Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lord Keynes — Conservative Christianity and Libertarianism do not Mix

Matt Franko has been beating on this point for some time here.

There is sure to be some quibbling in the (shrinking) Big Tent over this issue — as Paul Ryan already found out.

Social Democracy for the 21st Century

Conservative Christianity and Libertarianism do not Mix
Lord Keynes


Anonymous said...

Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's.

-- JC

Anonymous said...

Traditional Christianity doesn't rule that all governments are legitimate ipso facto.

Recall also, that Christianity possesses no revealed law, unlike Judaism and Islam, and like Buddhism.

The Rombach Report said...

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad........ For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. Pay to all what is due to them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honour to whom honour is due.”

Matt - This article seems somehow appropriate seeing as how we are in the thick of Passover and Holy Week, but my take on it as a modified Libertarian, Christian and honorary Jew is that there are some parts of the Bible that should not be taken too literally.

(2) Titus 3:1:
“Remind them (viz., believing Christians) to be subject to the rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work …”

Yes, as the old saying goes..... "Arbeit Macht Frei"

(3) 1 Peter, 2.13–15, 17:
“For the sake of the Lord, submit to every human institution,

Like the IRS? I'm with Mosler on this one. "we are grossly over taxed for the size of government we have." I look forward to when April 15 is just another Spring day.

Unknown said...

The Bible and government-backed banking is not compatible either since such banking violates the commands against theft, oppression of the poor and usury from one's fellow countrymen. Nor is hoarding compatible with the Bible (see Matthew 25:14-30, the "Parable of the Talents").

Adam1 said...

Can someone FedEx the new Franciscan Pope a copy of Warren's 7 Innocent Frauds.

Matt Franko said...

I dont intend to be "splitting hairs" here (this I believe is very important) but the English word here translated as "authority" is in the original Greek from Paul IIRC 'exousia' which is literally translated as 'out-being' so it does not appear to be synonymous with the English word "government"...

Inter-linear Greek here:

Our modern institution of 'government' seems to be related to 'exousia' but I dont think that is what Apostle Paul was directly (per se) talking about in Romans 13. Looks like a pretty deep issue which I dont think I have near 100% but am seeking further revelation on...

"Authority" or 'exousia' in Greek is NOT a human being.

Here is the exchange between a Centurion and Jesus that uses this same word 'exousia' here translated as "authority" in English:

"9 For I also am a man set under authority, having soldiers under me, and I am saying to this one, 'Go,' and he is going, and to another, 'Come,' and he is coming, and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he is doing it."
10 Now, hearing it, Jesus marvels. And He said to those following, "Verily, I am saying to you, With no one in Israel so much faith did I find." Mt 8

So this centurion, who earlier this morning was maybe offering divine service to a metal/stone idol image of some sort, was reckoned to have the most "faith" that the Lord had ever found, due to this centurion's ability to recognize "exousia" or perhaps in English "authority" which was NOT a human, it was some sort of abstract concept...

"Authority" or exousia in Greek is NOT a human being.

Or then He sets Pilate straight on from where Pilate received his 'authority' here:

"10 Pilate, then, is saying to Him, "To me you are not speaking! Are you not aware that I have authority to release you and have authority to crucify you?"
11 Jesus answered him, "No authority have you against Me in anything, except it were given to you from above..." John 19

All "exousia" or 'authority' is from above.

So it doesnt look like you can substitute the English words "authority" and "government" interchangably here, all of these occurrences are the same word "exousia" in Greek...

I would assume there is a different Greek word for the institution we now know as "government" in English... which is NOT used here.

If you are occupying a position in government and are led to say something like "We're out of money" I would submit that you have no real view of 'exousia' at all. No true "faith" or at least very little.

It's like you are saying "We're out of authority"... or "there is no authority"... or even worse just complete blindness.

same goes for those who look to metals instead of nomisma ("of-law") ... no true view of "exousia". And metals come from BELOW NOT ABOVE...

Often this goes to a reductio ad Hitlerum where one might posit that for instance Hitler should have been obeyed because Hitler was an "authority', etc... but Hitler was a human who had no view of "exousia" or "out-being" either, remember his book was called "mein kampf" or "my struggle" which means you perhaps could say he had instead a view of "IN-being" rather than "out-being".... it's all about HIM, and his human reasonings which will get us nowhere. the Nazis were gold-lovers, etc..

Matt Franko said...

also per Ed's point about the IRS and over taxation, remember that current tax policy is authored by those who are currently led to believe that "we're out of money" or that they have to "get the money from the people" before they can spend, (bottom-up) when we know ALL true "authority" is from above (top-down) which again means they have no view of "exousia" so hence all of the chaos we continue to witness and become indignant about....

We are currently governed by near faithless humans that are morons.

Ryan is a good example.

I dont care if he goes to Mass 7 days a week and says Hail Marys 24/7/365 and works at his stupid soup kitchen washing the already clean pots every weekend between his $300 bottles of wine....

"God grants to each the measure of faith" Romans 12:3

We can see from Jesus words above, that He measured faith by ones ability to recognize true "exousia".

Ryan has not been granted much if any measure, we can know this because he is currently being led to believe "we are out of money".... he is completely blind to "exousia" which is from above.

Here is what Ryan has to read from his own namesake:

"8 Beware that no one shall be despoiling you through philosophy and empty seduction, in accord with human tradition, in accord with the elements of the world, and not in accord with Christ," Gal 2

Ryan has been despoiled by philosophy (Rand) and empty seduction (political power).

He probably can recite some Ayn Rand book words, and doesnt even know these words from Paul.

He is all screwed up and he is running the House budget committee and is led to think "we are out of money" like the despoiled disgraced blind moron he has been made to be.

"Some vessels are made for honor (tableware) and some for dishonor (chamber pot)" Romans 9

Ryan has been made the chamber pot. Complete disgraced human.

"... stand up to the stratagems of the Adversary..." Eph 6

The strategy of the Adversary of God in this area looks like he can somehow completely blind certain disgraced humans to this concept of 'exousia' or 'authority' ... iow the Adversary is NOT "taking over authority" ... rather he is covering up authority ("we're out of money"), somehow deceiving or blinding many among us to true "exousia" which is from above ... this leads to the blind-moron induced lawlessness we continue to witness everyday.

This current successful strategy by the Adversary is the main economic problem as I see it, as we have been given plenty of surplus in real terms.

Blindness to or a lack of a view of exousia is directly leading to an unjust distribution of the real surplus.


Tom Hickey said...

Matt, see Lord Keynes's comment here.

Matt Franko said...


Looks like LK has the word 'huperechousais' as "governing" in English.. this one I use has it as "superior":

Pretty close.

So LK has it: "every | person | to authorities | governing | let him be subject."

Where the one I use has it: "every soul to-authorities being-superior let-be-being-under-set"

so may come down to does the word 'huperechousais' mean "government" or "superior".

BUUUUUT, the word exousia is the same in both cases where these two words perhaps in contention are adjectives of exousia.

Whether "governing" or "superior" looks like Paul reveals the doctrine is to be subject to the "authority". And looks like our institution of govt could be seen as "being set under authority having authority over others" under law...

But I would point out that this includes the leadership as well. If the leadership itself loses sight of this truth, ("We're out of money!") then chaos results for sure...

You could look at all the injustice ie non-prosecutions of fraudsters ?(no authority), Drones ?(no govt lawful authorization), assassinations of US citizens ?(no govt lawful authorization), Lehman bankruptcy ? (no authority as LLR), TBTF ?(no authority to resolve), Platinum Coin ?(no authority even tho law says ok), tax cuts? (cant afford it, no fiscal authority), etc...

All the problems crop up when those in positions of authority lose sight of this said authority... they either dont want to enforce written laws or they simply refuse to write laws and leave it to capricious individual human internal reasonings and chaos...


Lord Keynes said...

This is an interesting discussion, and I will just make some remarks:

On the Greek word exousia (ἐξουσία).

The standard lexicon for New Testament Greek is W. Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (2nd edn.; rev. and aug. by F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker from Walter Bauer’s 5th edn. Chicago and London, 1979).

On pp. 277-279, we get the definition of exousia:

(1) freedom of choice, right to act,
(2) ability to do something, capability, power, might.
(3) authority, absolute power, warrant.
(4) power exercised by rulers
-(a) ruling power, official power.
-(b) domain in which power is exercised
-(c) bearers of the authority
(α) human authorities, officials government,
(β) rulers and functionaries of the spirit world, demon rulers

The word in Romans 13.1 is ἐξουσίαις, that is it is used in the plural and dative case: the translation is "to the authorities".

From the context of the passage, "demon rulers" is not what is meant. Nor are meanings (1) or (2) appropriate.

Obviously it is either (3) or (4). But (4) is the best.

The matter is clinched by us of the participle hyperechousais (ὑπερεχούσαις) that is attached to ἐξουσίαις.

The word hyperechousais means:
(1) rise above, excel, surpass
(2) (a) have power over, be in authority
(b) be better than, surpass.
W. Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon, p. 841.

On p. 841 of Bauer in fact ἐξουσίαις ὑπερεχούσαις is explicitly cited and defined as "governing authorities."

Lord Keynes said...


(1) ἐξουσίαις is used in Titus 3:1:

“Remind them (viz., believing Christians) to be subject to the rulers and authorities (ἐξουσίαις), to be obedient, to be ready for every good work …"

(2) Note how the same participle hyperechounti (though in the dative singular) is used at 1 Peter, 2.13–15 of the Roman emperor:

“For the sake of the Lord, submit to every human institution, whether to the emperor as the supreme authority, or to the governors sent by the emperor"

In the Greek, it reads "whether to the king as being in authority" (hos hyperechounti ). The "king" who sends out governors is of course the emperor in Rome.

Anonymous said...

Good discussion. In the ancient world, authority was indeed viewed as coming from on high, a kind of ontological participation in a more than human power. See "Sacred Royalty, from the Pharaoh to the Most Christian King", by Jean Hani. The profane point of view does not characterize the ancient world; it comes into view definitively during the Enlightenment, and it characterizes the modern world.

Unknown said...

There is no doubt that talent is from God and, let's face it, people are often pretty good at knowing right from wrong (except when it applies to themselves, i.e. "Do as I say and not as I do" so a bad person can nevertheless be an acceptable authority/ruler.

Anonymous said...

"The Great Chain is based on forms of Libertarianism and Objectivism that are based on humanism ("reason")"

??? This is nuts.

"The Great Chain is not incompatible with weaker forms of libertarianism in that God is virtually defined as freedom and the effects reflect the cause."

I don't know what you smoke, my friend, but it really works.

Tom Hickey said...

In the ancient and medieval world, pretty much globally, the dominant paradigm of reality was the Great Chain of Being.

It details a strict, religious hierarchical structure of all matter and life, believed to have been decreed by God. The chain starts from God and progresses downward to angels, demons (fallen/renegade angels), stars, moon, kings, princes, nobles, men, wild animals, domesticated animals, trees, other plants, precious stones, precious metals, and other minerals.

This is still the dominant paradigm of the religious mind in general, and it accords with perennial wisdom as the testimony and teaching of the saints and sages, mystics and masters, and prophets and Avatars that humanity takes as exemplars.

Naturalism rejects the Great Chain as supernaturalism, but does not disprove it other than on positivistic assumptions taken as ultimate criteria.

Libertarianism and Objectivism are based on naturalism, e.g., a humanism grounded in "reason", although some proponents (Rothbard, Rand, Ryan) appeal to Aristotle and Aquinas, who both held the Great Chain position. Having it both ways?

The Great Chain is not incompatible with weaker forms of libertarianism in that God is virtually always defined in terms of freedom, and the effects reflect the cause. One reason that humans are said to be created in the image of God is due to their natural possession of free will, which is considered to be of the nature of "spirit," matter being deterministic.

For example, freedom was a principal factor in Hegel's analysis and he defined freedom in terms of self-determination, that is, the law of one's being, arguing that there is no real freedom independently of law. For without law there is chaos rather than order, and civilization presupposes order. One comes truly free in this analysis by willing iaw one's nature, which is law-based. The manifestation of spirit in history is therefore law-based, i.e., history has a liberal bias as humans attain greater comprehension of universality and greater freedom.

Tom Hickey said...

Lisa said...
"The Great Chain is based on forms of Libertarianism and Objectivism that are based on humanism ("reason")"

??? This is nuts.

Indeed it is. I didn't preview what I wrote. Took that comment down and put up one that fixes it.

"The Great Chain is not incompatible with weaker forms of libertarianism in that God is virtually defined as freedom and the effects reflect the cause."

I don't know what you smoke, my friend, but it really works.

There is a range on the axis of the political compass from authoritarian to libertarian. The strongest form of libertarianism is at the extreme of the range. Moving toward the junction at the x axis (left-right) acceptance of some authority and hierarchy increases. It is possible to fall on the libertarian side of the junction, i.e., in one of the lower quadrants if one only rejects a certain type of hierarchy and authority, e.g., human.

Religious people that fall on the libertarian side, into either the left or right quadrant would be in this category. Paul Ryan, for example, wants to be a Catholic following Aristotelian-Thomistic principles and at the same time be a modified Objectivist. He doesn't see a problem with this, and I suspect it is based on his notion of free will, which in Catholic teaching is "natural" in the sense of God-given. Purists would hold this contradictory, but it is a possible position, and I suspect that a whole lot of people hold it, like others that profess to be both Catholics and Libertarians. Let's face it, if Libertarianism were predominantly atheistic, it would get nowhere fast in US politics, especially in the GOP.

Moreover, there is no criterion establishing that one's worldview has to be consistent, and as a matter of fact many people's is not. Very few people analyze their worldview to ensure consistency. In fact, Albert Ellis's rational emotive therapy is based on this type of analysis to show people how they are putting themselves in double-binds.

Tom Hickey said...

Mises was an agnostic, Rothbard an atheist (according to a Wikipedia reference), although he was not assertive about it, and Rand a militant atheist.

I think this is going to be a significant issue in the Big Tent between authoritarians and libertarians of the right, and non-believing Libertarians including Objectivists and religious ones, if Libertarians keep gaining traction.

And if the opposition has any political savvy they will be hitting on this as a wedge issue.

Matt Franko said...

Sort of in summary, IMO LK has hit the nail on the head here... he cites the Greek scriptures, they manifestly contradict the Austrian/Libertarian/Randian synthesis.

Nominal Christians have a lot of explaining to do (with scriptural citations of their own) if they intend to dig in on this...

Checkmate as far as I am concerned.


Bob Roddis said...

Oh yes. Meticulously disavowing and prohibiting fraud and the initiation of violence against even the poorest and powerless in every instance is just so un-Christian.

You guys are simply amazing.

Matt Franko said...

"...for not feignedly is it wearing the sword. " Romans 13:4


Cainite libertarians have to seek a way to just get over this already...


Ignacio said...

Economic injustice is a form of violence, and not really that subtle.

OFC Bob Roddites will argue that this is all made by free choices, as if one was free to chose where and under what circumstances is born, or whereas he has an option between dying of hunger or accept aberrant unfair conditions for the compliment of a 'free exchange'.

Good troll there, where the whole anarcho-capitalist edifice collapses.

Bob Roddis said...

Economic injustice is a form of violence, and not really that subtle.

Economic injustice and poverty are caused by the lack of protection of persons and their possessions from the initiation of violence and economic interventionism. Like the example of Warren “Hut Tax” Mosler where he describes the wonders of the British imposing a hut tax on the recalcitrant locals who don’t want to pick crops for the British.
The entirety of the “progressive” narrative is based upon a misuse of the word “power” as applied to two completely different situations. The first and correct use refers either to the threat of the initiation of force or the actual initiation of force. A SWAT team show up at your door and they say they will knock down your door and drag you to jail unless you pay your parking fine. It is proper to apply the term “power”to that situation as it applies to situations where the non-aggression principle is breached.

The other use is someone having more money than someone else. All that such as person can do is ask nicely if the purported “victim” wants to engage in an economic exchange or relationship. As Warren “Hut Tax”Mosler has noted, the “victims” can and do say no to proposed econonomic relationships. MMT is based upon colonial enslavement according to Warren “Hut Tax” Mosler:

The following is not merely a theoretical concept. It’s exactly what happened in Africa in the 1800’s, when the British established colonies there to grow crops. The British offered jobs to the local population, but none of them were interested in earning British coins. So the British placed a “hut tax” on all of their dwellings, payable only in British coins. Suddenly, the area was “monetized,” as everyone now needed British coins, and the local population started offering things for sale, as well as their labor, to get the needed coins. The British could then hire them and pay them in British coins to work the fields and grow their crops.

Asking the locals to pick crops and being turned down is an example of economic relationships. When the locals said no, the British got out their guns and threatened force. That is a “power” relationship.
Pursuant to the libertarian non-aggression principle, the power relationship is ALWAYS forbidden.

See also the film “Avatar”. The earthlings asked the aliens nicely if they could economically exploit their lands. The aliens said no. That’s an economic relationship. When they said no, the earthlings invaded. That’s a forbidden exercise of “power”. As Kolko noted, the elite could not monopolize by just asking “pretty please”. They required the power of the state to monopolize because the free market does not lead to monopoly.

That’s why Rothbard wrote the book “POWER AND MARKET” to differentiate two very distinct concepts.

These concepts are not that complex or controversial. You guys just find it necessary to obfuscate simple everyday concepts in your attempt to bamboozle the intended victims of your MMT scam.

Bob Roddis said...

I'm quite content to take the position promoting peace and the non-aggression principle and allow you guys to take the pro-economic violence and aggression side of the debate.

Matt Franko said...


You have to run it back to what the human reasonings were as to why they were establishing these colonial interests in the first place...

It wasnt that England didnt have enough food, or an economic surplus within it's own nation's borders, they were on a pagan quest to acquire mass measures of so-called 'precious metals' in the first place.... the zombie thinking was that they would exchange the "cash crops" for the metals.

Here is our own Hamilton from Federalist 12:

'The prosperity of commerce is now perceived and acknowledged by all enlightened statesmen to be the most useful as well as the most productive source of national wealth, and has accordingly become a primary object of their political cares. By multipying the means of gratification, by promoting the introduction and circulation of the precious metals, those darling objects of human avarice and enterprise, it serves to vivify and invigorate the channels of industry, and to make them flow with greater activity and copiousness....'

You can see the somewhat sexual perversion in regard for these metals... that some people can seemingly still develop even to this day... check out The Daily Paul website....

The Spanish would just kill the natives and take the metals, looks like the English took a more indirect route via colonial agriculture w/ labor provided by more or less human chattel... Wierd-o-rama!

In either case there was no view of the authority that we humans have been placed under to operate our economic systems autonomously using a fiat "scoreboard" (for solely calibration/measurement purposes within our system), without subjection to any part of "nature" other than those that effect us in real terms... this view was lost somewhere about 2,000 years ago in my estimation... and the human was subjected to these metals... which should offend you I would think in the first place...

Of course I have been placed on "Team Human"... just speaking for myself... I dont know about you....

Hey metals morons: They are trying to sell you the metals in exchange for USD balances you morons! Helllllloooooo!

Tom Hickey said...

The age of exploration was launched and funded by Spain, then the dominant force in Europe, in the quest for gold. Subsequently, other European nations piled on and pillaged the entire earth in the imperialistic race for "colonies."

Now, with neoliberalism, the West is embarked on neo-imperialism and neo-colonialism in an effort to retain control over the global south. Push-back is in the works.

Ignacio said...

There is a water fountain, I came there first and claim it's exploitation.

Then I tell you that "you're free to buy MY water", I'll let you work for me, peacefully, at a 'fair' price, but I'll set that price, either you take it or not.

OFC it's in my best interest you will take it, but there is an asymmetry in this 'free exchange' when it comes to getting to an agreement. After all, the worst it can happen to me is I don't get you to work for me, but the worst that can happen to you is that you don't have water to drink. good luck with that, and who is going to get the upper hand in this 'free exchange' and the best conditions. I could even get you to sign 'voluntarily' that you will be my slave for water.

The beauty in theory of the 'nun gubernmint intervention, all driven by market', is that, in theory, there will never ever be only one fountain. So this asymmetry will not exist or will be reduced to a negligible inconvenience; and the relationship in this 'free exchange', by 'nature' ('laws of supply and demand'), will achieve a fair status.

Well, too bad that there are ample examples in this world and in history were positions are actually abused to impose this, without the intervention of any authority at all. Just because privileged positions can be abused.

OFC the current social structure (and others in the past), to free marketers, is just an accident, the product of brainwashed minds by the powers that be. Because only the governments can create economic injustice.

So it all comes to a question of faith. in this case faith that, without governments or authority, and without coercion, all will self-balance. Because physical violence and threat is the only form of violence that exists, according to free marketers. Everything else is just, 'freedom of exchange'.

Tom Hickey said...

Here's a rant that Bob may appreciate.

Big Government: An Unnecessary Evil That Should Be Abolished

There are two types of people in this world; those who worship the ideal of centralized command authority, and those who do not.  Those who value freedom regardless of risk or pain, and those who value slavery in a desperate bid to avoid risk and pain.  When I consider the ultimate folly of man, in the end I look to the meek and unquestioning masses who strive to avoid risk, because it is they who always end up feeding the machines of war, despair, and tyranny.  The power thirsty halls of elitism surely instigate and manipulate the tides of this wretched ocean of quivering souls, but ultimately, the weak-hearted and weak minded make all terrible conquests possible.  

They live by the rule of fear, and their fear drives them to seek control; control of their environment, control of others, and by extension they believe, control of the future.  They attempt to mitigate their overwhelming fear by containing the world and sterilizing it of everything wild, untamed, and unknown.  They dream of a society of pure predictability, and zero responsibility.  They are willing to sacrifice almost anything to attain this position of artificial comfort.    

The concept of “big government” appeals to such people for many reasons…

You get the flavor. Black and white thinking.

Tom Hickey said...

Unlearning Economics posted this today.

An FAQ for Libertarians