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REASONS FOR ECONOMIC INEQUALITY PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 19:29

Here is a good explanation, or at least a plausible argument, why there is far more economic inequality in the Untied states than in Europe-

"The different models are inextricably linked to the respective histories of political institutions in Europe and the United States. European institutions evolved constantly over many centuries, while the U.S. maintains a Constitution that embodies late-eighteenth century values, privileging individual freedom and property rights. These values are dogma to the Supreme Court and the U.S. federal system, which ensures that tax and social policies are locally determined, making any national welfare initiatives politically inexpedient. Moreover, at least two factors undermined the effectiveness of the American labour movement and the progress of demands for a redistributive system. The geographical separation between political and industrial centers meant that a strike in Detroit never paralyzed Washington. And, in a country of migrants, different ethnic communities often competing with each other; cultural differences could harden over time, undermining any European-style calls for worker solidarity."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabah-ghezali/welfare-and-the-states_b_4262202.html

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CS LEWIS WROTE MORE THAN FICTION PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Friday, 22 November 2013 14:27

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience". -from God is the Dock by CS Lewis

"The last men, far from being heirs of power, will be of all men most subject to the dead hand of the great planners and conditioners and will themselves exercise least power upon the future. . . Man’s conquest of Nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized, means the rule of a few hundreds of men over billions upon billions of men".- from The Abolition of Man by CS Lewis

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/11/fifty-years-on.php

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Last Updated on Friday, 22 November 2013 14:29
 
THE MANY DEFINITIONS OF FREEDOM PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 19:07

The Many uses of "Freedom"

“With the advent of WWII, the dominant abstract word was "Freedom" and many were harkening once again for the Declaration of Independence and its cry for Freedom. in 1941, FDR preached the "Four Freedoms" (of speech, of worship and from want and from fear) and politicians spoke of "Free Europe", freedom-loving Nations and the "Free World". There was even a “Freedom Train" traveling the Country with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, papers by Alexander Hamilton and the Gettysburg Address, as well as the Documents of surrender signed by Germany and Japan.

WWII was followed by the Cold War and the language of Freedom was again employed to arouse the Nation. This War was to free captive Europe form Communist slavery, to free China from the Maoists. The cold war was fought for cultural freedom, the free market and free enterprise and ultimately, for a free world! Freedom, Capitalism and Democracy were all bound together.

It was not long before the concept of "Freedom" was transformed into "Rights"- social rights and economic rights- rights for protection from poverty and rights for security in old age and against unemployment now; Rights for decent housing and medical care. Eventually, there was the demand for Civil Rights for African Americans. There were demands for the Rights of Women, Children, the Unborn, Gays, Native Americans, Prisoners as well as welfare rights and rights of privacy, of expression, of Education and Protection and, fittingly, the right to die [Euthanasia]

Reference: Contested Truths by Daniel Rodgers

 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 19:08
 
DEFINING FREEDOM PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 19:05

 

So what is "Freedom" or its synonym, "Liberty"?

The word is almost always connected with other words or concepts that describe the American Political System or Democracy. And its origins are commonly said to be in Ancient Athens or in Rome. The usual History of the subject is totally secular. But, Stanton Evans has written, "Such 'Democracy' is not what we are looking for here. We are concerned with Models of Liberty and that is not what ancient Greece or in Imperial or Republican Rome provide. That is because the concept of personal and social Freedom for all its Citizens is unknown and impossible in Nations which are controlled by an all-powerful King, Dictator or Regime which, by definition, must deny it. Freedom requires a government that is limited to prevent it from becoming oppressive."

Evans goes on to insist that the Principles of both personal freedom and the concept of the limited State were known in Medieval Europe. There we find the beginnings of *representative institutions, *popular sovereignty, *social contract, *elected Rulers, *limited Powers and *Government under Law.

What then is Freedom as such? There are those who define Freedom (or Liberty) simply as the supremacy of individual rights and personal freedoms in all matters, whether economic, personal, or social over and against any kind of authority. Many consider this individual liberty to be the basic moral principle of society.

By this definition, "Freedom" is the ability of people to act voluntarily and without coercion. It is the liberty to act on one's own behalf. However, there are corollaries to consider.

1. Since all people want this freedom of will or choice, there must be limits. Otherwise, one’s freedom can become another person's oppression or loss of freedom

2. This potential conflict of interests requires an external authority to maintain reasonable freedom for everyone. That authority is Government

3. Government in turn must be subject to limits, i.e.- a Constitution. But that in itself does not guarantee Democracy or Freedom

4. There must be Law to maintain freedom, but what Law? More important, who or what determines the Law?

5. Furthermore, "freedom from" must become "freedom for" and that is the most important matter in a Democracy. What do we do with our freedom? We are free to...? Those are ethical questions.

6. Free people must share in common moral principles of right and wrong. These principles are the foundation of the Law. This moral foundation is essential to ensure that freedom is used morally. What moral principles do Americans [or Egyptians or Palestinians, et al] hold in common?

The Founders of America strongly believed that the moral character and virtue of the citizens is essential for Democracy. The latter depends upon it. And for the Founders, that moral character and virtue are derived from the Christian Faith or the Law of Nature’s God.

Source: The Theme is Freedom by Stanton Evans

 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 19:08
 
FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 10:06

We have a will. We do make choices and are responsible for them and for their consequences. But our will is always under the influence of something. There are many determinants of all our decisions. Have you ever made any decision that has truly been free from influence of some kind? The answer must be “No”.

The truth is that no one’s will is truly free. That belief is a conceit, a self-serving deception. We choose what we want, yes; but, many things determine what it is that we want. We are sinners by Nature, self-serving to the core. Our choices are not free. They are always made under the influence of our sinful nature. It determines what we want. Our “fallen”, rebellious nature compels our decisions to disobey God and to sin. Specifically, it causes us to abuse our freedom of choice. We use it to make selfish, greedy, abusive choices.

What does all this have to do with Democracy? As fallen, fractured human beings we need help. Our fallen Nature absolutely needs the grace of God. We need His mercy and strength to make the right choices. We need the family and community to help us make good choices- to have productive lives that make progress toward fulfilling our calling to be the Image of God in the world. We need those people and experiences in our lives who will teach us character and morality. We need discipline and education. We need others to restrain and direct our behavior. All this means we need Government.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 10:09
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