Saturday, February 05, 2005

Gary North

I was reading over at Reason about Gary North. I subscribe to a newsletter he writes about economics. Or at least the newsletter goes out under his name.

The Reason article describes Gary and his relationship to "libertarianism" thusly:

But a second part of the story, of particular interest to readers of this magazine, is the degree to which Reconstructionists have gained prominence in libertarian causes, ranging from hard-money economics to the defense of home schooling. "Christian economist" Gary North, Rushdoony's son-in-law and star polemicist of the Reconstructionist movement, is widely cited as a spokesman for free markets, if not exactly free minds; he even served for a brief time on the House staff of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the Libertarian Party presidential nominee in 1988, when Paul was a member of Congress in the '70s. For his part, Rushdoony has blandly described himself to the press as a critic of "statism" and even as a "Christian libertarian." Say what?

An outgrowth of Calvinism, modern Reconstructionism can be traced to Rushdoony's 1973 magnum opus, Institutes of Biblical Law. (Many leading Reconstructionists emerged from conservative Presbyterianism, but as with so much of today's religious ferment, the movement cuts across denominational lines.) Not one to pursue a high public profile, Rushdoony has set up his Chalcedon Institute in off-the-beaten-path Vallecito, California, while North runs his Institute for Christian Economics out of Tyler, Texas.
Now that doesn't seem so bad. But wait there is more:
As a "post-millennialist" school of thought, Reconstructionism holds that believers should work toward achieving God's kingdom on earth in the here and now, rather than expect its advent only after a second coming of Christ. Some are in a bit of a hurry about it, too. "World conquest," proclaims George Grant, in what by Reconstructionist standards is not an especially breathless formulation. "It is dominion we are after. Not just a voice... not just influence...not just equal time. It is dominion we are after."
Well lots of people want power and control, but not just over the material world. Some want power and control over people. There may be some problems. Maybe more than some.
Among other ideas Reconstructionists have helped popularize is that state neutrality on the subject of religion is meaningless. Any legal order is bound to "establish" one religious order or another, the argument runs, and the only question is whose. Put the question that way, and watch your polemical troubles disappear. If we're getting a religious establishment anyway, why not mine?

"The Christian goal for the world," Recon theologian David Chilton has explained, is "the universal development of Biblical theocratic republics." Scripturally based law would be enforced by the state with a stern rod in these republics. And not just any scriptural law, either, but a hardline-originalist version of Old Testament law--the point at which even most fundamentalists agree things start to get "scary." American evangelicals have tended to hold that the bloodthirsty pre-Talmudic Mosaic code, with its quick resort to capital punishment, its flogging and stoning and countenancing of slavery, was mostly if not entirely superseded by the milder precepts of the New Testament (the "dispensationalist" view, as it's called). Not so, say the Reconstructionists. They reckon only a relative few dietary and ritualistic observances were overthrown.

So when Exodus 21:15-17 prescribes that cursing or striking a parent is to be punished by execution, that's fine with Gary North. "When people curse their parents, it unquestionably is a capital crime," he writes. "The integrity of the family must be maintained by the threat of death." Likewise with blasphemy, dealt with summarily in Leviticus 24:16: "And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him."
Say have these guys been taking notes from the Taliban? Sure looks like it.

Well I wrote a letter back to the newsletter guys who are very vocally anti-Bush and anti-war. Here is what I had to say:
I just read a Reason article on Gary North. To tell the truth I had no idea about his background. I was attracted to his "libertarian" economic ideas.

Now based on his agenda as explained in Reason I do not get why you guys are anti-war.

Bush conquers the world. Then you conquer America.

I don't see why as long as your plans are so grandiose you don't shoot the moon.

I mean Bush is putting the world within your grasp. All you have to do is reach out a little farther for the gold ring.

BTW how do you intend to prevent a religious war such as those that convulsed Europe in the 1600s? Suppose the Pope doesn't agree with your plan. Those memories were still fresh when the 1st Amdmt. was written. How soon we forget.

Well nothing like a good fight I always say.

BTW any dispensation for Jews?

I'm just askin'. I'm trying to figure out which side to back. Gary's or the Pope's. Normally I'd side with the humanists but they don't know anything about guns. No good in a fight.
Well I'm now thinking to myself:

By claiming they need the authority of government to institute their regime they are saying that their ideas can't compete.

No surprise there.

Via Instapundit.

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