Friday, November 28, 2014

Evangelicalism and Slavery: Historic Allies Not Enemies

The Christian Right film Amazing Grace was being promoted to libertarians, no doubt with funds from some Christian source. The promotion says the film is about about William Wilberforce and his effort to get England to abolish slavery, as well as his relationships with evangelist George Whitfield and John Newton. The film is named after the words of the hymn Amazing Grace, which Newton wrote.

Now, for some inconvenient facts. Wilberforce was not the first to call for abolition of slavery. Deists like Jefferson and the Quakers, who are not orthodox Christians by any means, were there first. Nor was England the first country to abolish slavery. Revolutionary France, considered godless by the orthodox Christians, had abolished slavery in 1794, but Napoleon, an orthodox Christian and opponent of deism, restored it when he took power. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Math Without Numbers: Why Socialism Fails

Every economy is faced with the same fundamental questions? How those questions are answered makes all the difference in the world.

There are certain inescapable facts, which are imposed on us by reality. Human nature requires we interact with the world around us if we are to survive. We need to harvest food and to produce shelter. We need medical care to avoid disease and death. The fundamental realities of life require economic production; without it we perish.

Economics is the study of how humans act upon resources to produce goods and services, which are wanted and/or needed. But once an economy is in place certain questions inevitably arise.

Most of us instinctively know these fundamental questions. What should be produced? For whom should it be produced? How should it be produced?

If someone wishes to build a swimming pool he has already answered the first and second question for himself, but that final question is the tough one. It is not simply a question of engineering. This question implies some very fundamental dilemmas.