The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the category “Economics”

Book Review – The Authenticity Hoax

reviewed by Justin Dillehay

Authenticity_Hoax_FNL_cvrOrganic food. Samuel Adams. Mud-floors. Vintage Levi’s. What do they all have in common? According to philosopher Andrew Potter: authenticity. People eat, imbibe, walk on, and wear these things in an effort to be “real.” Potter views this so-called authenticity as a reaction to modernity, describing it as a “rejection of the various tributaries of mass society’s current, including the media, marketing, fast food, party politics, the Internet, and—above all—the program of free markets and economic integration usually derided as ‘globalization’” (8). In the space of 273 fascinating and often hilarious pages, Potter analyzes the history, meaning, and manifestations of authenticity, ranging from Jean Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century to Oprah Winfrey in the 21st. Through it all, Potter concludes that authenticity is a hoax; a “dopey nostalgia for a non-existent past, a one-sided suspicion of the modern world, and stagnant and reactionary politics masquerading as something personally meaningful and socially progressive” (270).

For me, Potter’s most helpful (and entertaining) insight is that authenticity is a form of one-upmanship and status-seeking; an effort not to be real, but to be different. If everyone starts listening to the Avett Brothers, the truly authentic will drop them like last month’s YouTube sensation (they must be sell-outs anyway). If Wal-Mart starts placing organic food within the financial reach of the hoi polloi, this is cause—not for rejoicing—but for anti-capitalist consternation (129). Once indie bands and organic food lose their ability to distinguish the authentic from the rabble, the truly authentic move on in search of substitutes, like locally grown food. All this and more in a chapter entitled “Conspicuous Authenticity,” a term Potter adapts from economist Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class. Read more…

That Your Joy May Be Full: Celebrating the Ascension of our Lord

By Uri Brito

The Church celebrates the Ascension of our Lord this Thursday. Since many Protestant churches find it difficult to gather parishioners for a Thursday service, many of them celebrate Ascension on Sunday.

The Ascension of Jesus is barely mentioned in the evangelical vocabulary. We make room for his birth, death, and resurrection, but we tend to put a period where God puts a comma.

If the resurrection was the beginning of Jesus’ enthronement, then the ascension is the establishment of his enthronement. The Ascension activates Christ’s victory in history. The Great Commission is only relevant because of the Ascension. Without the Ascension the call to baptize and disciple would be meaningless. It is on the basis of Jesus’ enthronement at the right-hand of the Father, that we image-bearers can de-throne rulers through the power and authority of our Great Ruler, Jesus Christ.

The Ascension then is a joyful event, because it is the genesis of the Church’s triumph over the world. Further, it defines us as a people of glory and power, not of weakness and shame. As Jesus is ascended, we too enter into his ascension glory (Col. 3:1) This glory exhorts us to embrace full joy. As Alexander Schmemann once wrote:

“The Church was victorious over the world through joy…and she will lose the world when she loses its joy… Of all accusations against Christians, the most terrible one was uttered by Nietzsche when he said that Christians had no joy.”[1]

But this joy is given to us by a bodily Lord.

We know that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father. He is ruling and reigning from his heavenly throne. He has given the Father the kingdom, and now he is preserving, progressing, and perfecting his kingdom. He is bringing all things under subjection.

We know that when he was raised from the dead, Jesus was raised bodily. But Gnostic thinking would have us assume that since Jesus is in heaven he longer needs a physical body. But the same Father who raised Jesus physically, also has his Son sitting beside him in a physical body.  As one author observed:

Jesus has gone before us in a way we may follow through the Holy Spirit whom he has sent, because the way is in his flesh, in his humanity.[1]

Our Lord is in his incarnation body at the right hand of the Father. This has all sorts of implications for us in worship. We are worshipping a God/Man; one who descended in human flesh and who ascended in human flesh. He is not a disembodied spirit. He is truly God and truly man.

As we consider and celebrate the Ascension of our blessed Lord, remember that you are worshiping the One who understands your needs, because he has a body just like you; he understands your joy because he has a body just like you.

[1] Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World. Paraphrased

[2] Gerrit Dawson, see http://apologus.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/ascension-and-jesus-humanity/

Uri Brito is a pastor and blogger. He treasures earthly life, but dwells in the heavenly places.

Universal Healthcare, Universal Drone Strikes

by Adam McIntosh

Who else remembers the progressive-liberal movement displaying such moral outrage towards George W. Bush because of the “war on terror” and his unconstitutional invasion of Iraq? We’re talking impeachment-level outrage. Bush was deemed a war criminal worthy of imprisonment. He was condemned for passing the Patriot Act, a bill that essentially repeals the fourth amendment. Celebrities made a mockery of him and thousands upon thousands of protesters gathered all over the world in defense of peace and the rule of law.

The anti-Bush hysteria certainly included independents, libertarians and constitutionalists, but the majority aligned themselves with the Democratic Party. Riding the coattails of the anti-war movement was Senator Barack Obama, identifying himself as one who was against unconstitutional wars and the Patriot Act. He promised to bring the troops home from Iraq within the first year of his presidency. This sealed his White House victory quite easily. The movement had finally found their man. So, where aantiwarleftre they now?
Read more…

Money Comes From Society; The State Steals Credit

printing-moneyby Mark Horne

It is pretty common to hear conservatives or libertarians deride “fiat currency” as if it is worthless trash. They are absolutely right to insist that it is flawed. And those flaws will certainly lead to a bad end some day. But that is not the same as claiming it is “worthless.” If it were worthless, no one would give you anything in exchange for it. But they do.

The common claim is to say that money is “government created.” Supposedly, this leads to the conclusion that the money must not be really worth anything. But that is not the only way the argument could work. Many people hear that money is created by the state and then see how well it works for buying things and conclude that the state must be pretty competent in creating currency (I’d say, “making money,” but that would be confusing). Read more…

Is All Taxation Theft?

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

In chapter two of For A New Liberty, Murray Rothbard writes:

…The State habitually commits mass murder, which it calls ‘war,’ or sometimes ‘suppression of subversion’; the State engages in enslavement into its military forces, which it calls ‘conscription’; and it lives and has its being in the practice of forcible theft, which it calls ‘taxation.’”

While all of these accusations may be true, they don’t always have to be.

Read more…

There is low price inflation because we are still in a deflationary credit contraction

printing-moneyAndrew Isker asks,

Why Has There Been So Little Price Inflation?

He poses the scenario:

A question I have heard a lot from those with a Kuyperian bent is “since the Federal Reserve has so greatly increased the money supply, why hasn’t there been corresponding inflation because of it?”

I appreciate Andrew blogging about Austrian economics, a subject I care much about and love to discuss. But I would like to offer some slight differences on how to look at our present situation. Read more…

Why Has There Been So Little Price Inflation?

Inflation

A question I have heard a lot from those with a Kuyperian bent is “since the Federal Reserve has so greatly increased the money supply, why hasn’t there been corresponding inflation because of it?” Here is one attempt to answer this question, and my hope is, begin a discussion on this topic. Read more…

What is Sequestration?

A mirage, wrapped in propaganda, surrounded by demagogues. It is Chicken Little running around crying out that the end is near because she stubbed her toe, while the sky was actually falling. It is sound and fury, signifying nothing, while MacBeth hawks the crown jewels to buy more knives to kill more enemies.

Not long ago the Republicans and Democrats could not agree on how quickly to file for bankruptcy. Unable to agree, but needing to move on, they agreed that if they couldn’t agree on when to file for bankruptcy, they would spend a week buying Grande’s instead of Venti’s (that’s mediums, instead of larges for those who don’t speak Starbucks). Their reasoning was two-fold. On the one hand, the horror of going down a size on our coffee was thought to be a great motivator to settle the issue. Second, if the issue wasn’t settled, when we should file for bankruptcy, prudence would mean getting the smaller cup of coffee. (Or in this case, to cut $85 billion from an unpassed budget that was more than $85 billion dollars bigger than  the last unpassed budget.)

The agreement wasn’t reached, Read more…

The Battle in Bear Country » Sullivan v Wilson: Is Civil Marriage for Gay Couples Good for Society?

The University of Idaho hosted a public debate, to a crowd of over 800, on February 27, 2013. The debate was participated in by Andrew Sullivan, blogger and former senior editor of The Atlantic, and Douglas Wilson, pastor of Christ Church of Moscow, ID, author and educator. The topic of the debate: Is Civil Marriage for Gay Couples Good for Society?

Battle of the Beards

Battle of the Beards

Read more…

The Pyramid Power Illusion

all-seeing-eye-300x295It is a well known concept–the architectural analogy for the totalitarian state guiding all of society.

The few at the top guide the rest beneath them.

But the power of the image relies on a hidden reversal. The pyramid is supposed to represent a stable society in which the top directs the rest.

But where does the stability of the pyramid come from? It comes from the distribution of weight on the wider layers of brick.

upside-down-dollarIf the concept of elite management were to be accurately represented by the pyramid, it should picture the structure standing on its point.

The pyramid is wrongly used as a metaphor to promote what is really an upside down pyramid.

The Federal Reserve, for example, is supposed to promote growth and prevent recessions or depressions, or at least mitigate them. So what does it do? We now know it rolls up and suppresses all the possible small disturbances in the country and mashes them together into a massive economic meltdown that occurs at the end of a generation that is entirely unfamiliar with economic hardship.

What if, instead of expecting the Fed to “take care of” the economy and provide high growth (that turns out to be actually undermining the economy), the American population expected “hard times” to be a regular feature in normal life? What would they do?

Wouldn’t they make sure they saved a lot of money during the good times? Wouldn’ millions of families with stores of cash itself help the economy remain stable?

The welfare state is another example. Awhile back on my personal blog I asked what kind of society will be able to help those in need. I answered:

I’m not capable of listing every quality of such a society. But I do know one prerequisite:

Each individual must, all things being equal, believe it is a duty, privilege, and/or virtue to produce more than he/she consumes.

Is there any chance at all that such a society can continue to exist under the rule of a welfare state?  When politicians forcefully take from some and give to others (in the hopes of their continued support in voting and propaganda) what kind of society is formed?

Not the kind that will actually support the needy.

Here again, the point is that the pyramid illustration hides what is really going on. A free and un-managed society with an understood code of conduct is more like a pyramid in which every brick is able to bear proper weight and keep the structure balanced.

Of course, sometimes the “bricks” are weak and then some kind of central power might try to fix it. But that will always be second best to a society that functions with free people who cooperate by internalized ethics.

Solomon gives us the two options.

Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,

she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest (Proverbs 6.6-8).

And then:

The hand of the diligent will rule,
while the slothful will be put to forced labor (Proverbs 12.24).

So free people work themselves. Otherwise, someone else will work them.

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