Hobbes vs. Burke

Catholic author George Weigel says that the current election amounts to a choice between Hobbes and Burke:

This is a contest, to take symbolic reference points, between Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and Edmund Burke (1729-1797).

Both were British subjects. Both had a profound impact on modern political theory. Both knew that religion and politics—Church and state—had been thickly interwoven into the history of the West, although here the deep differences between these two paradigmatic figures begin to sharpen: Hobbes tried to drive religious conviction out of the modern public square, while Burke fashioned a vision of political modernity that drew in part on the rich social pluralism of the Catholic Middle Ages.

In a Hobbesian world, the only actors of consequence are the state and the individual. In a Burkean world, the institutions of civil society—family, religious congregation, voluntary association, business, trade union and so forth—”mediate” between the individual and the state, and the just state takes care to provide an appropriate legal framework in which those civil-society institutions can flourish.

In a Hobbesian world, the state—”Leviathan,” in the title of Hobbes’s most famous and influential work—monopolizes power for the sake of protecting individuals from the vicissitudes of a life that is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” In a Burkean world, civil society provides a thick layer of mediation-protection, if you will-that cushions the interactions between individuals and life’s challenges.

A Hobbesian world is a world of contracts and legal relationships, period. A Burkean world is a world in which there are both contracts—the rule of law—and covenants: those more subtly textured human associations (beginning with marriage) by which men and women form bonds of affection, allegiance and mutual responsibility. . . .

Along one path, there is, finally, room for only the individual and the state. Along the other path, the flourishing institutions of civil society empower individuals and contribute to real problem-solving. In the former, the state defines responsibilities and awards benefits (and penalties). In the latter, individuals and free, voluntary associations assume responsibility and thereby thus make their contribution to the common good.Hobbes vs. Burke. It’s an old argument. It’s also the argument we shall have between now and Nov. 6.

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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.

  • fws

    Agreed!
    Republicans now have taken the side of Hobbes in almost every way. The government is in no way about community. It is solely about negative police action and not at at all about positive careing for the needs of the less fortunate.
    That is to be left to voluntary organizations according to the republicans.

    One does not have to look far to see that…
    “Who built it?”

  • fws

    Agreed!
    Republicans now have taken the side of Hobbes in almost every way. The government is in no way about community. It is solely about negative police action and not at at all about positive careing for the needs of the less fortunate.
    That is to be left to voluntary organizations according to the republicans.

    One does not have to look far to see that…
    “Who built it?”

  • bob

    The first poster missed the entire point of the original post. I don’t think it was the Republicans that reduced our health system to 2500 pages of legislation with a billion dollars worth of regulations that need an additional 16000 IRS agents to enforce! Doesn’t sound very warm and fuzzy to me.

    BTW, the answer to “who built that?” is that it was done by private companies funded by taxpayers’ money. Maybe the government “organized” the building but real people built it with money provided by the real people who use it.

    I realize that this isn’t a “winnable” argument, but I needed to jump in.

  • bob

    The first poster missed the entire point of the original post. I don’t think it was the Republicans that reduced our health system to 2500 pages of legislation with a billion dollars worth of regulations that need an additional 16000 IRS agents to enforce! Doesn’t sound very warm and fuzzy to me.

    BTW, the answer to “who built that?” is that it was done by private companies funded by taxpayers’ money. Maybe the government “organized” the building but real people built it with money provided by the real people who use it.

    I realize that this isn’t a “winnable” argument, but I needed to jump in.

  • trotk

    The idea that Romney or Obama have significantly different views on the size of scope of the state is comical. Both principally answer questions through government, not communities and individuals.

    Anything else that they say is lip-service.

    This article is wishful thinking, or the projection of the author’s values in order to justify an odious choice in the voting booth.

  • trotk

    The idea that Romney or Obama have significantly different views on the size of scope of the state is comical. Both principally answer questions through government, not communities and individuals.

    Anything else that they say is lip-service.

    This article is wishful thinking, or the projection of the author’s values in order to justify an odious choice in the voting booth.

  • SKPeterson

    I would further add to trotk @ 3, that we are in a rump–Burkean political system that actively seeks to be more and more Hobbesian. Legal contracts that are binding upon parties that are not signatories; I didn’t sign the Constitution, I’ve made no legal declaration of loyalty to the transitory kings and petty tyrants that bestride the fickle streams of public policy largesse. Yet, by Hobbes’ logic, and in its post-Lincoln reading, I am bound, bound!, by the fact of my birth to give my assent. In fact, my assent is assumed. Oh, I know, love it or leave it, but why doesn’t the government leave and move somewhere and leave me here? Why is it me that has to move? Why don’t those who love tyranny and want to live under it go to North Korea or Cuba or Venezuela? Or is it that they don’t want to live under a tyranny, or democratic despotism, but rather they seek to be over it. Hobbesianism ultimately descends into a binding contract for the masses (the serfs) who are subject to whatever laws are imposed, and the political class (the nobility, the DNC, the RNC, the bureaucrats, the union bosses, the plutocrats) who are not.

  • SKPeterson

    I would further add to trotk @ 3, that we are in a rump–Burkean political system that actively seeks to be more and more Hobbesian. Legal contracts that are binding upon parties that are not signatories; I didn’t sign the Constitution, I’ve made no legal declaration of loyalty to the transitory kings and petty tyrants that bestride the fickle streams of public policy largesse. Yet, by Hobbes’ logic, and in its post-Lincoln reading, I am bound, bound!, by the fact of my birth to give my assent. In fact, my assent is assumed. Oh, I know, love it or leave it, but why doesn’t the government leave and move somewhere and leave me here? Why is it me that has to move? Why don’t those who love tyranny and want to live under it go to North Korea or Cuba or Venezuela? Or is it that they don’t want to live under a tyranny, or democratic despotism, but rather they seek to be over it. Hobbesianism ultimately descends into a binding contract for the masses (the serfs) who are subject to whatever laws are imposed, and the political class (the nobility, the DNC, the RNC, the bureaucrats, the union bosses, the plutocrats) who are not.

  • fws

    bob @ 2

    It was sarcasm. Obamacare is different from ROmneycare in Mass how exactly? Oh yeah. Romney has flipflopped on that among other things to crassly pander to his fragile base.

    read what trotke says @3. I +1 that. That was the point of my sarcastic response @1. You make a distinction where there is no difference.

  • fws

    bob @ 2

    It was sarcasm. Obamacare is different from ROmneycare in Mass how exactly? Oh yeah. Romney has flipflopped on that among other things to crassly pander to his fragile base.

    read what trotke says @3. I +1 that. That was the point of my sarcastic response @1. You make a distinction where there is no difference.

  • fws

    skp @4

    I think what you wrote is utopian SKP . at what point in american history have things ever been different? In world history?

    Political philosophy and religion are usually cover for those with power to do as they wish. With notable individual exceptions to the institutional rule.

    To argue as you do for some ideal seems not alot different than those who argued for communism or any other ism. Looks good on paper.

    The democratic social sin is to argue for mercy with facts on the ground when really the goal is priviledge for a few. Manipulative. The republicans appeal to lofty principle with the same end. Manipulative. Which is worse or more corruptive of public morals ? I would say that the craven use of moral ideals to manipulate is worse It will breed more cynicism among those who still value those ideals.

    Original sin is an incovenient intractable fact . Old Adam needs restraint. Its why a free market should never be and can never be, completely free. Greed would always prevail. And that would be contrary to God´s Will that mercy is done among men rather than sacrifice.

  • fws

    skp @4

    I think what you wrote is utopian SKP . at what point in american history have things ever been different? In world history?

    Political philosophy and religion are usually cover for those with power to do as they wish. With notable individual exceptions to the institutional rule.

    To argue as you do for some ideal seems not alot different than those who argued for communism or any other ism. Looks good on paper.

    The democratic social sin is to argue for mercy with facts on the ground when really the goal is priviledge for a few. Manipulative. The republicans appeal to lofty principle with the same end. Manipulative. Which is worse or more corruptive of public morals ? I would say that the craven use of moral ideals to manipulate is worse It will breed more cynicism among those who still value those ideals.

    Original sin is an incovenient intractable fact . Old Adam needs restraint. Its why a free market should never be and can never be, completely free. Greed would always prevail. And that would be contrary to God´s Will that mercy is done among men rather than sacrifice.

  • SKPeterson

    Fws – I’m not advocating some utopian ideal, but rather to have a more fractious and distended social order built more on the Burkean model, rather than Hobbes. Actually probably more Hayekian/Oakeshottian with a good deal of old-fashioned, Peace of Westphalian Holy Roman Empire small statishness without actually having the political dross of an emperor. Here I’d say that I prefer a properly Lutheran Catholic subsidiarity, in which the institutions of civil society are as central, or more so, than the institutions of state. In a world of fallen men, I don’t want to give to much authority to armed institutions made up of the same sinful men, but rather have an arsenal of checks and balances spread throughout society. I’d rather there be 20,000 Liechtensteins under the sky, than 200 nation-states in the same space.

  • SKPeterson

    Fws – I’m not advocating some utopian ideal, but rather to have a more fractious and distended social order built more on the Burkean model, rather than Hobbes. Actually probably more Hayekian/Oakeshottian with a good deal of old-fashioned, Peace of Westphalian Holy Roman Empire small statishness without actually having the political dross of an emperor. Here I’d say that I prefer a properly Lutheran Catholic subsidiarity, in which the institutions of civil society are as central, or more so, than the institutions of state. In a world of fallen men, I don’t want to give to much authority to armed institutions made up of the same sinful men, but rather have an arsenal of checks and balances spread throughout society. I’d rather there be 20,000 Liechtensteins under the sky, than 200 nation-states in the same space.

  • Jon

    FWS@5 “Obamacare is different from ROmneycare in Mass how exactly?”

    Well, um, for starters, MA is just a single state. Whereas, Obamacare coopts the rights of all 50 states and territories to manage their own healthcare systems.

  • Jon

    FWS@5 “Obamacare is different from ROmneycare in Mass how exactly?”

    Well, um, for starters, MA is just a single state. Whereas, Obamacare coopts the rights of all 50 states and territories to manage their own healthcare systems.

  • fws

    skp @ 7

    it still feels like you are looking for some sort of magic formula to rein in the old adam, and that, of those in power.
    You really think smaller government would fix anything?

    In africa and the middle east and other places the extended nuclear family (the tribe) governs effectively. This is the historical norm I suggest. The results are mixed. Usually not benevolent for women and those who have no real power or who fall outside of some societal norm such as lepers etc(cf OT cultural norms).

    Might I suggest that all the talk about right thinking is just another attempt at utopianism. IF we can get people to see things, think, rightly, then right actions are certain to follow. Here on this blog, lots of posts seem to be about that strategy.

    It doesnt work. Old Adam simply needs Divine Law, in the form of poop scoop ordinances, emily post, the irs code, regulation of wall street, usary laws, social norms that exert pressure on others to conform. It is certain that those things usually or even always result in injustices and deformities. Eg: the stigma of unwed motherhood leading to quietly done abortions and hipocracy. Yet the Divine Will that mercy be done among men simply will not happen without such mortification in the form of authority placed over us by sinful, selfish, greedy, flawed men and now women.

    so the solution? Prayer. Obedience to those injust authorities as being the authority of God himself. Being living sacrifices poured out in mercy even to those who show no mercy to others. No grand movement. No grand philosophical-ism-salvation-through-right-thinking.

    It IS true that the discipline of right thinking is indespensible to virtue. At the same time, it is also true that Godly righeousness is 100% in what we do in word and deed. Thoughts dont count in this except as preparation and self-control. So God sends authority to make us do what we are unwilling to do. which is to pour ourselves out as living sacrifices. be mercy to others. spend our money on the poor and needy rather than that vacation home, second car, or , if one is poor, open ones home to feeding one or two more . It is error to think that right thinking will fix anything really. righteousness is about what we DO. and a DOing that benefits someone. Useful is the key word here.

    And our task? roll a stone up a hill till we tire and it rolls over us. rinse and repeat. seemingly futile. death. and it is , And it is God´s will we do it. Not for death. God doesnt will that. for us to render mercy for others. Mercy is the opposite of Justice. It is to give to others the exact opposite of what they deserve for what they have done. That is Gods Will to be done.

  • fws

    skp @ 7

    it still feels like you are looking for some sort of magic formula to rein in the old adam, and that, of those in power.
    You really think smaller government would fix anything?

    In africa and the middle east and other places the extended nuclear family (the tribe) governs effectively. This is the historical norm I suggest. The results are mixed. Usually not benevolent for women and those who have no real power or who fall outside of some societal norm such as lepers etc(cf OT cultural norms).

    Might I suggest that all the talk about right thinking is just another attempt at utopianism. IF we can get people to see things, think, rightly, then right actions are certain to follow. Here on this blog, lots of posts seem to be about that strategy.

    It doesnt work. Old Adam simply needs Divine Law, in the form of poop scoop ordinances, emily post, the irs code, regulation of wall street, usary laws, social norms that exert pressure on others to conform. It is certain that those things usually or even always result in injustices and deformities. Eg: the stigma of unwed motherhood leading to quietly done abortions and hipocracy. Yet the Divine Will that mercy be done among men simply will not happen without such mortification in the form of authority placed over us by sinful, selfish, greedy, flawed men and now women.

    so the solution? Prayer. Obedience to those injust authorities as being the authority of God himself. Being living sacrifices poured out in mercy even to those who show no mercy to others. No grand movement. No grand philosophical-ism-salvation-through-right-thinking.

    It IS true that the discipline of right thinking is indespensible to virtue. At the same time, it is also true that Godly righeousness is 100% in what we do in word and deed. Thoughts dont count in this except as preparation and self-control. So God sends authority to make us do what we are unwilling to do. which is to pour ourselves out as living sacrifices. be mercy to others. spend our money on the poor and needy rather than that vacation home, second car, or , if one is poor, open ones home to feeding one or two more . It is error to think that right thinking will fix anything really. righteousness is about what we DO. and a DOing that benefits someone. Useful is the key word here.

    And our task? roll a stone up a hill till we tire and it rolls over us. rinse and repeat. seemingly futile. death. and it is , And it is God´s will we do it. Not for death. God doesnt will that. for us to render mercy for others. Mercy is the opposite of Justice. It is to give to others the exact opposite of what they deserve for what they have done. That is Gods Will to be done.

  • fws

    skp @ 7

    perhaps the error is to place liberty as the highest goal of government. And this IS error.

    Our Confessions teach this:
    Whatever renders the most mercy for others is what God desires.
    remember that Mercy, by definition, is to give to others the precise opposite of what it is that they deserve for what they have done.

    SKP if you focus on THE goal as being mercy rendered, I would suggest that is very freeing from ideology. What government best extorts mercy out of one Old Adam towards another.

    Remember that Good Works are ALWAYS extorted out of Old Adam. There is NO other way Good Works, which are Divinely intended to be Mercy, can happen out of Old Adam.

    So far from thinking that Mercy is about laisse faire or libertinism or whatever, this suggests the urgent need for Authority with the power to bend the knees of us all. For none of us do Mercy as we ought. And so the Authority God sends, with all its injustice is Gods judgement upon us, calling us to repentence and contrition and obedience and… to do more Mercy.

  • fws

    skp @ 7

    perhaps the error is to place liberty as the highest goal of government. And this IS error.

    Our Confessions teach this:
    Whatever renders the most mercy for others is what God desires.
    remember that Mercy, by definition, is to give to others the precise opposite of what it is that they deserve for what they have done.

    SKP if you focus on THE goal as being mercy rendered, I would suggest that is very freeing from ideology. What government best extorts mercy out of one Old Adam towards another.

    Remember that Good Works are ALWAYS extorted out of Old Adam. There is NO other way Good Works, which are Divinely intended to be Mercy, can happen out of Old Adam.

    So far from thinking that Mercy is about laisse faire or libertinism or whatever, this suggests the urgent need for Authority with the power to bend the knees of us all. For none of us do Mercy as we ought. And so the Authority God sends, with all its injustice is Gods judgement upon us, calling us to repentence and contrition and obedience and… to do more Mercy.

  • fws

    jon @ 8

    of course my real point is that there is really NO difference at all in this point between romney and obamas thinking, contrary to what this post seems to assert.

    Then there is that medicare drug program that was Bushcare….I know… lets not confuse anyone with those sorts of details when the goal is to say that there is Soooooo much at stake in this election.

    again +1 to what trotke says. He said it more eloquently than me.

  • fws

    jon @ 8

    of course my real point is that there is really NO difference at all in this point between romney and obamas thinking, contrary to what this post seems to assert.

    Then there is that medicare drug program that was Bushcare….I know… lets not confuse anyone with those sorts of details when the goal is to say that there is Soooooo much at stake in this election.

    again +1 to what trotke says. He said it more eloquently than me.

  • DonS

    There are certainly substantial and significant differences between the vision and goals of an Obama/Biden ticket and a Romney/Ryan ticket for the next four years. Anyone who says there are not is not paying attention. However, they don’t fall neatly along Hobbes v. Burke lines, as the author of the linked article suggests. As evidenced by the Obama administration’s attack of the filmmaker, the HHS mandate regulations, its arguments in the Hosanna-Tabor case, and countless other instances, the administration is not a strong believer in the rights and liberties of the individual. It IS a strong ally of favored organizations, such as labor unions and environmental groups, but disfavors any secular influence by religious organizations. On the other hand, the Romney team asserts a stronger interest in individual liberties and favors secular influence by religious organizations, but disfavors the current power and influence of trade unions, especially public employee unions.

    So, the article really doesn’t make sense as applied to the campaign.

  • DonS

    There are certainly substantial and significant differences between the vision and goals of an Obama/Biden ticket and a Romney/Ryan ticket for the next four years. Anyone who says there are not is not paying attention. However, they don’t fall neatly along Hobbes v. Burke lines, as the author of the linked article suggests. As evidenced by the Obama administration’s attack of the filmmaker, the HHS mandate regulations, its arguments in the Hosanna-Tabor case, and countless other instances, the administration is not a strong believer in the rights and liberties of the individual. It IS a strong ally of favored organizations, such as labor unions and environmental groups, but disfavors any secular influence by religious organizations. On the other hand, the Romney team asserts a stronger interest in individual liberties and favors secular influence by religious organizations, but disfavors the current power and influence of trade unions, especially public employee unions.

    So, the article really doesn’t make sense as applied to the campaign.

  • fjsteve

    trotk, #3:

    “The idea that Romney or Obama have significantly different views on the size of scope of the state is comical. Both principally answer questions through government, not communities and individuals. ”

    I agree. There are differences though. One side wants more control over law and order. The other side wants more control over care and education. One side wants to be your father, the other side wants to be your mother (replete with their own stereotypical mother-in-law as Secretary of State).

    The end result: the government has incrementally more control over every part of our lives.

  • fjsteve

    trotk, #3:

    “The idea that Romney or Obama have significantly different views on the size of scope of the state is comical. Both principally answer questions through government, not communities and individuals. ”

    I agree. There are differences though. One side wants more control over law and order. The other side wants more control over care and education. One side wants to be your father, the other side wants to be your mother (replete with their own stereotypical mother-in-law as Secretary of State).

    The end result: the government has incrementally more control over every part of our lives.

  • SKPeterson

    Frank @ 9 and 10 – the goal isn’t for government extortion of mercy, but rather for there to be space within which mercy may be provided. I make no claims that every part of earth will be its own separate slice of Heaven. I’m just saying that if I have to choose between big interventionist state #1 or big interventionist state #2 to provide mercy to my fellows, I’ll take my chances on the a plethora a smaller states behind curtain #3.

    While in our fallen state we need law, we don’t necessarily need an intrusive state to create it, define it, enforce it and wield it. While law exists in the second kingdom, it is not reserved entirely for the state, and it is not reserved for the biggest states. Because the law is enforced by sinful men, it should be limited in scope. While the absence of law may lead to evil, a great preponderance of law may lead to even greater evil. And that always seems to result in a lot of poop to be scooped up by people who aren’t part of the state apparatus.

  • SKPeterson

    Frank @ 9 and 10 – the goal isn’t for government extortion of mercy, but rather for there to be space within which mercy may be provided. I make no claims that every part of earth will be its own separate slice of Heaven. I’m just saying that if I have to choose between big interventionist state #1 or big interventionist state #2 to provide mercy to my fellows, I’ll take my chances on the a plethora a smaller states behind curtain #3.

    While in our fallen state we need law, we don’t necessarily need an intrusive state to create it, define it, enforce it and wield it. While law exists in the second kingdom, it is not reserved entirely for the state, and it is not reserved for the biggest states. Because the law is enforced by sinful men, it should be limited in scope. While the absence of law may lead to evil, a great preponderance of law may lead to even greater evil. And that always seems to result in a lot of poop to be scooped up by people who aren’t part of the state apparatus.

  • fws

    skp

    ” the goal isn’t for government extortion of mercy, but rather for there to be space within which mercy may be provided. ”

    Huh? what does that mean SKP?

    The Law always accuses, kills,and.. extorts. We call this mortification which is latinate for “deathing”.

    Agreed that none of that is the Will of God per se, but it IS the Divine Law at work. God tells us his Divine Will is for mercy, rather than the sacrifice that is ALWAYS and ONLY ALONE what the Divine Law, even in the form of poop scoop ordinances works…

    And the goal of that work is this… for Old Adam to have, extorted out of him, that is UNwillingly, and INvolutarily, mercy towards others.

    The goal is to provide a “space for mercy to be provided”
    what in the heck is that? Old Adam will do mercy voluntarily if only the government will leave him alone to do that? Uh. No.

    ANY goodness and mercy that happens on earth is ALONE, a direct result of the Holy Spirit applying the Divine Law(ala rom 2:15) to the Reason and Free Will of mankind. Extortion. Apart from that extortion of the Law NO goodness and mercy is possible among us Old Adams.

    There are 3 governments that are divinely sanctioned to do this coercion of Old Adam: household/matrimony, church and society

    And the Law always does what?

    Small cities and smaller governments just means less sin because there are fewer sinners. But there is no difference otherwise. Mini Size of govt you say is a sort of cure. How so?

  • fws

    skp

    ” the goal isn’t for government extortion of mercy, but rather for there to be space within which mercy may be provided. ”

    Huh? what does that mean SKP?

    The Law always accuses, kills,and.. extorts. We call this mortification which is latinate for “deathing”.

    Agreed that none of that is the Will of God per se, but it IS the Divine Law at work. God tells us his Divine Will is for mercy, rather than the sacrifice that is ALWAYS and ONLY ALONE what the Divine Law, even in the form of poop scoop ordinances works…

    And the goal of that work is this… for Old Adam to have, extorted out of him, that is UNwillingly, and INvolutarily, mercy towards others.

    The goal is to provide a “space for mercy to be provided”
    what in the heck is that? Old Adam will do mercy voluntarily if only the government will leave him alone to do that? Uh. No.

    ANY goodness and mercy that happens on earth is ALONE, a direct result of the Holy Spirit applying the Divine Law(ala rom 2:15) to the Reason and Free Will of mankind. Extortion. Apart from that extortion of the Law NO goodness and mercy is possible among us Old Adams.

    There are 3 governments that are divinely sanctioned to do this coercion of Old Adam: household/matrimony, church and society

    And the Law always does what?

    Small cities and smaller governments just means less sin because there are fewer sinners. But there is no difference otherwise. Mini Size of govt you say is a sort of cure. How so?

  • fws

    skp @ 14

    the citystates of genoa, venice, athens etc didnt turn out any better than the city state of rome that supersized itself. And Rome , with all its corruption and problems and inequity and injustice created the Pax Romana and cultural benefits we enjoy to this very day. Athens as well for all their perversions.

    God WILL rule in spite of Old Adam.

    The historical model you are thinking of, as the basis for your idealism , is what?

  • fws

    skp @ 14

    the citystates of genoa, venice, athens etc didnt turn out any better than the city state of rome that supersized itself. And Rome , with all its corruption and problems and inequity and injustice created the Pax Romana and cultural benefits we enjoy to this very day. Athens as well for all their perversions.

    God WILL rule in spite of Old Adam.

    The historical model you are thinking of, as the basis for your idealism , is what?

  • fws

    skp @ 14

    Here is the first article I have ever read that puts its finger on the real problem we have in the USA, which is greed becoming increasingly legalized and rationalized under cover of “principles”:

    The term “financialization” describes two interlocking processes: a disproportionate growth in a country’s deregulated financial sector, relative to the rest of the economy, and the rising importance of financial activities with a focus on financial returns among industrial and other non-financial corporations, often at the expense of real innovation and productivity.

    Some see the rising influence of finance and financial models in epochal terms. Author of Financialization and the U.S. Economy Özgür Orhangazi summarizes academic literature that sees financialization “as one of the indicators of the decline of the heg­e­mon­ic power”: imperial Venice, Genoa, Holland, and Britain all saw their power rise on the back of productive industrial capitalism, followed by domination by the financial sector, which eventually began to cannibalize the productive sector in pursuit of financial returns—a process that ended in weakness and collapse.

    This is really what is now happening to us. It started with the removal of usary laws in my home state of south dakota by a mormon governor. Credit Cards could give credit to those unworthy of it by charging exhorbitant rates….

    To frame things as hobbes or burke, or make it about a culture war post modernism vs modernism vs … whatever… are just distractions from this primary problem that started around the time of carter reagan. and defense spending and govt deficits all play into this. Its really how dems and reps are no different. They both are enriched by fiscalization.

  • fws

    skp @ 14

    Here is the first article I have ever read that puts its finger on the real problem we have in the USA, which is greed becoming increasingly legalized and rationalized under cover of “principles”:

    The term “financialization” describes two interlocking processes: a disproportionate growth in a country’s deregulated financial sector, relative to the rest of the economy, and the rising importance of financial activities with a focus on financial returns among industrial and other non-financial corporations, often at the expense of real innovation and productivity.

    Some see the rising influence of finance and financial models in epochal terms. Author of Financialization and the U.S. Economy Özgür Orhangazi summarizes academic literature that sees financialization “as one of the indicators of the decline of the heg­e­mon­ic power”: imperial Venice, Genoa, Holland, and Britain all saw their power rise on the back of productive industrial capitalism, followed by domination by the financial sector, which eventually began to cannibalize the productive sector in pursuit of financial returns—a process that ended in weakness and collapse.

    This is really what is now happening to us. It started with the removal of usary laws in my home state of south dakota by a mormon governor. Credit Cards could give credit to those unworthy of it by charging exhorbitant rates….

    To frame things as hobbes or burke, or make it about a culture war post modernism vs modernism vs … whatever… are just distractions from this primary problem that started around the time of carter reagan. and defense spending and govt deficits all play into this. Its really how dems and reps are no different. They both are enriched by fiscalization.

  • fws
  • fws
  • SKPeterson

    I’m making no claims for perfection, Frank. I’m just making claims for minimization of collateral damage. The Swiss Confederation will do for a good model Frank. There is law in the form of the state, but it is largely held in check by custom, and a fairly vibrant set of cultural institutions that make up a counteracting “common” law. It is this cultural and customary institutional space that I argue is a better venue for acts of mercy than that of the state, whatever its size.

    Let me ask you this though. You say, “ANY goodness and mercy that happens on earth is ALONE, a direct result of the Holy Spirit applying the Divine Law(ala rom 2:15) to the Reason and Free Will of mankind. Extortion. Apart from that extortion of the Law NO goodness and mercy is possible among us Old Adams.” Where in that statement is there any requirement that a state must be the agent of the Holy Spirit? Not that the state couldn’t be, but rather, must it be so?

  • SKPeterson

    I’m making no claims for perfection, Frank. I’m just making claims for minimization of collateral damage. The Swiss Confederation will do for a good model Frank. There is law in the form of the state, but it is largely held in check by custom, and a fairly vibrant set of cultural institutions that make up a counteracting “common” law. It is this cultural and customary institutional space that I argue is a better venue for acts of mercy than that of the state, whatever its size.

    Let me ask you this though. You say, “ANY goodness and mercy that happens on earth is ALONE, a direct result of the Holy Spirit applying the Divine Law(ala rom 2:15) to the Reason and Free Will of mankind. Extortion. Apart from that extortion of the Law NO goodness and mercy is possible among us Old Adams.” Where in that statement is there any requirement that a state must be the agent of the Holy Spirit? Not that the state couldn’t be, but rather, must it be so?

  • SKPeterson

    So, Frank @ 17, NOW you drag that little whore Money into the conversation. ;)

    Here again though, the differences between the parties are slight. it is not an issue so much of whose ox gets gored, but rather whose ox gets to do the goring. The taxpayers are going to get one way or the other.

  • SKPeterson

    So, Frank @ 17, NOW you drag that little whore Money into the conversation. ;)

    Here again though, the differences between the parties are slight. it is not an issue so much of whose ox gets gored, but rather whose ox gets to do the goring. The taxpayers are going to get one way or the other.

  • fws

    skp

    Your thesis seems to be that a smaller (less powerful more limited) government will result in more of God´s Will being done. I am not seeing that. Show me.
    Maybe more personal “liberty”, aka “more space for mercy to be done”?

    My point is this:
    the entire point of government having power is to extort. To make us do sacrifice, which is to give up what is “ours” to someone else who needs what is “ours”. In a truly sacrificial way. That is the Divine Law in action. It is what the Divine Law does and only and always does.

    And agreed that is not the Divine Point or Will. The Divine Will is for us to scrimp and save to be able to give anything extra to someone who deserves justice, but we give them mercy instead.

    My liberty is only legitimate to the extent that it evidentially results in my doing the mercy for others which they do not deserve. If they deserved it , it would be justice. The facts that we need courts to administer justice shows just how far we are from doing the mercy that is really Gods Will.

    Beyond that use of liberty to do mercy rather than justice, one is committing sin. Period.

  • fws

    skp

    Your thesis seems to be that a smaller (less powerful more limited) government will result in more of God´s Will being done. I am not seeing that. Show me.
    Maybe more personal “liberty”, aka “more space for mercy to be done”?

    My point is this:
    the entire point of government having power is to extort. To make us do sacrifice, which is to give up what is “ours” to someone else who needs what is “ours”. In a truly sacrificial way. That is the Divine Law in action. It is what the Divine Law does and only and always does.

    And agreed that is not the Divine Point or Will. The Divine Will is for us to scrimp and save to be able to give anything extra to someone who deserves justice, but we give them mercy instead.

    My liberty is only legitimate to the extent that it evidentially results in my doing the mercy for others which they do not deserve. If they deserved it , it would be justice. The facts that we need courts to administer justice shows just how far we are from doing the mercy that is really Gods Will.

    Beyond that use of liberty to do mercy rather than justice, one is committing sin. Period.

  • fws

    skp

    Ideally, as Luther says in the catechisms, families will impress upon their young that God WILL punish us for refusing to do mercy for others. So we should, ideally , learn to do mercy for others of our free will and joyfully.

    To the extent that we do not individually do this, God WILL send a government that is extortive proportional to our individual and collective failure to do the mercy he demands. To whom much is given much mercy is demanded.

    Those second vacation homes and rvs etc should be liquidated hearing the cries of the poor. Ok. We dont want to do that. So then God punishes us with the democrats who make us do what we dont want to do.

    We need to pray that God does not send us far worse. And we need to individually and corporately repent, seeing our failure to dedicate our lives and fortune to those in need in the most sacrificial way we can, after attending to the reasonable needs of our family.

    Arguing about burke etc, is morally like rearranging the deck chairs of the titanic. Caring for widows and orphans in their distress is what God WILL have done. Our choice is to do that willingly or have God send the government, and if even the government cant do that, there is the hangman.

  • fws

    skp

    Ideally, as Luther says in the catechisms, families will impress upon their young that God WILL punish us for refusing to do mercy for others. So we should, ideally , learn to do mercy for others of our free will and joyfully.

    To the extent that we do not individually do this, God WILL send a government that is extortive proportional to our individual and collective failure to do the mercy he demands. To whom much is given much mercy is demanded.

    Those second vacation homes and rvs etc should be liquidated hearing the cries of the poor. Ok. We dont want to do that. So then God punishes us with the democrats who make us do what we dont want to do.

    We need to pray that God does not send us far worse. And we need to individually and corporately repent, seeing our failure to dedicate our lives and fortune to those in need in the most sacrificial way we can, after attending to the reasonable needs of our family.

    Arguing about burke etc, is morally like rearranging the deck chairs of the titanic. Caring for widows and orphans in their distress is what God WILL have done. Our choice is to do that willingly or have God send the government, and if even the government cant do that, there is the hangman.

  • fws

    skp

    To make my point more simple:
    I am suggesting that the evidential proof of whether a government is good (conforms to Gods Will) or not is not how much personal freedom is allowed. the test or proof is how much mercy is being done. Less poverty,

    This is not your frame is it? I suggest it should be. Scandanavia doesnt look bad by that measure. Neither does canada. the usa? not so good…

    Freedom is only moral when there is evidence it is being used to reduce the poverty and suffering of the poor and outcasts of society.

  • fws

    skp

    To make my point more simple:
    I am suggesting that the evidential proof of whether a government is good (conforms to Gods Will) or not is not how much personal freedom is allowed. the test or proof is how much mercy is being done. Less poverty,

    This is not your frame is it? I suggest it should be. Scandanavia doesnt look bad by that measure. Neither does canada. the usa? not so good…

    Freedom is only moral when there is evidence it is being used to reduce the poverty and suffering of the poor and outcasts of society.

  • Other Gary

    Frank, your points about what constitutes moral government and what its aims should be have got me interested. I posted something about this on the thread about Google putting the YouTube video back up.

    In your view, how does “Freedom is only moral when there is evidence it is being used to reduce the poverty and suffering of the poor and outcasts of society” fit with First Amendment rights guaranteeing freedom of speech? Now you’ve got me wrestling with the question of whether “free” speech can be considered “wicked,” and then the First Use of the Law would seem to apply: civil authority (the temporal kingdom) should use the “sword” (regulation, force) to curb wickedness. Is Lutheran theology inherently incompatible with the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment?

    I’m not try anything funny, this is a thorny question. Perhaps I explained it better on the other thread.

  • Other Gary

    Frank, your points about what constitutes moral government and what its aims should be have got me interested. I posted something about this on the thread about Google putting the YouTube video back up.

    In your view, how does “Freedom is only moral when there is evidence it is being used to reduce the poverty and suffering of the poor and outcasts of society” fit with First Amendment rights guaranteeing freedom of speech? Now you’ve got me wrestling with the question of whether “free” speech can be considered “wicked,” and then the First Use of the Law would seem to apply: civil authority (the temporal kingdom) should use the “sword” (regulation, force) to curb wickedness. Is Lutheran theology inherently incompatible with the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment?

    I’m not try anything funny, this is a thorny question. Perhaps I explained it better on the other thread.

  • Jon

    FWS@11

    “of course my real point is that there is really NO difference at all in this point between romney and obamas thinking, contrary to what this post seems to assert.”

    So you are saying that Romney is not being honest about his intent to do away with Obamacare because he actually thinks like Obama about universal healthcare?

    Because I think that there is a vast amount of difference between Romney’s MA version and Obamacare where the former implements it on the scale of a single-state where it may actually be economically feasible to do so, as opposed to the latter’s imposing it by fiat on all 50 states managed as a federally-managed program where it’s not workable and tramples on states’ rights.

  • Jon

    FWS@11

    “of course my real point is that there is really NO difference at all in this point between romney and obamas thinking, contrary to what this post seems to assert.”

    So you are saying that Romney is not being honest about his intent to do away with Obamacare because he actually thinks like Obama about universal healthcare?

    Because I think that there is a vast amount of difference between Romney’s MA version and Obamacare where the former implements it on the scale of a single-state where it may actually be economically feasible to do so, as opposed to the latter’s imposing it by fiat on all 50 states managed as a federally-managed program where it’s not workable and tramples on states’ rights.

  • fws

    jon @ 25

    I could be wrong, but I think obamacare actually mandates that states have some form of universal health care, and defaults to the federal model if they do not chose to implement their own model. if that isnt there, then it should be.

    Recently obama allows states to opt out of the welfare to work program if their state program meets certain goals. That is a hopeful move in the right direction. I DO believe that states are best as laboratories for what works or does not before making federal law.

    That said, no. I dont see any essential difference, from what I have read between obamacare and romneycare. what are those differences other than ones of scale Jon? educate me.

  • fws

    jon @ 25

    I could be wrong, but I think obamacare actually mandates that states have some form of universal health care, and defaults to the federal model if they do not chose to implement their own model. if that isnt there, then it should be.

    Recently obama allows states to opt out of the welfare to work program if their state program meets certain goals. That is a hopeful move in the right direction. I DO believe that states are best as laboratories for what works or does not before making federal law.

    That said, no. I dont see any essential difference, from what I have read between obamacare and romneycare. what are those differences other than ones of scale Jon? educate me.

  • fws

    other gary @ 24

    Our constitution enshrines property ownership. originally one could not even vote withhout owning realestate. and it also seems to enshrine the largest amount of unrestricted personal liberty possible while still maintaining order as THE highest social good and THE aim and intention in how our government was designed.

    Now contrast this with how God defines eartly righeousness:

    The Bible says that Gods Will is for mercy to be done for others.
    In Old Adam sinners (all of us) mercy can NOT happen without justice.

    The Law is justice-at-work. The Law only and always accuses and kills. It requires self sacrifice (aka the aristotelian self virtues) to avoid being punished or to gain rewards.

    Reason will always understand justice as being Gods Will. Why? Evidentially reason sees that all actions have consequences. Romans 2:15 So it is justice and not mercy that reason homes in on.

    Leave me alone with what I have earned and what is mine fair and square! This is just and justice. And our constitution, properly, rewards such a structure. Properly? Yes. It is wrong to covet what is not mine.

    But something is missing

    The self virtues and self sacrifice that is Justice is Gods means to an end. It is not the End that God wills. “I would have mercy rather than sacrifice”

    Gods will is for mercy to be done among men. Mercy is the exact opposite of Justice interestingly. Mercy is to receive the exact opposite of what we deserve for what we have done. To get what we deserve is Justice.

    Therefore:

    Liberty is sinful and opposed to Gods Will whenever it is used to do ANYTHING that is not aimed at doing mercy for others.

    now for some nuance:

    I favor free speech. We live in a sinful world. Here in my home in Brasil, it is imprissonable to say nasty things about homosexuals or blacks. That means there is no public debate or discourse on such matters. which means society will not change quickly.
    Therefore to allow freedom to say hateful things actually seems to lead to a public discourse that leads to….mercy being done.

    people are increasingly less likely to make nasty jokes about blacks and gays. That is a good thing. How has that come about? public discourse and the right to say any stupidly nasty thing one choses to.

    It is one think to label something sin. It is quite another to make something lawful or not. I like our constitution just fine.

    TAKE HOME POINT:
    But…. liberty is a means to an end.
    It is NOT an end unto itself
    Righeousness=mercy being done for those who have not earned it. Period.

    So there Lutherans do depart from the Enlightenment thinking and the product of that thinking called the declaration of Independence and the American Constitution.

  • fws

    other gary @ 24

    Our constitution enshrines property ownership. originally one could not even vote withhout owning realestate. and it also seems to enshrine the largest amount of unrestricted personal liberty possible while still maintaining order as THE highest social good and THE aim and intention in how our government was designed.

    Now contrast this with how God defines eartly righeousness:

    The Bible says that Gods Will is for mercy to be done for others.
    In Old Adam sinners (all of us) mercy can NOT happen without justice.

    The Law is justice-at-work. The Law only and always accuses and kills. It requires self sacrifice (aka the aristotelian self virtues) to avoid being punished or to gain rewards.

    Reason will always understand justice as being Gods Will. Why? Evidentially reason sees that all actions have consequences. Romans 2:15 So it is justice and not mercy that reason homes in on.

    Leave me alone with what I have earned and what is mine fair and square! This is just and justice. And our constitution, properly, rewards such a structure. Properly? Yes. It is wrong to covet what is not mine.

    But something is missing

    The self virtues and self sacrifice that is Justice is Gods means to an end. It is not the End that God wills. “I would have mercy rather than sacrifice”

    Gods will is for mercy to be done among men. Mercy is the exact opposite of Justice interestingly. Mercy is to receive the exact opposite of what we deserve for what we have done. To get what we deserve is Justice.

    Therefore:

    Liberty is sinful and opposed to Gods Will whenever it is used to do ANYTHING that is not aimed at doing mercy for others.

    now for some nuance:

    I favor free speech. We live in a sinful world. Here in my home in Brasil, it is imprissonable to say nasty things about homosexuals or blacks. That means there is no public debate or discourse on such matters. which means society will not change quickly.
    Therefore to allow freedom to say hateful things actually seems to lead to a public discourse that leads to….mercy being done.

    people are increasingly less likely to make nasty jokes about blacks and gays. That is a good thing. How has that come about? public discourse and the right to say any stupidly nasty thing one choses to.

    It is one think to label something sin. It is quite another to make something lawful or not. I like our constitution just fine.

    TAKE HOME POINT:
    But…. liberty is a means to an end.
    It is NOT an end unto itself
    Righeousness=mercy being done for those who have not earned it. Period.

    So there Lutherans do depart from the Enlightenment thinking and the product of that thinking called the declaration of Independence and the American Constitution.

  • fws

    Jon

    Romney, like any good Mormon, is a pharisee.
    Expect him to very scrupulously keep the letter of the Law in a way that is above blame.

    Also expect him, where possible, to use whatever loophole he can to justify disregard for the intent of that same law.

    Obamacare really does LOOK like it plagarized Romneycare. Tell me what I am missing. So why doesnt Romney brag about that? Tell me Jon.

    His scrupulous form of legalism is why Romney has not released his tax returns. Almost all of his money is tied up in offshore and swiss bank accounts to avoid paying taxes as much as possible. I am quite certain he is scrupulously following every law and legal loophole to do that. Legal ? absolutely. How would people view it ? not so favorably. A presidential candidate with over 10 offshore accounts? ahem.

    more on that here:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/08/investigating-mitt-romney-offshore-accounts

  • fws

    Jon

    Romney, like any good Mormon, is a pharisee.
    Expect him to very scrupulously keep the letter of the Law in a way that is above blame.

    Also expect him, where possible, to use whatever loophole he can to justify disregard for the intent of that same law.

    Obamacare really does LOOK like it plagarized Romneycare. Tell me what I am missing. So why doesnt Romney brag about that? Tell me Jon.

    His scrupulous form of legalism is why Romney has not released his tax returns. Almost all of his money is tied up in offshore and swiss bank accounts to avoid paying taxes as much as possible. I am quite certain he is scrupulously following every law and legal loophole to do that. Legal ? absolutely. How would people view it ? not so favorably. A presidential candidate with over 10 offshore accounts? ahem.

    more on that here:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/08/investigating-mitt-romney-offshore-accounts

  • fws

    other

    gary @ 24

    aristotle suggests that morality is about seeking the higher good rather than being a stark polar choice between good and evil.

    so some speech can be truly evil. mormons teaching their doctrines for example. But there is a higher good socially (maintaining peace mostly) in allowing Mormons to raise their kids on a path to hell , aka free speech, than there would be to ban that as was the practice before the 30 years war.

    The Lutheran Confessions actually endorse aristotles Ethics saying nothing can be demanded as to morality beyond what Aristotle teaches.

  • fws

    other

    gary @ 24

    aristotle suggests that morality is about seeking the higher good rather than being a stark polar choice between good and evil.

    so some speech can be truly evil. mormons teaching their doctrines for example. But there is a higher good socially (maintaining peace mostly) in allowing Mormons to raise their kids on a path to hell , aka free speech, than there would be to ban that as was the practice before the 30 years war.

    The Lutheran Confessions actually endorse aristotles Ethics saying nothing can be demanded as to morality beyond what Aristotle teaches.

  • fws

    jon

    I was wrong . there is a huge diference between obama and romney!

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/secret-video-romney-private-fundraiser

  • fws

    jon

    I was wrong . there is a huge diference between obama and romney!

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/secret-video-romney-private-fundraiser

  • Other Gary

    fws, I appreciate the perspective you’ve added about ethics, and I agree with your reasoning that Freedom of Speech (to use the example I’m still wrestling with) allows for society to conduct a free and reasonable discourse about sensitive issues, with the result that mercy _may_ prevail in society. Point taken.

    What I’m struggling with is this: Lutherans advance a doctrine of Two Kingdoms, the right and the left, and hold (based on Romans 13 and other passages) that civil authorities are to be obeyed because the authority being exercised in the lefthand kingdom is a lawful authority that has been delegated by GOD. I know you know this already. According to St. Paul, if you do what is right, you don’t have to live in fear of civil authorities; in fact the opposite is true–”do what is right and you will be commended.” (Rom 13:3) But for those who do what is wrong, the lefthand kingdom has, indeed, been given the sword by God to punish lawbreakers. And “sword” doesn’t have to simply mean guns and riot batons in our day, “sword” can also mean regulations and fines and court orders, etc.

    Likewise, when Lutherans talk about the Law, we talk about three Uses, or functions, and the First Use of the Law is to curb wickedness. As you earlier pointed out, Old Adam is compelled by the temporal authority to practice more virtue (and refrain from more self-indulgence) than his corrupt nature wants to. I know what my own fallen nature is like; liberty is prized and my flesh wants to use my liberty for anything it damn well pleases. The temporal, lefthand kingdom allows me to exercise my liberty within certain boundaries.

    Now here’s rub number 1: My First Amendment right to free speech is deliberately drafted so as to NOT put hardly any boundaries on my free speech, or in the age of media, my freedom of expression. But was not the civil authority charged by God to put boundaries for me where I wouldn’t voluntarily put them for myself? If the civil authority is going to do what it’s intended to do in order to be God’s servant, shouldn’t the civil authority try to curb wickedness where it can? And aren’t certain kinds of “free” (protected) speech essentially wicked? Why is it that “We the People, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice,” etc., are free do order our government in such a way that it is intentionally handcuffed in this area, unable to curb speech that is wicked? In other words, it seems as if we’ve established a form of government that cannot reign in what our Old Adam wants to say, even if he wants to say it to hurt other people.

    So now the First Use doesn’t apply? Hmmmmm.

    The second rub is this: If the government decides to act extra-constitutionally tomorrow, or if the Constitution is amended tomorrow, and either way the civil authority takes it upon itself to regulate what can be printed, what can be broadcast, what can be blogged, and what can preached–effectively putting us in the same position as Chinese citizens–it would make our society a living hell. Our lives would be poorer for having the restrictions on our freedom of expression. But would a _consistent_ Lutheran have any basis for a complaint? Has God delegated that kind of authority to the State or hasn’t He?

    Of course I love to see _other_ people’s wickedness curbed. And I don’t need my own curbed, because I don’t display any wickedness in what I say or write. :-)

  • Other Gary

    fws, I appreciate the perspective you’ve added about ethics, and I agree with your reasoning that Freedom of Speech (to use the example I’m still wrestling with) allows for society to conduct a free and reasonable discourse about sensitive issues, with the result that mercy _may_ prevail in society. Point taken.

    What I’m struggling with is this: Lutherans advance a doctrine of Two Kingdoms, the right and the left, and hold (based on Romans 13 and other passages) that civil authorities are to be obeyed because the authority being exercised in the lefthand kingdom is a lawful authority that has been delegated by GOD. I know you know this already. According to St. Paul, if you do what is right, you don’t have to live in fear of civil authorities; in fact the opposite is true–”do what is right and you will be commended.” (Rom 13:3) But for those who do what is wrong, the lefthand kingdom has, indeed, been given the sword by God to punish lawbreakers. And “sword” doesn’t have to simply mean guns and riot batons in our day, “sword” can also mean regulations and fines and court orders, etc.

    Likewise, when Lutherans talk about the Law, we talk about three Uses, or functions, and the First Use of the Law is to curb wickedness. As you earlier pointed out, Old Adam is compelled by the temporal authority to practice more virtue (and refrain from more self-indulgence) than his corrupt nature wants to. I know what my own fallen nature is like; liberty is prized and my flesh wants to use my liberty for anything it damn well pleases. The temporal, lefthand kingdom allows me to exercise my liberty within certain boundaries.

    Now here’s rub number 1: My First Amendment right to free speech is deliberately drafted so as to NOT put hardly any boundaries on my free speech, or in the age of media, my freedom of expression. But was not the civil authority charged by God to put boundaries for me where I wouldn’t voluntarily put them for myself? If the civil authority is going to do what it’s intended to do in order to be God’s servant, shouldn’t the civil authority try to curb wickedness where it can? And aren’t certain kinds of “free” (protected) speech essentially wicked? Why is it that “We the People, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice,” etc., are free do order our government in such a way that it is intentionally handcuffed in this area, unable to curb speech that is wicked? In other words, it seems as if we’ve established a form of government that cannot reign in what our Old Adam wants to say, even if he wants to say it to hurt other people.

    So now the First Use doesn’t apply? Hmmmmm.

    The second rub is this: If the government decides to act extra-constitutionally tomorrow, or if the Constitution is amended tomorrow, and either way the civil authority takes it upon itself to regulate what can be printed, what can be broadcast, what can be blogged, and what can preached–effectively putting us in the same position as Chinese citizens–it would make our society a living hell. Our lives would be poorer for having the restrictions on our freedom of expression. But would a _consistent_ Lutheran have any basis for a complaint? Has God delegated that kind of authority to the State or hasn’t He?

    Of course I love to see _other_ people’s wickedness curbed. And I don’t need my own curbed, because I don’t display any wickedness in what I say or write. :-)

  • DonS

    Frank @ 30:

    Yeah, huge:

  • DonS

    Frank @ 30:

    Yeah, huge:

  • fws

    don @ 32

    chekmate don. very nice work.
    so I guess it is a matter of which view of society we chose to believe eh? or neither?

  • fws

    don @ 32

    chekmate don. very nice work.
    so I guess it is a matter of which view of society we chose to believe eh? or neither?

  • fws

    other gary @ 31

    what you are framing the issue as is one of mortification. to restrain people.

    I am saying that that kind of righteousness matters (according to scriptures) only in sofar as it is preparation to do acts of mercy towards others that is to give them the opposite of what they deserve for what they have done or failed to do.

    Gods will is that others receive mercy from us.

    Justice is the Law at work on us to make us do mercy for others.

    I am not seeing how what you are saying fits into that second frame

  • fws

    other gary @ 31

    what you are framing the issue as is one of mortification. to restrain people.

    I am saying that that kind of righteousness matters (according to scriptures) only in sofar as it is preparation to do acts of mercy towards others that is to give them the opposite of what they deserve for what they have done or failed to do.

    Gods will is that others receive mercy from us.

    Justice is the Law at work on us to make us do mercy for others.

    I am not seeing how what you are saying fits into that second frame

  • fws

    don

    i would be surprised if nra members are 47 percent of the population.

    romney says this
    pay no income tax=freeloader or deadbeat

    obamas spiel you posted says what about whom? Lets compare notes don.

  • fws

    don

    i would be surprised if nra members are 47 percent of the population.

    romney says this
    pay no income tax=freeloader or deadbeat

    obamas spiel you posted says what about whom? Lets compare notes don.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The incompetent want big government to take care of them. The power hungry want big government so they can organize it for their own benefit.

    The competent, high social function folks just need stable mutually agreed upon rules. Those are the civic minded folks that wrote our Constitution and they don’t wish to abuse their fellow citizens nor do they don’t want to subsidize or promote dysfunction. These are the small government types.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The incompetent want big government to take care of them. The power hungry want big government so they can organize it for their own benefit.

    The competent, high social function folks just need stable mutually agreed upon rules. Those are the civic minded folks that wrote our Constitution and they don’t wish to abuse their fellow citizens nor do they don’t want to subsidize or promote dysfunction. These are the small government types.

  • DonS

    fws @ 33, 35: Actually, I don’t see anything wrong with what Romney said. In fact, I rather suspect that if the Democrats and their allies in the press run with this story, thinking that it will be an embarrassment to Romney, or somehow cause him damage in the campaign, they will find that it has the opposite effect. The Republican base has become a bit anxious that Romney is being too careful in his campaign, and not being firm enough in telling America what the problems are that he will address. This video speaks to those problems. 47% is a ridiculous percentage of the American people to be reliant in some way on government payments, even counting the fact that more and more seniors from the baby boom generation are retiring. We are very close to a tipping point when nearly half of the population are dependent upon the other half for their well being. Of course, this has been a political goal of the Democrats for generations. It is their dream to increase the number of voters dependent on government benefits, because then they can make promises to them based on their benefits and demonize Republicans for trying to reduce them or take them away, whether or not those accusations are accurate or fair. Democrats, with few exceptions, and some moderate and liberal Republicans, have proven that they will say almost anything to keep those voters, regardless of the long term consequences to the country. Those not yet born and those too young to vote are of no consequence — of course they will have the responsibility to make good on the tremendous debt they are being burdened with, as well as, even more significantly, the unfunded future benefits promises. Those just barely old enough to vote are also being screwed over by these policies, but don’t realize it yet, and are bought off with the baubles of a few student loans, health insurance on their parents’ dime until they’re 26, etc. It’s a sad and pathetic and dangerous game, but it’s the way Democrats are choosing to play their politics.

    Romney’s comments will resonate with hard-pressed taxpayers, who realize how close we are to a point of economic no return. Bring it on.

  • DonS

    fws @ 33, 35: Actually, I don’t see anything wrong with what Romney said. In fact, I rather suspect that if the Democrats and their allies in the press run with this story, thinking that it will be an embarrassment to Romney, or somehow cause him damage in the campaign, they will find that it has the opposite effect. The Republican base has become a bit anxious that Romney is being too careful in his campaign, and not being firm enough in telling America what the problems are that he will address. This video speaks to those problems. 47% is a ridiculous percentage of the American people to be reliant in some way on government payments, even counting the fact that more and more seniors from the baby boom generation are retiring. We are very close to a tipping point when nearly half of the population are dependent upon the other half for their well being. Of course, this has been a political goal of the Democrats for generations. It is their dream to increase the number of voters dependent on government benefits, because then they can make promises to them based on their benefits and demonize Republicans for trying to reduce them or take them away, whether or not those accusations are accurate or fair. Democrats, with few exceptions, and some moderate and liberal Republicans, have proven that they will say almost anything to keep those voters, regardless of the long term consequences to the country. Those not yet born and those too young to vote are of no consequence — of course they will have the responsibility to make good on the tremendous debt they are being burdened with, as well as, even more significantly, the unfunded future benefits promises. Those just barely old enough to vote are also being screwed over by these policies, but don’t realize it yet, and are bought off with the baubles of a few student loans, health insurance on their parents’ dime until they’re 26, etc. It’s a sad and pathetic and dangerous game, but it’s the way Democrats are choosing to play their politics.

    Romney’s comments will resonate with hard-pressed taxpayers, who realize how close we are to a point of economic no return. Bring it on.

  • JunkerGeorg

    SKPeterson, post #7:
    “In a world of fallen men, I don’t want to give to much authority to armed institutions made up of the same sinful men, but rather have an arsenal of checks and balances spread throughout society. I’d rather there be 20,000 Liechtensteins under the sky, than 200 nation-states in the same space.”
    —-

    Amen!

    Now, if only some of what you say of the state might be applied to the church, e.g., a similar kind of Nolandian ‘Wilken Plan’ be applied to the structure and governance of our LC-MS, which seems to be much more consistent with our official confession of the biblical doctrine of original sin than the top-down model we are foolishly moving towards. Granted, precisely due to original sin, there can be no perfect government, just an issue of finding the best amongst the worst forms.

    Lastly, while I’d never vote for Obama for many reasons, to parallel if not equate Romney with Burkean dogma gave me a bit of a chuckle, until one realizes that some might actually buy into that concocted narrative.

    Funny that while both candidates preach to Main Street about the crucial issue of job creation, neither will talk about the equally crucial issue of oppressive stealth taxation which the devaluating dollar is causing upon Main Street. But, when both candidates have some of the same financiers from Wall Street supporting both their campaigns, I guess this should be no surprise. Follow the money.

  • JunkerGeorg

    SKPeterson, post #7:
    “In a world of fallen men, I don’t want to give to much authority to armed institutions made up of the same sinful men, but rather have an arsenal of checks and balances spread throughout society. I’d rather there be 20,000 Liechtensteins under the sky, than 200 nation-states in the same space.”
    —-

    Amen!

    Now, if only some of what you say of the state might be applied to the church, e.g., a similar kind of Nolandian ‘Wilken Plan’ be applied to the structure and governance of our LC-MS, which seems to be much more consistent with our official confession of the biblical doctrine of original sin than the top-down model we are foolishly moving towards. Granted, precisely due to original sin, there can be no perfect government, just an issue of finding the best amongst the worst forms.

    Lastly, while I’d never vote for Obama for many reasons, to parallel if not equate Romney with Burkean dogma gave me a bit of a chuckle, until one realizes that some might actually buy into that concocted narrative.

    Funny that while both candidates preach to Main Street about the crucial issue of job creation, neither will talk about the equally crucial issue of oppressive stealth taxation which the devaluating dollar is causing upon Main Street. But, when both candidates have some of the same financiers from Wall Street supporting both their campaigns, I guess this should be no surprise. Follow the money.

  • SKPeterson

    JG – My only issue with my political analogy in the context of the LCMS has to do with practicality and adherence to right doctrine, or at least some assurance of such. As to practicality, I’m thinking of the early church outlined by Elert in Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries where any communicant needed to provide letters of introduction from his pastor/presbyter/bishop to a counterpart in the jurisdiction he was travelling to. That isn’t so bad, but the issue comes about when Bishop A doesn’t know Bishop B, so he denies communion. There needs to be some widely accepted means of establishing those who hold to orthodox doctrine. Problematic, I know. It led to the increased stature of bishoprics throughout Christendom often to the detriment of the Gospel and Christ. I don’t want a universal pope per se (except for Yankee Doodle Chemnitz I), but I also don’t want every Lutheran pastor turning his congregation into his own mini-papacy.

  • SKPeterson

    JG – My only issue with my political analogy in the context of the LCMS has to do with practicality and adherence to right doctrine, or at least some assurance of such. As to practicality, I’m thinking of the early church outlined by Elert in Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries where any communicant needed to provide letters of introduction from his pastor/presbyter/bishop to a counterpart in the jurisdiction he was travelling to. That isn’t so bad, but the issue comes about when Bishop A doesn’t know Bishop B, so he denies communion. There needs to be some widely accepted means of establishing those who hold to orthodox doctrine. Problematic, I know. It led to the increased stature of bishoprics throughout Christendom often to the detriment of the Gospel and Christ. I don’t want a universal pope per se (except for Yankee Doodle Chemnitz I), but I also don’t want every Lutheran pastor turning his congregation into his own mini-papacy.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @SKPeterson, @39,

    Amen again. Much agreed. I’m certainly not for a brash congregationalism or herr pastor distatorship either. One wants all, pastor and laity, to be bound under the Word of God and held to that standard, according to what we believe, teach, and confess it’s fundamental truths to be in the Book of Concord. While maybe a bit oversimplistic, I do like Al Barry’s old slogan of what the main goal should be: Keep the Message straight. Get the Message out. (Granted, if you are keeping the message straight, I believe the Holy Spirit inspires one to get the message out without having to tell one, “Get the message out.”) And hence, what in our current context, is the best way to promote that in terms of structure and governance. The main issue with structure/governance for me too is the preservation and promotion of doctrine in all its truth and purity. My take is influence by Dr. Martin Noland, who has written wisely on how centralization of power in a top-heavy structure which the LC-MS is moving towards can lead to false doctrinal takeover and thus the forced dispersal of false doctrine/practice from above down to the seminaries/parishes that much more ‘efficiently’ and quickly. I am not for chaos, or a sectarian congregationalism/sacerdotalism where either the lay leadership or the pastor calls all the shots without conformity to the standard confessional quatenus we’ve officially pledged ourselves to.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @SKPeterson, @39,

    Amen again. Much agreed. I’m certainly not for a brash congregationalism or herr pastor distatorship either. One wants all, pastor and laity, to be bound under the Word of God and held to that standard, according to what we believe, teach, and confess it’s fundamental truths to be in the Book of Concord. While maybe a bit oversimplistic, I do like Al Barry’s old slogan of what the main goal should be: Keep the Message straight. Get the Message out. (Granted, if you are keeping the message straight, I believe the Holy Spirit inspires one to get the message out without having to tell one, “Get the message out.”) And hence, what in our current context, is the best way to promote that in terms of structure and governance. The main issue with structure/governance for me too is the preservation and promotion of doctrine in all its truth and purity. My take is influence by Dr. Martin Noland, who has written wisely on how centralization of power in a top-heavy structure which the LC-MS is moving towards can lead to false doctrinal takeover and thus the forced dispersal of false doctrine/practice from above down to the seminaries/parishes that much more ‘efficiently’ and quickly. I am not for chaos, or a sectarian congregationalism/sacerdotalism where either the lay leadership or the pastor calls all the shots without conformity to the standard confessional quatenus we’ve officially pledged ourselves to.


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