How the Christian Will Conquer Through Economics - The Problem and the Very Great Hope - RR175A1
The media player is loading...
[Introductory Speaker] The Question came to my mind--- how does one properly introduce our next speaker, our first speaker. How do we decently recognize and acknowledge the fact that within his lifetime he has written and published nearly 30 books innumerable monographs and articles the majority of the latter appearing from time to time in the Chalcedon reports and the Chalcedon edition papers. How do we express our gratitude for his unselfish attitude and not only permitting the reproduction of the copy written work of his hands but also actively encouraging his widest distribution by others in their own spheres of influence. What can be said in an adequate manner of his courage and his aggressiveness in accepting and acting on the challenges That God gave to Ezekiel in the 22nd chapter where he was seeking a man to stand in the gap and in Isaiah in the sixth chapter when he sought a messenger to carry his clear word to the people. How do we present one who’s strength is in quietness and confidence in the Lord and who’s life manifests this truth. Well, maybe in the sense to paraphrase our speakers own words: “it will not be done acceptably with pious gush.” (laughter) Rather, we can do it by pointing out that Dr. Rushdoony’s life manifests that which the Lord speaks to us in Psalms 37 verses 23, 24, 30 and 31, “The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand. The mouths of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgement. The law of his God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide.” Its right to say that is a pleasure to introduce Dr. Rousas John Rushdoony. It is a blessing to be able to do this. (applause) [00:03:13]
[R.J. Rushdoony] Our Subject in this first session is how the Christian will reconquer through economics. The problem and the very great hope. We shall be laying the theological foundations in this first session, so that we can consider the problem more carefully in the subsequent hours. I think it is obvious that economically we are in trouble. The economically our country in the world today represents an entrenched stupidity. The extent to which our world has drifted off into bureaucratic and statist insanities comes home to me constantly as I go to courtrooms where churches, Christian Schools, Christian parents and Christian schoolchildren are on trial. Earlier this week I was not entirely sure I was going to make it here. Because I was in Texas, to testify at a trial, and the air traffic in the state was halted by tornadoes which were all around the state, were not dissipating, had disrupted all air traffic, and to confound matters even worse my flight reservations were on (Braniff?). (laughter) But at the trial, I saw what I have seen again and again, the extent to which our which our ‘modern’ world order has departed from sanity. The church was on trial because for their nursery for their Sunday morning worship services, and for their Monday through Friday nursery school they had not only failed to secure a license from the state which on principle they refused to do, but they had in that nursery, an innocent bowl of goldfish. [00:05:57]
They were cited for that bowl of goldfish because there...
They were cited for that bowl of goldfish because there was no veterinary doctor certificate on the wall behind the bowl to indicate that that species of animal life had been properly examined by a doctor and inoculated. And for that, a church was in court. Now, its people like that who are giving us the economics we have. (laughter) So we should not be surprised at what we are getting. Before we embark on the theological foundations, I would to read a passage of scripture that is particularly relevant. As I do I would like to call attention to the fact that this passage, like so much in the bible, has been filtered to us through centuries of Hellenic thought of the philosophy of ancient Greece. We cannot understand Greek thought if we fail to appreciate the fact that for the Greeks the world of mind or spirit was a higher realm and the material world a lower and inferior realm. We are often told about Greek science and Greek inventions. What we are not told is that the man who produced those inventions were almost invariably slaves from other countries, given Greek names, who produced everything worthwhile in Greece. Because for any good Greek, to deal with things that were in the realm of matter and practicality was emphatically lower class. Now to this parable in Luke 16 1-13 which a century ago Dean Alfred said, was perhaps the most misunderstood parable in scripture and certainly one of the most misunderstood texts. [00:08:30]
To read: “And he said also unto his disciples there was a certain rich man which had a steward and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him and said unto him, how is it that I hear this of thee? Given account of thy stewardship for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, what shall I do? For my lord taketh away from me the stewardship. I cannot dig to beg, I am ashamed. And resolved what to do that when I am put out of the stewardship they may receive me into their houses, that is give me positions. So he called every one of his lords debtors unto him, and said how much owest thou into my lord? And he said 100 measures of oil. And he said unto him take thy bill and sit down quickly and write 50. Then he said to another and how much owest thou? And he said: 100 measure of wheat. and he said unto him: take thy bill and write four score. And the lord commended the unjust steward because he had done wisely, for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, make to yourselves friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness.” [00:10:11]
Now, the term Mammon of unrighteousness was an idiom...
Now, the term Mammon of unrighteousness was an idiom of the day, which we have in English today as filthy money, because it was commonly regarded as filthy. And the term Mammon of unrighteousness is exactly the same term.
“That they may receive you unto everlasting habitations. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in that which is much. And he that unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefor ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, in dealing with money who have committed to you the trust of true riches. And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another mans, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters or either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. “ [00:11:28]
Now first of all this is called the parable of the...
Now first of all this is called the parable of the unjust servant, or the unjust steward. That is very wrong. He was not unjust, the parable never says so. He was wasteful. And there is a difference. He was not a competent steward, by and large. The lord ordered an accounting. The steward to prepare for employment after his discharge went over the accounts receivable, and discounted them by about 50%. As a result he had a great many very grateful people, all over the community, men of substance. He had assured himself of a position with them, after his discharge. Now comes the matter that is surprising to so many people, why did the Lord commend the man? Why did he praise him? Why does our Lord say, the children of this world are wiser than the children of light? And why even though he says we cannot serve both God and money, he also says you must learn how to use it wisely? Or else who will trust you including God, with anything else. Our Lords point is the commendation of practicality, and of prudence. Our Lord commends practicality and he condemns an otherworldliness that pays no attention to matters of practicality and of money in this world. [00:13:43]
It tells us something about our culture, which is still...
It tells us something about our culture, which is still very Hellenic, Greek in its character. In that although every one of us beginning as children, deal with money. With economics. At no stage in our education k – 12 nor in 999 universities and colleges out of a thousand is economics ever required. Perhaps we should be grateful for that, (laughter) because what is taught as economics is certainly not deserving of that name. But it tells us something about our lack of reality! In fact, the two key subject that we have to deal with all our lives, law and economics, are at no point required of any student. Is it any wonder that modern man is incompetent as he faces the world. Is it any wonder that our politicians face the pressing problems of our time with incompetence. Or that with social security likely to be bankrupt by next year august, we have so many men in Washington insisting that the problem does not exist. All that needs to be done they say is to make an appropriation out of the general fund. But what is happening to the general fund? Our Lord commends practicality. [00:15:50]
Our Lord requires a faithful stewardship of money from...
Our Lord requires a faithful stewardship of money from us. Not on the same terms as the steward, but he says the steward knew what money could do for him. And we need to recognize what money, what economics means to us. If do not, we are building disaster into our lives, into our institutions, and into our countries. Now there are two approaches to economics, two basic approaches. One is humanistic, it is a do it yourself world. A multiverse, not a universe. There is no law, there is no order in the universe and man therefore can create by fiat everything in his world. And so we have fiat money, we have fiat economics, we have fiat laws. Laws that have no relationship to the moral order in the universe. And every area of life the humanistic fiat governs us today. And it is a prescription for disaster. Last week I was in Washington D.C. and I heard a congressman say at our council meeting, this congressman Jack Camp, and he spoke of the coming monetary crisis and he made this statement. Either we will monetize gold, or very soon gold will demonetize the paper dollar. That’s what we’re facing and very few are aware of it. The other approach to economics and to life generally is theistic, Biblical. [00:18:24]
We have a given order in the universe, we have given...
We have a given order in the universe, we have given laws in every sphere, and if we try to go contrary to those laws whether they be the laws of physics or of economics there is built in disaster in the very nature of things. So that man’s only hope is to live in terms of the nature of reality, which is God created, law regulated, so that as the ancient Hebrew proverb has it: whoso breaketh the fence, the serpent shall smite him. Meaning that even as fences then were hedge fences, and were a place of birds and of poisonous snakes because that was where the food was, and anyone who tried to break through a fence in order to let his cows into his neighbors field was taking a chance of a snakebite. And so the proverb tells us likewise, when we break the fence of Gods law, we are smitten. The Bible pronounces blessings and curses upon us for obedience or disobedience to Gods law. What we face today is a world economic crisis among other crisis. It is a crisis for the present world order for the humanistic order, for the world of man-made fiats. And all our current effort to resolve the growing economic crisis begin and end with the premise that man-made, statist made solutions are possible. [00:20:49]
And hence we have more planning more man made fiats...
And hence we have more planning more man made fiats rather than a return to Gods order and to freedom. The result is a growing bad news. Last November we passed in our federal deficit a trillion dollars. We have for this fiscal year and for the budget which is in process now, a likely deficit no matter what the administration says of a hundred billion. The very competent economists have estimated that it will be in the calculation of off budget items 200 billion. At the same time there is no money in the banks for you to borrow. They may complain in Washington about high interest rates as though that were a purely artificial device. But the fact is, inflation rates are reflected in interest rates. You’re not going to loan out money at a loss. You have a high interest rate if it is more than 1 and a half percent above the inflation rate. [00:22:28]
If you lower it below ...
If you lower it below 1% above the inflation rate its very cheap money. But the banks do not have the money to loan, why? Because today 80% of the money put into savings accounts is borrowed by the federal government to meet its deficit. 80%! What is left then for industry in the way of capital in order to expand or to develop its operations? Money is not now available for private enterprise. Moreover, the bankruptcies in 1981 were $522,000 and the indications are that in 1982 it will be much higher. Last month April 15 18 ½ million Americans according to the wall street journal filed their income tax reports and paid nothing because they had no money to make their income tax paid. 18 ½ million. Meanwhile you have a growing tax revolt as well because people simply whether they agree with the tax revolt or not have had it and are fed up with what is going on. The form loan delinquency is approaching 60%, meanwhile one area after another is becoming so costly homes cars are being priced out of the market for most people. How many people can afford a new home today? In one city an estimate was made of how many actual home owners could afford to buy their homes today at the current value of the home. 90% of the home owners could not afford their homes today. Most young couples are couples are priced out of the new car and new house market and a lot of us who are older too. This year we saw energy costs rise in terms of inflation and energy is pricing itself out of the market. In areas that are cold including ours a lot of us were burning wood because we have wood available and we’re buying long johns or ski underwear in order to avoid turning up the thermostat or turning it on. [00:26:06]
Meanwhile because people cannot afford to operate their...
Meanwhile because people cannot afford to operate their cars 50% oil refineries have been shut down and the rest are operating at 63% of capacity. We have been living in terms of debt and debt living now is in crisis. By 1980 according to Weiss the total debt in the United States was 4.4 trillion dollars in bond mortgages and loans. The corporate debt was 1 ½ trillion, the federal debt at that time was still 949 billion and it is now past the trillion. Building mortgages came to 1362 billion in debt. Add to that the debt of cities, counties, and states. The corporate scene is one of disaster. Of the 500 major corporations, industrial corporations, listed annually by fortune 499 have a liquidity crisis. Their head over heels in debt. General Motors the biggest industrial corporation in the United States in 1973 of every dollar of net profit paid out $.36 in interest. By 1979, still a good year for general motors, 93 cents out of every dollar of net profit went to pay interest not principle. [00:28:16]
You can see the crisis...
You can see the crisis. And where are they going to borrow more money when 80% of the available money is now taken by the federal government? We have two major trends: one: a tremendous mountain of debt, we have bankrupt nations and bankrupt peoples and no funds for growth. The stage is set for bankruptcy, a money panic, and a collapse. But second: the federal government is determined to run up greater deficits president Reagan has called a deficit a good thing it was bad when he was candidate Reagan and now as president Reagan, running up the deficit it suddenly has been converted into a good thing. And most American are demanding that Washington do something. So we have a built in prescription for more inflation as though this were the answer. And so as we face bankruptcy our attitude is not we’re going to have to pay for our sins, but let us try to defer with more inflation the payoff for our economic sins. The fact of debt is central to our worldwide economic crisis. Man and nations have alike borrowed against the future and now they are running out of future. The socialist countries have an answer: monetary reform. On a given day all currencies are exchanged for a new currency, the old rubles for new rubles. A ratio of ten to one or one hundred to one or whatever the case may be in a particular country but in time the new rubles also disintegrate and countries facing massive inflation want as countries often do some kind of cheap answer out of the crisis, cheap in terms of irresponsibility. [00:31:15]
We do know that the Falkland islands have a tremendous...
We do know that the Falkland islands have a tremendous oil potential, we need to know also that Argentina went into this with an inflation rate of 148%. And now the people are caught up and patriotic fervor and hatred of Britain but they have at the same time withdrawn their moneys from the banks so interest rates have shot up to 200%. Now think of doing business under conditions like that, because you’re looking at what may be the near future. People who are debt ridden as most people are today, have a vested interest in more inflation. The free market provides an alternative, bankruptcies. But it does not eliminate the debt problem, it penalizes others. All debt have social implications and effects, when a factory closes, it is not only the thousand men who worked there who are out of work, but the suppliers, the stores where those people traded, the domino effect is considerable. And the sad fact is that while our problem is debt, personal, corporate, and especially federal and statist, most people see more debt as the answer, as the solution, rather than more problem. After all, if you are a corporation and you are paying out 93 cents of every dollar of net profit just in interest on your loans, nothing on the principle, you will want more inflation, because how else are you going to pay off good debts except with bad money? And how else are people who are debt ridden going to get out of their holes? I was in Michigan three weeks ago for a trial I was there for a week in a great convention hotel that looked like a morgue there was so few people there. The thing that interested me as I asked people what was happening there was that they said that they said this was worse than the depression because the workers then did not have a mountain of debt on their backs. [00:34:28]
And now everybody owes for everything and they are...
And now everybody owes for everything and they are scared to death. The captain of the (Braniff?) plane I was on had a house to make payments on, a summer cabin up in the mountains to make payments on, and I don’t know what else. Consider his predicament, multiply it by millions. Proverbs 22 verse 7 tells us the rich ruleth over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender. Both halves of that proverb mean the same thing. And the meaning of the rich there is those who are debt free. Deuteronomy 15: 6 says The Lord thy God blesses thee as he promises thee. And thou shalt lend unto any nation and shall not borrow. And thou shalt reign over many nations that they shall not reign over thee. The Bible limits debt to six years, and as a general principle we are told by Paul owe no man anything, save to love one another. Debt is basic to inflation. Debt is the product of improvident living on the national, on the personal scale. It reorders the economic scene and it penalizes the thrifty and helps the debtor, it alters the moral outlook of a people, it begin in bad morality, and it produces even worse morality. The Christian thus by way of conclusion must recognize that Gods judgment is inherent in all things, the wages of sin always have been death. For persons, and for economics. We live in a doomed order. [00:36:49]
We will be affected, but we must recognize that the...
We will be affected, but we must recognize that the judgment, the economic judgment that faces us is from God and it is a salvation judgment. The ground will be cleared for justice, for righteousness. Second and finally we must recognize that reconstruction requires recapitalization, and recapitalization first of all means that we must capitalize ourselves, not only in terms of gold and silver, house, land if we are farmers, the tool of our trade, but recapitalization is also religious and moral. We must get back to ways of thinking that are oriented to hard money, to work, to thrift, to character, to capitalization across the boards. This is our concern at Chalcedon. The creation of a new people to live in a Christian order. [00:38:16]