The Kuyperian Commentary

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

Archive for the category “Taxes”

Further Reflections on Anarchy

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

Over the last four weeks, I’ve offered a series of critiques on anarcho-capitalism. I believe anarchy is an unworkable concept because it is self-refuting; in practice it cannot operate within its premises consistently. I’ve attempted to show that it assumes conformity to an unproven principle and that it cannot deliver its promise of better, more effective justice. In this last installment I’d like to make a few more observations.

1) Christian anarchists deny the nature of God’s courtroom.

In the opening chapters of the Bible, God sets up angels at the gate of the garden to prevent sinful man from eating from the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24). The use of force is specifically described: God drove man out of the garden and if man tried to enter he would be killed. Adam was to be the guard of the garden but he failed. The angels were sent to do what Adam didn’t. This is relevant to our topic because it shows that God gives judicial authority to humanity. Later on in Scripture, the elders at the gate of each city were the judges with authority to punish and execute (Deut. 22:13-21, 25:5-10).  This creates a parallel between earthly rulers and heavenly rulers. To deny it is to ignore how the Bible is written.

God makes humanity stewards of creation to rule and reign. Jesus is the Gardener, he makes us gardeners. Jesus is the Shepherd, he makes us shepherds. Jesus is the Judge, he makes us judges. As images of God, this is the foundational way we mirror his sovereignty. The institution of civil government is set up by God to reflect his courtroom, his government. Read more…

Private Justice vs. Biblical Justice

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

Anarcho-capitalists believe that all government services can be provided satisfactorily and more efficiently by the free market, including law enforcement. In their ideal society, judicial services would be offered by private agencies just like any other good or service. This must be the case if all taxation is inherently immoral.  Murray Rothbard explains:

Defense in the free society…would therefore have to be supplied by people or firms who (a) gained their revenue voluntarily rather than by coercion and (b) did not—as the State does—arrogate to themselves a compulsory monopoly of police or judicial protection. Only such libertarian provision of defense service would be consonant with a free market and a free society. Thus, defense firms would have to be as freely competitive and as noncoercive against noninvaders as are all other suppliers of goods and services on the free market.” – Man, Economy and State, chapter 13

What this means is that within any given territory, multiple judicial agencies would open up and compete for your business. Different agencies would provide different services based on different standards of law. Hypothetically, you could have a Muslim agency that operates under sharia law and a Christian agency that operates under biblical law. You simply pick which company you prefer. When two people are in conflict, their respective agencies will deliberate until they agree on the appropriate conviction and punishment. Rothbard admits that this could not work unless all agencies followed the non-aggression principle: 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…

A Christian Critique of the Non-Aggression Principle

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

Congressman Ron Paul’s breakout in the public eye during the 2008 and 2012 presidential election cycles has made limited government – or “minarchy” – a popular concept across America, especially with young people. Other politicians such as Rand Paul, Justin Amash and Thomas Massie are carrying the principles of limited government forward, with conservatives rallying behind Rand as a potential nominee for president in 2016. This libertarian stream within the GOP has been known as the tea party, the liberty movement, or simply a return to the Constitution. Call it what you will, there’s no denying its influence in the political sphere.

Riding the coattails of this movement are the anarcho-capitalists. LewRockwell.com, a self-professed anarchist blog, has become a go-to resource for anyone who wishes to see civil government restrained to any degree. The site has a mixed bag of contributors including Ron Paul and theocrat Gary North. Though anarchists and minarchists share opposing worldviews they agree on many issues and are working towards a common goal, at least for the time being. 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…

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…

Jesus the Socialist Hippie?

This past weekend I had the privilege of seeing this photo on the internet:

I say “privilege” with all the sarcasm you can possibly fathom. There are so many false assumptions being made in this short statement that it is hard to know where to begin. Perhaps I should just roll my eyes and forget about it. But no, this is a very misguided statement that requires a serious response.

Liberals like to use biblical admonitions to take care of the poor as justification for government-run healthcare, but a logical leap of this magnitude never sets foot on solid ground. Jesus certainly does give away free healthcare and he commands his followers to do the same:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” – Luke 4:18

“Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.” – Luke 7:22

“If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” – Matthew 19:21

“They will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – Matthew 25:37-40

“…when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” – Luke 14:13

None of these verses prove what the liberal wants to prove. For starters, the healthcare that Jesus gives away is his own. The eternal Son of God heals by his own life-giving power and blood. This is completely reversed with government-run healthcare. The government has no life-giving power on its own. It must necessarily take from someone else, by force, to provide its services. The way of Christ is one of mercy and self-sacrifice; the way of socialism is theft and coercion.

Secondly, Jesus gives the responsibility of taking care of the poor to individuals within the Church. Does Jesus say, “Sell what you have and give it to the government, so that the government can give it to the poor”? Does Jesus say, “Let the government take your property away from you so that they can provide for the needy”? No! Jesus wants his people to be people of charity, people who bring healing to their communities in the spirit of mercy and self-sacrifice. The early Christians followed Christ’s example by giving tithes and offerings to take care of themselves and the community (Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:32-35). They didn’t lobby the Roman Empire to pass welfare legislation.

I believe most liberals have good intentions in wanting the government to provide healthcare, but that doesn’t mean it’s a legitimate method. Ignoring the needs of others is wrong, but forcing charity is wrong as well. Doing the right thing in the wrong way is never right.

So, is Jesus a socialist hippie? Far from it. Jesus is our great high priest, through whom we find healing and rest. In him, every Christian is a priest (1 Peter 2:9) and we share the responsibility of sacrificial service to our communities. The Church is supposed to be the institution that cares for the sick, clothes the naked and feeds the hungry – not Washington, DC.

by Adam McIntosh

Death and Taxes

Death and Taxes: two things of which we can be absolutely certain we will experience.

Yesterday, I filed my taxes. As has been the case of late, I had to pay above and beyond what was collected from me throughout the year. I’m sure it’s simply a case of needing to perform some basic arithmetic so that more is collected with each paycheck and less, if any, will be due as a lump sum in April.

That is hardly the point, though, is it?

One of my favorite films is Will Ferrell’s Stranger than Fiction. In the film, there is a scene where Ana Pascal (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal) explains to Will Ferrell (or Harold Crick, as he is known in the film) why she knew she’d be audited. She explains that she paid her taxes, but withheld a percentage of it, and attached a letter explaining that the percentage she withheld was withheld because she was not interested in supporting those particular government expenditures. Miss Pascal, as Harold addresses her, explains that she only paid 78 percent of her taxes because she’s not so big a fan of “national defense, corporate bailouts, and campaign discretionary funds.”

While I’m certain Miss Pascal is appropriately named “Pascal”–think Blaise Pascal–it is a different point to be made altogether. The point here is that Miss Pascal is identifying what we all seem to know: there are things for which we each believe the government to be necessary or at least desirable. And insofar as they work within those constraints, we are willing–generally–to support them financially. Miss Pascal is fine with potholes, swing sets, and shelters, but she is opposed to the government funding the other endeavors previously mentioned.

I, on the other hand, would oppose even what she supports, but I suppose I’d be less inclined to fight them if the only thing they wanted my taxes for were potholes and shelters. Instead, they want our money for everything, and so I am inclined–rightly or wrongly–to fight them on everything.

If only the government operated on market principles. If I believe them to build the best and safest roads, then I voluntarily give them tax dollars instead of another firm attempting to build roads. If I believe them to provide the best security services for my family, then I I voluntarily give them tax dollars instead of another firm. If I don’t, I withhold those dollars and give them to someone else.

Some might say this is untenable. Others wouldn’t compete for my money to provide those services because too many people could take advantage of the services without having paid for it. Miss Pascal, for example, lives in a country that is safe precisely because others are paying for the national defense she objects to. But is it true that companies wouldn’t compete for those funds anyway?

The objection, while seemingly sound, isn’t necessarily so. Men have written multitudes of books explaining how the most necessary and basic governmental services could be offered by the market. Books like Chaos Theory by Robert Murphy or Anarchy and the Law by Edward P. Stringham explain quite effectively how it could work.

The question shouldn’t be whether the government is the only one who can do it, but rather if the government has the duty to do it. Rights, after all, exist only insofar as they are connected to our duties. I have a duty to protect my family, therefore I have the right to bear arms. I once heard a Constitutionalist explain: I have the duty to protect my family, therefore I have the right to either perform it myself or delegate it (along with my neighbors) to an organization–the police department–to do it in my stead. I have the duty to feed the poor, therefore I have the right to perform it, but I do not have the right to make someone else do it for or with me. My question to the Constitutionalist is, “Why, though, do I have the right to make my neighbors help fund the police department to which I am delegating my duty to protect my family, but not to make them help me feed the poor?”

What are the government’s duties and what rights does it have in order to execute those duties? This is the question of the hour. So long as we aren’t answering that question–and maybe even if we do–the government will continue to assert its duty and right to do whatsoever it chooses. And so long as that continues, it will be death and taxes for us.

Bush, War, Conservatives, and the Search for Consistency

One of the perplexing dilemmas we face as those who oppose the over-reach of the Federal Government is the inconsistency we see in such movements. While on the one hand, we opine viciously in opposition to all forms of welfarism, on the other hand, we support and encourage our military efforts ( a form of international welfarism).
In his essay for The American Conservative, Ivan Eland discusses this inconsistency and warns conservatives that they can’t have it both ways:

“Conservatives should be leery of jumping into wars not only because American powers may become overextended—especially in a time of fiscal crisis—but because war makes government expand rapidly at home, even in areas of national security.”[1]

It is also fair to say that the Conservative mood has changed drastically in these last few years. Just as Democrats are quick to oppose a policy under a Republican governance, so too are they quick to support that same policy under a Democratic presidency.[2] I would like to think Republicans have learned their lessons, but they are just as prone to falling into the cycle of political hypocrisy. On a positive note, I have heard growing opposition to Obama’s Drone Strikes’ Policy from Republicans. Much of this opposition stems from the non-hawkish Senator, Rand Paul.

In his 2007 book, A Tragic Legacy, Glenn Greenwald details many of the former Bush supporters who have now come to see the light on America’s endless wars. Among them is Rod Dreher, a former contributor to National Review. In 2001, Dreher declared, “Thank God we have a Republican in the White House.”[3] Dreher later describes his regret for supporting Bush’s policies:

I see that I was the fool…the consequences of his (Bush’s) failure will be far, far worse than anything Carter did.

These political transformations are the results of a long line of unintended consequences, or what Chalmers Johnson referred to as Blowback.

I am convinced that serious minded Republicans are willing to count the cost, and the cost has been high. The U.S accounts for more than 50% of the world’s military spending[4] and with all that might it has left the Middle East desolate and unstable. The eloquent “No Nation-Building ” answer given by then candidate George Bush should be our policy. It is costing us too much. And as Eland observes, once warfare starts, taxes and spending continue:

Conservatives should not fail to recognize that war is the most prominent cause of the massive welfare state that has been erected in the United State.

Hopefully, consistency will return to small-government conservatives. We cannot continue to stay on budget at home, while distributing our credit cards abroad.


[1] The American Conservative, January/February 2013

[3] Greenwald, Glenn, A Tragic Legacy: How Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, 34-35.

[4] Ibid. 3

Obama’s State of the Union, Green Ribbon, Sandy Hook, and the Wizard of Oz.

State of the Union Obama Money Wizard Green Ribbon

President Obama outlined plans Tuesday night at his State of the Union address. His speech was mostly the same old thing, continuing to play heavily on support for the middle class while proposing regressive taxes that directly attack middle class incomes. Unique to tonight’s speech was the presence of green ribbons worn on the lapels of guests and members of Congress. This green ribbon was meant to memorialize the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. NPR commentators noted that the green ribbons were particularly important because of the President’s push for gun control legislation.  It was also noted that while Vice President Joe Biden was wearing a ribbon, Speaker of the House John Boehner was not.State of the Union Green Ribbons Obama Biden Boehner

What happened at Sandy Hook was a tragedy, and nothing should take away from our sympathy for the families who lost their loved ones. But at the same time, this sort of political manipulation because of a real tragedy is simply disgraceful. The ribbons and children they represent are being used as tools to bolster the President’s anti-2nd Amendment agenda.

The State of the Union address is a particularly troubling event. Thomas Jefferson stopped the practice of giving presidential speeches to Congress because he felt that it made the president out to be an imperial figure. He instead would send a written note about the current affairs of the country to those who needed it. The presentation this year makes it clear that it is only about political posturing. Members seek out aisle seats hours before the event, hopeful that they may get a picture hugging the president or shaking his hand, hoping to pander to the constituents who might be watching.

Many came adorned with green ribbons to hear lofty promises about how our President is going to put our nation back on track. It was very appropriate that all this posturing was represented with green. You may remember L. Frank Baum’s famous Emerald City of Green deception: Oz. Obama’s America is a new Oz.

“Even with eyes protected by the green spectacles, Dorothy and her friends were at first dazzled by the brilliancy of the wonderful City … There were many people – men, women, and children – walking about, and these were all dressed in green clothes and had greenish skins. They looked at Dorothy and her strangely assorted company with wondering eyes, and the children all ran away and hid behind their mothers when they saw the Lion; but no one spoke to them. Many shops stood in the street, and Dorothy saw that everything in them was green. Green candy and green pop corn were offered for sale, as well as green shoes, green hats, and green clothes of all sorts. At one place a man was selling green lemonade, and when the children bought it Dorothy could see that they paid for it with green pennies.”

And the new Oz has a new wizard, President Obama. A fool’s magician, yet  just as all  the good citizens of the Emerald City were forbidden to remove their green-tinted glasses, each American watches the state of the union through the comfort of a pair of their own colored glasses.

When will America discover that her President is no better than the false Wizard of Oz? Baum’s imperial ventriloquist is too much like our own head of state. What we need now is not more speeches from this talking head, but we need the brainless, the cowardly, the heartless, and those who are lost to break down the wizard’s chambers to discover the man behind the curtain and demand that he stop misleading the citizens. Back in Oz it went like this:

“You must keep your promises to us!” exclaimed Dorothy.
The Lion thought it might be as well to frighten the Wizard, so he gave a large, loud roar, which was so fierce and dreadful that Toto jumped away from him in alarm and tipped over the screen that stood in a corner. As it fell with a crash they looked that way, and the next moment all of them were filled with wonder. For they saw, standing in just the spot the screen had hidden, a little old man, with a bald head and a wrinkled face, who seemed to be as much surprised as they were. The Tin Woodman, raising his axe, rushed toward the little man and cried out, “Who are you?”
“I am Oz, the Great and Terrible,” said the little man, in a trembling voice. “But don’t strike me – please don’t – and I’ll do anything you want me to.”
Our friends looked at him in surprise and dismay.
“I thought Oz was a great Head,” said Dorothy.
“And I thought Oz was a lovely Lady,” said the Scarecrow.
“And I thought Oz was a terrible Beast,” said the Tin Woodman.
“And I thought Oz was a Ball of Fire,” exclaimed the Lion.
“No, you are all wrong,” said the little man meekly. “I have been making believe.”
“Making believe!” cried Dorothy. “Are you not a Great Wizard?”
“Hush, my dear,” he said. “Don’t speak so loud, or you will be overheard – and I should be ruined. I’m supposed to be a Great Wizard.”
“And aren’t you?” she asked.
“Not a bit of it, my dear; I’m just a common man.”
“You’re more than that,” said the Scarecrow, in a grieved tone; “you’re a humbug.”
“Exactly so!” declared the little man, rubbing his hands together as if it pleased him. “I am a humbug.”

One day we will realize that Obama, our Wizard, and the Government, our Oz, offer no solution to our needs. The true solutions are but “make believe.” The government exists at the expense of the Munchkins. Our presidential Wizard squanders the national wealth and starts unjust wars against foreign peoples who are not doing us any harm. It wrecks our families, tramples on our rights, invades our communities, and steals from our bank accounts. It skews the culture toward decadence and trash. It tells lie after lie. The president is not a powerful wizard, but a conniving liar who has tricked us into submission.

It is the obligation of every patriot to denounce the Obama humbug. The federal government has overstepped its boundaries, making promises it cannot keep. When will Americans awaken and realize that the president is not the magician he claims to be? He has no solutions for the economy, for crimes, for gun violence, for peace, for any of those things he campaigns for. The president, like the Wizard, is after one thing: expanding the power of his office and maintaining his great and powerful image. Once the wizard is exposed, the power is gone.

Let’s look behind the curtain, exposing the man behind the smoke and mirrors, sending him off in his own balloon full of the hot air he so much enjoys billowing.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a link is given.

Post Navigation