13 Jan 2019

Would Jesus Be Annoyed With Libertarian Memes?

Religious 23 Comments

Of course He would be–He’s fully human after all…

But specifically, what about the “TAXATION IS THEFT!” line of argument? Gene Callahan blogs that this isn’t scriptural, since we read in Luke 3:

10 And the crowds asked him [John the Baptist], “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics[b] is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

On this blog, someone in the comments answered Keshav (I think?) who had brought Gene’s point up, by saying that this type of thing is typical in the Bible, where God (or people speaking on His behalf) are just trying to limit sin. For example, Moses gave the Israelites the lawful way to divorce, and Jesus famously said that this was because “of the hardness of your hearts.” It certainly wasn’t that God was a fan of divorce.

But even more to the point, Paul gave instruction to the masters of bondservants/slaves that fell short of, “Free them immediately.” Here’s an example (Ephesians 6: 5-9):

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

So I don’t think it is fair to say that the New Testament condones chattel slavery. In context, I think what is happening in the above is that Paul is trying to promote justice within the confines of his understanding of the economic/legal framework.

Likewise, I think John the Baptist was moved by the Spirit to sense the presence of the Messiah–even in the womb–but I don’t think he had a vision of a private property society and rejected it. John the Baptist knew that theft was sinful, but his understanding of property rights differed from the modern Rothbardian’s. I realize that that is the very thing under discussion, but pointing that out doesn’t prove that taxation is NOT theft.

10 Jan 2019

Problem & Solution

Contra Krugman No Comments

09 Jan 2019

Bob Murphy Show ep. 11: The Economics of Immigration and a Border Wall

Bob Murphy Show, Immigration 22 Comments

Ooooh I’m topical in this one. Immigration is so hot right now.

08 Jan 2019

Contra Krugman Ep. 170 — Tom Uses Jedi Mind Trick on Dennis Miller

Contra Krugman 1 Comment

OK that is just a small part of the episode, but you don’t want to miss it. We are talking about whether conservatives are hypocrites for urging the Fed to stop hiking rates now that Trump is the president.

26 Dec 2018

BMS Ep. 10: This One Simple Fed Trick Earns the Bankers Billions

Bob Murphy Show, Federal Reserve 27 Comments

You won’t believe what Powell did next! He didn’t know the cameras were still rolling!

19 Dec 2018

Bob Murphy Show Ep 9: Norman Horn on Romans 13 etc.

Bob Murphy Show, Religious 23 Comments

Norman gives the best handling of this tricky subject I’ve yet heard. Plus we discuss all sorts of other stuff.

19 Dec 2018

Lara-Murphy Show Ep. 65

Infinite Banking Concept, Lara-Murphy Show 3 Comments

This was a deep(er) dive into IBC mechanics, in response to a friendly wager submitted by two listeners. Specifically:

The controversy concerns two apparently conflicting goals: On the one hand, Nelson Nash says in BYOB that you should pay more against your policy loans than the insurance company requires, effectively buying more paid-up life insurance. But on the other hand, shouldn’t you aggressively fund your IBC policy up to the MEC limit right away, meaning there wouldn’t be any room left to pay more on a loan?

17 Dec 2018

The Dyson Sphere: I’m Not Saying It’s Aliens, But…

Deep Thoughts 3 Comments

On Twitter I came across the actual paper (it’s one page) in which Freeman Dyson spelled out his idea of a sphere that harnesses the total energy output of a star. I never knew the context, though: He suggested that aliens had already built them, and explained the signature we should look for.