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Hello, and welcome, fine new editor of TLE. You have some pretty big shoes to fill, as I’m sure you know, but I have absolute faith that you’ll step up to the challenge. So, good luck, Godspeed, and all that.
So, for something completely different, I’d like to let anyone interested know that the new short story collection, Making Monsters, is available now on a couple platforms, so feel free to give it a shot. And if you’re interested, but not so interested that you’d rather not spend the nine bucks, feel free to ask your local library to get it in. Who knows, you might dig it. Have a good one.
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The editor notes in “The Editor’s Notes” of June 5 that he “would be glad to entertain an article on, say, whether one can derive libertarianism from the New Testament….”
But why restrict the scope of this assignment to the New Testament? Christians regard all of the Bible as some kind of Bible. So let us agree that explicating all Biblical bases of a rational libertarian perspective is holy work.
For adequately trained and perceptive readers, the libertarian implications of the Bible, Old Testament and New, resonate almost continuously. But, unfortunately, these implications in their full radiant libertarian glory are sometimes obscured by faith-testing dialectical oppositions and red herrings that may confuse readers who are less than adequately trained. I refer here to the kind of readers who go only by words and what the words say and thus fail to perform the requisite amount of excavating of hidden inner truth.
For example, a Biblical account of divine mass slaughter of human beings on a worldwide scale would be universally understood to be relating a very libertarian thing if only this sort of report were not persistently misconstrued by literal-minded exegetes who lack training in the higher hermeneutics.
Luckily, it is easy enough, once you get the hang of it, to accurately interpret the passages that tend to throw people off (even some of the best people, tragically!). Boiling it down to essentials, the correct method requires three steps. One, quote a passage from the Bible. Two, indicate what it seems to mean according to the words. Three, indicate what the passage really means.
Using this puissant procedure, we can clear up passels of age-old misconceptions pronto. Three illustrations will suffice for introductory purposes so long as it is understood that these could be made fruitful and multiplied.
What the Bible says (in Genesis):
6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them….
6:13 And God said unto Noah, the end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
Then God does what he says he will do.
What it seems to mean is that a disillusioned Almighty, omnipotent but for poor control of murderous impulses, used a worldwide flood to kill off the entire human population of earth except for Noah and a few others. All earth-bound organisms not on Noah’s ark died. Sea-dwelling organisms were unaffected.
What it really means is that, well, although God was upset by the impious conduct of the vast majority of the human beings he had created, he did not drown and kill them. For he was highly respectful of their lives and rights. God inflicted no globe-girdling flood. He simply gathered everybody around and urged reform.
This is a very libertarian implication.
What the Bible says (in Exodus):
11:4 And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: 11:5 And all the first born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. 11:6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more….
12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
God also arranged for the death-dealing scourge to bypass Hebrew houses so long as the dwellers performed a certain identifying ritual.
What it seems to mean is that God smote firstborn Egyptians and cattle who were not parties to the enslavement of the Hebrews but who lived in the area.
What it really means is that no, no, God did not kill the Egyptians’ firstborn. They merely suffered a symbolic cold or fever that passed quickly; and, in fact, they became even healthier than before. In using his supernatural powers in a carefully calibrated way to liberate the Jews, God never violated libertarian constraints. Perhaps he killed some firstborn cattle, but that’s it.
The implications are fully libertarian in every way.
What the Bible says, in The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy:
6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
What it seems to mean is that love of money is the root of all evil, and that trying to get a lot of it in order to obtain Ferraris and iPhones and so forth necessarily causes sorrows, regardless of whether the method of acquisition is plunder or production.
What it really means:
To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It’s the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money—and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it….
Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another—their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.
How pro-capitalist and pro-profit-seeking this epistle is once you penetrate to the inner essence! Did Paul have an advance copy of Atlas Shrugged? Maybe!
Using the method illustrated above, you too will soon be able to expound the true libertarian implications of apparently confounding Biblical passages, such as those discussing many other God-performed or God-sanctioned massacres, Abraham’s willingness to slay his son on God’s say-so, God’s treatment of Job and of Job’s family, Jesus’s toppling of the tables of the money changers, Jesus’s willingness to threaten nonbelievers with damnation for being nonbelievers, and so much more. You too will be able to explain how such passages provide robust building blocks for libertarian theory and practice.
To be sure, not every seeming endorsement of mass murder or of meek submission to arbitrary bullying authority is individualist or libertarian in ultimate import. But, as I have proved, the ones in the Bible are.
David M. Brown
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Biden is Woodrow Wilson 2.0.
I think this is grounds for filing articles of impeachment. Threatening to use executive power to arrest and imprison political opponents is far more grievous an offense than Trump asking the president of Ukraine to investigate Biden’s son. This out of control tyrant must be stopped for the same reason Hitler should have been stopped the moment he tried to grab power on the heels of the Reichstag Fire. Not long ago Biden also commented that resistance to the federal government was futile because the feds have nukes. If there ever would be a legitimate thoughtcrime that would be it. Talking about using nuclear weapons against American citizens is a very inappropriate thing for a sitting President to say publicly.
This is a very dangerous man who has been entrusted to occupy the highest office of the land. The legislative branch needs to take those ramblings seriously and use their constitutional authority to have him removed from office. It is their responsibility to check tyranny when the executive branch gets out of control and tries to test the limits of legitimate power.
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