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Call of Wisdom

"Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares." (Prov 1:20) A biblical take on liberty, government, politics, economics, and life.

Updated: 2018-03-06T16:20:37.519-08:00


The Two Witnesses


Throughout the Bible and throughout human history, there are two important entities that are credited with standing by the Lord. We see direct references to these two entities in many places throughout the scripture, and even more indirect illusions to these entities. There is powerful imagery used to highlight them and communicate their attributes, their work, their relationship to God, their impact in the world, and their legacy both on earth and in eternity. In one of the places that the Bible directly references these two entities it calls them "The Two Witnesses" - a clear explanation of one of their purposes on the earth - to provide a testimony to the plans and purposes of God and to make those plans and purposes known to the people of the earth who will listen. They are a testimony to the earth, a joy to those who hear, but a torment to the lost - those who refuse to listen.Powerful symbolism is used to highlight the function of these two entities. They are called the two olive trees and the two lampstands. Lamps provide light and oil fuels the lamps. Their light is a light to the world, causing some to rejoice, but exposing the deeds of others, causing them anguish, and consequently anger and hatred.These two are each made up of twelve smaller units. We also see the twelve and twelve scattered all throughout the Bible, both in the stories of the Old and New Testaments and throughout the symbolism and prophetic language of books like Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation. We also see the two witnesses, the twelve and twelve, working hand in hand with God, and even ruling and reigning along side Him in the powerful imagery of the throne room in heaven.We also see that there are thousands upon thousands of people who make up the twelve and twelve, who serve as God's witness and light, and who are rewarded with salvation.So who are these two witnesses and the twelve and twelve of which each witness is comprised? The first witness, the chosen of God, who brought the word of God into the world is the nation of Israel. Comprised of twelve tribes, Israel provided the foundation to the Kingdom of God in the world. This witness is Judaism.God promised Abraham that in his Seed, all the nations of the world would be blessed. And in keeping that promise, Christ was brought into the world as that Seed. And through the life, ministry, and work of Jesus Christ, the second witness was given: Christendom. Christ called the twelve disciples, who later became the twelve apostles and who spread the word throughout the world. Our two witnesses are Judaism and Christendom. One witness brought the Word into the world, one witness spread the Word throughout the world. Check out Zechariah chapter 4. It is a fantastic introduction to this entire concept. It starts with Zechariah being awoken by an angel who shows him a vision of two olive trees on either side of a lampstand and whose oil flows to the seven lamps of the lampstand. Chapter 4 ends with the angel interpreting the vision for Zechariah, explaining that the two olive trees are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord all throughout the earth. In the new testament we are given additional clarity regarding the olive trees in Romans Chapter 11. In a discussion that highlights the challenges faced by Israel, the loss of some of them through unbelief, and also their salvation, Israel is called a cultivated olive tree, and that Christians, though a wild and uncultivated olive branch, are grafted into this olive tree by their faith. Romans 11 tells us that Israel will be saved and that Christianity should not boast of their salvation apart from Israel, for we have been grafted in - that both Israel and Christianity are important to God, that both will be saved, and that we should rejoice in God and in His wisdom, knowledge, and judgment.Now take a look at Revelation Chapter 11. Here we are shown an incredibly clear picture of our Two Witnesses. The two witnesses will prophesy to the world. They will be powerful in that their prayers are heard by God an[...]

Revelation Isn't Chronological


One of the things that makes interpreting the visions of John, Daniel, Ezekiel, and others difficult is our tendency to try to read them chronologically. The reader of, say Revelation chapter 11, might assume that the events described there happen before the events of Revelation chapter 20. This approach makes a common sense interpretation impossible.The visions given to the prophets are highly symbolic. The writers are seeing an image in their mind and then putting those images to paper in the form of words - using words to describe what they saw.They weren't seeing future events, like watching the news. They were seeing scenes, full of symbolic images that conveyed concepts about the future. Remember God's goal in giving these visions to the prophets: to tell the saints that they ultimately win.The Purpose of ParablesBut I think God has another goal in choosing to reveal these things in symbolic language: to keep this message concealed from those for whom it is not intended - to keep it hidden from the enemy and the lost. The message of the prophets isn't plain. You really have to think about it. You need the help of the Holy Spirit to understand it. You have to want to know the truth and seek it every day. God wants to reveal His plans to those who love Him, love the truth, and prove that by pursuing it every day.Jesus said that He spoke in parables so that they "would not understand" (Matthew 13:10-17). The message of the parables is intended for those who love and follow the truth. A parable is a memorable and convenient way to deliver a deep message - but only for those who "have ears to hear". Those who pursue, accept, and respond to truth will get it - and be given more.In parables, ideas are conveyed through stories, or scenes. The images given symbolize something else. The diligent student will start to pick up on these symbols and through that start to "decode" meaning from the scenes being described.The visions given to the major prophets are intended to accomplish the same thing as when Jesus spoke in parables; namely, to communicate deep meaning to the person for whom it is intended and who is willing to seek it out and believe it.Interpreting the VisionsWhen interpreting the visions written down by the prophets, I believe the reader must be ready to approach them understanding this fact: the writers of these visions write what they saw chronologically, but what they saw isn't chronological. For example, in the Book of Revelation, after the messages to the churches in Revelation 1-3, John sees a vision of the throne room of heaven in Revelation 4. He starts with the words, "After this I looked, and behold a door standing open in heaven!"Revelation chapter 5 starts with "Then I saw..."Chapter 6 begins with, "Now I watched..."And chapter 7, "After this I saw..."Each of these is a variation on the statement, "and I saw". John is telling us the order in which he saw things - not necessarily the order in which they are meant to be understood or that they take place in historical time.Further, we are reading these visions as experienced and told by prophets who know clearly what they saw, but not necessarily the meaning of what they saw. Progressive RevelationThrough all the the prophetic visions, especially Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation, we the readers are receiving a progressively expanding picture of what is going on in heaven, on earth, who the major participants are, and the nature of each of these things - all delivered through the language of parables. We are receiving progressively more information with each vision. Especially in the Book of Revelation, with each "and I saw", we pick up additional information about some element of the story that increases our understanding of the whole.Think of the way people tell a story of something that they experienced. They tend to tell highlights, the things that were most memorable, followed by other details as they come to mind and are needed to fill in the gaps. If a child comes home from an amusement park, they don't start with talk[...]

Allegiance - Setting the Stage for the Great Tribulation


A Reminder: We Win!I want to discuss the Beast and the Great Tribulation by starting with Daniel 7.In chapter 7: 1-15 Daniel sees a vision of four beasts with various characteristics. The fourth and final one being terrifying, dreadful, and exceedingly strong. This beast overcame all the others.Yet, in verse 9, we see that the Ancient of Days (God), took His seat, pronounced judgement on this beast, it was killed and its body turned over to be burned. The dominion was also taken away from all the other beasts.Verses 13 and 14 show that the Ancient of Days gave dominion to "one like a son of man", that everyone would serve Him, and His dominion will never be taken away.So a quick interpretation: here on the earth, worldly kings will rise and fall. One king will overtake another. Governments will grow in strength, handing over their power one to the next until a final earthly king who is exceedingly strong will have dominion over all the earth. This king it says elsewhere will even prevail against the saints, but God comes, takes His seat, pronounces judgement, destroys the enemy, and hands us the victory.So lets unpack that and I'll show you how I got there. Lets start with a discussion of the enemy over whom we'll eventually have victory.Interpretation of the BeastsDaniel had the vision of chapter 7 interpreted for him by an angel starting in verse 15. The angel plainly tells him in vs 17 that:These four great beasts are four great kings that will arise out of the earth.The beast is symbolic of earthly kingdoms, or earthly governments. More pointedly: governments of men. The number 666 that we see in Revelation 13:18 is interpreted for us as the number of a man. In Daniel 7:8, it says the fourth beast has the "eyes of a man".The Counterfeit MessiahThe beasts of Daniel and Revelation are human based earthly governments. Further, they are a counterfeit Messiah. The lost, who have been deceived because they see with their eyes rather than with eyes of faith, can only put their trust in that which they see. They cannot see God. But they can see government. They can see kings. So they ask the king to care for them, to protect them, to provide for them. They ask earthly kings for that which they should be asking of Christ - namely, salvation.The Israelites asked Samuel for a king (1 Samuel 8:6). At the time they were completely free. God had merely placed judges in their land to resolve disputes. But they were not ruled by the Judges, God Himself was their only King. When Israel pressed Samuel for a king, God said that it was a rejection of Him (vs 7). He also warned them that a king would cost them their freedom and their wealth (vs 11-18). An an aside, America was the first nation on earth founded deliberately on the notion that human beings should be free, and that when too much authority is given to government, it will consume the people. The founders of this nation purposely tried to limit government, but warned posterity that only through their personal relationships with God would they be able to keep it limited.Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other (John Adams)But many people, those who have no love or trust for God, want a king/government they can see, and are willing to give all that they have to get the security that they believe a king will provide. Unfortunately, what they will receive instead is the ultimate insecurity.We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security. (Dwight Eisenhower)Human history is a story of allegiance. A story of our choice, made as individuals and collectively, about whom we will follow, love, and serve.It is human choice that empowers either the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Hell. Jesus said in Luke 17:21 that "The Kingdom of God is within you." Simply put - the Word of God shapes us from the inside out. When Jesus "comes to live in our hearts" it means that we believe the Word in our hearts (Rom 10:8) and are changed on [...]

The Resurrection & Rapture


If we're currently in the Millennium (see my last post), then when do the Rapture and the Great Tribulation take place? Let's see what the Bible has to say about these events.First, the word "Rapture" isn't in the Bible, but it's a generally accepted term for the gathering of the saints. There are dozens of references to this event. Here is one:1 Thessalonians 4:16-17For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.The Rapture is a day when the saints of God are gathered up to meet Christ when he returns at His second coming. The Bible makes it clear that while we won't know the exact day or hour, the Rapture does coincide with His coming and that arrival won't be a secret. The sound of a trumpet announces His arrival in both the reference noted above and the one noted below. Trumpets aren't quiet.Matthew 24:29-31The Coming of the Son of Man29 “ Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.This is a great scripture because you see so many elements of the second coming addressed in it. You see the rapture itself described: "gather his elect from the four winds." You see the timing of the rapture, "immediately after the tribulation". You see that the rapture coincides with the second coming. We also learn here that there is a great shaking of the earth at this time, in other places called the second, or final shaking of the earth (the first was the flood of Noah). Further, trumpets are a tool of war, much like the battlefield radio is today - they were used to coordinate troop movements over long distances. The trumpet announcement is almost like a "charge". Christ is coming to do battle. The saints are being prevailed against in the Great Tribulation and it is time to end it. His second coming does so:Daniel 7:21-22 "As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom."Daniel 12:1-3 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.An important component of the rapture is the resurrection of the dead.  In 1 Thes 4, quoted earlier, we see this phrase, "the dead in Christ shall rise first." Pre-millennialists use this scripture to say that the rapture only includes the saved. While only the saved are gathered to meet Christ in the air, everyone is resurrected simultaneously.The clauses: "we will by no means proceed those who have fallen asleep" (1 Thes 4:15) and "the dead in Christ shall rise first" (1 Thes 4:16) are immediately explained by 1 Thes 4:17 that says, "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." The phrase "rise first" and "after that" are a d[...]



Some of the various perspectives on Biblical Prophecy center on the question of the placement of the "Millennium" in the interpretation; asking, is your "eschatology" (study of end-times) "Pre-Millennium", "Post-Millennium", or "A-Millennium". Others frame their interpretation on the question of the Great Tribulation and the placement of the rapture; asking, does your interpretation place the rapture before or after the Great Tribulation?We are introduced to the idea of the Millennium here:Revelation 201 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand yearsLater in Revelation 20 we see also that Christ rules during this time. The symbolic number of 1000 simply means "vast". Other places in scripture we read, "God owns the cattle on a thousand hills", or "To God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day." In these places it is entirely obvious that one thousand is not an exact number, if it were, then why doesn't God own the cattle on hill numbered 1001? I apply the same logic to the interpretation of Revelation 20:2. Satan is bound for a long time and Christ rules for a long time. So what does it mean that satan is bound during this time? As I posted in my last blog entry about our tendency to attempt to interpret biblical prophecy in a fantastical way, I believe this verse has been way over-literalized. Jesus taught in parables, highly symbolic language. Revelation should be read with that in mind. Most interpret the binding of satan to mean that he has no impact on people during that time or that we will see no evil during that time. This over-literalization forces them to conclude that we must not be in the millennium depicted here at this time on the earth. I believe that is an error that greatly skews the various interpretations, making them "not common" to the experience of man. (see my last post).The binding of satan should be understood in the context of the work of Christ on the cross. We no longer stand accused before God by satan. Colossians 2:13-15And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.We are forgiven, the record of debt has been erased! Satan can no longer hold a list of our sins before God and say, "see what they did!" Jesus triumphed over him on the cross. Satan is disarmed. He has been put to shame. In this he is "bound". He has no authority over us and has been defeated. In this he is "thrown into the bottomless pit", a place from which he cannot prevent our salvation. Jesus even said in John 12:31Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.There are so many other scriptures that confirm this. The Bible says that Christ defeated death. It says that we've been handed the keys of the Kingdom, it says we now have the authority to bind and loose. For the saints, if we resist satan, he must flee.So this one reference to the millennium in Revelation 20 is not talking about a far off, mythical, thousand year window of time in which we hear no evil and see no evil. It's now! Christ does reign now! Satan is defeated now!If you can accept this, then there will obviously be implications for your interpretation of the placement of the rapture, the timing of the Great Tribulation, and the eventual release of satan from the bottomless pit. Lets dig into those next. Technorati Tags: Book of Revelation, Biblical Eschatology, Great Tribulation, Biblical Prophecy, The Millennium[...]

Before Your Very Eyes


One of the flaws I find with the pre-millennial view is interpretation that is fantastical, much like a hollywood movie, rather than in keeping with the normal course and flow of world events that we already see going on around us. I suspect that the pre-millennial view is interesting to people because it describes a world that seems so much different than the world they currently live in. Like a good movie, people are drawn to stories that take them out of their current circumstance and into an experience that is mythical, or "above" what they are currently living.

I believe that while the actual texts of the major prophecies of Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelation are written in "fantastical" language, a language of visions and dreams, their interpretation is meant to describe things that we can see just by looking around. As we experience the events of the major prophecies, they will look much like the other common events of life going on around us.

Let me give one good example. Revelation 11 introduces us to the "Two Witnesses":
3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. 6 They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. 7 And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them

Revelation 11:4 tells us who these witnesses are; they are the olive trees and the lampstands. Other scriptures reveal how we should interpret these symbols. Romans 11:16-24 shows us that the olive tree is Israel and that the gentiles (a wild olive tree branch) are grafted in. One of God's witnesses on the earth is the olive tree, symbolizing the spiritual descendants of Abraham. The symbol of the lampstand is interpreted in Rev 1:20 where we are told that the "lampstands" are the "churches".

This should be easy to accept for the believer. Who are the ones witnessing on behalf of Christ? The spiritual descendants of Abraham and the churches throughout the world.

So back to my main point - this prophetic image, given to us in Revelation 11, is not talking about some future, almost movie-like event, where 2 super-human Christians terrify the lost by breathing fire. It is instead talking about YOU, and ME, and others from our communities of faith who are actively walking in the power of God to reach the lost that surround us. WE are the witnesses! As the Body of Christ, we DO have the power mentioned in Revelation 11:5. Christ said as a body we would do greater things than He did. This image shows us doing so.

Nearly all of the pictures painted for us through the symbolism found in the major prophecies are "common" - meaning, they find their interpretation in the events of life in a manner that you are already experiencing. Some are in the past, some are yet to come, but it is unfolding all around you. You are living biblical prophecy, you are seeing it, you are participating in it.

Bringing Biblical Prophecy Back to Earth


Today the "Pre-millennial" perspective is almost universally accepted framework for biblical prophecy and the study of end-time events. As that perspective has gained momentum with best-selling books, frequent conferences and seminars, and nearly a pop-culture acceptance of its tenants, I have found myself increasingly aware of the Holy Spirit's leadership away from this view.Everywhere I look in scripture I see a conflict with the Pre-millennial view. It is my plan in the months to come in this blog to explain what I believe the Bible does say about end-time events and to provide an interpretation of biblical prophecy that is consistent with all of scripture, providing a framework for understanding eschatology that correlates comfortably with history, what we see going on around us now, and all Biblical utterances on the topic.Fear of the Great TribulationI want to start by addressing why I suspect it is that Christians have been drawn to the Pre-millennial view. The great tribulation has haunted believers since it was first introduced in the book of Daniel. As Christians, we can take embarrassment, we can handle ridicule, even some suffering is okay. But "Great" and "Tribulation" are pretty scary, and I believe that our fear of this upcoming time has driven the theologians over the last several decades to try to find a belief system that lets them avoid it. Scripture clearly refutes this hope. Jesus says plainly in Matthew 24:21-22"For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short."We, the elect, the saints, those of us alive at that time will experience the great tribulation, but it will be cut short on our behalf. Daniel makes the same point in Daniel 7:21-22 by saying:"As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom."So while we'll be there, God cuts the tribulation of that time short with His coming, and in so doing hands us the Kingdom. This is ultimately great news for us, but yes, scary to consider from our current perspective. In order to begin, I must lay out a general framework for my Biblical interpretation. Purpose of Biblical ProphecyThe primary purpose of Biblical Prophecy is to give the saints hope by confirming for them their ultimate victory in the midst of the challenges that they are currently enduring or that lay ahead. It's goal is to prepare them for these challenges, and yet provide a basis for faith through them. The message is: We win! Our faith is not in vain. Yes, there will be trouble, but be of good cheer, our Savior is victorious. Who's Your Daddy?While there is incredible detail contained in all the scriptures regarding the unfolding of history, at the center of all of them is one primary question - "who is your Father?" Jesus told the pharisees that they were of their father the devil (John 8:44). To the Christian, we are told that we have been adopted as sons and now call Him "Abba Father", essentially, "Daddy" (Rom 8:15).God's goal is to save His children. The enemy's goal is to prevent that. The events of human history, both past and future, give each individual human being the opportunity to decide who they will love, listen to, follow, and serve. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, along with all the heavenly host and the saints, work in love to help each human being make this decision. God's enemy works, through his host of fallen angels and deceived human beings to prevent individuals from coming to know God.Even now, Christians seek the lost, follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and move in the power [...]

Print it out!


I notice quite frequently the little notice on the bottom of the email of well intentioned individuals reminding me not to waste paper by printing the email. This admonishment, along with countless others coming from those who want to do their part to "Save the Planet" are sadly, in almost every case, taking steps to destroy it. Let me see if I can explain.In the above example, we are encouraged not to print because it consumes paper, and consuming paper requires the use of trees which must be cut down, thereby stripping the land and destroying the planet. At least that is the logic. Here is the flaw in that logic:Trees are a crop. Human beings grow them, harvest them, and sell them. There have been times in our history where that crop was harvested from open land not owned by the individuals selling the crop, so the case could be made that the land was being stripped and left barren. That isnt how it works any more. Today the land is owned by individuals who have decided to put that land to work producing trees. It is a business. As a business, capital is invested to buy land, the tree crop is grown in such a way as to preserve and protect the land so that the capital investment is not lost, and trees are harvested and sold to produce a profit for the owners. The by-product of this business is 1) income for the thousands of people who are involved in the process, and 2) the wood itself, which is used in thousands of ways to make the lives of those who buy it better.In a free market system people allocate their scarce resources in such a way as to maximize their satisfaction. When people do spend money, they do so because they've decided the the satisfaction they'll receive through that expenditure will be greater than the satisfaction they could have received by spending that money another way.Markets respond to the above reality by trying to determine a better way to deliver greater satisfaction at lower cost so as to obtain a greater customer base and hence a greater income.These two factors provide the two sides of the equation that make a free market economy possible. We all live on both sides of this equation. On the one side of the equation we attempt to maximize our income so that we can obtain greater satisfaction in our lives. On the other side we attempt to conserve our expenditures and get the most bang for our buck.This works! It produces wonderful products and services in ever greater abundance at ever decreasing costs. As markets solve human problems the world becomes a better place to live. We become healthier, we live longer, and we enjoy our lives more. This is a wonderful thing, a gift from God.Furthermore, people who have their basic needs met go on to seek improvement in broader areas of their lives, such as in their local environments. Starving people don't care about the environment, they care about eating. Well fed and comfortable people do care about the environment. Inside each of us is a desire for beauty, but we don't seek after that desire until other more basic needs are met (Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs)Concern for the environment we live in sits at the top of that pyramid. As the free market exchange of free human beings solves the problems of life, more and people move into higher levels of that pyramid. Freedom leads to prosperity, and prosperity benefits the environment.The quality of a nation's environment is directly proportional to prosperity of it's citizens. Look at the relative cleanliness of a typical prosperous American City vs a typical city in any poor country. The difference is stark. North Korea is a wasteland, ravaged by communism. South Korea is a prosperous, beautiful country. Look at this image of Haiti vs. the Dominican Republic. On one side there is lush beauty, the other is barren. Freedom is good for the environment. So is consumption. When we consume the products of our fellow h[...]

Restraining the Beast


The founders of the United States of America had a clear understanding of something that over the years has been largely lost, but that now, under the corrupt leadership of Obama they are rediscovering - government is a beast - and humanity's only hope for happiness on earth is the restraint of that beast.Revelation chapter 13 describes a Beast as well. The book of Revelation is a picture of God's war against His enemy, Satan, and reveals that every Holy aspect of God has a counterfeit in the work of the enemy. - God Himself is counterfeited by Satan, represented in the book of Revelation by the Dragon (Rev 12:9)- The people of God, the Saints, represented throughout the Bible as the Bride of Christ, are counterfeited by those who reject God, and worship the Beast, represented in Revelation by the Prostitute, the woman who rides the Beast (Rev 17:3-4)- The Holy Spirit is counterfeited in the book of Revelation by The False Prophet. (Rev 13:11-17)And finally, the Beast is the counterfeit of Christ Himself. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the Christian, the One to whom we look for life, for comfort, for wisdom, for counsel, and for salvation.So who is Christ's counterfeit? What agency (or "power") on earth serves the "Prostitute" (those who reject Christ) in the same capacity as Jesus Christ serves His Bride? What power rises up out of the sea, which Rev 17:15 says is the clamoring multitudes of humanity, promising to give them what only God can give, and deceiving them into trading their souls for a crust of bread?I believe the answer is found by considering what it was that the Founding Fathers were trying to chain. What is it that promises prosperity, promises to save the world, promises to protect you from those who would hurt you, promises to meet all your needs, promises to take care of your health? What force on earth is nearly irresistible? What agency has the strength of armies, the power to take wealth, the power to limit freedom, the power to accomplish "great things" for it's supporters, and the very power to chose life or death?To whom do the huddles masses turn? Where is their hope? What is the nemesis of nearly every business in America? To whom must they pay allegiance? What agency holds the power to shut you down, or lift you into the stratospheres of success? Who is it that must be stroked and padded with lavish gifts by our lobbyists?At some points in history, it was a King, such as Saul (1 Samuel 8), whom the Israelites believed would keep them safe and provide for them. At other times it was represented by Emperors like Nero of Rome. At other times it was a dominating dictator like Stalin, Khrushchev, or Hitler to whom a nation turned in hopes of victory and worldly success. And at other times, it was a charismatic leader who promised a chicken in every pot, a victory in times of war, a job for every worker, a safety net for the down-and-out, or a doctor at your disposal. Yes, the Beast of Revelation, whom our Founding Fathers tried to chain and limit, against whom we fight even now on a daily basis and has become a very present threat to our prosperity, our freedom, and our lives is the seductive power of human government. Revelation reveals that humanity will worship the beast and bow down to it, and surely we do (Rev 13:4).It grows in response to every crisis. It consumes wealth of this generation and the next. It promises life, but delivers only slavery, fear, and death. America as founded was a shining city on a hill, a beacon of hope to a dark and brutal world - proof that life on earth could be worth living. It was our faith, our freedom, and the limitation of government power that made it so. The worst of history's experiences came as a result of power accumulated in the hands of a few. Great human power cannot be director for good, for very long, for the Beast grows within it. A[...]

Trade Deficits are Meaningless


I decided to buy Crash 2.0 the other day to see what the author had to say about possible investment strategies during what I believe will be a very challenging few upcoming years in the US. Our government is on a deliberate path of self-destruction and their efforts are succeeding. I do not believe our economy will be able to withstand the consequences of deficit spending, an unstable dollar, and hi taxes. These next few years are going to suck for the average American, especially the ones dependent on employers for their security.
I expected to find in Crash 2.0 some good advice about how to invest, and maybe the author's advice investment advice is good, but the advice was immediately suspect to me because his concern for the economy was based on his alarm for the "trade deficit".
He is not alone in his concern. Everywhere I look I see fear about the looming trade deficit and how all this spending overseas will seal our doom.
This fear is completely misplaced. Completely. There is nothing to fear from trade deficits. Nothing. Let me try to convince you.

When an individual buys something, he does so because he has determined that his life is better off with the purchase than it is with the money he'll be using to buy it. When we buy things our lives and circumstances are improved. Buying a car makes it possible to drive to work, buying a computer makes it possible to email, work, shop, and do research. Buying a tool makes it possible to do things you couldn't do without that tool. These things make us more productive and better off.
You may think this not to be the case when considering what other people buy, but these are personal choices, it doesn't matter what you think, it matters what the buyer thinks.
If a person chooses to buy something made in China, both he and the person in China say thank you at the conclusion of the transaction. They both walk away happy. It is irrelevant that the individual now has less cash, he has weighed his options and decided he is better off spending the money. Furthermore, though he might have a personal trade deficit with the Chinese individual, he doesn't care, he isn't depending on the Chinese person for income, just for the product that he wanted. The individual has a source of income independent of the Chinese merchant.

What is true for the individual is also true for the group. If ten people individually buy something from China, they have all decided that they are better off and that their lives are improved by the purchase. If it is true for 10 it's true for millions. Millions of people buy things from China and each person doing so has decided that their life is better off as a result.

So yes, we run a trade deficit, but our wealth has increased because we now own the things that make us more happy, effective, and prosperous.

It's Not About Immigration!


I'm tired of hearing republicans address the democrats on the basis of what the democrats are saying about the Arizona immigration debate. The democrats put forth positions on this debate on the grounds of fairness or human rights or whatever. It's all hogwash - and the republicans should be saying so.   The democrats aren't worried about fairness. They could care less about human rights. The democrats care about one this in this debate: positioning themselves in such a way as to secure the illegal immigrant vote. The democrats are simply making a stink about an innocuous law to make the point plainly to the illegal immigrants that "democrats are on your side" and republicans are racist.  I think the best strategy for dealing with this is to plainly state this truth. This debate is not about the law in Arizona, it's not about solving the immigration issue, its not about what is best for America. Its about the democrat's lust for power. Republicans should be saying so.  While it is never stated publicly, here is the goal of the left when it comes to immigration:1) Take advantage of the fact that America is a country that many people want to come to in their search for freedom and a better life.2) Offer the wealth of Americans to the illegal immigrant in the form of welfare, food stamps, health care, etc. to get those unprincipled individuals from all over the world who want something for nothing to come here.3) Make it very difficult for high quality people from around the world to come here. Make it easy for the unprincipled and uneducated illegal immigrants to come here.3) Make it easy for the illegal immigrant to vote.4) Position yourself as the party of the "little guy" and "little illegal immigrant guy" in order to secure their vote. The left is using this debate as an opportunity to rally their base and solidly position themselves as for the illegal immigrant. Combine that "political energy" with the policies of making it easy for illegal immigrants to vote and that is a combination that is hard to beat at the polls.  The right needs to stop debating the merits of this law. Its obviously a good law given the fact that federal laws stating the same exact thing are not enforced. We need to be making it plain to the American people at every opportunity what the left is up to.  The timing of this is not an accident. The Arizona law is merely is a convenient mechanism for accomplishing their purposes prior to the November 2010 elections - so don't be fooled, their concern is not about immigration, its about winning. And like EVERYTHING ELSE the left does, if not stopped, it will result in the destruction of America - the last great hope for mankind in the world. [...]

Pride, Envy, and Hatred of the Rich


The left's politics in many ways can be characterized by the hatred of the rich.  Instead of celebrating the people that have successfully solved the problems of the world and gotten rich from that, they seek to vilify them, take their riches from them, and prevent others from ever following in their footsteps. This is one of the sad side effects of envy. Both envy and pride are listed among the 7 deadly sins and both result from an unhealthy comparison of the self to others. Pride looks at others and says, "I'm better than they are." Envy builds on the work of pride, by looking at the success of others and says, "Given that I'm better than they are, they must be doing something wrong, or there is some fundamental problem in the world, if they can have so much while I have so little."These two sins serve to distract an individual from a focus on his own bad choices, negative patterns of thought, and laziness, and results in the condemnation of the successful as evil, greedy, and exploitative of the poor.  Hatred then, is the natural consequence of regularly seeing those who you deem as lower than you rise above you in wealth, status, and success.Again, hatred is the spiritual consequence of the sins of pride and envy - and the left is consumed by it. And hatred, sadly, destroys all that it comes in contact with - including the individual who does the hating. It causes its possessors to take actions that destroy not only the lives of the people they hate, but the political systems and institutions that provided for the success of those they hate, even when those institutions are the very ones saving their own lives. The left's pride, envy, and resulting hatred drive them to hate America, see its institutions as fundementally unfair and corrupt, and causes them to take action to destroy its foundations and replace them with systems that redistribute wealth and shackle those who seek to earn it. The person who hates cannot allow for the freedom of those they hate. That is why populism derived from anger towards the wealthy also drives a nation toward despotism and socialism. The populace hands power to the individuals or groups that promise to destroy the freedom of others to succeed. Hence, statism and socialism. Marxism is based on advancing the cause of the proletariat against the bourgeois, whom they hate for their success. Hatred is at the root of liberalism - at the root of all human conflict. Love values freedom, both for the self, and for others. It declares a trust in God, in freedom, and in others - that as others pursue their own good, we will be okay - moreover, we'll be better off.  Hatred says, "I can't trust God, I can't trust freedom, I can't trust others." It motivates an individual to take from others their freedom in a self-destructive attempt to protect one's interests. It is the ultimate lie propagated from the devil himself declared first in the Garden of Eden. Cast out of heaven for his own pride, envy and hatred of God, he deceived the first humans by convincing them that God could not be trusted. It was a lie then, it is a lie now. We can trust God, we can trust freedom, we can trust others. Just in case you have been tempted into agreeing with the hatred of the successful, I want to shine some truth on the subject of the rich so that you can break agreement with such thoughts and have the freedom that comes with it. 1) When the rich succeed, they do so by solving the problems of those who buy from them. The customer is better off than prior to the transaction. Both the rich man and his customer walk away better off than they would have been without the transaction. A poor man may be resentful of the fact that he must pay a rich man for, lets say, ten gallons of gas, but that ten gallons o[...]

Give Us A King! (Faith in Government)


In the time of Samuel the prophet, the people of Israel wanted a king like the nations that surrounded them (1 Sam 8). Samuel was utterly dismayed by this development. The people of Israel had no ruler, yet were prosperous. They had no king, yet were thriving in the promised land. God Himself was their King and led the people of Israel through His revelation to the prophets. Yet, this wasn't enough for them. The people of Israel still felt the uncertainties of life and were deceived into thinking that if they had a king like the surrounding nations, then maybe they wouldn't feel so insecure.When Samuel inquired of God about this request, God responded by saying that it wasn't Samuel that was being rejected, but God. He instructed Samuel to first warn the Israelites about the dangers of having a king. Here was the warning given by Samuel (1 Sam 8):vs 10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day." 19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles." Simply put, God was warning them that when you request a powerful human government (in any form) to "go before you and fight your battles" that your wealth and your freedom will be consumed by that government and the security sought will ultimately not be found. In the end you will have nothing but the insecurity you were hoping to remedy.However, God does not force people to trust Him, so He instructed Samuel to go to the tribe of Benjamin and select Saul as king over Israel. They got their King, and the Bible tells the sad story of the history of Israel under those kings.I see many parallels to the request of Israel and the shift of the balance of power in the United States today. As a people/culture drift away from faith in God, they look elsewhere to find security. Humanity has always been bedeviled by the illusion of the physical. Israel rejected Christ because He spoke of a spiritual Kingdom - they wanted a physical one. We are beset by a desire to see with our eyes, touch with our hands, and hear with our ears the entity that we entrust with our lives. How often did ancient people make useless idols rather than trust in God? It has been a perpetual problem for humanity.People are no different today, but rather than idols, they look to strong governments to provide for them. Unfortunately, the same warning given by God to Samuel holds true today. When you ask for a physical solution to a spiritual problem, your "solution" will consume all your wealth, take away your freedom, and leave you with nothing but misery. Mankind has never found a way around this problem. Socialism, the generic term for[...]

One Aspect of the Financial Crisis


I've attached a great article below that shows just one aspect of the government meddling that caused the current financial crisis. In a nutshell, when someone can't pay their mortgage, the bank forecloses on the house - this prevents the bank from losing all their money and allows the person living in the house to move on to a place to live that they can afford. Not much is lost by the home owner, especially these days, because not much was put down. Essentially, they paid "rent" while they lived there - in the form of their mortgage to the bank and the small amount of money they put down.When government; however, prevents the bank from quickly foreclosing on the house and instead wants to protect the "innocent" homeowner (who isn't paying his bills), the bank cannot put the house back onto the market and recoup its losses. This keeps the banks money tied up in houses that it can't unload.This government policy causes two things to happen:Banks can no longer afford to lend - that is why we have a "credit crisis". If banks can't secure the loan with the value of the home, they have greatly increased risk in making the loan. (Unless it is government backed, which fanny and freddy provided, which is why there was "irresponsible" lending.)People have no incentive to pay their mortgage. If they get to keep the house when they decide not to pay, there is no reason (other than character and integrity) to pay their mortgage. Sure, many will pay in this scenerio, but many will not. Hence, irresponsible borrowers ride on the efforts of the responsible borrowers.Halting foreclosures is bad economic policy and one important aspect of this crisis. We must get the government out of this industry! These bad policies distort the market in ways that encourage people to make irresponsible choices. Check out the following article.-----------------------------------------------The Libertarian: Greed, Or Incentives?Richard Epstein 09.23.08, 12:01 AM ETIt had been my devout wish to write a set of disinterested columns about labor markets to illustrate the power of the presumption against state regulation of voluntary agreements. But the financial meltdown of the past week has rudely interrupted my plan to pillory the minimum wage.Instead, I shall turn on a dime to address two connected questions: How did we get to that sorry state where great institutions topple, and what should be done?On both questions, our bipartisan consensus is holding true to form. In a system that is chock-full of heavy regulation, they instantly blame the current collapse on the excesses of the free market, for which a still heavier dose of regulation supplies some supposed cure. That indictment contains few particulars. It typically rests on a populist broadside whose centerpiece is greed on Wall Street, but never on Main Street--where there are more voters.This prior is all wrong. Greed is a constant of human nature. Financial meltdowns are not a constant of economic political life. It takes, therefore, an understanding of the overall incentive structure to explain why selfish economic behavior produces great progress on some occasions and financial ruination on others.On this question, your stalwart libertarian is persona non grata in respectable company. If voluntary markets normally align private incentives with social welfare, then always look first for a government intervention that knocks those incentives off line. It’s not hard to find some culprits.One bad move has government legislators and courts intervening to slow down mortgage foreclosures because it is socially unacceptable for people to lose their homes. Unpleasant yes, but unacceptable no. Start with this assumption: Individual tenants can be evicte[...]

Is Conservation Good for Us?


For years now we've been hearing an ever growing chorus about the need for conservation. Lately the cry for recycling, using less plastic, less water, less fuel, etc. is deafening. As the volume has increased, I have grown more and more uncomfortable with this whole idea of conservation. Something just didn't seem right about it.Whenever "everyone" is saying something I start looking for the angle. I've come firmly to the conclusion over the years that the politically correct position always has a fallacy at its core. Political correctness is a technique used to pressure people into doing something they wouldn't do on their own or isn't in their best interest. So I've been searching for that fallacy in politically correct conservationism. Here is what I've realized.At the core of the conservation argument is the idea that mankind harms the earth by the consumption necessary in everyday living. I have long been aware of the left's belief that humanity is a parasite on the earth. In their opinion, if it wasn't for mankind, the earth would be a beautiful, pristine place. You can see this premise on display in the History Channel's recent production "Life After People" or the National Geographic Channel's "Human Footprint."There are two aspects this position. One, that we are raping the earth by harvesting natural resources and that two, we pollute the earth when we consume them. I contend that both premises are flawed.Resources are product of humanity, not the earth. Sure, resources come from the earth, but they are useless to us until someone converts them to a useful form. Oil was an annoyance to land owners until a human being discovered it could be used for fuel and learned how to convert it into that useful form.This is why the "population alarmists" have it all backwards. We need more people, not less. Humanity is the world's greatest resource. The greatest threat future western nation’s face is declining populations. None of them are reproducing and are no longer having children at replacement rates.So why conserve oil? Oil has completely changed the quality of life for millions! It has done so in every way conceivable. Every aspect of our lives is better because of what the energy in oil is able to do for us. Here is the only reason I know of to conserve oil: you want to reduce the amount of money you spend on it. For me it is a purely financial decision. As far as I'm concerned, if you have decided that consuming energy is more valuable than the money in your pocket - then you must have determined that it will improve your life or the world around you to some degree more than the money was worth. Because consuming energy has a cost - it's use must have a tangible benefit to people or else they would save the money and use it for other purposes.The critic of my position will no doubt say that people should use less because of the resulting pollution. (The other half of the "humans are destroying the earth" premise). I believe this premise is flawed as well. Pollution is not a product of consumption; it is a product of poverty. Prosperous, free people want to live in clean environments and they will pressure polluters using any means available (product boycotts, government action, picketing, etc) to clean up their act. Compare the environment in any free, prosperous country to any socialistic, non-free country. Athletes don't even want to compete in china due to the dirty air. Poor people care about eating - prosperous people care about everything else. PC Conservationism, if it had its way, would ultimately do more damage to the environment by spreading poverty.When we decide to conserve, we're actually saying that we will deprive another[...]

Why Democrats Will Never Support Drilling


Why do the democrats fight every single approach to lowering the price of energy? The cover of USA Today gives the answer in large bold print - "Drivers cut back by 30B miles." That in a nutshell is why you'll never find a democrat doing anything to lower the cost of driving. They don't care about what the poor pay for gas, they don't care how much high gas prices affect the price of everything else you need.The democrats don't want you driving! They don't want you traveling! They don't want you to have a car! They don't want you buying airline tickets. Stay home. Plant some tomatoes or something.Democrats want high energy prices. They think Americans use too much energy. They will do anything they can to drive the price up so that we get out of our cars. Their religion of global warming has convinced them that any normal human activity is destroying the environment. Since they haven't been able to convince the voters to let them ban travel entirely (like was done in the Soviet Union), they do an end-run on travel by making it so expensive that people voluntarily give up all but the most necessary travel. Democrats are celebrating because the high cost of fuel is finally causing Americans to get rid of their SUVs, causing them to take the train, causing them to get jobs closer to home, etc. They love the high price - and they love the result.That is why every democrat solution to the high energy costs only raises energy costs. Gas prices are high - "we must pass a windfall profits tax on the oil companies!" Natural gas prices are skyrocketing - "keep our huge natural gas reserves off limits to drilling!" Electricity is more expensive than ever -"Just say No to Nuclear!" Food prices are out of this world - "We need more ethanol!" They actually use the anger over energy costs to gain the political support necessary to do more damage! And many Americans gullibly urge them on.We actually don't have an energy crisis, we have a regulatory crisis. We've got enough energy for 150 years of abundant, cheap energy, right here in America - but our politicians have made it impossible to take advantage of it. The latest mantra is "We can't drill our way out of this energy crisis." As if saying the exactly wrong thing with conviction will make believers out of skeptics. Drilling is EXACTLY what we need to do. Energy is expensive because we don't have enough of it. This isn't complicated. In a free market, prices always move to bring into equilibrium supply and demand. Supply is low, demand is high - prices go up. We need more energy. We need to drill now. We need to build nuclear power plants.Actually "We" don't need to do anything. These things will happen automatically if our politicians would just get out of the way! What "We" need to do is come down on the politicians until they cave in.The thing that gets missed in all of this, by both the left and the right, is the benefit to humanity of mobility. People are willing to spend hundreds of dollars a month on their automobiles and fuel because there is GREAT, GREAT benefit in being mobile. You can drive to a job that is better than what you might be able to find within walking distance of your home. You can shop at a greater variety of stores - thereby increasing competition among those stores which increses quality and reduces price (if you are bound to the store within walking distance, they don't have to fight all that hard for your business). You can increase your business prospects, doing business with a greater circle of people. You have a wider range of dating options for the single person. A wider range of educational options. Automobile means self-movement -> Auto = self, [...]

The Mortgage Lending Crisis


About two years ago I moved to Long Island. At that time everyone was talking about the sky high prices of homes. The typical 3 bedroom 2 bath house in livable condition started at about $400k. I needed a house, and the prices were daunting. I came to Long Island for a pretty good job with better pay than my previous job. I knew the prices would be a lot higher than Tulsa, where we had moved from, but wow! I had sold a nice house for $150k and would have to spend over $400k for less house. The pay increase felt more like a pay-cut.I remember talking with a friend about the "outrageous" housing prices on Long Island. We had both recently heard a news story about how young men and women were moving away from Long Island after they graduated high school and college and had to move out of their parents homes. Until you make about $120k a year, its almost impossible to buy a house here. Older families were cashing out and moving to North Carolina - younger families were simply leaving in search of something they could afford.People were angry in many cases that they couldn't afford their homes. I spoke with a fellow pilot about his circumstances - wife, 3 kids, and a house payment that was killing him. He wanted to blame someone for how high prices were and just didn't think it was fair.Now the lament is exactly reversed. Housing prices are "crashing! The Government must do something!" But wait - 2 years ago we were all complaining about unaffordable housing - now we're upset that housing is becoming more affordable? One man's feast in this case is another man's famine. Before it was a crisis if you were a buyer, now its a crisis if you're an owner. Hey people, its not a crisis, its the way things work.This highlights for me a sad underlying reality. Politicians will make a crisis out of every change that makes news. If the prices are high (or rising), the politician will blame someone, propose a "solution" that increases his power while burdening the taxpayer and creating dozens of unintended consequences that hurt us all. If the prices are low (or falling), the politician will blame someone, propose a "solution" that increases his power while burdening the taxpayer and creating dozens of unintended consequences that hurt us all. See a pattern here?What saddens me most of all is the fact that this housing/mortgage "crisis" was created by government in the first place - one of the unintended consequences of political action intended to help the victim of a previous crisis. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was passed because some borrowers couldn't get home loans. They weren't credit worthy, lenders weren't willing to throw away their money. Politicians didn't think this was fair that some people could get home loans and others couldn't. So they forced banks to extend loans to a broader customer base - now people could get loans who shouldn't have had them.This worked okay for many years because housing prices were generally increasing. Then memories faded of the risks associated with taking huge loans and lenders and borrowers alike went crazy. Principle only loans, balloon loans, ARMS coupled with huge profits with house flipping, etc - and everyone lost touch with reality. "Hey, its a party, come on in, nothing can go wrong!"We are reminded again that there is no free lunch. Buyers could only hang in there for so long and eventually people stopped buying. Remember - high prices are meant to do that - discourage buying when supplies become limited. So the market corrected. Prices are coming back to a more affordable level, lenders are "remembering" what they knew so well before - that some [...]

Why I'm Against Government Run Health Care


The big debate this election cycle will probably be over government run health care (or nationalized health insurance, etc). The tag lines will be about our lack of compassion for those that can't pay, about health care as a right, about how in other countries people don't have to worry about health care like they do in America. And those in America who do want to help their fellow man, who do want to help the "little guy", who do think that health care is too expensive, might very well get caught up in those lines of thought and give the government the authority to take over this sector of the economy.Here are several reasons why I think it would be a big mistake to nationalize health care.1) Quality and Costs: In every area that government gets involved, costs always skyrocket and quality always decreases. It is axiomatic, for one very well established reason - government doesn't have to compete. Competition is the force that drives excellence and reduces cost in our world. People work only as hard as they must in order to get by. It isn't necessarily laziness, its just natural, we want to spend time with our family, take care of the house, go to the beach and enjoy life - competition requires us to work before we can play. Our survival depends on getting up and going to work - and doing a good job while we're there. If we don't "bring it", somebody else will.Not so in government. If they do a poor job at something, there are typically calls for increased funding, rather than the lost business that the rest of us have to face when we do our jobs poorly. Due to the fact that there is no competition trying to take the "government's" business away - the government doesn't have to do it better or at a better price, so the quality always goes down and the cost always goes up.You might say - "I don't care if costs go up if I'm not having to pay for it." Well someone has to pay for it. Now you'll have to pay for it through taxes that will have to go up and up and up. The politicians will sell you an "illusion." They will convince you that you don't have to pay for it, then increase your taxes to cover the system that they create. And the system they create will cost more, offer you less, and you won't have any say in it! Don't fall for the "illusion."2) Innovation Ceases - As a company tries to get ahead of its competition, it continually looks for ways to bring new products and services to the market. As a result, a steady stream of new innovations flow from the companies that provide health care technology, medicines, and services. The desire for profit drives new innovations. Profit is the magnet for human innovation. Remove the profit = remove the innovation.One of the benefits that socialized medicine in other countries have is that they still have access to medical innovations coming out of the United States and other countries that are not socialized. If America socializes its health care system and removes the incentives to innovate that profit provides, the world will lose its source of medical innovation. They will no longer be able to depend on our system to provide breakthrough technologies - and neither will we. We will have effectively killed the goose that lays the golden eggs.What is so sad about this fact is that it won't even be noticed. You don't miss what never existed.Furthermore, when business men and women see that they can no longer succeed financially in the health care industry, they'll take their talents elsewhere. That means fewer qualified doctors, nurses, and others. Politicians will insist that doctors are overpaid and reduce their incomes[...]

The Real Cost of Global Warming Hysteria


This kind of stuff just infuriates me! The SoilAssociation, a European group that certifies food as organic is considering removing the organic certification from foods shipped by air. (Read Article Here) Their rationale is that food shipped by air creates more carbon emmissions than food shipped by other means, I guess they mean food carried on a donkey.

The unintended side effect of this BS is the potential loss of a market for thousands of African farmers who are slowly making their way out of extreme poverty by growing organic fruits and vegetables (typically without making any carbon emmissions!).

The reason this makes me angry is that is an example of how real people get harmed by liberal BS. Global warming hysteria has one ultimate effect - reducing the quality of life and the standard of living of human beings. Environmentalists are motivated by one underlying principle - they believe mankind is a parasite on the earth. Consequently, their politics, policies, and ideas all serve to reduce mankind's access to the things that improve their lives.

Broad markets improve lives. The fact that an African farmer can sell his goods in far off lands means he can reach customers that don't exist locally. It also means that people who desire inexpensive organic products can find them right in their neighborhood, even if they were shipped from thousands of miles away. Both groups benefitted, so did the companies who shipped the products. So do all of the places where all of these groups spend the money they made. So many people benefit from this kind of exchange.

But liberal environmentalists want to hurt everyone involved in this free exchange. They hurt the customer who will no longer be able to buy the products they want at a good price. They hurt the companies who were shipping these organic products by air. They hurt most of all the African farmer who no longer has a market for his produce.

Real people get hurt by liberal scaremongering. Please do your part to end this global warming hysteria - tell the truth to a neighbor today.

Achieving Success


I heard a caller on a radio show ask this question yesterday, "So what's so wrong with socialism anyway." He made a few mindless points about taking care of people and the usual bash against successful people. As the host answered the caller, I thought of about 20 things that are "so wrong" with socialism. One thought I had related to the achievement of success.In a free market or free enterprise system (especially one that has minimal governmental interference) those that best take care of their fellow man rise to the top. A free market system requires people to look out for the needs of others. It is a merit based system - meaning, if you are good at what you do, then you succeed. Another aspect of success though, is that your success must be recognized by others as measured by their desire to buy whatever service or product that you offer in your business.In a free market system we all sell something. I'm a pilot, I sell my skill as a pilot to the company that employs me. My wife is a receptionist, she sells her time and diligence to her employer. My product is my knowledge, experience, skill, character, attitude, and time. On each of these attributes my employer measures my worth and decides whether or not he is receiving value from my position within his company. If the value is below what he requires and he determines that a different employee with different skills, attitude, etc would provide a higher return, then he'll replace me with that person.Free market systems are voluntary. Every exchange is based on choice. I choose from whom I will buy. And other's choose whether or not they will buy from me. As a result, my manners and approach to those I serve must meet with their approval. I must work hard for them, be kind to them, make it easy for them - or they will go somewhere else.All of us are required to take care of others if we want to succeed. If I don't take care of my employer he lets me go, if a business doesn't take care of its customers they shop somewhere else. In the amazing free market system a person may only consume in direct proportion to what they produce. A productive person pleases many people, makes a lot of money, and may therefore buy more for himself from others. He has met the needs of many and may therefore purchase the time, talent, and property of others in greater proportion than a person who has not met the needs of many. It is an immensely fair and balanced system.The socialistic system is not this way - in fact, it is exactly opposite.A socialistic system requires "pull". To achieve success in a socialistic system you have to know people who can help you get what you want. Governmental systems by their very nature are coercive. That means, anything that a government decides to do it will accomplish by force - people do not have the freedom to go elsewhere for the services required from government. If you want a license plate, you go to the DMV, there is no other way. If you want to drive on a highway, you go the speed they tell you, break the speed limit and you'll face a fine or go to jail. Want to fly a plane somewhere, you'll be dealing with governmentally run Air Traffic Control - you don't have the choice to use another "service provider."Since socialistic systems are not voluntary and people have no choice about dealing with them, merit is not the means of obtaining success.Our governmental system has become socialistic. Rather than preserving liberty which is the moral and proper function of government, our government has gotten into the entitlement business. They [...]

Religious Legalism


I've had a few conversations over the last few months with "legalistic" Christians. This is often a frustrating endeavor for me. I honestly don't know how to reach them. I see these people as fundamentally unhappy and deep-down I see in them an anger towards God rather than a trust in His love for them and His desire to bring good into their lives.I came across a blog I had written awhile back in which I made the point that life is about relationship, not religion. The second half of that blog discusses legalism. I'm copying that portion into this posting just to revisit the issue:---------------If we are in a relationship with God and commune with Him via the Holy Spirit (our spirit relating/connecting to His Spirit) we will be lead into right behavior. Jesus Christ set me free from the worry of sin, from the condemnation, from the fear. Now I walk with Him. I try things, I make mistakes (which includes sin), I fall, the Holy Spirit speaks to me, I learn, and I grow. It is by living that we become the men and women God wants us to be. Its partly by failing that I grow in my sensitivity to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.So does God want us to sin? Absolutely not. The wages of sin is death. It hurts us dreadfully to sin. But God wants us to be able to let it go and move on. He wants to lead us out of sin as we commune with Him in a love relationship - not because we are fearful of hell or the criticism of fellow Christians. God wants to teach us to avoid sin because it is an assault on the relationship He has with us and because it is an assault on life itself. God has good plans for us and sin prevents Him from leading us into that blessing. Sin is the choice to do something our way, contrary to the leadership of God. God is the author of life and knows what it takes to provide for life. Sin produces death because it is contrary to God and to His wisdom. Follow God and live - that message is everywhere in the bible.We often sin because we hurt. All people need love, acceptance, and leadership. God promises to meet all of those needs through the Sprit - He is our comfort (love), provides fellowship (acceptance), and offers counsel (leadership). When we connect with God, we can receive all of these things and be made whole. Our hearts can be filled, so to speak. When we are disconnected from God, our hearts become empty. It's at this time that we often turn to sin as a remedy for the pain of an empty heart. Only the love of God can fill an empty heart. Sin is man's attempt to fill his own heart; to find a little relief; to escape the pain of life. As we grow in our relationship with God, we learn how to recognize when we are disconnected from God by the desire for sin that sometimes rises within. We can sense our own "heart level" and use that nudge to step back into fellowship with God.So why did Israel have the law? The bible says in Gal 3:19 that it was "added because of transgressions till the Seed should come." And in verse 24 that it "was our tutor to bring us to Christ." Like a child needs rules and laws provided by the parents for protection - Israel needed those laws because they had very little love for God and weren't interested in pursuing a relationship with Him. God made a promise to Abraham (Gen 22:18) that He intended to keep. Specifically, God promised that from Abraham's descendents a savior would come that would bless the entire world. Israel was the promised vessel through which Jesus Christ would come. If Israel didn't follow God, like so many other ancient natio[...]

The PC Police vs Coulter


The thing that is so funny about everyone's concern about Coulter's comments is that it proves her point. Her point was that you can't say "faggot" without the left freaking out so outrageously that the only escape from the firestorm is to check into rehab. She was simply observing and commenting on the "pc police" and their totalitarian control over American speech - and her comments caused those same pc police to come out in force!

The same thing is true about her comments about the "Jersey Girls." Her point then was that the left uses people that you can't criticize to go out and be their spokesmen. As soon as she criticized the Jersey Girls for their stand, the left did exactly what she said - denounced her for criticizing their "uncriticizable" spokesman.

Besides, no one really cares about her comments - they care about the opportunity to silence her. They see this brouhaha as the chance to turn conservatives against her. The liberals already hate her and if the pc police can't silence her maybe they can pressure conservatives into rejecting her. I think the pc police LOVE it when someone on the right uses a forbidden phrase - now they have a target.

The left calls people who come out of the closet as "brave." I think it takes a lot more bravery to challenge the left's pc police and endure the firestorm that erupts as a result.

Suspending Economic Realities


Thomas Sowell has been writing a super series about prices called Priceless Politics. In this series he emphasizes that politicians have for thousands of years tried to gain power by promising constituents that in exchange for their vote, the politician will overcome the underlying economic realities that prevent people from buying more than they can afford.Economics is the study of how people with unlimited desires for stuff balance the acquisition of that stuff given that there isn't enough stuff for everyone to have as much as they want. It is the study of the relationship between unlimited wants and limited resources.Prices are the mechanism that balance the two sides. Prices help people decide how they will use their limited resources to meet their limitless desires. I might want a new car more than I want a used one, but the difference in price forces me to choose wisely due to the fact that I also have to pay for groceries and the mortgage. A used car leaves enough resources in my budget that I can continue to pay my other bills.One of Sowell's best sentences was this: "Prices force you to limit your claims on what other people have produced to the value of what you have produced for other people."I love it! That is such a great statement. It is the essense of fairness! The liberals might tell us that it is not fair that a rich guy can buy whatever he wants (which isn't true) and that poor people can't. Fairness is being able to purchase from other people no more than you have produced for other people. Rich people are very productive (at least in a free market system), and poor people are not productive. Many people find the services of the rich to be a necessity in their lives and therefore pay them a great amount to obtain those services. Poor people have not made themselves or their services valuable to anyone, and therefore do not receive much income from others.This is the essence of fairness. I also believe that it is the essence of morality. All people are called to serve their fellow man, especially in the Christian faith, but in many religions service to others is highly regarded. Only in the free market system is service to others (as recognized and chosen by them) required.The politician is in the business of buying votes by promising gullible people that he can outsmart these economic principles. He thinks that by holding prices down for rents, or medical care, or food, or gas or by holding prices up in the case of minimum wage laws, that somehow the economic realities can be suspended. Unfortunately, wants are still unlimited and resources are still limited. The politician cannot suspend this fact. But he can get elected by promising to try. He still gets what he wants, and the rest of us have to live with the mess that results.The sad consequence is this: by virtue of his meddling, the politician just distorted the transparent and fair mechanism of price and now some other mechanism must replace it - because there are more people who want the stuff and not enough stuff to go around. Maybe it will be long lines, maybe it will be bribes, maybe it will be "networking" (you have to know someone to get what you want), maybe it will be theft - but it will have to be something because their ain't enough stuff to go around!Prices serve to equalize the supply of stuff and the demand for stuff. Politician intervention destroys the equalization. Prices are a fair and moral way of regulating the distribution of goods and[...]

Universal Health Care


All people should have access to health care. All people should have access to whatever it is that they want or need. If they want food, they should be able to have it. If they want furniture, they should be able to have it. If they want a car, they should be able to have it. If they want a TV, they should be able to have it.In America today we have people advocating socialized, universal health care. "Health care should be a right." Again, I believe that everyone should have access to health care, but socialized universal health care would be a complete disaster, and here's why.A government bureaucracy is the least effective way to stimulate innovation. As a matter of fact, you could almost say that bureaucracy does only one thing well - stifle innovation. Innovation, and the resulting excellence and value that comes from innovation spring from one thing - the desire for profit. Profit is the magnet for human innovation. Where there is an opportunity to make money, people will come in droves trying to figure out a way to "harvest" that profit opportunity.The recent housing boom is a good example of that. Over the last few years, housing prices were going up rapidly. In the major markets like the east and west coast, people couldn't think about a house for more than 10 minutes because someone else would snatch it up. Houses sold immediately because they were in such short supply. People started flipping houses, builders went on a building spree, and in a fairly short time we went from a housing shortage to a housing glut. The high prices encouraged lots of people to seek the profit that could be made there, increasing the innovation and supply within the housing market.Government bureaucracy contains no profit opportunity (except for the politician) and therefore has no innovation. Bureaucracy creates mediocrity, free markets create excellence. When you buy a car, you can get car insurance with a "15 minute call to Gieko." Then turn around to register that car, and you spend several hours at the DMV. Is registering a car inherently more complex than insuring it? No, it should be much simpler - but car insurance is provided by private companies that have to compete for your business while the DMV is a state bureaucracy. The DMV can't lose your business - because the government gives you no other options! Fail to register your car and you'll pay the price! The bureaucracy has no incentive to improve. Consequently, you sit in line for hours, then approach the person behind the counter who is sour and wishes they didn't have to be there and points out all the things you filled out wrong on your paperwork and then tells you to come back another day with your passport (oh, new security procedures).The free market has produced such entertainment wonders as the Ipod - an amazing collection of super sophisticated technologies giving each person total control over their personal entertainment. Download whatever song you want, nearly for free, and take it, along with thousands of other songs and videos in your pocket to be enjoyed whenever you choose. People want control over their entertainment, almost miraculously, the free market provided it!The free market has provided Americans with access to a mind boggling array of products at amazingly low prices. You can have your two cars, a TV in every room, your ipod, a laptop computer, a cell phone, and still have enough money left over to pay $100 a month for cable an[...]

What is a lie?


I had a great conversation with a friend the other day and we talked about lying. They were having a little relationship difficulty and one issue centered around a lie that had been told. As we discussed the ins and outs of lies, white lies, big lies, little lies, etc., this became clear to me:A lie is an attempt to manipulate someone into doing something in accordance with your wishes when if they knew the truth they probably would not.In essence, I see a lie as an attempt to manipulate another into doing something that is not in their best interest.If you've read other entries in my blog, you know that one of my primary themes is freedom. I believe in freedom. I believe that God values our freedom. I believe freedom is very important in human relationships and in nearly every other aspect of life.When we are free, we are able to do what is in our best interest. I add to that this caveat: our freedom should not take away the freedom of others to do what is in their best interest. I believe that God designed the world in such a way that things work best when people do what's in their best interest while at the same time respecting the freedom of others. Essentially the golden rule: "treat others as you would like to be treated."Occasionally our interests conflict with the interests of others. I believe it is at this point that we are offered the temptation to lie.Sometimes we want something very badly; however, we know that those around us may not want the same thing. I think we know when another will not want what we want. We know, like an innate sense, when it isn't in their best interest. When we suspect that another person does not want what we want, we have to choose at that point to press on and try to get it anyway, or back off. Its in our nature to try to get what we want and therefore we limit the information another has or in some way "frame" things so that the other person will "see" what we want them to see. We manipulate; we lie.Quality human relationships are based on the truth and both parties are free to act as they see best. We enter into relationships with others because we see something of value in that person. We choose to have a relationship with another person because we believe that in some way we will be better off having known that person. Relationships are based on a mutual benefit. This applies to marriages, families, business, friendships, you name it. We have relationships that will in some way benefit us. I don't believe that this is an evil characteristic. Even when we help the poor or serve in a ministry to others, we benefit from that relationship. Service to others has its own rewards.Lying takes the benefit away from the other person. We still want to benefit, but our lie prevents the other person from being able to benefit. If we want to have quality relationships, we've got to decide that we value their desires as much as we value ours. If we don't do this, the relationship will be shallow and short lived. So in the end, it's actually in our own best interest to seek the best interest of others!Lying actually undermines our own interests by removing another's reason for being in the relationship and thus - robbing us of the benefit of that relationship. Lying is stealing - and people will not put up with that for long. If you lie enough to another person, they will know they are being taken advantage of and leave the relationship.Oh - I can [...]