CCF Episode Nineteen: Christianity and Communism

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14 thoughts on “CCF Episode Nineteen: Christianity and Communism

  1. Hi brothers,

    I’m part way through listening to this show. Here’s a question for you guys:

    You guys mention you are “socially conservative, fiscally libertarian”. I’m trying to understand what exactly you mean by that, mainly how to distinguish that from “socially conservative, fiscally conservative”. As far as I am aware, libertarians usually describe themselves as “fiscally conservative”.

    Another question to unpack, probably less important, just throwing it out for you guys… what exactly makes a person “socially conservative”? For instance, if a person is against abortion, but for legalization of drugs and more open immigration… are they socially conservative? Or socially liberal?

    • Good catch, Mark. These terms are somewhat fluid. For instance, what was once referred to as fiscal liberalism (early American, Laissez-faire Capitalism) is now known as fiscal libertarianism or, to distinguish it from the progressivist movement, fiscal conservatism. However, though fiscal conservatism takes on many shades, as is made more obvious by your second question, fiscal libertarianism is quite specific in its approach to many issues. Fiscal libertarianism, for instance, would not simply take a slightly more conservative stance than the Democrats on the fiscal issues, but would call for a more radical downsizing of government entities. Some would argue for a rapid implementation of these policies. Others, like myself would argue that we should gradually ween the public off of “mother’s milk.” Libertarians call for the ultimate liberation of the society from such social ills as welfare, public education, the IRS, the FDA, the EPA, social security, etc.

      Ultimately, to claim one or both or all of these titles is an attempt to start a conversation, not to answer all questions in one fell blow. Obviously, each individual would be nuanced in how he / she would explain what it means to be conservative, libertarian, etc.

      Regarding more open immigration, as a Texan, I can tell you first hand that we could not have a more open immigration policy. Sure, we have laws, but we don’t enforce them. Texas has compounds full of refugees from Central America and Mexico, none of which are expected to be sent back to their home country. In fact, our Attorney General Eric Holder, just sent a bunch of attorneys down to the border to ensure the immigrants’ “rights” are being looked after. It’s all over the news. Tellingly, we just recently had a rash of arrests here in North Texas related to a prostitution / slave trade ring. All of those arrested, as well as the young girls in their “employ,” were either from Central America or Mexico. A non-enforcement stance on the border issue is an anti-child stance.

      • Hi William,

        Thanks for the explanation brother.

        Ah. Immigration. A nice hot-button issue 🙂

        “we could not have a more open immigration policy” .. I actually don’t think that is true. In *some* senses the US already had a more open immigration policy under George W. Bush. Whether GW Bush or Obama deported more people actually depends on how you count (the whole return vs. removal nuance). Which explains why the polar sides on the issue can simultaneously be unhappy with Obama for either deporting too many or too few people. The Obama administration currently has a backlog of 300,000+ immigration violation cases, but it is prosecuting them: http://trac.syr.edu/phptools/immigration/court_backlog/

        “A non-enforcement stance on the border issue is an anti-child stance” Why is it an anti-child stance? Because some people coming into the country are doing evil things?

        I understand your basic concerns about immigration (and I am not necessarily advocating no restrictions). However, I suspect you may see the connection between immigration policy and economic freedom. I think many of your economic presuppositions (at least based on what I’ve heard you guys say) actually depend on living in a country with fairly open immigration over the long haul. If the U.S. had your perspective over many decades, I suspect you would be living in a very different country, and not necessarily for the better. Here is a helpful whitepaper exploring the subject a bit: http://www.cato.org/publications/working-paper/does-immigration-impact-economic-freedom?utm_content=buffer7762d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

        I realize there is a diversity of opinions on immigration, and that’s great, but I am always amazed to see conservativeish/libertarianish people who think the government is incompetent and inefficient at delivering mail, regulating pollution, and delivering health care (with good cause), but suddenly seem to think it should be competent and efficient when it comes to policing thousands of miles of borders and running employement checks on hundreds of millions of workers.

        I’m sorry to be a contrarian. I really am not making this personal. Take it as a supreme compliment that I am listening to your show regularly and engaging with you guys 🙂

      • Six in one hand, half a dozen in another. Sure we’d save some money (not building a fence, not deporting, not screening for third-world diseases, not doing employment checks, not enforcing voter-ID laws, etc.) by leaving our borders open. However, that doesn’t account for the money that gets wasted on educating their children, providing them with free healthcare, allowing them to take jobs that should be done by the millions of jobless parasite citizens, allowing them to take the earnings from those jobs and pump them out of our economy and into their home country’s economy by sending it back home to their families.

        If the concern is securing the border, we simply need to stop offering incentives to people who come here illegally, give more federal funding to the border states, turn enforcement of border laws over to the border states, and build a fence.

        By the way, how can the sex-trafficking not be related to illegal immigration? We have no way of knowing at the border that these kids don’t rightfully belong to the adults who claim them. Our border is a sex-trafficker’s dream.

      • Woah now. I didn’t say they weren’t related, just that you can’t call a position on the immigration issue anti-child. Though I suppose out makes a good campaign attack ad slogan. The fact that a policy can be exploited doesn’t mean it us against the people in question.

  2. Regarding your second question about social conservatism, almost every Republican tries to pass themselves off as conservatives, so it is good to define what is meant when one calls oneself a conservative. Most classical conservatives when pressed on this issue would appeal to what is understood to be the “Judeo-Christian” origins of American law. I don’t this this approach is quite honest. While our founders were largely Christian, it seems obvious to me that they relied much more heavily on Enlightenment principles for their social and fiscal ideals than anything else. I believe that many of our founding documents were a compromise between Enlightenment Deists and their Congregationalist, Baptist, and Quaker counterparts. The main concern for these splinter Protestants was religious freedom. Providentially, religious freedom was in the best interest of the Deists as well, so the alliance was easily forged.

    I don’t think the best argument for setting a foundation for social policy is to use our founders as THE authority. They certainly had practices in their society that would not be seen as favorable to us today. Rather, I think the foundation for good social policy is Christianity. I know that doesn’t sound very 2K of me to say, but it is true. I believe that the more Christians (covenanted to local churches) we have in a Democratic-Republic and the more Christians (covenanted to local churches) there are in its representative government, the better things will be for society.

    Here’s the rub: There will never be a perfect society. Kingdoms will rise; kingdoms will fall. Ultimately, as Christian citizens, we have a duty to “pursue peace with all men” (Heb. 12:14; cf. Rom. 1218). I think it is a lot easier to pursue peace with all men when we live in a society with laws that are based on biblical principles and those laws are enforced. Thus, in a Democratic-Republic, where the citizens are the ruling class, I think we have an obligation to vote in accordance with our Christian conscience is not at all comfortable with allowing for the type of open immigration I described above, abortion, legal drugs, etc. I am convinced that these social policies can only lead to the displeasure of God toward a nation and ultimate demise of it.

    Of course, this is only one Reformed Baptist’s opinion. 🙂

    • I guess you could say that my view of the church’s relationship with the state is a little more in-line with Augustine’s two cities view than with Luther’s two kingdoms view. Augustine and Luther both stressed the fact that we are citizens of two kingdoms. They both stressed the already / not yet paradigm. They both understood that we have two allegiances with which we ought to concern ourselves, our allegiance to the heavenly kingdom being the most primary. The main difference seems to be that Augustine stressed more the positive influence that a Christian majority can and did (in Rome) have on a pagan state. Even when it called itself Christian, Rome was no doubt pagan, but Augustine (in City of God) makes a strong case that Christ used the church to keep Rome from being as evil as it might have been. I think Augustine was right back then, and I think his argument still holds true today. We should expect that things will get worse before Christ comes back, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be a good influence on the societies in which we live in the meantime.

    • Ok. So I guess a related question id be curious to ask you would be : what biblical or natural law ,principals support fiscally libertarian views?

      This us not at all a rhetorical question.

      • When Israel was judged in the Old Testament for not providing for the poor, it was a judgment upon the entire nation for their disregard for the poor, not merely on the King. Especially in the New Testament, concern for the poor and the needy is a personal issue, a heart issue, not a “Well, I voted and I paid my taxes. Them poor people should be taken care of, then.” issue. Since it is a personal issue and not a government issue, I would argue that the people are best equipped to carry out this duty when they are allowed to keep their money. Historically, we have also seen that the private market is much better equipped to manage funds than are big, bloated government entities.

      • There is also the concern of centralizing power. When we say that people are bad, so we should take the money for them and do something better with it, we are essentially saying, “They are bad, but these politicians over here aren’t.” It’s an illogical, unbiblical assumption to presume that one person will make better choices with another person’s money simply because he was voted in by the electorate, while the other person simply acquired the wealth through free market enterprise.

      • I agree with you on both your elaborations with perhaps slightly different nuances. I believe the Bible also solid affirms property rights.. So that would have an impact on economic and even some social freedoms.

  3. By the way, we are very grateful that you listen. Just realize that, when you make comments like the following,

    “I am always amazed to see conservativeish/libertarianish people”

    “Take it as a supreme compliment that I am listening to your show”

    …you come across as just a little more than condescending. I explain things to you in detail, but I only do so because I don’t know how much your questions might be based off on lack of exposure to the topic at hand. I don’t try to make it personal. I think it best if we simply try to stick to discussing the ideas, rather than assigning motive or talking about how amazed we are at one another. Thanks for commenting.

    • Ah. By the supreme compliment thing I really didn’t mean *me* but a person in the abstract.. Mainly just my impression from blogging… A bit if pushback always was nicer than eerie silence. That’s all I meant. Sorry to have given the wrong impression.

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