October 16, 2014

Today’s Picks: Oct 16th

By In TRL's Picks from Around the Web

See the previous daily picks here

Theological and Philosophical

—>Brandon Adams, at his blog Contrast, quotes at large from John Erskine’s the Nature of the Sinai Covenant after providing some quotes on the same issue from John Owen, A.W. Pink, and Abraham Booth.  If you are into Covenant Theology and are desiring to learn more about it, I recommend this.  The link is here. Adams writes:

John Erskine was a contemporary of Booth (1721–1803). He was a Scottish Presbyterian. “Unusual for minister at that time, the highborn Erskine purposely chose the office of the pastorate for his profession, knowing that one day he would inherit his father’s and grandfather’s estates at Carnock and Torryburn. Erskine’s family assumed he would follow his father’s footsteps and become a lawyer, but Erskine had different plans for his life. Impassioned to contribute to the growth of the evangelical revival in Britain and America, Erskine believed that as a minister he would have the best opportunity to lend a hand to this worthy Christian enterprise.” (Yeager)

He defended the rights of the American colonies against the British, was a vocal member of the Slave Abolition Society, and led the evangelical party of the Church of Scotland in a passionate plea for the work of missions. In short, he was not afraid to speak his mind in controversial matters. His “Dissertation I: The Nature of the Sinai Covenant, and the Character and Privileges of the Jewish Church“, intended to be read along with “Dissertation II: The Character and Privileges of the Apostolic Churches” as an argument against the national church, noting “The greater part of modern Christians, have, I acknowledge, in their sentiments of the nature of the church, widely deviated from Scripture and antiquity. And the fiction of a visible church, really in covenant with God, and yet partly made up of hypocrites, has almost universally prevailed.”

The thrust of his argument was to demonstrate that the Old Covenant is separate from the New Covenant and thus cannot be a model for the Christian Church.

—> Doug Douma, who is busy working hard on the Gordon Clark biography (it has been great to watch his development and aid when I can), has recently been given administrator rights at The Gordon H. Clark Foundation.  He has published, both in original and in typed form, three essays so far written by Clark and previously unpublished.  And there are plenty more to come.  So far, there are:

  1. The Nature of Truth
  2. Aristotle in the Light of the Lamp
  3. Christ Died- For Our Sins

Political and Economic

—> Wolf Ritcher discusses “Washington Accounting Magic.” He reports that while the government allegedly had a $483 billion deficit in 2014, for some reason the federal debt went up roughly twice that amount. How is that possible?  Richer writes:

On Wednesday, the Treasury Department released its Monthly Treasury Statement for September and the fiscal year 2014. It’s the official account of how the US government arrives at its infamous deficit. And it was a doozie.

Without giving it a second thought, the media gushed about the headline number, how good it looked, how the US government was getting its fiscal mess in order.

Receipts rose $247 billion to $3,021 billion, outlays rose $50 billion to $3,504 billion (including “on-budget” and “off-budget” items) for a deficit of $483 billion. At 2.8% of GDP, as the media gleefully pointed out, it was proportionately the smallest since 2007. The deficit monster has been tamed. And unthinkable as that seemed a couple of years ago, it has disappeared as a political issue, even before the election!

There is just one teeny-weeny problem:

To fill that $483 billion hole, the US government borrowed $1.086 trillion.

—> Ron Paul’s weekly column discusses the key role of liberty in combating things like Ebola.  While it seems that he agrees with my own position that most of this is fake outrage and convenient and over-the-top hysteria, if there is a problem, Paul argues, the State is less effective than private corporations and persons in dealing with it.  He writes:

The people of Liberia and other countries would be better off if the US government left them alone. Leave it to private citizens to invest in African business and trade with the African people. Private investment and trade would help these countries develop thriving free-market economies capable of sustaining a modern healthcare infrastructure.

Legitimate concerns about protecting airline passengers from those with Ebola or other infectious diseases can best be addressed by returning responsibility for passenger safety to the airlines. After all, private airlines have a greater incentive than does government to protect their passengers from contagious diseases. They can do so while providing a safe means of travel for those seeking medical treatment in the United States. This would remove the incentive to lie about exposure to the virus among those seeking to come here for treatment.

Cultural and Social

—> One of Murray Rothbard’s most brilliant essays is, in my opinion, his Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature.  One paragraph reads:

What, in fact, is “equality”? The term has been much invoked but little analyzed. A and B are “equal” if they are identical to each other with respect to a given attribute. Thus, if Smith and Jones are both exactly six feet in height, then they may be said to be “equal” in height. If two sticks are identical in length, then their lengths are “equal,” etc. There is one and only one way, then, in which any two people can really be “equal” in the fullest sense: they must be identical in all of their attributes. This means, of course, that equality of all men – the egalitarian ideal – can only be achieved if all men are precisely uniform, precisely identical with respect to all of their attributes. The egalitarian world would necessarily be a world of horror fiction – a world of faceless and identical creatures, devoid of all individuality, variety, or special creativity.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com