

    The nuclear family (not just mommy and daddy and the kids here. I am talking about the tribe. grandma, aunts uncles too….) is gone. not simply disappearing. Wherever capitalism is successful and wealth increases, familys are shrinking as a method of social security and people are not feeling interdependent.

    There STILL needs to be some social safety net. It used to be nuclear families. Those no longer exist.

    Government is the solution of LAST resort to fill in this gap.

    One could argue that socialism has created this situation. Or perhaps only accelerated it. But for now, there are those who need that safety net.

    I believe also that using the government as a means of delivery of this social good means always waste and fraud of at least a magnitude of 50% due to the government not being inherently or naturally equipped to do this work. This is an argument for devising some other method, but it is not an argument against the need for some form of social safety net.

    Private charitable organizations and churches, preferable as they are to government, are also not the natural providers of this safety net historically, and also they do not have sufficient resources to address the magnitude of the needs.

    so what to do in a less than perfect world?

    Call me a convicted , ardent moderate!

  • fwsonnek

    #28 Another Kerner:

    In theory I think we probably agree completely .

    Socialism is in fact a march backwards to feudalism. I agree with frederick hayeks book “road to serfdom ” on this for the most part.

    I also think that our time is unprecidented. how?

    The nuclear family (not just mommy and daddy and the kids here. I am talking about the tribe. grandma, aunts uncles too….) is gone. not simply disappearing. Wherever capitalism is successful and wealth increases, familys are shrinking as a method of social security and people are not feeling interdependent.

    There STILL needs to be some social safety net. It used to be nuclear families. Those no longer exist.

    Government is the solution of LAST resort to fill in this gap.

    One could argue that socialism has created this situation. Or perhaps only accelerated it. But for now, there are those who need that safety net.

    I believe also that using the government as a means of delivery of this social good means always waste and fraud of at least a magnitude of 50% due to the government not being inherently or naturally equipped to do this work. This is an argument for devising some other method, but it is not an argument against the need for some form of social safety net.

    Private charitable organizations and churches, preferable as they are to government, are also not the natural providers of this safety net historically, and also they do not have sufficient resources to address the magnitude of the needs.

    so what to do in a less than perfect world?

    Call me a convicted , ardent moderate!

  • fwsonnek

    #28 another kerner:

    by the way the word “completely” is not one i use lightly. so it was not faint agreement with your ideas on my part.

  • fwsonnek

    #28 another kerner:

    by the way the word “completely” is not one i use lightly. so it was not faint agreement with your ideas on my part.


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