Posts Tagged ‘politically incorrect guides’

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible

December 4, 2011

If you find yourself annoyed by your atheist relative or friend who recites talking points from the New Atheists about the Bible; the Bible is Bronze Age mythology, unhistorical, supports slavery and genocide, Christianity retarded the advance of science, etc, then you need The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible by Robert Hutchinson.

Hutchinson begins by showing that the Bible is indeed historically accurate. Many supposed contradictions and inaccuracies are, in fact, the result of not understanding the literary techniques of the ancient world. He goes on to point out that, in a way, the Bible has been too successful. That is, to say, that the Western world has become so used to Biblical morality that we are often unable to understand fully the cruelty of the ancient world. Many advances in morals that we consider enlightened and modern had their beginnings in the Bible and the Hebrew culture that created it.

In ancient times, infanticide was a universal practice, except among the Jews and later the Christians. No one questioned slavery but the law of Moses softened and ameliorate the practice among the Jews by insisting masters treat their slaves justly and freeing them, with supplies to live on, after seven years. This is a marked contrast with the Roman conception of slaves as moving, talking tools, and living at their master’s whim. Later the Christians questioned slavery and ultimately Christians were responsible for abolishing slavery in the West.

It is a common belief that the Middle Ages were a time ruled by faith in which everyone was completely ignorant and science was at a standstill. Only when the Enlightenment philosophers shook off the restraints of religion was humanity able to progress. Hutchinson shows that this belief is entirely false. Science had its beginnings in the very religious and Christian Middle Ages. All of the founders of modern science, Galileo, Newton, Boyle, Pascal, and many others were devout Christians. In fact, there is a strong possibility that the Judeo-Christian worldview was especially conducive to the development of modern science. After all, it only arose in Christian Europe.

Our concepts of human rights come from the Bible. If you believe that God created man in His own image and that His son died for all of us, then it follows that each human life is precious and has the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If you believe that humanity was an incidental creation of the gods or evolved from primordial muck, then you might have a different, less exalted view of the rights of man.

I can do no more than suggest the arguments that Robert Hutchinson uses in his defense of Christianity and the Bible. I recommend it highly so that as Peter commanded,

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1Peter 3:15)

 

 

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The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism

May 9, 2011

I just left a Review of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism on Amazon.com. I gave it five stars

The word “Socialism” or “Socialist” has been used quite a lot in recent years, perhaps without much knowledge of what the word actually means. Fortunately, we have Kevin Williamson to help us out. In his brilliant book “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism”, Williamson provides the reader with a good knowledge of what Socialism is and what it is not, along with how Socialism has been developed in various parts of the world.

According to Williamson, Socialism is not, primarily, the redistribution of wealth. Welfare, Social Security, and other government programs, can be part of a Socialist system, but they are not themselves Socialism.  Socialism, rather, is the belief that central planning can produce better results than the chaotic, messy marketplace, or any venue in which people act spontaneously. The Socicialist believes that planning is more rational and fairer. Socialism, then, is all about THE PLAN.

The problem is that in order for THE PLAN to work, as Hayek demonstrated, the planners have to have real-time information about every economic transaction. THE PLAN cannot succeed without such information, and yet it is not possible for the planners, no matter how intelligent they are, or how sophisticated their computers are, to gain that information. In a market economy, each actor needs to know the information that pertains to his particular business.  The planners, whose business is the whole economy, must know everything, and again, that is not possible.  To make matters worse, the one way to obtain the information is through the prices generated by supply and demand. By determining prices based on political rather than economic considerations, the planners essentially blind themselves. This assumes that the planners are rational and impartial. In fact, there is an irresistible temptation to reward friends and cronies while punishing enemies.

Another problem with THE PLAN is that not everyone will agree on the particulars of any given plan. They will tend to want to do what benefits themselves rather then what the planners want them to do. Thus, coercion is needed to make THE PLAN work and so Socialism always results in tyranny.

Williamson takes the reader through the various forms of Socialism from the hard Socialism of North Korea and the former Soviet Union to the softer varieties found in the West European social democracies. He shows that the differences between them are only a matter of degree rather than of kind. He debunks the widely held notion that Sweden is a Socialist paradise and affirms that, yes; Obamacare is Socialism, in that it relies on THE PLAN.

Overall, Kevin Williamson has written a valuable and informant guide to Socialism.


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