Monthly Archives: June 2022

John Stossel takes up for Babylon Bee and notes “Even a few left-leaning comedians like Ricky Gervais and Dave Chappelle are mocking the intolerant left!”

The Woke Zone Trilogy

John Stossel takes up for Babylon Bee and notes “Even a few left-leaning comedians like Ricky Gervais and Dave Chappelle are mocking the intolerant left!”

Late night hosts like Stephen Colbert, seen speaking during the Montclair Film Festival on Oct. 23, passionately defend leftists to the point of lecturing, rather than providing comedic relief. (Photo: Manny Carabel/Getty Images)

A woman tells the cop who stopped her in a carpool lane she’s allowed to drive there because her pronouns are “they” and “them.”

That’s from a video by a conservative Christian satire site called the Babylon Bee. Their humor gets millions of views.

“Christian conservatives used to … be very dour and self-serious,” says Bee editor-in-chief Kyle Mann in my new video.

Today, he says, it’s the left who are self-serious. “They’re the ones that have trouble laughing at themselves.”

For example, late night hosts like Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert passionately defend COVID-19 vaccines.

“It is a lecture,” complains Mann.

“The left used to be anti-establishment,” adds Bee actress Chandler Juliet. Now, she says, ‘They’ve become the blob. … We’re super happy to be leading the comedic conversation on the right.”

One Babylon Bee video, “The Woke Zone,” makes fun of the way the media ignored violence and arson during the George Floyd protests.

“Do you ever feel gratitude to the left that they give you so much material?” I ask.

“We have to write things that are funnier than things they’re actually doing,” Mann responds. “That makes our job very difficult.”

One Bee sketch portrays its writers struggling to find new material.

“John Kerry warns that the war in Ukraine might distract from climate change!” suggests one.

Can’t do it, explains another. “It actually happened.” Yes, Kerry really did say that.

“Cosmo magazine features a morbidly obese woman on the cover as the picture of health” and, “Math professor says ‘two plus two equals four’ is racist!” are among other ideas that can’t be used as jokes.

“A math professor really said two plus two equals four is racist?” I ask.

It’s “a colonialist, white supremacist idea,” explains Mann.

Today the Bee reaches more people than The Onion. The establishment doesn’t like that, so some people actually sic so-called fact checkers on the Bee.

One article fact-checked by Snopes was titled, “Bernie Sanders Vows To Round Up Remaining ISIS Members, Allow Them To Vote.”

“Does Snopes not understand that you’re making jokes?” I ask.

“I think that they know what our intention is,” answers Juliet. “They just don’t like us.”

Recently, Twitter banned the Bee. Their offense was tweeting an article that named Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine “Babylon Bee’s Man of the Year.”

Levine is a transgender woman. Calling her the man of the year is a joke I wouldn’t make. But it doesn’t need to be censored.

Twitter says they’ll allow the Bee back on the platform only if they delete the tweet. Mann says he won’t.

“Twitter has the capability to just delete the tweet themselves. They want us to bend the knee and be the ones to click, ‘Yes, we acknowledge hateful conduct.’ We’re not going to do that.”

Today, a lot of comedians attract sizable audiences by mocking the left. Some I found funny are JP Sears, Ryan Long and FreedomToons.

The culture is changing.

The highest rating late-night comic these days is often not Colbert, Kimmel or Fallon, but Greg Gutfeld of Fox.

Even a few left-leaning comedians like Ricky Gervais and Dave Chappelle are mocking the intolerant left.

“I talk about AIDS, famine, cancer, the Holocaust, rape, pedophilia … the one thing you mustn’t joke about is identity politics,” says Gervais in his recent Netflix special.

Professional media critics trashed him for that. But the special was hugely popular with the public.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are revealing. Critics gave Gervais’ special a 29% rating, calling it “terribly unfunny” and “a detestable combination of smug and obtuse.”

Viewers gave it a 92% rating.

The same is true of Chapelle’s latest special, “The Closer.” Critics give it just 40%. The audience gives it 95%.

Clearly, many people are tired of smug, condescending humor.

I’m glad the Babylon Bee, and others, give us an alternative.

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After Life 2 – Man identifies as an 8 year old girl

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After Life on Netflix

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Before I get into the fine article by Brendan O’Neill which I present in its entirety, I wanted to quote Francis Schaeffer who spent his life examining the humanism that now Ricky Gervais embraces!

All humans have moral motions and that is why Ricky Gervais knows it is wrong to let biological men use ladies’ bathrooms!!!!!!

Francis Schaffer in his book THE GOD WHO IS THERE addresses these same issues:

“[in Christianity] there is a sufficient basis for morals. Nobody has ever discovered a way of having real “morals” without a moral absolute. If there is no moral absolute, we are left with hedonism (doing what I like) or some form of the social contract theory (what is best for society as a a hole is right). However, neither of these alternative corresponds to the moral motions that men have. Talk to people long enough and deeply enough, and you will find that they consider some things are really right and something are really wrong. Without absolutes, morals as morals cease to exist, and humanistic mean starting from himself is unable to find the absolute he needs. But because the God of the Bible is there, real morals exist. Within this framework I can say one action is right and another wrong, without talking nonsense.” 117

Francis Schaeffer in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

Brendan O’Neill

Ricky Gervais is guilty of blasphemy

He has mocked identity politics – the god of our times

I have long thought that if Life of Brian came out today, it wouldn’t be Christians kicking up a fuss about it — it would be trans activists.

When Monty Python’s classic tale of a man mistaken for a Messiah came to cinemas in 1979, people of faith weren’t happy. They saw it as taking the mick out of Christ and they aired their displeasure noisily. Nuns in New York picketed cinemas. In Ireland the film was banned for eight years.

In 2022 I reckon it would be a very different story. It wouldn’t be Monty Python’s ribbing of the gospels that would outrage the chattering classes — it would be their mockery of trans people.

Life of Brian was way ahead of time. It was Terf before Terf was even a thing. There is a brilliantly observed scene in which Stan of the People’s Front of Judea — or is it the Judean People’s Front? — says he wants to become Loretta.

‘I want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all to call me Loretta’, says Stan, played by Eric Idle. When the others push back and say he can’t just become a woman, he says: ‘It’s my right as a man.’ Which was remarkably perspicacious.

‘I want to have babies’, says Stan / Loretta. ‘You can’t have babies! You haven’t got a womb!’, barks John Cleese’s Reg. Transphobic or what? To calm things down, Francis (Michael Palin) says they should accept Stan’s desire to be Loretta as being ‘symbolic of our struggle against oppression’. ‘Symbolic of his struggle against reality…’ Reg mutters.

——

Imagine if a film or TV show did something like that today. Showed an aspiring ‘trans woman’ being mocked for not having the right body parts to be a woman. Showed a man who wants to be a woman being told — for laughs, remember — that the only thing he’s struggling against is reality.

The cancel-culture mob would kick into action. There’d be a Change.org petition, maybe even a physical protest outside the offices of the production company or streaming service that was foolish enough to broadcast such trans-poking humour. ‘Jokes kill!’, we would be told, day and night.

Hell, JK Rowling can’t even very politely say ‘men aren’t women’ without being subjected to weeks of hatred and violent threats — so heaven help the film company that tried to air a Stan / Loretta skit in these febrile times.

This week, my theory about Life of Brianin 2022 was kind of proven right. For we had the pretty extraordinary sight of Ricky Gervais getting a very free ride for his God-mocking while being dragged into the Twitter stocks for his gags about trans issues.

In his new Netflix special SuperNature, Gervais vents his atheistic spleen. The Christian God is cruel and perverted, he says. Those Christian fundamentalists who believe Aids is the Almighty’s way of punishing gay sex clearly believe in a God who’s up in heaven thinking, ‘I’m sick of all this bumming’. And so just as God once said ‘Let there be light’, according to Gervais in the 1980s He said, ‘Let there be Aids’. What a rotter.

This isn’t the first time Gervais has made fun of God and those who believe in him. He’s famously an atheist. He talks about it all the time. (Rather too much, in my view.) But God-bashing is fine these days. Cool, even. Christians tend to take it in their stride. Believers have mostly kept their counsel following Gervais’s latest mockery of their wicked, ridiculous God.

The same cannot be said of trans activists and their allies. Not even remotely. They have responded with fury to Gervais’s blasphemy against the new god of genderfluidity.

He’s been called all the usual names. Transphobe, Terf, bigot. His crime? Choosing not to adhere to the ideology of transgenderism, daring to dissent from that pseudo-religious mantra we are all now pressured into saying: ‘Trans women are women.’

What’s funny about this spittle-flecked response to Gervais’s trans jokes is that he was really only saying what trans activists themselves have said. He had a bit on ‘old-fashioned women’ — ‘you know, the ones with wombs’ — complaining about born males using their bathrooms. ‘What if he rapes me?’, these women say. To which Gervais, playing the trans activist, responds: ‘What if she rapes you, you… Terf whore.’

Cutting, yes. But also incredibly accurate. Some police forces and courts do indeed refer to rapists as ‘she’ and ‘her’, if that’s how they identify. And, as feminists have pointed out, this results in rape victims being pressured to refer to their rapist with female pronouns. As for the language, anyone who has spent more than five minutes online in recent years will know that that kind of thing is said to gender-critical women all the time.

Like all great blasphemous comics, Gervais is merely shining a light on things that really are said, and things which really do happen, and inviting us, his audience, to laugh and say: ‘Yeah, that is kind of ridiculous.’ Much as Monty Python did with the Bible, in fact.

But, say Gervais’s humourless critics, while the likes of Monty Python were punching up — against God, no less — Gervais is punching down, against vulnerable, marginalised trans people. I don’t buy this at all. Gervais has made it clear that he fully supports rights for trans people. His issue is with the excesses of trans activism and the authoritarianism of identity politics more broadly.

‘I talk about Aids, famine, cancer, the Holocaust, rape, paedophilia’, he says in SuperNature. ‘But no, the one thing you mustn’t joke about is identity politics.’

Absolutely. And that’s because identitarianism is the god of our times. It’s the new religion of the elites, their means of controlling and reprimanding the masses. Ridiculing identity politics is to the 21st century what questioning the authority of God was to the 15th. The woke rage against Gervais really does echo earlier outbursts of intolerant religious fury against anyone who dared to dissent from the Word of God.

A.F. Branco for Jan 12, 2022

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Dennett wearing a button-up shirt and a jacket

I was referred this subject by a tweet by Daniel Dennett which referenced a fine article by Robyn E. Blumner in defense of her boss at the RICHARD DAWKINS FOUNDATION and you can read my response at this link.
Richard Dawkins Cooper Union Shankbone.jpg

Ricky Gervais is a secular humanist just like his good friend Richard Dawkins and it is the humanists who have bought into this trans-identity politics and as a result the AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION has stripped Dawkins of his 1996 HUMANIST OF THE YEAR award.

As an evangelical I have had the opportunity to correspond with more more secular humanists that have signed the Humanist Manifestos than any other evangelical alive (at least that has been one of my goals since reading Francis Schaeffer’s books and watching his films since 1979).

Not everyone I have corresponded with is a secular humanist but  many are the top scientists and atheist thinkers of today and hold this same secular views. Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names  included are  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), (Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), and Michael Martin (1932-), Harry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton(1922-), Martin Rees (1942-), Alan Macfarlane (1941-),  Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), Thomas H. Jukes(1906-1999) and  Ray T. Cragun (1976-). 

Let me make a few points about Ricky personally and then a few about this comedy routine by the secular humanist Ricky Gervais.

Notice below in AFTER LIFE how he suspects Anne of being a Christian when she tells him “We are not just here for us. We are here for others,“

After Life Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais and Penelope Wilton in ‘After Life’ (CREDIT: Netflix)

(Above) Tony (played by Ricky) and Anne on the bench at the graveyard where their spouses are buried.

In the fourth episode of season 1 of AFTER LIFE is the following discussion between Anne and Tony:

Tony: My brother-in-law wants me to try dating again.
Anne: Oh excellent! You need some tips.
Tony: why would I need some tips?

Anne: I imagine you are awful with women…Well all men are awful with women but grumpy selfish ones are the worst.

Tony: Let me take notes. This is dynamite.

Tony: I would just be honest. Tell them my situation and tell them what I am going through. Be honest up front.
Anne: So it is all about you then?

Tony: I can’t win can I? I don’t want to date again. I don’t want to live without Lisa.

Anne: But is not just about you is it? That is what I am saying. What if a nice date made her feel good? That might feel nice right? We are just here for us. We are here for others.

Tony: I don’t do the whole God thing I am afraid.

Anne: Neither do I. It is a load of rubbish. All we got is each other. We have to help each other struggle until we die then we are done. No point in felling sorry for ourselves and making everyone else unhappy too. Might as [kill] yourself if you feel that bad.
Tony: Are you sure you want to work for the Samaritans?

Christ came to this world and his followers have changed this world for the better more than any other group that ever existed. When Anne makes the assertions, “But is not just about you is it? That is what I am saying. What if a nice date made her feel good? That might feel nice right? We are not just here for us. We are here for others,” Tony assumes she is a Christian.

If you found yourself in a dark alley late at night, with a group of rough-looking, burly young men walking swiftly toward you, would you feel better knowing they were coming from a Bible study?

If we are only cosmic accidents, how can there be any meaning in our lives? If this is true, which it is in an atheistic world view, our lives are for nothing. It would not matter in the slightest bit if I ever existed. This is why the atheist, if honest and consistent, must face death with despair. Their life is for nothing. Once they are gone, they are gone forever.

I highly recommend Ricky Gervais series AFTER LIFE which is running on NETFLIX because it reminds me of King Solomon trying to find meaning in life UNDER THE SUN without God in the picture!!!

God put Solomon’s story in Ecclesiastes in the Bible with the sole purpose of telling people like Ricky that without God in the picture you  will find out the emptiness one feels when possessions are trying to fill the void that God can only fill.

Then in the last chapter of Ecclesiastes Solomon returns to looking above the sun and he says that obeying the Lord is the proper way to live your life. 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. If you need more evidence then go to You Tube and watch the short video:

NOW TO RICKY’S COMEDY:

Brendan O’Neill noted above:

‘I want to have babies’, says Stan / Loretta. ‘You can’t have babies! You haven’t got a womb!’, barks John Cleese’s Reg. Transphobic or what? To calm things down, Francis (Michael Palin) says they should accept Stan’s desire to be Loretta as being ‘symbolic of our struggle against oppression’. ‘Symbolic of his struggle against reality…’ Reg mutters….

He’s been called all the usual names. Transphobe, Terf, bigot. His crime? Choosing not to adhere to the ideology of transgenderism, daring to dissent from that pseudo-religious mantra we are all now pressured into saying: ‘Trans women are women.’

What’s funny about this spittle-flecked response to Gervais’s trans jokes is that he was really only saying what trans activists themselves have said. He had a bit on ‘old-fashioned women’ — ‘you know, the ones with wombs’ — complaining about born males using their bathrooms. ‘What if he rapes me?’, these women say. To which Gervais, playing the trans activist, responds: ‘What if she rapes you, you… Terf whore.’

Ricky  is trying to use common sense (through sarcasm) on people that “GOD GAVE…OVER to depraved [minds]. Romans 1 states:

26 For this reason (M)GOD GAVE THEM OVER  to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural…

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, GOD GAVE THEM OVER to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are…inventors of evil,

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Francis Schaeffer.jpg

Francis Schaeffer later in this blog post discusses what the unbelievers in Romans 1 were rejecting, but first John MacArthur discusses what the unbelievers in the Democratic Party today are affirming and how these same activities were condemned 2000 years ago in Romans 1.

Christians Cannot And MUST Not Vote Democrat – John MacArthur

A Democrat witness testifying before the HouseJudiciary Committee on abortion rights Thursday declared that men can get pregnant and have abortions. This reminds of Romans chapter 1 and also John MacArthur’s commentary on the 2022 Agenda of the Democratic Party:

25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…26 For this reason (M)GOD GAVE THEM OVER  to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, GOD GAVE THEM OVER to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are…inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Here is what John MacArthur had to say:

Now, all of a sudden, not only is this characteristic of our nation, but we now promote it. One of the parties, the Democratic Party, has now made Romans 1, the sins of Romans 1, their agenda. What God condemns, they affirm.

I know from last week’s message that there was some response from people who said, “Why are you getting political?”

Romans 1 is not politics. This has to do with speaking the Word of God through the culture in which we live….it’s about iniquity and judgment. And why do we say this? Because this must be recognized for what it is–sin, serious sin, damning sin, destructive sin.

Dem witness tells House committee men can get pregnant, have abortions

‘I believe that everyone can identify for themselves,’ Aimee Arrambide tells House Judiciary Committee

Aimee Arrambide, the executive director of the abortion rights nonprofit Avow Texas, was asked by Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., to define what “a woman is,” to which she responded, “I believe that everyone can identify for themselves.”
“Do you believe that men can become pregnant and have abortions?” Bishop asked.

“Yes,” Arrambide replied.

The remarks from Arrambide followed a tense exchange between Bishop and Dr. Yashica Robinson, another Democrat witness, after he similarly asked her to define “woman.”

Aimee Arrambide testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on May 11, 2020.  (YouTube screenshot)

Aimee Arrambide testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on May 11, 2020.  (YouTube screenshot) (Screenshot/ House Committee on the Judiciary)

“Dr. Robinson, I noticed in your written testimony you said that you use she/her pronouns. You’re a medical doctor – what is a woman?” Bishop asked Robinson, an OBGYN and board member with Physicians for Reproductive Health.

“I think it’s important that we educate people like you about why we’re doing the things that we do,” Robinson responded. “And so the reason that I use she and her pronouns is because I understand that there are people who become pregnant that may not identify that way. And I think it is discriminatory to speak to people or to call them in such a way as they desire not to be called.”

“Are you going to answer my question? Can you answer the question, what’s a woman?” Bishop asked.

Donna Howard and Aimee Arrambide speaks at Making Virtual Storytelling and Activism Personal during the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 14, 2022 in Austin, Texas.

Donna Howard and Aimee Arrambide speaks at Making Virtual Storytelling and Activism Personal during the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 14, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Hubert Vestil/Getty Images for SXSW)

“I’m a woman, and I will ask you which pronouns do you use?” Robinson replied. “If you tell me that you use she and her pronouns … I’m going to respect you for how you want me to address you.”

“So you gave me an example of a woman, you say that you are a woman, can you tell me otherwise what a woman is?” Bishop asked.

“Yes, I’m telling you, I’m a woman,” Robinson responded.

“Is that as comprehensive a definition as you can give me?” Bishop asked.

“That’s as comprehensive a definition as I will give you today,” Robinson said. “Because I think that it’s important that we focus on what we’re here for, and it’s to talk about access to abortion.”

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“So you’re not interested in answering the question that I asked unless it’s part of a message you want to deliver…” Bishop fired back.

Wednesday’s hearing, titled, “Revoking your Rights,” addressed the threat to abortion rights after the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion signaled the high court is poised to soon strike down Roe v. Wade.
John MacArthur explains God’s Wrath on unrighteousness from Romans Chapt…

First is what Romans says:

Romans 1:18-32

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Unbelief and Its Consequences

18 For (A)the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who (B)suppress the truth [a]in unrighteousness, 19 because (C)that which is known about God is evident [b]within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For (D)since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, (E)being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not [c]honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became (F)futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 (G)Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and (H)exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and [d]crawling creatures.

24 Therefore (I)God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be (J)dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for [e]a (K)lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, (L)who is blessed [f]forever. Amen.

26 For this reason (M)God gave them over to (N)degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is [g]unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, (O)men with men committing [h]indecent acts and receiving in [i]their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit [j]to acknowledge God any longer, (P)God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are (Q)gossips, 30 slanderers, [k](R)haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, (S)disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, (T)unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of (U)death, they not only do the same, but also (V)give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Here is what John MacArthur had to say:

Now, all of a sudden, not only is this characteristic of our nation, but we now promote it. One of the parties, the Democratic Party, has now made Romans 1, the sins of Romans 1, their agenda. What God condemns, they affirm. What God punishes, they exalt. Shocking, really. The Democratic Party has become the anti-God party, the sin-promoting party. By the way, there are seventy-two million registered Democrats in this country who have identified themselves with that party and maybe they need to rethink that identification.

I know from last week’s message that there was some response from people who said, “Why are you getting political?”

Romans 1 is not politics. The Bible is not politics. This has nothing to do with politics. This has to do with speaking the Word of God through the culture in which we live. It has nothing to do with politics. It’s not about personalities; it’s about iniquity and judgment. And why do we say this? Because this must be recognized for what it is–sin, serious sin, damning sin, destructive sin.

WHAT HAS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY REJECTED? THE ANSWER IS THE GOD WHO HAS REVEALED HIM SELF THROUGH THE BOOK OF NATURE AND THE BOOK OF SCRIPTURE!

God Is There And He Is Not Silent
Psalm 19
Intro. 1) Francis Schaeffer lived from 1912-1984. He was one of the Christian
intellectual giants of the 20th century. He taught us that you could be a Christian and not abandon the mind. One of the books he wrote was entitled He Is There And He Is Not Silent. In that work he makes a crucial and thought provoking statement, “The infinite- personal God is there, but also he is not silent; that changes the whole world…He is there and is not a silent, nor far-off God.” (Works of F.S., Vol 1, 276).
2) God is there and He is not silent. In fact He has revealed Himself to us in 2 books: the book of nature and the book of Scripture. Francis Bacon, a 15th century scientist who is credited by many with developing the scientific method said it this way: “There are 2 books laid before us to study, to prevent us from falling into error: first the volume to the Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then the volume of the creation, which expresses His power.”
3) Psalm 19 addresses both of God’s books, the book of nature in vs 1-6 and the book of Scripture in vs. 7-14. Described as a wisdom Psalm, its beauty, poetry and splendor led C.S. Lewis to say, “I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world” (Reflections on the Psalms, 63).
Trans. God is there and He is not silent. How should we hear and listen to the God who talks?
I. Listen To God Speak Through Nature 19:1-6
God has revealed himself to ever rational human on the earth in two ways: 1) nature and 2) conscience. We call this natural or general revelation. In vs. 1-6 David addresses the wonder of nature and creation.

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 5 | Truth and History

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Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality (Selected Scriptures) John MacArthur Published on Sep 30, 2012 by JohnMacArthurGTY http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-448 What a privilege and joy it is to worship the Lord here at Grace Church. Patricia and I miss it when we’re not here. There’s no place like this. Our hearts are full to overflowing to be […]

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

Prophecy–The Biblical Prophesy About Tyre.mp4 Uploaded by TruthIsLife7 on Dec 5, 2010 A short summary of the prophecy about Tyre and it’s precise fulfillment. Go to this link and watch the whole series for the amazing fulfillment from secular sources. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvt4mDZUefo ________________ John MacArthur on the amazing fulfilled prophecy on Tyre and how it was fulfilled […]

Did God kill someone that I knew? What does I John 5:14-17 mean?

1 John 5:14-17 New American Standard Bible (NASB) 14 This is (A)the confidence which we have [a]before Him, that, (B)if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, (C)we know that we have the requests which we have asked from […]

Dan Mitchell notes, “Allison Schrager of the Manhattan Institute wrote for the City Journal that Biden is on the wrong side and that his mistake, along with others, is failing to understand that so-called stakeholders benefit when companies are profitable!”

Shareholders Over Stakeholders, Part II

In Part I, I warned that “stakeholder capitalism” is not just empty virtue signaling. Some advocates are using the concept to promote a statist agenda.

For Part II, let’s start with this video.

The main message of the video is that ethical profitsare good for shareholders, but also good for everyone else (the supposed stakeholders).

By contrast, companies that don’t prioritize profits wind up hurting workers and consumers, not just the company’s owners (i.e., shareholders).

Let’s dig deeper into this topic.

Stakeholder theory reflects the more interventionist approach of continental Europe’s “civil law” while the shareholder approach is more consistent with the “common law” approach of the Anglosphere (the United Kingdom and many of its former colonies, including the United States).

That’s a key observation in Samuel Gregg’s columnfor Law & Liberty, which reviews a book by Professor Nadia E. Nedzel.

…stakeholder theory reinforces continental European rule through law inclinations and vice-versa, not least because of shared hard-communitarian foundations. …Such goals undermine the ability of corporations to produce prosperity. An emphasis on stability and maintaining levels of employment, for instance, exacts a cost in terms of organizational dynamism, not least by discouraging risk-taking and entrepreneurship.…Without such adjustments, however, a business will become complacent and uncompetitive. Eventually it will disappear, along with all the jobs once provided by the business. Likewise, if boards of directors are not focused on delivering shareholder value because profit is considered only one of many company objectives, a decline in earnings is sure to follow. …To the extent that stakeholder theory draws upon hard-communitarian principles which it shares with continental European rule through law models, it risks undermining already fragile commitments to rule of law in America and elsewhere. That’s just one more reason to shore up the priority of shareholder interests throughout corporate America. These priorities help explain the weaker economic performance of many corporations in civil law jurisdictions compared to those businesses located primarily in the Anglo-American sphere.

Allison Schrager of he Manhattan Institute wrote for the City Journal that Biden is on the wrong side and that his mistake, along with others, is failing to understand that so-called stakeholders benefit when companies are profitable.

…one thing that stood out was Biden’s vow to “put an end to the era of shareholder capitalism.” …disdain for the notion that a corporation’s primary objective is to maximize value for its shareholders has united the disparate likes of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and the Davos/Larry Fink crowd. It’s no surprise that Joe Biden is against it, too. …Maximizing shareholder value…does not create conflicts between different stakeholders, because economic success is not zero-sum. …long-term success requires happy and loyal employees, a healthy relationship with the community, and a thriving environment.

In a column for the Wall Street Journal, Lucian A. Bebchuk and Roberto Tallarita shared their research showing that CEOs who pontificate about stakeholders don’t actually change their behavior.

…we dug deeper, investigating an array of corporate documents for the 136 public U.S. companies whose CEOs signed the statement. …we found evidence that the signatory CEOs didn’t intend to make any significant changes to how they do business. …We’ve identified almost 100 signatory companies that updated their corporate governance guidelines by the end of 2020. We found that the companies that made updates generally didn’t add any language that elevates the status of stakeholders, and most of them reaffirmed governance principles supporting shareholder primacy. …We also found that about 85% of the signatory companies didn’t even mention joining the “historic” statement in their proxy statements sent to shareholders the following year. Among the 19 companies that did mention it, none indicated that joining the statement would cause any changes to how they treat stakeholders.

Speaking of insincere hypocrites, that’s a good description of the Davos crowd. Matthew Lesh of the Adam Smith Institute wrote about their trendy support for stakeholders in a column for CapX.

…the man behind the World Economic Forum has declared that Covid warrants a ‘Great Reset’. With tedious predictability, Klaus Schwab’s bogeymen are the twin menaces of “neoliberal ideology” and “free market fundamentalism”. …he’s also calling for a “stakeholder model of corporate capitalism”… But it’s an idea based on a false dichotomy. A business that fails to return a profit to its shareholders cannot do anything for its other stakeholders,such as providing useful products to customers, paying its staff, procuring from suppliers… Delivering for shareholders is ultimately indivisible from benefiting your other ‘stakeholders’ because you can’t do one without the other. …Shivaram Rajgopal of Columbia Business School has found that top European companies who brandish their social and environmental credentials do no better in these criteria than American companies. But the European firms are much worse at ensuring good corporate governance. For example, worker representation on Germany’s supervisory boards has often meant worker representatives teaming up with managers to push against new technology and methods. In the longer run, this undermines returns to shareholders, but also means poorer products for customers, lower salaries for employees.

The bottom line is that there are lots of misguided attacks against capitalism, but none of the criticismschange the fact that free enterpriseis the only system to ever deliver mass prosperity to ordinary people.

And that’s true even if big companies don’t support the system that enabled their very existence (perhaps because they fear they will got knocked from their perch by the the forces of “creative destruction“).

P.S. Just like yesterday, I can’t resist adding this postscript about the left-leaning executive who thought he was rejecting Milton Friedman, but actually did exactly as Friedman recommended.

File:President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in The East Room Congratulating Milton Friedman Receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom.jpg

Shareholders Over Stakeholders, Part I

My warm and fuzzy feelings for “capitalism” turn sour when someone promotes a modified version such as “common-good capitalism.”

Why? Because I worry such terms imply a Trojan Horse for statism. And that’s definitely the case with so-called “stakeholder capitalism.”

As you can see, my core argument is that stakeholder capitalism is just another way of saying cronyism. And if I was being lazy, I would simply point out that Elizabeth Warren is a big proponent of the idea. That, by itself, should convince every thinking person that it’s a bad idea.

But I’m not going to be lazy. I’m going to cite some experts to show why stakeholder capitalism is bad news.

But first, I mentioned Milton Friedman’s famous quote in the above video clip.

Here’s the full quote, and notice that he explicitly says companies should follow rules – both legal and ethical – as they pursue profits.

Friedman was advocating what is sometimes referred to as “shareholder capitalism,” which is the notion that a company should strive to earn honest profits for its owners.

So what, then is stakeholder capitalism? In a columnfor the Wall Street Journal, Professor Alexander William Salter warns us that it is an invitation for intervention.

…beneath the lofty rhetoric, stakeholder capitalism is mostly a front for irresponsible corporatism. …Stakeholder capitalism is used as a way to obfuscate what counts as success in business. By focusing less on profits and more on vague social values, “enlightened” executives will find it easierto avoid accountability even as they squander business resources. While trying to make business about “social justice” is always concerning, the contemporary conjunction of stakeholder theory and woke capitalism makes for an especially dangerous and accountability-thwarting combination. …profits are an elegant and parsimonious way of promoting efficiency within a business as well as society at large. Stakeholder capitalism ruptures this process. When other goals compete with the mandate to maximize returns, the feedback loop created by profits gets weaker.

Writing for the Washington Post, George Will has a similarly scathing assessment.

…everyone who values economic dynamism, and the freedom that enables this, should recoil from the toxic noun “stakeholder.” …Stakeholder capitalism violates fiduciary laws that require those entrusted with investors’ money to employ it “solely in the interest of” and “for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to” the investors. …In a dynamic society, resources are efficiently disposed by corporate managements whose primary duty, which other corporate activities do not compromise, is to maximize shareholder value… Self-proclaimed stakeholders, parasitic off others’ labor and accumulation, assert that everything is their business.

In a column for the Wall Street Journal, Phil Gramm and Mike Solon point out that today’s stakeholder capitalism is very similar to feudalism, which was a pre-industrial form of socialism.

…because of the misery Marxism has imposed, the world has a living memory and therefore some natural immunity to a system in which government takes the commanding heights of the economy. No such immunity exists to the older and therefore more dangerous socialism of the pre-Enlightenment world. In the communal world of the Dark Ages, the worker owed fealty to crown, church, guild and village. Those “stakeholders” extracted a share of the product of the sweat of the worker’s brow and the fruits of his thrift. …The 18th-century Enlightenment liberated…people to…own the fruits of their own labor and thrift. …These Enlightenment ideas spawned the Industrial Revolution and gave birth to the modern world… Remarkably, amid the recorded successes of capitalism and failures of socialism rooted in Marxism, pre-enlightenment socialism is re-emerging in the name of stakeholder capitalism. …the biggest losers in stakeholder capitalism are workers, whose wages will be cannibalized.

Amen. The only economic system to ever produce mass prosperity for workers is capitalism (or, if you prefer, free enterprise or classical liberalism).

And the pursuit of profit is what generates efficiency, which is economic jargon for higher living standards. And that’s good for rich people and poor people.

The bottom line is that I’m not surprised when politicians support so-called stakeholder capitalism. After all, the crowd in Washington likes to have more power.

Based on what I said at the end of the above video, I’m disappointed – but not surprised – when big businesses (such as the Business Roundtable or Larry Fink of Blackrock) embrace the idea. After all, “creative destruction” is not so appealing when you’re already as the top.

P.S. I was very amused by the left-leaning CEO who criticized Friedman, but then did exactly as Friedman recommended.

This past article below from Dan Mitchell tells the story of Ronald Reagan’s successful strategy against inflation. I had a front row seat since I got to read the book and see the film FREE TO CHOOSE by Milton Friedman in 1980 who Reagan agreed with on this issue and I have included below the episode on inflation!

Ronald Reagan’s Most Under-Appreciated Triumph

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Ronald Reagan.

He’s definitely the greatest president of my lifetime and, with one possible rival, he was the greatest President of the 20th century.

If his only accomplishment was ending malaise and restoring American prosperity thanks to lower tax rates and other pro-market reforms, he would be a great President.

He also restored America’s national defenses and reoriented foreign policy, both of which led to the collapse of the Soviet Empire, a stupendous achievement that makes Reagan worthy of Mount Rushmore.

But he also has another great achievement, one that doesn’t receive nearly the level of appreciation that it deserves. President Reagan demolished the economic cancer of inflation.

Even Paul Krugman has acknowledged that reining in double-digit inflation was a major positive achievement. Because of his anti-Reagan bias, though, he wants to deny the Gipper any credit.

Robert Samuelson, in a column for the Washington Post, corrects the historical record.

Krugman recently wrote a column arguing that the decline of double-digit inflation in the 1980s was the decade’s big economic event, not the cuts in tax rates usually touted by conservatives. Actually, I agree with Krugman on this. But then he asserted that Ronald Reagan had almost nothing to do with it. That’s historically incorrect. Reagan was crucial. …Krugman’s error is so glaring.

Samuelson first provides the historical context.

For those too young to remember, here’s background. From 1960 to 1980, inflation — the general rise of retail prices — marched relentlessly upward. It went from 1.4 percent in 1960 to 5.9 percent in 1969 to 13.3 percent in 1979. The higher it rose, the more unpopular it became. …Worse, government seemed powerless to defeat it. Presidents deployed complex wage and price controls and guidelines. They didn’t work. The Federal Reserve — custodian of credit policies — veered between easy money and tight money, striving both to subdue inflation and to maintain “full employment” (taken as a 4 percent to 5 percent unemployment rate). It achieved neither. From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, there were four recessions. Inflation became a monster, destabilizing the economy.

The column then explains that there was a dramatic turnaround in the early 1980s, as Fed Chairman Paul Volcker adopted a tight-money policy and inflation was squeezed out of the system much faster than almost anybody thought was possible.

But Krugman wants his readers to think that Reagan played no role in this dramatic and positive development.

Samuelson says this is nonsense. Vanquishing inflation would have been impossible without Reagan’s involvement.

What Reagan provided was political protection. The Fed’s previous failures to stifle inflation reflected its unwillingness to maintain tight-money policies long enough… Successive presidents preferred a different approach: the wage-price policies built on the pleasing (but unrealistic) premise that these could quell inflation without jeopardizing full employment. Reagan rejected this futile path. As the gruesome social costs of Volcker’s policies mounted — the monthly unemployment rate would ultimately rise to a post-World War II high of 10.8 percent — Reagan’s approval ratings plunged. In May 1981, they were at 68 percent; by January 1983, 35 percent. Still, he supported the Fed. …It’s doubtful that any other plausible presidential candidate, Republican or Democrat, would have been so forbearing.

What’s the bottom line?

What Volcker and Reagan accomplished was an economic and political triumph. Economically, ending double-digit inflation set the stage for a quarter-century of near-automatic expansion… Politically, Reagan and Volcker showed that leaders can take actions that, though initially painful and unpopular, served the country’s long-term interests. …There was no explicit bargain between them. They had what I’ve called a “compact of conviction.”

By the way, Krugman then put forth a rather lame response to Samuelson, including the rather amazing claim that “[t]he 1980s were a triumph of Keynesian economics.”

Here’s what Samuelson wrote in a follow-up columndebunking Krugman.

As preached and practiced since the 1960s, Keynesian economics promised to stabilize the economy at levels of low inflation and high employment. By the early 1980s, this vision was in tatters, and many economists were fatalistic about controlling high inflation. Maybe it could be contained. It couldn’t be eliminated, because the social costs (high unemployment, lost output) would be too great. …This was a clever rationale for tolerating high inflation, and the Volcker-Reagan monetary onslaught demolished it. High inflation was not an intrinsic condition of wealthy democracies. It was the product of bad economic policies. This was the 1980s’ true lesson, not the contrived triumph of Keynesianism.

If anything, Samuelson is being too kind.

One of the key tenets of Keynesian economics is that there’s a tradeoff between inflation and unemployment (the so-called Phillips Curve).

Yet in the 1970s we had rising inflation and rising unemployment.

While in the 1980s, we had falling inflation and falling unemployment.

But if you’re Paul Krugman and you already have a very long list of mistakes (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for a few examples), then why not go for the gold and try to give Keynes credit for the supply-side boom of the 1980s

P.S. Since today’s topic is Reagan, it’s a good opportunity to share my favorite poll of the past five years.

P.P.S. Here are some great videos of Reagan in action. And here’s one more if you need another Reagan fix.


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.
_______________________________________________

(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.
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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.
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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.
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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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June 26, 2022 READING A PROVERB A DAY (PROVERBS 26) Who ever said Solomon didn’t have a sense of humor? Proverbs 26:13: The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road!    Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!”

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Who ever said Solomon didn’t have a sense of humor? The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road!
    Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!”

Proverbs 26 New Living Translation

26 Honor is no more associated with fools
    than snow with summer or rain with harvest.

Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,
    an undeserved curse will not land on its intended victim.

Guide a horse with a whip, a donkey with a bridle,
    and a fool with a rod to his back!

Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools,
    or you will become as foolish as they are.

Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools,
    or they will become wise in their own estimation.

Trusting a fool to convey a message
    is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison!

A proverb in the mouth of a fool
    is as useless as a paralyzed leg.

Honoring a fool
    is as foolish as tying a stone to a slingshot.

A proverb in the mouth of a fool
    is like a thorny branch brandished by a drunk.

10 An employer who hires a fool or a bystander
    is like an archer who shoots at random.

11 As a dog returns to its vomit,
    so a fool repeats his foolishness.

12 There is more hope for fools
    than for people who think they are wise.

13 The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road!
    Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!”

14 As a door swings back and forth on its hinges,
    so the lazy person turns over in bed.

15 Lazy people take food in their hand
    but don’t even lift it to their mouth.

16 Lazy people consider themselves smarter
    than seven wise counselors.

17 Interfering in someone else’s argument
    is as foolish as yanking a dog’s ears.

18 Just as damaging
    as a madman shooting a deadly weapon
19 is someone who lies to a friend
    and then says, “I was only joking.”

20 Fire goes out without wood,
    and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.

21 A quarrelsome person starts fights
    as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.

22 Rumors are dainty morsels
    that sink deep into one’s heart.

23 Smooth[a] words may hide a wicked heart,
    just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot.

24 People may cover their hatred with pleasant words,
    but they’re deceiving you.
25 They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them.
    Their hearts are full of many evils.[b]
26 While their hatred may be concealed by trickery,
    their wrongdoing will be exposed in public.

27 If you set a trap for others,
    you will get caught in it yourself.
If you roll a boulder down on others,
    it will crush you instead.

28 A lying tongue hates its victims,
    and flattering words cause ruin.

Adrian Rogers: How to Answer a Skeptic [#1534] (Audio)

How To Answer A Skeptic
Sermon Summary by Bro. Adrian Rogers
We live in a day of accelerating skepticism, humanism and scientism. We as Christians
are going to be ridiculed and made to look ignorant and uneducated because we believe
in God. Do we have sound reason for believing what we believe? Are we not worthy of
real, honest thought? How do you respond to this skepticism in this day and age in
which we live?
The Bible tells us how to respond to skeptics in 1 Peter 3:10-17, especially verse 15
which states, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an
answer to every man who ask you to give a reason of the hope that is in you, with
meekness and fear.” (As a believer, you must understand what you believe and why we
are Christians, and then be able to explain your beliefs humbly, thoughtfully,
reasonably, and biblically.)
Often we are told to keep the faith, but not only should we keep it but we need to give
it away. If you have no desire to give it away, you ought to give it up, because what you
have is not the real thing. Any man that has been born of the spirit of God, has an innate
desire to share his faith with others.
There are two things that must be true of you before you are ready to share your faith
with anybody. First, you must be Real. You are to have a full-hearted, burning,
compassionate, overflowing love for God. You are to be a zealot for the Lord Jesus.
Yours is to be a full faith, a fearless faith. Don’t let anybody intimidate you because you
are a Christian. They can hurt you but they cannot harm you, therefore don’t be afraid.
Second you must be Ready. When you live a Christian lifestyle, people will start asking
questions about you when they see something in you that cannot be explained. They
are going to want to know why you believe what you believe and why you act the way
you act. Do you know how to respond to a skeptic? There are four basic ideas to
remember as you respond to this skeptical age:
1) Forego the Folly of Fools – Some skeptics are fools, not all but some. In the Bible,
fool means someone who is morally depraved, not mentally deficient. Don’t
argue with someone who shows himself to be a fool. Give him the mind of God;
tell him what God says then go your way. In Proverbs 26:4 it says, “answer not a
fool according to his folly, less you be like unto him.” Don’t answer him; don’t get
in a debate with a fool. You won’t be able to do much with these type of people.
Also see what Jesus says about this in Mark 6:11.
2) Learn the Limits of Logic – Logic is a valuable tool but it can only carry you so far.
When you get to a chasm that logic can’t leap, then faith will have to fly. The logic
for God is found in creation and design and universal moral beliefs. It is logical to
reason that if we have a creation, we must have a Creator since nothing comes
out of nothing. Also logic tells us that if there is design in nature, there must be a
Designer; and the more complex the design, the greater the designer. The
creation found throughout the earth and universe is immensely complex and
organized. The logic of there being universally held beliefs in a moral law shared
throughout mankind also says there is a god. If anyone ever comes up to you and
says, “Prove there is a god.” Be Bold and say, “I can’t, but can you prove there is
no god?” He’ll say he can’t either. Then if he says “You just think there is a god
because it is just what you believe.” You can say, “I believe there is a god and you
believe there is no god. I have faith that there is, and you have faith that there
isn’t.” What we as Christians believe is reasonable, but it goes beyond reason.
3) Remember the Resource of Revelation –If we are to know a god, he is going to
have to reveal himself to us. The finite can never understand the infinite, unless
the infinite explains himself and reveals himself to the finite. 2 Peter 1:19-21
shows us three things about the word of God: 1) The Inspiration of the word of
God. The Bible is like no other book – it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. 2) The
Illumination of the word of God. It shines into our hearts – it enlightens us. It
reveals to us what we could not know without it. 3) The Confirmation of the
word of God. We believe not only because of what any other person has said, but
also because of what the Bible has said. The Bible is power whether you believe it
or not. It does not matter what we believe; what matters is what is true. Use the
Bible because you know it is true.
4) Fortify the Force of Faith – A Christian with a glowing testimony is worth a library
of arguments. Share what Jesus means to you and what God has done for you
and how He has changed your life. Let Jesus be real to you. Sanctify God in your
heart. Strengthen your faith by staying in contact with God through prayer,
reading and listening to His word, and sharing your faith with other believers as
well as non-believers. Your faith will be as much caught as it will be taught.
Remember 1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready
always to give an answer to everyone who ask you to give a reason of the hope
that is in you, with meekness and fear.”

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Dan Mitchell: Milton Friedman was advocating what is sometimes referred to as “shareholder capitalism,” which is the notion that a company should strive to earn honest profits for its owners!

File:President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in The East Room Congratulating Milton Friedman Receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom.jpg

Shareholders Over Stakeholders, Part I

My warm and fuzzy feelings for “capitalism” turn sour when someone promotes a modified version such as “common-good capitalism.”

Why? Because I worry such terms imply a Trojan Horse for statism. And that’s definitely the case with so-called “stakeholder capitalism.”

As you can see, my core argument is that stakeholder capitalism is just another way of saying cronyism. And if I was being lazy, I would simply point out that Elizabeth Warren is a big proponent of the idea. That, by itself, should convince every thinking person that it’s a bad idea.

But I’m not going to be lazy. I’m going to cite some experts to show why stakeholder capitalism is bad news.

But first, I mentioned Milton Friedman’s famous quote in the above video clip.

Here’s the full quote, and notice that he explicitly says companies should follow rules – both legal and ethical – as they pursue profits.

Friedman was advocating what is sometimes referred to as “shareholder capitalism,” which is the notion that a company should strive to earn honest profits for its owners.

So what, then is stakeholder capitalism? In a columnfor the Wall Street Journal, Professor Alexander William Salter warns us that it is an invitation for intervention.

…beneath the lofty rhetoric, stakeholder capitalism is mostly a front for irresponsible corporatism. …Stakeholder capitalism is used as a way to obfuscate what counts as success in business. By focusing less on profits and more on vague social values, “enlightened” executives will find it easierto avoid accountability even as they squander business resources. While trying to make business about “social justice” is always concerning, the contemporary conjunction of stakeholder theory and woke capitalism makes for an especially dangerous and accountability-thwarting combination. …profits are an elegant and parsimonious way of promoting efficiency within a business as well as society at large. Stakeholder capitalism ruptures this process. When other goals compete with the mandate to maximize returns, the feedback loop created by profits gets weaker.

Writing for the Washington Post, George Will has a similarly scathing assessment.

…everyone who values economic dynamism, and the freedom that enables this, should recoil from the toxic noun “stakeholder.” …Stakeholder capitalism violates fiduciary laws that require those entrusted with investors’ money to employ it “solely in the interest of” and “for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to” the investors. …In a dynamic society, resources are efficiently disposed by corporate managements whose primary duty, which other corporate activities do not compromise, is to maximize shareholder value… Self-proclaimed stakeholders, parasitic off others’ labor and accumulation, assert that everything is their business.

In a column for the Wall Street Journal, Phil Gramm and Mike Solon point out that today’s stakeholder capitalism is very similar to feudalism, which was a pre-industrial form of socialism.

…because of the misery Marxism has imposed, the world has a living memory and therefore some natural immunity to a system in which government takes the commanding heights of the economy. No such immunity exists to the older and therefore more dangerous socialism of the pre-Enlightenment world. In the communal world of the Dark Ages, the worker owed fealty to crown, church, guild and village. Those “stakeholders” extracted a share of the product of the sweat of the worker’s brow and the fruits of his thrift. …The 18th-century Enlightenment liberated…people to…own the fruits of their own labor and thrift. …These Enlightenment ideas spawned the Industrial Revolution and gave birth to the modern world… Remarkably, amid the recorded successes of capitalism and failures of socialism rooted in Marxism, pre-enlightenment socialism is re-emerging in the name of stakeholder capitalism. …the biggest losers in stakeholder capitalism are workers, whose wages will be cannibalized.

Amen. The only economic system to ever produce mass prosperity for workers is capitalism (or, if you prefer, free enterprise or classical liberalism).

And the pursuit of profit is what generates efficiency, which is economic jargon for higher living standards. And that’s good for rich people and poor people.

The bottom line is that I’m not surprised when politicians support so-called stakeholder capitalism. After all, the crowd in Washington likes to have more power.

Based on what I said at the end of the above video, I’m disappointed – but not surprised – when big businesses (such as the Business Roundtable or Larry Fink of Blackrock) embrace the idea. After all, “creative destruction” is not so appealing when you’re already as the top.

P.S. I was very amused by the left-leaning CEO who criticized Friedman, but then did exactly as Friedman recommended.

This past article below from Dan Mitchell tells the story of Ronald Reagan’s successful strategy against inflation. I had a front row seat since I got to read the book and see the film FREE TO CHOOSE by Milton Friedman in 1980 who Reagan agreed with on this issue and I have included below the episode on inflation!

Ronald Reagan’s Most Under-Appreciated Triumph

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Ronald Reagan.

He’s definitely the greatest president of my lifetime and, with one possible rival, he was the greatest President of the 20th century.

If his only accomplishment was ending malaise and restoring American prosperity thanks to lower tax rates and other pro-market reforms, he would be a great President.

He also restored America’s national defenses and reoriented foreign policy, both of which led to the collapse of the Soviet Empire, a stupendous achievement that makes Reagan worthy of Mount Rushmore.

But he also has another great achievement, one that doesn’t receive nearly the level of appreciation that it deserves. President Reagan demolished the economic cancer of inflation.

Even Paul Krugman has acknowledged that reining in double-digit inflation was a major positive achievement. Because of his anti-Reagan bias, though, he wants to deny the Gipper any credit.

Robert Samuelson, in a column for the Washington Post, corrects the historical record.

Krugman recently wrote a column arguing that the decline of double-digit inflation in the 1980s was the decade’s big economic event, not the cuts in tax rates usually touted by conservatives. Actually, I agree with Krugman on this. But then he asserted that Ronald Reagan had almost nothing to do with it. That’s historically incorrect. Reagan was crucial. …Krugman’s error is so glaring.

Samuelson first provides the historical context.

For those too young to remember, here’s background. From 1960 to 1980, inflation — the general rise of retail prices — marched relentlessly upward. It went from 1.4 percent in 1960 to 5.9 percent in 1969 to 13.3 percent in 1979. The higher it rose, the more unpopular it became. …Worse, government seemed powerless to defeat it. Presidents deployed complex wage and price controls and guidelines. They didn’t work. The Federal Reserve — custodian of credit policies — veered between easy money and tight money, striving both to subdue inflation and to maintain “full employment” (taken as a 4 percent to 5 percent unemployment rate). It achieved neither. From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, there were four recessions. Inflation became a monster, destabilizing the economy.

The column then explains that there was a dramatic turnaround in the early 1980s, as Fed Chairman Paul Volcker adopted a tight-money policy and inflation was squeezed out of the system much faster than almost anybody thought was possible.

But Krugman wants his readers to think that Reagan played no role in this dramatic and positive development.

Samuelson says this is nonsense. Vanquishing inflation would have been impossible without Reagan’s involvement.

What Reagan provided was political protection. The Fed’s previous failures to stifle inflation reflected its unwillingness to maintain tight-money policies long enough… Successive presidents preferred a different approach: the wage-price policies built on the pleasing (but unrealistic) premise that these could quell inflation without jeopardizing full employment. Reagan rejected this futile path. As the gruesome social costs of Volcker’s policies mounted — the monthly unemployment rate would ultimately rise to a post-World War II high of 10.8 percent — Reagan’s approval ratings plunged. In May 1981, they were at 68 percent; by January 1983, 35 percent. Still, he supported the Fed. …It’s doubtful that any other plausible presidential candidate, Republican or Democrat, would have been so forbearing.

What’s the bottom line?

What Volcker and Reagan accomplished was an economic and political triumph. Economically, ending double-digit inflation set the stage for a quarter-century of near-automatic expansion… Politically, Reagan and Volcker showed that leaders can take actions that, though initially painful and unpopular, served the country’s long-term interests. …There was no explicit bargain between them. They had what I’ve called a “compact of conviction.”

By the way, Krugman then put forth a rather lame response to Samuelson, including the rather amazing claim that “[t]he 1980s were a triumph of Keynesian economics.”

Here’s what Samuelson wrote in a follow-up columndebunking Krugman.

As preached and practiced since the 1960s, Keynesian economics promised to stabilize the economy at levels of low inflation and high employment. By the early 1980s, this vision was in tatters, and many economists were fatalistic about controlling high inflation. Maybe it could be contained. It couldn’t be eliminated, because the social costs (high unemployment, lost output) would be too great. …This was a clever rationale for tolerating high inflation, and the Volcker-Reagan monetary onslaught demolished it. High inflation was not an intrinsic condition of wealthy democracies. It was the product of bad economic policies. This was the 1980s’ true lesson, not the contrived triumph of Keynesianism.

If anything, Samuelson is being too kind.

One of the key tenets of Keynesian economics is that there’s a tradeoff between inflation and unemployment (the so-called Phillips Curve).

Yet in the 1970s we had rising inflation and rising unemployment.

While in the 1980s, we had falling inflation and falling unemployment.

But if you’re Paul Krugman and you already have a very long list of mistakes (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for a few examples), then why not go for the gold and try to give Keynes credit for the supply-side boom of the 1980s

P.S. Since today’s topic is Reagan, it’s a good opportunity to share my favorite poll of the past five years.

P.P.S. Here are some great videos of Reagan in action. And here’s one more if you need another Reagan fix.


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.
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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.
_______________________________________________

(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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Abortion: When Does Life Begin? – R.C. Sproul

The Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case, reversing Roe v. Wade, is nothing short of a massive victory for life, and it will save the lives of millions of innocent babies,” says Sen. Ted Cruz. (Photo: Anna Moneymaker/ Getty Images)

On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Republican lawmakers and conservative leaders weighed in on the ruling.

Here are some of their responses:

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

“On Friday, the Supreme Court released its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, ending Roe v. Wade.

“But even now that America’s pro-abortion legal regime is overturned, our work is far from over. We can and must do more for unborn children and their mothers.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

“The Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case, reversing Roe v. Wade, is nothing short of a massive victory for life, and it will save the lives of millions of innocent babies. The decision reverses one of the most egregious departures from the Constitution and legal precedent the United States has ever seen, and one that has resulted in the deaths of 63 million American children.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence

“Today, Life Won. By overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court of the United States has given the American people a new beginning for life, and I commend the Justices in the majority for having the courage of their convictions.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America

“Today the Supreme Court, in line with modern science and overwhelming public consensus, recognized the truth in every mother’s heart and that pro-life advocates have argued all along: unborn children are human beings, deserving of protection. Every legislature in the land, in every single state and Congress, is now free to allow the will of the people to make its way into the law through our elected representatives.”

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

“Despite false claims from the left, this decision will not ban abortion. Instead, it returns the decision to the states and empowers state legislatures with more flexibility to craft policy through the democratic process.”

>>> Facing an Unexpected Pregnancy? Here’s Help

“It is unacceptable that a draft opinion was leaked in advance and that the person responsible has not been caught. The leaker has jeopardized the safety of our justices, and threats of violence by the radical militant mob are unacceptable. We appreciate the brave law enforcement officers working overtime to protect our justices and their families.”

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.

“Since the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, 63 million lives have been lost due to legalized abortion. For nearly 50 years, pro-lifers have peacefully marched, prayed, and launched legal and political battles all aimed at reversing a decision that never should have been.

“As our Founding Fathers envisioned, everyone has a right to these inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Supreme Court has finally corrected the wrong that is Roe v. Wade and we’re closer now to restoring our Founding Fathers’ vision of life.”

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss.

“The decision does not outlaw abortion, as some pro-abortionists contend.  But it is a significant departure from Roe in that the people, through their elected leaders, will guide how each state approaches abortion, rather than a nationwide policy set by unelected judges.  As we move forward as a nation, I believe greater attention should be paid to the needs of pregnant women and their babies.

“I am so very proud that Mississippi has had a leading role in overturning Roe v. Wade, and I will continue to pray for God’s guidance over the Supreme Court and all policymakers who will now take up the abortion issue across the country.”

Carrie Severino, president of Judicial Crisis Network

“ROE IS GONE. FINALLY. The Court met the moment and made history, correcting the most egregious judicial distortion of the Constitution in living memory. Finally, an issue that the Court had taken away from the people has now been returned to them. No more false history. No more pompous preening about the Court’s ‘legitimacy’ instead of admitting a mistake. No more indecipherable, half-baked ‘undue burden’ standard. No more pretending that the unborn have no rights that the people are allowed to protect.”

Ryan T. Anderson, president of Ethics and Public Policy Center

“Today’s ruling is the culmination of decades of public advocacy, of unheralded acts of love and mercy, and of unrelenting prayers for justice for the unborn and their mothers. It will be remembered and celebrated as one of the most important days in the history of this country – a day when we began to right the wrongs inflicted by the Court in Roe v. Wade a half-century ago.

Ed Whelan, Ethics and Public Policy Center distinguished senior fellow

“Today’s decision is a crowning achievement of the conservative legal movement. Justice [Samuel] Alito and the other four members of the majority—Justices [Clarence] Thomas, [Neil] Gorsuch, [Brett] Kavanaugh, and [Amy Coney] Barrett— deserve ardent praise for their fidelity to the Constitution and for their courage. The majority opinion is a masterful repudiation of the lawlessness of Roe and Casey and a reaffirmation of the fundamental principles of our Constitution.”

Steven Mosley, president of Project 21 

“An unborn child now has a fighting chance at life. This is a great day of joy — especially for us in the black community, as abortion is the number-one killer of black Americans,”
“As stated in the Declaration of Independence, we have the right to life. Today, those words ring truer for the unborn.”

“We must now defund the racist baby chop-shop known as Planned Parenthood, and use that funding to support life-affirming pregnancy centers,”

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

This morning while I was attending the Association of Christian Lawmakers at the COLLEGE OF THE OZARKS, our group had a big impromptu praise and prayer service when the Supreme Court Decision overturning Roe v Wade was announced this morning!

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade in landmark opinion

Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision centered on a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks


Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race? Co-authored by Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop)

C. Everett Koop
C. Everett Koop, 1980s.jpg
13th Surgeon General of the United States
In office
January 21, 1982 – October 1, 1989

Abortion: What About Those Who Demand Their Rights? – R.C. Sproul

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 1 | Abortion of the Human Race (2010)

Standing Strong Under Fire: Popular Abortion Arguments and Why They Fail

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 2 | Slaughter of the Innocents (2010)

Ben Shapiro Obliterates Every Pro-Abortion Argument

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 3 | Death by Someone’s Choice (2010)

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 5 | Truth and History (20…

Abortion: What Is Your Verdict? – R.C. Sproul

John MacArthur Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality (Selected Scriptures)

John MacArthur on Romans 13

Image<img class=”i-amphtml-blurry-placeholder” src=”data:;base64,Edith Schaeffer with her husband, Francis Schaeffer, in 1970 in Switzerland, where they founded L’Abri, a Christian commune.

________________

______________________

September 25, 2021

President Biden  c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here. I know that you don’t agree with my pro-life views but I wanted to challenge you as a fellow Christian to re-examine your pro-choice view.

In the past I have spent most of my time looking at this issue from the spiritual side. In the film series “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?” the arguments are presented  against abortion (Episode 1),  infanticide (Episode 2),   euthanasia (Episode 3), and then there is a discussion of the Christian versus Humanist worldview concerning the issue of “the basis for human dignity” in Episode 4 and then in the last episode a close look at the truth claims of the Bible.

Francis Schaeffer

__________________________

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 video WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? which can be found on You Tube. It is very valuable information for Christians to have.

Today I want to respond to your letter to me on July 9, 2021. Here it is below:

THE WHITE HOUSE

WASHINGTON

July 9, 2021

Mr. Everette Hatcher III

Alexander, AR

Dear Mr. Hatcher,

Thank you for taking your time to share your thoughts on abortion. Hearing from passionate individuals like me inspires me every day, and I welcome the opportunity to respond to your letter

Our country faces many challenges, and the road we will travel together will be one of the most difficult in our history. Despite these tough times, I have never been more optimistic for the future of America. I believe we are better positioned than any country in the world to lead in the 21st century not just by the example of our power but by the power of our example.

As we move forward to address the complex issues of our time, I encourage you to remain an active participant in helping write the next great chapter of the American story. We need your courage and dedication at this critical time, and we must meet this moment together as the United States of America. If we do that, I believe that our best days still lie ahead.

Sincerely

Joe Biden

Mr. President, my wife was born in JEFFERSON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and Adrian Rogers tells a story about another lady that was born in that same hospital: “They took that grocery sack and Maria home and one hour passed and two hours passed and that baby was still crying and panting for his life in that grocery sack. They took that little baby down to the hospital there in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and they called an obstetrician and he called a pediatrician and they called nurses and they began to work on that little baby. Today that baby is alive and well and healthy, that little mass of protoplasm. That little thing that wasn’t a human being is alive and well. I want to tell you they spent $150,000 to save the life of that baby. NOW CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO ME HOW THEY CAN SPEND $150,000 TO SAVE THE LIFE OF SOMETHING THAT SOMEBODY WAS PAYING ANOTHER DOCTOR TO TAKE THE LIFE OF?”

_________________

Carl Sagan pictured below:

Image result for carl sagan

_________

_

Recently I have been revisiting my correspondence in 1995 with the famous astronomer Carl Sagan who I had the privilege to correspond with in 1994, 1995 and 1996. In 1996 I had a chance to respond to his December 5, 1995letter on January 10, 1996 and I never heard back from him again since his cancer returned and he passed away later in 1996. Below is what Carl Sagan wrote to me in his December 5, 1995 letter:

Thanks for your recent letter about evolution and abortion. The correlation is hardly one to one; there are evolutionists who are anti-abortion and anti-evolutionists who are pro-abortion.You argue that God exists because otherwise we could not understand the world in our consciousness. But if you think God is necessary to understand the world, then why do you not ask the next question of where God came from? And if you say “God was always here,” why not say that the universe was always here? On abortion, my views are contained in the enclosed article (Sagan, Carl and Ann Druyan {1990}, “The Question of Abortion,” Parade Magazine, April 22.)

I was introduced to when reading a book by Francis Schaeffer called HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT written in 1968.

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer

I was blessed with the opportunity to correspond with Dr. Sagan, and in his December 5, 1995 letter Dr. Sagan went on to tell me that he was enclosing his article “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. I am going to respond to several points made in that article. Here is a portion of Sagan’s article (here is a link to the whole article):

Image result for adrian rogers
(both Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer mentioned Carl Sagan in their books and that prompted me to write Sagan and expose him to their views.

Image result for Ann Druyan

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan pictured above

Related image

 “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”

by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The issue had been decided years ago. The court had chosen the middle ground. You’d think the fight was over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings and intimidation, murders of workers at abortion clinics, arrests, intense lobbying, legislative drama, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, major political parties almost defining themselves on the issue, and clerics threatening politicians with perdition. Partisans fling accusations of hypocrisy and murder. The intent of the Constitution and the will of God are equally invoked. Doubtful arguments are trotted out as certitudes. The contending factions call on science to bolster their positions. Families are divided, husbands and wives agree not to discuss it, old friends are no longer speaking. Politicians check the latest polls to discover the dictates of their consciences. Amid all the shouting, it is hard for the adversaries to hear one another. Opinions are polarized. Minds are closed.

Is it wrong to abort a pregnancy? Always? Sometimes? Never? How do we decide? We wrote this article to understand better what the contending views are and to see if we ourselves could find a position that would satisfy us both. Is there no middle ground? We had to weigh the arguments of both sides for consistency and to pose test cases, some of which are purely hypothetical. If in some of these tests we seem to go too far, we ask the reader to be patient with us–we’re trying to stress the various positions to the breaking point to see their weaknesses and where they fail.

In contemplative moments, nearly everyone recognizes that the issue is not wholly one-sided. Many partisans of differing views, we find, feel some disquiet, some unease when confronting what’s behind the opposing arguments. (This is partly why such confrontations are avoided.) And the issue surely touches on deep questions: What are our responses to one another? Should we permit the state to intrude into the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives? Where are the boundaries of freedom? What does it mean to be human?

Of the many actual points of view, it is widely held–especially in the media, which rarely have the time or the inclination to make fine distinctions–that there are only two: “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” This is what the two principal warring camps like to call themselves, and that’s what we’ll call them here. In the simplest characterization, a pro-choicer would hold that the decision to abort a pregnancy is to be made only by the woman; the state has no right to interfere. And a pro-lifer would hold that, from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive; that this life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it; and that abortion is tantamount to murder. Both names–pro-choice and pro-life–were picked with an eye toward influencing those whose minds are not yet made up: Few people wish to be counted either as being against freedom of choice or as opposed to life. Indeed, freedom and life are two of our most cherished values, and here they seem to be in fundamental conflict.

Let’s consider these two absolutist positions in turn. A newborn baby is surely the same being it was just before birth. There ‘s good evidence that a late-term fetus responds to sound–including music, but especially its mother’s voice. It can suck its thumb or do a somersault. Occasionally, it generates adult brain-wave patterns. Some people claim to remember being born, or even the uterine environment. Perhaps there is thought in the womb. It’s hard to maintain that a transformation to full personhood happens abruptly at the moment of birth. Why, then, should it be murder to kill an infant the day after it was born but not the day before?

As a practical matter, this isn’t very important: Less than 1 percent of all tabulated abortions in the United States are listed in the last three months of pregnancy (and, on closer investigation, most such reports turn out to be due to miscarriage or miscalculation). But third-trimester abortions provide a test of the limits of the pro-choice point of view. Does a woman’s “innate right to control her own body” encompass the right to kill a near-term fetus who is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a newborn child?

——-

End of Sagan Excerpt

When I was in high school the book and film series named WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? came out and it featured Doctor C. Everett Koop and Francis Schaeffer and they looked at the issues of abortion, infanticide, and youth euthanasia and they looked at comments from such scholars as Peter Singer and James D. Watson.

Image result for c. everett koop

 

C. Everett Koop pictured above and Peter Singer below

Peter Singer, an endowed chair at Princeton’s Center for Human Values, said, “Killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all.”

James D.Watson

In May 1973, James D. Watson, the Nobel Prize laureate who discovered the double helix of DNA, granted an interview to Prism magazine, then a publication of the American Medical Association. Time later reported the interview to the general public, quoting Watson as having said, “If a child were not declared alive until three days after birth, then all parents could be allowed the choice only a few are given under the present system. The doctor could allow the child to die if the parents so choose and save a lot of misery and suffering. I believe this view is the only rational, compassionate attitude to have.”

Carl Sagan

On August 30, 1995 I mailed a letter to Carl Sagan that probably prompted this discussion on abortion and it enclosed a lengthy story from Adrian Rogers about an abortion case in Pine Bluff, Arkansas that almost became an infanticide case:

An excerpt from the Sunday morning message (11-6-83) by Adrian Rogers in Memphis, TN.

I want to tell you that secular humanism and so-called abortion rights are inseparably linked together. We have been taught that our bodies and our children are the products of the evolutionary process, and so therefore human life may not be all that valuable to begin with. We have come today to where it is legal and even considered to be a good thing to put little babies to death…15 million little babies put to death since 1973 because of this philosophy of Secular Humanism.

How did the court make that type of decision? You would think it would be so obvious. You can’t do that! You can’t kill little babies! Why? Because the Bible says! Friend, they don’t give a hoot what the Bible says! There used to be a time when they talked about what the Bible says because there was a time that we as a nation had a constitution that was based in the Judeo-Christian ethic, but today if we say “The Bible says” or “God says “Separation of Church and State. Don’t tell us what the Bible says or what God says. We will tell you what we think!” Therefore, they look at the situation and they decide if it is right or wrong purely on the humanistic philosophy that right and wrong are relative and the situation says what is right or what is wrong.

This little girl just 19 years old went into the doctor’s office and he examined her. He said, “We can take take of you.” He gave her an injection in her arm that was to cause her to go into labor and to get rid of that protoplasm, that feud, that little mass that was in her, but she wasn’t prepared for the sound she was about to hear. It was a little baby crying. That little baby weighed 13 ounces. His hand the size of my thumbnail. You know what the doctor did. The doctor put that little baby in a grocery sack and gave it to Maria’s two friends who were with her in that doctor office and Said, “It will stop making those noises after a while.”

Image result for adrian rogers

(Adrian Rogers pictured above)

Image result for pine bluff arkansas 1983
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Image result for jefferson county hospital, pine bluff, arkansas
My wife was born in main hospital in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

They took that grocery sack and Maria home and one hour passed and two hours passed and that baby was still crying and panting for his life in that grocery sack. They took that little baby down to the hospital there in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and they called an obstetrician and he called a pediatrician and they called nurses and they began to work on that little baby. Today that baby is alive and well and healthy, that little mass of protoplasm. That little thing that wasn’t a human being is alive and well. I want to tell you they spent $150,000 to save the life of that baby. NOW CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO ME HOW THEY CAN SPEND $150,000 TO SAVE THE LIFE OF SOMETHING THAT SOMEBODY WAS PAYING ANOTHER DOCTOR TO TAKE THE LIFE OF? The same life!!! Are you going to tell me that is not a baby? Are you going to tell me that if that baby had been put to death it would not have been murder? You will never convince me of that. What has happened to us in America? We have been sold a bill of goods by the Secular Humanists!

Image result for carl sagan humanist of the year 1982
Carl Sagan was elected the HUMANIST OF THE YEAR in 1982 by the AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION

Carl Sagan asked, “Does a woman’s “innate right to control her own body” encompass the right to kill a near-term fetus who is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a newborn child?”

This message “A Christian Manifesto” was given in 1982 by the late Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer when he was age 70 at D. James Kennedy’s Corral Ridge Presbyterian Church.
Listen to this important message where Dr. Schaeffer says it is the duty of Christians to disobey the government when it comes in conflict with God’s laws. So many have misinterpreted Romans 13 to mean unconditional obedience to the state. When the state promotes an evil agenda and anti-Christian statues we must obey God rather than men. Acts
I use to watch James Kennedy preach from his TV pulpit with great delight in the 1980’s. Both of these men are gone to be with the Lord now. We need new Christian leaders to rise up in their stead.
To view Part 2 See Francis Schaeffer Lecture- Christian Manifesto Pt 2 of 2 video
The religious and political freedom’s we enjoy as Americans was based on the Bible and the legacy of the Reformation according to Francis Schaeffer. These freedoms will continue to diminish as we cast off the authority of Holy Scripture.
In public schools there is no other view of reality but that final reality is shaped by chance.
Likewise, public television gives us many things that we like culturally but so much of it is mere propaganda shaped by a humanistic world and life view.

_____________________________

I was able to watch Francis Schaeffer deliver a speech on a book he wrote called “A Christian Manifesto” and I heard him in several interviews on it in 1981 and 1982. I listened with great interest since I also read that book over and over again. Below is a portion of one of Schaeffer’s talks  on a crucial subject that is very important today too.

A great talk by Francis Schaeffer:A Christian Manifesto
by Dr. Francis A. SchaefferThis address was delivered by the late Dr. Schaeffer in 1982 at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is based on one of his books, which bears the same title._________

Infanticide and youth enthansia ———So what we find then, is that the medical profession has largely changed — not all doctors. I’m sure there are doctors here in the audience who feel very, very differently, who feel indeed that human life is important and you wouldn’t take it, easily, wantonly. But, in general, we must say (and all you have to do is look at the TV programs), all you have to do is hear about the increased talk about allowing the Mongoloid child — the child with Down’s Syndrome — to starve to death if it’s born this way. Increasingly, we find on every side the medical profession has changed its views.

Image result for Mongoloid child -- the child with Down's Syndrome  FRANCIS SCHAEFFER

The view now is, “Is this life worth saving?”I look at you… You’re an older congregation than I am usually used to speaking to. You’d better think, because — this — means — you! It does not stop with abortion and infanticide. It stops at the question, “What about the old person? Is he worth hanging on to?” Should we, as they are doing in England in this awful organization, EXIT, teach older people to commit suicide? Should we help them get rid of them because they are an economic burden, a nuisance? I want to tell you, once you begin chipping away the medical profession…

The intrinsic value of the human life is founded upon the Judeo-Christian concept that man is unique because he is made in the image of God, and not because he is well, strong, a consumer, a sex object or any other thing. That is where whatever compassion this country has is, and certainly it is far from perfect and has never been perfect. Nor out of the Reformation has there been a Golden Age, but whatever compassion there has ever been, it is rooted in the fact that our culture knows that man is unique, is made in the image of God. Take it away, and I just say gently, the stopper is out of the bathtub for all human life.

Image result for Mongoloid child -- the child with Down's Syndrome  FRANCIS SCHAEFFER

______________________________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband. Now I wanted to make some comments concerning our shared Christian faith.  I  respect you for putting your faith in Christ for your eternal life. I am pleading to you on the basis of the Bible to please review your religious views concerning abortion. It was the Bible that caused the abolition movement of the 1800’s and it also was the basis for Martin Luther King’s movement for civil rights and it also is the basis for recognizing the unborn children.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733,

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E P I S O D E 9 Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode IX – The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence 27 min T h e Age of Personal Peace and Afflunce I. By the Early 1960s People Were Bombarded From Every Side by Modern Man’s Humanistic Thought II. Modern Form of Humanistic Thought Leads […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 8 Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode VIII – The Age of Fragmentation 27 min I saw this film series in 1979 and it had a major impact on me. T h e Age of FRAGMENTATION I. Art As a Vehicle Of Modern Thought A. Impressionism (Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 7 Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode VII – The Age of Non Reason I am thrilled to get this film series with you. I saw it first in 1979 and it had such a big impact on me. Today’s episode is where we see modern humanist man act […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 6 “The Scientific Age” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 6 How Should We Then Live 6#1 Uploaded by NoMirrorHDDHrorriMoN on Oct 3, 2011 How Should We Then Live? Episode 6 of 12 ________ I am sharing with you a film series that I saw in 1979. In this film Francis Schaeffer asserted that was a shift in […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 5 How Should We Then Live? Episode 5: The Revolutionary Age I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Francis Schaeffer noted, “Reformation Did Not Bring Perfection. But gradually on basis of biblical teaching there […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 4 “The Reformation” (Schaeffer Sundays)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode IV – The Reformation 27 min I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer makes three key points concerning the Reformation: “1. Erasmian Christian humanism rejected by Farel. 2. Bible gives needed answers not only as to […]

“Schaeffer Sundays” Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 3 “The Renaissance”

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 3 “The Renaissance” Francis Schaeffer: “How Should We Then Live?” (Episode 3) THE RENAISSANCE I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer really shows why we have so […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 2 “The Middle Ages” (Schaeffer Sundays)

  Francis Schaeffer: “How Should We Then Live?” (Episode 2) THE MIDDLE AGES I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer points out that during this time period unfortunately we have the “Church’s deviation from early church’s teaching in regard […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 1 “The Roman Age” (Schaeffer Sundays)

Francis Schaeffer: “How Should We Then Live?” (Episode 1) THE ROMAN AGE   Today I am starting a series that really had a big impact on my life back in the 1970′s when I first saw it. There are ten parts and today is the first. Francis Schaeffer takes a look at Rome and why […]

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Fact-Checking 5 Biden Claims on Dobbs Ruling

Fact-Checking 5 Biden Claims on Dobbs Ruling

Joshua Arnold  / June 24, 2022

President Joe Biden addresses the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24 at the White House. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden spoke Friday in response to the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health, in which the court overruled Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The speech was heavy on outrage, but light on truthfulness. Here are a few of Biden’s worst whoppers.

Claim 1: “Today the Supreme Court of the United States expressly took away a constitutional right from the American people that it had already recognized.”

Biden went on to explain the constitutional right he meant was “women’s right to choose,” which “reinforced a fundamental right of privacy.”

Biden also commented on the history of abortion in America. In the 1800s, it was widely prohibited. “The court laid out state laws criminalizing abortion that go back to the 1800s as their rationale.” But abortion has been legal for the last 50 years. “Fifty years ago, Roe v. Wade was decided and has been the law of the land since then.”

A constitutional right is a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court wrote in Roe v. Wade that “the Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy.” However, the court proceeded to infer a “right of personal privacy” from various prior rulings and various constitutional provisions. Without definitely establishing where the right of privacy was found, they declared that it was “broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” The court did not use the phrase “woman’s right to choose” in Roe; that phrase comes from the decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). In Casey, a plurality of the court partly overturned and partly upheld Roe.

Biden correctly identified that what he called a “constitutional right” was not endorsed by the court or the law of the land until long after the Constitution and all relevant amendments were ratified. In fact, the “right to privacy” and a “woman’s right to choose” are only recognized in U.S. law because of two Supreme Court cases, which the Supreme Court in Dobbs overturned. 

Whatever authority the Supreme Court had to establish such a right, the court has now used that same authority to strike it down. Biden’s characterization of abortion as a “constitutional right,” as opposed to one arbitrarily created by the Court, is: FALSE.

Claim 2: “This decision … made the United States an outlier among developed nations in the world.”

According to Family Research Council, national law in “only six nations” allows “abortion at any point through the entirety of pregnancy.” Those six nations were Canada, China, North Korea, South Korea, the United States, and Vietnam. 

Most nations in Europe protect unborn life after 14 weeks. Most nations in South America, Africa, and southern Asia protect unborn life from conception, with varying degrees of exceptions.

>>> Facing an Unexpected Pregnancy? Here’s Help

By overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court in Dobbs imposed no national rules prohibiting abortion. Rather, they struck down federal protections for abortion, thus giving the states greater latitude to legislate on this issue. In Dobbs, the Supreme Court made the United States less of an outlier from the rest of the world. Therefore, this claim is: FALSE.

Claim 3: “The court has done what it’s never done before, expressly taken away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans, that it had already been recognized.”

Biden repeatedly employed the phrase “had already (been) recognized,” as if the recognition of rights inherently worked as a one-way ratchet; once recognized, they never could be unrecognized. This is the textbook progressive understanding of rights, in which justice advances into the future in an ever-expanding cone of rights.

The closest parallel to abortion in American history is slavery and segregation. Abortion, like slavery in America, required legally denying the personhood — and the natural rights that come with that — of a certain group of people, for the benefit of another group of people. Unlike abortion, the right to property in slaves was protected, or at least permitted, by several provisions in the Constitution. The court formerly recognized that right (Dred Scott v. Sanford, 1857), but has not recognized it since the 13th Amendment was ratified. But slavery was replaced by racially-motivated segregation, which still denied a group of people full equality. The Supreme Court approved this injustice in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), and it stood for half a century until Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Likewise, the injustice of Roe v. Wade endured for half a century before the court ended it.

Biden’s statement was filled with vague qualifiers — “so fundamental,” “so many Americans” — so that it’s possible for his defenders to argue that it was technically true. However, his statement’s purpose is to argue that there is no prior precedent for the Supreme Court striking down a case like Roe v. Wade. That characterization, fortunately, is: FALSE.

Claim 4: “I believe Roe v. Wade was the correct decision … a decision with broad national consensus, that most Americans of faiths and backgrounds found acceptable.”

Biden meant to say, “Americans of most faiths and backgrounds” (most Americans … of backgrounds?). However, he later admitted that the effort to overturn Roe v. Wade has been in motion for a long time. “Make no mistake, this decision is a culmination of a deliberate effort over decades,” he said. In fact, the effort to overturn Roe v. Wade began almost immediately. On January 22, 1974, a year after Roe was decided, 20,000 people participated in the first March for Life, which has mobilized millions of Americans against abortion over the past five decades.

The Supreme Court explained in Dobbs, “At the time of Roe, 30 states still prohibited abortion at all stages. In the years prior to that decision, about a third of the states had liberalized their laws, but Roe abruptly ended that political process.”

Nor does the substance of Roe (less popular than the demagogued talking point) enjoy a broad consensus, even after it has been the law of the land for nearly 50 years. According to a Marist poll released in January, 71% of Americans, including 49% of Democrats, oppose abortion after the first three months of pregnancy.

There has never been a “broad national consensus” in favor of abortion. Therefore, this claim is: FALSE.

Claim 5: “[State laws are] so extreme that women and girls are forced to bear their rapist’s child. … Imagine having a young woman having to carry a child as a consequence of incest with no option.”

Most pro-abortion rhetoric for decades has relied on the fiction that overturning Roe v. Wade would prohibit all abortions anywhere (hence the polling that shows higher support for Roe v. Wade than for the extreme provisions it contained). But this is not true. Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, abortion policy returns to the governments of 50 states, which can each enact the laws they see fit.

Biden himself admitted this. “Many states in this country still recognize a woman’s right to choose,” he said. “So, if a woman lives in a state that restricts abortion, the Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t prevent her from traveling from her home state to the state that allows it. It doesn’t prevent a doctor in that state from treating her.”

Pro-abortion rhetoric also emphasizes cases of rape and incest, the cases where the woman’s plight is likely to attract the most widespread sympathy (but, since the baby didn’t get to choose his or her parents, such an abortion is just as unjust as any other). Such emphasis is misplaced, as cases of rape and incest account for less than 2% of abortions. Additionally, instead of helping abused women, abortion businesses have sometimes covered up for abusers.

Regardless of the emotionally charged questions of rape and incest, the fact remains that Biden contradicted his own claim by explaining how women can obtain an abortion. Anyone who wants to obtain an abortion can travel to a state where it remains legal and obtain one. Therefore, this statement is: FALSE.

To get a more accurate picture of what abortion policy in America will look like going forward, check out Family Research Council’s interactive maps showing the landscape of state policy in the post-Roe era.

Originally published by The Washington Stand.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

June 24, 2022 will go down as the day the Supreme Court returned to recognizing INFANT HUMAN LIFE AGAIN!!!! I have been blogging about these great events all day long as I have been attending the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN LAWMAKERS CONFERENCE in Missouri! It has been a great day and it is the greatest day in the history of the pro-life movement primarily because the Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? energized the evangelicals in 1979 to rise up against the abortion movement!
(Francis Schaeffer seen below)

Francis Schaeffer.jpg


Actually I just attended the retirement party held for my high school Bible teacher Mark Brink of EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN SCHOOL of Cordova, Tennessee on May 19th and he introduced me to the works of Francis Schaeffer and it was Schaeffer’s works that eventually help topple ROE v WADE!!! Ironically Mr Brink had a 49 year career that spanned 1973 to 2022 which was the same period that ROE v WADE survived!!! 

Secondly, Ronald Reagan took the leadership of the pro-life movement in the 1980’s to a new level and then President Trump put us over the top with his 3 Supreme Court picks! The NEVER-TRUMPERS teamed up the Clinton supporters and did not support Trump in 2016, but he got the job done!!!

My pastor growing up in Memphis was the late Adrian Rogers and I benefitted greatly from his ministry and I quoted in my first post this morning (link below):


The Supreme Court has overturned ROE v WADE today on June 24, 2022 and that reminds me of a story Adrian Rogers used to tell: “They took that grocery sack and Maria home and two hours passed and that baby was still crying. They called an obstetrician and he called a pediatrician and they called nurses and they began to work on that little baby. Today that baby is alive and well and healthy. I want to tell you they spent $150,000 to save the life of that baby. NOW CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO ME HOW THEY CAN SPEND $150,000 TO SAVE THE LIFE OF SOMETHING THAT SOMEBODY WAS PAYING ANOTHER DOCTOR TO TAKE THE LIFE OF?” Now the Court has returned us to sanity!

After being elected President of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1979, Adrian Rogers met with President Ronald Reagan.

xxxxx

Let me quote from an article a couple of years ago:

40th Anniversary of the Historic National Affairs Briefing

By AL PERROTTAAugust 21, 2020 • 

In 1980, America chose freedom by electing Ronald Reagan. But Reagan likely would not have been elected had it not been for a history-changing prayer meeting called by Billy Graham and a miraculous night in Dallas 40 years ago this weekend: The National Affairs Briefing.

Graham called a prayer meeting with 8 to 10 faith leaders. Among them: Robison, Pat Robertson, Charles Stanley, Adrian Rogers, Jimmy Draper and Bill Bright. Two days of fervent prayer. Bright shared a startling message. He, too, had been in Red Square. And he, too, had been given the exact same message from God that America had 1,000 days of freedom left, unless it changed course. America, according to both Graham and Bright, needed strong, principled leadership that could communicate effectively necessary changes and direction.

Sparked by the prayer, and led by God, Robison received from the Lord the vision for the “National Affairs Briefing.”

National Affairs Briefing

On the second day of the two-day event, August 22, 1980, some 17,000 people gathered at the Dallas Reunion Arena. 17,000 people of faith who understood the importance of protecting freedom’s matchless blessings. Robison had invited all three presidential candidates to appear: President Jimmy Carter, the Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher; Independent John Anderson; and a once-divorced Hollywood actor from California named Ronald Reagan. Only Reagan accepted the invitation.

Photo credit: Life Outreach

Photo credit: Life Outreach, Intl.

Ronald Reagan joined the 17,000 in standing to their feet as Robison finished. Then he spoke, offering a now-historic opening line suggested to him by Robison.

“I know this is a non-partisan gathering, and so I know you cannot endorse me. But I only brought that up because I want you to know, I endorse you, and what you are doing.” That opening line was front-page headlines nationwide the next day. The pendulum swung toward Reagan almost immediately.

Come November, Ronald Reagan defeated incumbent Jimmy Carter in large part because evangelical voters had been ignited by the National Affairs Briefing. They turned away from the Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher for the candidate willing to fight for our freedoms. Willing to stand up to the Soviet threat. The candidate who understood, as Robison said that momentous night, that “government is not our provider. It is a protector, not a producer.” Reagan’s victory ensured freedom in the United States of America would last far beyond 1,000 days.

Reagan Speech at the National Affairs Briefing, Dallas, TX, August 21, 1980

(at the 13:01 mark you can see Adrian Rogers clapping behind Reagan)

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 1 | Abortion of the Human…

Goodbye Roe v. Wade: Pro-Life Evangelicals Celebrate the Ruling They’ve Waited For

Supreme Court: The landmark abortion-rights case was “egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided.” 

DANIEL SILLIMAN

JUNE 24, 2022 09:00 AM

Roe v. Wade—the Supreme Court decision that mobilized generations of pro-life activists and shaped evangelicals’ political engagement for half a century—has been overturned.

Millions have marched, protested, lobbied, and prayed for the end of the landmark abortion rights ruling. After 49 years, and more than 63 million abortions, the time has come.

Christian leaders called the ruling “once unthinkable” and marked today as “the day we have all been waiting for” and “one of the most important days in American history.”

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overturned,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito for the majority. “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.”

The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decisionwas 6 to 3, with Chief Justice John Roberts concurring with the majority. The opinion of the court closely resembled an Alito draft leaked last month.

The decision is the result of a trio of conservative justices appointed during Donald Trump’s presidency: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

Evangelicals have been the religious group most opposed to abortion and most eager to see Roe overturned. While abortion was never evangelicals’ only issue, in the voting booth it often outweighed all other concerns. Some supported Trump despite moral misgivings in hopes he would deliver on his promise to appoint justices that would finally overturn Roe and the subsequent Supreme Court decision that affirmed abortion rights, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The political calculation appears to have paid off. The three new justices joined Alito and Clarence Thomas in a bold decision saying the Court got it wrong.

“This day belongs to the many people who have labored long and hard to make it happen—and to President Trump, who deserves our thanks for keeping a promise I did not think he would keep,” said Matthew Lee Anderson, a Christian ethicist and Baylor University religion professor.

Ed Whelan, an EPPC senior fellow, referred to the ruling as the “crowning achievement of the conservative legal movement.”

The majority opinion reflected the arguments of evangelical and Catholic pro-life groups who filed friend-of-the-court briefs. Strategically, many focused less on arguments for fetuses’ humanity and right to life, and more on the problems with the legal reasoning behind Roe.

Roe was wrongly decided and poorly reasoned,” wrote the attorneys for Americans United for Life. “Numerous adjudicative errors during the original deliberations—especially the absence of any evidentiary record—have contributed to making Roe unworkable. … There is a constant search for a constitutional rationale for Roe, and the Court has yet to give a reasoned justification for the viability rule.”

The attorneys for the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) made the same point: “As a matter of the Constitution’s text and history, it is no secret that Roe is not just wrong but grievously so. Roe was roundly criticized as wrong the day it was decided, it has been robustly opposed both within and outside the Court ever since, and no sitting Justice has defended the merits of its actual reasoning.”

The Dobbs case considered the constitutionality of a 2015 Mississippi law barring abortions after 15 weeks, a more restrictive ban than allowed under Roe. The state’s only abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health, sued officials with the state health department including Thomas Dobbs. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) served on the state’s legal defense team.

“Mississippi asked the court to overturn Roe because that case was egregiously wrong and had no basis in constitutional text, structure, or history. Additionally, Roe’s changing standards have long been unworkable, which is why so many pro-life laws ended up in court,” said Kristen Waggoner, general counsel for ADF. “It also failed to account for changing science, which demonstrates that life begins at conception.”

How Roe was decided

The Court’s decision in 1973 was based on the argument that fetal life does not have constitutional protection. Lawyers in the case pointed out that traditionally, rights are understood to begin at birth. The 14th Amendment, for example, extended citizenshipto all those “born … in the United States,” not those conceived within the nation’s borders. A fetus, similarly, is not allowed to own property.

The judges said, however, that the state did have a compelling interest in protecting fetal life. But that compelling interest had to be balanced with a woman’s right to privacy.

“Privacy” is never mentioned in the Constitution, but the Ninth Amendment says that rights not mentioned in the Constitution are not to be denied by default. And the 14th Amendment guarantees legal due process, which the Court said indicated a right to privacy, including the right to make decisions about abortion without state interference—at least up to a certain point.

The justices debated that point. After some internal back and forth, they settled on fetal viability.

The author of the landmark decision, Justice Harry Blackmun, viewed Roe v. Wade as a careful compromise.

“The Court does not today hold that the Constitution compels abortion on demand,” he wrote. “It does not today pronounce that a pregnant woman has an absolute right to an abortion. It does, for the first trimester of pregnancy, cast the abortion decision and the responsibility for it upon the attending physician.”

As historian Daniel K. Williams has noted, however, Blackmun was wrong. Roe accepted none of the arguments of the pro-life movement and delivered a decisive win to abortion rights advocates. The decision forced 46 state legislatures to rewrite their abortion laws, bringing them into line with what had been, until then, the most liberal abortion laws in the nation.

Most evangelical Christians at the time saw it as an appalling decision, disregarding the unalienable right of life.“This decision runs counter not merely to the moral teachings of Christianity through the ages but also to the moral sense of the American people,” CT arguedin 1973.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Presbyterian Church in America, and other denominations all passed pro-life resolutions in the decade after Roe.

In their influential book Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, evangelist Francis Schaeffer and pediatric surgeon C. Everett Koop calledabortion the “first and crucial issue,” the “keystone” to protecting the dignity of human life.

“We implore those of you who are Christian to exert all your influence to fight against the increasing loss of humanness—through legislation, social action, and other means at your disposal,” they wrote in 1979. “If we do not take a stand here and now, we certainly cannot lay any claim to being the salt of the earth in our generation.”

The movement almost achieved victory in 1992. Five abortion clinics and one independent doctor sued Pennsylvania for its restrictions on abortion, including a mandatory waiting period and notification of a spouse or parent. At the time, eight of the nine justices had been appointed by Republicans, though at least three of them were known to support abortion rights.

On the eve of the decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist drafted a 5-to-4 majority opinion overturning Roe.

Then at the last minute, Justice Anthony Kennedy switched sides. He joined Sandra Day O’Connor and David Souter to craft a compromise that would allow states to regulate abortion to some extent—but also uphold the validity of Roe. They got the two more liberal justices, Blackmun and John Paul Stevens, to sign on.

Though it may have been conceived as a “compromise,” the 5-to-4 decision in Casey was in fact a reaffirmation of the core claim of Roe—while almost entirely abandoning the legal reasoning. The court decided that it was crucial to recognize the precedent set by Roe, adhering the legal doctrine of stare decisis.

Questioning the authority of precedent

Each of the three newest justices raised questions about this standard in the oral arguments in Dobbs in December.

“In thinking about stare decisis, which is obviously the core of this case, how should we be thinking about it?” Barrett asked.

The Catholic justice acknowledged the benefits of a system that builds on precedents but argued that “part of our stare decisis doctrine [is] that it’s not an inexorable command and that there are some circumstances in which overruling is possible.” She rattled off multiple examples, including one civil rights case and one LGBT rights case.

Roberts seemed to search for a way to modify the previous rulings and perhaps set a different standard for how much abortion could be regulated without actually rejecting a constitutional right to abortion. The attorneys on both sides, however, indicated they thought the case was all or nothing.

“I read your briefs,” Alito said to the attorney defending Roe and Casey. “Your briefs [say] that the only real options we have are to reaffirm Roeand Casey as they stand or to overrule them in their entirety. You say that ‘there are no half-measures here.’ Is that a correct understanding of your brief?”

She agreed it was. And Alito, soon after the hearing, started drafting a bold decision overturning Roe and Casey completely.

“Overruling a precedent is a serious matter. It is not a step that should be taken lightly,” he wrote. “In this case, five factors weigh strongly in favor of overruling Roe and Casey: the nature of their error, the quality of their reasoning, the ‘workability’ of the rules they imposed on the country, their disruptive effect on other areas of the law, and the absence of concrete reliance.”

The decision does not criminalize abortion, but sends the question of regulation back to the states, where voters and legislatures will decide when a woman can and can’t choose to terminate a pregnancy. Some states have passed “trigger laws” putting restrictions into effect immediately.

“For too long, the Roe and Casey decisions have allowed our nation to turn a blind eye to the plight of those who have no voice—to view these lives as a burden instead of a blessing. While this ruling is a significant step toward establishing a true culture of life, the issue of abortion will now be sent back to the states,” said Chelsea Sobolik, director of public policy for the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

“We must continue to use our time, talent and treasure to protect the preborn, care for their mothers, and advocate for state laws that protect them both.”

As the decision released Friday morning, evangelical leaders referred to it as one of the most significant days in the country’s history.

“I’m thankful to God for this historic day…a day to celebrate life,” said Doug Clay, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. “Not to gloat, but to rejoice and give thanks to the Lord of life. To continue our efforts in creating a culture of life in the communities we serve.”

Focus on the Family said, “After 50 years of fighting for the unborn, our prayers have been answered.” The Christian Medical and Dental Associations called it a “much-needed victory for life and for healthcare.” And the head of the ERLC declared, “a new chapter in the pro-life movement begins.”

Experts indicate the ruling will immediately result in a 10 to 15 percent reduction in the number of abortions. Long term, the impact is less clear.

“We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision,” Alito wrote. “We can only do our job …. We therefore hold the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.”


Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 2 | Slaughter of the Inno…

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 3 | Death by Someone’s Ch…

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 4 | The Basis for Human D…

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 5 | Truth and History (20…

Bill Maher said RBG should have taken Obama’s hint to retire in 2013, and the Democrats paid the price for that misstep. I think that is absurd, and that the Republicans had missteps when Nixon and Ford appointed liberals like Powell and Blackburn and now they are getting it right with ACB! Sadly Biden will win and change the trend!

BILL MAHERRBG DIDN’T TAKE THE HINT …Obama Wanted Her to Retire!!!

The “Real Time” host said there was a reason Obama invited RGB to The White House, because he says Obama didn’t just invite people over to shoot the breeze … he invited her, he said, to nudge her into retirement, but she didn’t take the bait.

Bill skewered the Dems for not pressing more, and when Jimmy said her death came as a shock, Maher scoffed and said she had a long history of cancer and she was very old, so it should not have been shocking that she finally passed. It turned into a bonanza for Trump, who secured Amy Coney Barrett‘s elevation to the High Court … the Justice Maher calls it “Nutso.”

Opinions

Trump is the greatest president in the modern era when it comes to shaping the judiciary

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee in D.C. on Oct. 12.
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee in D.C. on Oct. 12. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post)

Opinion by Marc A. ThiessenColumnistOctober 27, 2020 at 1:33 PM EDT

With the Senate’s confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, President Trump has cemented his legacy as the most important president in the modern era when it comes to shaping the judiciary. Whatever happens on Election Day, that legacy will remain — and it validates the votes of every conservative who, despite other misgivings, decided to support him.Follow the latest on Election 2020

The last president to appoint three justices in his first term was Richard M. Nixon, but his picks included Justice Harry Blackmun, the author of Roe v. Wade who became one of the most liberal justices on the court. Trump’s picks, by contrast, have been outstanding. With his appointment of Neil M. Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia, Trump saved the court’s conservative majority. With his appointment of Brett M. Kavanaugh to replace Anthony M. Kennedy — a swing vote — he inched the court to the right. And now by appointing Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court’s liberal icon, Trump has secured a decisive 6-to-3 conservative majority. This will affect the court’s jurisprudence for a generation, with far-reaching consequences for life, religious liberty, free speech, Second Amendment rights, the separation of powers and limited government.

Imagine how different the court would look today if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election. She probably would have nominated a judicial activist to replace Scalia, creating a 5-to-4 liberal majority. She would have replaced Ginsburg with another liberal, securing that seat for decades. She might have had a third pick if Justice Stephen G. Breyer made the same decision as Kennedy and retired when a president he trusted was in office. The damage done by the activist liberal court Clinton ushered in would have been breathtaking.

The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett

Simply stopping this is an accomplishment. But Trump has made better judicial choices than any modern Republican president. Of Ronald Reagan’s three appointees (Sandra Day O’Connor, Scalia and Kennedy), only Scalia was a consistent conservative. George H.W. Bush appointed one solid conservative (Clarence Thomas) and one solid liberal (David H. Souter). George W. Bush picked one reliable conservative (Samuel A. Alito Jr.) and one wavering justice (John G. Roberts Jr.). By contrast, the four liberal justices appointed over the past quarter century — Ginsburg, Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — almost never defect on close 5-to-4 cases. So, Democrats have a perfect record on recent Supreme Court appointments, while Republicans were not even batting .500 — until Trump came along.

Perhaps Trump’s greatest accomplishment will be neutralizing the influence of Roberts. After promising to be an impartial umpire, Roberts has taken the field and legislated from the bench in a string of cases — voting with the court’s liberals to rewrite Obamacare, preservethe Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, block a citizenship question on the census, strike down state laws that required admitting privileges for doctors who perform abortions and allow the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to rewrite the state’s election laws. And those are just his defections on cases the court took up. According to CNN, “Roberts also sent enough signals during internal deliberations on firearms restrictions, sources said, to convince fellow conservatives he would not provide a critical fifth vote anytime soon to overturn gun control regulations. As a result, the justices in June denied several petitions regarding Second Amendment rights.”

Thanks to Trump, Roberts is no longer the swing vote. If Barrett agrees with the legal reasoning of her conservative colleagues, they have the five votes they need without him.

Trump’s appointment of Barrett also complicates Democrats’ plans to reverse this progress via court-packing if they win back the White House and the Senate next week. Before her appointment, Democrats would have had to expand the court by two justices to flip the 5-to-4 conservative majority into a 6-to-5 liberal majority. But now with Barrett on the court, they would have to add four justices in order to achieve a 7-to-6 liberal majority. Given that Americans support Barrett’s confirmation 51 to 28 percent, oppose court-packing 58 to 31 percent and approve of the high court’s performance 53 to 47 percent, for Democrats to add any new seats — much less the four needed to flip the court — would be widely seen as a raw power grab.

That doesn’t mean they won’t try. Voters have a chance to stop them by preserving a Republican majority in the Senate. If history is our guide, Trump may have more Supreme Court appointments in a second term — and with them the opportunity to further preserve or even expand the court’s conservative majority. As for the 26 percent of Trump voters who backed him because of the Supreme Court, their decision has produced a court that will protect our freedoms for decades to come. Any other flaws in the Trump presidency pale by comparison.

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How Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, changed his mind about abortion and endorses now the pro-life view. Paul is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. This article below is from April 11, 2011.

The Doctor Who Saw What He Did

The good doctor could have stepped out of a Louis Auchincloss short story. A fashionable but conscientious professional on the Upper West Side, his ideas, like his Brooks Brothers suits, were tailored to fit in. His ideals were those of the enlightened, modern urban America of his time, which was the mid- to late 20th century. And he was always doing what he could to further them.

The doctor’s political, medical and social convictions were much what one would have expected of a New York liberal, as clear as his curriculum vitae. The son of a secular Jewish ob/gyn, he would follow his prominent father’s footsteps, graduate from McGill Medical College in Montreal, and start his practice in Manhattan. He was a quick study, whether absorbing the latest medical knowledge or political trend. Especially when it came to abortion.

Having no convictions about the sacredness of human life, he was defenseless against its growing and increasingly legal appeal. Indeed, he was soon a leader in Pro-Choice ranks.

By his own count, Bernard Nathanson, M.D., was responsible for some 75,000 abortions — without a twinge of conscience intervening. Not back then. Not when he picketed a New York City hospital in his campaign for the legalization of abortion in New York state. Preaching what he practiced, Dr. Nathanson became a tireless spokesman for NARAL, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws.

As director of the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health in Manhattan, where he routinely performed abortions and taught others to do the same, Dr. Nathanson knew of what he spoke. And never grew tired of rationalizing it. He wasn’t destroying human life but just “an undifferentiated mass of cells.” He was performing a social service, really. He was on a humanitarian mission.

Then something happened. The something was quite specific — the newest EKG and ultrasound imagery. Always a follower of the latest scientific evidence, he couldn’t deny what he was seeing. Political theory is one thing, but facts are facts.

By 1974, soon after Roe v. Wade had opened the way to his dream of abortion-on-demand, his eyes were opened. Literally. As he put it, “There is no longer any serious doubt in my mind that human life exists within the womb from the very onset of pregnancy.” He changed his beliefs and his ways — and sides.

I can identify. When Roe v. Wade was first pronounced, I welcomed it. As a young editorial writer in Pine Bluff, Ark., I believed the court’s assurances that its ruling was not blanket permission for abortion, but a carefully crafted, limited decision applicable only in some exceptional cases. Which was all a lot of hooey, but I swallowed it, and regurgitated it in editorials.

The right to life need not be fully respected from conception on, I explained, but grew with each stage of fetal development until a full human being was formed. I went into all this in an extended debate in the columns of the Pine Bluff Commercial with a young Baptist minister in town named Mike Huckabee.

Yes, I’d been taught by Mary Warters in her biology and genetics courses at Centenary that human life was one unbroken cycle from life to death, and the code to its development was present from its microscopic origins. But I wanted to believe human rights developed differently, especially the right to life. My reasons were compassionate. Who would not want to spare mothers carrying the deformed? Why not just allow physicians to eliminate the deformity? I hadn’t yet come across Flannery O’Connor’s warning that tenderness leads to the gas chambers.

Then something happened. I noticed that the number of abortions in the country had begun to mount year by year — into the millions. Perfectly healthy babies were being aborted for socio-economic reasons. Among ethnic groups, the highest proportions of abortions were being performed on black women. (Last I checked, 37 percent of American abortions were being done on African-American women, though they make up less than 13 percent of the U.S. population.)

Eugenics was showing its true face again. And it wasn’t pretty.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VfqBN9iW0_Q

Abortion was even being touted as a preventative for poverty. All you had to do, after all, was eliminate the poor. They were, in the phrase of the advanced, Darwinian thinkers of the last century, surplus population.

With a little verbal manipulation, any crime can be rationalized, even promoted. Verbicide precedes homicide. The trick is to speak of fetuses, not unborn children. So long as the victims are a faceless abstraction, anything can be done to them. Just don’t look too closely at those sonograms. We are indeed strangely and wondrously made.

By now the toll has reached some 50 million aborted babies in America since 1973. That is not an abstract theory. It is fact, and facts are stubborn things. Some carry their own imperatives with them. And so, like Dr. Nathanson, I changed my mind, and changed sides.

There is something about simple human dignity, whether the issue is civil rights in the 1960s or abortion and euthanasia today, that in the end will not be denied. And it keeps asking: Whose side are you on? Life or death?

Long before he died the other day at 84, Bernard Nathanson had chosen life. He became as ardent an advocate for life as he had once been for death. He wrote books and produced a film, “The Silent Scream,” laying out the case for the unborn, and for humanity. He would join the Catholic Church in 1996 and continue to practice medicine as chief of obstetrical services at Saint Luke’s-Roosevelt hospital in Manhattan.

“I have such heavy moral baggage to drag into the next world,” he told the Washington Times in 1996. But he also had sought to redeem himself. He could not have been expected to do other than he did in his younger years, given his appetite for fashionable ideas. He was, after all, only human. Which is no small or simple thing.

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Recently I have been revisiting my correspondence in 1995 with the famous astronomer Carl Sagan who I had the privilege to correspond with in 1994, 1995 and 1996. In 1996 I had a chance to respond to his December 5, 1995letter on January 10, 1996 and I never heard back from him again since his cancer returned and he passed away later in 1996. Below is what Carl Sagan wrote to me in his December 5, 1995 letter:

Thanks for your recent letter about evolution and abortion. The correlation is hardly one to one; there are evolutionists who are anti-abortion and anti-evolutionists who are pro-abortion.You argue that God exists because otherwise we could not understand the world in our consciousness. But if you think God is necessary to understand the world, then why do you not ask the next question of where God came from? And if you say “God was always here,” why not say that the universe was always here? On abortion, my views are contained in the enclosed article (Sagan, Carl and Ann Druyan {1990}, “The Question of Abortion,” Parade Magazine, April 22.)

I was introduced to when reading a book by Francis Schaeffer called HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT written in 1968. 

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Francis Schaeffer when he was a young pastor in St. Louis pictured above.

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Francis Schaeffer and Adrian Rogers

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(both Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer mentioned Carl Sagan in their books and that prompted me to write Sagan and expose him to their views.


Carl Sagan pictured below:

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Francis Schaeffer

I mentioned earlier that I was blessed with the opportunity to correspond with Dr. Sagan. In his December 5, 1995 letter Dr. Sagan went on to tell me that he was enclosing his article “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. I am going to respond to several points made in that article. Here is a portion of Sagan’s article (here is a link to the whole article):

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Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan pictured above

 “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”

by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The issue had been decided years ago. The court had chosen the middle ground. You’d think the fight was over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings and intimidation, murders of workers at abortion clinics, arrests, intense lobbying, legislative drama, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, major political parties almost defining themselves on the issue, and clerics threatening politicians with perdition. Partisans fling accusations of hypocrisy and murder. The intent of the Constitution and the will of God are equally invoked. Doubtful arguments are trotted out as certitudes. The contending factions call on science to bolster their positions. Families are divided, husbands and wives agree not to discuss it, old friends are no longer speaking. Politicians check the latest polls to discover the dictates of their consciences. Amid all the shouting, it is hard for the adversaries to hear one another. Opinions are polarized. Minds are closed.

 

Is it wrong to abort a pregnancy? Always? Sometimes? Never? How do we decide? We wrote this article to understand better what the contending views are and to see if we ourselves could find a position that would satisfy us both. Is there no middle ground? We had to weigh the arguments of both sides for consistency and to pose test cases, some of which are purely hypothetical. If in some of these tests we seem to go too far, we ask the reader to be patient with us–we’re trying to stress the various positions to the breaking point to see their weaknesses and where they fail.

In contemplative moments, nearly everyone recognizes that the issue is not wholly one-sided. Many partisans of differing views, we find, feel some disquiet, some unease when confronting what’s behind the opposing arguments. (This is partly why such confrontations are avoided.) And the issue surely touches on deep questions: What are our responses to one another? Should we permit the state to intrude into the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives? Where are the boundaries of freedom? What does it mean to be human?

Of the many actual points of view, it is widely held–especially in the media, which rarely have the time or the inclination to make fine distinctions–that there are only two: “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” This is what the two principal warring camps like to call themselves, and that’s what we’ll call them here. In the simplest characterization, a pro-choicer would hold that the decision to abort a pregnancy is to be made only by the woman; the state has no right to interfere. And a pro-lifer would hold that, from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive; that this life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it; and that abortion is tantamount to murder. Both names–pro-choice and pro-life–were picked with an eye toward influencing those whose minds are not yet made up: Few people wish to be counted either as being against freedom of choice or as opposed to life. Indeed, freedom and life are two of our most cherished values, and here they seem to be in fundamental conflict.

Let’s consider these two absolutist positions in turn. A newborn baby is surely the same being it was just before birth. There ‘s good evidence that a late-term fetus responds to sound–including music, but especially its mother’s voice. It can suck its thumb or do a somersault. Occasionally, it generates adult brain-wave patterns. Some people claim to remember being born, or even the uterine environment. Perhaps there is thought in the womb. It’s hard to maintain that a transformation to full personhood happens abruptly at the moment of birth. Why, then, should it be murder to kill an infant the day after it was born but not the day before?

As a practical matter, this isn’t very important: Less than 1 percent of all tabulated abortions in the United States are listed in the last three months of pregnancy (and, on closer investigation, most such reports turn out to be due to miscarriage or miscalculation). But third-trimester abortions provide a test of the limits of the pro-choice point of view. Does a woman’s “innate right to control her own body” encompass the right to kill a near-term fetus who is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a newborn child?

We believe that many supporters of reproductive freedom are troubled at least occasionally by this question. But they are reluctant to raise it because it is the beginning of a slippery slope. If it is impermissible to abort a pregnancy in the ninth month, what about the eighth, seventh, sixth … ? Once we acknowledge that the state can interfere at any time in the pregnancy, doesn’t it follow that the state can interfere at all times?

Abortion and the slippery slope argument above

This conjures up the specter of predominantly male, predominantly affluent legislators telling poor women they must bear and raise alone children they cannot afford to bring up; forcing teenagers to bear children they are not emotionally prepared to deal with; saying to women who wish for a career that they must give up their dreams, stay home, and bring up babies; and, worst of all, condemning victims of rape and incest to carry and nurture the offspring of their assailants. Legislative prohibitions on abortion arouse the suspicion that their real intent is to control the independence and sexuality of women…

And yet, by consensus, all of us think it proper that there be prohibitions against, and penalties exacted for, murder. It would be a flimsy defense if the murderer pleads that this is just between him and his victim and none of the government’s business. If killing a fetus is truly killing a human being, is it not the duty of the state to prevent it? Indeed, one of the chief functions of government is to protect the weak from the strong.

If we do not oppose abortion at some stage of pregnancy, is there not a danger of dismissing an entire category of human beings as unworthy of our protection and respect? And isn’t that dismissal the hallmark of sexism, racism, nationalism, and religious fanaticism? Shouldn’t those dedicated to fighting such injustices be scrupulously careful not to embrace another?

Adrian Rogers’ sermon on animal rights refutes Sagan here

There is no right to life in any society on Earth today, nor has there been at any former time… : We raise farm animals for slaughter; destroy forests; pollute rivers and lakes until no fish can live there; kill deer and elk for sport, leopards for the pelts, and whales for fertilizer; entrap dolphins, gasping and writhing, in great tuna nets; club seal pups to death; and render a species extinct every day. All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life.

Genesis 3 defines being human

And even with that protection, casual murder is an urban commonplace, and we wage “conventional” wars with tolls so terrible that we are, most of us, afraid to consider them very deeply… That protection, that right to life, eludes the 40,000 children under five who die on our planet each day from preventable starvation, dehydration, disease, and neglect.

Those who assert a “right to life” are for (at most) not just any kind of life, but for–particularly and uniquely—human life. So they too, like pro-choicers, must decide what distinguishes a human being from other animals and when, during gestation, the uniquely human qualities–whatever they are–emerge.

The Bible talks about the differences between humans and animals

Despite many claims to the contrary, life does not begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain that stretches back nearly to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago. Nor does human life begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain dating back to the origin of our species, hundreds of thousands of years ago. Every human sperm and egg is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, alive. They are not human beings, of course. However, it could be argued that neither is a fertilized egg.

In some animals, an egg develops into a healthy adult without benefit of a sperm cell. But not, so far as we know, among humans. A sperm and an unfertilized egg jointly comprise the full genetic blueprint for a human being. Under certain circumstances, after fertilization, they can develop into a baby. But most fertilized eggs are spontaneously miscarried. Development into a baby is by no means guaranteed. Neither a sperm and egg separately, nor a fertilized egg, is more than a potential baby or a potential adult. So if a sperm and egg are as human as the fertilized egg produced by their union, and if it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg–despite the fact that it’s only potentially a baby–why isn’t it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg?

Hundreds of millions of sperm cells (top speed with tails lashing: five inches per hour) are produced in an average human ejaculation. A healthy young man can produce in a week or two enough spermatozoa to double the human population of the Earth. So is masturbation mass murder? How about nocturnal emissions or just plain sex? When the unfertilized egg is expelled each month, has someone died? Should we mourn all those spontaneous miscarriages? Many lower animals can be grown in a laboratory from a single body cell. Human cells can be cloned… In light of such cloning technology, would we be committing mass murder by destroying any potentially clonable cells? By shedding a drop of blood?

 

All human sperm and eggs are genetic halves of “potential” human beings. Should heroic efforts be made to save and preserve all of them, everywhere, because of this “potential”? Is failure to do so immoral or criminal? Of course, there’s a difference between taking a life and failing to save it. And there’s a big difference between the probability of survival of a sperm cell and that of a fertilized egg. But the absurdity of a corps of high-minded semen-preservers moves us to wonder whether a fertilized egg’s mere “potential” to become a baby really does make destroying it murder.

Opponents of abortion worry that, once abortion is permissible immediately after conception, no argument will restrict it at any later time in the pregnancy. Then, they fear, one day it will be permissible to murder a fetus that is unambiguously a human being. Both pro-choicers and pro-lifers (at least some of them) are pushed toward absolutist positions by parallel fears of the slippery slope.

 

Another slippery slope is reached by those pro-lifers who are willing to make an exception in the agonizing case of a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. But why should the right to live depend on the circumstances of conception? If the same child were to result, can the state ordain life for the offspring of a lawful union but death for one conceived by force or coercion? How can this be just? And if exceptions are extended to such a fetus, why should they be withheld from any other fetus? This is part of the reason some pro-lifers adopt what many others consider the outrageous posture of opposing abortions under any and all circumstances–only excepting, perhaps, when the life of the mother is in danger.

By far the most common reason for abortion worldwide is birth control. So shouldn’t opponents of abortion be handing out contraceptives and teaching school children how to use them? That would be an effective way to reduce the number of abortions. Instead, the United States is far behind other nations in the development of safe and effective methods of birth control–and, in many cases, opposition to such research (and to sex education) has come from the same people who oppose abortions.continue on to Part 3

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The attempt to find an ethically sound and unambiguous judgment on when, if ever, abortion is permissible has deep historical roots. Often, especially in Christian tradition, such attempts were connected with the question of when the soul enters the body–a matter not readily amenable to scientific investigation and an issue of controversy even among learned theologians. Ensoulment has been asserted to occur in the sperm before conception, at conception, at the time of “quickening” (when the mother is first able to feel the fetus stirring within her), and at birth. Or even later.

Different religions have different teachings. Among hunter-gatherers, there are usually no prohibitions against abortion, and it was common in ancient Greece and Rome. In contrast, the more severe Assyrians impaled women on stakes for attempting abortion. The Jewish Talmud teaches that the fetus is not a person and has no rights. The Old and New Testaments–rich in astonishingly detailed prohibitions on dress, diet, and permissible words–contain not a word specifically prohibiting abortion. The only passage that’s remotely relevant (Exodus 21:22) decrees that if there’s a fight and a woman bystander should accidentally be injured and made to miscarry, the assailant must pay a fine.

Neither St. Augustine nor St. Thomas Aquinas considered early-term abortion to be homicide (the latter on the grounds that the embryo doesn’t look human). This view was embraced by the Church in the Council of Vienne in 1312, and has never been repudiated. The Catholic Church’s first and long-standing collection of canon law (according to the leading historian of the Church’s teaching on abortion, John Connery, S.J.) held that abortion was homicide only after the fetus was already “formed”–roughly, the end of the first trimester.

But when sperm cells were examined in the seventeenth century by the first microscopes, they were thought to show a fully formed human being. An old idea of the homunculus was resuscitated–in which within each sperm cell was a fully formed tiny human, within whose testes were innumerable other homunculi, etc., ad infinitum. In part through this misinterpretation of scientific data, in 1869 abortion at any time for any reason became grounds for excommunication. It is surprising to most Catholics and others to discover that the date was not much earlier.

From colonial times to the nineteenth century, the choice in the United States was the woman’s until “quickening.” An abortion in the first or even second trimester was at worst a misdemeanor. Convictions were rarely sought and almost impossible to obtain, because they depended entirely on the woman’s own testimony of whether she had felt quickening, and because of the jury’s distaste for prosecuting a woman for exercising her right to choose. In 1800 there was not, so far as is known, a single statute in the United States concerning abortion. Advertisements for drugs to induce abortion could be found in virtually every newspaper and even in many church publications–although the language used was suitably euphemistic, if widely understood.

But by 1900, abortion had been banned at any time in pregnancy by every state in the Union, except when necessary to save the woman’s life. What happened to bring about so striking a reversal? Religion had little to do with it.Drastic economic and social conversions were turning this country from an agrarian to an urban-industrial society. America was in the process of changing from having one of the highest birthrates in the world to one of the lowest. Abortion certainly played a role and stimulated forces to suppress it.

 

One of the most significant of these forces was the medical profession. Up to the mid-nineteenth century, medicine was an uncertified, unsupervised business. Anyone could hang up a shingle and call himself (or herself) a doctor. With the rise of a new, university-educated medical elite, anxious to enhance the status and influence of physicians, the American Medical Association was formed. In its first decade, the AMA began lobbying against abortions performed by anyone except licensed physicians. New knowledge of embryology, the physicians said, had shown the fetus to be human even before quickening.

Their assault on abortion was motivated not by concern for the health of the woman but, they claimed, for the welfare of the fetus. You had to be a physician to know when abortion was morally justified, because the question depended on scientific and medical facts understood only by physicians. At the same time, women were effectively excluded from the medical schools, where such arcane knowledge could be acquired. So, as things worked out, women had almost nothing to say about terminating their own pregnancies. It was also up to the physician to decide if the pregnancy posed a threat to the woman, and it was entirely at his discretion to determine what was and was not a threat. For the rich woman, the threat might be a threat to her emotional tranquillity or even to her lifestyle. The poor woman was often forced to resort to the back alley or the coat hanger.

This was the law until the 1960s, when a coalition of individuals and organizations, the AMA now among them, sought to overturn it and to reinstate the more traditional values that were to be embodied in Roe v. Wade.continue on to Part 4

If you deliberately kill a human being, it’s called murder. If you deliberately kill a chimpanzee–biologically, our closest relative, sharing 99.6 percent of our active genes–whatever else it is, it’s not murder. To date, murder uniquely applies to killing human beings. Therefore, the question of when personhood (or, if we like, ensoulment) arises is key to the abortion debate. When does the fetus become human? When do distinct and characteristic human qualities emerge?

Section 8 Sperm journey to becoming Human 

We recognize that specifying a precise moment will overlook individual differences. Therefore, if we must draw a line, it ought to be drawn conservatively–that is, on the early side. There are people who object to having to set some numerical limit, and we share their disquiet; but if there is to be a law on this matter, and it is to effect some useful compromise between the two absolutist positions, it must specify, at least roughly, a time of transition to personhood.

Every one of us began from a dot. A fertilized egg is roughly the size of the period at the end of this sentence. The momentous meeting of sperm and egg generally occurs in one of the two fallopian tubes. One cell becomes two, two become four, and so on—an exponentiation of base-2 arithmetic. By the tenth day the fertilized egg has become a kind of hollow sphere wandering off to another realm: the womb. It destroys tissue in its path. It sucks blood from capillaries. It bathes itself in maternal blood, from which it extracts oxygen and nutrients. It establishes itself as a kind of parasite on the walls of the uterus.By the third week, around the time of the first missed menstrual period, the forming embryo is about 2 millimeters long and is developing various body parts. Only at this stage does it begin to be dependent on a rudimentary placenta. It looks a little like a segmented worm.By the end of the fourth week, it’s about 5 millimeters (about 1/5 inch) long. It’s recognizable now as a vertebrate, its tube-shaped heart is beginning to beat, something like the gill arches of a fish or an amphibian become conspicuous, and there is a pronounced tail. It looks rather like a newt or a tadpole. This is the end of the first month after conception.By the fifth week, the gross divisions of the brain can be distinguished. What will later develop into eyes are apparent, and little buds appear—on their way to becoming arms and legs.By the sixth week, the embryo is 13 millimeteres (about ½ inch) long. The eyes are still on the side of the head, as in most animals, and the reptilian face has connected slits where the mouth and nose eventually will be.By the end of the seventh week, the tail is almost gone, and sexual characteristics can be discerned (although both sexes look female). The face is mammalian but somewhat piglike.By the end of the eighth week, the face resembles that of a primate but is still not quite human. Most of the human body parts are present in their essentials. Some lower brain anatomy is well-developed. The fetus shows some reflex response to delicate stimulation.By the tenth week, the face has an unmistakably human cast. It is beginning to be possible to distinguish males from females. Nails and major bone structures are not apparent until the third month.By the fourth month, you can tell the face of one fetus from that of another. Quickening is most commonly felt in the fifth month. The bronchioles of the lungs do not begin developing until approximately the sixth month, the alveoli still later.

So, if only a person can be murdered, when does the fetus attain personhood? When its face becomes distinctly human, near the end of the first trimester? When the fetus becomes responsive to stimuli–again, at the end of the first trimester? When it becomes active enough to be felt as quickening, typically in the middle of the second trimester? When the lungs have reached a stage of development sufficient that the fetus might, just conceivably, be able to breathe on its own in the outside air?

The trouble with these particular developmental milestones is not just that they’re arbitrary. More troubling is the fact that none of them involves uniquely humancharacteristics–apart from the superficial matter of facial appearance. All animals respond to stimuli and move of their own volition. Large numbers are able to breathe. But that doesn’t stop us from slaughtering them by the billions. Reflexes and motion are not what make us human.

Sagan’s conclusion based on arbitrary choice of the presence of thought by unborn baby

Other animals have advantages over us–in speed, strength, endurance, climbing or burrowing skills, camouflage, sight or smell or hearing, mastery of the air or water. Our one great advantage, the secret of our success, is thought–characteristically human thought. We are able to think things through, imagine events yet to occur, figure things out. That’s how we invented agriculture and civilization. Thought is our blessing and our curse, and it makes us who we are.

Thinking occurs, of course, in the brain–principally in the top layers of the convoluted “gray matter” called the cerebral cortex. The roughly 100 billion neurons in the brain constitute the material basis of thought. The neurons are connected to each other, and their linkups play a major role in what we experience as thinking. But large-scale linking up of neurons doesn’t begin until the 24th to 27th week of pregnancy–the sixth month.

By placing harmless electrodes on a subject’s head, scientists can measure the electrical activity produced by the network of neurons inside the skull. Different kinds of mental activity show different kinds of brain waves. But brain waves with regular patterns typical of adult human brains do not appear in the fetus until about the 30th week of pregnancy–near the beginning of the third trimester. Fetuses younger than this–however alive and active they may be–lack the necessary brain architecture. They cannot yet think.

Acquiescing in the killing of any living creature, especially one that might later become a baby, is troublesome and painful. But we’ve rejected the extremes of “always” and “never,” and this puts us–like it or not–on the slippery slope. If we are forced to choose a developmental criterion, then this is where we draw the line: when the beginning of characteristically human thinking becomes barely possible.

It is, in fact, a very conservative definition: Regular brain waves are rarely found in fetuses. More research would help… If we wanted to make the criterion still more stringent, to allow for occasional precocious fetal brain development, we might draw the line at six months. This, it so happens, is where the Supreme Court drew it in 1973–although for completely different reasons.

Its decision in the case of Roe v. Wade changed American law on abortion. It permits abortion at the request of the woman without restriction in the first trimester and, with some restrictions intended to protect her health, in the second trimester. It allows states to forbid abortion in the third trimester, except when there’s a serious threat to the life or health of the woman. In the 1989 Webster decision, the Supreme Court declined explicitly to overturn Roe v. Wade but in effect invited the 50 state legislatures to decide for themselves.

What was the reasoning in Roe v. Wade? There was no legal weight given to what happens to the children once they are born, or to the family. Instead, a woman’s right to reproductive freedom is protected, the court ruled, by constitutional guarantees of privacy. But that right is not unqualified. The woman’s guarantee of privacy and the fetus’s right to life must be weighed–and when the court did the weighing’ priority was given to privacy in the first trimester and to life in the third. The transition was decided not from any of the considerations we have been dealing with so far…–not when “ensoulment” occurs, not when the fetus takes on sufficient human characteristics to be protected by laws against murder. Instead, the criterion adopted was whether the fetus could live outside the mother. This is called “viability” and depends in part on the ability to breathe. The lungs are simply not developed, and the fetus cannot breathe–no matter how advanced an artificial lung it might be placed in—until about the 24th week, near the start of the sixth month. This is why Roe v. Wade permits the states to prohibit abortions in the last trimester. It’s a very pragmatic criterion.

If the fetus at a certain stage of gestation would be viable outside the womb, the argument goes, then the right of the fetus to life overrides the right of the woman to privacy. But just what does “viable” mean? Even a full-term newborn is not viable without a great deal of care and love. There was a time before incubators, only a few decades ago, when babies in their seventh month were unlikely to be viable. Would aborting in the seventh month have been permissible then? After the invention of incubators, did aborting pregnancies in the seventh month suddenly become immoral? What happens if, in the future, a new technology develops so that an artificial womb can sustain a fetus even before the sixth month by delivering oxygen and nutrients through the blood–as the mother does through the placenta and into the fetal blood system? We grant that this technology is unlikely to be developed soon or become available to many. But if it were available, does it then become immoral to abort earlier than the sixth month, when previously it was moral? A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality; for some, it is also an unacceptable morality.

And why, exactly, should breathing (or kidney function, or the ability to resist disease) justify legal protection? If a fetus can be shown to think and feel but not be able to breathe, would it be all right to kill it? Do we value breathing more than thinking and feeling? Viability arguments cannot, it seems to us, coherently determine when abortions are permissible. Some other criterion is needed. Again, we offer for consideration the earliest onset of human thinking as that criterion.

Since, on average, fetal thinking occurs even later than fetal lung development, we find Roe v. Wade to be a good and prudent decision addressing a complex and difficult issue. With prohibitions on abortion in the last trimester–except in cases of grave medical necessity–it strikes a fair balance between the conflicting claims of freedom and life.What do you think? What have others said about Carl Sagan’s thoughts on 

END OF SAGAN’S ARTICLE

Image result for carl sagan and ann druyan
Carl Sagan with his wife Ann in the 1990’s
Image result for adrian rogers francis schaeffer
I grew up in Memphis as a member of Bellevue Baptist Church under our pastor Adrian Rogers and attended ECS High School where the books and films of Francis Schaeffer were taught. Both men dealt with current issues in the culture such as the film series COSMOS by Carl Sagan. I personally read several of Sagan’s books.  (Francis and Edith Schaeffer pictured below in their home at L’ Abri in Switzerland where Francis  taught students for 3 decades.
Image result for francis schaeffer
630 × 414Images may be subject to copyright.

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Related posts:

Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part F “Carl Sagan’s views on how God should try and contact us” includes film “The Basis for Human Dignity”

April 8, 2013 – 7:07 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 Francis SchaefferProlife | Edit | Comments (0)

Carl Sagan v. Nancy Pearcey

March 18, 2013 – 9:11 am

On March 17, 2013 at our worship service at Fellowship Bible Church, Ben Parkinson who is one of our teaching pastors spoke on Genesis 1. He spoke about an issue that I was very interested in. Ben started the sermon by reading the following scripture: Genesis 1-2:3 English Standard Version (ESV) The Creation of the […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Adrian RogersAtheists ConfrontedCurrent Events | TaggedBen ParkinsonCarl Sagan | Edit | Comments (0)

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution)

May 24, 2012 – 1:47 am

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June 25, 2022 READING A PROVERB A DAY (PROVERBS 25) Adrian Rogers: God’s Answer to Anger (Audio) Proverbs 25:8 “Don’t be in a hurry to go to court. For what will you do in the end if your neighbor deals you a shameful defeat?”

Proverbs 25 New Living Translation

Proverbs 25New Living Translation

More Proverbs of Solomon

25 These are more proverbs of Solomon, collected by the advisers of King Hezekiah of Judah.

It is God’s privilege to conceal things
    and the king’s privilege to discover them.

No one can comprehend the height of heaven, the depth of the earth,
    or all that goes on in the king’s mind!

Remove the impurities from silver,
    and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith.
Remove the wicked from the king’s court,
    and his reign will be made secure by justice.

Don’t demand an audience with the king
    or push for a place among the great.
It’s better to wait for an invitation to the head table
    than to be sent away in public disgrace.

Just because you’ve seen something,
    don’t be in a hurry to go to court.
For what will you do in the end
    if your neighbor deals you a shameful defeat?

When arguing with your neighbor,
    don’t betray another person’s secret.
10 Others may accuse you of gossip,
    and you will never regain your good reputation.

11 Timely advice is lovely,
    like golden apples in a silver basket.

12 To one who listens, valid criticism
    is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry.

13 Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in summer.
    They revive the spirit of their employer.

14 A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it
    is like clouds and wind that bring no rain.

15 Patience can persuade a prince,
    and soft speech can break bones.

16 Do you like honey?
    Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!

17 Don’t visit your neighbors too often,
    or you will wear out your welcome.

18 Telling lies about others
    is as harmful as hitting them with an ax,
wounding them with a sword,
    or shooting them with a sharp arrow.

19 Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble
    is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot.

20 Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart
    is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather
    or pouring vinegar in a wound.[a]

21 If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat.
    If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.
22 You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads,
    and the Lord will reward you.

23 As surely as a north wind brings rain,
    so a gossiping tongue causes anger!

24 It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic
    than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.

25 Good news from far away
    is like cold water to the thirsty.

26 If the godly give in to the wicked,
    it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.

27 It’s not good to eat too much honey,
    and it’s not good to seek honors for yourself.

28 A person without self-control
    is like a city with broken-down walls.

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Adrian Rogers: God’s Answer to Anger #1009

God’s Answer to Anger

Love Worth Finding

Adrian Rogers

There are some people who make excuses for their anger. They say, “It just runs in my family.” They are like a loaded shotgun with a hair trigger. Anytime they are jostled, they blast away. Then they say, “Oh, well, my anger only lasts a little while.” Well, so do tornadoes, but look at what damage they can cause!

Let’s see what the Bible, particularly the book of Proverbs has to say about being quick to get angry:

* “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass” (Proverbs 19:11-12).

* “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife” (Proverbs 15:18).

* “Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbor hath put thee to shame” (Proverbs 25:8).

When you are quick to get angry, you can lose so much — your job, friends, children, wife, health, testimony — there is nothing more debilitating to your Christian testimony than for you to fly off the handle.Confess Our Anger
If we repress our anger rather than confess it, our anger can do all kinds of damage. You may say that you’re not angry but your stomach will keep the score. So, the first thing you must do to control your anger is to confess it to the Lord. Tell Him, “There’s something moving in me I don’t like. And I need You to take control of me and prevent me from acting uncontrollably or unrighteously.”

Someone has well said that if you repress anger it is like lighting a wastebasket, putting it in a closet, and closing the door. It may burn itself out or it may burn the house down. If you want to get control, the very first thing you need to do is open the closet door and say. “There it is, Lord. It’s in there. Put out the fire.”


Consider Our Anger

When you take a step back from your anger and begin to seek understanding from the Lord, He will show you the answer. It is so important to analyze the source of your anger, so you don’t go off half-cocked. Psalm 4:4 says, “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.”

God promises He will show us the way if we will seek Him. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye” (Psalm 32:8). And don’t look around at the world to see how they are handling it, look to God. Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”Control Your Anger
Now, you’re ready to work on controlling your anger. You say, “I can’t control it.” Oh, yes you can. One day you may be having one of those discussions that can be heard about two blocks away and suddenly the phone rings. One of you stomps over to the phone, jerks it off its base, and says, “Hellooooo.” Now, don’t tell me you can’t turn it on and off. You can! Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” Fools spout off anything and everything, but a wise man can choose to control his tongue.

There it is, confess, consider, and control. Now, I don’t guarantee that you will no longer struggle with anger, but if you can get down these basics, you are well on your way. For further study, you may want to look at ordering one of the following sermons at the LWF bookstore (http://www.lwf.org), which target residual affects of anger, including bitterness, an unforgiving spirit, and more:

2027 The Blight of Bitterness Heb. 12:14

1272 How to Turn Bitterness into Blessings II Kings 2:19

1425 Forgiveness Matt. 18:21-35

1694 The Freedom of Forgiveness Matt. 6:9-15

If you feel you have an anger issue that needs immediate professional attention, we recommend that you contact one of the following national Christian counseling referral agencies:

Rapha Christian Counseling 1-800-383-4673 
New Life Counseling 1-800-NEW-LIFE (639-5433)
American Association Of Christian Counselors 1-800-5-COUNSELRead More from Adrian RogersGod’s Grace in the WorkplaceLearn how to turn your ordinary job into an extraordinary one with God’s grace.7 Reasons Why a Saved Person Can’t Be LostDiscover the truth about the doctrine “once saved, always saved.”It Takes a FamilyDr. Rogers responds to questions about family issues.All Articles by Adrian Rogers


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May 30, 2013 – 1:06 am

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John MacArthur on Proverbs (Part 9) “Love your neighbor”

May 28, 2013 – 1:23 am

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John MacArthur on Proverbs (Part 8) “Manage your money”

May 23, 2013 – 1:35 am

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John MacArthur on Proverbs (Part 7) “Pursue your work”

May 21, 2013 – 1:05 am

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John MacArthur on Proverbs (Part 6) “Enjoy your wife and watch your words”

May 16, 2013 – 1:23 am

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John MacArthur on Proverbs (Part 5) “Control your body”

May 14, 2013 – 1:44 am

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John MacArthur on Proverbs (Part 4) “Bad company corrupts…”

May 9, 2013 – 1:10 am

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John MacArthur on Proverbs (Part 3) “Guard your mind and obey your parents!!”

May 7, 2013 – 1:43 am

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John MacArthur on Proverbs (Part 2) What does it mean to fear the Lord?

May 2, 2013 – 1:13 am

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The Wisdom of Solomon and the Book of Ecclesiastes

July 8, 2013 – 12:01 am

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July 3, 2013 – 7:00 am

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Robert Leroe on Ecclesiastes (Mentions Thomas Aquinas, Princess Diana, Mother Teresa, King Solomon, King Rehoboam, Eugene Peterson, Chuck Swindoll, and John Newton.)

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May 31, 2013 – 1:17 am

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May 20, 2013 – 1:13 pm

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December 23, 2011 – 11:12 am

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July 18, 2013 – 12:44 am

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Book of Ecclesiastes

July 17, 2013 – 1:40 am

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Adrian Rogers: Are fathers necessary?

July 16, 2013 – 12:43 am

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Tom Brady, Coldplay, Kansas, Solomon and the search for satisfaction (part 2)

December 22, 2011 – 11:56 am

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AFTER LIFE 3 Review and Open Letter to Ricky Gervais Part 42 HAPPY 61st BIRTHDAY RICKY GERVAIS!! Last episode of AFTER LIFE includes the brilliant song I WILL FOLLOW YOU INTO THE DARK! Great job of putting together the soundtrack for AFTER LIFE! (Ricky Gervais liked this post on twitter on 6/25/22!)


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After Life #1 Trailer

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After Life 2 Trailer

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On Saturday April 18, 2020 at 6pm in London and noon in Arkansas, I had a chance to ask Ricky Gervais a question on his Twitter Live broadcast which was  “Is Tony a Nihilist?” At the 20:51 mark Ricky answers my question. Below is the video:

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If Death is the end then what is the point Kath asks below:

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Kath: You are an atheist?

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(Above) Tony and Anne on the bench at the graveyard where their spouses are buried.

June 25, 2022
Ricky Gervais 


Dear Ricky,  

Happy Birthday Ricky!!! what a great job you have done with your series AFTER LIFE!!! It has touched so many lives! I have recommended to so many people that I interact with! Many of them have told me different episodes later and I always everything since I have each one 6 times!

In the 6th episode of the 3rd season of AFTER LIFE are these words from the song “I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie:

You and me have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes are all worn down
The time for sleep is now
But it’s nothing to cry about
‘Cause we’ll hold each other soon
In the blackest of rooms

The sad fact is that you and I are both in our 60’s now and like King Solomon in the 12th Chapter of ECCLESIASTES we are finding out that our bodies don’t work as well as they used to!

Today is your birthday and like you I celebrated my 61st birthday on May 16, 2022. I want to say that I have enjoyed your comedy for years and especially I have enjoyed the series AFTER LIFE because it brings up the big issues in our lives that people need to consider!!!

Being 61 years old I realize that the vast majority of my life is past and who knows how much more time we both have? Tony in AFTER LIFE and Solomon in ECCLESIASTES do a lot of talking about their upcoming death. In AFTERLIFE Tony says to Matt that going to AA and trying to get over his alcohol problem would only result in him dying slower and he would have to do without something he really enjoys which is enjoy a good drink.

After Life has Tony giving his postman a hard time constantly: 

Postman Pat arrives at Tony’s door one morning exactly when Tony opens it:

Pat: Do you still want me to put it through the door?

Tony: Just give it to me.

Pat: Just a postcard from Mike and Beth whoever they are. 

Tony: Friends. What does it say?

Pat: It says they have been having a great time and Mike has been having diarrhea. 

Tony: Good. Let’s hope you are still are my postman when I am blind. 

In the last episode of season 3 the song

“I Will Follow You into the Dark”

By the rock group Death Cab for Cutie has these words:

Love of mine
Someday you will die
But I’ll be close behind
I’ll follow you into the dark

You seem to bring up getting old and dying a lot both in your series AFTERLIFE and in your private life. That may be because you a graduate in philosophy and you have said before that you don’t read books of fiction but only read books on philosophy and science. No wonder AFTERLIFE sounds so much like ECCLESIASTES and his futile search for the meaning of lifeunder the sun!


On your Twitter Live broadcast on March 21, 2020 you commented:

One day I will be too fat and old to do any more. I will look back on my life. It will be just me on a big toilet with wires coming out of me. Just watching [television] and drinking. Just keeping me alive. I wake up and say “Hell, I didn’t die and I got to do it again. Nurse!” I will be just eating smoothies mixed with Vodka. That is my future. 

Eating smoothies because your teeth don’t work. Sounds like what happened to Solomon in ECCLESIASTES 12:3, “In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,”

 Back on 3-6-16 at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH our teaching pastor Brandon Barnard delivered the message REJOICE AND REMEMBER based on Ecclesiastes 11 and 12 and I wanted to share a portion of that sermon with you today.

Ecclesiastes  12:1-8

Remember Your Creator in Your Youth

12 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmedand the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought lowthey are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along,[d]and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.

In chapter 12 Solomon talks about your body breaking down. He talks about the keepers of the house tremble which are the arms and hands and your strong men which are your legs, knees and shoulders and you walk bent over. Solomon talks about your grinders and that is you lose your teeth. He talks about those who look through the windows are dimmed, your vision begins to deteriorate. He talks about the grinding of your teeth where you can no longer chew your food. He talks about where you can’t hear well but the irony is that you wake up early in the morning with the birds chirping. He talks about the Almond tree blossoms concerning your hair turning white. He talks about your sexual desires beginning to fail as you age. You go to your eternal home, and people mourn your death. The end is coming. Make your days count. 

Here is the outline of the sermon:

FIRST, Live courageously and trust God completely.

A. Ecclesiastes doesn’t endorse foolish choices or foolish living.

B. This does endorse grace driven effort.

SECOND, Enjoy life fully and thank God for today.

A. Rejoice in the years you have and remember they come to an end.

B. Rejoice in your youth and remember that judgment comes to all.

C. Remove worry and live wisely.

D. Remember your creator in all things.

Ricky, you are an agnostic but take a look at this  evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.  It is from the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? written by Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnotes #97 and #98)

A common assumption among liberal scholars is that because the Gospels are theologically motivated writings–which they are–they cannot also be historically accurate. In other words, because Luke, say (when he wrote the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts), was convinced of the deity of Christ, this influenced his work to the point where it ceased to be reliable as a historical account. The assumption that a writing cannot be both historical and theological is false.

The experience of the famous classical archaeologist Sir William Ramsay illustrates this well. When he began his pioneer work of exploration in Asia Minor, he accepted the view then current among the Tubingen scholars of his day that the Book of Acts was written long after the events in Paul’s life and was therefore historically inaccurate. However, his travels and discoveries increasingly forced upon his mind a totally different picture, and he became convinced that Acts was minutely accurate in many details which could be checked.

What is even more interesting is the way “liberal” modern scholars today deal with Ramsay’s discoveries and others like them. In the NEW TESTAMENT : THE HISTORY OF THE INVESTIGATION OF ITS PROBLEMS, the German scholar Werner G. Kummel made no reference at all to Ramsay. This provoked a protest from British and American scholars, whereupon in a subsequent edition Kummel responded. His response was revealing. He made it clear that it was his deliberate intention to leave Ramsay out of his work, since “Ramsay’s apologetic analysis of archaeology [in other words, relating it to the New Testament in a positive way] signified no methodologically essential advance for New Testament research.” This is a quite amazing assertion. Statements like these reveal the philosophic assumptions involved in much liberal scholarship.

A modern classical scholar, A.N.Sherwin-White, says about the Book of Acts: “For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming…Any attempt to reject its basic historicity, even in matters of detail, must not appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken this for granted.”

When we consider the pages of the New Testament, therefore, we must remember what it is we are looking at. The New Testament writers themselves make abundantly clear that they are giving an account of objectively true events.

(Under footnote #98)

Acts is a fairly full account of Paul’s journeys, starting in Pisidian Antioch and ending in Rome itself. The record is quite evidently that of an eyewitness of the events, in part at least. Throughout, however, it is the report of a meticulous historian. The narrative in the Book of Acts takes us back behind the missionary journeys to Paul’s famous conversion on the Damascus Road, and back further through the Day of Pentecost to the time when Jesus finally left His disciples and ascended to be with the Father.

But we must understand that the story begins earlier still, for Acts is quite explicitly the second part of a continuous narrative by the same author, Luke, which reaches back to the birth of Jesus.

Luke 2:1-7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

2 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all [a]the inhabited earth. [b]This was the first census taken while[c]Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a [d]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the opening sentences of his Gospel, Luke states his reason for writing:

Luke 1:1-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things[a]accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those whofrom the beginning [b]were eyewitnesses and [c]servants of the [d]word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having [e]investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellentTheophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been [f]taught.

In Luke and Acts, therefore, we have something which purports to be an adequate history, something which Theophilus (or anyone) can rely on as its pages are read. This is not the language of “myths and fables,” and archaeological discoveries serve only to confirm this.

For example, it is now known that Luke’s references to the titles of officials encountered along the way are uniformly accurate. This was no mean achievement in those days, for they varied from place to place and from time to time in the same place. They were proconsuls in Corinth and Cyprus, asiarchs at Ephesus, politarches at Thessalonica, and protos or “first man” in Malta. Back in Palestine, Luke was careful to give Herod Antipas the correct title of tetrarch of Galilee. And so one. The details are precise.

The mention of Pontius Pilate as Roman governor of Judea has been confirmed recently by an inscription discovered at Caesarea, which was the Roman capital of that part of the Roman Empire. Although Pilate’s existence has been well known for the past 2000 years by those who have read the Bible, now his governorship has been clearly attested outside the Bible.

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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.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002

PS: What is the meaning of life? Find it in the end of the open letter I wrote to you on April 23, 2020. 

Below is the workforce of THE TAMBURY GAZETTE 

Seen below is the third episode of AFTERLIFE (season 1) when Matt takes Tony to a comedy club with front row seats to cheer him up but it turns into disaster!!!

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Part 1 “Why have integrity in Godless Darwinian Universe where Might makes Right?”

Part 2 “My April 14, 2016 Letter to Ricky mentioned Book of Ecclesiastes and the Meaninglessness of Life”

Part 3 Letter about Brandon Burlsworth concerning suffering and pain and evil in the world.  “Why didn’t Jesus save her [from cancer]?” (Tony’s 10 year old nephew George in episode 2)

Part 4 Letter on Solomon on Death Tony in episode one, “It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves.”

Part 5 Letter on subject of Learning in Ecclesiastes “I don’t read books of fiction but mainly science and philosophy”

Part 6 Letter on Luxuries in Ecclesiastes Part 6, The Music of AFTERLIFE (Part A)

Part 7 Letter on Labor in Ecclesiastes My Letter to Ricky on Easter in 2017 concerning Book of Ecclesiastes and the legacy of a person’s life work

Part 8 Letter on Liquor in Ecclesiastes Tony’s late wife Lisa told him, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run!”

Part 9 Letter on Laughter in Ecclesiastes , I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2

Part 10 Final letter to Ricky on Ladies in Ecclesiastes “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

Part 11 Letter about Daniel Stanhope and optimistic humanism  “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer)

Part 12 Letter on how pursuit of God is only way to get Satisfaction Dan Jarrell “[In Ecclesiastes] if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION”

Part 13 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon realizing he will die just as a dog will die “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes

Part 14 Letter to Stephen Hawking on 3 conclusions of humanism and Bertrand Russell destruction of optimistic humanism. “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms—no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Part 15 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Leonardo da Vinci and Solomon and Meaningless of life “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17

Part 16 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon’s longing for death but still fear of death and 5 conclusions of humanism on life UNDER THE SUN. Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”

Mandeep Dhillon as Sandy on her first assignment in ‘After Life’. (Twitter)

A still from ‘After Life’ that captures the vibe of the Tambury Gazette. (Twitter)

Michael Scott of THE OFFICE (USA) with Ricky Gervais 

After Life on Netflix

After Life on Netflix stars Ricky Gervais as a bereaved husband (Image: Netflix)

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Psychiatrist played by Paul Kaye seen below.

The sandy beach walk

Tony Johnson with his dog Brandi seen below:

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Francis Schaeffer THE AGE of FRAGMENTATION

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Dan Mitchell: The first step to recovery is supposed to be admitting you have a problem. But Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker still won’t, even after billionaire Ken Griffin on Thursday said he’s moving his Citadel hedge fund and securities trading firm to Miami from Chicago!

Illinois and Fiscal Suicide, Part II

Yesterday’s column discussed Caterpillar’s decision to move its headquarters from high-tax Illinois to low-tax Texas.

Today, we have more bad news for the Prairie State.

A major investment fund, Citadel, also has decided to leave Illinois.

Is the company moving to a different high-tax state, perhaps California or New York? Maybe Connecticutor New Jersey?

Nope. Citadel is going to Florida, a state famous for having no income tax.

The Wall Street Journal opined this morning about Citadel’s move.

The first step to recovery is supposed to be admitting you have a problem. But Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker still won’t, even after billionaire Ken Griffin on Thursday said he’s moving his Citadel hedge fund and securities trading firm to Miami from Chicago.…Meantime, Democrats in Springfield continue to threaten businesses and citizens with higher taxes… It’s no wonder so many companies and people are leaving, and mostly to low-tax states. …In 2020, $2.4 billion in net adjusted gross income moved to Florida from Illinois, about $298,000 per tax filer. …Mr. Griffin has spent tens of millions of his personal fortune trying to rescue Illinois from bad progressive governance. Maybe he figures it’s time to cut his losses.

Other (former) Illinois residents cut their losses last decade.

Scott Shackford of Reason shared grim data at the end of 2020 about the ongoing exodus from Illinois.

For the seventh year in a row, census figures show residents moving out of Illinois in significant numbers. …Perhaps demanding that your excessively taxed residents give the government even more money is not the best way to keep those residents in your state… Over the course of the last decade, Illinois lost more than a quarter-million people…not even California…has seen Illinois’ population loss. …Government leaders have responded not with better fiscal management (the state’s powerful unions blocked pension reforms), but with more taxes and fees, even as residents leave.

The bottom line is that Illinois is currently losing people and businesses.

Just as it lost people and businesses last decade.

And you can see from this map that taxpayers also were fleeing the state earlier this century.

I’m guessing the state’s hypocritical governorprobably thinks this is a good thing because the people who left probably didn’t vote for tax-and-spend politicians.

But that’s a very short-sighted viewpoint.

After all, parasites need a healthy host. If you’re a flea or a tick, it’s bad news if you’re on a dog that dies.

As Michael Barone noted many years ago, that’s a lesson that Illinois politicians haven’t learned.

Illinois and Fiscal Suicide, Part I

I wrote a couple of days ago about California’s grim future.

But now I’ll share some good news. No matter how bad California gets, the Golden State probably won’t have to worry about people and businesses fleeing to Illinois.

That’s because the Prairie State is an even bigger mess. If California is committing “slow motion suicide,” Illinois is opting for the quickest-possible fiscal demise.

Politicians in Springfield (the Illinois capital) have a love affair with higher taxes. A very passionate love affair.

But the state’s productive people have a different point of view. More and more of them have been escaping.

And they are now being joined by the state’s most-famous company, as Matt Paprocki of the Illinois Policy Institute explains in a column for the Washington Post.

When Boeing announced last month that it was moving its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Va., it sent shudders through the Illinois business community and state capital.But last week, when the heavy-equipment manufacturer Caterpillar said it was moving its headquarters to Texas, it felt more like a bulldozer ramming into the news. …If you’re an Illinois business owner or resident, as I am, the economics of staying are tough and the enticements to move away are many. …According to the U.S. Census Bureau, last year the state had the third-largest loss of residents due to domestic migration in the nation (-122,460), trailing only California and New York.

It’s easy to understand why people and businesses are leaving.

In 2017, Illinois lawmakers raised the personal income tax rate to 4.95 percent, from 3.75 percent, and hiked the corporate rate to 7 percent, from 5.25 percent. When J.B. Pritzker took office as governor in 2019, he passed another 24 tax and fee hikes costing taxpayers over $5 billion. …With 278,475 regulatory restrictions and requirements — double the national average — Illinois has the third most heavily regulated environment in the country. …Illinois owes over $139 billion in state pension debt as of last year, and local governments owe about $75 billion, which is the primary driver for Illinois’ spiraling property taxes, second-highest in the nation.

Mr. Paprocki offers all sorts of suggestions for reform, including a spending cap.

But the chances of pro-growth reform are effectively zero. The governor is a hard-core leftist (as well as a hypocrite) and the state legislature is controlled by government employee unions.

So if you’re hoping for a TABOR-style spending cap, there’s little reason to be optimistic.

And if you’re hoping for reforms that will improve the state’s “least friendly” tax climate, don’t hold your breath.

California is the Greece of the USA, but Texas is not perfect either!!!

Texas is in much better shape than California. Taxes are lower, in part because Texas has no state income tax.

No wonder the Lone Star State is growing faster and creating more jobs.

And the gap will soon get even wider since California voters recently decided to drive away more productive people by raising top tax rates.

But a key challenge for all governments is controlling the size and cost of bureaucracies.

Government employees are probably overpaid in both states, but the situation is worse in California, as I discuss in this interview with John Stossel.

Dan Mitchell Comparing Excessive Bureaucrat Compensation in Texas and California

But being better than California is not exactly a ringing endorsement of Texas fiscal policy.

A column in today’s Wall Street Journal, written by the state’s Comptroller of Public Accounts, points out some worrisome signs.

As the chief financial officer of the nation’s second-largest state, even I have found it hard to get a handle on how much governments are spending, and how much debt they’re taking on. Every level of government is piling up incredible bills. And they’re coming due, whether we like it or not. Even in low-tax Texas, property taxes have risen three times faster than the inflation rate and four times faster than our population growth since 1992. Our local governments, meanwhile, more than doubled their debt load in the last decade, to more than $7,500 in debt for every man, woman and child in the state. In Houston alone, city-employee pension plans are facing an unfunded liability of $2.4 billion. But too many taxpayers aren’t given the information they need to make informed decisions when they vote debt issues. Recently I spent several months holding about 40 town-hall meetings with Texans across our state. Each time, I asked the attendees if they could tell me how much debt their local governments are carrying. Not a single person in a single town had this information.

In other words, taxpayers need to be eternally vigilant, regardless of where they live. Otherwise the corrupt rectangle of politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, and interest groups will figure out hidden ways of using the political process to obtain unearned wealth.

P.S. The second-most-viewed post on this blog is this joke about Texas, California, and a coyote, so it must be at least somewhat amusing. If you want some Texas-specific humor, this police exam is amusing and you’ll enjoy this joke about the difference between Texans, liberals and conservatives. And if you want California-specific humor, this Chuck Asay cartoon hits the nail on the head.

Who are the most responsible people that led to this great pro-life day of June 24, 2022?

June 24, 2022 will go down as the day the Supreme Court returned to recognizing INFANT HUMAN LIFE AGAIN!!!! I have been blogging about these great events all day long as I have been attending the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN LAWMAKERS CONFERENCE in Missouri! It has been a great day and it is the greatest day in the history of the pro-life movement primarily because the Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? energized the evangelicals in 1979 to rise up against the abortion movement!
(Francis Schaeffer seen below)

Francis Schaeffer.jpg


Actually I just attended the retirement party held for my high school Bible teacher Mark Brink of EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN SCHOOL of Cordova, Tennessee on May 19th and he introduced me to the works of Francis Schaeffer and it was Schaeffer’s works that eventually help topple ROE v WADE!!! Ironically Mr Brink had a 49 year career that spanned 1973 to 2022 which was the same period that ROE v WADE survived!!! 

Secondly, Ronald Reagan took the leadership of the pro-life movement in the 1980’s to a new level and then President Trump put us over the top with his 3 Supreme Court picks! The NEVER-TRUMPERS teamed up the Clinton supporters and did not support Trump in 2016, but he got the job done!!!

My pastor growing up in Memphis was the late Adrian Rogers and I benefitted greatly from his ministry and I quoted in my first post this morning (link below):


The Supreme Court has overturned ROE v WADE today on June 24, 2022 and that reminds me of a story Adrian Rogers used to tell: “They took that grocery sack and Maria home and two hours passed and that baby was still crying. They called an obstetrician and he called a pediatrician and they called nurses and they began to work on that little baby. Today that baby is alive and well and healthy. I want to tell you they spent $150,000 to save the life of that baby. NOW CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO ME HOW THEY CAN SPEND $150,000 TO SAVE THE LIFE OF SOMETHING THAT SOMEBODY WAS PAYING ANOTHER DOCTOR TO TAKE THE LIFE OF?” Now the Court has returned us to sanity!

After being elected President of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1979, Adrian Rogers met with President Ronald Reagan.

xxxxx

Let me quote from an article a couple of years ago:

40th Anniversary of the Historic National Affairs Briefing

By AL PERROTTAAugust 21, 2020 • 

In 1980, America chose freedom by electing Ronald Reagan. But Reagan likely would not have been elected had it not been for a history-changing prayer meeting called by Billy Graham and a miraculous night in Dallas 40 years ago this weekend: The National Affairs Briefing.

Graham called a prayer meeting with 8 to 10 faith leaders. Among them: Robison, Pat Robertson, Charles Stanley, Adrian Rogers, Jimmy Draper and Bill Bright. Two days of fervent prayer. Bright shared a startling message. He, too, had been in Red Square. And he, too, had been given the exact same message from God that America had 1,000 days of freedom left, unless it changed course. America, according to both Graham and Bright, needed strong, principled leadership that could communicate effectively necessary changes and direction.

Sparked by the prayer, and led by God, Robison received from the Lord the vision for the “National Affairs Briefing.”

National Affairs Briefing

On the second day of the two-day event, August 22, 1980, some 17,000 people gathered at the Dallas Reunion Arena. 17,000 people of faith who understood the importance of protecting freedom’s matchless blessings. Robison had invited all three presidential candidates to appear: President Jimmy Carter, the Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher; Independent John Anderson; and a once-divorced Hollywood actor from California named Ronald Reagan. Only Reagan accepted the invitation.

Photo credit: Life Outreach

Photo credit: Life Outreach, Intl.

Ronald Reagan joined the 17,000 in standing to their feet as Robison finished. Then he spoke, offering a now-historic opening line suggested to him by Robison.

“I know this is a non-partisan gathering, and so I know you cannot endorse me. But I only brought that up because I want you to know, I endorse you, and what you are doing.” That opening line was front-page headlines nationwide the next day. The pendulum swung toward Reagan almost immediately.

Come November, Ronald Reagan defeated incumbent Jimmy Carter in large part because evangelical voters had been ignited by the National Affairs Briefing. They turned away from the Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher for the candidate willing to fight for our freedoms. Willing to stand up to the Soviet threat. The candidate who understood, as Robison said that momentous night, that “government is not our provider. It is a protector, not a producer.” Reagan’s victory ensured freedom in the United States of America would last far beyond 1,000 days.

Reagan Speech at the National Affairs Briefing, Dallas, TX, August 21, 1980

(at the 13:01 mark you can see Adrian Rogers clapping behind Reagan)

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 1 | Abortion of the Human…

Goodbye Roe v. Wade: Pro-Life Evangelicals Celebrate the Ruling They’ve Waited For

Supreme Court: The landmark abortion-rights case was “egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided.” 

DANIEL SILLIMAN

JUNE 24, 2022 09:00 AM

Roe v. Wade—the Supreme Court decision that mobilized generations of pro-life activists and shaped evangelicals’ political engagement for half a century—has been overturned.

Millions have marched, protested, lobbied, and prayed for the end of the landmark abortion rights ruling. After 49 years, and more than 63 million abortions, the time has come.

Christian leaders called the ruling “once unthinkable” and marked today as “the day we have all been waiting for” and “one of the most important days in American history.”

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overturned,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito for the majority. “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.”

The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decisionwas 6 to 3, with Chief Justice John Roberts concurring with the majority. The opinion of the court closely resembled an Alito draft leaked last month.

The decision is the result of a trio of conservative justices appointed during Donald Trump’s presidency: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

Evangelicals have been the religious group most opposed to abortion and most eager to see Roe overturned. While abortion was never evangelicals’ only issue, in the voting booth it often outweighed all other concerns. Some supported Trump despite moral misgivings in hopes he would deliver on his promise to appoint justices that would finally overturn Roe and the subsequent Supreme Court decision that affirmed abortion rights, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The political calculation appears to have paid off. The three new justices joined Alito and Clarence Thomas in a bold decision saying the Court got it wrong.

“This day belongs to the many people who have labored long and hard to make it happen—and to President Trump, who deserves our thanks for keeping a promise I did not think he would keep,” said Matthew Lee Anderson, a Christian ethicist and Baylor University religion professor.

Ed Whelan, an EPPC senior fellow, referred to the ruling as the “crowning achievement of the conservative legal movement.”

The majority opinion reflected the arguments of evangelical and Catholic pro-life groups who filed friend-of-the-court briefs. Strategically, many focused less on arguments for fetuses’ humanity and right to life, and more on the problems with the legal reasoning behind Roe.

Roe was wrongly decided and poorly reasoned,” wrote the attorneys for Americans United for Life. “Numerous adjudicative errors during the original deliberations—especially the absence of any evidentiary record—have contributed to making Roe unworkable. … There is a constant search for a constitutional rationale for Roe, and the Court has yet to give a reasoned justification for the viability rule.”

The attorneys for the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) made the same point: “As a matter of the Constitution’s text and history, it is no secret that Roe is not just wrong but grievously so. Roe was roundly criticized as wrong the day it was decided, it has been robustly opposed both within and outside the Court ever since, and no sitting Justice has defended the merits of its actual reasoning.”

The Dobbs case considered the constitutionality of a 2015 Mississippi law barring abortions after 15 weeks, a more restrictive ban than allowed under Roe. The state’s only abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health, sued officials with the state health department including Thomas Dobbs. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) served on the state’s legal defense team.

“Mississippi asked the court to overturn Roe because that case was egregiously wrong and had no basis in constitutional text, structure, or history. Additionally, Roe’s changing standards have long been unworkable, which is why so many pro-life laws ended up in court,” said Kristen Waggoner, general counsel for ADF. “It also failed to account for changing science, which demonstrates that life begins at conception.”

How Roe was decided

The Court’s decision in 1973 was based on the argument that fetal life does not have constitutional protection. Lawyers in the case pointed out that traditionally, rights are understood to begin at birth. The 14th Amendment, for example, extended citizenshipto all those “born … in the United States,” not those conceived within the nation’s borders. A fetus, similarly, is not allowed to own property.

The judges said, however, that the state did have a compelling interest in protecting fetal life. But that compelling interest had to be balanced with a woman’s right to privacy.

“Privacy” is never mentioned in the Constitution, but the Ninth Amendment says that rights not mentioned in the Constitution are not to be denied by default. And the 14th Amendment guarantees legal due process, which the Court said indicated a right to privacy, including the right to make decisions about abortion without state interference—at least up to a certain point.

The justices debated that point. After some internal back and forth, they settled on fetal viability.

The author of the landmark decision, Justice Harry Blackmun, viewed Roe v. Wade as a careful compromise.

“The Court does not today hold that the Constitution compels abortion on demand,” he wrote. “It does not today pronounce that a pregnant woman has an absolute right to an abortion. It does, for the first trimester of pregnancy, cast the abortion decision and the responsibility for it upon the attending physician.”

As historian Daniel K. Williams has noted, however, Blackmun was wrong. Roe accepted none of the arguments of the pro-life movement and delivered a decisive win to abortion rights advocates. The decision forced 46 state legislatures to rewrite their abortion laws, bringing them into line with what had been, until then, the most liberal abortion laws in the nation.

Most evangelical Christians at the time saw it as an appalling decision, disregarding the unalienable right of life.“This decision runs counter not merely to the moral teachings of Christianity through the ages but also to the moral sense of the American people,” CT arguedin 1973.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Presbyterian Church in America, and other denominations all passed pro-life resolutions in the decade after Roe.

In their influential book Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, evangelist Francis Schaeffer and pediatric surgeon C. Everett Koop calledabortion the “first and crucial issue,” the “keystone” to protecting the dignity of human life.

“We implore those of you who are Christian to exert all your influence to fight against the increasing loss of humanness—through legislation, social action, and other means at your disposal,” they wrote in 1979. “If we do not take a stand here and now, we certainly cannot lay any claim to being the salt of the earth in our generation.”

The movement almost achieved victory in 1992. Five abortion clinics and one independent doctor sued Pennsylvania for its restrictions on abortion, including a mandatory waiting period and notification of a spouse or parent. At the time, eight of the nine justices had been appointed by Republicans, though at least three of them were known to support abortion rights.

On the eve of the decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist drafted a 5-to-4 majority opinion overturning Roe.

Then at the last minute, Justice Anthony Kennedy switched sides. He joined Sandra Day O’Connor and David Souter to craft a compromise that would allow states to regulate abortion to some extent—but also uphold the validity of Roe. They got the two more liberal justices, Blackmun and John Paul Stevens, to sign on.

Though it may have been conceived as a “compromise,” the 5-to-4 decision in Casey was in fact a reaffirmation of the core claim of Roe—while almost entirely abandoning the legal reasoning. The court decided that it was crucial to recognize the precedent set by Roe, adhering the legal doctrine of stare decisis.

Questioning the authority of precedent

Each of the three newest justices raised questions about this standard in the oral arguments in Dobbs in December.

“In thinking about stare decisis, which is obviously the core of this case, how should we be thinking about it?” Barrett asked.

The Catholic justice acknowledged the benefits of a system that builds on precedents but argued that “part of our stare decisis doctrine [is] that it’s not an inexorable command and that there are some circumstances in which overruling is possible.” She rattled off multiple examples, including one civil rights case and one LGBT rights case.

Roberts seemed to search for a way to modify the previous rulings and perhaps set a different standard for how much abortion could be regulated without actually rejecting a constitutional right to abortion. The attorneys on both sides, however, indicated they thought the case was all or nothing.

“I read your briefs,” Alito said to the attorney defending Roe and Casey. “Your briefs [say] that the only real options we have are to reaffirm Roeand Casey as they stand or to overrule them in their entirety. You say that ‘there are no half-measures here.’ Is that a correct understanding of your brief?”

She agreed it was. And Alito, soon after the hearing, started drafting a bold decision overturning Roe and Casey completely.

“Overruling a precedent is a serious matter. It is not a step that should be taken lightly,” he wrote. “In this case, five factors weigh strongly in favor of overruling Roe and Casey: the nature of their error, the quality of their reasoning, the ‘workability’ of the rules they imposed on the country, their disruptive effect on other areas of the law, and the absence of concrete reliance.”

The decision does not criminalize abortion, but sends the question of regulation back to the states, where voters and legislatures will decide when a woman can and can’t choose to terminate a pregnancy. Some states have passed “trigger laws” putting restrictions into effect immediately.

“For too long, the Roe and Casey decisions have allowed our nation to turn a blind eye to the plight of those who have no voice—to view these lives as a burden instead of a blessing. While this ruling is a significant step toward establishing a true culture of life, the issue of abortion will now be sent back to the states,” said Chelsea Sobolik, director of public policy for the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

“We must continue to use our time, talent and treasure to protect the preborn, care for their mothers, and advocate for state laws that protect them both.”

As the decision released Friday morning, evangelical leaders referred to it as one of the most significant days in the country’s history.

“I’m thankful to God for this historic day…a day to celebrate life,” said Doug Clay, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. “Not to gloat, but to rejoice and give thanks to the Lord of life. To continue our efforts in creating a culture of life in the communities we serve.”

Focus on the Family said, “After 50 years of fighting for the unborn, our prayers have been answered.” The Christian Medical and Dental Associations called it a “much-needed victory for life and for healthcare.” And the head of the ERLC declared, “a new chapter in the pro-life movement begins.”

Experts indicate the ruling will immediately result in a 10 to 15 percent reduction in the number of abortions. Long term, the impact is less clear.

“We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision,” Alito wrote. “We can only do our job …. We therefore hold the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.”


Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 2 | Slaughter of the Inno…

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 3 | Death by Someone’s Ch…

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 4 | The Basis for Human D…

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 5 | Truth and History (20…

Bill Maher said RBG should have taken Obama’s hint to retire in 2013, and the Democrats paid the price for that misstep. I think that is absurd, and that the Republicans had missteps when Nixon and Ford appointed liberals like Powell and Blackburn and now they are getting it right with ACB! Sadly Biden will win and change the trend!

BILL MAHERRBG DIDN’T TAKE THE HINT …Obama Wanted Her to Retire!!!

The “Real Time” host said there was a reason Obama invited RGB to The White House, because he says Obama didn’t just invite people over to shoot the breeze … he invited her, he said, to nudge her into retirement, but she didn’t take the bait.

Bill skewered the Dems for not pressing more, and when Jimmy said her death came as a shock, Maher scoffed and said she had a long history of cancer and she was very old, so it should not have been shocking that she finally passed. It turned into a bonanza for Trump, who secured Amy Coney Barrett‘s elevation to the High Court … the Justice Maher calls it “Nutso.”

Opinions

Trump is the greatest president in the modern era when it comes to shaping the judiciary

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee in D.C. on Oct. 12.
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee in D.C. on Oct. 12. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post)

Opinion by Marc A. ThiessenColumnistOctober 27, 2020 at 1:33 PM EDT

With the Senate’s confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, President Trump has cemented his legacy as the most important president in the modern era when it comes to shaping the judiciary. Whatever happens on Election Day, that legacy will remain — and it validates the votes of every conservative who, despite other misgivings, decided to support him.Follow the latest on Election 2020

The last president to appoint three justices in his first term was Richard M. Nixon, but his picks included Justice Harry Blackmun, the author of Roe v. Wade who became one of the most liberal justices on the court. Trump’s picks, by contrast, have been outstanding. With his appointment of Neil M. Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia, Trump saved the court’s conservative majority. With his appointment of Brett M. Kavanaugh to replace Anthony M. Kennedy — a swing vote — he inched the court to the right. And now by appointing Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court’s liberal icon, Trump has secured a decisive 6-to-3 conservative majority. This will affect the court’s jurisprudence for a generation, with far-reaching consequences for life, religious liberty, free speech, Second Amendment rights, the separation of powers and limited government.

Imagine how different the court would look today if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election. She probably would have nominated a judicial activist to replace Scalia, creating a 5-to-4 liberal majority. She would have replaced Ginsburg with another liberal, securing that seat for decades. She might have had a third pick if Justice Stephen G. Breyer made the same decision as Kennedy and retired when a president he trusted was in office. The damage done by the activist liberal court Clinton ushered in would have been breathtaking.

The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett

Simply stopping this is an accomplishment. But Trump has made better judicial choices than any modern Republican president. Of Ronald Reagan’s three appointees (Sandra Day O’Connor, Scalia and Kennedy), only Scalia was a consistent conservative. George H.W. Bush appointed one solid conservative (Clarence Thomas) and one solid liberal (David H. Souter). George W. Bush picked one reliable conservative (Samuel A. Alito Jr.) and one wavering justice (John G. Roberts Jr.). By contrast, the four liberal justices appointed over the past quarter century — Ginsburg, Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — almost never defect on close 5-to-4 cases. So, Democrats have a perfect record on recent Supreme Court appointments, while Republicans were not even batting .500 — until Trump came along.

Perhaps Trump’s greatest accomplishment will be neutralizing the influence of Roberts. After promising to be an impartial umpire, Roberts has taken the field and legislated from the bench in a string of cases — voting with the court’s liberals to rewrite Obamacare, preservethe Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, block a citizenship question on the census, strike down state laws that required admitting privileges for doctors who perform abortions and allow the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to rewrite the state’s election laws. And those are just his defections on cases the court took up. According to CNN, “Roberts also sent enough signals during internal deliberations on firearms restrictions, sources said, to convince fellow conservatives he would not provide a critical fifth vote anytime soon to overturn gun control regulations. As a result, the justices in June denied several petitions regarding Second Amendment rights.”

Thanks to Trump, Roberts is no longer the swing vote. If Barrett agrees with the legal reasoning of her conservative colleagues, they have the five votes they need without him.

Trump’s appointment of Barrett also complicates Democrats’ plans to reverse this progress via court-packing if they win back the White House and the Senate next week. Before her appointment, Democrats would have had to expand the court by two justices to flip the 5-to-4 conservative majority into a 6-to-5 liberal majority. But now with Barrett on the court, they would have to add four justices in order to achieve a 7-to-6 liberal majority. Given that Americans support Barrett’s confirmation 51 to 28 percent, oppose court-packing 58 to 31 percent and approve of the high court’s performance 53 to 47 percent, for Democrats to add any new seats — much less the four needed to flip the court — would be widely seen as a raw power grab.

That doesn’t mean they won’t try. Voters have a chance to stop them by preserving a Republican majority in the Senate. If history is our guide, Trump may have more Supreme Court appointments in a second term — and with them the opportunity to further preserve or even expand the court’s conservative majority. As for the 26 percent of Trump voters who backed him because of the Supreme Court, their decision has produced a court that will protect our freedoms for decades to come. Any other flaws in the Trump presidency pale by comparison.

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How Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, changed his mind about abortion and endorses now the pro-life view. Paul is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. This article below is from April 11, 2011.

The Doctor Who Saw What He Did

The good doctor could have stepped out of a Louis Auchincloss short story. A fashionable but conscientious professional on the Upper West Side, his ideas, like his Brooks Brothers suits, were tailored to fit in. His ideals were those of the enlightened, modern urban America of his time, which was the mid- to late 20th century. And he was always doing what he could to further them.

The doctor’s political, medical and social convictions were much what one would have expected of a New York liberal, as clear as his curriculum vitae. The son of a secular Jewish ob/gyn, he would follow his prominent father’s footsteps, graduate from McGill Medical College in Montreal, and start his practice in Manhattan. He was a quick study, whether absorbing the latest medical knowledge or political trend. Especially when it came to abortion.

Having no convictions about the sacredness of human life, he was defenseless against its growing and increasingly legal appeal. Indeed, he was soon a leader in Pro-Choice ranks.

By his own count, Bernard Nathanson, M.D., was responsible for some 75,000 abortions — without a twinge of conscience intervening. Not back then. Not when he picketed a New York City hospital in his campaign for the legalization of abortion in New York state. Preaching what he practiced, Dr. Nathanson became a tireless spokesman for NARAL, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws.

As director of the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health in Manhattan, where he routinely performed abortions and taught others to do the same, Dr. Nathanson knew of what he spoke. And never grew tired of rationalizing it. He wasn’t destroying human life but just “an undifferentiated mass of cells.” He was performing a social service, really. He was on a humanitarian mission.

Then something happened. The something was quite specific — the newest EKG and ultrasound imagery. Always a follower of the latest scientific evidence, he couldn’t deny what he was seeing. Political theory is one thing, but facts are facts.

By 1974, soon after Roe v. Wade had opened the way to his dream of abortion-on-demand, his eyes were opened. Literally. As he put it, “There is no longer any serious doubt in my mind that human life exists within the womb from the very onset of pregnancy.” He changed his beliefs and his ways — and sides.

I can identify. When Roe v. Wade was first pronounced, I welcomed it. As a young editorial writer in Pine Bluff, Ark., I believed the court’s assurances that its ruling was not blanket permission for abortion, but a carefully crafted, limited decision applicable only in some exceptional cases. Which was all a lot of hooey, but I swallowed it, and regurgitated it in editorials.

The right to life need not be fully respected from conception on, I explained, but grew with each stage of fetal development until a full human being was formed. I went into all this in an extended debate in the columns of the Pine Bluff Commercial with a young Baptist minister in town named Mike Huckabee.

Yes, I’d been taught by Mary Warters in her biology and genetics courses at Centenary that human life was one unbroken cycle from life to death, and the code to its development was present from its microscopic origins. But I wanted to believe human rights developed differently, especially the right to life. My reasons were compassionate. Who would not want to spare mothers carrying the deformed? Why not just allow physicians to eliminate the deformity? I hadn’t yet come across Flannery O’Connor’s warning that tenderness leads to the gas chambers.

Then something happened. I noticed that the number of abortions in the country had begun to mount year by year — into the millions. Perfectly healthy babies were being aborted for socio-economic reasons. Among ethnic groups, the highest proportions of abortions were being performed on black women. (Last I checked, 37 percent of American abortions were being done on African-American women, though they make up less than 13 percent of the U.S. population.)

Eugenics was showing its true face again. And it wasn’t pretty.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VfqBN9iW0_Q

Abortion was even being touted as a preventative for poverty. All you had to do, after all, was eliminate the poor. They were, in the phrase of the advanced, Darwinian thinkers of the last century, surplus population.

With a little verbal manipulation, any crime can be rationalized, even promoted. Verbicide precedes homicide. The trick is to speak of fetuses, not unborn children. So long as the victims are a faceless abstraction, anything can be done to them. Just don’t look too closely at those sonograms. We are indeed strangely and wondrously made.

By now the toll has reached some 50 million aborted babies in America since 1973. That is not an abstract theory. It is fact, and facts are stubborn things. Some carry their own imperatives with them. And so, like Dr. Nathanson, I changed my mind, and changed sides.

There is something about simple human dignity, whether the issue is civil rights in the 1960s or abortion and euthanasia today, that in the end will not be denied. And it keeps asking: Whose side are you on? Life or death?

Long before he died the other day at 84, Bernard Nathanson had chosen life. He became as ardent an advocate for life as he had once been for death. He wrote books and produced a film, “The Silent Scream,” laying out the case for the unborn, and for humanity. He would join the Catholic Church in 1996 and continue to practice medicine as chief of obstetrical services at Saint Luke’s-Roosevelt hospital in Manhattan.

“I have such heavy moral baggage to drag into the next world,” he told the Washington Times in 1996. But he also had sought to redeem himself. He could not have been expected to do other than he did in his younger years, given his appetite for fashionable ideas. He was, after all, only human. Which is no small or simple thing.

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Recently I have been revisiting my correspondence in 1995 with the famous astronomer Carl Sagan who I had the privilege to correspond with in 1994, 1995 and 1996. In 1996 I had a chance to respond to his December 5, 1995letter on January 10, 1996 and I never heard back from him again since his cancer returned and he passed away later in 1996. Below is what Carl Sagan wrote to me in his December 5, 1995 letter:

Thanks for your recent letter about evolution and abortion. The correlation is hardly one to one; there are evolutionists who are anti-abortion and anti-evolutionists who are pro-abortion.You argue that God exists because otherwise we could not understand the world in our consciousness. But if you think God is necessary to understand the world, then why do you not ask the next question of where God came from? And if you say “God was always here,” why not say that the universe was always here? On abortion, my views are contained in the enclosed article (Sagan, Carl and Ann Druyan {1990}, “The Question of Abortion,” Parade Magazine, April 22.)

I was introduced to when reading a book by Francis Schaeffer called HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT written in 1968. 

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Francis Schaeffer when he was a young pastor in St. Louis pictured above.

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Francis Schaeffer and Adrian Rogers

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(both Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer mentioned Carl Sagan in their books and that prompted me to write Sagan and expose him to their views.


Carl Sagan pictured below:

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Francis Schaeffer

I mentioned earlier that I was blessed with the opportunity to correspond with Dr. Sagan. In his December 5, 1995 letter Dr. Sagan went on to tell me that he was enclosing his article “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. I am going to respond to several points made in that article. Here is a portion of Sagan’s article (here is a link to the whole article):

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Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan pictured above

 “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”

by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The issue had been decided years ago. The court had chosen the middle ground. You’d think the fight was over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings and intimidation, murders of workers at abortion clinics, arrests, intense lobbying, legislative drama, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, major political parties almost defining themselves on the issue, and clerics threatening politicians with perdition. Partisans fling accusations of hypocrisy and murder. The intent of the Constitution and the will of God are equally invoked. Doubtful arguments are trotted out as certitudes. The contending factions call on science to bolster their positions. Families are divided, husbands and wives agree not to discuss it, old friends are no longer speaking. Politicians check the latest polls to discover the dictates of their consciences. Amid all the shouting, it is hard for the adversaries to hear one another. Opinions are polarized. Minds are closed.

 

Is it wrong to abort a pregnancy? Always? Sometimes? Never? How do we decide? We wrote this article to understand better what the contending views are and to see if we ourselves could find a position that would satisfy us both. Is there no middle ground? We had to weigh the arguments of both sides for consistency and to pose test cases, some of which are purely hypothetical. If in some of these tests we seem to go too far, we ask the reader to be patient with us–we’re trying to stress the various positions to the breaking point to see their weaknesses and where they fail.

In contemplative moments, nearly everyone recognizes that the issue is not wholly one-sided. Many partisans of differing views, we find, feel some disquiet, some unease when confronting what’s behind the opposing arguments. (This is partly why such confrontations are avoided.) And the issue surely touches on deep questions: What are our responses to one another? Should we permit the state to intrude into the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives? Where are the boundaries of freedom? What does it mean to be human?

Of the many actual points of view, it is widely held–especially in the media, which rarely have the time or the inclination to make fine distinctions–that there are only two: “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” This is what the two principal warring camps like to call themselves, and that’s what we’ll call them here. In the simplest characterization, a pro-choicer would hold that the decision to abort a pregnancy is to be made only by the woman; the state has no right to interfere. And a pro-lifer would hold that, from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive; that this life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it; and that abortion is tantamount to murder. Both names–pro-choice and pro-life–were picked with an eye toward influencing those whose minds are not yet made up: Few people wish to be counted either as being against freedom of choice or as opposed to life. Indeed, freedom and life are two of our most cherished values, and here they seem to be in fundamental conflict.

Let’s consider these two absolutist positions in turn. A newborn baby is surely the same being it was just before birth. There ‘s good evidence that a late-term fetus responds to sound–including music, but especially its mother’s voice. It can suck its thumb or do a somersault. Occasionally, it generates adult brain-wave patterns. Some people claim to remember being born, or even the uterine environment. Perhaps there is thought in the womb. It’s hard to maintain that a transformation to full personhood happens abruptly at the moment of birth. Why, then, should it be murder to kill an infant the day after it was born but not the day before?

As a practical matter, this isn’t very important: Less than 1 percent of all tabulated abortions in the United States are listed in the last three months of pregnancy (and, on closer investigation, most such reports turn out to be due to miscarriage or miscalculation). But third-trimester abortions provide a test of the limits of the pro-choice point of view. Does a woman’s “innate right to control her own body” encompass the right to kill a near-term fetus who is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a newborn child?

We believe that many supporters of reproductive freedom are troubled at least occasionally by this question. But they are reluctant to raise it because it is the beginning of a slippery slope. If it is impermissible to abort a pregnancy in the ninth month, what about the eighth, seventh, sixth … ? Once we acknowledge that the state can interfere at any time in the pregnancy, doesn’t it follow that the state can interfere at all times?

Abortion and the slippery slope argument above

This conjures up the specter of predominantly male, predominantly affluent legislators telling poor women they must bear and raise alone children they cannot afford to bring up; forcing teenagers to bear children they are not emotionally prepared to deal with; saying to women who wish for a career that they must give up their dreams, stay home, and bring up babies; and, worst of all, condemning victims of rape and incest to carry and nurture the offspring of their assailants. Legislative prohibitions on abortion arouse the suspicion that their real intent is to control the independence and sexuality of women…

And yet, by consensus, all of us think it proper that there be prohibitions against, and penalties exacted for, murder. It would be a flimsy defense if the murderer pleads that this is just between him and his victim and none of the government’s business. If killing a fetus is truly killing a human being, is it not the duty of the state to prevent it? Indeed, one of the chief functions of government is to protect the weak from the strong.

If we do not oppose abortion at some stage of pregnancy, is there not a danger of dismissing an entire category of human beings as unworthy of our protection and respect? And isn’t that dismissal the hallmark of sexism, racism, nationalism, and religious fanaticism? Shouldn’t those dedicated to fighting such injustices be scrupulously careful not to embrace another?

Adrian Rogers’ sermon on animal rights refutes Sagan here

There is no right to life in any society on Earth today, nor has there been at any former time… : We raise farm animals for slaughter; destroy forests; pollute rivers and lakes until no fish can live there; kill deer and elk for sport, leopards for the pelts, and whales for fertilizer; entrap dolphins, gasping and writhing, in great tuna nets; club seal pups to death; and render a species extinct every day. All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life.

Genesis 3 defines being human

And even with that protection, casual murder is an urban commonplace, and we wage “conventional” wars with tolls so terrible that we are, most of us, afraid to consider them very deeply… That protection, that right to life, eludes the 40,000 children under five who die on our planet each day from preventable starvation, dehydration, disease, and neglect.

Those who assert a “right to life” are for (at most) not just any kind of life, but for–particularly and uniquely—human life. So they too, like pro-choicers, must decide what distinguishes a human being from other animals and when, during gestation, the uniquely human qualities–whatever they are–emerge.

The Bible talks about the differences between humans and animals

Despite many claims to the contrary, life does not begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain that stretches back nearly to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago. Nor does human life begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain dating back to the origin of our species, hundreds of thousands of years ago. Every human sperm and egg is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, alive. They are not human beings, of course. However, it could be argued that neither is a fertilized egg.

In some animals, an egg develops into a healthy adult without benefit of a sperm cell. But not, so far as we know, among humans. A sperm and an unfertilized egg jointly comprise the full genetic blueprint for a human being. Under certain circumstances, after fertilization, they can develop into a baby. But most fertilized eggs are spontaneously miscarried. Development into a baby is by no means guaranteed. Neither a sperm and egg separately, nor a fertilized egg, is more than a potential baby or a potential adult. So if a sperm and egg are as human as the fertilized egg produced by their union, and if it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg–despite the fact that it’s only potentially a baby–why isn’t it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg?

Hundreds of millions of sperm cells (top speed with tails lashing: five inches per hour) are produced in an average human ejaculation. A healthy young man can produce in a week or two enough spermatozoa to double the human population of the Earth. So is masturbation mass murder? How about nocturnal emissions or just plain sex? When the unfertilized egg is expelled each month, has someone died? Should we mourn all those spontaneous miscarriages? Many lower animals can be grown in a laboratory from a single body cell. Human cells can be cloned… In light of such cloning technology, would we be committing mass murder by destroying any potentially clonable cells? By shedding a drop of blood?

 

All human sperm and eggs are genetic halves of “potential” human beings. Should heroic efforts be made to save and preserve all of them, everywhere, because of this “potential”? Is failure to do so immoral or criminal? Of course, there’s a difference between taking a life and failing to save it. And there’s a big difference between the probability of survival of a sperm cell and that of a fertilized egg. But the absurdity of a corps of high-minded semen-preservers moves us to wonder whether a fertilized egg’s mere “potential” to become a baby really does make destroying it murder.

Opponents of abortion worry that, once abortion is permissible immediately after conception, no argument will restrict it at any later time in the pregnancy. Then, they fear, one day it will be permissible to murder a fetus that is unambiguously a human being. Both pro-choicers and pro-lifers (at least some of them) are pushed toward absolutist positions by parallel fears of the slippery slope.

 

Another slippery slope is reached by those pro-lifers who are willing to make an exception in the agonizing case of a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. But why should the right to live depend on the circumstances of conception? If the same child were to result, can the state ordain life for the offspring of a lawful union but death for one conceived by force or coercion? How can this be just? And if exceptions are extended to such a fetus, why should they be withheld from any other fetus? This is part of the reason some pro-lifers adopt what many others consider the outrageous posture of opposing abortions under any and all circumstances–only excepting, perhaps, when the life of the mother is in danger.

By far the most common reason for abortion worldwide is birth control. So shouldn’t opponents of abortion be handing out contraceptives and teaching school children how to use them? That would be an effective way to reduce the number of abortions. Instead, the United States is far behind other nations in the development of safe and effective methods of birth control–and, in many cases, opposition to such research (and to sex education) has come from the same people who oppose abortions.continue on to Part 3

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The attempt to find an ethically sound and unambiguous judgment on when, if ever, abortion is permissible has deep historical roots. Often, especially in Christian tradition, such attempts were connected with the question of when the soul enters the body–a matter not readily amenable to scientific investigation and an issue of controversy even among learned theologians. Ensoulment has been asserted to occur in the sperm before conception, at conception, at the time of “quickening” (when the mother is first able to feel the fetus stirring within her), and at birth. Or even later.

Different religions have different teachings. Among hunter-gatherers, there are usually no prohibitions against abortion, and it was common in ancient Greece and Rome. In contrast, the more severe Assyrians impaled women on stakes for attempting abortion. The Jewish Talmud teaches that the fetus is not a person and has no rights. The Old and New Testaments–rich in astonishingly detailed prohibitions on dress, diet, and permissible words–contain not a word specifically prohibiting abortion. The only passage that’s remotely relevant (Exodus 21:22) decrees that if there’s a fight and a woman bystander should accidentally be injured and made to miscarry, the assailant must pay a fine.

Neither St. Augustine nor St. Thomas Aquinas considered early-term abortion to be homicide (the latter on the grounds that the embryo doesn’t look human). This view was embraced by the Church in the Council of Vienne in 1312, and has never been repudiated. The Catholic Church’s first and long-standing collection of canon law (according to the leading historian of the Church’s teaching on abortion, John Connery, S.J.) held that abortion was homicide only after the fetus was already “formed”–roughly, the end of the first trimester.

But when sperm cells were examined in the seventeenth century by the first microscopes, they were thought to show a fully formed human being. An old idea of the homunculus was resuscitated–in which within each sperm cell was a fully formed tiny human, within whose testes were innumerable other homunculi, etc., ad infinitum. In part through this misinterpretation of scientific data, in 1869 abortion at any time for any reason became grounds for excommunication. It is surprising to most Catholics and others to discover that the date was not much earlier.

From colonial times to the nineteenth century, the choice in the United States was the woman’s until “quickening.” An abortion in the first or even second trimester was at worst a misdemeanor. Convictions were rarely sought and almost impossible to obtain, because they depended entirely on the woman’s own testimony of whether she had felt quickening, and because of the jury’s distaste for prosecuting a woman for exercising her right to choose. In 1800 there was not, so far as is known, a single statute in the United States concerning abortion. Advertisements for drugs to induce abortion could be found in virtually every newspaper and even in many church publications–although the language used was suitably euphemistic, if widely understood.

But by 1900, abortion had been banned at any time in pregnancy by every state in the Union, except when necessary to save the woman’s life. What happened to bring about so striking a reversal? Religion had little to do with it.Drastic economic and social conversions were turning this country from an agrarian to an urban-industrial society. America was in the process of changing from having one of the highest birthrates in the world to one of the lowest. Abortion certainly played a role and stimulated forces to suppress it.

 

One of the most significant of these forces was the medical profession. Up to the mid-nineteenth century, medicine was an uncertified, unsupervised business. Anyone could hang up a shingle and call himself (or herself) a doctor. With the rise of a new, university-educated medical elite, anxious to enhance the status and influence of physicians, the American Medical Association was formed. In its first decade, the AMA began lobbying against abortions performed by anyone except licensed physicians. New knowledge of embryology, the physicians said, had shown the fetus to be human even before quickening.

Their assault on abortion was motivated not by concern for the health of the woman but, they claimed, for the welfare of the fetus. You had to be a physician to know when abortion was morally justified, because the question depended on scientific and medical facts understood only by physicians. At the same time, women were effectively excluded from the medical schools, where such arcane knowledge could be acquired. So, as things worked out, women had almost nothing to say about terminating their own pregnancies. It was also up to the physician to decide if the pregnancy posed a threat to the woman, and it was entirely at his discretion to determine what was and was not a threat. For the rich woman, the threat might be a threat to her emotional tranquillity or even to her lifestyle. The poor woman was often forced to resort to the back alley or the coat hanger.

This was the law until the 1960s, when a coalition of individuals and organizations, the AMA now among them, sought to overturn it and to reinstate the more traditional values that were to be embodied in Roe v. Wade.continue on to Part 4

If you deliberately kill a human being, it’s called murder. If you deliberately kill a chimpanzee–biologically, our closest relative, sharing 99.6 percent of our active genes–whatever else it is, it’s not murder. To date, murder uniquely applies to killing human beings. Therefore, the question of when personhood (or, if we like, ensoulment) arises is key to the abortion debate. When does the fetus become human? When do distinct and characteristic human qualities emerge?

Section 8 Sperm journey to becoming Human 

We recognize that specifying a precise moment will overlook individual differences. Therefore, if we must draw a line, it ought to be drawn conservatively–that is, on the early side. There are people who object to having to set some numerical limit, and we share their disquiet; but if there is to be a law on this matter, and it is to effect some useful compromise between the two absolutist positions, it must specify, at least roughly, a time of transition to personhood.

Every one of us began from a dot. A fertilized egg is roughly the size of the period at the end of this sentence. The momentous meeting of sperm and egg generally occurs in one of the two fallopian tubes. One cell becomes two, two become four, and so on—an exponentiation of base-2 arithmetic. By the tenth day the fertilized egg has become a kind of hollow sphere wandering off to another realm: the womb. It destroys tissue in its path. It sucks blood from capillaries. It bathes itself in maternal blood, from which it extracts oxygen and nutrients. It establishes itself as a kind of parasite on the walls of the uterus.By the third week, around the time of the first missed menstrual period, the forming embryo is about 2 millimeters long and is developing various body parts. Only at this stage does it begin to be dependent on a rudimentary placenta. It looks a little like a segmented worm.By the end of the fourth week, it’s about 5 millimeters (about 1/5 inch) long. It’s recognizable now as a vertebrate, its tube-shaped heart is beginning to beat, something like the gill arches of a fish or an amphibian become conspicuous, and there is a pronounced tail. It looks rather like a newt or a tadpole. This is the end of the first month after conception.By the fifth week, the gross divisions of the brain can be distinguished. What will later develop into eyes are apparent, and little buds appear—on their way to becoming arms and legs.By the sixth week, the embryo is 13 millimeteres (about ½ inch) long. The eyes are still on the side of the head, as in most animals, and the reptilian face has connected slits where the mouth and nose eventually will be.By the end of the seventh week, the tail is almost gone, and sexual characteristics can be discerned (although both sexes look female). The face is mammalian but somewhat piglike.By the end of the eighth week, the face resembles that of a primate but is still not quite human. Most of the human body parts are present in their essentials. Some lower brain anatomy is well-developed. The fetus shows some reflex response to delicate stimulation.By the tenth week, the face has an unmistakably human cast. It is beginning to be possible to distinguish males from females. Nails and major bone structures are not apparent until the third month.By the fourth month, you can tell the face of one fetus from that of another. Quickening is most commonly felt in the fifth month. The bronchioles of the lungs do not begin developing until approximately the sixth month, the alveoli still later.

So, if only a person can be murdered, when does the fetus attain personhood? When its face becomes distinctly human, near the end of the first trimester? When the fetus becomes responsive to stimuli–again, at the end of the first trimester? When it becomes active enough to be felt as quickening, typically in the middle of the second trimester? When the lungs have reached a stage of development sufficient that the fetus might, just conceivably, be able to breathe on its own in the outside air?

The trouble with these particular developmental milestones is not just that they’re arbitrary. More troubling is the fact that none of them involves uniquely humancharacteristics–apart from the superficial matter of facial appearance. All animals respond to stimuli and move of their own volition. Large numbers are able to breathe. But that doesn’t stop us from slaughtering them by the billions. Reflexes and motion are not what make us human.

Sagan’s conclusion based on arbitrary choice of the presence of thought by unborn baby

Other animals have advantages over us–in speed, strength, endurance, climbing or burrowing skills, camouflage, sight or smell or hearing, mastery of the air or water. Our one great advantage, the secret of our success, is thought–characteristically human thought. We are able to think things through, imagine events yet to occur, figure things out. That’s how we invented agriculture and civilization. Thought is our blessing and our curse, and it makes us who we are.

Thinking occurs, of course, in the brain–principally in the top layers of the convoluted “gray matter” called the cerebral cortex. The roughly 100 billion neurons in the brain constitute the material basis of thought. The neurons are connected to each other, and their linkups play a major role in what we experience as thinking. But large-scale linking up of neurons doesn’t begin until the 24th to 27th week of pregnancy–the sixth month.

By placing harmless electrodes on a subject’s head, scientists can measure the electrical activity produced by the network of neurons inside the skull. Different kinds of mental activity show different kinds of brain waves. But brain waves with regular patterns typical of adult human brains do not appear in the fetus until about the 30th week of pregnancy–near the beginning of the third trimester. Fetuses younger than this–however alive and active they may be–lack the necessary brain architecture. They cannot yet think.

Acquiescing in the killing of any living creature, especially one that might later become a baby, is troublesome and painful. But we’ve rejected the extremes of “always” and “never,” and this puts us–like it or not–on the slippery slope. If we are forced to choose a developmental criterion, then this is where we draw the line: when the beginning of characteristically human thinking becomes barely possible.

It is, in fact, a very conservative definition: Regular brain waves are rarely found in fetuses. More research would help… If we wanted to make the criterion still more stringent, to allow for occasional precocious fetal brain development, we might draw the line at six months. This, it so happens, is where the Supreme Court drew it in 1973–although for completely different reasons.

Its decision in the case of Roe v. Wade changed American law on abortion. It permits abortion at the request of the woman without restriction in the first trimester and, with some restrictions intended to protect her health, in the second trimester. It allows states to forbid abortion in the third trimester, except when there’s a serious threat to the life or health of the woman. In the 1989 Webster decision, the Supreme Court declined explicitly to overturn Roe v. Wade but in effect invited the 50 state legislatures to decide for themselves.

What was the reasoning in Roe v. Wade? There was no legal weight given to what happens to the children once they are born, or to the family. Instead, a woman’s right to reproductive freedom is protected, the court ruled, by constitutional guarantees of privacy. But that right is not unqualified. The woman’s guarantee of privacy and the fetus’s right to life must be weighed–and when the court did the weighing’ priority was given to privacy in the first trimester and to life in the third. The transition was decided not from any of the considerations we have been dealing with so far…–not when “ensoulment” occurs, not when the fetus takes on sufficient human characteristics to be protected by laws against murder. Instead, the criterion adopted was whether the fetus could live outside the mother. This is called “viability” and depends in part on the ability to breathe. The lungs are simply not developed, and the fetus cannot breathe–no matter how advanced an artificial lung it might be placed in—until about the 24th week, near the start of the sixth month. This is why Roe v. Wade permits the states to prohibit abortions in the last trimester. It’s a very pragmatic criterion.

If the fetus at a certain stage of gestation would be viable outside the womb, the argument goes, then the right of the fetus to life overrides the right of the woman to privacy. But just what does “viable” mean? Even a full-term newborn is not viable without a great deal of care and love. There was a time before incubators, only a few decades ago, when babies in their seventh month were unlikely to be viable. Would aborting in the seventh month have been permissible then? After the invention of incubators, did aborting pregnancies in the seventh month suddenly become immoral? What happens if, in the future, a new technology develops so that an artificial womb can sustain a fetus even before the sixth month by delivering oxygen and nutrients through the blood–as the mother does through the placenta and into the fetal blood system? We grant that this technology is unlikely to be developed soon or become available to many. But if it were available, does it then become immoral to abort earlier than the sixth month, when previously it was moral? A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality; for some, it is also an unacceptable morality.

And why, exactly, should breathing (or kidney function, or the ability to resist disease) justify legal protection? If a fetus can be shown to think and feel but not be able to breathe, would it be all right to kill it? Do we value breathing more than thinking and feeling? Viability arguments cannot, it seems to us, coherently determine when abortions are permissible. Some other criterion is needed. Again, we offer for consideration the earliest onset of human thinking as that criterion.

Since, on average, fetal thinking occurs even later than fetal lung development, we find Roe v. Wade to be a good and prudent decision addressing a complex and difficult issue. With prohibitions on abortion in the last trimester–except in cases of grave medical necessity–it strikes a fair balance between the conflicting claims of freedom and life.What do you think? What have others said about Carl Sagan’s thoughts on 

END OF SAGAN’S ARTICLE

Image result for carl sagan and ann druyan
Carl Sagan with his wife Ann in the 1990’s
Image result for adrian rogers francis schaeffer
I grew up in Memphis as a member of Bellevue Baptist Church under our pastor Adrian Rogers and attended ECS High School where the books and films of Francis Schaeffer were taught. Both men dealt with current issues in the culture such as the film series COSMOS by Carl Sagan. I personally read several of Sagan’s books.  (Francis and Edith Schaeffer pictured below in their home at L’ Abri in Switzerland where Francis  taught students for 3 decades.
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