What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Recent Comments

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Apr 9, 08:13:

Related to capitalism and inequality this is of interest. Milanovic is one of the world's leading scholars on the subject of inequality, but he's in no way anti-market. https://promarket.org/avoiding-plutocracy-would-require-a-political-change-branko-milanovic-on-the-future-of-capitalism/ ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Apr 9, 07:59:

~~Skidelsky overplays his hand with his last sentence there: "Only the compulsive accumulator sees every possession as a stepping stone to further possessions."~~ No, I think he's right here, actually. It borders on the pathological to be "always looking for a deal." If your primary purpose in acquiring things is not to use them, "for sustenance or for enjoyment," as he puts it, but to "trade up," you are already on the wrong road. As Wendell Berry says, that's the condition of the man who looks at a for ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 9, 01:15:

I agree with you about what has become effectively the systematization of self-interest in such a way that a great many people and institutions cannot even grasp the meaning of the question "should I try to get that much from the sale" as a moral question. To them, the only question is whether they CAN, not should they. To them, economics has ceased to be a moral consideration at all, only "what works" in the sense of keeping "the system" running. I hold no truck with such versions of economics, and of id ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Apr 7, 06:42:

~~The proper argument from pre-Smithian capitalist theory was that in a due and upright transaction, both parties will realize a gain of value. (See Redeeming Economics, reviewed here: http://whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2013/09/to_fix_economics.html.) This is only self-interest-in-a-sense, not unbridled self-interest. The fact that each party is first focused on their own benefit does not imply that they are out to gyp the other person in order to "get everything I can." The primary focus is on realizing a b ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 6, 20:08:

I agree, but would argue from the other side, so to speak, and say that the possibility that the "the ills that plague us in our own capitalist system" are possibly due to the very principles of capital, and that this possibility should not be ruled out. I suppose that one can entertain the possibility and search for an analysis that would prove that or at least provide strong evidence for the thesis that it is the very principles of capital that are at fault. But given that Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum, a ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Apr 6, 12:07:

"I tend to look with a great deal of skepticism at assertions that the ills that plague us in our own capitalist system are due to the very principles of capital, and are not to be attributed as much or more to things that are distinguishable from the principles of capital and (maybe) could be eliminated from our system without eradicating capitalists." I agree, but would argue from the other side, so to speak, and say that the possibility that the "the ills that plague us in our own capitalist system" are ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 6, 11:14:

Agreed. I have been concerned with this all along. About a month ago I proposed to friends that we should try to support local businesses by buying gift cards and the like, because they don't have the resources to just shut down for 2 months and pay everyone. Now (thank goodness) our county has introduced a program along those lines. The government payments (i.e. hand-outs) to people will help some, but it will inevitably miss a share of the people who will need help. It will, most likely, not help t ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Apr 5, 18:47:

In case anyone doesn't follow me on Facebook and is wondering, I've gone from being somewhat concerned about friends who (way back at the beginning) didn't realize that the Covid19 thing was a real, serious health concerns to (now) being absolutely appalled at the economic recklessness of various governors and attorneys general. Literally there are places that are trying to make a case-by-case decision about what products are "essential" in a centralized fashion. Target in Lansing has stopped selling clothe ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 3, 19:07:

As for myself, I recognize that capitalism is used in different, and equivocal (or, at least, distinct) ways, even if they are derivative. So I would distinguish. First, there is the root principle that lies at the bottom of capitalism. There may be some debate about WHICH root principle that is. For example, specialization of work into job types. But that has been happening for 5,000 years or more - probably since well before recorded history, when some people made stone knives and others made arro ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 3, 18:08:

Fully with you on socialism, but I do not see where the belief that private property is a good implies capitalism. We obviously had private property long before capitalism arose. Nice, what do you mean by "capitalism"? In my original post, I did not mention capitalism at all. In the comment by Joe and my response, the point was not "capitalism = a good thing", but rather "socialism makes a mistake that capitalism doesn't make". It remains possible that capitalism ALSO makes mistakes, but not that one. ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Apr 3, 10:09:

Tony, this is a good post, and I very often find that the informational aspect of money/pricing is lost on people. As also the sheer fact of scarcity. Even in an unfallen world, things could not simply be "made free," because of ex nihilo nihil fit. It would still take work to produce wheat, for example. To make it free and therefore to insist that wheat-producing A must provide wheat at no charge to apple-producing (but not wheat-producing B), rather than *trading* (which will involve either money as a sta ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Apr 3, 07:26:

Fully with you on socialism, but I do not see where the belief that private property is a good implies capitalism. We obviously had private property long before capitalism arose. My basic problem with capitalism is not the private property aspect, but the fact that it necessarily tends to avidity in accumulation. It has, in the words of Edward Skidelsky, emancipated avarice. This is inherently morally problematic if Matthew 19:24, I Timothy 6:10, and James 5:1-6 are any indication. You can't just wave a ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 2, 21:29:

I gotta admit that I didn't think of the other sense of Wilt Chamberlain "plowing" when I wrote it. But how did you know it was unintentional? :-) I might possibly have been a sly little devil. ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Apr 2, 13:57:

If humans were run off an assembly line, where each human had exactly the same needs, in exactly the same degrees, and had exactly the same desires, and if a top executive had all necessary information about the natural and human resources available and how they could be used to satisfy the needs and desires, it might be possible to have a top-down economic model of allocating to everyone X apples, Y melons, and Z hours playing a piano on a fixed schedule. A picture of ants, perhaps. But humans are not like ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 2, 11:06:

Joe, those are worthwhile questions, and I have considered them in one light or another. As for socialism: in my analysis above, I intentionally skirted the question of whether there would be private property as such, because I think the problem of allocation of resources (including human time and effort) require money even apart from private ownership. But I also think what I said above makes it clear that private property is natural and not merely an outflow of the Fall and ongoing sin. For one thing, ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Apr 1, 22:39:

This is an interesting piece of speculative thinking Tony. Thanks for putting it out there. I wonder: would the whole socialism vs capitalism clash of ideologies disappear in a no-fall world? Socialism fails because it does not recognize that man is fallen. Capitalism fails at times because man actually is fallen. (But for me, the occasional failures of capitalism are accidents, whereas the failure of socialism is essence.) You are thinking about economics in the but-for world of no fall. My own speculati ... [More]

The Roots of Our Partisan Divide

Comment posted by avraham on Mar 26, 05:03:

It used to be taught in school in the USA that Democracy is fragile. It did seem to me that later people kept on trying to attack everything about the USA and thought that all their i-phones had nothing to do with how America was ... [More]

Good American music

Comment posted by Step2 on Mar 13, 21:58:

Paul, You left off one of my all-time favorite Colter Wall songs, “The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie”. Colter, Tyler Childers, Cody Jinks, Brother Dege and 16 Horsepower are among many others in a playlist I have titled Rustic Grit. Murder, addiction, deals with the devil and other breezy, light themes. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYvj_ZYotn1m5HN76_1tnfg On the other hand there is also a Swing & Jazz playlist and an Instrumental & Christian music playlist and other more mainstream choices on the chann ... [More]

The Roots of Our Partisan Divide

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Mar 11, 06:08:

Hoping to read the Imprimis piece tonight -- that may prompt something. I recall having minor quibbles here and there while reading the book but nothing that really gave me a great amount of pause. ... [More]

The Roots of Our Partisan Divide

Comment posted by Tony on Mar 9, 16:22:

Thanks, Nice. Good to know Caldwell's book-length treatment stands up to consideration. In the interests of stimulating a vigorous debate, are there any theses that you would like to dispute? Question? Take apart for further analysis? ... [More]

The Roots of Our Partisan Divide

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Mar 9, 07:17:

I just got the article in the mail a day or two ago and have not read it yet, but I have read Caldwell's book -- it's brilliant. His contention about civil rights is not that segregation and Jim Crow didn't need to end, but that how they were ended was inherently problematic. Of course in a society where ends are often seen to justify means such a declaration is anathema. Add to this the inability of current liberalism to demonstrate any level of self-critique, and you end up with ideas like Caldwell's be ... [More]

Good American music

Comment posted by Tony on Feb 24, 21:58:

Good point. I no longer can even tell what has been playing as the "Top 40", since I never even listen to the radio. I can only get a glimmer of it from the names that are shoved at us as the top performers (such as in ads on TV, or web ads). Mainly, I avoid anything having to do with mainstream anything. That's a big change since 1990 or 1995. Are the big labels about to put themselves out of existence from overplaying their hands on the "power" to tell us what to listen to? Will they learn better ... [More]

Good American music

Comment posted by Paul Cella on Feb 24, 14:19:

Agreed, Tony. The folks you mention definitely have some good songs, and are talented performers; but what has changed over the past two decades is the capacity of the recording industry to shove their favored stuff down our throats. "Top 40 radio" amounts to a niche market now: basically just folks stuck driving in traffic. Even within the "country" genre, I find it fascinating how much good music gets excluded from radio play. In 1990 that would have been close to a death sentence for a band, but not anym ... [More]

Good American music

Comment posted by Tony on Feb 16, 22:16:

Our country labors under many political distempers and grievous social poisons, but her popular music is not one of them. ... The volume of well-composed tunes, of simply high-quality songs that fill you with warmth, speaks to a creative popular force, standing at defiance of cynical profit, bitter political division, and social media monomania, which we Americans might well take heart in. Paul, when you say "popular music", are you including or excluding the music of the likes of Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, ... [More]

Kobe, Memories, and Redemption

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Feb 11, 15:21:

My e-mail is available under my author name on the right. ... [More]

Kobe, Memories, and Redemption

Comment posted by imnobody00 on Feb 11, 08:00:

Dear Lydia, Completely off-topic. Have you thought about putting "The Mirror or the Mask" in Kindle format? ... [More]

Kobe, Memories, and Redemption

Comment posted by Tony on Jan 31, 10:21:

I find it interesting that what we have in Kobe is a guy who was, arguably, the absolute best in the world (in his prime) at his sport, who went on to discover that just(!) being the best in the world at his chosen profession didn't guarantee him "the good life", or happiness. It didn't even guarantee him that his marriage would remain intact. Your profession (and your hobbies, and your chores, and your recreations) constitute merely the substrate for the "real", business end of what makes a life a good l ... [More]

Kobe, Memories, and Redemption

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 31, 09:28:

Excellent reminder, thank you, Jeff! ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Ben on Jan 29, 10:00:

I've seen it. A shame that any Christian would ever appear similar to that. But remember: Lydia is the one with "bad tone." The fact he's saying you are the one with the "bad tone" feels like something out of Bizarro World. I haven't read your new book, but I've read much of your blog on the subject, and many of your facebook posts on the same. Seems more like he's using the whole Geisler thing to paint any kind of push against his ideas as backwards and downright mean. At least that is how it looks to som ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Tony on Jan 28, 23:16:

Lydia is the one with "bad tone." That's funny, because I have already noted more than once Lydia using a mild, reserved, non-polemical tone where I probably would not have been able to resist descending into some kind of cutting remark. And I am less than half the way through. I don't know whether her editor or publisher told her to keep it toned down, or what, but there are PLENTY of places where even a mild jab would have been not out of order even for a Christian scholar. I suspect that what is go ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 28, 12:29:

I've seen it. A shame that any Christian would ever appear similar to that. But remember: Lydia is the one with "bad tone." ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Ben on Jan 28, 10:24:

This whole thing makes me think of a music video with a rapping Richard Dawkins declaring how much better than everyone else he is because he has a science degree. It's a pretty humorous video made in a style similar to the Jib Jab parodies. ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 27, 11:46:

Does he thinks he can see through your work in a way that the scholars who give blurbs for it can't? Yes. Presumably he's hitching his wagon to Richard Burridge and Christopher Pelling and perhaps Craig Keener as well. Lydia disagrees with these scholars, who agree with Mike. These scholars have been working in this field with the ancient literature "for decades." Lydia has not been working in this field for decades. (Though actually, I *was* working on Augustine as well as various Greco-Roman literary th ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Sean Killackey on Jan 26, 23:12:

It is strange that he should dismiss your work because you recieved a PhD in English, or haven't had the requisite degree. Does he thinks he can see through your work in a way that the scholars who give blurbs for it can't? Sure they might not agree with everything, but if Licona was right in saying, 'So read her work very skeptically,' why does Blomberg, for instance, think there is a good deal of value in it? But you're right that credentials and debates dont matter: the work itself is the thing. ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 26, 09:36:

I continue to think that a scholarly exchange in the pages of a journal like Philosophia Christi would be a good venue for Licona and me to dialogue. I will not have such a dialogue by proxy, though. (As Licona has suggested. This suggestion seems to me to be a proposal of an unprofessional arrangement. A living scholar with a written corpus whose views have been criticized should defend his own views, not "tag" a follower to defend his views in a debate type of format. The latter arrangement introduces far ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Callum on Jan 25, 08:48:

Thanks for the link Lydia. Much appreciated. I can say from the twittersphere that people reacted to your recent Unbelievable episode with eagerness to see a debate on the topic, regardless of whether they agreed or not. I'd imagine Licona will have to substantiate his criticisms sooner or later. At the moment I'm harping on to anyone who will listen just to read the book. ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 25, 08:25:

Andrew, the "criteria of authenticity" are still used. Some of them are highly problematic, particularly the "criterion of double similarity and dissimilarity," now renamed ambitiously the "criterion of historical plausibility," which really makes it much worse! This has to do with Jesus' teachings or actions being "plausible in its historical context and demonstrate some influence in earliest Christianity, while at the same time disclosing Jesus’ individuality within his original context and with some tend ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 25, 08:20:

Callum, here's the recording of Bock's paper. The last few pages he couldn't read in the time all the way through, but you can tell from what is recorded that he is saying that he thinks Licona's views are compatible with what he's been reading from the ancient sources. I mainly followed up on his references, not (of course) agreeing with that conclusion. I found all the references for myself, including the contexts, and sometimes selected a different translation to quote. (Licona has recently publicly refe ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Callum on Jan 25, 05:03:

Lydia do you know what Bock's paper was titled as? I'm not a member of the ETS so it looks like I'll have to email him for a copy. BTW, i have TMOTM. Fantastic. So tightly argued I couldn't help but agree with Tom Gilson that it's convincing. ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Tony on Jan 24, 23:20:

Andrew, I haven't dabbled much in the works of recent historians, so I would not have seen this phenomenon by direct observation. If it really happening, I would conjecture that it is a natural outflow of the loss of underlying principles and, especially in the humanities, a loss even in a belief in truth as such, which has infected the universities. How can you even talk about criteria of historical veracity when it is so hard to even have an agreed-upon lexicon of what "true" shall be taken to mean (wit ... [More]