September 26, 2014

Today’s Picks: Sept 26

By In TRL's Picks from Around the Web

See yesterday’s picks here.

Theological and Philosophical

—> Recently, Sean Gerety wrote a two part series defending the doctrine of “Justification by Belief Alone.”  Following the tradition of Gordon H. Clark, Gerety upholds the idea that faith and belief are synonymous and that to add something to belief in order to make it faith is wrongheaded.  Often, many in the Reformed world challenge this “simplistic” understanding of faith, but Clark’s short volume “What is Saving Faith” has me convinced and Gerety carries forth similar arguments against some critics.  Here is part one and part two. Quote:

Aren’t the words faith and belief just English translations of the single word pistis in the Greek New Testament?

Indeed they are and in fact while most translators prefer the Latin-based faith, if the word belief were used in its place it would do no violence to the meaning of any verse in Scripture.

Political and Economic

—> This week, Mises Canada reprinted a critique of so-called free market economist Milton Friedman that was written in 2006 by Austrian economist Hans Sennholz.  Friedman is considered by many to be very much in favor of the free market; and in some cases, he was indeed. But on the most important issues, chief among them the foundational issue of money and currency, Friedman and his “Monetarism” doctrine were the very opposite of free market.  Quote from Sennholz:

It may be folly to criticize and censure a famous author whom all the world admires. Yet this economist has been at odds with Professor Friedman ever since he advanced his monetarist thought. It is strange that Professor Friedman and his fellow monetarists, who are such defenders of the market order, should call on politicians and bureaucrats to provide the most important economic good — money. Granted, monetarists do not trust them with discretionary powers, which led Friedman to write a detailed prescription, a constitutional amendment; however, the Constitution is supreme force, backed by courts and police. The amendment is a political formula to be adopted by political authorities and, when enacted, a constitutional prohibition of monetary freedom.

Cultural and Social

—> One of my personally favorite writers among culturally conservative libertarians is James E. Miller who is the Editor in Chief of Mises Canada.  Writing for Taki Magazine, he issues a response to the idea that the rise of libertarianism can be found in growing support for homosexuality and marijuana use.  Miller argues that these are better arguments for a rising libertinism and it is imperative that the political theory not be confused with the lifestyle relativism.  It is a fantastic article, highly recommended. He truly hits the nail on the head in saying, among a host of other things,

Where [Barney] Frank errs is in implying that libertarianism is concerned with smoking reefer and same-sex nuptials. He doesn’t say that social tolerance is the key factor behind the relaxing of government prohibition. He invokes the popular take on the freedom philosophy: that it has nothing to say other than let kids smoke pot and Adam and Steve tie the knot. Thanks to a rowdy crowd of young Internet warriors, libertarianism is now one with libertinism. Guys like Barney Frank invoke the word when it comes to justifying their own sexual dalliances.

This grand perversion of Lockean-based ethics has done nothing to advance genuine liberty. In fact, it actually undermines the moral cause behind human freedom, making it into a trite fad that will quickly burn out before it has a noticeable impact. Some dewy-eyed optimists actually believe that the relaxing of marijuana prohibition is a sign of a nascent libertarian revolution. A recent New York Times article asked “Has the ‘Libertarian Moment’ Finally Arrived?” The piece cited both pot and gay marriage as signs of libertarianism’s growing popularity. Indeed, both are small victories for social liberalism. But neither is indicative of a libertarian uprising. They are mere bumps on the road to serfdom. Freedom is not growing in popularity; begging the state for special privileges is still considered the “it” thing to do.

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