“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” - Romans 13:1-2
“Obey the law of the land.”
When dealing with the question of obedience or disobedience to the state, this is the standard Christian response. The only time disobedience is allowed is when the ruling of the government is in direct conflict with the word of God. Otherwise, we are bound by a Christian duty to do what the state says. Despite a New Testament filled with disobedient disciples and a disobedient Messiah in Christ, Romans 13 is the only reason for this strong belief in and support of the state. Perhaps this faith is misplaced, however, due to an incorrect reading of the first verses of that chapter.
“Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security but [also] at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.
Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and even beyond their expectations or desires, become ‘profiteers,’ who are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished, not less than of the proletariat. As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.
Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.
In the latter stages of the war all the belligerent governments practiced, from necessity or incompetence, what a Bolshevist might have done from design. Even now, when the war is over, most of them continue out of weakness the same malpractices. But further, the governments of Europe, being many of them at this moment reckless in their methods as well as weak, seek to direct on to a class known as ‘profiteers’ the popular indignation against the more obvious consequences of their vicious methods.
These ‘profiteers’ are, broadly speaking, the entrepreneur class of capitalists, that is to say, the active and constructive element in the whole capitalist society, who in a period of rapidly rising prices cannot but get rich quick whether they wish it or desire it or not. If prices are continually rising, every trader who has purchased for stock or owns property and plant inevitably makes profits. By directing hatred against this class, therefore, the European governments are carrying a step further the fatal process which the subtle mind of Lenin had consciously conceived. The profiteers are a consequence and not a cause of rising prices. By combining a popular hatred of the class of entrepreneurs with the blow already given to social security by the violent and arbitrary disturbance of contract and of the established equilibrium of wealth which is the inevitable result of inflation, these governments are fast rendering impossible a continuance of the social and economic order of the 19th century. But they have no plan for replacing it.
The inflationism of the currency systems of Europe has proceeded to extraordinary lengths. The various belligerent governments, unable or too timid or too short-sighted to secure from loans or taxes the resources they required, have printed notes for the balance. In Russia and Austria Hungary this process has reached a point where for the purposes of foreign trade the currency is practically valueless. The Polish mark can be bought for about [three cents] and the Austrian crown for less than [two cents], but they cannot be sold at all. The German mark is worth less than [four cents] on the exchanges.
But while these currencies enjoy a precarious value abroad, they have never entirely lost, not even in Russia, their purchasing power at home. A sentiment of trust in the legal money of the state is so deeply implanted in the citizens of all countries that they cannot but believe that some day this money must recover a part at least of its former value…. They do not apprehend that the real wealth, which this money might have stood for has been dissipated once and for all. This sentiment is supported by the various legal regulations with which the governments endeavor to control internal prices, and so to preserve some purchasing power for their legal tender.
The preservation of a spurious value for the currency, by the force of law expressed in the regulation of prices, contains in itself, however, the seeds of final economic decay, and soon dries up the sources of ultimate supply. If a man is compelled to exchange the fruits of his labors for paper which, as experience soon teaches him, he cannot use to purchase what he requires at a price comparable to that which he has received for his own products, he will keep his produce for himself, dispose of it to his friends and neighbors as a favor, or relax his efforts in producing it.
A system of compelling the exchange of commodities at what is not their real relative value not only relaxes production, but [also] leads finally to the waste and inefficiency of barter. If, however, a government refrains from regulation and allows matters to take their course, essential commodities soon attain a level of price out of the reach of all but the rich, the worthlessness of the money becomes apparent, and the fraud upon the public can be concealed no longer.
The effect on foreign trade of price-regulation and profiteer-hunting as cures for inflation is even worse. Whatever may be the case at home, the currency must soon reach its real level abroad, with the result that prices inside and outside the country lose their normal adjustment. The price of imported commodities, when converted at the current rate of exchange, is far in excess of the local price, so that many essential goods will not be imported at all by private agency, and must be provided by the government, which, in re-selling the goods below cost price, plunges thereby a little further into insolvency.
The note circulation of Germany is about 10 times what it was before the war. The value of the mark in terms of gold is about one-eighth of its former value.
It is a hazardous enterprise for a merchant or a manufacturer to purchase with a foreign credit material for which, when he has imported it or manufactured it, he will receive mark currency of a quite uncertain and possibly unrealizable value.
It may be the case, therefore, that a German merchant, careful of his future credit and reputation, who is actually offered a short-period credit in terms of sterling or dollars, may be reluctant and doubtful whether to accept it. He will owe sterling or dollars, but he will sell his product for marks, and his power, when the time comes, to turn these marks into the currency in which he has to repay his debt is entirely problematic. Business loses its genuine character and becomes no better than a speculation in the exchanges, the fluctuations in which entirely obliterate the normal profits of commerce.
Thus the menace of inflationism described above is not merely a product of the war, of which peace begins the cure. It is a continuing phenomenon of which the end is not yet in sight.”—John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, pages 235-248
“Power, on the other hand, settles everything. It took time, but we finally realized that. For instance, you must have noticed that our old Europe at last philosophizes in the right way. We no longer say as in simple times: ‘This is my opinion. What are your objections?’ We have become lucid. For the dialogue we have substituted the communiqué. ‘This is the truth,’ we say. ‘You can discuss it as much as you want; we aren’t interested. But in a few years there’ll be the police to show you I’m right.’”—Albert Camus, The Fall
“Have you noticed that death alone awakens our feelings? How we love the friends who have just left us? How we admire those of our teachers who have ceased to speak, their mouths filled with earth? Then the expression of admiration springs forth naturally, that admiration they were perhaps expecting from us all life long. But do you know why we are always more just and more generous towards the dead? The reason is simple. With them there is no obligation. They leave us free and we can take our time, fit the testimonial in between a cocktail party and a nice little mistress, in our spare time, in short.”—Albert Camus, The Fall
“War feeds the growth of the state. The state is nourished on the liberties of the people. The choice is liberty or dictatorship, republic or empire. The notion that we can cut government and maintain the empire is preposterous. A country that supports preventive war, allows assassination of its own citizens, and endorses torture can hardly be called a republic.”—Ron Paul, Liberty Defined
“The basic point is that the recession of 2001 wasn’t a typical postwar slump, brought on when an inflation-fighting Fed raises interest rates and easily ended by a snapback in housing and consumer spending when the Fed brings rates back down again. This was a prewar-style recession, a morning after brought on by irrational exuberance.To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.”—Paul Krugman, New York Times Column, circa 2002
Pacifism is an oft-confused topic. Liberals would like you to believe that there is a singular brand of pacifism: non-violence. Of course, they don’t even believe that. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see them go postal over Kony, or defend Obama over blowing the hell out of Libya and Pakistan. But I wanted to talk about a thin but distinct line between two sects of pacifism: non-violence and non-aggression.
Non-violence suggests that no violence will ever be employed, no matter the nature of the transgression against you. The aggressor could be trying to kill or rape you, or your family, but you will not lift a finger to stop them. There are very few people in the history of the world that have adhered to strict non-violence. The far more popular brand of pacifism is non-aggression. This means that one does not seek out violence, but will come to the defense of his person, property, and his family. This also means that if a country is attacked unprovoked, they have every right to defend themselves.
Of course, this is not the stance that conservatives take either. They continue America’s intervention in the affairs of the Middle-East, then wonder why they hate us. It’s not rocket science. But that’s besides the point, which is that you can be a pacifist without adhering to non-violence. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re either a saint (unlikely), or a hypocrite.
“In fact, as planning becomes more and more extensive, it becomes regularly necessary to qualify legal provisions increasingly by reference to what is ‘fair’ or ‘reasonable’; this means that it becomes necessary to leave the decision of the concrete case more and more to the discretion of the judge or authority in question.”—Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom
“Using a groundbreaking–but surprisingly legal–process known as corporohumanization, real people such as myself are now allowed to represent the collective humanity of business owners. I have contractually waived my birth identity and am now a man–and student–named Subway.”—Subway, Community