Monthly Archives: May 2021

US Inflation Rate by Year from 1929 to 2023

How Bad Is Inflation? Past, Present, Future

 

U.S. & WORLD ECONOMIES
US ECONOMY

US Inflation Rate by Year from 1929 to 2023

How Bad Is Inflation? Past, Present, Future

Updated February 28, 2021

<img class="i-amphtml-blurry-placeholder" src="data:;base64,boat yard during world war II

The U.S. inflation rate by year is the percentage of change in product and service prices from one year to the next, or year-over-year

 

The inflation rate responds to each phase of the business cycle. That’s the natural rise and fall of economic growth that occurs over time. The cycle corresponds to the highs and lows of a nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), which measures all goods and services produced in the country.

 

Key Takeaways

  • The U.S. inflation rate by year is how much prices change year-over-year.
  • Year-over-year inflation rates give a clearer picture of price changes than annual average inflation. 
  • The Federal Reserve uses monetary policy to achieve its target rate of 2% inflation.
  • Inflation has been stable over the last couple of years thanks to better policy decisions and managing inflation expectations.

Business Cycle: Expansion and Peak

The business cycle runs in four phases. The first phase is the expansion phase. This is when economic growth is positive, with a healthy 2% rate of inflation. The Federal Reserve considers this an acceptable rate of inflation.

 

On August 27, 2020, the FOMC announced it will allow a target inflation rate of more than 2% if that will help ensure maximum employment. It still seeks a 2% inflation over time but is willing to allow higher rates if inflation has been low for a while.

 

As the economy expands past a 3% rate of growth, it can create an asset bubble. That’s when the market value of an asset increases more rapidly than its underlying real value.

 

The second phase of the cycle is known as the peak. This is the time when expansion ends and contraction begins.

 
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Business Cycle Phases.

Business Cycle: Contraction and Trough

As the market resists any higher prices, a decline begins. This is the beginning of the third, or contraction, phase. The growth rate turns negative. If it lasts long enough, it can create a recession.

 

During a recession, deflation can occur. That’s a decrease in the prices of goods and services. It can often be more dangerous than inflation.

 

As the economy continues its downward trend, it reaches the lowest level possible for the circumstances. This trough is the fourth phase, where contraction ends and economic expansion begins. The rate of inflation begins to increase again, and the cycle repeats.

 

During recessions and troughs, the Federal Reserve (the Fed) uses monetary policy to control inflation, deflation, and disinflation.

 

The Effect of Monetary Policy

The Fed focuses on the core inflation rate, which excludes gas and food prices. These volatile prices change from month to month, hiding underlying inflation trends.

 

The Fed sets a target inflation rate of 2%. If the core rate rises much above that, the Fed will execute a contractionary monetary policy. It will increase the federal funds rate. This is the rate at which banks lend to each other overnight. Historically, this action reduces demand and forces prices lower.

 

The Fed can also lower the federal discount rate, which makes it cheaper to borrow money from the Fed itself. This is an attempt to increase demand and raise prices.

 

Other tools that the Fed uses are:

 
  • Reserve requirements (the amount banks hold in reserves)
  • Open market operations (buying or selling U.S. securities from member banks)
  • Reserve interest (paying interest on excess reserves)
 

U.S. Inflation Rate History and Forecast

The best way to compare inflation rates is to use the end-of-year CPI. This creates an image of a specific point in time.

 

The table below compares the inflation rate (December end-of-year) with the fed funds rate, the phase of the business cycle, and the significant events influencing inflation. A more detailed forecast is in the U.S. Economic Outlook.

 
Year Inflation Rate YOY Fed Funds Rate* Business Cycle (GDP Growth) Events Affecting Inflation
1929 0.6% NA August peak Market crash
1930 -6.4% NA Contraction (-8.5%) Smoot-Hawley
1931 -9.3% NA Contraction (-6.4%) Dust Bowl
1932 -10.3% NA Contraction (-12.9%) Hoover tax hikes
1933 0.8% NA Contraction ended in March (-1.2%) FDR’s New Deal
1934 1.5% NA Expansion (10.8%) U.S. debt rose
1935 3.0% NA Expansion (8.9%) Social Security
1936 1.4% NA Expansion (12.9%) FDR tax hikes
1937 2.9% NA Expansion peaked in May (5.1%) Depression resumes
1938 -2.8% NA Contraction ended in June (-3.3%) Depression ended
1939 0.0% NA Expansion (8.0% Dust Bowl ended
1940 0.7% NA Expansion (8.8%) Defense increased
1941 9.9% NA Expansion (17.7%) Pearl Harbor
1942 9.0% NA Expansion (18.9%) Defense spending 
1943 3.0% NA Expansion (17.0%) Defense spending
1944 2.3% NA Expansion (8.0%) Bretton Woods
1945 2.2% NA Feb. peak, Oct. trough (-1.0%) Truman ended WWII
1946 18.1% NA Expansion (-11.6%) Budget cuts
1947 8.8% NA Expansion (-1.1%) Cold War spending
1948 3.0% NA Nov. peak (4.1%)  
1949 -2.1% NA Oct trough (-0.6%) Fair Deal, NATO
1950 5.9% NA Expansion (8.7%) Korean War
1951 6.0% NA Expansion (8.0%)  
1952 0.8% NA Expansion (4.1%)  
1953 0.7% NA July peak (4.7%) Eisenhower ended Korean War
1954 -0.7% 1.25% May trough (-0.6%) Dow returned to 1929 high
1955 0.4% 2.50% Expansion (7.1%)  
1956 3.0% 3.00% Expansion (2.1%)  
1957 2.9% 3.00% Aug. peak (2.1%) Recession
1958 1.8% 2.50% April trough (-0.7%) Recession ended
1959 1.7% 4.00% Expansion (6.9%) Fed raised rates
1960 1.4% 2.00% April peak (2.6%) Recession
1961 0.7% 2.25% Feb. trough (2.6%) JFK’s deficit spending ended recession
1962 1.3% 3.00% Expansion (6.1%)  
1963 1.6% 3.5% Expansion (4.4%)  
1964 1.0% 3.75% Expansion (5.8%) LBJ Medicare, Medicaid
1965 1.9% 4.25% Expansion (6.5%)  
1966 3.5% 5.50% Expansion (6.6%) Vietnam War
1967 3.0% 4.50% Expansion (2.7%)  
1968 4.7% 6.00% Expansion (4.9%) Moon landing
1969 6.2% 9.00% Dec. peak (3.1%) Nixon took office
1970 5.6% 5.00% Nov. trough (0.2%) Recession
1971 3.3% 5.00% Expansion (3.3%) Wage-price controls
1972 3.4% 5.75% Expansion (5.3%) Stagflation
1973 8.7% 9.00% Nov. peak (5.6%) End of gold standard
1974 12.3% 8.00% Contraction (-0.5%) Watergate
1975 6.9% 4.75% March trough (-0.2%) Stop-gap monetary policy confused businesses and kept prices high
1976 4.9% 4.75% Expansion (5.4%)  
1977 6.7% 6.50% Expansion (4.6%)  
1978 9.0% 10.00% Expansion (5.5%)  
1979 13.3% 12.00% Expansion (3.2%)  
1980 12.5% 18.00% Jan. peak (-0.3%) Recession
1981 8.9% 12.00% July trough (2.5%) Reagan tax cut
1982 3.8% 8.50% November (-1.8%) Recession ended
1983 3.8% 9.25% Expansion (4.6%) Military spending
1984 3.9% 8.25% Expansion (7.2%)  
1985 3.8% 7.75% Expansion (4.2%)  
1986 1.1% 6.00% Expansion (3.5%) Tax cut
1987 4.4% 6.75% Expansion (3.5%) Black Monday crash
1988 4.4% 9.75% Expansion (4.2%) Fed raised rates
1989 4.6% 8.25% Expansion (3.7%) S&L Crisis
1990 6.1% 7.00% July peak (1.9%) Recession
1991 3.1% 4.00% Mar trough (-0.1%) Fed lowered rates
1992 2.9% 3.00% Expansion (3.5%) NAFTA drafted
1993 2.7% 3.00% Expansion (2.8%) Balanced Budget Act
1994 2.7% 5.50% Expansion (4.0%)  
1995 2.5% 5.50% Expansion (2.7%)  
1996 3.3% 5.25% Expansion (3.8%) Welfare reform
1997 1.7% 5.50% Expansion (4.4%) Fed raised rates
1998 1.6% 4.75% Expansion (4.5%) LTCM crisis
1999 2.7% 5.50% Expansion (4.8%) Glass-Steagall repealed
2000 3.4% 6.50% Expansion (4.1%) Tech bubble burst
2001 1.6% 1.75% March peak, Nov. trough (1.0%) Bush tax cut, 9/11 attacks
2002 2.4% 1.25% Expansion (1.7%) War on Terror
2003 1.9% 1.00% Expansion (2.9%) JGTRRA
2004 3.3% 2.25% Expansion (3.8%)  
2005 3.4% 4.25% Expansion (3.5%) Katrina, Bankruptcy Act
2006 2.5% 5.25% Expansion (2.9%) Bernanke became Fed Chair
2007 4.1% 4.25% Dec peak (1.9%) Bank crisis
2008 0.1% 0.25% Contraction (-0.1%) Financial crisis
2009 2.7% 0.25% June trough (-2.5%) ARRA
2010 1.5% 0.25% Expansion (2.6%) ACA, Dodd-Frank Act
2011 3.0% 0.25% Expansion (1.6%) Debt ceiling crisis
2012 1.7% 0.25% Expansion (2.2%)  
2013 1.5% 0.25% Expansion (1.8%) Government shutdown. Sequestration
2014 0.8% 0.25% Expansion (2.5%) QE ends
2015 0.7% 0.50% Expansion (3.1%) Deflation in oil and gas prices
2016 2.1% 0.75% Expansion (1.7%)  
2017 2.1% 1.50% Expansion (2.3%) Core inflation rate 1.7%
2018 1.9% 2.50% Expansion (3.0%) Core rate 2.2%
2019 2.3% 1.75% Expansion (2.2%) Core rate 2.3%

Why the Inflation Rate Matters

The inflation rate demonstrates the health of a country’s economy. It is a measurement tool used by a country’s central bank, economists, and government officials to gauge whether action is needed to keep an economy healthy. That’s when businesses are producing, consumers are spending, and supply and demand are as close to equilibrium as possible.

 

A healthy rate of inflation is good for both consumers and businesses. During deflation, consumers hold on to their cash because the goods will be cheaper tomorrow. Businesses lose money, cutting costs by reducing pay or employment. That happened during the subprime housing crisis.

 

In galloping inflation, consumers spend now before prices rise tomorrow. That artificially increases demand. Businesses raise prices because they can, as inflation spirals out of control.

 

When inflation is steady, at around 2%, the economy is more or less as stable as it can get. Consumers are buying what businesses are selling.

 

Resources for Table

  • Historical Inflation Rate, year-over-year
  • Fed Funds Rate: Before 1971 1971–1989 1990–2002 2003–2022
  • Recession History
  • Business Cycle
  • GDP Growth Rate
  • Forecast for GDP and Inflation
Article Sources

 

 

 

 


Milton Friedman’s FREE TO CHOOSE “How to cure inflation” Transcript and Video (60 Minutes)

Image result for milton friedman free to choose

In 1980 I read the book FREE TO CHOOSE by Milton Friedman and it really enlightened me a tremendous amount.  I suggest checking out these episodes and transcripts of Milton Friedman’s film series FREE TO CHOOSE: “The Failure of Socialism” and “What is wrong with our schools?”  and “Created Equal”  and  From Cradle to Grave, and – Power of the Market.“If we could just stop the printing presses, we would stop inflation,” Milton Friedman says in “How to Cure Inflation” from the Free To Choose series. Now as then, there is only one cause of inflation, and that is when governments print too much money. Milton explains why it is that politicians like inflation, and why wage and price controls are not solutions to the problem.

 

http://www.freetochoosemedia.org/freetochoose/detail_ftc1980_transcript.php?page=9While many people have a fairly good grasp of what inflation is, few really understand its fundamental cause. There are many popular scapegoats: labor unions, big business, spendthrift consumers, greed, and international forces. Dr. Friedman explains that the actual cause is a government that has exclusive control of the money supply. Friedman says that the solution to inflation is well known among those who have the power to stop it: simply slow down the rate at which new money is printed. But government is one of the primary beneficiaries of inflation. By inflating the currency, tax revenues rise as families are pushed into higher income tax brackets. Thus, inflation transfers wealth and resources from the private to the public sector. In short, inflation is attractive to government because it is a way of increasing taxes without having to pass new legislation to raise tax rates. Inflation is in fact taxation without representation. Wage and price controls are not the cure for inflation because they treat only the symptom (rising prices) and not the disease (monetary expansion). History records that such controls do not work; instead, they have perverse effects on both prices and economic growth and undermine the fundamental productivity of the economy. There is only one cure for inflation: slow the printing presses. But the cure produces the painful side effects of a temporary increase in unemployment and reduced economic growth. It takes considerable political courage to undergo the cure. Friedman cites the example of Japan, which successfully underwent the cure in the mid-seventies but took five years to squeeze inflation out of the system. Inflation is a social disease that has the potential for destroying a free society if it is unchecked. Prolonged inflation undermines belief in the basic equity of the free market system because it tends to destroy the link between effort and reward. And it tears the social fabric because it divides society into winners and losers and sets group against group.(Taxation without representation: Getting knocked up to higher tax brackets because of inflation pt 1)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1dTWDNKH3c

 

 

Volume 9 – How to Cure Inflation

Transcript:
Friedman: The Sierra Nevada’s in California 10,000 feet above sea level, in the winter temperatures drop to 40 below zero, in the summer the place bakes in the thin mountain air. In this unlikely spot the town of Body sprang up. In its day Body was filled with prostitutes, drunkards and gamblers part of a colorful history of the American West.
A century ago, this was a town of 10,000 people. What brought them here? Gold. If this were real gold, people would be scrambling for it. The series of gold strikes throughout the West brought people from all over the world, all kinds of people. They came here for one purpose and one purpose only, to strike it rich, quick. But in the process, they built towns, cities, in places where nobody would otherwise have dreamed of building a city. Gold built these cities and when the gold was exhausted, the cities collapsed and became ghost towns. Many of the people who came here ended up the way they began, broke and unhappy. But a few struck it rich. For them, gold was real wealth. But was it for the world as a whole. People couldn’t eat the gold, they couldn’t wear the gold, they couldn’t live in houses made of gold. Because there was more gold, they had to pay a little more gold to buy goods and services. The prices of things in terms of gold went up.
At tremendous cost, at sacrifice of lives, people dug gold out of the bowels of the earth. What happened to that gold? Eventually, at long last, it was transported to distant places only to be buried again under the ground. This time in the vaults of banks throughout the world. There is hardly anything that hasn’t been used for money; rock salt in Ethiopia, brass rings in West Africa, Calgary shells in Uganda, even a toy cannon. Anything can be used as money. Crocodile money in Malaysia, absurd isn’t it?
That beleaguered minority of the population that still smokes may recognize this stuff as the raw material from which their cigarettes are made. But in the early days of the colonies, long before the U.S. was established, this was money. It was the common money of Virginia, Maryland and the Carolinas. It was used for all sorts of things. The legislature voted that it could be used legally to pay taxes. It was used to buy food, clothing and housing. Indeed, one of the most interesting sites was to see the husky young fellows at that time, lug 100 pounds of it down to the docks to pay the costs of the passage of the beauteous young ladies who had come over from England to be their brides.
Now you know how money is. There’s a tendency for it to grow, for more and more of it to be produced and that’s what happened with this tobacco. As more tobacco was produced, there was more money. And as always when there’s more money, prices went up. Inflation. Indeed, at the very end of the process, prices were 40 times as high in terms of tobacco as they had been at the beginning of the process. And as always when inflation occurs, people complained. And as always, the legislature tried to do something. And as always, to very little avail. They prohibited certain classes of people from growing tobacco. They tried to reduce the total amount of tobacco grown, they required people to destroy part of their tobacco. But it did no good. Finally, many people took it into their own hands and they went around destroying other people’s tobacco fields. That was too much. Then they passed a law making it a capital offense, punishable by death, to destroy somebody else’s tobacco. Grecian’s Law, one of the oldest laws in economics, was well illustrated. That law says that cheap money drives out dear money and so it was with tobacco. Anybody who had a debt to pay, of course, tried to pay it in the worst quality of tobacco he had. He saved the good tobacco to sell overseas for hard money. The result was that bad money drove out good money.
Finally, almost a century after they had started using tobacco as money, they established warehouses in which tobacco was deposited in barrels, certified by an inspector according to his views as to it’s quality and quantity. And they issued warehouse certificates which people gave from one to another to pay for the bills that they accumulated.
These pieces of green printed paper are today’s counterparts of those tobacco certificates. Except that they bear no relation to any commodity. In this program I want to take you to Britain to see how inflation weakens the social fabric of society. Then to Tokyo, where the Japanese have the courage to cure inflation. To Berlin, where there is a lesson to be learned from the West Germans and how so called cures are often worse than the disease. And to Washington where our government keeps these machines working overtime. And I am going to show you how inflation can be cured.
The fact is that most people enjoy the early stages of the inflationary process. Britain, in the swinging 60’s, there was plenty of money around, business was brisk, jobs were plentiful and prices had not yet taken off. Everybody seemed happy at first. But by the early 70’s, as the good times rolled along, prices started to rise more and more rapidly. Soon, some of these people are going to lose their jobs. The party was coming to an end.
The story is much the same in the U.S. Only the process started a little later. We’ve had one inflationary party after another. Yet we still can’t seem to avoid them. How come?
Before every election our representatives would like to make us think we are getting a tax break. When they are able to do it, while at the same time actually raising our taxes because of a bit of magic they have in their kit bag. That magic is inflation. They reduced the tax rates but the taxes we have to pay go up because we are automatically shoved into higher brackets by the effective inflation. A neat trick. Taxation without representation.
 
_________________________________________
 
Pt 2 Many a political leader has been tempted to turn to wage and price controls despite their repeated failure in practice. On this subject they never seem to learn. But some lessons may be learned. That happened to British P
 
 
 
Bob Crawford: The more I work, it seems like the more they take off me. I know if I work an extra day or two extra days, what they take in federal income tax alone is almost doubled because apparently it puts you in a higher income tax bracket and it takes more off you.
Friedman: Bob Crawford lives with his wife and three children in a suburb of Pittsburgh. They’re a fairly average American family.
Mrs. Crawford: Don’t slam the door Daphne. Okay. Alright. What are you doing? Making your favorite dish.
Friedman: We went to the Crawford’s home after he had spent a couple of days working out his federal and state income taxes for the year. For our benefit, he tried to estimate all the other taxes he had paid as well. In the end, though, he didn’t discover much that would surprise anybody.
Bob Crawford: Inflation is going up, everything is getting more expensive. No matter what you do, as soon as you walk out of the house, everything went up. Your gas bills keep going up, electric bills, your gasoline, you can name a thousand things that are going up. Everything is going sky high. Your food. My wife goes to the grocery store. We used to live on say, $60 or $50 every two weeks just for our basic food. Now it’s $80 or $90 every two weeks. Things are just going out of sight as far as expense to live on. Like I say it’s getting tough. It seems like every month it gets worse and worse. And I don’t know where it’s going to end. At the end of the day that I spend nearly $6,000 of my earnings on taxes. That leaves me with a total of $12,000 to live on. It might seem like a lot of money, but five, six years ago I was earning $12,000.
Friedman: How does taxation without representation really effect how much the Crawford family has left to spend after it’s paid its income taxes. Well in 1972 Bob Crawford earned $12,000. Some of that income was not subject to income tax. After paying income tax on the rest he had this much left to spend. Six years later he was earning $18,000 a year. By 1978 the amount free from tax was larger. But he was now in a higher tax bracket so his taxes went up by a larger percentage than his income. However, those dollars weren’t worth anything like as much. Even his wages, let alone his income after taxes, hadn’t kept up with inflation. His buying power was lower than before. That is taxation without representation in practice.
Unnamed Individual: We have with us today you brothers that are sitting here today that were with us on that committee and I’d like to tell you….
Friedman: There are many traditional scapegoats blamed for inflation. How often have you heard inflation blamed on labor unions for pushing up wages. Workers, of course, don’t agree.
Unnamed Individual: But fellows this is not true. This is subterfuge. This is a myth. Your wage rates are not creating inflation.
Friedman: And he’s right. Higher wages are mostly a result of inflation rather than a cause of it. Indeed, the impression that unions cause inflation arises partly because union wages are slow to react to inflation and then there is pressure to catch up.
Worker: On a day to day basis, try to represent our own numbers. But that in fact is not the case. Not only can we not play catch up, we can’t even maintain a wage rate commensurate with the cost of living that’s gone up in this country.
Friedman: Another scapegoat for inflation is the cost of goods coming from abroad. Inflation, we’re told, is imported. Higher prices abroad driving up prices at home. It’s another way government can blame someone else for inflation. But this argument, too, is wrong. The prices of imports and the countries from which they come are not in terms of dollars, they are in terms of lira or yen or other foreign currencies. What happens to their prices in dollars depends on exchange rates which in turn reflect inflation in the United States.
Since 1973 some governments have had a field day blaming the Arabs for inflation. But if high oil prices were the cause of inflation, how is it that inflation has been less here in Germany, a country that must import every drop of oil and gas that it uses on the roads and in industry, then for example it is in the U.S. which produces half of its own oil. Japan has no oil of its own at all. Yet at the very time the Arabs were quadrupling oil prices, the Japanese people were bringing inflation down from 30 to less than 5% a year. The fallacy is to confuse particular prices like the price of oil, with prices in general. Back at home, President Nixon understood this.
Nixon: “Now here’s what I will not do. I will not take this nation down the road of wage and price controls however politically expedient that may seem. The pros of rationing may seem like an easy way out, but they are really an easy way in for more trouble. To the explosion that follows when you try to clamp a lid on a rising head of steam without turning down the fire under the pot, wage and price controls only postpone the day of reckoning. And in so doing, they rob every American of a very important part of his freedom.
Friedman: Now listen to this:
Nixon: “The time has come for decisive action. Action that will break the vicious circle of spiraling prices and costs. I am today ordering a freeze on all prices and wages throughout the United States for a period of 90 days. In addition, I call upon corporations to extend the wage price freeze to all dividends.”
Friedman: Many a political leader has been tempted to turn to wage and price controls despite their repeated failure in practice. On this subject they never seem to learn. But some lessons may be learned. That happened to British Prime Minister James Callahan who finally discovered that a very different economic myth was wrong. He told the Labor Party Conference about it in 1976.
James Callahan: “We used to think that you could use, spend your way out of a recession and increase employment by cutting taxes and boosting government spending. I tell you in all candor that option no longer exists. It only works on each occasion since the war by injecting a bigger dose of inflation into the economy followed by a higher level of unemployment as the next step. That’s the history of the last 20 years.”
Friedman: Well, it’s one thing to say it. One reason why inflation does so much harm is because it effects different groups differently. Some benefit and of course they attribute that to their own cleverness. Some are hurt, but of course they attribute that to the evil actions of other people. And the whole problem is made far worse by the false cures which government adopts, particularly wage and price control.
The garbage collectors in London felt justifiably aggrieved because their wages had not been permitted to keep pace with the cost of living. They struck, hurting not the people who impose the controls, but their friends and neighbors who had to live with mounting piles of rat infested garbage. Hospital attendants felt justifiably aggrieved because their wages had not been permitted to keep up with the cost of living. They struck, hurting not the people who impose the controls, but cancer patients who were turned out of hospital beds. The attendants behaved as a group in a way they never would have behaved as individuals. One group is set against another group. The social fabric of society is torn apart inflicting scars that it will take decades to heal and all to no avail because wage and price controls, far from being a cure for inflation, only make inflation worse.
Within the memory of most of our political leaders, there’s one vivid example of how economic ruin can be magnified by controls. And the classic demonstration of what to do when it happens.
 
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(Wage and Price Controls don’t work)

Inflation is just like alcoholism. In both cases when you start drinking or when you start printing too much money, the good effects come first. The bad effects only come later.
That’s why in both cases there is a strong temptation to overdo it. To drink too much and to print too much money. When it comes to the cure, it’s the other way around. When you stop drinking or when you stop printing money, the bad effects come first and the good effects only come later.
 
Pt 3
 
 
Germany, 1945, a devastated country. A nation defeated in war. The new governing body was the Allied Control Commission, representing the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union. They imposed strict controls on practically every aspect of life including wages and prices. Along with the effects of war, the results were tragic. The basic economic order of the country began to collapse. Money lost its value. People reverted to primitive barter where they used cameras, fountain pens, cigarettes, whiskey as money. That was less than 40 years ago.
This is Germany as we know it today. Transformed into a place a lot of people would like to live in. How did they achieve their miraculous recovery? What did they know that we don’t know?
Early one Sunday morning, it was June 20, 1948, the German Minister of Economics, Ludwig Earhardt, a professional economist, simultaneously introduced a new currency, today’s Deutsche Mark, and in one fell swoop, abolished almost all controls on prices and wages. Why did he do it on a Sunday morning? It wasn’t as you might suppose because the Stock Markets were closed on that day, it was, as he loved to confess, because the offices of the American, the British, and the French occupation authorities were closed that day. He was sure that if he had done it when they open they would have countermanded the order. It worked like a charm. Within days, the shops were full of goods. Within months, the German economy was humming along at full steam. Economists weren’t surprised at the results, after all, that’s what a price system is for. But to the rest of the world it seemed an economic miracle that a defeated and devastated country could in little more than a decade become the strongest economy on the continent of Europe.
In a sense this city, West Berlin, is something of a unique economic test tube. Set as it is deep in Communist East Germany. Two fundamentally different economic systems collide here in Europe. Ours and theirs, separated by political philosophies, definitions of freedom and a steel and concrete wall.
To digress from inflation, economic freedom does not stand alone. It is part of a wider order. I wanted to show you how much difference it makes by letting you see how the people live on the other side of that Berlin Wall. But the East German authorities wouldn’t let us. The people over there speak the same language as the people over here. They have the same culture. They have the same for bearers. They are the same people. Yet you don’t need me to tell you how differently they live. There is one simple explanation. The political system over there cannot tolerate economic freedom. The political system over here could not exist without it.
But political freedom cannot be preserved unless inflation is kept in bounds. That’s the responsibility of government which has a monopoly over places like this. The reason we have inflation in the United States or for that matter anywhere in the world is because these pieces of paper and the accompanying book entry or their counterparts in other nations are growing more rapidly than the quantity of goods and services produced. The truth is inflation is made in one place and in one place only. Here in Washington. This is the only place were there are presses like this that turn out these pieces of paper we call money. This is the place where the power resides to determine how rapidly the amount of money shall increase.
What happened to all that noise? That’s what would happen to inflation if we stop letting the amount of money grow so rapidly. This is not a new idea. It’s not a new cure. It’s not a new problem. It’s happened over and over again in history. Sometimes inflation has been cured this way on purpose. Sometimes it’s happened by accident. During the Civil War the North, late in the Civil War, overran the place in the South where the printing presses were sitting up, where the pieces of paper were being turned out. Prior to that point, the South had a very rapid inflation. If my memory serves me right, something like 4% a month. It took the Confederacy something over two weeks to find a new place where they could set up their printing presses and start them going again. During that two week period, inflation came to a halt. After the two week period, when the presses started running again, inflation started up again. It’s that clear, that straightforward. More recently, there’s another dramatic example of the only effective way to deal with rampant inflation.
In 1973, Japanese housewives going to market were faced with an unpleasant fact. The cash in their purses seemed to be losing its value. Prices were starting to sore as the awful story of inflation began to unfold once again. The Japanese government knew what to do. What’s more, they were prepared to do it. When it was all over, economists were able to record precisely what had happened. In 1971 the quantity of money started to grow more rapidly. As always happens, inflation wasn’t affected for a time. But by late 1972 it started to respond. In early 73 the government reacted. It started to cut monetary growth. But inflation continued to soar for a time. The delayed reaction made 1973 a very tough year of recession. Inflation tumbled only when the government demonstrated its determination to keep monetary growth in check. It took five years to squeeze inflation out of the system. Japan attained relative stability. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid the difficult road the Japanese had to follow before they could have both low inflation and a healthy economy. First they had to live through a recession until slow monetary growth had its delayed effect on inflation.
Inflation is just like alcoholism. In both cases when you start drinking or when you start printing too much money, the good effects come first. The bad effects only come later.
That’s why in both cases there is a strong temptation to overdo it. To drink too much and to print too much money. When it comes to the cure, it’s the other way around. When you stop drinking or when you stop printing money, the bad effects come first and the good effects only come later. That’s why it’s so hard to persist with the cure. In the United States, four times in the 20 years after 1957, we undertook the cure. But each time we lacked the will to continue. As a result, we had all the bad effects and none of the good effects. Japan on the other hand, by sticking to a policy of slowing down the printing presses for five years, was by 1978 able to reap all the benefits, low inflation and a recovering economy. But there is nothing special about Japan. Every country that has had the courage to persist in a policy of slow monetary growth has been able to cure inflation and at the same time achieve a healthy economy.
 
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Pt 4
The job of the Federal Reserve is not to run government spending; it’s not to run government taxation. The job of the Federal Reserve is to control the money supply and I believe, frankly, I have always believed as you know, that these are excuses and not reasons for the performance.
 
 
DISCUSSION
Participants: Robert McKenzie, Moderator; Milton Friedman; Congressman Clarence J. Brown; William M. Martin, Chairman of Federal Reserve 1951_1970; Beryl W. Sprinkel, Executive Vice President, Harris Bank, Chicago; Otmar Emminger, President, Ieutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt West Germany
MCKENZIE: And here at the Harper Library of the University of Chicago, our distinguished guests have their own ideas, too. So, lets join them now.
BROWN: If you could control the money supply, you can certainly cut back or control the rate of inflation. I’d have to say that that prescription is a little bit easier to write than it is to fill. I think there are some other ways to do it and I would relate the money supply __ I think inflation is a measure of the relationship between money and the goods and services that money is meant to cover. And so if you can stimulate the goods, the production of goods and services, it’s helpful. It’s a little tougher to control the money supply, although I think it can be done, than just saying that you should control it, because we’ve got the growth of credit cards, which is a form of money; created, in effect, by the free enterprise system. It isn’t all just printed in Washington, but that may sound too defensive. I think he was right in saying that the inflation is Washington based.
MCKENZIE: Mr. Martin, nobody has been in the firing line longer than you, 17 years head of the Fed. Could you briefly comment on that and we’ll go around the group.
MARTIN: I want to say 19 years.
(Laughter)
MARTIN: I wouldn’t be out here if it weren’t for Milton Friedman, today. He came down and gave us advice from time to time.
FRIEDMAN: You’ve never taken it.
(Laughter)
MCKENZIE: He’s going to do some interviewing later, I warn you.
MARTIN: And I’m rather glad we didn’t take it __
(Laughter)
MARTIN: __ all the time.
SPRINKEL: In your 19 years as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Bill, the average growth in the money supply was 3.1 percent per year. The inflation rate was 2.2 percent. Since you left, the money supply has exactly doubled. The inflation rate is average over 7 percent, and, of course, in recent times the money supply has been growing in double-digit territory as has our inflation rate.
EMMINGER: May I, first of all, confirm two facts which have been so vividly brought out in the film of Professor Friedman; namely, that at the basis of the relatively good performance of Western Germany were really two events. One, the establishment of a new sound money which we try to preserve sound afterwards. And, secondly, the jump overnight into a free market economy without any controls over prices and wages. These are the two fundamental facts. We have tried to preserve monetary stability by just trying to follow this prescription of Professor Friedman; namely, monetary discipline. Keeping monetary growth relatively moderate. I must, however, warn you it’s not so easy as it looks. If you just say, governments have to have the courage to persist in that course.
FRIEDMAN: Nobody does disagree with the proposition that excessive growth in money supply is an essential element in the inflationary process and that the real problem is not what to do, but how to have the courage and the will to do it. And I want to go and start, if I may, on that subject; because I think that’s what we ought to explore. Why is it we haven’t had the courage and don’t, and under what circumstances will we? And I want to start with Bill Martin because his experience is a very interesting experience. His 19 years was divided into different periods. In the first period, that average that Beryl Sprinkel spoke about, averaged two very different periods. An early period of very slow growth and slow inflation; a later period of what at the time was regarded as creeping inflation __ now we’d be delighted to get back to it. People don’t remember that at the time that Mr. Nixon introduced price and wage controls in 1971 to control an outrageous inflation, the rate of inflation was four-and-a-half percent per year. Today we’d regard that as a major achievement; but the part of the period when you were Chairman, was a period when the inflation rate was starting to creep up and money growth rate was also creeping up. Now if I go from your period, you were eloquent in your statements to the public, to the press, to everyone, about the evils of inflation, and about the determination on the Federal Reserve not to be the architect of inflation. Your successor, Arthur Burns, was just as eloquent. Made exactly the same kinds of statements as effectively, and again over and over again said the Federal Reserve will not be the architect of inflation. His successor, Mr. G. William Miller, made the same speeches, and the same statements, and the same protestations. His successor, Paul Volcker, he is making the same statements. Now my question to you is: Why is it that there has been such a striking difference between the excellent pronouncements of all Chairmen of the Fed, therefore it’s not personal on you. You have a lot of company, unfortunately for the country. Why is it that there has been such a wide diversion between the excellent pronouncements on the one hand and what I regard as a very poor performance on the other?
MARTIN: Because monetary policy is not the only element. Fiscal policy is equally important.
FRIEDMAN: You’re shifting the buck to the Treasury.
MARTIN: Yes.
FRIEDMAN: To the Congress. We’ll get to Mr. Brown, don’t worry.
MARTIN: Yeah, that’s right.
(Laughter)
MARTIN: The relationship of fiscal policy to monetary policy is one of the important things.
MCKENZIE: Would you remind us, the general audience, when you say “fiscal policy”, what you mean in distinction to “monetary policy”?
MARTIN: Well, taxation.
MCKENZIE: Yeah.
MARTIN: The raising revenue.
FRIEDMAN: And spending.
MARTIN: And spending.
FRIEDMAN: And deficits.
MARTIN: And deficits, yes, exactly. And I think that you have to realize that when I’ve talked for a long time about the independence of the Federal Reserve. That’s independence within the government, not independence of the government. And I’ve worked consistently with the Treasury to try to see that the government is financed. Now this gets back to spending. The government says they’re gonna spend a certain amount, and then it turns out they don’t spend that amount. It doubles.
FRIEDMAN: The job of the Federal Reserve is not to run government spending; it’s not to run government taxation. The job of the Federal Reserve is to control the money supply and I believe, frankly, I have always believed as you know, that these are excuses and not reasons for the performance.
MARTIN: Well that’s where you and I differ, because I think we would be irresponsible if we didn’t take into account the needs and what the government is saying and doing. I think if we just went on our own, irresponsibly, I say it on this, because I was in the Treasury before I came to this __
FRIEDMAN: I know. I know.
MARTIN: __ go to the Fed; and I know the other side of the picture. I think we’d be rightly condemned by the American people and by the electorate.
FRIEDMAN: Every central bank in this world, including the German Central Bank, including the Federal Reserve System, has the technical capacity to make the money supply do over a period of two or three or four months, not daily, but over a period, has the technical capacity to control it.
(Several people talking at once.)
FRIEDMAN: I cannot explain the kind of excessive money creation that has occurred, in terms of the technical incapacity of the Federal Reserve System or of the German Central Bank, or of the Bank of England, or any other central bank in the world.
EMMINGER: I wouldn’t say technically we are incapable of doing that, although we have never succeeded in controlling the money supply month that way. But I would say we can, technically, control it half yearly, from one half-year period to the next and that would be sufficient __
FRIEDMAN: That would be sufficient.
EMMINGER: __ for controlling inflation. But however I __
VOICE OFF SCREEN: It doesn’t move.
FRIEDMAN: I’m an economic scientist, and I’m trying to observe phenomena, and I observe that every Federal Reserve Chairman says one thing and does another. I don’t mean he does, the system does.
MCKENZIE: Yeah. How different is your setup in Germany? You’ve heard this problem of governments getting committed to spending and the Fed having, one way or the other, to accommodate itself to it. Now what’s your position on this very interesting problem?
EMMINGER: We are very independent of the government, from the government, but, on the other hand, we are an advisor of the government. Also on the budget deficits and they would not easily go before Parliament with a deficit which much of it is openly criticized and disapproved by the same bank. Why because we have a tradition in our country that we can also publicly criticize the government on his account. And second, as if happened in our case too, the government goes beyond what is tolerable for the sake of moral equilibrium. We have let it come through in the capital markets. That is to say they have enough interest rates that has drawn public criticism and that has had some effect on their attitude.
 
_________________________________________
 
Pt 5
 I think that is a very important point that Dr. Emminger just made because there is not a one-to-one relationship between government deficits and what happens to the money supply at all. The pressure on the Federal Reserve comes indirectly. It comes because large government deficits, if they are financed in the general capital market, will drive up interest rates and then we have the right patents in Congress and their successors pressuring the Federal Reserve to enter in and finance the deficit by printing money as a way of supposedly holding down interest rates. Now before I turn to Mr. Brown and ask him that, I just want to make one point which is very important. The Federal Reserve’s activities in trying to hold down interest rates have put us in a position where we have the highest interest rates in history. It’s another example of how, of the difference between the announced intentions of a policy, and the actual results. But now I want to come to Clarence Brown and ask him, shift the buck to him, and put him on the hot seat for a bit. The government spending has been going up rapidly, Republican administration or Democratic administration. This is a nonpartisan issue, it doesn’t matter. Government deficits have been going up rapidly. Republican administration or Democratic administration. Why is it that here again you have the difference between pronouncements and performance? There is no Congressman, no Senator, who will come out and say, “I am in favor of inflation.” There is not a single one who will say, “I am in favor of big deficits.” They’ll all say we want to balance the budget, we want to hold down spending, we want an economical government. How do you explain the difference between performance and talk on the side of Congress?
BROWN:
 
 
 
FRIEDMAN: I think that is a very important point that Dr. Emminger just made because there is not a one-to-one relationship between government deficits and what happens to the money supply at all. The pressure on the Federal Reserve comes indirectly. It comes because large government deficits, if they are financed in the general capital market, will drive up interest rates and then we have the right patents in Congress and their successors pressuring the Federal Reserve to enter in and finance the deficit by printing money as a way of supposedly holding down interest rates. Now before I turn to Mr. Brown and ask him that, I just want to make one point which is very important. The Federal Reserve’s activities in trying to hold down interest rates have put us in a position where we have the highest interest rates in history. It’s another example of how, of the difference between the announced intentions of a policy, and the actual results. But now I want to come to Clarence Brown and ask him, shift the buck to him, and put him on the hot seat for a bit. The government spending has been going up rapidly, Republican administration or Democratic administration. This is a nonpartisan issue, it doesn’t matter. Government deficits have been going up rapidly. Republican administration or Democratic administration. Why is it that here again you have the difference between pronouncements and performance? There is no Congressman, no Senator, who will come out and say, “I am in favor of inflation.” There is not a single one who will say, “I am in favor of big deficits.” They’ll all say we want to balance the budget, we want to hold down spending, we want an economical government. How do you explain the difference between performance and talk on the side of Congress?
BROWN: Well, first I think we have to make one point. I’m not so much with the government as I am against it.
FRIEDMAN: I understand.
BROWN: As you know, I’m a minority member of Congress.
FRIEDMAN: Again, I’m not __ I’m not directing this at you personally.
BROWN: I understand, of course; and while the administrations, as you’ve mentioned, Republican and Democratic administrations, have both been responsible for increases in spending, at least in terms of their recommendations. It is the Congress and only the Congress that appropriates the funds and determines what the taxes are. The President has no authority to do that and so one must lay it at the feet of the U.S. Congress. Now, I guess we’d have to concede that it’s a little bit more fun to give away things than it is to withhold them. And this is the reason that the Congress responds to a general public that says, “I want you to cut everybody else’s program but the one in which I am most particularly interested. Save money, but incidentally, my wife is taking care of the orphanages and so lets try to help the orphanages,” or whatever it is. Let me try to make a point, if I can, however, on what I think is a new spirit moving within the Congress and that is that inflation, as a national affliction, is beginning to have an impact on the political psychology of many Americans. Now the Germans, the Japanese and others have had this terrific postwar inflation. The Germans have been through it twice, after World War I and World War II, and it’s a part of their national psyche. But we are affected in this country by the depression. Our whole tax structure is built on the depression. The idea of the tax structure in the past has been to get the money out of the mattress where it went after the banks failed in this country and jobs were lost, and out of the woodshed or the tin box in the back yard, get it out of there and put it into circulation. Get it moving, get things going. And one of the ways to do that was to encourage inflation. Because if you held on to it, the money would depreciate; and the other way was to tax it away from people and let the government spend it. Now there’s a reaction to that and people are beginning to say, “Wait just a minute. We’re not afflicted as much as we were by depression. We’re now afflicted by inflation, and we’d like for you to get it under control.” Now you can do that in another way and that without reducing the money supply radically. I think the Joint Economic Committee has recommended that we do it gradually. But the way that you can do it is to reduce taxes and the impact of government, that is the weight of government and increase private savings so that the private savings can finance some of the debt that you have.
FRIEDMAN: There is no way you can do it without reducing, in my opinion, the rate of monetary growth. And I, recognizing the facts, even though they ought not to be that way, I wonder whether you can reduce the rate of monetary growth unless Congress actually does reduce government spending as well as government taxes.
BROWN: The problem is that every time we use demand management, we get into a kind of an iron maiden kind of situation. We twist this way and one of the spikes grabs us here, so we twist that way and a spike over here gets us. And every recession has had higher basic unemployment rates than the previous recession in the last several years and every inflation has had higher inflation. We’ve got to get that tilt out of the society.
MCKENZIE: Wouldn’t it be fair to say, though, that a fundamental difference is the Germans are more deeply fearful of a return to inflation, having had the horrifying experience between the wars, especially. We tend to be more afraid of recession turning into depression.
EMMINGER: I think there is something in it and in particular in Germany the government would have to fear very much in their electoral prospects if they went into such an election period with a high inflation rate. But there is another important difference.
MARTIN: We fear unemployment more than inflation it seems.
EMMINGER: You fear unemployment, but unemployment is feared with us, too, but inflation is just as much feared. But there is another difference; namely, once you have got into that escalating inflation, every time the base, the plateau is higher, it’s extremely difficult to get out of it. You must avoid getting into that, now that’s very cheap advice from me because you are now.
(Laughing)
EMMINGER: But we had, for the last fifteen, twenty years, always studied foreign experiences, and told ourselves we never must get into this vicious circle. Once you are in, it takes a long time to get out of it. That is what I am preaching now, that we should avoid at all costs to get again into this vicious circle as we had it already in ’73_’74. It took us, also, four years to get out of it, although we were only at eight percent inflation. Four years to get down to three percent. So you __
MCKENZIE: Those were __ yes.
EMMINGER: You have, I think, the question of whether you can do if in a gradualist way over many, many years, or whether you don’t need a sort of shock treatment.
 
____________________________________
her we go into a period of still higher unemployment later on and have it to do all over again. That’s the only choice we face. And when the public at large recognizes that, they will then elect people to Congress, and a President to office who is committed to less government spending and to less government printing of money and until that happens we will not cure inflation
 
Pt 6
 
 
SPRINKEL: The film said it took the Japanese _ what _ four years?
FRIEDMAN: Five years.
SPRINKEL: Five years. But one of my greatest concerns is that we haven’t suffered enough yet. Most of the nations that have finally got their inflations __
BROWN: Bad election speech.
SPRINKEL: __ well, I’m not running for office, Clarence.
(Laughter)
SPRINKEL: Most countries that finally got their inflation under control had 20, 30 percent or worse inflation. Germany had much worse and the public supports them. We live in a Democracy, and we’re getting constituencies that gain from inflation. You look at people that own real estate, they’ve done very well.
MCKENZIE: Yes.
SPRINKEL: And how can we get there without going through even more pain, and I doubt that we will.
FRIEDMAN: If you ask who are the constituencies that have benefited most from inflation there are no doubt, it is the homeowners.
SPRINKEL: Yes.
FRIEDMAN: But it’s also the __ it’s also the Congressmen who have been able to vote higher spending without having to vote higher taxes. They have in fact __
BROWN: That’s right.
FRIEDMAN: __ Congress has in fact voted for inflation. But you have never had a Congressman on record to that effect. It’s the government civil servants who have their own salaries are indexed and tied to inflation. They have a retirement benefit, a retirement pension that’s tied to inflation. They qualify, a large fraction of them, for Social Security as well, which is tied to inflation. So that the beneficial __
BROWN: Labor contracts that are indexed and many pricing things that are tied to it.
FRIEDMAN: But the one thing that isn’t tied to inflation and here I want to come back and ask why Congress has been so __ so bad in this area, is our taxes. It has been impossible to get Congress to index the tax system so that you don’t have the present effect where every one percent increase in inflation pushes people up into higher brackets and forces them to pay higher taxes.
BROWN: Well, as you know, I’m an advocate of that.
FRIEDMAN: I know you are.
MCKENZIE: Some countries do that, of course.
FRIEDMAN: Oh, of course.
MCKENZIE: Canada does that. Indexes the __
BROWN: And I went up to Canada on a little weekend seminar program on indexing and came back an advocate of indexing because I found out that the people who are delighted with indexing are the taxpayers.
FRIEDMAN: Absolutely.
BROWN: Because as the inflation rate goes up their tax level either maintains at the same level or goes down. The people who are least __ well, the people who are very unhappy with it are the people who have to plan government spending because it is reducing the amount of money that the government has rather than watching it go up by ten or twelve billion. You get a little dividend to spend in this country, the bureaucrats do every year, but the politicians are unhappy with it too, as Dr. Friedman points out because, you see, politicians don’t get to vote a tax reduction, it happens automatically.
MCKENZIE: Yeah.
BROWN: And so you can’t go back and in a praiseworthy way tell your constituents that I am for you, I voted a tax reduction. And I think we ought to be able to index the tax system so that tax reduction is automatic, rather than have what we’ve had in the past, and that is an automatic increase in the taxes. And the politicians say, “Well, we’re sorry about inflation, but __”.
FRIEDMAN: You’re right and I want to __ I want to go and make a very different point. I sit here and berate you and you as government officials, and so on, but I understand very well that the real culprits are not the politicians, are not the central bankers, but it’s I and my fellow citizens. I always say to people when I talk about this, “If you want to know who’s responsible for inflation, look in the mirror.” It’s not because of the way you spend you money. Inflation doesn’t arise because you got consumers who are spendthrifts; they’ve always been spendthrifts. It doesn’t arise because you’ve got businessmen who are greedy. They’ve always been greedy. Inflation arises because we as citizens have been asking you as politicians to perform an impossible task. We’ve been asking you to spend somebody else’s money on us, but not to spend our money on anybody else.
BROWN: You don’t want us to cut back those dollars for education, right?
FRIEDMAN: Right. And, therefore, __ well, no, I do.
MCKENZIE: We’ve already had a program on that.
FRIEDMAN: We’ve already had a program on that and there’s no viewer of these programs who will be in any doubt about my position on that. But the public at large has not and this is where we come to the political will that Dr. Emminger quite properly talked about. It is __ everybody talks against inflation, but what he means is that he wants the prices of the things he sells to go up and the prices of the things he buys to go down. But, sooner or later, we come to the point where it will be politically profitable to end inflation. This is the point that __
SPRINKEL: Yes.
FRIEDMAN: __ I think you were making.
SPRINKEL: The suffering idea.
FRIEDMAN: Where do you think the __ you know, what do you think the rate of inflation has to be and judged by the experience of other countries before we will be in that position and when do you think that will happen?
SPRINKEL: Well, the evidence says it’s got to be over 20 percent. Now you would think we could learn from others rather than have to repeat mistakes.
FRIEDMAN: Apparently nobody can learn from history.
SPRINKEL: But at the present time we’re going toward higher and not lower inflation.
MCKENZIE: You said earlier, if you want to see who causes inflation look in the mirror.
FRIEDMAN: Right.
MCKENZIE: Now, for everybody watching and taking part in this, there must be some moral to that. What does need __ what has to be the change of attitude of the man in the mirror you’re looking at before we can effectively implement what you call a tough policy that takes courage?
FRIEDMAN: I think that the man in the mirror has to come to recognize that inflation is the most destructive disease known to modern society. There is nothing which will destroy a society so thoroughly and so fully as letting inflation run riot. He must come to recognize that he doesn’t have any good choices. That there are no easy answers. That once you get in this situation where the economy is sick of this insidious disease, there’s gonna be no miracle drug which will enable them to be well tomorrow. That the only choices he has, do I go through a tough period for four or five years of relatively high unemployment, relatively low growth or do I try to push it off by taking some more of the hair of the dog that bit me and get around it now at the cost of still higher unemployment, as Clarence Brown said, later on. The only choice this country faces, is whether we have temporary unemployment for a short period, as a side effect of curling inflation or whether we go into a period of still higher unemployment later on and have it to do all over again. That’s the only choice we face. And when the public at large recognizes that, they will then elect people to Congress, and a President to office who is committed to less government spending and to less government printing of money and until that happens we will not cure inflation.
 
____________________________________
FRIEDMAN: And therefore the crucial thing is to cut down total government spending from the point of view of inflation. From the point of view of productivity, some of the other measures you were talking about are far more important.
BROWN
 
Pt 7
 
BROWN: But, Dr. Friedman, let me __
(Applause)
BROWN: Let me differ with you to this extent. I think it is important that at the time you are trying to get inflation out of the economy that you also give the man in the street, the common man, the opportunity to have a little bit more of his own resources to spend. And if you can reduce his taxes at that time and then reduce government in that process, you give him his money to spend rather than having to yield up all that money to government. If you cut his taxes in a way to encourage it, to putting that money into savings, you can encourage the additional savings in a private sense to finance the debt that you have to carry, and you can also encourage the stimulation of growth in the society, that is the investment into the capital improvements of modernization of plant, make the U.S. more competitive with other countries. And we can try to do it without as much painful unemployment as we can get by with. Don’t you think that has some merit?
FRIEDMAN: The only way __ I am all in favor, as you know, of cutting government spending. I am all in favor of getting rid of the counterproductive government regulation that reduces productivity and disrupts investment. But __
BROWN: And we do that, we can cut taxes some, can we not?
FRIEDMAN: We should __ taxes __ but you are introducing a confusion that has confused the American people. And that is the confusion between spending and taxes. The real tax on the American people is not what you label taxes. It’s total spending. If Congress spends fifty billion dollars more than it takes in, if government spends fifty billion dollars, who do you suppose pays that fifty billion dollars?
BROWN: Of course, of course.
FRIEDMAN: The Arab Sheiks aren’t paying it. Santa Claus isn’t paying it. The Tooth Fairy isn’t paying it. You and I as taxpayers are paying it indirectly through hidden taxation.
MCKENZIE: Your view __
FRIEDMAN: And therefore the crucial thing is to cut down total government spending from the point of view of inflation. From the point of view of productivity, some of the other measures you were talking about are far more important.
BROWN: But if you concede that inflation and taxes are both part and parcel of the same thing, and if you cut spending __
FRIEDMAN: They’re not part and parcel of the same thing.
BROWN: If you cut spending you __ well, but, you take the money from them in one way or another. The average citizen.
FRIEDMAN: Absolutely.
BROWN: To finance the growth of government.
FRIEDMAN: That’s right.
BROWN: So if you cut back the size of government, you can cut both their inflation and their taxes.
FRIEDMAN: That’s right.
BROWN: If you __
FRIEDMAN: I am all in favor of that.
BROWN: All right.
FRIEDMAN: All I am saying is don’t kid yourself into thinking that there is some painless way to do it. There just is not.
BROWN: One other way is productivity. If you can __ if you can increase production, then the impact of inflation is less because you have more goods chasing __
FRIEDMAN: Absolutely, but you have to have a sense of proportion. From the point of view of the real income of the American people, nothing is more important than increasing productivity. But from the point of view of inflation, it’s a bit actor. It would be a miracle if we could raise our productivity from three to five percent a year, that would reduce inflation by two percent.
BROWN: No question, it won’t happen overnight, but it’s part of the __ it’s part of a long range squeezing out of inflation.
FRIEDMAN: There is only one way to ease the __ in my opinion there is only one way to ease the pains of curing inflation and that way is not available. That way is to make it credible to the American people that you are really going to follow the policy you say you’re going to follow. Unfortunately I don’t see any way we can do that.
(Several people talking at once.)
EMMINGER: Professor Friedman, that’s exactly the point which I wanted to illustrate by our own experience. We also had to squeeze out inflation and there was a painful time of one-and-a-half years, but after that we had a continuous lowering of the inflation rate with a slow upward movement in the economy since 1975. Year by year inflation went down and we had a moderate growth rate which has led us now to full employment.
FRIEDMAN: That’s what __
EMMINGER: So you can shorten this period by just this credibility and by a consensus you must have, also with the trade unions, with the whole population that they acknowledge that policy and also play their part in it. Then the pains will be much less.
SPRINKEL: You see in our case, expectations are that inflation’s going to get worse because it always has. This means we must disappoint in a very painful way those expectations and it’s likely to take longer, at least the first time around. Now our real problem has not been that we haven’t tried. We have tried and brought inflation down. Our real problem was, we didn’t stick to it. And then you have it all to do over.
BROWN: Well I would __ I would concede that psychology plays a great, perhaps even the major part, but I do believe that if you have private savings stimulated by your tax system, rather than discouraged by your tax system, you can finance some of that public debt by private savings rather than by inflation and the result will be to ease to some degree the paint of that heavy unemployment that you seem to suggest is the only way to deal with the problem.
FRIEDMAN: The talk is fine, but the problem is that it’s used to evade the key issue: How do you make it credible to the public that you are really going to stick to a policy? Four times we’ve tried it and four times we’ve stopped before we’ve run the course.
(Several people talking at once.)
MCKENZIE: There we leave the matter for tonight, and next week’s concluding program in this series is not to be missed.
(Applause)
From Harper Library, goodbye.
 

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Dan Mitchell article Another Minority Convert to Gun Rights

Another Minority Convert to Gun Rights

Charles Blow is a doctrinaire left-wing columnist for the New York Times. But I applauded him late last year for expressing sympathy for black gun ownership.

He’s certainly not a full-blown supporter of the Second Amendment.

And I don’t think he realizes that many of the first gun control laws had racist motivations.

But I’m not going to nit pick. I welcome converts, even half-hearted ones.

Which is why today’s column will cheer another newcomer to the cause.

In a column for the Washington Post, Danielle King describes her decision to become a gun owner.

I never thought I’d own a gun. But there I was, in Hazard, Ky., in the middle of a pandemic on a Saturday, buying a .38 snub-nosed revolver. I’m not your stereotypical gun owner…as a Black woman, I am a statistical rarity… But I had come to believe that I had two choices: take steps to protect myself, or become a victim. I decided I needed to be armed.…it wasn’t until one night last April at my Kentucky home that I decided to become a gun owner myself. The brightness of the living room light startled me from my sleep. …The rustling sounds confirmed that we had an intruder. …The invader eventually made his way to the bedroom door. …The intruder slammed against the door like a battering ram in an attempt to take it down. He nearly succeeded, shattering the frame, but my husband held the rest of the door shut while I hid on the balcony and called the police.It took officers more than 45 minutes to arrive… I realized we needed protection. …Three days after the break-in, with my husband’s encouragement, I went to the gun store and purchased my revolver and some hollow-point bullets.

Ms. King notes that many other blacks are joining her and becoming gun owners.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported a 58 percent surge in gun purchases by Black men and women in the first six months of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, citing a survey of gun retailers. Of all purchasers, 5.4 percent were Black women. I strongly support private gun ownership and the Second Amendment… To be honest, I am still afraid of having guns in my home — and even of having one in my possession. But we are products of a violent nation, and ultimately, I don’t feel like the police can or want to protect me. …My first practice shot was a couple of feet from my backyard, bordering the woods. My husband created a target for me to practice on. …Terrified, my hands trembling, drenched in sweat, I anxiously grasped the revolver’s handle while searching for the trigger. Then, lining up the target while calming my breath, I pressed the trigger to hear a POP. Now, I thought, we are protected.

By the way, I hope what she wrote about the police isn’t true. I’d like to think they want to protect her and her family.

But Ms. King is definitely correct to fear that the police may not have the ability to protect her. Just consider the fact that it took 45 minutes for cops to arrive when her family was threatened by an intruder.

And it would be especially foolish to rely on the government for safety during a pandemic. Or during a period of civil strife.

If you read Ms. King’s full column, it’s clear that she hasn’t embraced the full libertarian view on gun ownership. But just as was the case with Charles Blow, I welcome her shift in the correct direction.

P.S. Here are the other columns celebrating folks on the left who have had epiphanies on gun rights.

  • In 2012, I shared some important observations from Jeffrey Goldberg, a left-leaning writer for The Atlantic. In his column, he basically admitted his side was wrong about gun control.
  • Then, in 2013, I wrote about a column by Justin Cronin in the New York Times. He self-identified as a liberal, but explained how real-world events have led him to become a supporter of private gun ownership.
  • In 2015, I shared a column by Jamelle Bouie in Slate, who addressed the left’s fixation on trying to ban so-called assault weapons and explains that such policies are meaningless.
  • More recently, in 2017, Leah Libresco wrote in the Washington Post that advocates of gun control are driven by emotion rather empirical research and evidence.
  • Last but not least, Alex Kingsbury in 2019 acknowledged the futility of gun control in a column for the New York Times.

P.P.S. Here’s a column on race and gun control.

P.P.P.S. If you want unintentional comedy, here’s a column by a British leftist who equates gun ownership and slavery.

Karl Marx: Worst Person in World History?

Since more than 100 million people have been killed by communist regimes, should we conclude that Karl Marx is the worst person in world history?

To address that question, let’s start with this video from Prager University, which is narrated by Professor Paul Kengor of Grove City College.

At the risk of understatement, the video is a damning indictment of Marx’s legacy.

His political ideas provided the justification for the genocides of dictators such as Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.

His economic ideas led to policies that produced mass deprivation, starvation, and immense human suffering.

Now let’s take a closer look at Marx rather than just his ideas.

Was he a good person who simply had some horribly misguided ideals?

Hardly. Everything we know suggests he was a sickeningly despicable excuse for a human being.

Professor Richard Ebeling has some of the sordid details in an article for Intellectual Takeout.

Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818, in the Rhineland town of Trier. …he was generally a lazy and good-for-nothing student. …Marx’s only real jobs during his lifetime were as occasional reporters for or editors of newspapers and journals most of which usually closed in a short period of time…He had sex enough times with the family maid that she bore him an illegitimate son… He often used racial slurs and insulting words to describe the mannerisms or appearance of his opponents in the socialist movement.  …In Marx’s mind, the Jew in bourgeois society encapsulated the essence of everything he considered despicable in the capitalist system… Marx’s caricaturing description of the asserted “Jewish mindset” rings amazingly similar to those that were later written by the Nazi “race-scientists” of the 1930s.

All told, it appears that Marx lacked a single redeeming feature. He was a very bad person with very bad ideas.

Indeed, it’s safe to assume that the best thing he did in his life occurred on March 14, 1883.

P.S. For those seeking more economic analysis, Marx advocated for the pure version of socialism, meaning government ownership of the means of production (state factories, collective farms, etc).

P.P.S. It’s disgusting that there’s a statue of Marx in his birth city and it’s equally disgusting that the former President of the European Commission went there to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth.

P.P.P.S. Marx gets featured frequently in my collection of jokes mocking communism.

The Beatles were good friends of Allen Ginsberg and Terry Southern and many others who were involved in the FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT in Berkeley in the 1960’s. The movement started off just being about FREE SPEECH, but then it turned quickly to the New Left and the Marxist-Leninist point of view. It was in this atmosphere in the mid-sixties that caused KARL MARX to be a logical choice to be on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s.

Beatles 1966 Last interview

69 THE BEATLES TWO OF US

As a university student, Karl Marx (1818-1883) joined a movement known as the Young Hegelians, who strongly criticized the political and cultural establishments of the day. He became a journalist, and the radical nature of his writings would eventually get him expelled by the governments of Germany, France and Belgium. In 1848, Marx and fellow German thinker Friedrich Engels published “The Communist Manifesto,” which introduced their concept of socialism as a natural result of the conflicts inherent in the capitalist system. Marx later moved to London, where he would live for the rest of his life. In 1867, he published the first volume of “Capital” (Das Kapital), in which he laid out his vision of capitalism and its inevitable tendencies toward self-destruction, and took part in a growing international workers’ movement based on his revolutionary theories.

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

Karl Marx is seen next to Oliver Hardy on the cover of  Stg. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. 

1. Sri Yukteswar (Indian Guru)
2. Aleister Crowley (black magician)
3. Mae West
4. Lenny Bruce
5. Stockhausen (modern German composer)
6. W.C. Fields
7. Carl Jung (psychologist)
8. Edgar Allen Poe
9. Fred Astaire
10. Merkin (American artist)
12. Huntz Hall (Bowery Boy)
13. Simon Rodia (creater of Watts Towers)
14. Bob Dylan
15. Aubrey Beardsly (Victorian artist)
16. Sir Robert Peel (Police pioneer)
17. Aldous Huxley (philosopher)
18. Dylan Thomas (Welsh poet)
19. Terry Southern (author)
20. Dion (American pop singer)
21. Tony Curtis
22. Wallace Berman (Los Angeles artist)
23. Tommy Handley (wartime comedian)
24. Marilyn Monroe
25. William Buroughs (author)
26. Mahavatar Babaji (Indian Guru)
27. Stan Laurel
28. Richard Lindner (New York artist)
29. Oliver Hardy
30. Karl Marx
31. H.G. Wells
32. Paramhansa Yogananda (Indian Guru)
33. Stuart Sutcliffe
35. Max Muller
37. Marlon Brando
38. Tom Mix (cowboy film star)
39. Oscar Wilde
40. Tyrone Power
41. Larry Bell (modern painter)
42. Dr. Livingstone
43. Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan)
44. Stephen Crane (American writer)
45. Issy Bonn (comedian)
46. George Bernard Shaw
47. Albert Stubbins (Liverpool footballer)
49. Lahiri Mahasaya (Indian Guru)
50. Lewis Carol
51. Sonny Liston (boxer)
52 – 55. The Beatles (in wax)
57. Marlene Dietrich
58. Diana Dors
59. Shirley Temple
60. Bobby Breen (singing prodigy)
61. T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
In these pics from alternate shots of the cover photo, you can still see Leo Gorcey, who was removed because he requested a fee, next to his fellow Bowery Boy pal Huntz Hal, and Ghandi, who was removed because EMI felt his inclusion might offend record buyers in India.
http://www.beatlesagain.com/btsgtppr.html

About BED PEACE

1969 was the year that John & Yoko intensified their long running campaign for World Peace.

They approached the task with the same entrepreneurial expertise as an advertising agency selling a brand of soap powder to the masses. John & Yoko’s product however was PEACE, not soft soap, and they were determined to use any slogan, event and gimmick in order to persuade the World to buy it.

BED PEACE (directed by Yoko & John and filmed by Nic Knowland) is a document of the Montreal events and features John & Yoko in conversation with, amongst others, The World Press, satirist Al Capp, activist Dick Gregory, comedian Tommy Smothers, 

protesters at Berkeley’s People’s Park,

Rabbi Abraham L. Feinberg, quiltmaker Christine Kemp, psychologists Timothy Leary & Rosemary Leary, CFOX DJs Charles P. Rodney Chandler & Roger Scott, producer André Perry, journalist Ritchie Yorke, DJ & Promoter Murray The K, filmmaker Jonas Mekas, publicist Derek Taylor & personal assistantAnthony Fawcett.

Featured songs are Plastic Ono Band’s GIVE PEACE A CHANCE & INSTANT KARMA, Yoko’s REMEMBER LOVE & WHO HAS SEEN THE WIND & John’s acoustic version of BECAUSE.

“As we said before: WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) – yoko

BED PEACE starring John Lennon & Yoko Ono

WHY WAS KARL MARX ON THE COVER? The answer is very simple. Back in Berkeley in 1964 there were the riots that broke out and the Free Speech Movement and this movement was encouraged later by John Lennon and Yoko as they spoke with the protesters by phone in the above video. Also Allen Ginsberg and Terry Southern were good friends with Paul McCartney and they were involved in the Free Speech Movement.  The movement started off just being about FREE SPEECH, but then it turned quickly to the New Left and the Marxist-Leninist point of view. It was in this atmosphere in the mid-sixties that caused Karl Marx to be a logical choice to be on the cover.

Jean Genet, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Terry Southern
Chicago, 1968

genet_burroughs_ginsberg_terrysouthern_chgo1968

_______________

John Lennon with Allen Ginsberg below:

Paul and Linda McCartney with Allen Ginsberg below:

___________

Francis Schaeffer asserted:

In some places the Marxist-Leninist line or the Maoist line took over…But the Marxist-Leninism is another leap into the area of nonreason-as idealistic as drug-taking was in the early days. The young followed Marxism in spite of clear evidence that oppression was not an excess of Stalin, but was and is an integral part of the system of communism. 

William Lane Craig’s book THE ABSURDITY OF LIFE WITHOUT GOD.   Without God there is no meaning in life.

William Lane Craig notes:

First, the area of meaning. We saw that without God, life has no meaning. Yet philosophers continue to live as though life does have meaning. For example, Sartre argued that one may create meaning for his life by freely choosing to follow a certain course of action. Sartre himself chose Marxism.

Now this is utterly inconsistent. It is inconsistent to say that life is objectively absurd and then to say that one may create meaning for his life. If life is really absurd, then man is trapped in the lower story. To try to create meaning in life represents a leap to the upper story. But Sartre has no basis for this leap. Without God, there can be no objective meaning in life. Sartre’s program is actually an exercise in self-delusion. For the universe does not really acquire meaning just because I happen to give it one. This is easy to see: for suppose I give the universe one meaning, and you give it another. Who is right? The answer, of course, is neither one. For the universe without God remains objectively meaningless, no matter how we regard it. Sartre is really saying, “Let’s pretend the universe has meaning.” And this is just fooling ourselves.

The point is this: if God does not exist, then life is objectively meaningless; but man cannot live consistently and happily knowing that life is meaningless; so in order to be happy he pretends that life has meaning. But this is, of course, entirely inconsistent—for without God, man and the universe are without any real significance.

Sartre’s worldview is discussed in the film series “How should we then live?” by Francis Schaeffer below.

Transcript from “How Should we then live?”:

Humanist man beginning only from himself has concluded that he is only a machine. Humanist man has no place for a personal God, but there is also no place for man’s significance as man and no place for love, no place for freedom.

Man is only a machine, but the men who hold this position could not and can not live like machines. If they could then modern man would not have his tensions either in his intellectual position or in his life, but he can’t. So they leap away from reason to try to find something that gives meaning to their lives, to life itself, even though to do so they deny their reason.

Once this is done any type of thing could be put there. Because in the area of nonreason, reason gives no basis for a choice. This is the hallmark of modern man. How did it happen? It happened because proud humanist man, though he was finite, insisted in beginning only from himself and only from what he could learn and not from other knowledge, he did not succeed. Perhaps the best known of existentialist philosophers was Jean Paul Sartre. He used to spend much of his time here in Paris at the Les Deux Magots.

Sartre’s position is in the area of reason everything is absurd, but one can authenticate himself, that is give validity to his existence by an act of the willIn Sartre’s position one could equally help an old woman across the street or run her down.

Reason was not involved, and there was nothing to show the direction this authentication by an act of the will should take. But Sartre himself could live consistantly with his own position. At a certain point he signed the Algerian Manifesto which declared that the Algerian war was a dirty war. This action meant that man could use his reason to decide that some things were right and some things were wrong and so he destroyed his own system.

Berkeley’s Campus Free Speech Movement at 50

The Free Speech Movement: civil disobedience in Berkeley 1964

Mario Savio, leader of the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley (1964) – from THE EDUCATION ARCHIVE

I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking and writing about them and their impact on the culture of the 1960’s. In this series we have looked at several areas in life where the Beatles looked for meaning and hope but also we have examined some of the lives of those  writers, artists, poets, painters, scientists, athletes, models, actors,  religious leaders, musicians, comedians, and philosophers  that were put on the cover of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. We have discovered that many of these individuals on the cover have even taken a Kierkegaardian leap into the area of nonreason in order to find meaning for their lives and that is the reason I have included the 27 minute  episode THE AGE OF NONREASON by Francis Schaeffer. In that video Schaeffer noted,  ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.”

 Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Album really did look at every potential answer to meaning in life and to as many people as the Beatles could imagine had the answers to life’s big questions. One of the persons on the cover did have access to those answers and I am saving that person for last in this series on the Beatles. 

During this long series on the Beatles it has become quite evident that there were reasons why certain writers, artists, poets, painters, scientists, athletes, models, actors,  religious leaders, musicians, comedians, and philosophers were put on the cover of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and that is the Beatles had made it to the top of the world but they were still searching for purpose and lasting meaning for their lives. They felt they were in the same boat as those pictured on the cover and so they called it appropriately Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  In his article “Philosophy and its Effect on Society  Robert A. Sungenis, notes that all these individuals “are all viewing the burial scene of the Beatles, which, in the framework we are using here, represents the passing of idealistic innocence and the failure to find a rational answer and meaning to life, an answer to love, purpose, significance and morals. They instead were leaping into the irrational, whether it was by drugs, the occult, suicide, or the bizarre.”

Communism catches the attention of the young at heart but it has always brought repression wherever it is tried. “True Communism has never been tried” is something I was told just a few months ago by a well meaning young person who was impressed with the ideas of Karl Marx. I responded that there are only 5 communist countries in the world today and they lack political, economic and religious freedom.
Tony Bartolucci noted that Schaeffer has correctly pointed out:
Hope in Marxism-Leninism is a leap in the area of nonreason. From the Russian Revolution until 1959 a total of 66 million prisoners died. This was deemed acceptable to the leaders because internal security was to be gained at any cost. The ends justified the means. The materialism of Marxism gives no basis for human dignity or rights. These hold to their philosophy against all reason and close their eyes to the oppression of the system.
WHY DOES COMMUNISM FAIL?
Communism has always failed because of its materialist base.  Francis Schaeffer does a great job of showing that in this clip below. Also Schaeffer shows that there were lots of similar things about the basis for both the French and Russia revolutions and he exposes the materialist and humanist basis of both revolutions.

Schaeffer compares communism with French Revolution and Napoleon.

1. Lenin took charge in Russia much as Napoleon took charge in France – when people get desperate enough, they’ll take a dictator.

Other examples: Hitler, Julius Caesar. It could happen again.

2. Communism is very repressive, stifling political and artistic freedom. Even allies have to be coerced. (Poland).

Communists say repression is temporary until utopia can be reached – yet there is no evidence of progress in that direction. Dictatorship appears to be permanent.

3. No ultimate basis for morality (right and wrong) – materialist base of communism is just as humanistic as French. Only have “arbitrary absolutes” no final basis for right and wrong.

How is Christianity different from both French Revolution and Communism?

Contrast N.T. Christianity – very positive government reform and great strides against injustice. (especially under Wesleyan revival).

Bible gives absolutes – standards of right and wrong. It shows the problems and why they exist (man’s fall and rebellion against God).

WHY DOES THE IDEA OF COMMUNISM CATCH THE ATTENTION OF SO MANY IDEALISTIC YOUNG PEOPLE? The reason is very simple. 

In HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, the late Francis A. Schaeffer wrote:

Materialism, the philosophic base for Marxist-Leninism, gives no basis for the dignity or rights of man.  Where Marxist-Leninism is not in power it attracts and converts by talking much of dignity and rights, but its materialistic base gives no basis for the dignity or rights of man.  Yet is attracts by its constant talk of idealism.

To understand this phenomenon we must understand that Marx reached over to that for which Christianity does give a base–the dignity of man–and took the words as words of his own.  The only understanding of idealistic sounding Marxist-Leninism is that it is (in this sense) a Christian heresy.  Not having the Christian base, until it comes to power it uses the words for which Christianity does give a base.  But wherever Marxist-Leninism has had power, it has at no place in history shown where it has not brought forth oppression.  As soon as they have had the power, the desire of the majority has become a concept without meaning.

Is Christianity at all like Communism?

Sometimes Communism sounds very “Christian” – desirable goals of equality, justice, etc but these terms are just borrowed from the New Testament. Schaeffer elsewhere explains by saying Marxism is a Christian heresy.

Below is a great article. Free-lance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

This article was published January 30, 2011 at 2:28 a.m. Here is a portion of that article below:
A final advantage is the mutation of socialism into so many variants over the past century or so. Precisely because Karl Marx was unclear as to how it would work in practice, socialism has always been something of an empty vessel into which would be revolutionaries seeking personal meaning and utopian causes to support can pour pretty much anything.
A desire to increase state power, soak the rich and expand the welfare state is about all that is left of the original vision. Socialism for young lefties these days means “social justice” and compassion for the poor, not the gulag and the NKVD.
In the end, the one argument that will never wash is that communismcan’t be said to have failed because it was never actually tried. This is a transparent intellectual dodge that ignores the fact that “people’s democracies” were established all over the place in the first three decades after World War II.
Such sophistry is resorted to only because communism in all of those places produced hell on earth rather than heaven.
That the attempts to build communism in a remarkable variety of different geographical regions led to only tyranny and mass bloodshed tells us only that it was never feasible in the first place, and that societies built on the socialist principle ironically suffer from the kind of “inner contradictions” that Marx mistakenly predicted would destroy capitalism.
Yes, all economies are mixed in nature, and one could plausibly argue that the socialist impulse took the rough edges off of capitalism by sponsoring the creation of welfare-state programs that command considerable public support.
But the fact remains that no society in history has been able to achieve sustained prosperity without respect for private property and market forces of supply and demand. Nations, therefore, retain their economic dynamism only to the extent that they resist the temptation to travel too far down the socialist road.

Francis Schaeffer notes:

At Berkeley the Free Speech Movement arose simultaneously with the hippie world of drugs. At first it was politically neither left nor right, but rather a call for the freedom to express any political views on Sproul Plaza. Then soon the Free Speech Movement became the Dirty Speech Movement, in which freedom was seen as shouting four-letter words into a mike.  Soon after, it became the platform for the political New Left which followed the teaching of Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse was a German professor of philosophy related to the neo-Marxist teaching of the “Frankfurt School,” along with...Jurgen Habermas (1929-). 

Herbert Marcuse, “Liberation from the Affluent Society” (1967)

Brannon Howse talks some about the Frankfurt School in some of his publications too. 

During the 1960’s many young people were turning to the New Left fueled by Marcuse and Habermas but something happened to slow many young people’s enthusiasm for that movement.

1970 bombing took away righteous standing of Anti-War movement

Francis Schaeffer mentioned the 1970 bombing in his film series “How should we then live?” and I wanted to give some more history on it. Schaeffer asserted:

In the United States the New Left also slowly ground down,losing favor because of the excesses of the bombings, especially in the bombing of the University of Wisconsin lab in 1970, where a graduate student was killed. This was not the last bomb that was or will be planted in the United States. Hard-core groups of radicals still remain and are active, and could become more active, but the violence which the New Left produced as its natural heritage (as it also had in Europe) caused the majority of young people in the United States no longer to see it as a hope. So some young people began in 1964 to challenge the false values of personal peace and affluence, and we must admire them for this. Humanism, man beginning only from himself, had destroyed the old basis of values, and could find no way to generate with certainty any new values.  In the resulting vacuum the impoverished values of personal peace and affluence had comes to stand supreme. And now, for the majority of the young people, after the passing of the false hopes of drugs as an ideology and the fading of the New Left, what remained? Only apathy was left. In the United States by the beginning of the seventies, apathy was almost complete. In contrast to the political activists of the sixties, not many of the young even went to the polls to vote, even though the national voting age was lowered to eighteen. Hope was gone.

After the turmoil of the sixties, many people thought that it was so much the better when the universities quieted down in the early seventies. I could have wept. The young people had been right in their analysis, though wrong in their solutions. How much worse when many gave up hope and simply accepted the same values as their parents–personal peace and affluence. (How Should We Then Live, pp. 209-210

______________________

Sunday, August 28th, 2011, 11:11pm

Aug. 24 marked the 41st anniversary of the Sterling Hall bombing on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Four men planned the bomb at the height of the student protests over the Vietnam War. Back then, current Madison Mayor Paul Soglin was one of the leaders of those student protests in the capitol city. This weekend, Soglin recalled the unrest felt by UW-Madison students.

“The anti-war movement adopted a lot of its tactics and strategies from the civil rights movement which was about ten years older,” said Soglin. “It was one of picketing, demonstration, and passive resistance.”

The four men who planned the bombing focused on the Army Mathematics Research Center housed in Sterling Hall because it was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and therefore, worked on weapons technology. Karl Armstrong was one of the four men and he recently spoke with CBS News in his first television interview detailing the moments right before the bomb was set off.

“He asked me, he says, ‘Should we go ahead? Are we gonna do this?’ I think I made a comment to him about something like, ‘Now, I know what war is about,'” remembered Armstrong. “And I told him to light it.”

The bomb killed one researcher and father of three, 33-year-old Robert Fassnacht, although Armstrong maintains they planned the attack thinking no one would get hurt. The four men heard about the death as they were in their getaway car after the bomb went off.

“I felt good about doing the bombing, the bombing per se, but not taking someone’s life,” recalled Armstrong.

The researcher’s wife told CBS News that she harbors no ill will toward Armstrong and the other bombers. Three of the four men were captured and served time in prison. Armstrong served eight years of a 23-year sentence.

The fourth man, Leo Burt, was last seen in the fall of 1970 in Ontario and is to this day, still wanted by the FBI, with a $150,000 reward for his capture.

E P I S O D E 9

T h e Age of Personal Peace and Affluence 

I. By the Early 1960s People Were Bombarded From Every Side by Modern Man’s Humanistic Thought

II. Modern Form of Humanistic Thought Leads to Pessimism

Regarding a Meaning for Life and for Fixed Values

A. General acceptance of selfish values (personal peace and affluence) accompanied rejection of Christian consensus.

1. Personal peace means: I want to be left alone, and I don’t care what happens to the man across the street or across the world. I want my own life-style to be undisturbed regardless of what it will mean — even to my own children and grandchildren.

2. Affluence means things, things, things, always more things — and success is seen as an abundance of things.

B. Students wish to escape meaninglessness of much of adult society.

1. Watershed was Berkeley in 1964.

2. Drug Taking as an ideology: “turning on” the world.

3. Free Speech Movement on Sproul Plaza.

a) At first neither Left nor Right.

b) Soon became the New Left.

(1) Followed Marcuse and Habermas.

(2) Paris riots.

4. Student analysis of problem was right, but solution wrong.

5. Woodstock, Altamont, and the end of innocence.

6. Drug taking survives the death of ideology but as an escape.

7. Demise of New Left: radical bombings.

8. Apathy supreme. The young accept values of the older generation: their own idea of personal peace and affluence, even though adopting a different life-style.

C. Marxism and Maoism as pseudo-ideals.

1. Vogue for idealistic communism which is another form of leap into the area of non-reason.

2. Solzhenitsyn: violence and expediency as norms of communism.

3. Communist repression in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

4. Communism has neither philosophic nor historic base for freedom. There is no base for “Communism with a human face.”

5. Utopian Marxism steals its talk of human dignity from Christianity.

6. But when it comes to power, the desire of majority has no meaning.

7. Two streams of communism.

a) Those who hold it as an idealistic leap.

b) Old-line communists who hold orthodox communist ideology and bureaucratic structure as it exists in Russia.

8. Many in West might accept communism if it seemed to give peace and affluence.

III. Legal and Political Results of Attempted Human Autonomy

A. Relativistic law.

1. Base for nonarbitrary law gone; only inertia allows a few principles to survive.

2. Holmes and sociological (variable) law.

3. Sociological law comes from failure of natural law (see evolution of existential from rationalistic theology).

4. Courts are now generating law.

5. Medical, legal, and historical arbitrariness of Supreme Court ruling on abortion and current abortion practice.

B. Sociological law opens door to racism, abrogation of freedoms,  euthanasia, and so on.

IV. Social Alternatives After Death of Christian Consensus

A. Hedonism? But might is right when pleasures conflict.

B. Without external absolute, majority vote is absolute. But this justifies a Hitler.

V. Conclusion

A. If there is no absolute by which to judge society, then society is absolute.

B. Humanist thinking—making the individual and mankind the center of all things (autonomous) — has led to death in our culture and in our political life.

Note: Social alternatives after the death of Christian consensus are continued in Episode Ten.

Questions

1. What was the basic cause of campus unrest in the sixties? What has happened to the campus scene since, and why?

2. What elements — in the life and thought of the communist and noncommunist world alike — suggest a possible base for world agreement?

3. “To prophesy doom about Western society is premature. We are, like all others who have lived in times of great change, too close to the details to see the broader picture. One thing we do know:

Society has always gone on, and the most wonderful epochs have followed the greatest depressions. To suggest that our day is the exception says more about our headache than it does about our head.” Debate.

4. As Dr. Schaeffer shows, many apparently isolated events and options gain new meaning when seen in the context of the whole. How far does your own involvement in business, law, financing, and so on reveal an acquiescence to current values?

Key Events and Persons

Oliver Wendell Holmes: 1841-1935

Herbert Marcuse: 1898-1979

Jurgen Habermas 1929-

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: 1917-

Hungarian Revolution: 1956

Free Speech Movement: 1964

Czechoslovakian repression: 1968

Woodstock and Altamont: 1969

Radical bombings: 1970

Supreme Court abortion ruling: 1973

Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago: 1973-74

Further Study

Keeping one’s eyes and ears open is the most useful study project: the prevalence of pornographic films and books, more and more suggestive advertising and TV shows, and signs of arbitrary absolutes.

The following books will repay careful reading, and Solzhenitsyn, though long and horrifying, should not be skipped.

Os Guinness, The Dust of Death (1973).

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: Parts I-II (1973), Parts III-IV (1974).

_____________

A Christian Manifesto Francis Schaeffer

Published on Dec 18, 2012

A video important to today. The man was very wise in the ways of God. And of government. Hope you enjoy a good solis teaching from the past. The truth never gets old.

The Roots of the Emergent Church by Francis Schaeffer

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

10 Worldview and Truth

Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

_______________________

Karl Marx’s most important work was THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO and ironically Francis Schaeffer’s most popular book was A CHRISTIAN MANIFESTO in 1981 and A.T.Coates in a review noted:

It’s more than a catchy title: A Christian Manifesto. On a flyleaf, Schaeffer names his book’s predecessors to mark his as a Christian political document: “The Communist Manifesto, 1848/ Humanist Manifesto I, 1933/ Humanist Manifesto II, 1973.” Keeping in mind that this book came out in 1981, it’s clear that this move serves two purposes: 1) it places Schaeffer’s book both in the tradition of and in opposition to these other manifestos, and 2) it posits a genealogical connection between communism and humanism—even in the capitalist world, Schaeffer implies, “humanism” springs from Marxism. For Schaeffer, Christianity and “humanism” are mutually incompatible “world views.” A “world view” describes “the overall way people think and view the world and life as a whole” (17). According to Schaeffer, humanism considers ultimate reality to be a random flux of energy and matter, our world to be nothing but the result of pure chance. In the period from 1933-1973, this world view took over American culture, which was founded on “Judeo-Christian” values (55).

_______

EARLIER IN THIS POST I NOTED THAT Francis Schaeffer asserted:

In some places the Marxist-Leninist line or the Maoist line took over…But the Marxist-Leninism is another leap into the area of nonreason-as idealistic as drug-taking was in the early days. The young followed Marxism in spite of clear evidence that oppression was not an excess of Stalin, but was and is an integral part of the system of communism….

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible. Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

You want some evidence that indicates that the Bible is true? Here is a good place to start and that is taking a closer look at the archaeology of the Old Testament times. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

There is also a confirmation of what the Bible says concerning the Egyptian King Tirhakah who came up to oppose the Assyrians. Confirmation of his reality is typified by a sphinx-ram in the British Museum (British Museum Ref. B.B.1779). The small figure between the legs of the ram is a representation of King Tirhakah. The Bible says that when Sennacherib heard that  Tirhakah, king of Eqypt, was coming to fight against him, he sent messengers to tell Hezekiah that help from Egypt would be of no use to him.

2 Kings 19:9, 10 Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, “Behold, he has set out to fight against you.” So he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying,10 “Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. (Isaiah 37:9-10 also says about the same thing.)

The date of Sennacherib’s campaign in Palestine is 701 B.C., and something which has often puzzled historians is the role of Tirhakah, who was not king of Egypt and Ethiopia until 690 B.C. But the solution to this problem is simple. In 701 B.C. Tirhakah was only a prince at the side of his military brother, the new Pharaoh Shebitku, who sent Tirhakah with an army to help Hezekiah fend off the Assyrian advance. But the story in Kings and Isaiah does not end in 701 B.C. It carries right through to the death of Sennacherib in 681 B.C., which is nine years after Tirhakah had become king of Egypt and Ethiopia. In other words, the biblical narrative, from the standpoint of 681 B.C., mentions Tirhakah by the title he bore at that time (that is, 681 B.C.), not as he was in 701 B.C. This is still done today, using a man’s title as he is known at the time of writing even it one is speaking of a previous time in his personal history.

Unaware of the the importance of these facts, and falling into wrong interpretations of some of Tirhakah’s inscriptions, some Old Testament scholars have stumbled over each in their eagerness to diagnose historical errors in the Books of the Kings and Isaiah. But as the archaeological confirmation shows, they were quite mistaken. What is striking about these archaeological finds is the way they often converge; there is often not just one line of evidence but several in which the biblical account is confirmed. We do not have confirmation of every single detail in the biblical account, by any means. Nor do we need such total confirmation in view of the amount of evidence there is. To insist on confirmation at every point would be to treat the Bible in a prejudiced way, simply because it is the Bible. The fact that is a religious book does not mean that it cannot also be true when it deals with history.

Not all archaeological finds have a convergence of many different interrelated lines like these around the life of Hezekiah, but they are no less striking. For example, take the “ration tablets” discovered in the ruins of Bablyon. The Bible tells us that after the Assyrians had destroyed the nothern kingdom of Samaria (around 721 B.C.), the southern kingdom, Judah, survived for almost another 150 years until approximately 586 B.C. By this time Assyria, one of the greatest military powers of the ancient world, had been defeated by Bablyon, a neighboring state to the east. That was in 609 B.C. Four years later the Babylonian general, Nebuchadnezzar–then the crown prince–came west and completely defeated Necho II, king of Egypt, at the battle of Carchemish. As a result of this victory he laid claim to Judah, which had previously been in the sphere of influence of Egypt. King Jehoiakim of Judah thus now paid tribute to the Babylonians. The Bible tells us that Jehoiakim rebelled three years later: “During Jehoiakim’s reign Nebuchadnezzar king of Bablyon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. But then he changed his mind and rebelled against Nebuchnezzar” (II Kings 24:1).

The political background for this step can be understood from the Babylonian Chronicles (British Museum, Ref. 21946, records events from 597 B.C. down to 594). These were a compressed chronological summary of the principal events from the Babylonian court. There had been a crucial battle in 601 B.C. between the Egyptians and the Babylonians. This had left both sides weakened, and Jehoiakim took this opportunity to declare his independence of the Babylonian king. His independence, or rather Judah’s independence, did not last long, for Jehoiakim himself died in 598 B.C., leaving his throne and the crisis to his son, Jehoiachin. Second Kings (II Kings 24:10-12, 17) tells us what happened:

10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up to Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. 11 And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to the city while his servants were besieging it, 12 and Jehoiachin the king of Judah gave himself up to the king of Babylon, himself and his mother and his servants and his officials and his palace officials. The king of Babylon took him prisoner in the eighth year of his reign. 17 And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

The story of Jehoiachin does not end there, however. The royal family were kept at the court of Nebuchadnezzar, and the Bible says that they , like other royal captives, were provided for by the king with rations of grain and oil (II Kings 25:27-30):

27 And in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, graciously freed[a] Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. 28 And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat above the seats of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin put off his prison garments. And every day of his life he dined regularly at the king’s table, 30 and for his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king, according to his daily needs, as long as he lived.

The records of these allowances referred to in the Bible were unearthed in excavations in Babylon in basement storerooms of the royal palace (in Staat-Liches Museum, East Berlin, Vorderas Abteilung; Babylon 28122 and 28126). These are known as the “ration tablets” and they record who received such “rations.” In these, Jehoiachin is mentioned by name.

We also have confirmation of the Babylonian advance towards Judah in Nebuchadezzar’s first campaign. Among the ruins of Lachish were discovered a number of ostraca. Ostraca are broken pieces of earthenware called postherds, which were used for writing on in ink. (The Lachish ostraca are in the Palestinian Archaeological Museum, Jerusalem.) These brief letters reveal the increasing tensions within the growing state of Judah and tie in well with the picture given in the Bible by the Book of Jeremiah the Prophet. In Ostracon VI, the princes are accused of “weakening our hands” (that is, discouraging the writers), which is the very phraseology used in the Bible by the Judean princes against Jeremiah. Also, the use of fire beacons for signaling is found in both Ostracon IV and Jeremiah 6:1, each using the same terminology.

These events took place around the year 600 B.C. Events we considered earlier in relation to the capture of Lachish by Sennacherib during the reign of Hezekiah were around the year 700 B.C.

Statue of Tirhakah discovered in Sudan

Owen Jarus reports in The Independent the discovery of a massive statue of Pharaoh Taharqa [English Bible: Tirhakah] deep in Sudan.

No statue of a pharaoh has ever been found further south of Egypt than this one. At the height of his reign, King Taharqa controlled an empire stretching from Sudan to the Levant.

A massive, one ton, statue of Taharqa that was found deep in Sudan. Taharqa was a pharaoh of the 25th dynasty of Egypt and came to power ca. 690 BC, controlling an empire stretching from Sudan to the Levant. The pharaohs of this dynasty were from Nubia – a territory located in modern day Sudan and southern Egypt.

Taharqa statue. Photo: Berber-Abidiya Archaeological Project.

The Nubian pharaohs tried to incorporate Egyptian culture into their own. They built pyramids in Sudan – even though pyramid building in Egypt hadn’t been practised in nearly 800 years. Taharqa’s rule was a high water mark for the 25th dynasty. By the end of his reign a conflict with the Assyrians had forced him to retreat south, back into Nubia – where he died in 664 BC. Egypt became an Assyrian vassal – eventually gaining independence during the 26th dynasty. Taharqa’s successors were never able to retake Egypt.

In addition to Taharqa’s statue, those of two of his successors – Senkamanisken and Aspelta – were found alongside. These two rulers controlled territory in Sudan, but not Egypt.

. . .

While this is the furthest south that a pharaoh’s statue has been found, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Dangeil is the southern border of Taharqa’s empire. It’s possible that he controlled territory further up the Nile.

The statue of Taharqa is truly monumental. “It’s a symbol of royal power,” said Dr. Anderson, an indicator that Dangeil was an “important royal city.”

It’s made of granite and weighs more than one ton. It stood about 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) when it had its head. In ancient times it was smashed into several pieces on purpose. This was also done to the two other statues. It’s not known who did this or why. It happened “a long time after Taharqa,” said Anderson.

. . .

The largest piece of Taharqa’s statue is the torso and base. This part of the statue is so heavy that the archaeological team had to use 18 men to move it onto a truck.

“We had trouble moving him a couple hundred meters,” said Anderson. The move was “extremely well planned,” with the team spending eight to nine days figuring out how to accomplish it without the statue (or the movers) getting damaged.

The full account from The Independent may be read here. A longer article by Jarus, with several photos, may be found in Heritage Key.

After the Assyrian king Sennacherib captured Lachish, he headed for Jerusalem. On the way he heard that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia (Cush) had come out to fight against him.

The king heard that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was marching out to fight him. He again sent messengers to Hezekiah, ordering them: “Tell King Hezekiah of Judah this: ‘Don’t let your God in whom you trust mislead you when he says, “Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” Certainly you have heard how the kings of Assyria have annihilated all lands. Do you really think you will be rescued? (2 Kings 19:9-11 NET; cf. Isaiah 37:9)

Hezekiah was king of Judah from 716/15 – 687/86 B.C. (Thiele). The events recorded in the Bible took place shortly before 700 B.C. Tirhakah evidently came to power before 690 B.C., was already a leading commander of the army, or there may be another solution to the problem.

HT: Biblical Paths.

September 19, 2011

By Elvis Costello

My absolute favorite albums are Rubber Soul and Revolver. On both records you can hear references to other music — R&B, Dylan, psychedelia — but it’s not done in a way that is obvious or dates the records. When you picked up Revolver, you knew it was something different. Heck, they are wearing sunglasses indoors in the picture on the back of the cover and not even looking at the camera . . . and the music was so strange and yet so vivid. If I had to pick a favorite song from those albums, it would be “And Your Bird Can Sing” . . . no, “Girl” . . . no, “For No One” . . . and so on, and so on. . . .

Their breakup album, Let It Be, contains songs both gorgeous and jagged. I suppose ambition and human frailty creeps into every group, but they delivered some incredible performances. I remember going to Leicester Square and seeing the film of Let It Be in 1970. I left with a melancholy feeling.

PAUL McCARTNEY & WINGS – LIVE 1976 – “Lady Madonna”

86

‘Lady Madonna’

the beatles 100 greatest songs
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Main Writer: McCartney
Recorded: February 3 and 6, 1968
Released: March 18, 1968
11 weeks; No. 4

Like many of McCartney’s finest songs, “Lady Madonna” is a tribute to working-class womanhood, expressed through Irish-Catholic imagery. “‘Lady Madonna’ started off as the Virgin Mary, then it was a working-class woman, of which obviously there’s millions in Liverpool,” he later said. “There are a lot of Catholics in Liverpool because of the Irish connection.” The Madonna of the song is a long-suffering but indestructible matriarch, as tough as the title character of “Eleanor Rigby,” yet as comforting as Mother Mary from “Let It Be.”

Musically, “Lady Madonna” has an earthier inspiration: the New Orleans piano boogie of Fats Domino. McCartney called it “a Fats Domino impression,” composed while trying to play something bluesy on the piano. The recorded version is a full-on tribute to the New Orleans R&B sound, with tootling saxophones. Domino must have taken it as a compliment. A few months after the song came out, he released his own cover version, which became the last Top 100 hit of his career.

Appears On: Past Masters

Paul McCartney — Back In The USSR (Live in Kiev 2008)

Uploaded on Jun 15, 2008

Paul McCartney’s “Back In The USSR” in Kiev’s historic Independence Square
14.06.2008

This RIP was made from NOVY TV Channel (http://www.novy.tv/ )

The beatles – Back in the USSR

85

‘Back in the USSR’

the beatles 100 greatest songs
S&G Press Agency/Redferns/Getty Images

Main Writer: McCartney
Recorded: August 22 and 23, 1968
Released: November 25, 1968
Not released as a single

The witty opening track to the White Album got a helping hand from one of the American rock stars it parodied: In February 1968, McCartney played his variation on Chuck Berry’s “Back in the U.S.A.” for Beach Boys vocalist Mike Love while the two were visiting India. Love suggested that McCartney add a “California Girls”-style section about the women of the Soviet Union. McCartney then recorded a loose, jovial demo of the song in May.

By the time they started work on the album version on August 22nd, though, the Beatles were at each other’s throats. When McCartney criticized Starr’s drumming on “USSR,” Starr announced he was quitting the band, walked out and headed off for a Mediterranean vacation. The other three Beatles got back to work, recording the basic track with McCartney on drums and Lennon playing six-string bass. They finished it the next day with jet-airplane noise from a sound-effects collection. When Starr returned two weeks later, they covered his drum kit in flowers to welcome him back.

Appears On: The Beatles

Today’s featured artist is George Petty

Article on George Petty:

George Petty - skating majorette

George Petty - signature

George Petty - skater with ponytail
George Petty is most famous for his pin-up drawings that appeared in Esquire magazine in the 1930’s and the covers for many Ice Capades programs. There is an excellent 1997 book on him, Petty – The Classic Pin-Up Art of George Petty. It’s worth getting and I hereby credit it as my main source of information on Petty.
George Petty - Telephone Petty was born in 1894 in Louisiana, the son of a photographer, also named George, who moved his family to the potentially more prosperous Chicago around 1900. George survived traditional schooling, though he thrived at evening classes at the Chicago Art Institute. He spent a great deal of time in his father’s photography studio where he mastered the airbrush, a tool invented around 1889 and used solely to retouch photographs (or their negatives). Petty would help change that.
Prior to World War I, study in Europe was de rigueur for the aspiring artist. After his graduation from high school, Petty’s mother took George and his sister to Paris where he was enrolled at the Académie Julian. This art school was quite famous and had such illustrious alumni as John Singer Sargent, Alfonse Mucha, Matisse, and, most significant to Petty, J.C. Leyendecker. George studied in Paris until 1916, then returned to Chicago. At the age of 18, he should have been prime fodder for the War, but shortly after Petty’s return from Europe, his father died, leaving George the head of the family and so exempt from service.
George Petty - 1933 World's Fair Not wanting to be a photographer or a photo-retoucher, he closed his father’s studio and went to work for an ad agency, where his first published work was a stylish ice skater on the cover of the 1920 Marshall Field catalog (at right). Ice skaters were to figure prominently in his future. At the agencies, Petty excelled at retouching and his skill with the airbrush was prodigious. He did lots and lots of retouching, all the while focusing his efforts on breaking into the illustration market. There were plenty of advertisements, but his few covers and magazine assignments led nowhere. He began using the airbrush in his drawings, not a common medium at the time, but the results were stunning, like the poster at left that won Petty first prize in the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair poster contest. George Petty - fashion ad

George Petty - girl in gown with gunIn the early Thirties, George opened his own studio and started to get more and more work that relied on pretty women. His daughter Marjorie Jule, born in 1919, was modeling for him and her body topped with an endless variety of faces would appear in many of these ads. In 1933, the depths of the depression, Esquire Magazine was started. At a time when The Saturday Evening Post was a nickel, The Ladies Home Journal a dime, and Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan a quarter, Esquiredebuted at 50 cents. Only Fortune, started in 1930, just three months after the stock market crash, was priced higher at $1. And just as Fortune had confounded the prophets by being successful, Esquire‘s first issue sold out – even with a print run of 100,000.

Petty’s work was in that first issue, a cartoon. He wasn’t a cartoonist, but that’s what the magazine needed and they were willing to supply him with situations and gags. The drawings he submitted were printed full page on good paper and the magazine’s 10″x14″ format was perfect for the slick, well-rendered images George was capable of. With his command of the airbrush, a strong foundation in drawing, plenty of practice drawing lissome women, and a willing model, Petty had assembled the components of a meteoric career. His cartoons appeared in seven of the first dozen issues and were thinly disguised excuses for rendering the female body. Even when they were fully clothed, his women looked like, if you’ll pardon the expression, their clothes were airbrushed on.Witness the “cartoon” at above right from a 1935 issue and also issued as part of a spiral-bound portfolio of Petty cartoons from 1937 titled aptly enough, Petty – A Portfolio. Click for larger image.

The exposure brought Petty to the attention of national ad agencies and within two years George was doing monthly ads for Old Gold Cigarettes and Jantzen Swim Wear as well as others, many of which appeared in the same issues of Esquire as his cartoons.The cartoons were a huge success. Quickly dubbed The Petty Girl, the public clamored for more of her and Esquire was more than happy to oblige. With its high production values, the magazine was able to add fold-outs as a design feature. In the Christmas, 1939 issue, one (of four) of these was devoted to the largest Petty Girl yet seen. That’s about 1/2 of her at the right. Fully 30″ long, the modern pin-up was born and Esquire‘s circulation soared yet again.

George Petty - Esquire Petty Girl

George Petty - Girl in bathing suit runningIt’s rather difficult to convey just how famous Petty became – and how fast! This rather obscure Chicago commercial artist was suddenly thrust upon the national stage, literally, overnight. His signature was prominently displayed in all of his advertising work. Jantzen created the “Petty Girl” swimsuit in 1940. Old Gold offered prints of the Petty Girls in their ads. His hands, a brush, and Petty Girl appeared in a watch ad. He was given highly publicized commissions to paint posters for films. The aforementioned portfolio was released. In 1942, when 3700 Chicago high school art students cast their votes for most important artist from their three years of art studies, Petty won first place – as a write-in. He did a cover for Time in 1942 as well as the first in a line of covers for the annual Ice Capades revue. And it would be incorrect to attribute all the fame to the Esquire pin-ups. If anything, it was his national advertising images that got him the most attention – and money.

George Petty - girl in cat suitIt was money that finally severed the Esquire relationship. The money Esquire paid bought less and less of Petty’s time as his advertising career soared. Alberto Vargas had been brought in as a replacement during negotiations and in 1942, after a year of uneasy coexistence, the Petty Girl made way for the Varga Girl in Esquire, anyway. Petty continued his high-profile commercial art and spent the war years doing ads and posters (see “It’s for YOU…” below). In 1945, he began a three year alliance with little-known True Magazine and helped them double their circulation. While many of the images still retained his trademark telephone, he was beginning to branch out into more lively poses as the True page above left and “The Panther Girl” (at right) done for the 1946 Ziegfield Follies clearly show.

George Petty - It's For You adPetty had always been a sharp businessman and insisted on retaining all secondary rights to his images as well as the return of his original paintings. He licensed their use on playing cards, on drinking glasses, and elsewhere. At left is from an ad I just found in a 1943 issue of The American Weeklywherein for $2 sent directly to Petty, you’d get a set of four 12″x18″ posters printed in six colors!

And he never ceased working. He did a calendar for Ridge Tools in 1953. He returned to Esquire with a 1955 calendar, designed the hood ornaments for the 1954 and 1955 Nash automobiles and in the early Sixties was back doing paintings for The Ice Capades. Petty died in 1975 after witnessing a minor revival of his work, including a new pin-up for the 40th anniversary issue of Esquire.

George Petty

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Ballerina – 1965

George Brown Petty IV (April 27, 1894 – July 21, 1975) was an American pin-up artist. His pin-up art appeared primarily in Esquire and Fawcett Publications’s True but was also in calendars marketed by Esquire,True and Ridgid Tool Company. Petty’s Esquire gatefolds originated and popularized the magazine device of centerfold spreads. Reproductions of his work were widely rendered by military artists as nose artdecorating warplanes during the Second World War, including the Memphis Belle, known as “Petty Girls”.

Birth and early career[edit]

George Petty was born in Abbeville, the seat of Vermilion Parish in south Louisiana to George Brown Petty III and his wife, Sarah. George, IV, was the couple’s second child; his sister Elizabeth had been born in 1891. The Petty family moved to Chicago, Illinois, just before the turn of the century, where George, III, a photographer of some note, enjoyed considerable success with images of young women, madonnas, and nudes.

Petty was not a particularly good student in high school, spending a great deal of time on extracurricular activities instead of schoolwork. His artistic bent first became obvious in high school, where he was the staff artist for the school newspaper.

During his high school years, he enrolled in evening classes at Chicago Academy of Fine Arts under the tutoring of Ruth VanSickle Ford, where he taught his own art course, charging classmates $5.00 per session. He also worked in his father’s photo shop where he learned how to use an airbrush. Petty studied art at the Académie Julian with Jean-Paul Laurens and others until 1916, when World War I caused Joseph P. Herrick, ambassador at that time, to order all Americans to return home.

Petty returned to Chicago, and worked as an airbrush retoucher for a local printing company. He was able to establish himself as a freelance artist, painting calendar girls and magazine covers for The Household. By 1926, he was able to open his own studio.

Artistic influences[edit]

George Petty never discussed in detail those artists who influenced him, other than J. C. Leyendecker (an artist for The Saturday Evening Post during George’s high school days) for his interpretation of men, Coles Phillips for his technique, and Maxfield Parrish for his use of light. However, it can be inferred from his later work that other influences included artists who were extremely popular in Paris at the time, such as Alfons Mucha, George Barbier and, in particular, the watercolor technique of England’sWilliam Russell Flint.

“The Petty Girl”[edit]

Petty is especially known for “the Petty Girl”, a series of pin-up paintings of women done for Esquire from the autumn of 1933 until 1956. Petty frequently depicted these women with the relative lengths of their legs being longer—and the relative sizes of their heads being smaller—than those of his actual models.

Petty appeared as a guest on the popular TV program What’s My Line.

Petty died in San Pedro, California, on July 21, 1975.

Use in popular culture[edit]

Crew of the Memphis Belle with the Petty Girl nose art

Sources[edit]

Reid Stewart Austin (The Best of Gil Elvgren) examined the life and art of George Petty in the 192-page Petty: The Classic Pin-Up Art of George Petty. Published by Gramercy in 1997, the lavish volume features a foreword by Hugh Hefner and an introductory essay by Petty’s daughter, Marjorie Petty, who was his main model. In The New York Times Book Review, famed designer George Lois praised this collection of Petty’s creations, commenting:

Just as the cool, unapproachable Gibson Girl was the feminine ideal of young men at the turn of the century, the voluptuous Petty Girl became the ideal of their wide-eyed sons. I’m going on the record to swear that George Brown Petty IV consistently created better-designed women than God, and now I’ve got a big beautiful book to prove it.

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Related posts:

Dan Mitchell article GUN CONTROL HUMOR



Gun Control Humor

There are some very serious moralpractical, and constitutionalarguments against gun control.

But I’m a big believer in also using satire to make the case for the 2nd Amendment.

And that’s the purpose of today’s column, which starts with this reminder – as Ron Swanson told us – that bad guys don’t care about laws.

Our second item involves a woman who obviously never studied logic or history.

Makes me wonder if she’s also the woman holding the Trump sign in this column?

Our third item also pokes fun at the logic (or lack thereof) of our leftist friends.

Next, the clever folks at Babylon Bee explain various home-defense strategies for a gun-free world.

Guns are on their way out. And thank goodness! We can’t wait to return to the utopian paradise we lost when guns were invented…Still, once in a great while, you might need to defend yourself against a ne’er-do-well. When those ruffians come kicking your door down, you need to be ready. Here are seven great ways to defend your home against an armed burglar when your guns have all been confiscated.

Here are a few of those options.

Option #3 surely is the best, just as demonstrated in this video.

Yet never forget that there are people who think gun-free zonesare a real answer.

Our next item is for guys, especially libertarian guys.

Reminds me of Barbie for Men.

As usual, I’ve saved the best for last. This meme is a helpful reminder that the Bill of Rights wasn’t limited to the technology of 1787.

By the way, this is an encore appearance for the man and woman in the above meme.

P.S. The full collection of gun control satire is available here.

Communism Humor

I mostly mock socialism, but its authoritarian cousin also is a good target for satire.

So here are some additions to our collection of communism humor.

I’m among the small minority of people who have never watched Game of Thrones, so I don’t know the backstory on these characters, but this meme has a very appropriate message about the nuclear-level naivete needed to believe Marx’s nonsense.

Though maybe the first frame should say “Readers of Teen Vogue.”

Next, we have a contribution from Babylon Bee.

It’s bad news that we’re suffering from a coronavirus that has killed several million people globally, but there’s another virus that has butchered 100 million people.

This next image reminds me of the joke about communism and electricity.

Per my tradition, here’s my favorite item from today’s collection.

I’m always very impressed by the people who are clever enough to create these Venn diagrams, and this one is better than most.

Though I’m tempted to ask who is worse, the soulless Marxist who rambles and can’t be reasoned with, or the people who rationalizeglorify, and justify Marxism?

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November 24, 2020

Office of Barack and Michelle Obama
P.O. Box 91000
Washington, DC 20066

Dear President Obama,

I wrote you over 700 letters while you were President and I mailed them to the White House and also published them on my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org .I received several letters back from your staff and I wanted to thank you for those letters. 

I have been reading your autobiography A PROMISED LAND and I have been enjoying it. 

Let me make a few comments on it, and here is the first quote of yours I want to comment on: Looking back, it’s embarrassing to recognize the degree to which my intellectual curiosity those first two years of college paralleled the interests of various women I was attempting to get to know: Marx and Marcuse so I had something to say to the long-legged socialist who lived in my dorm,”

I noticed you mentioned Herbert Marcuse, and I have read of his influence in Francis Schaeffer’s book How should we then live?:

At Berkeley the Free Speech Movement arose simultaneously with the hippie world of drugs. … but rather a call for the freedom to express any political views on Sproul Plaza. … followed the teaching of Herbert Marcuse (1898-). Marcuse was a German professor of philosophy related to the neo-Marxist.

Bettina Aptheker and Herbert Marcuse  pictured below:

Moral Support: “One Dimensional Man” author Herbert Marcuse accompanies Bettina Aptheker, center, and Angela Davis’ mother, Sallye Davis, to Angela Davis’ 1972 trial in San Jose. Associated Press

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______________Francis Schaeffer is a hero of mine and I have posted many times in the past using his material. This post below is a result of his material..Communism catches the attention of the young at heart but it has always brought repression wherever it is tried. TrueCommunism has never been tried is something I was told just a few months ago by a well meaning young person who was impressed with the ideas of Karl Marx. I responded that there are only 5 communist countries in the world today and they lack political, economic and religious freedom.WHY DOES COMMUNISM FAIL?Communism has always failed because of its materialist base.  Francis Schaeffer does a great job of showing that in this clip below. Also Schaeffer shows that there were lots of similar things about the basis for both the French and Russia revolutions and he exposes the materialist and humanist basis of both revolutions.

Schaeffer compares communism with French Revolution and Napoleon.

1. Lenin took charge in Russia much as Napoleon took charge in France – when people get desperate enough, they’ll take a dictator.

Other examples: Hitler, Julius Caesar. It could happen again.

2. Communism is very repressive, stifling political and artistic freedom. Even allies have to be coerced. (Poland).

Communists say repression is temporary until utopia can be reached – yet there is no evidence of progress in that direction. Dictatorship appears to be permanent.

3. No ultimate basis for morality (right and wrong) – materialist base of communism is just as humanistic as French. Only have “arbitrary absolutes” no final basis for right and wrong.

How is Christianity different from both French Revolution and Communism?

Contrast N.T. Christianity – very positive government reform and great strides against injustice. (especially under Wesleyan revival).

Bible gives absolutes – standards of right and wrong. It shows the problems and why they exist (man’s fall and rebellion against God).

WHY DOES THE IDEA OF COMMUNISM CATCH THE ATTENTION OF SO MANY IDEALISTIC YOUNG PEOPLE? The reason is very simple. 

In HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, the late Francis A. Schaeffer wrote:

Materialism, the philosophic base for Marxist-Leninism, gives no basis for the dignity or rights of man.  Where Marxist-Leninism is not in power it attracts and converts by talking much of dignity and rights, but its materialistic base gives no basis for the dignity or rights of man.  Yet is attracts by its constant talk of idealism.

To understand this phenomenon we must understand that Marx reached over to that for which Christianity does give a base–the dignity of man–and took the words as words of his own.  The only understanding of idealistic sounding Marxist-Leninism is that it is (in this sense) a Christian heresy.  Not having the Christian base, until it comes to power it uses the words for which Christianity does give a base.  But wherever Marxist-Leninism has had power, it has at no place in history shown where it has not brought forth oppression.  As soon as they have had the power, the desire of the majority has become a concept without meaning.

Let me share with you the story of Paul Robeson and it demonstrates that he had to lie about how cruel communism was and the killing of his friend Itzik Feffer.

Paul Leroy Robeson (/ˈroʊbsən/ROHB-sən;[2][3] April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976) was an American bass baritone concert artist and stage and film actor who became famous both for his cultural accomplishments and for his political activism  

Robeson traveled to Moscow in June, and tried to find Itzik Feffer. He let Soviet authorities know that he wanted to see him.[207] Reluctant to lose Robeson as a propagandist for the Soviet Union,[208] the Soviets brought Feffer from prison to him. Feffer told him that Mikhoels had been murdered, and he would be summarily executed.[209] To protect the Soviet Union’s reputation,[210] and to keep the right wing of the United States from gaining the moral high ground, Robeson denied that any persecution existed in the Soviet Union,[211] and kept the meeting secret for the rest of his life, except from his son.[210]

Itzik Feffer (10 September 1900 – 12 August 1952), also Fefer (Yiddish איציק פֿעפֿער, Russian Ицик Фефер, Исаàк Соломòнович Фèфер) was a SovietYiddish poet executed on the Night of the Murdered Poets during Joseph Stalin‘s purges
The American concert singer and actor Paul Robeson met Feffer on 8 July 1943, in New York during a Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee event chaired by Albert Einstein, one of the largest pro-Soviet rallies ever held in the United States. After the rally, Paul Robeson and his wife Eslanda Robeson, befriended Feffer and Mikhoels.  

Itzik Feffer (left), Albert Einstein and Solomon Mikhoels in the United States in 1943.
https://spectator.org/espn-paul-robeson-stalinist-monday-night-football/

DANIEL J. FLYNN tells a few details in this sad story: 
Why Did ESPN Showcase a Stalinist on Monday NightFootball?Stalin Peace Prize laureate Paul Robeson lauded on America’s No. 1 sports network.
 In 1949, Robeson again traveled to the Soviet Union, where he had sent his namesake to school during the 1930s. Robeson had met poet Itzik Feffer and actor Solomon Mikhoels at a Polo Grounds rally of 50,000 people — the largest pro-Soviet event in the history of the United States — that welcomed their Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in 1943. But by 1949 Stalin wished to kill Jews rather than use them for propaganda purposes. He murdered Mikhoels and later Feffer — but not before Robeson could visit his old friend the poet one last time.  

David Horowitz describes this meeting in Radical Son:

In America, the question “What happened to Itzik Feffer?” entered the currency of political debate. There was talk in intellectual circles that Jews were being killed in a new Soviet purge and that Feffer was one of them. It was to quell such rumors that Robeson asked to see his old friend, but he was told by Soviet officials that he would have to wait. Eventually, he was informed that the poet was vacationing in the Crimea and would see him as soon as he returned. The reality was that Feffer had already been in prison for three years, and his Soviet captors did not want to bring him to Robeson immediately because he had become emaciated from lack of food. While Robeson waited in Moscow, Stalin’s police brought Feffer out of prison, put him the care of doctors, and began fattening him up for the interview. When he looked sufficiently healthy, he was brought to Moscow. The two men met in a room that was under secret surveillance. Feffer knew he could not speak freely. When Robeson asked how he was, he drew his finger nervously across his throat and motioned with his eyes and lips to his American comrade. “They’re going to kill us,” he said. “When you return to America you must speak out and save us.

Instead, Robeson, who later confessed what happened to his son, spoke out in praise of his friends’ murderer.

“Yes, through his deep humanity, by his wise understanding, he leaves us a rich and monumental heritage,” Robeson recalled of Stalin. “Most importantly — he has charted the direction of our present and future struggles. He has pointed the way to peace — to friendly co-existence — to the exchange of mutual scientific and cultural contributions — to the end of war and destruction. How consistently, how patiently, he labored for peace and ever increasing abundance, with what deep kindliness and wisdom. He leaves tens of millions all over the earth bowed in heart-aching grief.”

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733 everettehatcher@gmail.com

Related posts:

Open letter to President Obama (Part 293) (Founding Fathers’ view on Christianity, Elbridge Gerry of MA)

April 10, 2013 – 7:02 am

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President, I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here. There have […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding FathersPresident Obama | Edit |Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 5, John Hancock)

May 8, 2012 – 1:48 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 4, Elbridge Gerry)

May 7, 2012 – 1:46 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 3, Samuel Adams)

May 4, 2012 – 1:45 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 2, John Quincy Adams)

May 3, 2012 – 1:42 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 1, John Adams)

May 2, 2012 – 1:13 am

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President Obama and the Founding Fathers

May 8, 2013 – 9:20 am

President Obama Speaks at The Ohio State University Commencement Ceremony Published on May 5, 2013 President Obama delivers the commencement address at The Ohio State University. May 5, 2013. You can learn a lot about what President Obama thinks the founding fathers were all about from his recent speech at Ohio State. May 7, 2013, […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Founding FathersPresident Obama | Edit | Comments (0)

Francis Schaeffer’s own words concerning the founding fathers and their belief in inalienable rights

December 5, 2012 – 12:38 am

Dr. C. Everett Koop with Bill Graham. Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 4) THE BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY Published on Oct 7, 2012 by AdamMetropolis The 45 minute video above is from the film series created from Francis Schaeffer’s book “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” with Dr. C. Everett Koop. This […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Founding FathersFrancis SchaefferProlife | Edit |Comments (1)

David Barton: In their words, did the Founding Fathers put their faith in Christ? (Part 4)

May 30, 2012 – 1:35 am

America’s Founding Fathers Deist or Christian? – David Barton 4/6 There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Tagged governor of connecticutjohn witherspoonjonathan trumbull | Edit | Comments (1)

Were the founding fathers christian?

May 23, 2012 – 7:04 am

3 Of 5 / The Bible’s Influence In America / American Heritage Series / David Barton There were 55 gentlemen who put together the constitution and their church affliation is of public record. Greg Koukl notes: Members of the Constitutional Convention, the most influential group of men shaping the political foundations of our nation, were […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Founding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

John Quincy Adams a founding father?

June 29, 2011 – 3:58 pm

I do  not think that John Quincy Adams was a founding father in the same sense that his  father was. However, I do think he was involved in the  early days of our government working with many of the founding fathers. Michele Bachmann got into another history-related tussle on ABC’s “Good  Morning America” today, standing […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

“Sanctity of Life Saturday” Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part E “Moral absolutes and abortion” Francis Schaeffer Quotes part 5(includes the film SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS) (editorial cartoon)

July 6, 2013 – 1:26 am

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Article from Adrian Rogers, “Bring back the glory”

June 11, 2013 – 12:34 am

I truly believe that many of the problems we have today in the USA are due to the advancement of humanism in the last few decades in our society. Ronald Reagan appointed the evangelical Dr. C. Everett Koop to the position of Surgeon General in his administration. He partnered with Dr. Francis Schaeffer in making the […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Adrian RogersFrancis Schaeffer | Edit | Comments (0)

“Schaeffer Sundays” Francis Schaeffer’s own words concerning the possibility that minorities may be mistreated under 51% rule

June 9, 2013 – 1:21 am

Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 4) THE BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY Published on Oct 7, 2012 by AdamMetropolis ____________ The 45 minute video above is from the film series created from Francis Schaeffer’s book “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” with Dr. C. Everett Koop. This book  really helped develop my political […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Edit | Comments (0)

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Podcast Series ABSOLUTELY MENTAL reminds one of Netflix Series AFTER LIFE (Part 4) Ricky Gervais asks “If there is no afterlife what is the point of having this experience if it ends?” Ricky made same point on FACEBOOK LIVE when he pointed out the death row inmate was not getting to enjoy his last meal because he knows that the 2pm execution is coming very soon! (Tweet announcing this post was liked by Ricky Gervais on 8/1/21)

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Ricky Gervais To Launch Podcast 'Absolutely Mental' With Sam Harris –  Deadline

Deadline

Ricky Gervais has announced that he will host a new paid-for podcast called Absolutely Mental.

The 11-part podcast will be available on AbsolutelyMental.com from May 10, and will feature the comedian in conversation with his friend, neuroscientist Sam Harris.

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Ricky Gervais plays Tony Johnson in AFTER LIFE.

After Life on Netflix

In the podcast series ABSOLUTELY MENTAL Sam Harris answers questions from Ricky Gervais and many of these same questions are covered by the issues brought up in After Life. How are we different than machines? Why do humans think there is any afterlife? Is there any point to life? Many of these issues were also covered 3,000 years ago in the Book of Ecclesiastes by Solomon.

In the past I have done over 100 blog posts on the Netflix series AFTER LIFE written by Ricky Gervais and staring Ricky as Tony Johnson. I respect both Ricky and his character Tony for being people who demand evidence and they refuse to accept anything with a blind faith. That is part of the reason I started writing letters to Ricky several years ago with historical evidence from archaeology and ancient cultures on the Bible’s claims. I personally think his latest series AFTER LIFE is his best by far and it does a great job of examining Ricky’s humanist worldview and the natural conclusions that come from this time plus chance view of the world.

Just like Solomon in The Book of Ecclesiastes, Ricky in AFTER LIFE is examining life under the sun, which is life between birth and death without God in the picture. The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter. In fact, the phrase under the sun appears 29 times in Ecclesiastes. 

Francis Schaeffer indicated Ecclesiastes is truly the book of modern man because modern humanist man’s philosophy has brought him to the nihilistic conclusion that all is vanity and meaninglessness. This appears to be the place that the atheist Tony Johnson has landed and many of the characters around Tony have come to pessimistic conclusions about life too, though they have searched for satisfaction and meaning in life by pursuing ladiesluxurieslearninglaborliquor, and laughter.


My 2nd question tweeted to Ricky on Twitter Live on May 29, 2020:

‪ Have you read ECCLESIASTES cause Tony seeks meaning UNDER THE SUN in learning(1:16-18),laughter, ladies, and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20). Matt asked Tony to throw himself into work, go to pub and comedy club, and a blind date.

My question was not selected but another question came in from another Christian. On Twitter Live on Friday May 29, 2020 you said: 

Have I ever explored Christianity? (Question from Tom Peaks) Yes I have. I was brought up Christian. I was born into Christianity like most people are born into their religion. I always assumed there was a God and a Santa. I think I stopped believing in God the same year I stopped believing in Santa Claus. I think God beat Santa to it. Although I kept quiet about Santa longer because I knew my presents were from my dad but if I expose that will I still get presents? So I kept quiet. You know you are surrounded by it. My mom wasn’t very religious. She was a working class woman and Jesus is an unpaid babysitter. It just helps they think. “If I am not watching you then Jesus is.” It is to curb bad behavior. Traditionally religion is associated with good behavior, but that is a random relationship. Actually there is not a relationship to good behavior whatsoever. You are either a moral person or you are not. No religion owns or invented morality. I read the Bible obviously as a Christian kid. I read the New Testament and I was fascinated with the Old Testament as well. I have no problem with spirituality or with people praying because it doesn’t affect me. Religion is something else…Then religion I know God and he wants you to give me money so you can go to heaven. That is religion.You don’t have to read the Old Testament to see it was written by men of the time. It really did favor the men who wrote it. But yes I have explored it. I explore it everyday since I am surrounded by it. When I stopped believing I started studying science. You are in society so you have to question it and question rules. I studied philosophy and everything in religion is using like philosophy logical thinking from the ancient Greeks to Bertrand Russell have pondered why do people believe this and what is the evidence. So the short answer is yes I have explored Christianity. 

No one is born into a personal relationship with Christ. At the end of this letter I will share with you what is all about. 

In episode 5 of ABSOLUTELY MENTAL we have this question from Ricky Gervais around the 3 minute mark. 

“If there is no afterlife what is the point of having this experience if it ends?”

Kath asks the same question in AFTERLIFE.


—-

When Kath, asks, “If your an atheist, and you don’t believe in heaven and hell and all that, how come you don’t go around raping and murdering as much as you want?” Tony’s answer is, “I do. I do go around raping and murdering as much as I want, which is not at all.”

Kath: If death is just the end then what is the point? 
Tony: What is the point in what? 
Kath: What is the point in living? Why don’t you just kill yourself?

Tony: So if you are watching a movie and you are really enjoying it. Maybe a movie with Kevin Hart in it. Then someone points out there is an end eventually. Do you just say “Forget it. What’s the point and you turn it off?” 
Kath: No because you can watch it again. 
Tony: Well, I think Life is precious because you can’t watch it again. I mean you can believe in an afterlife if it makes you feel better, but it doesn’t mean it is true. But once you realize you are not going to be around forever I think that is what makes it magical. One day you will eat your last meal, smell a flower, and hug your friend for the last time. You might not know it is the last time, but that is why you should do everything you love with passion. Treasure the few years you got because you know that is all there is.

On his Twitter Live broadcast of April 13, 2020 Ricky Gervais seemed to contradict his argument with Kath. He asserted, “Your favorite meal? What if it was your final meal? Couldn’t really enjoy that. Would they rush you as well. You don’t have time for pudding because you are being executed at 2 pm. Brings the whole meal [mood] down. I am not enjoying this. I am not enjoying this sticky toffee pudding. The priest is looking at his watch.”

—-

You contradict yourself with this example the death row inmate not getting to enjoy the meal because he knows that the 2pm execution is coming very soon! Let me give you an example from Woody Allen. 

There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly.

Woody Allen, Annie Hall: ScreenplayTags: humourlife

Is there a relationship in those who believe in God and good behavior? . I noticed in Woody Allen’s film “Crimes and Misdemeanors” you can see how Allen’s agnostic worldview permits him to allow the lead character to have his mistress killed when she threatens to call the cops. Judah noted, “God is a luxery I can not afford.” Earlier in the film Judah is terrified when he thinks there is a living God that will punish him in an afterlife, but only after he convinces himself there is no God is he at peace with his decision to have this troublesome lady killed. Check out this movie on Netflix and you will see what I mean about this potential moral problem that atheists can not answer. (I have looked this question many times in my previous posts.)

I know how much you and Richard Dawkins hold Bertrand Russell in high esteem. Let me quote from the article below. For though Bertrand Russell was an atheist, he was an outspoken social critic, denouncing war and restrictions on sexual freedom. Russell admitted that he could not live as though ethical values were simply a matter of personal taste, and that he therefore found his own views “incredible.” “I do not know the solution,” he confessed.” [7]

Let me share a portion of an article by William Lane Craig with you.


The Absurdity of Life without God

William Lane Craig

SUMMARY

Why on atheism life has no ultimate meaning, value, or purpose, and why this view is unlivable.

Francis Schaeffer has explained this point well. Modern man, says Schaeffer, resides in a two-story universe. In the lower story is the finite world without God; here life is absurd, as we have seen. In the upper story are meaning, value, and purpose. Now modern man lives in the lower story because he believes there is no God. But he cannot live happily in such an absurd world; therefore, he continually makes leaps of faith into the upper story to affirm meaning, value, and purpose, even though he has no right to, since he does not believe in God.

Let’s look again, then, at each of the three areas in which we saw life was absurd without God, to show how man cannot live consistently and happily with his atheism.

Meaning of Life

First, the area of meaning. We saw that without God, life has no meaning. Yet philosophers continue to live as though life does have meaning. For example, Sartre argued that one may create meaning for his life by freely choosing to follow a certain course of action. Sartre himself chose Marxism.

Now this is utterly inconsistent. It is inconsistent to say life is objectively absurd and then to say one may create meaning for his life. If life is really absurd, then man is trapped in the lower story. To try to create meaning in life represents a leap to the upper story. But Sartre has no basis for this leap. Without God, there can be no objective meaning in life. Sartre’s program is actually an exercise in self-delusion. Sartre is really saying, “Let’s pretend the universe has meaning.” And this is just fooling ourselves.

The point is this: if God does not exist, then life is objectively meaningless; but man cannot live consistently and happily knowing that life is meaningless; so in order to be happy he pretends life has meaning. But this is, of course, entirely inconsistent—for without God, man and the universe are without any real significance.

Value of Life

Turn now to the problem of value. Here is where the most blatant inconsistencies occur. First of all, atheistic humanists are totally inconsistent in affirming the traditional values of love and brotherhood. Camus has been rightly criticized for inconsistently holding both to the absurdity of life and the ethics of human love and brotherhood. The two are logically incompatible. Bertrand Russell, too, was inconsistent. For though he was an atheist, he was an outspoken social critic, denouncing war and restrictions on sexual freedom. Russell admitted that he could not live as though ethical values were simply a matter of personal taste, and that he therefore found his own views “incredible.” “I do not know the solution,” he confessed.” [7] The point is that if there is no God, then objective right and wrong cannot exist. As Dostoyevsky said, “All things are permitted.”

But Dostoyevsky also showed that man cannot live this way. He cannot live as though it is perfectly all right for soldiers to slaughter innocent children. He cannot live as though it is all right for dictators like Pol Pot to exterminate millions of their own countrymen. Everything in him cries out to say these acts are wrong—really wrong. But if there is no God, he cannot. So he makes a leap of faith and affirms values anyway. And when he does so, he reveals the inadequacy of a world without God.

Back to Woody Allen’s CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS and the issue of MIGHT MAKES RIGHT and I encourage you to watch that film and answer the question “How could I convince Judah not to eliminate his troublesome mistress when he has every reason to do so?”

Francis Schaeffer (January 30, 1912 – May 15, 1984[1]

Francis Schaeffer.jpg

This issue also was covered by Solomon in ECCLESIASTES.Below Francis Schaeffer discusses ECCLESIASTES. 


Ecclesiastes 4:1

 Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.

Between birth and death power rules. Solomon looked over his kingdom and also around the world and proclaimed that right does not rule but power rules.

Ecclesiastes 7:14-15

14 In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider—God has made the one as well as the other so that man will not discover anything that will be after him.

15 I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness.

Ecclesiastes 8:14

14 There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility.

We could say it in 20th century language, “The books are not balanced in this life.”

Now let’s look at what it means to have a relationship with Christ according to the scriptures. 


Our views below (this material is from Campus Crusade for Christ) concerning how to go to heaven
.

Just as there are physical laws that govern

the physical universe, so are there spiritual laws
that govern your relationship with God.

Law 1

God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.

God’s Love
“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever
believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV).

God’s Plan
[Christ speaking] “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly”
[that it might be full and meaningful] (John 10:10).

Why is it that most people are not experiencing that abundant life?

Because…

Law 2

Man is sinful and separated from God.
Therefore, he cannot know and experience
God’s love and plan for his life.

Man is Sinful
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Man was created to have fellowship with God; but, because of his own stubborn
self-will, he chose to go his own independent way and fellowship with God was broken.
This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference,
is an evidence of what the Bible calls sin.

Man Is Separated
“The wages of sin is death” [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23).

Separation
Law 3

Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin.
Through Him you can know and experience
God’s love and plan for your life.

He Died In Our Place
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

He Rose from the Dead
“Christ died for our sins… He was buried… He was raised on the third day,
according to the Scriptures… He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve.
After that He appeared to more than five hundred…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

He Is the Only Way to God
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to
the Father but through Me’” (John 14:6).

Bridge The Gulf
Law 4

We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord;
then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.

We Must Receive Christ
“As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children
of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

We Receive Christ Through Faith
“By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God; not as result of works that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).

When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth
(Read John 3:1-8.)

We Receive Christ Through Personal Invitation
[Christ speaking] “Behold, I stand at the door and knock;
if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20).

Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) and trusting
Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to make us what He wants us to be.
Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross
for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience.
We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will.

These two circles represent two kinds of lives:

Circles
wpe463.jpg (790 bytes)

Which circle best represents your life?
Which circle would you like to have represent your life?


The following explains how you can receive Christ:

You Can Receive Christ Right Now by Faith Through Prayer
(Prayer is talking with God)

God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude
of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life.
Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If it does, I invite you to pray this
prayer right now, and Christ will come into your life, as He promised.

Now that you have received Christ



The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

—-

___

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MUSIC MONDAY Paperback (and Hardback) Writer: Steve Turner on his book Beatles ’66

Come Together –

George Harrison – Here comes the sun

LET IT BE

_-

The Beatles – Yellow Submarine

Paperback (and Hardback) Writer: Steve Turner on his book Beatles ’66

WalkerWords WalkerWords4 years agoAdvertisementshttps://d-20789260203582880250.ampproject.net/2102200206006/frame.html

Steve TurnerWriter Steve Turner must have one of the best jobs in the world.

He gets to be creative every day, writing about things and people that interest him. He has the platform to put out his view of the world in poetry. He has had a film made about him. He gets to work with musicians he holds in high regard (and vice versa – in a Guardian article in 2006, his daughter wrote that Bono once gave her a hug and said, “I’m a big fan of your Dad”).

That gives a clue to one of Turner’s greatest attributes: he is respected by the best, because he tries to be the best. And he tries to be first class in the public arena, because he wants to write christianly.

His latest book Beatles ’66: The Revolutionary Yearcontinues that approach. Having already written two books about the band’s lyrics and spirituality, is the fiftieth anniversary handle just a marketing tool that gives him an excuse to write more about them?

Turner explains that his reasons go deeper than that.

“1966 was a crucial year between Beatlemania and the more artistic, studio-based Beatles. You get both sides represented in that year, because it’s their final tour; it’s the year that John met Yoko; the ‘more-popular-than-Jesus’ controversy; George meeting Ravi Shankar and going to India. I thought, if you slowed the action down – a chapter per month – you’d really get an insight into who the Beatles were.”

But writing about it to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the events, could he be writing with memory honeyed by nostalgia and accuracy misted by time?

No. Turner considers this an ideal time, because, via the internet we can, “for example, access huge libraries of American Newspapers; university archives are online. Stuff that would have taken me a long, long time to do, you can now do at the touch of a button. A lot more books come out, so different people tell their stories. Even minor people who are in minor groups suddenly write their book and you get one good detail in there.”

“If I were to sit down and talk to Paul McCartney, I don’t think I’d get more out of him than I’ve got from talking to about fifty other people, because he’s told the stories so many times. He often gets things confused: he dates things wrongly and attributes things wrongly – which is to be expected really, because he’s been in that high pressure space for most of his life. As a writer, I’ve got time to reflect and digest stuff.

“I try talking to people who were around; for example, a woman called Erica, whose father was the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

“Ringo and John went out there for a holiday and she met them. They went on a tour and had a meal. For her, that was a significant event, because she was young, at school, and they were the Beatles. But John and Ringo probably wouldn’t have remembered that in such detail because it was just another day in their mad life.

“It’s often the people standing at the back of the room with their eyes and ears open that you get the best stories from, rather than the person who’s in the centre of the action.”

As a teenager, Turner would travel by train from Northamptonshire to London to buy shirts in the boutiques where the Beatles bought theirs and to buy the books that they were reading. He knew the smell of the joss sticks and the clothes. “I was kind of imbibing this stuff,” he recalls, “and when Revolvercame out it was like the aural equivalent of all this stuff that I was experiencing, all these changes.”

You have to wonder what he would have thought at the time, had someone told him that he would one day interview both John Lennon and Paul McCartney. (He has never interviewed George Harrison, “regrettably, because with my interests, he would have been an interesting person to do.”)

Although he found Lennon to be, “What you would expect,” the conversation was more surprising.

“We talked about Christianity specifically when I interviewed him. The conversation just turned in that direction, because he picked up a Jesus People newspaper, which had an open letter to John in the centre pages. He read it out to me and said, ‘What do you think of that?’ I presume he expected me to say, ‘Oh, what a load of rubbish.’ I picked up on it and said, ‘What do you think?’”

While Turner did not say whether the conversation happened after the famous 1966 comment about The Beatles being more famous than Jesus, Lennon explained his way of thinking to the writer.

Referring to the attention that he band received, with hysteria following them wherever they went in public, Lennon wondered whether (in Turner’s paraphrase), “There was all this kind of mythology around him, which built up over the years, just as this mythology about The Beatles built up over the years.”

Turner (right) with Eric Clapton. Source: Steve Turner.

Writing about an iconic band doesn’t just come from nowhere. It is a right to be earned, and he began that journey in the ‘sixties with his book Conversations with Eric Clapton. At the time, the guitarist was reclusive and did not give interviews. Although their original meeting was accidental, Clapton felt he could trust Turner, who was friends with the doctor who was treating his heroin addiction, Dr. Meg Patterson, and her husband George.

Turner popped round to their flat, to find Clapton sitting there. They chatted and Clapton opened up about his addiction and the state of his band Cream, and Turner was amazed at how candid he was being.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing really! I think he was in the early stages of euphoria after coming off the drug. His whole life changed. The girlfriend he was with then left and he linked up with Patti. He told me all this stuff and then he said, ‘If you want to quote me on any of this stuff, then feel free.’ I said, ‘Rather than quoting you from memory, wouldn’t it be better that we do a question-and-answer thing for Rolling Stone.’ He said, ‘Fine.’

“So a couple of days later, I started to interview him. We sat on George and Meg’s bed, then he came round to my flat in the West End and then I went down to his home in Surrey, and probably got half of what ended up as the book. But primarily, it became a front cover Rolling Stone interview.”

The interview eventually expanded to become a book. It was a huge coup, and one that set up his career, but not necessarily the most rewarding of his books to write.

“They were all satisfying in their own way. My biography of Cliff Richard was, because I’d never written anything that long. I interviewed over 300 people. I’d never done anything on that scale before. It was satisfying a) to do it and b) that it was a best-seller. It went into the Sunday Times top ten, sold 60-70,000 as hardback.

“I’m very satisfied with The Gospel According to the Beatles, because it really says everything I wanted to say about what The Beatles represented, but also about what rock and roll represents and what ‘60s culture was all about.

Steve Turner, Beatles '66“And Beatles ’66, I’ve got a copy of it at my desk and I keep picking it up, looking at it, and feeling it.

“One guy, Steve Stockman, said, ‘I’ve always looked at The Beatles vertically, looking down with binoculars, if you like, but Steve’s given me a horizontal view.’ So I think he means, ‘He’s put me in the midst of what was going on’ – the midst of the period, the group, the culture – and that is one of the things I wanted to do. He put it in a way that I hadn’t thought about.”

Thinking partly of his kids, who often select music track-by-track, rather than buying whole albums, he adds, “There comes a point when they want to get a perspective on it and say, ‘Was “She Loves You” before “Let It Be” or after?’ They want to get it chronologically right, then look at the albums and the cohesion of the albums.

“With the book, I keep trying to bring in ‘This was on the cover of Time Magazine that week’ or ‘This was a law just being passed’. People forget that we only had a few motorways in 1966. Mostly when bands travelled, it was along A roads and you stopped at ‘greasy spoon’ transport cafes. I’m trying to evoke the period for a lot of people who didn’t live through it.

“I grew up with people, who, when we talk about Revolver, all know what we’re talking about, because we all had the same experience in the same year. But as you get older, you realise that there are generations who didn’t go through the same things and you’ve got to put it in perspective and give them a flavour, like when I used to ask my parents about the war.

“You can tell the story of the war by saying, ‘1943 this happened, 1944…’ but from your parents, you get the smells, the fears and the old letters, and all that stuff, which gives you more of the feel of the era.”

Turner is clearly hungry for detail, and he slips so much detail into his answers. It is as if he is offering me what he hopes his interviewees give him when researching. It is harder to guess whether the accuracy he strives for are an intrinsic part of him, or from the culture of excellence that he caught when a part of the same Arts Centre Group (ACG) that fed Cliff Richard in his early days of reconciling faith and arts.

It was the same group that led to him being filmed. A mentor there suggested sharing a flat with film director Norman Stone, who was then a student at the Royal College of Art. Stone’s idea of doing a film about Turner became his end-of-course project. Called Support your Local Poet, it was shown on TV.

To display his talent, Stone mixed film and cartoons, as well as using actors to voice some of the poems.

Turner recalls, “We had Vivian Stansall from the Bonzo Dog Band read one of them and Caroline Munro, who was a Bond girl, she acted one of the sequences. We had Deryck Guyler, who was an actor, read one. I think we approached Laurence Olivier, or somebody of that stature, who was up for it, but he wasn’t around. Because Norman was a student, a lot of people helped him out, who would not have helped him out if he was working for the Beeb or had some obvious money behind him.”

Turner began writing poetry in 1965, four years before his first article, but there were points where the two connect.

“I identified more with songwriters than poets at the time,” he says, “So I was more interested to talk to John Lennon, Pete Townshend 0r David Bowie about how they wrote their songs. I could identify with their method of writing, because it was so similar to the way I’d write my poems. I would perform my poems and I could relate that to how they performed on stage and the decisions they made.”

While his adult performance poetry gave way somewhat to children’s poetry as his family grew, that in turn took second place to his books.

Maybe reflecting a Lennon influence, Imagine (used in American colleges and just updated for America in January) is his vision for Christians in the arts. Readers of this book have written to Turner, telling him how the book articulates their own feelings or has affected their choice of career.

Of the more recent Popcultured, which encourages ordinary Christians to treat the culture around them with discernment, Turner says, “again, a lot of people found it helpful. But also, writing the book helps me think it through myself, because often life’s coming at you so fast you don’t have the time to think where something’s coming from. It can be a bit of a hard job, but you don’t want to just turn the TV on and let programme after programme wash over you and not think, ‘Where’s this coming from? Who’s involved? Who’s talking to me?’

“David Porter, who was a Christian who was good at writing about the media said, ‘Having a TV in your room is like having some partially-reformed alcoholic from up the street come in and sit in your living room every night. Sometimes they can be entertaining and another night, they might vomit on your carpet and swear.’ I think TV is a bit like that.”

Porter was another ACG member, and the group was highly influenced by the writings of work of Christian thinkers like Francis Schaeffer and Hans Rookmaaker. Much of their approach to working as a Christian in the arts is clearly seen in Popcultured, which includes chapters on cinema, TV, games, celebrity culture, fashion, comedy and journalism, and how to critique them biblically.

But in summing up his approach to writing as a Christian, Turner paraphrases C.S. Lewis: “We don’t need more Christians to write more tracts, we need more Christians to write about Philosophy or Geology or Medieval History, or whatever. I’m looking forward to the day when the best book on Physics is by a Christian, the best book on Medievalism is by a Christian.”

So it is as a comment on outworking his faith, rather than immodesty, when he adds, “Hopefully, some of the best books about the Beatles have been written by me.”

Beatles ’66: The Revolutionary Years is published in Hardback by Ecco.
PopCultured 
is published in paperback by IVP.

This is the Director’s Cut of separate interviews that appeared in The Church of England Newspaper in December 2016 and The Phantom Tollbooth e-zine in February 2017.

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July 23, 2015 at 4:24 am

9474 words

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April 30, 2015 – 4:17 am 11509 words

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April 9, 2015 – 12:28 am10,110 words

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April 2, 2015 – 7:05 am8315 words

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March 22, 2015 – 12:30 am 11587 words

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March 19, 2015 – 12:21 am8732 words

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March 12, 2015 – 12:16 am9993 words

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March 5, 2015 – 4:47 am6821 words

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I am starting a series of posts called ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” The quote from the title is actually taken from the film MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT where Stanley derides the belief that life has meaning, saying it’s instead “nasty, brutish, and short. Is that Hobbes? I would have […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Atheists ConfrontedWoody Allen | Edit|Comments (0)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 20, King Louis XVI of France)

June 28, 2011 – 5:44 amBy Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit|Comments (1)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 19,Marie Antoinette)

June 27, 2011 – 12:16 amBy Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit|Comments (0)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 18, Claude Monet)

June 26, 2011 – 5:41 amBy Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current EventsFrancis Schaeffer | Edit|

Related posts

Podcast Series ABSOLUTELY MENTAL reminds one of Netflix Series AFTER LIFE (Part 3) Sam Harris “I am kinda agnostic about what happens after death… But I just don’t know what CONSCIOUSNESS is in the end.” Ricky Gervais responds “Are you saying you think there might be other than nothingness in terms of experience? I can’t believe you think that!” (Both Ricky and Sam admit that they can’t begin to understand consciousness yet Ricky is upset with Sam for admitting this is the basis for his being agnostic about what happens after death!)TWEET ANNOUNCING THIS POST WAS LIKED BY RICKY GERVAIS ON 7/25/21!

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Ricky Gervais To Launch Podcast 'Absolutely Mental' With Sam Harris –  Deadline

Deadline

Ricky Gervais has announced that he will host a new paid-for podcast called Absolutely Mental.

The 11-part podcast will be available on AbsolutelyMental.com from May 10, and will feature the comedian in conversation with his friend, neuroscientist Sam Harris.

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Ricky Gervais plays Tony Johnson in AFTER LIFE.

After Life on Netflix

In the podcast series ABSOLUTELY MENTAL Sam Harris answers questions from Ricky Gervais and many of these same questions are covered by the issues brought up in After Life. How are we different than machines? Why do humans think there is any afterlife? Is there any point to life? Many of these issues were also covered 3,000 years ago in the Book of Ecclesiastes by Solomon.

In the past I have done over 100 blog posts on the Netflix series AFTER LIFE written by Ricky Gervais and staring Ricky as Tony Johnson. I respect both Ricky and his character Tony for being people who demand evidence and they refuse to accept anything with a blind faith. That is part of the reason I started writing letters to Ricky several years ago with historical evidence from archaeology and ancient cultures on the Bible’s claims. I personally think his latest series AFTER LIFE is his best by far and it does a great job of examining Ricky’s humanist worldview and the natural conclusions that come from this time plus chance view of the world.

Just like Solomon in The Book of Ecclesiastes, Ricky in AFTER LIFE is examining life under the sun, which is life between birth and death without God in the picture. The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter. In fact, the phrase under the sun appears 29 times in Ecclesiastes. 

Francis Schaeffer indicated Ecclesiastes is truly the book of modern man because modern humanist man’s philosophy has brought him to the nihilistic conclusion that all is vanity and meaninglessness. This appears to be the place that the atheist Tony Johnson has landed and many of the characters around Tony have come to pessimistic conclusions about life too, though they have searched for satisfaction and meaning in life by pursuing ladiesluxurieslearninglaborliquor, and laughter.

In Podcast Series ABSOLUTELY MENTAL episode 8 WHY DO WE FEAR DEATH? is this following exchange:

Sam Harris “I get it from the other side because I am kinda agnostic about what happens after death. I am sure the religious pictures are wrong. There is no way there is a heaven and a hell of the sort that is imagined by monatheoistic religion, but given that we don’t actually know what reality is. We don’t actually know the distinction between mind and matter, it is still spooky right? We just don’t know how mind relates to the base layer of reality, but I have no expectations of my personally in terms of maintaining the memories of my life will persist. But I just don’t know what CONSCIOUSNESS is in the end.” Ricky Gervais responds “But we are all agnostic by definition because it deals with knowledge.” Sam notes, “ I am pretty sure that I know that rivers of milk and honey don’t exist.” Ricky states, Are you saying you think there might be other than nothingness in terms of experience? I can’t believe you think that. Based on what?” Sam responds, “Based on strange experiences both on psychedelics and in mediation where the mind seems to be…” Ricky observes, “Yeah but you are off your head. You are f$&@ng thinking nonsense!”

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This reminds me of Henry Miller who could not live with his secular view and had to embrace some sort of vague pantheism to give himself a leap into the dark irrational and come out of it with a nonsense belief that there is really a future somehow after death while clinging to his secular view.

Francis Schaeffer noted in THE GOD WHO IS THERE:

Mysticism in Literature — Henry Miller 

In the writing of his earlier books, Miller (1891-1980) had not just set forth something which is dirty in a trivial sense, but he had succeeded in murdering everything which is meaningful, including sexual things. In these books he expressed his antilaw position, in every sense. However, Miller is another man who could not stand by his own position. Many others have been destroyed in their inner lives by his books, but he was not able to be so tough-fibered. So he joins the growing list of modern men who have accepted the new mysticism. In his later life Miller held to a pantheistic view of the world. 

(PAGE 80)

His later views are very cogently and consistently expressed in the Preface which he wrote to the French edition of Elie Favre’s History of Art. He calls his preface, “A Sense of Wonder.”4 This is an important title, for it implies that he is going to contrast the “sense of wonder” with the intellect. And this in fact is what he does. For example, he says, “Above all, he [Elie Favre] was a devout worshipper of the creative spirit in man. His approach, like our own Walt Whitman’s, was nothing less than cosmic.” This already has a pantheistic ring about it. Later on he continues, “What impact his work may have today, particularly on the young who are almost immune to wonder and mystery because of all the knowledge which has been crammed into their heads, I do not know.” This is a significant sentence because he has set the intellect and knowledge against the sense of wonder. One’s intellect would lead one only to the lower story of rationality and logic where there is no meaning in life, only machines. But in contrast to this one has a sense of wonder which bypasses the rational, and this sense is very much related to the use of the word awe that is so much in vogue today. The intellect is divorced and rejected. 

It must be plain that the later Henry Miller cannot in any sense be called a Christian. He is doing the same as Salvador Dali and the new theologians are doing—namely, using Christian symbols to give an illusion of meaning to an impersonal world which has no real place for man. 

This is Henry Miller, the writer of The Tropics, who in this preface takes up basically the same position as the new theologians. We have ample warning not to accept the “god words” of many modern theologians without being certain that they, like Henry Miller, are not using these words to give an illusion of meaning.

Night Of 1,000 Stars

In the 5th episode of the 2nd season we have the NIGHT OF THE 1000 STARS presentation by the TAMBURY PLAYERS and James becomes a central figure in this episode. We learn that his father left his mother because of James’ hyperactivity and later in the town show James ruins a poem that Rebecca was giving because of a fart that makes the stage STINK! This does make the episode come full circle as the first scene has Tony visiting an elderly gentleman who never washes up because it is not worth it since he has no one to love. Take a look at this review of the episode.

The Man Who Was Putting His Mail In A Trash Bin

After Life Season 2, Episode 5 recap: The Revue by Wade Wainio

Episode 205 of Netflix’s After Life is awkward entertainment.

In After Life 205, Tony (Ricky Gervais) must still face the eccentricities of his job. This time, he and Lenny (Tony Way) interview a man (Steve Speirs) who’s been erroneously putting his mail in a dog waste bun, due to his bad eyesight.

It gets sadder and weirder when he admits he thought the stench came from himself. He also mentions he never had any relationships due to low self-esteem, knowing that any woman would leave him.

In preparation for his Revue performance, James (Ethan Lawrence) “limbers up” his leg on a desk, annoying Valerie the receptionist (Michelle Greenidge).

We also learn that, due to his hyperactivity, James’ father gave June (Jo Hartley) an ultimatum: Either James goes or he will.

On the bright side, the character of James seems to like being at The Gazette. In fact, Tony and Sandy (Mandeep Dhillon) consistently seem more down in the dumps.

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Revue host Ken (Colin Hoult) does a rousing rendition of Dion’s “The Wanderer,” then June and James perform Elton John’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” James also wards off Rebecca (Tracy Ann Oberman) with a fart, essentially thwarting her poem.

The other big event

After Life has obviously hinged on Tony’s reaction to the death of his wife (Kerry Godliman). This episode offers another sad event: Tony’s dad dies. It gives us a chance to hear another side of the character. Tony tells Emma his father never hit him as a child, choosing instead to say he’s disappointed. On the surface, Tomy takes the news with aplomb, but we’ve seen how he can struggle to cope with loss before.

What’s the theme of the episode?

This episode can easily be considered clumsy, blending themes of a talent show with a tragic death.  However, one possible message is that life is sort of RANDOM like that.  It does NOT necessarily have a coherent message.  Life can be a bunch of semi-random events, then you die.

Joker- Send in the Clowns by Frank Sinatra

Tony’s character seems to reflect the idea that life itself is almost nihilistic.  It throws endless pitches at us, with many of them being curveballs.  In that sense (if I may stick to the baseball analogy), this episode perhaps knocks it out of the park.  Even if it’s nobody’s favorite, it is definitely a hodgepodge of events highlighting the random nature of human experience.


The last song of the show James dances to the song SEND IN THE CLOWNS. This song seems to support the idea that Tony is surrounded by fools. I agree with the reviewer that Ricky Gervais believes:

Life can be a bunch of semi-random events, then you die.Tony’s character seems to reflect the idea that life itself is almost nihilistic.

Wikipedia notes: 

Send In the Clowns” is a song written by Stephen Sondheim for the 1973 musical A Little Night Music, an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman‘s 1955 film Smiles of a Summer Night

The “clowns” in the title do not refer to circus clowns. Instead, they symbolize fools, as Sondheim explained in a 1990 interview:

I get a lot of letters over the years asking what the title means and what the song’s about; I never thought it would be in any way esoteric. I wanted to use theatrical imagery in the song, because she’s an actress,but it’s not supposed to be a circus […] [I]t’s a theater reference meaning “if the show isn’t going well, let’s send in the clowns”; in other words, “let’s do the jokes.” I always want to know, when I’m writing a song, what the end is going to be, so “Send in the Clowns” didn’t settle in until I got the notion, “Don’t bother, they’re here”, which means that “We are the fools.”[2]

In a 2008 interview, Sondheim further clarified:

As I think of it now, the song could have been called “Send in the Fools”. I knew I was writing a song in which Desirée is saying, “aren’t we foolish” or “aren’t we fools?” Well, a synonym for fools is clowns, but “Send in the Fools” doesn’t have the same ring to it.[3]

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Ricky Gervais is member of the British Humanist Association and an atheist. Therefore, it is logical that he thinks life is a result of TIME and CHANCE!

In episode 2 of the second season of AFTER LIFE is the following discussion: 
Tony: I drink in times of trouble. I can’t help it the world is filled with trouble. It is a horrible place. Everyone is screwed up in someway. Everyone has worries like money or health or famine, war. We are chimps with brains the size of planets. No wonder we get drunk and try to kill each other. It is mental.

Matt: Always good to talk.

Tony: I was just explaining my new plan is to drink myself to death till I eventually implode in on my own evolution. 

In his interview with Russell Brand Ricky Gervais asserted, “We are machines. We are machines trying to understand ourselves and that is hard. Will there one day be a computer suffering from anxiety? I reckon so. We are chimps with brains the size of the planet….I don’t understand CONSCIOUSNESS…”

Francis Schaeffer noted:

Modern man resides in a two-story universe. In the lower story is the finite world without God; here life is absurd, as we have seen. In the upper story are meaning, value, and purpose. Now modern man lives in the lower story because he believes there is no God.But he cannot live happily in such an absurd world; therefore, he continually makes leaps of faith into the upper story to affirm meaning, value, and purpose, even though he has no right to, since he does not believe in God. Modern man is totally inconsistent when he makes this leap, because these values cannot exist without God, and man in his lower story does not have God.

This ties in well with what Schaeffer said in describing Andy Warhol’s art:

THE OBSERVER June 12, 1966 does a big spread on Warhol. Andy is a mass communicator. Someone has described pop art as Dada plus Madison Avenue or commercialism and I think that is a good definition. Dada was started in Zurich and came along in modern art. Dada means nothing. The word “Dada” means rocking horse, but it was chosen by chance. The whole concept Dada is everything means nothing. Pop Art has been said to be the Dada concept put forth in modern commercialization. Everything in his work is being leveled down to an universal monotony which he can always sell for $8000.00.

ANDY WARHOL says, “It stops you thinking about things. I wish I were a machine. I don’t want to be heard. I don’t want human emotions. I have never been touched by a painting. I don’t want to think. The world would be easier to live  in if we all were machines. It is nothing in the end anyway.”

Ricky’s atheistic humanism makes his selection of the song SILENCE by Dave Thomas Jr. perfect for AFTER LIFE because there has been no revelation from above which brings me to this discussion below. 

Francis Schaeffer when he was discussing the artwork of Francis Bacon then he skips over to  Paul Klee, Jackson Pollock, and John Cage and compares them to Bacon in their view that possibly that a message break forth  from the impersonal chance universe:

I have an essay on Francis Bacon by John Russell. Methuan published it in London in 1964.

Bacon goes on, “In my case all painting–and the older I get, the more it becomes so–is an accident.” Now this is very important and to think of Jackson Pollock putting on his paint as a pure accident and you may remember my lecture on Paul Klee.

Paul Klee (1879-1940) speaks of some of his paintings as though they were a kind of Ouija board. Klee thinks that the universe can speak through his paintings. Not because he believes there are spirits there to speak, but because he hopes that the universe will push through and cause a kind of automatic writing, this time in painting. It is an automatic writing with no one there, as far as anyone knows, but the hope that the “universe” will speak.We think of John Cage with the universe speaking though chance.

Now Bacon continues and he says something very similar to what Pollock, Cage and Klee believed, “I foresee it and yet I hardly ever carry it out as I foresee it. It transforms itself by the actual paint. I don’t in fact know very often what the paint will do, and it does many things that are very much better than I could make it do. Perhaps one could say it’s not an accident, because it becomes a selective process what part of the accident one chooses to preserve.”

Now here from Francis Bacon’s own viewpoint. An absurd universe in a total sense and in some element of the paint taking on its own personality and a message may come through from impersonal source.

Ecclesiastes 9:11

11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Chance rules. If a man starts out only from himself and works outward it must eventually if he is consistent seem so that only chance rules and naturally in such a setting you can not expect him to have anything else but finally a hate of life.

I like Francis Schaeffer‘s term “Mannishness” of man. He defines it as those aspects of man, such as significance, love, rationality and the fear of non being, which mark him off from animals and machines and give evidence of his being created in the image of a personal God.

(Francis Schaeffer pictured)

The scientist Blaise Pascal is quoted by Sagan and then Sagan notes, “Most of the philosophers adjudged great in the history of western thought held that humans are fundamentally different from other animals…”

As you know Pascal was the inventor of the barometer and he lived from 1623 to 1662. Pascal also observed, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man,and only God can fill it.”

What is the solution? “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The scriptural directive is not for us to work harder to achieve God’s favor (Romans 3:20), but to accept God’s mercy through our repentance and receiving Christ as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-10).

In his interview with Russell Brand Ricky Gervais asserted, “I don’t understand CONSCIOUSNESS…”

Both Ricky and Sam admit that they can’t begin to understand consciousness yet Ricky is upset with Sam for admitting this is the basis for his being agnostic about what happens after death!

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Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part I “Old Testament Bible Prophecy” includes the film TRUTH AND HISTORY and article ” Jane Roe became pro-life”

April 12, 2013 – 5:45 am

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortion, human rights, welfare, poverty, gun control  and issues dealing with popular culture. Here is another exchange I had with them a while back. My username at the Ark Times Blog is Saline […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Biblical ArchaeologyFrancis SchaefferProlife | Edit|Comments (0)

John MacArthur on fulfilled prophecy from the Bible Part 2

August 8, 2013 – 1:28 am

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John MacArthur on fulfilled prophecy from the Bible Part 1

August 6, 2013 – 1:24 am

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John MacArthur: Fulfilled prophecy in the Bible? (Ezekiel 26-28 and the story of Tyre, video clips)

April 5, 2012 – 10:39 am

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John MacArthur on the Bible and Science (Part 2)

August 1, 2013 – 12:10 am

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John MacArthur on the Bible and Science (Part 1)

July 30, 2013 – 1:32 am

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Adrian Rogers: “Why I believe the Bible is true”

July 9, 2013 – 8:38 am

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The Old Testament is Filled with Fulfilled Prophecy by Jim Wallace

June 24, 2013 – 9:47 am

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Evidence for the Bible

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B.J.Thomas Christian Testimony (passed away today May 29, 2021 at age 78)

B.J. Thomas – Home Where I Belong ( 1976 )

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B. J. Thomas: Hooked on a Feeling (James, 1968) – Lyrics

B.J. Thomas – Testimony (1980)

B.J. Thomas – Softly and Tenderly (1982)

B.J. Thomas and Dusty Springfield – As Long As We Got Each Other (Theme …

B. J. Thomas 1942-2021 “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”

B.J. Thomas, ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’ singer, dies at age 78

<img class=”i-amphtml-blurry-placeholder” src=”data:;base64,The singer died Saturday in his Arlington, Texas, home, his publicist said.

(CNN)B.J. Thomas, whose smooth voice made him a country and pop crossover success, died Saturday of complications from lung cancer, his publicist said. He was 78.

Thomas first came to prominence with a cover of the Hank Williams standard “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” spending 13 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. Two years later, he broke into the Top 5 with “Hooked on a Feeling,” a song written by his childhood friend, Mark James.

A movie soundtrack propelled Thomas to superstardom in 1970. He was chosen to perform the Burt Bacharach and Hal David number “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” for the film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” punctuating a memorable scene in which Paul Newman and Katharine Ross ride a bicycle together. It was Thomas’ first No. 1 hit.

<img class=”i-amphtml-blurry-placeholder” src=”data:;base64,Thomas performs in Los Angeles in January 2015.Thomas performs in Los Angeles in January 2015.

Despite continued chart success, Thomas fell into a spiral of substance abuse, which he ended after becoming a born-again Christian in 1976. That life change also prompted a transition into gospel music, and he won a Dove Award for his album “Home Where I Belong.” All five of his Grammy wins were for religious-themed songs.

Thomas had multiple hits on the country charts in the 1980s and is also remembered for singing the theme from the sitcom “Growing Pains” (with Jennifer Warnes), which debuted in 1985.

“This is devastating news,” tweeted Joe Bonsall of the country and gospel group The Oak Ridge Boys. “I so loved and respected this man.”

Thomas announced in March that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The Oklahoma native died at his home in Arlington, Texas, his publicist said in a statement.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Gloria, and three daughters.

CNN’s Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.

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Daniel Mitchell OF CENTER FOR FREEDOM AND PROSPERITY article “Biden’s Anti-Empirical Budgetary Philosophy”

Biden’s Anti-Empirical Budgetary Philosophy

When I debate public policy with leftists, I frequently stump themby asking for an example of a country where their ideas have worked.

They get flummoxed for the simple reason that no nation has ever become rich with big government.

There are some rich nations that have big governments, to be sure, but they all became rich in the 1800s and early 1900s, back when government was a tiny burden (and there often were no income taxes).

That’s true for the United States. And it’s true for Western Europe.

It’s also worth noting that places that have become rich in the modern era, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, have small governments and low tax burdens.

I’m making these points because Jim Tankersley of the New York Times has a thorough article on the Biden Administration’s budgetary philosophy.

And that philosophy is based on a completely different perspective. Indeed, the headline and subtitle are a very good summary of the entire article.

Here are some passages that further capture the Biden approach.

President Biden’s $6 trillion budget bets on the power of government to propel workers, families and businesses to new heights of prosperity…by redistributing income and wealth from high earners and corporations to grow the middle class. …it sets the nation on a new and higher spending path, with total federal outlays rising to $8.2 trillion by 2031… That spending represents an attempt to expand the size and scope of federal engagement in Americans’ daily lives… Mr. Biden also seeks to expand the government safety net in an effort to help Americans — particularly women of all races and men of color — work and earn more, rather than relying on corporate America to funnel higher wages to workers. …Mr. Biden is pushing what amounts to a permanent increase in the size of the federal footprint on the U.S. economy. Since 1980, annual federal spending has been, on average, about one-fifth the size of the nation’s economic output; under Mr. Biden’s plans, that would grow to close to one-fourth.

The article is definitely correct about one thing. As I wrote yesterday, Biden wants a big expansion of government spending.

But is he correct about the consequences? Will bigger government “help Americans” and allow more of them to “enjoy prosperity”?

If the evidence from Europe is any indication, adopting bigger welfare states is not a recipe for more prosperity.

For instance, OECD data on “actual individual consumption” show that people in the United States enjoy much higher living standards than their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

There’s also very powerful data showing that poor Americans (those at the 20th percentile) have higher living standards than most middle-class Europeans.

There’s even data showing that very poor Americans (those at the 10th percentile) have living standards equal to most middle-class Europeans.

The bottom line is that Biden wants higher taxes and more redistribution, but that’s been a big failure in the part of the worldthat has tried that approach.

Not that we should be surprised. Both theory and evidence tell us that bigger government is bad for prosperity.

P.S. There’s a very sobering example of what happens when a rich nation decides to dramatically curtail economic liberty.

The Double-Barreled Danger of Biden’s Plan to Expand the Welfare State

The United States has a big economic advantage over Europe in part because the burden of welfare spending is lower.

This means fewer people trapped in government dependency in America. And it means a smaller tax burden in America.

But some of our friends on the left think it is bad news that the United States isn’t more like Europe.

They want more redistribution in America and they may get their wish if Congress approves Biden’s so-called American Families Plan.

The Economist has an article about Biden’s radical proposal, which would, as they correctly note, “Europeanise the American welfare state.”

President Joe Biden is proposing an ambitious reweaving of the American safety-net, which the White House says will cost $1.8trn. The American Families Plan has bits of the European welfare state that have long been missing in the country—a child allowance, paid family leave, universal pre-school, subsidised child care and free community college—but contains no reference to work requirements. …So how did Democrats go from Clintonism—which implicitly conceded the Reaganite critique that too much governmental assistance is a very bad thing—to its present-day unconcern about (even relish for) deficit-financed expansions of the safety-net?

Here are some of the specific details from the story, including discussion of Biden’s plan for per-child handouts.

This would bring America more in line with the rest of the developed world: the average government spending on benefits such as child allowances, family leave and early education is 2.1% of GDP in the OECD club of mostly rich countries. In America, it is just 0.6%. …A generous child allowance is the main anti-poverty tool in most rich countries—and also one that America lacks. One such scheme was created this year as part of the covid-19 relief bill that the president signed in March. It will pay most families $3,000 per year per child ($3,600 for young children)… The president’s plan proposes to extend these payments until 2025. Some Democrats think they should simply be made permanent.

The Wall Street Journal opined about Biden’s plan last month.

It’s more accurate to call this the plan to make the middle class dependent on government from cradle to grave. The government will tell you sometime later, after you’re hooked to the state, how it will force you to pay for it. We’d call the price tag breathtaking, but by now what’s another $2 trillion?…But the cost, while staggering, isn’t the only or even the biggest problem. The destructive part is the way the plan seeks to insinuate government cash and the rules that go with it into all of the major decisions of family life. The goal is to expand the entitlement state to make Americans rely on government and the political class for everything they don’t already provide. …This is now about mainlining benefits to middle-class families so they become addicted to government—and to the Democratic Party that has become the promoting agent of government.

I agree with the WSJ. Biden wants to create more dependency, even if that means eviscerating Bill Clinton’s very successful welfare reform.

For my contribution to this discussion, I want to make two points about the practical implications of Biden’s plan to “Europeanise” the United States.

First, it is impossible to have a European-sized government without massive tax increases. And since there aren’t enough rich people to finance big government, that inevitably means low-income and middle-class taxpayers will have to be hit with much bigger fiscal burdens. Which is exactly what has happened in Europe (and lots of honest people on the left openly admit a bigger welfare state would require similar policies in the United States).

Second, it is impossible to have a European-sized government and still maintaina big economic advantage over Europe. Higher spending and higher taxes will combine to reduce work, saving, investment, and entrepreneurship. Simply stated, European fiscal policy will lead to European economic results, and that will be very bad news for ordinary Americans since living standards are 30 percent-40 percent lower on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s also worth noting that the United States ranks very high in societal capital, and that presumably will erode if more people are lured into government dependency.

P.S. Biden used to oppose a government-guaranteed income, correctly realizing it would undermine the work ethic.

P.P.S. The United States already faces a huge long-run challengebecause of entitlement spending, so it’s remarkable – in a bad way – that Biden wants to step on the gas rather than hit the brakes.


Consolation Humor: When Leftists Finally Understand Economics and Morality

I have three types of humor I periodically share.

  1. Libertarian Humor
  2. Gun Control Humor
  3. Socialism/Communism Humor

Today, we’re going to venture into “consolation humor.” At least that’s the best term I can think of for the following two memes, both of which show what happens when leftists suddenly grasp reality.

In our first example, a woman learns that envy actually is a negative personality trait.

Maybe she’ll also learn at some point that spending other people’s money isn’t compassion (another person needs to learn that lesson as well).

In our second example, a young woman is bereft after learning that there isn’t a magic money tree to finance never-ending goodies from government.

Maybe she should watch this video as part of her therapy?

P.S. This great cartoon from Chuck Asay shows what happens when people don’t learn about scarcity.

Gun Control Humor

Time to add to the collection of humor about gun control.

We’ll start with this observation from Ron Swanson (who periodically makes cameo appearances since he was TV’s most famous libertarian) about the relationship between gun laws and crime rates.

Next is a cartoon strip with an amusing twist.

For what it’s worth, I buy t-shirts that already have the right message.

Here’s a hotel employee giving a much-needed wake-up call.

Our next item features a sensible observation from Elizabeth Warren, followed by an equally sensible observation from Dan Gannon.

Next, we have an example of the “slippery slope” in action.

By the way, the above image is real. The United Kingdom has some of the world’s silliest anti-gun policies, which were the gateway drug for absurd anti-knife laws (and even – I’m not joking – anti-teaspoon laws).

I’ve saved the best for last, as usual.

Here’s “Fauxcahontas” getting a clever response from Meme Cat.

Just in case you don’t get the joke, Senator Elizabeth Warren falsely claimed Indian ancestry, even using her fake-minority status to get preferential treatment.

P.S. I also recommend this mockery of Sen. Warren’s approach to class warfare.

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Reusable: biden obama gun control speechPresident Barack Obama announces the creation of an interagency task force for guns as as Vice President Joseph Biden listens on.Getty Images

Is Gun Control Dead?

In recent months, governments released prisoners and announced that some laws wouldn’t be enforced because of the coronavirus. Now, with protests against police misbehavior, we’re seeing governments fail to maintain law and order.

As suggested by this excellent Reason video, these developments bolster the case against gun control.

But does this mean politicians will be more supportive of the 2nd Amendment?

The answer (at least for anyone with an IQ above room temperature)should be yes.

From an economic perspective, one major goal is to change the cost-benefit analysis for criminals. If bad guys have to worry that good guys may be armed, that significantly increases the potential cost of illegal behavior.

A well-functioning system of law enforcement can help, of course, but that’s not a description of how things work in some communities – even in normal times, much less when there’s civil unrest.

But all this evidence and analysis doesn’t seem to matter for Joe Biden. A look at his campaign website shows support for a wide range of gun-control laws from the soon-to-be Democratic nominee.

…gun violence is a public health epidemic. …In 1994, Biden – along with Senator Dianne Feinstein – secured the passage of 10-year bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. As president, Joe Biden will defeat the NRA again. …As president, Biden will: …Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. …Regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act. …Biden supports legislation restricting the number of firearms an individual may purchase per month to one. …End the online sale of firearms and ammunitions. …Give states incentives to set up gun licensing programs.

What’s especially discouraging is that Biden apparently hasn’t learned anything about so-called assault weapons since 1994.

In a 2019 column for Reason, Jacob Sullum dissected Biden’s incoherent views on the topic.

Joe Biden…is still proud of the ban on “assault weapons”… Biden argues that it made mass shootings less common…, citing a study reported in The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery last January. But that is not what the researchers, led by New York University epidemiologist Charles DiMaggio, actually found.…The study…looked not at the number of mass shootings, as Biden claims, but the number of mass-shooting deaths as a share of all firearm homicides. The difference in total fatalities during the period when the ban was in effect amounted to 15 fewer deaths over a decade, or 1.5 a year on average, including mass shootings that did not involve weapons covered by the ban. …The causal mechanism imagined by Biden is even harder to figure out. He describes “assault weapons” as “military-style firearms designed to fire rapidly.” But they do not fire any faster than any other semi-automatic. …Under the 1994 ban, removing “military-style” features such as folding stocks, flash suppressors, or bayonet mounts transformed forbidden “assault weapons” into legal firearms, even though the compliant models fired the same ammunition at the same rate with the same muzzle velocity as the ones targeted by the law.

I wonder if Biden understands the policy he’s advocating.

Does he think that “assault weapons” are actual machine guns, capable of firing multiple rounds with one pull on the trigger (a remarkably common misconception among gun-control advocates)?

Or, if he understands that a so-called assault weapon is just like any other gun (firing one round each time the trigger is pulled), then why would he think anything would be achieved by banning some guns and leaving others (that work the same way) legal?

Perhaps most relevant, does he even care what the evidence shows?

The bottom line is that people are “voting with their dollars” for gun ownership for the simple reason that they know it’s unwise to trust government (either to protect them from crime or to respect their rights).

But that doesn’t mean their constitutional freedoms will be secure if Biden wins the 2020 election.

P.S. The good news is that there will be widespread civil disobedience if politicians push for new gun bans.

P.P.S. Another silver lining is that we’ll get more and more clever humor mocking gun control.

The Case Against Biden’s Class-Warfare Tax Policy, Part II

In Part I of this series, I expressed some optimism that Joe Biden would not aggressively push his class-warfare tax plan, particularly since Republicans almost certainly will wind up controlling the Senate.

But the main goal of that column was to explain that the internal revenue code already is heavily weighted against investors, entrepreneurs, business owners and other upper-income taxpayers.

And to underscore that point, I shared two charts from Brian Riedl’s chartbook to show that the “rich” are now paying a much larger share of the tax burden – notwithstanding the Reagan tax cuts, Bush tax cuts, and Trump tax cuts – than they were 40 years ago.

Not only that, but the United States has a tax system that is more “progressive” than all other developed nations (all of whom also impose heavy tax burdens on upper-income taxpayers, but differ from the United States in that they also pillage lower-income and middle-class residents).

In other words, Biden’s class-warfare tax plan is bad policy.

Today’s column, by contrast, will point out that his tax increases are impractical. Simply stated, they won’t collect much revenue because people change their behavior when incentives to earn and report income are altered.

This is especially true when looking at upper-income taxpayers who – compared to the rest of us – have much greater ability to change the timing, level, and composition of their income.

This helps to explain why rich people paid five times as much tax to the IRS during the 1980s when Reagan slashed the top tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent.

When writing about this topic, I normally use the Laffer Curve to help people understand why simplistic assumptions about tax policy are wrong (that you can double tax revenue by doubling tax rates, for instance). And I point out that even folks way on the left, such as Paul Krugman, agree with this common-sense view (though it’s also worth noting that some people on the right discredit the concept by making silly assertions that “all tax cuts pay for themselves”).

But instead of showing the curve again, I want to go back to Brian Riedl’s chartbook and review his data on of revenue changes during the eight years of the Obama Administration.

It shows that Obama technically cut taxes by $822 billion (as further explained in the postscript, most of that occurred when some of the Bush tax cuts were made permanent by the “fiscal cliff” deal in 2012) and raised taxes by $1.32 trillion (most of that occurred as a result of the Obamacare legislation).

If we do the math, that means Obama imposed a cumulative net tax increase of about $510 billion during his eight years in office

But, if you look at the red bar on the chart, you’ll see that the government didn’t wind up with more money because of what the number crunchers refer to as “economic and technical reestimates.”

Indeed, those reestimates resulted in more than $3.1 trillion of lost revenue during the Obama years.

don’t want the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington to have more tax revenue, but I obviously don’t like it when tax revenues shrink simply because the economy is stagnant and people have less taxable income.

Yet that’s precisely what we got during the Obama years.

To be sure, it would be inaccurate to assert that revenues declined solely because of Obama’s tax increase. There were many other bad policies that also contributed to taxable income falling short of projections.

Heck, maybe there was simply some bad luck as well.

But even if we add lots of caveats, the inescapable conclusion is that it’s not a good idea to adopt policies – such as class-warfare tax rates – that discourage people from earning and reporting taxable income.

The bottom line is that we should hope Biden’s proposed tax increases die a quick death.

P.S. The “fiscal cliff” was the term used to describe the scheduled expiration of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts. According to the way budget data is measured in Washington, extending some of those provisions counted as a tax cut even though the practical impact was to protect people from a tax increase.

P.P.S. Even though Biden absurdly asserted that paying higher taxes is “patriotic,” it’s worth pointing out that he engaged in very aggressive tax avoidance to protect his family’s money.

President Joe Biden Will Be Bad, but a President Kamala Harris Would Be Worse

Joe Biden has a very misguided economic agenda. I’m especially disturbed by his class-warfare tax agenda, which will be bad news for American workers and American competitiveness.

The good news, as I wrote earlier this year, is that he probably isn’t serious about some of his worst ideas.

Biden is a statist, but not overly ideological. His support for bigger government is largely a strategy of catering to the various interest groups that dominate the Democratic Party. The good news is that he’s an incrementalist and won’t aggressively push for a horrifying FDR-style agenda if he gets to the White House.

But what if Joe Biden’s health deteriorates and Kamala Harris – sooner or later – winds up in charge?

That’s rather troubling since her agenda was far to the left of Biden’s when they were competing for the Democratic nomination.

And it doesn’t appear that being Biden’s choice for Vice President has led her to moderate her views. Consider this campaign ad, where she openly asserted that “equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place.”

The notion that we should strive for equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunity is horrifying.

For all intents and purposes,Harris has embraced a harsh version of redistributionism where everyone above average is punished and everyone below average is rewarded.

This goes way beyond a safety net and it’s definitely a recipe for economic misery since people on both sides of the equationhave less incentive to be productive.

I’m not the only one to be taken aback by Harris’ dogmatic leftism.

Robby Soave, writing for Reason, is very critical of her radical outlook.

Harris gives voice to a leftist-progressive narrative about the importance of equity—equal outcomes—rather than mere equality before the law. …Harris contrasted equal treatment—all people getting the same thing—with equitable treatment,which means “we all end up at the same place.” …This may seem like a trivial difference, but when it comes to public policy, the difference matters. A government shouldbe obligated to treat all citizens equally, giving them the same access to civil rights and liberties like voting, marriage, religious freedom, and gun ownership. …A mandate to foster equity, though, would give the government power to violate these rights in order to achieve identical social results for all people. 

And, in a column for National Review, Brad Polumbo expresses similar reservations about her views.

Whether she embraces the label “socialist” or not, Harris’s stated agenda and Senate record both reveal her to be positioned a long way to the left on matters of economic policy. From health care to the environment to housing, Harris thinks the answer to almost every problem we face is simply more government and more taxpayer money — raising taxes and further indebting future generations in the process.…Harris…supports an astounding $40 trillion in new spending over the next decade. In a sign of just how far left the Democratic Party has shifted on economics, Harris backs more than 20 times as much spending as Hillary Clinton proposed in 2016. …And this is not just a matter of spending. During her failed presidential campaign, Harris supported a federal-government takeover of health care… The senator jumped on the “Green New Deal” bandwagon as well. She co-sponsored the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate that called for a “new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era.” …she supports enacting price controls on housing across the country. …The left-wing group Progressive Punch analyzed Harris’s voting record and found that she is the fourth-most liberal senator, more liberal even than Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren. Similarly, the nonpartisan organization GovTrack.us deemed Harris the furthest-left member of the Senate for the 2019 legislative year. (Spoiler alert: If your voting record is to the left of Bernie Sanders, you might be a socialist.)

To be fair, Harris is simply a politician, so we have no idea what she really believes. Her hard-left agenda might simply be her way of appealing to Democratic voters, much as Republicans who run for president suddenly decide they support big tax cuts and sweeping tax reform.

But whether she’s sincere or insincere, it’s troubling that she actually says it’s the role of government to make sure we all “end up at the same place.”

Let’s close with a video clip from Milton Friedman. At the risk of understatement, he has a different perspective than Ms. Harris.

Since we highlighted Harris’ key quote, let’s also highlight the key quote from Friedman.

Amen.

P.S. It appears Republicans will hold the Senate, which presumably (hopefully?) means that any radical proposals would be dead on arrival, regardless of whether they’re proposed by Biden or Harris.

P.P.S. Harris may win the prize for the most economically illiterate proposal of the 2020 campaign.

——

Will Biden’s Class-Warfare Tax Plan Lead to an Exodus of Job Creators?

After Barack Obama took office (and especially after he was reelected), there was a big uptick in the number of rich people who chose to emigrate from the United States. 

There are many reasons wealthy people choose to move from one nation to another, but Obama’s embrace of class-warfare tax policy (including FATCA) was seen as a big factor.

Joe Biden’s tax agenda is significantly more punitive than Obama’s, so we may see something similar happen if he wins the 2020 election.

Given the economic importance of innovatorsentrepreneurs, and inventors, this would be not be good news for the American economy.

The New York Times reported late last year that the United States could be shooting itself in the foot by discouraging wealthy residents.

…a different group of Americans say they are considering leaving — people of both parties who would be hit by the wealth tax… Wealthy Americans often leave high-tax states like New York and California for lower-tax ones like Florida and Texas. But renouncing citizenship is a far more permanent, costly and complicated proposition. …“America’s the most attractive destination for capital, entrepreneurs and people wanting to get a great education,” said Reaz H. Jafri, a partner and head of the immigration practice at Withers, an international law firm. “But in today’s world, when you have other economic centers of excellence — like Singapore, Switzerland and London — people don’t view the U.S. as the only place to be.” …now, the price may be right to leave. While the cost of expatriating varies depending on a person’s assets, the wealthiest are betting that if a Democrat wins…, leaving now means a lower exit tax. …The wealthy who are considering renouncing their citizenship fear a wealth tax less than the possibility that the tax on capital gains could be raised to the ordinary income tax rate, effectively doubling what a wealthy person would pay… When Eduardo Saverin, a founder of Facebook…renounced his United States citizenship shortly before the social network went public, …several estimates said that renouncing his citizenship…saved him $700 million in taxes.

The migratory habits of rich people make a difference in the global economy.

Here are some excerpts from a 2017 Bloomberg story.

Australia is luring increasing numbers of global millionaires, helping make it one of the fastest growing wealthy nations in the world… Over the past decade, total wealth held in Australia has risen by 85 percent compared to 30 percent in the U.S. and 28 percent in the U.K… As a result, the average Australian is now significantly wealthier than the average American or Briton. …Given its relatively small population, Australia also makes an appearance on a list of average wealth per person. This one is, however, dominated by small tax havens.

Here’s one of the charts from the story.

As you can see, Australia is doing very well, though the small tax havens like Monaco are world leaders.

I’m mystified, however, that the Cayman Islands isn’t listed.

But I’m digressing.

Let’s get back to our main topic. It’s worth noting that even Greece is seeking to attract rich foreigners.

The new tax law is aimed at attracting fresh revenues into the country’s state coffers – mainly from foreigners as well as Greeks who are taxed abroad – by relocating their tax domicile to Greece, as it tries to woo “high-net-worth individuals” to the Greek tax register.The non-dom model provides for revenues obtained abroad to be taxed at a flat amount… Having these foreigners stay in Greece for at least 183 days a year, as the law requires, will also entail expenditure on accommodation and everyday costs that will be added to the Greek economy. …most eligible foreigners will be able to considerably lighten their tax burden if they relocate to Greece…nevertheless, the amount of 500,000 euros’ worth of investment in Greece required of foreigners and the annual flat tax of 100,000 euros demanded (plus 20,000 euros per family member) may keep many of them away.

The system is too restrictive, but it will make the beleaguered nation an attractive destination for some rich people. After all, they don’t even have to pay a flat tax, just a flat fee.

Italy has enjoyed some success with a similar regime to entice millionaires.

Last but not least, an article published last year has some fascinating details on the where rich people move and why they move.

The world’s wealthiest people are also the most mobile. High net worth individuals (HNWIs) – persons with wealth over US$1 million – may decide to pick up and move for a number of reasons. In some cases they are attracted by jurisdictions with more favorable tax laws… Unlike the middle class, wealthy citizens have the means to pick up and leave when things start to sideways in their home country. An uptick in HNWI migration from a country can often be a signal of negative economic or societal factors influencing a country. …Time-honored locations – such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands – continue to attract the world’s wealthy, but no country is experiencing HNWI inflows quite like Australia. …The country has a robust economy, and is perceived as being a safe place to raise a family. Even better, Australia has no inheritance tax

Here’s a map from the article.

The good news is that the United States is attracting more millionaires than it’s losing (perhaps because of the EB-5 program).

The bad news is that this ratio could flip after the election. Indeed, it may already be happening even though recent data on expatriation paints a rosy picture.

The bottom line is that the United States should be competing to attract millionaires, not repel them. Assuming, of course, politicians care about jobs and prosperity for the rest of the population.

P.S. American politicians, copying laws normally imposed by the world’s most loathsome regimes, have imposed an “exit tax” so they can grab extra cash from rich people who choose to become citizens elsewhere.

P.P.S. I’ve argued that Australia is a good place to emigrate even for those of us who aren’t rich.

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Question of the Week: Which Department of the Federal Government Should Be the First to Be Abolished?

I was asked last week which entitlement program is most deserving of reform.

While acknowledging that Social Security and Medicare also are in desperate need of modernization, I wrote that Medicaid reformshould be the first priority.

But I’d be happy if we made progress on any type of entitlement reform, so I don’t think there are right or wrong answers to this kind of question.

We have the same type of question this week. A reader sent an email to ask “Which federal department should be abolished first?”

I guess this is what is meant when people talk about a target-rich environment. We have an abundance of candidates:

But if I have to choose, I think the Department of Housing and Urban Development should be first on the chopping block.

Raze the building and put a layer of salt over the earth to make sure it can never spring back to life

I’ve already argued that there should be no federal government involvement in the housing sector and made the same argument on TV. And I’ve also shared some horror stories about HUD waste and incompetence.

Heck, I even made HUD the background image for my video on the bloated and overpaid bureaucracy in Washington.

It’s also worth noting that there’s nothing about housing in Article I, Section VIII, of the Constitution. For those of us who have old-fashioned values about playing by the rules, that means much of what takes place in Washington – including housing handouts – is unconstitutional.

Simply stated, there is no legitimate argument for HUD. And I think there would be the least political resistance.

As with the answer to the question about entitlements, this is a judgment call. I’d be happy to be proven wrong if it meant that politicians were aggressively going after another department. Anything that reduces the burden of government spending is a step in the right direction


Milton Friedman on Spending

October 3, 2020 by Dan Mitchell

I identified four heroes from the “Battle of Ideas” video I shared in late August – Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher. Here’s one of those heroes, Milton Friedman, explaining what’s needed to control big government.

Why Milton Friedman Saw School Choice as a First Step, Not a Final One

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Kerry McDonald
Kerry McDonald

EducationMilton FriedmanSchool ChoiceSchooling

Libertarians and others are often torn about school choice. They may wish to see the government schooling monopoly weakened, but they may resist supporting choice mechanisms, like vouchers and education savings accounts, because they don’t go far enough. Indeed, most current choice programs continue to rely on taxpayer funding of education and don’t address the underlying compulsory nature of elementary and secondary schooling.

Skeptics may also have legitimate fears that taxpayer-funded education choice programs will lead to over-regulation of previously independent and parochial schooling options, making all schooling mirror compulsory mass schooling, with no substantive variation.

Milton Friedman had these same concerns. The Nobel prize-winning economist is widely considered to be the one to popularize the idea of vouchers and school choice beginning with his 1955 paper, “The Role of Government in Education.” His vision continues to be realized through the important work of EdChoice, formerly the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, that Friedman and his economist wife, Rose, founded in 1996.

July 31 is Milton Friedman’s birthday. He died in 2006 at the age of 94, but his ideas continue to have an impact, particularly in education policy.

Friedman saw vouchers and other choice programs as half-measures. He recognized the larger problems of taxpayer funding and compulsion, but saw vouchers as an important starting point in allowing parents to regain control of their children’s education. In their popular book, Free To Choose, first published in 1980, the Friedmans wrote:

We regard the voucher plan as a partial solution because it affects neither the financing of schooling nor the compulsory attendance laws. We favor going much farther. (p.161)

They continued:

The compulsory attendance laws are the justification for government control over the standards of private schools. But it is far from clear that there is any justification for the compulsory attendance laws themselves. (p. 162)

The Friedmans admitted that their “own views on this have changed over time,” as they realized that “compulsory attendance at schools is not necessary to achieve that minimum standard of literacy and knowledge,” and that “schooling was well-nigh universal in the United States before either compulsory attendance or government financing of schooling existed. Like most laws, compulsory attendance laws have costs as well as benefits. We no longer believe the benefits justify the costs.” (pp. 162-3)

Still, they felt that vouchers would be the essential starting point toward chipping away at monopoly mass schooling by putting parents back in charge. School choice, in other words, would be a necessary but not sufficient policy approach toward addressing the underlying issue of government control of education.

In their book, the Friedmans presented the potential outcomes of their proposed voucher plan, which would give parents access to some or all of the average per-pupil expenditures of a child enrolled in public school. They believed that vouchers would help create a more competitive education market, encouraging education entrepreneurship. They felt that parents would be more empowered with greater control over their children’s education and have a stronger desire to contribute some of their own money toward education. They asserted that in many places “the public school has fostered residential stratification, by tying the kind and cost of schooling to residential location” and suggested that voucher programs would lead to increased integration and heterogeneity. (pp. 166-7)

To the critics who said, and still say, that school choice programs would destroy the public schools, the Friedmans replied that these critics fail to

explain why, if the public school system is doing such a splendid job, it needs to fear competition from nongovernmental, competitive schools or, if it isn’t, why anyone should object to its “destruction.” (p. 170)

What I appreciate most about the Friedmans discussion of vouchers and the promise of school choice is their unrelenting support of parents. They believed that parents, not government bureaucrats and intellectuals, know what is best for their children’s education and well-being and are fully capable of choosing wisely for their children—when they have the opportunity to do so.

They wrote:

Parents generally have both greater interest in their children’s schooling and more intimate knowledge of their capacities and needs than anyone else. Social reformers, and educational reformers in particular, often self-righteously take for granted that parents, especially those who are poor and have little education themselves, have little interest in their children’s education and no competence to choose for them. That is a gratuitous insult. Such parents have frequently had limited opportunity to choose. However, U.S. history has demonstrated that, given the opportunity, they have often been willing to sacrifice a great deal, and have done so wisely, for their children’s welfare. (p. 160).

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Today, school voucher programs exist in 15 states plus the District of Columbia. These programs have consistently shown that when parents are given the choice to opt-out of an assigned district school, many will take advantage of the opportunity. In Washington, D.C., low-income parents who win a voucher lottery send their children to private schools.

The most recent three-year federal evaluationof voucher program participants found that while student academic achievement was comparable to achievement for non-voucher students remaining in public schools, there were statistically significant improvements in other important areas. For instance, voucher participants had lower rates of chronic absenteeism than the control groups, as well as higher student satisfaction scores. There were also tremendous cost-savings.

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program has served over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools.

According to Corey DeAngelis, Director of School Choice at the Reason Foundation and a prolific researcher on the topic, the recent analysis of the D.C. voucher program “reveals that private schools produce the same academic outcomes for only a third of the cost of the public schools. In other words, school choice is a great investment.”

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was created in 1990 and is the nation’s oldest voucher program. It currently serves over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools. Like the D.C. voucher program, data on test scores of Milwaukee voucher students show similar results to public school students, but non-academic results are promising.

Recent research found voucher recipients had lower crime rates and lower incidences of unplanned pregnancies in young adulthood. On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

According to Howard Fuller, an education professor at Marquette University, founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and one of the developers of the Milwaukee voucher program, the key is parent empowerment—particularly for low-income minority families.

In an interview with NPR, Fuller said: “What I’m saying to you is that there are thousands of black children whose lives are much better today because of the Milwaukee parental choice program,” he says. 
“They were able to access better schools than they would have without a voucher.”

Putting parents back in charge of their child’s education through school choice measures was Milton Friedman’s goal. It was not his ultimate goal, as it would not fully address the funding and compulsion components of government schooling; but it was, and remains, an important first step. As the Friedmans wrote in Free To Choose:

The strong American tradition of voluntary action has provided many excellent examples that demonstrate what can be done when parents have greater choice. (p. 159).

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Kerry McDonald

Milton Friedman

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 7 of 7)

March 16, 2012 – 12:25 am

  Michael Harrington:  If you don’t have the expertise, the knowledge technology today, you’re out of the debate. And I think that we have to democratize information and government as well as the economy and society. FRIEDMAN: I am sorry to say Michael Harrington’s solution is not a solution to it. He wants minority rule, I […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events, Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 6 of 7)

March 9, 2012 – 12:29 am

PETERSON: Well, let me ask you how you would cope with this problem, Dr. Friedman. The people decided that they wanted cool air, and there was tremendous need, and so we built a huge industry, the air conditioning industry, hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous earnings opportunities and nearly all of us now have air […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events, Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 5 of 7)

March 2, 2012 – 12:26 am

Part 5 Milton Friedman: I do not believe it’s proper to put the situation in terms of industrialist versus government. On the contrary, one of the reasons why I am in favor of less government is because when you have more government industrialists take it over, and the two together form a coalition against the ordinary […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events, Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 4 of 7)

February 24, 2012 – 12:21 am

The fundamental principal of the free society is voluntary cooperation. The economic market, buying and selling, is one example. But it’s only one example. Voluntary cooperation is far broader than that. To take an example that at first sight seems about as far away as you can get __ the language we speak; the words […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events, Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 3 of 7)

February 17, 2012 – 12:12 am

  _________________________   Pt3  Nowadays there’s a considerable amount of traffic at this border. People cross a little more freely than they use to. Many people from Hong Kong trade in China and the market has helped bring the two countries closer together, but the barriers between them are still very real. On this side […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events, Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 2 of 7)

February 10, 2012 – 12:09 am

  Aside from its harbor, the only other important resource of Hong Kong is people __ over 4_ million of them. Like America a century ago, Hong Kong in the past few decades has been a haven for people who sought the freedom to make the most of their own abilities. Many of them are […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events, Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 1of 7)

February 3, 2012 – 12:07 am

“FREE TO CHOOSE” 1: The Power of the Market (Milton Friedman) Free to Choose ^ | 1980 | Milton Friedman Posted on Monday, July 17, 2006 4:20:46 PM by Choose Ye This Day FREE TO CHOOSE: The Power of the Market Friedman: Once all of this was a swamp, covered with forest. The Canarce Indians […]

Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 1-5

Debate on Milton Friedman’s cure for inflation

September 29, 2011 – 7:24 am

If you would like to see the first three episodes on inflation in Milton Friedman’s film series “Free to Choose” then go to a previous post I did. Ep. 9 – How to Cure Inflation [4/7]. Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980) Uploaded by investbligurucom on Jun 16, 2010 While many people have a fairly […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Current Events | Tagged dr friedman, expansion history, income tax brackets, political courage, www youtube | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” Milton Friedman believed in liberty (Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 1)

April 19, 2013 – 1:14 am

Charlie Rose interview of Milton Friedman My favorite economist: Milton Friedman : A Great Champion of Liberty  by V. Sundaram   Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who advocated an unfettered free market and had the ear of three US Presidents – Nixon, Ford and Reagan – died last Thursday (16 November, 2006 ) in San Francisco […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

What were the main proposals of Milton Friedman?

February 21, 2013 – 1:01 am

Stearns Speaks on House Floor in Support of Balanced Budget Amendment Uploaded by RepCliffStearns on Nov 18, 2011 Speaking on House floor in support of Balanced Budget Resolution, 11/18/2011 ___________ Below are some of the main proposals of Milton Friedman. I highly respected his work. David J. Theroux said this about Milton Friedman’s view concerning […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday,” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

December 7, 2012 – 5:55 am

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. We must not head down the path of socialism like Greece has done. Abstract: Ronald Reagan […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton FriedmanPresident Obama | Edit | Comments (1)

Defending Milton Friedman

July 31, 2012 – 6:45 am

What a great defense of Milton Friedman!!!!   Defaming Milton Friedman by Johan Norberg This article appeared in Reason Online on September 26, 2008  PRINT PAGE  CITE THIS      Sans Serif      Serif Share with your friends: ShareThis In the future, if you tell a student or a journalist that you favor free markets and limited government, there is […]

Dan Mitchell article Most Disturbing Takeaway from Biden’s Budget Plan

The Most Disturbing Takeaway from Biden’s Budget Plan

There are many things to dislike about President Biden’s budget plan to expand the burden of government.

There will be ample opportunity to write about these issues in the coming weeks. For today, however, let’s identify and highlight the biggest problem.

Simply stated, Biden wants to permanently and significantly increase the burden of government spending. Here’s a chart, based on data from Table S.1 of the President’s budget, augmented by data from Table 1.3 of the Budget’s Historical Tables.

The budget had reached $4 trillion before the pandemic. It then skyrocketed for coronavirus-related spending.

But now that the emergency is receding, Biden is not going to let the burden of government fall back to prior levels. Instead, he’s proposing a $6 trillion budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

And that’s just the starting point. He wants spending to then climb rapidly – at almost twice the rate of inflation – up to $8 trillion by 2031.

By the way, this horrifying data doesn’t tell the entire story.

Biden’s budget doesn’t include some of his new spending giveaways. Brian Riedl addressed this fiscal gimmickry in a column for today’s New York Post.

…this budget does not even include additional spending and debt proposals that are coming later. …They account only for the recently-enacted “stimulus,” a massive discretionary spending hike, and the trillions in (creatively-defined)“infrastructure” spending proposed by the President over the past two months. However, during last fall’s campaign, Biden also proposed trillions in new spending for health care, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, climate change, college aid, and other priorities. The White House has signaled that these new spending initiatives are still in the pipeline. Including these forthcoming proposals, the President would push spending and deficits far above any levels that have ever been sustained.

And don’t forget all this spending, both proposed and in the pipeline, is in addition to all the entitlement spending that is going to burden the economy over the next several decades.

Here’s one final point to underscore and emphasize the radical nature of Biden’s budget.

I’ve taken the previous chart and added a trendline showing what spending would be if Biden has simply followed the trajectory based on the actual spending levels of every President from Carter to Trump.

In other words, we’re looking at trillions of dollars of additional money being diverted from the productive sector of the economy and being put under the control of politicians and bureaucrats.

That does not bode well for American prosperity. Even the Congressional Budget Office recognizes this means lower living standards for our nation.

The bottom line is that if you adopt European-style fiscal policy, you get anemic European-style levels of income.

Are Tax Increases Popular?

Tax increases are bad fiscal policy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are politically unpopular.

Indeed, many voices in the establishment press are citing favorable polling data in hopes of creating an aura on inevitably for President Biden’s proposed tax hikes.

That’s a very worrisome prospect. If Biden succeeds, the United States could wind up toppling Canada for the dubious honor of having the world’s highest tax burden on saving and investment.

That would be bad news for American workers.

But are Biden’s media cheerleaders correct? Are tax increases popular?

According to a new scholarly working paper from the Federal Reserve (authored by Andrew C. Chang, Linda R. Cohen, Amihai Glazer, and Urbashee Paul), the answer is no.

At least if we judge politicians by what they do in election years. Here’s part of the study’s abstract.

We use new annual data on gasoline taxes and corporate income taxes from U.S.states to analyze whether politicians avoid tax increases in election years. These data contain 3 useful attributes: (1) when state politicians enact tax laws, (2) when state politicians implement tax laws on consumers and firms, and (3) the size of tax changes.Using a pre-analysis research plan that includes regressions of tax rate changes and tax enactment years on time-to-gubernatorial election year indicators, we find that elections decrease the probability of politicians enacting increases in taxes and reduce the size of implemented tax changes relative to non-election years. We find some evidence that politicians are most likely to enact tax increases right after an election. These election effects are stronger for gasoline taxes than for corporate income taxes and depend on no other political, demographic, or macroeconomic conditions.

For wonkier readers, Figure 7 has some of the major results of their statistical analysis. I’ve highlighted (in red) the most important conclusion of the research.

For regular readers, the main takeaway is that politicians almost always want more tax revenue. That’s what gives them the ability to distribute goodies and buy votes.

But notwithstanding their never-ending hunger to grab more money, they are very likely to reject tax increases in election years. They even reject higher corporate taxes, which are supposed to be popular (at least according to some in the establishment media).

Yet if tax increases were politically popular, we should see the opposite result.

I’ll close with the somewhat depressing observation that these results do not imply that voters want libertarian policy. It’s probably more accurate to say that people want goodies from the government, but they don’t want to pay for them. Politicians simply respond to those preferences (which brings to mind Garett Jones’ hypothesis that we have too much democracy).

Which is how Greece became a basket case. Which is why Italy is in the process of becoming a basket case. And it’s why the United States may not be that far behind (with states such as Illinois serving as early-warning signs).

P.S. The above-cited research should be a reminder of why a no-tax-hike pledge is important. Voters seem to be on the right side on the big-picture question of “Should taxes be higher?”, but if they think tax increases are going to happen, it’s quite likely that they will support the most economically damaging types of class-warfare levies.

Bob Chitester, RIP


Bob Chitester was managing a small public television station in Erie, PA, when he got the big idea to persuade Nobel laureate Milton Friedman to write and narrate a 10‐​part series on free markets for PBS. As unlikely as that prospect was, Bob made it happen. “Free to Choose” was broadcast on PBS beginning in January of 1980, and it made quite a splash just as Reagan and Thatcher were also starting to change the way people thought about markets and government. Milton and Rose Friedman wrote a book to accompany the series. But television helped take Friedman’s ideas from the pages of books to millions more people, and in the process Chitester made Friedman a bigger celebrity and a bigger influence than a mere Nobel Prize could accomplish.

Bob went on to create Free to Choose Media and produce hundreds of video products for public television, other networks, the internet, and home viewing. They included The Real Adam Smith, a two‐​hour series that gives particular attention to Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments; the Stossel in the Classroom series, which put John Stossel’s television reports into high school classrooms; and A More or Less Perfect Union, a three‐​part series with Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg.

He made Cato senior fellow Johan Norberg a familiar face on public television with documentaries such as “Free & Equal,” an update of “Free to Choose”; “Sweden: Lessons for America?”; “India Awakes”; and “Work and Happiness: The Human Cost of Welfare.”

We at Cato were especially grateful that when our colleague Andrew Coulson died much too young before finishing his television project “School Inc.,” Bob and his Free to Choose team picked it up, finished the production, and got it on hundreds of public television stations in 2017.

For more than 40 years Bob Chitester focused like a laser to get free‐​market ideas on television in high‐​quality presentations. All of us who believe in the power of markets to liberate people are incredibly grateful and, frankly, astounded at his success in this.

Bob lost his seven‐​year battle with cancer this weekend. But his video projects can all be found on the web, and his Free to Choose team will continue his work with new documentaries and online programs.

Bob Chitester Discusses Milton Friedman and ‘Free to Choose’

Published on Jul 30, 2012 by

“There are very few people over the generations who have ideas that are sufficiently original to materially alter the direction of civilization. Milton is one of those very few people.”

That is how former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan described the Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman. But it is not for his technical work in monetary economics that Friedman is best known. Like mathematician Jacob Bronowski and astronomer Carl Sagan, Friedman had a gift for communicating complex ideas to a general audience.

It was this gift that brought him to the attention of filmmaker Bob Chitester. At Chitester’s urging, Friedman agreed to make a 10 part documentary series explaining the power of economic freedom. It was called “Free to Choose,” and became one of the most watched documentaries in history.

The series not only reached audiences in liberal democracies, but was smuggled behind the iron curtain where it played, in secret, to large audiences. Reflecting on its impact, Czech president Vaclav Klaus has said: “For us, who lived in the communist world, Milton Friedman was the greatest champion of freedom, of limited and unobtrusive government and of free markets. Because of him I became a true believer in the unrestricted market economy.”

July 31st, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Friedman’s birth. To commemorate that occasion, we’d like to share an interview with “Free to Choose” producer Bob Chitester. Like this interview, the entire series can now be viewed on-line at no cost at http://www.freetochoose.tv/, thanks to the incredible technological progress brought about by the economic freedom that Milton Friedman celebrated.

Produced by Andrew Coulson, Caleb O. Brown, Austin Bragg, and Lou Richards, with help from the Free to Choose Network

_______________

Celebrating Milton Friedman

by Andrew J. Coulson

Andrew Coulson directs the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom and is the author of Market Education: The Unknown History.

Added to cato.org on July 31, 2012

This article appeared in Cato.org on July 31, 20

For us, who lived in the communist world, Milton Friedman was the greatest champion of freedom, of limited and unobtrusive government and of free markets. Because of him I became a true believer in the unrestricted market economy.

Those are the words of Czech President Vaclav Klaus. Both Friedman’s writings and his landmark 1980 documentary series “Free to Choose”were smuggled into totalitarian communist states, inspiring a generation of future scholars, activists, and politicians.

July 31st, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Friedman’s birth. To commemorate that occasion, the Cato Institute has put together a video interview with Bob Chitester, producer of “Free to Choose,” recounting how it came to be, its impact, and what it was like working with Milton Friedman.

Aside from those who lived under communism, there is another group for whom Friedman was and is a colossal figure: advocates of educational freedom. At a time when state-run schooling had been the norm for nearly a century, and had long ceased to be questioned by America’s elites, Friedman offered a modest observation: there was no good reason for the government of a free society to actually run schools and many good reasons for it not to do so.

He made this case in his essay “On the Role of Government in Education,” first published in 1955. The idea had been floated by others, including Adam Smith and Thomas Paine, but Friedman eloquently and powerfully introduced it to the American policy debate. In so doing, he, more than any other individual, can be credited with giving rise to the modern school choice movement.

Not only did Friedman spark the creation of this movement, he helped to fan the flame of educational freedom, writing popular commentaries and book chapters, speaking with and encouraging activists, founding a leading school choice institution, and dedicating the entire sixth episode of “Free to Choose” to this subject.

I had the good fortune to speak and correspond with Milton occasionally, starting in the late 1990s, and what struck me most about him was his personal integrity. He once told me that he never said anything negative about a person in private that he would not be willing to say openly in that person’s presence. So far as I know, he never violated that principle. And while he staunchly defended his conclusions as long as he remained convinced of their correctness, he would amend them if the weight of evidence shifted.

Indeed the rigorous empiricism that Friedman applied in his scholarly work is generally regarded as one of his most influential contributions to the field of economics—for a long time controversial but eventually the norm, at least in principle. His view, published in the 1953 collection Essays in Positive Economics, was that

the ultimate test of the validity of a theory is… the ability to deduce facts that have not yet been observed, that are capable of being contradicted by observation, and that subsequent observation does not contradict. [p. 300]

Equally wise, though not yet as widely accepted, is the long time horizon against which Friedman measured policy outcomes. Economist and philosopher of science James R. Wible notes that Friedman’s greatest contribution “may be his constant reminder not to forget the long run consequences of short run policies.”

In the 1982 edition of his book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman observed that scholars cannot single-handedly bring about change. Their real role, he wrote, is to “keep the lights on”—to remind us which policies work and which do not, and to show us how to advance our understanding even further. His own unfailing empiricism and concern for the long term remain valuable beacons today, both for advocates of educational freedom and the broader policy community.

_____________

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Quotes from Milton Friedman on his 100th birthday

Milton Friedman’s 100th: Exploring His Wisdom for the Ages (Part I: Worldview) by Robert Bradley Jr. July 31, 2012 [Ed. note: Milton Friedman’s views will be further explored in Part II on energy and Part III on political capitalism.] “Our central theme in public advocacy has been the promotion of human freedom … [It] underlies […]

Thomas Sowell remembers his former teacher Milton Friedman 100 years later

I was impacted in 1980 by the film series “Free to Choose” and I was very impressed by the performance by Thomas Sowell. Today he remembers his former teacher Milton Friedman.   Friedman could be a help today     By  Thomas Sowell Creators Syndicate Tuesday July 31, 2012 7:00 AM If Milton Friedman were alive […]

Milton Friedman destroys liberal student challenges

In the video above Milton Friedman takes on some liberal students with their challenges to capitalism.   Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld speaking at Tribute to Milton Friedman (transcript) As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, White House, Washington, D.C., Thursday, May 09, 2002 Mr. President (George W. Bush), Rose and Milton […]

Every Friday you need to click on www.theDailyHatch.org for “Friedman Friday”

Every Friday you need to click on http://www.theDailyHatch.org if you would like to see a video clip of Milton Friedman as he shares his common sense conservative economic views. Many of his articles are posted too. I remember growing up and reading those great articles every week in Newsweek. They are just as relevant today as […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 12

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Chattanooga Times Free Press comments on 100th year since Milton Friedman’s birth

published Tuesday, July 31st, 2012  Chattanooga Times Free Press Milton Friedman at 100   Milton Friedman Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.   enlarge photo   One hundred years ago today, the most powerful defender of economic liberty in American history was born in Brooklyn to poor Jewish immigrants. Though he stood barely […]

Milton Friedman’s passion was to make a difference in the lives of young people

No one did more to advance the cause of school vouchers than Milton and Rose Friedman. Friedman made it clear in his film series “Free to Choose” how sad he was that young people who live in the inner cities did not have good education opportunities available to them. Remembering Milton Friedman’s School Choice Legacy […]

Milton Friedman remembered at 100 years from his birth (Part 5)

Testing Milton Friedman – Preview Uploaded by FreeToChooseNetwork on Feb 21, 2012 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s birth. His work and ideas continue to make the world a better place. As part of Milton Friedman’s Century, a revival of the ideas featured in the landmark television series Free To Choose are being […]

Defending Milton Friedman

What a great defense of Milton Friedman!!!!   Defaming Milton Friedman by Johan Norberg This article appeared in Reason Online on September 26, 2008  PRINT PAGE  CITE THIS      Sans Serif      Serif Share with your friends: ShareThis In the future, if you tell a student or a journalist that you favor free markets and limited government, there is […]

Milton and Rose Friedman “Two Lucky People”

Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 2 of 2 Uploaded by PenguinProseMedia on Oct 26, 2011 2nd half of 1994 interview. ________________ I have a lot of respect for the Friedmans.Two Lucky People by Milton and Rose Friedman reviewed by David Frum — October 1998. However, I liked this review below better. It […]

Podcast Series ABSOLUTELY MENTAL reminds one of Netflix Series AFTER LIFE (Part 2) Ricky Gervais “Even I know what death is. It is not existing. I still think there is a hint of what a shame…Really I will never exist (again). No one eventually will ever remember me. Who cares about my legacy? It is unthinkable. This seems so amazing…We don’t want to come to terms with our insignificance [or that] life is chance or that we are one of billions of individuals of different species that are no more important than another one. We are an insignificant rock going around the sun in an infinite sun”

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Ricky Gervais To Launch Podcast 'Absolutely Mental' With Sam Harris –  Deadline

Deadline

Ricky Gervais has announced that he will host a new paid-for podcast called Absolutely Mental.

The 11-part podcast will be available on AbsolutelyMental.com from May 10, and will feature the comedian in conversation with his friend, neuroscientist Sam Harris.

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Simone de Beauvoir made some revealing comments on death!

Simone de Beauvoir Her Life and Philosophy

A Very Easy Death – Simone de Beauvoir


Ricky Gervais plays Tony Johnson in AFTER LIFE.

After Life on Netflix

In the podcast series ABSOLUTELY MENTAL Sam Harris answers questions from Ricky Gervais and many of these same questions are covered by the issues brought up in After Life. How are we different than machines? Why do humans think there is any afterlife? Is there any point to life? Many of these issues were also covered 3,000 years ago in the Book of Ecclesiastes by Solomon.

In the past I have done over 100 blog posts on the Netflix series AFTER LIFE written by Ricky Gervais and staring Ricky as Tony Johnson. I respect both Ricky and his character Tony for being people who demand evidence and they refuse to accept anything with a blind faith. That is part of the reason I started writing letters to Ricky several years ago with historical evidence from archaeology and ancient cultures on the Bible’s claims. I personally think his latest series AFTER LIFE is his best by far and it does a great job of examining Ricky’s humanist worldview and the natural conclusions that come from this time plus chance view of the world.

Just like Solomon in The Book of Ecclesiastes, Ricky in AFTER LIFE is examining life under the sun, which is life between birth and death without God in the picture. The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter. In fact, the phrase under the sun appears 29 times in Ecclesiastes. 

Francis Schaeffer indicated Ecclesiastes is truly the book of modern man because modern humanist man’s philosophy has brought him to the nihilistic conclusion that all is vanity and meaninglessness. This appears to be the place that the atheist Tony Johnson has landed and many of the characters around Tony have come to pessimistic conclusions about life too, though they have searched for satisfaction and meaning in life by pursuing ladiesluxurieslearninglaborliquor, and laughter.

In episode 8 (WHY DO WE FEAR DEATH?) Ricky asks: “Even I know what death is. It is not existing. I still think there is a hint of what a shame…Really I will never exist (again). No one eventually will ever remember me. Who cares about my legacy? It is unthinkable. This seems so amazing…We don’t want to come to terms with our insignificance [or that] life is chance or that we are one of billions of individuals of different species that are no more important than another one. We are an insignificant rock going around the sun in an infinite sun”


In episode 2 of the second season of AFTER LIFE is the following discussion: 
Tony: I drink in times of trouble. I can’t help it the world is filled with trouble. It is a horrible place. Everyone is screwed up in someway. Everyone has worries like money or health or famine, war. We are chimps with brains the size of planets. No wonder we get drunk and try to kill each other. It is mental.

Matt: Always good to talk.

Tony: I was just explaining my new plan is to drink myself to death till I eventually implode in on my own evolution.

Ricky Gervais plays bereaved husband Tony Johnson in AFTER LIFE

This reminds me of the words of Francis Bacon because reduces us to just animals. 

Of course, we are meat. We are potential carcasses.
—Francis Bacon (The nihilistic painter)


Ecclesiastes is a book that is truly a picture of how modern secular man looks at the world. The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.

Below Francis Schaeffer comments on ECCLESIASTES:


Ecclesiastes 9:11

11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Chance rules. If a man starts out only from himself and works outward it must eventually if he is consistent seem so that only chance rules and naturally in such a setting you can not expect him to have anything else but finally a hate of life.

Ecclesiastes 2:17-18a

17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. 18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun…

That first great cry “So I hated life.” Naturally if you hate life you long for death and you find him saying this in Ecclesiastes 4:2-3:

And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are doneunder the sun.

He lays down an order. It is best never have to been. It is better to be dead, and worse to be alive. But like all men and one could think of the face of Vincent Van Gogh in his final paintings as he came to hate life and you watch something die in his self portraits, the dilemma is double because as one is consistent and one sees life as a game of chance, one must come in a way to hate life. Yet at the same time men never get beyond the fear to die. Solomon didn’t either. So you find him in saying this.

Ecclesiastes 2:14-15

14 The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. 15 Then I said in my heart, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity.

The Hebrew is stronger than this and it says “it happens EVEN TO ME,” Solomon on the throne, Solomon the universal man. EVEN TO ME, even to Solomon.

COMMENTS FROM 1966 FROM FRANCIS SCHAEFFER: 

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

Francis Schaeffer.jpg

The book A VERY EASY DEATH, 106 pages $3.95, was written by Simone de Beauvoir, who I have a real admiration for in a certain way because she has courage to play the game pretty far along and in this sense and for her clear brilliance, I also have admiration, for you must remember that Sartre and she when they graduated from the Sorbonne, Sartre was first in the class and he was 2nd and she has been his mistress for years. 

I think this very recent book A VERY EASY DEATH touches me as much as anything, because in it she tells her reactions to the death of her mother. Her mother died in a hospital and I have a review here from NEWSWEEK, May 16, 1966 on this book: 

To the professionals, the doctors and nurses going about their routine tasks this was only another death in the endless procession. Indeed, as these things go it was almost exemplary, relatively quick, relatively painless. The nurse could hardly understand the sobbing [of Simone].

One might wish that she had the right person to meet her at that particular moment. I long that for these people. One wonders if a Christian who has comprehension had stood by her side, I wonder if Simone de Beauvoir would have become a Christian.

A nurse could hardly understand the sobbing. “But Madam,” she said, a bit perplexed, “I assure you it was a very easy death.” The hospital was cozy and the attendants first rate. Not everyone could have afforded such [good] care.

In the end Madam de Beauvoir is not reconciled to death, her mother’s or anyone else’s 

Simone de Beauvoir wrote, You do not die from being born, nor from having lived, nor from old age. You die from something.

How right she is. She senses the abnormality of physical death. She senses here that you talk theoretically about absurdity as she and Sartre and the others have endlessly at the cafe tables but it looks different when someone you love dies. Now absurdity becomes sharp and becomes overwhelming. She is quite right you die of something. She understands that death is really abnormal.

Simone de Beauvoir writes, “There is no such thing as a natural death: nothing that happens to a man is ever natural, since his presence calls the world into question. All men must die: but for every man his death is an accident and, even if he knows it and consents to it, an unjustifiable violation” De Beauvoir,1 pp 105–6).

This is a totally Christian way to look at death. This is a Christian way to look at death. Death is an enemy, and that is what the Bible says. Simone de Beauvoir realizes here is an enemy to which we all lose. It becomes almost a symbol of total absurdity. The life that is lived and then has died can be seen in its abnormality in death as a sign board of the absurdity of man. Up to that point it could be a Christian statement as well as an existential one.

In Francis Schaeffer’s book ESCAPE FROM REASON he tells why we live in an abnormal world:

“the True Christian position is that, in space and time and history, there was an unprogrammed man who made a choice, and actually rebelled against God…without Christianity’s answer that God made a significant man in a significant history with evil being the result of Satan’s and then man’s historic space-time revolt, there is no answer but to accept Baudelaire’s answer [‘If there is a God, He is the devil’] with tears. Once the historic Christian answer is put away, all we can do is to leap upstairs and say that against all reason God is good.”(pg. 81)

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER in his book GENESIS IN SPACE AND TIME:

states: 

God’s Judgment on Man and Nature 

As God speaks to the parties involved at this moment of history, we find four steps in his judgment of their action. First, he speaks to the serpent who has been used by Satan: “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above [from among] all cattle, and above [from among] every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life” (v. 14). As we shall see, all nature becomes abnormal yet the serpent is singled out in a special way “from among all cattle.’”

Second, in verse 15 he speaks to Satan; we will return to that.

Third, he speaks to the woman: “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pain [this is more accurate than the King James word sorrow] and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” There are two parts here: the first relates to the womanness of the woman-the bearing of children-and the second to her relationship to her husband. In regard to the former, God says that he will multiply two things-not just the pain but also the conception. It seems clear that if man had not rebelled there would not have been as many children born.

In regard to the relationship to her husband, he says, “And thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” This one sentence puts an end to any pure democracy. In a fallen world pure democracy is not possible. Rather, God brings structure into the primary relationship of man-the man-woman relationship. In a fallen world (in every kind of society-big and smalland in every relationship) structure is needed for order. God himself here imposes it on the basic human relationship. Form is given and without such form freedom would only be chaos.

It is not simply because man is stronger that he is to have dominion (that’s the argument of the Marquis de Sade). But rather he is to have dominion because God gives this as structure in the midst of a fallen world. The Bible makes plain that this relationship is not to be without love. As the New Testament puts it, the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:23). In a fallen world it is not surprising to find that men have turned this structure into a kind of slavery. It is not meant to be a slavery. In fact, it is in cultures where the Bible has been influential that the balance has been substantially restored. The Bible balances the structure and the love.

Nevertheless, it is still true: Since the Fall what God. says in verse 16 is to be the structure or the form of the basic human relationship-the man-woman relationship. It is right that a woman should feel a need for freedom, a feeling of being a “human being” in the world. But when she tries to smash the structure of this basic relationship, finally what she does is to hurt herself. It is like unravelling the knot that holds the string of human relationships together. All other things flow from it-the loss of her own children’s obedience and the crumbling of society about her. In a fallen world we need structure in every social relationship.

The Abnormal Universe 

Fourth, God speaks to the man: “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil [the word sorrow in the King James is inaccurate] shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life” (v. 17). In other words, at this point the external world is changed.

It is interesting that almost all of the results of God’s judgment because of man’s rebellion relate in some way to the external world. They are not just bound up in man’s thought life; they are not merely psychological. Profound changes make the external, objective world abnormal. In the phrase for thy sake God is relating these external abnormalities to what Adam has done in the Fall.

All of these changes came about by fiat. Creation, as we have already seen, came by fiat. And, though we have come to the conclusion of creation with the creation of Eve, yet fiat has not ceased. The abnormality of the external world was brought about by fiat. Putting it into twentieth-century terminology, we can say this: The universe does not display a uniformity of cause and effect in a closed system; God speaks and something changes. We are reminded here of the long arguments that date back to the time of Lyell and Darwin concerning whether there could be such a thing as catastrophe-something that cut across the uniformity of cause and effect. Scripture answers this plainly: Yes, God spoke and that which he had created was changed.

So now the earth itself is abnormal. We read, for example, in Genesis 5:29, which speaks of the world before the flood: “And he [Noah’s father] called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.” The name Noah itself simply means rest or comfort. The Scripture says that at this point in the flow of biblical history men knew very well that the toil of their hands was a result of God’s having changed the earth.

Why is it like this? Because, one might say, you, O unprogrammed and significant Adam, have revolted. Nature has been under your dominion (in this sense it is as an extension of himself, as a king’s empire is an extension of himself). Therefore, when you changed, God changed the objective, external world. It as well as you is now abnormal.

It is interesting that in each of the steps of God’s judgment toil is involved: The serpent goes upon his belly; the woman has pain in childbirth; the man has toil in his work.

Verse 18 continues: “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.” The word thistles here means luxuriously-growing but useless plants. The phrase it shall bring forth to thee has in the Hebrew the sense of “it shall be caused to bud.” This phrase, therefore, suggests that here, too, the change was wrought by fiat. Furthermore, the phrase suggests the modern biological term mutation, a non-sterile sport. That is, the plants had been one kind of thing and were reproducing likewise, and then God spoke and the plants began to bring forth something else and continue to reproduce in that new and different form.

The introduction of toil does not mean the introduction of work, because in Genesis 2:15, as we have seen, God took man and put him in the Garden of Eden “to dress it and to keep it.” There was work before the Fall, but certainly we can see the force of the distinction before and after the Fall, in the language of Genesis 5:29, where labor is called the “toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.” Since the whole structure of the external world has changed, the meaning of work has changed. Thus Genesis 3:19 says: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till [the concept of “until” is important here] thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

The results are twofold. First, man shall have his food (and all else) by the sweat of his brow. Second, there is an end to this-an end that is not a release. The end is the greatest abnormality in the external world-the dissolution of the total man. A time will come at the end of each man’s life when he physically dies and the unity of man the unity of body and soul-is torn asunder. Christianity is not platonic; the soul is not considered all-important. Rather, at physical death that unity which man is meant to be is fractured. This is the second kind of death brought about by the Fall, the first being immediate separation from fellowship with God and the third being eternal death as men are judged in their rebellion and separated from God forever.

Christianity as a system does not begin with Christ as Savior, but with the infinite-personal God who created the world in the beginning and who made man significant in the flow of history. And man’s significant act in revolt has made the world abnormal. Thus there is not a total unbroken continuity back to the way the world originally was. Non-Christian philosophers almost universally agree in seeing everything as normal, assuming things are as they have always been. The Christian sees things now as not the way they have always been. And, of course, this is very important to the explanation of evil in the world. But it is not only that. It is one way to understand the distinction between the naturalistic, non-Christian answers (whether spoken in philosophic, scientific or even religious language) and the Christian answer. The distinction is that as I look about me I know I live in an abnormal world

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The Family Project > Blog > The Fall: Four Deaths

The Fall: Four Deaths

The Entombment

by Glenn Stanton

Most Christians – and even many non-believers – know that the Fall brought death to mankind and the earth. But as Francis Schaeffer explains in his book Genesis in Space and Time, there were actually four kinds of death introduced into creation at the Fall. As a result, we all face and are crippled by them:

  1. Death between man and God. Man and God are no longer intimate. This alienation is what the rest of God’s story is about – the consequences of it and God’s seemingly unending work to make things right, to make a way for us back to Him through His unending grace.
  2. Death between man and himself. We all have fear. We are insecure. We doubt ourselves and feel shame about who we are and what we do. We often don’t think we are worth loving, either by ourselves or by others. Much of the psychosis that humans suffer is due to their inability to come to terms with and live with themselves. The Fall has created a great chasm there. In fact, the great Christian thinker Blaise Pascal said the primary trouble with man is that he cannot live quietly within himself. He is not comfortable there. He seeks to avoid this with busyness and diversions of every kind.
  3. Death with others. Schaeffer calls this the “sociological separation.” We do not relate with others as we were intended to. We mistrust, we are shy, we use others. These are things the virtuous person must always be mindful of, for they are more natural to us than their opposites.
  4. Death between man and the earth. Being banished from the garden, man’s relationship with the earth and nature now shows the signs of decay. We must struggle with and against it to get what we need and what had originally been designed to come naturally. We harvest by the sweat of our brow and ache in our shoulders, arms and backs. Our relationship to God’s physical creation is deeply marred

Schaeffer beautifully states, “The simple fact is that in wanting to be what man as a creature could not be, man lost what he could be.

But it will not remain this way. The good news of where God’s story is going and His “fix” is found in Revelation 21:5.

.

Glenn Stanton is the director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and the co-author/co-creator of The Family Project, as well as the co-author (w/Leon Wirth) of The Family Projectbook.

From the account in Genesis, we discover that death is something that is abnormal – it was never God’s original intention or design. Death came as a result of the choice of the first human pair to commit sin. Humans were created to live, not to die. Death came as a result of judgment for sin. 

Summary

1. In the original creation of God there was no death. Everything was perfect. 

2. God warned Adam and Eve that disobedience to His commandment would result in their death. 

3. Satan, the tempter, enticed Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. 

4. After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit God pronounced judgment upon them. This judgment included death. 

5. Death was passed on to all humans as a judgment for the sin of Adam and Eve. 

6. Death, therefore, is something abnormal. God created humans to live, not die.

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