To say that all individuals are embedded in and the product of society is banal. Obama rises above banality by means of fallacy: equating society with government, the collectivity with the state. Of course we are shaped by our milieu. But the most formative, most important influence on the individual is not government. It is civil society, those elements of the collectivity that lie outside government: family, neighborhood, church, Rotary club, PTA, the voluntary associations that Tocqueville understood to be the genius of America and source of its energy and freedom.
Moreover, the greatest threat to a robust, autonomous civil society is the ever-growing Leviathan state and those like Obama who see it as the ultimate expression of the collective.
Obama compounds the fallacy by declaring the state to be the font of entrepreneurial success. How so? It created the infrastructure — roads, bridges, schools, Internet — off which we all thrive.
Absurd. We don’t credit the Swiss postal service with the Special Theory of Relativity because it transmitted Einstein’s manuscript to the Annalen der Physik. Everyone drives the roads, goes to school, uses the mails. So did Steve Jobs. Yet only he created the Mac and the iPad.
Justin Taylor - Who is the Holy Spirit? | Embedding isn't available at this point, but this link includes a 20+ minute video of Sinclair Ferguson teaching on the Holy Spirit. Its really helpful.
There is no one I would rather hear teach on the Holy Spirit than Sinclair Ferguson, the author of a very good book on The Holy Spirit.
You can watch below for free the first 25-minute lesson. Go here to order or download the whole series in video or audio, plus a study guide.
Justin Taylor - Piper and Keller on Sanctification Continued | This is part 2.
WORLD Magazine - 7 habits of highly ineffective government |
- High taxes. High taxes rob the productive and discourage innovation.
- Too many regulations. Overregulation inhibits private industry from performing up to its potential.
- Overspending. When an individual is in debt, he or she aims to spend less until the family budget is in balance. When government spends more than it takes in, it creates an addiction and burdens current and future citizens. Politicians won’t tell anyone “no,” so government keeps spending.
- Foreign adventures. We cannot afford to go everywhere in hopes of promoting liberty. We should only send troops where our interests are clearly defined and an achievable outcome is likely. Countries receiving military assistance must help pay the bill.
- Bureaucracy. There are too many people working for government. Many agencies and programs are unnecessary.
- Healthcare. Government can’t make you healthy. Obamacare will not only cost more, but will reduce the quality and availability of good healthcare, as in the UK. A private-sector solution is preferable.
- Ignoring the Constitution. The best habit the American government could practice is a return to the principles of that great document that set boundaries for government and removed them for its citizens.
The Point (John Stonestreet) - Free Will an Illusion? | Great post from Stonestreet on the secular attack on free will.
Atheist Sam Harris has just written a new book entitled, simply, “Free Will.” In it, he argues that our ability to make moral choices is really just an illusion: “I, as the conscious witness of my experience no more initiate events in my prefrontal cortex than I cause my heart to beat...In physical terms, we know that every human action can be reduced to a series of impersonal events.”
But as my friend Sean McDowell wrote at ThePointRadio.org, Harris has to assume that his disbelief in free will was the result of logical analysis and evidence, not prefrontal chemistry. Otherwise why would we believe it? In other words, his denial of free will undermines his opinion — so it self-destructs.
In reality, free will is an essential part of life.
JD Greer - William Carey's 11 Resolutions | Calvinist William Carey is the father of the modern mission movement.
- To set an infinite value on men’s souls
- To acquaint ourselves with the snares which hold the minds of the people
- To abstain from whatever deepens India’s prejudice against the Gospel
- To watch for every chance of doing the people good
- To preach “Christ crucified” as the grand means of conversion
- To esteem and treat Indians always as our equals
- To guard and build up “the hosts that they may be gathered”
- To cultivate their spiritual gifts, ever pressing upon them from
their missionary obligation, since Indians only can win India for Christ
- To labor unceasingly in biblical translation
- To be instant in the nurture of personal religion
- To give ourselves without reserve to the Cause, “not counting even the clothes we wear our own”
WORLD Magazine - Out of darkness | Here is their take on the new Batman movie.
In a theme that will no doubt resonate with many Americans, the people of Gotham feel a profound distrust of their leaders—both corporate and governmental. Even Batman himself seems crushed by broken trust. That political distrust in the film coupled with violent class warfare has fueled quite a bit of speculation, along with comparisons to the French Revolution, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and even Bain Capital, as connected with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Certainly, the villain Bane (not Bain) does talk a good anarchist’s game, announcing to the convicts he releases, “None shall interfere, do as you please … spoils shall be enjoyed!” and setting up a kangaroo court for executing the rich. But as the curtain is pulled back, Nolan paints a crisis far beyond our current political situation. Like 9/11, the movie’s darkness is one most Americans can fear together.
Plumbing that darkness, The Dark Knight Rises earns its PG-13 rating through violent action, brief sexual content, and a moderate amount of offensive language. But the most disturbing content of the film is the quiet betrayal or apocalyptic havoc of the film’s villains.
And what of our hero? Batman’s own journey is neither political nor ideological. If anything, it’s spiritual. Before Batman can save Gotham, his own dead heart will have to be quickened. He’ll have to find fear again, that surge of adrenaline that comes with holding life dear. Only in that newness of life can he inspire faith in the people of Gotham—a faith strong enough to prevail against the forces of chaos that would dismantle everything they hold dear.
Real Clear Politics - President George W. Bush On The Presidency And Life After The Presidency | Its an hour long, but good.