Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Libertarians, Singles, Billy Graham, and Rick Perry: You won't get this anywhere else.

1. The first story in Al Mohler's 10/25 edition of "The Briefing" is chilling. It tells the story of the gravely wounded Chinese toddler left to die on the street. But it's more than a tear-jerking human interest story or a commentary on Chinese society and jurisprudence. It also demonstrates the moral bankruptcy of a market system disconnected from a traditional-moral-religious foundation.

In other words, don't buy the Libertarian lie that the free market will solve all our problems. Libertarianism, at best, maintains uncomfortable and flimsy ties to theistically-defined morality, not to mention the doctrine of depravity. When those ties are finally severed as pluralism pervades Western culture, we'll see stories like this one from China on our own shores. Or perhaps we've already seen 50 million of them.

2. I haven't yet watched the Mohler-Wallis debate on social justice and the mission of the church, but if you beat me to it, let me know what you think.

3. This is a great list of things not to say to single women in your church. (With my wife's help, I continue to compile a list of things not to say to pregnant women. Suggestions are welcome.)

4. And then here's some constructive advice on how we can serve singles well.

5. Could be some interesting stuff in these sermon archives if someone wants to dig around. Let me know what you find.

6. Now, for my favorite part, the Rick Perry section. (We don't do much politics here, but today I just can't stop myself.)

First, the pastor who endorsed him and called Mormonism a cult fields some pointed questions and doesn't Osteen them.

And somebody please tell me, why are Perry supporters working so hard to convince people this is what he's like when he's sober? As if that's a real win for him?


d4v34x said...

Re #3: Can I touch your belly?

Re #6: Jacobellis is another name quite useful as a verb. If I had a quarter for everytime I've had to say to my kids, "Quit Jacobellising around..."

Ben said...

Just to clarify, he's offering a suggestion for my list, not making a request.

d4, I'm ashamed I had to google that. Epic. So your kids are serial showboaters?

d4v34x said...

Well it's not as bad as I make it out to be, but I honestly believe that my second son played a whole season of city league football (enduring grueling practices) primarily so he could do chest bumps with his cousin after each play.

And yes, that other is for the list, although it was probably one of the first ones Mrs. PaleoE recorded.

Tim Batchelor said...

Hi Ben,

I watched about the 1st hour of the Wallis/Mohler debate. What interested me was Mohler's counterpoint to the idea of "social" justice. He said that there is only justice because God is just.

Ben said...

Tim, I just finished chipping away at it over the course of a week or so. I think they were talking past each other most of the time, with Wallis preferring anecdotes and emotional appeals to interaction with the exegetical issues.

The last 30 minutes of QnA had some give and take that was more useful.

There are three things I'd have liked to hear Mohler do a bit more: 1) explain how the proclamation of the gospel necessarily involves the hope of resurrection and redemption of the creation accomplished by Christ, 2) explain what constitutes distortion of the church's mission in a local church context, and 3) . . . ummm . . . hmmm . . . I can't . . .


Michael C said...

Catching up on my Paleoevangelical reading . . .

I didn't have time to listen to the Mohler audio, but I've heard several appalling stories of neglect and abandonment in China.

Without more knowledge of the story, I'm not sure how this case is an indictment against the market economy per se. It sounds like a manifestation of a morally bankrupt culture, something that even an airtight justice system might not have prevented.

You are right that we should avoid utopian libertarian visions. I'd add, though, that giving greater power to the leaders of a morally bankrupt nation is an equally futile approach. There are plenty of us who believe that a minimal state is ideal because we believe in total depravity. Depraved people are bad enough, but depraved people with power over other people can do a lot of damage. This is the difference between permitting abortions (U.S.) and performing forced abortions (China).

So, a culture that is disconnected from its traditional-moral-religious foundation will increasingly have ugly incidents like this. I'm not sure the market orientation has much to do with it. Our laws should emphasize keeping individuals from harming others (including their own children, born and unborn), even while we realize that legislation can only accomplish so much in the face of sin nature.

Neither the libertarianism or paternalism or any other political ideology provide any real hope for sinful humanity. Our problem is spiritual not political. Thankfully, the long-term spiritual outlook is more optimistic.

Ben said...

Michael, I agree with your conclusion. My intent is not to idict the market economy, as if some other system is better. My point is that the market possesses no intrinsic safeguard against human depravity, and it doesn't exert a positive moral pressure on society.

Theistic libertarians might be a bit optimistic for my sensibilities, but atheistic libertarians are simply irrational.